Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice

This recipe popped up on my reader the other day from What's Cookin' Chicago? and looked really yummy. I've been looking for a savory dish to make and add on to my blog, because I've noticed that, lately, I've been making a lot of sweets. I need to make more new dinner recipes. And what's not to like about fried rice. This was pretty easy to make. You can make this into a spicy dish by adding some red pepper flakes or diced jalapeno into the sauce. But because my daughter would be eating this, I omitted the spice. Hubby actually asked what makes this dish "Indonesian." I assumed it was the sweetness and spice of the sauce. Whatever it is, this still came out quite good and Hubby and daughter were really pleased with this dish.

2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. light or mild molasses
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
12-14 extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups left over cold rice
1/2 cup frozen peas & carrots, thawed
4 green onions, sliced thin
lemon or lime wedges

1) In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, fish sauce, and salt. Set aside.

2) In another small bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/4 tsp. salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into pan and allow to set. Pull the cooked edges towards the middle and tilt the pan to allow runny eggs to coat the bottom of pan. Continue to do this as need until no runny eggs remain.

3) With a spatula, carefully flip the egg to cook the top side. Remove from heat and break into pieces. Set aside.

4) Heat the remaining 3 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over over medium heat. Saute onions, stirring constantly, until translucent. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until they turn opaque. Push shrimps to the side.

5) Crumble rice into middle of skillet. Cook rice and shrimp until rice is warmed and slightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Add sauce mixture and toss to coat. Stir in peas, carrots, and eggs. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add green onions and remove from heat. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fauxstess Cupcakes (aka "Hostess Cupcakes")

When I was a kid, "fresh off the boat" from the Philippines, my only experience as far as sleepovers were when my cousin, Mary, would invite me and 2 of our younger cousins for sleepovers. She was only a couple of years older than I was, but I thought it was so cool that I got to hang out with someone older. She would think up creative ways to keep me and my younger cousins busy during those 2 days she had us. Then she would feed us sandwiches for lunch or dinner. I had never had American sandwiches before and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Then for snacks, I had my first taste of "Hostess" treats: Ding Dongs, Hostess cupcakes, or Twinkies. I even remember the time we went to a drive-in movie and she brought us Ding Dongs to snack on. However, Hostess cupcakes were my favorite. Funny thing was, even though I loved them, I never ate them when I was at home. Perhaps it was because my parents never bought them for us nor had I ever thought to ask them to buy some.

I came across this recipe from Beantown Baker, and I began to reminisce about those sleepovers at my cousin Mary's house 25 years ago. I haven't had a Hostess cupcake in a long time. I think its time to introduce them to my own daughter and hope that she, too, would have fond memories of eating these yummy treats. And they came out so well. The filling was not overly sweet, unlike the original version. Hubby loved these and thought they were "so cool." I thought they looked pretty cool too :) This recipe goes out to my dear cousin Mary. Love you cuz ♥

1/2 cup cake flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, separated at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. water

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks, canola oil, 1/2 cup sugar and water until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix by hand just until combined.

4) In a clean medium bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Beat one quarter of the eggs whites into the batter to lighten the mixture. Add remaining egg whites and gently fold mixture together until no streaks remain.

5) Evenly divide batter into prepared muffin pan, about half full. Bake for 13-16 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched in the center. Cool on a wire rack before adding filling and topping.

Cream filling
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1) While cupcakes are cooling, combine filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water. Beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until thick and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserved half of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.

2) Once the cupcake have cooled, cut a hole on the center of the cupcakes. Pipe the filling in the hole. Set aside.

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1) In a small saucepan, heat cream until steaming. Remove from heat, add chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Add butter and stir until smooth.

2) Transfer frosting into a small bowl. Dip the top of each cupcake to thoroughly coat.

3) Spoon the reserved filling into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip. Pipe swirls across the center of each cupcake. Refrigerate cupcakes for at least 10 minutes to set frosting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This recipe popped up on my reader last week from Smells Like Home and I had to make it ASAP. It looked so sinfully delicious and Red Velvet is one of my favorite things to eat and make. I, luckily, had just enough flour left. Otherwise I would have to wait some more before I made this, lest I run to the store again for the upteenth time today. This recipe uses ALOT of red food coloring, unlike my go-to Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe, which only uses 1 ounce of red food coloring. So this brownie yields a very deep colored red velvet that is so hard to resist. Topped with the white chocolate buttercream frosting makes for a super yummy alternative to the brownie.

3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring
2 tsp. vanilla extract (divided)
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease and flour a 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Set aside

2) In a small bowl, slowly stir together cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.

3) In a bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. With the mixer off, add cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer on to medium and beat until uniform in color. Turn mixer to medium-low and slowly add flour and salt. Mix just until combined. Do not overmix.

4) Remove bowl from mixer and stir batter with a rubber spatula once or twice to ensure flour has been thoroughly incorporated. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. Completely cool brownies in the pan on a baking rack for about 45-60 minutes. Frost as desired (in the pan, or cut into 12 squares).

White Chocolate Buttercream frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz white chocolate, melted
1-2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1) In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter until soft and fluffy on medium-high, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add melted chocolate and continue beating until well incorporated. With the mixer on medium, add heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Afritada (Filipino Chicken Stew)

There are a few staple dishes in the Filipino kitchen. There's Adobo, Tinola, Beef Caldereta, Pancit and other popular dishes that frequent many Filipino meals. Another one of those dishes is Chicken Afritada. Its a similar tomato sauce-based stew like Caldereta. Hubby happens to really like both stews, but I have yet to make Afritada for him. This is another one of those dishes that I never had a chance to get the recipe for from my Lola. But mom also made kick-a$$ Afritada. Whenever she had time to cook. Mom was usually the workaholic, and so dad did most of the cooking when I was growing up. However, a quick call to mom this evening gave me a few tips on how to make it. With those tips, I was able to find this recipe, from Panlasang Pinoy. I realize that there are different ways to make Afritada when I found various versions of this dish. But this dish came out really well and hubby thought it was quite tasty. I'm so glad to have finally found a recipe for Afritada. I won't have to use the powdered version anymore.

4 Tbsp. oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 lbs. chicken pieces (wings and things)
4 hot dogs, cut into large pieces (optional)
1 large potato, cubed
1 large carrot, cut into large pieces
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste

1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Pan fry chicken until lightly browned (about 3 minutes on each side). Remove from heat and set aside.

2) Saute garlic and onions in the same oil until fragrant. Add hot dogs (if using) and return chicken. Cook for about a minute. Pour in tomato sauce and chicken broth. Add bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

3) Add potatoes and carrots and continue to simmer for another 7 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Add bell pepper, peas, sugar, and salt & pepper to taste. Continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes, or until the remaining vegetables have softened. Serve with white rice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peach Crumb Bars

I love eating peaches when they're a little soft, but still has a little bite to it, and juicy. Peach season is usually at its peak of yumminess around summertime. And during that peak, I like to buy my peaches at Costco or the local farmer's market because they always have the sweetest peaches. Well, I got too excited when I saw them at Costco this past weekend. Without thinking that it was not even summer yet, I bought a box home that cost almost $10. What a huge mistake. The peaches were still too crunchy and not at all sweet. Hubby asked if I could do something else with them because they'll all be going to waste. Luckily, the Brown Eyed Baker was featuring her favorite Bar Dessert recipes the other day and her list included a Peach Crumb Bar recipe. What perfect timing.

The recipe was pretty easy. The hardest part was cutting the butter into the flour mixture. I always hate having to do that whenever a recipe calls for it. But it was well worth it, because it turned my sour peaches into something delicious. Hubby was pleased with it, especially since we didn't have to waste a $10 box of peaches.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1 Tbsp. pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten

5 cups diced peaches (about 7 peaches, peeled)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

2) For the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or 2 knives, or forks), cut butter into the mixture. Mix in the egg. Dough will be crumbly. Press half of the dough into the prepared pan. Refrigerate pan and remaining dough while making the filling.

3) For the filling: Place diced peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over peaches and gently mix.

4) Spread peach mixture over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lula Kebab

Hubby and I decided to have a get together with his side of the family for Father's day this Saturday, instead of the Father's day Sunday. And I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what to make. I finally decided on grilling up some kabobs. I've been asked to feature lula kebabs on this blog a while ago, but never got around to it. I normally just buy the seasoned ground meat at a local Armenian store and grill them at home whenever I had a craving for kebabs. But I have always wondered how to make them. So I searched online for a good recipe. There wasn't many recipes for lula kebabs, but I managed to find this recipe from myrecipes.com. I wanted to do a trial run before I serve it on Saturday, so I gave it a try for dinner tonight.

You can use any type of ground meat for this recipe: beef, chicken, turkey or lamb. I happened to use turkey tonight. But a word of caution if you do decide to use turkey - because turkey is so lean, the final product will be dry. I didn't mind it this time, because this was a trial run. But I'll probably be using ground beef for the get-together. The flavors came out really well on this recipe. Maybe I won't have to go to the Armenian market for my kebab fix.

3 lbs. ground meat
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 large egg
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
juice of half a lemon

1) Line a baking sheet with wax/parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix just until combined. Over mixing may cause the meat to be tough.

2) Gently form meat into 8-inch logs around skewers (Note: if using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak skewers in water for an hour before using to prevent burning. Another tip is to use 2 skewers for better stability for the kebabs). Place kebabs on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

3) Grill kebabs on a hot grill for about 8 minutes, turning twice, until grill marks appear and meat is firm to the touch.

Indian Basmati Rice Pilaf

I love the Indian rice pilaf that is served in the restaurants. But it never occured to me to look up the recipe. Go figure. However, I heard my friend, Kiran, tell one of our co-workers how to cook rice the Indian way. Unfortunately, I was only able to get bits and pieces of how its done. What I do remember is that the rice must be rinsed thoroughly until the water runs clear and soaked for a while to get rid of the starch, so the rice wouldn't be sticky. Asian rice is normally so sticky that "you can build a house with it," as hubby would say. Indian rice pilaf is soft and fluffy.

I decided to incorporate Kiran's method of cooking the rice with this recipe from Epicurious. It turned out delicious. A lot of the Indian restaurants cook their rice with spices such as cumin seeds. I'll attempt that next time. This rice would go great with my Chicken Tikka Masala or kabobs, which is what I'm making for dinner tonight.

2 cups Basmati rice
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 1/3 cups water
1 tsp. salt

1) Rinse rice several times until the water runs clear. Soak rice in fresh water for about 20 minutes. Drain well through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.

2) In a 4 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Stir in water and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower heat to low. Cover and cook, undisturbed, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

3) Remove from heat. Let stand, uncovered and undisturbed for 5 minutes. Fluff rice gently with a fork and serve.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

French Macarons

There's "macaroons," which is a coconut pastry. Then there's "Macarons," which is an almond-meringue based French pastry. Its 2 almond meringue cookies with a creamy filling sandwiched in between them. But don't let the French hear you call it a cookie. The first time I've ever had French Macarons was when I saw these beautiful, bite-sized morsels in the frozen section at my local Trader Joe's. Yes, I tasted my first French Macaron frozen. And it was delicious. And since then, whenever I encounter Macarons at any bakery, its a must that I order them.

I've seen a few bloggers make Macarons, and they all say how tricky it can be. The recipes I've seen look pretty intimidating, which is why I've delayed my attempt to make them. But I really wanted to make them. So I decided on this recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. The recipe had step-by-step instructions that included photos which made it a bit easier for me.

I wasn't too happy with the end result, however. My cookies didn't have the "feet" on its bottom, which is the fuzzy ring that develops on the bottom from baking. However, the flavors were almost there. I used the vanilla buttercream from my Vanilla Bean cupcake recipe. I'm definitely going to attempt this monster again and play around with different fillings. But for now, since this was a trial run, I wanted to keep the filling simple.

4 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) almond flour or almond meal
4 ounces (about 1 cup) confectioner's sugar
3 large egg whites
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cream of tartar
3 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. water
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar

1) Pour almond flour and confectioner's sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 20 seconds. Sift mixture through a sieve to remove any large pieces and aerate the mixture. Set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, add egg whites, pinch of salt and pinch of cream of tartar. Set aside.

3) In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rapid boil. Boil for about 2 minutes. The temperature should be between 235-240 deg F. Remove from heat.

4) Immediately start whipping egg whites on high speed until they hold a soft peak at the end of the beater. Then pour hot syrup steadily into egg whites. Stop mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl halfway through pouring the syrup. Continue beating on high speed and steadily pouring syrup. Beat until meringue is smooth, glossy and form soft peaks.

5) Fold in almond flour mixture and stir until well incorporated. Continue stirring with a spatula until the batter runs in ribbons that disappear back into the mass in about 10-20 seconds. Test frequently until you reach this point.

6) Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. Use a teaspoon to place a generous amount of batter on the baking sheet to test consistency. Gently tap the baking sheet to slightly flatten the batter. If the it doesn't flatten out, stir the batter some more. Once the desired consistency has been reached, use a piping bag to deposit a generous amount of batter (about a teaspoon size) on the baking sheet, about an inch apart from each other. Gently tap the baking sheet. Allow to rest for about 2 hours until you can gently touch the tops and come away with a clean finger.

7) Toward the end of resting time, preheat oven to 275 deg F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm on top. Cool completely before removing from baking sheet. Use vanilla buttercream to sandwich in between two cookies. Place assembled macarons in an airtight container and store in refrigerator for 2 days.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Paula's Chicken Croquettes with Creole Sauce

So I was watching the Food Network this afternoon while my daughter was taking her nap. Its the only time I get to watch what I want because once she's awake, its always her shows that are on the TV in our house. She usually naps about the same time of the day, so the shows that I always catch are Claire Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix, Giada de Laurentiis' Giada at Home, and then Paula Deen's Best Dishes. Yeah, she naps for about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Today on Paula's Best Dishes, she made Chicken Croquettes with Creole Sauce with one of her sons, Jamie. I already have a go-to Chicken Croquettes recipe, but Paula's recipe looked delicious. What did it for me was the creole sauce she put on top of her croquettes. I love anything with a creamy sauce. I had some leftover rotisserie chicken that would go perfect with this recipe, so I gave it a shot. It came out delicious. Its got the flavors of a good crab cake, except made with chicken. And boy was I right about the creole sauce. It took this dish to the top. Hubby really enjoyed this and I'm definitely making this again.

4 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup minced celery
1/3 cup minced onion
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. seasoned salt (or regular table salt)

1) In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add bell pepper, celery and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2) In a large bowl, combine chicken, bell pepper mixture and breadcrumbs. Set aside.

3) In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, eggs, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Add to the chicken mixture, tossing gently to combine. Form mixture into about 10 patties.

4) In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Cook chicken cakes until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Serve with creole sauce.

Creole sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. creole seasoning

1) Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill before serving.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Its my brother's birthday today. Last year, I made him a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. This year, I asked him what he wanted me to make for him. He said he didn't have any preference. Well I happen to remember that when I brought over some of my Cookie Dough Truffles a while ago, he had asked if there was a cupcake version of it. I told him that I did find this recipe (from Beantown Baker), but I haven't had a chance to make it yet. I think now was a good time to make his long time request.

This is another recipe for the cookie dough lovers out there like myself. There were 3 components to this cupcake. The cupcake, the cookie dough in the middle, then the frosting. The cookie dough must be made in advance to freeze overnight so that it bakes well the next day. The cupcake and frosting was made on the same day. The cupcake was moist and soft. The flavors of how it came together tasted just like a chocolate chip cookie, so it was really yummy with the burst of cookie dough in the middle. I used the egg-less cookie dough from my Cookie Dough Truffle recipe. In order to achieve that raw cookie dough in the middle, you have to be careful not to over-bake the cupcake, which some of my cupcakes ended up as. But I managed to have a good batch to give my brother. I hope he likes them. Happy Birthday, Bro!

1 batch egg-less cookie dough, scooped into bite-sized balls and frozen overnight
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Measure out milk and vanilla together. Set aside.

3) Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar. Beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

4) With the mixer on low-medium, add a fourth of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat to combine. Add about a third of the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined. Repeat, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.

5) Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into the cupcake liners about half to three quarters full. Place one ball of frozen cookie dough on top of the batter. Do not press dough down at all. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Frosting
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Combine butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Cream together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

2) With the mixer on low-medium, beat in powdered sugar. Add salt, milk and vanilla extract. Continue beating until smooth and combined.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sweetfire Chicken

I was searching for some new recipe ideas one day and I came across Christine's Kitchen Chronicles. She had a copycat recipe for Panda Express' New Sweetfire Chicken. I haven't had their Sweetfire Chicken, but I have had my fair share of Panda Express dishes that I'm not afraid to admit. You really can't blame me. When I'm tired, lazy and am looking for a nice warm meal but I don't want to slave over a stove, I turn to my local Panda Express to feed my hungry family. Don't get me wrong. Real, authentic Chinese food is what I prefer. But Panda Express is a good alternative to satisfy a craving for Chinese food.

I've been in a main dish funk lately. I haven't made a good meal since last memorial day weekend when I made Barbecue Turkey burgers. And even before that, I don't think I made a good meal. You'll always find dessert recipes every other day on this blog, but main dishes are becoming almost scarce. So I was actually relieved to find this recipe to help me get out of my funk. And what a great recipe it is. Very quick and easy. And yummy. Hubby was real pleased with this one.

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 of a red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 of a small onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups drained pineapple chunks
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
vegetable oil for frying

1) Pour enough oil to cover bottom of frying pan. Heat oil.

2) In a gallon ziplock bag, mix together flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. Add chicken pieces and coat evenly. Once oil is heated, add chicken pieces. Discard leftover flour mixture. Cook chicken for 4-5 minutes, stirring several times. If pan gets dry, add a little more oil. Once chicken has browned and cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

3) Add bell pepper and onions to the frying pan and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add sweet chili sauce and stir. Immediately add cooked chicken and pineapple chunks. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve over white rice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baked Alaska

Sometime last week, one of my co-workers frantically left me a voice message to call her back because it was something really important. And after playing a bit of phone-tag, we finally got a hold of each other and she told me that she wanted to ask for a favor from me. Turns out, that she wanted me to make a dish for her. Her daughter's school was having a fair last week and she was given a recipe to make to bring for the fair. I found it kind of odd that she, a mother of three who knows how to cook, asks me to cook the dish for her. Well, you see, she's a very strict vegetarian and doesn't keep (and is not even allowed to bring) eggs in the house. And because of her culture, she isn't allowed to bring alcohol into the house either. These two ingredients were crucial to the recipe. And because she was a good friend of mine, I told her I'd look at the recipe and let her know if I can do it. So she faxed me the recipe and it turns out that the recipe is for a Baked Alaska. I called her back to let her know that I'd be happy to do it for her. Especially because I have been dying to make Baked Alaska after seeing it on a few cooking shows. So she brought me all the ingredients for the recipe and I went to work.

The recipe was quite easy and looked so yummy. For obvious reasons, I didn't get a chance to taste the dish. But I decided to make it again this past weekend for our Memorial Day BBQ because I had a little bit of the ingredients left. So I made a smaller version of the dessert and I'm so glad I did. It was a yummy, cool and creamy dessert with a delicious crust. I'm glad my co-worker gave me the recipe to make for her. Unfortunately, I don't know the source of the recipe. The recipe called for coffee liqueur, but I didn't have any, so I omitted it. And it still tasted super yummy. Thanks for the recipe Jatinder! I hope your daughter and her teachers enjoyed it as much as I did making it for you :)

3/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 gallon coffee ice cream, softened
6 (1 1/16 oz) English toffe-flavored candy bars, crushed
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 Tbsp. coffee flavored liqueur (optional)
3 egg whites

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, pecans, cocoa and melted butter in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Press mixture evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

2) In a large bowl, combine softened ice cream and crushed candy bars. Spoon over cooled crust. Cover and freeze overnight.

3) Whip marshmallow cream. Whisk in liqueur if using. Using a stand mixer, beat white eggs on medium-high until foamy. Gradually add marshmallow mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over the frozen ice cream mixture, making sure edges are sealed. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 475 deg F. Bake for 3 minutes or until lightly browned on top.