Monthly Archives: January 2012

jai, or Buddha’s delight

==or one fine lucky riot of a dish!
"Buddha's delight"
my kids look forward to this now, our New Year’s dinner of jai. this year, as husband noticed, i “pulled out all the stops!” each ingredient has a special meaning to usher in a lucky welcome for the New Year. i was aiming for 18–
and i did it!…not counting the shredded ginger, or the mashed fermented bean curd cubes in Szechuan oil, and how about the hoisin sauce and the soy sauce for the stir fry.
the vegetables and rehydrated dried ingredients are added in the order of how quickly they soften.

dried oysters
dried shiitake mushrooms
dried bean curd skin
dried bamboo pith
straw mushrooms
water chestnuts
carrots
pea pods
baby corn
dried tree ears
dried lily buds
dried mung bean sticks (sotanghon)
sea moss
boiled peanuts
fried firm tofu cubes
tofu puffs
fresh bamboo shoots
napa cabbage

previous recipe here.
bamboo piths *are really mushrooms*bamboo pith, FINALLY located these tucked away high up in the grocery shelves, wonder why?
my MIL used to serve us these with black mushrooms and dried scallops and sometimes chicken gizzards…yummy :drunk:

Meyer-lemon-curd cheesecake

do i have a cheesecake problem! the problem is, i crave it very strongly and painfully, but i know that i can’t eat very much of it.
another problem: cream cheese is horrendously expensive now! gone are the days when you could get one bar for just a dollar. nowadays, it’s a stretch to see it priced under two dollars. so i grabs it wheres and whens i cans :drunk: and makes sures i don’t eats too much.
all kinds of citrus are all over the place, and now that it’s almost Chinese New Year, right when oranges and lemons and limes are flooding the grocery bins, it is just the right time to make a lustrous, dreamy cheesecake to sweeten the New Year of the Dragon.
meyerlemoncheesecake 003meyerlemoncheesecake 004meyerlemoncheesecake 012meyerlemoncheesecake 015
(based on a recipe from epicurious.com. i used vanilla cookies in place of graham crackers, and Meyer lemons, and put the cheesecake in a slightly larger cake pan and then on top of a bain mairie.)

lemon curd:

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground vanilla cookie crumbs (5 oz)
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

filling:

3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Make lemon curd:
Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, about 6 minutes.

Force lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide shallow dish, scraping bottom of sieve, then cover surface with wax paper. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Make and bake crust:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Invert bottom of 9-inch springform pan (to make it easier to slide cake off bottom), then lock on side. Stir together crust ingredients in a bowl, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan and bake 10 minutes, then cool crust completely in springform pan on a rack.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until combined.

Pour two thirds of cream cheese filling into crust, then spoon half of lemon curd over filling and swirl curd into filling with a small knife. (Avoid touching crust with knife to prevent crumbs getting into filling.) Repeat with remaining filling and curd.

Bake cheesecake until set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center trembles when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes. (Center of cake will appear very loose but will continue to set as it cools.) Transfer springform pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen. Cool completely, about 2 hours, then chill, uncovered, at least 4 hours. Remove side of springform pan before serving.

Cooks’ Notes: ·Lemon curd can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.
·Crust (without filling) can be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.
·Cheesecake can be chilled, loosely covered, up to 2 days. Cheesecake must be completely chilled before covering to prevent condensation on its surface.

beef pares-pares

the real name is beef pares, but i redubbed it after my youngest child’s favorite card game. this dish is just perfect for the long-dreaded/long-awaited (depends on where you’re born i think) wintry weather. me, i just dislike driving in it–it doesn’t help when the morning jolt of caffeine is accompanied by dire news of a 9-car pile-up nearby due to the black ice!
popular after i’d already left Manila, beef pares is something i’ve heard about just from bloggering, and couldn’t wait to try. since i have no point of reference i can only recommend it based on my kids’ reaction to it: yeah, mom, we love it!
beef pares, garlic fried rice, watercress in beef broth
ideal for the cheapchewy cuts of beef–tendons/ligaments welcome!–just make sure to skim off the nasty scum and bloody bits off the broth while it’s just starting to simmer. pressure cookers might work well too but i simmered the beef shanks until almost fork tender, removed the bones and threw them back into the broth, then proceeded with the rest of the recipe. with garlic fried rice and snipped watercress added to the soup it was a complete meal to fortify us on a winter night.
(recipe adapted from here and there on the blogdom, and i will post it soonest.)

welcome 2012!

yey, we made it to another year :wizard: . i’ve recovered from all that holiday-ing, and once more my resolution about that is to start out earlier. we’ll just have to wait and see. i always am so full of hope :drunk: .
i’ve been cooking a lot, A LOT! i’ve really renewed vows with my baking and cooking love*, but have just been so pressed for time. the world’s just spinning so much faster. why is that? :fryingpan

our New Year’s eve, we splashed out and made sure the refrigerator, pantry, and table were full and/or laden with our favorites.
we decided on a table full of appetizers and savory snacks, a combination of take-out and home-cooked, among them:
New Year's Eve table
appetizer table with assorted savories and cheese fondue…
not-quite-7 layer dip
not-quite-7 layer dip (black bean, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, black olives, pickled jalapeños, topped with cilantro), great with corn tortilla chips.layered dip
honey ham
smile, you’re a honey-baked ham!
orangesoyribs 011
orange-soy glazed ribs
Bon Chon chicken from Boston
Bon Chon chicken…try the sweet soy-garlic and the fiery fearsome hot wings, dare!
and for the desserts,
coconut lemon tea cake
coconut lemon tea cake–not too rich, not too moist, perfect with hot tea,
halayang ube (purple yam pudding)
halayang ube, purple yam pudding, something sweet and sticky to catch good luck for 2012, also year of the fierce Dragon. wait, that means another celebration in a couple of weeks! yey!

*a whole other story, worth its own chapter.
bold means recipes provided on demand upon request!