Oh Sweet Day!

Nobu’s Miso-Marinated Black Cod

August 31, 2015 by Fanny | 4 Comments

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So here continues to find my Asian cooking roots after my first trial of beef brisket with daikon and leek in clear soup with great success.

One of the big reasons that I haven’t cooked Chinese as much is because Asian cooking does require more preparations, details, fresher ingredients… Not that I can’t handle these. I just figured cooking western food could also be delicate and scrumptious, not to mention sometimes it’s definitely more convenient considered how much I love one pot meals.

However, I’ve started to get bored. And I realized that my kids do enjoy Chinese food a little more, especially fish, which I barely cook. Why? Because I am not a fish person. I know I am selfish and all. And I’ve decided to change that. Alright?!

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We talked about this Nobu’s black cod dish when my two bestest girl friends were here. And I had a feeling that that’s the kind of fish that I would love to eat. Meaty, buttery, sweet and salty, but not fishy fishy. And you know what, turned out I cooked this and I think I’ve eaten all the amount of fish that I’m required to eat for the rest of my life!

The original recipe suggests to marinate the fish for two to three days. I only did one and a half. And it turned out great! Just in case you are as desperate as I was! I also didn’t use the oven. A few minutes per side was enough to fully cook the fish.

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Ingredients (serves 4):

1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar
4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each
 

Directions:

Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Place the fish and the miso marinade in a resealable plastic bag. Leave it flat on a plate and let it marinate overnight (or 2 to 3 days).

Lightly wipe off the marinade from the fillets.

Heat oil on a non-stick skillet over high heat. Place fish skin side up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. The fish is ready when it’s opaque and flakes easily.

Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich with Blueberry Sauce

August 24, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments

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It has waffle. It has ice cream. So call it breakfast dessert if you want! But you know you are allowed to eat it any time.

I was just looking to get rid of that bag of leftover waffles. And then I glanced over to the other side of the freezer and spotted that box of vanilla ice cream. Then I remember up in the fridge sitting a jar of blueberry sauce that I made for these blueberry cupcakes a few days ago. So there we had a wonderful combo of waffle ice cream sandwich!

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Just so you know, you can go with ANYTHING!!! Seriously anything you like to put between two pieces of warm, buttery, crispy waffles!

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Ingredients (about 6 ice cream sandwiches):

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup water
12 fresly made or leftover waffles
1/2 quart vanilla ice cream
 

Directions:

To prepare blueberry sauce, mix sugar, cornstarch, blueberries and water in a small bowl and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

Toast waffles if they are leftovers. Let cool slightly.

Scoop ice cream on a waffle. Top it with a spoonful of blueberry sauce, followed by another waffle.

Eat immediately.

Summer Delight Frozen Cake

August 20, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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Let me elaborate. This cake should be called “strawberry sorbet, mango ice cream and vanilla ice cream on an Oreo crust”. Just a layer of everything. Very straight forward. But I figured it would be nicer to call it Summer Delight, because this treat has everything that makes everyone happy!

Fruitiness from the sorbet, creaminess from the ice cream, crunchiness from the Oreo crust, coldness from the whole thing…isn’t that happiness! And one more thing – versatility! You can almost replace it with any flavours of sorbet and ice cream. Even the crust! Graham cracker crust, shortbread crust, or a cake layer.

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I love the flavour contrast as much as I love the color combination. Just go crazy with the flavours, try something green (matcha ice cream), purple (blueberry sorbet), orange (orange sorbet), chocolatey (dark chocolate ice cream)…Anyway, I am telling you this dessert is so simple to put together, and only the sky is the limit if you want to create something your own.

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Ingredients (one loaf-sized cake):

1 1/4 cups Oreo cookie or chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups strawberry sorbet
2 cups store-bought or home-made mango ice cream
2 cups vanilla ice cream
 

Directions:

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving at least 3 inches overhang.

Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter in a bowl for crust. Set aside.

Let sorbet and ice cream soften in room temperature for 10 minutes.

Start with strawberry sorbet. Spoon sorbet on the bottom of the loaf pan and spread with a spatula to create an even layer. Followed by mango ice cream and vanilla ice cream.

Top vanilla ice cream with the Oreo crust mixture evenly. Lightly press the crumbs together to form a crust.

Wrap the ice cream cake with the plastic wrap overhang. Freeze the cake for at least three hours to set.

To serve, lift cake from pan using plastic wrap overhang. Place cake upside down on a serving plate. Remove plastic wrap. Slice and serve.

Beef Brisket with Daikon and Leek in Clear Broth

August 17, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments

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We’d been busy for the past few weeks. Two of my very close girl friends flew all the way to Vancouver to see me. They came along with their kids to spend time with my kids. And all the parents know that when we put five kids together, it feels like 500 of them running around trying to burn down your house. Thank God, my house is still securely intact!

Last time we saw each other together was nine years ago at my wedding. Sounds like a very long time. But everything is still there – the same ageless faces, endless conversations, bitchy attitudes, silly jokes, and oh my the unchanged bondage between friends!

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One of the very unpredictably new topics between us was cooking! I walked them through a few easy and quick desserts that their kids adored when there were here! And they re-introduced me into the realm of Chinese cooking, something that I’ve always had my fear about. I am so bad that I would turn a vegetable stir-fry into a badly burnt grass dish. This Bad!

I’d say that a good teacher with a straight-forward tutorial is crucial for me to pick up my faith in Chinese cooking. My lovely mom-in-law makes very tasty Chinese food, but she’s notoriously messy. You spend an afternoon with her trying to learn about making dumplings, you will become dizzy and there is no way you can remember anything that you are supposed to learn.

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Proudly I am now able to make this beef brisket soup, thanks to my beautiful friends. To me, the best part about cooking is that you are willing to make something from scratch, and your loved ones enjoy eating it. Now what’s even more precious is that whenever I make this dish, I will remember my friends.

What’s next for me is to explore more tasty yet manageable Chinese recipes. This collection seems like a good start.

Check out No-Brainer Fool-Proof Chinese Dish Recipes

by Oh Sweet Day! at Mode

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

2 pounds beef brisket
6 star anise
5 slices ginger
3 bay leaves
20 grams rock sugar
salt to taste
5 cups water
1 pound daikon, peeled and cut into pieces
1 pound leek, rinsed and slice
1 cup chopped green onion
 

Directions:

Boil the beef brisket for 10 minutes. Rinse it under cold water and drain it well.

In a large pot, put in star anise, ginger, bay leaves, rock sugar, salt and water. Cover and bring it to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add beef and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until beef is tender.

Remove from heat and let cool. Leave the pot in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to let the beef fat solidify.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board, and cut into chunks.

Remove the fat from the broth with a big spoon.

Heat up the clear broth with the daikon. Keep cooking over medium heat until the daikon is soften, about 20 minutes.

Add leek and beef , and cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve hot with fresh green onion.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Tart

August 13, 2015 by Fanny | 3 Comments

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Sometimes I have a craving for puff pastry. I would take that roll of frozen puff pastry from the freezer, try my very best to flatten it without waiting an hour or two for it to thaw, bake it in the oven, then eat it plain or with some jam or powder sugar when it’s still hot. Craziness!

Can I just bake it unrolled? Hmmm…good thinking!

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Not everyone in my house is as crazy though. So I will have to come up with something “normal” and tasty. And believe it or not, it requires no skills at all, because puff pastry is already a very versatile ingredient. Almost anything goes well with it.

This tart, just like this cherry tart and this apple tart, is a super simple and quick dessert that can easily make everyone happy.

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Ingredients (one 6″ x 10″ tart):

1 piece thawed puff pastry, around 6 x 10 inches
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Roll the puff pastry to enlarge it a little bit. Roll the boarders inward to create a dent. Use a fork to poke holes all over the centre.

Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg, and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over the centre.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry puffs up and turns golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Use a hand-held mixer to combine cream cheese and the remaining sugar until well mixed. Add heavy cream and mix until combined.

Gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the centre of the cooled tart. Top with strawberries.

Store in refrigerator. Sprinkle powder sugar before serving.

Easy Blueberry Sorbet

July 27, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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I’ve been eating sorbet on a daily basis. This batch is finished, I grab another basket of fresh fruit and start making another flavour. Because sorbet is truly one of the easiest desserts to make.

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I used to strain my mixture before freezing. Not anymore now! Why the fuss! I found it even quicker if frozen berries are used. You don’t even have to freeze the mixture. Blend the frozen berries with syrup, and you are one happy human being slurping some fresh chilly fruity slush!

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Ingredients (serves 6-8): 

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups frozen blueberries
 

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Puree cooled syrup and blueberries until very smooth.

Serve immediately.

If firmer consistency is preferred, use ice cream maker to process mixture according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

If not using ice cream maker, pour mixture into a shallow non-stick banking pan. Freeze until frozen, about 2 hours. Leave the mixture in room temperature for 15 minutes to soften from the edges. Use a fork to scrape big chunks of mixture into a food processor or blender to blend until smooth. If it starts to melt, put it back in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Immediately scoop the sorbet and serve.

To Ethan and Maya – You 2015

July 22, 2015 by Fanny | 5 Comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

Here we go again! Portraits! I think you kind of get used to this ritual. Like when I ask you guys for a photo shoot, you will go, “Last time you gave us 500 candies. Up that or we won’t do it!”

What do I say?! To get your kids obese in the name of capturing precious family moments!

Looking at these pictures I get a little teary at your beauty, your personalities, the talent and magnetism you have in the best way possible, your adoration for each other, the way you both fit into my arms like puzzle pieces. You are the most magnificent gifts.

Last week I sent these pictures to your grandma with a note, “I don’t think I deserve this considered what I did to you.” And I still have a hard time understanding why this is happening.

Love,
Mommy

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Fresh Orange Basil Sorbet

July 20, 2015 by Fanny | 7 Comments

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The thing about having an ice cream maker is that you get to taste any ice cream flavours that you can ever think of. When it comes to creating new ice cream flavours, only the sky is limit. And you know what, you are always allowed to improvise.

We’ve been making and eating too much ice cream. And I figured it would be refreshing to have something fruity and citrus instead. I am a big fan of fruity sorbet. The one with no diary products – no milk and no yoghurt. I’d rather having ice cream than having milk in my sorbet. Pure fruit is my kind of thing.

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This recipe is pretty generic. You could substitute the orange juice with other fresh fruit juice, and come up with your own sorbet. What I recommend though is to use fresh fruit because it tastes fresher and less sugary. You don’t have to add basil if you are not a big fan. But you should at least try that because basil does work perfectly with fruity sorbet. It simply rounds out the orange flavour. It works well with strawberry sorbet too.

Like I said, we’ve been having too much ice cream. We love ice cream, we do! But summer is this long, we have a lot of rooms for some alternatives! Check this out if you are all sighing, “Come on! No more ice cream please!”

Check out "Come on! No more ice cream please!" Cold Dessert!

by Oh Sweet Day! at Mode

Ingredients (serves 6-8): 

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup basil leaves
3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
 

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine sugar, water and basil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Strain the syrup, and chill in refrigerator for an hour.

Mix in orange juice, and strain the mixture.

If using ice cream maker, process mixture in it according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

If not using ice cream maker, pour mixture into a shallow non-stick banking pan. Freeze until frozen, about 2 hours.

Leave the mixture in room temperature for 15 minutes to soften from the edges. Use a fork to scrape big chunks of mixture into a food processor or blender to blend until smooth. If it starts to melt, put it back in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Immediately scoop the sorbet and serve.

To Ethan and Maya – Nine years

July 15, 2015 by Fanny | 3 Comments

Dear Ethan and Maya,

Today your father and I celebrate our nine years of marriage. Nine years! Each rich but none of them easy. The most challenging moments of our marriage – the times we needed more communication, more love, more understanding, more recognition – have always been held together for me by watching your father play with you. He’s never shy of participating when your sports teams call for coach volunteers. He’s always there to have fun with you guys.

I know marriage cannot survive only on fathers playing with kids, but watching him get up at dawn to coach a hockey game you play can definitely help strengthen the dying part of it. And I’m thankful for the way he sweats and screams RUN! MAYA! RUN TO THE THIRD BASE! at a baseball game in a burning hot afternoon. When we get caught up in the marriage game of pointing out who does more, I will always remind myself about how your father plays with you.

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Love,
Mommy

Lemon Icebox Pie Ice Cream

July 13, 2015 by Fanny | 6 Comments

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I would say I’m pretty against leftovers. Whenever I finish cooking or baking, I will try my very best to have everyone in the family to eat the leftovers or think about ways to use them. And if I’m able to come up with something great by cooking with the leftovers, I would consider one of the life successes.

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So what do I do with the leftover lemon curd that I made for these lemon meringue shortbread tartlets? Ice cream! I was kind of inspired by traditional lemon icebox pie which consists of lemon, eggs, condensed milk and a graham cracker crust. I simply added lemon curd in a milk and cream base, churned it in an ice cream maker, and mixed in some shortbread crumbles at last.

I normally make my ice cream base with egg yolks. I didn’t use eggs for this ice cream because my home-made lemon curd already contained eggs. I figured that adding more eggs would probably make the ice cream eggy, yucky and disgusting. Totally defeats the ultimate goal of creating something lemony and creamy. And the results was great, in fact fantastic. The shortbread was a wonderful addition too. You could use graham crackers, which I bet would be very tasty too.

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Ingredients (about 1 quart):

Shortbread Crust
1 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Lemon Curd Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup store bought or home made lemon curd
 

Directions:

To prepare shortbread crust, line a 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Cream butter and powdered sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and sift in the flour and salt until just incorporated.

Gather dough and press the dough to the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the shortbread for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is lightly browned.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Then roughly crumble the shortbread into small pieces. Set aside.

To prepare ice cream, combine milk, heavy cream, salt and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring mixture to simmer, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Let cool over a bowl of ice water, or chill in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.

Mix in lemon curd until smooth.

Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Few minutes before it’s done processing, add the shortbread crumbles while the machine is running.

Transfer to an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

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