Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Truffle Mac and Cheese

Oli, here's a recipe for truffle mac and cheese - your fave!  Yes, you do love ANYTHING that has truffle in it, so enjoy.  And yes, I'll buy you a bottle of truffle oil for your birthday so you can pour it on everything you eat - just don't get too crazy with that stuff!  I've reposted my recipe for bechamel below so I wouldn't have to retype everything :)

1. Ingredients: Bechamel sauce (flour, butter, milk, salt), noodles (I used medium shells but you can use any type), cheese (I like to use a few different types - for this recipe I used smoked cheddar, white cheddar, and pecorino romano), truffle oil. 

2. For the bechamel sauce: 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of flour, 3 cups of HOT milk, pinch of salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a pot - when it's melted put in the flour and whisk for a couple minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

3. After the butter/flour mixture (called a roux, which is a thickening agent) has cooked a couple minutes, slowly pour in the hot milk and whisk until everything is incorporated.  Remember to use hot milk because if you pour cold milk in, your sauce will come out grainy.  Whisk constantly on low-medium heat so you don't scald the bottom of the pan until the sauce thickens up, enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.

4.When the sauce has thickened, you can start adding in the cheeses.  If you're using truffle oil, don't use cheeses that are too strong in flavor like smoked gouda or gruyere.  For this recipe, I shredded about 8 ounces of smoked cheddar, 8 ounces of white cheddar, and 2 ounces of pecorino romano (I know, a lot of types, but I had it sitting in the fridge).

5. Add the cheese into the sauce in small handfuls while stirring constantly.  Keep a few ounces of cheese to sprinkle over the top for baking.  So usually, after I incorporate all the cheese, I like to blend it with my handy dandy hand blender to make the sauce extra smooth.  Also, if you want the cheese to taste cheesier, add more cheese!  It's totally up to you.

6. Cook the noodles al dente - make sure you don't overcook the noodles because you are going to bake it for 20 minutes!  So drain the noodles when the noodles still have a real bite to them.  When the noodles are done, mix in the drained pot with the sauce, 2 tablespoons of the truffle oil, and pour into a baking dish.

7.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

8.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

9. Before you serve, let it rest for a few minutes.  Serve with a salad, as a side, or eat it all by itself. Trufflicious!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Green Curry w/ Chicken and Shrimp

Oli, here's my recipe for green curry.  You're probably thinking that Thai food is super hard to make (I thought the same thing), but it's actually pretty easy!  Sure, there are a lot of ingredients and steps, but I promise, it's all worth it cuz it's yummy!  My recipe for Thai green curry probably isn't that authentic, but it still tastes good to me so try it out.

1. Ingredients:  green curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, onions, red peppers, peas, garlic, ginger, basil, lime, cilantro.

2. Ok, you're gonna need to do this in stages.  The first stage would probably be cooking the protein and then setting aside before you put it into the curry.  Chop the ginger and garlic and slice the chicken.

3.  Saute the ginger and garlic in some oil on low heat for a few minutes.  When they've softened, turn the heat up high and saute the chicken.  Season with a little salt.  When the chicken is almost cooked through, put the shrimp in and cook for a couple more minutes.  As soon as the shrimp has turned pink, take off the heat and set aside to be put into the curry sauce later.

4.  The next stage is to slice and cook the veggies.  Slice about a half a small onion and half a red pepper.  I also used serrano chiles but you don't like spice so omit this ingredient.  For everyone else that does like spice, you can use any type of chile, with jalapenos being pretty mild and thai chiles being spicy as hell.

5.  Saute the onions first in some oil with a pinch of salt on low-medium heat.

6.  When the onions have softened, put in the red peppers and saute for another couple of minutes.

7.  Now the final stage.  Making the curry sauce.  I used green curry paste that I picked up at the supermarket.  It's a pretty generic brand and I'm sure I could get more authentic brands at Thai markets.  Oh well.  Also, use regular coconut milk - none of that lowfat crap.

8.  Into the sauteed veggies, add about 2 heaping tablespoons of the curry paste.  Saute for a minute on medium heat.

9.  When the curry sauce has been mixed in with the veggies, add in about a quarter cup of chicken stock and the can of coconut milk.  Remember to shake the coconut milk well before you open the can because it does separate when it sits.  Stir everything.  Add about a teaspoon of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.

10.  Add back in your chicken and shrimp.

11.  Heat the curry on low-medium heat and you'll start to see the edges simmering.  Then add in your frozen peas, sliced chiles, and chopped basil.

12.  Stir everything and simmer for a couple of minutes until everything is well incorporated and heated through.  Then spoon into a bowl, garnish with some cilantro and a lime wedge, and enjoy with some jasmine rice!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Oli, here's my recipe for chicken salad sandwich - yeah you know you love it.  It's very easy to make and doesn't require too many ingredients.  So that means you should be able to make it!

1. Ingredients:  Chicken, celery, mayo, dijon mustard, salt, pepper.

2. Cook the chicken.  If I use split chicken breasts on the bone with the skin on, I'll roast it in the oven.  See previous recipe.  But for this particular time, I had boneless, skinless breasts so I actually cooked in a pan on the stove to get more flavor.  Rub the chicken with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Place on a hot pan so it gets a nice sear.  Be careful, some of the oil/fat will splatter.  I covered the pan with some foil to prevent painful oil splatters and cooked each side for about 8-10 minutes.  You should get a gold brown sear on both sides - then take out and let rest on the cutting board for a few minutes.

3. When the chicken has cooled sufficiently, chop it into cubes along with the celery.  Cut however big or little you want.

4.  Add a big dollop of mayo and a little dollop of mustard.  You don't have to use the mustard, but I think it gives it a nice flavor.  I guess by dollop I mean about a quarter cup of mayo and a teaspoon of mustard.  But adjust according to how many chicken breasts you cook and celery stalks you cut.

5.  Add a little salt and some pepper and mix everything together.  Don't put in TOO much mayo at first because then it'll be runny.  So add a little at first because you can always add more later.  When it's the consistency you want, slap it on some bread and enjoy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Oli, here's how you make tonkatsu.  Yes, fried stuff, you're favorite!  I know you're planning on making this soon since you bought a lot of pork at Costco.  So here's an easy recipe for you to follow.

1. Ingredients:  Pork (usually tenderloin - at the Korean/Japanese markets it's labeled for tonkatsu), panko (Japanese bread crumbs), eggs, flour, salt, oil.

2.  First, you have to pound the pork to flatten them.  The thinner they are, the quicker they cook.  But you don't want them super thin because that's just silly.  So like that recipe you read, maybe pound the pork to about a half inch thick.  Then lightly season each piece with salt on both sides.

3.  Next get your coating ready.  First comes the flour dredge, then the egg wash, then the panko.  What, you say?  The flour and egg help to make the panko crust nice and crispy, duh.  For my recipe, I used 3 pieces of pork.  So for the coating, I used about a half cup of flour, 2 eggs (beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper), and 2 cups of panko.  Use more or less depending on how many piece of pork you intend to cook. 

4.  Put the pork in the flour and coat evenly on both sides.

5.  Then put the pork in the egg wash and coat evenly on both sides.

6.  Then put the pork in panko and make sure it's completely and evenly coated.

7.  Heat up the oil.  Use vegetable or canola oil or some other oil that is flavorless, not olive oil.  Put about a half inch of oil in the pan on medium heat.  You asked me how I know the oil is hot enough.  Well, let it heat up for like 7-8 minutes then drop a little bit of the panko in the pan.  It should fry up immediately and brown within a minute.  If it does, you know the oil is hot enough!  The oil needs to be hot or your tonkatsu will taste greasy.  Blech.

8. You only need to cook the tonkatsu a couple of minutes on each side.  You'll notice the sides start to brown so that's when you need to flip.  It's done when it's browned and crispy. 

9. Take the tonkatsu out of the oil and drain on a paper towel if you want.  Then enjoy when hot!  Good luck!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spaghetti with Marinara

Oli, here's a super easy recipe for spaghetti with marinara sauce. Yes, I know you said you know how to cook spaghetti. But in case you actually want to try something different, here you go. This recipe doesn't have any meat but you are free to add ground meat or sausage to the sauce.

1. Ingredients: Whole, peeled San Marzano canned tomatoes, spaghetti, garlic, onions, olive oil, basil, salt.

2. So I took a cue from Nigella Lawson and sped up the prep process.  Normally if I was making a marinara sauce, I would dice the onions, saute them, blahblahblah.  It can be very labor intensive!  So this time, I used a mini food processor to really mince up the onions.  No chopping involved!  Then I sauteed that in some olive oil and of course, add salt.

3.  Saute the onions on low-medium heat for about 5 minutes until they're soft and translucent.  Then add some chopped garlic (yeah I chopped that) and saute for a few more minutes.  Then add the whole can of tomatoes.

4. Break up the tomatoes a little with your wooden spoon and bring the sauce up to a simmer.  Add some chopped basil.  Then get out your handy dandy hand blender.  You probably don't have one of those, but you should get one - add that to the list of kitchen tools you need! 

5. Blitz the whole thing in pulses so you don't splatter hot tomato sauce everywhere.  It should turn into a relatively smooth sauce (sorry for the not so great photos).

5. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes so all the flavors blend together.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.  When you feel like the sauce is done and tastes right, cook the pasta (1 lb. should be plenty for the sauce) in salted water.  Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the sauce.  Stir and cook the pasta with the sauce for like 30 seconds so the pasta can absorb some of the sauce.  Then serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spam Musubi

Oli, you know you loves the Spam! Here's my easy recipe - I like when the "teriyaki" sauce that the spam is coated in soaks into the rice a little bit. You get the sweetness from the sauce and the saltiness from the Spam, all balanced out by rice.

1. Ingredients: Spam (I buy the lite kind so I don't feel too guilty that I'm eating meat of undetermined origin), white rice (sure you can probably use brown rice or mixed or rice or even fried rice), soy sauce, mirin, sugar, pepper, roasted seaweed (you can find the half-sheet size or if you get the full-size sheets, just cut in half with scissors - and don't buy the toasted, salted kind).

2. Slice the spam horizontally, about a 1/4 or 1/3 of an inch thick, depending on how Spamlicious you want your musubis.  Cook the spam in a pan until both sides are browned.  No need to add oil, cuz you know Spam can be oily.

3.  In a separate bowl, add about a half cup of soy sauce, quarter cup of mirin,  teaspoon of sugar, couple pinches of pepper.  You can also add some rice vinegar or pineapple juice to this "teriyaki" sauce.  Add this sauce to the hot pan with Spam (about medium heat).

4. The sauce will reduce because of the sugars, but just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!  After the Spam has been coated on both sides and the sauce has thickened a bit, take it out an put it on a plate.  You don't have to use all the sauce.

5. By the time the Spam is ready, the rice should be cooked right?  Make sure to use hot/warm rice so that the seaweed will stick.  Put a half sheet down with the musubi mold at the bottom.

6. Put a small scoop of rice at the bottom of the mold and spread it evenly.  Then place a slice of Spam and then another small scoop rice on top. 

6. Press everything into the mold tightly and wrap with the seaweed.  If the rice is too sticky or you have trouble unmolding the rice and Spam, wet the mold and press with some water first.  Let the musubis cool down a bit, slice in half, and enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beef Curry Rice

Oli, I know you know how to make curry rice.  And i know fo sho you're not using extra hot curry.  But here's how I do it - just as a point of reference for you.  I like chunky veggies in my curry and don't use any cornstarch like how mom does to thicken the sauce.  Instead I like to cut the potatoes a little large so they they'll dissolve a little of their starch and naturally thicken the sauce as the whole thing cooks.

1.) Ingredients: beef (at the korean market they have beef that's already cubed specifically for curry - weird I know), carrots, onions, frozen corn and peas, potatoes, curry, rice.

2. Brown the meat in some oil in a hot pot on medium heat.  Don't forget to season with salt and pepper.

3. When the meat has browned, take it out and drain any excess fat.  Add in some more olive oil and then saute the onions.  Add some salt.  After you've cooked the onions for a couple of minutes, add the carrots and the potatoes and toss everything so it's coated with the oil.

3.  After the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add the beef back in and saute a couple more minutes so all the flavors can meld.  So you know the curry sauce comes in like solid blocks - dissolve the blocks in some warm water (like a cup) before you add it to the pot.  Also add about 3-4 cups of water (depending on how much curry you want to use and how much veggies you have in the pot).

4. So I know it looks watery but it's ok!  Just let the whole pot simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the carrots become tender and the potatoes are almost falling apart.  At that point, add in your frozen corn and peas.

5. After a couple more minutes, the frozen veg will be nicely incorporated and the sauce should have thickened considerably.  Ladle over some rice and enjoy!