Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chocolate Pots de Creme (Dairy Free)

These cups of chocolatey smooth goodness are too good to be true; they are no bake, easy to make, and best of all, dairy free for those of us sensitive to lactose or dairy proteins. But don't fret, these cups don't suffer from lack of flavor despite their lack of dairy. All you need is some good dark chocolate, coconut milk or cream, and a couple of spices that are most likely already sitting in your pantry. Lets get started!

7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), finely chopped (I used 71% cacao Valrhona Chocolate)
14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (I used the coconut cream from Trader Joes)
2 large egg yolks
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon jam

Other things you'll need:
Small cups
Fine mesh sieve
Mixing Bowl


1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, add the can of coconut milk, the egg yolks, the cinnamon stick, and salt.

3.Whisk together until thoroughly combined, and heat the mixture on medium low heat stirring constantly.

4. Heat the mixture until the mixture thickens and forms a smooth custard that coats the back of a spoon (about 10 to 15 minutes). But do not let it overcook! Don't let the mixture simmer or boil, otherwise you'll curdle the yolks.

5. Once you have your custard, take the pot off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Position a fine mesh sieve over the bowl of chocolate, and pour the custard through to catch any lumpy bits.

6. Grab a spatula and stir ever so gently to mix the melted chocolate into the custard base. If you stir like crazy, the temperature will drop too quickly, and you’ll end up with grainy chocolate.

7. Once you've achieved a smooth mixture, stir in the vanilla extract.

8. Divide your mixture into your small cups and allow it to come to room temperature before placing plastic  wrap over the cup and placing into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Before serving, I put about a tablespoon of jam over the top to complement the deep chocolate flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Don't hesitate to play around with the flavors, next time I plan on adding lavender to the steaming coconut milk to add a delicate lavender flavor to my chocolate. Should be yum!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lemon Garlic Angel Hair Pasta

I gravitate towards recipes that are versatile, easy to prepare while still being healthy and nutritious. This Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe is a great choice using ingredients that aren't hard to find while also being very forgiving to any tweaks or changes that might suit your fancy. Tweaks like adding halved plum tomatoes, steamed broccoli, topping with some grilled shrimp, adding some sauteed chicken breast or even dumping a can of cream of chicken could be appropriate for this recipe. I've served this pasta as a bed for my crispy skin salmon before as well, and it turned out phenomenally. So tweak away and enjoy your creations!

16 ounces angel hair pasta (one store bought box of pasta)
1/4 cup fresh flat leafed parsley, or fresh Italian sweet basil, coarsely chopped (I prefer parsley but either is fine)
1/2 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tsp chicken flavor instant bouillon (not absolutely necessary, but a nice touch)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling, store bought grated Parmesan like the one shown at right will do just fine, but fresh is always better!
1. Set a pot of water to boil while you prepare the rest of your ingredients, this way your pasta will have hot water to hop into once you're almost done cooking.
2. In large skillet, cook garlic in olive oil until golden
3. Add lemon juice and chicken bouillon if using.
4. Cook and stir until bouillon dissolves.
5. In large bowl, toss pasta, garlic mixture, cheese and parsley; serve immediately. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to your own liking.
6. Enjoy!
Serves 6.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Salmon Rice Porridge (Salmon Congee)

So lately I haven't been cooking as much since papers don't write themselves and research doesn't just compile itself for school *sigh* but here is a recipe that I've made twice in two nights now that has the boyfriend'a stamp of approval for being yummy enough not only for refills, but twice in two nights for dinner. Its a simple congee recipe that's not only flexible in terms of the meat you use, but yields great flavor and leaves you wanting more by the time you're done with it! You can replace the salmon with any type of white fish such as sole if you prefer or substitute with pork or chicken if you don't have fish :)

Recipe adapted from smokywok

1 cup rice, washed and soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
4 cups chicken broth + 6 cups water
1 whole salmon fillet, about .8 to 1 lb., skinned and cut into 2 in. cubes (or any other meat if you prefer)
4 slices ginger  (I like to add extra later on in the cooking process for that extra gingery flavor)
3-4 scallions, sliced

Marinade for salmon:

3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing rice wine)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Season with:

Rice wine
SaltSesame oil
White pepper


Skin the salmon and marinate the salmon in the mix above while the rice is soaking.  After about 30 minutes,  drain the rice and boil the rice, water, ginger slices and chicken broth together.  Once rapidly boiling, bring the heat down to low and allow to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency.  I usually boil for about 45 minutes on low heat.

Once the congee reaches your desired consistency, add rice wine and drop in the salmon fillets.  Watch closely and turn up the heat again.  Once the salmon is entirely cooked - this should take about 3-4 minutes, drop in the green onions, stir, and turn off the heat. Season until you reach your desired taste, as people like different ratios of white pepper, sesame oil and salt :) Enjoy everyone!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Comforting Chicken Soup

Also the easiest :) So I've been deathly ill these past few days, and today, my wonderful boyfriend asked me if I wanted him to make the chicken soup I had made for him just a few weeks ago. This speaks volumes to the level of easiness this chicken soup is to put together, because those of you who know him, know that the most he can usually manage in the kitchen is ramen or packaged curry ;)

This recipe came about on its own in the aftermath of the first Thanksgiving that I managed to roast my first turkey, which was about 3 years ago. With a giant bird and lots of leftovers to take care of, the most simple solution looked like a turkey stew. And boy was that soup a success! Since most of you won't have a roast turkey lying around, a nice rotisserie chicken is used in place to make this recipe everyday accessible :)

When choosing a rotisserie chicken, try to find one with lots of brown drippings sitting at the bottom of the bag/container, this makes the soup infinitely more flavorful and awesome.

This is a big recipe, to share in the comfort of good chicken soup or to last you through the most miserable of sick days, so you'll need a large pot that holds about 2 quarts!

1 whole rotisserie chicken, shredded
rotisserie chicken drippings, if any is available
4 sticks of celery, sliced into 1 in. pieces
4 sticks of carrots, sliced into 1 in. pieces
1 whole onion, quartered and separated
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
3 12 oz. cans of chicken broth
2 cups of water

salt and pepper to taste ( I like to add lots of pepper, I like my soup with a kick! Which is up to 1 tbsp)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp all seasoning
3 tbsp of dried parsley

Directions: Once you have everything prepared, throw everything into the pot except for the seasonings. Let come to a boil and then bring it down to a simmer for the next hour. Season with the specified seasonings and enjoy! You won't regret it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Post and Recipe!

So this blog has a been a long time coming ever since I found that I have a passion for cooking and baking for the people that I love. The feeling of sharing something with people that brings smiles to their faces or bringing just a brief moment of comfort and nourishment in someone's long day is so rewarding that it makes it more than half the reason why I enjoy cooking and baking so much. I've been so blessed growing up in a family that is more  than capable at putting a great tasting meal on the table. First was my grandfather, an accomplished Chinese chef who had the funny quirk to cook for only those he was fond of, not allowing those he disliked to eat his food. Then there is my father who took after his father, becoming a trained chef and opening his own successful restaurant, and my mother, who's homestyle cooking and emphasis on simple and quick meals which I have taken after. Growing up in a home where food has always been central to family gatherings and even unspoken apologies, I am really looking forward to sharing these recipes with you that either I have learned on my own, or from my family over the years. 

And without much further ado, I present to you my interpretation of Mongolian Beef, an easy but delicious stir fry that comes together in minutes once you've done your prep work :)

1 lb. beef (to be flexible, you can use just about any cut, as I've used from chuck to filet mignon, but pictured above is using chuck, which didn't require any slicing. If slicing is needed, cut the slices as thin as you can)
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp Chinese rice wine
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp oil (use olive, vegetable, whatever you like for sauteeing)
1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 stalks small leeks cut into 1 in sections (separate between green and white end of the leek)
1/2 small onion, julienned (example below)
sugar and salt to taste

For the sauce:
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sweet soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce

  • Make sure you have everything prepared before you turn on the stove, mise en place is important in stir frys like these, as things go quickly and you won't have time to be cutting and prepping in between, otherwise you'll risk overcooking your meat. 

1. Slice your beef into thin pieces, or into desired cuts
2. Place the beef with the white ground pepper, water, rice wine, and corn starch together. Give it a few grabs to mix it all together, making sure everything is incorporated evenly. Let sit for 10 min.
3. While waiting for the beef to marinate, mix the ingredients for the sauce.
4. Heat your wok with the oil, when the oil is hot, add ginger, garlic, and the white ends of the leek, and stir for the next two minutes until fragrant
5. Add in the beef, stirring frequently until it is cooked about half way through, at this point, add the onions, green ends of the leeks and the sauce, stirring and continuing to cook until the beef is cooked evenly and the onions soften. The sauce will thicken at this point, and you may take your wok off the heat and plate immediately.
6. Enjoy, and happy cooking!