Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brussels Sprout at its Best

Although I love heavily spiced food, sometimes I crave for something simple. Something that won't overwork my taste-bud. While I prefer to cook meat and poultry in strong spices, I prefer not to tinker too much with vegetables. One of my favorite ways to serve vegetables is to cook them until they're tender, then just sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.

Plus, now I have another child, simple food that doesn't require long hours of cooking means I get to spend more time with the kids (although to be honest, I kind of miss spending long hours in my kitchen). 

I was lucky enough to find decent Brussels sprout over the weekend. Sometimes I think Brussels sprout is so unpopular, whenever I see them at the Asian grocery store I frequented, they're so old and sad looking. Their leaves always look wilted. They rarely stock it, hence my assuming it's unpopular. So you can imagine how excited I was when I found beautiful looking Brussels sprout!

And of course, that's what we had for lunch today, along with some chicken and dong gua (winter gourd) cooked in Chinese herbal soup for my cold-ridden son. Didn't get to take the picture of the soup though. I'm so thankful that he still has great appetite despite him being sick.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Not-brownies" Brownies, a.k.a Blondies

As most people know, my son is a huge fan of chocolate. But sometimes, we want something different, but still chocolate nonetheless. So we made blondies. But for the purpose of not confusing him, I told him it's "not-brownies" brownies. He seems to like the name.

I remember that I got the recipe for this blondies from Fearless Baking by Elinor Klivans long time ago. Love this one because it doesn't involve any corn syrup whatsoever (not that I don't like corn syrup, I just don't always have it). I checked out the book from the library. I've been wanting to buy it, simply because the recipes are great, easy to follow and the result never disappoints me. I've made her black-and-white cheesecake too and it's a hit with my family.

Back to blondies... this one is with chocolate chips folded into the batter. Or in our case, chopped dark chocolate. I like to think that blondies is brownies' cousin. Well, they're closely related right? It has the same texture and consistency as brownies. In this case, both blonds and browns have equal amount of fun.

Friday, December 17, 2010

End of Sausage Casings Quest and How Sausage Making is Better than Twilight

And finally the sausage casings quest has ended. One of the perks of my husband working in downtown is, he can walk to Pike Place Market and gets the sausage casings at Don and Joe's Meats.

So this is what we had for breakfast brunch today. And it's neat how my husband actually enjoys helping me make the sausages.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Udon with Miso Broth

I was on a quest to find sausage casings yesterday, and somehow read online that Uwajimaya sell it (they don't). So we went to Uwajimaya to look for it, but me, the compulsive shopper saw a box of miso and remembered how I've been wanting to try to use miso. The direction on the box suggests tofu and wakame (seaweed). Luckily I still have a box of tofu at home, it's one of my staple ingredients. From what I looked up online, lots of recipes suggest noodles to be served in miso broth too. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

4th birthday is coming up!

I feel like a bad mommy.. Next January, our son will be turning 4, and he has never had a decent birthday party. This time I want to give him a small party. The problem is, his birthday is on the 7th but my mom will be returning to Indonesia on the 3rd. I'm thinking about throwing him a party the weekend before 3rd, which coincidentally is January 1st. A lot of people say "you can't celebrate birthday before the actual birthday". Now I'm confused.. but my mom said it's perfectly normal to do so.

Can't believe that my little baby is now almost 4. My main kitchen helper. Yesterday we went to the outlet and his favorite store was the kitchen store. He was literally gleaming with joy when he saw set of gingerbread man cookie cutter. So we decided to get it for him.

 Licking the chocolate ganache leftover from making biscotti

 Trying to spread some on his biscotti

2.5 years old

And the cake, he's really into Kipper lately. My husband and I are planning to make it. And I was thinking about getting him something chocolate related for his gifts. Anyone knows where to get chocolate version of chemistry kit for a 4-year-old? Or something similar to that?

My almost 4-year-old, last August

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When Homemade Pizza > Store-bought Pizza

I once thought that pizza shouldn't be made at home and the only place that sells pizza is Pizza Hut. Well, my grandma used to make pizza for us at home, but it tasted like white sandwich bread with lots of toppings. Her pizza was good, if you can call it that, but lack the chewiness the usual pizza has. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Simplest Chocolate Brownies

They all say my son inherits my temper, but not only that. He also inherits my love of chocolate.

As a kid, I loved everything chocolate (still do), especially dark chocolate. And quite picky about it too... no flavors combination for me. I didn't even like chocolate covered strawberries! When my parents took us to the bakery, I'd pick chocolate filled bun. When my siblings opted for sundaes, I'd rather have a bowl of unadorned chocolate ice cream. Candy bar? I'll pass unless it's chocolate.

Monday, December 6, 2010

No More Turkey-less Thanksgiving!

After years not celebrating Thanksgiving the traditional way, we decided 2010 is the best year to start doing just so. Last year we did our own version of Thanksgiving by cooking roasted soy sauce chicken, fried rice and I think some sort of stir fried greens (I only remember the roasted soy sauce chicken and fried rice, but there was definitely a third dish). All were cooked in the dinky kitchen of our studio apartment, where all I had, was one counter space to work with. Glad to say that earlier this year, we moved to a bigger apartment with a decent sized kitchen.

This year, duck was considered but I was determined to have turkey. And to think that I'd never cooked a whole turkey before, it was quite a scary thought. It. is. huge. My conscience was telling me "what if the turkey isn't cooked through, you donkey!" (yep, somehow my conscience sounds like Gordon Ramsay) I planned the whole thing, even googled "Thanksgiving dinner menu". I can't quite pinpoint the reason why, but cranberry sauce sounds repulsive to me. And to be honest, I don't know what to expect (tastewise) from a pumpkin pie, so I didn't dare to make it without ever tasting one myself...

In the end, my husband and I agreed to roast turkey wit h stuffi ng, mashed potatoes, baked yam, green beans of some sort and chocolate tart for dessert. 2 nights before Thanksgiving, I made the chocolate tart and refrigerate it. Then the night before the T-day (my husband called it Turkeyday), the stuffing was prepped. We bought an eleven pounder turkey, and just in case the gravy didn't turn out right, I grabbed a pack of turkey gravy mix (which fortunately wasn't needed).

$3.99 Pineapple = A Jar of Cookies

I always find myself craving for this particular cookie nearing the Christmas time. One of the ingredients is pineapple. Bad news, pineapple isn't in season and the price goes up from $2.50 a head to approximately $3.99 a head. Normally I wouldn't even think twice and just not make it. But when I think about the crunchy, yet soft cookies with gooey pineapple filling against my teeth, $3.99 doesn't seem that expensive, right?

Look at those babies!