Monday, April 23, 2012

Bacon and Salmon Ramen...A Rainy Day Kind of Dinner

It was a nice and rainy night when I made this and I absolutely love eating/drinking all sorts of warm goodness on these type of nights.  I decided to make a salmon type ramen with a tomato soup base.  I always love pairing my seafood with some type of salted meat and that's where bacon comes into play and eggs are mandatory for every single ramen soup that I have and ever will make. 
Brian's Portion

My Portion. I love my noodles undercooked with just a little soup =)
2 servings; ~30min
2-3 strips bacon
3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion diced
1/2'' slice ginger peeled and grated (you can use a cheese grater) ~1/2 tbsp
1 small carrot shredded 
2 medium ripe tomatoes diced
4 1/2 cups water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock
a little under 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
big pinch sugar

4 stalks Patchoi chopped or 2 handfuls spinach
2 salmon fillets dusted with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning (optional: cayenne pepper for heat)
oil for frying

roasted sesame seed 
sesame oil

eggs as needed for steaming (you can save yourself the trouble and just toss the eggs in the pot of hot soup the same time you toss your noodles in.  steamed eggs are just so cute and I love knowing that there's no chance of my yolk popping.

2 ramen noodles without packets of seasoning

1. dice bacon and cook under medium low heat in a pot.
2. add garlic, ginger, onions and cook until onions are translucent ~4min. stir frequently to prevent burning. adjust heat accordingly.
3. add tomato and carrot. cook until tomatoes turn into a puree ~ 4min
4. add water or stock, salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and bring to a boil. ~5min high heat.
5. turn heat down to low, add patchoi, and lime juice while you steam eggs and fry salmon
6. In a pot fill water below steaming basket (you can find one at Hubbards at Foodfair 12EC). bring water up to boil and after lower to a gentle boil.  grease custard cups with butter or oil and add egg. Steam for ~5-10min.  well done- middle will not move at all. medium- middle will barely move. runny- middle will move a lot.
7. in a heated non stick pan, add oil. add salmon and don't flip until bottom side has browned (~3min). flip and cook for ~2min longer. you can shake the pan when initially placing fillet in pan to prevent it from sticking.  Salmon will continue cooking after you take it away from pan. Be careful not to overcook or else it will toughen up.
8. Add raw noodles into pot of soup and take out one min. earlier before it is fully cooked.  noodles will continue to cook when plated.
9. add soup into noodles and place salmon and steamed eggs on top.  top with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil.  Enjoy!

adult lunchables with mozarella fresca and cran-turkey pin-wheels

If you grew up in America, chances are, you know about string cheese.  You know... that long log of cheese that's usually individually wrapped in plastic...the snack that your mom packed in your lunch box almost everyday... the one you tried making the skinniest strings of cheese out of.

I absolutely love everything about string cheese and when I found out about the adult version of it, Mozarella Fresca, I was overwhelmed with joy.  It's so fresh, soft, moist, and makes me and my inner child smile all day long.  You can eat it fresh or use it on pizza.  Here one of many ways I love using this cheese.

*Eat within 3 days after opening it

smoked or honey turkey breast deli slices
sliced Mozarella Fresca (sold in the shape of a ball, wrapped in plastic)
dried cranberries
red ripe tomato slices
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
your favorite crackers

serve with your favorite fruit

1. take 2 turkey slices and lay out a thin line of dried cranberries at one end.  roll tightly and slice across.
2. assemble. cracker, cheese, tomato, cran-turkey pinwheel, olive oil, and black pepper

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cajun Tilapia (fish) Served with Smooth Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Lime Tomatoes

I grew up with Tilapia and Tilapia is one of the easiest, tastiest kind of fishes out there.  It can turn out very tender and it's not too fishy at all.  You can find them in the freezer section at IGA.  They're individually wrapped so there's no worries about cooking all fillets at the same time.  Since they're vacuum sealed, you can toss them into a big bowl of water to thaw them out.  It's practically hard to screw up because it's not a sensitive kind of fish that will toughen up on you from too much heat.  I wanted something to pair with my garlic mashed potatoes so I decided to make my fish cajun style.  I wanted some tang and moisture to my dish so I decided to add in some grilled lime tomatoes.  I love this dish very much and will definitely make it again in the near future.  
Mashed Garlic Potatoes (~4 servings)

3 small potatoes (~1.3 lbs) peeled and halved lengthwise
3 strings chives chopped
2 large garlic cloves minced or garlic powder to taste
2 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
4 strips crispy bacon
salt and pepper to taste (note: when adding salt keep in mind that your bacon has salt as well)
5 heaping tbsp. sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese for topping

3 tilapia fillets (3 servings)
garlic powder
cajun seasoning
cayenne pepper for heat
flour for dredging

1 large ripe tomato
2 tbsp lime juice
1.  Place Potatoes in a pot. Fill with water so that potatoes are completely submerged. add in a big pinch of salt and bring up to a boil.  Once boiling, turn heat down to lowest setting (the water should be at a gentle boil). Boil for ~20-25min or until a fork goes right through without any trouble.  Turn potatoes over once in between cooking process.  Do not stir them around as the potato will break into smaller pieces.
2. Meanwhile, take a  non stick pan and cook bacon to liking.  Move to a paper towel to drain excess oil and reserve pan oil for later (scoop one tbsp oil out to keep fat content down).
3. dust a light layer of salt, pepper, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, and cayenne pepper across one side of each fillet (be careful not to over salt, cajun seasoning has salt as well).  Pat spices down with the back of a spoon or your fingers and dredge both sides in a bowl of flour.  don't shake excess flour off.
4. Heat bacon fat under medium high heat. once heated, add all three fillets. don't flip until browned on bottom. ~ 3min.  once browned, flip and cook for another 2min or so.
5. move to a bowl and cover.  
6. in the same pan, drizzle a little oil in and add tomatoes and lime juice.  cook ~4 min or until tomatoes have wilted a bit.  Cooking tomatoes this way will allow for them to develop a nice sweet flavor. no salt or pepper necessary.
7.  strain potatoes and move to the side.  In the same potato pot, add butter, garlic, and chives. stir frequently under low heat for ~3min or until rawness has been cooked out of garlic.  be careful not to burn garlic as it will turn bitter.
8. add potatoes in and mash with a potato masher thoroughly.  Add salt, pepper, sour cream.  Top with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.  If you want a smoother potato, either add more butter or sour cream.
9. Serve potatoes, fish, and tomatoes together.  Enjoy!

yay for steamed cheesecake... for all of you non-oven, cheesecake lovers hahaha

I was so excited to eat my cheesecake that I didn't take the time to take a nice picture. Haahah.  This was my first picture of the finished product. 

I found myself left with 2 oz. of cream cheese and thought, hmmm, what can I do with it before it goes to waste. First thing that came to mind was yes, Cheesecake!  Since 2oz would probably get overcooked by even the lowest temperature in my oven, I thought, hey, why not steam it.  

I scoured my cabinets and found one of my favorite cookies, Ginger Nuts, and thought that it would make a perfect crust.  At the end, it really did and from now on, I will be using this cookie for any pie recipes that I make in the future.  

I used white chocolate chips and an egg to help make the cheesecake firm and vanilla yoghurt for extra vanilla flavor and also to give it that "NY" kind of texture (usually New York cheesecake is made with sour cream, but I didn't have any at the time).

Baking cheesecake in the oven can either turn out a success or a complete failure, and rarely anything in between.  With steaming, this is not the case.  Even if you were to over cook it a bit, it still comes out nice.  

I won't be buying cheesecake anytime soon from outside hahaha. Enjoy!

2 servings; ~30min
2 oz cream cheese (it's okay if you add in a bit more)
2 heaping tbsp vanilla yoghurt
1/2 tsp white sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract or essence

2 heaping tbsp white chocolate chips melted (you can do this over a water bath or in a microwave on low)
optional: splash of lemon or lime juice and/or zest.

2 ginger nut cookies
butter for greasing custard cup

1. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add yoghurt, egg, and vanilla extract.
2. Melt white chocolate in microwave on low (constantly check to prevent burning).  whisk  fast in circles to create a smooth consistency.  quickly mix in yoghurt egg mixture. 
3. Generously grease custard cup with butter.  Either place cookie on bottom, or top of batter.
4. Cover with a piece of foil just small enough to cover the top (too long of a piece will catch steam and can make your cheesecake watery.  Take your funger and crease the edges down to prevent any steam from getting in.  
5. Take a pot (with lid), fill it with water so that the water reaches 1 inch beneath the steaming basket. steam under the lowest flame for ~15-25min (depending on the strength of your stove).  The water should be at a rolling boil.  If this is your first time making this recipe, I suggest checking up on the cheesecake a couple of times to make sure that it's ok. 
6. The cheesecake is ready when the middle just barely jiggles (a jello kind of jiggle is too much).  Refrigerate until completely cool ( I found that the longer your refrigerate it, the better it texture and taste it has. I cooled mine for 8 hours).

*You can buy custard cups at creative do it your best or foodfair.
*You can buy a steaming basket at Hubbards (Foodfair) for 12EC.

****UPDATE:  Don't have a pot nor a steamer?  That's fine because you can easily make one of your own.
Take a long piece of foil.  Fold it length wise, up, making about 1/2''-1'' strip.  Shape the strip into a circle, according to the size of your custard cup.  Tuck an end into the circle to close it tight.  The base of your custard cup should be able to lay on your mold without touching the bottom of the pan/pot.  TADA! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012