Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Minute Thanksgiving Dinner

Baked Chicken with Garlic and Dried Thymes

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Chinese Style Green Beans

Mini Sausages with Special Sauce

Serve with soft and fluffy buns and sparkling ciders (picture not taken). Truly a last minute dinner as we were having Dim Sum with some friends in Denver up until 2pm and rushed back to cook this. Nothing traditional as I didn't buy turkey again this year (just didn't want to deal with the big bird for days even though it was super cheap) and I cooked something that we all liked to eat. The mini sausages were of course for the kids with my special Asian sauce instead of BBQ sauce. Asian style green bean instead of green bean casserole and baked sweet potato fries instead of mashed potato with gravy. Recipes of each item will be shared in individual post later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Whole Wheat Oats Cranberries Cookies

I loved cookies! A cookies lover since young and coming from Asia, we were used to the hard and crunchy cookies. I only got introduced to soft or soft and chewy cookies when I came to America. It got some getting used to but frankly I am still not use to the soft cookies. My hubby brought back some cookies from his office and it was so soft that it disintegrated into pieces, not only that it was very sweet too. It was nothing like eating cookies at all, more like eating soft dough. Needless to say, I am still not a fan of soft cookies but I like the chewy and soft cookies (yet not too soft) like the one I made here.

I am also for healthier cookies so I experimented with whole wheat flour, rolled oats and dried cranberries for this cookies. I made this cookies before using all-purpose flour and the texture was different, with AP flour the cookies spread out and chewier. With whole wheat flour, it didn't spread out as much during baking. Regardless, it is still a tasty cookies to us. You can change the dried fruit to what you have a home. A healthier cookies to make to give to your friends during this Holidays season eh?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stir Fried Vietnamese Noodle

While shopping at my Asian grocery store recently, I spotted this Vietnamese noodle that looked very similar to our Malaysian "Loh See Fun, 老鼠粉" or silver needle noodle. This Vietnamese noodle is made with wheat starch, potato starch and water. Whereas silver needle noodle is made with rice flour, wheat starch and water, thus softer in texture. This Vietnamese noodle has more bite to it. I was glad to find it as I
made my own "loh see fun" before and it was hard work. I used some frozen leftover chicken breast for this. You can use any meat or seafood you like.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coffee Chiffon Cake

A lot of people liked my Pandan chiffon cake recipe. I also created a lot of other recipes based on this recipe and here sharing with you another variation of chiffon cake, I called it Coffee Chiffon Cake. Really soft and spongy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fried Peanuts

My hubby loved to buy roasted peanuts in shell from the supermarket to snack on. But he is very particular and picky about his taste. Once, he bought a bag of peanuts and decided he didn't like the taste and refuse to eat it anymore. So, what was I going to do with a big bag of peanuts? I shelled all of it while watching T.V. (yeah, multi-tasking is women talent) and freeze it. One day, when I was watching the CC4 "Everyday Food" cooking show, the chef was featuring crispy fried peanuts and that was it, I was like, "Now I can reuse the peanuts!" So, I reused the peanuts to create this "new" snack and my hubby loved it. HAHAHA... He couldn't stop snacking and had to set it aside in order to control himself. He definitely had no idea where these peanuts came from. LOL!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Curry Chick Peas with Chicken

Chickpeas also known as Garbanzo beans are high in dietary fiber, low in fat and a good source of protein, zinc and folate. In Malaysia, we called it chickpeas and it is normally associated with Indian cuisine. I remembered I used to have it in the form of boiled/steamed white chickpeas in con shape wrapped paper (or newspaper) in the night market as snack. It was ages ago, not sure whether they still sell it like that. Today, I buy chickpeas already cooked in a canned. Just need to drain and rinse before use, how easy is that? Since in my mind, chickpeas is good with curry and I just bought my favorite Madras Indian curry powder, this is how I am going to cook it. Very easy and my girls loved the chickpeas too, even though this was the first time I bought it and introduced it to them. Guess, from now on, chickpeas will be a regular in my shopping list.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Healthy Garlic Rice

Garlic has been known to have medicinal properties and found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal activity in test tube studies. It is claimed to prevent heart diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other. Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years. I received an e-mail saying that someone who cooked garlic rice every night and in half a year, her high blood pressure is cured. I don't know whether it is true or just an anecdote. But I don't see a harm in eating garlic rice. Seriously, the fragrant of garlic rice when cooking is perfume to me, unless you really hate garlic, I don't see why you won't enjoy the smell of garlic or benefit from eating this. If you have slight high blood pressure or high cholesterol level and not on medication yet, why not give this natural remedy a try? If you are on medication, you can consult with your doctor first. I cook this just because I love the smell of garlic and for prevention. I also tried adding few slices of smashed ginger along with the garlic, the smell was even crazier, better than garlic alone. Ginger is also known for anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation. Who needs to pay so much more for imported fragrant rice when I can make my own with Arkansas long grain rice? :P Good tips is meant to be shared. I really wanted to share this healthy cooking tips with my readers. I have been cooking this for a month and will be continued doing so with added ginger. I don't eat the ginger, just used it to infuse the rice. Feedback to me if you try it ya! ;)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Homemade Chicken Meatballs

I wanted to make my own chicken meatballs for ages but never gotten to do it until the day I took my food processor out to process the chicken breast and shrimps for my Deep Fried Seaweed Beancurd Rolls.
I had an extra large chicken breast ready to be used, so I took this opportunity to process the chicken breast (since the food processor was already out) to make some bouncy meatballs. I never measured the weight of my chicken breast so I used half of the seasoning liquid as stated. You know just figuring my way through it. The resulted chicken meatballs was bouncy but not as smooth as Redneck. I guess I better stick to the recipe next time huh?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

MSG, Monosodium Glutamate

I wanted to write a blog post about MSG or monosodium glutamate, or the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid from my stand point. Are you afraid of the word MSG? Because I do, I was brought up to fear or stay clear of MSG. My mom and media always said how MSG is bad for our health, American even have the so-called, "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" anecdotes. Thus over the years, MSG is kinda taboo to me, a product to avoid while shopping at the Asian stores. It became so much so that I felt unease when I spotted a packet of MSG in my friend's kitchen cabinet. I believe I have been brainwashed.

In reality, MSG is concluded as safe by FDA for most people when eaten at customary amount. It usage is like salt, just a little to season the food at the end for the ultimate "Umami" taste, the so-called fifth taste or meaty/savory taste. A lot of researches had been done on MSG and the results were the same, it is a safe "food enhancer" or "food addictive" to use. Chinese and Japanese have been using MSG for years with no problem. They openly used MSG in their cooking shows (which prompted me to research about MSG in the first place). I wonder what would happen if the American food cooking show openly uses MSG in their cooking shows?

Our bodies need Glutamate or amino acids. Our bodies produce it. Even human breast milk has a fair amount of glutamate compared to cow milk. If nature thinks amino acids is safe for newborn baby so why are we so afraid of it? Tomato, mushroom, soy sauce, Parmesan cheese have natural occurring Glutamate (free Glutamate) in them. We eat them with no problem because it makes the food taste better. Modern commercial MSG (sodium form of natural occurring glutamate) is produced by fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses. Fermented products such as soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce have levels of glutamate similar to foods with added MSG. Lots of bottled Chinese sauces, American canned food, broths, chips, condiments, bouillon cubes have MSG in them. I eat them and I never suffer from any sort of "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome". We are so taboo of the word MSG that the manufacturers had to come out with a different name to conceal it. Such as hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, yeast extract, soy extracts, hydrolyzed yeast just to name a few. Even now if you do a search on Monosodium Glutamate, lots of anti-MSG web pages are there.

Recently as I was watching the Chinese cooking show, the host even said the latest finding on MSG is actually good for health. It also promotes appetite especially for older people, picky children, pregnant women to at least make them eat some food and thus increase the nutrient intake. Also read that by using MSG, you can significantly cut down the salt intake. But I am so brainwashed that I just couldn't pick up a packet of MSG from the store. But I have no problem picking up chicken stock granules though, my reason being it is chicken stock with added MSG, as opposed to 100% MSG. I know I am kidding myself, even you cooks out there who use the commercial chicken, beef or vegetable stocks, bouillon cubes to cook your food, you know MSG does make the food taste better. Hey, you loved to add Parmesan cheese and soy sauce on your food right?

Why are we so brainwashed? FDA already concluded that MSG is safe
except to some small amount of over-sensitive people after some intensive research . It is so controversial that there are more bad news of MSG than good on the web. But billions of Chinese have been using MSG like salt as another form of food enhancer, we have been eating it unconsciously or consciously in restaurants and packaged food all this time. SO?

I wanted to conclude that I am brainwashed as even now my mom and older aunties still telling me to avoid MSG as it is bad for me. But I did some research and I can see the fact and I am going to be more open-minded because I know most of the bottled sauces have MSG in it, even soy sauce that Chinese cook can go without and frankly I have been consuming MSG all my life just in another form. So, why all the hype about the word "MSG" or "Ajinomoto"? = I am kidding myself. As for the majority of population, MSG is safe unless you have vitamin B-6 deficiency, or overly-sensitive to MSG.


I would love to thanks Tracie Moo from Bitter Sweet Flavours for passing me these two lovely awards. I am not going to pass it around as I stop doing tag long ago. Thanks though Tracie! :)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Penne Tuna Pasta

Have you tried the pouch tuna? I recently bought some to try because it was on sales and I seriously liked it. No draining required and it was so convenient. It was fairly expensive without the sales so stock up when it goes on sales. Friday noodle/pasta night again and of course I had to think of something to cook. Saw a packet of Penne pasta and pouches of tuna in my pantry and my sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil on my kitchen counter and thought it would make a good combo. I read that tomatoes, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese have naturally occurrence glutamate (amino acid) that said to produce the fifth taste called "umami" by Japanese. No wonder so many people loved to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on their pasta and pizza and love tomato based products and mushroom soup. Parmesan cheese especially has high level of glutamate, so I am wondering if you stay away from MSG (salt form of glutamate), do you stay away from Parmesan cheese too?