Sunday, August 29, 2010

Iron Chef Challenge: Taro!

My friend Karen is a fantastic chef and does her own iron chef challenge.  I was very excited to do this challenge with her.

The rules:
-- you find out your secret ingredient at noon
-- you must come up with four dishes, buy everything, and cook by dinnertime.
-- The catch: you cannot look up any recipes or cookbook

I came up with several potential secret ingredients and mom selected taro to be secret ingredient. Initially, I was like "omg, wait...taro... TARO?? This is gonna be so hard!" when I realized neither of us ever cooked with taro before. I've never made up my own dishes, but fortunately, I've been cooking so much lately, it wasn't too bad coming up with stuff. I LOVE taro and it's a versatile ingredient.

#1 vegetable chips with tempura sauce
Used 2 types of taro and 2 types of sweet potato, cut into slices, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and baked in oven 400 degrees for 40 min. Topped with black sesame seeds and served with tempura sauce to dip.

#2 mashed taro cakes with chili eggplant and green beans
I love dimsum taro cake with chili oil, which was inspiration for this dish. This is like the green beans and mashed potato side, excep Asian.

Taro portion: 
Boil taro for 15 min, and mash, adding a little milk to make smoother. Add cilantro, garlic powder, salt, pepper, green onions. Sautee shrimp (used same pan as the one used for vegetables for flavor), dice and add to taro. Dice Chinese pork BBQ and also add and mix
Vegetables portion: 
Sautee green beans and eggplant with vegetable oil, cooking wine, soy sauce. Add sambal balado chili relish (chili paste introduced to me by my neighbor, apparently chili pepper or green chili is blended together with garlic, shallot, red or green tomato, salt and lemon or lime juice, then sauteed with oil). Add water chestuts.

#3 Watercress Pork Rib Stew with Taro Gnocchi
Boil pork ribs, taro, carrots, onions. Add salt to taste. Add taro gnocchi and watercress, cover lid and let simmer.

Taro Gnocchi: (Gnocchi is a potato dumpling), mix mashed taro (boil beforehand), green onions, salt, pepper, garlic powder, milk, flour. Roll into ovals/balls and drop in boiling water to cook (they sink initially but will float to top when done)

#4 Taro Buko Banana Pie
3 cups taro, boiled and mashed
1/3 can coconut milk
1 cup shredded coconut meat
1/3 cup can condensed milk
2 small bananas (1 mashed, 1 to decorate)
1 egg
pie crust

Preheat oven and bake piecrust for ~10 min

For filling, boil taro and mash in saucepan (3 cups). Add coconut milk (1/3 can), condensed milk (1/3-1/2 cup), shredded coconut (1 cup) and stir over heat to thicken. Add mashed banana (adjust amount of banana so just hint of flavor). Temper with 1 egg by adding some taro filling to whisked egg, mix to heat egg, and add egg mixture slowly to saucepan so egg doesn't scramble. Stir until thick. To adjust consistency you can probably add coconut juice or evaporated/regular milk (our coconut meat had some ice)

Add filling to piecrust and bake for another 20-25 min, until crust is golden brown. Slice banana and use to garnish.

Notes: Afterwards I googled taro pie/pudding and nothing similar came up... I'm so delighted we came up with a new dish. I was hesitant about bananas, but it really added a nice depth of flavor.

Pie crust makes it look really pretty, but I actually didn't care for the crust (though I think maybe not we didn't bake it enough) The filling is great on its own without any crust, and I maybe could add tapioca.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Buko Pie

Done with my "hubby"/roommate Abe after scooping out tons of coconut meat. The pie turned out great; I may try it next time with evaporated milk (if so must add sugar). 

This was modified out of 3 diff recipes found online. I think we are starting to become real chefs :)

PS. Buko juice is amazing


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 tbsp cold water

2 1/2 cups shredded buko or young coconut
2/3 cup buko juice
1/2 generous condensed milk
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Make the pie crust. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt. Cut the shortening with 2 knives or with a pastry blender until texture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 tbsp of cold water to a portion of the flour mixture. Push to one side. Sprinkle another tablespoon of water to another dry portion. Push to one side.

Repeat until all flour mixture has been sprinkled with water. Make certain that you don't add more than a total of 2 tbsp. water. 

Fit the dough snugly on the 9 in pie pan. (did not make top crust) Prick liberally with the tines of the fork. Bake at 300°F to 10 minutes. 

Make the filling. In a saucepan, place shredded buko, buko juice, condensed milk, cornstarch, egg (tempered egg at end).  Cook in low heat until thick. Pour the hot filling over the baked crust.
Bake at 425°F for 20-35 minutes until brown on top
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Carrot Pineapple Cake

This was the reason I started a food blog. I couldn't find a delicious carrot cake recipe I once made and after searching through a zillion sites to no avail, I decided, "That's it! I'm gonna keep track of my culinary adventures." And hence, OCD was born. 

I made these into muffins rather than cake. I added more nuts, halved the butter in the icing, and reduced sugar. This is an amazing recipe from Ina Garten, one of my favorite chefs. 

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Cake: Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

Frosting: Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Assembly: Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with diced pineapple.
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Parsnip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sounds weird, but very good, parsnips are similar to carrots and tastes like carrot cake. From Ming Makes Cupcakes

I halved butter and sugar in icing. In the future I will add nuts for more deliciousness.

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
2 cups grated parsnips
1 tsp vanilla

4 oz. room temp. cream cheese
1/2 stick room temp. butter
1/2 lb confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cupcakes: Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 325 for 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting: Mix ingredients together by hand. Once blended, whip with an electric mixer until fluffy. Top with slivers of candied ginger and a sprinkle of brown sugar
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Zuchinni Quiche

First recipe for this blog and yay, it turned out amazing (I ate half of it immediately), so that's a good omen. From Real Simple.

If you want easy quick recipes, Real Simple is a great source. I remember when my mom first subscribed, I though it was the most boring "housewife/mother" magazine ever, but after reading it, it's really good and practical! I think in my college application for Stanford, I was probably the only one who put in the "favorite magazine and TV shows" section housewife things like Real Simple, HGTV, and Food Network. I guess Stanford liked my weirdness.

3 cups grated zucchini ~ 3 zuchinnis
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup grated provolone cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan. 

Spoon the zucchini mixture into a 10-inch round glass pie plate or metal pie pan that has been coated with vegetable cooking spray.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
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