Saturday, December 4, 2010

Creamy Seafood Pasta & Pumpkin Pancakes

Seafood Pasta with White Wine Sauce
Buttery garlic-herb shrimp and manila clams with sauteed mushrooms, tossed in a creamy Chardonnay sauce.

Needed to crack open that new bottle of Chardonnay, and what better way to do that than over good, fresh seafood? Bought a pound of fresh short-neck manila clams and shrimp, some fresh basil and we're good to go. My mom said she tried seafood linguine at a HK cafe and wanted me to make her something like that. Not hard at all. Delicious and 1/3 the restaurant price. Oui, oui, oui!

I used the wrong cup to measure my ingredients so I cheated myself out of like... 25mL per each half a cup. Next time: use right measuring cups and more sauce, more! I also tend to be generous with the garlic. I'm just the garlic and onions kind of girl :) Smell me please

Creamy Seafood Pasta (serves 3)
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked
  • 1 lb clams
  • 1 lb shrimp, deveined
  • 5 gloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup reserved clam water
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes (if desired) or to taste
  • hint of lemon juice
  • parmigiano reggiano
  1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and dried basil.
  2. Cook clams until the part open. Set aside clams but keep boiling clam water to reduce.
  3. Heat pan to med heat and melt the butter, add half of the garlic and some red pepper flakes. The lower heat lets the flavors come out, but does not burn the garlic.
  4. Once garlic is golden, turn heat to med-high and sautee shrimp until cooked. Set aside.
  5. In the same pan sautee mushrooms with onions. Set aside.
  6. Add a bit of oil and the rest of garlic + red pepper flakes. Then deglaze with Chardonnay. Add the reduced clam juice and cream. Reduce until ... the alcohol is evaporated from the wine. (SALT+PEPPER+lemon juice HERE) Add parmigiano reggiano & rest of basil, but save some for garnish!
  7. Combine everything else and yum <3

Holiday's not complete without some dessert :)

Way belated post for the holidays. I had a leftover can of pumpkin puree that I thought I was going to use for pumpkin pie but didn't cause I was such a pumpkin-pie fail. But that's okay because I didn't waste it!

I think that per every 1 cup of Bisquick pancake mix I used about half a cup of pumpkin puree, some cinnamon sugar, and some nutmeg. Taste delicious with some candied walnuts, butter, and pancake syrup....! Mmmmh!

Just some food for thought! Pancakes don't always have to be the same color :P

Sunday, August 1, 2010

BLT Salad

I've rarely made salad from scratch, but after making the BLT salad for my birthday party last Friday I realized that it is not such a bad idea! Prepackaged salads are way to expensive and cost much more than it's worth. You can get a head of romaine lettuce and red leaf lettuce for a much cheaper price and it could probably make 3 times as much as your packaged salad.
Get the freshest ingredients you can find, because that will result in the crunchiest and tastiest salad :)

BLT Salad
yields 1 large salad bowl (serves ~15)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 head red leaf lettuce
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 white onion, diced
  • 5 strips of lean bacon
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • optional: 1 sliced cucumber or avocado
BLT Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder
  • dill weed
  • parsley
Just whisk the dressing ingredients together, chill and drizzle over the salad! If you've had it last Friday you know it's delicious ;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back to the Basics: Scalloped Potatoes

I love eating fancy but sometimes we all need something good and simple-- like scalloped potatoes! This wonder is nothing more than thinly sliced potatoes and a delicious white sauce. To make the the white sauce, saute chopped onions in butter, add equal parts flour for a blond roux, and milk-- a familar technique used for many French/Italian recipes :) (like Alfredo, spinach-artichoke dip, chowder, cream soups, and so much more!)

Layer the potatoes and the sauce in a casserole dish and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or until the top becomes golden brown. Take it out, let it cool, and enjoy!

Meanwhile, my mom's got a new blog! And it's awesome cause I made it for her! Hehe! Check it out! Plugs to my mommy!

BTW! I took this picture when she came down to San Diego to visit me! This is Black's beach along La Jolla shores, a 5 minute walk from campus!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shucking Oysters

So here's the question: how many oysters would Chuck shuck if Chuck could shuck oysters? I bet he could shuck lots of 'em. Today I went seafood shopping and saw some great stuff. Dungeness crab for 3.99/lb, small/large abalone (bao yu) for 3.79 ~ 27.99 each, and some live oysters for 0.69 each. I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I could have half a dozen oysters tonight served on half a shell with some lime? A delicious thought indeed. So I picked out the fattest looking oysters but didn't have the strength to pry them open-- so I let my mom shuck 'em. She's the man. Tehehe :)

Oysters tonight! Shuck 'em open, serve them on half a shell with some lime, and slurrrrp them. Nom nom! Nothing like the freshness of the ocean, and the sweet taste of fresh seafood! Two thumbs up! I'd give more if I had extra thumbs anywhere.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pasta ai frutti di mare

Seafood pasta. Delicious Shortneck clams and tiger shrimp with a garlic-tomato and white wine sauce. Garnished with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
I wanted a little kick in my dish so I chopped up some jalepeno peppers for some heat. Doesn't appear to have enough sauce-- next time I'll opt for some more tomatoes and water. This recipe can easily serve 2, if not 3 people. Great dish to cook for company. It's delicious and filling!What you'll need for 3 servings
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 lb tiger shrimp
  • 1 lb littleneck clams or manila clams
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 4-5 large tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley (about a small handful)
  • Basil
  • 3 1tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • some oil
  • salt & pepper
Cooking instructions (multi-tasking skills required)
  1. Soak clams in white wine for a few minutes.
  2. Bring stock of water to a boil, add enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean and then the pasta. Cook pasta until it is al dente or 2 minutes before "done." Drain pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes/jalepenos and sauté 2 cloves of sliced garlic in 1 tbsp of butter melted with some oil. When garlic turns golden brown, add 2 ladles of pasta water and cook tomatoes until they have turned into a sauce. Then add salt, pepper, some basil, fresh parsley, and jalepeno.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the wine into a pan and bring to boil. Reduce to medium heat, add clams and cover pan with a lid. Cook clams until they are parted. Then remove clams and set aside, reserving about a ladleful of cooked wine.
  5. Marinate the shrimp with jalepeno, some lime juice, salt, and pepper. Heat skillet/pan to medium-high heat. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in some oil and sauté the shrimp until cooked. Quickly remove from pan and set aside.
  6. Finally, add the reserved wine and the pasta into the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. When pasta is done cooking, remove from heat and toss in the clams and shrimp.
  7. Plate and garnish with the remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese. Bon appétit!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Best Buttermilk Biscuits Ever

Here it is Ladies and Gentlemen, the only buttermilk biscuits recipe you will ever need. It's so delicious, I can eat a dozen of these and not have any room left for the mashed potatoes. It's great with gravy and sweet too! The texture is so wonderfully soft, one bite and you will understand :) So go ahead, give these a try. I baked these darlings in a dark cupcake pan. I felt it was the only way I could get them to hold their shapes. Spray with some oil to give it a light-golden coating! (And yes, I've got this baby memorized)

Buttermilk Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, white sugar
  2. Use pastry blender, fork+knife, or food processor to mix butter and flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
  3. Incorporate buttermilk and mix just until dough comes together.
  4. Shape and bake for ~12 minutes!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strawberry Granola Parfait

Bought a tub of non-fat yogurt, one pound of salad greens, two pounds of strawberries and a box of honey granola from Costco and Albertsons. Looks like it's going to be a healthy month at San Diego starting tomorrow! I also got a large bottle of House Italian dressing for my salad and pasta. Sounds so great, I can't wait! :)

I'm going back to San Diego tomorrow. It was a good weekend to stock up on fresh produce. I have a paper due tomorrow, oh I guess I'll get to that now...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cheese Crust Avocado Pizza

I went to Ralphs at 11pm with the intention of making pizza. A cheese-pepperoni pizza was all I intended to make, but I thought why not make the pizza healthy? I saw that the avocados were 2 for $1 so I bought two and incorporated that into my pizza. I made the dough from scratch with the following pizza dough recipe and included all the veggies that I thought were healthy and delicious on my pizza. I made avocado pesto with half of my fruit and thinly sliced the other half to garnish. I also included some thinly sliced red onion and hokkaido mushrooms (the only type available in my fridge) and some pepperoni bits. Leave out the bits of meat if you're vegetarian, but I assure you that this is delicious!

* PS: No SLR with me right now. Just using a regular Canon Powershot.

Pizza Dough
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat the water to around 110 degrees (I use my finger to test the temperature-- just make sure it's warm but not hot enough to burn your skin) and proof the yeast if it is active dry. If it is "rapid rise" you may skip the proofing step and add yeast directly to dry ingredients.
  2. The process is the same as usual: knead the dough, proof the dough, flatten and roll out into flat circle. (See dough-kneading process)
  3. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning onto the dough. Roll sides out thinly and add a border of mozzarella cheese. Then fold the dough over the cheese and pinch down.
  4. Spread out pizza sauce OR avocado pesto. Then add other ingredients and brush crust lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
Avocado Pesto
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed into paste
  • salt + pepper to taste
Avocado Pizza
  • 1 pizza crust
  • Avocado pesto
  • 1 handful of coarsely chopped spinach
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup bacon bits/ sausage bits/ pepperoni bits
* Note: avocado will turn brown without acid, so drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice on sliced avocado.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Congee with Century Egg (皮蛋瘦肉粥)

It seemed that every Sunday, without fail, my dad would make congee and we would eat that over a bowl of dumplings or noodles for brunch. The flavors varied; sometimes we would have leftover turkey for turkey congee (an unconventional creation of my dad's), fish congee (魚片粥), and my favorite congee with century egg (皮蛋瘦肉粥). That is probably the most common type of congee and easiest to make (right next to plain congee). I've always had fond memories of this food; it was like chicken noodle soup, good for the heart, good for the soul. The Chinese believe that a bowl of congee will help you cleanse your diet and rid minor illnesses.

This somehow fits into the category of strange Chinese dishes; many people who are unaccustomed to century egg find the sight of it repulsive. Understandable of course, century egg by itself gives off a pungent odor of sulfur and ammonia. When broken up and added into a plain-tasting pot of congee, however, it becomes soft and its flavor mellower. But since I grew up with the acquired taste for century egg, I find it hard to believe that people would find the food so repulsive. Either way, I think it's great and I'm glad I can eat it again. (I've been craving it for a while) Century egg acquired from home, as usual.

Plain Congee (粥)
yields: 1 pot
  • 1 cup rice
  • 9 cups water, might have to add more
  • salt and white pepper to taste (optional)
Bring rice and water to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn down the heat to a med-low heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Caution: It is very important to stir the bottom to make sure the congee does not burn! It will also burn if there is not enough water so check the consistency of the congee often to make sure it doesn't become too thick!
The congee is done when it becomes mien or soft. (You can't taste the individual grains of rice)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spicy, sour, a hint of sweetness-- Kimchi!

I've pickled cucumbers, I've pickled carrots, now I'm pickling napa cabbage. I don't know why I suddenly felt the urge to *attempt* to make kimchi-- maybe because my aunt made it last month and my suitemate had a tub of it in the fridge-- that I suddenly felt like I wanted to make it. I pickled the cabbage overnight in a salt brine. I used about 4 cups of water to 1.5 pounds of napa cabbage, then set a plate over it. The pickled cabbage will smell terrible if you don't refrigerate, just so you know.

So I added my own variety of ingredients such as sliced ginger root, scallions, garlic, julienne carrots and cucumbers. Don't forget the chili paste and chili powder to give it that signature red hue!

  • 1 head (~1.5 lb) napa cabbage
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
Wash (and wash it well! because napa cabbage tends to be dirty!) and cut up into square pieces. Mix salt, water and soak cabbage in brine. Don't worry if the water doesn't completely cover, because the cabbage will soften up as it pickles. For this reason, remember to set a big plate over the cabbage to weigh it down.

  • shredded ginger
  • julienne carrots
  • julienne cucumbers
  • minced garlic
  • korean chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • reserved salt-brine
prepare all the ingredients, and mix them all together. Use the reserved salt-brine to sort of soak up the kimchi half way or until the desired dilution. Yep. Kimchi, yay.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taste of Home

You know how when you're at home and your mom makes you soup, you never really feel like drinking it? Then when you're far away from home, suddenly that bowl of soup is warming and delicious like never before. Well, today's bowl of soup was kind of like that.

Ingredients were: ginger root, sliced lean pork, salted egg, kai choy. If I knew it was this easy, I would've made it all the time. :)

Then I made some fried rice from all the ingredients I had left-- corn, spam, green onion, an egg, and a clove of garlic (pressed, not minced or chopped). Seasoned with salt instead of soy sauce because I wanted white rice for some reason. *sigh* Food is great.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Smoked Salmon Appetizer, Salad, Cream Corn

Creme Fraiche, Crackers, Smoked Salmon
Nom nom. A lot of food all in one line. I was supposed to make a post about the salmon a month ago but it just left my mind. Crackers with crème fraiche and salmon. Most people don't think about making their own "sour" cream, but it's easy and very exciting to watch the bacteria develop in front of your eyes :)

Creme Fraiche, originally a French product, is pronounced "krem fresh." It can be used sweet or plain, with berries or soups! It's sold in some specialty stores, but for an expensive price. Why buy it when you can make it yourself? All you need is:
  • 1 cup pasteurized heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk OR 1/2 cup of sour cream
Make sure the heavy cream is at room temperature (or heat it up slightly, making sure it's below boiling) Mix it with the buttermilk in a container with a lid. Close the lid and let the bacteria develop for 24-36 hours in a warm room. It's done when it becomes thick. Also, don't worry about the creme going bad because the good bacteria will protect it from the bad ones :) Creme fraiche will keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Time for another episode...
-- of what Jenny eats!

Stuff that's easy to make but super-duper tasty.
Salad with my favorite vinaigrette: Asian sesame dressing!
This one's for my mom because I know she wants to know about everything that it eat >_> And it's not yellow barf on rice. It's cream corn with ham -__-" Next time I'm going to put less corn and more "sauce." Contains 1/2 can whole kernel corn, chopped SPAM, 1 egg. I used the water from the can and additional water with corn* starch to make a sauce. Used about 1 teaspoon. Next time, more starch, more water.
* I used corn starch in substitution for TAPIOCA starch, which is why the sauce isn't as "glossy" as it should be. They're both thickeners used for sauces and filling, but they differ in that the tapioca imparts a glossier sheen, which is ideal for sauces.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Butternut Squash and Steak

Yeah, I know. I like to eat my cows while they're still moo-ing. Could have used an additional 5 minutes in the oven.

Toast Mornings, French Style!

Short post: Woke up and made some french toast for Tony. Although when he finally did wake up, it was nearly noon. -_-

By the way, do you see that terrible shadow from my lens? This is the reason I want an external flash with bounce. :(