Chili Lobster (Hurricane Lobster Party)

August 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

I am sorry, poor lobsters. 😦 Your sacrifice, due to my horrific murderous actions, was much-appreciated. Thank you!

One of my favorite restaurants in NY is Fatty Crab. Their pork-belly watermelon salad is AMAZING. But the “piece de la resistance” is undoubtedly their chili crab. It is SO delicious. Mop up that sauce with their huge pieces of buttery toast…mmm…mmm….mmm….

But since I am implementing austerity measures, I decided I would try to make an adaptation of the infamous chili-crab  recipe at home. With lobster. I think lobster is a little easier to eat because while still-messy, less messy than crab. And it was on sale for $5.99/lb, which is basically a steal. And once, at Fatty Crab, I tried the Chili Lobster instead one day, which was just as amazing as the crab.

Notes:

1. Yes, 4 tablespoons of sriracha does seem like a lot, but I really couldn’t taste that much spiciness! Feel free to start off with 2 (bare minimum) but be liberal, I would actually do 5 next time.

2. Since I couldn’t bring myself to breaking down the lobsters while they were alive, I decided to steam them first and then break them apart. But I am sure if you have more guts than I do, you could break them apart while they are alive and then cook them in the sauce, which might make the meat more flavorful. I actually didn’t mind the light flavoring, especially since I had a lot of sauce that I could dip my lobster-meat into.

3. The original recipe called for some cornstarch, but my sauce was pretty thick so I didn’t put it in. But I’m guessing that this will help the sauce coat the lobster better, so I suppose you could always give it a try!

4. This was really good, doesn’t really remind me of Fatty Crab’s too much (in a league of their own) but it was still super delicious! I will absolutely make this again and again.

5. Stay safe from the Hurricane everyone!

6. I hope I don’t lose too many visitors after this post…I truly did feel bad for those little guys. But they tasted pretty damn good…

Stephanie’s Hurricane Chili Lobster

Adapted from NY Times

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Golden Mountain seasoning sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar (or 2 tablespoons mirin, 1 tbsp rice vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cups chopped shallots (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch* optional
  • 2 tablespoons water* optional
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3-4 1 3/4-2 lb lobsters, steamed, cleaned and split, large claws slightly cracked
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • cup chopped scallions for garnishing

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, with a steamer. Be careful not to let the water level be higher than the steamer, just-touching is fine. Bring the water to a boil, and then carefully drop those lovely lobsters into the pot and close the lid immediately. :*( Then steam for about 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. After cooled, break them apart, taking the claws, tail, and legs off and reserving the head for soup stock if desired. Remove the gills and innards (greyish/greenish yucky stuff) and roe (orange/red stuff). Crack the claws and segment the tail carefully. Set the lobster pieces aside, you can do this up to one night before.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the sriracha, soy sauce, sugar, Golden Mountain sauce, rice-wine vinegar, tomato paste and sesame oil with 1 cup of water and set aside.
  3. Place the shallots, garlic, ginger and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over high heat, and when it shimmers, add the shallot paste and fry for 2 minutes until very fragrant. Add the chili sauce, and when the liquid simmers, continue to cook for 5 minutes on medium low heat (it may start to splatter, lower heat if this happens).
  5. Add the lobster and coat well with the sauce, keeping the heat at medium.
  6. Add the cornstarch paste if you want your sauce to be thicker, now, and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the egg yolk to the sauce and stir immediately into the sauce so it is a smooth consistency. Coat the lobster pieces.
  8. Turn off the heat and serve the lobster with lots of rice or toast, and a LOT of napkins!
  9. Enjoy!!
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Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

July 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, I’m taking a little detour from my usual fare and presenting my journey into the world of Italia!

First, I must give all credit to whatever knowledge I have of pasta and sauce to my lovely and dear friend, Amanda.  In college, I tasted one of the most delicious things in my life – her family’s pasta sauce. To my absolute delight, I was lucky enough to learn how to make it at home (though it really never tastes the same…) and it’s still pretty darn amazing. So thank you, amazing girl, for teaching me how sauce should taste! This post is dedicated to you and congratulations again!! 🙂

Notes:

1. Seasoning every layer is crucial, in any type of cooking. Make sure to season every step moderately, and then at the end the seasoning should be almost just-right.

2. Use GOOD Parmesan! None of that Kraft-pre-grated stuff. Spend the money on the good stuff.

3. You can use any type of pasta, I just like rigatoni with meat sauce because the sauce gets into the little ridges and it’s so delicious!

4. Try to use San Marzano tomatoes, the taste/sweetness of the tomatoes is the perfect match for a delicious tomato sauce

5. Sauce will taste better the next day. Always.

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

Adapted from Amanda’s genius-brain

Ingredients

  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 tsp chili red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes, whole
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of finely sliced basil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch-oven (or any type of heavy-pot), heat olive oil on medium-high heat and toast garlic until lightly browned and fragrant.  Add minced onions and cook until onions are translucent, around 5-6 minutes.
  2. After the onions are translucent and soft, add your ground beef and cook until browned, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, pour contents of your tomato cans and using your hands, break up the whole tomatoes into rough pieces.  Add the tomatoes to the beef and onion mixture.
  4. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer, the sauce will be very watery. (Don’t worry, the next hour, we will slowly simmer the extra water out, leaving a thick, delicious sauce.)
  5. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes to an hour with the lid half-on, stirring occasionally.
  6. After the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, add grated Parmesan cheese and stir well into the sauce. Add the thinly sliced basil, and then turn off the heat. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Boil salted water for pasta, and cook according to package directions for al dente.
  8. Add a few ladles of sauce into the drained pasta, and then serve into bowls. Add a small ladle of sauce additionally on top of each serving, and top with a little extra grated cheese if necessary.
  9. Enjoy!!
E-mail me for the secret ingredient: cozybogie at gmail dot com

Cucumber Kimchi – 오이 소바기 (O-i Sobagi)

July 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

Cucumber kimchi is certainly one of my favorite types of kimchi. It is also quite easy to make! Win-win.

Notes:

1. Must use Korean cucumber, also called “Kirby” Cucumber.  American cucumbers don’t work for this, as they have different types of skin and seed-structures that make it impossible to make a delicious, crunchy cucumber kimchi.

2. I highly recommend the fish sauce I used for this recipe, it’s the best I’ve found. Fish sauce is a pretty important part of this recipe, don’t skip it!

3. If you have a mandolin to julienne the carrots, do that instead of using a cheese grater.  A cheese grater will work fine, but it’s more tiring and labor-intensive.

Thank you Amy and Julian for being a part of the best cucumber-kimchi-making team with me!

Cucumber Kimchi Recipe – Oi Sobagi 오이 소바기

Adapted from Aeri’s Kitchen

Total preparation and cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • ~20-25 Kirby cucumbers
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • 10~13 cups of water
  • 2 cups chopped garlic chives
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green onion
  • 3 carrots, julienned finely
  • 7 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp white sugar

Directions

  1. Wash and trim your cucumbers. Carefully, use your knife to make two perpendicular slits in each cucumber, creating an “X” shape on top.
  2. In a large pot, boil the water with 1 cup of salt. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat.
  3. Carefully, pour the boiling salt water over the trimmed and cut cucumbers. Leave for 1 hour.
  4. While the cucumbers are brining, make the sauce.  Chop the chives and green onions, more finely towards the bottom of the stalk and then increasing the size of the pieces up to 1/4 inch towards the top of the stalks. Using a mandolin (BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL OF YOUR FINGERS), julienne the carrots finely. Put green onions, chives, and carrots aside in a big bowl.
  5. In another bowl, add minced garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, water, and gochugaru and mix well.
  6. Add the gochugaru mixture into the chives, carrots, and green onions and mix until well combined.
  7. After the cucumbers have been brining for 1 hour, drain the water and rinse once with cold water.
  8. Using gloves, put about 2 tablespoons of sauce into each cucumber. Carefully open the “X” and stuff the cucumber with the sauce, making sure all four fingers of the cucumber are well coated, as well as the outside of the cucumber.
  9. Place the stuffed cucumbers into a large, airtight container closely together.
  10. Leave overnight at room temperature and then refrigerate.  Depending on how ripened you like your kimchi, you can eat it anywhere from 1 day later and this lasts a few weeks! (If you have enough self-control ;))
YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy plain or with rice or anything, really. 🙂

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting (Perfection!!)

July 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

I found it. FINALLY. The perfect vanilla cake-recipe.

I’ve had some disappointments in the past – the recipes I tried were a little too dense, a little too coarse, a little too dry, etc. But this, everyone, this is the absolute perfect combination of moist, light, and fluffines that will blow your mind.

Cupcakes are my major weakness. I immediately want one even after I hear the word “cupcake” being said, so the other day when I ordered 3-dozen cupcakess from Billy’s Bakery for our best-selling book’s Publisher, I knew I had to satisfy my need.  And I did. (A little too much.)

I am a fan of most bakery’s cupcakes in the city – Magnolia, Buttercream Bake Shop, tbsp, and Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I want to try all of them!

Frosting:

1. I love a light, whipped frosting so I highly recommend this one. I’m also a little paranoid lately about all the artificial chemicals in food-coloring so I made my own using crushed cherry-juice.  I think it was worth it and looks decent!

2. I know there’s an insane amount of pictures, but it’s because I think cupcakes are so dang cute.

Stephanie’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Makes 18 Cupcakes

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 (1 1/4 cup) sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until nice and fluffy, around 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, mix 1 minute.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one. Mixture might look curdled, it’s all good!
  6. Add milk and oil, mix well.
  7. Add flour mixture in 2-3 installments, and mix until JUST combined. Over-mixing = death of a light, moist cake.
  8. Line your cupcake pans with cupcake liners, and add around 2 heaping tablespoons of batter to each.  They should look around 2/3-3/4 full.  Don’t put too much batter or else it will spill out of the pan.
  9. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, mine took 19 minutes exactly.
  10. COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE FROSTING OR ELSE YOU WILL HAVE A FROSTING DISASTER!

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Adapted from Billy’s Bakery 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 crushed cherry (optional)

Directions

  1. In a stand-mixer, cream butter until smooth – around 3 minutes.
  2. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, milk, and vanilla. Mix until desired consistency.
  3. I frosted half with white frosting, and half using the crushed-cherry-tinted ones. Go crazy!
ENJOY!!!*
*I sure did…

Ice Cream Mania – Earl Grey, Green Tea, and Coffee Ice Cream

July 11, 2011 § 5 Comments

Earl Grey Ice Cream Recipe

Adapted from MAC&CHEESE Review

Ingredients

  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 Earl Grey Tea Bags
  • 5 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Warm the milk, cream, and sugar in a saucepan. Remove from heat, place tea bags in the pan, cover and steep at room temperature for an hour. Squeeze them so that the excess flavor is released. Remove tea bags.
  2. Rewarm tea-infused milk. Whisk egg yolks together in a separate bowl.Slowly pour the milk mixture into the bowl with egg yolks, whisking constantly.
  3. Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the pan constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard and coats the spatula. (About 8-10 minutes.)
  4. Cool the mixture by refrigerating overnight.  Freeze in your ice cream maker the next day, and then put into a freezer-friendly container and let it chill in the freezer for at least two hours (preferably overnight). Enjoy!

Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons green tea (matcha) powder
  • 5 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk in the matcha. Set a mesh strainer on top.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  4. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream, then whisk it vigorously until the custard is frothy to dissolve the matcha.
  5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy!

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans or ground coffee (decaf unless you want the caffeine in your ice cream)
  • 5 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour. If using ground coffee, strain through a cheesecloth into a large bowl.
  2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
  3. Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling!). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Stir until cool.
  6. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Enjoy!

Iced Crac…I mean Coffee. Iced Coffee.

July 3, 2011 § 7 Comments

Thanks to my beautiful friend Lina and her recommendation to check out The Pioneer Woman (seriously, how had I not known about her earlier…?), I decided to try out one of her amazing posts on a fairly simple thing. Iced Coffee. And then I fell in love with her.

So why is it necessary to make a post about iced coffee?  Why not just brew some coffee and let it cool, add some ice and milk and sugar, and be done with it? Because then you probably won’t end up with this ridiculously addictive (as if coffee isn’t addictive enough already) amazing iced coffee that’s not diluted, perfectly sweet, and with that just-right amount of cream in the background.

I was a little intimidated with the sheer amount of coffee Ree made in her entry, so I halved it to a gallon and a half pound of coffee.  Which is almost all gone.  So yes, I understand why she made two gallons and I will surely do the same from now on. I also didn’t have any condensed milk on hand, so I made my own with some evaporated milk and sugar. 1 measure of evaporated milk to 1 1/4 measures of sugar. So for me, it was 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1 1/4 cups of sugar, melted together in a pot until just melted, and cooled and then refrigerated until I needed to use it.

This iced coffee is perfect.

Without further ado, here it is (preparation time: 8-12 hours/overnight):

The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Coffee (good, Rich Roast)
  • 8 quarts Cold Water
  • Half-and-half (healthy Splash Per Serving)
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)
  • Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups…adapt To Your Liking!

Preparation Instructions

(Adapted from Imbibe Magazine)

In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.

Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.

To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.

Thai-style Chicken with Coconut Milk Sauce – Iron Chef-Style!

July 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

Have you ever opened up the pantry and refrigerator, simply at a loss of what to make or eat? And then, reach into that very-same pantry, and pull out a package of ramyun and resign yourself to an extremely satisfying but unhealthy supper?

I grabbed that package of ramyun, and I heat the water for it. I was actually really looking forward to savoring those delicious, al dente noodles while reading THE HUNGER GAMES (freaking…AMAZING!!!) and having a relaxing night in. But then, I thought, “Stephanie, let’s have a challenge. Let’s try to make something interesting using the ingredients you have on hand.” I shut off the heat for my boiling water and looked inside my pantry and refrigerator again.

I found: a can of coconut milk, some chicken bouillon, S&B Curry, chicken breasts, garlic, green onion, an onion, leftover napa cabbage-hearts, ginger, sriracha, and peanut butter. I started to think, what could I possibly make using these, and the answer was pretty obvious – a Thai-inspired coconut chicken curry!

Then I got really excited.  Challenges are good.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have any Thai red-curry or green-curry paste on hand (come on, doesn’t EVERYONE have this in their pantry? ;)) so I was a little wary of using my go to curry-rice S&B cubes. I decided I would save those for the very last, and only put them in if everything else turned out horribly. But this was my only “set-back”.

And after a mixture of this, and a little bit of that, I ended up with a chicken coconut “curry” (no “curry” went into the final dish, but it just sounds better) that was really delicious. I WILL TOTALLY MAKE THIS AGAIN! And perhaps I’ll even pick up some red or green curry paste next time, but I’m happy knowing that I don’t need them to make this taste phenonemal.

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry-less Curry

From my very own mind

Approximate cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TB mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/2 TB grated ginger
  • 1/2 TB coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 TB Golden Mountain sauce
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 4 TB minced garlic
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Any vegetables you want, thinly sliced (*recommended: bell pepper, bok choy, mushrooms, broccoli, napa cabbage, etc)
  • 2 TB Sriracha sauce
  • 1 13.5 ounce-can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1/2 TB grated ginger
  • 3 green onion stalks, thinly sliced
  • Curry paste or 1/4 S&B curry cube * COMPLETELY OPTIONAL, in fact, only put it in if you don’t like how everything above tastes at the end
  • Juice of 1 lemon * Also optional, cuts through the richness of the sauce a little

Directions

  1. Marinate chicken in rice wine, salt, pepper, ginger, Golden Mountain sauce, soy sauce for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat large pan with vegetable and sesame oil on high heat, add 2 TB of garlic and saute until fragrant (5-10 seconds).  Add chicken and cook until golden brown.
  3. Remove chicken from the pan, and set aside in a bowl.  Add more oil if necessary, turn the heat to medium, and add the onions and other vegetables.  Cook until tender, and then add the chicken back into the pan. Stir to mix all the ingredients together, and add the sriracha. Turn off the heat.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the coconut milk, chicken broth, ginger, 2 TB garlic, and pepper. Whisk together.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium, and carefully add the coconut-milk mixture.  Mix together, and then taste.  Add salt if necessary. If you’d like, you can add about 1/4 of one of the cubes of curry, but again, completely optional.
  6. Add green onion to the sauce, and turn off the heat.  Serve with rice. Garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime.
  7. ENJOY!

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