Bacon&Garlic Brussel Sprouts

October 8th, 2012

 

 

Brussel sprouts are always getting a bad rap. I never ate them growing up but I always hear horror stories about other kids being force fed them and disliking them as grown ups. My friend Fran introduced them to me a few years back. It was love at first taste!

I can understand how they can be a turn off. If they’re not prepared the correct way, they can smell a little funny or be too mushy for being overcooked. If they’re made right (al dente), they’re heavenly! Hold on to your fry pans ladies and gents. You’re in for a quick recipe and a delightful brussel sprouts experience.

Tools Needed:

-8 inch Chef’s knife

-large fry pan

Ingredients:

-1 lb brussel sprouts (halved)

-4-5 cloves of garlic

-2-3 strips of bacon (sliced into small pieces)

Preparation:

Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and sauté for 5 minutes or until bacon begins to brown. Keep the drippings in the pan, you won’t need to add any oil to the pan. Add minced garlic and sauté for another minute. Add brussel sprouts and cook for 4-5 more minutes until they’re brown. Add salt and pepper. Presto…you’re sprouts are done and ready to get in your belly.

 

 

 

 

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A New Year… One month too late.

February 16th, 2011

I feel as if every time I put up I new post, I’m apologizing for the lack of consistency of posts. Well, I guess it’s cause I’ve been lacking posts. My previous excuse was the craziness of the holidays, then I was out of the country for 2.25 weeks so now what’s my excuse? Why hasn’t there been any posts for this new year? Well, does being busy and trying to get my body back in the same time zone count? Some might say yes and others…well. Let’s just cut Cindy some slack.

I decided that I might try to do something new this year. Instead of every post being about how to make something delicious for your tummy. I’d like to add one or two posts every couple months to a topic all culinary. You’ll see what I mean, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. Anywho…this post I’d like to share some photos from my trip to Asia.

I was lucky enough to spend 16 days with my mother and sister visiting extended family we hadn’t seen in over five years. The first leg of our trip was to visit my Aunt( my mom’s younger sister). Then, the 4 of us headed over to Taiwan to visit my mother’s older brother and participate in my cousin’s wedding. Oh, what a joyous occasion! Then we high tailed it to Hong Kong to visit my dad’s side of the family. It was a lot of flying, packing/unpacking and of course my favorite…getting to eat all the delicious food each country had to offer! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Ok, I’m going to post the photos now. I hope you enjoy!!!

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Let the holidays begin…

December 8th, 2010

Thanksgiving has come and gone but you can still make pumpkin pie!!!

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holidays. Time for family and friends to get together. Good eats, company and a food coma that can last for days. Don’t you love this time of year? Growing up it wasn’t my family’s tradition to have a big Thanksgiving dinner. My parental units are great chefs and all but they wouldn’t know the first thing about how to start an oven. Actually, I don’t think anyone from my mom’s generation or older knows how. With any big family gathering, my parental units or grandparents would prep all the food and do all the cooking. The kidlings would barely lift a finger. Well, they wouldn’t really let us help unless it was to do the dishes. Anyway, one Thanksgiving my sister and I had the grand idea that we would host a Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family. We would do all the prep and cooking.

We started this tradition with a turkey of course and a few side dishes that we thought were important in the beginning. And what’s dinner without desserts, right? I don’t know how it came about but I was always in charge of the desserts. So….pumpkin pie it was. Every year I bought a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree and made the pie off the recipe off the back and, every year the pies came out pretty delicious.

This year roaming around my local TJ’s, I noticed adorable little pumpkins for sale that you could use to make pumpkin pie. I decided that I would go ahead and make a pie from scratch. It was a little more work that opening up a can but I think it was well worth the extra step.

I hope you enjoy!

Tools needed:

- 19 inch French Rolling Pin
- Silicone spatula
- 4.5 inch cake server

Ingredients:

Pie Crust
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 tablespoons ice water

Pie filling
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 15 ounces approx 2 cups of pumpkin (mashed or pureed in the food processor then strained)*
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preparation:

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough** out onto a work surface. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form a disc. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pie crust into a 12-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate, pressing it into the edges. Trim to a 1-inch overhang all around. Crimp edge as desired. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together, sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves. Beat eggs together in a large bowl. Add sugar mixture and pumpkin*; stir to combine. Stir in evaporated milk until well combined.

Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake until filling is set, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream, if desired, or transfer to a refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!!!

* I used a fresh sugar pumpkin to get my pumpkin filling. You can use fresh or can, whatever is available and convenient for you. If you get a fresh sugar pumpkin cut the pumpkin in 1/2 scrape out seeds and bake face down in the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees until tender. I like to cover my pumpkins under a foil tent.

Once the pumpkin meat is tender, it’s easy to scrape it off the shell with a large spoon. Use a food processor and purée the pumpkin in small batches so it’s completely smooth. A sugar pumpkin weighing about 4 pounds makes about 1 ½ to 2 cups purée.

Fresh pumpkin purée will be much looser than concentrated canned pumpkin. Some of the liquid will need to be strained off or evaporated before it can be used for baking, where the balance between wet and dry ingredients is critical.

There are a couple of ways to do that. Liquid that pools on the top of the cooled purée should be spooned off. Then line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth, set over a bowl and add cooled purée. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight and let the water drip out of the purée.

Making your own purée is a little more work but totally worth it!

**If you don’t have time to make your own dough, you could always buy pre-made from the store. There’s no shame in that.

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Knife Skills 101: How To Slice a Bell Pepper

November 24th, 2010

This Knife Skills 101 lesson is how to slice, dice, julienne and brunoise a bell pepper. Besides how to chop an onion, these bell pepper tips were my favorite to learn. I was always cutting into the core of the bell pepper, leaving seeds everywhere…on my knife, on the cutting board, on the bell pepper, in other food, everywhere! It drove me nuts until I learned these simple and fast techniques. I hope you like these quick tips as much as I do!

What you need:

* 1 Bell Pepper

* Chef’s Knife: Preferably an 8″ Stealth

Slice off the top of the pepper just below the stem and the bottom approximately ½” from the end.

Take the blade and angle cut into a crease and work the blade along the inside curve of the pepper. Continue around the pepper until the core can be removed. You now have a flat pepper. Slice along the inner flesh to remove any whitish membrane.

The pepper is now ready to be cut into strips and or a dice. Use the low push cut to cut and the guide hand to determine increments. Shown are julienne strips which are 1/8″ x 1/8″ x 1-2”. These can then be cut down to a brunoise which is 1/8″ x 1/8″ x 1/8” by simply turning your strips a quarter turn and dicing.

If you want to smaller strips, create a batonnet with sides equaling ¼ x ¼ x 2”. To create a smaller cube, use the batonnet bell peppers strips and turn them into small dices ¼ x ¼ x ¼”.

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Knife Skills 101: How To Dice & Slice An Onion

November 12th, 2010

Messermeister teaches Knife Skills 101 across the nation! A request from a blog fan made us realize that we need to post all the cool tips and techniques that we teach. You might not realize it but learning Knife Skills is easy and it makes cooking more efficient and fun! (To see if a Messermeister Knife Skills 101 class is coming to your area, check out the Events Tab on Messermeister’s Facebook Fan Page.)

What you need:

* 1 Onion

* Chef’s Knife: Preferably an 8″ Stealth

1. Whether you are slicing contoured half-moon onions or you are dicing onions, always start prepping the onion by cutting it in half through the root.

2. Cut the ends of both halves. **Don’t cut off the root end! Having the root intact is crucial!**

3. Peel off the onion skin.

Dicing An Onion: Utilizing The “Pull” and “Parallel” Technique

The “raised knife” pull style and parallel cuts are used to dice (an onion). The pull cut is used when one end needs to remain attached and the parallel cut is used to create the horizontal side of dice. The pull cut starts near the heel at a 45 degree angle and finishes by lifting the handle which allows the tip to complete the cut and meet the board. The dices are now created by using the raised knife push cut.

Large Dice (3/4 x 3/4 x 3/4)

Next square the dice by using the pull cut ¾ of the way toward the bolster.

Continue pulling the blade through and down until the tip meets the board.

Finish the dice with the raised push cut.

Medium Dice (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2)

Start with the parallel cut technique.

Next square the dice by using the pull cut ¾ of the way toward the bolster.

Continue pulling the blade through and down until the tip meets the board.

Finish the dice with the raised push cut.

Example of dice:

* Go from blocks to slices to strips to dice.

* Cutting a dice uses several techniques as the pieces get smaller.

* The goal is to get them approximately the same size so they cook at the same time to the same degree.

Slicing an Onion

When slicing onions with the grain, you are slicing them lengthwise. These slices tend to stay firm when cooked and are better for pot roasts or onion soups where strips look better after slow cooking.

When slicing onions across the grain, you are slicing crosswise. These slices will get softer and create noodle like pieces. These slices are great for fajitas, steak sandwiches, marmalades and anytime you want flavorful, softer textured onions mixed with meat, fruit or vegetables.

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Let’s make a Perfect Roast Chicken!

October 25th, 2010

Hey hey!!! Sorry it’s been so long since I last posted anything. My sincerest apologies for any of my fans out there. Fans, you’re out there, yes????? I’ll pretend that there are so I have a reason to live and blog. Anywho….what shall you make for dinner tonight? What about an easy and perfect roast chicken? Sound good? Keep reading…

Roasted chicken is a perfect dish that anyone of you could make for a small dinner party or, if you want to impress a special someone or if you just want to impress yourself and have leftovers. Why not treat yourself as well. It’s an all around wonderful main course you can make with a no fuss no muss attitude.

You’ll need less than 4 ingredients for this wonderful dish you’re about to prepare (and one is optional).  I hope you have a pen ready because I’m going to list the ingredients. Are you ready? Obtain a whole chicken from your local grocery store along with some salt and pepper (in case you don’t have any at home). The optional 4th ingredient is thyme or rosemary. It’s not a needed ingredient but if you have it on hand, use it.

Tools needed:

- 8 inch carving knife

Ingredients:

- One 3-4 lb whole chicken

- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

- 2 teaspoon of chop thyme (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. It’s helpful to let the bird get to room temp prior to placing it in the oven. Just a bit of helpful advice from one food lover to another. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Roast chicken for 1 1/2 hours or until juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Remove chicken from oven and cover for around 20 minutes under aluminum foil.
Carve chicken and serve!!! Voilà, perfect roast chicken on your table. Bon appétit!

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First Meal of the Day.

August 30th, 2010

breakfast-egg-toast-avocado

Breakfast, it’s very important you know. It kick starts our bodies after our eight hours more or less of wonderful dreams. Most mornings I don’t have time to make anything worth mentioning. And other days, I have something delightful to look at so I snapped a picture and here I am.

Have I told you that I’ve been addicted to Farmers’ markets lately? So much so that the big box stores don’t exist to me anymore. Well, I still shop at Trader Joe’s for meat and other little odds and ends and of course the Farmers’ market and of course I love shopping at my garden.

Last Sunday, I made a visit to the Channel Islands Farmers’ Market. It’s the only market I know I can for sure make it to and it’s only a mile from my house! Just genius! Too bad I’ve lived here for 3 years and I’ve only just started going a few months ago. That’s not so genius :-( Anyway, I discovered a bakery there and I’ve fallen in love with their sweet breads. Their products are preservative free and they use all natural ingredients. Honey is used to sweeten their bread. The lady, Soo, that owns it is super nice! I’ve started to use them for my morning meals. It’s so easy to toast a piece of bread in the morning and they accompany my eggs (over medium) and my sliced avocados with sriracha really well. Go over on Sundays if you want to buy a loaf or two, they freeze really well.

Tools needed:

- 1 medium non stick pan
- spatula

Ingredients:

- 1 or 2 slices of bread sweet, savory or plain (mine was raspberry swirl bread, OMG, soooo good!)
- fresh farm egg(s) Get them from your local farmer’s market.
- avocado
- olive oil 1 tablespoon
- salt and cracked pepper
- sriracha (optional)

Preparation:

Fried Egg
- Over medium heat warm up olive oil.
- Crack egg into pan.
- Cook until egg white looks solid (around 3 min +/-)
- Carefully flip egg and cook for another minute. (over medium)
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toast bread to your preference and serve with a few avocado slices on your plate. And most importantly. Savor every bite. I know I did!

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Red Velvet Birthday Cake

August 17th, 2010

Velvet cake with berry and creamcheese filling

Photo taken by Patrick Maloney

velvet-cake-slice-of-heaven

There’s been many birthdays to celebrate for me this August. This year my friend Fran was having a low key BBQ for her 31st. I asked her if there was anything I could bring and she proceeded to tell me that her BFs one job was not accomplished. He forgot to get her a red velvet cupcake from her favorite bakery. Yeah…not good! I decided to step in and help him out. I thought I would make a tradition of baking her birthday cake since I bake one for her last year.

I found a recipe that looked pretty delicious perusing the internet and it turned out awesome! I hope you have fun baking this, I know I did. I enjoyed every bite of my one slice I was allotted. There weren’t any leftovers…boohiss. Well, I guess I’ll have to make another… or if you make one, invite me over for a slice!

Red Velvet Cake (minus the Red) with Blueberries and Raspberries (adapted by Epicurious.com)

Tools Needed:

- 3 1/2″ Spreading Knife

- Cake Server

- Heavy weight measuring spoon set

- measuring cups

- Triangle decorating comb

- Poly pastry bag

- Star pastry tip #2

Ingredients:

Cake

- 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)

- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 teaspoon baking soda

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1 cup buttermilk

- 1 tablespoon red food coloring

- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- 1 1/2 cups sugar

- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

- 2 large eggs

Frosting

- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

- 3 1/2-pint baskets fresh raspberries

- 3 1/2-pint baskets fresh blueberries

Preparation:

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring (I left it out), vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

For frosting:

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake. Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake.* (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

*I played around with the pastry bag and the star tip. Use your imagination and send in any pictures of your creations!

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The Perfect Summer Night’s Meal

June 30th, 2010

Bun ingredients

img_8574

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As I was walking up and down the aisles of Trader Joe’s I had caught my eye on a bag of rice noodles they started to carry not too long ago. Being Asian and all I could eat rice or noodles everyday, so stereotypical, huh? Have a combination of the two, forget-about-it. I know what some of you may be thinking. Rice noodles? BORING, right? NO WAY!!! There’s so many wonderful meals you could make with them. One of them being “Bun” a.k.a. Vietnamese noodle salad. Wow, I can’t even put into words how tasty my meal was tonight. So light, refreshing and super tasty. This noodle salad dish is paired with Nuoc Cham (a Vietnamese dipping sauce) and I also added some veggie egg rolls (found in the frozen section at TJ’s).  They’re a great side dish to go with your meal. They also taste fantastic paired with the Nuoc Cham dipping sauce, especially with the grated carrots. Ok, I’m so antsy for everyone to try this that I’m not going to write anymore.

Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (adapted from sundaynitedinner.com)

Tools Needed:

- 8 inch Chef’s knife

Ingredients:

- 1/4 cup sugar

- 1/2 cup warm water

- 1/4 cup fish sauce

- 1/4 cup white vinegar

- 1/2 of a lime, juiced

- 5-6 cloves of garlic , minced

- 1 teaspoon of dry chili flakes

- 1/2 to 1 whole sliced jalapeño depending on how much spice you can handle

- 1/2 grated carrot

Preparation:

1) In a small sealable jar, combine water and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add fish sauce, vinegar and lime juice and mix. Adjust flavors to taste.

2) Add garlic, chili flakes, jalapeño and grated carrots . The sauce can be stored at room temperature, if served the same day. Otherwise, store it in the refrigerator.


Bun a.k.a. Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Tools Needed:

Swivel Peeler

- Julienne Cutter

- 12 inch silicone coated locking tong

- 8 inch Chef’s knife

Ingredients:

- 1  13.2 oz package of Trader Joe’s rice sticks

- 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded

- 2 cups of bean sprouts

- 1 1/2 cups of cucumbers, peeled and julienned

- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned

- 1/2 cup mint leaves roughly chopped

- 1/2 cup basil leaves roughly chopped

- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

- 2 cups of grilled meat of your choice (beef, pork, chicken or shrimp)

- 1/4 cups peanuts, finely chopped

Preparation:

Place the rice sticks into boiling water. Cook for 6-8 minutes until rice noodles soften. Drain and run under cool water. Take noodles and toss with Nuoc Cham* and all the rest of the prepared ingredients except for peanuts which you will use to garnish off the dish.

*Use sauce to taste. When I prepared the dish, I tossed each person’s plate to their liking. On average I’d say 2-3 tablespoons per person.

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The simple things.

June 9th, 2010

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the ones that are sooo tasty! Maybe it’s the fact I just got home from a bike ride and I was starving to begin with pre-ride…this sandwich I concocted tonight hit the spot and I thought I would share cause well frankly, I thought it was delicious!

turkey-and-egg-sandwich-with-arugula

Sorry the picture quality isn’t the greatest. (insert frown face here) BUT….the taste…well, make it, you’ll see.

Tools needed:

- 8 inch Scalloped Offset Knife

- 12 inch Nylon Solid Turner

- non stick pan

Ingredients:

- 1 slice (1 inch thick) of Dutch Oven Bread cut in half

- 2 slices of turkey (deli style)

- 1 fried egg

- 1 handful of arugula

- 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil

- fresh crushed pepper (to taste)

- pinch of salt

Preparation:

Heat the pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat pan. Wait a minute or so till the pan is hot. Place the bread in the pan so it can start the toasting process. Then, crack the egg into the pan and cook to your liking. I like my eggs over easy. While the egg is cooking, flip the bread to toast the other side. Once the egg is ready take it out along with the piece of toast. Salt to taste.

I constructed my sandwich in this order, you can choose this order or tweak it to your liking. From bottom to top, bread, fried egg, turkey, ground pepper, arugula, and bread to top.

Eat, enjoy and let me know what you think.

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