citrus water

DSC05086This is a citrus-infused water made with San Pelligrino sparkling mineral water. I cut up half an orange, half a lime, and half a lemon, poured the sparkling water over the fruit, then let it steep for one hour. Serve over crushed ice. The mineral water is slightly bitter so it goes well with the tartness of the citrus fruit. So refreshing!

strawberry pie with graham cracker crust

DSC05095

The glaze of this strawberry pie really is that ruby-jewel color! There is absolutely no food dye in this pie glaze, and the photograph is not photoshopped. I used to make this pie in the summer-time in Milwaukee, a long time ago when it was a two-newspaper town! So it brings back memories of college days, of friends and neighbors, and the children when they were babies.  So when I saw imported strawberries on sale for the unbelievable price of Baht 59 (US$1.60) per pint, well…As they say, food is memories.

Strawberry Pie with Graham Cracker Crust (adapted from: The Milwaukee Journal)

1 1/2 quarts strawberries, hulled and drained
1 cup sugar
3 -4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water

9” graham cracker crust
1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 tbl melted butter.

Make the crust: Pat crumbs into a pie pan and bake 10 minutes at 350 until golden brown. Cool thoroughly.

Crush 1 cup strawberries. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir in water and crushed berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring to boil. Reduce to low heat for 2 minutes. Mixture should be thick and translucent. Set aside to cool.

Place whole berries in pie shell, reserving the best for the top. Pour cooled glaze evenly over the strawberries. Chill for 2 hours at least. Serve with whipped cream or crème fraîche, if desired.

Crème Fraîche
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek Style yogurt
2 tablespoons sugar

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Whip all ingredients until stiff peaks form.

café mocha mix

DSC05077I tried Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix recipe and liked it very much. I added a teaspoon of coffee to a cup I was drinking and liked that very much too. So, I made another batch and added powdered espresso coffee to the mix. The result has a smooth coffee-chocolate flavor. Recipes for mixes like these always say to add hot water to the powdered mix, never the other way around. Why is that? If the water is very hot, won’t the mix dissolve regardless?

Café Mocha Mix (adapted from Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix, Food Network)

Ingredients

1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar (it tends to be sweeter at full strength)
1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk (low fat is recommended)
1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered espresso coffee
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
Hot water

Directions

Sift the powdered sugar. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. If it is lumpy, process in two batches in a food processor until smooth.

In a small pot or in a microwavable heat-proof cup, heat 1 cup of water.

Fill a mug one quarter to one third full with the mixture and pour in the hot water. Stir to combine. This can also be made with warm milk.

Seal the mix that remains in an airtight container as it keeps indefinitely in the pantry. In Bangkok where it is hot and humid, it is best to freeze the remaining mix in plastic one-quart bags or refrigerate it in a glass jar with a rubber sealing ring.

Review: Vie Ha Long, Piyarom, Phra Khanong, Bangkok

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Vie Ha Long used to be our favorite Vietnamese restaurant but then it changed locations and now, it has moved back. It’s like an old friend had come home.

Top left: Grilled sausage. It is placed in the center of a rice noodle that is then folded over with pineapple, green mango, young banana, garlic and chilies. I like to eat it with a sweet-sour sauce.

Top Right: Grilled pork. It’s eaten with a handful of vermicelli and a spicy sour sauce. It has a bitter charred flavor.

Bottom Left: Grilled chicken salad. Served on a giant black sesame-rice cracker, grilled chicken with a pomelo, basil and lemongrass salad. It has a strong herbal flavor and a delicious crunch.

Bottom right: Vietnamese Coffee Crème Brulée. Creamy, cooling to the tongue, crackly and crunchy! It’s also sweet and bitter all at the same time.

Review: BKK Bagel Bakery, Maneeya Center, Ploenchit, Bangkok

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Now this is a deli! Not quite a New York deli but not pretending to be one either–though there was a big poster of the Brooklyn Bridge just to establish its credentials.

Like a typical NY deli, it had the menu on a blackboard. There was the refrigerated case with pastries and cakes inside; I was disappointed not to see a display of meats, spreads, olives, capers, and pickles.  But, there in the case on top of the pastries,  preciously stacked and labeled, The Bagels, our raison d’être. Just what we came into the bakery to nosh! There was a selection of rye, cinnamon, wheat, plain, onion, sea salt, everything, sesame and poppy seed. But no raisin. I guess I can’t have everything.

Of course, we had to order the lox and cream cheese on an everything bagel. It came to the table, offered itself up to us innocently and openly, with capers, onions, a sprinkling of fresh dill on top of slivers of salmon, and a tiny piece of lemon on the side. It should have been a quarter.  The bagel had been warmed, it was chewy, just the way I like it, but not as fat as the ones we used to get in New York.

This was not Broadway’s Absolute Bagel, where the bagel comes to you in a paper bag by the end of the line. This is a Bangkok-style bakery after all; it has a little class. Our bagels were brought to us on a plain white ceramic plate by a wait-person. And there is silverware at the table, not plastic.

After the bagel, we tried the deep dish apple pie. It was tart with a sugar crust, but then, apple pies are not unusual here. A good bagel, though, is worth the hunt. For that privilege, we did pay New York prices. The bagels we ordered were US$7.00 each, and the apple pie was $4.00. But for a bagel fix, I’d go back there again.

Review: John’s Shophouse Deli, Onnut Soi 2, Phra Khanong, Bangkok

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If you’ve ever been to a true New York deli,  you’d expect a well-stocked refrigerated case of cold meats, a variety of spreads, egg and chicken salad, plus all kinds of fresh breads and bagels. John’s Shophouse Deli has none of that. It’s a pub. Talk about a cultural misunderstanding!

Andy had the Philly Cheese Steak, and while it was bulging with meat, it was very skimpy on the American cheese, the prime ingredient of a cheese steak. I ordered the mince pie with peas. The pie was flavorful enough (the usual suspects: just salt and pepper). Although the mashed potatoes were made with real potatoes, they lacked the flavor that comes from milk and butter. The gravy was a gelatinous brown. What more can I say? And the peas were of a dull green that announced “we’re canned, folks!”

Two stars for an original name.

chicken Mosburger on a rice bun

DSC05057Mosburger, the Japanese version of McDonald’s, offers a version of the American hamburger with pork on a rice “bun”–a patty made from sticky rice. In this version, an open face sandwich, I have topped the rice patty with boneless fried chicken breast topped with Japanese curry sauce. This is another quick meal that’s easy to prepare; a one-skillet meal that I made on my one-burner induction cooker.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes

Ingredients
1 boneless skinless chicken breast sliced in half horizontally
salt and pepper
Rice bran oil
1 1/2 cups cooked sticky rice (glutinous rice)
1 package Star Chef Japanese Curry Sauce with Chicken
Your choice of vegetables for garnish: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, etc.

In a medium bowl, add the sticky rice and 1 tablespoon water. Make patties. Oil your hands so it is easier to pick up the rice and make patties. To make each rice patty, gather up in your hands about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice and press it into a mold or the bottom of a shallow 4-inch bowl to shape it. A Chinese rice bowl is the ideal shape for this. Tip out the patty and place on a plate while making the rest of the patties. This makes about four 4-inch sticky rice patties.

Slice each half of the chicken breast into two, so that now you have 4 quarters. Season with salt and pepper. On high heat, fry chicken breast pieces in 2 teaspoons oil for about 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Set aside. Don’t clean out the skillet.

Fry each patty in the chicken fat  remaining in the skillet until brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip and fry the other side. Set aside.

Make the Star Chef Japanese Curry Sauce according to package directions.

To assemble, place one fried rice patty on a plate. Top with a chicken breast piece. Liberally spoon the curry sauce on top. Garnish with whatever you like: tomatoes, sweet peppers, lettuce, etc. I used chopped scallion and cilantro, a bit of sweet yellow pepper–and I put the tomatoes on the side.

pork fajitas: ready in fifteen minutes

DSC05054To make this in 15 minutes I used extra thin slices of pork a few spices and a skillet.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

1x8oz. package of sliced pork or pork tenderloin slightly frozen and sliced super-thin
Juice of 1 medium lime
1/2 a large onion, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons oil

Place the lime juice, onion, garlic, hot sauce and cumin in a medium bowl. Add the meat and toss to coat.Heat the oil in a skillet and stir fry until the meat is just cooked and no pink remains. Serve on warmed tortilla wraps with lettuce, tomatoes, and slices of sweet bell pepper.

2

mochi moon cake

DSC05046At this time of year, moon cakes make their appearance in the shops in celebration of the traditional Chinese mid-autumn festival. A variety of moon cakes are available to suit every taste, including durian, chestnut, and sesame. But this one is my favorite. It is a mochi moon cake, a scoop of chocolate ice cream encased in a sweet rice dough that the Japanese call mochi. It’s cold, sweet, and chewy!

broccoli cheese pie, october 9, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Pie

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray a 9 inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Sprinkle with whole wheat breadcrumbs and tilt the plate to coat the bottom and sides.

Add eggs, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. And I forgot to add one thing. Do you know what it is yet?

Chop the onion, ham and broccoli florets. Blanch the florets in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water to stop the cooking process and to keep that bright green color.

Add 2 slices of cubed bread to the egg mixture. Still don’t know what I forgot yet. Hmm. I used the Texas Toast bread I bought at Trader Joe’s to make the breading for the center cut pork chops. I froze the rest of the loaf and just take out what I need.

Fry the onions and ham until the onions are wilted and fragrant. Yum.

Combine the bread-egg mixture with the blanched broccoli and the ham and onions. Still haven’t figured out what I forgot yet?

No, it’s not the cheese. I remembered that.

Doesn’t it look dry? Yikes. I forgot the milk! I poured everything out and added the milk to the mixture. This meant I had to wash and dry the pie plate. Then spray it again with cooking spray and dust it with breadcrumbs. Then I poured the mixture back into the plate and as an after thought, sprinkled the top with seasoning salt. Then I put the pie in the oven. And crossed my fingers.

After 50 minutes in the oven, the eggs had set and the top was golden brown.

This is why I like glass plates. I can see the sides and the bottom. I let the pie rest for 5 minutes before cutting it into wedges.

The broccoli cheese pie makes a great breakfast by itself or, if served with a side of salad becomes a light brunch or lunch.

Of course, you have to serve it with Sriracha Sauce on the side. Everything tastes better if it burns the palate. Here’s the list of ingredients, and if you forget the milk, you can always add it at the last minute!

Broccoli Cheese Pie (from: eating well.com)
2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
cooking spray
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (This is too conservative. Feel free to add more)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups zero percent milk
2 cups cubed bread (the hearty kind, as America’s Test Kitchen likes to point out)
3 cups broccoli florets
1/3 cup diced sliced ham (Canadian bacon in the original recipe)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup grated Cheddar-Jack cheeses (can substitute any low fat low calorie cheeses)
Seasoning salt, optional