Saturday, March 19, 2011

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta

I finally had some time to play with the Pasta Maker I got for my birthday. I decided to make some wheat pasta for the first time. It was so much fun!

Dry ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

Mixed into dough:

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes:

My set up (you like my Ugly Doll cookie jar, don't you?):

Dough formed into walnut size pieces. I know some are larger than others, I started second-guessing myself so this is what I ended up with:

The first batch of rigatoni (so fun!):

In action:

Here we have fusili, large macaroni and rigatoni shaped pastas:

I should have laid them out in layers to keep their shape. But, it was all good. What did I do with this pasta? I made some minestrone soup, perfect for the cold rainy Friday night.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Soy & Honey Glazed Salmon

Monday Night Dinner:

Today I visited the Fresh & Easy that opened up in SJ last week. It's a subsidiary of Tesco, a chain grocery store from the UK - crossing over to the states. It's already in AZ, NV and SoCal and finally making it's way to NorCal. I had read great things about it and decided to check it out for myself today. It really is a cute place; had great fresh produce items, it's own branded specialty items as well as major brands you'd find elsewhere. I'm sure to be back! I found some great looking salmon there and picked some up. I broiled the salmon in the oven and served it with rice and a medley of vegetables.

The best thing about the meat products from Fresh & Easy is that they are in nice, sturdy plastic containers with a sealed plastic cover instead of the styrofoam piece with saran wrapped around it like you would find at other stores:

Here's the recipe for the glazed salmon:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey (you can use less if you like it to be less sweet)
1.5 tablespoons mustard (I used whole grain mustard)
1 tablespoon water

Whisk all these ingredients and heat to a simmer.
Broil the salmon filet, flipping over halfway. Once the filet is cooked, I drizzled a spoonful of the glaze and let it broil for a little. I served it with some rice and vegetables, and drizzled another spoonful of the glaze. Pretty yummy!

Birthday Eats

Brunch, movie, pizza, Pinkberry, molecular gastronomy and Mom's banh xeo.

GASTRONOME also happened to be the word of the day. So fitting! Here are some of the foods I enjoyed on my birthday (all taken with my camera phone):

Mimosa at brunch (double the cava)

Dinner at Baumé (very cute restaurant in Palo Alto). We had the 12-course découverte tasting menu. It was a lot of fun!

My mom is in town, so on Sunday she made one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes - banh xeo - which is a crepe with pork and shrimp inside. Delish!

There were other deliciousness I ate to celebrate my birthday, like pizza, Pinkberry, a great coffee/chocolate ice cream cake and a vietnamese jelly dessert. - no photos though.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fried Rice

2 cups day old rice
4 sausages (I used the chinese pork sausages)
2 scrambled eggs
1.5 cups frozen vegetables
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter

1. Slice and cook sausage. Drain fat in a separate bowl lined with paper towels.

2. Scramble eggs (slightly undercooked)

3. Add the butter and rice. Fry until rice is crispy and turns color.

4. Add soy sauce. Continue to fry.

5. Add eggs to rice. This is where the eggs will continue to cook.

6. Add cooked sausage

7. Add vegetables. If frozen, it should already be heated in the microwave at this point and ready to go.

8. Mix everything up, plate and enjoy!

I really like using my panda-pan. It makes cooking so much more fun!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aztec Chicken Soup

This is some really healthy and tasty soup. Great for the cold weather we've been going through in NorCal. Everything from scratch! I got this recipe from DailyCandy, which they got from SF's Tacolicious:


For soup
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
½ tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1 whole chicken, cut into quarters
2 dried pasilla chiles
8 Roma tomatoes
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil

For garnish
Fried corn tortilla strips
Avocado, diced
Cotija cheese, crumbled
Onion, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Lime, cut into wedges

1. In a large stockpot, place half of the onions, 2 garlic cloves, the carrots, bay leaves, whole peppercorns, and chicken. Fill with enough cold water to cover the chicken by two inches. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.

2. Skim off any foam that forms at the top. Once the chicken is fully cooked (about 45 minutes), remove it from the liquid and set aside to cool. Into another pot, strain the stock through a fine strainer and set aside. Discard the vegetables and aromatics. (The first two steps can be skipped by using 4 cans of store-bought stock and a cooked roast chicken, meat removed from the bones.)

3. Preheat the oven to broil and place the whole tomatoes, remaining chopped onion, and remaining whole garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Place on the top rack of the oven and broil until the tomatoes are slightly charred and the onions and garlic are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

4. Put the dried pasilla chiles on a cookie sheet and place them under the broiler until they are slightly toasted (be careful not to let them burn). Remove them from the oven and soak them in warm water 5-10 minutes.

5. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the tomatoes. Remove the chiles from the soaking water. Place the peeled tomatoes in a blender along with the roasted onion, garlic, and chiles. Puree until smooth.

6. In a thick-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Slowly add the tomato-chile puree and “fry” it in the oil until it thickens and darkens, 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add 4 quarts of the chicken stock (reserved cooking liquid) to the puree. Let it simmer 10-15 minutes.

7. In the meantime, remove all the meat from the chicken; discard skin and bones. Shred the chicken meat and add to the soup along with the salt. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes and serve.

8. Garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.