Dec 7, 2019

Miso Pork and Eggplant 味噌茄子豬肉片

Haven't use miso for a while, remembered that I used to have one box standing by in the fridge when I was back in the states. So I made a note on my phone, reminding me to get a one next time going to a Japan-based grocery store. However, I completely bypassed that note and came home empty handed. OCD kicked in, I have to get that box of miso. Tried my luck at a local organic store, yes, they do sell it. Their miso boxes come in two different varieties, smooth versus grainy. "Smooth," I requested.

Miso pork and eggplant 味噌茄子豬肉片 -





Ingredients?


  • 1 box/about 12 pork slices
  • 2 long eggplants
  • 1 scallion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Sauce:


  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger 


How?


Peel and grate the garlic, also peel and grate the ginger. Mix all the ingredients under the "sauce" section and set aside for later use.


Not necessary to peel the eggplant, it's up to personal preference. Slice the eggplant diagonally, about 2 to 3 mm in thickness. Destem and chop the scallion.




Prepare a non-stick pan, add in oil and turn to medium high heat. Once the surface turns warm, add in eggplant and sear till slightly softened on both sides. Push the eggplant to one side.




Add in pork slices on the other side of the pan. Sear till some pork fat renders. The eggplant will also absorb the fat from the pork slices. Stir-fry these two ingredients together towards the end.


Pour in the sauce mixture and give it a quick stir. Cook for a wee bit longer till the sauce gets absorbed.


Plate and garnish with chopped scallion.




Use less honey if a less sweet note is preferred, or even substitute with small amount of granulated sugar. Just make sure the sugar has been fully dissolved before pouring to the pan.


Miso is pretty common here in Taiwan, but I want the organic kind. Luckily, I still found one in the end. Otherwise there won't be this recipe, well, maybe delayed a few more weeks. I tend to write down what to cook a month prior, OCD kicks in again.

Dec 2, 2019

Irresistible Garlic Bread

Got one medium length baguette for this recipe. Only intended to eat half initially, but that garlicky smell permeating the whole house, simply irresistible. The truth is, it was gone within minutes. Highly recommend this recipe, so addicting, super delicious, and finger licking good.

Irresistible garlic bread -





Ingredients?


  • 1 medium length baguette
  • 50 grams salted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Some grated aged Parmigiano Reggiano 


How?


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/218 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet or baking dish with foil.




Slice the baguette in half, so the length is still the same, just thinner. You know, not the other way around.



For the garlic butter mixture, mix together softened salted butter, finely chopped parsley, and finely chopped garlic.




Spread the garlic butter mixture to cut sides of bread. Sprinkle some grated cheese to boost up the flavor.




Into the oven and bake till the edge turns golden color, about 10 minutes.


Cut into smaller pieces before serving. The baguette should be crunchy after baking, so use a sharp knife to cut through it.




On a side note, I actually used 4 garlic cloves just because I love garlic so much. Garlic breath? Who cares? Taste always comes first.

By the way, lessons learned , good lessons learned. Next time I have to, no, I need to make more. One medium baguette just won't cut it.



Other bread related recipes:

Nov 25, 2019

Taiwanese Sausage and Firm Tofu Stir-Fry

Inspired by a local teppanyaki restaurant's dish, which incorporates Taiwanese style sausages and seasonings that can be easily found at many households here. Even though I don't have an iron griddle to work with, but a wok with very high heat can still get the job done.

Taiwanese sausage and firm tofu stir-fry -





Ingredients? 


  • 300 grams Shaoxing flavored sausages
  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce paste
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper


How?


Cube the sausages, drain and cube the tofu, destem and chop the scallion, peel and chop the garlic cloves, Peel and finely chop the ginger.



Drizzle some oil in the wok and turn to high heat. Add in chopped garlic and ginger from the start. Just when the garlic is about to brown, add in cubed sausages. Stir-fry for about one minute or less, depending on the heat.




Add in tofu along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick stir. About one minute or less. 




Pour in soy sauce, soy sauce paste, and oyster sauce. Stir-fry till nearly dried up. Mix in chopped scallion and quickly stir-fry for few seconds. The purpose is to let the heat releasing the scent from the scallion. 


Turn off the heat, plate and sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper.




The sausages used here were flavored with Chinese Shaoxing wine, also had a sweeter taste. So I didn't add any rice wine or sugar to the stir-fry. If using other type of sausages, see if need to adjust with extra sugar and rice wine. 


Somewhat comforting and rice-killing dish. If you can't find Asian style sausages, I assume Cajun style spicy sausages work really well too.



Other Asian stir-fry recipes:


Nov 19, 2019

Oven-Roasted Chicken with Peri Peri Sauce

My first dish for blog after moving to a new spot! It's just a temporarily move while waiting on my old place getting revamped. It's going to be a full scale remodeling, tearing down the entire place, getting a new face lift and all that.

So it might take a post or two in order to get a feeling of the lighting at the new spot. Good news is, the oven works great here, otherwise I couldn't have this oven-roasted chicken with such a success.


Oven-roasted chicken with peri peri sauce -





Ingredients?


  • 1/2 bone-in, skin-on chicken (can be substituted with 1 small whole chicken or few drumsticks)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 dried bay leaves


Pre-roasting ingredients -

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chilies



How?


Peri peri sauce recipe was adapted from Adam Liaw's Instagram post. Besides chicken, he also suggested using this barbecue sauce on sausages or lamb chops. After giving it a try, I think it also works great with seafood such as shrimps and cod.


To get it started, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with foil.


Slice the chicken, just on the surface and not cutting all the way down. It'll help the chicken to cook-through faster, especially the thicker center area. 


Peel and roughly chop the onion. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Destem and remove the seeds from red bell pepper. Peel the garlic cloves. Destem and remove the seeds from red chilies. Juice the lemon and cut down the rind.


Transfer the onion, tomatoes, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, and chilies to the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes. 




Once ready, remove from heat and transfer these ingredients to a food processor. Also add in olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon rind, sugar, dried oregano, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and bay leaves. Blend till almost smooth, I prefer some tiny bits remain. For any extra peri peri sauce left after making this recipe, just store them in the fridge for future use.


Prepare one other baking pan and line with foil. Transfer chicken over and spread peri peri sauce all over.




Into the oven, still using 200 degrees Celsius and bake for about 45 minutes. Baking time varies depending on the thickness of the chicken. 




Plate and serve. Perhaps sprinkle some more black pepper when serving the chicken.




First round of food pictures at the new place. Seems ok, I'll try a few more spots and see where I can get the most sunlight.  




Extended reading:

Nov 13, 2019

Plum Shio Kombu Pickled Pak Choi Stems and Cucumbers (淡漬梅塩昆布小白菜梗)

On top of my beloved shio kombu, during my last trip to Japan, I also bought two packs of ume/plum flavored shio kombu. Instead of salty and umami flavors, the plum version comes with extra sweet and sour touch, should be great for a light pickle. And here it is, my first try using plum shio kombu.

Plum shio kombu pickled pak choy stems and cucumbers -





Ingredients?



  • 2 loosely packed cups pak choi stems
  • 1 long/skinny cucumber
  • 1/2 cup ume shio kombu 梅塩昆布
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar


How?


Separate the leafy part and the stem part for the pak choi. Cut the stems into about 2-inch long sections. This recipe only uses the stems, its crunchy texture can take on a light pickle. The leaves on the other hand, might turn soggy and too soft for such prepping method. Perhaps save the leaves for other stir-fry dishes instead.


Prepare a medium pot of water and transfer sectioned stems over. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Drain and wait till the stems cool off.




Julienne the cucumber, doesn't matter peeling or not. Mix together with cooked stems.


Mix in 1 teaspoon of white sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of plum shio kombu. Give it a gentle mix, perhaps with few gentle squeezes to release the flavors from plum shio kombu. 




Transfer to the fridge and chill for about 30 minutes, serve as a cold side dish.




No salt was added to this light pickle since plum shio kombu was already salted. 




Try to keep this dish light and refreshing, so that mild sweet and sour flavors can shine through.




Other shio kombu recipes:

Nov 7, 2019

It Doesn't Have to be Spring to Enjoy Pasta Primavera

Primavera means "spring" in Italian, but it doesn't mean that such dish can only be enjoyed during spring time. The easiest way to put up this dish is to incorporate whatever in-season veggies and turn them into a colorful meal. On top of that, never forget to top with some grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pasta primavera -





Ingredients (about 5 to 6 portions)?



  • 1 pack/500 grams lemon-infused liguine
  • 4 loose cups Brussels sprouts
  • 3 loose cups colorful cherry tomatoes
  • 25 deveined/peeled shrimps
  • 70 grams garden peas
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lime
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Some grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Some salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


How?


It's not necessary to follow exactly what have been listed on the ingredients. For instance, I would prefer to incorporate yellow lemon and use regular pasta for this dish. However, I couldn't get a hold of yellow lemon, but luckily, I found lemon-infused pasta at the grocery store. Sometimes improvising what you've got at the time can turn into even greater result.



Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in few pinches of salt. Cook the pasta till almost al dente. Towards the end, also add in garden peas to cook together with the pasta. Once ready, drain and set aside for later use.


Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimps. Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts. Halve the tomatoes. Peel and dice onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Zest then juice the lime.




Use a big pan or a big pot, drizzle some olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Add in chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook till the onion turns slightly translucent then add in chopped garlic. Cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic.


Transfer Brussels sprouts over and cook for about 2 minutes. 




Add in halved tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.




Add in butterflied shrimps along with 1 tablespoon of lime juice, lime zest, 1 teaspoon of dried mixed Italian herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and heavy whipping cream. Give it a mix. Taste and see if need more seasonings.




Transfer drained pasta and garden peas to the mixture. Mix till combined. The pasta will finish cooking and reach al dente texture here.


Plate and grate some aged Parmigiano-Reggiano right before serving.




Other ideal ingredients including broccoli, asparagus, and bell pepper. Something colorful, something you like, then it'll be your own colorful creations in one plate.



Other pasta recipes:

Nov 1, 2019

Pancetta and Avocado Scrambled Eggs

Pancetta, avocado, and softly scrambled eggs, you can't go wrong with these ingredients. And to scramble the eggs with butter? Even better.

Pancetta and avocado scrambles eggs -





Ingredient?


  • 100 grams pancetta
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Tiny pinch smoked paprika
  • Tiny pinch salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some chopped scallion
  • Some lemon juice (optional)


How?


Cube the pancetta. Peel and remove the avocado seed, slice the avocado. Destem and chop the scallion.


Beat the eggs with tiny pinch of smoked paprika and tiny pinch of salt.




Take a non-stick pan and add in unsalted butter. Also add in cubed pancetta and start searing using medium heat. Keep cooking till some pancetta fat has rendered.




Pour in beaten eggs and softly scramble these ingredients. Lower the heat if need more time. Don't over-stir here in order to keep the eggs as intact as possible.


The eggs might still appear slightly undone, but go ahead and transfer to serving plate. The residual heat will continue to firm up the eggs a little bit more.




Lay down avocado slices and brush with lemon juice if preferred. It'll better help the avocado from browning. Sprinkle some black pepper and garnish with chopped scallion.




If can't find pancetta, thick-cut smoked bacon or whole salami work just as well. Cut the choice of meat into smaller chunks. 




Maybe give it a try this weekend?



Other egg recipes:

Oct 26, 2019

Nope, Not Hedgehog, but Taiwanese Aiyu Jelly

It's play time!



Who said that we can't play with food, boo them! Let's get our hands wet and start squeeze the gooey liquid out of aiyu seeds. Also a great dessert to make with kids at home, so easy and kind of fun, with possibly some water splashing around.


Taiwanese aiyu jelly -





Ingredients (about 8 to 10 portions)?


  • 68 grams dried aiyu (seeds still attached, use less if already separated)
  • 2000 ml water (avoid RO water)
  • Few Taiwanese green lemon (yellow lemon works fine too)
  • Some honey


How?


Why avoiding RO water? The reason is that RO water can hinder the formation of jelly. The result can be watery or gel-like texture.




Use hot water to make some honey water. It'll better help the honey to melt. Store in the fridge to cool down first.






The aiyu seeds used here are still attached to the dried fruit. It's not necessary to remove them. Gently rinse the seeds with water then transfer to a cloth bag. Tie a knot to the opening.


Prepare a big pot of water, about 2000 ml. The aiyu seeds versus water proportion can be tricky at first. On top of that, once finished, aiyu jelly will become firmer even when stored in the fridge. However, about a day or two it'll revert back to watery texture. So it's best to consume within one day.



Insert the aiyu cloth in this pot of water, start rubbing and squeezing it. Think of it as massaging the aiyu seeds. Soon after, it'll turn slimy and gooey, keep going till the entire water turn slightly slimy too. You'll get a feeling that no more yellow hue can be squeezed out once done.




Transfer the pot to the fridge, about 30 minutes after, the water will start to coagulate and become more jelly-like.


The texture will change from watery to gooey, then start to firm up. Sometimes after half day or one day, the jelly will revert back to watery form. The best way is to serve it when aiyu water reaches your favorite texture. 


Scoop some aiyu jelly to the serving bowl, serve with cold honey water and squeeze some fresh lemon juice to further brighten up the flavor. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon.




I like my aiyu jelly on the softer side. Some prefer it firm that you can cut the jelly in half with a gentle bite. Play around the proportion, keep it fun, it'll be delicious with honey water no matter what.



Other dessert recipes:


Oct 21, 2019

Brown Rice SPAM Musubi

It was meant to be regular white rice musubi, but I'm too used to making brown rice at home...and the brown rice was already soaked in water...So here it is, healthier version musubi with a CA vibe.

Brown rice SPAM musubi -



Ingredients (about 8 servings)?

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 can SPAM 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Few sheets dried seaweed/nori


How?

Cook the rice. Once ready, pour in some rice vinegar and fluff the rice. Set aside to cool off.

Cut the SPAM into 8 rectangular slices. Trim the dried seaweed sheets based on the length of SPAM slices. The width of the seaweed should be about the same as the length of the SPAM slices. You'll get a better idea by looking at my pictures.


Prepare a container for the sauce, add in soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Mix and make sure the sugar has been fully dissolved.


Drizzle some oil to the pan and turn to medium heat. Transfer SPAM over and pour in 2/3 of the sauce. Don't pour in all the sauce at once just to be safe. Sear the SPAM with the sauce, no more than one minute then flip and sear the other side. Bubbling sauce is fine, just watch the heat and not burning it.


Use a musubi mold if available, otherwise I just scoop some rice to the center of the seaweed sheet. Press tightly, I also use the side of the knife to help with shaping straight sides. Shape and press till tight rectangular bed of brown rice formed.


Top the rice with same sized SPAM. Fold in one side of the seaweed. Wipe the edge, the sealing edge with some water then fold the other half of the seaweed over. Press and seal.


I've got some sauce left, so decided to cook some chicken tenders with it. Garnish with toasted white sesame seeds. One extra dish made right on the spot.


Other seaweed recipes: