Monday, February 21, 2011

Galette

This is a galette recipe


Galette. It's a simple pleasure of enjoying the abundance of summer time berries. Yes... so it gets a little expensive if you try to make this in the winter when berries can get up to $5.00 per cup. I make this often in the summer especially when we have guests, for a few reasons: it is simple, quick, tasty, and the presentation has the WOW factor that makes guests say "you made that"?? NOT because it looks store bought, but because they think they've seen something like it in a magazine once but had never had it brought out to them in real life. It IS impressive :)

Galette doesn't have to be all sweet either. A savory galette with balsamic caramelized onion, goat cheese and sauteed mushroom... sounds like a heavenly lunch, right? Just omit the sprinkling of granulated sugar at the end :)

This recipe is a combination of many recipes I read and I just took the middle for everything. With Vanilla Ice ream?? Agh! to die for! sometimes, when I am feeling lazy, I don't brush the pastry with egg wash before popping them in the oven, but for this dish, it just gives that healthy shine that makes your stomach make more room for dessert.



For the crust:

1 cup flour
2tbsp sugar
1stick (1/2c) cold butter
a pinch of salt, if butter is unsalted.
4-5 tbsp COLD water

Berry filling:

1 cup blueberry
1 cup strawberry (quatered)
half cup raspberry
1 tbsp cornstarch
1-2 tbsp sugar
tiny pieces of butter to put on top of berries right before you bake.

Oven: bake at 400 degrees for about 30 min. turn the baking sheet at mid point

1. to make the crust: put flour, sugar, and cold butter in the food processor and pulse until its incorporated. (so the butter pieces are rice-size.)

2. add the water in a trickle until the mixture is wet enough to form a dough. I
used only 4 tbsp, I think. Then onto a floured surface. Make it into a ball, but don’t
knead. Wrap it and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. with berries: sprinkle them with a little sugar (you can omit this if you want)
and cornstarch, about 1 tbsp each. (but really according to your sweet tooth) And toss them without breaking the berries and let them sit while you roll out the dough.

4. Quarter the dough and roll each quarter into round disks, about 1/8 thick.

5. In the middle of each disk, pile the berry mixture and fold the sides to form
roughly pleated wall.

6. Brush the walls with some egg wash and sprinkle with sugar to form a nice
crust, but this can be omitted. Dot the small pieces of butter on top of the berries. It will melt in with the berry juice to made a wonderful sauce in the oven.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 min or until the pastry is golden.

It's blurry... but you get the idea :P

Umberto Clam house

This is a review of Umberto Clam House


Do you like seafood pasta? I visited this place several times during my time in NYC. I actually lived a block away :) I think there are many Umberto Clam Houses... but the one I am telling you about is the one on broome st. (386 Broome Street, New York, to be exact). Every single time I went there, I had the same thing: Vongole. Vongole is basically pasta with baby clams in their shells. The sauce, usually, is made with garlic, olive oil, clam juice and wine. It's oceany, garlicky, carb heaven. mm mm mmm. Their portion was quite large for a NY dining. especially going for dinner, one portion was enough for two ladies... though I finished mine on my own :) this particular time I went, I think they gave me normal clams instead of the tiny baby ones. I like the baby ones a tiny bit better, but who are we kidding?? Any way they come, it's going to be delicious.

Barefoot contessa's boxed cupcake


This is a review of Barefoot Contessa's Red Velvet Cupcake.


Ina Garten is my idol. Not because of her recipes, I'm afraid, but for her overall character. I love her sense of space, decor, color, elegance. She is feminine and soft spoken... watching her show is soothing :) I've tried some of her recipes and some works wonderfully, but some... a bit off. But come on, who's perfect?

At Fresh Market by my parent's house, I bought this red velvet cupcake mix. It's very easy to prepare and very good. wait... easy for cupcakes... but more steps than you think for a boxed cakes. I made it because a little girl was visiting my house with my friend (her mommy). I looked back to my childhood and yes, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on top would've made my day. Our goal that day was to make ginger bread house! but I knew that was not going to be the dessert, so I went ahead and made this eye pleasing dessert :D
(yes, I filled the cups too high and I got the muffin top. Hey, more space for the frosting. These cupcakes rise well, so be careful to only fill it about 2/3 full)

My brother's idea of a ginger bread man


our beautiful gingerbread house :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Salsa sol del rio

This is a product review of Salsa Sol Del Rio


We were at whole foods the other day. I guess it was around lunch time and the store was full of little stations of sample heaven. Wonderful selection of cheeses were what I was really enjoying :) In the vegetable section, there was a rather large sample station of this salsa, Salsa Sol de rio. There was a man assisting the tasting, and we spoke briefly about his salsa. He starts his salsa with fire roasted green chille, resulting in his salsa to be less red than others. But Holy Mary... This stuff is Gooood. I am having a very difficult time trying to describe HOW good it is. It's not like the salsa taste "green"... it's just all around delicious. I don't know why anyone would want the other kind. Yes, it is locally made in GA, so you will find it in the very bottom row of the salsa section. The guy said they had JUST started to sell it at Whole Foods. My jar was $5.99, at bit pricier than others-but I don't eat chips and salsa that often, so when I feel like having some salsa, I will reach for this one.


I bought the medium, but the other flavor I tried -mango salsa- was also scrumptious. If you've never tried a green chille based salsa before, I highly recommend that you do. I will not go back to the red stuff.

Carbonara. the easiest, most sophisticated pasta dish you will ever make


This is a Carbonara recipe


I had been meaning to post this for a long long time, but for some reason, I did not have any picture of this dish. Not one. So when Jason said that I should make whatever I wanted to blog about this weekend, I made carbonara. Aaaamazing dish, I must say. Authentically, carbonara is made with just cured pork, egg, cheese and black pepper. So though creamy, it contains no cream, which is the common misconception:) Its also one of those dishes that are GREAT for one person meal! finally! Its rich, nutty(not from nuts), cheesy, creamy, salty... it almost feels sinful... well, its not the most healthiest of all pastas. But if you are like me, (generally a healthy eater and 'active') you won't have to worry about your waist line with this.

check out the ingredients: (for one person)

1 slice Pancetta
1 slice bacon
1 clove garlic (can be omitted but my family requested to have some garlic flavor)

1 egg
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese (maybe even almost 3 tbsp :))
2 heaping tbsp freshly grated pecorino cheese (")

4oz pasta (with nicely salted water)

1 diagonally sliced green onion


***skip this part if you don't want to read it, but I think this is important.
original Italian recipe would use Guanchiale, which is cured meat that is the cheek meat of a pig. But since its harder to find, even ppl in Italy would use Pancetta. I like the smokiness of bacon, so I do half and half.
Cheese: in Italy, again, they use Pecorino cheese. It's like Parm, but from sheep's milk and is a lot saltier, usually. I really enjoy the nuttiness of parm, so i use some parm as well.


Method

1. render your meats and pop a garlic in there as well if you prefer. low and slow until they are nice and crispy, set aside to cool

2. mix your egg, grated cheese, and black pepper in a bowl (not a small bowl, your pasta is going in here as well and need some mixing room).

3. when the crisped meats are cooled add it into the egg mixture. rendered fats and all.

4. cook the pasta. make sure the water is nicely salted.

5. when the pasta is al dente, use your kitchen tongs to scoop out the pasta and dump it right into the egg mixture. be quick. mix vigorously. the point of not straining the pasta is that you WANT some of the salty/starchy pasta water to make the sauce more... saucy. if your sauce is too thick, then ladle in some more of your pasta water.

6.sprinkle with green onions.

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2010/06/spaghetti-alla-carbonara-for-real.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c00Emu5a84 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1cUwX4Xzt0

These are some of youtube videos I used to learn how to make this dish. my method, i guess is combined version of these.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fagiolini in unmido. green beans in tomato sauce

I made a dish from the COOKING CHANNEL. I did not own a TV when this channel was created, so I am watching a mother load of it to make up for the time I missed. Green beans in tomato sauce. It looked good on TV, and it was darn good in real life :) It's very flavorful. This is certainly a keeper in my recipe book as "not boring at all good for you veggie dish".

I used to use any canned tomatos, but now I use San Marzano alsways. There's a definite taste difference. San marzano is long, packed, juicy, sweet... it's worth the $$.
Here's the photo of mine. if you go here, you can see their photo.





just when I added the green beans. From here, I simmered this for about 20 min. I wanted these particular greenbeans to be ... soft


on a plate


Ingredients

I did not have chilli pepper... so I omitted it, but yes, I think it would've been even better with it.

  • 1/4 cup/59 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 dried chile peppers, crushed, optional
  • 2 cups/500 ml plum tomatoes, peeled
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pound/571 g string beans, tips trimmed

Directions

Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and chile peppers, if using, and stir. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft. Then add the tomatoes and salt, to taste. With the back of a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes into little chunks. Add the string beans to the pan, cover with lid and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the dish hot or at room temperature.

Dates.. mmm



I like Anne Burrell. CHEF... Anne Burrell. She is fairly new to my list of favorites, but she is waaay up there on the list. I just love her Enthusiasm and high spirit. So sassy and confident, that's sexy to me. Whenever I have a chance to be in front of a tv for her show, I am. On one of those fortunate occasion, she was making Manchego stuffed dates wrapped in bacon slathered with maple syrup. That's a winner right there, no? These were so very yummy. Make sure you buy good ingredients though. There's only 4 ingredients? quality of each really counts here ;) so here's the recipe. from foodnetwork.com



mine took a lot longer than the recipe said... about double. but I would just keep watching every 5 min.

Ingredients
  • 15 Medjool pitted dates
  • 1 pound aged Manchego, cut into 15 blocks
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into thirds
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make an incision on one side of each date and insert a block of Manchego. Squeeze the date shut in your hand to secure. Wrap each date with a bacon strip and secure with a toothpick. Place all the dates on a sheet tray lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Roast the dates in the oven until the bacon on top is starting to crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the dates over and cook the other side until the bacon crisps.

Remove the dates from the oven and brush both sides with maple syrup. Return the dates to the oven until they are really crackly and sticky, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

my appetizers (jalapeno poppers)

This is a recipe for jalapeno poppers




These are some of the appetizers I KNOW are good ;) from left: asparagus wrapped in bacon, Jalapeno poppers, crab cakes.

I make these all the time except for the Jalapeno poppers. I just knew that I loved them from pubs whenever I find one, but had never attempted them at home. So I took this dinner at home with a family friend as an opportunity to make it my first time.

I combined and altered from recipes I read online.
(so all the measurement is kind of up to you. I ended up with about a 15 pieces of poppers and used 2/3 block of cream cheese and a clove of garlic.)

ingredients:
Jalapenos
cream cheese
1 garlic clove
salt, pepper
flour
egg
**Italian breadcrumbs

  1. My Jalapenos were really large, so I ended up cutting them into quarters once length wise, then cut the long halves in the middle. I took a small tea spoon to empty the insides so only the meaty flesh remained.
  2. I mixed up some cream cheese, salt, and pepper, then grated a clove of garlic into it. depending on how garlicky you want the mixture to be, you can either omit it or go crazy.
  3. I simply filled the jalapeno boats with cream cheese mixture so that it's kind of flush to the flesh.
  4. Batter it like you would batter anything else: flour it, then dunk it into egg wash, then into the Italian breadcrumbs.
  5. Fry'em up. I used my fryer that has no temperature variation, so I fried mine at 350. It went REALLY fast. so keep your eyes on them!

I served mine with ranch. I know some recipes want you to use more fancier cheese, but let me tell you, this is just fine with our good ol' Philadelphia cream cheese~

** I am all for Panko breadcrumb in most recipes, but this is the one time I prefer the italian seasoned one. It does magic to the poppers!


dulce de leche

Best Dulce de leche recipe



Vanilla and chocolate macarons with these fillings: dulce de leche, White chocolate raspberry ganache, and dark chocolate ganache. I have made everything once before except for the DULCE DE LECHE.

I have been wanting to give it a try ever since I found out the easy way of making dulce de leche: boiling the can. It's just fascinating!

SO what I did was: I bought a 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk and boiled it for... 3-4 hours. since I was afraid of walking away from it and having the can peek out of the surface of the water, (the can is supposed to be completely submerged) I had the can on a VERY VERY low simmer. So even though many recipes said 3 hours, I cooked mine closer to 4 hours. I waited till the next morning. Then... Voila. a beautiful can full of ... goo. I immediately reached for my spoon... or whatever it was, it may have been my finger, who knows... then I taste.
Super sweet. very very sweet. Normally this would be one of those things that is way too sweet for me to have on its own. But since I was using it for my Macarons, it worked perfectly. So so good.




Please try this if you are curious. Such a science experiment ;)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cali n' Titos

this is a restaurant review of Cali n' Titos

Another hot spot in Athens GA for me is the Cali n' Titos. This is a Latin American restaurant in 5 points... one of the only one I go to in town, actually. I've heard many good things about many of their dishes, but my favorite will have to be their FISH TACOS.



They use fried tilapia for the meat, add some lettus, tomatos, red onion, and cilantro with their special sauce, as you can see here ;) for lunch, I think it's about $7.00 for two tacos, side, and a drink. I always get their maduros (fried sweet plantain) as my side. for dinner, the deal is a bit different, but definitely an affordable place to hang out with your friends, enjoy with your honey, or even for a quick meal just by yourself.

The restaurant can be spotted from far away with their very lively colors out side and also a colorfully painted school bus on their lawn... In the summer, their outside seating is wonderful (they have a very big area of tables outside. You will feel like you are in Latin America:) well, Kind of.

Trapeze

This is a restaurant review of Trapeze

Athens has a lot to offer when it comes to dining options. I recently tried Trapeze pub for the first time. This place was recommended to me by a few people and I am glad that they did. Trapeze pub has a menu of beer... impressive appr.10 pages long! if you are a beer lover, this would be a great place to be.

Their beer is impressive, but their bar food is also ... 'different' in a wonderful way. There is a menu, that I assume does not change that often, and then there are many daily special menus that sounded delicious. I went to Fried Calamari with a spiced slaw and Jason had beer mattered fish and chips. these are some traditional/ normal bar food with "volumed turned up" as Ina Garten would say.


fish and chips


calamari with spiced cole slaw

the restaurant's ambiance is very relaxed, casual, woodsy, but you could go dressed up. I will be going back soon :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wings!

This is a restaurant review of Francars.


Wings---- I am not a football fan (can I say that?), but I do LOVE game day food like pigs in a blanket, chips and dips, and or other healthy or unhealthy mini deliciousness, especially chicken wings. when I first came to the States, boy was I confused about the "buffalo" wings.

In macon GA, there is a wing joint called "francars" right next to the Mercer University campus. Yes, the owners look just like the caricature on their logo. They have many many different types of wing sauces in four levels of hotness. I am usually happy with level II, so when I had level III the other night, though it was delicious, I kept reaching for my water :) so I imagine level IV is pretty darn hot. I wish I had a recipe to post, but no... :( I have been meaning to make food wishes buffalo wings though... I love his blog!



If you are ever in Macon GA, give them a try. I ask for them to be "extra crispy". I also am a fan of their cole slaw :)