Feb 22, 2015

Sweet Tooth Weekend - Danish Toasts with Melted Dark Chocolate and Gouda

Just...craving for something buttery, sugary, and perhaps sultry.

Danish toasts with melted dark chocolate and Gouda -

Ingredients (for 1 to 2 servings)?

  • 2 thick slices of Danish toast (can be substitute with milk toast)
  • 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Gouda cheese square
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter


Melt the butter in a non-stick pan with medium heat. Add in the toasts and wait till the color turns slightly browned. Only need to heat up one side of the bread, but toasting both sides should yield an even crunchier texture.

Once the toasts are ready, transfer onto a baking dish with un-seared side up. Lay the dark chocolate chips on one toast and Gouda cheese square on the other. Into the oven with medium high heat till the chocolate starts to melt. The chocolate chips might still look like individual chips when in fact already softened, poke the chocolate with a stick and see if softened already.

Remove from heat and combine the toasts, cut in half before serving.

Other milky cheese varieties also work well with this dessert version of grilled sandwich, Swiss and Mozzarella can be two other options. 

Feb 16, 2015

Find Some Comfort Here: Hearty Broccoli Soup with Chunks of Chorizo

This is my version of broccoli soup - creamy but mixed with chunks of chorizo for a more satisfactory bite. The use of spicy sausages along with smoked paprika and some black pepper gives this soup a kick, definitely warms you up on a chill day. 

Hearty broccoli soup with chunks of chorizo - 


  • 2 medium broccoli
  • 2 chorizo or other kind of spicy sausages
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 cups of unsalted or low sodium chicken stock
  • Some heavy whipping cream
  • Some smoked paprika


In a big pot, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Remove the chorizo from the casing and break into smaller bite size pieces. Add the chorizo into the pot and sear till fully cooked through. 

Scoop out the chorizo for later use, leaving the oil and brown colored flavorful bits inside the pot.

Add 3 tablespoon of butter. Peel and dice the onion and into the pot along with salt and pepper. Sear for about 3 minutes. 

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves, add to the pot and cook for another minute.

Peel and discard the tough fibrous outer later from the broccoli stems. Chop the broccoli into medium pieces and add into the mixture along with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for one minute till the color turns yellowish. 

Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep it simmering slightly. Cook for 15 minutes or so till the broccoli softens. Taste and see if more salt is needed.

Turn off the heat and wait till the soup cools down if blending with a standalone blender in batches. Transfer the blended creamy soup back into the pot and pour in some heavy whipping cream. I used about one cup if remembered correctly. However, adjust the amount based on how milky or dense you would like the soup to be. 

Sprinkle in a few dashes of smoked paprika and bring the creamy soup back to boil again. Once ready, lower the heat to keep it warm. Add the chorizo pieces back to the soup. Decorate with heavy cream before serving.

This broccoli soup can also be served with toasted bread, the kind that can soak up all the flavors when dipping in. 

Other creamy soup recipe:
Hearty tomato bisque with a dollop of basil yogurt
Thyme infused pumpkin soup

Feb 9, 2015

PB Salmon and Veggies Stir Fry - You Heard Me Right, Peanut Butter Salmon!

This is a recipe inspired by my uncle, who loves to cook salmon, and somehow one day he decided to add peanut butter to a salmon stir fry. Skeptical at first, but the salmon and creamy peanut butter combo was actually pretty tasty. Not sure what exact seasonings were used but here's my take on this interesting dish.

PB salmon and veggies stir fry -


  • 1 large/about 350 grams salmon fillet (skin and bones removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups golden needle flower buds
  • 1 1/2 cups oyster mushroom
  • 3 water bamboos (or 1 can of bamboo shoots)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 red chilies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of black bean soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper


Peel and slice the onion. Peel and chop the zucchini into strips. Remove the tough outer layer from the water bamboos and chop into strips. If using a can of bamboo shoots, just drain well and set aside for later use. 

If the oyster mushrooms are too big, cut in half to get two thinner strips. Discard the chili stems and chop the remaining into long strips diagonally. Peel and slice the garlic cloves.

Remove the skin and bones from the salmon fillet. Chop the fillet into large bite size pieces. You can save the skin for other dishes. I often sprinkle some salt over and bake the skin in the oven in high temperature till crispy, then break them into smaller pieces and serve with Japanese style salad. 

Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a pan/wok, turn to medium high heat. Add in the onion along with salt and pepper, cook till the edges turn slightly browned, should take few minutes.

Add in the garlic and chilies, give it a quick stir and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add in the bamboo strips and oyster mushroom. Cook for another minute.

Add in the flower buds and zucchini strips. You can omit the flower buds since it's not a very common item even at the Asian grocery store. Cook till the mushrooms softens a little.

Blend the peanut butter, black bean soy sauce, and oyster sauce in a bowl till no large lumps present. Pour into the pan and mix well.

Lastly, add in the salmon and mix gently. Cover with lid and cook till the fish is completely cooked through. 

Salmon is such a hearty fish, that's why it can withstand such a thick sauce like peanut butter. Chinese sesame paste can be a good substitution for peanut butter but remember to add a little bit of granulated sugar to balance off the salty flavor.

Other salmon recipes:

Feb 3, 2015

Raining Day Remedy - Homemade Pork and Onion Meatballs with Japanese Style Soup Base

Just thinking this simple soup/nabe recipe using Japanese kombu and katsuoboshi works well on such a chilly, windy, raining day. It warms you up from the inside out. (Background music: Lisa Ono, Moon River, acoustic version)



  • 1 big strip of kombu
  • 2 small packets of katsuoboshi/bonito flakes
  • 1 medium/large pot of water


  • 2 squared of fried tofu (fried outer layer with soft tofu inside)
  • 2 big pieces of fresh wood ear
  • 1 lb of ground pork
  • 1/2 small napa cabbage (the round kind if available)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (maybe a little more to adjust the taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper powder


Prepare a medium large pot filled with water. Turn to medium low heat. Gently wipe the dried kombu then add into the pot, use a scissor and cut into smaller pieces if needed. Be careful do not let the water reaches boiling temperature. 

See if you have something like a filter bag or Chinese ball shaped wires, something that you can put the smaller ingredients inside so they won't flow all over the pot. I use that to keep things together such as star anise, bay leaves, peppercorns, and herbs when making a stew. If you have one, put the bonito flakes in then add to the pot, cook for another 20 minutes then remove the flakes from the dashi. 

If you don't have such handy gadget, just carefully drain the whole thing and pour the clear dashi to another pot. Keep the kombu inside the stock and store in the fridge overnight. Later on you can remove the kombu, maybe slice them into thin strips and season with some chili oil, soy sauce, granulated sugar, black vinegar, and sesame oil to make a simple side dish. 

For the meatballs, use a big container and mix together the ground pork, salt, white pepper, and finely chopped onion. Form the mixture into medium sized balls by shaping them in your hand first then throwing the patty back and forth between palms in order to draw out the air inside, also helps in holding up the shape. Makes about 7 to 8.

Chop the napa cabbage into large bite size pieces. Bring a pot of water to a boil then toss in the cabbage. Bring to a boil again, drain well and set aside for later use. Cut and discard the tough center of the wood ear. Slice the remaining wood ear into bite size pieces. Carefully cut the tofu into smaller squares. 

Scoop some prepared dashi into the serving pot and turn to medium heat. Add in the meatballs, wood ear pieces, and grated ginger. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep the stock simmering, cook for 1 hour. 

Add in the cabbage and tofu. Bring to a boil then lower the heat again, cook till cabbage softens.

Taste and adjust the flavor with some salt if needed.

You can also keep the lightly flavored dashi and serve with additional dipping sauce instead. Here are two varieties:

1. Mix up some Japanese light soy sauce or tsuyu along with finely chopped fresh chilies, garlic, scallion, and grated daikon.

2. Mix up some light soy sauce with freshly squeezed lemon juice, perhaps with additional homemade chili sauce.

Hope it warms you up as well.