Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Char Siew Quick, Easy, Authentic

So here's my char siew for cheaters. It's so easy it's almost foolproof, and it tastes quite like my Popo's delicious char siew barbequed pork. I get all my ingredients at the Strip District in Pittsburgh, but if you don't have access to any Asian grocers, you could purchase them online. I've compiled a list of ingredients that I use in my cooking, together with links to where you can buy them on Amazon (my review Here).

  • Pork, 1 kg (any kind of pork will do as long as it's in even cuts but the best is pork belly. Actually you can make char siew type chicken or any kind of meat)
  • Thick soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
  • Soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon
  • Honey, 2 tablespoons
  • Sugar, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil, 1 tablespoon
  • White pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Five spice powder, 1 teaspoon
  • Chinese wine, 1 bowl
Simply put all the ingredients in a wok, bring to a boil then simmer for about 45 minutes. After that, uncover and keep cooking until sauce is reduced to a thick goo and until the meat is slightly charred (that's 'char' siew proper). Slice, serve and enjoy! (Now could that be any easier? :))

Tender and juicy char siew is perfectly paired with fluffy white rice

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xo Gracie

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easy Peasy Pizza From Scratch

I make pizza once a week, it's cheap, easy, filling and reasonably healthy. Pizza dough from scratch is a lot easier than you may think. And it's so satisfying knowing I put all wholesome stuff in my pizza.

Pizza dough recipe (for 1 Large Pizza).
3/4 C warm water
1 T sugar
1 t yeast
1 t salt
2 T oil
2 C All purpose organic flour

1 small can tomato sauce mixed with 1/2 t of italian herbs
1 C mozzarella cheese, 1 C cheddar, 1 C colby/jack
Assorted cooked cubed meats and raw vegetables, 1 C each. I commonly use ground beef, pork sausage, ham, mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, spinach, etc etc.

  1. Mix everything and knead for 5 minutes. The dough needs to be very pliable, almost bordering on sticky, but not sticky :)
  2. Rest 40 minutes to 1 hour until double. Rest in a warm place. 
  3. Roll out the pizza dough to about 1/4 inch thick. I like mine thin! Place on an oiled pizza baking pan.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500 deg F. That's VERY hot.
  5. Top the pizza. Start by liberally coating with the tomato sauce. Then sprinkle on half the cheese. Next, arrange all the meat and veggie cubes/slices. If using spinach, put this down first, then only all the other stuff. The really juicy veggies go on the very top because these won't burn/singe when baking. Finish with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Home made Apple Pie

I made this pie for Spencer. It has apples from our tree. I made apple pie filling with them and put them in the deep freeze for whenever. The pie crust is flaky and buttery, and the apple filling is tart and slightly sweet. Vanilla ice cream is the perfect accompaniment.

Apple pie with flaky pie crust and not-to-sweet pie filling

Whenever we run out of our own home made ice cream, Breyers is an acceptable substitute :p

Double Pie Crust Recipe
3/4 C butter
5 T cold water
2 C flour
1 t salt

Apple pie filling Recipe
7 C apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 C sugar
2 T corn starch
1 t cinammon
1 t salt
2 T butter

  • To make the pastry, rub or cut the butter into flour until you get fine crumbs (I just use my Kitchenaid Professional 6 quart stand mixer :p. I use the flat beater, cut chunks of butter into the flour, and let rip for about 2 minutes on low speed until the mixture looks crumbly). 
  • Add water and mix until just combined, don't overwork the dough. Divide into two equal portions and roll each out between two sheets of wax paper till about 1/4 inch thickness (enough to cover the bottom of the pie dish, and also the top).
  • For the apple pie filling, just mix it all together, then fill into the crust. Carefully lay the top crust over, then seal and crimp the edges.
  • Bake for 1 hr at 400 deg F.
  • Try to keep yourself gainfully occupied and don't get too distracted by the delicious aroma of caramelizing apple wafting from the oven.
  • Hold off a little longer while the pie cools, then reward yourself with a nice warm slice topped with vanilla ice cream. Droooool.
xo Grace

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Smoothie ala Spencer

Spencer makes a sensational smoothie, hands down the best I've ever had. It's all in the ingredients, good stuff goes into his smoothies.

A Basic Recipe
1/2 cup fresh milk
1 banana
1/2 cup berries or fruit of any kind, e.g., papaya, mango, pineapple
3 ice cubes

We usually also put in a bunch of add-ons such as yoghurt (2 tablespoons), some sort of protein powder like hemp, flax, etc (1 scoop). For an extra decadent smoothie, add a scoop of ice cream....

Smoothie ingredients