Monthly Archives: March 2005

corn relish

back in the days…when i had just one child, we used to play “super columns” on #1 son’s Genesis?, nono Game Gear, (hand held gaming device), and when i first made this my sonny said, mom, the corn looks like the magic gems!

this is ridiculously easy to make and a great side dish for deep fried chicken or grilled meats. yes i have warm weather on the brain, and warm weather food cravings. we’re itching to bring out our patio and deck chairs and our grill. thank heavens we seem to have emerged from the seeming snowstorm-blizzard-brutal-weather time warp.

thaw a 1-lb bag of frozen white and yellow corn. rinse and drain well.
slice 1 stalk of scallions, green and white parts.
slice 1 piece of roasted red peppers, store bought in jar, (or make your own by roasting over an open gas flame or under a broiler until charred. put in a brown paper bag, close tightly, let steam for 5 minutes, then peel when cool enough to handle.)
whisk together 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 3 tbsps. of maple syrup, 1 scant tsp. turmeric, 1 or more tsps. salt, and a few ‘dash’es of hot pepper sauce (Mama Sita’s pure labuyo for me). slowly drop by drop mix in 2 tbsps. vegetable or canola oil. whisk together well and pour into corn. mix in scallions and red peppers. let stand in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3 hours before serving.
adapted from Bon Appetit, Nov. 1994.

chocolate orange mousse cake

dark chocolate sponge cake with a hint of orange, split into two layers then filled with luscious orange mousse


this week feels like it’s stretching on and on…good thing i have a new chocolate cookbook and a treasure trove of recipes to experiment with. nothing like chocolate to make you feel renewed, reinvigorated, refreshed. (heehee. O.A. ano?)
anyway, it’s a special treat for my kittens who are SO looking forward to spring break, which is three. more. weeks. away! the recipe is from the “what’s cooking” series for chocolate by jacqueline bellefontaine.

Continue reading

designed and created by the kids, using crayons and food coloring.

paula peck’s garlic and chicken stew

when i first made this it was an unmitigated disaster. that was 15 years ago and i think i was sleep deprived? an unfocused beginner?
i saved the recipe because i had a feeling it was worth keeping.
despite the large number of garlic it is very mild tasting with a faintly sweetish undertone from the tarragon. even #1son (mr. “chicken again?”) loved it. so there.

served with thin spaghetti tossed with olive oil infused with garlic and chopped red long pepper.

this is for 8-9 chicken thighs, or 5 chicken leg quarters,split.
preheat oven to 375F. in a pot with a tight-fitting oven-proof lid (e.g. a dutch oven), pour 3 tbsps. of olive oil.
peel 40 cloves of garlic, from about 2 heads.
combine 1 tbsp. of kosher or sea salt, 1 tsp. of monosodium glutamate (omit if you abhor it, increase salt), 1 tsp. of ground white pepper, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and a DASH of allspice.
mix 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves and 3 sprigs fresh tarragon,stems removed, leaves finely chopped. (or use dried tarragon and mix into dry seasonings above).
put 1/3 of garlic cloves on olive oil, layer 3-4 chicken thighs, sprinkle 1/3 of salt and pepper and spice mixture all over, and finally sprinkle 1/3 of celery leaves and tarragon all over. repeat two times. pour 1 & 1/2 cups of dry white wine, put the lid on and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (15 years ago i put the pot in the oven without the white wine…yikes.)
the chicken will be almost meltingly soft but not crispy skinned. the garlic is good for smashing and spreading on toasted baguette slices.

IMBB #13: my little cupcake

this being a babyblog, well, i had to do babycakes. i couldn’t decide which one to submit for the Is My Blog Burning? #13 event kindly hosted by maki. fickleminded woman am i. so i submit both. the recipes are based on Marcel Desaulniers’ Death by Chocolate Cakes which sat on the shelf because the pictures and recipes intimidated me. seeking inspiration, i examined them more closely and decided that if i read them over and over and break them into steps…maybe i could make them too! and i did! many thanks to chef toni for posting her method of internalizing recipes… 😉

one in fancy dress…

cocoa-cashew babycakes with raspberry puree and cashew-chocolate bark

babychef, assistant and tester

the other one that bespeaks “spring has sprung!”…

lemon poppyseed babycakes: plain, and with chocolate frosting and pearl sugar

i’ve made hundreds of cupcakes in my mommy lifetime, for school birthdays and donations and bake sales, and i find that baby cakes tend to disappear faster…my own kittens eat them like POPCORN…
the recipes are here. Continue reading

chicken skewers, yakitori style

of course grilling on a charcoal grill would be the best way…but for us, those summery days are a mere daydream for now. the weathermen in these parts are almost apologetic; more snow on the way, and they seem remorseful about announcing the 4 to 8 inches expected tonight.
oh well, let’s broil some chicken.
cut boneless skinless chicken thighs into biggish chunks. marinate in a 1/4 cup of kikkoman and a splash of sake, and season with salt and pepper, at least 15 minutes. trim, wash, and slice a bunch of scallions into 1 & 1/2 inch pieces (on the diagonal). skewer into bamboo sticks that have been soaked in cold water for at least a half an hour (to prevent burning under the broiler).
make a sauce to paint on:
2/3 cup Yamasa or Kikkoman soy sauce
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 tbsps. sake
1 tbsp. flour

in a small saucepan, whisk together all ingredients very well and bring to a boil. simmer about 10 minutes until reduced by a third.

paint this sauce on to the chicken and scallion skewers and set under the broiler for a total of ten minutes, brushing on more sauce 2-3 times and turning. chicken should be moist but well cooked.

chicken yakitori
(adapted from “Asian Cooking,” by Sallie Morris and Deh-ta Hsung)

a new place for dimsum

husband heard about the change of management at an old established restaurant in the tiny Chinatown of Boston, through the Chinese restaurant grapevine at his office.
we wanted a quieter place–our old favorite was turning quite raucous and i was getting pretty alarmed at the safety issues (you know, a mommy’s paranoia about fire exits and crowd control)–so we were delighted at the rediscovery of “New Shanghai” at Hudson street right on the edge of Chinatown. it is small and manageable. and quiet.
dimsum was fresh and hot, though because we arrived pretty late the carts must have been parked away in preparation for dinner. they let us order off the menu so husband ticked off the usual and the classic: hargaw (shrimp dumplings), pork and shrimp sio mai, spinach dumplings (both steamed and deep fried), steamed pork ribs in black bean sauce…all beyond good and above standard! the kids really enjoyed their lunch and mom and dad happily watched them as they ate…(#2 son wanted to lick his plate as he waited for the next delivery!)
we ordered an 8 delights fried noodle and it was perfectly crispy but without the greasiness, the pork, chicken, shrimp, scallops, squid, dried squid, roast pork, and vegetables generously endowed on the topping with a lightly flavored sauce. (husband has been trying to make this at home and he concedes this is very well made.)

8 delights

then we decided to try a szechuan dish of scallops in garlic sauce…though the scallops were a wee bit off, the sauce was spicy and dark and great with hot rice. i think we’ll try this with shrimp next time.

the latest breakfast-snack-appetizer item that my kids have gone overboard for…
i used to give them wheat crackers spread with brie straight out of the wheel or wedge, but with the last one we got, i thought i’d offer it toasted on this really great pan de sal (crusty bread rolls) from “Philippine Bread House” in New Jersey. it is fluffy and light inside but stands up well to toasting–so different from our usual brand which gets crumbly and dry too quickly.
toast the pan de sal lightly before spreading brie on top. grill just until melted.
serve at once.

pandesal with brie please, mom!
(the frothy coffee is for mom).

beef masaman curry

i was reading a blogger’s post about her life in kiwiland…it was heart rending! suspenseful! action-filled! and ultimately, heart-breaking…yet in the back of my avaricious foodie’s brain a little demon whispered “beef curry, beef curry…” because it was the main item in one of her “adventures.” it had been mentioned before by a suplada chef(di ba thess??) and i had several recipes in my collection. then the NYTimes featured an article by Mark Bittman, the minimalist chef, mentioning that slow-braised cheap cuts of beef are all the rage this season (winter-into-spring transition season?).
so it was time to try beef masaman curry. i’ve had fish curry, vegetable curry, and chicken curry, but never beef.
the whole house is quite fragrant right now with all the spices. based on a recipe from Asian Cooking, by Sallie Morris and Deh-ta Hsiung.

2 & 1/2 cups of coconut milk (used Handaan brand frozen “gata”, available in the freezer section of Asian groceries, diluted with enough water)
1.6 pounds of beef “chuck” for stew
1 cup canned coconut cream, skimmed from canned coconut milk, (discard watery liquid that collects on the bottom of the can)
1 can Maesri masaman curry paste
6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp. palm sugar or packed brown sugar
2 tbsps. of fish sauce
3 tbsps. of tamarind puree
2 wild lime leaves (also known as kaffir)
2-3 red potatoes, quartered
1 large red onion, quartered

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts

simmer beef in coconut milk for about 40 minutes till almost tender. remove from heat.
in a separate pot, boil the coconut cream, watching closely so that it doesn’t scorch, until it curdles slightly. turn down the heat and add the curry paste.
pour the cream-curry paste mixture into the beef and coconut milk and add the rest of the ingredients except the peanuts.
simmer 15-20 minutes. adjust the seasonings with fish sauce or salt and pepper.
add the peanuts and simmer 5 minutes more.
garnish with sliced red chili peppers or cilantro. serve with plenty of hot jasmine rice or French bread. the flavors are rich, and complex, a tangy and spicy hot curry.

CORRECTED!, thanks to the astute and dedicated chef of Our Kitchen, JMom! i forgot to list the onion and potato ingredients. whew! salamat JMom.

chewy chocolate chip and cherry oatmeal cookies

i always want to sneak in something healthy like oatmeal to the kids’ cookies. #1son is wise to my sneaky ways and had been requesting a different type of sweet treat, but the two little ones wanted chocolate chip. i thought i’d make them with dried sour cherries which i picked up from trader joe’s on our last food foray. i tried one and whoa did i pucker up! super sour! and i love sour. i decided to dump more chocolate chips than i’d planned on using to counter the sourness. and it worked! reminded me of black forest cake somehow–the cherries don’t taste that tart in the cookie dough. we all loved it. or should i say devoured it.

Preheat oven to 375F. lightly grease cookie sheets with butter.
have all ingredients at room temperature.
in large mixing bowl, cream 1 & 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) of butter and 3/4 cup fine granulated sugar and 3/4 cup light brown sugar. add 1 egg and 2 tsps. of vanilla.

in small mixing bowl whisk 3/4 cup all purpose flour with 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 3/4 tsp. salt. add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture and beat dry ingredients are moistened. stir in 3 cups uncooked oats (i used McCain’s Irish quick cooking oatmeal), scant 3/4 cup dried sour cherries, and 1 & 1/2 cups Ghirardelli double chocolate chips.

drop by rounded spoonfuls into prepared cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. bake about 10 minutes or just until edges of cookie dough are golden brown. let cookies stand in sheets for 2 minutes and gently lift to wire racks to cool completely.

optional: drizzle melted white chocolate over cookies and let set until firm. (*sigh* my kittens ran out of patience for that though…)