Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Pork Roast

I prepared this late last night for my family to roast for dinner tonight, while I was at work. The filling is made up of cooked quinoa, chopped portabello, an egg, bread crumbs, garlic and seasonings.  Around 1 to 1-1/2 cup of  stuffing went into the roast since my roast was fairly large. I seasoned my roast with some J&D's original flavored bacon salt. I layered the bottom of my roasting pan with carrots and onions, trussed the roast, splashed with olive oil and placed it in the fridge to be cooked the next night. From what I heard after I got home, it was a success!


1 cup quinoa, cooked in 2 cups of broth or water
1 large portabello mushroom, chopped and sauteed
1 garlic clove, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil

Stuffing the Pork:
Slice the pork slowly until you have a flat piece of meat, resembling a mat. Rub with softened butter.
Press filling evenly on the mat of meat and roll up. Truss, rub with seasonings or bacon salt (even better, cover with bacon strips).
Roast in a preheated oven of 475 F for around 45 minutes or until cooked. Let rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Bacon goodness that is vegetarian friendly

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nested Egg (Attempt #1)

This idea was introduced to me by a co-worker. It's a rendition of "toad-in-a-hole" or "eggs-in-a-basket" with the yolk and white separated. The white is whipped into a meringue and then filled into a hole in a slice of bread. the yolk is gently placed into the meringue then baked until the meringue is golden brown. I made this for a quick breakfast for myself and my best friend. I also sauteed some portabella and tempeh together for a quick side.
I liked how the presentation looked but I think this is something I need to try again, as in better meringue and other preparations.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

124 Decorated Chai Elephants

One elephant, two elephant, three elephant...
A co-worker of mine placed an order for 124 elephant cookies, made with my shortbread cookie base, flavoured with Masala Chai spice (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper). The cookies were outlined and covered with melted white chocolate, similar to the process of flow icing. I opted for the chocolate because it is less sweet than flow icing and it goes smoothly with the shortbread. The red accents are drawn on with red candy melts s and accented with edible red shimmer. Gold touches are painted on with edible gold paint and golden sugar balls. Ears, toes and darker detailing are drawn on using melted cinnamon chips. The entire order took me around 24+ hours to complete. 100 cookies acted as party favors at a 25th wedding anniversary, 1 dozen were used as a gift with a complimentary best wishes heart to couple and 1 dozen were for personal enjoyment.
I'll be dreaming of elephants for the next little while lol.

Woooo! Elephants all around!
Me, packaging lol
Individually Packaged
The dozen being gifted with heart piece.
My mom's wonderful job, cause I suck at ruffle wrapping

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Totoro Cream Puffs

I had a major craving for cream puffs last night, so I whipped up some choux pastry and got a little creative. I piped the choux pastry into Totoro-shaped puffs and then added chocolate eyes and detailing after it cooled. The inspiration grew from a web-search I did several years back, whereas a fellow foodie did the exact same concept. Totoro is one of my most favorite characters from Japanese Animation; he stars in the film "My Neighbor Totoro" by the talented Hayao Miyazaki. He is known as the "keeper of the forest" appearing as a creature crossed between a raccoon, an owl and a rabbit.
Oh, and I used vanilla pastry cream as the filling.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Fusion Pork Chops

I had 5 ingredients that I needed to work with for dinner and my head hurt just trying to figure out what to do with them all. I had on-the-bone pork chops, long beans, mushrooms, quail eggs and sweet potatoes. At first, I wanted to bake the chops with the sweet potatoes but I realized that by doing that, the flavors would be really bold and potatoes and pork would make a meal leaving me with 3 remaining ingredients that were very light in flavor. So instead, inspired by Vietnamese-styled grilled chops with Asian 5-Spice, I marinated the chops in the special spice mix, along with some soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil and sugar and grilled those babies up.
To serve along side the pork chops, I sauteed the long beans and mushrooms with some seasonings and reserved a few stalks to form "nests" for my soft-boiled quail eggs. I also whipped up some sweet potato mash, making sure to keep it sweet and creamy to counter against the bold and tangy balsamic-soy reduction that I made to bond everything together.
The concept of my dish presentation is to have the "nest" and egg on a cliff, whereas the pork chop served as the cliff levered by the mash and stir-fry. The concept serves as a memorial to a Blue Jay that we found, dead, in our back yard.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

This is not the first time I've made these kind of cupcakes but I've never been able to take pictures of them because they always disappeared before I had a chance. These cupcakes were made for a student meeting I was suppose to attend but alas, the date changed at the last minute so I had two batches left over. Luckily, I have a family gathering coming up this weekend so these darlings won't have to go to waste. I seldom make cupcakes at home for indulgence but it's one of my favorite things to bring along to gatherings and parties.
The technique is very easy but a little time consuming to do. I mixed up some cake batter from scratch (you can use vanilla cake batter from a  box if you want) and divided the batter into 6 bowls. I mixed each bowl a different color and after lining up my cupcake pan, I spooned a small amount of purple, then a small amount of green, etc, until I finished with red. Follow the baking instructions on the box or whatever recipe of cake you are using, and voila.These cupcakes are layered with six colors of the rainbow and topped with a light homemade whipped topping. I sprinkled some rainbow chocolate chips on for extra color and sweetness since these cupcakes are not too sweet but are very light and delicate.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Quick Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti

Just a very quick lunch I threw together using fresh mushrooms, cream of mushroom, some milk and whole wheat spaghetti noodles. Yum, yum, yum! Served with Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.

2 tsp olive oil 
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup of sliced button mushrooms
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Spaghetti noodles, cooked according to packaged instructions

Heat oil in a skillet and add the garlic until aromatic. Saute in the mushrooms with a pinch of salt until juices begin to emerge. Add in the can of condensed cream and stir on low heat until it breaks into lumps, then add in water and milk. Stir and let the mixture simmer and reduce to a desired thickness. Season according to taste. Add in cooked pasta and a small ladle of the pasta water into the mushroom sauce, stirring until noodles are coated. Serve hot with Parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roasted Grey Mullet Congee

This weekend totally sucked, the sky has been all gloomy, cold and rainy. My mom got sick and I wasn't feeling good either so I decided to make a dish that was an absolute must for sucky days such as this: congee.
Congee is a comfort food made from simmering rice in water until a semi-thin porridge-like consistency is achieved. There are many variations of congee and my variation was a fish congee, using chunks of roasted grey mullet, ginger and scallions. I scaled and gutted a grey mullet, making sure to keep the delicious fat cushioning the fat. I placed the fish and the fat on some tin foil, scored the flesh and seasoned with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Baked the whole thing in a 450 F oven for approx. 20-25 minutes while I brought a pot of water to a boil and simmered around 3/4 to 1 cup of long-grain Jasmine rice, slightly toasted beforehand. Once the rice has broken up and the porridge becomes thick, I added my desired amount of thinly sliced fresh ginger and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper to taste. I left the pot on low heat while I went to de-bone the fish into meaty chunks. If you don't want to go through the process of de-boning an entire cooked fish, you can cook up some fillets (sole, cod, whatever you want) but I personally like to cook a whole fish cause all the juices and flavor are further enhanced. On very low heat, I added the grey mullet meat, gently stirred and added 1 tbsp of fish sauce to boost the flavor of fish in the soup. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with sliced scallions for a nice hot meal on an ugly cold day.

For my own vegetarian twist, I made the same rice soup base and added around 1 cup sauteed Cremini mushrooms. I sauteed the mushrooms separately in a small skillet with some shallots and 1-2 tsp of Kikkoman soy sauce. The reason why I used Kikkoman instead of regular soy sauce is because Kikkoman is light to the palette and it does not give a sour-like after taste once added to the soup. Another alternative of Kikkoman is Maggi Seasoning Sauce. I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper and a bit of mushroom seasoning powder. (Sorry, I didn't take any pics...)

Friday, June 3, 2011

(Mock) BBQ Day 4

It was gloomy, cold and rainy today so I couldn't work the grill outside, so instead, I used my non-stick iron grill/skillet over a portable gas burner to make these succulent and awesome Aloha Pork Chops, once again, from my Kraft Canada magazine. I served these juicy chops with Vegetable Saffron Quinoa and Roasted Asparagus with Portabella. Yum Yum Yum!
The quinoa was just something I quickly threw together in my rice cooker, adding a cup of frozen mixed vegetables, the required amount of water (I used veggie stock 'cause I'm awesome), a pinch of saffron and salt and pepper to taste. I left that cooking in the rice cooker and kept it warm until ready to serve.
As for the asparagus, I was inspired by Chef John's recipe on Foodwishes via Youtube. The recipe is very straight forward and instead of the prosciutto, I used one chopped portabella mushroom. This dish is a must, it's soooo refreshing and delicious!
As for Evil Dr. Pork Chop (ahaha, I grew up with Toy Story...), instead of the Kraft BBQ sauce, I used Bull's Eye Original Bold and I added 2 tsp of Asian Five-Spice and 1 tsp of red chili hot sauce to kick the barbecue sauce an extra notch. My chops were not boneless as the recipe stated, I used bone-in since I think it adds more to the juiciness of the pork (Tip: Score the fat along the pork so that the meat doesn't curl when it's being grilled). Before cooking the chops, I lightly seasoned both sides with trusty salt n' pepper. I made sure my skillet was very hot before placing in the meat, and that delightedly sizzle was music to my ears. It's a very interesting recipe to try since it's a great twist on the ol' sweet and sour pork and the grilled pineapple adds a great touch to the boldness of the pork!