Sunday, August 26, 2012

French Toast?? XD

  Believe it or not? This was the first time a made French Toast! XD I never tried this recipe until I saw the it from a book "How to Cook Everything - The Basics", it is a great book, many things to learn. At here I'll show the variations and tips of the recipe from the book.


French Toast
Ingredients:
8 slices bread
2 eggs  
1 cup milk  
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon sugar, optional  
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional  
2 tablespoons butter, or probably more

Directions:
1.      Put a nonstick pan, over medium-low heat while you prepare the egg mixture for soaking the bread.
2.      Crack the eggs on a flat, hard surface and open them into a wide, shallow bowl large enough to hold a few slices of the bread. Whisk in milk, sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
3.      Soak the bread well with the egg mixture.
4.      Put a pat of the butter in the skillet. When it stops foaming, lift a piece of bread from the egg mixture and let it drip off, then transfer it to the pan. Repeat soaking and transferring the bread until the skillet is comfortably full; don’t overcrowd or the toast will be hard to maneuver and won’t brown properly.
5.      Cook each piece until nicely browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes for each side, adjusting the heat if necessary to keep the bread from burning.

Variations
  #3 Ways to Vary French Toast      
1.   Instead of vanilla, flavor the custard with a pinch of ground cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, or nutmeg.   
2.   Press sliced almonds or unsweetened grated coconut onto the top of the bread before transferring it to the skillet.   
3.   While the toast is staying warm in the oven, melt a little more butter in the skillet and cook some sliced apples or bananas for 2 to 3 minutes and serve them on top of the toast.

Tips       
#   Buttery, eggy breads like challah or brioche make soft, custardy French toast with crisp outsides. For something heartier, try a whole grain loaf. Airy loaves with big holes work only if you cut them 1 to 2 inches thick.    
#   Slightly dry stale bread is ideal here, because it soaks up the egg mixture like a sponge. Fresh bread is okay too, but dry the slices on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven for a few minutes if you have time.    
#   Topping ideas: fresh berries, yogurt, maple syrup, jam, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or a drizzle of molasses

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pasta alla Carbonara!

  Speaking of the etymology of Pasta alla Carbonara (created in 20th century), Carbonara in Italian which means "Charcoal Burner". I believe this dish was created as a hearty meal for the charcoal workers. In another way of saying, dashes of black pepper in this dish looks like ashes from charcoal working place XD
  In my little edition, I divided the amount of the bacon and used ham instead, so it should be 1:1. Moreover, I broil the bacon and ham in the oven instead of searing it, for about 30 minutes, it worked pretty nice too.


Pasta alla Carbonara
Ingredients:
½ lb bacon
2 eggs
Black pepper at least 8g (or to taste)
½ cup grated parmesan
160g cooked pasta
3 tbsp Pasta water
Parsley for garnishing, optional

Directions:
1.      Sear bacon on low heat until crispy, set aside. Reserve the fat that released from the bacon.
2.      Whisk the eggs, black pepper, fat from bacon and parmesan together. And 3 tbsp of pasta water.
3.      Mix pasta with the cheese mixture and bacon altogether.
4.      Garnish with parsley and sprinkle more black pepper and parmesan cheese if needed.

*Don't add the cheese mixture into the spaghetti  while it's too hot, only if the pot is warm to touch then go ahead. Or, you can mix them in a big serving bowl and cover up with a lid for a few minutes before serves.

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino aka Spaghetti with Garlic and Chilli Pepper Oil!!

  Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (Spaghetti with Garlic and Chilli Pepper Oil), a humble dish from Naples, Italy. Almost every pasta themselves have been called a dish of the poor, as for this dish in this post is the dish of the poorest of the poor.
  It is very easy to make, especially for someone who don't cook, however, it is very delicious and tasted fresh. I like this dish even though it's called a dish of the poor, or even of the rich, as long as it is delicious :)


Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino
Ingredients:
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced into pieces
2 chilli pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp lemon juice
Some parsley, chopped (or some chopped cilantro)
320g cooked spaghetti
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1.      Heat oil in a pan on low heat, cook garlic and chilli pepper in the oil slowly until fragrant.
2.      Season with salt and pepper.
3.      Mix with cooked spaghetti, and then add lemon juice and parsley or cilantro.

* MUST have patients to cook the garlic and chilli pepper slowly on low heat.
* If you like it taste a little wet, add some pasta water. It is delicious as well.

Pasta alla Norma

  Pasta alla Norma is one of the famous dish in Sicilian Cuisine. This pasta was made specially for Vincenzo Bellini, an opera composer, and was named after one of his opera-- called Norma, in 1831.
  Nowadays, this recipe had changed a bit, some added zucchini or bell pepper. Importantly the significant ingredients in this recipe are eggplant, tomato and ricotta cheese.


Pasta alla Norma
Ingredients:
150g eggplant, sliced
1 tsp lemon juice, mix with a little bit of plain water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced into pieces
1 onion, diced
100g/½ cup tomato sauce
Basil, appropriate amount
150g ricotta cheese, grated
3 tbsp pasta water
160g cooked pasta
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1.      Dunk the sliced eggplant in lemon juice, about 10 seconds at least, take out and dry up with paper towel.
2.      Grill eggplant on a grill pan or broil in the oven.
3.      Heat olive oil in a pan on low heat, sauté onion and garlic until soft.
4.      Turn the heat to medium, add in tomato sauce and pasta water and cook for awhile.
5.      After that, add eggplant and stir well.
6.      Add basil and season with salt and pepper.
7.      Mix the sauce with pasta, and sprinkle cheese on top while serving.

*Dunking eggplant with lemon juice may prevent oxidation.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

3 Traditional pasta will be shown here soon!

  These are the well-known pasta, which everyone may knew about them, but I'd like to share and introduce them to more people who haven't know them yet :)
  I was into pasta recently because I read a book all about pasta, it's in Chinese actually but the recipes are very Italian, well of course in that book also shows something new, well it's not Italian's, however it looks delicious and very creative. I'll show them in this blog when I find my time and have enough ingredients for them.
  By the way, the food I made were a wee little bit changed since I had lack of the ingredients for it, but it worked out great too. Therefore, I'll show both the original one from the book and some additional ingredients I had used for reference.

Spaghetti alla Norma

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino - Spaghetti with Garlic & Chili Pepper Oil

Spaghetti alla Carbonara (I bet this is the most famous one in these three compared Xb)