February 20, 2009

1 year!

happy blog anniversary
to me

it's been one year since my first blog post stating my intention of writing about and photographing my adventures in the kitchen. since then, i've posted as often as i can... and since october 08, my life has been so busy and the days just fly by. it's been difficult to keep up with blogging, but i certainly haven't slowed down the eating and cooking part! hehe. my goal this next year is to keep up with posting at least once a week, improving my photographs and experimenting with new cuisines and ingredients.
thanks to all for the comments over the past year! i love reading all of your blogs and sharing recipes!

cPe 2008

February 16, 2009

farmerie 58

farmerie 58 is a new-ish restaurant just off the mag mile in chicago. e and i visited the restaurant during it's first week back in october (or what seemed to be its first day!) and it was sooo quiet. we actually didn't know it was open, and were caught staring at the menu in the window by the host of the place. he explained a bit about the nature of the restaurant, and also let us know that their sushi chef/creator was in the kitchen that day, so we should check it out. sustainable food, sushi, gracious host. we were sold. plus the burgers on the menu sounded delicious. the decor is cute, the colors have a really organic appeal, and the bar in the center is beautiful.

now, on to the food! we ordered a traditional salmon roll as an appetizer and it was so fresh, the rice was warm. mmmm. we devoured it before the server came back to get our lunch order!
so we put our order in - i got the bistro burger and erwin got the andouille burger with an egg. i think it was a special, because it's not on the menu at the moment. the burgers were either served with spicy sweet potato chips or shoe-string fries.
while we waited for our food, they brought out 2 kinds of bread and creamy butter for us to snack on in silence. lol, we were so hungry we were eating in silence almost. :)
i love burgers, and for the most part, unless they're absolutely crappy, i'm usually pretty happy with them in general. the bistro burger at farmerie 58 is outstanding. it may be the whole sustainable ingredients part, but whatever it is, it was juicy, perfectly cooked and perfectly assembled. delicious! the hubby's burger was so so so good as well. the andouille gave it a yummy saltiness; topped with a fried egg... what could be better.
i got the spicy sweet potato chips which i could snack on forever, and e got the shoe-string fries which were good as well.

so overall, please try this place. the restaurateur is really trying a new approach to food in chicago and the outcome is delicious food.
cPe 2008

dutch baby

it's pretty evident from my posts that i love breakfast, specifically sweet breakfast. this is definitely one breakfast food that i thought would only be a menu item for me to order. it looked and sounded too complicated to replicate at home.
one day i decided to look up a few recipes for the dutch baby and found one that seemed easy to follow. trust alton brown to show me how. :)
the thin baked pancake with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice is such a good combination - you must try it if you haven't. and if you have a cast iron skillet, please put it to use and try the dutch baby!

Dutch Baby
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008,
Good Eats
3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
2 3/8 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar, plus extra for serving (i used regular sugar)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole
milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
Lemon wedges

preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
place 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven. Set the remaining tablespoon of melted butter aside to cool slightly. wait 10 minutes before assembling the other ingredients.
place the flour, vanilla sugar, salt, milk, eggs and remaining tablespoon of melted butter into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. carefully pour the batter into the preheated skillet. bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges are puffed and brown. sprinkle with additional vanilla sugar (i used powdered sugar) and serve with lemon wedges.

cPe 2008

moroccan garbanzo soup

since this has been yet another long and freezing cold chicago winter, my body has been craving warm and comforting meals, specifically soups of all kinds. this soup is just that.
since i have a habit of picking up random cans of beans at the grocery store, i often find myself with more than 2 cans of garbanzo beans and this recipe allowed me to use those finally.
i did cheat and use mostly veggie/chicken stock instead of water, so the cooking time was dramatically decreased.

moroccan garbanzo soup
1 can garbanzo beans
1 tsp of canola oil
1 onions, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of palillo (or use turmeric)
6 cups of water (i used mostly stock)
1/2 cup of brown rice (i used basmati)
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of tomato paste
salt to taste
sour cream to serve

steps: in a large pot, heat canola oil, then combine onions and garlic and saute until softened. add pepper and tumeric to onion mixture; stir to combine. add garbanzo beans and stock. bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for about 15mins. Add brown rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is completely cooked, about 20 minutes.
i served mine with a dollop of sour cream. yum!

cPe 2008

chicken adobo

they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. while that didn't exactly happen in my case, where i only started cooking after we said our vows, i think i saw what that phrase meant when i decided to throw my fear aside and attempt one of my hubby's favorite dishes of all time: chicken adobo.

now chicken adobo is a staple in filipino households and while there are a few variations, the basics are always the same - same ingredients, same delicious outcome. the inbetweens are where the variations come in.
since this was my first time making it, there were going to be no variations for this beginner-adobo-cook. so from start to finish, i used the recipe below. you may say i'm biased, but i really think this may be the best way to make chicken adobo. the chicken was extremely moist, tender and packed with flavor.
the skin was nicely crisped then flavored again... and pouring that sauce all over your big bowl of steaming hot rice... talk about comfort food!
now i see why my hubby's eyes lit up when he saw it cooking in the wok. :) so thank you martin yan!

Chicken Adobo, by Martin Yan's Asia


3/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 T. minced garlic

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces

3/4 cup water

2 T. cooking oil

2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. water


marinate: mix vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper and marinate chicken for 30 minutes in a big wok.

braise: add 3/4 cup water to the marinade and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. remove chicken from sauce and pat dry with paper towels. allow remaining sauce to thicken while you...

fry: heat a clean, dry pan over medium heat. add oil, let it come up to temp, then place the chicken skin side down. fry for about 5 minutes until crispy on all sides.

add: the chicken back into the sauce to coat and allow it to really soak in the sauce as it thickens.

serve over hot white rice and enjoy! don't forget to pour some extra sauce over your chicken and rice in the bowl. :)

cPe 2008

carnivore's 100

because i'm swamped at work and too lazy to blog at the moment...

The Carnivore’s Hundred

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. American-style bacon
2. Canadian bacon
3. Prosciutto with melon
4. Pork belly, braised
5. Pork butt, smoked
6. Pork ribs, smoked
7. Roasted leg of lamb with mint jelly (don't like mint too much)
8. Gyros
9. Duck confit
10. Roasted chicken
11. Standing rib roast, rare (prefer my meat medium)
12. Chitlins
13. Cracklins
14. Boudin or blood sausage - no thank you!
15. Haggis - again, no thank you. a big sack of steamed minced meat is not appealing!
16. Peking duck
17. Roasted turkey with traditional American accompaniments
18. Roasted goose with traditional English accompaniments
19. Foie gras
20. Pate campagne
21. Moo Shu pork
22. Shepherd’s pie
23. Steak and Kidney pie
24. Chicken and dumplings
25. Turducken - can someone please make/order one for me? :)
26. Venison sausage
27. Pork cheeks
28. Pickled pigs’ feet - sounds nasty
29. Barbacoa (love!)
30. Birria
31. Chicken Marbella
32. Steak tartare
33. Beef Bourguignon
34. Potatoes roasted in duck fat
35. Spam (i'm a fan.. i know i know)
36. Tandoori chicken
37. Lamb vindaloo
38. Spaghetti Bolognese
39. Cuban sandwich
40. Croque Monsieur
41. Philadelphia cheesesteak
42. Chicken Satay
43. Shabu-shabu
44. Teppanaki
45. Schwarma
46. Meatloaf (blogged)
47. Beef Wellington
48. Beef tenderloin with béarnaise
49. Taco salad
50. Chili con carne
51. Pastistio
52. Corned beef brisket
53. Bangers and mash
54. Guinea pig
55. Ropa vieja
56. Wurst (any)
57. Lamb tagine
58. Kosher hot dog (New York-style)
59. Jerk chicken
60. Chorizo
61. All-American hamburger
62. Pigeon/Squab
63. Steak frites
64. Pastrami
65. Salami
66. Sweetbreads
67. Wiener schnitzel
68. Goulash
69. Pho
70. Char siu bao
71. Kalua pig - is this the same as lechon? if so, then yes
72. Pork rinds
73. Scrapple or goetta
4. Jaegerspaetzle
75. Sauerbraten
76. Tongue sandwich (when my parents did tell me it was tongue, bla!)
77. Baked ham
78. Frog legs
79. Alligator
80. Squirrel
81. Liver and onions
82. Bone marrow and marmalade (hm, with marmelade? what an interesting combination)
83. Cevapcici
84. Creamed beef on toast
85. Red-eye gravy
86. Head cheese
87. Jambalaya
88. Steak Diane
89. Veal piccata
90. Bulgogi
91. Smoked chicken (barbecue)
92. Beer can chicken
93. Chicken teriyaki
94. Coronation chicken (curried chicken salad)
95. Ostrich
96. Rogan josh
97. Poutine - this involves meat?
98. Chicken mole
99. Irish beef stew
100. Loose meat - what the heck is loose meat?

anzac biscuits

i love biscuits. cookies. whatever you prefer to call it. this recipe is one of the easiest ever and produces such a delicious biscuit. i could make these every week, and for a while, i was making them a few times in a month. there is some history behind this biscuit, and once you have one, you'll know why they're so well known and popular worldwide.

anzac biscuits
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

steps: mix the flour, oats, sugar, and coconut together in a bowl. combine the baking soda and boiling water in a small bowl to dissolve, and set aside. in a shallow pan (i used my crepe pan), melt the butter and slowly stir in the honey. when the honey has mixed into the melted butter, stir in the baking soda mixture (naturally, it will froth up a bit) immediately remove from heat and pour into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. stir until a biscuit dough forms and you are able to make little balls of dough. drop teaspoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet, leaving enough room in between. i spaced mine out 4 by 3, and the batter made 3 sets of 12! bake the biscuits at 300F for 12 minutes or so. make sure to cool them on a cooling rack as they're quite fragile.

isn't this batter yum?

now isn't this more yum?

hehe, i sandwiched a few with nutella, pb and icecream as a late night snack for the hubby and i. delicious! these biscuits are addictive - just a warning!

cPe 2009

traditional clafoutis

well, here i am... very late on the clafoutis train :) however... i searched out the traditional cherry clafoutis recipe (a la julia child) and decided to make it one friday evening. it's so light, subtle, just sweet enough, and with a little punch of tartness from the cherries. it was perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. and... i feel guilty in admitting that i had a few pieces for breakfast as well. ok i don't feel guilty. ha!

now on to the recipe i used.

Julia Child's Clafoutis

1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar

steps: heat oven to 350F. blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour in a bowl using an electric mixer. pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered baking dish (lightly buttered). place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. then remove from the heat and spread the cherries over the batter. sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. pour on the rest of the batter. place it back in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour.

you'll know it's done when the clafouti is beautifully puffed and brown (see above) and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. sprinkle with powdered sugar (generously!), and serve it warm or room temperature with a cup of tea.
and save a slice for breakfast the next morning. :)

cPe 2008