Friday, April 27, 2012

Stuffed Red Chili Peppers With Bacon

This is not for the faint-hearted.

Or rather, this is not for those who cannot take spicy food because this is, well, pretty spicy! Stuffed with two types of cheese and wrapped with salty bacon, the chili halves act as a mini boat to catch all those delicious drippings from the bacon. Can I say YUM? 

Just a little warning though, a possible side effect might be hallucination of your tongue being set on fire. But what's the fun without a little kick, yes? Just make sure to have a glass of water on stand-by! ;)

This is a really easy and quick recipe with minimal ingredients needed!

Stuffed Red Chili Peppers With Bacon

6 red chiles
4 strips of bacon, cut into three parts
a handful of cheddar cheese
a handful of mozzarella cheese
toothpicks to skewer the chiles

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cut the chiles in half and remove the seeds.

Then, stuff the chiles with equal parts of cheddar an mozzarella cheese. Wrap a bacon around it and fasten it with a toothpick.

Place the stuffed chiles on a rack with a tray underneath it and back it for 20 minutes. If the bacon is still not brown and crisp to your liking, you can set it under a broiler for a minute or less. Make sure to watch over the chiles in case they burn under the broiler.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Black Bean Soup With Pork Ribs

I've been boiling pots of Chinese soups for the last few days due to a couple of reasons: The bout of rain and chill that had overtaken LA in the past week, and a bad case of cold and throat infection that I have, unfortunately, just passed on to my husband!

So on to soups we go! A soup is not only packed with nutrients, it is easy to make, easy to chew on and warms up the body in a flash. When I am nursing a cold, all I want is a nice bowl of broth and a blanket to bury myself under!

love how the bones are totally blackened by the beans!
My mom used to make this soup for me when I was young, but she would use pig's tail instead of pork ribs. I wasn't able to get my hands on any pig's tail, so I used pork ribs instead. I'd like to think of that as a healthier alternative too! LOL To be honest, I am not a fan of beans, and black beans are one of the few that I actually enjoy eating!

Just a note, I didn't need to add any salt to the soup because the flavor of the pork, beans, dried scallops and red dates are so intense that there isn't any need to. But feel free to add them if you wish to!

Black Bean Soup With Pork Ribs

200g of pork ribs 
1 cup of black beans, soaked for at least an hour and rinsed.
7 red dates/jujube dates
4 small dried scallops
2.5 liters of water

Boil pork ribs vigorously in a pot of  water over high heat for 10 minutes. This is to remove scum and unpleasant smell from the pork. Pour the dirty water away and rinse the pork ribs.

In the same pot, combine the pork ribs, black beans, red dates and dried scallops in 2.5 liters of water. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 hours. Add a cup of water gradually if the soup dries up too fast.

Taste and correct for salt. If the soup is too thick, dilute it with a bit of water. If it is too diluted for your liking, boil it further to thicken it. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kettle Corn

A movie's best friend.
I love my popcorn. One of the best snacks to go along with a movie is popcorn, for sure. The other is nachos with oozy cheese - but that is another story altogether.

So yes, I love popcorn. One of my weaknesses that my husband frowns upon is my love for snacks. I love snacking on chips, chocs, popcorn, etc. But for some reason, snacking on popcorn always feels healthier to me compared to, say, a bag of highly salted potato chips. Having said that, in the past, I used to make my popcorn at home using pre-made microwavable popcorn. However, what I noticed was that I always had a this weird, powdery sensation on my tongue after going through just half a bag of them. It made me feel like I was eating something artificial. With that, I decided to try making my own popcorn at home. To my amazement, I realised that making my own popcorn is SO EASY!! Since then, I have been making bags of it for myself as well as friends and bags of popcorn would disappear in a flash. They are THAT good. I don't think I can go back to those pre-packaged ones anymore!

Kettle Corn

1/2 cup of corn kernels (I use Trader Joe's organic corn kernels)
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of sugar, or to taste
Salt, to taste

*a tip about storing the dried kernels: make sure that they are in an air-tight container or bag as being exposed to air means losing moisture, which would result in the kernels not being able to pop when heated.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Place 3 corn kernels inside and cover. When the 3 kernels have popped, the oil is ready. Remove the popped corn.

Pour the rest of the corn kernels into the pot and sprinkle the sugar over them evenly. Do a quick stir-through and cover the pot. Wait for 3 seconds and then shake the pot for 3 seconds. Shake it well to prevent the sugar from burning at the bottom. Repeat the sequence until most of the kernels have popped and you hear pops spread over a few seconds. Do not wait for the popping sounds to stop completely as that would mean some of the popcorn at the bottom might be burnt. Take the pot off the stove and continue to shake the pot until you can no longer hear any more popping sounds.

Remove popcorn from the pot and into a bowl, sprinkle some salt over it, mix and enjoy!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mrs Fields Super Fudge Brownies

Call it a divine moment.

A few weeks ago, I was craving for Mrs Fields brownies. When I was a teenager, I used to buy her cookies and brownies all the time. I would trot to the nearest Mrs Fields store after school to satisfy my sweet craving. Lately, I haven't seen any Mrs Fields stores around my area and thought perhaps, I would just have to wait till I return back to Singapore to have my brownie.

Shortly after that, my library had a book sale and lo and behold, they were selling her cookie book!! It features 100 recipes from her kitchen, including the double fudge brownies! Needless to say, I bought the book in a heartbeat!

I was happy to find out that her recipes are not very complicated. In fact, this super fudge brownie (above) is really easy. My only issue was that I used a smaller pan than what was stated, so my baking time took much longer than the original slated time. However, the result was SUPERB. It was not overly sweet, it was chewy, it was fudge-y, it was everything I wanted! =D

Super Fudge Brownies (from Mrs Fields Cookie Book)

6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (I used Ghiradelli's)
1 cup salted butter, softened (I used unsalted butter)
4 large eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (6oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Yields: 16 brownies, 2 inches square

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

Combine unsweetened baking chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until pieces are almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs until light yellow in color - about 5 minutes. Add sugar and blend on low until thoroughly combined.

Add vanilla and melted chocolate to the egg and sugar mixture. Blend on low speed until smooth. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.

Pour batter into greased pan. Smooth surface with a spatula, and sprinkle uniformly with chocolate chips. Bake on the center rack of oven for 45-55 minutes. The batter should be set and a toothpick inserted in center should come out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut and serve chilled.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012


Beautiful array of colors. Nice to look at and good to eat!
Oh man, I can't believe how long it has been since my last blog entry! March has been one crazy month for me so sorry for the lag!

Even though I didn't update this blog, I have still been cooking and experimenting with different dishes so I do hope I will be able to share as much as possible with you guys! =) Recently, I've got my hands on Morimoto's (well known as the iron chef!) cookbook and have been really excited to try his recipes. In fact, right now, I am braising a large hunk of pork belly in the oven that is supposed to be a favorite in his restaurant. It is pretty time-consuming, taking about 2 days to complete the whole process so I hope it turns out well!

Today, I am going to share with you one of my favorite korean dishes of all time - Bibimbap! As you can see in the picture, I don't own a dolsot (stone-pot) so I just made a simple Bibimbap on a plate. Of course, if you have a stone-pot, feel free to use it. I love it when the stone-pot heats the rice at the base and you get those nice, crispy bits of rice at the end!

Before I list down the recipe, I must disclaim that this is a very simplified version of Bibimbap and I just did the dish according to my own taste. I wanted a very quick meal and used whatever I had in my pantry so this is not your traditional Bibimbap. But it still tasted really good! =D

(serves 3)

1 cup of corn kernels (I used fresh corn, shaved from a cob)
1 cup of carrot, coarsely shredded
1 cup of cucumber, coarsely shredded
1/2 cup of minced meat (I used turkey)
6 to 8 large handfuls of fresh spinach (they will be cooked down by a lot)
3 eggs
1/2 tablespoon of korean bulgogi sauce
3 tablespoons of shredded nori (seaweed) 
3 portions of cooked short-grain rice
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Bibimbap Sauce
3 tablespoon of gochujang (korean chilli paste)
1 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil, or to taste

In a bowl, mix the korean bulgogi sauce with the minced meat and set aside.

Stir-fry the corn, carrot, cucumber individually (in 3 separate batches) with a little oil over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, wash the spinach, put it in a pot and cook over medium-high heat. Let it steam until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the leaves are cooked evenly. Drain well and set aside.

Fry the three eggs sunny side up and set aside.

To make the sauce, mix the gochujang and sesame oil in a bowl. Adjust according to taste (ie: less sesame oil or more chilli paste).

On a plate, arrange the vegetables around the rice. Place the shredded nori in the centre. Top it off with an egg and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

To eat, mix one tablespoon of Bibimbap sauce with the plated rice and vegetables, making sure they are evenly coated. Break the yolk and mix it into the rice too. Enjoy! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tofu with Hot Spring Egg (Onsen Tamago)

I have been head-over-heels with Japanese cooking recently. Japanese food is my all-time favorite cuisine but I never really ventured anything beyond making sushi, maki and teriyaki haha. However, a few months back, I came across Harumi Kurihara's cookbooks and it completely blew my mind away. Her recipes are a mix of traditional and contemporary Japanese food and not only did they not require a lot of different ingredients (more like a play on a few ingredients in different ways), the steps to create the dish is not too complicated.

Hence, I've been experimenting with her cookbook (bless my library that has her book) and am totally sold on the recipes! I've tried her gyudon (beef rice bowl), grilled mackerel with special sauce, hijiki salad, just to name a few. They are simply delicious! I am so going to get one of her cookbooks soon for my keeping! :)

I just love how Japanese food is so delicate, and can be made into really beautiful looking dishes. The above dish is one fine example of it, and the latest recipe I tried from her book. I hope you enjoy making it as much as I did! :)

Tofu with Hot Spring Egg (from Harumi's Japanese Cooking)

2 (12.3-oz) boxes soft silken tofu
4 hot spring eggs
1 teaspoon of dried fish flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sake
chopped green onions or chives to taste
grated fresh ginger to taste

To make hot spring egg (onsen tamago)
Put the eggs into a wideneck flask (or any other container that will hold heat) - make sure the eggs are at room temperature, not chilled.
Add boiling water to cover them and leave for 10 minutes. They yolk should still be runny with the white just cooked.

Drain tofu and wrap in paper towels to remove excess water.

Make the dressing by combining the dried fish flakes, soy sauce, mirin and sake in a microwave-safe bowl and cooking it in the microwave on medium for 2 minutes. Leave to cool and then strain. If you cannot obtain the fish flakes then use a little concentrated fish stock to give a slight fish flavor to the dressing.

*Note: I didn't have fish flakes on hand so I used a few (about 5) granules of dashi as a substitute. Also, I microwaves the sauce a wee bit longer cos I prefer a slightly thicker consistency.

Cut the tofu into 4 pieces and place one piece in each bowl. Scoop out a hollow in each one like this (I used a large block of tofu instead of cutting it up)

I love how cute it looks with that hole heh.
 Put a hot spring egg into each hollow:

Think I dug the hole a little too deep haha
Arrange the scooped tofu around the edge. Scatter some green onions on top and dab on a little grated ginger.

Pour the dressing over the tofu and serve.

And there you have it! Yummy yummy yum!

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