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Month: June 2012

… Likes to Liven Up Pre-made Jars of Pasta Sauces

Pasta sauces are one ingredient I don’t usually make at home … I have made my own pasta sauce from scratch, but somehow, making homemade pasta sauces does not interest me as much as baking breads or roasting chickens & turkeys. So, for spaghetti nights, I would usually go with pasta sauces readily available in jars from the stores & supermarkets. But I would still liven up these pre-made sauces and this is how I would do it most times … Jar of Pasta Sauce Livened Up with Beef, Mushrooms & Capsicum Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Makes: 4 to 6 servings of sauce Ingredients 24 oz pre-made pasta sauce (680g) 1 lb ground beef (~450g) 4 to 5 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced (~130g) 1 red bell pepper/capsicum, julienned or diced (~200g) 1 to 2 medium ripe tomatoes, skins removed (here’s my description of the technique to peeling tomatoes) and cut into quarters (optional) ~20 black peppercorn, crushed ~20 additional black peppercorn, uncrushed 1 medium onion, chopped (~100g) 3 cloves garlic, minced (~20g) 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Method 1. Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan, deep skillet or pot, and fry the onion & garlic over medium heat until the onion softens and starts to turn light brown. 2. Add the beef, stir...

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… Wants to Share The Technique for Peeling Tomatoes

My kid was helping me make spaghetti bolognese the other day and she had found from the Food Network, a technique to easily remove the skin from tomatoes. And it really did make it easier to peel the tomato skins off! Later, I learnt that this is the same technique taught by the Culinary Institute of America in their book, The Professional Chef. Here’s my description of the technique to easily peel tomatoes … How To Peel Tomatoes (Adapted from The Food Network and The Professional Chef (8th Edition), pages 697-698) 1. Remove stems (if any) and for each tomato, cut a shallow X (about 1-3 mm deep) at the end opposite where the stem was. 2. Prepare a pot over medium heat with enough boiling water to fully submerge the tomatoes, along with a separate bowl or pot containing enough ice water to also fully submerge the tomatoes. To scoop out the tomatoes from the pot of boiling later, have a slotted spoon, a strainer (that’s small enough to scoop the tomatoes out of the pot) or simply a fork and spoon ready at hand. 3. Submerge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds (the less ripe the tomatoes, the longer they’ll need to be in the boiling water) … note that the tomatoes will tend to float, so using the slotted spoon, strainer...

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… Likes Savory Olive Oil Dough for Homemade Pizzas

So, we had homemade pizza over the weekend … there’s nothing like making your own pizza, right? Not only can you control what and how much (or how little) of the toppings you want on your own pizza, but you can also choose the best quality ingredients you can find or afford for the toppings & dough! And if you have kids, the pizza making is a great way to bond and spend time with them. They can help to prepare the dough and toppings, roll out their own crusts and top their own pizzas any way they like (within reason, of course 🙂 ). It’s also a good way to get them to eat if they are choosy or picky eaters … let them choose & top their pizzas to make them feel that the pizzas they make from start to finish are really theirs, which should help ensure they’ll eat them. My kid enjoyed helping me weigh and mix the dough ingredients, and I’d even let her slice the ham (obviously, I was hovering over her shoulder, worried that she might cut herself). She made for herself a smoked ham, mozzarella & Parmesan cheese pizza, stretching out her own pizza dough and spreading a base of a tomato-based pasta sauce that supplied her vegetable diet needs (she doesn’t like to eat vegetables but will eat a bit...

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… Wants to Share a Singapore Chili Crab Recipe

Chili crab is a very popular dish in Singapore and Malaysia. Although I’ve never tried making it myself before, I discovered a post card that was made to publicize this signature dish for The Singapore Food Festival last year, and I thought I’d share it with everyone (with some minor edits & corrections to a couple of what I think were errors in the recipe along with some additional notes) … Chili Crab (Edited from recipe printed on a post card made for The Singapore Food Festival 2011. My edits are in italics.) Image from Ingredients 1.2kg crab (mud crab, Dungeness crab, or other edible crab) 800mL water 1 cup tomato ketchup 1 Tablespoon light soya sauce (this was omitted from the original list of ingredients but mentioned in the method … I think this is the amount needed) 1 teaspoon corn starch (or potato starch) 2 teaspoons room temperature water to mix with the starch 1 egg, beaten 1 chili, thinly sliced 2 stalks Chinese celery (also known as coriander leaves or Chinese parsley), thinly sliced Chili Sauce 10g chili padi, minced or blended with the red chilies (also called Thai chili or bird’s eye chili … you can omit this if you can’t find any or for a less spicy sauce) 10g lemongrass (if you can’t find any, substitute with lemon zest) 100g red chili, minced...

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… Likes Roast Chicken with Sesame Oil & Rice Wine Marinade, and Oven-Sautéed Capsicums & Mushrooms

If you’ve been following Pat Geyer’s blog, The Rantings of an Amateur Chef … oh! You have not? Well, I highly suggest you do … his blog is chock full of great recipes with lots of photos showing the various steps in making the delicious food! … ehhh, where was I? Oh yeah, if you’ve been following The Rantings of an Amateur Chef, you would have come across his family’s pretty simple traditional Roast Thanksgiving Turkey, the key to which is the binary basting sauce of butter and red wine. With this simple combination of just two ingredients for the basting sauce, you can easily imagine the wonderful glaze and taste of the finished turkey, right? Since I was already planning to roast a humble chicken, I decided to try his basting sauce on the turkey’s smaller cousin. Unfortunately, although I had lots of butter, my pantry was a bit sparse for red wine. But I did find some Chinese rice wine (like Pagoda Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Chiew). I felt butter may not go well with the rice wine, so I decided to change the oil to something more Asian to suit the rice wine: sesame oil with vegetable oil. So, I ended up with a different basting sauce, albeit originally based on Pat’s Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. And as I had some fresh capsicums and button mushrooms, I...

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