Tag Archives: Recipe

Hearty Beef Stew

Quarantine Day 12 – we are trying to make something comforting with whatever we have in the fridge, and this is what we made.  We ate half the pot for dinner, and will freeze the other half for lunch during the week.

Makes 4 serving.

Ingredients

Vegetable oil, for searing

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium onions, cut into big dices

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, or to cover

6 cups chicken or beef broth (we used store-bought chicken stock)

5 sprigs parsley

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 pounds medium red potatoes, quartered

4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 28-oz canned diced tomatoes

2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Saute half the meat, uncovered, stirring only occasionally, until well-browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef. Discard extra oil but leave the brown bits.
  2.  Add butter and melt it over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Add the reserved beef and scatter the flour over the vegetable and beef mixture (enough to lightly coat) and cook stirring until lightly toasted. Add the chicken or beef broth, and bring to a simmer. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and add the bundle to the pot. Season with 1 teaspoons salt, or to taste. Cover and simmer. Cook the meat until just tender, about 1 hours.
  3. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 1 1/2 hour. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among bowls and serve immediately

Classic Corn Chowder

This is a simple yet hearty soup. We made a small batch just enough for the two of us for lunch during this funky quarantine time, and it’s really delicious and satisfying.

Here is the recipe we used that serves 2-4, depending if you’re having it as a main or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2 slices of bacon or ham
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 medium size boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (we used canned ones because it is what we have)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Dash of paprika
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add diced bacon or ham, stir till it’s cooked through. Add  onion, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour till it’s evenly mixed with the vegetables. Stir in the potatoes, 1 cups of the corn, the bay leaf, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

 

Step 2

In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining 1 cups corn with the milk. Stir the puree into the soup along with the black pepper. Simmer until the soup thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. sprinkle in the paprika. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, if using.

Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken

Cook time: 1 Hour 20 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients

8 chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 head garlic, separated into whole cloves, papery skin removed (about 20 cloves)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon flour

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 lemon, juiced

Bread, for serving

Direction:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Salt and pepper liberally and allow to temper on a cutting board while you prepare the garlic. In a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat, cook the whole garlic cloves in olive oil and butter, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium high and brown the chicken skin-side down until the skin is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, sprinkle on herbes de Provence. Add the garlic back to the pan and place hot pan in oven. Bake the chicken until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Once the chicken is done, remove chicken thighs and garlic to a platter. Place the pan over medium-high heat and sprinkle the drippings with flour and stir to incorporate. Deglaze the pan with the stock and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter and serve with bread for sauce-mopping and garlic-spreading.

New Year with New Recipe — Garlicky Shrimp Scampi

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Happy New Year!! After a whirlwind of traveling and meetings during the holiday season, my schedule is finally calming down for once; it is finally allowing me to sit down to write again after a long hiatus on the blog…. I can’t be happier, this is all I want to do during this chill weekend at the ranch.

Because of all the traveling, I didn’t get to exchange presents with Chris till New Year’s Eve, and guess what I got as one of my presents – cookbooks with 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year!! I love to cook, so I’m very excited about the gift, but how brilliant of him to give me cookbooks? I’d say it’s more of a gift that “keeps on giving” for himself than a gift to me….. well played, I say, well played!

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The cookbooks are “Salad of the Day” and “One Pot of the Day” from Williams Sonoma, they are really awesome in the sense that all the recipes are mapped out according to the seasons, so you get to use to the proper ingredients that are actually in season, and they are all fairly easy and straightforward. Most importantly, they are all practical enough for modern day busy women like me!

Surprised and not surprised, he already picked out recipes that he wants me to make for New Year’s Day – Garlicky Shrimp Scampi. It is a recipe for May, but since we happen to have some fresh shrimp from the market, I decided to give it a go. This is a recipe for 4 people, but we didn’t find any problem finishing the dish with just the two of us…

Garlicky Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

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1 ½ lb (about 24-28) jumbo shrimp, deveined and peeled with the tails intact

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp Salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

12 Tbsp unsalted butter (I only used about 8 tb)

3 cloves garlic (we like garlic, so I doubled it and used 6)

¼ cup dry white wine

grated zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp of lemon juice

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

Direction

1). In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Toss the shrimp in the flour mixture to coat evenly, shaking off the excess.

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2). In a large frying pan, heat the 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to pan and cook, turning occasionally till opaque throughout, about 3 minute. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm on the side.

IMG_29873). Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 2 Tbsp of the butter and the garlic to cook, stirring frequently until the garlic softens and is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon zest and juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute.

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4). Reduce the heat to very low, whisk in the remaining butter, I Tbsp at a time, letting each addition soften into a creamy emulsion before adding more.

5). Return the shrimp to the sauce and mix gently to coat well. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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Shrimp Scampi is often served over pasta, which makes a very hearty and comforting dish. We didn’t bother to make pasta; we simply served it as it is with some freshly based French baguette – nothing beats tearing apart that crusty bread with the steam still coming out from the soft center and dipping it into the garlicky butter sauce – ahh, need I say more? Pair the dish with a bottle of crisp white wine to cut the grease, it is amazing how simple flavors can bring such high satisfaction!

The amount of butter in this recipe can be a little bit overwhelming for those who want to maintain a healthier lifestyle. To make a lighter version of the dish, use 2 Tbsp to cook the garlic till fragrant, add about 2 Tbsp of flour to the pan and stir constantly till it forms a smooth uniform paste (the so-called white roux). Slowly add the wine, lemon zest and juice and stir constantly to avoid lumpy texture. Instead of another 6-10 Tbsp of butter, use chicken stock instead to finish the following steps. The end product (obviously) won’t be as buttery as the original scampi, but flavors holds up pretty well, and it contains a lot less guilt! Scallop are good with this sauce too, if you want to change things up a little.

We love this recipe, it’s easy enough to make at home after a workday, and it’s a good dish to impress the guests, too, if you like to host dinner parties! I give it a two-thumbs up, what a good way to kick off a new year!! Just got one recipe down from my new cookbooks… 364 recipes to go…. What are we making next?…

Cheers,

Alicia

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Happy New Year!!  After a whirlwind of traveling and meetings during the holiday season, my schedule is finally calming down for once and allowing me to sit down to write again after a long hiatus on the blog…. I can’t be happier, this is all I want to do during this chill weekend at the country house.

Because of all the traveling, I didn’t get to exchange presents with my man till New Year’s Eve, and guess what I got as one of my presents – cookbooks with 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year!! I love to cook, so I’m very excited about the gift, but how brilliant of him to give me cookbooks? I’d say it’s more of a gift that “keeps on giving” for himself than a gift to me….. well played, I say, well played!

FullSizeRender

The cookbooks are “Salad of the Day” and “One Pot…

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Rack of Lamb for Dad

My father was a commercial airline pilot and in the latter years of his career, he routinely flew from his base of operations in Los Angeles (an hour north of where we lived) to Sydney, Australia, and then to Auckland, New Zealand before heading home. Often, my dad would return from these long trips with a white Styrofoam iced cooler under his arm containing a fresh rack of lamb that he purchased in New Zealand immediately prior to boarding the plane. My mom would prepare the lamb for that evening’s dinner, and I remember vividly the whole family eating in virtual silence and awe, mesmerized by the combination of this fresh lamb and my mom’s consistant ability to cook it perfectly. Mom has always been a remarkable cook, but there was something special about this dish.

The date of this post is 18 years ago to the day of my fathers passing, so in his honor, we have decided to feast on a rack of lamb. 

Rack of Lamb for Dad

Serves: 2 / prep & cook time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb (seven or eight cutlets)
  • 2 sprigs (about 2 tbs) of fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sprinkles of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Fresh rack of lamb.

And fresh ingredients!

Directions:

Rub the rack of lamb with a thin coat of olive oil and place in an oven dish fatty side up. Chop the garlic into coarse chunks and let marinate in a prep bowl holding the remaining olive oil. Strip the rosemary from the stems and finely dice. Next, sprinkle the rosemary over both sides of the rack of lamb along with the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Finally, lightly spoon the olive oil and chopped garlic mixture over the lamb covering as much of the rack as you can with garlic without drowning it in oil. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Seasoned and ready for the oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the cooking dish containing the rack in the oven’s center and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes for rare to medium rare temperature (our preference, longer if you prefer more cooked). Remove from the oven, place on a cutting board and cut individual cutlets. Plate and serve!

Done!

Mediterranean Roasted Fish with Potato

Exactly a year ago from today, we took some time off for a sailing trip in Croatia. During our one week vacation, we sailed around the Dalmatian Coast.  Once we settled into our island of the day, we would explore the area to find the best restaurant in town and reward ourselves with a local feast. Usually we’d find a seaside restaurant, watching the sunset while sipping some local wine, and then following up with a hearty dinner.  Seriously, life can’t get any better from there. We didn’t have a bad meal throughout he whole trip, but some were definitely better than others which we will never forget. Besides the more common staples such as steak and lamb dishes, the fish dishes are definitely to die for. In Croatia, almost all the fish were served whole, as in from head to tail. Some restaurants even bring over a tray of fish for you to choose from.

Whole fish on the plate in Croatia!

If you don’t mind deboning the fish (I grew up in Taiwan eating fish like that, deboning a fish is almost second nature to me, no big deal at all!), these are the dishes that you don’t want to miss. There is this particular dish we had on an island called Hvar, a whole fish baked in herbs with sliced potatoes. With just a few simple ingredients, this fish is so unexpectedly light but flavorful… here’s the picture of it:
When we got back from Croatia, we could not stop think about that dinner. We’d sail back to the town of Hvar to order this dish again, but in reality, recreating something similar in the kitchen would be the fastest way to have a little taste of Croatia again.
Mediterranean Roast Fish with Potatoes 
Serves 2-3 (depending on the size of the fish) / Prep-time: 45 min
Ingredients:
  • 1 big red snapper ( I think the one we got was about 2 and a half pound)
  • 3 or 4 small potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 1 leeks (thinly sliced)
  • olive oil
  • garlic (minced)
  • fresh parsley (chopped)
  • capers
  • lemon
  • dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven 375F
Rub the fish with olive oil. Combine garlic, parsley, capers, wine and lemon juice, and pour the mixture over the fish. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour yourself  a glass of wine and take a sip, we’re recreating the Croatian lifestyle here. Mix the sliced potatoes and leeks, season it with olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper. In a baking dish, arrange the potato-leek around the fish. Bake for 20-30 min or until done.

Ready to put in the oven.

You’ll have to debone it at the table before eating, if you don’t know how, you might have to invite a Chinese guest to share the dish and help you with that!!

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