Camembert with grapes and saltine crackers

I used to have a strong distaste to the thought of pairing cheeses or dry-cured ham with fruits such as Camembert and grapes, Parma ham and cantaloupe. I thought there is no way that could taste good until I had my first taste of Camembert paired with grapes and saltine crackers. I was blown away at how amazing it tasted. There could not be a more perfect matrimony of flavors! The contrast of the sweetness of the grapes along with the saltiness buttery flavor of the saltines and the slight milky creamy flavor of the cheese makes this pairing memorable.

Camembert is a soft, earthy, creamy cow’s milk cheese, with a hint of sweetness originating from France, more specifically Camembert in northern France. I personally like to have Camembert with crunchy red grapes such as the red globe or seedless flame because of it’s high level of sweetness and saltine crackers. Water crackers are also good.

Camembert with grapes and saltine crackers can be served as part of breakfast or as a snack.

These are my favorite saltine crackers

Summer red cabbage salad with Balsamic dressing

I enjoy experimenting and getting creative with salads. Today for lunch, I made a spontaneous red cabbage salad with a balsamic dressing. I looked in the fridge and picked out ingredients that would be suitable for a salad. Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite vinegar to use for salad dressings because it has a good balance of sweet and sour.

This salad is bursting with natural sweetness and fresh flavor.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

This recipe serves 2

Ingredients:

1/4 of a red cabbage, shredded

3 iceberg lettuce leaves, shredded

1 avocado, cut into pieces

a hand full of salted almonds, lightly toasted

2 medium sized fresh button mushroom, thinly sliced

4 sprigs of curly parsley, chopped

6 red globe grapes from Chile, cut into 4 wedges

Balsamic vinaigrette: 

1/2 cup of Balsamic  vinegar (I use Balsamic Vinegar of Modena)

1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp of olive oil

2 tsp of sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, put aside.
  2. Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the Balsamic vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

This is a versatile salad recipe. You can play around with the ingredients, add what you like.

Roasted Lemon Chicken Thighs with Potatoes

I found this roasted lemon chicken thigh with potatoes recipe on http://thewoksoflife.com via Pinterest. I love cooking with chicken thighs because they are more tender and versatile, it does not toughen over long cooking periods. This recipe was really easy to make, requiring just a few simple ingredients.

The original recipe serves 6. As I was only cooking for two, I prepared half of each ingredient in the recipe. What I love about this dish was that the chicken and potatoes retained its natural sweetness and flavor. The parsley gave the dish a nice aromatic flavor. As Elise Bauer from simplyrecipes.com describes “It brightens flavors”.

Ingredients:

  • 6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ pounds Eastern or Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley leaves

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a roasting pan set over two burners at medium-high heat.
  2. Sear the chicken skin-side down in the roasting pan. After the chicken thighs have been searing for about 5-7 minutes, flip them over. Add the potatoes and stir them in the oil. Add the lemon slices and garlic cloves, tossing everything together so the potatoes and garlic are well-coated in olive oil.
  3. Transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and stir in the herbs. Serve.

Chinese glutinous rice dumplings (Tang yuan)

tang-yuanThe glutinous rice dumplings, also known as Tang Yuan, can be eaten at any time of the year. It is, however, more prominent during the Lantern Festival, which falls on the last day of Chinese New Year. It is basically glutinous rice balls (either with or without filling) served in sweet syrup. I like the ones without fillings. There are many variations to the syrup. In Malaysia, the syrup generally consists of water, palm sugar, and pandan leaf (screwpine leaves).

tang-yuan-cookedI have not made these dumplings before, so this was my first try. I found the recipe on rasamalaysia.

I currently work in China, therefore, pandan leaves and palm sugar are not available here. So I made my syrup with ginger, brown sugar, and water.

 

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Ginger Syrup

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2-3 pandan leaves or screwpine leaves, tie into a knot
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and slightly pounded with a cleaver

Glutinous Rice Dumplings

2 cups glutinous rice (sticky rice) flour
7 oz water
Red and Yellow food coloring

Method:

To prepare syrup, boil the water in a pot. Add the screwpine leaves and ginger and bring it to boil on medium heat until you smell and ginger and pandan leaves aroma. Add sugar and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Add more or reduce the sugar, to taste. Set aside.

In a big bowl, mix glutinous flour with water and knead with hands to form a dough. The dough is done when it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore.

Divide the dough into 3 portions, with the plain dough the biggest portion. Add 2-3 drops of each food coloring to make the pink and yellow dough.

Pinch the dough into small balls and roll them in between your palms into round balls. Set aside on a flat surface lined with paper or a slightly damp cloth.

Boil another pot of water, drop the dumplings into the boiling water. As soon as they float, transfer them into the syrup water. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note:

Adjust the water level to the flour. Add more water if the dough is too dry. Add more flour if it’s too wet.

 

Original site: http://rasamalaysia.com/dongzhi-tang-yuan/2/

Breadcrumb chicken cutlets

 

PictureThere is nothing like breadcrumb chicken cutlets – delicious and simple to make.

I found this recipe on food network and it is so good! The recipe asks to bake the chicken cutlets in the oven; I just kept mine on the skillet till it’s cooked – still amazing!
I also added an extra ingredient to the bread crumbs – grated Parmigiano, gives it a slightly cheesy flavor.

 

Ingredients

10 slices white bread or 1 1/4 cups bread crumbs*
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
About 1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 large eggs, beaten
4 boneless skinless chicken breast, each about 6 ounces
1/3 to 1/2 cup oil, for shallow frying
Serving suggestion: Lemon wedges, thyme sprigs for garnish
*(Use a bread with low or no sugar content-otherwise, like sourdough or the coating will brown too quickly)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make breadcrumbs: Trim the crust off the bread and discard, tear bread into pieces. Spread bread out on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute to dry out the bread. (Alternately, spread the bread out on a baking sheet and dry in a preheated 300 degree F oven for 22 to 25 minutes.) Pulse the dried bread or crumbs in a food processor with the thyme, lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

With the flat side of a cook’s knife or the smooth side of a meat pounder, pound each breast to equal thickness. Put the flour, eggs, and the bread crumbs each separately in 3 shallow dishes. Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dip each breast into the flour, then shake off the excess. Next, run the breast through the egg to coat it lightly and hold the chicken over the liquid to let any excess fall back into the bowl. Finally, lay the chicken in the breadcrumbs, turn it over and press it into the breading to coat. Lay on a piece of waxed paper.

Heat a large skillet (12 inches in diameter) over medium heat. Add the oil. Lay 2 chicken breasts smooth side down in the pan. Cook the chicken without turning until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until equally brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining 2 breasts. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Place all 4 breasts on a rack over a baking pan and bake until firm to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Link:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/breaded-chicken-cutlets-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Spaghetti with Tuna and Capers

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was browsing through the Yahoo food site. I’m always on the lookout for quick, simple, and yet taste great recipes, for when I get back from work. This recipe is one of those.

I didn’t have capers when I made this dish, and I used dried parsley leaves instead of fresh. It still turned out good.

 3426413_orig

The original recipe is for 4 servings.

12 ounces spaghetti
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
10 ounces tuna packed in olive oil (from 1 to 2 tins)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers, preferably salt-packed, rinsed and drained
Pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta water; drain.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add tuna with its oil and garlic and cook, stirring a few times, until garlic is golden in spots, about 5 minutes. Stir in capers and pepper flakes and cook, 30 seconds. Add 1 cup reserved pasta water; bring to a simmer. Add cooked pasta and simmer, tossing a few times, until liquid is reduced to a sauce that coats pasta.

3. Remove from heat and toss in lemon zest and juice, oil, and parsley; season with pepper. Add more pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time, until pasta is evenly coated. Serve, sprinkled with more pepper flakes.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

I love chiffon cake! It is one of the very popular cakes in Malaysia. I decided to make lemon chiffon cake. I got this recipe from rasamalaysia.com. There are some great Southeast Asian recipes on that site, so check it out!

This is my second time making this cake. It turned out okay. It was a little too compact, not as light and fluffy as how a chiffon cake should be. Well, as they say – practice makes perfect.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons
2 teaspoon vanilla
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center; add the water, egg yolks, oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Whisk the dry ingredients into the yolk mixture until the batter is blended and smooth. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar at medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat the whites until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the batter with a rubber spatula just until blended. Fold in the remaining whites just until combined. Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan or bundt pan. (I used bundt pan because I don’t have a tube pan).Bake 1 hour, or until the top springs back when lightly touched with a fingertip and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.