Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is another popular Asian dish made with rice noodles. Even though it is really a Thai dish, it is seen in many menus of many Asian restaurants that are not even Thai because of it's popularity. It can be made with any meat or shrimp or even vegetarian. My favorite is made with shrimp. As far as the recipe, there are many floating on the Internet and they all vary according to personal taste. When I lived in Thailand, I usually got this from either a street vendor who cooked this in front of me or at food courts in malls where I could also watch how they make this. My version is simplified with what is available to me in my area and my taste. Here is the recipe:

1 package rice noodles, (I use fresh ones)
12 medium shrimps (peeled and deveined)
2 TBS oil
1 egg
1 1/2 TBS Thai chili paste (see picture below)
a handful of bean sprouts
2 TBS roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 medium onion
1 Cup chopped fried tofu
1 TBS salted radish (optional)
green onions and lime wedges for garnish
fish sauce to taste

Have all the ingredients ready.

Soak the noodles in warm water.

Heat up the oil and stir fry onions and salted radish for a few minutes.

The chili paste I use. I like using this because it already has all the seasonings I need for pad Thai such as tamarind etc. You can also find Pad Thai paste in your Asian grocery stores and online.

Add shrimp and the chili paste and stir fry for a few min..

Scramble an egg on the side.

Add bean sprouts but leave some to add to your plate later as well..

Add the rice noodles and mix well.

Add sugar, fish sauce, green onions and peanuts. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Put it on a plate, add more raw bean sprouts and lime if you like and Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Burnswick Stew-The Daring Cook's April 2010 Challenge

It's time for another Daring Cook's Challenge again! The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club. One was the long way and the other the short. I chose to use the first one, the long one. The recipe is as follows:

Prep Time-

Recipe 1- Estimated time-3-4 hours, longer if making your own stock from scratch

Equipment needed-
Large stock pot, at least 10-12qt OR Dutch Oven , or smaller if you halve the recipe used
Cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons
Large bowl
Large wooden spoon for stirring


Recipe One, the Long Way-
From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Serves about 12

1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned (I used pork shoulder instead)
1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Chicken Broth
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Tabasco sauce to taste


In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp.

Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.

Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon or leave them in for more flavor.

Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely.

Remove to bowl with bacon.

Add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.

Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half.

Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in.

Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours.

Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.

With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.

After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones.

Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.

Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender.

Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.

You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Amish Friendship Waffles

These waffles are delicious and also a great way to use up your starter if you end up with too many. I have a lot of starter bags in my freezer. What I learned from a friend is that you can take your starter bag straight out of your freezer and bake what you want instead of waiting 10 days. So, that's just what I've done here. I took a starter bag out of my freezer the night before and made these in the morning. My starter bag had 2 cups in it, so if you only have a cup in yours, you'll need two.

Here is the easy recipe I got from Armchair.

Combine in large bowl:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Combine in smaller bowl:
1/4 C oil
2 cups Amish batter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Add ingredients of smaller bowl to ingredients of large bowl and mix on medium speed.
Spoon batter onto greased waffle maker. Enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb

Lamb was on sale everywhere for Easter and I had to get it. I love lamb chops but I like leg of lamb as well. Lamb has a distinct flavor and it isn't for everyone but I think it is delicious if prepared right. I used Emeril's Recipe from food network as my guidance and made a few changes. His recipe called for bone in leg but I used boneless.


1 leg of lamb, boneless(about 4 pounds)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoon cumin powder (I added this)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using your hands, rub the lamb all over with the lemon juice. Pat the garlic and rosemary evenly all over the surface of the meat. Season the meat with the cumin, salt and pepper and place the lamb in a roasting pan. Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to cook for about 1 hour longer for medium-rare, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers about 145 degrees F to 150 degrees F (be careful that the thermometer does not touch the bone.) Remove lamb from pan and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Sauce: (I didn't make this)

1 cup chopped fresh herbs (combination of rosemary, chives, and parsley)
2 cups diced onions
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine
Position the roasting pan over your stove burners. Add mixed herbs and onions to pan, and stir to combine with pan drippings. Add chicken stock and wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any fond. Reduce over high heat until sauce consistency. Strain before serving, if desired. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over the top.

My rosemary bush. It's 2 yrs old.

Have your ingredients ready.

Rub lamb with lemon juice.

I also pushed rosemary and garlic in in slits of lamb. If you are using boneless leg of lamb, you can use your fingers to locate the slits.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Orange Tian- The Daring Bakers March 2010 Challenge

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse's Cooking School in Paris.

Orange Tian

Preparation time:- Pate Sablee: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake
- Marmalade: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to blanch
- Orange segments: 20 minutes, overnight to sit
- Caramel: 15 minutes, overnight to sit
- Whipped Cream: 15 minutes
- Assembling: 20 minutes
- Freezer to Set: 10 minutes

Equipment required: Cookie cutters. Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough. The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin
For the Pate Sablee:

2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar. If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:
8 oranges

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatin and hot water, stirring well until the gelatin dissolves. Let the gelatin cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatin slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Tripple Chocolate Amish Friendship Bread

After making the basic Amish Friendship Bread once or twice, I started to look for variation recipes. Being a chocolate lover, when I saw that people replace vanilla pudding with chocolate pudding to make the chocolate variation, I had to make one too. My version is very chocolaty and I used chocolate pudding, chocolate chips and coco powder. To make this, of course, you will need the Starter. Once you have the starter bag, follow these easy instructions from thehappyzombie website. The instructions are for the basic cinnamon bread, so once you get to day 10, instead of making the regular bread, use my variation recipe below:

After adding 1 1/2 Cup of flour, milk, and sugar to your starter on day 10, you'll put 1 cup each of that mixture into 4 gallon bags, to give away or to keep as your next starter.

Pre-heat oven to 325°. grease 2 loaf pans. To remaining of day 10 batter in the bowl, add:

3 eggs
1 cup Canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp coco powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 box chocolate pudding
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Bake for an hour 15 min. Viola!

Chocolate ButterScotch Marble Amish Friendship Bread

The sky would be the limit if there were one for versions of Amish Friendship Bread. I am always thinking to come up with a new variation. This is another fun version I am glad I thought of. To make this, you'll need the starter which you can make using a Starter Recipe. 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 from thehappyzombie website. I'll say that the steps are easy to follow and you should not get discouraged when you see a long page of instructions. Once you've followed those instructions and the baking day comes on day 10, follow the recipe below to make this specific version. This version needs butterscotch, white chocolate, and chocolate batters. So, how did I do it...? I used different pudding flavors. Pretty easy, isn't it?

Pre-heat oven to 325°. To 2 cups of day 10 batter in the bowl, add:
3 eggs
1 cup Canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 box white chocolate pudding

Mix the above in that order and what you'll get is a white chocolate batter. Divide the batter in 2 equal parts in 2 bowls. Leave one as is and add 1 box butterscotch pudding to the other half.

For the third flavor, please use 2 cups of triple chocolate batter from my next post.

Grease or butter a bundt pan. Pour the half of the white chocolate batter in the pan, then add half of the butterscotch and make swirls using a knife. Then add the chocolate batter, then white and butterscotch batter alternately and make swirls again. Bake for 1 hour 20 min or till a tooth pick comes out clean.