Sunday, March 21, 2010

Monkey Bread

Have you heard of Monkey Bread before? I haven't until I started my current job a few years back. It is so easy to make yet yummy. If you like Cinabon or Cinnamon rolls, you'll love this. It's great for breakfast but good all day long as well. This is the best when you first take it out of the oven and eat while it's still hot. My friend Becky from work gave me her recipe verbally and i modified it just a tiny bit from what I remember. Here is a super easy Monkey Bread recipe that you may add to your sweet recipes collection:

3 regular size biscuit tubes
1 stick butter
1 Cup brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/3 C sugar, approximate
2 tsp cinnamon, approximate

Pre heat oven to 350 degree C.


Quarter each biscuits.

Melt butter and brown sugar in a pan over medium heat.

Mix sugar and cinnamon.

Toss biscuits in sugar and cinnamon mixture in a bowl till well coated.

Put the biscuits in a greased Bundt pan.

Pour in the butter brown sugar sauce. Stick it in the oven for 30 min@ 350.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Pho' has got to be one of my favorite soups. I am very glad that I learned how to make it. It is a Vietnamese Beef Rice Noodle soup that is popular among many Asians. It's cheap and yummy. However, I have not eaten it at any resturants since I started making it at home. As cheap as it is to eat out, I prefer to make it at home cause it taste better, cleaner, and more fun that way. I can put as much beef as I like, or as much anything...broth, noodles, herbs etc and eat as often as I want through out the day. It is a task to complete, but it's very well worth it and I personally think it's easy. It does involve many little steps,....but they are easy steps. Below is the ingredients you'll need to make PHO':

For Soup Broth
Beef Bones
Choice of Brisket, Flank, ox tail (optional)
1 onoin
Fish sauce
Spices (2 Cinnamon stick, 10 Cloves,3 Star Anise, 1 TBS Coriander seeds, 1, Black Cardamon, 1 tsp Fennel seeds)
*you can buy spice mix in a packet at any Asian food stores if you don't have them

You'll also need:
Rice noodles

Thinly sliced Beef
Beef Meatballs

purple stem Basil
Green Onions
Bean Sprouts

Siracha Sauce

Half fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add beef bones and bring back to boil. Let boil for about 5-10 min till a lot of scum comes up to the top. Dump the liquid and wash the pot and the bones clean. Fill the pot back up with water and bring everything back to a boil again. Turn the heat down and let it cook on low after it boils again.
Add the spice bag and bring back to a boil. You can take out the spice bag after an hour or may leave it in the pot.

Let the broth simmer slowly for 8-10 hours, skimming the fat as it comes up to the top.

An hour before eating, grill an onion and 2 in ginger till they are black. I do this in foil on top of stove.

Wash them before adding to the beef broth. Add to broth.

Get rice noodles ready by boiling them in boiling water for 2 min. Do not over cook since you will be adding boiling broth to it later.

Get meatballs ready. Cut them in half and add to the broth pot for a few min.

Raw beef slices (paper thin).
Put noodles in a large bowl, then add your raw beef.
Herbs of your choice. I did not have sprouts today but usually I put them as well.
Pour boiling broth over your noodles and beef. Add herbs and choice of sauces ( hot sauce, chili sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce). PHO' must be eaten while it is very hot or it's not good. Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Homemade Chicken Stock

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of Melbournefoodgeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge daring cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian master chef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

This homemade stock was a requirement for the above challenge. We used it to make the risotto base. It was easy and delicious. I will make it again and again since I use chicken stock often in my cooking. I won't be buying anymore stock. Here is the recipe i followed for the challenge,

1 Large Chicken, 2-3 lbs
2 Medium Onion, roughly diced
2 Celery Stalks, roughly diced
1 Leek, white part only, roughly diced
2 Garlic Cloves, halved
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Peppercorns
1/2 Lemon peel
1/4 tsp Allspice

Wash the chicken and place it in a 5 liter pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil.
Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface.
Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours.
Carefully lift out chicken, and set aside. Chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded, and can be used for other things like soup. I put the bones back in the pot, and simmer the stock for another hour until I have about 2 liters left. carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve. The less the solids are disturbed, the clearer the stock will be. freeze what you don't need for later use.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creamy Mushroom Risotto...The Daring Cooks March 2010 Challenge

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of Melbournefoodgeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge daring cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian master chef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf. This is my first Daring Cooks challenge and I just got it done! I am very excited and also pleased with the outcome. One of the requirements for the challenge is to make homemade stock which is my previous post. I made the homemade stock ahead and so it was quit easy to make the risotto last night. I was trying to decide between lemon and mushroom risotto but my family requested mushroom. So here it it:

For Risotto Base:

4 TBS Olive Oil
1 small Onion, diced
1 3/4 Cups Risotto Rice
4 TBS White Wine
4 Cups Homemade Stock, I ended up using more than 4 cups, so please adjust till the rice is tender.

For the mushroom Flavor:

1 Cup sliced Baby Bella and Shitake Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 TBS butter
1 tsp minced Garlic
salt to taste

Have your ingredients ready to go.
I used this kind of rice from Walmart. Cost $7.00.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add the onions and fry for a few min to flavor the oil.
Add rice and stir a few min to coat each grain with oil and toast slightly. Add wine and let it evaporate.
Add enough homemade stock to cover the rice (~1 in).
Cook on Medium heat stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this step till rice is tender but make sure to leave about 1/2 Cup stock aside for the final step. This is the base.
Have your mushrooms ready. I sauteed mine in garlic and butter before adding to base.
Add the mushrooms.
Add Parmesan cheese. Stir and add the final 1/2 Cup stock. Salt to your taste. Leave it a lil runny since it will thicken.
> Risotto is ready!
I served mine with Blackened Fish. DELICIOUS!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Amish Friendship Sour Dough Bread

Here comes ANOTHER version of Amish bread!!!The basic Amish Friendship Bread does not taste like bread. It’s sweet and taste more like cake or muffin. There are a million variations floating on the Internet including my blog. I decided to make something that is more like regular white bread instead of like cake. This sour dough recipe from Armchair sounded good and I decided to give it a try. It was my VERY first bread Ever..and it was a success. I don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer but I do have a little cousin that helped me knead the dough. This recipe made 3 small loafs. I kept one and gave two to friends. It was still warm when I gave it to my friend and he really enjoyed home made warm bread. Though it does not taste like cake this bread still has a hint of sweetness to it. The best I can describe it is “Sweet White Bread”.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1 - 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup Amish batter
6 cups bread flour

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Oil bottom & sides of large bowl & put bread dough in. Let stand overnight at room temperature. In morning, punch dough down 4-5 times and divide into 3 equal balls. Kneed each ball 8-10 times and put into 3 greased and floured loaf pans. Brush tops with oil and cover with oiled foil. Let stand 4-5 hours or all day. (If dough has not risen well, put small pan of water on bottom rack in oven, heat to 200 degrees, turn off oven. Put dough on top rack for 1-2 hours.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. (Cover with foil after lightly browned.)

Here is a Starter Recipe if you need one. Also you can buy it online or you may get it from a friend..hence the name Friendship bread :). Once you have the starter bag, follow these easy instructions to get the day 10 Amish batter but don't bake the basic bread and follow the above recipe.

Coconut Macaroons....Tea Time Trouble

This weeks theme for iheartcookingclubs is Tea Time and I decided to make coconut macaroons. Sounds fun, right? That's what I thought too but I didn't have fun while I was making these. I did have some fun afterwards talking and laughing about how I messed these up. I have made these once before and I remember they came out well and it was not hard to make. However this time was a bit different because I had some”OOPs and OMG moments”. I was upstairs using my computer to Google a Nigela Lawson recipe for this week since I don’t own any of her cook books. I decided to write down all the ingredients that I was supposed to use for the macaroons on a piece of paper and came downstairs to make them. I mixed all the ingredients in a glass bowl and scooped 13 scoopes onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I do not like the number 13. It’s unlucky for me. I decided to check on them after about 15 min. They were all flat and connected in one sheet. OMG..I thought to myself and had to come up with a rescue plan quirkily. I scrapped my macaroon mixture with a spoon and fill up some mini muffin liners and bake them in a mini muffin pan for the rest of the baking time. They were edible… probably not half as good as they were supposed to be but at least I didn’t have to throw them away. I hate throwing food away. I will use this recipe and make these again but next time I’ll follow directions and beat the egg whites. That was my problem. I didn’t beat the egg whites like I was supposed to they didn’t hold their shape. OOPs! Anyway, here is the perfectly good Nigela's recipe from sarahmeyerwalsh's blog which will give you some yummy macaroons if you follow the directions.

Coconut Macaroons
makes 16 large macaroons

2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds (I used flour instead)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat the egg whites until foamy, but not any more than that. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks are formed. Add the sugar one teaspoon at a time until all the sugar is incorporated and the peaks are stiff and shiny. Fold in the almonds, salt, vanilla and coconut. The mixture will be sticky and hold it shape when clumped into a ball.

Form into the appropriate macaroon-sized balls (I like them to be about 2″ in diameter). It is best if they are heaping before going in the oven and they will spread just a bit while baking. Cook for 20 minutes or until they turn the slightest golden color and then quickly remove them from the oven. Be careful not to over-bake them.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Broccolini Beef in Garlic Sauce

According to wiki " Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with small florets and long, thin stalks. Although often misidentified as young broccoli, it is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, Chinese broccoli. A natural hybrid of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea, it was developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan. Broccolini's flavor is sweet, with notes of both broccoli and asparagus." I like broccoli and Asparagus, but I LOVE Broccolini. Most people also like Broccoli and Beef. This dish is Broccolini and Beef in a garlic sauce. Try and see how yummy it is! Here is the recipe:

1/2 lb tender beef, cut in small pieces
1 TBS each of oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sweet cooking wine or seasoning
1 Bunch Broccolini
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS oil

Look How PRETTY!!!
Seasonings to marinate beef.
Marinate beef with the above 3 seasonings.
Wash your Broccolini.
Cut and separate flowers from stems. Split stems in half.
Heat garlic and oil till garlic sizzles.
Add beef first.
Add stems. Cook a few min.
Add flowers last since they are most tender and you don't want to over cook them.
Serve with rice!