Feb 18, 2024

Whipped Brie with Mascarpone, Honey, and Pink Peppercorn

It was meant to be ricotta, but the only option I have at the grocery store that day was crème fraîche and mascarpone. Imagining the final taste in my head, I quickly grabbed the mascarpone and started putting all the ingredients together in the kitchen.


Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn - 


Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn


Ingredients?

  • 250 grams brie
  • 200 grams mascarpone 
  • 1 to 2 baguette 
  • Some honey
  • Some pink peppercorn
  • Some salt flakes (optional)


How? 

Slice the baguette and set aside for later use. I serve the baguette slices as it is. Ok, I admit I was a bit lazy. However, if you would like to go all out for this recipe, drizzle some olive oil to the baguette slices and toast till the bread gets nice grill marks.


Slice the baguette bread

Cut off the rinds from brie then dice the soft center part. Smaller pieces will be easier to blend in a food processor.


Trimmed brie

Add the brie chunks to the food processor, the end total after removing the rind was about one cup full. Also add in 200 grams of mascarpone. 


Adding brie and mascarpone to food processor

Start blending till smooth.


Whipped brie and mascarpone

Scoop out the whipped brie and mascarpone to a serving plate. Perhaps make a swirl like serving hummus if you can. Drizzle some good quality honey and crack some pink peppercorn throughout. 


Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn

Give it a taste first then decide if you would like some salt flakes too. Serve the whipped brie with baguette slices.


Whipped brie with mascarpone, honey, and pink peppercorn

I was going to make it even more fancier with fresh strawberries, though that whipped brie, mascarpone, and honey all sound very compatible with strawberries on the side. But you know what, the grocery store I went to was a bit high-end, so they only carry imported strawberries from Japan. The cheapest box I could find was nearly $20 USD. That's why you won't find any strawberries here, what a shame. 


Feb 13, 2024

Diced Chicken with Preserved Yibin Suimiyacai 雞米芽菜

It might not be as well-known to the western world, but Yibin yacai or suimiyacai is a popular preserved mustard greens in China. Yibin is a prefecture-level city in Sichuan, China. Yacai is the name of the preserved veggies, and suimiyacai simply means the already rinsed and chopped version.


The vegetable needs to go through many steps such as drying, flavoring, and preserving to become a useful flavor booster in many Chinese dishes. You can use it in soup, stir-fry, or steamed meat to add more depth and flavor profile. And about my recipe this time, it's used in diced chicken stir-fry, also one of the classics in Sichuan cuisine, but a bit modification to simplify the process for the common households. 


Diced chicken with preserved Yibin suimiyacai 雞米芽菜 - 


Diced chicken with preserved Yibin suimiyacai


Ingredients?

  • 4 tablespoons Yibin suimiyacai
  • 440 grams chicken breast
  • 100 grams red chilies (the long and not super spicy kind)
  • 100 grams green chilies (I also used the long and no so spicy kind)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon scraped and chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting cooking oil

Marinade - 

  • 1 tablespoon aged Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch 


How?

Destem and chop both the red and green chilies. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Scrape and finely chop the ginger, we'll need about 1 teaspoon of prepped ginger for this recipe.


Yibin suimiyacai 碎米芽菜

Thinly sliced the chicken crosswise, then slice to strips, then finally slice to little pieces, like smaller diced chicken. If you follow the classic way of doing it, the chicken needs to cut to the size of rice grains, which explains the Chinese name for this dish 雞米, meaning chicken rice. 雞 means chicken and 米 means rice. Nope, that's a bit too much work for a common housewife, so I settled for chunkier size.


Transfer the chicken to a bowl and add in all the ingredients listed under the "marinade" section. Give it a gentle massage so that the seasonings can fully bond with the meat. Let it marinate for about 10 minutes.


Diced chicken in Asian marinade

Bring out a pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of light-tasting cooking oil. Also add in chopped garlic and ginger. Switch to medium heat and cook till aromatic but not burnt.


Add in the chicken and stir-fry till separated. Further stir-fry the meat till dries out a little bit.


Stir-frying diced chicken

Add in suimiyacai, stir-fry till evenly distributed.


Stir-frying diced chicken and Yibin suimiyacai

Add in all the chilies and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Once checked, plate and serve. 


Diced chicken with preserved Yibin suimiyacai

I like to enjoy this dish with steamed rice, but using it as base for dry noodles is equally appetizing. 


So for the pack of Yibin suimiyacai, I've used about half of it for this recipe. The rest was stored in an airtight container in the fridge. The remaining Yibin suimiyacau was actually added to fried rice about a week later. The amount I used won't heavily alter the flavor of the fried rice, but more so enhance the savory note in the end. Perhaps you can do the same if there're any leftover preserved mustard greens too.