Monday, November 29, 2010

Roast Turkey at home!

My first Roasted Turkey. I was worried at first that something could go wrong. I do not have the rectangular shallow roasting pan with the cooling rack so the bottom of my turkey was not browned. Nevertheless, when the turkey was done, I can't believe that I did a great job! The turkey was moist and tender. I asked my friend how she cooked her roasted turkey. She verbally informed me on the details. I also read on blogs about roasted turkey. I wrote down many recipes. I like the one especially with mixed herbs.. yumyum!! But when its time to cook the turkey, I cant decide which recipe I want to use so I just come up with it. :)

We thought the turkey was 15 lbs but it was actually 21 lbs. Just the two of us with a big bird!! Plenty of leftovers.. LoL!! No wonder it was really heavy so hubby helped me. I used the cold-water thaw method instead of refrigerated thaw. NEVER thaw a turkey at a room temperature, as this allows for bacterial growth. Rinse turkey under cool running water, rubbing all surfaces inside and out, to wash away bacteria. Remember any surface that comes in contact with raw poultry, must be washed with hot soapy water. Bacteria transfers easily from one surface to the next and can results in illness.

How long to thaw your turkey:

Turkey thawing time in cold water. 
Approximately 30 minutes per pound
Change water every 1/2 hour.

Whole Turkey Weight          Thawing Time
  8 - 12 lbs                                  4 - 6 hours
12 - 16 lbs                                  6 - 8 hours
16 - 20 lbs                                  8 - 10 hours
20 - 24 lbs                                  10 - 12 hours

Turkey thawing time in the refrigerator (40 degrees F)
Approximately 24 hours per 5 pounds

Whole Turkey Weight           Thawing Time
  8 - 12 lbs                                  1 - 2 day
12 - 16 lbs                                  2 - 3 days
16 - 20 lbs                                  3 - 4 days
20 - 24 lbs                                  4 - 5 days

Check Butterball website for tips and how to.

Personally I prefer not to cook stuffing inside the turkey. I think it takes a longer time, and they will get gooey. I like the crunch of baked dressings, that is why I baked separately. After cleaning the inside of the turkey, I lathered the inside with lemon juice and rub all over with a small handful of salt. For flavor, I used chopped carrots, celery, onions, cilantro and dried thyme to put inside the turkey, then covered with aluminium foil so that the vegetables won't fall out easily while baking. Before placing the turkey into the pan, I rubbed melted butter all over the skin and added  turkey broth into the pan (I think I added too much). Preheated the oven at 500 degrees F. When it's ready to put the turkey in the oven, covered with heavy-duty aluminium foil, I reduced to 350 degrees F. Then I reduced again to 325 degrees F, uncovered. I basted the turkey with the juices about three to four times. Finally, after several hours, I inserted the meat thermometer at the deepest part of the turkey and the temperature reading was around 180 - 190 degrees F. The turkey is ready, browned on top and smells good!! I let the turkey rest for about 15 to 20 minutes before hubby carved the turkey. :))

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Green Bean Casserole - Thanksgiving Side Dish

Green bean casserole is one of the side dish which is often served on Thanksgiving day. It is a casserole consisting of green beans, cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions. A comfort food that can be served any day and it is easy to make.

1 tbsp butter or olive oil
5-ounces fresh white mushrooms, brushed clean, trimmed, and sliced
1/2 cup diced onions (optional)
1 pound fresh green beans, blanched
1 can (10-ounces) undiluted condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup heavy cream/ half-and-half or milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can (2.8-ounces) French-fried onions, divided
pinch of garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
Place a heavy skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add butter. When the butter has melted, add mushrooms and diced onions. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Saute mushrooms until they release their liquid and mushrooms begin to soften, Transfer to a large bowl.
Add green beans, cream of mushroom soup, heavy cream, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, half of fried onions, garlic powder and pepper, and salt to taste. Stir well. 
Pour green bean mixture into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the cheddar and the remaining half can of fried onions. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese has melted and onion topping is browned and crispy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gina's Pumpkin Cheesecake - Thanksgiving Dessert

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! For the next few days, I am posting about some of Thanksgiving dishes. To begin my first post, it will be on Dessert. I baked my first pumpkin cheesecake. At first, I was a little skeptical with the amount of cream cheese used for this recipe. I thought it would be heavy but not at all. The gingersnap cookies really goes well with pumpkin and the cinnamon whipped cream topping, that, is really a great touch!! Great recipe!

Thanks Gina for this fabulous recipe.  :)

Gina's Pumpkin Cheesecake, Food Network

30-35 squares gingersnap cookies
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the gingersnaps to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until crumbly. Transfer to a large bowl and add the melted butter. Stir until evenly mixed. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan with 3-inch sides. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely while preparing the filling.
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 (15-ounce) can puree pumpkin (not pumpkin mix)
5 large eggs
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves
1/2 tsp table salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Put a teakettle filled with water on the stove top, over medium heat, and bring to a boil.
In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar and beat with an electric mixer at a low speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt and vanilla, and beat until blended. Add flour and beat until incorporated.
Wrap the sides and bottom of the 9-inch spring-form pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Pour filling into the pan and put it in a small roasting pan. Pour the hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan, filling halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan, about 1 1/2 inches. Bake at preheated oven at 350 degrees F until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, use a paring knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until thick and frothy. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and beat until medium peaks form.
 Still cooling in the pan

after being chilled in the refrigerator overnight.

Spread cinnamon whipped topping.
(i also topped with grated semi-sweet chocolate)

Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporated additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oven Fried Chicken

My mum loves fried chicken and so do I. Especially those crispy ones. hmm.. yum-yum.. But I don't quite like them being deep-fried, too greasy. I hate to use napkins to wipe off some of the grease. Believe me, before when I ate fried chicken, I got into the habit of wiping off the grease before putting it into my mouth.. haha... 
I was delighted when I found out about oven fried chicken. Crispy and delicious, oven fried chicken is much healthier than any traditional fried chicken. You can eat these oven fried chicken by itself or make it into a sandwich.

With the mini buns that I made yesterday, we had chicken sandwiches. I sauteed onions and mushroom to go on top of the chicken.  Delicious oven fried chicken sandwich with sauteed onions and mushrooms... ohh don't forget the cheese.. hehe.. :)

Oven Fried Chicken 
(adapted from Food Network)

1 1/3 cup cornflakes
1 cup toasted white bread
1 tbsp virgin oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp ground mustard
4 skinless chicken pieces (about 6 ounces each) 

*(I used skinless chicken breast and cut into half)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set a rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Spray the rack generously with cooking spray. Finely grind the cereal and toast together in a food processor. Transfer the crumbs to a large gallon size plastic bag. Add the oil, salt, paprika, and ground pepper and toss to mix thoroughly. Whisk the mayonnaise and mustard together in a medium shallow bowl. Add chicken to mayonnaise mix and turn to coat all the pieces evenly. Drop the chicken into the plastic bag, seal and shake until each piece is evenly coated. Drizzle some virgin oil, and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the coating crisps and browns. Transfer to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

**P.S: Remember, I said I will post about the Eid-ul Adha food, well I'm very sorry I did not post anything on that. Last minute, I did not cook anything special. We just had Sambal Tumis Ayam and Kentang (Spicy Chicken and Potato Chilli based Sauce) with white rice. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Easy Homemade Bread

I love the smell of fresh bread from the oven. It just made me impatient for a fresh slice of buttered bread.. Yum! YuM!! But today, something is not right with my sense of smell.. I cannot smell it. I was waiting for it but it never come.. My hubby came back home from work just a few minutes after I took the bread out of the oven. He was standing by the front door and asked "you baked?" I replied, "yes, I did." He said fresh bread without even going to the kitchen and I was like how did you know, I cant smell it. All I smell was from the silicone loaf pan.. haha..

I do not have a mixer stand to help me so I had to use a large bowl and a wooden spoon. How about bread machine?? I am not sure about bread machine, right now, I'm happy to bake the bread from the oven. Well, maybe in the future but all these appliances are in my wish-list.. *wink-wink* hehe... 

After much research on making homemade fresh bread, I found the recipe and the method below is the best. The thing I like this recipe, is that its easy, you do not have to spend a lot of time. Even my hubby prefers  homemade fresh bread than the ones we get from the store. Next time, I'll be able to add a variety of interesting ingredients to create a unique and flavorful breads. Thanks to Oliviaskitchen for this easy recipe.

600g strong white bread flour 
1 pkg (7g) dry yeast
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
400ml lukewarm water
3 tbsp melted butter

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the lukewarm water about 300ml (you might not need all 400ml) and melted butter. (you'll know when you added the right amount of water, all the flour will come together). Stir until there is no loose flour and not too wet. Then on a floured surface, knead the dough by forming a fist and push the dough away and bring it back for about 5 minutes. Put the dough in a loaf tin or divide into small rolls. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for approx 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled the size. Bake in the preheated oven 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

  • If the dough is too wet, add a little bit more of flour and  if the dough is too dry, add a little bit more of water.
  • For crusty bread, store it in a brown paper bag or let it just sit on the counter. Don't use a plastic wrap because it will soften the crust and preserve the moist interior.
  • If the bread goes stale, moisten the outside with water, use a spray bottle or sprinkling it with your hands. Heat it in a 400 degrees F preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Honey Cornflakes Mini Cups ~ Eid-ul Adha

This year raya haji was confusing for me. I thought Eid-ul Adha is on 17th but after chatting with my friend, she said its the 16th here. I have plans to cook some raya dishes but since its a last minute, I whipped up a simple dish yesterday. At first, I thought I would cook the raya food today but after much considerations... hehe.. we are going to have a little different from having the tradition raya food. Will post it soon on that.

This morning, I'm sharing the super easiest Eid cookies that I baked last minute. They are crunchy, yummy and uses little ingredients. Honey Cornflakes mini cups.. You can add raisins, toasted groundnuts, toasted almond slices or just have it plain cornflakes. You can even get your little kids to help out and have fun. Definitely both the kids and the adults will enjoy these Eid cookies. :))

50g butter
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven at 325 Degrees Fahrenheit. 
In a small saucepan, melt butter, honey and brown sugar over low heat. 
Keep stirring until the sugar dissolved. 
Turn off heat and mix cornflakes and raisins. Mix well.
Fill the mixture into the mini cups. Sprinkles some nonpareils decors on top. (I also sprinkles a little of the fine crushed chocolate sandwich cookies and red sugar decors, they look just fine after baking.)
Bake for 5-10 minutes.
Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

Happy Eid-ul Adha to each and everyone celebrating. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Honey Baked Chicken II

This honey baked chicken is delicious! It has excellent flavor and most importantly hubby loves it. :) The recipe is available at Allrecipes. After reading the reviews, I've made some changes to the recipe. I highly recommend this recipe!! Yummy!!!

1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Place the chicken in a shallow baking pan. Combine all the ingredients and pour the mixture over. (coat well). Baked them covered for 1 hour, turning halfway through. Then remove the foil, basted the chicken pieces again. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees, and baked them skin side up for an additional 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Serve over white rice with steamed vegetables. :))

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fried Black Carrot Cake

Here is my fried black carrot cake. Gosh!! I miss eating fried carrot cake (be it white or black) in Singapore. Well, both of which are equally tasty and addictive! However, this can be only eaten moderately and not too often as this dish usually cooked with loads of oil. :))
When you make your own, you can add small shrimps or beansprouts if you like. Next time, I'll add some small shrimps to make it more yummier. hehe..

In the previous post, I've link a video of how to make the carrot cake but this time, I type it out just for you. :))

Radish cake
350g rice flour
600g water, room temperature
600g hot water
40g carrots, grated (squeeze dry)*
40g radish, grated (squeeze dry)*

In a big bowl, mix rice flour with the room temperature water first. 
Mix the grated carrots and radish in the hot water. Then slowly pour the hot water mixture to the rice flour. Add salt and mix well. 
To thicken the mixture: Using a large pan/wok, add some water. Pour the mixture in a heatproof bowl. Now, you put your heatproof bowl in the large pan/wok. Stir, and mix well under a low heat until the mixture is smooth and thick. Transfer to a greased round pan (I used 8-inch round pan).
Steaming: Carefully, fit the round pan into the steamer, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer. Steam for 30 minutes or just until the radish cake is set and is firm to the touch. Check the water level regularly and replenish with boiling water, if necessary. Remove the pan from the steamer and allow to cool before using it.

(*changes: different from the previous post)

Fried Black Carrot Cake
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tbsp chai poh (preserved radish)
2 nos eggs, beaten
1 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 tbsp thick black sweet sauce
sambal (chilli paste) (how spicy you want it to be)
dash of white pepper
1-2 stalks spring onion, chopped
coriander leaves, chopped

Cut up steamed radish cake into small chunks.
Using medium high heat, in a non-stick skillet, fry garlic until just brown. Add radish cake chunks and fry till lightly browned and slightly crisp. Add chai poh. Fry till aromatic. Drizzle a little more oil if it is too dry. 
Add sambal (chilli paste) if you like and white pepper. Stir to coat evenly. 
Mix fish sauce in the beaten eggs, then pour in the beaten egg mixture. Allow the eggs to set slightly before flipping over in sections. 
Drizzle thick black sweet sauce and stir fry to mix well.
Before serving, sprinkle some chopped spring onions and coriander leaves on top. 


  • Cut the steamed radish cake into smaller chunks as they will crisp better. Crispy on the outside and soft interior. Yummy!!!!
  • If you like the fried black carrot cake to be a little wet, add some water after adding the sweet black sauce to fry until it has become softer and wetter.
  • You can make the radish cake ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated for days before frying it. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sharing Sushi

Seriously, I was disappointed. Firstly, my sushi looks awful and secondly, hubby was sick and I ate by myself. To make and rolling sushi was not as easy as I thought. I need A LOT of practice.. and the nori (seaweed) that I bought, I think was not the right one and when I opened the packet, some were broken. :( I tried but I will try again.. or maybe just go to a sushi restaurant for some delicious sushi. Today's post comes with no recipe but just want to share the following with you.. :)

Different types of sushi and rolls:

Sliced raw fish by itself - Sashimi

Chirashi-sushi - A bowl or bento box filled with sushi rice topped with a variety of fish and vegetables. 

Nigiri-sushi - Consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping draped over it. Generally the most common form of sushi you will see. 

Gunkan Nigiri - Gunkan means boat and this sushi gets the name from the way the main ingredient is held in place on top of the sushi rice. It is in a boat shape.

Inari-sushi - Aburage (fried pockets of tofu) stuffed with sushi rice. 

Maki-sushi - Seaweed filled with fish and/or vegetables rolled up with rice on the outside. There are also more specific terms for the rolls depending on the style. They are:

Chakin-sushi - rice on the inside wrapped in a thin egg crepe

Futomaki - thick, large or fat rolls

Hosomaki - thin rolls

Uramaki - inside-out rolls (rice on the inside)

Tazunamaki - (Rainbow Roll) Maki roll with strips of fish and/or avocado across the top.

Temaki-sushi - Also called a handroll. Rice, fish and vegetables wrapped in seaweed shaped as a cone. The handroll has the same ingredients as Maki, the only difference is in how it is wrapped.

Here are some dining etiquette:
* Do not rub your chopsticks together. If you have to, do it under the table so the chef can't see you! Doing so implies that the chef is cheap (I must remember this coz I did it before.. hehe). 
* It is generally considered best form to eat sushi in one bite.
* It is OK to eat nigiri-sushi with your hands. Sashimi is only to be eaten with your chopsticks.
* Do not ask your chef "Is that fish fresh?"  Of course it’s fresh or the chef should not be serving it.
* Gari (ginger) is considered a palate cleanser and eaten between bites or different types of sushi. It is not meant to be eaten in the same bite as a piece of sushi.
* Slurping noodles is OK, less so for soup, but a bit is fine, at least by Japanese standards. You are expected to pick up your bowl to drink the soup, using your chopsticks to direct the solid pieces to your mouth.
* Eat them all. Try to eat all the food that is ordered, as it is considered bad manners to waste food. 

If you want to try Japanese, ‘domo arigato’ for ‘thank you’ and if you want to be more sophisticated, you might try “gochisosama deshita,” for “thank you for the meal.” You can use the less commonly used "oishikatta desu" for "it was delicious".

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is the most important ingredient in your sushi. The rice is a white, short-grain variety, which means the grains are very small and almost round. Short-grained rice contains a high percentage of starch when compared to other varieties, and this is why the grains are so sticky. While most rice loses its excess starch with a quick rinse under cold water, sushi rice will always remain sticky.

It is recommended to use a rice cooker.. hmmm.. NADA.. Do not worry!! Rice was always cooked with a pot before the rice cooker was invented.. so back to the old style... If you get some rice stuck on your pot, put water in it and soak about half and hour, and it will easily comes off.

3 cups uncooked Japanese sushi rice
3 1/4 cups cold water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt 

Wash rice in cold water until the water runs almost clear. This may take a few minutes. Once water runs semi-clear, drain rice of any excess water and add water. Bring the water and rice to a boil and cover with a lid. Once you put a lid on the pan reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. **Do not to lift the lid during this last 10 minutes as the rice is still cooking even after the heat is off.

While the rice is cooking heat the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan until dissolved. Remove from heat as soon as sugar and salt has dissolved.

How to make sushi rice with tools you already own...

Use a baking dish or Tupperware with a large flat surface so you can spread out the rice as much as possible. The only difference using the tools you already own is that you need to constantly fan the rice, since extra moisture will be evaporated when using a Pyrex or plastic material (make sure to use non-reactive material since vinegar is used). 

When the rice is ready, immediately transfer it to the baking dish while it is steaming hot. Drop the rice (upside down out of the pot) towards the center of the baking dish. While the rice is still clumped together, evenly pour the rice vinegar mixture over the rice by dripping it on the spatula. The vinegar will drain through the gaps between the rice. While cooling the rice with a fan, use the spatula and quickly flatten out the rice over the whole surface of the baking dish. Do not use too much force for it may smash or break the rice.
Keep cooling the rice with the fan and gently run the spatula through the rice in a grid pattern. This is to increase the surface area of the sushi rice to cool it faster and make it easier to flip in the next step. Give it a final cooling. Collect the rice to the other side while flipping in small amounts. Wet a paper towel and cover the rice. 

Now the sushi rice is ready to make some home-made sushi... :)

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