Friday, December 14, 2007

Tortellini in Broth

Category: Soup
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

About 50 pieces of fresh or frozen tortellini
3 litres chicken or vegetable broth
1 bunch fresh thyme
chives or green onion, chopped, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to full boil. Salt generously. Cook tortellini according to package instruction. Drain.
While pasta is cooking, bring broth to a boil. Add fresh thyme sprigs and simmer for about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs.
To assemble, ladle broth into soup bowls. Put about 4 tortellini in each bowl of soup. Garnish with chopped chives or green onion.

Easy English Trifle

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

2 - 14 oz can of fruit cocktail, drain and reserve liquid
2 pack instant vanilla pudding mix (and milk or water for making pudding)
1 store bought cake (such as Sara Lee's or angel food cake)
125ml whipping cream (or 1 can of whipped cream, or even frozen whipped toppings)

Make vanilla pudding according to manufacturer's instruction. Let cool/chilled completely.
Cut cake into 1 inch cubes.
Whipped cream until stiff.
To assemble, layer half of the cake pieces at the bottom of container. Brush with fruit cocktail liquid. Layer on top half the vanilla pudding, then half of the fruit cocktail. Repeat.
Top with dollops of whipped cream to garnish.

You can try substituting Vanilla Pudding with Homemade Yogurt Cheese!
How to make yogurt cheese: buy a 1 litre tub of plain yogurt (make sure the ingredients of the yogurt does not contain corn starch! otherwise it won't work. Sometimes it is called Greek yogurt or old-fashioned yogurt). Line a big sieve with cheese cloth or large coffee filter. Rest sieve over a large mixing bowl. Empty yogurt into sieve and let drain over night or more, covered, in the fridge. You will get about 1-1.5 cups of liquid. Discard liquid. After the yogurt is drained (which has now become cheese!), take it out and stir in honey to taste. Yogurt cheese has a very smooth texture and is not as sweet.

Roast Pork with Molasses

Category: Main Course
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

2 pieces of pork shoulder butt, about 2 lb each, each cut into 4 thick slices
1 cup molasses
3 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F
Generously season pork with salt and pepper and let marinate for a while. Mix mustard with molasses. Spread mixture on pork evenly. Place pork on a roasting rack and bake until done, about 35-40 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Walnut and Pear Chutney

Category: Sidedish
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

1/2 cup baking walnuts
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
1 red onion, diced
4 ripe but firm Anjou or Barlett pears, cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 cup cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
8 whole cloves
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 375F. Spread walnuts in a single layer on a small rimmed baking sheet, and toast until fragrant and browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool, and roughly chop. Set aside.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and onion, and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add pears, vinegar, honey and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until pears are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Discard cloves, and stir in raisins and reserved walnuts. Remove from heat, serve warm or at room temperature.

You can adjust the tartness/sweetness of the chutney by adjusting the amount of vinegar/honey you use. Since the acidic level of each brand of vinegar is different, it is a good idea that you taste test to adjust the taste.
You can make this dish ahead and store it in the fridge for a few days. But do not add the walnut until you serve it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lobster Bisque

One of my friends is looking for a recipe for Lobster Bisque. This one is a simple one. Worth a try.

Category: Soup
Style: French
Difficulty: Medium
Portion: Serves 4-6

2 live lobsters (1 lb. each)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
3 bay leaves
1/2 lb. butter
2 quarts water
1/4 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sherry
1/4 cup brandy
white pepper and salt, to taste

Place the lobsters in a large heavy pot. Cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes more. Drain and plunge into cold water to arrest further cooking. Extract the meat, chop it and set it aside.
Place the lobsters' remains in a roasting pan with the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves and butter. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and strain off the butter into a heavy saucepan. Place the remaining contents of the roasting pan (you may want to break up the lobster shells so that it will give out more flavour) into the 2 quarts water and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the stock.
Heat the butter in the saucepan. Add the flour and cook the roux (that is, flour and butter mixture) for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock (bit by bit) and blend well. Then add the cream, Sherry and brandy.
Simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Season with white pepper and salt to taste.
Strain the bisque and add the lobster meat. Serve immediately.