Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to cut a Spiral Potato


A recent episode of the popular Unwrapped program on the Food Network caught my attention when they featured the Spiral or aka Tornado fries. It immediately inspired me to make these deep-fry taters as they certainly looked interesting and fun to eat. The potatoes were cut with a custom spiral cutter before being fried. As I did not have one of those spiral cutting contraption at home, I resorted to the manual way of cutting the potatoes i.e. using a thin sharp knife instead. The result was pretty good. I was satisfied with the outcome although the potato spiral wasn’t as thin and evenly cut as compared to the one’s shown on TV.

Btw, I had to use small potatoes for this method as it’s easier to handle and cut. To make the potatoes crispier, I did the double deep-frying method. You can learn about the frying method here.




How to cut a Spiral Potato

Ingredients


Small Potatoes, scrubbed
Skewers
Sea Salt
Oil for deep-frying

Method

Cut one end of the potato and put the cut side on a cutting board. Insert a skewer into the potato and gently push the skewer all the way through it.

Hold a sharp thin knife at an angle and cut in the opposite direction you are turning the skewered potato. As illustrated in my video, you will see that as I am turning the potato anticlockwise with my left hand, I am cutting the potato all the way through with my right hand in clockwise direction.

After the slicing the whole potato till it touches the skewer, gently fan-out the potato until you have an even gap between the slices that gives you the spiral.

Then, proceed to deep-fry the potatoes. Drain the potatoes on a paper towel, and season lightly with some sea salt. Serve immediately.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower And Potatoes


As I had mentioned in my last post, you can use the same spice marinate to bake this delicious Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes. Just blanch the cauliflower and boil the potatoes before marinating them with the spices. The veggies do not need the overnight soaking treatment. A simple veggie dish that goes so well with some steamed rice.



Spiced Roasted Cauliflower And Potatoes

Ingredients

6 Medium Sized Yellow Wax Potatoes
1 Medium Sized Cauliflower (about 450 - 500 g)

Marinate
2 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Paprika or Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Sea Salt
¼ Big Lime, juiced
3 to 4 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Sprigs Fresh Curry Leaves (optional)

Method

Boil the potatoes and allow them to cool completely. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¾ inch (2 cm) dice.

Break up the cauliflower into chunky florets, about 1-½ inches (4 cm). Blanch the cauliflower for about 15 seconds, drain into a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towel.

Combine all the marinate ingredients and mix well. Rub the cauliflower and potatoes with the marinate mixture.

Preheat the oven to 425˚F/220˚C.

Place the vegetables on a large baking tray in a single layer. Bake the vegetables for about 10 minutes.

Heat the broiler. Place the vegetables under the broiler, about 6 minutes on each side. Serve the vegetables warm with some steamed rice.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spiced Roasted Chicken Wings


These Spiced Roasted Chicken Wings were baked in an oven and they are really tasty! The chicken wings need to be marinated a day ahead so that the flavors of the spices will be fully absorbed. A great dish for parties because you can prepare the wings a day ahead and just bake them in your oven before your guests arrive. This recipe can also be applied for vegetables, for instance, with cauliflower and potatoes. I will post the vegan version shortly.



Spiced Roasted Chicken Wings

Ingredients

12 – 14 (1.4 kg) Chicken Wings, tip off
Lime Wedges

Marinate
4 Tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Garam Masala
4 tsp Paprika or Cayenne Pepper
4 tsp Garlic Paste
2 Tbsp Ginger Paste
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Big Lime, juiced
8 to 10 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 to 3 Sprigs Fresh Curry Leaves

Method

Combine all the marinate ingredients and mix well. Rub the chicken with the marinate mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C.

Bring the chicken wings to room temperature. Place the chicken wings on a large baking tray in a single layer. Bake the chicken for about 18 to 20 minutes on each side.

Heat the broiler. Place the chicken wings under the broiler, about 6 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked and crispy. Serve the chicken wings warm with some lime wedges.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tamarind Curry Prawn


This Tamarind Curry Prawn is a great dish for the current cold wet weather here in Vancouver. I picked up some good sized frozen River Prawns from my grocer and decided to cook up this delicious curry dish for dinner. The prawns were sweet and it went so well with the slightly sour tamarind laced creamy coconut curry sauce. Like all curries, you will enjoy this dish with some steamed rice. Enjoy!


Tamarind Curry Prawn

Ingredients

6 to 8 Tbsp Peanut Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Red Onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Ginger Paste
2 tsp Garlic Paste
3 Sprigs Fresh Curry Leaves
60 g (10 Tbsp) Fish/Seafood Curry Powder
15 g (2 ½ Tbsp) Chili Powder
30 g Tamarind Pulp, soaked with ¼ Cup of warm water (discard seeds)
2 Cups Water
500 ml Coconut Milk
900 g Frozen River Prawn, thawed
1 Large or 2 Medium Eggplant, cut into smaller chunks and pan-fried

200 g Okra

2 Medium Size Tomatoes, cut into smaller chunks

3 Green Chilies, halved and seeded
1 (100 g) Packet Tofu Puff, halved or quartered (optional)

Sea Salt to taste



Method

Heat the oil in a heavy pot and set over medium high heat. When hot, put in the black mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, add red onion, ginger, garlic, and curry leaves. Cook until the onions are light brown in color.

Add the curry and chili powder. Cook until they are fragrant.

Mix in the tamarind water and bring the mixture to a boil. Then add the coconut milk with 2 cups of water. Bring the curry sauce to a boil again. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring now and then.

Then, add the prawns, eggplant, okra, tomatoes, chilies, and tofu puff. Turn the het on high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to cook further, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the prawns and vegetables are fully cooked. Season the curry with sea salt. Serve the curry warm with steamed rice.

Serves 4


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake


Sometimes, making dessert can be very time consuming. Hence, that’s the reason why I am always searching for good, fuss free dessert recipes that I can enjoy making. Well, this is one of them, a fantastic Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake recipe that I had adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet baking book. It’s a simple and yet delicious dessert recipe that’s now one of my all-time favorites!


Recipe adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich

Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake


Ingredients

¼ Cup (1 oz) Blanched Almond
3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
3 oz Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Natural or Dutch-Process)
1 Cup Sugar
½ Cup Boiling Water
2 Large Eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 Tbsp Brandy
2 Large Egg Whites, at room temperature
Scant ¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
2 to 3 tsp Powdered Sugar
Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream for topping (optional)

An 8 x 3 Springform Pan or Cheesecake Pan with a removable bottom

Method

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pan and spray the sides with vegetable oil spray.

In a food processor or blender, grind the almonds with the flour until very fine.

Combine the chocolate, cocoa, and ¾ cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the egg yolks and brandy; set aside.

Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat on high speed until stiff but not dry.

Whisk the flour and almond mixture into the chocolate. Fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape the batter into the pan and level the top if necessary.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool the pan on a wire rack. The torte will sink like a soufflé.

Taking care not to crack the edges of the torte, run a knife between the torte and the sides of the pan to release the cake. Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a plate. Remove the pan bottom and paper liner. Turn right side up on a platter. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift a little powdered sugar over the top. Serve with a little whipped cream, if you desired.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aromatic Grilled Lamb Chops


I think all of us have our own distinct ways of marinating the type of meat we intend to cook. My favorite marinate concoction, especially for lamb chops, would be a mixture of rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and juice, chopped mint leaves, parsley, olive oil, and sea salt. Marinate the lamb chops for at least 6 hours or overnight, if possible. Remember to bring the marinated lamb chops to room temperature before grilling. If you love lamb, do try making these mouth-watering Aromatic Grilled Lamb Chops. Enjoy!


Aromatic Grilled Lamb Chops

Ingredients

8 Rib Lamb Chops, trimmed off excess fat

Marinate
3 Cloves Garlic, skin-on
4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary Leaves
1 tsp Maldon Sea Salt
A Handful of Fresh Mint Leaves (about 2 to 3 sprigs), finely chopped
5 – 6 Sprigs of Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
1 Lemon, zest
Juice of ½ of Lemon
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
5 Tbsp Olive oil

Lemon Wedges

Method

In a pestle mortar or a food processor, coarsely pound or process together the garlic, rosemary leaves, and sea salt. Add in the mint leaves, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper, olive oil, and whisk well.

Rub the marinade into the lamb chops and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. Grill the chops with the lid closed, until the chops are cooked to your desired doneness. Remove the chops from the grill and let rest for about 3 minutes. Serve warm with lemon wedges.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cheddar Scones


Some days, my kids will have home-baked treats for breakfast. It can be scones, muffins, or quick breads. Well, remember the Cream Scones With Chocolate recipe I posted earlier? The cream and flour ratio in that recipe worked so well it prompted me to tweak the recipe a little and bake this lovely Cheddar Scones. I added some chopped scallions, cheddar cheese, and bacon into the scones. They turned out great - cheesy, savory, moist inside, and crusty outside! Kids love it!


Cheddar Scones

Ingredients



2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 tsp Sugar

2 ½ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Sea Salt

120 g Cheddar Cheese, grated (I used Applewood & Sharp Cheddar)
6 Strips Bacon, cooked, and crumbled
2 Scallions, chopped
1 ¼ Cups (300 ml) Heavy or Whipping Cream



Glaze

2 Tbsp Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream



Method



With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C). Line a cookie sheet with 2 layer of parchment paper.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix the dry ingredients well with a whisk. Stir in the cheese, bacon, and scallions. Then make a well in the center and pour in the cream into it. 



Use a rubber spatula to push the dry ingredients from the sides of the bowl into the well, cutting and turning the mixture just until the dry ingredients are almost entirely moistened and the dough looks rough and shaggy. Gather the dough into a lump and knead it gently against the sides of the bowl five or more times, pressing in the loose pieces, until the dough just holds together (it should not be smooth) and the sides of the bowl are fairly clean.



On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into an 8-½ inch round about ¾ inches thick. Cut into 12 wedges. Arrange the wedges on the baking sheet, leaving space between each one. Brush the tops with cream and bake until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool on a rack, and serve warm or at room temperature.



Makes 12 Scones

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baked French Toast With Banana And Chocolate


Another nourishing breakfast recipe that my kids love is Baked French Toast With Banana And Chocolate. Don’t you think they look like more like a dessert rather than a breakfast meal? I think it looks like a breakfast Tiramisu. :-) The baked French toast is not excessively sweet and my kids absolutely love the combination of banana and chocolate for breakfast. Yummy, try it!


Baked French Toast With Banana And Chocolate

Ingredients

4 Large Eggs
½ Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
A Pinch Of Sea Salt
8 Pieces White Bread, crust off
2 to 3 Bananas, sliced
50 g Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened (to grease the baking dish)
1 ½ Tbsp Demerara Sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Cocoa Powder

1 Baking Dish (9 ½ x 2 ½ inches)

Method

Preheat an oven to 375˚F. (190˚C)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt until well combined. Dip the bread slice, one at a time, turning once. Then fit the coated bread into the greased baking dish in a single layer.

Arrange the sliced bananas and top with chopped chocolate.

Repeat with the remaining bread and egg mixture and press gently with a spatula to lightly compress the bread. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle Demerara sugar on top, if desired.


Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden in color. Remove the toast from the oven and let it cool slightly. Sift some cocoa powder over the tops. Serve the baked French toast warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baked Eggs


What do you usually feed your kids for breakfast before sending them to school? About a month ago, one of the readers’ posed this universal question to me via email. As parents, we are all aware that a good breakfast is essential to help kids stay focus in the classroom and to get them through the first half of the day in school. So, over the next few postings, I will address that question by sharing some of my kids’ favorite home-cooked breakfasts. Today, I will start with my son’s favorite Baked Eggs breakfast recipe. It’s a cinch to make, just crack a couple of eggs into the prepared ramekins with some cream, scallions, chopped tomatoes, and bake in the oven for about 13 to 15 minutes. Serve the baked eggs with some toast, fruits, and juice. Kids love it.


Baked Eggs

Ingredients

2 Large Eggs
2 tsp Whipping (Heavy Cream)
¼ Medium Tomato, seeded, and diced
1 Scallion, chopped
1 ½ tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method

Preheat an oven to 375˚F. (190˚C)

Oil a ramekin and sprinkle it with scallion (white part only). Crack 2 eggs into it, scatter the chopped tomatoes, drizzle the cream, season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and top with butter.

Bake in the oven for about 13 to 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallion (green part) and serve immediately.

Serve 1

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake


Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake was the first recipe that caught my attention from Dorie Greenspan’s latest cookbook Around My French Table. I love simple recipes, and this apple cake recipe fits the bill. It so happened, I had a big bag of apples in the fridge. So, I decided to have a go at baking the cake with the local Honey Crisp apples, and the result was fantastic! The cake was light, moist, full of apples chunks, and tasted really good!


Recipe adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake

Ingredients

¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
¾ tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Sea Salt
4 Large Apples
2 Large Eggs
¾ Cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Dark Rum
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Tbsp (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

Method

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lemon, Lime, And Garlic Shrimps


I think shrimps and garlic is a perfect match together with lemon or lime zest. One of my favorite method of preparing shrimps is to pair it with a mixture of breadcrumbs mixed with citrus zest, garlic, chili flakes, parsley, sea salt, and pepper. This Lemon, Lime, And Garlic Shrimps appetizer has a great combination of flavors, just make sure it’s served with lots of crusty bread.


Lemon, Lime, And Garlic Shrimps

Ingredients


4 Tbsp Olive Oil
150 g Peeled Large Prawns, thawed if frozen, pat dry
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
Zest of 1 Big Lime
Zest of 1 Lemon
½ tsp Chili Flakes
3 Heaped Tbsp Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Tbsp Breadcrumbs
Sea Salt to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Crusty Bread
Lemon and Lime Wedges

Method

Preheat an oven to 425˚F.

Place the olive oil in a baking dish large enough to fit the prawns in a single layer. Warm the oil in the oven for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the oil are hot.

Meanwhile, toss the prawns with all the ingredients except the butter.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and add the prawns in the hot oil and scatter the butter on top. Return to the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the prawns are just cook. Season the prawns lightly with sea salt if necessary and serve immediately with lemon wedges, and some crusty bread.

Serves 4

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