Saturday, May 31, 2014

Godzilla Cake Topper

So two weeks ago, Godzilla the movie came out and it was BAD-ASS. My lil bro, is the biggest Godzilla fan ever and his birthday fell ont eh week after the movie was released. So this year, mostly everythign he received was Godzilla based!
I took the liberty of decorating his cake, since I did not have time to bake him one from scratch, we ordered form a local cake-maker in Edmonton and I had a blank canvas to play with.
The cake topper is around 12 inches for a 10 inch cake, made from a rice crispy structure and covered with molding chocolate and fondant detailing, Food color was used to get Godzilla's greenish hue. The topper took me six hours to construct and sculpt, with overnight hardening and another hour to add detailing like the spikes (made form fondant).

Molding Chocolate Recipe.
250 grams dark choclate
1/4 cup corn syrup

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Let cool for 10 minutes on your counter, Stir in the corn syrup and stir until combined into a paste-like consistency. Place in an air tight container and leave in the fridge for 2 hours.
Knead to soften before use!





Monday, October 7, 2013

Mediterranean Whole Baked Steelhead Trout

 My family loves steelhead trout among other family favorites like tuna, Mahi-Mahi, tilapia, salmon, basa and halibut. Today, I wanted to do something different with whole fish, since I would usually prepare whole fish stuffed with cashews and green onion oil and cooked on the grill or baked. This fish would be eaten with herbs, lettuce, vermicelli wrapped in rice paper.
Straying away from this Vietnamese favorite, I wanted to incorporate flavors of the Mediterranean. What screams at me are tomatoes, olives, garlic, oregano, olive oil. mint, lemons, saffron and a great deal of other spices and ingredients. This whole trout was treated with the utmost respect of ingredients, slow baked and served with a Tomato and Zucchini Saffron Pilaf and creamy but refreshing Cucumber and Mint Salad.



All Gone!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Creme Diplomat

It's Fall and I decided to make a not-so-Fall dessert: a fruit tart.
I have never been a fan of fresh fruit tarts although I always found them very pretty to look at. My brother would always get a few when we drop into a Chinese/Hong Kong bakery while I stuck to my cream puffs or egg tarts.

I've never made a fruit tart. I know how to make the separate components and how the tart is put together but I never made it because I never liked them. I decided to suck it up and use fruits that I would normally like to eat (I'm not a huge fruit-eater either) and make a large tart for the family (mostly for my brother).
I made a shortcrust pastry and instead of the usual pastry cream filling, I made a creme diplomat. Creme diplomat is essentially pastry cream with whipped cream folded into it for a lighter cream. THAT was deliscious.

Creme Diplomat

2 cups milk
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp Cointreau liqueur
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cups all purpose flour; sifted
1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Creme Patisserie 
In a saucepan, heat milk, vanilla and 1/4 sugar on medium heat and stir occasionally. When milk bubbles, remove from heat and set aside.

In a stainless steel bowl, whisk remaining sugar, liqueur,and flour until well blended and sugar has dissolved. Slowly add in a ladle of the hot milk while stirring the egg mixture constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Continue doing this until all the milk has been used.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla beans (using a sieve helps) and stir in butter.
Cool the cream completely and quickly by lining a shallow baking tray with plastic wrap and spreading the cream on the tray. Cover cream with another layer of plastic, placing it directly onto the cream to avoid a skin to form on the surface.

Once the cream cools completely, transfer to a clean bowl and fold in the whipped cream. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before placing in tart shell. Voila! Store in a air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Creme Diplomat complete!

Shortcrust pastry


Fruit! Plums, peaches, kiwi, strawberries, mango, and oranges.


Mini fruit tarts from leftover ingredients!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

F---ing Amazing Vegan Chili (and updates)

Hello! My golly-gosh I have not maintained this blog since June! I've actually been busy traveling and working during the summer and have not has enough time to make anything worthwhile in the kitchen! But alas, autumn is arriving soon and my schedule/routine has now settled enough for me to get back into the kitchen and experiment!
During the last week of  August, my family and boyfriend took a week-long trip to the Florida and a two-day cruise to the Bahamas. In Florida, we went to Disney World and my boyfriend grabbed a Chili cheese dog due to a tradition that ran in his family. The dish, though it looked greatly unhealthy, smelled really good and according to him, "didn't taste bad either".
Well, lo-and-behold, I had a sudden craving for a chili cheese dog, even though I was never a fan of chili or hot dogs. I blame it on the spices and my love for cheese.

Anyways, I concocted a hearty vegan chili recipe to go with my vegetarian hot dogs. Heck, I also smothered it on top of beef sausages for the rest of my family who are meat-eaters. Needless to say, the chili was fucking amazing.
My method of making the chili was a very lengthy process because I used dried kidney beans, so the soaking and cooking process took around 10 hours in my slow cooker. I also used tomatoes I harvested in my garden, so the blanching, peeling and dicing process took a while. Of course, you can always use a can of diced tomatoes and beans
What makes this chili so "fucking amazing" is the charred pepper coulis, which is the pureed or strained flesh of the peppers. What makes it special is how I char the peppers prior to blending which naturally enhances  that sweet, smoky and spicy flavor. This is then added to the chili and mingles with the existing flavors of the dried spices n' herbs. Delicious!


F---ing Amazing Vegan Chili 

2 Jalapeno peppers, charred or Chipotle peppers in oil
1 red sweet pepper, dice half and char other half
1 yellow sweet pepper, dice half and char other half (optional)
1 green sweet pepper, dice half and char other half (optional)

Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
half a white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 packages Yves veggie ground*

1 tsp dried marjoram 
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
 4 stalks of celery, diced (optional)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups kidney beans with juice

Cilantro and sour cream to garnish (optional)

*You can also used coarsely crushed raw walnuts, whole raw cashews or crumbled extra firm tofu.

Remove the charred skin off the peppers and slice the flesh away to remove seeds (be careful when handling jalapenos). Place in a food processor or blender and blitz until a puree is formed. Set aside.

In a pot, heat olive oil and add in onions. Season with a bit of salt and sweat the onions until almost soft. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add in the diced peppers, remaining ingredients and the pepper puree. Simmer on low heat for around 10 minutes. If it is too thick, add 1/4 of water. If it is too runny, let simmer, uncovered until desired thickness. Season to taste.
Serve on fries, on a hot dog, or as is with garlic bread or tortilla chips.
I placed my chili in the slow cooker to keep warm so I could eat it the next day for lunch!

Beef Sausages for the rest of the family (I had Yves Veggie dogs)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Lapin au Vin Blanc: Rabbit Stew with White Wine

One of the meats that I like to cook with is rabbit. Before I was a vegetarian, I loved rabbit or hare (although hare is tougher). However, I only had it in Vietnam, prepared according to the Vietnamese local cuisine. Today, I wanted to try a French inspired dish, a stew-like dish made with rabbit and white wine. It is similar to a coq au vin (chicken in wine, usually red wine) but I wanted to use white wine to encourage the gamey flavor of the rabbit rather then hiding it under a bold vin rouge.


We bought a frozen rabbit at one of our supermarkets and thawed it over night.

I proceeded to separate all the meat from the carcass except for the legs the next day and marinated it in white wine (I used Chardonnay), salt, pepper, some herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley. I used the bones to make a rabbit stock to use later in the the dish, so I didn't waste much.

 While the rabbit marinated, I prepared some pearl onions, baby carrots and I sliced up nice chunk of lardon (salted pork belly) into tiny pieces. In a large pot, I cooked the pork, pearl onions, garlic and baby carrots until the pork belly got crisp and the majority of the fat was cooked off. Remove the mixture and after coating the pieces of rabbit with flour, I browned them in the bacon fat until nicely colored.



Using the fat in the pot, a small knob of butter, and a couple tablespoons of flour, I made a roux and added in the rabbit stock, wine, pork belly, carrots, garlic and onions, reserving a few onions for garnish. Add in the rabbit and braise for 1 1/2-2 hours on medium high heat. Season according to taste.

I served this dish with egg noodles and French bread for the extra sauce. Oh, and of course, more Chardonnay!


I made a kale and sausage stew with mushrooms, carrots and pearl onions for myself. :)