Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sopa de Tres Frijoles (Three Bean Soup)

Fall is here! And what better way to kick off a long term hiatus than with a hearty soup recipe. I haven't posted in awhile but this is truly too good not to share. I first tasted this soup when my coworker brought some over to work to share with everyone. It was her DJ roommate's famous three bean soup recipe and she very nice to have packaged a portion for everyone to take home. Impeccable timing because unfortunately for me, that was the same day that I caught the flu. This soup was the perfect remedy for feeling sick and super awesome to have after a long day at work. Who knew DJ's could cook right? (Check him out here!) I'm sure what I have here isn't the exact recipe but the outcome is nevertheless delicious. This version is a bit thicker and meatier than the original so I hope you enjoy. Warm yourself up with some sopa de tres frijoles (three bean soup) as the weather continues to cool down. ¡Olé!

P.S. Many thanks to Helen and Richard for sharing their soup with me!

Sopa de Tres Frijoles
1 cup pinto beans
1 cup black beans
1 cup lentils
1 can chicken broth
1 large brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chicken breasts
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 small can roasted green chili pepper, mild
8-10 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
green onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped

1. Sort the beans by removing twigs, rocks, and such. Rinse and soak beans for half an hour. (No need to soak the lentils they cook fairly quickly, but I would advise rinsing them. )
2. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Season one side with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano.
3. In a large pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and place the chicken breasts seasoned side down. Allow the chicken to sear and caramelize. Season the other side and flip the chicken breasts. When both sides are nice and browned, remove the chicken breasts from the pot. (They do not have to be cooked through.)
4. In the same pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil and saute the garlic. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the diced onion. Add the chicken breasts back into the pot when the onions become a little browned.
5. Add the pinto beans, black beans, spices, green chili pepper, chicken broth, and water into the pot. Bring to boil, turn down the heat, and allow to simmer for two hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
6. After the two hours, add the lentils and cook for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until tender. Remove the chicken breast from the pot, shred the meat in a bowl, and put the chicken back into the soup. Adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more water and bringing it back to a boil.
7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro and green onion to enjoy. :9

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shoyu Tofu Dango

Most commonly featured in animes and Asian dramas, dango is pretty much glutinous rice balls served on a skewer. They can be easily found in Japan anywhere for about 100 to 150 yen each. Well in the USA, that's a different story. I know they can be found at a stand in Little Tokyo in LA, and of course in the refrigerated section at your local Japanese market, but sometimes that may be a whole lot of trouble for something that can be so easily made. This recipe is a modification of ochikeron's recipe from youtube. The dango she makes look good but I do not entirely agree with putting potato starch in the shoyu sauce; it's just not traditional. Not that I am an expert at being Japanese or anything but here you go! (;

Shoyu Tofu Dango

100 grams shiratamako flour
140 grams silken tofu, drained
1 teaspoon sugar

Sweet Shoyu Glaze
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Bring a pot of water to boiling.
2. Meanwhile, combine the shiratamako, tofu, and sugar together. Knead until soft but not sticky. Add a little bit more flour or water until the right consistency is reached. ("soft like an earlobe")
3. Separate the dough into twelve equal pieces and roll into round balls. Place the dango balls into the pot of boiling water until it floats to the surface. Allow to boil for an additional 2 minutes.
4. When the dango are finished cooking, immediately place them in a iced water bath for 1 minute. Strain and remove the dango from the iced bath.
5. Now we can make the shoyu glaze! Place all the ingredients in a small pot and heat under medium heat. When the sauce is bubbling, turn off the flame and allow to thicken.
6. Pour or brush the shoyu glaze onto the dango skewers and serve!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Basic Fluffy Pancakes

When I think of breakfast, usually the first few things that come to mind are eggs, bacon, cereal, and of course pancakes! The great thing about pancakes is it's versatility. Add some blueberries. Voilà! Blueberry pancakes. Top with strawberries, strawberry pancakes! Add some chocolate chips, chocolate chip pancakes! The choices are endless. Another plus is the fact that it can be easily made with common pantry staples. In other words there is no reason for you to buy the boxed mix! Well I tried a few recipes online, tweaked it here and there and this is what I have come up with. Pretty much your basic super duper fluffy pancake recipe. Seriously, my dad said it was too fluffy. I berated him and told him he does not know good food. Please enjoy!

P.S. Want to impress your significant other? Make this for him/her!

Fluffy Pancakes
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg
2 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
vegetable oil for frying pan

1. Combine milk with lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour."
2. Meanwhile, sift dry ingredients together.
3. Whisk the egg and melted butter into the "sour" milk.
4. Pour the dry ingredients into the sour milk mixture and mix until moistened. DO NOT OVER MIX! The mixture should be slightly lumpy but you should not see obvious signs of dry flour.
5. Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Wipe away the excess with a paper towel so that there is just a thin layer of oil. Add 1/4 cup of batter (pancakes will be about 6 inches in diameter) onto the pan and cook until bubbles form on the surface. Flip with a spatula and cook until the other side is browned. (If you do it right, and for maximum fluff, you should only be flipping once.)
6. Serve with butter and maple syrup or other fancy toppings.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Green Tea Marble Chiffon Cake

As an avid green tea lover, I love all things green tea. Green tea candy, green tea drinks, green tea sweets, green tea! I decided to make this cake on a whim and loved it so much that I made the same cake in two consecutive days. It is so good that the first one was devoured within 24 hours. The original recipe of this cake came from Cosy Bake, however I ended up tweaking the recipe because it was extremely difficult to combine matcha paste homogeneously with batter. During the first attempt, there was pretty much huge undissolved chunks of matcha. I tried to combine it as best I could but the over mixing just destroyed the fluffiness of the whipped egg whites. In an effort to curb that problem I decided to go with a dual batter approach. Although it is a little more work, I can assure you that the resulting cake is beautiful, super moist, super soft, and delicious! Again, I recommend using a high quality matcha powder for a stronger and tastier green tea flavor.

Green Tea Marble Chiffon Cake
Note: We will be making two different batters to combine to create the marble effect.

Plain Batter:
90 grams cake flour
1 tablespoon matcha powder, high quality preferred
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg yolks
40 grams vegetable oil
40 grams sugar
90 milliliters water

Green Tea Batter:
90 grams cake flour
1 tablespoon matcha powder, high quality preferred
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg yolks
40 grams vegetable oil
40 grams sugar
90 milliliters water

8 egg whites
80 grams sugar

1. Preheat oven to 356°F.
2. Sift the cake flour and baking powder together. (Sift the matcha powder along with the flour and baking powder in the green tea batter.)
3. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, water and oil together until combined. Add the sugar into the mixture and mix well. Then in small additions, add the flour to the mixture until combined into a batter. Repeat for the green tea batter.
4. Whip egg whites until foamy and then slowly add in sugar. Continue whipping egg whites until stiff peaks form. Divide the whipped egg whites into two equal portions.
5.  Add 1/3 of the egg whites with the batter and mix to combine. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites into the batter. Repeat the same process with the other half of the egg whites in the green tea batter.
6. Fill the chiffon tin with plain batter and then layer with matcha batter in between. (You can combine the batter in any fashion you like. Play around with it to get a design you like! )
7. Bake cake for 10 minutes at 356°F. Reduce heat to 320°F and bake for another 40 minutes. To check if the cake is fully cooked, take a skewer and poke the cake from the top of the cake to the bottom of the pan. If the skewer comes out clean, it is finished! Remove the cake from the oven, invert the pan immediately and allow to cool.
8. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blueberry Mint Lemonade

Bipolar Southern Californian weather has us burrito-ed up one week to wearing shorts and a tank in another. Well, what better way to cool off on a hot day than a nice cold glass of lemonade. This is just a quick post and simple recipe for you to try this week which I'm sure you'll appreciate in this blistering weather. I actually first saw this recipe on Pinterest and the original poster is "A Crimson Kiss." It looked really yummy, so I decided to try making it at my food blog photoshoot with Sachiko Studio. Of course, with the help of my boyfriend, the sous chef of the day. Unfortunately we had a bunch of things to prepare and did not get around to making the lemonade until the last minute. It became really hectic during the last hour so I left the task to him. Funny thing is, it took him ten minutes to make a single glass; he says it's cause we didn't have a pitcher... Just so you know, it's not supposed to take that long!  Word of advice, make this in advance in a giant pitcher and put it in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

Blueberry Mint Lemonade
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
lemon slices for garnish

1. Juice the lemons into a large pitcher and add the sugar and water. If you use, granulated sugar it may be a good idea to melt the sugar in some warm water so it is not all gritty.
2. Throw the juiced lemons and mint leaves into the mixture and muddle up the lemon peels and mint. (The flavor is much better if you do this!)
3. Add the blueberries, garnish with a lemon slice, and some more mint leaves, and serve. (Make ahead and let the mixture sit for the flavors to develop more.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lentil Soup

After being in college for four years of my life, it is inevitable that routine starts to form. One habit that I made was that I would always get the soup and salad combo from Veggie Grill before a big exam. One of my favorite items was their lentil soup, only served on Thursdays! What made it so elusive was that it's nearly impossible to copy their recipe; you can't really tell what ingredients are in it since it's pureed into a homogeneous mixture. I also searched the internet for it to no avail. Alas, the recipe is a mystery. I still love lentil soup though so I decided to try other recipes. Funny thing is, the soup here doesn't really follow any of the recipes available online. The reason being I did not have all the ingredients needed for any particular recipe so I just tossed in what I thought might taste good. Well, it worked. What I love about this recipe most is that it's reminiscent of the Veggie Grill lentil soup from my college days. The trick to this soup is to stir, stir, stir! It has a tendency to stick. Anyways, it's been cold lately so I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Eat this with some fresh bread for a simple meal or maybe even a side of salad.

Thanks again Sachiko Studio for the amazing pictures!

Lentil Soup
2 cups red lentils
2 cans chicken broth
2 cups water
1 large brown onion, diced
2 large carrots
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 pound can of tomatoes with basil, pued
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch of marjorham
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
plain yogurt for garnish

1. Dice the brown the onion and tomatoes, set aside.
2. In a food processor, chop up the carrots. Alternatively, you can chop the carrots by hand.
3. In a large pot with some olive oil, saute the onions until they are half translucent. Add the carrots and saute until the onions are soft.
4. Add the diced tomato, tomato pue, chicken broth, water, herbs and spices, and red lentils. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft, stirring frequently to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Let the soup cool. 
5. When the soup is cool, pue the soup until smooth. Reheat the soup and serve. Garnish the soup with some plain yogurt to make it extra tasty.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cucumber and Tomato Tzatziki Salad

Are you ready? CHIBICHOMPS has again collaborated with Sachiko Studios!!! Salad is probably one of the most well known diet foods out there. Whenever someone tries to lose weight, most likely they'll opt for salad for meals. However, not all salads are created equal. Often times, salads are calorie bombs; the addition of goodies such as bacon bits, croutons, etc and/or a heavy dressing can make it more fattening than a regular meal. Conversely, the healthy olive oil and vinegar option can get pretty tiring and bland. It sure makes it difficult to stay on course with healthy eating; however, I have something I'm sure everyone will love. Here's a super easy and refreshing salad to be eaten as a side or even a meal. Here, I've paired it with a side of pan fried crispy salmon (stay tuned for the recipe!) For those tired of salad, try stuffing it into pita pockets or even making a sandwich. By the way, did you know that Greek yogurt has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt plus other benefits? . Anyways, this one's definitely a winner so I hope you enjoy the photos and the recipe! Thank you again to Sachiko Studios for the amazing pictures!

On a side note, I prefer Persian cucumber because american cucumber sucks.

Tzatziki Salad
3 cups Greek yogurt, strained
2 pounds Persian cucumber
1 pound cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoonds extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon mint, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

1. Strain Greek yogurt over night to get rid of excess liquid. The amount of yogurt will be significantly less than you started with. To set this up, place coffee strainers or paper towels over a mesh bowl. Take the mesh bowl and place over a larger bowl. Scoop the yogurt onto the paper lined mesh bowl and cover with saran wrap. Leave over night. Voila!
2. In a bowl, combine the strained yogurt, mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil together and mix well.
3. Cut the cucumber into half centimeter slices and slice cherry tomatoes into halves.
4. Fold in the sliced cucumber and tomatoes into the yogurt mixture.
5. Serve cold and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Italian Truffle Cheese Pizza

Hello all! It's been a while since I posted but here it goes! My inspiration for this recipe actually came from a restaurant called 800 Degrees Pizza from when my boyfriend took me to eat there. Funny thing is, we never ordered the truffle cheese pizza; I just saw it on the menu and thought it seemed tasty but was expensive (an extra three bucks for truffle cheese?!). Luckily, this is easy peasy gourmet; you can purchase all these ingredients from Trader Joe's at very reasonable prices. To be honest, I have no idea how it's supposed to taste like. However, my thoughts for this recipe are: Success!!! Often presumptuous of me? Well why don't you try it out and tell me what you think. I'm hoping to get into habit of posting more regularly! Enjoy!

On a side note, I always buy crimini mushrooms over button mushrooms because the overall flavor is better.

Italian Truffle Cheese Pizza
16 ounces of pizza dough, premade
4 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces Italian truffle cheese, shredded or crumbled (or more depending on how cheesey you like it)
4 cloves garlic, minced
sprigs of fresh oregano
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1. Split dough in half and allow to rest for 20 minutes. (Handling instructions may vary depending on the dough you buy or if you choose to make your own pizza dough)
2. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
3. Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in a hot pan and saute minced garlic until caramelized, set aside for later use.
4. After the dough is fully rested, stretch the dough out onto a baking sheet until the desired thickness. (I made my pizza super thin so it was a little less than a 11 by 17 inch baking sheet.)
5. Sprinkle the dough evenly with cheese. Add sliced mushrooms and sprinkle with caramelized garlic and fresh oregano leaves. Don't worry if the amount of mushroom seems overwhelming, they do shrink after baking. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.
6. Depending on the thickness of your pizza, bake for 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked. The cheese should be slightly toasted and golden.
7. Serve while it's still hot!