Saturday, December 29, 2007

Two-sided noodle (家常 兩面黃)

1/3 lb Precooked pan fried noodles (available at Chinese grocery stores. You can substitute fresh Asian noodles or even fresh angel hair pasta if you really can't find Asian noodles)
About 12 large prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2 lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced across the grain
1 cup Chinese broccoli, washed
2 stalks green onion , roughly chopped

Soy source
Cooking Oil

Serves: 2 to 3 persons

Marinate the meat with soy sauce and white pepper for about 15 minutes.


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles for about 3 minutes. Remove and drain. Set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a small frying pan (about 3 inch diameter for easy shaping of the noodle cake, similar to making pan cake) over medium high heat. Add the noodles to the heated pan.
Make sure the noodles stay flat and shape into a noodle cake. Cook over medium heat until the surface of noodle turns crunchy. Turn off the heat.
3. In a larger sautee pan, heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium high heat. Stir fry the green onion with vegetable briefly until cooked. Remove and keep covered on a plate.
Stir fry the shrimp in the pan until pink and cooked through. Remove and keep on the plate with the vegetables.
Stir fry the pork slices in the pan until cooked through.
Return the vegetables and shrimp to the pan with the pork.
Add salt and/or soy source to taste.
Mix two to three teaspoons of cornstarch with about half a cup of water. Add the corn starch mixture to the pan with the vegetables, meat, and shrimp. Stir fry for a short moment until the sauce comes together.
4. Turn the noodle cake over in the small pan and return to medium high heat to cook the other side of the noodles until the other side turns crispy.
5. Put the noodle cake on a plate and pour the vegetable mixture over it.
6. Dinner time. Ooh, Yes!

Chef's secret:
Add a little more cooking oil when making noodle if you like the noodles more crunchy.

Reference cooking recipe : 1. 三鮮兩面黃 2. 四味三鮮兩面黃
If you like to try another variety of the Two sided noodle, the above links provide more complicated style. However, taste is not guaranteed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ribs Round Two: Brian's Korean BBQ Marinade

Our smoke alarm got a pretty good workout this week when we roasted the rest of the ribs last night! It was a battle of Asian marinades and the winning marinade, courtesy of my college friend Brian, is below:

Brian's Korean BBQ Ribs

2 parts medium soy sauce
1 part water
brown sugar
Plenty of chopped scallions
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
3-4 tablespoons of sesame oil
Grated ginger to taste
Lost of fresh ground black pepper

Mix together the soy sauce and water in a large glass or glass measuring cup. Pour enough brown sugar into the cup such that when the sugar settles, it reaches to about a third of the cup. (This is exactly how Brian told me the recipe over the phone. I love the inexactitude of homemade recipes because that's how you know it has been passed down in a family kitchen).

Note: For our marinade of two lbs of pork ribs, I used 2 cups soy sauce, 1 cup water, about 1/2 cup sugar because I don't like my meat too sweet.

Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the scallions, garlic, sesame oil, fresh ground pepper, and grated ginger (Sorry Brian, I know you don't add ginger in your recipe but I love ginger).

Pour over ribs and marinade over night.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Wrap the ribs completely in foil. Bake for about an hour until meat is soft.
Remove the ribs from the foil. Turn the over to broil.
Broil the ribs, meat side up, for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and brown on the outside. Or until the smoke alarm goes off.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas dinner part two - from "Authentic Taiwanese Cuisine"

True to our diverse geographical residences, we made two Taiwanese dishes to accompany the Texas-style smoked ribs. These recipes are from the book, "Authentic Taiwanese Cuisine" by the head chef of Xin-Yeh restaurant in Taipei. The sauce for the asparagus was sweet, rich, and clean-tasting, thanks to the excellent pork stock that Mom made before we came home for Christmas.

Prawns with Pea Shoots

1 lb prawns, shelled and cleaned
1 egg white
pinch of salt
pinch of corn starch
3 cups peashoots, rinsed clean and trimmed
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup ginger, finely minced
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 tablespoons water

Marinate the prawns with egg white, cornstarch, and pinch of salt for 10 minutes.
Over medium high heat, sautee peashoots with vegetable oil until cooked through. Arrange on serving plate.
Over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until hot. Add the scallions and ginger and stir until fragrant.
Add prawns to the pan and sautee until pink and cooked through.
When prawns are cooked through, add the water and rice wine. Cook until evaporated. Plate the prawns over the pea shoots. Serve immediately.

Asparagus with Dried Scallop Sauce

1 lb asparagus, washed and trimmed
About 5 dried scallops
1 cup pork stock
2 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
salt to taste
cornstarch to thicken

Soak the dried scallops in about half of cup hot water until softened (mom did this the night before). Tear the scallops into thin shreds.

Cut the asparagus into 5-6 cm pieces. Bring a pot of hot water, lightly salted, to boil. Blanche the asparagus pieces until it turns bright green. Arrange the asparagus onto a serving plate.

In a small pan, add the dried scallops with its juices, stock, and ginger. Bring to boil. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the asparagus. Serve immediately.

The star of our Christmas meal: smoked ribs

Dad and Mom saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen called Rainy Day Barbeque. The result of dad's special smoked ribs, modified from the show's recipe, is stellar!

If you live in a house with a sensitive smoke detector like ours, plan on having a couple of helpers when the smoke alarms goes off, to either fan the smoke away, or climb up on a chair to unscrew the offending alarm.

Oven-Barbecued Spareribs

Serves 4

6 tablespoons mustard (we used Dijon)
2 tablespoons ketchup (we used sodium-free ketchup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar (we substituted this with 3 tablespoons of honey)

2 racks spareribs , 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each, trimmed of surface fat, membrane removed each rack cut in half
1/4 cup Lapsang Souchong tea leaves (finely ground)—from about 10 tea bags, or 1/2 cup loose tea leaves ground to a powder in a spice grinder)
(Dad used a mixture of jasmin, hojicha, black tea, and other assortments from our ever-growing tea cabinet)
1 cup apple juice

1. For the Rub: Combine mustard, ketchup, and garlic in small bowl; combine pepper, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and sugar in separate small bowl. Spread mustard mixture in thin, even layer over both sides of ribs; coat both sides with spice mixture, then wrap ribs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

[For a deeper flavor, we just mixed everything together -- the mustard, ketchup, honey, garlic, and all the spices, and coated the ribs with the mixture]

2. Transfer ribs from refrigerator to freezer for 45 minutes. Adjust one oven rack to lowest position and second rack to upper-middle position (at least 5 inches below broiler).

Place baking stone on lower rack; heat oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle ground tea evenly over bottom of rimmed baking sheet; set wire rack on sheet.

Place ribs meat side up on rack and cover with heavy-duty foil, crimping edges tightly to seal.

Roast ribs directly on stone for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees, leaving oven door open for 1 minute to cool.

While oven is open, carefully open one corner of foil and pour apple juice into bottom of baking sheet; reseal foil. Continue to roast until meat is very tender and begins to pull away from bones, about 1 1/2 hours. (Begin to check ribs after 1 hour; leave loosely covered with foil for remaining cooking time.)

3. Remove foil and carefully flip racks bone side up; place baking sheet on upper-middle oven rack.

[We then coated the ribs with a mixture of sugar and soy sauce]

Turn on broiler; cook ribs until well browned and crispy in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Flip ribs meat side up and cook until well browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.

A Very Green Christmas

This Christmas Mom and Dad had the wonderful idea of using only brown paper as wrapping paper! Mom had collected brown paper for the past few months and here is the wonderful, inventive results under our Christmas tree.

Family-style Roast Chicken Dinner at Lala's House

My friend Lilah hosted a perfect winter's family meal a couple of weeks ago: a traditional, comforting meal that we made while gossiping and drinking wine.

The menu:
Lemon rosemary roasted chicken with gravy
Squash Gratin
Steamed broccolini with lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper
To drink: I think it was a pinot gris.
Dessert: easy apple tart!

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

1 organic chicken, 3-4 lbs
1 lemon, cut in halves
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup baby carrots
1 small onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons butter
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Clean and pat dry the chicken.
Rub salt and pepper generously all over the chicken, including the cavity.
Stuff the garlic, lemon, and a couple of stalks of rosemary inside the cavity.
Chop the rest of the rosemary leaves finely, mix with one tablespoon of butter.
With your fingers, loosen the chicken skin and work the rosemary butter between the skin and the meat of the chicken.
Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter all over the chicken.
(We didn't tie the chicken but if you want, truss the chicken with kitchen string)
Place the chicken in a large baking pan. Scatter the onions, carrots, and celery around the chicken.
Bake for about an hour and 15 to 20 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Optional: we made gravy!
Pour all the drippings in the pan into a bowl. Ladle out the fat from the drippings -- you will have left only a little bit of brown chicken jus. Press the roasted vegetables in a sieve and add the juices to the pan. Return the chicken jus to the roasting pan, scraping up any of the brown bits. Heat the gravy until hot, thicken with some cornstarch (make a slurry with corn starch and water first) and return to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Squash Gratin

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (we made ours with a whole grain bread, which adds really great flavor)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups cubed peeled acorn squash (about 1 pound)
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1/2 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Olive oil-flavored vegetable cooking spray (optional. You can just coat the pan with some olive oil)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, and stir well.
Add squashes, parsnip, and oil, tossing to coat.
Spoon squash mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray.
Cover and bake at 325° for 1 1/2 hours or until the squash is soft.
Sprinkle with cheese, and bake, uncovered, an additional 15 minutes.
Garnish with oregano, if desired.

Note: the recipe says to bake it at 325F but since we were also roasting the chicken, we just baked the gratin with the chicken at 425F. Still turned out fine! I think it was even better since the squash was caramelized a bit.

Easy upside down apple tart

2 Tablespoon butter
10-12 apples, cored and sliced
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 pinch each of ground ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.
1 sheet of puff pastry

Sautee the first four ingredients in a cast iron pan over medium high heat until apples are cooked and the liquid evaporated.

Rolled out the sheet of puff pastry and tuck it over the top of the cast iron skillet.
Bake at 400 F for approx 20 mins until the puff pastry is golden and cooked through. Invert it onto a plate.
Cut into slices and serve with plain whipped cream.