Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hogwarts-inspired Gingerbread Castle 2013

This year we made a Hogwarts-inspired gingerbread castle (inspired by the book, not the movies, since trying to bake as many cylindrical pieces of gingerbread as would be required to copy the movie Hogwarts was intimidating).

The recipe for the gingerbread was a Dorie Greenspan recipe, taken from NPR (here); it made a lot of dough, enough to make the entire castle (minus towers) with a single batch. We used melted sugar instead of royal icing to connect the pieces, however. Those amber spheres on the pointed roof are leftover melted sugar, rolled by hand into a ball. The towers are Rice Krispie treat, painted with chocolate. The stained glass windows (the colours are hard to see in the picture) are melted jolly ranchers. The Christmas lights strung along the towers and the front parapet are leftover jolly ranchers, melted and then rolled into shape. The other windows are Werthers Chewy Caramels, but that wasn't a great idea since they loose their shape after a couple of days. The clock was a cinnamon sugar cookie, covered with fondant and painted with edible paint. Hedwig was also made of fondant, and painted with edible paint.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fish paste stuffed lotus root


Lotus root
Fish paste
Chinese salted ham 
White pepper

1. Mince chinese salted ham, chop cilantro and mix into fish paste with white pepper to taste.

2. Slice lotus root very thin (butterfly if possible), and sandwich fish paste mix between two slices.

3. Dust with corn starch.

4. Shallow fry or pan fry.

5. Salt as then come out of the pan.

Enjoy !

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pork shoulder braised in apple cider

- 5lb pork shoulder boneless cut into 6 pieces
- 2 onions sliced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 lbs honey crisp apples sliced
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 4 ounces bacon sliced
- 3 parsnips sliced
- 3 carrots sliced

1. Heat oven to 325F
2. Brown bacon until crisp and pour off fat.
3. Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in batches. Transfer to plate
4. Saute onions until soft
5. Add apple cider, apple cider vinegar to pot and scrape up brown bits. Add in mustard.
6. Add pork shoulder back into pot and add parnsips and carrots. Put in oven for 1 hour.
7. Turn pork over. Put back in oven for 40 minutes.
8. Add apples. Cook for another 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Umami Burger

Want to try making this....

Adam Fleischman’s Umami BurgerMakes 4 burgers
Umami Ketchup1 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Purée the tomatoes with the juice from can in a blender until smooth. Cook the onion in oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour. Purée the ketchup in a blender until smooth. Chill, covered, overnight for flavors to develop.  Then add the umami seasonings to taste and chill the ketchup until needed.
Umami Seasonings2 salted anchovies, cleaned
Worcestershire sauce
Truffle salt
Combine the anchovies with the remaining ingredients to taste. Blend in a mortar and pestle or, for larger quantities in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
Oven-Dried Tomatoes1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¾ teaspoon soy sauce powder
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, sliced
Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature setting. Stir the brown sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce together; brush on the sliced tomatoes. Put the tomatoes on a line sheet pan; dry in the oven overnight.
Caramelized Onions
2 pounds large onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon table salt
2 star anise
Cut the onions in half from pole to pole; peel and slice across the grain to ¼-inch thickness. Heat the butter and oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat; when the foam subsides, stir in the salt and star anise. Add the onions and stir to coat; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften and release some moisture, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are deeply browned and slightly sticky, about 40 minutes longer.
Parmesan Crisps
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using the largest holes on a box grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup. Line a large sheet pan with a nonstick liner, like Silpat. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 2 inches apart on the liner. Flatten each mound slightly with a spatula to form a 3-inch round. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on sheet on a rack; then carefully transfer each crisp with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.
To Assemble and Serve
1 ½ pounds assorted cuts of well-marbled beef (short rib, flap, skirt, brisket or hanger)
Vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
4 soft buns (potato or Portuguese), halved
Grind the beef coarsely in a meat grinder or food processor. Put 6 ounces of meat into a 4-inch ring mold and gently tap down to form into a patty. Heat a cast iron skillet on high for 5 minutes. When it’s very hot, pour in a drop of vegetable oil to lubricate the pan. Season the patties liberally with salt and pepper. Add the patties to the skillet and sear on one side for 3 minutes; flip once and sear for 2 more minutes for medium rare.
In another skillet, add half of the butter and sauté the mushroom caps for until soft, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Remove the beef patties to rest. Wipe the mushroom skillet and toast the buns cut side down with the remaining butter.
Remove the buns when toasted and add spread about 2 tablespoons of the umami ketchup on both halves of the bun. Stack a beef patty with 1 tablespoon of the caramelized onions, a parmesan crisp, 2 mushroom caps and 2 slices of oven dried tomato. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shredded Pork, Beansprouts, Yellow Chive Chow Mein

- 1/2 lb pork, slivered
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 2 cups yellow chives - 3 inches
- 1 package egg noodle

- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar

- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- white pepper
- salt
- cornstarch slurry

1. Marinate pork in marinade for 10 minutes
2. Boil noodles for 30 seconds then drain well
3. Fry pork in oil (half done), then remove
4. Fry noodles in oil (optional), then remove
5. Add pork and beansprouts to pan. Add sauce and thicken with cornstarch slurry. Stir until thick. Add yellow chives last. Pour sauce over noodles

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pork Wellington

- 1 onion
- 500g white mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic
- butter
- olive oil
- liverwurst/pate
- puff pastry
- 2 pork tenderloins
- 100g prosciutto
- 1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Pulse onions and garlic in food processor. Add to pan with olive oil and butter. Cook until translucent.
3. Pulse mushrooms in food processor. Add to pan. Cook until all moisture evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool.
4. Roll out pastry dough. Spread layer of liverwurst. Spread layer of duxelles. Layer prosciutto. Place pork tenderloins on top. Roll and seal edges of puff pastry with egg wash. Pinch ends closed. Roll with seam on bottom and eggwash entire surface.
5. Place in oven for 25 minutes. Internal temperature at least 140F. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Marinated Tofu Two Ways

Thai Soy Marinade
- 1/4 cup light soy
- 2 tbsp dark soy
- 2/3 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp lime juice (or rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 minced garlic clobes
- 1 tbsp sambal olek
- 1/4 cup sugar
- cracked black pepper
- chopped thai basil or cilantro

Ancho Chile Lime Marinade
- juice 1 lime
- zest 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chipotle puree

1. Simmer ingredients in pot until combined.
2. Dice/slice firm tofu - add into marinade
3. Marinate overnight, use in in place of meat

Thai Fried Eggplant and Pork with Basil

- 2-3 Chinese eggplants, chopped into 1-1.5 inch pieces
- 1 bell pepper, medium dice
- 1 onion, medium chop
- 3 tbsp chopped garlic
- 250g sliced pork
- bunch thai basil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth

- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1-2 tbsp sambal olek
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 2 tsp corn starch mixed with cold water

1. Heat oil in wok, add eggplants. Fry until begins to brown. Remove from wok
2. Re-oil wok, add garlic and fry for few seconds. Add pork and fry until meat begins to colour
3. Add onion and pepper, fry until onion begins to turn translucent
4. Add eggplants back into wok, sauté for 30 seconds and add sauce and broth. Cover with lid and cook on high until eggplant cooked through
5. Add in whole basil leaves
6. Stir in cornstarch

Saturday, January 19, 2013

DuPuy Lentil Salad

The Dorie Greenspan way ...  modified

1 Cup du puy lentils
1 carrot diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 clove of garlic smashed and germ removed
1 onion cut in half, skin removed
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
3.5 cups of water or stock

1 Tbs Cognac
1 Shallot

Pick through dupuy lentils, over with water and boil for 2 minutes, strain.  Cover dupuy lentils with 3.5 cups of water or stock and bring up to boil.  Press the cloves into the onion halves and throw into the pot  along with the carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves.   Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 25 - 35 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and cook another 5 - 10 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the Cognac, and stir over the heat another minutes.  Drain the lentils and reserve the liquid if you are going to be reheating it.

Mom's Clam Sauce


1/2 Cup chopped shallots
2 Garlic cloves minced
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs Butter
1/3 Cup of dry white wine
1 cup bottle clam nectar
1 10 ounce can of clams
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 teaspoons minced thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound linguine noodles

Melt butter over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and cook until golden.  Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in the wine, bottle clam nectar and clams and bring up to a simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in parsley, thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.  Cook the linguine in salted water until al dente, drain, and toss into the skillet with the clam sauce.

for 2

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rustic Fish Stew with Kale

- olive oil
- 1 leek roughly chopped
- 1 fennel bulb sliced
- 1 onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 small can clams with juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch kale
- 1/3 cup beans
- 1 white fish fillet, cut into 1 inch chunks
- parsley for garnish

1. Saute leek, fennel and onion until translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant
2. Add tomatoes, wine, clam juice, broth, thyme and bay leaves. Boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add beans. Salt and pepper.
4. Add kale and fish. Simmer for 5 minutes
5. Serve and garnish with chopped parsley