Aug 31, 2011

Transformation of Asian Leftover Ingredients - into Fusion Spaghetti

My god...I just realized there's been a major misspelling error on my blog for almost 3 years!!
I know, I know....
There should be way more typos throughout Food Makes Me Happy,
But this one was big..more so embarassing..
If I didn't make this spaghetti, the unforgiving error might last even longer..
( > _.< )"

Fusion or Fushion?
Am I the only that get confused over these two words?

Yes, me..myself.., the so called food blogger,
The misspelled word "fushion" has been sitting on my blog as one of the labels since 2008!!!

Man....even though the correct word "fusion" does pronounce similar to "fushion," (yes? agree? or it's just all in my head?)
A mistake is still a mistake...

-banging my brain against the wall-

FUSHION FUSION spaghetti made with leftover ingredients -

Ingredients (for 4 to 5 portion)?

1 lb of ground beef
1 cup of oyster mushroom
1 package of spaghetti
1/2 onion
2 stalks of scallion
1 small box/50 grams of alfalfa sprouts
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of Chinese spicy bean paste
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Some sea salt
Some hot water
Some grated Parmesan cheese


Alfalfa sprout is one of the vegetables that rarely shows up in my grocery bag,
But the girl at the supermarket mistakenly shuffled my friend's alfalfa sprouts into my bag,
Since there's no way I can return this grassy flavored veggie back to her before it got rotten, maybe the alfalfa sprouts can be a good addition with to my heavy tasting "fusion" spaghetti (I just can't get over the misspelling don't I?) -

Thoroughly rinse the sprouts and give it a few chops,
This will prevent the veggie from tangling up with other ingredients later on.

To prep all the other ingredients,
Bring a big pot of water to a boil,
Add a few pinches of sea salt into the water and toss in one pack of spaghetti,
Cook according to package instruction, but minus couple minutes,
We gonna finish cooking by stir frying the pasta later on,
Once done, drain well and set aside.

Peel the onion and chop into small pieces,
Remove the stems from the scallion and chop into small pieces,
Remove the tougher stems from the mushroom and give it a few chops too.

Have a big pan ready and turn to medium high heat,
Add equal amount of butter and olive oil along with onion, one tea spoon of sea salt, and one tea spoon of freshly ground black pepper,
Cook till the onion turns translucent, toss in chopped scallion,
You'll know it's ready when the aroma comes out and the onions are nearly burned,
Here's the key,
Please make sure the onions are either almost burned or semi-burned,
Don't be afraid, it'll add much more flavor to the dish.

Transfer the ground beef into the pan,
Give it a quick stir then pour in all the below seasonings -
Worcestershire sauce,
Chinese spicy bean paste,
Soy sauce,
Oyster sauce,
Sriracha sauce.

Mix well and cook till the meat is about 60% doneness, add in the mushroom,
Cook till the mushroom softens then pour in the alfalfa sprouts,
About one more minutes, add the already cooked spaghetti,
Let it finish cooking in the pan, until all the sauce has been absorbed by it.

Sprinkle some black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese before serving,
If spiciness is preferred, try to drizzle some Tabasco sauce all over.

Besides semi-burned onions, the butter is one other key that made this "fusion" dish successful,
It adds that sticky, buttery texture to the dish,  and surprising works pretty well with Asian seasonings,
You can also try using butter and soy sauce together with other entrée, such as stir fry pork or fried rice.

Cindy's Rating: 8

Aug 25, 2011

For Those Who Didn't Get a Table at LudoBites - Please Feast with Your Eyes and Enjoy

I was lucky enough to dine at chef Ludo Lefebvre's number 7 "pop-up" restaurant event - LudoBites 007,It's a long and feisty passage to get a reservation at LudoBites,
No phone calls, no showing up at the door, just our old and faithful friend from the 21st century - the Internet.

Thanks to my friends who stared at the computer screens who clicked on the keyboards countless times,
The result?
We managed to get a table for 6 on a Tuesday night, at 9 p.m.,
And yes, the only available time determines when we get to eat, instead of WE decide what time we wanna dine at Ludo's,
The battle for a table is that fierce.

For those of you who doesn't know about LudoBites, please refer to the hyperlink and you'll have all the information in front of your eyes,
I can assure you that the site showcases better insights about the whole concept than my little brain can provide.

Gram & Papa's was chosen as the hosting location for event #007 -

I had a hard time trying to figure out the woman's name on that painting,
Luckily, the right person to ask was right there for me,
Kathy Bates she is,
You know?
The Annie Wilkes in Misery,
The Molly Brown in Titanic,
And the Roberta Hertzel from About Schmidt.
As Ludo changes menu constantly, here's our menu of the day -

Right about my head: an art work created by local chef and Matt Scofield -

Pig's head compressed and mimolette, barbeque gelée $14 -

Don't get gross out by the words "pig's head,"
Trust me, you won't even know there's pig's head inside that dish,
The taste and texture is similar to crispy pork belly skin,
If you live bacon, you'll like it.

On a side note for mimolette,
It's a type of cow's milk cheese that resembles cantaloupe on the outside with a tint of salmon-liked color on the inside.

Prawn ceviche, aji amarillo, red berries $25 -

Plancha tandoori octopus, yogurt, cauliflower, grapefruit $18 -

The grilled octopus was tender with a punch of heavy seasonings,
Perfect match for our little friend here, thanks to our friend -


Foie gras quesadilla, mozzarella, crispy cabbage, celery root, curry $28 -

This is definitely on my top 3 favorites of the night,
Why didn't I think about using foie gras in quesadilla while there were like 6 pieces of frozen ones sitting in my fridge!?

Egg, sea urchin, caviar, champagne beurre blanc $18 -

Not a big fan of this,
I feel like something is missing, but please, this is just my own personal taste talking.

Foie gras French dim sum, crispy kimchi, sake-black truffle cream $28 -

Foie gras tastes so good with kimchi!

This pickled veggie balances out the greasiness of foie gras,
And to compensate with the fat lost, truffle cream was put into a right place to fulfill the whole dish.

Salt crust pork shoulder, beer sabayon, imaginary choucroute, juniper berries -

My tongue just didn't sparkle with this one.

Epoisse cheese risotto, hazelnut, egg yolk, herb salad $18 -

Somehow all the dishes involved with egg that night failed to get my attention,
But it's ok,
All the remaining food totally won me over.

The most beautiful dish of the night,
Squid, black ash, chorizo $12 -

Look at that bright yellow and pitch black contrast,
What's even better, the taste definitely lived up to its looks.

Salt cod panna cotta, whipped fingerling potato, smoked tapioca, black olive bread $12 -

Good contrast between smooth panna cotta and crunchy "croutons,"
However, I did find the bread a wee bit too tough to bite on..
Maybe it's just my I'm getting old.

Raw beef, rainbow carrots, shallots, red wine mayo $15 -

Even though it's more like an appetizer, somehow I find it hearty and comforting,
The red wine mayo must be the reason,
You know what? It might sound absurd at first, but I bet it'll be good serving on a bowl of white rice, like Japanese donburi.

All the above seemed not enough to fill 6 greedy hungry people, so we asked for more -

Jamaican fried chicken wings $10 -

Thoughtfully, gloves were provided so we can still enjoy the food elegantly.

Duck, cherry, spicy saucisse, beets, radish $22 -

My friend said there were two different texture of meat on the plate,
The one showing on the picture, and a ground meat version,
According to their palate, the whole duck meat tastes better,
Well, I didn't even see a bit of ground duck when the plate was passed on to me,
Call that lucky!?

My #1 choice of the day, onion tart, bottarga $10 -

This is where simplicity done right.

The dough was packed with naturally sweet flavor,
The caramelized onion also adds up to another level of sweetness,
I know we were sharing food, but a big portion of that tart ended up in my stomach, happily ever after.

Chocolate cupcake, foie chantilly $14 -

Look at that thing with tiny pieces of bacon on top,
Dense, chocolately, matched with some savory flavors,
You have to try it yourself, it can be quite an interesting roller coaster ride.

Lavender tropezienne tart, aloe vera, strawberry $10 -

Not a big fan of lavender but this one doesn't come with that strong flowery taste,
Light and not overly sweet, unlike the cupcake earlier.

I was glad it came as our last dessert selection because the tart acts similar to mint,
After all the seasonings and interesting flavors, what's left for me in the end, was a pleasant fragrance in my mouth.

Cindy's Rating: 8 (quite an experience~!)

Ludo Lefebvre

Chef's Facebook Page

Aug 16, 2011

Fried Sushi Grade Sashimi Donbori

August 8th was Chinese Father's Day,
My family decided to stay home for dinner instead of getting ripped off by restaurants that night - which was indeed a clever idea.

For a lesser price, we got sashimi, mom's signature fried chicken, seafood soup, my favorite honey cake, etc, on the table,
Eating like a king.

However, I guess my greediness for food is inherited from my dad,
He bought way too much sashimi and there were like 20 pieces fish untouched on the table,
To make a good use of it, frying them might be a good alternate for leftover fish.

Then I have this,
Fried sushi grade sashimi donburi -

Ingredients (for 1 big large portion or 2 smaller portions)?

20 slices of sashimi
4 tablespoons of sweet potato powder
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper powder
1 stalk of scallion
Some rice
Some vegetable oil
Some olive oil
Some daikon (radish)
Some ponzu sauce
Some Japanese soup base (or light soy sauce)
Optional - dried seaweed and toasted sesame seeds


Most common problem of making grated daikon at home is that it doesn't taste as smooth and sweet like the ones from the restaurant,
Instead, it usually comes with unpleasant spicy taste that overpowers the main flavor of the dish.

The reason is due to some kind of enzyme from the daikon itself,
Some said you can soak the daikon in cold water before grating,
As for me, my suggestion is to try to use the topper, inner part of the daikon instead of lower, outer part,
The reason is that there are less enzyme around the top, inner area that can create the spicy taste from grated daikon,
One other suggestion is only grate the daikon right before serving and try to finish it within 5 minutes.

In a small flat plate,
Mix together salt, white pepper power, sweet potato powder, and corn starch,
Simply coat the fish slices with the mixture and set aside -

Combine some olive oil and vegetable oil in a frying pan,
If possible, try to use olive oil only, but it gets expensive so I mixed in some vegetable oil to save some $$.

Turn to high heat,
Once the oil gets hot, or semi bubbly, fry the fish slices in two batches,
About 5 minutes or less for each batch,
Since it was sushi grade fish, I didn't bother much making sure the center is fully cooked through, however, 5 minutes is definitely more than enough to make the fish well done.

Line the paper towel on a plate and transfer the fried fish over,
It'll help soaking up excess oil from the coating.

To serve the donburi,
Scoop some rice to a bowl,
Lay the fried fish slices on top, add a spoonful of grated daikon and sprinkle chopped scallion all over,
Mix ponzu sauce and soup base in 2-to-1 ratio then pour it all over the donburi,
You can also add some shredded dried seaweed or toasted sesame seeds to add more nutritional value, or make you feel better eating fried food.

This recipe supposes to yield for 2 servings..
But looking at the pictures...
You know I actually ate all 20 slices by myself...
Like father like son (daughter..)...

Cindy's Rating: 7
*Next time I'll try to fry shrimps panko style!

Aug 8, 2011

Stir Fry Shrimps with Squash and Tomatoes

Zucchini and squash are still rare find ingredients in Taiwan,
Let it be traditional outdoor market or high-end grocery store, you just can't see them easily,
Only if you get lucky sometime.

Thanks to my mom's luck,
She found this giant squash the other day at a local traditional market,
Even though I didn't plan on stepping into the kitchen for the next few days due to overwhelmingly amount of leftover food from Chinese Father's Day dinner,
But well, I guess exception can be made for this rare* ingredient -

Let me cook something for my dad,
Keep feeding him even after Father's Day! -

*August 8th is Chinese Father's Day because the pronunciation of the number "8" is similar to "father" or "pa pa." Therefore, August 8th is also known as 88 holiday (papa holiday).


1 big squash
1 dozen shrimps (peeled and deveined)
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
2 garlic cloves
2 fresh chili peppers
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1/4 cup of dry white wine
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some parsley or rosemary (optional)


Peel and finely mince the garlic cloves,
Finely mince the fresh chili peppers,
Chop the squash into smaller cubes.

Drizzle enough olive oil until it evenly coat the bottom of the pan,
Toss in chopped garlic, chili peppers, and sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Cook till the garlicky aroma comes out.

Add the shrimps, give it a quick stir,
Toss in squash cubes and sprinkle a little bit more salt, cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the drained tomatoes together with tomato paste and 1/4 cup of dry white wine,
Mix well and cook till the juice has reduced by at least 1/2.

To brighten up the flavor, I recommend using some fresh herbs,
My top choice would be parsley, but little pot of parsley died couple months ago...
But at least my rosemary flourishes -

Well, it works too!
Take a short sprig, remove the leaves from the stem,
Finely chop the rosemary and toss some into the pan,
As for the remaining herb, just sprinkle them onto the plate before serving, or just use the whole sprig as a garnish.

I gonna make my dad fat!
( > _.^)b

Cindy's Rating: 7

Aug 5, 2011

Best Honey Cake from Micasa Dolci Patisserie - Taiwan, Taipei

Wanna see lava cake-liked honey dessert?
Look at this pretty thing -

This is by far my favorite, FAVORITE honey cake I ever ate in my life,
It looked just like all other ordinary honey cake on the outside, well, besides its round instead of common rectangle shape,
Who would have know that it has such a soft and moist inside that just melt in your mouth -

Where did I find this beauty?
At Micasa Dolci Patisserie in Taipei, Taiwan.

Katena Keichi, the Japanese head pastry chef is the creator behind this lava-liked honey cake,
He is also my new found top favorite pastry chefs in Taiwan.

Much dedicated work were put into this tiny 5 inch cake,
First is the mixing of egg yolks and sugar for nearly 40 minutes,
With a little bit of flour, honey, and all other yummy ingredients,
Chef baked the cake for just 10 minutes in order to create that fluffy and moist center.

Unlike all other honey cakes I've ever had,
Micasa's version gives you that moist bite from the beginning till the end,
Highly recommended if you ever visit Taiwan.

Micasa locates next to one of Taiwan's landmark - National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall,
This little eatery has a cozy outdoor seating area which is hard to come by in the crowded city of Taipei,
Big trees provide natural shades for customers,
However, the intolerable heat during summer time keeps me away from enjoying Micasa's creation outside,
But it's ok, the cheerful indoor area with lovely air conditioning aint bad at all -

Perfect match for a sweet treat?
Hot tea it is - 

I have to admit that I didn't come with any positive expectations because of my stereotypical thoughts,
Thinking that Japanese pastry chef usually equals to light flavored dessert,
But I was wrong, so wrong!

Mille-feuille with lychee and fresh fruit filling -

That naturally fruity aroma came right through my nose after the first bite,
It's not overwhelmingly sweet since the chef balanced the flavor out with the pastry and slightly sour-ish fruits.

The whole plate resembles a carefully orchestrated art work,
Or maybe a treasure box for my palate,
I can eat this everyday and will never get sick of it.

Micasa also provide a small selection of savory items such as salads and sandwiches,
Below is meat pastry with stewed mushrooms and salad -

In the beginning, I didn't expect that their desserts can be so delicious,
And now Micasa's savory items just blew me away again - 

Especially the salad,
Usually this type of greens is on the bottom of my list while enjoying a salad dish,
But they match it with quality shredded Parmesan that balance out the grassy taste from the greens, marvelous.

I haven't had any restaurant reviews published for quite some time, especially restaurant overseas,
This shows how much I'm in love with Micasa.

Reservation is recommended, however, this place usually won't get very busy till after lunch hours,
But don't take me seriously on that,
Who knows? If more people found out this place, I don't even know if there will be a seat for me in the future,
Maybe publishing this post is a bad idea...

You should feel lucky I'm in a "sharing" mood today,
Again, highly recommended,
Please do swing by when visiting Taiwan.

Cindy's Rating: Whopping 9!

*Average price is about $10 to $20 per person.

Micasa Dolci Patisserie

First Floor, #426, Section 4, Ren-Ai Road, Shin-Yi Area
Taipei, Taiwan
(02) 2345-7669