Sunday, June 1, 2014

5 Spice Braised Brisket

Living in sunny So Cal brings visitor. I am house guest this weekend. I wanted to have something ready for dinner when we get home from a day of sight seeing.

This brisket recipe actually is quite versatile. It can be served cold, with salads or even as a sandwich meat. My father used to love brisket sandwich! You can reheat this, lay this over rice or noodle. As you will see here, I made a lemon old noodle. Reheated the meat and the gravy. Serve it over stir fried or steamed bok choy.
If you like stew, substitute the brisket with stew meat, add peeled and cubed daikon and taro, some nappa cabbage,  an extra cup of water to the recipe. You will have a Asian 5 spice beef stew.

Sliced brisket, served over stir fried bok choy and lemon cold noodle.

5 Spice Braised Brisket
2 lb Brisket
2 medium onion. Cleaned, peel and cut into 1/2" large slices
2 cloves of garlic. Peeled and smashed.
2 1/4" slices of peeled ginger - lightly smashed.
2 green onion. Cleaned and cut into 1" pieces
1 tbsp 5 spice
1/2 cup low sodium shoyu
3 cups water
Pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying.
Heat a dutch oven of wok till hot. Add oil. Once the oil is hot, add ginger and garlic. Cook both till it is lightly browned and fragrant.
 Add Green onion piece, cook for a few min to flavor the oil
 Push the vegetable to the side. Brown the meat in the hot oil
 For about 4-5 min on each side
 Once the other side is browned. Add onion to the rest of the vegetable. Let it cook for a few mins till the onion is caramelized
 Add 5 spice to the vegetable
 Mix well and toast the spice for 1-2 mins.
 Mix the vegetable with the meat
 Add Shoyu
 Then water.
 Bring it to a boil. Low the heat to low and let it simmer/braised for about 2 hours till the meat is tender.
 Check the liquid from time to time. Add more water as needed.
You will want more gravy if you are making this into a stew. If you are leaving this as a brisket dish. You need to have about 1 cup of gravy.
Remove the meat. You can separate the meat and the gravy and store both separately in the fridge.
Cut the meat thinly across grain.
You can serve the sliced meat with the gravy on the side.

Flourless Chocolate cake

My very dear merchandiser was turning 30. She is the ultimate chocolate lover. I wanted to do something special for her. It was a weekday. I need to keep it simple. This is a recipe originally from William Sonoma. I love how simple it is. In here I am showing you the traditional way to melt and  chocolate and better. You can easily put the chocolate and butter in a large bowl and microwave for 60-90 sec. Stir well. It works just as well.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
8 oz bittersweet chocolate - broken up into small pieces
1 stick butter - cut into small pieces
4 eggs, separated
1 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 325F.
Measure and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 8" spring form pan. Please make sure the bottom of the pan fits tightly and it is not going to leak.
Grease an 8" spring foam pan. Line with the paper
 Grease/butter the paper
 In a double boiler or a large bowl over simmering water. Melt chocolate and butter
 Whisk to mix
 Till the ingredients is combined, and smooth. Remove from the double boiler and let it cool.
Separate 4 eggs - put the yokes in a small bowl, the white in a large bowl.
 Add rum and vanilla to the egg yokes
 Whisk to mix
 Add Cream of tartar to the egg while
 Start beating the egg white with a mixer. Once it starts to become foamy, slowly add in 1/2 the sugar, continue to whip the white. Add the other half of the sugar once the white starts to form some peaks.
 Whip to mix. Do not over beat the egg white, set aside
 To assemble the cake:
Slowly add the egg yoke mixture to the chocolate
 Mix well.
 Lighten the chocolate with 1/4 of the egg white
Fold in the rest of the egg gently
Till completed incorporated
 Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan
Back at 325 F for 20-22 min till the sides the set and the center is still slightly soft. It will be puffy
Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan.
Once cool. Remove the side and store in the fridge for 4 hours
The cake will deflate.
Transfer the cake to a serving plate.
Sprinkle with powder sugar.
Ready to serve.
I love to serve the cake with a simple dob of whipped cream and a few fresh raspberry on the side.
It is very rich.
Serve 10.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Simple Homemade Muesli

Muesli is one of my favorite breakfast even since I was a little kid. I remembered when I was a teenage, my father and I used to go to a Germany Sunday brunch in Hong Kong once a month. My father loved sausages, the different kinds of cured meat and ham. That was a big treat for him. My father raised me as a meat eater, I turned to the cheeses, yogurt, the bread and sweets and I would always have a large bowl of muesli with fruit.
"Donʻt we have that at home?" my father would say.
"Yes, but itʻs different when they fix it" I would answer.
It was the same question and same answer every month for years.

Years later, I finally found out what was the difference. I learned to prepare muesli the right way from my Taiko Sansei Marco Lienhard.  Marco was from Switzerland and he was a member of the famous Ondekoza and lived in Japan for 14 or 15 years. He is one of the best Shakuhachi, Fur and Taiko master. He performs and teaches around the world. I am very honored to be the opportunity to study with him.

I was a taiko drummer before being a hula dancer. I "retired" from playing due to some injuries and joint issues. I missed my drums and most of all, I miss taking lessons from Marco. Marco is also a gourmet. We always ended up talking about food!! Sometimes I do wonder whether I miss the lessons or I really miss the food, the fun talk and the eating :). Of course it is the drums, Marco...

So.. here is the big step that was missing from my childhood muesli: let the cereal soak overnight...
My breakfast was usually prepared by our amah or Dad in the morning when I was growing up.
They treated the muesli just as any cereal - pour it in a bowl and pour milk over it and during the winter month, our amah would cook it like oatmeal. She would also sweeten it with sugar.

Marco showed me the right way by soaking muesli overnight with seasonal fruit. The flavor and the sweetness of the fruit infused the porridge. You can make it overnight. You have an instant breakfast in the morning. I would cook it for 2 min in the microwave in the winter and I have hearty hot breakfast.

The recipe for the muesli mix here is not traditional. I modified this a bit with ingredients ready available in the store. Traditional it should have rye flakes and barley flakes in the mix. I also added in ground flax seeds. This is a very simple recipe that you can easily alter for your taste or season:
1 - the Bran - I am using wheat bran here, you can use oat bran
2 - Farina - you can use wheat germ if you want
3 - Dried fruit - I change the fruit quite a bit. Raisin is sort of my "base". I would have chopped dates if I want a more traditional taste. Cut up apricot is great during the summer and I love cranberry in the winter. I am a blueberry mode lately.
4 - Nuts - almond is always my "go-to" nuts. You can use any combination you want. I mix in some pecan at times. Walnut is great. I also like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in the Fall.
5 - Milk - there are so many choices now. I am making a non-dairy version. I am using soy. Almond milk, coconut milk (non-dairy alternative, not the canned) are great options too. You can also go with milk. If you making Bircher Muesli - it is with yogurt and some milk.

This is my classic combo. In the winter month: this is what I would have:
Dried fruit  - raisin, cranberry.

Nut - chopped pecan, pumpkin seeds
Fresh fruit: Chopped apple and I always have banana.  

Have fun experimenting!

Home Made Muesli
The dry mix:
2 Cups old fashion rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat bran or oat bran
2 Tbsp Grounded flax seeds
1/4 cup farina or wheat germ
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almond - lightly chopped into smaller pieces.
Spread 1/2 cup of the wheat bran on tin foil on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven. This will bring out the nutty flavor in the grain.
Toast the grain for about 5-10 till itʻs lightly golden.
Place the oat meal in a large bowl. Add in farina
Grounded flex seed
 Toasted wheat bran. The tin foil make it easy to add the toasted bran
 Almond or nuts of your choice
Dried blueberries
 1/4 cup of raisins
Mix well.
Store in an airtight jar.  Make 4 cups.

Making breakfast:
You can keep the porridge in the fridge up to 48 hours. It is best prepared overnight and I found it taste even better the 2nd day: This make about 3 serving for me.

1 Cup of Muesli mix
1 cup of fresh fruit of your choice
1 cup of milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
Additional fresh fruit as topping.
Use a plastic or glass container with a tight cover.
Mix the muesli with the fresh fruit
Pour in the milk.
Mix well, cover the porridge and let it sit in the fridge overnight, up to 48 hours.
In the morning: 
Stir the porridge, if it is too thick, add more milk to your taste.
At this point you can transfer the amount you want to a microwave safe bowl. Cover and heat for 1.5-2 mins to have a hot breakfast, or this can be served cold.
Top with additional fresh fruit of your choice.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Miso braised daikon with beef short ribs.

It is daikon season here in Southern California. I have never see daikon this fresh and beautiful. The only issue I have with these guys - they are a bit on the oversizes. I love daikon in soup, however I am soup out. I need to do something other than soup! My dear "sista" Shoko and her mom visited me last month. I wanted to have something ready for dinner, I decided to braise the daikon with miso and some beef short ribs. This is a relatively simple recipe and it freeze very well. I made this a week ahead, freeze it, then reheated it for dinner. Shoko loved the dish!

This is for you Shoko...

Miso braised daikon and beef short ribs 
4 pieces of beef short ribs or country ribs, with or without bone.
1/2 of a large daikon. Green removed, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
4-5 green onion. Cleaned and chopped. Reserve 2 tbsp of the green part for garnish.
1/4 cup of Miso
1/4 cup mirin
1 tbsp shoyu
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cups vegetable stock
Vegetable oil
Sesame oil

In a small bowl, mix miso and mirin.
Blend miso with mirin together till it is no longer lumpy.
Add shoyu
In a wok or large fryer, heat 3-4 tbsp of vegetable. Add ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 mins.
 Brown ribs in the hot oil.
 Add daikon. Brown the vegetable with the ribs
 Add green onion. Let it cook for 2-3 mins.
Fold in the miso mixture. Coat the vegetable and ribs with the mixture.
 Add in the stock.
Bring the stew to full boil, then lower to medium low. Cover and let it cook for about 1.5 -2 hours till the ribs are tender. Check the liquid level, add more stock if needed.
At this point, you can
1 - Plate the dish, drizzle with a little sesame oil and garnish with some green onion. 
2 - Let it cool and put into a storage container and freeze. 

This was our dinner: