Thursday, July 30, 2009

Honey-Gingered Pork Tenderloin with caramelized mushrooms and mashed potatoes

Here is a quick dinner idea...I like pork tenderloin because it is tender & lean and there are a lot of different ways I can prepare it. Today I grilled it and served it with caramelized mushrooms and mashed potatoes. This recipe comes from Gourmet magazine, August 1998 issue.

* two 3/4-pound pork tenderloins
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup oyster sauce
* 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 tablespoon ketchup
* 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pat pork dry and arrange in a shallow dish. In a bowl whisk together all remaining ingredients and pour marinade over pork. Turn pork to coat well. Chill pork, covered, turning it once or twice, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade, and arrange on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals. Grill pork, basting with reserved marinade and turning it every 3 minutes, 10 minutes total. Discard marinade. Continue to cook pork, turning it every 3 minutes, until a thermometer diagonally inserted 2 inches into center of tenderloin registers 155°F., about 10 minutes more. Let pork stand 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge # 1

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Milan Cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes

My daughter Olivia who is almost 4 have been asking for cupcakes. She is a big fan of pink so naturally the cupcakes had to be pink as well. I've used vanilla cupcake recipe from Amy Sedaris's book " I like you: The hospitality under the influence" The book is hilarious and has great recipes. I'm quoting the recipe exactly because I think you will appreciate Amy's sense of humor.

Judging by the picture, cupcakes and PINK frosting were a huge hit!

# 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
# 1 1/2 cups sugar
# 2 eggs
# 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
# 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
# 1/4 teaspoon salt
# 2 1/2 cups flour
# 1 1/4 cups milk

Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.

Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. I like to crack the eggs on the side of the bowl while it is moving, which can be really stupid. I like to take chances. Yes, I have had to throw away my batter because I lost eggshells in the mix. Yes, it was a waste of food and yes, I know how expensive butter is, but what can I say? I'm a daredevil. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Should produce 24 cupcakes; I get 18 because I'm doing something wrong, although my cupcakes were voted second best in the city by New York Magazine.

I've used the cream cheese frosting with some red food coloring as Olivia requested that frosting be pink.

Cream Cheese Frosting

* 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 4 cups powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until just firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Indian Chicken Tikka Masala

Those of you who know me, realize that I am a huge fan of international flavors... I love the variety and abundance of tastes that different cuisines have to offer and love to sample things I've never tried before. When I moved to the states, I had no idea the culinary adventure that I was embarking on. The access to the variety of different ingredients and recipes gives me the ability to make any dish I like with mixed results :)

Indian dishes are among my favorites and I try to make them as often as I can. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the yummiest (is this a real word?) dishes I had...Broiled chicken breast with incredibly flavorful tomato-cream sauce-Uhmmm, heaven on the plate!!! You can serve it with white or brown rice. This recipe have been adapted from Cook's Illustrated magazine.I did not have yogurt on hand and used coconut milk instead. It worked very well in this dish. You can buy Garam Masala spice in a jar but if you do not have it on hand you can substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Here is the recipe:

Chicken Tikka

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

Masala Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mommy night in...Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze

When we moved to Nevada nearly 4 years ago, it was a difficult transition for us. We have lived in California for close to 9 years and had a close group of friends that we hung out with on regular basis...When my husband was offered a job in Nevada, we had to make a quick decision to make a transition...I've never dreamed that we will end up in Sin City especially after we had a child. Olivia was 3 months old when we moved and as a new mommy I was preoccupied with taking care of an infant, working full time and making new friends...All aspects of this move was proven difficult to say the least, but by far the most challenging part for me was finding new friends. I have been lucky enough to have a handful of close friends now whom I love and have a great time with! Couple of months ago my friend Grace had a fabulous idea to have Mommy night a month where we all get together and have a potluck dinner or go out on a town. Last month we hung out at Grace's (who is also my next door neighbor-I loved not having to drive :))and had a great time just chatting and watching a movie. This month was my turn... we had a great turn out and fabulous time with all the girls. Great company, yummy food, plenty of wine and box of dominos...what else can a girl want? As you can see we don't require much ;) I had a GREAT time, I don't remember when I last laughed so much. THANKS GIRLS!!! I can't wait to do it again!!

As you probably have guessed I made a dessert: Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Port Glaze This recipe was adapted from Gourmet magazine, April 2009 issue.

For tart shell:

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
* Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 3 tablespoons cold water

For filling:

* 1 1/2 pounds strawberries (about 1 1/2 quarts), trimmed and halved lengthwise
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup ruby Port
* 1 pound mascarpone (about 2 cups)
* 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make tart shell:

Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Beat together yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork, then drizzle over flour mixture and stir with fork (or pulse) until mixture comes together.

Gently knead with floured hands on a lightly floured surface until a dough forms, then gently knead 4 or 5 times. Press into a 5-inch disk. Place in center of tart pan and cover with plastic wrap. Using your fingers and bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup, spread and push dough to evenly cover bottom and side of pan. Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is pale golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and continue to bake until shell is deep golden all over, about 20 minutes more. Cool in pan, about 45 minutes.

Make filling while tart shell cools:

Stir together strawberries and granulated sugar in a bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Strain in a sieve set over a small saucepan, reserving berries. Add Port to liquid in saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until stiff.

Assemble tart:
Spread the mascarpone mixture evenly in cooled tart shell, then top with strawberries. Drizzle Port glaze all over tart.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The tale of a cupcake...

My husband is obsessed with Hostess Cupcakes... He is not into sweets at all but has few choice desserts he enjoys, supermarket cupcakes being one of them. As any self respected baker and a little bit of a cupcake snob I absolutely hate that he buys those every time he grocery shops. This was an experiment to see if any chocolate cupcake will do, or is his obsession Hostess Cupcake specific? I've decided to try Ina Garten's chocolate cupcake recipe, they are moist and delicious and most importantly covered in chocolate ganache that I spiked with Grand Marnier (orange) liquor. George LOVED IT!!!

Here is the recipe:

* 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup (recommended: Hershey's)
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:

* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
* 1 Tabelspoon of Grand Marnier

Line muffin pans with 12 paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Don't overbeat, or the cupcakes will be tough.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Don't overbake! Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly in the pan.

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache.

Grilled Shrimp with Fiery Lemongrass-Chile Sambal

I have a stack mile high of cooking magazines and cookbooks, so I've decided that at least twice a week I'll try something new. Today's inspiration was Gourmet magazine, July 2009 issue. George & I love shrimp, so it was an easy decision to try this recipe. It was pretty easy to put together and the end result was very yummy!!! Word of caution to those of you who do not care for spicy food. This truly is fiery! I've served it with sauteed spinach with some garlic and fried shallots.


* 2 (or more) serrano chiles (preferably red), seeded, coarsely chopped
* 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped shallots (about 8 ounces)
* 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
* 3 tablespoons chopped lemongrass (from bottom 4 inches of 2 large stalks)
* 6 macadamia nuts
* 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
* 2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons turmeric
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 bay leaf, crumbled
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
* 1 cup water

Marinade and shrimp:

For sambal :
Combine 6 Thai bird chiles (or 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles) and next 12 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until finely chopped and paste forms. If spicier sambal is desired, add more chopped chiles to taste and blend again until paste forms. Transfer sambal to small bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sambal and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, stirring constantly and adding more oil by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 7 minutes. Add 1 cup water; reduce heat to medium and simmer until most of water is absorbed but mixture is still creamy, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover sambal and chill.

For marinade and shrimp:
Whisk lime juice, 3 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons sambal in small bowl.

If using unpeeled shrimp, use kitchen scissors to cut shrimp shell along rounded back of tail; scrape out vein with tip of bamboo skewer or tip of small knife. Place peeled or unpeeled shrimp in large glass baking dish. Brush shrimp all over with marinade. Allow shrimp to marinate at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush grill rack with oil. Grill shrimp until just opaque in center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer shrimp to platter. Rewarm remaining sambal and serve alongside for dipping or for spooning atop shrimp.

* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
* 3 pounds uncooked unpeeled large shrimp, or 2 1/2 pounds uncooked peeled large shrimp, deveined, tails left intact

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beef stir-fry

I've been on an asian kick lately trying variety of different recipes. My hubby love stir fries and beef so that is what brings us to this one. This recipe was adapted from Gourmet magazine, October 1990 issue. The only changes I've made were to substitute the flank steak (one of my favorite cuts of beef) for siriloin and I've added variety of different veggies to it. Here is the recipe:

For the beef

* 2 teaspoons soy sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 pound of flank steak cut across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices

For the sauce

* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry or Scotch
* 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth or water
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 2 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil

* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* a 4-inch fresh red chili, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves) or 1/2 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
* 1 pound broccoli, cut into flowerets and the stems peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick
* 2 bell peppers different colors

Prepare the beef:

In a small bowl stir together the soy sauce, the sugar, and the salt, add the beef, and let it marinate for 20 minutes.

Make the sauce while the beef is marinating:

In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the soy sauce and stir in the Sherry, the broth, the sugar, and the sesame oil.

Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until it is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, and heat it until it just begins to smoke. Stir-fry the beef in the oil in batches for 1 minute, or until it is no longer pink, and transfer it as it is cooked with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the wok, heat it until it is hot but not smoking, and in the oil stir-fry the gingerroot, the garlic, and the chili for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is fragrant. Add the broccoli and stir-fry the mixture for 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup water and steam the broccoli, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until it is crisp-tender. Add bell peppers and stir fry couple of minutes. Stir the sauce, add it to the wok with the beef and any juices that have accumulated on the plate, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the beef is heated through. Transfer the mixture to a heated platter and serve it with the rice.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cranberry, macadamia nuts and white chocolate chip cookies

I'm not sure where I've gotten this recipe from but whom ever came up with it is a genius...I've been making these cookies for a few years now and every time try to make a different variation utilizing variety of liquors, chips and nuts. Today I'm using whiskey, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and macadamia nuts. It might be an overkill but I like my cookies loaded..LOL I've tried brandy, grand marnier & Baileys Irish cream and all of them worked well.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg
2 tablespoon whiskey or other liquor of your choice.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup of macadamia nuts.

Preheat oven to 375'F. Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and whiskey. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips, cranberries & macadamia nuts . Using ice cream scoop drop the dough onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Slightly under bake. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely.