Friday, February 29, 2008

Let's Salsa (2)!

I've wanted to try Mexican food or Tex Mex for some time. After making my own pastas, i cringe everytime we fork out RM20-30 for a simple pasta at some fancy italian outlet. I'm gonna start cringing when i next step into TGIF. But then again, cheeses are not cheap, neither are sour cream or avocadoes to make guacamole.

When we were at Dallas last year, Hub's colleague invited us over for a home cooked Mexican dinner. Wow. It was excellent. His wife went 'feh!' over 'yellow cheese'. that's how they describe American cheese haha. I guess that means cheddar. Apprarently the real authentic Mexican food uses white cheese, not yellow. Hmmm I'll have to read up on that.

So since I am using 'feh!' yellow cheddar, I guess i'm making a Tex Mex dish then. :)

Don't the bright, cheer-y-ful colours look absolutely gorgeous? Fun, delicious and MESSY! Quesadillas with my salsa. Its so simple, you can't get it wrong! Kinda like a mexican version of our Chinese popiah.

Cheddar cheese (grated)
Mushrooms (sliced)
Onions (thinly sliced)
Red and yellow capsicums (sliced)
Ground beef

Ok first, heat up some olive oil, and start sauteeing the mushrooms. Season with salt n pepper. Set aside.
Do likewise for the capsicums and onions and ground beef. I marinated the beef with salt, pepper and mixed herbs first. Delicious. Don't overcook or they'll be rubbery and tough. You want to keep the juices.

Soon you'll have something like this!

Lookit my tortillas, arent they so fun looking too? Anyhoo, i think i bought the wrong size.. these were too large for quesadillas... but I couldnt resist the fun packing! Oh well..

Now, spread butter onto your tortillas then pan fry them. Flip it off and on. Once you see air bubbles forming within the tortilla, it should be almost done.

Sprinkle a generous amount of cheddar cheese. I used some Seriously Farmy cheddar here. Seriously.

Then customise your quesadilla - mushrooms n beef? Just capsicums and onions? or EVERYTHING? Of course we went for everything. I mean, we need to finish the food right? haha

Leave it for a bit until the cheese has melted, fold it like an omelette and flip to the other side.

Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole. (havent got around making guacamole.. avocadoes are mighty expensive here..)

I get my inspirations from: Elise and Pioneer Woman.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Let's Salsa!

I have been watching American Idol and I'm starting to realise, there are plenty of disillusioned people out there. And the alarming thing is, fren's and family that are (too?) supportive, blindly encouraging and making them believe they have true talent and to pursue their dream. seriously, if everyone were to tell me I could sing, could you blame me for thinking so? dear me..

I like to cook. Sometimes, I wonder if I should have pursued a degree in the culinary arts. Wouldnt it be great to cook for people for a living? Everyone loves to eat and everyone is happy when they eat.

Where is the point where we can go, hey - i have a passion, I think i'm good at it so I should pursue this dream. Or rather,

Where is the line we draw and say ok, let's be realistic. i love doing this and i'll enjoy doing it everyday in my own time, as a - hobby. But that's what it all is. No blind chasing of dreams.

If we all knew whether our passions would lead us to become great, wouldnt that be great?

Anyhoo, that aside, let's get on with my passion. Yes, learning to cook new stuff (or is it actually taking photos)? Hmm... dilemma, dilemma.

Salsa! (the sauce, not the dance) Such an easy dish that's so colourful and zingy and tangy and hot! what a mouthful. I like how the flavours and colours combine. Tomatoes and coriander leaves who would have thought of such a simple yet wonderful combination? Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce, and is always used to accompany Mexican dishes. Read more about it here. Here's how to make fresh salsa or Salsa fresca.


Tomatoes (seeds and pulp removed, diced)

Onions (chopped)

Lime juice

Cilantro / chinese celery (chopped)

Jalapeno pepper

Salt & pepper

I wouldn't know where to get jalapeno peppers in Malaysia so I substituted with our very own hot cili padi! Combine ingredient together and taste. Adjust to the hotness you prefer.

Set aside to chill for about an hour.

Next up, quesadillas to go with this salsa (should be the other way around)...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nyonya Fried Rice

Another item to strike of my list from Wat's in store for 2008. I got around frying this up on a Sunday. Before this, I read Delia Smith's book on techniques on how to cook eggs. She had a pretty good technique on omelettes. Wow I wish I could have bought that book but just one volume cost close to a hundred ringgit. Anyway, I managed to memorise important bits.

To get a nice fluffy omelette, first whisk eggs well. Add in a pinch of salt & pepper. Heat oil and coat the pan well. Pour in the eggs and let it cook for a bit. Once the edges are slightly cooked, lift the pan to a 45 degree angle and push the edges of the omelette to the middle. This lets the runny eggs inside flow to the outside. Repeat the other way until there's only a bit of runny eggs on top. Flip over to the other side and you're done! Yummm don't finish the eggs first!
For this recipe, set aside the eggs and cut them into smaller slices.
Overnight rice
Heh bi (dried prawns - soaked)
Shitake mushrooms (soaked & sliced)
Garlic (chopped)
Shallots (chopped)
Chilli boh
Prawns - deveined and shelled
Oyster sauce
Light soy sauce
Salt & pepper
I marinated the prawns first with some salt, pepper and sugar. Now, start by frying the garlic and onions till fragrant. Add the dried prawns and fry again till u can smell its fragrant aroma! Next, mix in the chilli boh and fry some more! (This really gives your arms a workout, what more with my heavy utensil). Then the prawns and mushrooms. Add the rice and break up the chunks well. Pour in the seasoning mixture and fry till well combined. Add the eggs, dish up and serve!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Claypot Rice at Huen Kee, Jln Pudu

Nothing satisfies better than a hearty meal on a cool night right after a refreshing hike. That's what we did last Sunday. Hubs went for his usual futsal and i didnt want to stay home gorging on cookies so a bunch of us decided to burn some calories. woo hoo! It rained almost the whole day so the weather was really cool - perfect!

Dinner plans were made and off we went to Jalan Pudu for Claypot Chicken Rice. I have never ventured to this area before though I do know there's lots of good food here.

We ordered a large waxed duck claypot rice. Priced at RM40, it was pretty expensive. We all thought it was just okay, overall too salty and there werent many pieces of the wax duck to enjoy too. The small pot costs RM15 and the medium RM30.

Next, the claypot chicken rice which was better. Many large, succulent pieces of chicken. As E kept saying, this is not "fake chicken claypot rice" where the chicken is precooked and added in later. This is the real thing where the chicken pieces are cooked together with the rice over charcoal flames. Imagine all the juices flowing into the rice..yum. The rice was well coated with the dark sauce but hubs would have preferred more burnt rice - he likes eating carcinogenic stuff. Priced at RM6.50[S],RM13[M], RM18[L]. Add extra RM4-RM6 for extra chicken.

Another highlight of the meal was the chicken with chinese wine. (RM21 [S],RM33 [M], RM38 [L]) mmmm wonderful! You can feel the hot soup warming up your whole body. The wine used was sweet, slightly bitter and very heong. MY was commenting that there is a particular sweetness to the soup just like when you boil crabmeat with ginger. wow, my frens sure have specialised taste buds.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tipsy over Tiramisu

I don't know if this picture actually looks remotely appealing. To me, it looks like bits of yau char quai floating in some weird gooey stuff. S_I_G_H.

This is my tiramisu. And since this attempt took up an hour and a half of my weekend, lots of sweat, mutterings and almost splutters of expletive words, I shall post it!

Before you go ewww and yucks, I have to say, it actually tasted pretty good - probly due to the lashings of Tia Maria.

I suppose there's no point in mentioning the recipe here coz i think my proportions were slightly off :(

There goes all the good stuff down the drain.. Tia Maria liquor, mascarpone cream cheese (this costs RM20 for a small 250g tub), Lindt dark chocolate (RM10 per bar). Savoiardi (lady fingers) Other items included eggs, coffee and sugar.

First i was suppose to whisk the egg yolks and sugar together till pale and creamy. I was pretty tired so I didnt really do a good job here. Then, stir in the mascarpone. Here, i forgot to take it out of the fridge to warm to room temperature so it was hard and difficult to stir well into the mixture. Next, to whisk the egg whites till stiff and fold it into the above mixture. The whole thing was weird and lumpy and i had to squish every single lump to make it combine well into the mixture. HARD WORK.

Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong. The next step, to soak the Savoiardi in the coffee + liquor mixture. How was I to know the darn thing soaked up the liquor in the blink of an eye? I read a recipe which said to leave it for about 30 secs to ensure its soaked well! arrgghhh i had to quickly scoop them up but the damage was done.

I still had to go on.

So i started the layering process. savoiardi, cheese mixture, shavings of Lindt choc, savoiardi, cheese mixture, Lindt... You don't know how it feels like to go on when you already know its gonna turn out bad... its all like a bad dream and you hope to wake up and find out it was all just that - a bad dream.

Anyway, all said and done, in it went into the fridge overnight.

I scooped a mouthful, tasted it and hey! it was OK! not delicious or as rich as I would have preferred but it was EDIBLE. hhaahaa. The oversoaked saviordari was a bit gross, and it didnt have much texture left but! the liquor saved the day.

I shall attempt this again!

This recipe from allrecipes looks worth trying. Either that or i shall attempt this from Tartelette.