Sunday, March 30, 2008

Corn & Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

This is my go-to side dish whenever I make meat. It goes perfectly with grilled or oven roasted meat (I just had it yesterday with oven roasted chicken drumsticks - this is the best marinade I've made, courtesy of Ming Tsai). Not only is it a refreshing and easy side dish, most of the ingredients come from the pantry. All it is are corn, roasted red peppers, onions and vinegar.

After I came up with this recipe, I realized that the ingredients are pretty flexible - you can use fresh or canned corn, jarred or freshly made roasted peppers, any kind of onions you have at hand (scallions, shallots, red onions), and any kind of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, cider, distilled white). Of course everything tastes better if it's fresh, so I make the roasted peppers every time.

Another way this recipe is flexible is that you can match this side dish to the kind of cuisine you're making. For example, I made an Asian dinner last night, so I used scallions and sriracha. If you're having a picnic with Italian subs, you can use any other onion and balsamic vinegar.

Without further adieu, here's the recipe:

Corn & Roasted Red Pepper Salsa*
Serves 4

1 15oz. can corn (freshly grilled ones are even better)
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 tablespoon scallion, sliced thin (or any other onion)
1/2 tablespoon vinegar (any kind you have in the pantry)
1/4 teaspoon sriracha (hot Thai chili sauce; optional)
salt and pepper to taste

To make the roasted red bell pepper, pop it in your oven broiler. Char all sides (about 3 minutes each side, or until the skin is black).

Add all ingredients together and serve at room temperature.

* all measurements above are approximate - I like to use more vinegar, depending on what kind. If it's distilled white, that's more sharp than cider vinegar. So I use a mix of vinegar to taste in the dish, mostly 1/2 white distilled and 1/2 something else.


Yesterday my fiance and I tried out an Asian Noodle/Eatery chain called Wagamama in Boston. My expectations were low to none, considering my past experiences at Republic and Momofuku in New York. (I know there are alot of Momofuku fans out there...sadly, it did not impress this Asian). Surprisingly, Wagamama did not turn out to be a painful experience at all.

Upon entering Wagamama, I was greeted by a wonderful aroma of noodle broth. The open kitchen allowed this to permeate through the space, which was in a simple modern design. Luckily, our waitress avoided seating parties right next to each other at the restaurant's communal tables. There was even a clever space under the tables to allow ladies to place their purses. Numerous coat racks were available to make customers more comfortable.

Our order was taken by our waitress with an electronic device, which then shoots this to screens in the kitchen. How efficient is that? Here's what I ordered:

  • Ebi Gyoza - We shared these deep-fried shrimp dumplings for appetizer. The dough was surprisingly thick, much like that of Americanized spring rolls found at your local Chinese restaurant. The flavor was good, but was a tad heavy on the pepper. The spicy citrus ponzu sauce was a nice compliment.

  • Seafood Ramen - I never expected seafood ramen at a eatery to be topped with shrimp, salmon, baramundi AND squid. I was impressed by this variety and quality. The spices used for the seafood were flavorful, but not overpowering. And did I mention the noodles? They were nice on the tooth - just the right amount of chewiness and perfectly cooked.

Overall, the restaurant exceeded my expectations. It apparently has locations in many other countries - UK, Ireland, Turkey, and much more. I wonder what took them so long to hit the US?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Last word on chocolate chip cookies

I just had an awesome ice cream sandwich! Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar sandwiched between Martha's Outrageous Chocolate Chip cookies I baked yesterday. YUM!!!

If you try it, make sure to pop the cookies in the microwave for 20 seconds before adding the ice cream.

Hooked on Gnocchi

I wasn't a fan of gnocchi until I had them at Jane. Their version was served with a gorgonzola cream sauce. Surprisingly, it wasn't heavy at all.

I had my share of dense gnocchi, so when I found and made Mario Batali's ricotta gnocchi recipe, I was hooked. My fiance likes them so much that he asks for it every time I go over his place to stock up his freezer with quick meals.

I wished I had a picture of the cooked little pillows of goodness to show you. Before you're ready to cook them, make sure you coat them with flour (pictured below) so you don't have a sticky mess. I just made a batch and popped them into the freezer. These babies will be waiting for my fiance when he wants a meal in under 10 minutes.

the uncooked little pillows of goodness, coated with flour

These gnocchi freeze beautifully. It may take some time out of your weekend to make it ahead of time, but I think it's all worth it. The sauces that you can make with these are endless: brown butter, tomato sauce, or for a heartier meal, saute with crumbled sausage and some onions. For the gnocchi themselves, you can just boil them in water, or take it a step further and pan-fry them to get them crunchy outside.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cookie madness

Ok, this has got to stop. I just baked my 3rd batch of chocolate chocolate chip cookies in less than a week.


I have to admit though that my recent batch was less successful - I had to substitute in unsweetened chocolate (that was all my fiance had) and apparently 2 tablespoon of sugar per ounce of unsweetened chocolate wasn't enough.

Anyhow, here's the link to Martha Stewart's recipe for her Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Instead of using all semi-sweet chocolate, I like to substitute in a quarter of bittersweet chocolate in the recipe.

Since I'm gonna to be stocking up my fiance's fridge in the days to come, I'm sure I'll be posting some of the freezer friendly and quick go to recipes I use all the time. The poor guy simply doesn't have the time to cook.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How I spent my weekend (part 2)

While I was held hostage at my sister's this past weekend, I was commissioned to bake chocolate chip cookies (twice!).

I have not baked any chocolate chocolate chip cookies I liked...until now. Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with a great recipe without all that sugar and butter (it's called Outrageous Chocolate Cookies). Normally, I use less sugar & butter than recipes require when baking. Not this one.

The result? A slight crunch on the outside, and a soft chewy inside. Yum!
I have to say I improvised a bit. Instead of using all semi-sweet chocolate, I used some bittersweet chocolate in the recipe. I also added walnuts for texture & taste. I'll try adding coffee next time - it's supposed to enhance chocolate's flavor.

Oh, and here are my sister's creation at the end of this post. Isn't she so talented? Not only did she "make" these, she's the photographer here too.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How I spent my weekend (part 1)

Acting as a consulting designer for my sister and brother-in-law's new house, my main job over the weekend was to help pick which color floor tiles worked best for their granite (naughty) or beige marble (nice). The walls will be covered with slate tiles and a matching decorative pattern running across the bottom of the walls.

The black is ultra cool and adds lots of drama, while the beige gives a serene feel. There are no windows in the bathroom, so black could be a tad claustrophobic. I like to play it safe, but at the same time, I like to diversify. Given that their two other bathrooms have a neutral look, shouldn't they go for a different look for their 3rd bathroom?

What would you choose for the happy couple?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Introducing "Martha Fung"

I've been dubbed Martha Fung by my truly one of a kind sister because of my love for all things, baking and yes, eating. Truthfully, I'm no where near as talented as THE Martha Stewart, nor am I as crafty as she is. But wouldn't it be nice to have a full time career doing what she does? So, here is my first venture into blogging and my fantasy land...being the Asian Martha Stewart.

Currently, other than food, I'm into planning my wedding and being a consultant/designer for my sister's new house. I'm sure I'll be posting some updates to come...from tulle, tiles, to textile.

Thanks to my lovely sister and brother-in-law for talking me into wasting my free time blogging.