Monday, November 30, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I looked at the cookie pictures which my mother-in-law sent (check out yesterday's post), it made me want to bake cookies also.

I looked through the book "The Sweet Life" which I borrowed from library and see if I can make some cookies from the ingredients I have at home.

I found a recipe in the book for chocolate chip cookies and I had all the ingredients at home so I decided to make chocolate chip cookies.

It came out pretty good. It was crispy outside and chewy inside.

As you can imagine, it is quite sweet so I can only eat one at a time. Even though I don't drink milk just as milk lately, I think if you like drinking milk, these chocolate chip cookies are perfect with a cold glass of milk!

I added walnuts to some of them but I think I like it better with only chocolate chips.

I really like this book because it tells you a lot in details. Since I am a beginner baker, I need lots of details in instruction.

We have lots of chocolate chip cookies now at home. I don't think we can finish them all so maybe I will share them with my neighbors again :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My mother-in-law's Christmas cookies

My Mother-in-law sent me some pictures of the Christmas cookies she baked so I would like to share those photo with you.

She is a great cook and she is also excellent in making sweets. She always makes great sweets whenever we visit them in Germany. She is also very good at presentation.

She always make many different kinds of cookies when it get closer to Christmas. I think it is tradition and she always did this since my husband was a little boy. My husband used to help her bake cookies and those are his good Christmas memories with his mom.

Also, my father-in-law loves cookies so I can just imagine his happy face when he looked at those beautiful cookies :-)

Below are the photos of cookies she made. This made me want to bake some cookies also!

I found some good recipes in the book "The Sweet Life" which I borrowed from library so maybe I will try one of those recipes this week :-)

I don't know all the names for these cookies but it sure looks good!

The almond one is the one I bake every year with my husband. I am sure that we will be baking those cookies again this year. I will post it when we bake them :-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks giving Potluck Party

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we had a potluck party with some of our friends.

My husband made his famous Lasagna and I made California roll.

My California roll came out OK. I also had demonstration when people came and seemed like everyone enjoyed the demonstration of making sushi roll and also trying it themselves. Making sushi is kind of entertaining :-)

I love California roll and the best thing about it is that you don't need fresh sushi quality fish for this. You just need avocado and imitation crab!

So, people brought lots of great food also.

We had Potato soup which was really yummy and gave me a warm feeling inside :-)

Beef Kebab and Almond Pea rice with yogurt sauce. (Sorry, there is not picture of yogurt sauce) I love the combination of those. And the yogurt sauce was really really good!

For Dessert, we had custard pie (I forgot the real name of this dessert) and Tiramisu. Both of them were so good!

Oh, we ate so much! But that is what we do in Thanksgiving, right?

We ate from about 2:00pm until 9:00pm. After that, we went for a short walk at the beach. The walk was also nice.

I had a great Thanksgiving again this year and I am very thankful to have all these food and friends!

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving also.

Today is Black Friday and seems like many people are going for shopping. Now, it is time to think about Christmas and presents! Happy Shopping everybody!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Breast

Last night, I made "Balsamic Glazed Chicken Breast". I found this recipe at Food Network's web site under top 3 chicken breast recipe. Click here for the recipe on Food Network website.

I like all the ingredients in here so I thought I should like this dish and gave it a try. The recipe for 12 servings but we are just two people so I adjusted the amount and made with 2 chicken breast. It was easy and I loved the taste!

Good thing about it is that it finish in the oven so you can make it for many people and serve at a same time. (You need to pan fry them one by one before putting them in the oven, though)

The flavor of balsamic and red wine were great. I loved it. We ate them with pasta on the side. I think I could have eaten 2 pieces of chicken if I had.

Anyway, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I hope everyone is done with all the shopping for it. We are having a few people over and having a pot luck party. This year, we decided not to make Turkey because we did it last year and it was quite a hassle.

I am so excited about this party. We will be having many different dishes from different county and eat, drink and have fun!

I still need to go buy some stuff for tomorrow and get ready! A lot to do!

One thing I was surprised about is that on Friday after Thansgiving (which is called Black Friday), some stores open at 3:00am or 4:00am. I know it is like a biggetst shopping day of the year but I was shocked how serious everybody are about shopping.

Well, everybody Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Black Friday! For those who are going
shopping on Friday, please be careful :-)

Sausage & Bell Pepper, Onion and shiitake mushroom

This is our dinner from Monday. It is just Italian sausages and bell peppers, onion and shiitake mushroom. Sometimes I make this dish. This is something my former roommate used to make on weekend. It is simple and easy and good.

I saute onion and bell peppers really well so it is caramelized and taste excellent.

I cook sausage in a little bit of water in a pan then add vegetables and saute for a while because I want to cook though the sausages all the way. This trick I leaned from an Indian lady I used to live with. She taught me a lot of stuff and I am very thankful :-)

I added Shiitake Mushroom this time because I found them in a supermarket. They don't carry it all the time so if I see it in the store, I buy them. I love shiitake mushroom. It is very tasty mushroom. If you don't like mushroom, it might be too strong for you but if you like mushroom, you would love it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Tart

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!
On Sunday night, a friend of ours invited us over for a dinner at her place. So I decided to make a dessert and bring it. I thought about what I should make and remembered that there was a dessert book which I borrowed from the library. This book is called "The Sweet Life" and it has beautiful pictures of sweets. I look through the book and my eyes stopped at a page with "Chocolate Caramel Tart". I love Tart better than cake or pie and everybody loves chocolate plus I had all the ingredients in my kitchen so I decided to make this.

Well, I think I made this mistake before but I should have read through the recipe a few days before. Of course, I didn't. I thought "Well, the dinner is at 5:00pm. If I start at 11:00am or so there should be plenty of time to relax and get ready before we go.

So, I started around 11:00 am. Then, I realized that I have to rest the Tart dough in a fridge for at least 2 hours to overnight. I should have done this the night before! Then, after resting the dough, I line it in the Tart pan and had to leave it in the freezer for 30mins before even do the blind-bake. Then, you do the blind- bake which is 30mins with the weight and rest for 10mins and 15 more mins without the weight. Then, you can finally add the filling the bake.

Also, I run out of confectioner's sugar during the process so I have to send my husband to buy it. And this was my first time making caramel so I was not sure if I was doing everything right. I stand next to the stove, go back to the book and read again then back to the stove. I repeated this so many times. Therefore, it tool more time than I have expected.

So, my tart was out of oven at around 4:30pm. I am glad that I was able to finish it before 5:00pm. Luckily, her place was about 5 mins drive from our place so I had time to cool the Tart little bit.

Anyway, this chocolate Caramel Tart was a hit! Everyone liked it and I liked it also. I think it was worth the effort.

Good thing is that the recipe for the Tart dough is for two Tart so I have one more dough in the freezer, standing by. Next time, it will be much quicker because I don't need to make the dough.

Well, the dinner was awesome and we had lots of fun.

If you are interesting in the book I used, here is the link for the book on Amazon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Manhattan with Christmas decoration & Lebanese restaurant

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!
On Friday night, I went to Manhattan to meet up with my friend from California for dinner. The dinner was in Midtown so I walked around midtown a little bit before going to the restaurant.

Everywhere you see is already Christmas. Decoration for the stores are all Christmas and people were skating in a Bryant Park and Rockerfeller Center.

Christmas decoration at stores

Skating at Bryant Park

Skating at Rockerfeller Center

It was quite warm that day so many people were enjoying the skating.

I stopped by at the Magnolia Bakery to buy Banana Pudding before going to the restaurant. Click here for yesterday's post about Magnolia Bakery.

We met up at this restaurant called "Naya". It is a Lebanese restaurant. Ever since I went to this Lebanese restaurant in Germany this summer, I was searching for a Lebanese restaurant in NY. Click here for the post about Lebanese food I ate in Germany.

For Appetizers we had Babagonoush and Batata Harra.


Batata Harra

Batata Harra is a fried potato dish with some cilantro, garlic and some spices. It is super good! I remember having this dish in the Lebanese restaurant in Germany. I think this is something I have to order ever time when I go to Lebanese restaurant. I just love it!

For main course, I had Lamb dish. I had this Lamb dish back in August in Germany and I think this was the same dish. It is with ground Lamb in a tomato sauce and some vegetables. I would like it better if the onions on top was sautéed.

My friend had beef dish. It had some spices and tasted good but I think it will be better if there are some kind of sauce with it because it was little bit dry.

My husband had a Chicken dish. I think this was the best main dish of three. Chicken was juicy and the sauce was garlicky and good.

We also had dessert. This was some kind of pudding. It tasted like a flower. I think they use rose water for this dessert.

If you are interested in this restaurant, here is their website below. Please be careful when you open the site because the music will start when you go to their site.

Well, I really enjoyed seeing my friend again. She is a old friend of mine. I was friend with her older sister first and when she went back to France for summer vacation, I went to visit her in France. That's when I met her little sister. After a year or so, her little sister moved to the U.S. also and we started to hang out. When I was living in California, we used to go for a coffee and talk a lot. She is very friendly and down to earth but very smart. I like her a lot and I miss her a lot because ever since I moved to NY, we kind of lost in touch and we hadn't been talking for a few years. So it was really nice to see her again.

She has not changed a bit. Even though I have not talked to her for a while, I felt so comfortable talking to her. I hope she felt the same way. I really wish she live close by. She likes NY so I am trying to convince her to move to NY :-)

After dinner, we walked around the city since it was a nice night. I had a great Friday night. I really appreciate her to make time for me from her busy schedule. I hope I will see her again sometimes soon!

Magnolia Bakery's Banana pudding

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

Magnolia Bakery got really famous after they were in a episode of "Sex and the city" and they are famous for their cupcakes. But I really like their banana pudding.

Our friend brought this banana pudding one day and my husband and I really liked it. Every time when we go to Bleecker st, we see a long line in front of Magnolia bakery and we normally give up just by looking at the line.

The other day, I found out that they have stores in Rockefeller center and uptown. I was going to a restaurant in Midtown on Friday night with my friend from California so I decided to stop by at the bakery.

There was no line in front of the store so I went in. There were many people in the store but since they have a few different ordering windows for different kind of order, I did not have to wait to long to order. So I bought 2 banana pudding. One for ourselves and one for my friend because I wanted her to try it also.

Oh, I love this banana pudding. It is pretty rich so I can not eat them a lot at once but I just have a few spoons at a time and I am satisfied.

I highly recommend this banana pudding. If you have chance to come to NY, try this banana pudding!

I would love to re-create this banana pudding at home but I am not quite sure what kind of cream they use. I hope I can re-create this sometimes at home ;-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Japanese breakfast Dinner

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

My husband did not dinner last night so I made a Japanese breakfast dinner for myself. In my house, we always had Japanese traditional breakfast such as rice, miso soup, fish, egg etc. Now a days, many people eat bread or cereal for breakfast but I always had Japanese traditional breakfast when I was living with my parents.

Sometimes, I miss these Japanese breakfast. When I was eating them everyday, I did not think about anything but now I miss it sometimes.

I made rice with some different grains. It is quite popular in Japan now to add some different type of grains in your rice since it is considered healthy.

Miso soup is easy to make if you have miso paste. You can add different kind of vegetables in it. I had onion so I added onion and dried seaweed (wakame) and tofu in it last night. My miso paste is running out. I need to go get it sometime soon. I remember my mom used to make her own miso at home. She would boil soy beans and add some stuff and keep them in a big container and keep it in a cool place for a long time. I use miso paste from supermarket.

Since I did not make egg or fish last night, I made this vegetable dish which is called "Kinpira Gobou" Gobou is a popular root vegetable in Japan but I don't see it here much. In dictionary, it says "a burdock root". This is vegetable is considered pretty healthy in Japan and used for many kind of dishes. "Kinpira Gobou" is one of the most known dish for this vegetable. It is seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar. Also you add some red chili flakes and sesami seeds. In a Japanese supermarket, they sell this vegetable already cut and frozen. It is very convenient to have this in the freezer because I can not get this vegetable in a local super market.

The last but not least is "Fermented Beans". I know. It sounds horrible. And yes, it smells horrible. BUT it taste good! I mean I kind of grew up with it so I like it despite the smell. It is very popular in Japan. My mom never liked this fermented beans but my father, my sister and I would eat them so my mom has to suffer from the smell. (she hates it especially when she does the dishes). Even though this is smelly item, it is also considered very very healthy item. It is made from soy beans. I wonder how people came up with this. How brave of the first person who ate this smelly fermented beans. Anyway, I buy these in a Japanese grocery store and freeze it so I can defrost them and eat whenever I want to :-)

So, this was my dinner last night. Nothing special for the people who are Japanese but it might be interesting for the people who are not Japanese. These are very simple, healthy and easy Japanese dishes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thai Red Curry & Angel food cake failure

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I have realized that I have not made Thai curry for a while so I decided to make Thai Red Chicken curry last night. As I have mentioned before, I use Thai curry paste so making Thai curry at home is really easy this way. I used whatever vegetable I had in my fridge and pantry.

This time, I used onion, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, basil and zucchini. Normally, I tend to make it super spicy and we had to cry and blow our nose while we are eating so this time I tried to make it mild. Since it is mild, the color is not really red. It looks like white curry instead of red curry.

Anyway, it tasted really good. I think it was little too mild. My husband told me that it could be a bit spicier. The fine line between too spicy and perfect spicy is very difficult, I think. But I will keep trying to come up with the perfect spiciness.

Well, I also have to talk about my failure "Angel Food Cake"... It looks OK in the picture, right? But it was really chewy and the texture was like a had marshmallow. My husband even joked that we can put this on our chest and use it as a bullet proof vest :-) It was that chewy and funny texture.

The worst part is that I used the boxed cake mix. I thought these things are "fool proof". Oh wait, then that makes me a "fool"....

Anyway, I know exactly what I did wrong. It was just a careless mistake. This cake mix comes with two packages. One with egg white mixture and the other is flour mixture. You are suppose to add 1 1/3 cup of water and whip egg white first. I read 1/3 cup instead of 1 1/3 cup. That was a big mistake. When it was whipped, it looked really chewy like marshmallow but I didn't think too much because this was my first time making this cake using this cake mix.

I added flour mixture and tried to mix them together but it was not working too well. Only then, I realized that something is wrong. I read the box again and realized that I am missing a while cup of water. I added the 1 cup water immediately and hoped that everything goes well somehow when I bake it.

So that is how this cake came out as hard and chewy. It tasted good but the texture is so weired. I have to come up with an idea to use it for something else or make it into something different. If you have any good idea for making chewy angel food cake into something wonderful, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cabbage with ground pork

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I had a whole cabbage in my fridge which was waiting for me to use. Normally, when I want to use up lots of cabbage, I make Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) but yesterday I wanted to try something new with cabbage.

I was searching through Internet and I come across with this cabbage dish on a Japanese recipe site. This dish is like cabbage roll. I think the ingredients are same. It is just not rolled but kind of layered and stacked together. So instead of rolling the ground pork, you layer them in a bowl. I think it is easier than rolling. And looks pretty cool when you cut it.

My mom makes cabbage roll in winter and her cabbage rolls are in simple consomme and I like that also but I made it with tomato puree this time because the one on the Internet was using tomato sauce and I had tomato puree in the fridge which was also waiting to be used.

I had all the ingredients at home except for ground pork so I went to buy ground pork at the store near by. I tried two stores but they did not have ground pork today. However, I really wanted to make this dish today. I thought what I should do and then remember that I had this attachment for the Kitchen Aid stand mixer which ground meat.

Actually, I never used this attachment before and I had been wanting to use it so it was a great opportunity to try this. I bought some sliced pork and ground it at home. It worked out great. I was able to make beautiful ground pork.

When I was using this attachment, I realized that you can also make pasta with this attachment. I never made fresh pasta so I think this will be my next mission.

I love the Kitchen Aid stand Mixer and the attachment! I think everyone who likes cooking appreciate this piece of equipment. If you are interested, you can also purchase it from Amazon.

Anyway, I did not think my husband would like this cabbage dish since he mentioned something before that he is not keen on cabbage roll. However, to my surprise, he liked this cabbage dish. Maybe he liked the tomato flavor.

By the way, I was talking to my friend the other day and she told me that my blog somehow motivated her to enjoy cooking again. It made me so happy to hear that. She used to enjoy cooking but I think it became routine and she kind of forgot how she used to enjoy cooking. I am so glad that my blog was able to remind her that cooking is fun! Her words motivated me also. I wish we live close by so we can enjoy cooking together!

Also, I really appreciate all the compliments and support everyone is sending me. I am motivated by everyone's compliments! Thank you so much!

Let's enjoy cooking and eating!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Milanese

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

We had two pieces of chicken fillet left in our fridge from yesterday so I had to use these two pieces of chicken cutlet. I decided to make Chicken Milanese.

Here is how I made them.

For 2
Chicken fillet 2 pieces
Flour 1/4 cup
Egg 1
Bread Crumbs 2/3 cup
Salt & Pepper 1 tea spoon
Arugula 1 cup
Rome Tomato 1
Shallot 1
Cucumber 1/2
Olive Oil 3 table spoons
Lemon Juice 1/2 lemon
Honey 1 table spoon
Olive oil for pan frying 2 table spoon
Butter 1 table spoon

1. Prepare flour, egg and bread crumbs in a shallow container, separately.

2. Sprinkle salt and pepper to the chicken. Coat chicken with flour, then, egg and then bread crumbs. Leave it on a flat surface.

3. Cut Tomato, cucumber and shallots into dices.

4. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add tomato, cucumber and shallots and mix with the dressing.

5. Add 2 table spoon of olive oil and 1 table spoon of butter in a pan and wait until it gets hot.

6. When the pan is hot, add chicken and pan fry them until it is golden brown. Flip them and cook the other side also.

7. Mix Arugula into the tomato, cucumber bowl and mix it well.

8. Place chicken on a plate and put the salad on top of the chicken.

9. Add Parmesan cheese shaves if you would like. (I did not do this yesterday but it could have been great if I did)

I only had Japanese bread crumb (Panko) so I used that but I think it works with any kind of bread crumbs. It was crispy and really good. I like having tanginess (the salad, in this case) with my cutlet. I think it balances out very well.

For the side, I made garlic toast (again!!!). I wonder when will I be tired of these garlic toast. So far, I am not tired of them :-)

Have a happy cooking!