Monday, May 28, 2007

guest chef series #6: ginger-ade

We had a small gathering for burgers, beer, and playing in the pool. Unfortunately, the burgers were documented on a borrowed compact flash disk, so the photos have vanished. But we did get these great photos of L's home-made ginger ale. Spicy and refreshing, just the thing for to kick off summer.

ginger ale
These were made on the spot, with ginger syrup, soda water, and a squeeze of lime.
[ginger, simple syrup, soda water, lime]

Friday, May 25, 2007

guest chef series #5: niu rou mien

Every once in a while my mom will call and say, "Come pick up such-and-such food." This week it was beef noodle soup.

taiwanese beef noodle soup
This is so good. I added watercress, and used these thin noodles called "yu mee" in Taiwanese.
[I wish I knew the recipe - I'm working on getting it from my mom.]

Monday, May 21, 2007

makeshift fondue

We wanted dessert, but didn't want to work too hard. Plus, we had these gorgeous strawberries from the farmer's market.

chocolate fondue
Fondue is basically a ganache. We kept ours warm over a pot of hot water, since we don't have a fancy fondue set.
[chocolate, half & half; strawberries]

Monday, May 14, 2007

mother's day

We had D's family over for a mother's day/dad's birthday celebration. Apparently these were amazingly "nam" - Toisanese for tender. I just heard the word a lot from across the room.

soy-braised short ribs
D's parents won't really eat anything that isn't Chinese (or even Chinese-ish, which is how I'd characterize this dish), and I wasn't exactly up for making a 10-course Chinese banquet, so a big pan of short ribs would have to do. I think it went over well.
[short ribs, soy sauce, xiao hsing rice wine, sherry, rice wine vinegar,brown sugar, star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper]

roasted asparagus & cherry tomatoes
The asparagus looked so chirpy at the market, so I grabbed two bunches. Tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, with the halved cherry tomatoes, it was a bright counterpoint to the very heavy ribs.
[asparagus, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper]

roasted baby potatoes
D was extremely skeptical about these - but I'm pretty much a sucker for anything cute and round. They were quite tasty - sweet and tender on the inside, with a slight chew from the skin.
[baby potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper]

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

hainan cheatin'

So, Hainan chicken isn't all that hard to make, but it does take some time and a whole chicken. I think for me, what really defines Hainan chicken is the dipping sauces that go along with it - hence this incredibly inauthentic version.

hainan chicken (sort of)
All we had were boneless chicken breasts, so I just poached them lightly in water. I made the dipping sauce out of garlic, ginger, and green onions, slightly cooked in oil and salt. The chili ginger sauce is Yeo's brand, out of a bottle. I didn't even use the broth to make the rice, which I think really is what makes this an inferior version. But it did well enough for an unstressful weeknight dinner.
[rice, boneless chicken breasts, some sort of choy, garlic, ginger, green onions, oil, salt, pepper]

bridal shower bounty

My friend J is getting married, and we just threw her a bridal shower. I bought way too much cheese (there was an enormous spread of tasty Filipino food), so we've been existing on the leftovers.

cheese plate
This has to be one of the best lunches one can have. A nice assortment of cheeses and some paté. So tasty. I think we had this same meal three days in a row.
[assorted cheese, crackers, mangoes, paté]

Monday, May 07, 2007

in season

Fresh strawberries are the best.

blue strawberry salad
This was a very nice, light dinner. Sliced strawberries macerated in vanilla sugar and balsamic vinegar and a mild blue cheese on greens.
[mixed greens and herbs, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, blue cheese (i forget the exact variety), vanilla sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper]

Friday, May 04, 2007

avocados

I had a just-ripe avocado sitting around, and it went to perfect use in this wrap.

chicken wrap
This makes a frequent appearance in our household, but usually without the luxury of an avocado.
[tortilla, chicken, avocado, onions, tomatoes, chile spice rub]

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

light supper

Sometimes you just want something really basic for dinner.

herb and cheese omelette
I tend to like my omelettes really flat, with no air whipped into the eggs. This might have been a tiny bit on the greasy side - I was a little heavy-handed with the butter because I was afraid it'd stick. The cheese inside is a carambozola. Served with a basic green salad it totally hit the spot.
[greens, tomatoes, eggs, carambozola cheese, thyme, sage, salt, pepper]

desperate times

We've barely been able to keep it together to eat, let alone cook, but I managed to make this salad for a sanity break/lunch.

chipotle chicken salad with mango
The mangoes really added a nice touch to the salad. Made it rich and sweet. I pan-fried the chicken, and then tossed the onions into the chickeny pan to carmelize up. I don't know why I've never done it in that order before, but it makes so much more sense.
[greens, chicken breast, mangoes, onions, spice rub, lemon juice, olive oil]