Sunday, March 24, 2013

Coconut Rice Pudding in a Rice Cooker

I discovered the joy of rice pudding on my first cruise when I was 8 (incidentally, that was when I discovered I liked food in general, which also happened to coincide with me getting fatter...). It was rich. It was creamy. And it had cinnamon, God's gift to mankind.
I've made rice pudding many times, which always entailed me being chained to the stovetop for an hour, stirring constantly, so the bottom wouldn't burn. But in my ongoing quest to take culinary shortcuts as a busy med student, I decided to try making rice pudding in a rice cooker. After all, it's just like making porridge, right?

After reading horror stories of rice cookers blowing up with their contents, I tested out a small portion...and it turned out fine.

1 cup milk (or half and half/heavy cream)
1 cup coconut milk
a little under 1 cup of rice
1/3 cup sugar
1 additional cup of milk (optional)
mangoes, diced

Put milk, rice, sugar, and cinnamon in a rice cooker. Cover and cook until rice is done (when the rice cooker beeps).

Add remaining 1 cup milk to give a more liquid consistency.  Can refrigerate before serving or serve warm. Add mangoes.

Note: This is a small batch and my rice cooker is really small, but you may want to keep an eye the first time (ie don't take a long nap) since milk is frothy and you want to make sure your rice cooker doesn't explode spill over.
Ok, fine, I also wanted to show off my new mini glasses.

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A Cure-Any-Horrible-Flu Tomato Basil Soup

So I've been stuck with a horrid flu, and my go-to tomato basil soup from the amazing Ina Garten will do the trick! Tomato basil is arguably my favorite American soups...roasted tomatoes, basil, and red peppers? Can't beat that combo and it's full of lycopenes too! Those salty, runny tomato basil soups in a can or from restaurants just can't compare to a freshly homemade batch.
So, as a random aside, I didn't have chicken stock, but I boiled some chicken dumplings --> problem solved

Instead of a food mill (who has those!?) I used my blender to blend the soup (no different from a smoothie...tomatoes are fruits after all!) right before I ate each serving--> problem solved II. I'm so clever!


4 tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
olive oil
salt and black pepper
chopped yellow onions 
garlic cloves, minced
crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) canned plum tomatoes,
fresh basil leaves
chicken stock or water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes and roast for 35-40 minutes.

In a stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with olive oil and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 30- 40 minutes.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shrimp Pad Thai

I always wanted to make Pad Thai --I had limes, shrimp, cilantro, and rice noodles to kill in my fridge. From allrecipes (with lots of changes to accordingly make it "authentic" as suggested by the comments.) This version is not as creamy and heavy as the ones you get in the restaurant.
Ok, *ahem* the real reason I made Pad Thai: I bought new pretty rectangle plates that I was dyyyying to test out. And, yes, that is scrapbook paper from my room decoration. 

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/8 cup fish sauce
4 tablespoons tamarind pulp
rice noodles
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
vegetable oil
soy sauce
eggs/egg whites
firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch strips 
ground peanuts
chopped cilantro
crushed red pepper
black bean chili sauce
fresh bean sprouts
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Pad Thai Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, blend sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and tamarind pulp.

Pad Thai: boil rice noodles in cold water until soft; drain. In a large skillet or wok over medium heat, warm oil and add garlic and eggs; scramble the eggs. Add tofu and soy sauce and stir until well mixed; add noodles and stir until cooked. Add red pepper, black bean chili sauce, and jalapeno

Stir in Pad Thai sauce, stir in peanuts. Remove from heat and add cilantro. Serve with lime and bean sprouts on the side.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

(No Machine) Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

Ok, so this was a huge fail...normally I don't bother to keep recipes that aren't good, but is my reminder that I will concede ice cream making to an ice cream making machine. 
It all started when a fellow classmate started bringing ZOMG homemade ice cream and it tasted amazing! However, unlike him, I do not have an ice cream machine (and for the sake of my health/waistline, I do not planning on getting one). 

But, I was seduced by the supposed easiness of making it without a machine, and with some friends, attempted this recipe from a random blog I found.  I have no idea how this lady made her creation, but what I came up with was definitely NOT ice cream. It's so sweet, I feel like I'm eating condensed milk straight from a frozen can. With chocolate, almonds, and expresso...
1 can condensed milk
¾c heavy cream
¾c whole milk
6oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% chips, chopped)
¼c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
5 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, cream, and whole milk over medium heat. Whisking often, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Immediately, stir in bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder and whisk until very smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water, then pour into chocolate mixture.

Return saucepan to medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring almost constantly, until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, almond, and salt.

Pour mixture into a glass bowl. Let cool about 5 minutes before covering with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled, several hours or overnight. Mixture will be very thick.

To freeze, transfer chilled chocolate mixture into an airtight container. Press plastic wrap onto the surface, then seal with a lid. Freeze several hours until firm enough to scoop (this should only take about 2 hours, but you can do it up to a day before serving).

^ mine took waaay longer to freeze than 2 hrs, and it melts super quickly (in that I only got to take three pictures before it melted). So the very nature of my ice cream is alas, clearly, um, special.
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I'm-Asian-so-I-Make-Dumplings-From-Scratch Dumplings

My friend Lisa was appalled that I had never made dumplings from scratch before. Well...I just never did. This is why:

Parents immigrate to the US. They show up at the international society potluck for Dad's fellowship training bringing dumplings. 
Some doctor's wife: Oh my goodness! Did you make these dumplings yourself?!  
Mom: HAHAHAHA! No, they're frozen dumplings I boiled.

And you get the idea.

So us Asian girls decided to have a dumpling making party... even the skin is from scratch. It took some practice and a lot of girls, but we did a pretty fine job. Another thing I can cross off my Asian bucket list!


1 lb ground pork, beef, shrimp, etc
napa cabbage, finely chopped
1 egg
chinese chives, finely diced
cooking wine
salt and pepper, to taste
soy sauce, chili oil, vinegar to dip

Skin: Combine flour and water and mix to make dough. (Just eyeball...this is Asian cooking after all!) Knead. Roll dough into a log, cut small chunks and roll to make into tiny balls. Use a rolling pin to flatten into little wrappings.

Filling: Dice the cabbage and add salt to dry it out to avoid soggy dumplings. Dice chives and add that along with the cabbage to meat. Add cooking wine, egg, and salt/pepper to taste. Combine.

Put a small amount of the filling in each wrapping. Pinch the skins so it doesn't come apart. Make sure the skins are very thin. Put in a boiling pot of water until the dumplings float, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
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Key Lime Pie Raspberry Mousse

To celebrate our 2 year anniversary, Bryan and I went to Mark's, described by Bryan "as the most critically acclaimed restaurant I've ever been to." The menu changes every single day. All the food was amazing and just beautifully presented, but the dessert was DIVINE (and the main reason I was there)! It was a key lime pie with a raspberry mousse on top, with elegant chocolate shapes and other I don't know what it was except deliciousness stuff on the side.
I immediately tried to replicate it, of course. The key lime portion turned out fine...but the mousse was too airy. I think the restaurant's version had something more dense, rather than whip cream base. I shall try again!

Key Lime Pie:
graham cracker crust (bought or homemade)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
grated lime zest
4 egg yolks

Raspberry Mousse:
raspberry jam or raspberries
whipped cream (bought or homemade)
1/2 pack of gelatin
1/8 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In one bowl, beat egg yolks. In a another bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, and lime rind and combine with egg yolk. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Chill pie thoroughly.

Dissolve gelatin in cold water and dissolve. Stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into raspberry mixture. Refrigerate until slightly thickened, about 1 hour. Add raspberries to whipped cream and fold. Add on top of the key lime portion. Freeze until serving. (to keep the shape and avoid weeping from the key limes)

Notes: since I was pressed for time, I bought whipped cream. Maybe it's been such a long time since I've actually eaten store bought whipped cream, but it tasted different (and not in a good way...have you seen the number of weird fake ingredrients listed!?). Homemade whipped cream is infinitely better.
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