Monday, October 31, 2011

Monkey Bread

Monkey bread is also sometimes called sticky bread. I don't know how or why it is called monkey bread, but  it is delicious, and incredibly easy to make. Everyone should have some monkey bread for breakfast!

monkey bread

Ingredients:

  • 20 ready-to-bake biscuits or 2 rolls
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 tbs chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 tbs butter (optional)


Method:
Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut each of the biscuits into 4 or more pieces. Evenly coat the biscuit pieces in the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture and put them all in a baking tin.

Pour the butter and chopped pecans over the biscuits and bake for 10-12 mins until the top of the monkey bread is golden brown.

Serve.

Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is a slow cooked barbecue pork that is often found in the US, but I've never seen in Singapore. It is delicious, because its been cooked for a long time at low temperatures that the meat becomes so tender, it is easily 'pulled' into tiny shreds.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 pound pork roast
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 bottle of barbecue sauce


Method:
Put the sliced onion in the slow cooker. Add water to the onions.

slice 'em

then break 'em

Rub the pork roast with the cumin, coriander, fennel, chili powder, paprika and salt. Place the pork roast on the sliced onions in the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 8-10 hours. Do not open the cover of the slow cooker. Just wait.

2.65lb for $5.13

rubbed and laid to rest for the next 8 hours

After 8-10 hours, remove the broth, keeping around 1/2 to 1 cup of broth in the pot. 'Pull' the pork roast into shreds and add the barbecue sauce.

after 8-10hrs

porked, pulled

added BBQ sauce

Eat the pulled pork in a bun, in a burrito, in a taco or over rice. Delicious!

pulled pork on a homemade double flax bun

Friday, October 28, 2011

Broccoli and Potato Quiche

No, its not like we ran out of meat. Actually, we almost did, but solved that last night by visiting the grocery store late, and getting a hunk of pork and the 2-meal-deal beef pack for about $15. That's about 6 pounds of meat or 24 4oz servings, for $15. No, we don't eat a ton of meat around here.

Anyway, decided to not eat meat and made a broccoli and potato quiche for dinner. I think this was in celebration of my awesome blood test results after visiting my new doctor for the first time (routine blood test to start my file). For the first time, I have perfectly normal and healthy cholesterol results, after being on the high cholesterol list since I started doing yearly blood tests five years ago.

Just for the record:

Last week
Total Cholesterol = 197mg/dL [Good = less than 200mg/dL]
HDL ('good' cholesterol) = 52mg/dL [Good = more than 50mg/dL]
LDL ('bad' cholesterol) = 125mg/dL [Borderline Good = between 100mg and 129mg/dL]
Triglycerides = 99mg/dL [Good = less than 150mg/dL]
Cholesterol/HDL ratio = 3.79:1 [Good = below 4.5:1]

3 months ago
Total cholesterol = 254mg/dL
HDL ('good' cholesterol) = 70mg/dL
LDL ('bad' cholesterol) = 160mg/dL
Triglycerides = 117mg/dL
Cholesterol/HDL ratio = 3.6:1

No meat for tonight. Vegetables will keep us company in the snow. Yup, first snow of the season tonight - it will be beautiful!

a slice of quiche


broccoli and potato quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli (cut into small florets)
  • 1 small onion (minced)
  • 2 potatoes (cubed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a mozzarella and cheddar mix.)
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  • salt and pepper to taste


Method:
Cut all the broccoli and potato into small pieces and combined them with the shredded cheese. Pack the potato, broccoli and cheese tightly in the pie crust.

Combine the milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Hand-beat until smooth. Pour over the ingredients in the pie crust.

Bake for 35-40min at 375F.

broccoli and potato quiche

Thursday, October 27, 2011

111001 Cape Cod Day 2

We woke up and ate ate the motel's breakfast bar. Its not a breakfast bar like you'd think in a hotel, but it did have the basics - toast, (watered down) juice, milk, and that's about it. So much for $70/night motels, but at least it did include breakfast and has free wifi.


After that, we drove up the the Wellfleet area and visited the Cape Cod National Seashore visitors center. Not much there, but we did do the marsh trail, and figured there wasn't that much to see there.


walking through the marsh

on the trail

Then we drove to Provincetown. Provicetown is at the tip of Cape Cod. Its just a weird little protruding land mass off the mainland. It took us about one hour just to drive from Wellfleet to Provincetown.

absolute nothingness surrounding us

We drove to the visitor's center, where there was a lookout to the Atlantic Ocean and some information about Provincetown, and some binoculars. Some very out-of-focus binoculars.

at the Visitor's Center

Then, we drove to Herring Cove beach. It is the most popular beach in Provincetown. Its off-season, so there weren't many people there. The sand was so white and sandy, and the water was just very cold Atlantic waters. It was a beautiful place!

Herring Cove beach

some lalang on the beach (apparently deer ticks live there)

We left Herring Cove beach, and just kept driving. We found a beautiful rock wall that leads to the other end of Provincetown that was the very very very tip of the cove. This rock wall was the only way to get there. We walked about one third of the way, and then turned around because it was rather long. We figured that we'll walk this thing and reach the very tip some other time, next time.

beautiful skies and marshes

rock wall leading to the tip of Provincetown

us on the rock wall

Finally, we left Provincetown and drove back down to Eastham, where we played mini golf (yes, we've been playing quite a few games of mini golf lately) and had dinner. We went to Arnold's Restaurant, which incidentally had a lobster bar, clam shack and a 18-hole mini golf course.

Jas & I playing mini golf 

Arnold's mini golf course

Jas being a goof
We had dinner at Arnold's. We ordered a lobster roll ($15.99!!), fried chicken ($8.99) and their famous onion rings ($4.50). The onion rings were so so so good! The lobster roll was quite a disappointment. It was small, and super super oily and soggy. Did not eat the bun at all! The worst part was that it was the most expensive part of the meal. The fried chicken was very good too, and it should have been called a chicken shack instead of a lobster bar.

dinner - lobster roll, fried chicken, fries and onion rings

Back to the motel. We swam in the quote: "largest indoor pool" in Hyannis. It was great. Chopin's Piano Concerto No.2 was on the radio. I've never swam with classical music before. It was very relaxing. I have to do that again!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Fried Carrot Cake (Char Kuay or Cai Tao Kuay)

I finally finally finally finally figured out how to make my favorite char kuay in my not quite equipped kitchen! I have no steamer (ah, lame Western inventions), and no wok with a cover, so the problem of steaming the rice cake had kept me from making char kuay for 2+ years now. Two nights ago, a stroke of genius hit me! I invented a contraption for steaming the rice cake. This contraption included two stacked metal bowls (I had two metal storage containers) placed in a small stock pot. I had to cut up bamboo sticks to put between the bowls, and also between the stock pot and the bowls, so that the steam can rise around things.

Anyway, I felt very clever about this invention, but had no time to make char kuay during the week when school was in session. Finally, Friday came! And here, you have my favorite of all favorite foods - fried carrot cake!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 radish (shredded)
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons preserved radish [chai por] (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet dark soy sauce) [optional]
  • handful of chopped chives [optional]


*If you don't have fish sauce, you may substitute with soy sauce. But I highly recommend fish sauce over soy sauce. If you cannot find kecap manis, you may substitute it with normal dark soy sauce, but add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar to it.

Method:

shredded radish

Put the shredded 1/2 of a radish into the microwave for 1 minute. You may choose to cook it over the stove as well, but microwaving is much faster and doesn't change the taste by much. Add the flour, water and salt to the radish, and scoop the mixture into steaming bowls.

flour and water added

Steam the rice cake for 45 minutes or until cook. After cooked, remove the rice cakes from the molds and let the rice cake cool.

in the 'steamer'

rice cakes - steamed!

Popped out of the bowl!

Use the largest frying pan you have. Add oil and fry the rice cakes until golden brown. This may take a while. You may also need to add more oil. (It 'drinks' more oil that you think it does!)

in the pan~

tadah~ golden brown!

When it is golden brown, push the rice cakes to the side, and fry the garlic and preserved radish until fragrant. Mix this with the rice cakes. Add the beaten eggs. Let it set a little before frying it up.

egg added!

If you like the 'white-style' for fried carrot cake, stop here. If you like the sweeter 'dark-style', then add the kecap manis and fry it slightly more.

'black-style' fried carrot cake - my favorite!

Garnish with some chives and you're set to go. I completely leave the chives out because I like it without :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tahu Telor (Indonesian Tofu Omelette)

So every time I go to the Asian supermarket, which is about once in two months, I'll get one packet of tofu. I love tofu, Jason doesn't. So, I had to hide it wisely, so that I can just make one dish for the both of us, instead of having to make two dishes for a meal. 

I decided to make Tahu Telor, since it was an omelette, and it was fried. Who doesn't like fried omelettes, right? Of course, my genius-ness paid off, and even Jason ate it and said it was good. Looks like we can get a lot more tofu the next Asian supermarket shopping trip!


Ingredients: 
  • 1 packet firm tofu (diced)
  • a dash of salt
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon shallot oil (or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sambal belacan
  • 1 tablespoon ground peanuts


Method:
Beat the eggs and add a dash of salt. Set aside.

Mix the dark soy sauce, sambal belacan, sugar and ground peanuts. Set aside.

Warm the frying pan and add the shallot oil to the pan. Fry the tofu cubes until the sides are crispy and golden brown.

Add the beaten eggs to the tofu cubes, and fry it like a normal omelette until both sides are crispy and golden brown. Serve with the dark soy sauce mixture.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Salmon Avocado Roll

Perhaps my greatest creation till date...
So, living in this god-forsaken place with no hope of eating any sushi at all, is driving me crazy. Sure, Boston's great. Sure, there are tons of concerts happening (Hey! We're going to watch Dave Holland tomorrow for free!) and sure, there is a Chinatown, that I've found the most three-quarter-decent dim sum there is in this country. BUT, why is there no sushi that is edible and affordable at the same time? Someone needs to get Minato from Baltimore to open a restaurant up here. 

In Baltimore, I ate sushi for lunch at least twice a week. I had sushi-loving friends, and Minato that sells great maki rolls for $5 a pop (half price specialty maki rolls on weekdays for lunch, can't beat that!) Seriously, someone just needs to bring Minato up here.

Anyway, my deprivation has led me to the unthinkable - making sushi rolls! I also think salmon and avocado go really well together, which led me to this! Salmon Avocado Maki Rolls!

Salmon Avocado Maki Rolls

Ingredients: (1 serving)

  • 1/3 cup sushi rice
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 nori sheets
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 oz sushi grade salmon

raw ingredients

Method:
Cook 1/3 cup rice in 2/3 cup water. When the rice is cooked, add the mirin and rice vinegar and mix. Let the rice cool.

Cut up the avocado into strips. Cut your salmon into strips. [My salmon was all cut up because I bought salmon trim, which was a ton cheaper than a filet of salmon.]


Lay a nori sheet onto the bamboo sushi mat, and press rice onto the nori sheet so that it is at least halfway up the sheet. Wet your hands so that the rice does not stick to your fingers.


Lay avocado in the middle of all the rice. I mostly used three slices of avocado, because I love avocado!


Add some salmon on top of the avocado. 


Using the bamboo sushi mat, fold the rice over the ingredients so that the ingredients are in the middle of all the rice. Roll the sushi roll, and pull down as you go along, so that the rolls are tight. 


With the ingredients listed above, you will make two sushi rolls. 


Cut each roll into eight equal pieces and serve. [I halved it, and cut each half into quarters, and each quarter into eights.]

Salmon Avocado Rolls
So, how much would you pay for these rolls? $10? Look at that, even I am hungry again!