Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chinese Tea eggs

Hi everyone!

I used to eat these eggs all the time when I was young. They were everywhere in China! Food vendors on every street would have a pot of tea eggs simmering away. Each egg used to something like 10 cents...and I would ride on the back of my mom's little scooter and munch away at these. I absolutely loved them and have always wanted to know how to make them. The tea flavor give a plain hard boiled egg a delicious edge, and it's super easy to make!

I found this recipe on Steamy Kitchen written by Jaden Hair, who in turn got it from Appetite for China, a fabulous blog written by Diana Kuan. After reading her blog, I was inspired to make more Asian foods around the house... I hope you give these eggs a try, they are so yummy and I am sure you will love them!

Here is what you will need:

6 eggs
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 star anise
2 tablespoons black tea (or 2 tea bags)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
2 strips dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional)

  1. Place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1-inch or so.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and cool the eggs in a ice bath or under running cool water.
  4. Use the back of a teaspoon, gently tap the eggshell to crack the shell all over. The more you tap, the more intricate the design.
  5. To the same pot with the boiling water, return the eggs and add in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low.
  6. Simmer for 40 minutes, cover with lid and let eggs steep for a few hours to overnight.
  7. The longer you steep, the more flavorful the tea eggs will be. I was impatient and steeped it only for 3 hours, most people steep for 5+ hours, even overnight.
  8. When you peel the egg shell away, there will be this beautiful marbling on the egg and on the shells. SO COOL!

A picture of the marbled eggshell

Recipe adapted from Jaden Hair and Diana Kuan

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good Old Butter Tart


Butter tarts are one of Derek's ultimate favorite comfort foods. I was leaving for the entire weekend last week, and so before I left, I made these for him at midnight!! Crazy, I know. I did not make my own tart dough (shameful), but there was no way that I was going to do that at 12AM. The raisins that I had were gigantic, organic, and super sweet, and i think that made the tarts very special.

12 unsweetened tart shells
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 egg
2 tbsp of butter or margarine
2 tsp vanilla
1tsp white vinegar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup raisins (the best raisins you have)
1/8 cup of chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Place shells on a baking sheet and place raisins and walnuts in the bottom of each shell
  3. Whisk all remaining 7 ingredients until well mixed. mixture should be thick and gooey
  4. poor mixture evenly in the shells & bake for 12 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE!
  5. Let tarts cool to room temp, the filling will set. ENJOY! We tried ours at 1 in the morning. Couldn't resist.
Interesting note: Used to prevent discoloration, sulfur dioxide is a common addition when processing dried fruit. The chemical destroys vitamin B-1 (a.k.a. thiamine)... If you want to get the most out of dried fruits, buy them organic and sulfur free. They may not look as pretty, but they are definitely the yummiest!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Red Bean Chili

Hello everyone,

I got this chili recipe from one of my favorite food blogs: Smitten Kitchen. I check up on this blog every week. Deb (the writer) always has fantastic dishes and beautiful pictures to show. This was the first dish that I tried from the blog, and it was very delicious! My horrendous picture here cannot justify the goodness of this chili... Check her blog out for better pictures!!

2 to 2 1/4 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned beef broth
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2-ounce)
1- 1.5 cans kidney beans (15 1/2-ounce), drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Tabasco to taste

  1. Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef or turkey and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, stirring well, and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Gradually add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of pan.
  4. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cocoa and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans, salt, and vinegar, stirring well. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more. Add Tabasco, if desired.
  5. Top with whatever you like (Deb recommended: cheddar, sour cream, and jalapeno). Serve hot!!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sichuan noodles with cool cucumber

Hi all,

This was something that I just whipped up with the leftover roast chicken (see below). I just used whatever veggies that we had in the fridge, so if you don't have the exact set of veggies that match my recipe, don't worry about it. The sauce I used is Lee Kum Kee's Sichuan Spicy Noodle Sauce.

It is not super spicy but has a nice flavour, it also can be used as a dipping sauce. the sauce, along with the egg noodles, can pretty much be found in any Asian supermarket. The cucumber added a nice touch to the dish, it was really refreshing to have. Enjoy!!

1/3 English cucumber, cut into thin slices
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup green onions
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup napa cabbage
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp suchuan sauce
2-3 rounds/bundles of eggs noodles
Few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
  1. Bring a big pot of water to boil, add salt and throw in the egg noodles for about 5 minutes. Once the noodles are done, pour into a strainer and rinse with cold water.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet, add green onions and garlic. Saute for a minute.
  3. Stir in mushrooms, napa cabbage and chicken. Stir and heat through.
  4. Add the egg noodles, make sure that all the ingredients are mixed well into the noodle
  5. Add 2 tbsp of the sauce, mix well. Adjust taste with salt and pepper, or more sauce if you like it to be spicier.
  6. Pour the noodles into a bowl, top with cilantro and cucumber slices.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Simple roasted chicken


So the grocery story near our apartment had a "Dollar day" extravaganza. Whole chickens were on for 1 dollar a pound! WOOT WOOT! I have been very busy in the past few weeks and I really don't have much experience with roasting chickens, but this recipe was uber simple and the chicken turned out absolutely delicious! If you are a newbie cook like me, this is a great first dish to try.

What you will need:

1 whole chicken (~ 3 lb)
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut in half
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat your oven to 500°.
  2. Rinse the chicken thoroughly with cold water and remove any giblets from the cavity. Dry well. Clean and sterilize your sink.
  3. Toss the carrots, celery and onions into the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to comfortably hold the chicken. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with some more olive oil, as well as the lemon juice.
  5. Season the chicken evenly with salt, pepper and thyme and place in the preheated oven.
  6. Immediately turn the oven temperature down to 350° and roast that bird for about 1.5 hrs, or until an internal thermometer registers 165° when jabbed into the deepest part of the leg.
  7. When it's done, pull the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest for a few minutes. Serve warm with the veggies.
  8. Save the chicken carcass!! Place the reserved carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add some carrots, celery and onion and bring to a simmer, removing any debris that floats to the top. Leave it at a gentle simmer for an hour and then strain it into a clean container. Refrigerate.

Ps - for the very observant people out there, you may have noticed that my chicken was roasted with the wrong side up. I only realized this when I went to cut the breast out, and was at first quite confused because I could not find it...how embarrasing. Can you tell I am new at this?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Greek potato and spinach salad

Hi everyone!

I made this dish last Sunday night and it was a big hit. The original recipe called for a lot more butter and oil than I actually used, but I think even the amount that I used was a bit too much and I would continue to cut it down next time. If you don't like the whole spinach feel, just cut it out of the recipe and it will still be a fabulous Greek potato dish.

As a side note, don't bring this dish to work, the garlic will stink up your entire office and make you smell like garbage. Not very attractive.

Here is what you will need:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 Stick butter or margarine(4 tablespoons)
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 head of garlic, peeled into cloves
2 lemons, juiced and zested
1/4 cup more of olive oil
1 tbsp dried oregano
10 oz baby spinach
Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Place a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the first olive oil and butter.
  2. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, add the potatoes and brown slowly and patiently for 15-20 minutes, turning them as necessary until they have evenly browned on all sides. Set aside on paper towels
  3. Meanwhile finely chop or puree the garlic.
  4. Whisk the lemon, second olive oil, garlic and oregano into a small bowl and whisk until emulsified.
  5. Put browned potatoes into a salad bowl and toss with garlic dressing, salt and pepper and spinach.
Recipe adopted from Michael Smith, Food Network

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yes...another chocolate chip cookie recipe

I know I know...

It seems like the only thing that I know how to bake is chocolate chip cookies, but the batch that I made this weekend was SOOOOO good, I had to share it! I found this recipe on Canadian Living, and gave it a try. It was amazing! Derek ate 8 of them in one sitting....

Now, if you are determined to make these cookies, you must not skimp on any of the ingredients. Don't try to cut the butter down or cheap out on the chocolate chips. A few more tablespoons of fat won't kill and will makes a world of difference in these cookies!! And honestly, if you are making chocolate chip cookies, no matter how you look at it, you are not eating the healthiest thing in the world. So just embrace it!

Here is what you will need:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

  1. In bowl, beat butter and gradually beat in granulated and brown sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt, and stir into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. (At this point, the dough may look dry, just throw the wooden spoon away and use you hands to mix, the dough will soften up)
  3. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper–lined or greased rimless baking sheets.
  5. With the spoon, flatten to 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness.
  6. Bake in 350F oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are still slightly underbaked. Let cool on pans on racks for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Transfer to racks; let cool completely.
  8. Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe adopted from Canadian Living

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fish Burritos

Hi guys,

I have being looking for a good fish dish for a long time, and finally came upon this one when I was watching the Food Network (surprise, surprise!). I made this for Derek on our anniversary last week, and he really liked it. Here is what you will need:

Not the best picture in the world...this was before we wrapped it up

4 x 6 oz salmon filets, or any other firm fish
1/2 cup ketchup
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
0.5 - 1 tbsp of your favourite hot sauce (careful with this one, it can make or break the dish)
Salt to taste
6 whole wheat tortillas
1/2 red or green or napa cabbage, sliced very thinly or shredded
1 batch of Avocado Salsa or any guacamole and salsa
Few cilantro leaves

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°. Slice the salmon filets in half lengthwise.
  2. Whisk the ketchup, lime, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot sauce and salt together in a bowl then add the fish, tossing it well to coat it with the marinade.
  3. Grill the fish or place it in an oven proof baking dish and roast until it is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Lay a tortilla on your work surface and add a handful of cabbage. Lay a piece of salmon over it and top with some Avocado, Salsa and cilantro.
  5. Wrap it up like a burrrrito! Enjoy!

Recipe adopted from Michael Smith, Food Network

Saturday, February 28, 2009

DEeeeelicous Oven Baked BBQ Ribs

Hi everyone!

This is my first time making ribs. I always thought that they needed to be grilled over a BBQ, but I was ohhh so very wrong. Ribs slowed baked in the oven was tender, moist and absolutely delicious! Here is how I made them.

2 racks of pork baby back ribs
156 ml Can tomato paste
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar, i just used regular white vinegar
1 cup orange juice, I substituted with apple juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chili powder
Salt to taste

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Put ribs into a large roasting pan.
  3. Whisk together the tomato paste, juice, brown sugar, Dijon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, chili powder and salt. Pour over the ribs.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for about 2 hours
  5. At the end of the 2 hours, remove foil and brush sauce that is left in the pan over the ribs, and bake the ribs uncovered for another 30 minutes, or until the meat is fork tender.
  6. Remove from heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
  7. ENJOY!!


Recipe adopted from Michael Smith, The Food Network

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blueberry Grumble

Hi Everyone,

Blueberries have always been one of my favorite fruits of life. Just the other day, the little grocery store outside my apartment had blueberries on sale and I jumped on it like nobody's business!! Normally, I would just sit and devour 5 lbs of blueberries without thinking, but that day, I felt extra kind (a very rare occasion), and decided that I should probably save some for Derek...So to pass time, I decided to make this grumble while waiting for Derek to get home.

What you will need:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 cup rolled oats, toasted **
4 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Butter an 8” by 8” baking dish.
  2. Make the grumble topping: Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Cut in the ground almonds and the oats. (You could add some cinnamon and ginger if you like)
  3. Toss the fruit with the sugar and flour and tumble into the baking dish Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit and press to pack it down a bit.
  4. Bake until the fruit is soft and the top is crisp, about 40 minutes. Let sit about a quarter hour before serving.
** To toast the oats: I placed a thin layer of oats in a frying pan and turned the heat to med. high. Flipping the oats frequently until toasted, about 5 minutes.

Recipe adopted from Laura Calder, The Food Network

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Hi everyone!!

I have always wanted to try and cook risotto but have always been a bit intimidated by the thought of it. I was sick at home one day and watched Giada on the Food Network make this risotto and I was inspired to give it a try (must of been because of all the medication). Suprisingly enough, it turned out to be very delicious! We used store bought grated Parmesan cheese, so if you use those fancy Parmesans, I am sure the dish will be even better!

Here is what you will need:

8 cups low-salt chicken broth ( I used the chicken stock I made on my own); use veg broth if making vegetarian dish
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

  1. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the white mushrooms and garlic.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms from broth to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan.
  5. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
  8. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth).
  9. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Recipe adopted from Giada De Laurentiis, The Food Network

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup


After brunch with some of my best friends, I felt a bit bad that Derek was at home all alone with no food in his belly... So I went and bought 2 chickens and decided to make some chicken noodle soup from scratch for the poor boy.

It was my first time making chicken soup and it actually turned out great! Derek loved the soup and said that it was the best chicken noodle soup he has ever had!

Here is what you will need:

1 chicken, about 3 lbs, deconstructed
2 cup of carrots, diced and divided
2 cup of celery, diced and divided
1 cup of mushrooms, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 apple, diced
3 slices of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp thyme
1tsp parsley flake
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
A few sprigs of cilantro

  1. Place mushrooms, onion, ginger, garlic, apple, 1 cup of carrots and 1 cup of celery into a large, bottom heavy pot.
  2. Place deconstructed chicken pieces into pot and fill the pot with water until everything is covered
  3. On high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat, and skim the top if necessary. Add in thyme, parsley and cilantro
  4. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours
  5. Remove chicken pieces from the soup, and let it cool. Remove meat from bones and set aside
  6. Strain the soup to remove and discard all solids
  7. At this point, I packed up most of the chicken stock in separate containers, and put them in the freezer, leaving only about 4 cups of stock in the pot
  8. Pour in 4 cups of water to lighten up the stock
  9. Slowly bring the broth up to a boil, add in the rest of the carrots and celery, as well as 2 cups of whole wheat pasta (we used bowties)
  10. After pasta is almost cooked cooked and the veggies have softened, stir in some chicken pieces and season soup with salt and pepper
  11. Once the pasta is completely cooked, remove soup from heat and serve!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slow cooked beef stew with red wine

Hi all!

So for my birthday, my amazing friend Jared got me a fabulous slow cooker. This was the first dish that I cooked with this fantastic machine, it was super easy! Just put it in and turn it on. Beautiful!

Here is what you will need:

2 lbs stewing beef cubes,
OR, if you are stingy like me, I bought a cheap roast and cut it into cubes myself
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup red wine
1.5 cup chicken broth
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
few sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper

  1. Place the potatoes, celery and carrots in the slow cooker. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker. Leave oil in pan.
  3. In the same skillet over medium heat, brown the onions and garlic. Dust with flour and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil while stirring. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the broth, tomatoes. Cover and cook until the meat is easily cut with a fork, about 6 hours with the cooker set to high or 8 hours with the cooker set to low.
  5. With about 2 hours left of cooking time, add thyme into stew.
  6. Remove the thyme when serving. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy!!

Happy cooking!

Lime-licious Chicken Nuggets

Hi everyone!

Happy New year! My apologies for not blogging for so long! It's been a hectic (but wonderful) 2 month for Derek and I. I have now 4 more posts that will go up in the next week, so I hope that will make up for the lack of postings last month.

First up, chicken nuggets with a twist! This dish was simple but delicious, and pretty quick to whip up. Enjoy!

What you will need:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 cup cornflake crumbs
1.5 tbsp grated lime zest
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup lime juice
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat over to 425F. Cut chicken into nugget sizes
  2. Combine cornflake crumbs, lime zest, sugar, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or plate
  3. Measure lime juice into another shallow bowl
  4. Dip chicken pieces into lime juice, then roll in crumb mixture, place on a greased baking sheet
  5. spray rolled chicken with small amounts of cooking spray
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink inside
  7. Cool nuggets on paper towel and enjoy!