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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