Pickled Vegetables with Winter Citrus, Warm Purple Potatoes & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

My plans fell through for this 5-course dinner with that someone someone but I didn’t want to scrap this 5-course dinner. I had half of the groceries already so I went ahead with the prepping. I invited a friend over instead. Why have all that food go to waste right?

I had most of my shopping done already and when I went to Whole Foods, they didn’t have beets nor farro. I had to come up with a new salad on the spot. I decided to do something simple since I still had to make 4 of the 5 courses.

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[100% organic]

For the Pickled Vegetables

  • 1 carrot
  • 2 daikon radishes
  • Pickled peanuts
  • ½ cup pear white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup pomegranate white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar, divided in 2

Peel the carrot and using a peeler, continue to peel the carrot to make carrot ribbons. Bring the pomegranate white wine vinegar with equal parts of water and ¼ cup sugar to a boil. Once boiling, take off from heat and pour into a container with a lid. Add in the carrots ribbons and set aside at room temperature until cool then place in fridge.

Peel the daikon radishes and cut into obliques. Bring the pear white wine vinegar with equal parts of water and ¼ cup sugar to a boil. Once boiling, take off from heat and pour into a container with a lid. Add in the daikon and set aside at room temperature until cool then place in fridge.

For the Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

  • One 15 oz. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until it forms a thick, smooth paste. Season it to your taste and set aside.

For the Blood Oranges & Vinaigrette

  • 2 blood oranges, suprêmed, juices reserved
  • Pomegranate white wine vinegar
  • 2 lemons, juiced, separated
  • EVOO
  • Salt, to taste

Suprême each orange and reserve juices for vinaigrette. Set suprêmes aside. After suprêming each orange, squeeze the core to get more juice. Strain juice before making vinaigrette.

Ratio: 1 part vinegar :: 2 parts juice :: 3 parts EVOO. Using an immersion blender, blend vinegar, juice, EVOO, and lemon juice from 1 lemon. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Before dressing, blend again.

For the Finish

  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 black radishes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 10 small purple potatoes
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Aromatics
  • Butter
  • Salt

Clean and pick watercress. Using a mandolin, slice thin shavings of black radishes and place in ice water. Peel celery stalks and then using a peeler, make celery ribbons and place in ice water.

Boil and cook purple potatoes with aromatics and a pinch of salt. Once potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel them and cut into bite-sized pieces.

TO ASSEMBLE

Using a large spoon, spoon a good amount of hummus on a chilled plate and slide the spoon through it so it creates a streak. Place pickled vegetables on top of the streak, along with the orange segments.

Warm potatoes in a hot pan with butter, parsley, and salt, and place onto the plate.

In a mixing bowl, lightly dress watercress, celery ribbons, and black radishes. Carefully place greens on top and sprinkle pickled peanuts and toasted pumpkin seeds over everything.

Gnocchi with Tomato Pesto

This was my first time eating and making gnocchi. I needed something to do and to kill the time. My gnocchi looks hella ugly though. I’m not sure about the texture but they were soft and chewy. I’ll have to remember to get it in a restaurant to compare.

[100% organic]

  • 1 lb potatoes, about 2 large ones
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ – ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • One 14 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped into thin strips
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 TBS parmesan, freshly grated

Boil the potatoes in boiling water until soft, about 30 minutes on low-heat. Drain, peel, and mash the potatoes well. Let it cool. Add the egg and gradually add the flour in, while stirring well.

When the dough is loose, transfer to a floured surface and knead the dough for a minute and then roll it out into 4 long thin rolls about ½ inch thick. Cut the rolls into ½ inch pieces and then roll the pieces in flour lightly shaking off any excess. Roll the pieces over a gnocchi board or a fork to give them the ridges.

In a food processor, grind the sliced tomatoes, 1 cup parmesan, and pine nuts with a little olive oil. Add more oil until desired texture.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water in small batches until it floats to the surface, about 2-3 minutes, remove and set aside to drain. Save some water.

In a pan, sauté the butter, 1 TBS of pesto per person and the gnocchi, stir well. If it gets too thick, add a little of the saved water. Season with salt and pepper (watch the salt due to the parmesan). Serve with chopped basil and parmesan.

*Adapted from Flavors & Senses.

Hash Brown Pizza

It was impossible to make this pretty because, for me, pizzas are always a challenge at making them aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They say to put less things on the pizza but I can never stop myself from overloading the pizza. I don’t make pizzas that fall apart but there are always a lot of things going on with my pizzas.

Kitchens in Hong Kong don’t come equipped with ovens, nor dishwashers, and my parents didn’t buy the former so I had to come up with some other way to make pizzas. I actually got inspired by that awful tasting Japanese rice-pizza restaurant in Shatin. So instead of rice, I used shredded/grated potatoes, which translates to hash brown pizzas!!! YUM! I love hash browns!!!! I mean, who doesn’t? When I used to eat breakfast, I used to gobble down hash browns…

[100% organic]

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Bag of potatoes
  • Tomato sauce (I used arrabiata)
  • Mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • Parmesan, freshly grated
  • Prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • Salami, thinly sliced
  • Mushroom, thinly sliced
  • Bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • Arugula, fresh
  • Basil leaves
  • Salt & pepper

Peel potatoes and then grate them into a bowl. Squeeze excess water out of grated potatoes and then immediately heat a pan with 2 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS butter.

Flatten grated potatoes into pan and form into a circle, turn heat to low and allow potatoes to fry. Spoon 1-2 TBS of tomato sauce onto the top and sprinkle some grated cheese. Also season with salt & pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.

Once the base of the hash-brown is cooked/burnt enough, it’s time to add the toppings. Be careful not to add too much or else the hash brown will not hold.

Serve immediately once out of pan. I put more basil leaves and sprinkled more cheese onto the pizza because that’s how I like it!

Fish & Chips

I love fish and chips!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!! I loved it in Australia and I loved it in England.

I always eat my fries like this.

[100% organic & wild Alaskan cod]

  • 1 cup AP flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 11 oz. wheat beer/ale
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cod fillets, skinless
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced into strips / french fries
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Turn the heat up of a pan to high with enough oil for frying. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and beer/ale until you get a smooth batter that should be thick.

Remove any pin bones in the fillets and then season the fish fillets on both sides, dust in a bit of flour then dip into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off before putting them in the oil. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to cook the fish one by one to avoid over-crowding.

Cook each fillet for about 4 minutes, until the batter is crisp and golden, then place them on a baking tray and put them in the preheated oven to keep warm while you make the fries. Serve warm, with the fish, your choice of sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and some drops of malt vinegar.

*Adapted from Bon Vivant.

Smoked Salmon Parcels with Israeli Couscous

Since I had already decided to make the Stuffed Peppers with Israeli Couscous, I thought it would be a good idea and a good pairing for another dish to have the same kind of couscous. I found this recipe and I loved it immediately because I’m always trying to improve my presentation and I like making cute looking dishes. ^_^ (OK, that’s the closest fob thing that I’ll ever do).

Whole Foods was out of chives, basil, and other herbs. I just drizzled regular extra virgin olive oil over this. At least it still tasted great; they all liked it. I liked it too!

[100% organic, Norwegian salmon]

*OK, the presentation is kind of messy. The smoked salmon was not easy to wrap around the couscous clumps.

**I’m going to make this another time when there are chives for sale!!!

  • ½ lb smoked salmon, choose the center pieces
  • Stuffing from this recipe
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous with 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup chives, chopped
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Chive oil

Place chopped chives and garlic into food processor and process till finely chopped. Stream in olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Strain mixture into a glass bowl, Give about 30 minutes to drain, Discard solids.

For the Couscous

Follow these instructions. After adding vegetables and cheese to couscous, stir in ¼ cup of chive oil into the couscous and stuffing mixture.

For the Salmon Parcels

Make clumps of the couscous and cover with the smoked salmon. Garnish with chives.

*Adapted from Single Guy Chef.

Shrimp Bisque

You’re probably thinking, shrimp again?! But I love eating shrimp. When I was growing up for the second part of my childhood in Hong Kong, I had shrimp almost everyday.

I was planning to make lobster bisque but I can’t afford lobsters yet… why are the tails so expensive? $40! I think they are extremely overpriced. Besides, lobsters don’t even taste that great in the seafood section, in my opinion. I would eat so many other shellfish and other seafood over lobster.

I’ve been noticing that I’ve been cooking with a lot of heavy cream lately… that needs to stop because I can see where it’s going. The original recipe called for 0.75 cup of heavy cream, so I decided to use skim milk instead but then I’ll probably have to add more potatoes to make it thicker.

[100% organic & wild Gulf Atlantic shrimp]

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shell-on shrimp
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 oz. slab bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 large leek, white part only, sliced thinly
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • Salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp snipped chives

Instructions

For the Broth

Peel the shells off shrimp, reserving for shrimp broth. Transfer shrimp to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chowder base is completed. Place shrimp shells in a large pot and add 3 cups cold water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to low and gently simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and set aside.

For the Bisque Base

Cook bacon in a small pot of simmering water for 1 minute and then drain.

Heat a medium pot over medium heat, add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it releases some of its fat. Add potatoes and leeks, stir well, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp broth and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes, and add salt for taste. Remove the bisque base from the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to make smooth.

Put It All Together

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Raise heat to high, add chilled shrimp and milk, stir well, and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and keep warm. Add shrimp mixture to blended bisque base, stir gently and season with cayenne pepper. Sprinkle chives on top and serve.

*Adapted from One Perfect Bite.

Crispy Salmon with Finger Potatoes & Romano Beans

It was only 2 weeks ago, during Thanksgiving, that my Aunt made this for dinner on Saturday night. I changed it up a bit but it’s basically the same recipe, I added a vegetable serving. I love the colors of this dish. I also like the crispy skin :] dscn1290blog [100% organic & wild]

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¾ lb Romano beans, cut in half
  • Half of large lemon, or 1 small lemon
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb finger potatoes
  • Coarse salt
  • Thick salmon fillet
  • 2 TBS sliced almonds
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500ºF
  2. Wash potatoes and cut in half
  3. Pour olive oil over potatoes liberally and sprinkle with coarse salt
  4. Then place in oven and start baking for 20-25 minutes
  5. Pour 2 TBS olive oil in frying pan on high heat
  6. Pat dry fillet with paper towels to avoid splattering
  7. Place fillet in pan with the skin side down first, cook for 2 minutes, flip over for 1 minute then remove from heat immediately and place in over dish
  8. Cut the butter into slices and place on top of fillet
  9. Cut and squeeze lemon over fillet, bake lemons with fish in oven for 10-15 minutes
  10. Meanwhile, cook Romano beans with sliced garlic in ½ TBS olive oil
  11. Add a little bit of water to beans and cook thoroughly for 6-7 minutes
  12. Remove beans from heat and put aside
  13. Take out potatoes and fish when time is up
  14. Place them all side by side, top beans with sliced almonds, and lastly, squeeze remaining lemon over fillet