Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Mexican Dinner

I love Mexican food. When I was living in California, I had so many good Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood but now I don't have any good Mexican restaurant around my place. I even haven't found a good one in Manhattan. I am sure there are some good Mexican restaurant in Manhattan but I still haven't found yet.  Sometimes I miss Mexican food and when it happens I make it myself.

This one is yet again another Tyler Florence recipe. I checked many other Chicken Enchilada recipe but this one seemed easiest and it's Tyler! He never disappoint me :-)

If you are interested in this recipe, click here for Tyler Florence's Chicken Enchilada recipe on Food Network website. 

First, make the filling with onion, canned green chiles, chipotle chiles, etc.

Add some corn and make it colorful.

Add cooked chicken strips.

The recipe called for corn tortillas but I used flour tortilla instead because that's what I had in my fridge.

Use canned enchilada sauce.

Roll the mixture with the tortilla

Place them in a container with Enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese and put it in the oven.

This container was not enough so I used frying pan as a container also.

After 15mins in the oven, cheese are melted and ready to eat.

Sprinkle chopped green onion & sour cream on top and serve with Mexican rice.

I used this recipe for Mexican rice. Click here for the recipe from Food Network.  This is not Tyler Florence's recipe but it was pretty good. The recipe called for canned tomato but I used leftover tomato salsa instead because it was sitting in my fridge.

This Mexican dinner was a success. I loved it and my husband loved it also. I don't make Mexican food too often so I felt like I accomplished something and was very satisfied. It was great. However, this is quite heavy dish so I recommend eating not too much.

Well, I borrowed some other books from library so I would like to introduce them here. This time, it is Middle Eastern Cook book. I love Middle Eastern food but I never made them at home. But if I like it so much why not trying to make it at home, right? So I borrowed these two recipe books.

One thing I don't like about those books is that there are not too much photos. I love looking at photos in a cook book so it was a bit of disappointment. Plus, I am not sure how some of the dish should look like so when you can not imagine how it looks like, it is difficult to make it for me.

But I know there are at least three dishes which I know how it should look and how it supposed to taste and absolutely my favorite. So I will definitely making those three dishes.

Other than above recipe books, I also borrowed one novel. It is called "A girl with a dragon tattoo"

This is a book from Swedish author and I heard that it was made into movie in Europe. Since my husband also wanted to read this book, we decided to read it together. We would take turns and real aloud to each other.

However every time my husband read to me, I start getting sleepy. It is as if my husband's voice is a lullaby. The other day, I was reading to him and my husband fell a sleep right next to me. I guess whoever read, it makes the other person sleepy. By the way, it is not because of the book. The book is quite interesting and suspense. Since one of us is falling a sleep when the other person read, it seems like ti takes a while for us to finish this book. But we enjoy reading the book together :-)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Homemade Sandwich Bread challenge! Failed.... but tasted good!

I realized that we don't have any bread at home and thought about going to buy it but it was raining and I thought "Mmm, maybe I can bake it!" Even though I don't have bread maker or proper loaf pan but I decided to try with my pound cake pan.

Also, my kitchen-aid stand mixer had hock for kneading so I tried kneading bread with stand mixer to make it easier.

I knead my dough in this stand mixer and repeat the raise and put it in the pound cake pan and into the oven.

The dough was not smooth but I thought it might be OK when its done baking so I didn't think about too much and just baked.

I used this recipe for this bread. Click here for the recipe from eHow I used half of the ingredients.

And this is what came out from the oven.
My first impression was "What is this strange shape??" Probably, when I made a ball to put in the pan, I did not make it too well and there were some cracks on the ball and that is why it was baked like this.

Strange shape but smells good!

Well, it seemed edible to I cut it and had it with some butter and strawberry jam.

Delicious! It was still warm and tasted great! The shape was not great but when it taste so good, it motivate me to make it again and make it better next time. It is cheaper than buying sandwich bread from store and also you know that there is no additives so it is safe to eat! My husband loved it also!

I would try it again. Yes, I will! Next time, I will be more careful when I shape it and make it all nice and pretty. I just wonder if it is possible to knead it too much. Does it affect the result when I knead the dough too much? or it doesn't matter? If you know, please let me know! I am so beginner on bread making, I have no clue about it!

I think it is all about practice and when it went perfectly well, I should remember all the right things I did at that time. I am glad to find out that I can knead the dough in stand mixer, that makes bread making much easier. Normally, I don't eat bread too much because I love rice but when it comes to freshly baked homemade bread, it is a different story!

As I said earlier this year, I will keep practicing on baking and become a better baker :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spicy! Buffalo Poppers

First of all, I have to apologize for my misunderstanding. I thought Mardi Gras is coming up but it was actually already happened. Sorry about that :-) I changed the text accordingly :-) Thank you for letting me know.

Well, do you like Buffalo Chicken? My husband and I love Buffalo chicken. It is tangy and spicy and goes great with blue cheese dressing. I was watching Food Network's "Semi homemade" by Sandra Lee and found this recipe for Buffalo chicken. It seemed easy enough to make so I gave it a try.

If you would like to check out the recipe, click here for the recipe of Leboo's Buffalo Poppers.

This recipe is quite easy. I cut the chicken, coat them with shake & bake (flavored bread crumbs), baked in the oven then mixed with buffalo sauce.

Here is how it look when it is baked.

Here is how it looks after mixing with the buffalo sauce. Serve with Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing.
This is spicy but good. Normally, Buffalo chicken is served with celery but I didn't have it at home so I served them with asparagus. It is nice to have some kind of vegetable to cook your mouth off.

We had this for dinner but I think this is more like snack kind of dish. This snack will be great with beer when you have a super ball party or something of that sort. I am sure that this will be a crowd pleaser!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Post Mardi Gras with Shrimp & Chicken Etoufee

Mardi Gras was this month and I am feeling like Cajan/Creole Food. I have never been to New Orleans but it is on the top of my list of places I would love to visit.

Actually, I am not too familiar of real meaning of Mardi Gras. I think there is some religious meaning and it started as a religious event but now I think it is known more as a party time and parade and beads at least among the young people.

When I was in Japan, I used to go to this cafe called "Cafe Du Monde". They are famous for their beignets and cafe au lait. When I found out that this cafe is originally from New Orleans. This cafe was established on 1862 in New Orleans French Market and still serves their famous beignets and coffee. This is one of the place I have to go when I am in New Orleans.

Well, back to Cajan/Creole food. I love them even though I don't like craw fish too much. I like Gumbo, Jambalaya and dirty rice. There must be a lot more to Cajan/Creole food than those three dishes but those are the famous ones and my favorites. I make gumbo sometimes at home.

This time, I decided to try something new. It is called "Etoufee". I has chicken, Shrimp, sausage and vegetables in it.

I found the recipe on Food Network's website. Click here for the Shrimp and Chicken Etoufee recipe.

I was supposed to use sausage called andouille but I couldn't find it in a regular supermarket so I used Italian hot sausage instead.

Sauté the sausages

Saute the chicken,

Chop vegetables and saute,

Then, add chicken stock, return chicken and sausages and simmer.

Add some shrimp at the end

Serve it with rice

I used brown rice this time because brown rice is much healthier than regular white rice. Though, I made a mistake on water measurement so the brown rice was too soft this time. Oh well.

The etoufee was good but I felt like there is something missing. I don't know what. Maybe I should have add Etoufee ed some worcestershire sauce or something. Well, what I really should do is to visit New Orleans and taste the real. Until then, my etoufee will not be complete. I hope I can go to New Orleans sometimes and eat beignets and etoufee!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Craving for Banana Cream Pie!!!!

I was reading one of my favorite Japanese blog the other day. This Japanese lady (nickname: Ms. Chiblits)  lives in California and her daughter suggested her to start a blog (so it might prevent her from becoming forgetful) and that is how she started her blog. She did not expect this at all but now, to her surprise,  she has a recipe book published in Japan. Click here for her blog in Japanese. She is very humble and her blog gives lots of great tips on cooking and everyday life. (Too bad this blog is in Japanese... but she has some recipes in English also) Here is the link for her English recipe site. 

She has so many great recipes on her blog and she baked Banana cream pie the other day and posted her recipe on it. Ever since I looked at her Banana Cream Pie, I have a craving for it and I was finally able to make it on the weekend.

She also has English version of this recipe so here is the link for her Banana Cream Pie recipe in English.

Her You tube video for making custard cream also have English subtitles and it was very helpful for me so I link it here also. Click here for her you tube video. 

Well, I remember that I had pie dough which I made a few months ago in the freezer so I decided to use it.

After I baked it, I realized that it was not a pie dough. It was actually a tart dough.... I should have write down what it is on the outside.
This tasted good but it was more like a soft cookie so I decided to try another one with the store bought pie sheet which I had in a fridge. (I should have used this in the first place..)
Well, this one also did not come out perfectly because I did not hang the dough over the edge and it shrank. Oh well, I don't have any more pie dough in my freezer so I decided to go with this one.

Add some banana to it.

Made custard cream and spread on top.
And spread whipped cream and toasted almond.

This Banana Cream Pie was so good! My husband and I both love Whipped cream and banana so this is perfect dessert for us. This is definitely something I would like to make again and again in the future.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend with Sushi Rolls and finding Harp Seal on the beach!!!

In Japan, on Feb 3rd, we have "Setsubun" It is a day we throw beans outside the house to chase the devil away and throw beans inside to bring lucks to your life. And we eat our age's number of beans. So if you are 18, you eat 18 beans wishing your health.

Anyway, some region of Japan eat sushi roll on this day and many food bloggers in Japan were making beautiful sushi rolls and posted on their blog on this date. I was looking at all these sushi rolls and wanted to make on my own also. So I decided to make it on the weekend.

It is not easy to purchase sushi grade fresh fish so I used some ingredients which I have at home. I used following ingredients this time for inside of my sushi rolls.

Frozen Shrimp (I boiled them, chopped them and mixed them with mayonnaise)
Canned Tuna  (I drain the oil and mixed them with mayonnaise)
Egg  (Make sometimes like an omelet and cut into strips)
Salad leaves
Asparagus (I boiled them)
Smoked Salmon
Cucumber (sliced into strips)
Taramosalata spread (Greek fish roe spread)
Agedama (Deep fried batter) for decoration and crunch

I found this spread called taramosalata at a local supermarket. It looks like this.
It is kind of lemony and something like cream cheese with fish roe. I bought it because I thought I can use this for my sushi roll.

Agedata or Tenkasu is deep fried batter and you can purchase them in a Japanese grocery store. It looks like this. This is great for give them some crunchy feel to the sushi.
So here I go.

First, I cooked rice and mix them with some sushi vinegar.

Then, spread rice on top of seaweed paper, leaving about 1inch on your side. Add your ingredients in the middle or little bit closer to you.

Roll it half way and press it well to stick them together. 

Then roll it all the way. 

Cut them into pieces. This time I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I think I did a good job.

I also made inside out roll but these are more difficult I think.
Decorated with mayonnaise and agedama.

My husband was really impressed with my sushi roll skill and gave me lots of compliment which made me so happy. He really enjoyed these sushi. We had some left over next day so we ate them on our porch in front of the house. It was sunny but still cold so we were wearing heavy jacket and all. Someone who passed by joked "You guys are pushing it!" Yes, we were but we really enjoyed our little outside lunch!

Well, there was something really exciting this past weekend. We went for a walk to the beach which we do quite often. We were just walking and found this Hap Seal lying on the sand, sun bathing.
We couldn't believe our eyes. We have been living here for 4 years but we have never seen a seal before.
There was a sign close by from some kind of marine foundation and it said something like this. "I am a harp seal and I am molting my fur and resting. I will be gone by Monday. Please don't offend me by coming closer or feeding"

We did not disturb the seal or we took some picture from a far with zoom and looked at it for a little while and left. It was so cute. I don't know why it was here but when we went next day, it was already gone. We were so lucky to experience this. I hope it went back to the ocean and found other seals :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My mother-in-law's superb Maple syrup dressing recipe

Have you ever tried Maple syrup dressing? I tried it for the first time when I went to visit my parents in law in Germany. When I first tried it, I liked the taste but I did not know what is in it. I asked my mother-in-law and she told me that it is maple syrup dressing and it is her favorite. I was quite surprised to the idea of using maple syrup in salad dressing because I never thought about the combination. But it was very good and I liked it so much. I asked my mother-in-law for the recipe and I have been making this at home ever since. This salad dressing is perfect for a simple salad.

Here is the recipe

Maple syrup dressing
Maple syrup    2 table spoon
White Balsamic Vinegar   3~4 table spoon
Olive Oil          2 table spoon
Salt & Pepper     for taste

Just mix above ingredients and pour it over your favorite salad.

I use empty glass bin to make salad dressing (if there is left over, I can just store in the fridge like that)
I call it Jamie Oliver way because I have seen him doing this on TV. Of course, it is OK to mix them in a bowl also.

This salad dressing is awesome! It is sweet and tangy and just how I like it. I hope you would like this also.

By the way, I also would like to show one of my favorite tool in the kitchen when I make salad. It is a salad spinner. I am sure a lot of people use it already but you just wash the salad leaves and put them in and push the handle on top and the bowl spins inside and dry the salad. Nobody want to eat soggy watery salad, right? So this is a perfect tool to make crisp salad. This one in the picture is the brand I use at home. It takes up quite a lot of space but if you have space, this will be a great tool for salad making!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yummy! Shrimp & Ham Fried Rice and Vancouver Olympic

Whenever I have small amount of leftover vegetables in my fridge, I make fried rice. You can use whatever vegetable you like and it is very simple but always tasty.

This time, I used carrots, green onion, yellow onion, egg and garlic. I also added some ham and frozen shrimp to make it little fancier. I just put whatever I have in the fridge but this came out really good so I would like to post the recipe. There is nothing special about this recipe. I think this is how Japanese people make fried rice at home. It reminds me of my mom's fried rice which she often made for weekend lunch.

Shrimp & Ham Fried Rice
Carrots   2
Green Onion 2
Yellow Onion  2
Garlic        3 cloves
Ham      4 slices
Shrimp   10
Egg     2
Rice    1 1/2 cups
Soy Sauce   1 table spoon
Oyster Sauce  1 table spoon
Salt and Pepper  for taste
Vegetable Oil   3 table spoon
Sesame Oil      1 table spoon

1. First, cook the rice and have it ready (Many people say that we should use cold rice for fried rice but I use hot rice often and it is just fine)

2. Chop all the vegetables and ham

3. With 1 table spoon of vegetable oil, make scrambled egg and set it aside.

4, Saute shrimp with 1 table spoon of vegetable oil and garlic with little bit of salt and set aside.

5. Saute Carrots, Yellow onions and garlic with 1 table spoon of vegetable oil until soft.

6. When it started to get soft, add green onion and ham and saute more. (Somtimes, the ham will jump up on you so please be careful.)

7. When all the vegetables are cooked, add cooked rice and mix well.

8. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce and scrambled egg and taste it. If it need some salt and pepper, add some.  At the end, add sesame oil and mix.

9. Serve on a plate and top with some shrimp.

This was just amazingly good. I surprised myself on this one. Ever time I make fried rice, ingredients are some what different so it came out different but I think this combination was perfect.

By the way, are you watching Olympics? In my house, I think my husband is more into Olympics than I am but I watch it with him anyway and I started to enjoy it. One sports I was really interested on watching was Men's Snowboarding. This one I voluntarily watched and was excited about. There are two Japanese guys who did pretty well but unfortunately didn't get medals. But my main attention was on this American snowboarder Shaun White.

Everyone was expecting a lot from him and I think he totally delivered it.

He has been snowboarding professionally since 14 or so and getting lots of prizes every year. So he is still young but quite a veteran. I like him because when I see him on interview or something, he is very laid-back and seems like a nice guy. I also like his long red hair. When I watch him snowboard, I can see that he is really enjoying the ride. I wonder if there will be someone who will be better than him.

Woman's down hill skiing was also dramatic with Lindsey Vonn. It seems like she injured herself just before the Olympic and she was very skeptic herself about what is going to happen and how she will perform. When she hit the goal line, she was so excited and it make me feel happy also.

I really admire those athletes who participate Olympics. They must have really strong mentality and body. It is already a lot of work to be able to participate in Olympics but to be No.1 is the world is beyond my imagination. They must endure tremendous pressure and stress. But as I see in Shaun White, they can do this because they love it. I really respect all those athletes.

It made me feel really good watching Olympics. How did you guys feel? I never really watched Olympic much but I realized that i will be more into it if I know the athletes background more. I hope everybody is enjoying Olympics!