Friday, February 9, 2007

Steak Au Poivre ( Pepper Steak) and Potato Croquettes

I was thinking of ways to use up the cauliflower before our trip tomorrow, and somehow they ended up just being steamed and served as a side dish. As for the potatos I've been wanting to make the croquettes for a while, so there's two side dishes. So what started out as something quick for lunch turned into a little bit more... (we would have enjoyed it more if we aren't both horribly sick)

Anyways, the croquettes are easy. First boil and mash the potatos, add butter, season with salt and pepper. You can add to it onions, corned beef or whatever you feel like. Shape them into little balls/patties/tubes, dip first in flour, then egg, and lastly breadcrumb. Fry in butter until golden brown.

The steaks. Season both sides with salt. Coat both sides with crushed peppers. Melt butter in a pan and fry on high heat to seal both sides. Lower heat and fry a few minutes more on each side until desired doneness (about 4 minutes for medium). Remove and keep warm. Sautee some minced shallots in the same pan, then pour in couple of shots of spirit or red wine. Add stock, bring to a boil to reduce a bit. Turn the heat off and add a stick of butter, season again with salt and pepper.

I usually like this wine (Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir) but for the steaks it was a bit too weak. There is this new varietal called Regent that would have been a better match.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Hainan Chicken Rice

Going to Toronto for CNY. My Dad, who's from Hainan, will be there as well. I thought I'd make this for him, but first need to practice.

First wash and dry the chicken. Rub outside and inside with salt. Stuff it some garlic, ginger, and green onion. Bring a pot of water to a boil and put the chicken in it. Bring to a boil again and simmer for 20 mins. Occasionally discarding the foam on the top.

Meanwhile prepare the sauces and the rice. Finely mince shallots and garlic. Fry with rice in a pan until fragrant. When chicken is done cook the rice with the chicken stock.

Put cooked chicken into an iced water bath for a few minutes to tighten up the skin. Remove from water and rub all over with sesame oil. Chop into bite size pieces and serve with rice, sauces, and chicken broth.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Thai Curry Lamb

Decided to make my own curry paste with the lemon grass and dried chillis in the kitchen. It was so easy that I probably won't go back to the packaged stuff.

For the paste, simply blend together chillis, lemon grass, kaffir leaves, corriander, ginger, onion, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, basil, and a bit of water. You can store the extra in a jar for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

For the curry. Sautee the paste in some oil, then add the chopped meat (I had some lamb in the freezer), then pour in a can of coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 mins. Add to the pot some more fish sauce, some lime juice, some fresh chilli, kaffir leaves, and sugar. A few minutes before serving add the veggies. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

I don't usually take pictures of the wine. But it was such a nice match today that I had to make an exception.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Spinach Soup

Had a little blogging scare. I had to move the blog to the new version but then it seemed to have deleted the whole blog. But obviously things are ok now, phew.

Originally I ordered the organice spinach to make palak paneer. But then the cheese was too much trouble (actually quite simple but I just dind't want to deal with it). I was left with a whole carton of spinach. The thing about spinach is it might seem a lot but the shrinkage is very high as well. I used half for a stir fry, and with the other half made this soup.

The croutons. Dice some bread, in a mixing bowl mix together with enough olive oil to coat, season with salt and pepper, and a few pieces of crushed garlic. Fry over very low heat (takes a while) until crunchy. Remove from pan and soak up excess oil with paper towel. Set aside.

The soup. Sautee onions and garlice till fragrant in a pot. Add the washed spinach by the hand full, put the lid on and let reduce in size. Cover with water and add the chopped potato, bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 mins and puree. Over medium heat add cream/milk to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. A dash of nutmeg is nice too.

Fry some mushrooms with bacon in a little bit of butter, set aside.

Arrange croutons on the bottom of bowl, top with the mushrooms/bacon, sprinkle some pepper and herbs for garnish. When I worked at Spoon I learned to serve the soup seperately on the table for a better presentation. Might wanna give that a go.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Indian Dinner

As I've mentioned before the in-laws like Indian food. Spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen preparing but was all worth it. Everyone was happy about dinner, had plenty to drink, and nice conversations (in German, ha!). We had some store bought papadum and mango chutney, aloo tikki (recipe courtesy of my friend Kitty), baingan bharta, aloo gobi, saffron rice, and sponge cake with freshly whipped cream for desert. The aloo gobi was done my way. Fry some cumin seeds till fragrant, add the ginger/garlic/coriander/chilli paste, then the parboiled potatoes and cauliflower, season with salt, garam masala and tumeric. The white wine (bacchus) from our region rounded out the spiciness very nicely. Very tired from cooking, hence the lazy post. But then a picture is worth a thousand words right? There's gotta be 4000

Spaghetti alla Carbonara (again)

This was actually one of the earliest entry. Made this quickly for lunch before preparing dinner for the in-laws.

For the story behind this dish (quite a nice one actually), you can go back to the original post. You don't need to tell me the picture sucked, I know. We were experimenting.

Anyways it takes about the same amount of time as required to cook the pasta. First thing prepare pasta as per instructions. Fry bacon pieces in a pan over low heat for the duration of the pasta cooking time. In a sepearte bowl mix together egg yolk (usually I use one per head), lots of pepper, grated parmesan, and a few spoonfuls of pasta water. When then noodles are done, drain, leaving a bit of pasta water. Remove pan from heat and stir together with pasta and cheese/egg yolk mixture. Serve with some more grated parmesan and lots of freshly grinded black pepper.

Can't complain as far as quick lunches go. Goes very well with bolder reds.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Tortang Tagalog

There used to be a Filipino restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui that I frequented. Unfortunately it went out of business only to be replaced by a bar! As if Hong Kong hasn't enough bars.

Anyways, this was one of the things I always ordered. Basically it's an eggplant omelette. Very simple dish but when made right gives you that warm homey feeling.

Split the eggplant in half. Roast in oven skin side up until soft, let cool a bit and remove the skin. Mash up the flesh a bit with a fork. Fry in a pan over medium heat with beated eggs, chopped onion and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Flip the omelette when one side is done and fry the other. Serve with lots of rice.

So that's what we had today for our Filipino lunch. Filipino food to me is true fusion, asian ingredients prepared in western ways.

Crispy Pata

I like Filipino food. When I was working in Hong Kong I had a few Filipino co-workers and they taught me a few dishes. Here's one of them, crispy pata. It's kinda like the Chinese BBQ pork, with dipping sauce.

Warning, if you like your kitchen clean and oil free don't try this. It's made our flat smell like a fast food restaurant. But it was worth it. First bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash and clean the pork knuckle. Simmer in water with salt, pepper, and most recipes require msg but I really didn't want to subject my family to it so I skipped it. Takes about 30 mins to cook through, remove from water and drain. Heat oil in a pan on high heat, fry on all sides until skin is crispy. Let cool a bit then cut up in bite size pieces. Prepare the sauce. Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, chopped onions, corriander, chilli, season with salt and pepper. Serve with the pata.

I only used one knuckle for the two of us, it was barely enough.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Shrimp Cakes

I don't know what's with me and pancake style dishes lately, seems like that's all I've been making. Today I wanted to use up the leftover shrimp in the freezer. Seemed like a lot of shrimps but it only yielded two little cakes.

Very easy dish, just have to get your hands all sticky. First wash and peel shrimps. Make sure to remove the intestine. Dry them and smash them with a big knife. In a large bowl mix shrimps with sesame oil, sugar, salt and fold. Smash the mixture against the bowl until it turns elastic and paste like. Mix in some coriander and peas (from last night's dinner). Fry over medium heat till done then turn the heat up and fry until golden.

It's too bad that my wife doesn't like shrimps, they make very nice starters.