PB&J – Pear, Brie and Jambon

PBJ

This is gonna be a quick one.   PBJ – I got this idea from Modern Family when Cameron mentioned this sandwich. And I go like, hey! That sounds like a really yummy combination. Pear, Brie and Jambon! – Jambon stands for ham. But the thing that made this sandwich go from yummy to sandwich-heaven? The key was Dijon mustard. I really don’t have to make a recipe but here goes.

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Ingredients:

Pear

Brie

Ham (I used Turkey Ham)

Dijon Mustard

Baguette (French bread, or any white bread will do.

Method:

  1. Slice the pear and brie thinly.
  2. Slice the baguette in half.
  3. Place the brie and pear on one side.
  4. Spread the Dijon mustard on the other side.
  5. Close the sandwich
  6. BITE and enjoy the sweet-salty-tangy flavor in your mouth.

You’re WELCOME!

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Arnold Swarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)

Vat! Vhy a German Cake? I don’t know, I cant pozzibly ezksplain! May be it’s ze path to greatness! They are after all “the most efficient race in Europe” according to Sir Winston Churchhill. Okay, I just pulled that out of the air, because for a while now I’ve been looking at several recipes online for the Swarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black forest cake). It’s a nice looking and delicious party cake that takes a lot of time to make. I just decided to make this cause I missed it. It’s been a very long while since I’ve had a nice slice of a black forest cake.  In order to satiate my longing for this sweet delight I tried hunting for this cake in the local cafés around.  This is when I noticed that this particular cake is not really a common “café-cake”.  What you’ll normally see in cafés are cheesecakes (and all its derivatives), carrot cakes, and chocolates cakes (all variations of it). You’ll also get that occasional tiramisu. And I most certainly don’t want to buy a whole black forest cake from the supermarket or bakery. It’s a huge gamble, I mean, what if the cake sucked? What will I do with a whole black forest cake?

 

Lucky that I’m still in this crazy cooking frenzy and a voice inside my head told me to make a Black Forest Cake. I know, I’m not really going for the easy street here. And yes, I know it takes more effort and possibly costs more to make one. But, I wanted to! Ironically, I’ll still have a full black forest cake that I don’t know how I’ll finish. But at least I’m gonna learn something new. So that’s where the seed of this forest began.

 

Unfortunately for me though none of my cooking apps have the original German Black Forest Recipe. Or even the American variation of the cake. So I started scavenging online for a nice proper recipe. And all I’ve a found are these super sweet American versions. I even saw one that spread Chocolate Ganache on the side of the cake! Omg. That’s super crazy sweet! (What did I expect right?)

 

And I wanted the real schwarzwalder kirschtorte! With vigilant searching I found  something on youtube. And here’s the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9IbulrDzec

 

It’s made by a German /girl or guy I’m not quite sure, and she has English translations for the recipe. I was super happy that I found it and I followed the to the G.

 

There are several steps into building this forest of a cake. It’s a humongous cake.  And it’s really not that difficult, it’s just  that there are too many things happening all at the same time. Here’s the recipe for your Reference.

 

Note: I did not use his/her recipe for the sponge cake. Here’s the recipe that I did and tested.

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Ingredients:

Sponge cake

6 room temp eggs

180 grams of flour

100 grams of sugar

100 grams of melted chocolate

20 grams cocoa powder

60 grams of melted butter

 

Cherry filling:

Sour cherries 500g

The cherryjuice of that

4 tbsps of cornstarch

2 tbsps sugar

 

Extra:

Whipped Cream

3 tbsps Sugar

Chocolate shavings

 

 

Method:

  1. Melt the dark chocolate
  2. Mix in the eggs and sugar until combined well.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs till they are white and foamy.
  4. Add in the  cocoa powder
  5. Add in the flour (sifted)
  6. Add in the melted butter
  7. Bake for about 25mins at 170deg
  8. Dissolve the cornstarch in water
  9. Mix it with the cherry and sugar and boil till thick
  10. Whip the cream and add sugar
  11. Now to assemble. Cut you cake in half
  12. Drizzle sponge cake with cherry syrup
  13. On one side, spread the cherry and spread whipped cream
  14. Cover the sponge cake on the filling like a sandwich
  15. Drizzle more cherry on top
  16. Cover the whole cake with whipped cream.
  17. Sprinkle chocolate shavings.
  18. Decorate as you like!

 

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My experience with it: It’s better to make a chocolate sponge cake , so that the cherry syrup will soak into the cake. Then you need to make the cherry filling. That part’s easy, you just need to cook cherries form a jar, with sugar and cornstarch. Then whip your cream. Don’t even think about getting those horrible canned whipped cream. Whip yours!  It’s super easy, just make sure your bowl and cream are super cold before you start whisking them to make whipped cream.

When everything’s prepared. Slice your cake in half, slab the cherry filling in between with whipped cream. Then cover with the other half of the cake. The cover the whole thing with whipped cream.  And sprinkle a whole lot of chocolate shavings.  I used a vegetable peeler on my dark chocolate in order to achieve the desired effect. And DER YUU HAVE IT! The Schwarzwalder Kirshctorte.

 

 

A side story to this entry, I dont remember if I mentioned this before, but whenever I concoct something in my kitchen I normally invite friends over to have a taste. Or we’ll meet up somewhere and I’ll bring in my experiments. They are my “sampling crew”, or so I call them in my head.  So anyway, I invite one of my friends, and I didn’t know that it was her birthday on the same day that I was gonna have my Black Forest Sampling! It was so funny, I had to change the whole theme of the event  and made it her birthday dinner. What a funny coincidence! Auf Wiedersehen!

 

 

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Amen to Miso Ramen

When you crave for something, you need to satiate it! I have been craving for a good bowl of noodles for quite a while now, and I have seen a couple of recipes online. This is just a different version of the classic noodle bowl: Miso Ramen. The recipe in my book Asian Foods is a bit complicated so I’m going to simplify it a bit. Also I used ingredients that are relatively easy to find anywhere.

 

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Ingredients:

Ramen Noodles

Miso Paste (Can be replaced with Soysauce)

Chicken broth cubes

Grated garlic

Grated Ginger

Ground Chicken or Ground Pork

Oyster Sauce

Shredded Cabbage

Leeks

Eggs

 

 

Method:

  1. Boil the ramen noodles for about 2 minutes.
  2. Boil the Eggs for about 6 minutes
  3. Sautee the ground chicken in garlic and ginger.
  4. When it’s cooked through, put in a table spoon of oyster sauce.
  5. Cook properly, When almost done, put in your very thinly sliced cabbage.
  6. For the broth, dissolve the chicken broth in water about 500ML.
  7. When boiling turn off the heat and dissolve your miso paste.. or pour in the soy sauce
  8. Now, put your noodles in a bowl, pour the broth on your noodles and put your toppings on top!

 

This turned out really well, and it’s super cheap and simple! Try it out! 

Bonjour Croque Monsieur!

Okay here I am, taking baby steps into the vast and daunting world of French cuisine. I know what you’re thinking.. good luck with THAT! Honestly, I hear a lot of talk about how the best cooks in the world are from France. Or if you want to really study from the best culinary ekspeRR (experts) go to PaRRRiie. (Paris)  But growing up for me, even now, I don’t feel that I’ve even tapped the surface of French food. And I’m only talking about eating here. I feel like I would only know the food is French if I look at the menu say my order to the waiter, then the waiter would  repeat my order to me, and it’d sound COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what I had just said. So I’d double back, and just say, that’s the one with the mushrooms right? Okay. We’re cool. THEN I would know it’s French! Hahaha.

Kidding aside though, I seriously wanna learn more about this intimidating gastronomic annomaly. But I think I should start with the basics. Off the top of my head, the only food I’d probably associate with the French are, croissants onion soup, and foies gras. But there are so so much more than that, the basics, or the base of most recipes may even be French!!  Let’s see, there’s Omelette, mayonnaise, béchamel sauce, pastries, and well, a gazillion cheeses! J  Even the words hors d’ouvres and Entrée are French! Haha. But this I blog entry is not about learning French food or even French words. It’s about trying to make a really really simple French Toast. J

So I decided to look around the web for a nice and easy French dish. Well, it’s not really a dish, more of a sandwich.  I decided to make the Croque Monsieur! (A fancy French Toast) It’s a simple sandwich the only main and not-so-difficult part of it is making the béchamel sauce.  I took the béchamel sauce recipe from Mark Bittman’s iphone app: How to Cook Everything. As usual.

 

So assembling the croque monsieur is slightly easier than assembling a lasagna: start with a nice white and soft sandwich bread, a layer of sliced turkey ham (you can use any kind of ham), spread on that white thick béchamel  sauce and  top it with a good  helping of grated gruyere cheese, close the sandwich with another slice of bread, béchamel and more grated gruyere! Then pop it in the oven for a few mins. And VOILA! you have a nice rich delicious French sandwich! – and if you wanna sound a bit more sophisticated call it Croque Monsieur.croq1

The only thing expensive about this dish is the Gruyere cheese. I know it’s so good that’s why I really got the right cheese for this, but you can substitute it with grated Gouda or grated Emmental.

croqwise

Here’s my Gouda version, it’s not grated though, I just had them sliced. But it did the trick nonetheless. Kept me satisfied! Bon appetite! 🙂

croq gouda

 

Oh and I got the recipe from GialloSafferano Ipad App. Check it out! 🙂

Dumplings My Darling

Happy Chinese New Year!!  — or should I say, belated Happy Chinese New Year. This entry’s a bit delayed cause I made this dumplings last Feb 10, during the Chinese new year, in celebration of it. Cause everyone’s been posting about it on Facebook, and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. And the most ubiquitous, (at least for me), Chinese dish is the steamed dumplings! Also, I just saw Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Shanghai, and they went to this dumpling place. It looks so yum!! Check out the episode here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SenvN3SjVbo

I swear the dumplings looks yum! And the pork broth! Omg. Yeah, I just watched it again after pasting the link here. I know I won’t be able to make something as good, and I’ve never been to Shanghai to actually know what it tastes like, but I’ve had my fair share of dumplings to at least know if my dumplings will be good or not.

The hardest part of making the steamed dumplings is making wrappers of course. I took my recipe once again from my ever so reliable “How to Cook Everything” app. I you guys want me to email them to you just drop me an email at chesnutsykitchen@gmail.com and I can send you the recipe.

I’ll just show some of the screen shots here. It’s so amazing how they also show you how to roll it and everything.

dumpCollage

Basically, the dumpling dough is just made up of flour, water, and salt. All you have to do is combine them, let it set for a while, then form your little dumpling wrappers! I just used a rolling pin to make it thinner. The thinner the better for me.

The filling is the easy part, I just sautéed, fresh ground chicken sausage, leeks, onions and ginger. Everything was minced in a food processor.

When my wrappers have been formed, I steamed them voila! Steamed dumplings at your service! I just dip them in vinegar, and ooh lala. So OISHII! – sorry, I don’t know how to say delicious in Chinese!

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Oh Crepe! It’s So Thin!

Oh lala, crepe is one of the Paris’ most famous snacks. You’ll often see these sweet or savory little things along the crowded areas of the city. Tourists love them. I love them, so might as well try making them. They can be enjoyed as a snack while touring the city and watching those random street performers Or as a nice sit-down dessert. I’ll only show the batter here, cause I didn’t really have anything on my fridge when I decided to make em.

I got my recipe from a Japanese video blogger on youtube: here’s the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW4xvYgeYdI

Okay I know what you’re thinking, after giving us all that frenchy spiel on crepe you, go and take your recipe from a Japanese dude!! What can I say, I also like Japanese crepe. And besides I checked other recipe sites, it’s also the same as the French version. I’m just following this video. And if I may add, I like it really really thin!

The main ingredients are: butter, flour and eggs.  It’s quite simple to make actually. It’s best enjoyed with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and fruits of your choice!

crepe

Bon Appetite! Salut!

Mapo Tofu (NHK Japanese version)

Mapo tofu is a Chinese dish and you’ll often find this dish in Chinese restaurants. It’s a nice spicy dish made of minced pork and tofu. Me and my colleagues before loved ordering this in Chinese restaurants, and I kind of missed it. I went into this Japanese specialty story, and I saw this premade sauce, where you’ll only have to add the tofu and the minced pork. I bought it and made it. And.. it sucked. See the picture below. So, that was the end of that.

MapoChinese

On to the silver lining of this post, one of my friends here recommended this site that posts a ton of Japanese recipes! It’s from NHK – here’s the link. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/kitchen/index.html

It’s super awesome. They make Japanese cooking seem so easy. And I found a Japanese version of Mapo Tofu! In this Japanese version, the main source of protein are still te same: silken tofu, minced pork, and chilli, and then we have all these Jap ingredients thrown into the mix like, dashi, sugar and Mirin. Luckily, I have all these Japanese ingredients, thanks to another friend of mine who helped me shopped for Japanese ingredients in Tokyo, she told me where she buys all these things at a cheaper price. (Cause everything there is so expensive!!) Anyway, I digress, so I made the tofu, and ate it for a week. I normally pack these things for lunch. It’s best paired with Japanese short grain rice.

Also, I’ve replaced the minced pork with ground chicked meat, and I went all out on the shredded leeks. I just like it that way. And voila, here’s my version of the Japanese Mapo Tofu recipe as mentioned in NHK.

mapoJap