Category Archives: Recipez

Soup with Carrots and Lean Pork

I love soup!  Is there anything better than a hot steaming soup full of nutrients and vitamins on a -30C cold day?!  Well, maybe, stew or chicken noodle soup, but I am not sick.  I just needed something to prevent flu and colds.  Carrots ensure vitamin c and carotene, lean pork adds flavour and protein in the mixture.

Ingredients

20141225_1825481 pound lean pork, skim all the fat away (makes soup less oily)

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 small or medium green carrot, peeled and sliced into 1 inch pieces

4 cups water

apricot seeds, honey dates for extra flavours

2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

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1) Peel and chip the carrots into 1 inch pieces.  On high heat, start boiling the 4 cups of water.20141225_184741

2) Once the water starts boiling, put in the pork, apricot seeds and honey dates.  Let it boil for 1 minute.20141225_184830

3) Put in the carrots and let the soup boil for 2 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium and let the soup simmer for 1 hour.  You will notice the bubbles are less vigorous with medium heat.20141225_211302

4)  Stir in 2 teaspoon of salt and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.  Enjoy~20141225_211328

 

So sweet and so fresh and vitamins replenishing~

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Pork Bone Vegetable Soup

Winter time comes the flu, viral infections and colds.  We always have to keep our immune system high, as it is one of our barricade and protection against invaders.  This soup is high in vitamin A, B & C.  The ingredients have antioxidant components to remove harmful free radicals and  is believed it strengthen the body cells to prevent against cancer.  It is very easy to make and the depth of flavours it brings make the soup  (to me) extraordinary good.

Ingredients

image1 Pound Pork Bone, blanched

1 1/2 Pound Carrots, peeled and diced

1 Pound Tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 pound Onions, roughly chopped

2 Pounds Potatoes, peeled and squared

1 1/2 Cup Soy Beans (Optional)

8 Cups Water + 3 Cups

3 Teaspoon Salt

Instructions

1) In medium high heat, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Blanche the pork bones for 5 minutes to remove the scum, fat and high cholesterol marrow.  Saves the process of skimming the fatty layer on top of the soup if you boil everything all together.

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2) While the pork bones are blanching, peel and chop up the vegetables.  Rinse the pork bones after blanching.  Bring another pot of 5 cups of water to a boil.

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3) When the 5 cups of water come to a boil, put the pork bones in and simmer for about 2 minutes.  Then put in all the vegetable ingredients.  Let the soup boil vigorously at medium-high heat for 15 minutes.  Turn the heat to medium, and let the soup simmer for 1 hour.

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An hour later, you can turn the heat off and enjoy the soup.  Overall, I find this a very light soup, a very good slimming feature for the healthy and dieting individuals.

The other benefit of this soup is that if you have any left over ingredients or is ripe, throw it into a pot and make a soup out of it, as these vegetables are stapled items, and used commonly in the kitchen.

Bitter Melon Pork Bone Soup

A Chinese saying: the more bitter the food is, the healthier it is.  I somewhat live to that saying.  Bitter melon is one of my favourites in that category.  Not only is it rich in vitamin A and C, it is also rich in metals, giving our bodies adequate amount of nutrients for optimal health.  Therefore, I deeply believe the health benefits of a bitter melon: lowers cholesterol, prevents diabetes and bladder infection, lowers acid in our body and cleans the gastro intestinal tract,  It brings your body into equilibrium and has a cooling effect.

I enjoy the range of flavours a bitter melon offers, like bittersweet, similar to the “ginseng” acquired taste.  Honestly, the taste of bitter melon is not something I can describe with words.

Feeling extremely exhausted after work?!  This simple soup will solve all problems.

Ingredients

2 Pounds Pork Bone *pork tends to give all soups a sweet soup base*

1 1/2 Pounds Bitter melon, sliced and cored

1/5 cup Soy Beans

8 Cups Water for soup + 3 Cups Water for prep

3 Teaspoon Salt

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*optional* You can chop some carrots into bite size chunks as an extra ingredient for the soup.  If you do not want additional vegetables, but find the soup a bit bitter, you can insert a couple of honey red dates, slivered almonds and goji berries to neutralize the taste a bit.

The good thing about Asian soup is you can add whatever vegetable in it and it will taste absolutely natural, sweet and good!  Soup is all about mix and matching ingredients together.

Note: With the soy beans, it will add an additional source of calcium to the soup.

How to Make It

1) Boil 3 cups of water and blanch the pork bone for 3 minutes to let all the fats and oil come out.  With a strainer, remove the pork bone.  Discard the fatty, white foamy water.  By doing this, it saves you the step of using a spoon to scoop out all the fat and foam.  It also ensures that you get a pot of clear soup.

2) Soak the soy beans in water for 10 minutes.

3) Cut the bitter melon in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Save the seeds.  Slice the bitter melon.

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4) Add the blanched pork bones in 8 cups of water in a pot.  Bring it to a boil.wpid-20141106_194319.jpg

5) When the water boils, add the sliced bitter melon, its seeds, and soy beans.  Wait for the water to boil again.  I put in the vegetables last because by inserting it with the pork bones, the vigorous boiling water will soften up the melon and turn the texture into pulp.  I quite like eating the ingredients intact and mildly soft.wpid-20141106_194617.jpg

6) When the water comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 40 minutes.  Season with salt, and stir.  Serve hot.wpid-20141106_200214.jpg

The flavour of the soup is not as bitter as one will think.  Personally, this was the beginning step to accepting and liking bitter melon.

Korean Style – Vegetarian Japchae

I always had a liking for Korean food, especially their stews and glass noodles.  The texture and simplicity in flavour of the glass noodles make it a good choice for any time of cooking style in Asian cuisine.  Stir fry glass noodles is usually served cold as an appetizer, mixed together with vegetables and meat.  It is served hot as dumplings, sausages, rolls and with stews or noodle soup.  As can be seen, many varieties of dishes can be produced with glass noodles.

Although glass noodle was originated from China made from mung beans, yams,potatoes, cassava, or canna, this is one food that shows cooking is an art with no borders.

Ingredients

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1 Pepper, cut into bite size

1 Broccoli, chopped into bite size

1 Carrot, cut into thin sticks

1/2 Medium Onion or 3 Shallots, cut into thin sticks

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

4 Ounce Green Leaves

4 Ounces Sweet Potato Noodles

2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

1/2 Teaspoon ground white pepper powder

*optional* couple of fresh basil leaves, for diverse flavours
I substituted most of the sesame oil with olive oil because it tends to lower cholesterol and is good for heart and arteries.  Not saying sesame oil is not healthy, but sesame oil is very aromatic, that the natural flavours of the vegetables will be covered, at least I find.  In general, I used less oil than usual because I do not like my food swimming in oil, and sometimes the over loaded oil makes me feel full.  Sugar was not used, as the fresh vegetables have a sweet taste to it.

How to Make It

1) Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Put the noodles into the boiling water, cover and cook for 1 minute.  Stir to ensure the noodles do not stick together.  Cover and cook for another 7 minutes until the noodles are soft.  Strain and cut them a few times with kitchen scissors.wpid-20141105_223115.jpg

2) Bring another pot of water to a boil.  Add the green leaves and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Take it out of water and rinse the greens in cold water.  Squeeze it with your hands to remove any excess water.

3) Heat a skillet with 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Stir fry the aromatic vegetables, ie. shallots and garlic until fragrant, and a bit translucent, about 1 minute.  Add the remaining chopped vegetables into the skillet.  Add a pinch of salt and stir fry it for about 2 minutes.  Transfer to bowl or plate when done.

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4) Put all ingredients together.  We can start adding the condiments for the upcoming mixing process.  Add 2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce, 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper powder and mix it together by wooden utensils or by hand.

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5) Garnish with a few basil leaves and further mix.  You will get a final vegetarian japchae with diverse flavours.wpid-20141105_230347.jpg

Spicy Chili Oil

It has been months since I received my regular dose of chili spiciness!  My mom is against buying the sauce from supermarkets because of health and skin reasons.  Meanwhile, there have been numerous scandals about manufacturers making oil with raw materials derived from the ground, or fake chili sauce made of plastic and food colouring, and putting poisonous MSG to enhance the taste of different condiments.  To ensure natural product, I made chili oil that you find at Asian restaurants to enhance my soup noodles and everyday foods.

It is really simple and once you made it once, you will never want to buy from the supermarkets again.  The natural and diverse flavours just cannot compare!

Ingredients

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1 ounce dried whole red chili peppers

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon Sze Chuan peppercorns (find it at T&T, or any Chinese Supermarkets)

1 anise seed

3/4 cup oil (I used sunflower oil.  You can use other types)

1 teaspoon salt

*note* You can use however much peppercorns you like.  I like to use more because I like the tongue numbing effect.  Anise seed is optional.  I used it to add more depth to the taste of the condiment and to diversify the flavours.

How I Made It

1) Place whole dried chilies, Sze Chuan peppercorns, garlic and anise seed into a blender or food processor.  Blend for 3 to 4 minutes until chilies are broken up into small pieces.
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2) Heat the oil in a small sauce pan under medium low heat, until it gets hot, before you see fumes and boiling point.  It will take around 1 minute.  I recommend heating the oil in a separate bowl over boiling water because that will prevent over heating and burning the pot.image

 

3) Add chopped spices into the cooked oil.  Cook and stir.  It will take 3 to 4 minutes or until oil is turning red.
image4) Remove from heat.  Add salt and stir.  Let it rest.  When cool, bottle the chili oil in a glass container.  Store it in a cool, dark environment.

It is so good.  I already used it with noodles, for hot pot, and tofu!

Make you own~  It is easy, healthy and tastier!

 

Roasted Vegetables

What do I do in the middle of the day when I am hungry?  Go to the kitchen and look for food.  Do not want crackers or cereal or chips, dry food in general, I opt to use up all the leftover vegetables to make a quick fibrous, vitamin c snack.

Ingredients

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3 Medium Potatoes,  cubed

2 Carrots, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick

2 Zucchinis, sliced 2 inches thick

3 Shallots, sliced

1 Garlic Clove, sliced

Thyme, Rosemary, Salt, Pepper, Canola Oil

How I made it

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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2) Combine the potatoes, carrots, zucchinis, shallots and garlic on the baking sheet.  Stir in the oil, salt and pepper on the vegetables.  Mix together until evenly coated.  Evenly spread chopped up rosemary and thyme on the vegetables.  Further combine together until coated evenly.  Spread the vegetables evenly on the baking sheet.wpid-20141018_152004.jpg

3) Roast for 20-30 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

wpid-20141018_155438.jpgEat fresh from the oven, or if you like to use it like a cold salad, just let it sit in room temperature and drizzle 2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.  The vinegar adds dimension to the overall flavour of the vegetables.  This is a good midday healthy snack, if on weight loss programs or on a diet.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I know Thanksgiving was last weekend but I cannot hide the happiness and had to share with everyone~  What is everyone thankful for?  I am thankful for my family and friends, acquaintances, my job, living in Canada, the amazing 4 seasons weather, good health and etc.  Lastly, I like to thank all the readers who have been to my site and gave me good comments for further improvements.


This year I decided to make a turkey because everyone around me were so excited about it and were discussing recipes.

First, we bought a roasting pan that fits my oven because we bought 2 that did not fit and had to return.  It was a good deal from Canadian Tire, $8.95, taxes included.

As a first time turkey, I did not want to spend too much money on it because I am uncertain if it will taste good or not.  Turkey was purchased from Walmart, 78 cents/pound.  This 8-ish pound turkey cost me $10.  Not bad quality, at least from my first time expectation.

Leave me comments on how to improve the turkey next time.

Ingredients

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1 Whole Turkey — neck and giblets removed

4 Springs of Rosemary

4 Springs of thyme

Bunch of Basil

1/4 Cup of Butter, room temperature

4 Celery Stalks

3 Carrots

1 Onion

1 Whole Garlic

Salt and Pepper

How I Made It

Thank you Laura Vitale YouTube Channel, Cooks Illustrated Magazine online recipes and Gordon Ramsay YouTube Clip.

1) Remove neck and giblets from the cavity.  Reserve it for future uses.  I threw the bag of giblets away because it looked disgusting, but reserved the neck for soup.

2) Clean the turkey with water thoroughly. Pat dry the turkey inside out with paper towel.  This was a dirty job. It felt quite disgusting, seeing the blood water and oils leaking onto the plate or drainer.

3) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

4) Roughly chop the carrot, celery, onion and garlic.   Place vegetables in the roasting plan.  Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper and oil.   Set aside.  Remember to serve 1/4 of the vegetables to stuff inside the turkey.

5) Finely chop the herbs (2 rosemary, 2 thyme, basil).

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6) In a small bowl, combine the fresh chopped herbs, garlic, salt, and butter, mix until it’s all well combined. wpid-20141012_005716.jpg

7) Further pat dry the turkey inside out.  Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt.

8) Rub the butter mixture under the skin of the turkey and on the outside.  An opening can be found at the neck area or on the bottom of the turkey.  You find a slab of skin that you can roughly stick your hand through, or a chopstick to separate the skin from the meat.  After doing that, roll half a ball of butter and place it under the skin, then press-spread it throughout the turkey.  Remember to do it at both the breast and the bottom, for even flavours and roasted effect.  With the remaining butter spread it throughout the wings, thighs and throughout the skin of the turkey.

9) Tuck the wings under the back.  Stuff 1/4 of the chopped vegetables inside the turkey cavity, along with a couple springs of rosemary, thyme and basil.  Use a twine to tie the thighs together.

10) Poke holes on the aluminum foil to allow the turkey juices drip in the roasting tray and to prevent the turkey skin sticking on to the rack.

11) Place turkey on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.  Remember to pour a cup of water into the pan before placing it in the oven for moisture and steam.  Pop the turkey in the oven for 30 minutes.

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10) After 30 minutes, crank the heat down to 350 degrees and roast the turkey for another 1 hour.

11) After the turkey has roasted for 1 hour, base the turkey with the butter-vegetable-turkey juices in the pan all over the turkey.  Return it to the oven for an additional hour, basing it with the juices every 15 minutes.  This will give a crispy skin and an even tone to the turkey.

12) Let the turkey sit aside for 30 to 45 minutes before carving it.wpid-20141012_182042.jpg

 

Improvements:  I can probably control the heat and time a little bit better because the turkey meat was a little dry.  I probably over-roasted it.  If I have a V-rack, I can probably turn the turkey over, to allow the spine side of the turkey to roast a bit.

As to the gravy, I collected the juices from the roasting pan.  It smelled and tasted so good.  I put it in a saucepan and used starch to thicken it.  I used a lot of starch but it was still quite thin and watery.  I tried, and I was hungry.  My patience just fell apart.  We just dipped the turkey meat in the running juices for enhanced flavours.

We learn from mistakes, right?  Practice makes perfect!


 

Here is the final result of the whole thanksgiving meal, a mixture of Western and Asian styles. We had the turkey, roasted vegetables that I put in the turkey, green salad, curry with meatballs and watercress soup ingredients. wpid-20141012_191723.jpgI originally wanted to make mashed potatoes and a mushroom risotto. The turkey took a long time and energy that I did not feel like cooking anymore.  Hence, my mother took care of the rest of the dinner.  I officially call turkey making, turkey-sitting day.  I really wanted to carve the turkey but by 7pm, everyone were hungry.  In the end, I served the turkey as a whole.  They cancut as much meat as they want to eat.  It was one great experience and a rewarding hearty meal.

4 people, we only ate 1/6 of the turkey and saved the rest for later.  We had turkey meals thereon after, for the next week and a half.  Meals consisted of turkey salad, turkey cheese sandwiches, turkey noodles, turkey fried rice, turkey and corn soup.  My mother even said, this turkey has served us well and a great deal!  So by saying that, I think she was impressed by it~  I think I started a new tradition in the family. ^_____^