Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Best wishes. Have a prosperous and good year). This post is different than the others since today is Chinese New Year, Year of the Ox. Here I will show you readers what most Chinese eat during new year. We do eat a lot. Today, I did not cook.

In the morning, we only eat vegetables that my mom made since 7 am. We tend to eat a great variety of food.

From top to bottom : Arrowroots (seegoo), green beans, Chinese melon, broccoli raab, rice noodle, black bean, nappa, seaweed, bok choy.

For supper, my friends and I went to Beijing Restaurant (92 de la Gauchetière O.) to eat their New Year's special. This dish is monstrous might be good for at least 10 people, but we were 7 to eat this dish. This dish must be ordered at least one day in advance.

When we preorder this dish, we have no idea what was inside, all we know that there is a variety of meats, vegetables, seafood, roots. We will know what we eat as we dig in. At least noone has a food allergy.

Here's what we think that is inside:
Meats: BBQ duck, Steamed Chicken, 2 kinds of chinese sausage (lap cheong), roasted pork. Probably no beef.
Seafood : Fish, Dry Scallops, Sweet and Sour shrimp, Shrimp Bread, Squid, Octopus, Seaweed
Roots : Lotus root, Taro (made two ways)
Lots of Vegetables: Broccoli, Nappa, Water Chestnut, Bok Choy, White Carrot
Misc. : Shiitake Mushroom, Bean Curd Skin

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cesar's Guacamole

This guacamole is one of the best one I ever tasted. This is made by a Mexican friend, Cesar. In this one, he puts a lot of onions in guacamole and add a fair amount of salt (way more than one tbsp). You won't even taste the strong flavour from onions. No spice added only salt. I hope this recipe is accurate.

Serves 6
Preparation Time : 10-15 mins


3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
3 medium onions
2 lemons, juiced
Salt (at least 5 tbsp)
4 large tomatoes


1. Finely chop onions. Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice and mix well.

2. Here's the part that it is all about taste and feeling. Add 1 tbsp of salt at a time and mix. Taste along the way. Add salt until you won't taste the strong flavour of onions. Let it rest for a few mins.

3. Smash avocados and fold in onions.

4. Fold in the tomatoes or top with the tomatoes.

5. Serve with nachos.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Alphabets

Here is a recipe that converts a basic chicken soup to a warm and hearty soup. This is the first time that I made this soup at my physics colleague place. I forgot to buy small shells pasta for the soup so I end up using alphabets which was the only small pasta available.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Printable Recipe


Olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into medium-size pieces
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
6 cups chicken broth, preferably powdered such as Knorr
1 1/4 cups alphabets
2 eggs
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper


1. Over medium-heat heat, heat oil. Cook chicken for 5 mins until all white. Season it with salt and pepper. Transfer it to a plate and set aside.

2. Add oil to soup pot. Add celery, carrot and onion, cook until tender, 5 mins.

3. Add 5 cups of broth to soup pot and bring it to a boil.

4. Turn heat to low. Add alphabets and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes. Keep it at low heat to keep soup hot.

5. Meanwhile, heat remaining broth in a saucepan until hot not boil.

6. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and gradually whisk in lemon juice. Add couple tbsp of warm broth at a time onto egg mixture, whisking constantly.

7. Add egg mix to soup pot, stir well until it looks creamy like the image below. Do not let soup boil.

8. Add cooked chicken to soup.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pasta Casserole

This dish supposed to be tuna and crab meat casserole because I thought I have some leftover tuna and crab. So, it ends up to be a simple pea and corn pasta casserole.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 30 mins
Printable Recipe


1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 cup green peas
1 cup corns
1 1/2 cup of grated mozzerela cheese
200 g of rigatoni pasta
Salt and Pepper


1. In a pasta pot, boil water and add salt and pasta. Cook 2 minutes less as package directed.

2. Preheat oven to 425F.

3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, add milk and cream until mixture is smooth over low heat, about 5 minutes.

4. Turn heat off, add peas, corn, 1/2 cup of mozzerela and seasonings.

5. In a casserole pan or 8 x 8 inch baking pan, mix in the pasta and the mixture. Cover it with the remaining of the cheese. Bake for 20-25mins or until golden brown.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quick and Easy Chili

Here is a basic, non fancy chili recipe. Some suggest that it is better to undrain kidney beans. I actually drained to lower the sodium content. Let me know if it is better to drain or not to drain.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 35 mins
Printable Recipe


1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrain
1 10 oz. can of condensed tomato soup
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 15 oz. can light red kidney beans


1. Brown ground beef and onion, drain fat.

2. Add tomatoes, tomato soup and seasonings .

3. Simmer, uncovered for 20 mins.

4. Add kidney beans and simmer for 10 mins.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tuna Medallion with Three-Colour Sweet Peppers

I came across a recipe from a nearby supermarket. This asian style tuna is straightforward to make.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Printable Recipe


600g Bluefin tuna steak
3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1/2 green pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
75 mL dry white wine
1 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)


1. Cut tuna steak in 4 medallions.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in skillet over medium-high heat and brown tuna, about 2 mins per side. Brush tuna with oyster sauce ans season with pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

3. Add 1 tbsp of oil and cook peppers for 3-4 mins. Add garlic, wine, soya sauce and hot sauce and simmer for 3 minutes and serve with tuna.


For a touch of Mediterranean flavour, add a few stalks of broccoli raab sauteed in oil and garlic. Also, you can add a few chopped bacon to skillet with peppers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chocolate Custard

Rich sauce, good with fresh fruits or coating cake and doughnuts. It can be served warm or cold.

Makes 1 1/2 cups
Preparation Time : 5 mins + cooling
Cooking Time : 10 mins
Printable Recipe


1 1/4 cups milk
3 large egg yolks
1/3 white sugar
120g Baker's bittersweet chocolate (purple box)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Finely chop chocolate with a serrated knife.

2. Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil.

3. Whisk yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale yellow and thick. Slowly whisk in warm milk.

4. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats the spoon (at 185F). Remove from heat. Add chocolate and vanilla. Let stand until chocolate softens, then melts.

5. Strain through a sieve into a bowl. Serve warm, or let cool, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour until chilled.

Sour Cream Doughnuts and "Doughbits"

Here is a recipe for those who are craving for doughnuts. At first glance, sour cream in doughnuts, that's weird. You will be surprised of the taste, probably even better than the doughnuts from restaurant. You will be the judge...

Makes 30 (depends on size)
Preparation Time : 40 mins
Cooking Time : 3 mins per doughnut


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 tbsp strained marmalade (optional)
2 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
vegetable or peanut oil for frying
icing sugar, shredded coconuts, jams and/or chocolate


1. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder.

2. Beat eggs in a large bowl, then beat in sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until pale, thick and creamy. Stir in sour cream, milk, butter, marmalade, zest. Blend well.

3. Carefully fold in spoonfuls of flour mixture until just combined. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into a ball and cover with a towel. Let it rest in a cool place for 20 minutes.

4. If the dough sticks, roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a 1 inch thickness. Using a cutter (or mug or glass), cut out large circles, then stamp out the center with a small cutter (or plastic bottle cap). The stamped out dough can be used for 'doughbits'. Gather up the scraps, knead together, roll out, and cut out more rings. Add more flour on surface if it is still sticky.

5. Heat oil for deep-frying to 350F. Gently add doughnuts to hot oil, two or three at a time. They must not touch each other. Fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 mins per side.

6. Lift out and drain on paper towels. Dust with icing sugar, spread with your favorite jam, coat with chocolate or shredded coconuts.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Curry Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples

I came across sauteed apples which complements well with pork chops. It is a good way to use near rotten apples.

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 25 mins
Printable Recipe


Vegetable oil
1 medium onion, preferably red, thinly sliced
4 pork chops, curry powdered and cornstarched
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup apple cider or juice
1 tsp cornstarch


1. Clean pork chops and pat it dry. Sprinkle curry powder on both sides and rub it with 1/2 tsp of cornstarch.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until tender. Transfer to small bowl.

3. In same skillet, cook chops 5 minutes over medium-high heat or until browned. Turn and cook 3-5 minutes longer, until pork just loses its pink color. (To check, simply cut through the thickest part of the meat or near the bone).

4. Transfer chops into plates. Add oil and apples. Sprinkle with sugar, cook until browned. Transfer to plates.

5. In a small bowl, mix apple juice with 1 tsp cornstarch. Stir juice mixture and onion into skillet over high heat, stirring. Boil 1 minute. Transfer and serve with pasta or mashed potatoes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Basic Quiche

Here is a simple quiche recipe with pâte brisée. I use ham leftover, but you can use anything else.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Baking Time : 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


Ham, enough to cover half of a 9-inch circular baking pan
Small onion
4 eggs
300 mL 15% cream or milk
Salt and pepper


1. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and stir until transparent.

2. Flatten the dough slightly on lightly floured surface and dust the dough lightly before rolling it out. Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards.

3. Working quickly, roll the dough into a circle ¼-inch thick or smaller. The size of the dough round should be about four inches wider in diameter than your pie pan.

4. Oil lightly baking pan and transfer dough onto it. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry firmly into the pan and trim any excess dough from the edge. With fork, prick dough all over and leave it in the fridge.

5. Meanwhile, beat eggs, milk and season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 375F.
6. Place ham and onion on top of the dough and pour egg mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

Pâte brisée

French version of pie crust. A smooth flaky dough used for sweets, quiche and even pies (if shortening is not available). This dough is done in the same fashion as the piecrust.

9-inch pastry
Preparation time : 15 mins + 1 hour chilling
Printable Recipe


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold water


1. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt. Add margarine.

2. Rub margarine into flour with fingers to obtain coarse crumbs.

3. Add cold water and incorporate with a fork. The pastry will amalgamate.

4. Finish by reassembling the pastry to a ball, do not overwork the pastry.

5. Place pastry ball into a plastic and let it in the fridge for at least an hour.


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