Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Dinner

Today, I prepared a seafood dinner for my family for New Years Eve. I bought ready-to-cook stuffed salmon from Costco and baked them in the oven. I made Irish Champ (coarsely mashed potatoes with scallions) and Bacon wrapped Scallops. I served all with a little dollop of creamy dill sauce.
As for myself, I bought  butternut squash ravioli from Costco and made a creamy, Bechamel sauce to go with.

Have a Happy New Year!

Stuffed Salmon with Champ, scallops and creamy dill sauce

Butternut squash ravioli with bechamel sauce

Christmas Eve Feast


So, for Christmas Eve, my family and I hosted a huge, bad-ass party for both sides of my extended family. I was the cook, making several dishes for the buffet style dinner. We had three ducks, four crowns of pork, purple mash, brussel sprouts, apple-cranberry stuffing, spinach tarts and etc. Appetizers included smoked salmon on crostini, shrimp wrapped in prosciutto in peach sauce, whole wheat cranberry scones, cheeseballs with crackers and apple with cheese pastries. Dessert included mini peppermint cheesecakes, pastries and Viet treats and fruit. My brother made is signature Cran-Orange Berry Swirl Drink for guests.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take many photos. Most of these photos are taken by my cousin. She, unfotunately did not have enough time to take pictures of the ducks before they were consumed by my hungry guests. Hopefully my other family members have a picture so I can borrow and post.

It was a night full of anxiety, laughter, and satisfied tummies. I don't think I ever cooked that much in my life...

Pine Cone CheeseBall with crackers

Whole Wheat Cranberry Scones/Biscuits

Two of the Four Crowns of Pork, Wrapped in bacon


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Citrus Spiced Duck

So...I decided to do a trial today with the duck that I plan to serve at my family Christmas Eve Party. The recipe and methods are basically the same as the Spiced Christmas Goose recipe by Gordon Ramsay. I roasted the bird in my new culinary toy: the portable roasting oven. It is awesome! I can fit either a whole turkey in it or a couple of smaller birds or meat cuts for roasting. And since it is portable, I just plug it in my garage to avoid having my whole house smell and the settings allow me to keep the heat constant but controlled. I highly recommend it ^^
The duck turned out amazingly moist and I used the drippings to make a very nice but light gravy. My only disappointment was the missing drumstick on the just kind of lost my appeal lol.
I served the duck on sauteed pea greens along with buttery purple mash (taro and purple yam) and garlic orange mash (sweet potato). Yum, yum, yum!!!

The Whole Duck
Orange and Lemons for zesting

Chocolate-Candy Cane Cookies

Hello!! It's the holiday season!! And I felt like baking something. Recipe is from my Kraft magazine but I added a little adjustment of my own; peppermint extract. Also, instead of crushed peppermint, I used crushed minty melts for an extra treat.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup  butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp.  vanilla 
2 tsp. peppermint extract
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp.  baking soda
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
1 pkg.  (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate
12 minty peppermint candies, crushed 
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add flour and baking soda; mix well. Blend in melted chocolate. (Dough will be stiff.)
ROLL tablespoonfuls of dough into 52 balls; roll each into 3-inch-long rope. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets, bending top of each slightly to resemble candy cane.
BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until puffed and set; cool 5 min. on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Melt white chocolate; drizzle over cookies. Sprinkle with crushed candy. Let stand until chocolate is firm.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steamed Red Snapper with Lemongrass Rice

 Red Snapper steamed in soy sauce, scallions and ginger. My mom bought this whole snapper but it was a tad too big to fit my freezer so she asked the fish monger to saw the head off. So here, I only have the body and tail part (I'm saving the head for a soup). I steamed the fish after marinating it in soy sauce, fish sauce, water, and sesame oil. I steamed the fish with scallions, ginger and lemongrass over a pot of boiling water with white wine and a few stalks of lemongrass for aroma. Rice was cooked with lemongrass stalks and lime zest. Served with Gai Lan that was stir fried in garlic and sesame oil. Garnished with scallions, cilantro and sweet n' salty, deep-fried lotus root slices. Fish was filleted before serving. Yummeh!

Body and Tail of Snapper

Dressed for the steamer
The finished steamed dish

Vietnamese Crepe

Vietnamese crepes, usually filled with bean sprouts, fat belly pork slices, onions and shrimp. These are filled with mushrooms, bean sprouts, and onions because I'm a vegetarian lol. Served with veggie fish sauce, lettuce, cilantro and herbs. I did not made these, my mom did, actually. I usually don't make traditional Vietnamese food because no one can do it better than my mom, so why should I bother? lol
I love wrapping these in crisp lettuce leaves and herbs then dipping it into the salt n' tangy fish sauce. Yum yum!!