Jun 30, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies with walnuts

I just started my sewing class! I was so excited about my class that I decided to make some cookies for the class. I used this recipe from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies book. This is a really special cookbook. I've been wanting this for so long, but it's out of print. My sister found a used copy for me and I've been reading it like a novel, from cover to cover! heehee. I really love Alice Medrich!!

As for the cookies, I wish I could say they're spectacular, but I can't. I have to be true to my food affair!! I really wanted to love them, but they're just good, not spectacular. They're crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This recipe uses melted butter with sugar instead of softened butter. I think it's because of this reason that the cookie has a caramelized flavor. I still have some dough in the freezer, I'm going to try it again. Maybe my taste buds were just off. heehee.

Here's the recipe.

Chocolate chip cookie with walnuts
from Cookies and Brownies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
16 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.

2. Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt.

3. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Let the mixture and the pan cool. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to soften. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough and place them 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown at the edges and no longer look wet on top. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

6. Remove from the oven and let cookies firm up on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Use a metal pancake turner to transfer them to a rack to cool completely before storing or stacking. May be store in a tightly sealed container for several days.

Jun 24, 2010

Chinese rice dumpling

On the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar is Dragon boat festival. This year it fell on June 16th. To celebrate, we always eat rice dumpling (aka Jong) during this festival. This festival is to commemorate a Chinese scholar. He was loved by the people but the government didn't care for him because he didn't agree with them. He committed suicide by drowning in a river. When people heard about this, they attempted to save him. The couldn't find him, so they wrapped rice dumplings and threw them in river so that the fish would eat the dumplings and not his flesh. Since then, the Chinese people eat rice dumplings each year to celebrate this scholar.

This year, I decided to make the rice dumpling myself. I found a recipe from Table for 2 or more. Wendy even has step by step instructions to teach you how to wrap it.

Preparing for the ingredients takes a bit of time. You definitely need to plan ahead if you want to make this. Otherwise, the hardest part by far is wrapping the rice dumpling in the bamboo leaves!! I had a hard time getting that traditional pyramid shape. Overall, it was worth the effort because the rice dumpling is really delicious!!! My parents both agreed that they were good, and they are very picky! =) I halved Wendy's recipe, here it is.

Chinese rice dumpling
adapted from Table for 2 or more

for the rice:
1kg short grain glutinous rice
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 shallots , chopped
1/4 cup oil

1. Soak rice for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Drain well.

2. Fry shallot in oil until slightly golden and fragrant. Remove shallot from the oil. Add sugar and salt into the oil and stir until combined. Add glutinous rice and cook for two minutes.

for the beans:
400gm peeled mung beans
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar

1. Soak mung beans for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain well.

2. Mix beans with salt and sugar. Leave to marinate for 1 hour or more.

for the pork:
1 lb pork belly, no skin
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 heaped tsp 5 spice powder
good dash of pepper

1. Mix everything together and marinate for 2-3 days.

12 pieces of salted egg yolk, halved
24 pieces of dried bamboo leaves, wash and soak in water to rehydrate
strand to tie dumpling.

For instructions on how to wrap the dumplings, go to Wendy's website. Good luck!

After they are wrapped, boil the dumplings in hot water for 2 hours. Remove string and leaves and enjoy!

This is the cross section of it!! Can you see the yummy beans? That's my favorite part. You can also see the salted egg yolk and the little piece of pork! yum!!

Jun 19, 2010

Chinese steamed fish

Hey everyone, it's been awhile. I've been having too much fun. My family and I just came back from an Alaskan cruise. I had so much fun in the open ocean that I jumped at the chance to go back when my friend's husband asked me if I wanted to go fishing!

This was the first time I went fishing on a boat and it was quite an adventure. I completely expected to come home empty handed and was just looking forward to a boat ride on a beautiful day.

What a pleasant surprise when I came home with four edible fish!!! yipee!! We always steam fresh fish in this household so I decided to share my dad's "recipe". I say "recipe" because he doesn't really have a recipe. I watched him prepare the fish from start to finish and here's what I got. When I try to make it myself, I can update this with more accurate measurements.

The bottom red fish (I forgot the name of the fish) is what it looked like before cooking.

Chinese steamed fish
from Mr. K

for the fish:
1 fresh fish
2 stalks of green onion (scallions)
2 stalks of cilantro (chinese parsley)
1" piece of ginger
2 tbsp oil

for the sauce:
1/4 tsp sugar
bit of water
2 or 3 tbsp of soy sauce

1. Clean fish (don't ask me how, I have no idea!) and dry fish with paper towel.

2. Cut scallions into 2" pieces and then slice lengthwise to get thinner slices. Cut cilantro into 1" pieces. Julienne the ginger until they're very thin pieces.

3. Place a pair of chopsticks under the fish on the plate (see note). Rest the fish on the chopsticks and steam for approximately 8 minutes, depending on the size of your fish.

4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the sugar, water and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a small pan. Put ginger into the oil. Then put the scallions and cilantro. Cook for about 30 seconds.

5. After the fish is finished. Remove chopsticks from under the fish and drain the water from the plate. Pour soy sauce mixture on the fish and top with the scallions and cilantro oil. Enjoy!!

  • *My dad said the reason you put the chopsticks under the fish is so that the fish doesn't sit in the water which makes the texture mushy.

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