Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Baked Beef Empanadas

These meat empanadas are really popular throughout South American countries and every country will have their own version. It is really popular in Argentina and you can find it everywhere. We tasted one of the best empanadas when Carlos and I went back to Argentina last year. Is just like our curry puff except theirs have so many varieties. They have beef, chicken, ham and cheese, spinach, tuna and even some sweet fillings in their empanadas. Empanadas can be bake or fried but I always like mine bake.

Is so easy to make these as you can find ready made empanadas wrappers in most supermarket. I found this Goya brand in Wegmans. As for the filling you can put anything you want.

Ingredients :

12-15 empanada wrappers
3 hard boiled eggs - quartered
1 egg - beaten to brush on the pastry

1 pound of ground beef (I used 95% lean)
1/2 cup of green olives -chopped
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
1 onions - chopped
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1) Defrost the empanadas wrappers
2) Heat up oil and saute the onions and garlic until soft.
3) Add in ground beef and cook till is slightly brown
4) Add in all the rest of the spices and seasoning and cook until the meat is done
5) Add in olives and raisins and mix well and set aside to cool
6) Put about 1 1/2 tablespoon of meat at the middle of the wrapper and a slice of hard boil egg
7) Fold and close the edges with a fork or pleat the edges like curry puff
8) Brush the top of the empanadas with beaten egg and bake in a 400 degree F oven until golden brown.

Golden Pockets

These little pockets are ideal for snack or parties. Is simple and really easy to make.Ingredients :

Wanton skin

For the filling :

1/2 pound of ground chicken
1/2 pound of prawns (chopped)
2 stalk of spring onions (finely chopped)
a small bunch of cilantro (chopped)
1 egg
2 tbsp of corn flour
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
salt and pepper to taste


1) Mix all the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside for an hour
2) Place 1 tsp of filling in the centre of the wanton wrapper. Brush the edges with water and then gather up to the points and press them firmly together to make a pouch.
3) Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling
4) Heat the oil and deep fried the pockets until golden brown
5) Drain on kitchen towel and serve hot with chili or plum sauce.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Beef with Zucchini

I received some beautiful zucchini from my good friend Zue. I will usually make zucchini pancakes out of it or stir-fry it. Here is one of my favourite way of cooking it.

Ingredients :

1/2 Ib of sirloin steak
1 tsp of corn starch
1 tbsp of soy sauce
2 zucchini (yellow or green)- cut into chunks
2 shallots (quarter)
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
1 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce (1/2 tbsp of marinate the beef)
1/2 tsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of cornstarch + 4 tbsp of water for thickening

1) Cut and marinate the beef with oyster sauce, cornstarch and soy sauce
2) Combine oyster sauce, sugar, salt & pepper, cornstarch and water and set aside
3) In a hot wok or pan put 1 tbsp of oil and stir fry the beef until is no longer pink and set aside
4) In the same pan, heat up 1 tbsp oil and stir fry shallots and garlic until fragrant
5) Add in zucchini and stir fry for two minutes
6) Return the beef to the pan and add in the sauce mixture
7) Stir fry until well combined and sauce thicken. Dish out and serve over warm rice

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fried Beehoon (Rice Vermicelli)


When comes to lunch I like something simple, no fuss and quick. So I will normally have a fried rice, noddles or beehoon. I think my mom's fried the best beehoon. Her fried beehoon is always very dry and not sticking together. Mine, I tend to put too much liquid to it that is why it always turn out really soggy. The trick I learned from her is to soak the beehoon until is soft before frying them. Fried beehoon is really simple and everyone can do it.

I used beehoon, prawns, fried taufu, cabbage, bean sprout and garlic. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and put in the garlic. Then the taufu and prawns follow by the cabbage. Stir fry for a few minutes and then put in the beehoon. Put a dash or two of water and put in the seasoning like oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir fry until everything well mixed. Lastly put in some sambal (optional- I used Tean's) and beans sprout. Mixed well and serve.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Steam Sponge Cake

I was reading Nonya's blog and she made Steam Sponge Cake. It kind of reminds me of my childhood where my mother used to made this for us too. In those days we don't have electrical mixer so my brothers and I will help my mother whisking the eggs and sugar with a small hand whisk. We will sit on a stool in the kitchen and whisking away and it was tiring. We never weight the ingredients. We just 'agak agak' like 10 eggs, 1 kati of sugar and 1 kati of flour. Then we will pour the batter into a steaming basket and steam it on a wood fire stove. I remember it taste so good especially with a hot cup of kopi-O.

Here is a really simple recipe:

6 eggs
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
4 tbsp of melted butter
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of baking powder
a pinch of salt


1) Whisk the eggs and sugar until is white and fluffy or double the volume.
2) Slowly fold in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.
3) Lastly add in the melted batter.
4) Pour into a greased pan and steam for 25 minutes or until is done.

Note : I made it in different colors and steam it in a little baking pan. Big mistake because it so hard to remove the cake. That is why you will notice the cake 'pecah pecah' The next time I will just steam it in a muffin pan.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ayam Rempah Pedas


Carlos is out of town today so I thought maybe I should cook something spicy for lunch and dinner. When he is around I will usually prepare some western dishes for dinner. I still have half chicken in the freezer and decided to just put anything in this dish that comes into my mind.


So out with my 'lesung' and pounded some ginger, garlic, onions, serai and with some chili and curry powder I marinate the chicken for an hour. Then just warm up the pan with a tablespoon of oil and put in the chicken. Cover and let it simmer for half an hour. I didn't add any water to it because the chicken will discharge a lot of liquid. But if it gets too dry you might want to add some water to it. When is nearly done just add in some cut tomatoes, onions, green peas and chillies for color. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Is easy and simple and is really good with warm rice.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Tomatoes

I know you must be fed-up of me talking about my tomatoes again but I can't help it. I am excited that I am now enjoying the fruits of my labor. Here are some of the latest pictures I took this morning.

Can't wait for these huge hunk to ripe.

Picked these later in the evening
This one look kind of weird (obscene) isn't it

Curry Laksa


Since moving to the US is hard to find good Malaysia food. But we are lucky that now we can find everything online. You can now buy all varieties of Malaysian sauces, snacks at http://www.mytasteofasia.com/ with just a click of your mouse and they will mail it to you in no time. One of my all time favorite is their 'Curry Laksa' paste. I did a healthier version by using unsweetened soy milk instead of coconut milk and it turn out just as good minus the guilt.

Just follow the instruction on the package and you will have a hot steamy bowl of laksa in minutes

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Banana Walnut Cake

My neighbor Nancy gave me a 'Food Network' cook book and one of the cake recipe by Paula Dean caught my eyes. Since I have bananas and walnuts in hand so I gave this recipe a try . The cake is really moist and nice.

Ingredients :
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas - mashed
1/4 cup of buttermilk
1 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of chopped walnuts.

1) Pre-heat over to 350 degree F and line a baking pan.
2) In a bowl stir together flour and baking soda
3) Cream shortening and sugar about 2-3 min.
4) Add in one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition.
5) Mix in the mash bananas, butter milk and vanilla. Then add in the flour
6) Lastly stir in the walnuts and mixed well
7) Pour into the baking pan and bake for 50-60 min or until the cake is done
8) Remove from pan and cool completely.

Note : The only changes I made to the recipe is to add 1/2 cup of chopped dates to it and cut down the sugar to 1 cup.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thai Basil Fried Rice

I plant plenty of Thai basil this year and is growing really well. I usually will put it in my green curry and also cook chicken dishes with it. I remember eating this fried rice at a Thai restaurant with my niece not too long ago and it was really good. Thai basil is very fragrance and will give the dish you cook with it a very special aroma. It smell complete different from the Italian basil. The leaves are less round and the stalks are purple. You can find it easily at any Asian supermarket or Vietnamese store. Better still grow it yourself.

I put BBQ meat, green peas, carrot, egg, garlic, thai basil and brown rice and season it with salt & pepper, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
Put in the basil at the end of the cooking
Is done !!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pillow Puffs

The other name of these Pillow puffs is called 'Char Siew Sou' in Chinese. You can find it at every dim sum place or Chinese bakery. The pastry is sweeter and more tender than the western dessert pastry. As for the filling you can use any savory filling.

For the filling I used BBQ chicken, green peas, onions and season with dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and salt and thicken it with water and corn starch.


For the pastry you can use any store bought pastry or make it yourself. Roll out the pastry and cut into rectangular shape and put a spoonful of filling in the center and fold the dough over and press the edges with a fork. Brush the puffs with some egg and bake it

'Voila' freshly out from the oven.

Tomatoes

Here are some of the tomatoes I picked from the plant this week.

Picked these last night
Picked these on Monday


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Roasted Beet Salad


I like beets be it pickle, roasted or juice. I usually roast it whole in aluminium foil with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Do be careful with the stain when handling them. I will wear gloves when peeling off the skin. This is a very simple and easy salad for a hot summer day.

4 roasted beets - cut into wedges
2 hard boil eggs- halve
2 oranges - peel & cut into wedges
1/4 cup of roasted walnuts
a handful of lettuce

Dressing :

juice of half lemon
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp of honey
4 tbsp of olive oil

Mix the dressing and pour over the salad.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Union Square Farmers Market - N. York

I went to NY on Thursday and I visited the famous Union Square farmers market. I used to live a block from the market and I just love going there on Saturday. You can get fresh fruits, veggies, honey, cheeses, bread, flowers etc. there and if you are lucky you might even bump into some famous chef like Mario Batali or Bobby Flay. I did ;) Here are some of the pictures I took.

Vegetables
Cherries

Heirloom tomatoes
Fresh garlic
Freshly baked bread

Apples
Radish & beets
Sunflowers
Peaches

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Almond Cake

I received a few request for the recipe of this cake. So here it goes :

Ingredient for the cake :

150 gram of butter
150 gram of sugar
275 gram of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
3 eggs
200 ml of milk
100 gram of ground almond
1 tsp of almond essence
1 tsp of lemon zest

1) Line and grease a 8" or 9" cake tin. Pre-heat oven to 325 F

2) Sift flour, salt and baking powder.
3) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in one egg at a time into the butter mixture and continue to beat until smooth
4) Add in 1/3 of the milk and alternate it with 1/3 of the dry ingredients
5) Continue this way, alternately adding 1/3 of the wet and dry ingredients
6) Lastly stir in lemon zest, almond essence and ground almonds
7) Pour mixture into prepare tin and bake for an hour or until cake is done
8) Cool on rack before sandwich it with cream, lemon curd or any other filling

Recipe for Lemon curd

5 egg yolks
1 cup of sugar
2 tsp of corn starch
4 lemons - zested and juiced
50 gram of butter

1) In a heavy saucepan combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, juice and corn starch
2) Whisk over low heat until curd thicken and bubbles appear on the surface. It will takes about 12 minutes
3) Remove from heat and add in butter and continue to whisk until smooth
4) Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cold before using

Monday, July 09, 2007

Serunding (Meat Floss)


Serunding is a ready to eat side dishes. It can be served with bread, rice, ketupat, lontong or lemang. The first time I tasted serunding was in 1985 when I visited my friend Kak Zuliah Hari Raya open house. Since then I will look for it during the Ramadan season berbuka puasa market. When I went home last year I bought a packet of Ayam Mas brand but it just doesn't taste good at all. Since I have a lot of beef in the freezer I decided to cook some myself. Is not bad for my first try.

Ingredients :

1 Kg of beef (clean and cut into small pieces)
500 ml of thick coconut milk
Sugar and salt to taste

To be blended into paste with some of the stock

15 dried chilies (soak in hot water)
8 shallots
2" of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1 " of galangal (lengkuas)
2 lemon grass
1 tsp of tumeric powder



1) Boil the meat with some water until is tender. Save the stock
2) Shred the meat into small pieces with your fingers and set aside
3) Heat up the wok, combined the coconut milk and the blended ingredients
4) Bring it up to a boil and put in the meat.
5) Add in salt and sugar to taste
6) Stir and cook until dish is really dry
7) Serve