May 31, 2011

Barbecued Turkey Sloppy Joes and burger buns

Sloppy Joes remind me of high school lunches. I was never involved in food fights, but I seem to remember sloppy joe days as being food fights day. I guess no one really cared to eat them. These Barbecued Turkey Sloppy Joes are different, I would not waste these as weapons!

Not too long ago, I discovered ground turkey. It's wonderful. I have never been a big fan of beef. I only like beef when the sauce is so strong, I can't taste the beef. Ground turkey is such a great substitution for ground beef, it's healthier, more earth friendly, and most times, you can't even tell the difference. In this recipe, the turkey is not dry at all. Mr. G had no idea it was turkey.

This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen's Spring 2011 30 minute supper magazine! I love how they come out with a magazine each season. The recipes are wonderful and so easy to make. Each magazine is jam packed with recipes and the magazines don't take up as much room in my bookshelf as the cookbooks.

Now for the buns...these are great!! I think this made the sloppy joes!! I used the hamburger buns recipe from Bread baker's apprentice. I have been reading this book like a novel and it's so interesting! There's so much to learn about the techniques of bread making and I'm more fascinated with every page. I'm sure there will be more recipes from this book to come. Until are the recipes.

Barbecued Turkey Sloppy Joes
America’s test kitchen 30 minute suppers

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp hot sauce
4 hamburger buns

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook until onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until just pink, about 3 minutes.

2. Add pepper, brown sugar, tomato puree, barbecue sauce, water, and hot sauce to skillet with meat. Simmer until sauce is slightly thicker than ketchup, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Spoon meat mixture onto buns. Serve.

Burger Buns
from Bread Baker's Apprentice

4 3/4 cups (21.5 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1.33 oz) powdered milk
3 1/4 tbsp (1.66 oz) sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
1 large egg, slightly beaten, room temperature
3 1/4 tbsp (1.66 oz) butter, margarine, shortening, melted or at room temperature
1 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp to 1 3/4 cup (13 to 14 oz) water, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water until frothy, for egg wash (optional)
sesame or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

1. Mix together the flour, salt, powdered milk, sugar and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Pour in the egg, butter, and 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water and mix with a large spoon or on low speed of electric mixer with paddle attachment until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more water until the dough is soft and supple.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading or mix on medium speed with the dough hook, adding more flour if necessary to create a dough that is soft, supple and tacky, but not sticky. Continue kneading or mixing for 6 to 8 minutes. (In the electric mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick ever so slightly to the bottom.) The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 80 F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (the length of time will depend on the room temperature).

4. Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it in half for sandwich loaves, into eighteen 2 ounce pieces for dinner rolls, or twelve 3 ounce pieces for burger or hot dog buns. Shape the pieces into boules for loaves, or tight rounds for dinner rolls or buns. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

5. For loaves, lightly oil two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans and place the loaves in the pans. For rolls and buns, line 2 sheet pans with parchment. rolls require no further shaping. For hamburger buns, gently press down on the rolls to form the desired shape. Transfer to sheet pans.

6. Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temp for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it nearly doubles in size.

7. Preheat the oven to 350F for loaves or 400F for rolls and buns. Brush the rolls or buns with the egg wash and garnish with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Sandwich loaves also may be washed and garnished, or score them down the center and rub a little vegetable oil into the slit.

8. Bake the rolls or buns for approx 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and register just above 180F in the center. Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through for even baking. Internal temp of loaves should be close to 190F and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

9. When loaves are finished baking, remove them from pans and cool on a wire rack. Rolls should cool for 15 minutes on a rack before serving.

May 20, 2011

Steamed Mussels in Lemongrass Coconut Curry

Earlier this week, we ordered some live lobsters from Get Maine Lobster. We ordered the Maine Lobster Dinner that came with four live lobsters, four pounds of mussels and four huge crab cakes!!

Now, if you live in Hawaii, there's a bit of a hurdle. Don't be discouraged, it's not that bad! You need to apply for an import permit from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. The application can be found here. (see note) The form is pretty self explanatory and it took about a week for the permit to come. The permit costs $20 for a one time shipment or $100 for unlimited shipments. Once you get the permit, fax or send a copy to Get Maine Lobster so that they can tape it on the box. That way, there's no delay for your shipment.

I highly recommend getting lobsters from Get Maine Lobster. Mark from Get Maine Lobster was absolutely wonderful!!! He was so helpful through this whole permit issue and really went out of his way to make sure we got the lobsters!! We ordered live lobsters from others before the whole permit issue, and they weren't nearly as good as Get Maine Lobster. We also bought live lobsters locally, but it's just not the same. These were incredibly fresh and the lobster meat was so sweet!!!!

The first night, we had the fancy recipe, we just steamed it and served it with drawn butter (clarified butter). The lobsters were soo fresh and tasty, you really don't need anything else.

The next night, we had the mussels. I was trying to decide what to do with the mussels when I came across this recipe from Kacey's Kitchen.

OH MY GOD!!! This was soooooo good!! Honestly, I have never had mussels so fresh. It didn't have that chewiness that you normally get with mussels and there was no trace of fishiness as well. And the broth..SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!!! I'm drooling just thinking about it. YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS!!! I know I say that all the time, but this time it's in caps. I really mean it!! The picture doesn't do it justice, it really was amazing!! Here's the recipe.

Steamed Mussels in Lemongrass Coconut Curry
adapted from Steamy Kitchen via Kacey's Kitchen

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and picked through
4 stalks of lemongrass, white part grated (see note)
2 (8 oz) bottles of clam juice
1/2 cup of white wine
1 can (14oz) of coconut milk
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of Thai curry paste (depends on your spice level)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3 small skeins of mung bean noodles, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes.
chopped scallions, cilantro, and chili for topping

1. Fry the curry paste: In a wok or large pot, turn heat to medium. When wok is hot but not smoking, add 1/4 cup of curry paste and the lemongrass. Fry for 30 seconds to release its flavors.

2. Add the clam juice, wine, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk. Simmer for 3 minutes. If you are using lemon peel, discard lemon peel. Taste the broth. If you want more heat, add more curry paste. In meantime, drain your mung bean noodles. The noodles should still be a little stiff.

3. Turn heat to high and add your mussels. Immediately cover with tight fitting lid. Steam on high for 4 minutes. Open lid, scootch the mussels to one side, add mung bean noodles and cook for another minute uncovered. Use a large spoon to redistribute the mussels from the top to the bottom of the broth, cook another 30 seconds and it's done! Top with chopped chilies and scallions.

  • *The scientific name for lobster is Homarus Americanus
  • *The original recipe uses 1 stalk of lemongrass, but I wanted a bit more lemongrass flavor

May 16, 2011

Chestnut cake

This is one of my favorite Asian cakes. I grew up eating this for birthdays and other special occasions in Hong Kong. When we moved to Hawaii, it was hard to find this cake. We finally found it at Panya Bakery, but it was ridiculously expensive. What to do but make your own?

I made this once in thepast, and that was in 2007!!! The reason is this is a pain in the ass to make!!! The hardest part is cooking and peeling the chestnuts. It takes hours and hours. I made this cake for my mom for Mother's day. I can't think of too many people that I'll make this cake for. Here's the recipe with some changes from the last time.

Chestnut Cake
adapted from Eupho Cafe

Honey Chiffon Cake
translated from Eupho Cafe

4 eggs
70g sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp milk
85g. cake flour
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Line an 8” pan with parchment paper.

2. Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites. Beat egg yolks, 20g of sugar, and honey until it’s light yellow. Mix in vegetable oil and milk until incorporated.

3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

4. Sift the cake flour. Fold the cake flour into the yolk mixture until just incorporated.

5. Add cream of tartar to egg whites, and beat until soft peaks. Then add 50g of sugar in increments, until stiff peaks are formed.

6. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Continue until all the egg whites are incorporated.

7. Pour batter into prepared pan. Hit the pan gently against the counter once to remove large bubbles. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Allow cake to cool in the pan upside down. When completely cool, take the cake out of the pan.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Pour the gelatin in the cold water and allow the gelatin to sit for approximately five minutes. After the gelatin has bloomed, melt the gelatin mixture in a microwave for approximately 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Pour the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in bowl of a mixer. Beat until the cream starts to thicken and add the gelatin mixture and beat until soft peaks form.

Chestnut cream filling
from Eupho Cafe
400g cooked chestnuts
3 TB unsalted butter
100g sugar

1. Smash chestnuts with a food processor. (may keep some small chunks for better texture) In a small pan, melt butter and sugar together, add in the chestnuts and mix well. Set aside and let cool. When it’s cool, scoop one cup of whipped cream into the butter and combine well.


1. After the cake has cooled completely, cut the cake into three equal pieces. Spread about 1/3 of the chestnut cream onto the first layer and top with the second layer. Repeat with the second layer and finally top with the final layer.

2. Frost the cake with plain whipped cream and decorate with remaining chestnut cream. Enjoy!

  • *There are some difference between the one from Eupho Cafe and mine.  She made a chestnut flavored whipped cream, and also a chestnut flavored cake for a more intense chestnut flavor.  I was too lazy to shell that many chestnuts. heehee.

May 11, 2011

Chocolate Almond Toffee

One of my classmates from my Indian cooking class made this during our last class. I immediately hounded her for the recipe because it was one of the best toffee I've ever had. She starts writing it, from memory, on a piece of scratch paper. It's that simple. I made these for Mr. G for a potluck he had and it was soooo good I got a proposal from someone I've never met. haha =) Here's the recipe, don't be scared about the calories in the ingredient list, just share!

Chocolate Almond Toffee

2 sticks of butter
1 1/3 cup of sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
3 tbsp water
4 oz of finely chopped chocolate (see note)
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (see note)

1. Melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and water to the butter and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until mixture reaches approximately 310 degrees. By then, your toffee will have a golden brown color.

2. While your toffee is cooking, line a 9x13 pan with foil and grease with butter. When the mixture is finished, pour the mixture in the pan.

3. Sprinkle chocolate over toffee. Using a spatula, spread chocolate on top of toffee. Add the chopped nuts and you're done!

  • *I used semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use any type of chocolate you like.
  • *I used almonds, but feel free to use any type of nuts you like.  I toasted the almonds before chopping it. 


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