Thursday, August 30, 2012

Green tea frappuccino

I'm a huge fan of green tea. I use green tea to make lots of desserts like green tea cream puffs, green tea pudding, or green tea ice cream. One day i found out Starbucks has green tea latte, which wasn't bad but I really love their green tea frappuccino. Tired of paying over $5 for tea, i decided to make my own.

Here is the recipe for you to try:
Serving: 2 people

I use this green tea (matcha)

6 teaspoon green tea powder (matcha)
2 ounces hot water
2 tablespoons vanilla-flavored syrup or 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
6 or 8 ounces milk
milk ice cubes (i put milk in the ice cube trays, the taste is much better)

1. Dissolve green tea in hot water.
2. Pour it into your blender. Add milk and syrup/sugar as you want, and blend thoroughly.
3. Make sure to add plenty of ice, and blend it until you have the perfect Frappuccino consistency.
4. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Chocolate cheese cake

I'm a fan of cheese cake but quite not as much as my hubby. He's a huge fan of cheese cake and he can eat 4 - 5 slices/day. Yesterday, i wanted to suprise him by making one. I know David also loves chocolate, so i wanted to make a chocolate cheese cake. It's the first time i made it and if i can do it, so can you. The cheese cake turned out so good though it's not too creamy because i reduce the cream cheese and whipped cream. Nobody wanna get fat right? lol.

Here is the recipe for you to try:
(Adapted from alot of recipes and i made some adjustments to my tastes :)
Serving: 8 people

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (chocolate) graham cracker (or chocolate cookie) crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • half a stick butter, melted
Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature) (normally they  use 3 - 4 packages cream cheese)
  • 1 1/4 cups organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour & 1 tbsp of corn starch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • A pinch of salt
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients (Optional): or you can buy chocolate frosting at any Groceries store.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground then transfer in a large bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, and 1/3 cup cocoa.  Add melted butter and stir until well mixed. Pat into the bottom of a 9-inch well-greased springform pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Let it cool in the refrigerator.

2. In a food processor (or you can use stand mixer/handmixer) add cream cheese, sugar, and salt; blend until smooth. With motor running, add eggs one at a time, then sour cream, flour and finally chocolate; blend filling until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Pour filling over baked crust.

3. Place the cheesecake in the oven on the shelf above the water bath, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees, and continue baking for 60 minutes.
With a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool, then remove the rim of pan. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

To prepare chocolate ganache: In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat, and add chocolate. Stir until melted, then set aside until thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Pour over the top of the cheesecake, and sprinkle with chocolate chips or chocolate shavings if you’d like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Filet Mignon with Fresh Herb and Garlic Rub. Served with crispy roasted potatoes

Beside seafood, Beef is another choice for our dinner. Yesterday, I bought really good Organic filet mignon and wanted to make Western style beef to surprise my husband. Actually, I cook Vietnamese food 4 days/week, so I take a break for 2 -3 days. Luckily, David loves Vietnamese food and he can eat a lot except dried shrimp, pork stomach, turtle soup, mam (salted). Enough talk, time for cooking now :-)

Here is the recipe for you to try:
Serving: 2 people

2 teaspoons minced garlic 
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil 
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (can use dried for substitution)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (can use dried)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 - 8 ounce Filet mignon or beef tenderloin steaks (1 inch thick), trimmed 
1tbsp Olive oil

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl; rub evenly over steaks.
2. Preheat oven to 425F.
3.  In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil and sear steaks on each side for 4 minutes.  Place the steaks on a baking sheet and put them in a 425 degree oven for 4 - 6 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks.

Making crispy roasted potatoes:

2 -3 big Idaho potatoes (Peeled & sliced)
4tbsp butter (melted)
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
dried thyme
dried parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix butter and olive oil together. Mix salt and pepper in another bowl.
3. Spray olive oil on a nonstick pan. Put in the potatoes, brush butter and oil mixture then sprinkle salt and pepper, then thyme and parsley.
4. Put the baking tray in the oven for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vietnamese sticky rice with chinese sausage, dried shrimp, pork floss (Xôi mặn)

Sticky rice with Chinese sausage, dried shrimp and shredded chicken is my favorite all time breakfast because it's yummy, easy and quick to make. Actually I've never been an oatmeal, cereal or even a pastry girl. I like my breakfast meaty and carby, that's why sometimes my husband worried about me when I'm starving to death, even though I'm surrounded by food.

Sticky Rice (Xoi) is one of those things that my mum used to make on special occasions like birthday, Tet (Lunar New Year) or death anniversaries because traditionally the sticky rice needs to steam for about 45 minutes in a steamer and you need to drizzle it with water and/or coconut milk. But that's just not my style. I prefer to cook something quick and nice. 

If you search the recipe for Xoi on the internet, you will find a lot of recipes out there, all of them will show you how to cook rice by soaking in the water for overnight, drain then steam it. My version is much quicker by using the rice cooker to cook sticky rice but it still comes out yummy. If you are busy and wanna try the new version, I think you will like it.

Here is the recipe for you to try
Serving: 2 people

  • 1 cup glutinous rice 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 links of Chinese Sausage, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 boneless chicken breast/thigh, cut into thin slices (Optional)
  • 2 tbs small dried shrimp, soaked in water for about 30min, then drained
  • Pork floss Ruoc/cha bong (Optional)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion thinly diced
  • fried shallots
  • 1.5  tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tbsp Olive oil 
  • 3tbsp of Coco Rico

1.  Wash and rinse the rice under cold running water. Then drain. Put the sticky rice, water + 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce, 1tbsp of Olive oil into a rice cooker. Cook until done.

2.  Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat, add the white part of green onions then stir until fragrant, add the Chinese sausage and stir for 30 seconds, add Coco Rico, reduce to low heat and simmer until it thickens (The coco rico makes the sausage juicy and yummy). Add dried shrimp, then stir for about 1 minutes, add salt, soy sauce and sugar to taste.

3. When the sticky rice is done, place it in a bowl. Add the sauteed mixture and mix well. When serving, top with pork floss (ruoc/cha bong) and fried shallots.

You can simply place it on a dish but I put the sticky rice on the banana leaves when it's hot. It's more fragrant and tastes good. It reminds me of my childhood.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Classic Tiramitsu in tiny glass

We love Tiramitsu. In Italian, It name literally means "pick me up". This perfectly describes the elements of this dessert - strong coffee with a caffeine hit, liquor, creamy mascarpone cheese, and the essential dusting of cocoa powder. Yesterday, my mom in law came over for dinner, so I decided to make chicken curry for main course and Tiramitsu for dessert. As i said, I'm a newbie in the kitchen and all the foods i posted here  are from my frist time, and if i can do it, so can you :)

The traditional way to make Tiramitsu using raw eggs makes me have some salmonella concerns, although i bought Organic, grad AA, cage free eggs - so I cooked the eggs in a double boiler. My husband doesnt like liquor except Amaretto, and this wine is perfect for my Tiramitsu.

Below is the recipe for you to try:
Serving 3people

1 cup mascarpone cheese (250g)
3 egg yolks
1 package ladyfingers
4 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons Amaretto (more or less to your taste)
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 cup strong espresso coffee, cooled
3 egg whites
cocoa powder or peeled chocolate (for garnish)

1. Combine egg yolks, 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of Amaretto in the top of a double boiler. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Keep on whisking the eggs mixture for about 10minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

2. Use a hand mixer and beat the mascarpone cheese with the egg mixture until smooth.

3. Combine the egg white, 2 tbsp of sugar, mix until the egg mixture becomse creamy and foamy then fold into the cheese mixture

4. Beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form; fold into the cheese mixture.

5. Dip the lady fingers in the coffee and Amaretto mixture (do not soak) and then lay them flat side down on the bottom of a glass that is about 2 inches high. Repeat until the bottom of the glass is covered. Sprinkle with the remaining grated chocolate or the cocoa powder. Cover the glass and refrigerate.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Boat

One day I didn't know what to make for dinner because we only had rice, ground pork, tomatoes, Zucchini, Shrimp & Mozzarella cheese left. So why not make Stuffed Zucchini boats? For the original recipe they used ground beef, breadcrumbs and beans but I had to substitute my own ingredients. The dish turned out so so great that my husband loved it so much.

Here is the recipe for you to try:
Serving: 2 people

4 medium Zucchini
1/2 lbs ground pork
1/2 lbs shrimp (chopped)
1small onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 can tomatoes paste (6oz)
1 Beefsteak tomato (chopped & removed the seeds)
1 cup of rice (cooked)
1 clove of garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Salt, pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking tray with the Olive oil spray (or use parchment paper). Cut the Zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Bake it for 20mins.

2.  In a bowl, beat the egg then mix together with the cooked rice and chopped tomato.

3.  Heat the oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Cook garlic and onion for 2 - 3 minutes then add meat and continue cooking for 4minutes over high heat, then add shrimp and Zucchini seeds for another 3 minutes. Add tomato paste then the cooked rice and chopped tomato mixture in the pan and continue cooking for 4minutes.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.

4.  Spoon the mixture of meat, shrimp and cooked rice into the Zucchini shells and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Reduce the heat of the oven to 375F and bake it for 15mins.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Matcha cream puff ( Bánh su kem trà xanh)

My husband and I love cream puffs and matcha (green tea)  so why wouldn''t we combine the two? As i said i did not know how to cook or bake before and I'm just a newbie in the kitchen, so i tried to find a matcha cream puff in NYC.  I finally found one at a Japanese's deli on East 41st Manhattan,  but the filling did not taste so good. It was not creamy and it was so bitter that i couldn't finish my cream puff.  I decided to make my own. If you are a fan of cream puff and matcha like us, this dessert is a must try.

Thanks to missus C and Xuan Hong (video in Vietnamese) for helping me get started.

Below is the recipe:

Making 18 - 20 cream puffs.


Choux Pastry:

1 cup milk or water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3  large eggs

1. In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, water and salt then bring to boil on medium heat. Stop the heat, Add flour in the butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir quickly until combined and the mixture comes together in a ball. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture leaves the side of the saucepan and forms at the bottom of the pan.

2. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Beat one egg at a time on a  mixer (low speed) till the mixture is stiff. 

3.  Pre heat oven to 400F, line baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough onto a greased baking sheet.

4. Bake at 400 F for 15mins, then reduce the heat to 350F and continue to bake for another 25mins. Try not to open the oven door in the first 15mins. 

5. Turn off the heat, leave the puffs cool. 

For the Filling: 

2 cup milk
1 tablespoons matcha powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs yolk 
1/2 cup sugar
2tbsp all purpose flour & 2tbsp cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Add milk to a saucepan and bring to boil.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tbsp of matcha powder in 3 tbsp of water. Whisk well.

3. In another bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is pale yellow in color. Add flour, and matcha mixture. Mix well.

4. Add hot milk into the egg mixture & stirring constantly.

5. Return the mixture back to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue mixing until it becomes smooth and glossy, then remove the saucepan from heat.

6. Transfer to a bowl to cool, cover with cling film and place in the fridge. Before use, gently beat cream using a whisk/fork until smooth and creamy. Add a bit of milk if it gets too thick.

7. Once the custard has cooled completely, using a piping bag with a small round tip or a teaspoon, fill with matcha custard. 

Salmon with Teriyaki & Siracha cream sauce

After reading a mouthwatering post " Stuffed salmon with siracha cream sauce" on the  Boogie Blog I decided to make this dish with some minor adjustments: I took out the cream cheese to reduce the fat (also, it's not my favorite ingredient).  If you love salmon and spicy, try this new combination! The sriracha sauce, mayo and condensed milk work great together, perfectly complimenting the salmon. Try both versions and tell me about it!

Here is the recipe for you to try.
Serving: 2pax

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
3 tablespoon packed brown sugar 
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoons honey

1. in a small bowl, combine cornstarch & water. stir until cornstarch is dissolved; set aside
2. in a saucepan, combine water, soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar & honey; bring to a simmer
3. when liquid is simmering & brown sugar has melted, add the cornstarch/water mixture & simmer until thick enough to coat a back of a spoon (do not overthicken!)

1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons condensed milk

1. in a medium bowl, combine Sriracha & mayo & whisk well
2. add condensed milk & whisk until fully incorporated; add more condensed milk for a milder taste & more Sriracha for a spicier taste

2 salmon filets
teriyaki marinade (recipe above)
sriracha cream sauce (recipe above)
green onions (thinly sliced)
sesame seeds
olive oil
1. in a baking/marinading dish, place salmon filets & add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup teriyaki marinade. let marinade reach about 1/2 of the sides of filets. marinade in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to overnight
2. preheat oven to 400 degrees. meanwhile, line a baking dish with parchment paper & lightly brush with olive oil; set aside
3. in the prepared baking dish, place salmons & sprinkle a nice amount of sesame seeds. cover the baking dish & salmon filets with another sheet of foil & bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until salmon is cooked then turn to broil for 4minutes. It made the Salmon look browned and more yummy.
4. after baking is done, place in a serving dish & drizzle with sriracha cream sauce & garnish with thinly sliced green onions. Served with mashed potatoes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vietnamese grilled banana sticky rice (Chuối bọc nếp nướng)

Grilled banana sticky rice is my favorite all time snack and it's a popular Vietnamese treat. It made of banana, coconut milk and sticky rice then grilled to perfection. It's crispy, smoky and fragrant. You then enjoy it with a lightly sweetened creamy coconut sauce and a pint of roasted peanuts. If you are new to Vietnamese snacks or dessert, this banana treat is a must to try. In Vietnam, vendors sell this dish on the streets and you can find it easily on the streets of Saigon.

It's impossible to find it in New York city. I've been craving it for years so I decided to make it at home.

Here is the recipe for you to try:
Serving: 3pax

1 cup glutinous rice (sticky rice)
1/2 cup water
1 can of coconut milk (14oz or 400ml)
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar
3 bananas, peeled (Try to get small, sweet. It's tastier)
banana leaves (You can find the frozen banana leaves at any Asian store)
roasted peanuts (garnish)


1. Peeled bananas. Put them in a bowl, add water and 3tbsp of sugar then soaked it for at least 2hrs or overnight.

2. Wash and rinse the rice under cold running water. Then drain. Put the sticky rice, water and 200ml coconut milk (1/2 can) + 1/4 teaspoons of salt into a rice cooker. Cooked until done.
Transfer the rice to a bowl. Then add 2tbsp of sugar and stir it thoroughly. Let it cool.

3.  Divide the rice mixture into 3 equal pieces. Form a handful of rice into a patty, place a banana in the middle and wrap the rice around the banana then wrap it in banana leaves. Repeat the same procedure for the remaining rice & banana.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grilled the banana about 10 mins on each side or until charred & fragrant. Remove from  heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.

5.  Preheat a medium pan with the rest of the coconut milk + salt + sugar. Cook this sauce for 3-5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

And tada.... Yum!

Good luck and enjoy :)