Jan 31, 2012


So Mr. G and I have joined the rest of civilization and got cable! haha. It has made and ruined my life all at the same time. I'm so addicted to the Food Network, I'm especially addicted to Chopped, but I digress. One day while watching the Food Network, I saw Ina Garten make Gravlax!!

To me, Gravlax is like smoked salmon without the smoky taste. It is cold cured salmon with salt, sugar, pepper and dill. I would never think that I could make it at home!! Ina made it seem so easy, so I bought a piece of salmon and gave it a go. It was an absolute hit!! I served it like smoked salmon with a bagel and cream cheese. I think traditionally you're supposed to serve it with mustard and rye bread. It takes three days to make, but not a lot of active time at all. Try it, you'll like it!!  Miss O, this recipe is for you!!

from Ina Garten 
3 pounds fresh salmon, center cut 
1 large bunch of dill, plus 1/4 cup chopped dill for serving 
1/2 cup kosher salt 
1/2 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons white peppercorns, crushed 
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds

1. Cut the salmon in half crosswise and place half the fish skin side down in a deep dish. Wash and shake dry the dill and place it on the fish. Combine the salt, sugar, crushed peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the piece of fish. Place the other half of salmon over the dill, skin side up. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place a smaller pan on top of the foil and weight it with some heavy cans. Refrigerate the salmon for at least 2 and up to 3 days, turning it every 12 hours and basting it with the liquid that collects.

2. Lay each piece of salmon flat on a cutting board, remove the bunch of dill, and sprinkle the top with chopped dill. With a long thin slicing knife, slice the salmon in long thin slices as you would for smoked salmon. Serve with dark pumpernickel bread and mustard sauce. You can also serve with chopped red onion and capers, if desired.

  • *Ina served her gravlax with a mustard sauce and pumpernickel bread. 

Jan 19, 2012

Pasta with Crab and Sherry Cream Sauce

I love food! I love anything to do with food. Food games, food movies, and recently I discovered a Korean drama called Pasta!! I knew I had to watch it!! It was so cute. As all Korean dramas go, there's a love triangle and I'm pretty sure someone always has cancer. This one wasn't sad though, it was very sweet and lots of footage of chefs preparing pasta (bonus for me!!). I'm telling you this because I finally learned how to properly plate pasta from watching this drama!! You're supposed to take some pasta with your tongs, and have your tongs perpendicular to your plate and twirl your tongs to release the pasta. It creates this cute little cocoon of pasta! so pretty!! Watch it!!

On to this dish, my sister gave me this recipe, but it originally came from the 30 Minute Suppers Special from America's Test Kitchen.  How can I describe this dish? Yum!!! That's really all I need to say about this. It comes together in the time that it takes for your pasta to cook!! It's perfect for a weeknight dinner. My only advice is buy good crab meat!! It's the star of the dish, it really shouldn't be the fake stuff!

Linguine with Crab & Sherry Cream Sauce 
adapted from America's Test Kitchen's 30 Minute Suppers Special 
Serves 4 
2 tbsp unsalted butter 
2 shallots, minced 
2 tbsp tomato paste 
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (see note) 
1/2 cup dry sherry 
1 cup heavy cream 
2 tsp grated zest and 1 tbsp juice from 1 lemon 
salt and pepper 
1 pound linguine 
1 pound lump crab meat 
parsley (see note)

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Melt butter in large skillet over med-high heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 2 mins. Add tomoto paste and red pepper flakes and cook until slightly darkened, about 2 mins. Stir in sherry and simmer until thickened, about 2 mins. Add heavy cream and cook until thickened, about 3 mins. Off heat, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

2. Menawhile, add 1 tbsp salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot. Add sauce, crab meat, and zest and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

  • *Original recipe calls for 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.  I wanted a little bit more kick so I used 1/2 tsp. 
  • *Original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of chives.  I only used about 1 tbsp of chopped Italian parsley as decoration.

Jan 14, 2012

Raspberry Cheesecake

I recently discovered this blog called Oui Chef and ever since then, I have been drooling over his post every week. A month ago, he made a Raspberry Cheesecake that was from Ina Garten. I knew those two combinations could not steer me wrong.

I decided to make this cheesecake for my dad's birthday. It was a great success! I did make a few changes to the recipe. I halved the recipe to start because there's no way my parents can finish such a large cheesecake. I used a shortbread crust instead of the graham cracker crust and I omitted the raspberry jam due to complete laziness on my part. heehee.

The texture is nice and creamy. It's not as heavy as the New York Cheesecake, but solid enough that you feel like you're eating a real cheesecake. It's so easy to put together too!! Make it today!! Here's the recipe with my adaptations.

I have also included some tricks for making a crack free cheesecake!!  See below!

Raspberry Cheesecake 
adapted from Ina Garten via Oui Chef 
125 g butter, very cold, cubed small 
42g sugar 
125g flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Work the butter, sugar, flour and cacao with a food processor or your fingers to get a sandy mixture. Work the dough for a minute. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Cheesecake filling: 
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature 
3/4 cups sugar 
3 whole large eggs, at room temperature 
1 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature 
2 tbsp sour cream 
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (1 lemon) 

1. Preheat the oven temperature to 450℉.

2. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

3. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225℉ and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

4. Remove the cake from the spring form pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the spring form pan for serving. 5. Decorate with raspberries.

Here are a few tips for making crack free cheesecakes!
  • *The cheesecake will crack when it's overbaked.  
  • *It will crack if the batter is over beaten, so make sure you start with room temperature ingredients to minimize beating.  
  • *The cheesecake will crack when there's a drastic change in temperature, that's the reason for letting the cheesecake sit in the oven with the door open.
  • *Another trick is to remove the cheesecake from the oven after baking and run a thin knife along the edge, put the cheesecake back in the oven to cool gradually.  This is too loosen the edge so when the cheesecake shrinks after baking, it won't crack.
  • *If all else fails and you still have a cracked cheesecake, have no fear. I have a trick to fix it!!  Put your cheesecake in the fridge until it's set. Using a warm knife, carefully bind the cracks together by running the warm knife on each side of the crack to bind the crack.  It really works!  

Jan 3, 2012

Kimchee fried rice

Happy New Year everyone!! I can't believe I haven't posted anything since October 2011!!! I'm so sorry for the delay and I just want to thank you for your continual support of My Food Affair. So much has happened in the tail end of 2011. Mr. G and I bought a new home and we're engaged!!! My head is spinning and I'm dizzy with everything I have to do for 2012!! Yikes. Any chance you can suggest a wedding venue for us in Oahu? =P

Anyway, enough about me. Let's move on to the important stuff...FOOD!! Today I give you Kimchee fried rice. This recipe comes from A Dash of Sugar and Spice. I made some changes to the recipe to suit our tastes, but overall this is a simple recipe that's great for weeknights.

The key to good kimchee fried rice is good kimchee!! My friend's wife makes amazing kimchee and we're lucky to get a jar of it once in awhile. I used this pot of Korean gold for this dish and I think it really made a difference. The original recipe calls for soy sauce for additional flavor, but our kimchee was so flavorful, we didn't need any additional seasoning. Try it and let me know what you think!

Kimchee Fried Rice 

1 1/2 cups kimchee, chopped 
1 cup of Portuguese sausage, diced (see note) 
2 cups cooked rice, heated 
2 tablespoons kimchee juice, as needed (see note)
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
1 teaspoon sesame seeds 
Black pepper 
2 eggs
Scallions for garnish, chopped, optional

1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, brown the Portuguese sausage until edges are brown and crispy. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate; set aside.

2. Remove some of the sausage fat from the pan, leaving about one or two tablespoons. Add the chopped kimchee to the pan and sauté them well until nice and tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add rice and mix well with the kimchee. Add the kimchi juice to moisten the fried rice (see note). Continue to stir until heated through.

3. Turn off the heat. Add sesame oil, sesame seeds, and the sausage; mix well. Season with black pepper and toss in scallions.

4. In a small skillet, fry eggs sunny side up or over easy (whichever you prefer). Place on top of the fried rice. Serve immediately.

  • *Original recipe calls for 4-6 strips of bacon, I used Portuguese sausage instead because that's what I had on hand.  
  • *Original recipe calls for 1 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce. I didn't need the soy sauce because of the good kimchee.  Add soy sauce to suit your taste.
  • *Take care when adding the kimchee juice.  If your kimchee is really wet, you might not need to add the juice.  Nothing's worse than soggy fried rice! 

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