Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

This looks like a simple dish, and it is, but tastes good. Lots of fat though. Most of my food here are fatty. So, if you came looking for healthy recipes, you won't find them here. I try to make healthy food once in while, but since this blog is about experimenting, I just make whatever I feel like and I try not to count calories. Fortunately, I haven't gained any weight since I started this blog. It's all about portion size for me.

Even though I didn't have all the ingredients for this dish, it still turned out good. I used frozen shrimp because they were on sale and dried parsley because that's all I had. The second time I made this I didn't have any white wine. Each time, it still tasted good. I would give this recipe a 4 out of 5 for simplicity and taste.

Recipe from Food Network.

Korean Glass Noodles (Jap Chae)

Went to the Asian store and saw these noodles. I don't think I've ever had them before. Maybe I did and just don't remember. They taste familiar anyway. Anyway, I didn't have a recipe for this, so I was just going to cook it my way or imitate what was on the picture. Fortunately, I had a lot of the ingredients on hand already. I like meat, so I added meat. Most of the recipes I found didn't include meat, so it's up to you. I just used ground turkey and that tasted fine. I think just about any meat would do.

Recipe adapted from Food Network:

1 package of Korean Glass Noodles (or potato noodles)
1 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
1 lb of ground turkey (or meat of choice)
4 eggs, 2 tsp of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small onion, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
3 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Boil the noodles according to package directions or until soft. Drain and then rinse with cold water. When the noodles are cold to touch, cut the noodles in half with kitchen shears. Leave the noodles drained while prepping other ingredients.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for about 20 minutes. The mushrooms will expand. After soaking, drain them thoroughly. Cut into long strips and set aside.
3. Set a large frying pan on medium high heat and add ground turkey. Cook turkey until done, about 15 mins. Transfer the meat onto a plate and set aside.
4. Make omelette. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk a little. Heat a separate small frying pan on medium high heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. Once pan is hot, add eggs and let it form into an omelette. Cook for about 1-2 mins and flip over to the other side. Cook the other side for another 1 min or until done. Transfer the omelette to a plate or cutting board. Slice the omelette into long strips and set aside.
3. Using the same large frying pan that was used for the turkey, add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the pan. Add the onion, carrots, scallions, mushrooms, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are cooked, but still a little crisp. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
4. To the same pan add 1 more tablespoon sesame oil. Add the noodles, meat, salt and pepper. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add to the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir fry for about 30 seconds. Toss in the egg strips and stir. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and then transfer to a serving dish.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

French Macarons

Have you ever had a French macaron? I just had one today and I fell in love. I love sweets especially chocolate, cakes and cookies. There is a cute little store that opened up in downtown Minneapolis in the Gavidae common area called Cocoa & Fig. They have cute cupcakes, tarts and even those cake bites I made once. This was the 3rd or 4th time I stopped by and always noticed these sandwich-looking cookies (sometimes I just stop by to look :P). They had interesting pastel colors and flavors like pistachio and caramel. Today I tried the caramel and it was very yummy. I wanted another piece, but I only bought one cookie because it was $1.75 a cookie! I then looked up recipes for French Macarons and it clearly says, "Not for the beginner baker." Forget it then. :P I won't even attempt to or will I? Well, perhaps one of these days I will.

I made some more food, but just haven't felt like posting them. I've been too busy doing other things. I have such big dreams and ambitions that I just don't have enough time to do them all, but I really want to. I'm working on something else that's very exciting to me! I will probably post some more recipes this weekend.

"God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die." Yup, oh well. Maybe that's why I procrastinate because I don't want to die yet. :P

Monday, April 5, 2010

Purple Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk

Just about everyone I know that has tried sticky rice loves sticky rice. It was kind of weird how this one time I was at the laundromat with my mom and sisters, and out of the blue this Caucasian man came up and asked me if I knew how to make sticky rice. I don't remember my response. I think I was just surprised that he asked that. Actually, I thought he was kind of creepy looking and thought he was going to hit on me. lol :p  I was probably less than 15 back then. That just showed me how much people like this stuff.

When sticky rice is around and it's served next to regular white rice, the sticky rice is usually the first to go. I can usually eat it by itself as well, especially when it's just freshly cooked. Truth is I never made sticky rice until maybe a year or two ago. My mom or my grandma always made it for us growing up. Again, I didn't pay attention! When I finally wanted to learn, I had to call my mom and asked her how to make this. It was more simple than I thought. I think it's easier than making the regular rice (the old fashion way). I don't even remember how to do that either. :P I just remember there were a lot of steps. I think there are rice cookers now that can cook sticky rice, but I don't own one that does that. With the advice from a friend, I tried cooking sticky rice in my regular rice cooker, but it did not turn out! Anyway, I like to mix mine with coconut milk. It gives it a somewhat sweet and creamy taste. I also like my sticky rice mixed with the purple (or actually black) rice. I like the texture that it gives and purple is just an interesting and fun color for rice (I think so anyway).  You can certainly leave out the coconut milk for a more natural flavor; it'll still taste good regardless, but do try it with the black rice. 

3 cups of sweet rice
1/3 cup of black rice
14 oz can of coconut milk

1. Pour the sweet and black rice into a large bowl.

2. Rinse the rice a few times until water is somewhat clear. I also do a wash by grabbing two handfuls of rice and rubbing it back and forth with my hands (I didn't have an extra pair of hands to take a picture of this). I don't know the official reason behind rinsing, but I think it gets rid of the extra starch, dust, excess powder, etc. This is what we've always done when cooking rice (so I just do it), although I don't do it anymore with regular rice in the cooker.

3. After rinsing, pour enough water to cover the rice (about 2-3 inches above).

4. Shake the can of coconut milk well. If it's still too thick, then mix it well with a spoon. Pour the entire can of coconut milk into the bowl of rice.

Stir well.

5. Let the rice soak for several hours or overnight at room temperature. You may cover the bowl with saran wrap to protect it from the elements. Soaking the rice is an important step because if it is not soaked long enough, the rice will not turn out. I don't know the exact minimum, but I do know that I tried it once without soaking it too long (2-4 hours I believe) and it still didn't turn out.
6. Once properly soaked and ready to cook, drain the rice. The rice would have soaked some of the water and will look similar to this:

7. Prepare the steamer by adding water to the pot (about half way filled). Set the temperature on high heat. Pour the rice into the steamer section and place this on top of the pot. Cover the steamer. Continue to cook on high heat for about 40 minutes. Rice is ready when it is tender (but not soggy).

This is the steamer I used and it worked fine. You might see ones specially made for sticky rice that comes with a bamboo steamer. I got this one as a wedding gift ages ago and I've put it to many uses already.

8. When rice is ready, stir the rice with a large spoon to loosen it up a little. Be careful, it will be hot! Serve rice immediately or pour into an insulated container or even a rice cooker to keep warm. Oh, and make sure to clean the steamer right away so the rice doesn't harden and stick to the steamer. ;)

And, please, say NO to this:

When I see this at the food markets, I would never buy this stuff.  I think that the point of the black/purple rice is not only the unique color that it gives, but the texture and taste as well.  You might as well just drink the dye instead of eating the rice.