Saturday, December 31, 2011

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Did I ever mention my love for cream of mushroom soup?

Yes, I am one of those who have no qualms opening a can of soup on a cold winter night. It wasn't until I want to try making green bean casserole from scratch that I discovered the ease of making cream of mushroom soup from scratch. Plus they taste so much better too when you make it fresh. And all the mushrooms you can add to the soup, if you are a mushroom lover like I am. Bliss.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
(Serves 4-6)

1lb mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of fat free half and half or light cream
4 Tbsp of butter
2 Tbsp of olive oil ( you can use all butter but I prefer to cut down on the fat)
6 Tbsp of flour
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and pepper till mushrooms have released all the moisture and you can hear the sizzle of oil in the pot again. (about 8 minutes).
2, Add in the garlic and onion. Saute till onion is translucent.
3. Turn the heat down to medium low and add in the flour. Cook for 3 mins till flour is no longer lumpy.
4. Pour in the chicken stock. Turn the heat up to medium high. Cook till mixture comes up to a boil, stirring constantly. You really do not want a lumpy cream of mushroom soup.5. Add in the half and half or cream. Keep stirring till mixture comes up to a boil.
5. Turn heat down to medium low. Continue to stir while soup is cooking. You will want to reduce this till soup has thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Dish out and serve warm.

Arroz Con Pollo

When the weather outside is start making dishes that warms you to the bone.

I have bought a box of Goya's Sazon seasoning with coriander and acchiote (annato) on impulse one day and have not do anything with it since. So I figure I will try to look for Spanish chicken and rice recipe....found one on the web which uses the Sazon seasoning. The flavor is really good which makes me wonder why it took me so long to use Sazon.

This is one of those one pot wonder meal that will make you go back for more and more. Everyone loves it and I am guessing it will be making plenty of appearance on the family's dinner table from now on.

Arroz Con Pollo
(My adaptation of Spanish Chicken with rice)

3lb chicken, bone-in (you can use a mix of white and dark meat or all white meat if you prefer)
2 cups of uncooked long grain rice
2 1/2 cup of chicken stock
1 Tbsp of Goya's Sazon seasoning with coriander and annato
1/2 Tbsp of ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 squares of chicken bouillion
1 onion, chopped
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil

Seasoning for chicken
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp Goya's Sazon seasoning with coriander and annato


1. Make the chicken stock. You can also use store bought chicken stock. I used the bones of a whole roaster plus a bag of wing tips we collected. Add in trimmings from an onion, one garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorn, scallion, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 Tbsp cumin, 1 bay leaf, and 1/2 Tbsp of Goya's Sazon seasoning. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour.
2. Strain the chicken stock and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, chopped the onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
4. Brine the chicken for an hour or so. Pat them dry. Sprinkle seasoning mix onto chicken.
5. In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add in chicken pieces in batches. Cook till brown, about 3-5 minutes per side.
6. Set the chicken pieces aside and finish browning the other chicken pieces.
7. In the same pot, add in onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute till onion is translucent. Add in rice, seasoning, oregano, cumin, and tomato paste. Stir to coat and toast rice till lightly brown.
8. Add in the chicken stock and chicken bouillon. Place chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover pot and turn heat down to low. Let cook for another 25 minutes.
9. Once liquid is fully absorbed, you can add in the peas and carrots, if using. Cover pot and let it cook on low for another 5 minutes. Stir to mix all the ingredients together. Serve warm.

Shrimp Scampi

The easiest meal ever, if you are cooking for one, two, three or more......

Really, how easy can this get? Boil the pasta, cooked the shrimp in a mix of butter, olive oil, garlic and some italian seasoning or freshly chopped parsley and oregano. This meal is so simple yet so good. I am in love...

Shrimp Scampi (Serves 3-4)
1lb jumbo shrimps (about 19-21 in a one pound bag)
2/3lb to 1lb of pasta, preferably angel hair or thin spaghetti
1tsp salt
4Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning or 1 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley and oregano
4 Tbsp olive oil

1. De-shelled the shrimps. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the teaspoon of salt into the boiling water. Add in pasta. Cook pasta according to directions (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside.

3. In a large pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add in garlic and shrimp. Saute till shrimp is cooked, about 5 minutes.

4. Add in pasta and stir till well coated with oil and garlic.
5. Add in the Italian seasoning or freshly chopped herbs.
6. Give it a quick toss and the pasta is ready to serve.
7. I threw in some grated romano cheese onto the shrimp right before serving. Yes, I know, I should not add cheese into my seafood as every Italian grandma will say. But I like it and it is my plate. This recipe is so simple yet so satisfying. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Warm Cinnamon Rolls

If you have ever tasted a homemade, fresh, hot off the oven cinnamon rolls, you will never want those sold in a plastic wrap or the mediocre bread dough rolled in cinnamon sugar that many baked goods retailers try to pass on as Cinnamon Rolls. Okay, maybe Cinnabon's once a year, but the pool of frosting they slathered on those buns can't be that good for my buns, can it?

So, twas the days leading to new year and I am on vacation. What is a girl to do but to indulge in her baking and cooking activities......and yes, I have been deprived of my hobbies in the name of work. With a little help from my trusted bread machine (you can do it by hand but I do have a bread machine), off to making cinnamon rolls. Once baked, the aroma of cinnamon sugar, butter and yeast filled the house with love and joy! The world should be filled with cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from The Joy Of Baking )

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 - 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) rapid rise yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) butter
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
3 large eggs

3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, cold (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or raisins (optional)
1 egg, beaten

Sugar Glaze:
In a medium-sized bowl stir together:
1 cup powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp milk (depending on how thick you want the glaze)


1) I used my bread machine to make the dough but you can also use a stand mixer or knead the dough by hand, if you have the time. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar, salt, and butter. Heat till butter is melted. Let it cool to 110F or put a drop of mixture on your wrist. It should feel warm, not scalding hot. Pour the mixture into the bread machine. Mix in the three beaten eggs, flour, and yeast. (Follow the manufacturer's direction). Turn the dough cycle on and let it mix and proof till cycle ends.

2) Once dough is done proofing, deflate dough. Place on a well greased work surface.

3) Roll dough out into a rectangle (approx 12x16).

4) In a bowl, combine all fillings ingredient except for egg.

5) Brush beaten eggs onto the dough. It will help to hold the filling ingredients in place.

6) Spread the filling evenly onto dough, leaving about 2 inches of the dough free of fillings.
7) Roll the dough towards you, gently but firmly, to form a log. Seal the edges.
8) Grease a 12-inch round pan or a rectangle pan.
9) Slice dough into 8 and place in pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till double in size. (45 minutes to 1 hour). Alternately, you can slice dough into 16 and place them in a large rectangle pan or 2 9-inch round pan.
10) Preheat oven to 375F or 190C. Dough should puff up to fill the pan. Brush top lightly with milk or cream to help browning. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till done.

11) Let cinnamon rolls rest for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let it cool for a further 5 minutes before drizzling the glaze over them. Glaze is optional but really...can there be too much sugar?
12) The cinnamon rolls came out light and moist. I will definitely recommend to divide the dough into 16 to get smaller cinnamon rolls. These babies were huge but then again, if you have cinnamon rolls lovers at home, who cares if these are of gigantic portion.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The 'real' belgian waffle-Gaufre de Bruxelles

 Got my new waffle maker for Christmas this year plus a ton of other presents from mum and dad, of course. This waffle maker of course, has been something I have wanted for a while now since the last one I have got rid of. The rotating waffle iron really does make a difference when you want to make true blue Belgian Waffle.

Twas the night after Christmas, operations Waffle dinner began. And it was delicious....
The waffle has a light airy texture, crispy on the outside, slight chew on the inside. We had two whole waffle leftovers and I heated them in the toaster oven the next day for breakfast. Delicious. Way better than those store bought frozen waffle.

Belgian Waffle Recipe
(Makes 6-8, depending on the size of your waffle iron)
2 cups of flour
8 Tbsp butter
1 3/4 cup of whole milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1Tbsp sugar

 1. Heat milk and butter in the microwave oven till butter is melted and milk is warm. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir to mix well.
3. Make a hole in the center. Add in milk and stir to combine. Add in beaten eggs and vanilla. Stir with a spatula till eggs mix and batter is combined.
4) Place a cling wrap over large bowl and let rest in the fridge overnight.
 5) The next day, preheat the waffle maker per manufacturer's instructions. Bring out the waffle batter. Stir with spatula to deflate the batter.
 6) Once iron is hot, pour in 3/4 to 1 cup of batter into the center of waffle iron. Let cook till golden.
7) Serve waffles with butter and maple syrup or with berries and cream, nutella, banana, and chopped nuts. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shoyu Chicken - Hawaiian Version of Chicken Teriyaki

Been a while since I blog. Too busy with work. Speaking of which, any easy to make recipe is good for weekday dinner these days and Shoyu Chicken is one of them. This chicken came out tasting so Oishii. A close friend of mine, Taka, is originally from Hawaii. He told me that this is the Hawaiian version of teriyaki chicken. There are of course plenty of variations out there on how to make the delicious Shoyu Chicken. However, I love Taka's recipe cos it is simple and so good. Make sure you cook plenty of rice with it. The teriyaki sauce is amazingly good with rice and vegetables.

Shoyu Chicken (Recipe courtesy of Taka)

8 pieces of chicken thighs with bone, or 3 large split chicken breast (about 2.5lb)

1/2 cup Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce or just use light soy sauce)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of water (I use mirin, Japanese cooking wine just because of I have it in the fridge)
1/2 large onion sliced thin or one whole small onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, grated

Sliced green onion and toasted sesame seed for garnish

1) Brine the chicken for 2 hours. Remove from brine and pat dry.
2) In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Immerse chicken into the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours. (Overnight is fine)
3) Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large baking pan, place the chicken, skin side up. Bake for 25 mins, basting with marinade occasionally.
4) In a small pot, pour remainder of marinade and heat to boil. Let simmer until sauce has thickened. (Note: I added another 1/4 cup of sugar to the sauce). Reserve for glaze and extra sauce for serving.
5) Glaze chicken by brushing teriyaki sauce over the chicken every 5 mins or so.
6) When the 25 minutes has passed, turn on the convection oven function. Let chicken cooked for another 8-10 minutes till skin crisp up a little and teriyaki sauce is caramelized.
7) Garnish with sliced green onion. Serve with rice and vegetable. Drizzle with more teriyaki sauce if desire.

Variation: Layer the pan with sliced onion and bell pepper. Place chicken on top of vegetables. You will have  teriyaki chicken with vegetables all ready for your meal.