Archive for ‘Yang’s Favorites’

August 20, 2014

Molten Chocolate Cake with Nutella Lava and Raspberry Coulis

IMG_4505

This spectacular dessert will satisfy even the pickiest eater. It’s also a perfect Valentine’s Day or birthday dessert. The only special equipment you need are the molds, which are useful for crème brulee, soufflé, panna cotta, and holding ingredients while you cook. Be sure not to overcook the lava cake in the oven – the cake will continue to cook even after you take it out of the oven, so if you overcook, your lava will turn into cake!

The Nutella core is my own addition to the recipe (because why not?), but if someone has nut allergies or opposes, feel free to experiment with other flavor combinations. Some flavor combinations that you could play with: peanut butter core with chocolate drizzle + sea salt + roasted peanuts; mango puree core with coconut cream + toasted coconut flakes; pear puree with caramel drizzle; pistachio cream with dried cherries… The combinations are endless! For more flavor combinations, I highly recommend The Flavor Bible – an essential reference guide for any home cook that will help you develop intuition for flavors that go well together. It’s great for when you have one ingredient and want to see what goes well with it.

Adapted from Jean George’s famous molten chocolate cake recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 7 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Serves 4

For the raspberry coulis

2 1/2 cups fresh/frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
zest of 1 lemon – grated (optional)

Puree raspberries with sugar, zest and lemon juice in a blender, food processor, or handheld blender.

Optional: If you don’t want any seeds, pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.

IMG_4479

For the lava cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more to butter the molds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, the best you can afford (do not use milk chocolate, the fat content is too high so the recipe won’t work)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 teaspoons flour

butter and cocoa powder for dusting the baking dishes
confectioners sugar for sifting on at the end (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

IMG_4470 IMG_4471 IMG_4472 IMG_4477

2. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Add the espresso powder and vanilla at the end and stir to combine.

IMG_4474

3. While that’s heating, beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light, thick and glossy.

IMG_4482 IMG_4483

4. After the chocolate has cooled a bit pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.

IMG_4475

IMG_4485 IMG_4489

5. Butter and lightly cocoa powder four 4-ounce molds, custard cups, or ramekins. Tap out the excess cocoa powder, then butter and cocoa powder them again. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before baking.)
IMG_4493 IMG_4494

5. Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.

6. Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Spoon the raspberry coulis over the cake and around the plate in a decorative way. Serve immediately with some vanilla ice cream.

IMG_4499 IMG_4495

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

Advertisements
August 13, 2012

Oatmeal Date Bars

Use the best-quality dates you can find! Fresh medjool dates are my favorite and they worked perfectly in this recipe. Store in an airtight container, the bars will keep for a couple days.

 

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Total time: 1 hour, largely unattended

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan.

3. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

4. Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl; stir to blend.

 

5. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps form.

6. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture over. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture; press gently to adhere. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve.

 

Happy Eating!

 

Love,

Yang

August 13, 2012

Whole Roasted Trout with Thyme, Lemon, and Garlic

This is a simple and beautiful dish that is so easy to make. Roasting in foil packets minimizes cleanup. Instead of trout, you can use salmon, halibut, catfish, striped bass, rockfish, branzino, etc. Instead of thyme, you can also use fresh parsley, basil, rosemary, dill, and/or tarragon. A perfect weekday dinner, serve with rice (or any whole grain) and a fresh salad.

Advance preparation: You can prepare the fish and make the foil packets several hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until shortly before cooking.

Total time: 15-20 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10-15 minutes, unattended

Serves 1-2

Adapted from Recipes for Health

  • 1 whole rainbow trout, boned
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 bay leaves (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Grease the foil with olive oil so that the fish doesn’t stick to it when roasted. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and open it out flat, skin side down.

3. Place the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and a couple lemon slices down the middle of the trout, and fold the two sides together. Drizzle some olive oil over the fish.

4. Making sure that the trout is in the middle of each square, fold up the foil loosely, grabbing at the edges and crimping together tightly to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking one of the packets after 10 minutes. The flesh should be opaque and pull apart easily when tested with a fork.

5. Place each packet on a plate. Carefully cut across the top to open it, taking care not to let the steam from inside the packet burn you. Gently remove the fish from the packet, and pour the juices over it. Serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 10, 2012

Kung Pao Tofu

This is NOT the Americanized version of this classic Sichuan dish: this is the real deal! You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor. If you don’t have both dark and light soy sauce, you can just use 2 tsp of the soy sauce you have.

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 2

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 16 ounces dou gan or extra firm tofu
  • 2 to 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 5 to 6 scallions, roughly chopped, plus some thinly sliced scallions for optional garnish
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • At least 10 dried red chilis (add more for more spice)
  • 1 tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns (or ½ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns)
  • At least one handful of dry roasted peanuts

Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water

Sauce

  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp dark Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chicken stock or water

1. Cube the tofu and mix in the marinade ingredients. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. If you haven’t done so already, mince the garlic and peel and slice the ginger. Roughly chop the white parts of scallions, and thinly slice the green parts for garnish (optional.) Either leave the dried chilis whole, or slice them in half and take out as many seeds as possible.

3. In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. (Note: Different brands of soy sauces vary in terms of saltiness, so taste your sauce. If it’s too salty, add some sugar and water to dilute.)

4. Heat a wok with oil over high heat. Before the wok begins to smoke, add the chilis and Sichuan peppercorn. Stir-fry briefly until the chilis are slightly blistered and oil is slightly fragrant.

5. Add tofu and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

7. Pour in sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients.

8. When the sauce is thickened and shiny, stir in peanuts.

9. Transfer to plates, garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 9, 2012

Basil Pesto

Basil pesto is a staple everyone should know how to make: it’s versatile (put it on eggs, pasta, risotto, fresh vegetables, chicken, sandwiches, wraps, stir it in a soup, etc.), it’s delicious, and it’s EASY!

Tip: Fresh pesto will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two. You can also make a big batch and freeze it for several months in ice cube trays. Use the pesto “cubes” as needed. If freezing, don’t stir in the cheese; stir in the cheese by hand just before serving.

Time: 5-15 minutes

Makes about 1 cup

Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything

  • 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed and dried
  • ½ to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or more
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)
  • salt, to taste

1. Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts and about half the oil in a food processor or blender (or mortar and pestle).

Pine nuts

Toasted pine nuts

Quality extra virgin olive oil

2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container occasionally, and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add additional oil if you prefer a thinner mixture.

Pesto!

3. Stir in the parmesan by hand just before serving.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 6, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter

Ok, I didn’t make this pasta (it’s from DC’s Eastern Market), but it’s fresh! This is a delicious and comforting fall recipe and it can also be a quick weeknight recipe because it’s versatile: you can use any type of pasta you want!

Tip: If you don’t have a grater, you can shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano with a peeler.

Time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Mario Batali

  • Pasta, of choice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta.

2. While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a saute pan and continue cooking until golden brown color appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter.

3. Add sage leaves and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and set aside.

4. Drain the pasta, but leaving some cooking water, and gently pour into saute pan and return to heat.

5. Add the cheese, toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 2, 2012

Raspberry Mint Limeade

I like lemonade, but I LOVE limeade. This drink is refreshing, good for you, gorgeous, and perfect for summer. Use fresh limes! To extract the juice more easily, cut the limes in half and microwave them for 30 seconds. Use more or less honey or sugar depending on how sweet you like it.

Adapted from An Hour In The Kitchen

Time: 20 minutes

Makes 1 quart

  • 1 cup lime juice (6-10 limes)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • ½ cup honey or sugar
  • 2 cups water

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

2. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve to remove seeds.

3. Serve over ice and garnish with mint and lime slice.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 2, 2012

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

This is a delicious and comforting weeknight recipe. You can use any vegetables you have on hand (I used sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and carrots). The measurements for the sauce are approximate and feel free to add more sugar, soy sauce, or vinegar, depending on how salty, sweet, or acidic you like it. The water is important to add because the sauce will thicken as it cooks, and it can become gummy if the water isn’t added in the beginning. As the tofu turns golden brown, you might feel tempted to stir, but don’t. Just let it sit and crisp up in the pan for 5 minutes, and check every few minutes to see if it’s golden brown. This is a simple stir-fry, but tastes phenomenal!

Hint: To peel ginger, place your thumb on the back of a spoon and apply downward pressure; the skin will come off easily!

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

SAUCE

  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter (Organics Old-Fashioned Creamy brand is my favorite!)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, (or white vinegar, or lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or honey)
  • dash of crushed red pepper or cayenne (optional, to add some spice)

TOFU & VEGETABLES

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 cups of vegetables (any kind!)
  • 2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • fresh basil (optional garnish)

1. To prepare tofu: Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Cut the tofu into ½ inch cubes.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer, without stirring, until the pieces begin to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then gently stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes more.

3. While the tofu is crisping, prepare the sauce: Whisk water, peanut butter, rice vinegar (or white vinegar), soy sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Taste it, to make sure it’s the way you like it.

4. When the tofu is golden brown on all sides, transfer to a separate plate.

5. Saute onions, ginger, and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetables, tofu and the peanut sauce and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, garnish with fresh basil, and serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

July 15, 2012

Dan Dan Noodles (擔擔麵)

A Sichuan favorite! Sichuan peppercorns are necessary in this dish and give it the characteristic “ma la” flavor. If you get the whole peppercorns, toast them slightly in a dry wok or frying pan before grinding them in a spice grinder. Ya cai or Sichuan preserved greens, which can be found in Chinatown markets, is also an important component of this dish, but they can be omitted if you can’t find them. The dish will still taste amazing!

Adapted from Red Cook

Total time: 40 minutes

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

1 lb. fresh Shanghai style noodles (if you can’t find fresh noodles, boxed spaghetti/noodles will suffice)

4 tablespoons light soy sauce (生抽)

4 teaspoons Chinkiang black vinegar

Chopped cilantro and scallion for garnish

Pork Topping

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 oz. ground pork

2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine

a pinch of salt

4 oz. Sichuan preserved greens (芽菜 ya cai) or pickled mustard (optional, only if you can find them)

Sesame Sauce

4 tablespoons sesame paste

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Chili Oil

5 tablespoons chili oil

1 tablespoon dried chili flakes

2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns (花椒)

1. Mix all the ingredients for the sesame sauce and set aside.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the chili oil and set aside.

3. In a wok, heat the vegetable oil until just beginning to smoke then add the ground pork. Stir-fry the pork until just cooked then add the rest of the topping ingredients and continue to stir-fry until the liquid completely evaporate. Set the topping aside.

4. Divide the sauce by putting one quarter of the sesame sauce mixture and chili oil into each of four bowls. Add one tablespoon of soy sauce and one teaspoon of Chinkiang black vinegar to each bowl.

5. In a large 8-quart stockpot bring four quarts of water to boil. Cook the noodles in the boiling water for about three minutes or until the noodles are just al dente. Divide the noodles into four portions and put them in each of the bowls. Top the noodles with one quarter of the pork and Sichuan preserved greens topping, and garnish with chopped cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately.

July 15, 2012

Poached Eggs with Rosemary Tomato Sauce

This is a great brunch recipe and very versatile. Other herbs and seasonings can be substituted for rosemary. Instead of tomato sauce, you can put poached eggs over toast, a salad, beans, pasta, rice, etc. Once you get the hang of poaching eggs, you’ll want to do it again and again! It’s a simple process and the result is beautiful. If you want to poach more than 2 eggs at once, use a bigger pan to avoid crowding or have 2 pots/pans going on at once.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 4

Rosemary Tomato Sauce

2 tbsp of olive oil

4 large tomatoes, chopped

½ onion, diced

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

Poached Eggs

8 eggs (2 for each person)

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1. Heat up a large sauté pan to medium heat.

2. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the onions and stir occasionally until they become translucent, 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes have cooked down, add the rosemary. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer.

4. Make the poached eggs: Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a small deep skillet or a pot. Add the salt and vinegar, and lower the heat to the point where it barely bubbles. One at a time, break the eggs into a shallow bowl or cup and slip them into the water.

5. Cook for 3-5 minutes, just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow the water to drain off for a couple seconds.

6. Season the rosemary tomato sauce with salt and pepper. When it’s the way you like it, spoon ¼ of it on a plate. Add 2 poached eggs on top. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

%d bloggers like this: