Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pan Seared Halibut Topped with Ginger Scallion & Cilantro

Mother's Day began early for us. We dined out at a local Szechuan restaurant. This place was bustling with Chinese and non-Chinese patrons and energetic waiters taking orders and serving food. We were seated almost immediately and as soon as we placed our orders, the dishes arrived in probably less than 10 minutes. The food was fabulous and we will definitely return to try out more dishes. If you live around here and interested in checking it out, here it is. Since we dined out the evening before Mother's Day, followed by next day brunch at a dim sum restaurant and more pampering. I so deserved it but I couldn't take it anymore. It's not that I don't enjoy being pampered but to me, eating out consecutively is a bit too much. Not that I'm trying to safe hubby a few bucks but I happen to know that morning that at our local market, there are some deals going on for Salmon, Halibut and Ribeye Steaks. All I wanted for dinner was some fresh tasty, Omega3 packed healthy option, FISH. Since hubby and son are Red Meat kinda guys, my mental menu would work out perfect for everyone. Hence the photo posted here, lightly pan seared Halibut drizzled with hot oil over fish. Everyone was happy at the end of the meal and proceeded to watching a nice movie at the comfort of our own couch. Fruit was our dessert.

What you Need:
  • About 1 lb of Halibut (about two pieces)
  • Finely shredded young ginger, about 1 Tbsp, more if you like ginger
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • About 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • About 2 Tsbp Olive Oil or Peanut Oil
  • A dash of Sesame (optional)
Let's get Frying:

Clean and dry fish, set on plate. Heat frying pan over medium high, add 1 Tbsp oil. Lower temp to medium, add fish gently into pan. Leave them there and don't disturb for about 10 minutes. At this point, you can browse through a few pages of your favorite magazine, I like Saveur. Or go to the loo. Or chopped up the condiments, that sounds more like it.

Use a thin spatula, slowly insert under the fish. When it's done right, the fish should come off pretty easily, slowly flip over. The fish should have s light brown crust. Again do not disturb the fish for another 10 minutes at medium temp. The trick to tell whether the fish is done, is when clear juice floats up to the top of the fish. Gently and slowly tranfer the fish with the spatula to warm plate/s if you are sharing. Arrange shredded ginger on top of fish, sprinkle some green onions and cilatro over ginger and around the fish, add a dash of sesame or two. Set the plate/s close to the frying pan. At medium temp, add remaining 1 Tbsp of oil into the pan until warm/hot. Drizzle the hot oil over the fish. Sprinkle remaining scallion and cilantro. Serve imediately. I like to eat mine with fragrant Jasmine rice; and if there is leftover, I'd eat it with "Chook" rice soup for breakfast.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nachos


I fixed up this Nachos the day after Cinco de Mayo. Hubby likes it a lot. It is not only tasty but very good looking dish as well. It's pack full of protein and fiber and an absolute fun finger food. I have always enjoyed eating Nacho from a bar during Happy Hours but never ever thought of fixing one at home. Recently I had a girls' night for a movie and drinks after, we dropped by a local billiard and bar for some drinks. This dish is inspired by what we ordered. Another incentive of fixing one at home, it's economical and you can use the best ingredients you can get from the market. Use organic herbs if you can.

What You need:
  • A heat proof large plate
  • Fresh Avocados, about 1 mashed with some chunks
  • Fresh chopped tomatoes, about 1/4 - 1/2 cup diced or chopped
  • Red onion, about 1/4 cup diced
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Canned Refried Beans, I like to thin it down with a TBSP or 2 or water
  • Canned Black Beans
  • Salted Tortilla Corn Chips
  • 6 oz of Steak, Ribeye, Top Sirloin or Tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • A packet of Taco seasonings
  • A few dashes of Cumin
  • Mexican style sour cream
  • Grated Chedder cheese
  • Lime or lemon juice
  • Dashes of hot sauce or pickled jalapeno (optional)
Let's Get Fixing:

Pre-heat Oven to 375 degrees.

Marinade beef with Taco Seasonings and a dashes of cumin for flavor. Lightly brown in the pan, set aside to cool. Scatter the chips into plate, depending on the size, just barely reaching the top of plate. Drop a TBSP or 2 of whole black beans and beef in between chip layer.

Dressing it:
Alternating refried and black beans, drop spoonful of beans all over chips, beef, grated cheese, cover with more chips, add more beef, cheese and beans. Add more cheese on top.

At this point, you will figure out how much or lil' you'd like your nachos. Play with it.

Prop the nachos into the over until cheese slightly melted, about 5-10 minutes. Stick around and check the oven to prevent over heating. It should melt the cheese nicely to a gooey texture and chips become crispier. Remove from over and have ready these items to finalize dressing: chopped tomatoes, then a dollop or two of sour cream and guacamole, then green onions and cilantro. A quirt of lemon or lime juice, hot sauce or pickled jalapeno should make the nachos heavenly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eggs Are Good For You

We use eggs in most of our cooking and baking. I like to serve up fried noodles and rice with eggs. I opt for Omega-3 eggs when I shop. I like the fact that they contain less fat, pack full of Omega-3, and tasty too.

These almost deep-fried eggs are crunchy around the edges yet soft in the center. When hot oil is drizzled over the top of the eggs, there is no need to flip over the eggs. A few drops of oyster sauce and soy sauce, thinly sliced scallion and cilantro and sprinkles of paprika are all you need to dress up the eggs. This is a very tasty brunch or easy dinner. Snacking won't be a bad idea either.
Let's Get Frying:

Two Eggs
1/4 cup of oil
Sliced Scallion
Chopped cilantro
Dash of Paprika or Sliced Bird's eye Chilli or chopped red Bell Pepper for garnish and color.

Heat the wok or frying pan until almost smoking. Pour in the oil. When oil is hot enough. Slowly break the eggs one at a time into the wok or pan. Let them sit and do not disturb for a few minutes. It's fun to watch the eggs transform into little cakes. Use a slotted spoon or any utensils that withstand hot oil. Scoop some of the hot oil and drizzle over the eggs a few times. Watch them slowly covered in egg white. If you like your eggs runny. Scoop them up right away and drizzled sauces over and garnish. Enjoy!

Fastest Fudge Cake

I have baked this cake a couple of times and each time it's always a success. On my boy's birthday he specifically requested for a chocolate cake. Over the years I've collected quite a bit chocolate cake recipes and this one is a definite keeper. It's easy to whip up, short list of ingredients, all chocolate, moist and dense, and keeps for several days at room temp., covered. The photo is taken a few days later and you can see that that was the last piece on the plate

You can find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Buns

This is a wonderful breakfast on the weekend. On other occasions I'd make the dough from scratch but if the week started off busy, I'd just pick up a can of Pillsbury dough. It bakes up beautifully and very tasty too. This is my lazy way of serving this breakfast treat to my family once or twice a year.

The icing comes in sugar icing and cream cheese icing. Both are equally tasty if you like it sweet. That's why I said I'd only serve them a couple times a year.

The trick to baking these to a light brown and soft texture is to adjust the oven temp. 25 degrees lower than directed. For example, if it says heat oven @ 350 degrees, go ahead and head the oven up to 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. when you prob the buns in the over, lower the temp. I used convection oven and I like to bake these at 325 degrees. They always come out perfectly brown and soft.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Looking for something cute for your kitchen?

Accent color to perk up your kitchen collection. There is a giveaway happening here a lovely blog. All you have to do is leaving a few messages as directed on her post, twit a lil', and one more comment and you are done. Wait a lil', till next Wednesday 29th, a winner will be chosen randomly. Best of luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Last Summer's Harvest

Aren't they gorgeous? These were the few tomatoes I picked from my vege. garden last year. We did not have a perfect Summer in '08, so I am hoping this year would be a better one. We ate them fresh like you'd fresh fruit. I am hoping to get my vege. garden started sooner this time. I know most avid gardeners have already sewed and planted their vegetables.
This Summer, I am going to plant some heirloom tomatoes. Stay tuned.

It was in mid July, the tomatoes still unripe.













A little ripe here.













The green beans...sigh...were gobbled up by deers. They appeared out of nowhere in our neighborhood. They ate most of the pea shoots in my garden. At the same time, they ate up my neighbors' rose buds.









Aww...my ever lush lemon sage. I planted this sage in the garden along with three different types of thyme. I used most of the thyme for stews and braised dishes. These sage leaves have a very fragrant lemony scent but I have not used them any of the dishes. Perhaps on pork chops?

Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Powder


This cake is dense yet crumbly, just the right sweetness. It's simply delish! The original recipe calls for Hershey's Cocoa but I had Nestle's cocoa powder on hand at the time. I adjusted the sugar content a bit because my cocoa powder is already sweetened. Hubby liked it a lot and devoured it in just a few evenings. Since it was quite a hit, I intend to make it for my boy's birthday party, in cupcakes. This recipe derived from here.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar (adjust content if using sweetened cocoa)
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (I used sweetened cocoa)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)
Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F (lower if using convection oven). Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.