Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Strawberry Mousse

Strawberry season is here!  Every supermarket I go to, there a bunch of gorgeous red fresh strawberries on the shelves that I can’t just walk pass by without stopping and looking and, at the end of my shopping, I’ve got to take home at least 2 or 3 cartons.  Just because!  

There are lots of thing I’ve been thinking to make with these gorgeous strawberries and I just can’t decide which one to make first.  Since the day is very bright and sunny outside, I’m thinking of making something easy that I don’t need to turn the oven on at the moment.   Strawberry mousse would absolutely be the perfect choice.

For strawberry sauce:
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh squeeze orange juice or water

1. Add everything in the sauce pan over medium heat and cook until the chopped strawberries are falling apart approx. 10 minutes
2. Strain the hot strawberry sauce through the fine sieve to discard as much seeds out as possible.  This make 1 cup of strawberry sauce.

For strawberry mousse
1 cup strawberry sauce
1 tbsp. /1 package unflavored Knox gelatin
3 tbsp. water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
A pinch of salt

1. Dissolve the gelatin with water and set aside to let it blooms.
2. Add the bloomed gelatin into the hot strawberry sauce and stir to mix well, and set aside.
3. With the handheld mixer, whip the heavy cream with a pinch of salt until it forms peak form, about 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Gently fold in 3/4 cup of strawberry sauce until it is no more white streaks.
5. Divide the mousse evenly among 6 or 8 serving glasses (depending on your preferred serving size)
5. Divide another 1/4 cup of strawberry sauce evenly on top of the mousse.
6. Chill the mousse at least 2 hours before serving
7. Garnish each glass with fresh strawberry and whip cream if you desire

For garnish:
Fresh strawberries
Whipped cream

Chicken with Leek Potstickers

Everybody loves these Chinese treats – potstickers.   They are surprisingly easier to make and taste far better than store-bought.   Store-bought potstickers are not that bad but the homemade ones can be tastier which we can choose what goes in there.   I love making these potstickers if I have times.  I can make a large batch ahead and freeze them for later for a quick dinner and for a great party starter.  They take only minutes to cook and can be served with either homemade soy dipping sauce or store-bought Thai sweet chili sauce, or both!  

Potsickers can be made with pork, chicken, shrimp, crab meat, or fish that can be combined with leek, chives, sweet corn, mushroom, or napa cabbage, or anything you prefer or crave for.  Really! Try to mix different thing and you will be surprise how creative you are.  

For the dipping sauce, the soy dipping is very easy to make which you can whip it up days ahead and it can be very tasty.   But my hubby prefers Thai sweet chili sauce with potstickers.  I think it because the potsicker itself is already tasty with its filling, and Thai sweet chili sauce is kind of balancing out the flavors.  But whatever kind of dipping sauce you prefer, I’m sure these homemade potstickers will be your next favorite thing that you can’t live without.  Let’s get start!

Dipping sauce #1  Store-bought Thai sweet chili sauce 

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Chili Ginger Soy Sauce

#2 Chili Ginger Soy Sauce:
3 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Chinese style chili oil
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp. finely chopped green scallion 

: whisk the entire ingredients to combine and set aside 

What you need:  make approx. 24-30 potstickers
1 cup ground chicken
2 cup leek, finely chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
30-40 pieces potsticker wrappers
3 tbsp. canola oil

1. Combine ground chicken, chopped leek, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and cornstarch in a large medium bowl and mix well. 

2.  Place the wrappers on a clean work surface and spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling mixture into the center of the wrappers (you can do this one by one or in a batch whatever it’s easy for you).

Using a small brush or your finger gently rub the edges of the wrappers with water, fold them over to create a half-moon shape, then pinch the edges to seal.  

Try to get as much the air out of the pocket as you can and start pleating.  The pleating does not need to be perfect, mine are not!  

If you want to freeze them for later, place them on a place in a single layer with half inch apart to prevent them sticking together. After they all freeze up, you can put them in the Ziploc bag for later use.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add potstickers in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes or until they turn golden brown.  Can be cooked in small batches. Then add 3-4 tablespoons of water into the pan and cover with a lid immediately.  

In this step, the water will create a steam effect with a lid closed so the filling inside is cooked thoroughly.  Let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes or until the water is almost dissipated.   Serve immediately for the best flavor. 
*If the potstickers are frozen, unthawed is not necessarily.    

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Double Egg Drop Soup with Imitation Crab and Edamame

Living in Los Angeles with a variety of wonderful weather make me feel really grateful about life.  Lately, we got some rainy days, cloudy days, cold and chilly days, hot days, and most of the times there are beautiful sunny days that I have no rights at all to complain about my life.  And I am very thankful for that.   The L.A.’s skies today is kind of hazy and little cool with heavy fogs.  It’s kind of the day that makes me felt so lazy and wanted to sleep in under my warm blanket cuddling with my Juno (little white spoiled poodle) all day long.   Well, that was my wish of the day!

If you have made egg drop soup before, you already knew that it made such a perfect soup for a cloudy rainy day, a sick day, or even just a lazy day when you only wanted a quick, and simple light meal.    Egg drop soup has only a few ingredients and takes little time to make.  The most essential part for this dish is to crack an egg, beat it up and slowly drop and swirl it into the pot, add a little bit of soy sauce for the taste, and the soup is served.  That’s simple.  However, it can be made and elevated to many different ways by adding other ingredients however you like.

Today, I have taken my egg drop soup up another level by adding hardboiled quail eggs and the imitation crab to make the dish a little more special, some soybeans to give a little crunch, and there I have a complete dinner meal.   Go ahead and have some fun next time you making egg drop soup.
Though I am not a nutritionist, but this dish is one of healthy dish, don’t you think? 

What you need:  4-6 servings
1 package/15 quail eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot, cut small cubes
1/2 cup imitation crab, shredded
1/2 cup edamame/soybeans, frozen precooked and shelled
1 egg beaten
5 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp. water, set aside
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced

1. In a medium pot, bring the chicken broth, chopped onion, carrot to a boil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, then add soy beans and imitation crab, seasoning with soy sauce and let it cook another 3 minutes.
2. Slowly drop the beaten egg and swirl it with spoon at the same time to break up the egg evenly.
3. Add the cornstarch water and stir in to thicken the soup.  At this point, add more or less corn starch water however you like the consistency of the soup.
4. Add the hard-boiled quail eggs and stir in sesame oil and turn off the heat.
5. Serve the soup with a dash of white pepper and a sprinkle of scallion and enjoy. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Meyer Lemon curd

Yesterday, I was thrilled when the hubby came home with a big bag of Meyer lemons he got from our dear friend.  The first thing came to my mind, for some reason, was to make lemon curd.  I just craved for something sweet citrusy lemony, I guessed!   I’ve made lemon curd many times before and it’s never last for long in the fridge because the hubby loves lemon curd with fresh strawberries for dessert so much.   And somehow, the lemon curd and fresh strawberries make such a perfect pairs for a divine dessert.   Ohhhh…that’s why he brought home some lemons!  Hint hint…there!  

I usually make my lemon curd with extra-large size of four whole eggs for this recipe.  But this time I used four egg yolks and two whole eggs just because my eggs were small and I wanted to add some richness to the curd by using more yolks.  That said, egg white makes the curd lighter and yolks make it richer.  So, adjust to your own liking. 

What you need: make 2 cups
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 tbsp. Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick cold butter cut in cubes
4 egg yolks
2 eggs

1. Beating the eggs and egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Combining lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and butter in a medium pan over medium low heat and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the butter cubes are melted.
3. Slowly adding each time a tablespoon of hot lemon mixed into the beaten egg and stirring persistently to temper the egg first, because you don’t want to turn the eggs into scrambled eggs.  After done the tempering, add the mixed egg back into the pan and set over medium low heat and continue cooking and stirring until you see the bubbles and the curd is thicken. 
5. Then strain the curd through the fine sieve.  Let the curd cool down before transfer into a glass jar and store in the fridge until it firm up and ready to serve. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Kabocha squash in Sweet Coconut milk / Buad Fak-thong

If I can remember, I don’t think I’ve shared this kind of Thai dessert with you before though I’ve made it for a few times in the past.   I guess it’s time I must share.  
First of all, the Thai name of this dessert might throw you off the curve a little.   Let’s break it down word by word.  “Buad” means to enter the monkhood, and “fak-thong” is the name we call the pumpkin or kabocha squash (and not other types of squash).   Therefore, “fak” means “squash” (or (v.) hatch) and “thong” means “gold.”   So, “fak-thong” is “gold-squash” since it contains yellow gold color.   And, what buad has to do with fak-thong?!?    I have no idea how they are used together, seriously!   But one thing I know that I’ve been eating this dessert since like….…forever, and I love it.  I love eating the kabocha squash very much no matter how it’s cooked.  The hubby is not so much about this dessert.  Oh well, more for me!  

The palm sugar is usually used in this dessert, but regular granulated sugar or brown sugar can be substituted but the quantity might be different since each has its own distinctive and level of sweetness.  So, use whatever sweetness you have on hand.   Traditionally, buad fak-thong is served lukewarm or at room temperature.  But when I eat I like it on the warm side just as you would drink a cup of hot milk.  It just makes me want to go take a nap afterward. 

What you need:  4 servings
2 cups Kabocha squash, cut into small bites
1/2 cup coconut cream (if using coconut milk which is thinner, use 2 cups)
1/4 cup coconut cream for garnishing – optional
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Mix half a cup of coconut cream with one and a half cup of filtered water in a medium pot. Then add squash, salt, and palm sugar over medium heat and let it cook for 12 -15 minutes or until the squash is fork-tendered (be careful not to let it cooks too long or it will became mushy). Take off the heat immediately and let cool down.

2. Serve lukewarm for best flavor or serve at room temperature with a teaspoon of coconut milk drizzling over.   Enjoy! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thai Steamed Fish with Spicy Chili-Lime Sauce / Pla Neung Manao

Pla (fish) neung (steamed) manao (lime) is one of the most favorite Thai dish I LOVE to eat.  I meant, I can literally eat the whole fish by myself.   Yes, most, if not all, Thai people love this dish if you ask.  It’s not only because it’s so easy to make, but it’s so healthy, and sooooo spicy-licious!  It’s said to be very popular among the drinkers at the party and family gathering. 

Since this dish is full of the intense herbal flavors from the fresh Thai chili, garlic, and ginger,  it is meant to be eaten with steamed jasmine rice to balance out the spiciness and calm the dish down a little.   However, steamed rice is only an optional if you can handle the heat.   This dish can be made with any white fish of your choice either a whole fish or fish fillet.   However, keep in mind when you buy a whole fish to make this dish if it will fit in your steamer, or otherwise cut the whole fish in half or use fish fillet instead.   

I promise you when you make one, you will want to make it again and again. But be warned, use chili with your own caution, as you can handle it. 

What you need:

1.5 lbs. cleaned fresh Golden Pompano, or other white fish of your choice – barramundi, or tilapia, etc. 

For the sauce
3 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp. finely chopped Thai chili
2 tbsp. finely julienned fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh squeeze lime juice
3 tbsp. fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar

For garnish
1/4 cup julienned scallions both white and green parts
A handful of cilantro leaves

1. Whisk together all the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.
2. Use a large shallow dish that fit in your steamer because there will be some juice comes out from the fish. It’s all the good flavor, do not discard!   Steam the fish on high heat for 18-20 minutes (depends on the size and weight of the fish).
3. When the fish is cooked, pour over with the chili-lime sauce and garnish with cilantro leaves, and scallion.
4. Serve the dish immediately with steam jasmine rice and enjoy.  

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