Blueberry Mascarpone Tart

FullSizeRender.jpg

Besides tiramisu, there are plenty of ways to use mascarpone- whether savory or sweet. I kept on coming across tarts with blueberries and lemon, but I am not a particular fan of lemon flavored desserts. You may have noticed, I am a huge fan of vanilla beans and I would reccomend not spending your money on expensive extracts, but buy your Madagascar vanilla beans in bulk. They are one of my secret ingredients in many of my baking recipes. Look forward to hearing what you think of this recipe!

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour

1 stick of butter, chopped into tablespoons

1 tbsp cold water

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup of powdered sugar, sifted

3 egg yolks

1 egg white (for brushing only)

Coconut oil spray


Filling:

17.5 oz mascarpone

2 madagascar vanilla beans, seeds only

2-4 cups of fresh blueberries (depends on how many you would like to place on top)

1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and more for top of blueberries

Preparation:

  • First off is the crust, place all-purpose flour, butter and powdered sugar in electic mixer with a dough hook for kneading;

  • Slowly add the egg yolks, vanilla and cold water to help the dough come together;

  • Put some flour on your kitchen surface so you can knead the dough by hand to form into a ball;

  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until you are ready to prepare the tart;

  • When you are ready, preheat your oven to 350 F;

  • Place the dough on the floured surface once again and use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is able to fit in a circular loose-bottomed tart tin;

  • Spray tart tin with coconut spray and then place dough within the tin;

  • Once settled into the tart tin poke the bottom of the crust with a fork and then brush the crust with the egg white;

  • Refrigerate for another 30 minutes or so;

  • Take the crust out of the refrigerator and place parchment paper in the center of the crust as well as either pie baking weights or rice;

  • Bake crust for 10-12 minutes;

  • In the meantime, in the electric mixer, blend the mascarpone, vanilla bean seeds and sugar together until creamy;

  • Take out the crust and remove paper and weights so the crust can cool;

  • Once cooked, spread the mascarpone filling evenly inside the crust;

  • Cover with blueberries and dust with powdered sugar;

  • and serve!

Xiao Long Bao

IMG_0100.JPEG

While on my way back from Burma, I stopped in Hong Kong to visit my oldest and dearest friend, Chelsea. We have been friends since pre-school and although she now lives thousands of miles away, when we come together (especially over food and drinks), there is never a dull moment. She brought me to the famous Din Tai Fung where I was introduced to Xiao Long Bao, Shanghai Soup Dumplings. I was immediately hooked. Its the perfect pork dumpling with soup inside and there is only one proper way to eat it. I reccomend watching this video before you attempt to make or eat them! So I obviously cannot recreate the dumplings exactly, but here is my adapted recipe:

 

Ingredients:

Aspic:

4 cups of homemade broth

4 tsp (2 packets) of gelatin

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup of water

 

Filling:

1 lb ground pork

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sesamo oil

1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp mirin

2 green onions, chopped

Some freshly grated ginger, about a tablespoon or so

Some freshly grated lemongrass, about a tablespoon or so

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup of cooked and chopped rice noodles (mai fun)

 

Other Ingredients:

Napa cabbage leaves

Wonton wrappers (round ones are better and so are homemade: 350g of all-purpose flour; 3/4 cups boiling hot water; 1/4 cup cold water; and 1 tablespoon cooking oil)

1 egg, beaten

Black vinegar

Julienned ginger

 

Necessary Equipment:

Bamboo steamer

Brush

 

Preparation:

Day before:

Boil chicken stock, add salt and reduce to about 2 cups;

In the meantime add gelatin to 1/2 cup of water, stir briefly and let it sit so you allow the gelatin to absorb the water;

Once the stock is reduced, add the gelatin and stir until it is completely dissolved; and

Remove from pot into a square pan and refrigerate overnight.

 

Day of:

Prep one pot that is the same size of your bamboo steamer and fill halfway with water and set aside;

Line your bamboo steamer with napa cabbage;

In a mixing bowl, add all of the filling ingredients together and mix with your hands until all ingredients are distributed evenly;

Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for an hour or so to allow the ingredients to set;

When ready, take out the gelatin and the filling and mix them together (you can have clumps of the gelatin, but this way when the dumplings are cooked the soup cooks with it and not separately- also better for assembling them);

Lightly brush a wonton wrapper with egg and put 1-2 tsps of filling inside the center of the wrapper depending on how big your wrappers are (ensure you have a good amount of gelatin in there to get that soup when it is cooked);

One the filling is in the center, follow the method that you see in the video and bring all of the edges of the wrapper together in the center of the wonton and press together firmly (make sure there are no holes or cracks and everything is sealed to ensure the soup stays inside);

Repeat this method for each dumpling and turn on the stove and place the pot of water on it to boil (medium heat);

Steam dumplings until cooked through and you can feel the broth has melted; and

Serve Immediately with black vinegar and julienned ginger.  

 

Mongolian Khuushuur

When I was in Mongolia this past April, I was fortunate enough to travel outside of Ulaanbaatar to visit the desert land and traditional yurts. This is where I discovered Khuushuur, or meat pies, that were served with Mongolian milk tea. It is a beautiful custom, no matter where you are or who you are- if you visit a traditional yurt and are greeted by a nomad family, they will open their home to you and serve you this typical dish. Although the milk tea is an acquired taste due to the salt they use, these meat pies that are filled with mutton (lamb) are addictive and I found myself craving them when returning home. Here is the recipe, let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients:

For dough:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup warm water

 

For filling:

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb ground or thinly sliced and chopped lamb

1 cup onion, minced

2 scallions, minced

1/4 cup water

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Sunflower oil (for frying)

 

Preparation:

Start with making the dough by stirring flour and salt together in an electric mixer with bread kneading hook;

Stir in warm water until the dough forms;

Transfer to a flour surface and knead briefly;

Form into 13-14 (1 1/2 inch) balls;

Cover with plastic or cloth and allow the ballls to sit a room temperature for 1 hour;

In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients and mix together with hands and set aside;

When the dough is ready, preheat oven to 250 F;

Roll out balls of dough into a 3 to 4 inch rounds on a floured surface with a rolling pin;

Put about 2 tablespoons of filling on one half of the rounds and flatten the filling and fold the other half over to form a half-moon (I usually do this part in my hands rather than on the floured surface);

Press edges together to seal the half-moon and force out the air;

When ready, heat 2 inches of sunflower oil over medium high heat

Fry the meat pies until golden and meat is just cooked through, about 6 minutes;

Transfer to paper towels to drain;

While cooking the remaining meat pies, keep them warm on a baking sheet in the preheated oven; and

Serve immediately while hot!

Mondeghili (Polpette Milanesi)

FullSizeRender.jpg

Mondeghili originate from Milano, Italy and are what I like to call a real Italian meatball. They are considered your sunday leftover dish, where you are able to take what you have left in your fridge and put it all together to make delicious polpette! I literally only had a cranberry baguette for bread and used it for this recipe so I really do mean use what you have. This is a perfect recipe to start testing your confidence in the kitchen. You can add a little more or less of everything based on your preferences. Just remember if you add anything more of ricotta or liquid, be sure to balance it out with more dry ingredients or vice versa.

 

Ingredients:

1.3-1.5 pounds of ground beef, veal and pork

170 g of mortadella, finely diced

2 tbsp of ricotta

100 g or so of parmigiano reggiano, grated

2 eggs

Several slices of stale bread, diced

3/4 cup of milk

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Some parsely, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

 

Sunflower oil (for frying, I always use sunflower oil because its healthier)

Bread Crumbs (for coating meatballs)

 

Homemade Tomato or Marinara Sauce for dipping

 

Preparation:

Place bread pieces in a bowl and cover with milk, set aside;

Place bread crumbs in a small bowl;

In a larger mixing bowl, place all ingredients together, add stale bread at the end;

Mix with your hands to ensure that ingredients are meshed together well;

Start forming small meatballs (1 inch or so) my rolling the meat into a ball between your two hands;

Coat with breadcrumbs;

With oil in a pot over medium high heat, wait for the oil to be ready (place a small breadcrumb to see if it simmers);

Place meatballs in the pot and cook for 5 minutes or so (how many you can fit depends on how big of a pot you use. For me, I had to do four rounds for this amount of meat so you can turn your oven on 250 F and have the finished meatballs in the oven until you finish and are ready to serve);

Place finished meatballs on paper towels to get rid of excess oil; and

Serve immediately with homemade tomato sauce!

Molasses Glazed Peking Duck

IMG_0098.JPEG

There is nothing better in this world than Peking Duck. And although I love the traditional version, my homemade version has become a favorite amongst family and friends because of the glaze added to the skin of the duck. Based on the size of your duck you may need to reduce the time of each hour by 10-20 minutes. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to comment and I am happy to help you on your first peking duck journey.

 

Ingredients/Equipment:

1 whole duck

Roasting Pan with Rack

Kitchen String

Brush

Saucepan

Large Bowl (2)

Rolling Pin

 

For Marinating/Basting:

1 orange, squeezed/juiced

1/4 cup of honey

1/4 cup of molasses

2 tbsps chinese five spice

2 tbsps of sriracha

2 tbsps of soy sauce

1/2 cup of Shaoxing cooking wine or mirin if you cannot find it works too

 

Mandarin Pancakes

Sesame Oil

2 cups of flour, plus extra for rolling out dough

1 cup of boiling water

 

Sides:

Spring Onions

Hoisin Sauce

Julienned Cucumbers (remove seeds)

Chili Sauce (if you like a little spice)

 

Preparation:

 

Wash duck and remove insides/ neck if not already removed for you. Pat dry and start to separate the skin from the meat as best as possible with your fingers. You usually can poke one finger between the skin and meat and then utilize your other hand to separate the rest of the skin from the meat of that section;

In a small sauce pan coming the marinade ingredients and bring to a slight boil, reduce temperature and let it cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure it does not burn or overflow;

In a large bowl, place the duck and pour the marinade over the duck. Massage the marinade all over the duck and let it soak in the marinade on each side about 3 minutes. Constantly massaging the marinade on the duck will help ensure it is evenly distributed;

Remove duck from bowl of marinade and set the remaining marinade aside for basting/ brushing. Use kitchen string to tie the ducks legs together and then utilize the remianing string to hang the duck upside down to hang dry. I utilized the handle of my microwave above my stove to hand the duck and ensure it was well ventilated. I placed the marinade bowl underneath for any drippings. If you cannot hang dry your duck for more than an hour, I would pat the duck slightly with a paper towel. I keep my duck hang drying for 2-3 hours;

While waiting you can create your mandarin pancakes dough by placing flour and boiling water together to form a dough. Be careful not to burn your hands while mixing together. Set the dough aside in the fridge covered with plastic wrap until ready to cook;

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 F and ensure that you have your roasting rack ready. If you dont have a rack you can utilize a cooling rack that fits well on your oven pan to ensure you do not have any drippings smoke in your oven. The reason you need to separate your duck from the pan is because the duck would soak in the drippings otherwise and not allow the skin to crisp;

Remove duck from hang drying and poke holes throughout the duck; score the duck breast with a knife as you can see it in the picture. You are creating slight Xs thoughout the duck breast skin;

Place duck in oven for 1 hour, breast side up;Turn duck over and place for 1 more house breast side down;

Turn duck over and brush marinade over duck breast and place in oven for 1 more hour breast side up (If a smaller duck, reduce oven time 10-20 minutes and reduce heat to 250 F)

Turn duck over once more and brush marinade over duck and place in oven for 1 more hour breast side down (If a smaller duck, reduce oven time 10-20 minutes and reduce heat to 250 F);

Turn heat up to 400 F (or 375 F if smaller duck) and duck over one last time, duck breast side up, brush marinade over skin. Place it in the oven for 10 minutes,until skin is crisp!

While duck is at its final stages, roll out small mandarin pancakes (should be thin and evenly distributed). In a pan, place some sesame oil over medium heat and cook pancakes for about 20 seconds or so on each side; and

Remove duck from oven and serve with cucumbers, spring onions, hoisin sauce, chili sauce and mandarin pancakes!

Turmeric Roasted Snapper with Sambal Matah

IMG_0097.JPEG

South Asia has inspired my cooking the most outside of Italy and so it is always wonderful to be in the countries to try new things that I haven't discovered. Since it is so difficult to find fresh (and I mean really fresh) seafood in the states, I spend most of my time trying any fresh fish entrees when eating out. So when I returned home I wanted to make something inspired by this. So here is my recipe for Turmeric Snapper with my version of Sambal Matah. In the summer I plan on barbecuing the snapper, but this time I used an oven!

 

Ingredients:

1 1 1/2 - 2 pound whole snapper

2 pieces of fresh turmeric, peeled

4 garlic cloves

1 squeezed lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Sambal Matah:

2 shallots, chopped

2-3 thai chilies (green or red), sliced

Baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1-2 lemongrass stalks (just the white part, slivered)

Some bean sprouts

Handful of spinach

Some fish sauce

1-2 Limes (juiced)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F;

In a blender, blend turmeric, garlic cloves & lemon juice;

Coat snapper with salt and pepper;

Brush on the turmeric mixture on both sides and place some inside of the smapper;

Spray coconut oil on oven pan and place slices of lemon in the center. Place the fish on top;

Roast snapper in oven for 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the fish (turn halfway through);

In the meantime, place coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat;

Add shallots, baby bella mushrooms, chilies (add only as many as you can handle- this is extremely spicy!) and lemongress. Cook the vegetables together and when almost cooked, add the spinach and some lime juice and fish sauce (this is being used instead of belacan which is hard to find);

Salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Add some bean sprouts and set aside;

At 35-45 minutes, turn oven broiler on and place fish inside and flip after each side's skin is crispy; and

Remove and serve with Sambal Matah.

Baci Di Dama

007F30F3-1EEE-4A8D-BF90-98EC55CE8381.JPG

Ingredients:

300 g unsalted butter, cold & sliced

300 g hazelnut meal

300 g caster sugar

300 g type 00 flour

Cioccolato Fondente (60 or 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate)

Preparation:

Mix all of the ingredients together until it crumbles and then forms together with an electric mixer and the folding paddle attachment;

Place dough in large plastic bag and put in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours;

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 285 F;

Place parchment paper on cookie sheets;

In small batches, take out dough from fridge as you want the dough to stay cold to roll well;

Take out baking scale and measure 6 grams for each Baci di Dama;

Roll the 6 grams of dough into a ball and place on cookie sheet. They will not expand a great amount so you can fit them close together within reason;

Bake in oven for 17-19 minutes depending on your oven;

Remove and let cool completely;

In a bainmarie, heat the chocolate. Once it has melted you can turn off the heat. It will stay melted for some time and is easier to use when not hot;

When cookies are completely cooled, use a teaspoon to place the chocolate on the cookie and push two cookies together; and

Enjoy! Let them rest overnight if packaging and you can store them for up to a week.

Apple Celeriac Soup

Ingredients:

2/3 cup of yellow onions, diced

2/3 cup of celery, diced

2/3 cup of carrots, diced

1 celeriac, peeled and chopped

4 apples, peeled and chopped

4 tbsps of olive oil

2 L of chicken or vegetable stock

2 tsps of sage

2 tsps of cardamom

3-4 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

175-200 ml of creme fraiche

Salt & pepper, to taste

Golden Raisins

 

Preparation:

In a large pot, add olive oil, yellow onions, celery and carrots together over medium heat until translucent;

Add apples and celeriac and cook for another 5-7 minutes;

Add stock and all of the spices and allow everything to come to a boil;

Immediately once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer the soup for 30 minutes or so (until celeriac is completely tender);

Once cooked, remove bay leaves. In batches, blend ingredients in blender;

Add 1/2 of creme fraiche to the blended soup and mix well;

Ensure that there is enough salt and pepper; and

When ready to serve, put soup in bowl, add a small dollop of creme fraiche and some golden raisins. Serve immediately!

Lavender Hazelnut Champagne Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups of cake flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup hazelnut meal

1 tbsp culinary lavender buds

¾ tsp sea salt

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups lavender sugar (2 tbsp culinary lavender buds & 2 cups sugar blended together)

2 tbsp honey

6 large eggs

⅓ cup sour cream

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp of almond extract

½ cup champagne

 

Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp champagne

Natural Purple Food Coloring

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F;

Place cupcake liners in 2 cupcake pans;

In a bowl, combine the flours, hazelnut meal, lavender and sea salt;

In another bowl for your electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and honey on medium-high speed until fluffy;

Lower the speef and add the eggs, sour cream, almond and vanilla extract;

Add the flour mixture and combine until the batter is smooth;

Use a large ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners with the batter, about 3/4 full. Bake for 30, or until toothpick comes out clean;

Allow to cool completely before frosting;

In the meantime, make the frosting in the electric mixer;

Beat the butter on mediumm-high speed until creamy;

Add the powdered sugar;

Add the vanilla extract and champagne;

Lastly add the purple food colouring until a lavender purple shade;

Once the cupcakes are cooled, use piping bag to frost cupcakes;

Decorate with culinary lavender; and

Serve immediately or in fridge for several days.

Bison & Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter

2/3 cup onion, chopped

2/3 cup carrot, chopped

2/3 cup celery, chopped

4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1 pound of grass fed bison (water buffalo)

1 pound of ground turkey

4 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 large can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes

3 cups of homemade bison bone broth

2 tsp sea salt

2 bay leaves

3 tbsp red chili powder

1 tbsp cumin powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp allspice powder

Fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Serve with Sour Cream, Crushed Tortilla Chips, Chopped Cilantro, Chopped Tomatoes and Shredded Cheddar Cheese!

Preparation:

Combine ingredients in the order of the ingredients above in a large dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Make sure meat is cooked through before adding the remaining ingredients. Once the soup boils, allow it to boil for 3 minutes and then reduce to low heat to simmer for an hour. You want to soup to thicken and the sweet potatoes to be tender. Enjoy!

Georgian Chkmeruli Chicken

In college, I had Georgian friends who always raved about their cuisine and it made me always want to go to Georgia and try it. When I was in Prague I was so excited to find a Georgian restaurant next door to my favorite Hemingway Bar, but it was closed for the days I was there and I figured it was a sign I should just wait until I get the chance to go to Georgia. But as I was working with women in Georgia who know my love for cooking, they sent me some recipes that I needed to try at home. I was excited to make this garlic chicken and was intrigued at the ingredients it called for. So I gave it a shot and it was one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had in my life!

 

Ingredients:

1 3 1/2-pound chicken, spatchcocked

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsps grapeseed oil

2 tbsps unsalted butter

10 cloves garlic

1 large jalapeño pepper, chopped

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup whole milk

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 F;

Season spatchcocked chicken with salt and pepper;

Heat oil and butter in large cast-iron skillet over medium heat;

Add the chicken skin side down and cook about 10 minutes;

Flip and cook about 7 minutes on the other side;

In the meantime, combine the garlic, water, milk, jalapeno and a pinch of salt in a food processer until smooth and well blended;

Turn the chicken over one more time, skin side up and pour the sauce evenly over the entire chicken;

Place it in the oven and cook until the chicken's internal temperature at a thick part of the breast or thigh away from the bone reaches 165 F, about 20-30 minutes. I would reccomend spooning the sauce over the chicken half way through.;

Remove and let cool before serving on a bed of roasted vegetables or with potatoes/bread!

Egg Yolk Tagliatelle

 

 

IMG_0094.JPEG

 Ingredients:

200 g semolina
200 g Type 00 flour or all purpose flour
2 large organic eggs
8 organic yolks

 

Special Equipment:

Rolling pin

Pasta maker

Pasta maker attachment for cutting the pasta to your preferred size

 

Preparation:

Take a large wooden cutting board out and place somewhere you have ample room to move around;

Place flour on the cutting board and create a well with an opening in the center of the flour. Make sure you put the flour up high enough around the hole- think of a water resevoir. Your hole should be wide, about 6 inches or so in diameter but don't bring out any measurements! This is supposed to be messy;

Pour the two eggs and egg yolks in the center of the well;

Use a fork to beat the eggs slightly and begin to incorporate the flour;

Continue to incorporate the flour using your hands until all of the flour and eggs are well mixed together. The dough should be a bit tough to work with but if the dough is too dry, add a bit of water; if it is too soft, add a bit more flour;

Continue to knead the dough with your hand for about 10 minutes or so and form a ball;

Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for an hour in a darker location (not under the light);

When ready to roll out your pasta, dust your cutting board with flour and semolina;

Cut your dough depending on the size of your pasta maker- mine is quite small so I cut the dough into an inch thick piece or so;

Roll out with rolling pin to make a longer piece with the width of the pasta machine size;

Put the sheet through the pasta machine 2-3 times, continously making the setting smaller. This is how you get the right thickness you are looking for for your pasta. I usually end up on setting 5;

Follow with the pasta machine addition to slice into tagliatelle;

Place pasta through the pasta machine addition and then place pasta on another cutting board dusted with semolina;

Repeat for remaining dough; and

Cook immediately or store in freezer with plenty of semolina so it does not stick together. 

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes with Speculoos Mascarpone Frosting

Ingredients: (12 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
120 g cane sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsps vanilla bourbon extract
200 g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
60 ml whole milk

3-4 fresh raspberries per cupcake (fresh or frozen)

 

Frosting:

220 g mascarpone
200 g speculoos
75 g icing sugar, sieved
1 tsp vanilla bourbon extract

 

Speculoos cookies, blended for crumbs/decor

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F;

Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan;

In an electric mixer bowl, mix sugar and butter together until creamy on medium speed;

Add eggs and vanilla extract;

In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and baking soda together;

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients slowly;

When well mixed together, add milk on low speed;

With a ice cream scooper, scoop dough into cupcake liners (half full);

Push 3-4 raspberries into each cupcake;

Bake in oven for 17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean;

Remove and let cool completely before you place icing on top;

To make the icing, place all ingredients in the electric mixer and mix of medium-high speed until well-blended and creamy and place in fridge until ready to use;

Use icing bag to frost each cupcake; and

Add speculoos cookie curmbs on top of cupcake for decoration!

Store in fridge.

Pandan Waffle with Kyar Jam

This Vietnamese Waffle is the perfect way to start or end your day. It is a breakfast, but it's just as good for dessert. I tried this for the first time when I was in Burma and I was so intrigued by the subtle flavors that resonate well with my palate that I had to inquire what it was. Pandan is an exotic plant that is used in Asian cuisine. You can buy an extract that works just as well as the leaves in the United States. I also love utilizing coconuts for just about anything. So when I saw this green kyar jam next to the waffles in Burma and learnt that it was coconut and pandan, I had to try it. Together, it is heaven. You can use maple syrup with this waffle, but the jam is a nice replacement - even for your butter in  the center. This may require a trip to a specialty store or an amazon purchase, but it is well worth it. I mean, I went out and bought a waffle maker solely to make this!

Ingredients: (Makes one large waffle)

Dry Indredients:

1/4 cup of rice flour (try and get this for the purpose of a less dense waffle, but if not sub for all-purpose flour)

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

4 tbsps of cane sugar

pinch of salt

 

Wet Ingredients:

1 egg

1 tbsp of butter

3/4 cup of coconut milk

1 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of pandan extract

Coconut oil spray

 

Kyar Jam:

A drop or two of pandan extract

2 tbsps of coconut jam

 

Special Equipment:

Wafflemaker

 

Preparation:

Preheat waffle maker;

In large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside;

In a small bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together;

Whisk and combine ingredients in small bowl in the large bowl with dry ingredients;

Spray waffle maker on both sides with coconut oil spray;

Place the waffle dough in the bottom of the waffle maker;

Follow the instructions on your waffle maker and cook for 4-5 minutes;

In the meantime, mix a drop or two of pandan extract with coconut jam; and

Remove  waffle and serve with kyar jam.

Thai Khao Tom Madt

IMG_0093.JPEG

Khao Tom Madt is an amazing Thai dessert that incorporates coconut sticky rice, bananas and banana leaves- steamed and cooled to make the perfect sweet end to your meal. Usually you can add red beans as well, but I prefer it without. It is a simple recipe that I hope you will enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of coconut cream

1 cup of sweet rice, glutinous rice

4-6 tablespoons of cane sugar (up to you how sweet you want it)

2 regular bananas, halved into four pieces or 4 small or red bananas (more common in speciality stores)

8 pieces of banana leaves

Pinch of salt

 

Equipment:

Bamboo Steamer

Pot

Seive

 

Preparation:

Soak sweet rice in water overnight or at least 3 hours;

Place rice through seive and then in pot with coconut cream, sugar and pinch of salt;

Stir over medium to medium-low heat until the coconut cream is fully absorbed by the rice. This should turn into sticky rice;

Remove from heat and allow the rice to cool for a bit;

Take a pot that fits underneath your bamboo steamer and fill 1/4 of the pot with water. Place on stove without the bamboo steamer and boil the water;

While you are waiting for the water to boil, take your bamboo leave and place a small handful of sticky rice in the center. Add the piece of banana in the center of the sticky rice. Cover the piece of banana with more sticky rice. Make sure it is well put together covering the entire banana. Fold two sides of the banana leaf over and roll the remaining banana leaf so the sticky rice is completely enclosed within the leaf;

Place in bamboo steamer (usually four at a time) and steam over boiling water for 15-20 minutes; and

Remove and cool. Serve!

Char Siu Bao

IMG_0083.JPEG

Ingredients:

Filling:

1.5 pounds of sliced pork belly

2 shallots, minced

1 piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp of sesame oil

 

My Char Siu Sauce Recipe:

3 tbsps agave

3 tbsps hoisin sauce

1 tsp chinese five spice powder

1 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp sesame oil

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp shaoshing rice cooking wine

1 tbsp cane sugar

 

Dough:

500 g of all-purpose flour

1 packet of instant yeast

80 ml of water

80 ml of milk

 

Preparation:

In a large mixing bowl,  whisk all the ingredients of the char siu sauce together;

Add the pork belly and ensure the pork is soaking in the sauce;

Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to marinate overnight;

The next day, prepare the dough by whisking the yeast with the water and milk;

Let it sit for 5 minutes and then add all of the dough but 2 tbsps (you want to reserve this for when you are kneading and then rolling out the dough);

Remove from the bowl and knead the dough with your hands until well combined (about 15 minutes);

Form dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a cool dark place for 30-45 minutes);

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375 F and place slice of the pork belly on aluminum foil on an oven pan (do not through out left over char siu sauce). I would recommend an oven pan with edges so nothing drips into your oven;

Cook the pork belly for 25-30 minutes, turning half way in, until golden and caramelized;

In another bowl, combine the chopped shallots and garlic with 1 tbsp of the char siu sauce and let it sit while you are waiting for your pork to finish;

When pork is finished, remove from the oven and place the pieces back in the bowl of the char siu sauce;

One by one, remove and chop the pork belly and add to the shallot and ginger mix. Stir all together and set aside;

When dough is ready, flatten the dough into a rectangle with your hands and then roll it up together. Press the dough and elongate it so you could cut 12 even slices of dough;

One at a time: form each slice into a ball and then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough;

In the center of the dough, place about 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture;

Take two parallel edges of the dough and bring them together. Begin to form pleats with the remaining dough until everything meets at the center. Push together gently and then place the bao bun on parchment paper in a bamboo steamer;

Repeat for each piece of dough;

Take a pot that fits directly under bamboo steamer and fill 1/4 way with water. Bring the water to a boil;

When water is boiling place the bamboo steamer over the water and steam for 15 minutes;

Remove from steamer and let it sit for 5 minutes with top still on; and

Remove top and enjoy while hot!

IMG_0095.JPEG

Quail Egg Ravioli

IMG_0084.JPEG

Ingredients:

Dough:

2 eggs,

2 tbsps of ice cold water

1 1/2 cups of type 00 flour (sub for all purpose if you dont have it)

1/2 cup of semolina

 

Filling:

400 g ricotta

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 handful of shitake mushrooms, finely chopped

1 handful of fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

3 tbsps parmigiano reggiano, finely grated

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt & pepper, to taste

12 quail eggs, yolks only (save egg yolks for brushing)

 

Sauce:

4 tbsps of salted butter

2 tbsp of fresh marjoram, finely chopped

2 garlic clove, minced

Leaves of four sprigs of thyme

3-4 tbsps of dry white wine

 

Special Equipment:

Pasta maker

Ravioli Cutter

Brush

 

Preparation: 

For the dough, create a resevoir of flour and semolina with high walls;

Place the eggs and water in the middle of the resevoir;

With a fork, start mixing the eggs and water together and slowly start to incorporate the flour. At some point, just use your hands and get messy;

Continue to knead the dough with your hands for 10 minutes or so. At first you will feel like its not coming together, just wet your hands and continue to knead the dough together and it will all come into place. Trust me! The trick is to just wet your hands if you really feel you need a little help;

Form the dough in a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in cool, dark area for an hour;

In the meantime, with just a touch of olive oil, place the minced garlic, finely chopped shallot and mushrooms in a pan and cook for a couple minutes until softened and translucent- not golden;

Let it cool and in the meantime mix the egg, fresh tarragon, ricotta, parmigiano and salt and pepper together;

Add the shallot, mushrooms and garlic mixture and set aside.

When the pasta dough is ready, cut into four pieces. Flatten one piece with your hands;

Prepare your pasta machine. Place it on the largest setting and start putting the piece of dough through the machine. Each time, place it twice through each setting, until it gets thinner and thinner. Should finish of setting 5 and sprinkle with semolina. Repeat with the other four pieces;

 

Lay down your pasta and cut into 10 cm pieces. Place 2 tsps of filling in center of 10 cm piece, make a little well. Place quail egg yolk in center. Brush edges of pasta with quail egg white and place another 10 cm piece on top. Press down around the filling to make sure there are no air holes and pieces are fully together. Cut around with a ravioli cutter to form round ravioli shape. Repeat with each ravioli;

Boil water and sprinkle with salt and place ravioli in batches into water for 1-2 minutes only. Remove carefully from water;

In the meantime, place all the sauce ingredients into small sauce pan. Simmer ingredients together until ravioli are ready; and

Place on ravioli and serve immediately.

IMG_0092.JPEG

Korean Bo Ssam

IMG_0085.JPEG

David Chang and the infamous Momofuku restaurants have Korean Bo Ssam as a speciality on the menu. You have to order it in advance, but the feast is well worth it for a group of friends looking for a great night of food. I wanted to take his amazing recipe featured in the New York Times and make it for two people (well, two people and a good amount of leftovers). If you see the recipe online versus mine, I have made some changes to it as I can never leave a recipe alone- but ultimately, the genius here is David Chang and the beautiful piece of pork I got to work with! I also didn't use kosher salt and so I used sea salt. Make sure you double the amount of salt I use if you use kosher salt.

 

Ingredients:

2.5 pound pork butt or shoulder

1/3 cup of cane sugar plus more cane sugar for next day

1/4 cup of sea salt

4 tbsps of brown sugar with a pinch of sea salt

 

Accompaniments:

1 dozen oysters, shucked

Sticky rice (1 cup of glutinous rice soaked in water for four hours and then steamed in bamboo steamer with banana leaves until cooked- approx 15 minutes)

Bibb lettuce for wraps

Kimchi (Mat)

Kimchi (Radish)

Ginger Scallion Sauce: 2 1/2 cups thinly slice scallions; 1/4 cup of grated ginger; 1/4 cup of grated galangol; 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil; 1 1/2 tsps of soy sauce; 1 tsp of sherry vinegar; and 1/4 tsp sea salt

Ssam Sauce: 2 tbsps of ssamjang; 2 tbsps of kochujang; 1/3 cup of sherry vinegar; 1/3 cup of grapeseed oil

 

Preparation: (You must start the night before you make it for the next night)

Combine 1/4 cup of sea salt with 1/3 cup of cane sugar. Place pork in medium/ large bowl and rub with salt and sugar mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place bowl in fridge overnight;

The next morning, remove all the liquid that exists at the bottom of the bowl with the pork. Cover the pork with more cane sugar, just enough to cover the pork, and place back in fridge;

Several hours before you are ready to cook the pork, remove the pork from the fridge and heat the oven to 300 F;

Place pork on rack on a roasting pan and place it in the oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until it collapses as David Chang says. You can see it collapse when you press a fork to it;

Remove the pork from the oven and let it cool for 45 minutes;

While cooling, prepare your ginger scallion sauce by blending all the ingredients together except for the scallion slices. Mix the blended ingredients with the scallion slices and set aside;

Then preparing you ssam sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and serving in a small bowl. You can reduce the amount of kochujang if you don't like spicy;

Prepare your sticky rice, lettice wraps, kimchis and finally shuck your oysters;

When your sticky rice is in the steamer, turn your oven to 500 F;

Rub the brown sugar and pinch of salt over the cooked pork and place it in the oven for 10 minutes or so. You want to have a dark caramel crust as David Chang says and you know it is ready when you see parts of the fat that start to bubble. Do not open the oven during the process so the heat stays within the oven; and

Remove and serve immediately with all of the ingredients! See picture below of what the wrap looks like when it comes together.

 

 

The Caramelized Bo SSam  

The Caramelized Bo SSam

 

The Perfect Bite!  

The Perfect Bite!  

Sholeh Zard (Persian Rice Pudding)

IMG_0086.JPEG

Ingredients:

1 cup of short grain rice (I prefer sushi rice)

2 cups of water

2 cups of milk

2 cups of heavy cream/ half & half or milk

Pinch of saffron

3/4 cup of sugar

3-5 green cardamom pods, seeds

3 tablespoons of culinary rose water

Chopped Pistachios (garnish)

Honey (garnish)

Preparation:

Place rice, water, milk and cream in medium-sized pot over medium heat;

Stirring occassionally with a wooden spoon, allow the rice and liquid to come to a boil;

Turn down to low heat and continue to stir occassionally until the liquid is mostly absorbed (can take up to an hour);

When almost at the consistency you would like it to be, add the remaining ingredients;

Remove from heat and either serve with chopped pistachios and honey if you like your rice pudding warm or store in fridge if you like your rice pudding cold. Definitely enjoyable the next day!

Banana Blossom Salad

IMG_0087.JPEG

When I was in Sri Lanka, I discovered the benefit of eating banana blossoms. These wonderful flowers aid digestion and make a meal more refreshing. I decided to take on making a banana blossom salad at home. I was lucky to find the blossom at H Mart, our local Asian grocery store. I hope you will take the time to consider venturing into new territories and buying ingredients that you wouldn't normally pick up after seeing this recipe! You will surely benefit by opening up your palate. I say use a small or just a handful of something for the salad because it really is up to you. If you like thai basil more than you like mint, add a larger handful of thai basil. If you love scallions, you can add a regular handful rather than just a small one. This is a salad and so you aren't going to need exact ingredients, just the confidence to know what you want in a salad! Look forward to hearing what you think!

 

Ingredients:

Poached Coconut Chicken:

4-5 pieces of chicken tenders

1 can of coconut milk

1 Green Thai Chili, minced

1 Red Thai Chili, minced

2 tbsps coconut/ palm sugar

1 1/2 tbsp of fish sauce

2 tbsp of lime juice

1/3 cup of water

1 tbsps of grated galangol

2 garlic cloves, crushed

 

Salad:

1 banana blossom, peeled completely. Only use the white part of the blossom and finely slice the white leaves and place in 1 cup of water with extra lime juice immediately so it does not discolor.

1 handful of mint leaves, chopped

1 handful of thai basil leaves, chopped

1 hanful of cashews, chopped

2 thai red chilies, minced

Small handful of sliced scallions

Lime juice

 

Preparation:

In a medium sized pot, add all of the ingredients for the poached coconut chicken over medium-high heat;

As the liquid with the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat to medium/medium-low heat and allow it to cook for about five minutes, stirring occassionally;

After 5 minutes, reduce heat to the lowest setting while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

For the banana blossom: You are going to remove all of the red leaves that you encounter to be able to get just the white portion of leaves in the center. Similar to an artichoke or lemongrass in terms of getting to the heart of the flower. I halved and washed two of the red leaves to use to serve the salad as you can see above. When you get to the white leaves, thinly slice them until you come to the end of the banana leave where you find the white pollen. Toss all of the slices leaves into water with lime juice to ensure it does not discolor.

In a medium/large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together for the salad except for the banana leaves and chicken;

Remove the chicken from the coconut broth and slice thinly. You will see that because the chicken is poached, it just falls apart! Let the chicken cool for a bit;

While you are letting the chicken cool, place banana leaves through sieve and add to the other salad ingredients in the bowl; and

Add the chicken and a few tablesspoons of the coconut broth and toss the salad ingredients together. Add a little more lime juice or coconut broth to your salad if you'd like- get to the right taste for your buds!

Serve as is or in the washed red leaves you saved!