Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Easy Guacamole

When avocado is on sales, I like to buy some to make guacamole, milk shake, or add in salad.  Guacamole is very easy to make and I would prefer to make it myself rather than buy it at the store.  I think it is very versatile as you can also add red or color bell pepper, jelepeno (for a spicy kick), roasted garlic and white onion.  Basically just whatever to your fancy or just keep it plain.  It makes a great appetizer or party snack!

I served my guacamole with Sprout's multi-grain tortilla chips, loved that chips!  It is a great way to add shallot, cilantro and tomato for my girls as usually they are kind of picky with those.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Deep-Fried Nian Gao with Seaweed and Sweet Potatoes

Nian Gao/ sticky rice cake (年糕), a must have for every Chinese New Year (CNY) because of its' symbolic meanings.  Eating nian gao is said to bring you good luck in the new year.  Also "nian nian gao sheng",  年年高升 means whether in your career, money wise or studies or whatever you do, you will get better each and every year.  Eating something sticky also means your family will stick together.  The above nian gao is made with my Super Easy Steamed Nian Gao recipe that I devised for people who want to make homemade nian gao the easy way.

I fell in love with deep-fried spring roll nian gao 2-3 years ago.  This year I tried it with a piece of seaweed and the seaweed imparted an extra fragrant to the fried nian gao with sweet potatoes.  This is super crispy and irresistible!  Try it with your leftover nian gao from the CNY and enjoy this delicious snack!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Orange Marmalade

You all know how much I adored the mandarin/ clementine marmalade, but for some reasons the cuties clementines were not on sales at this time of the year unlike previous years.  What is on sales is the California navel oranges, so this year my house is fulled of navel oranges instead of clementines. 

This marmalade had everything in it including the juice, pulp and zest so it looked more like apple sauce.  The color was off as I burnt some at the bottom of my pot.  It would be brighter orange in color instead of this darker color as I didn't even know I burnt the bottom, so when I stir the marmalade, the burnt bit got mixed in resulted in darker color (hence, I put a warning at method below) .  Anyway, I managed to savage about 3.5 bottles before throwing away the burnt part.

It's hard to ask a woman not to multitasking right?  I was multitasking at that time and thus the result.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chicken Lor Bak (Chicken Bean Curd Rolls)

Most of the lor baks (meat bean curd rolls) we are familiar with are the ones made with ground pork or ground pork plus shrimps.  But there are also lor baks that were made with pork strips or chicken strips.  To me, anything that was wrapped in the bean curd sheet and deep-fried was delicious as long as the seasonings were right on.  You have to be generous with the salt and yet not to make it too salty.  If you found yourself under salt it, just serve it with a chili dipping sauce.  However, if you over salt this, the only thing you can do is to eat it with lots of rice.

* I am also submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover and Aspiring Bakers #28: Chicken Feast (February 2013) hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vegetarian Delights

Mixed vegetables symbolizes family harmony for the Chinese New Year celebration.  So, this dish is often served during the CNY.  I have no idea since when that I have also started cooking the vegetarian delights during the CNY.  I used to add bean paste into this dish but this year I omitted it.  I think I prefer it without the bean paste and strangely I didn't hear any complaint from my daughters.  Even, the picky eater Evy didn't complaint of the mushroom and weird looking stuff in this dish and finished everything I gave her on her plate of rice.  Yeah that was strange as she would always be the first to complain.  Not many American born Chinese little girls can stomach this dish okay, so I am really proud of her and Edda.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lobster Heads Porridge

We were invited to a Chinese New Year reunion dinner on CNY eve.  The owners and their relatives were all Chinese restaurant's owners themselves so for sure we were having a great feast that night.  They cooked a lot so it was a night of abundance of delicious authentic Chinese food.  I forgot to sample the roasted duck, white chicken and another chicken dish (can you believe that?).  The owner even gave me a big tray of food to bring back which I was very thankful.  Her uncle (also a restaurant owner) told me how to cook this lobster heads porridge, the only thing I did different was I added 2 dried scallops in it.  The resulted porridge was so sweet and flavorful and no additional seasoning was required.  Thank him for sharing his delicious porridge recipe with me.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Lemon Sables and Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Valentine's Day in advance!  I am killing two birds with one stone here by incorporating one of my Chinese New Year cookies into a Valentine's day cookie!  I am posting this early just in case someone might want to make this for his/her valentine.

Sables is a classic French's butter cookies originating in Normandy France.  The texture is crisp, sandy and crumbly with the fragrant of butter.  For my lemon sables, it is fragrant with lemon of course but it still has the buttery taste in it.  I think it looks sweet for Valentine's day, what do you think?

* I am also submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Crispy Fried Peanut Rolls & Gong Xi Fa Cai!

This was my failed first attempt at making the crispy fried peanut rolls.   It looked good on the outside but failed on the inside.  The spring roll was too thick resulted the tough middle part.  I have learned from my mistake and now I understood why people have to make this small.  I would probably challenge myself with this recipe again and will share the recipe if I am successful.

My eldest wrote that Chinese character (happiness) in her Chinese class, she did a few and I placed those around my house.  :)  When we turned the word outside down, it means 到. Meaning happiness is here.     

大家健康,幸福快乐!  Wishing everyone good health, wealth and happiness! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Asian Peanut Sesame Salad Dressing

Evy's school has a "Healthy Salad" cooking contest and I needed to help her to create a healthy salad with a healthy salad dressing.  Hence, this recipe was created.  Her salad mix presented to school would be more colorful with fruit, seeds, nut, cherry tomatoes, carrots, mixed baby salad greens and hard boiled eggs.  We needed to do a taste test before submitting the recipe so I mixed up a quick and simple salad to try out the peanut sesame dressing.  We all loved it and I hope the judges would as well.

This peanut sesame dressing only has 1 tsp. of oil and it is sesame oil which is good for our health.  I think the rest of the ingredients are healthy too, if you try it, feedback and link back to me ya!

My simple quick salad mix above is cut organic romaine lettuce heart, cilantro (great to detox our body from mercury, aluminum and lead) and unsalted toasted sunflower seeds (you can add pine nuts too if you have).  It was so good when paired with my peanut sesame dressing that Edda and I couldn't stop eating.  Edda loved this salad very much and she would finish the bowl clean.  I would probably add a packet of pouch albacore tuna and walnuts next time.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Chai Hsin with Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms, a symbol for longevity in Asia, and also for sizing opportunities in the new year.  Green vegetable symbolizes close family ties, so this is an auspicious dish to serve in the Chinese New Year.  Another easy way of serving delicious greens for your CNY menu.  Of course if you can't find the fresh Shiitake mushroom, you can also use the dried one (might have to adjust the cooking time).

* I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover*

Friday, February 01, 2013

Butter Custard Cookies

This Butter Custard Cookie is a spin off of my Custard Cookies that I made in 2011.  That cookie was delicious and I wanted to make it again this year, but when I looked through the recipe again, it has cornstarch in it.  I threw away my cornstarch a while ago and have no plan of using it again, so here's the spin off!  I like this cookies a lot as it is very fragrant, it's buttery, custardy, and also smell of vanilla.  It is light and crispy.  Both my girls loved this cookie and told me they could finish all the cookies in one day.  Hahaha... 

You are welcome to double the recipe as this cookie will go fast.  Maybe doubling and make a few batches if you intend to give it as gift.

* I am also submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover