Friday, August 30, 2013

Cream of Chicken Soup

Cream of Chicken Soup
I have not gotten a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket in a LONG time. The reason being that usually it's all dried out and we like our chicken just cooked. Well...there's nothing like doing what you told yourself never to do again to remind you of WHY you told yourself that in the first place, eh?

I couldn't help myself and just bought a rotisserie chicken the other day while grocery shopping after work. "It'll make for a quick dinner!" I told myself. Sure...........Hubby and I had half a breast and a drumstick between the both of us. Yes. It was that bad. So I had all this leftover chicken...What the hell do you do with leftover dry chicken?! Make a soup of course! It'll be liquidy enough to counter all that dry meat. Let's throw in the last of our frozen veggies too. Real fresh veggies would be way better but I wanted to finish up that frozen stuff so that's what I went with.

Best part: both Hubby and K liked it. K actually finished half my bowl. YAY!

Cream of Chicken Soup
(serves 4)

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen veggies
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium/large pot, melt butter on medium heat. Stir/whisk in flour. Stir until a thick paste forms. 
  2. Slowly whisk in milk so that no clumps form. Stir in chicken broth. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Add frozen veggies and shredded chicken. Stir and cook until everything is heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Season wish more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  4. Serve alone or with some crusty bread or a sandwich.

The longer you cook it, the thicker the soup is going to get, so don't cook too long. If you do, just add more chicken stock to thin it out. ;)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greekish Salad

Greekish Salad
I have fallen in love with Greek Salad. Not really, but it's so yummy and simple. Hubby doesn't like feta nor olives, so it's hard to get my fix some days. Luckily, I had a pot luck to go to sans Hubby and K, so I made some! I forgot to get bell peppers, so hence the "Greekish" vs "Greek" salad name. So just add the green bell peppers to make it a Greek salad! :)

No matter though, since it was still super yummy. If the other foods at the potluck weren't so good, I'd probably have polished this all off. :P

Greekish Salad
(serves 6-8)

  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 3 large roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup katamala olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced/shaved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Rinse the red onions under some cold water and dry off with paper towels or in a salad spinner.
  2. Combine everything in a large salad bowl. Go easy on the salt in case your feta is super salty. Using tongs or your hands, mix well. Season with more salt & pepper, if necessary.
  3. Serve (with more feta cheese if you're a fanatic) as a side. It can be served immediately or made an hour or two ahead.

Rinsing the onion cuts the sharpness and drying it off makes the "dressing" less watery.

Update: So I decided to make this again. Only this time I added orange bell peppers and baby spinach. Yum!! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tofu & Green Beans

Tofu & Green Beans
I'm totally on a green beans kick. Can you tell? Lol. I decided to stir fry it this time with tofu. I do really love tofu. I suppose it could be bland, but you just have to add flavours to it. Tofu is the BEST at taking in any flavour you want. Usually it's soy sauce for me, but meh. I like what I like.

I actually just made this dish for lunch the next day. I like my sleep so I don't wake up earlier just to cook lunch. I prefer to do it the night before and then nuke it at work the day after. Way easier.

Tofu & Green Beans
(serves 2)

  • 1 454g pack medium firm tofu, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb green beans, cut into 1-2 inch length pieces
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil

  1. Pat tofu dry with a paper towel and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok on high heat. Add ginger and garlic. Stir until fragrant.
  3. Add green beans and tofu, and then oyster sauce. Gently stir until sauce is well distributed. Cover the lid and let cook for 5 -10 minutes, until veggies are tender crisp.
  4. Serve with rice.

You can always toss the tofu in a little flour seasoned with salt. It'll make the sauce thicker and the tofu a little more crisp. If that's the case, then throw the tofu in first and let it brown a little before tossing in the green beans and sauce. I needed to get this done quick, so I didn't bother. I ended up with a lot of watery liquid in the end, which is fine because I like pouring that over my rice. But some people don't, so to those ppl, I say to add some cornstarch to the sauce before covering the lid OR to just toss the tofu in flour to absorb some of that moisture. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Minced Pork & Green Beans

Minced Pork & Green Beans
Ah HAH! I totally get why I usually see this kind of dish in Chinese restaurants with pork rather than beef. It just tastes better. Maybe it's cuz these beans are the ones from my mom's garden so they're way sweeter than the ones you get from a grocery store. But this dish was definitely a taste of home.

Minced Pork & Green Beans
(serves 2-3)

  • 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 lb green beans, cut into 2 inch long pieces
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger, sliced into slivers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  1. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, soy sauce, granulated garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil and sugar. Add ground pork and mix well. Let marinade for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Heat remaining oil in a wok on high heat. Add ginger and garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Add in ground pork and brown, breaking it up into small pieces.
  3. When pork is almost all browned, add green beans, fish sauce and Hoisin sauce. Stir well. Cover with the lid and let it cook for 3-5 minutes, until the beans are tender crisp and meat is cooked through.
  4. Serve with a side of rice. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Garlic Toast

Garlic Toast
My bad! I completely forgot to take a picture of the toast before digging in. As you can tell, we just ate straight from the pan. We had another small pan but it wasn't pictured. Family style, right? :)

It doesn't look like much but it's yummy. Next time maybe I'll add some parsley to add a little colour.

Garlic Toast
(serves 4-6)

  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced to 1 inch thick pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 2 Tbsps parsley, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Lay bread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until well incorporated.
  4. Generously spread butter mixture onto the bread.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until butter has melted completely and the edges start getting golden brown.
  6. Serve as a side or snack with some milk.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette
This has got to be the world's easiest vinaigrette. I remember a time when balsamic was all the rage. I don't know why it ended. That stuff is awesome. I always use it on some spring greens for a quick salad. Apparently it's pretty good as a dipping sauce for garlic toast. Who knew?

Balsamic Vinaigrette
(makes ~3/4 cup)

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsps honey
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Add everything into a mason jar. Shake well until the honey has dissolved. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  2. Serve over mixed greens or pout into a small plate as dip for bread.

Sometimes I'll use garlic infused extra virgin olive oil if I'm too lazy to mince up some garlic. It's less potent but still really good. Measurements are approximate since some balsamic vinegars are sweeter than others. I had a bottle that was so super sweet I only used about half the amount of honey. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Emergency Zaru Soba

Emergency Zaru Soba
Okay. If you were to actually make the proper version of zaru soba, it'd be more difficult (by like a hair). But I didn't have any dashi and I used the last of my mirin, so this is my "emergency" zaru soba sauce that's not from a bottle. It tastes way better when you have dashi stock instead of water, but meh. I work with what I got. :)

Emergency Zaru Soba
(serves 2)

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Water
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • Wasabi
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 bundles (200g) buckwheat noodles

  1. In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook noodles until al dente. When done, strain and rinse noodles under cold water a few times until noodles have cooled. Place in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot, dissolve sugar in soy sauce over medium heat. Take it off the heat and add ice cubes to cool sauce.
  3. Add water to the sauce, if needed, to dilute. Without adding water, it'll still be quite strong.
  4. Divide sauce into two smaller bowls. Whisk in wasabi, green onions and sesame seeds (optional).
  5. Dip noodles into sauce and slurp! It's nice served with a deep fried pork chop or chicken strips.

If you're actually making zaru soba sauce properly, add less sugar and equal amounts of mirin to sugar. Also, add dashi stock to the soy sauce to "dilute" it. Careful not to dilute too much or when you add ice cubes, it'll be super bland. Alternatively, just let it cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge if you have the time. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meat Pie

Meat PieSuper simple? I think so! It's kind of a cheat recipe really. I mean...packet gravy mix and frozen veggies? AND frozen puff pastry???! Lol. A working mom's gotta do what a working mom's gotta do. Quick and easy meals in a jiffy! :)

I like to use fresh whenever I can (if my cheapo side doesn't rule out) but I can't help but use packet stuff once in a while. I just add to it to make it not so bad. Or at least I'd like to think so anyway. :P

Meat Pie
(serves 4)

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables
  • 1 74g (2.64oz) packet of gravy mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 sheet frozen butter puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Meat Pie Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large pan, heat up oil and brown ground beef on medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in onions and cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Add gravy mix. Stir well to incorporate into the meat mixture. Pour in water, scraping up brown bits while mixing everything up thoroughly.
  5. Turn off heat and mix in frozen veggies. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Transfer to a 8"x8" glass dish. Lay puff pastry directly on top of the filling. If there's overhang of puff pastry, let it just go up the sides of the dish. 
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve with a side salad or soup.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Steamed Salmon Steak

Steamed Salmon SteakDid I mention I was on vacation and Hubby has to work all day? I feel bad (kinda) but it's one of the rare moments when I actually get to eat the foods I love without feeling guilty that he doesn't like it or needing to make something else for him. Which basically means I'm doing little "woohoo!" dance in my head because I get to eat something I love that he doesn't and not feel anything but pure joy. :)

This is definitely one of those dishes. Hubby doesn't eat salmon unless it's in sashimi form. There's this "fishiness" that he tastes in most fishes, especially the fattier ones. Oh but I love this one. I had it almost all month after K was born. With no soy sauce though, since I wasn't allowed that. Still super yummy though! I love ginger, so I always add more than enough. :)

Steamed Salmon Steak
(serves 1)

  • 1 (1/2 lb) salmon steak
  • 3 Tbsps soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tbsps canola oil, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger, cut into slivers
  • 2 Tbsps green onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  1. Set a steamer rack on the bottom of a large pot or wok with enough water so that the dish is suspended above the water surface. Bring water to boil while you prep the fish. 
  2. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the fish. Top with the ginger slivers. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Steam fish for 8-10 minutes, or until the flesh flakes off easily. 
  3. While fish is cooking, combine the remaining soy sauce, canola oil, green onions and sugar in a small dish. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke in the microwave for 25 seconds on high.
  4. When fish is done, pour the nuked soy sauce mixture over the fish. Serve with a side of rice and some veggies.

Obviously cook the fish longer if you have a bigger piece or more pieces. :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blueberry Pastry Cream Pie

Blueberry Pastry Cream PieSo I saw that episode of Masterchef where the pressure test was to make chocolate eclairs. It made m want to make them too! I was scared though, so I just made a pastry cream pie instead. :P

It was supposed to be a tart, but I don't have any tart shells. I have two 9 inch pie plates and 3 6 inch pie plates also. Making a bit 9 inch pie seems daunting so I just made two 6 inches ones instead. It seems smaller so it's less scary for Hubby to help me finish it. :D

It was my first time making pastry cream, so it was a little thick. But the taste was there and I'm so tempted to make it again right away. But I won't. Otherwise we'll be so sick of it that we won't be able to finish. Maybe in a month or so I'll make it again. :D

Blueberry Pastry Cream Pie
(makes 2 6" pies or 1 9" pie)

  • 1 9" ready made tart/pie shell (I used this recipe to make 2 6" ones)
  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 3 tsps vanilla extract
  • 4 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsps flour
  • 3 Tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

  1. If your tart/pie shell needs to bake, do it now, per instructions and cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium sauce pan or pot, heat milk until it starts to foam/bubble.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together eggs and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Sift the cornstarch and flour into the egg mixture. Mix until smooth.
  4. Slowly add hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  5. Once all the milk has been mixed into the egg mixture, pour everything back into the pot. Heat on medium low heat, whisking frequently until just boiled. Turn off heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  6. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature.
  7. Once everything has been cooled to room temperature, spread the pastry cream into the tart/pie shells. If serving immediately, top with blueberries. If not, cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge to chill. Top with blueberries just before ready to serve.

I only used 1/3 cup of sugar because the blueberries are sweet enough. But if you're using some other fruit, like strawberries, I'd add the full 1/2 cup of sugar and probably glaze the strawberries in a sugary glaze. Strawberries are always too tart for me so I always need something sweet with it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Faux Beef Terimayo "Japadog"

Faux Beef Terimayo "Japadog" The other day I spotted a Japadog food truck and I looped around a block just to go back to grab a few for dinner. Heehee. I love Japadogs, especially their Terimayo Japadog with some wasabi mayo. That made me want to try to make this at home (since I'm cheap and like to try to make things at home). Which led to my buying hot dogs and hot dog buns the next day to experiment.

Considering how I have no garlic at home, I decided to just go and experiment the other night for dinner. This is my rift on it but darn it is YUMMY! I'm definitely making this again. Hubby probably could've eaten 2 or 3 of these by himself. He doesn't usually finish my food unless I REALLY can't finish it and he didn't even need to be asked twice before he finished the rest of mine. LOL!

Faux Beef Terimayo "Japadog"
(makes 2 "Japadogs")

  • 2 hot dog buns
  • 2 all beef hot dogs
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsps thick soy sauce paste
  • 2 Tbsps water
  • 2 Tbsps sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise (and more for topping, optional)
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste

  1. In a medium pan, caramelize onions on low to medium-low heat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar to help it along. Stir occasionally.
  2. In the meantime, in a small saucepan, add soy sauce paste, water and remaining sugar and cook on medium high heat until sauce thickens. Add caramelized onions into the sauce. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. Using the pan you used to caramelize the onions, split the hot dog buns and put them facedown to toast a little on medium high heat. Set onto serving plates.
  4. Meanwhile, make wasabi mayo by combining the wasabi paste and Japanese mayo. Mix until well blended. Set aside.
  5. Cook hot dogs however you want. (I just nuke them on high in a microwave to be quick.)
  6. To assemble, place hot dogs in the buns, top with onions in sauce, wasabi mayo and extra Japanese mayonnaise (optional but definitely recommended). Serve right away before someone steals it from you.

You can get the thick soy sauce paste and Japanese mayonnaise in any Asian supermarket. I always just get mine at T&T. Same with the wasabi. :)