Monday, October 31, 2011

Ms. Lonely - Pan Seared Halibut in Beurre Noisette With Parmesan Peas And Cauliflower Gratin


Well this was for a meal a few days before, quiet night at home and the boyfriend is out of town so I just made a simple meal and I tried to make it a bit healthy. Key word is try.

Pan Seared Halibut in Beurre Noisette With Parmesan Peas And Cauliflower Gratin
Servings: 1

Pan Seared Halibut with Beurre Noisette

Halibut - one long fillet, cut in half (400g perhaps)
Cilantro - 2 tablespoons (or more! Cilantro = love), fine chop
Lime - 1/4
Butter - 2 1/2 tablespoons

I love cilantro.


1. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan at medium heat. Season fish with salt.
2. When oil is heated, add fish into the pan, when one side is golden brown, flip to other side and repeat. Put aside when done.
3. Pour out the oil, add the butter to the pan
4, When the butter turns brown, squeeze the lime and add the cilantro. Turn the heat off.
5. Pour on top of the fish.

Note: Y'all probably already know this but just in case (cause my boyfriend didn't and I have to yell at him and then there was this whole argument...) but don't pour oil down the drain, pour it in a cup or something and throw it in the garbage when it cools. Pouring it down the drain encourages clogging.

Cauliflower Gratin
Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower - 1/3 a big one, or 1/2 a really small one
Parmesan cheese - to taste
Panko bread crumbs - 1/4 cup (don't have to be panko...just won't be as good...)
Cream - 1 cup
Milke - 1 cup
Flour - 1 tablespoon
Butter - 3 tablespoons

1. Prehea oven to 325. Wash and slice cauliflowers like so
Sliced Cauliflower
2. Make a roux, melt one table spoon of butter at low heat and add the flour when the butter is all melted, stir for minute.
3. Add a little big of the cream, stir evenly, turn to medium heat until the cream starts to thicken, do the same with the rest of the liquids, little by little until it becomes a creamy sauce. Add some Parmesan cheese to the sauce.
Parmesan Reggiano
4. Add parmesan and season to your liking. Turn off the heat and add the cauliflowers and coat it with the sauce evenly.
5. Put the cauliflower in a small rectangular pan.
6. Melt the rest of the butter in another pan at low heat, add the bread crumbs and stir. Add the panko to the top of the cauliflowers.
7. Grate some Parmesan, add on top of the breadcrumbs.
8. Put pan in oven, until cauliflower is soft. Than turn the oven to broil and take it out when the panko is golden brown.

Parmesan Peas

Parmesan Peas
I have a caving for parmesan.

Frozen peas - 150g (bout 1 1/2 cups)
Parmesan - to taste, shaved
Shallots - 1
Butter - 1 tablespoon

1. Blanche the peas by boiling salted water. Add the frozen peas and take it out after ten seconds.
2. Melt the butter at low heat and sweat the shallots, with a small pinch of salt.
3. After the shallots give off some liquid add the peas and cook until the peas are warm.
4. Shave some parmesan and mix into the peas.

Well I guess not extremely healthy teehee but it was satisfying and that's all that matters!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Case You Can't Tell I'm Chinese: Spam Fried Rice

Spam Fried Rice

Also poor...

What do you do when you have nothing in the fridge except a bunch of random shit? Fry it with rice and call it lunch.

Spam Fried Rice
Servings: 2

Mise En Place

Spam - half a can, diced in 1 cm cubes
Red Onion - half a huge one, also diced
Ginger - table spoon, grated
Cilantro - two tablespoons (as much as you have? No such thing as too much cilantro!)
Egg - two large (I thought I only needed one hence the picture), mix
Rice - one and a half cups uncooked (you should cook the rice and leave in fridge overnight)

Note: Leftover rice is harder and have less water so it's easier to fry and won't stick to each other as much which is ideal for fried rice!

1. Using an non-stick pan (no need to show off but if you do use a regular pan you should use more oil), heat oil at medium high heat
2. When oil is heated (should be more liquidy, less viscous) add the onion and ginger. Add a little salt. Using a spatula, be sure to mix the vegetables quickly so they don't burn. Stir for ten seconds then add the spam. When the onions are cooked, and the spam have some colour to it, put aside.
3. Add a bit more oil and put the eggs in, scrambling them. When eggs are almost done put aside.
4. Add oil and fry the rice. A small pinch of salt.
5. When rice is throughly heated and is well lubricated (teehee, but anyways most of them shouldn't stick together), add the vegetables and eggs and mix until it looks evenly distributed.
6. Add soy sauce or other sauces (I added some vinegar as well) to your liking
7. Turn off the heat and add the cilantro.

Note: A small pinch = a pinch with your thumb and index finger. Regular pinch = thumb and index and middle finger.

Spam Fried Rice (Close Up)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Blogging Dead: Chewy Chocolate Burnt Almond Cookies

I won't say "I'm back!" cause everytime I say that I don't really. So I'll just say I'm like a zombie, I'm back but not quite the same.

Anyways, one of my close friends who went abroad (or a few cities away) for a Frech program recently came back for a visit so what better way to send her off than with a batch of warm homemade cookies?

She loves all things chocolate and she loves almonds which is great cause that was kinda all the ingredients I had. So I decided to put my own twist on the chocolate almond cookie...which isn't really a thing...but it's a common pairing.

Chewy Chocolate Burnt Almond Cookies
I also got a new camera that has like double the mega pixels!

Chewy Chocolate Burnt Almond Cookies
Servings: 20 cookies

I'm going to separate the dry ingredients and wet ingredients because in this recipe you prepare them separately and just mix it together in the end.

Dry Ingredients:
All-Purpose Flour - 225g (uh, just measure one cup and take two tablespoons out it'll be about that?)
Cocoa powder - 75g (quarter cup and one tablespoon)
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Almonds - 25 (I just guesstimated how much I needed though it's up to how much you like almonds)

1. First sift all the dry ingredients minus the almonds and put it aside
2. For the almonds, just cut it into small pieces (size is up to you, that's the good thing about cooking, it's really personal)
3. Turn on the stove with a pan on medium high heat, when the pan is hot, just add the almond pieces and stir it around a bit until the nuts get a more toasted taste, if some pieces get burnt it's okay.

Note: I used all purpose but if you want to up the chewiness more you can use bread flour because of the higher gluten content, not gluten is the substance that gives bread that chew.

Wet Ingredients
Brown Sugar (sugar always counts as wet ingredient in baking for some reason) - 150 grams (1/2 + 1/8 of a cup...THIS IS WHY I ALWAYS ADVOCATE SCALES!! It's only twenty dollars for mine and I bet there's cheaper ones cause mines digital.)
White Sugar - 50 grams (1/5 of a cup)
Eggs - 2 large
Butter - 100 grams (one stick), browned
Chocolate Chips - 65 grams (about one cup bit higher than level)
Instant coffee - 1 1/2 tablespoons (you can add more but I think this is a good amount that doesn't over power the chocolate but gives it something extra)
Cream - as much as you need (I'll explain later)

1. Brown the butter by melting it in a pan until the milk solids (the white foamy stuff) browns, watch very carefully because once it starts browning it gets black and then it's ruined.
Browned Butter
The colour should be like the amber at the middle, there were lighter layer of stuff on top but overall it was like the darker colour, the froth was just covering it.
2. When the butter is brown add the chocolate to the pan until thoroughly melted.

Note: Why so much brown sugar? Because brown sugar has molasses, which is sticky and liquid which makes the cookies more moist and chewy. I also used some melted chocolate so it'll give more moisture. And why browned butter? BECAUSE IT'S DELICIOUS! Brown butter just have a much better nutty aroma which matches well with the almond's nutty flavour.

1. Using a whisk attachment (or a regular whisk using the power of your hands!) mix the eggs and sugar until it looks a bit creamy and fluffy, add the melted chocolate and brown butter mixture.
2. Switch to a paddle attachmennt (disregard this if you don't have a stand mixer) and slowly add the flour and in small batches, scrape down the bowl when neccessary.
3. The batter should be firm but malleable but not too dry, it should be like mouldable chocolate, you should be able to shape balls with it. If it's too dry add a bit of cream until a nice consistency.
Cookie Dough
4. Chill the dough for 2 hours.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 375, put one rack on the bottom and one on the top.
6. Measure the dough in 42g or 1.5 ounce portions (like a bit smaller than a golf ball)
Dough Balls
7. Round them up into balls and put them on a piece buttered parchment paper or silpat. DON'T PRESS THEM!!! (You should put them in the oven when they look like in that above picture)
8. Put them in the oven at the bottom for 8 minutes, than turn them around and put them on the top rack for 7 minutes.
9. Cool down for five minutes before eating.

Note: Chilling the dough makes all the difference, especially since you melted the butter when you put it in the oven right away the fat will melt quicker causing the cookie dough to slide and spread more, making them more thin and crispy rather than thicker and chewy.

Chewy Chocolate Burnt Almond Cookies (Close-Up)

This is one of my favourite recipes, my boyfriend ate a few and he also loved this cookie, he declared it "The Best Cookie He Ever Ate!". I think taking time to do each step makes all the difference. Toasting the almonds so they are more fragrant, browning the butter accentuates the nuttiness, the coffee gives it more of a well rounded flavour and nice bitterness so the cookie isn't too cloying sweet. Also the chewiness of the cookie and the crunch of the nuts gives a nice balance of textures.

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