Monday, May 30, 2011

BBQ Day 3

Day 3 of working the grill and I wanted to try something new. Courtesy of Kraft Mag (again), I wanted to try roasting a bird on a beer can. The whole idea is to have the bird sitting upright on a half-drunken can of beer and cook the bird on medium-low heat for about an hour until tender and juicy. The remaining beer in the can would gently steam the bird from the inside while the outer flames cooked the dry-rubbed skin. Instead of following the exact recipe from Kraft, I dry-rubbed mine with Asian five-spice, salt, pepper and paprika after rubbing the whole bird with fresh lemon. I chose to pair the poultry dish with some new potatoes, peeled and tossed in the good stuff: olive oil, salt, pepper, and some sliced sweet onion. Other sides included corn on the cob, unpeeled because I wanted to retain as much of the juices as I could; yellow sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and cassava. I also fired up the left over burgers from yesterday.
One big setback resulted from my stupidity as I forgot to turn off the heat directly below the bird, so bubbling alcohol and chicken fat engulfed the bird in flames. The skin was burnt to a black abyss but the meat remained really juicy and because I pierced small holes into the bird when I dry-rubbed it, the flavor wasn't lost when the skin burnt. Cooking time divided in half but that bird looked darn ugly and I was so flustered I forgot to take a pic of the bird before it was served. Oh well, I'll definitely learn from this mistake and I'll be less inattentive next time.

The good stuff
-ahem- This does not look wrong.
The newly weds!


Corn on the cob




The only pic of the cooked chicken that I took.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

BBQ Day 2 (because I forgot to take photos for Day 1)

My Portabella Burger Deluxe
Summer is finally here, where I live, and what I love more than cooking for the family is grilling for the family. My dad use to always work the grill but I have insisted on taking over because I am a food-nerd and I like to experiment with my food. The first day we started barbecuing, we had steak marinated in a sesame and soy sauce dressing, jumbo prawns in a spicy garlic marinade, grilled corn on the cob with peppered butter, mushrooms and whole mini zucchinis with garlic butter and a Caesar salad. I forgot to take photos, so you will have to imagine what the meal looked like lol.

Today, we chose to have burgers and being the foodie I am, I insisted (I do a lot of "insisting" lol) on making our own burger patties (so that I could customize lol). My gourmet burgers consisted of lean ground beef, chopped mushrooms, chopped onions and cooked, quinoa. I mixed it all up with some salt and pepper, two eggs and I added a splash of BBQ sauce. Patted them into patties, and placed in the fridge until ready to grill.
Other accompaniments included whole eggplants-skewered, sliced zucchinis-skewered, button mushrooms, halved-skewered, and a zesty, fresh Thai slaw, not skewered (recipe courtesy of Kraft Magazine). I added 2 tsp sesame oil and 2 tsp chili sauce to the dressing mix for an extra kick while substituting roasted peanuts for the cashews because I didn't have any on hand. It was awesome!
For the veggie freak (me), I grilled up a portabello mushroom cap with bbq sauce to make myself a deluxe veggie burger with Swiss cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and Miracle Whip. Yum, yum, yum!!
Can't wait for the next time to grill! I seriously need one of those cheeky BBQ aprons lol.

Fresh Vegetables for the WIN.
Patties and some kebabs on the grill


Patties made with mushrooms, onions, quinoa and lean beef ground.
Burger toppings and condiments.
Thai Slaw
My mom and fresh fruit

Friday, May 27, 2011

Comfort Food 101: Mac n' Cheese.

Today was a day that I needed some comfort since the skies were gloomy and I was home alone. As I rummaged through all the cupboards and shelves looking for something to munch on, my eyes fell on a bag of elbow pasta and the idea resonated in my mind as if a choir of prepubescent boys were behind me, heavenly singing, "macaroniiiii and cheeeeeese." I got to work right away, bringing a pot of salted water to a boil and cooking the pasta to perfecto al dente. I drained the pasta in a coriander, and using the same pot I used to cook the pasta, I melted 2 tbsp margarine and added the cooked macaroni, stirring until evenly coated under low heat. I added around 1/4 cup milk, stirred then added approx. 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Seasoned with pepper and salt to taste, I added 1 tsp of chili powder for some heat. And voila, done.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gourmet Bún Riêu Cua B**ches!

Yeah, you read right: gourmet bún riêu cua, a noodle dish that is one of the top vendor foods in Vietnam. The original vendor dish is made with grounded paddy crabs, tomatoes, deep-fried tofu and an egg and shrimp paste mixture. The dish is sometimes known as tofu-curdle noodle soup, since the chunky eggs in the soup resemble curdled milk. The broth is colored with annatto seeds to produce a bright orangy-red color to the broth. Other ingredients such as pig blood is sometimes also added. The dish is accompanied with a variety of condiments ranging from chili pepper paste, fermented shrimp paste, limes, bean sprouts, shredded banana flower, spearmint, shiso leaves, and/or exotic leaves called rau kinh giới (Elsholtzia ciliata).
My mom made an incredible version using an amazing load of real crab meat, crab brains/innards, and crab paste, all of course, with tomatoes and egg (for lunch). It was basically a crab extravaganza! Served over vermicelli, this piping hot dish was so vibrant and aromatic that I almost gave in to its' temptation (even though I disliked this dish as a child and still do even if it was vegetarian-friendly) but I stood my ground!

Fun fact(s): "Bún" (boom) literally means noodle and "Riêu" (reew) means to simmer at low heat. "Cua" (goua) basically means crab so the dish is literally, "Simmering Crab Noodle" which explains the process of cooking: at low-medium heat to slowly simmer all the flavors of the crab and tomato together. Claaassic!!!