Thursday, February 25, 2010

BBQ Meatballs

Recently, I found a recipe website called BigOven. This website offers the possibility of posting your recipes, it is not as elaborate as I like it a lot as you can easily find dishes that are usually made at home and that are not complicated to make.

One of the featured appetizers was the BBQ Meatballs. Just by taking a peek at that picture, I was tempted to make this dish, because it was saucy and I never did homemade BBQ sauce in the past. When I looked at the ingredients, I never thought that there were ingredients such as tomato sauce, cider vinegar and mustard. I always thought that the sauce consists of some kind of meat-based sauce, as the sauce is usually applied on meat. I changed a few ingredients from the original recipe and I made the sauce slightly thick with cornstarch. This is my first succesful attempt for homemade BBQ sauce.

Serves 6
Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 40 mins
Printable Recipe


1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

BBQ Sauce

1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
4-6 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch


1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook the small onion until transparent.

2. In a large bowl, combine beef, egg, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Shape meatballs about 1'' in size.

3. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook meatball until all browned, about 20 mins. Drain oil.

4. Meanwhile, combine sugar, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, water, Dijon mustard, onion, salt and cayenne pepper.

5. Make a slurry by combining a few tbsp of the sauce with cornstarch. Simmer for 15 mins.

6. Add sauce to meatballs. Simmer until all hot. Serve.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Taiwanese Sesame Chicken Soup

I have quite a collection of Taiwanese recipes on this blog. Seasonings such as soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, chili peppers, cilantro and basil are very common. My Taiwanese friend made an interesting soup dish which requires a fair amount of sesame oil and rice wine. The quantities here are readjustable, especially the soup alcohol content.

Serves 2-4
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 40 mins
Printable Recipe


8 chicken tights
1/2 ginger, sliced
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup rice wine


1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat and stir fry ginger until edges curved.

2. Add chicken tights and drizzle a tsp of sesame oil. Cook until meat is white on all sides. Season with salt.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, combine rice wine and 1 1/2 cup of water. Heat over medium heat. Do not boil.

4. Add chicken, sesame oil and ginger into pot. If necessary, add more water or rice wine to cover chicken.

5. Simmer for 30 mins until tender. Serve.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year Cake - Nian Gao

It is finally Chinese New Year, the year of the Tiger. Strangely, Chinese New Year coincides with Valentine's Day. So what will you celebrate?

There are several desserts which one can find during Chinese New Year and usually my mother bake these goodies. A famous dessert is Nian Gao, which translates to "sticky cake". Depending on the Chinese character used, it can be read as "year high" to describe "prosperity every year". This recipe varies from one region of China to another, but glutinous rice flour is the common ingredient to obtain the sticky texture of the cake. The ingredients shown here are usually found in Asian supermarkets.

Makes 2 cakes
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Steaming Time : 40 mins
Printable Recipe


4-5 slabs brown candy sugar
2 cups water
1 lb glutinous rice flour
vegetable oil to brush
5 red dates, cut in half


1. Melt brown candy sugar in water over low heat. Cool the syrup for 15 mins.

2. Mix in gradually glutinous rice flour into syrup. This is a very thick batter.

3. Lightly oil an 8-inch shallow baking tin. Pour batter into tin and top with red dates.

4. Steam for 40 mins until the edges pull away from the tin. Remove cake and cool.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chunky Monkey

Sometimes when hosting appetizers night, you don't have to think outside the box. It can be as simple as picking up three ingredients available at home, combine it and serve it in small portions. A few days before the cooking session, my Taiwanese friend and I usually discuss the number of guests that are coming and dishes we will be making. So, for appetizer night, he told he wanted to make Chunky Monkey, which is, at first guest, an ice cream flavor available at Ben & Jerry. In fact, it is peanut butter and banana, rolled in a tortilla. This recipe is adapted from Chef at Home by Michael Smith.

Serves 2
Preparation Time : 2 minutes
Printable Recipe


1 large banana, peeled
creamy peanut butter
1 whole-wheat tortilla


1. Spread peanut butter uniformly over tortilla. Place one whole banana at the edge of the tortilla. Roll tightly and cut it crosswise into 1'' slices.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Have you ever organized a dessert night? This means no soup, no appetizers, no main dishes, only desserts... We were very surprised that we have lots of desserts left at the end of the night, and everyone of us didn't eat that much even though they were heavenly delicious. So, when organizing a dessert night, just make small portions, everyone will be high in sugar at the end.

Who can't resist the taste of chocolate eclair? Here I will share a great family recipe made by American friend. She also made in the past, candied yams.

Serves 12
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Printable Recipe


2 package instant french vanilla pudding mix
8 oz. Cool Whip
Graham crackers to cover

Chocolate Frosting

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. In a large bowl, make vanilla pudding according to package instructions. Fold in the Cool Whip.

2. Line bottom with graham crackers in a 9'' x 13'' baking pan. Spread with pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Repeat this process one more time and finish with a graham crackers layer. Refrigerate.

3. Prepare chocolate frosting. In a saucepan, mix cocoa powder with sugar. Add milk and butter, heat over medium-high heat. Stir until butter melted and let it boil for 1 minute.

4. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Stir constantly until it starts to thick, frosting consistency.

5. Spread chocolate frosting on top of the cake.

6. Refrigerate if necessary. Serve.


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