Brown Butter Gnocchi, Baby Taro, Tomatoes, Shimeji Mushrooms & Watercress with Shiitake Consommé

I always like doing an ambitious dish because it’s fun and I get to spend the whole day cooking. Yesterday was really ambitious because I made three things; the cauliflower-kale soup, used the leftover dill for pork dumplings, and this. Even though this dish took forever, the final result was sooooo delicious. I had to refrain myself from drinking the shiitake mushroom by itself because this was a very labor-intensive process!

I had a lot of vegetable scraps from the cauliflower-kale soup and the trimmings of the raft ingredients so I made my own vegetable stock for this consommé. Just FYI, the organic carrots that I use are as thick as your fingers.

[100% organic]

For the Gnocchi

  • 1 large Idaho potato
  • ¼ cup AP flour, sifted
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Olive oil

Cook the potato with its skin on in cold water with the bay leaf and thyme until done. Drain, and peel the skin. If you have a food mill, process them. If not, like me, mash finely with a fork and allow to cool.

Sift the flour over the potatoes and add in the salt, cheese, egg, and using your hands, work the ingredients into a soft dough ball. Do not overwork!

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut off pieces of the dough and using your hands, roll into cylinder shapes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Press the gnocchi lightly with the tines of a fork or roll them off a gnocchi board. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water and gnocchi are done once they float to the top of the water. Shock in ice water, drain, and transfer to a large tray. Drizzle olive oil over gnocchi to prevent sticking.

For the Consommé

  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, julienned
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, julienned
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • Salt

In a stockpot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Place all ingredients – shallots, celery, carrots, shiitake, tomato paste, egg whites, bay leaf, thyme – in a bowl and whisk gently. Add the warm vegetable stock into the bowl and whisk well. Pour the mixture back into the stockpot and bring to a simmer, while stirring often.

A raft will foam and by this point, stop stirring or else you’ll break the raft. At a low simmer, cook for 1 hour. Do not stir or boil. Poke a hole in the center with a ladle and use the ladle to pour the liquid over the raft once in awhile. This will moisten the raft and will further the clarification process.

When the hour is up, turn off heat, and let it to rest for 10 minutes. Then carefully use a ladle to pass it through a chinois lined with cheesecloth. Transfer to a clean pot and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and keep warm.

For the Other Garnitures & Finish

  • Tomatoes
  • Baby taro
  • Shimeji mushrooms
  • Watercress
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Tomatoes: cut “x” on the tomatoes, season lightly with salt and olive oil, and bake in a preheated oven at 300°F for 20 minutes. You still want the tomatoes to be firm and remove the skin. Set aside and keep warm.

Baby Taro: boil a pot of salted water. Add in the taro once water is boiling and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Remove from water and cut into obliques. Set aside and keep warm.

Shimeji Mushrooms: boil in salted water, set aside and keep warm.

Watercress: wash and pick through, saving the nice sprigs for garnish.

Gnocchi: melt butter and wait for butter to turn a light brown color. Sauté the gnocchi immediately and season lightly with salt. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a shallow bowl, arrange tomatoes, taro, gnocchi, and mushrooms in the center. Ladle consommé into bowl and top with watercress garnish. Serve immediately.

Farfalle with Canadian Bacon, Fresh Vine Tomatoes & Spinach

It’s been a really long time since I’ve had farfalle. I find that farfalle, orecchiette, and other shaped pasta is easier to cook than noodle pasta. But maybe that’s just me. I found some Canadian bacon lying around in the apartment so this is what I made.

It’s been raining nonstop today and I have no desire to go out and do my errands. This pasta looks happy, doesn’t it?

[100% organic]

  • 2 TBS EVOO
  • 5 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • ¼ lb Canadian bacon, cut into wedges or squares
  • 2 cups farfalle
  • Salt & pepper, for taste
  • Optional: grated Parmesan

Boil the farfalle in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm.

In a pan, heat the EVOO and then add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Then add the Canadian bacon and cook for another minute and finally, add the spinach leaves. *Optional: season lightly with salt and pepper. Pasta will be salted and cheese has salt content* Cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, spinach, and Canadian bacon into the pasta and mix well. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Sautéed Calamari & Shrimp over Summery Linguine

Still rainy and typhoon-y weather in Hong Kong. You don’t know how depressing this is. At least it’s windy, and not stuffy.

I’m over my cilantro phase… now I’m kind of obsessed with limes right now. I just love the taste. Yum.

[100% organic, wild squid, Thai shrimp]

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided in 1 TBS + 2 TBS
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird’s eye chili pepper, sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 TBS flat-leaf parsley, chopped, save some for garnish
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ freshly grated parmesan
  • Linguine
  • ½ lb calamari, tubes & tentacles
  • 10 shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • Salt & pepper

Chop squid tubes into rounds. Boil pasta in salted water and add a few drops of olive oil to prevent sticking; cooked to al dente. Keep pasta in pot to keep warm.

In a pan, melt and heat the butter and 1 TBS olive oil on medium-heat. Sauté the garlic, chili pepper, and onion for 30 seconds, then add in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the wine once the tomatoes are fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle some chopped parsley. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on low-heat. Toss with pasta and add in the cheese and keep warm.

In another pan, heat the 2 TBS olive oil. Add in the squid and shrimp once hot and stir in lime zest, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute on each side. Then toss with the summery pasta and serve immediately.

Shrimp Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes

I love succulent shrimp. I love biting into the meat. I didn’t add lime zest or lime juice this time. I wanted to showcase the fresh organic tomatoes in this pasta.
[100% organic, shrimp from Thailand]

  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bird’s eye chili peppers, sliced
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped roughly
  • 1 Thai basil sprig, leaves torn roughly
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Linguine
  • S&P

Boil pasta in salted water and add a few drops of olive oil to prevent sticking; cooked to al dente. Keep pasta in pot to keep warm.

In a pan, melt and heat the butter and olive oil on medium-heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds, then add in the tomatoes and half of the wine. Cook for 5 minutes on low-heat.

Add in the shrimp, Thai basil, cilantro, chili peppers, and the rest of the wine and turn back to medium-heat. Season with salt and pepper. Then toss with cooked pasta and serve immediately.

Oyster & Shrimp Risotto

I haven’t cooked anything new since August 29! That is a longggggg time! Every time when I cook risotto, I can’t finish it in one sitting so this afternoon I asked if my cousin, Jenny, wanted to come over for dinner. We went last minute grocery shopping at 4pm and then had dinner 7pm. Jenny was my sous chef tonight. I still have a handicapped thumb from yesterday so I couldn’t do some things such as juicing the lemon.

I asked Jenny what she thought of it and she said:

Fantastic! It was so nice!

Taste didn’t sell clam juice and I didn’t have time to go to other places to look and the shrimp that I bought were shell-less so the cooking liquids were just chardonnay and chicken broth.

This time was also my first time using saffron and honestly, I couldn’t taste it. I know I used enough but is saffron supposed to taste or is it supposed to just add color?

I didn’t have to use my recipe today and my parents’ kitchen does not have any measuring cups or spoons and I can’t believe that everything worked out perfectly! I’m so happy with myself!

Here is the recipe. I just substituted the scallops with oysters and added saffron after the first round of chicken broth. I also had some spinach leaves too so I decided to put that into the risotto too.

[100% organic & wild]

Thanks Jenny for taking the picture!

Shrimp & Sweet Corn with Israeli Couscous

I’ve been craving Israeli couscous and my stomach started growling really loudly in the middle of class. I stopped by Whole Foods before going home to get the couscous and then made this!

I love shrimp! It makes everything so quick and easy!

[100% organic & wild]

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • ½ cup Israeli couscous
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS basil, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parmesan, shredded

In a pot, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium-high heat. Add couscous and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add 1½ cups of water and sweet corn, and cover. Once water boils, turn heat to low and cook until completely expanded and water has all been absorbed and evaporated. Scoop couscous and corn into a bowl and set aside.

In a skillet, heat remaining 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute until cooked 3-5 minutes, season with salt & pepper, then set aside. In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add wine, tomato, and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in basil until fragrant. Serve shrimp on top of couscous then top with sauce. Sprinkle some shredded parmesan on top.