Sunday, October 30, 2011

Potato Cakes


These baked Potato Cakes can be enjoyed in many different ways. You can have them plain or with bacon, ham, smoked salmon, chutney, etc. The possibilities are endless, however, my personal favorite is top them with Applewood smoked cheddar cheese and serve with some pickled gherkins on the side. The melted cheese on the potato cakes is simply delicious! The cakes can be prepare ahead of time, just refrigerate them until ready to serve. Allow it to come to room temperature before baking. Go ahead and try the recipe, I am pretty sure you will love it.



Potato Cakes

Ingredients



3 (about 700 g) Large Yukon Gold Potatoes, whole
3 Stalks Scallions, finely sliced
1 to 2 Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
¾ to 1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
1-Cup Plain Breadcrumbs

Applewood Smoked Cheddar, grated
Pickled Gherkins
Chopped Scallions

Method


Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C). Lightly oil a baking pan.

Cut the potatoes in smaller chunks. Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches.


Mix in the scallions, Jalapeno, sea salt and pepper, at this point taste the potato mixture and adjust the seasoning. Combine the egg into the mixture and mix in the breadcrumbs until dough is form.

Scoop about ¼ cup of dough, roll it (about the size of a golf ball) and flatten to make a round flat cake, about 3 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. Arrange the cakes in the prepared baking pan. Bake the cake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown in color, turn over and top each cake with generous amount of grated cheese and bake for another 8 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.


Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Makes 16 Potato Cakes


Friday, October 28, 2011

Ajvar


Ajvar is a yummy spread made from roasted peppers and eggplants. It's an Eastern European specialty and is also known as Croatian/Serbian red pepper ketchup. The consistency of the spread can be chunky or mashed, depends on your liking. Simply serve with flatbread as an appetizer or alongside any grilled meat. Delightful!


Ajvar

Ingredients

5 to 6 Bell Peppers (medium sized, about 780 g)
2 Eggplants (about 700 g)
2 Cloves Garlic, mashed to paste
3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
Lemon Juice
Sea Salt
Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

Place the peppers and eggplants in a large baking tray, and roast for about 40 minutes or until soft. Remove the stems, skins, and seeds from the peppers, and finely chop the flesh. Remove the stem and skin from the eggplant, and finely chop the flesh.

Combine the chopped peppers, eggplants, garlic, olive oil, cayenne pepper, and season with lemon juice and sea salt. Sprinkle some finely chop parsley before serving.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tabbouleh/Tabouli With Grilled Cumin Chicken And Yogurt-Tahini Sauce


Tabbouleh is a popular Middle Eastern salad and it's an excellent side dish to any grilled meat. The salad is made from soaked bulgur (or burghul) wheat and it's mixed with the usual ingredients like fresh tomatoes, onion, mint, plenty of parsley, and olive oil. So, I made this Tabbouleh With Grilled Cumin Chicken And Yogurt-Tahini Sauce earlier this week. Served it as a sandwich with some warm pita bread. Healthy and just delicious.


Tabbouleh recipe adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros & Grilled Cumin Chicken from Dean & Deluca Cookbook

Tabbouleh/Tabouli With Grilled Cumin Chicken And Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

Tabbouleh/Tabouli
200 g (7 oz) Burghul/Bulgar Wheat
1-Cup (250 ml) Cold Water
½ Red Onion, finely chopped
½ tsp Sea Salt
50 to 60 g Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
Juice of 2 Lemons
125 ml (1/2 Cup) Olive Oil
2 Small Ripe Tomatoes, diced

Grilled Cumin Chicken And Yogurt Tahini Sauce
5 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs
2-½ tsp Ground Cumin
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
½ Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Tahini
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
4 Pita Breads
2 ½ Cups Tabbouleh

Method

Note: You will need to start this salad a few hours, or even a day, before you are going to serve it, as burghul needs soaking, and chicken needs to marinate for at least 6 hours.

Tabbouleh: Put the burghul in a bowl and cover it with cold water. Stir through, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight so that the burghul absorbs the water.

Put the onion in a small bowl, cover with some cold water, sprinkle with the salt and leave it for 20 minutes or so before draining away the water and rinsing again.

Drain the burghul through fine sieve, pushing it gently with a wooden spoon to extract any water. Tip it into a bowl and add the parsley, mint, onion, lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix together well. Keep the salad in the fridge and mix the tomatoes through just before serving.

For the chicken: Rub the chicken thighs with the ground cumin, garlic, and olive oil. Season well with sea salt and pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 10 hours.

Mix together well the yogurt, tahini paste, and lemon juice. Thin out with a bit of water to make a smooth, medium-thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When ready to make the sandwiches, prepare a hot grill. Grill the chicken thighs on both sides until just past pink, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can cook the chicken thighs under a preheated broiler, turning once, until just past pink.) Let the cooked thighs rest for 10 minutes, and then cut into slices about ¼ inch thick.

Steam the pita breads until warm, this will make them softer in texture and easier to stuff or fill.

Makes 4 Pita Sandwiches

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Potato Chips


Here's an awesome tasting Homemade Potato Chips recipe from Dean and Deluca's recipe book. It's really easy to make, peel and thinly slice a couple of good sized russet potatoes, which I am sure is readily available in your kitchen. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much chips (or crisps) you can yield from those 2 spuds! This homemade chips recipe is garlic flavored, impossible to stop munching after the first one! Anyway, if garlic flavored chips is not your deal, you can always substitute it with sea salt, black pepper, or some other seasoning of your choice. Enjoy!


Homemade Garlic Potato Chips

Ingredients

2 Medium or 1 Large Russet Potatoes, peeled
¼ Cup Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
Vegetable Oil for frying
2 tsp Sea Salt

Method

With a mandoline, slice potato into rounds as thin as possible. Rinse rounds with cold water until water runs clear, and dry potatoes thoroughly on paper towels.

In a small saucepan heat olive oil and garlic on low heat until garlic aroma is released, about 5 minutes. Place garlic and oil in blender and puree.

Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 325˚F. Fry potatoes slices in several batches, stirring frequently with a slotted spoon, about 7 to 8 minutes. Place chips on paper towels to dry and sprinkle immediately with salt. Brush lightly with garlic oil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Korean Fried Chicken~양념통닭 (Yangnyeom Tongdak/Yang Nyeom Tong Dak)


Here we go again, another Fried Chicken recipe I hear you say! :-) Well, this is a bit different, it's the perfect Korean Fried Chicken~KFC (Yangnyeom Tongdak) recipe in my opinion. I have tried many and this is absolutely the best so far. The chicken is fried twice at a moderate heat to obtain the golden-brown crust. The end result is a fried chicken that's non greasy and it's juiciness is retained inside while the outside is crispy and crackly. The fried chicken can be enjoyed as it is; but, it will give you the extra kick when paired with this delicious sweet and spicy sauce. Yum!


Recipe adapted from Maangchi.com

Korean Fried Chicken~양념통닭 (Yangnyeom Tongdak/Yang Nyeom Tong Dak)

Ingredients

1.5 kg (3 lbs) Chicken Wings, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel
1 tsp Sea Salt/Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
½ Cup Potato Starch Powder
¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 Egg
Oil for deep-frying

Sauce
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/3-Cup Tomato Ketchup
1/3 Cup Korean Rice Syrup
¼ Cup Korean Hot Pepper Paste
1 Tbsp Apple Vinegar
Roasted Sesame Seeds

Method

In a large bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside for 10 to 20 minutes.

Then add potato starch powder, all-purpose flour, sweet rice flour, baking soda, and egg. Mix in the all the ingredients by hand and making sure that all the nooks and crannies are covered.

Preheat the oil to 350˚F/180˚C in a wok or deep fryer. Deep-fry chicken wings in batches until light brown in color. (6 to 10 minutes, depend on the size of the chicken wing) Drain the chicken wings on paper towels. Then fry the again for another 6 to 8 minutes or until it is crispy and golden brown in color.

While you are frying, make the sauce. Add canola oil in a heated pan. Mix in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Then add in tomato ketchup, rice syrup, hot pepper paste, and apple vinegar. Stir and simmer the sauce mixture for about 7 minutes. Do keep the heat low to prevent the sauce from burning.

When the chicken is done, reheat the sauce and coat the chicken wings with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds over the top and serve immediately.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pajeon~Korean Green Onion Pancake


I love this version of Pajeon or Korean Green/Scallion Pancake. It's a quick and easy snack to whip up. The secret ingredient other than scallion is the soybean paste. If you like, you may also consider adding sliced mushrooms, peppers, bean sprouts, or even some diced seafood into the pancake batter.


Recipe adapted from Maangchi.com

Pajeon~Green Onion Pancake

Ingredients


10 Stalks Scallions/Green Onions, cut into 5” length
Vegetable Oil for frying



Batter
½ Cup All-Purpose Flour

About 1/2 Cup Water + 1 Tbsp, if needed

1 tsp Korean Soybean Paste
½ tsp Sugar

Vinegar Soy Sauce (Cho Ganjang)

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp Rice or Korean Apple Vinegar
1 tsp Honey
¼ White Onion, diced
1 Green Chili, sliced
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds



Method


In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the vinegar soy sauce and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, water, soybean paste and sugar. Mix well until the batter is smooth.

Heat a non-stick pan and add about 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Put the green onions on the pan parallel to each other, in a rectangle shape. Then pour the batter evenly over the green onion.

Cook on one side until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Remove the pancake and transfer it to a serving plate. Serve warm with the vinegar soy sauce.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homemade Oreos


These Homemade Oreos will put a smile on your kids' face, and perhaps even yours! The cookies' texture is crumbly with intense chocolate flavor, and it is reminiscent of an Oreo. This is an easy, no fuss recipe to follow and it will turn out well. The only minor tweak I did was I made some of them into smaller-sized cookies. I urge you to try this recipe. I bet your family will like it as much as mine did! :-)


Recipe adapted from Flour By Joanne Chang (pg 134)

Homemade Oreos

Ingredients


The Cookies

1 Cup (2 sticks/228g) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 Cup (150g) Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup (200g) Semisweet Chocolate Chips, melted and cooled slightly
1 Large Egg
1 1/2 Cups (210g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup (90g) Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Vanilla Cream Filling
1/2 Cup (1 stick/114g) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 Cups (230 g) Confectioners’ Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Milk
Pinch Kosher Salt

Method

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.

In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Using a wooden spoon or a fork, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The dough will start to seem as though it’s too stiff, too floury. You may find it easier to switch to mixing it with your hands until the dough comes together and achieves the consistency of Play-Doh. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to firm up.

Transfer the dough to a 15-inch square sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Using your hands, shape the dough into a log about 10 inches long and 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the paper and roll the paper around the log. With the log fully encased in paper, roll it into a smoother log no more than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. The log may settle and sink a bit in the fridge; if you like, re-roll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain a nice round log. If not, your cookies will be more oblong than round, which is not a bad thing taste-wise, though they won’t look like the famous packaged cookie. (The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. If the dough is frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

Slice the dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the slices about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Check them frequently after 15 or 16 minutes, poking them in the middle; as soon as they feel firm to the touch, remove them from the oven. You can’t judge by color because they start out black. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. (I baked mine for about 16 to 17 minutes)

Make the Vanilla Cream Filling: While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer or even a wooden spoon, beat the butter on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth and soft.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Add the milk and salt and beat until smooth. The filling will look like white spackle and feel about the same—like putty. (You can also mix this frosting by hand, using your hands to mix and knead the confectioners’ sugar into the butter. Make sure the butter is very soft.) You should have about 1 cup. (The filling can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.)

To assemble the sandwich cookies: Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of the filling onto the flat side of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, flat side down, then press the cookies together to spread the filling toward the edges. Repeat with the remaining cookies.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Korean Styled BBQ Beef Short Ribs~Kalbi(Galbi)


Awhile back, whilst I was browsing the web for a great Korean styled BBQ Beef Short Ribs (or Kalbi) recipe, I stumbled upon a website called Maangchi.com. This website caught my attention as it houses many wonderful recipes. Since then, I have made several dishes using Maangchi's recipes and all of them have turned out very well. I'm posting Maangchi's BBQ Beef Short Ribs today. I have successfully made these many times and I bet it will be an instant hit in your home too. The beef is just superb, similar or better than the ones you get at any great Korean restaurants. Do try this recipe, here is a video link about Maangchi Kim – she's amusing and at the same time, very modest too. Check it out!


Recipe adapted from Maangchi.com

Korean Styled BBQ Beef Short Ribs~Kalbi(Galbi)

Ingredients


3.5 lbs (1.5kg) Beef Short Ribs (Korean-styled)

Marinade
1 Korean Pear, peeled, cored, and diced
8 Cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Medium Yellow Onion, peeled and diced
1 tsp Chopped Ginger
1/3-Cup Soy Sauce
1/3-Cup Water or Cooking Wine
¼ Cup Korean Malt Sugar (mool yut) or Honey
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Dipping Sauce (Ssam Jaang)
2 Tbsp Soy Bean Paste
1 Tbsp Hot Pepper Paste
1 Stalk Scallion/Green Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Honey

Accompaniments:
Lettuce Leaves
Perilla Leaves
Korean Green Chilies, sliced
Grilled Rice Cakes
Grilled Shishito Peppers
Steamed Rice

Method

Wash the meat thoroughly and soak in cold water for about an hour. Drain and blot dry with paper towels.

Combine the pear, garlic, onion, ginger, and blend until the mixture turns into a white creamy liquid. Then add the soy sauce, water or cooking wine, malt sugar or honey; sesame oil and some freshly ground black pepper. Marinate the meat for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Cook the meat over a hot grill until well done. Serve the grilled meat with lettuce and Perilla leaves, Korean green chilies, together with Ssam Jaang/dipping sauce.

Serves 6 to 8

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sweet Corn Salsa


I picked up some fresh corn this week from my local grocers. I was surprised they were still on sale this time of year. Anyway, it was great as it allowed me to make this Sweet Corn Salsa. This salsa goes wonderfully well with corn chips, and it’s a great appetizer/side dish with grilled seafood or chicken. As always, fresh corn is the best option for this recipe; but, if it is not available in your area, just substitute with canned corn instead.


Sweet Corn Salsa

Ingredients



2 Large Fresh Sweet Corns, husked, silk removed and steamed (about 5 to 6 minutes)
1 Small Red Pepper (Bell/Capsicum), seeded and finely diced
1 Red Chili
, seeded and finely sliced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely sliced
1 Large Tomato, seeded and finely diced
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped

¼ Red or White Onion, finely diced

2 to 3 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Coriander
4 Tbsp Orange Juice
Juice of 1 Lime
¼ tsp Ground Cumin

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper



Method


Using a large, sharp knife carefully cut the kernels off the corncobs.



In a large bowl, combine corn kernels, pepper, chilies, tomato, garlic, onion, and coriander. Season the salsa with orange juice, lime juice, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Refrigerate the salsa mixture until ready to serve.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pop Tarts~Raspberry


These Pop Tarts are the current hit with my kids. It's incredibly simple to make and tastes fantastic! I used store-bought refrigerated pie crusts which worked well with their favorite jam or spread. We tried various jam flavors and peanut butter; in the end, we all agreed that the raspberry jam tasted the best. This is a fun taste experiment to do with your kids. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to use a pumpkin shape cookie cutter, and topped-off the tarts with some colorful sprinkles. So, do play with the different shapes and variety of jam when you are making this. Have fun!


Pop Tarts~Raspberry

Ingredients


1 Packet (2 x 9-inch) Refrigerated Pie Crusts, at room temperature

Raspberry Jam

Egg Wash
1 Egg + 1 Tbsp Of Water or Milk, lightly beaten

Lemon Glaze


1/4 Cup Powdered/Confectioners’ Sugar


About 1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice


Sprinkles (any flavor)


Equipment
2 ½ to 3 inches Cookie Cutter (any shape)
Baking Sheet, lined with parchment paper



Method



Preheat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C.

Unroll the pie crust on a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough into desire cookie cutter.

Fill about 2 tsp of raspberry jam in a mound in the center of the dough. Lay the second dough on top of the first dough and gently press down all edges with your fingertips. Then seal the edges with a fork. Brush the top of the dough with egg-wash.

Place the filled dough on a baking sheet, and bake for about 17 to 18 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown in color.

To make the lemon glaze: While the pastry is cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and enough of the lemon juice to make an easily spreadable, smooth glaze. Spoon the glaze on top of the cooled pastry and top with your favorite sprinkles.


Makes 14 Pop Tarts



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Espresso Chocolate Bars


Recently, I have been experimenting my energy bars with an array of different flavors just for fun. I love coffee and so, I thought it would be great to incorporate some espresso into the bars. A little caffeine zing would go down well with these energy bars, right? Well, it worked, and I am loving it! These Espresso Chocolate Bars are my favorite pre-workout snacks now. The bars consist of Medjool dates, dried cranberries, tart cherries, hazelnuts, almonds, cocoa powder, coconut, sea salt, vanilla, and finely ground espresso. If you like coffee, do try this recipe!


Raw Energy Bars~Chocolate Espresso

Ingredients



2 Cups (280g) Raw Hazelnuts

½ Cup (60g) Raw Almond (without skin)
1 Cup (150g) Moist Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped
1 Cup (140g) Unsweetened Dried Cranberries
1 Cup (160g) Tart Cherries
1 Cup (100g) Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp Ground Espresso


¼ tsp Sea Salt

½ Cup (40g) Unsweetened Shredded Coconuts

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 to 2 Tbsp Cold Water



Equipment: Food Processor
11 ½ x 4 ½ inches (29 x 12 cm) Loaf pan, lined with aluminum foil



Method


Combine hazelnuts and almonds in a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground.




Add chopped dates, cranberries, tart cherries, cocoa powder, ground espresso, and sea salt, pulse and process all the ingredients together until the texture is coarse. Then add the shredded coconut, a quick pulse, and add the vanilla extract, a little water at a time until it reaches a dry but moist dough consistency. Scrape the dough mixture into the lined pan, press evenly with a rubber spatula, and chill for about an hour before serving.
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