Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beer & Jalapeno Braised Short Ribs and Two Mushroom White Wine Risotto

Finally, fall has approached the south.

When the temperature drops, we feel inclined to stay in and cook up some hearty, comforting meals. We spent a weekend afternoon prepping and cooking for one of the best home dinners I’ve ever had - A slow braised short ribs dish, cooked in beer and jalapeno, paired up with a two mushroom risotto.

The ribs were braised for three hours that fell off the bone, the meat could cut right through by just using a fork. The jalapeno completely melted in the sauce and it produced no spicy heat - it only gave the meat and sauce a slight fragrant scent of jalapeno.

Jalapeno and beer braised short ribs


2 tablespoons olive oil

6 short ribs with bones

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 celery ribs, sliced

3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced

1 jalapeno, finely diced

1 bottle of pale ale

3 cups beef stock


1. In a dutch oven, sprinkle some olive oil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Add the ribs to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crusty, about 10 minutes. Transfer the ribs to another plate.

2. Add the jalapeno, onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the beer and bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Bring the ribs back into the dutch oven, while turning the boil to a low heat. Cover the dutch oven with a lid, and briase for 3 hours.

Two Mushroom and White Wine Risotto


1 cup dried porcini mushroom

9 cups of chicken stock

3 cups of Arborio rice

half stick of butter

1 pound of fresh mushroom ( we used brown oyster mushrooms)

one large onion, finely chopped

1 cup of dry white wine

1 cup of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano

Salt and Pepper


1. Soak the dried mushrooms in a bowl of hot water. Do not discard the water when the mushrooms become soft.

2. In a saucepan with low heat, slowly melt the butter. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add both mushrooms, and cook until they are softened. Add Arborio rice and stir for 1 – 2 minutes. Next, Stir in wine and let the rice simmer. Stir often, until all the liquid is absorbed. Pour a ladle of the mushroom broth into the rice. Let it simmer, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed.

3. Continue adding chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring and letting the rice absorb each batch, for 30 - 35 minutes or until the rice is tender but still has some bite. Slowly incorporate the Parmigiano. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper and Parmigiano.

Total cook time: 45 – 60 minutes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

coffee collection

Miami beach Pinocchio

Intelligentsia coffee in Chicago

Friday, March 12, 2010

lemon rosemary biscotti

  • I love working with fresh seasonal ingredients. One of our close friends were trimming their Rosemary tree and gave us a huge Ziplock bag of fresh rosemary. Since they were going to be having out-of-town guests staying with them for a week, I thought what a great idea to bake biscotti in return, so they could serve fresh cookies to serve their guests?

I guess the biscotti was so yum that the guests never got to them.

This is a delicate combination of lemon flavors and fragrant rosemary, a balance that compliments each other very well.

Cream the butter and sugar together.
Next, add in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, and baking powder. Add in flour one cup at a time.
Pat the dough into 2 loaves approximately 1-inch high and 2-inches wide. Bake at 325F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and slide off the baking pan onto a cutting board. Cut loaves into 1/2-inch thick slices and place them back onto the baking pan laying on their side. Return baking pan to the oven at 400 degrees, and bake another 10 minutes or until crisp.

Triple decadent chocolate ice cream

After getting an ice cream machine, we have been thinking of making homemade ice cream...using our favorite ingredients, chocolate + chocolate and more heaps of chocolate!

It was fate when the day we were going to shop for ice cream ingredients, Ina Garten made a Deeply Chocolate Gelato Recipe.
This is chocolate three ways in the ice cream - Cocoa powder, fine (artisan) chocolate bars, and baci chocolate!


  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended: Pernigotti)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican coffee flavor liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Large pinch kosher salt
  • 8 chocolates, roughly chopped, optional (recommended: Baci)


Heat the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.

Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. A candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees F. Don't allow the mixture to boil!

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the coffee liqueur, vanilla, and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.

Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate, if using, and freeze in covered containers. Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving.

Zucchini Fritters

Seeking for more ways to consume my favorite veggie, I made zucchini fritters that satisfied my taste buds for something lightly fried and a craving for zucchini....It was gently fried and the edges were crispy and delightful! To add more flavor, I added a slight twist to the batter - fresh herbs rosemary and thyme.

Zucchini Fritters


1 lb of zucchini (about 2 medium sized), coarsely grated
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 scallions, finely chopped

Chopped fresh rosemary, one tsp

Fresh thyme, one tsp

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grape seed oil or olive oil


1 Salt the zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Try to remove the excess moisture from the zucchini by squeezing the liquid out by squeezing with paper towels. (The original recipe calls for putting the zucchini in a colander set in the sink to let it drain for 10 minutes after salting it. I think it works much better to use a potato ricer.)

2 Whisk egg in a large bowl; add the zucchini, flour, fresh rosemary and thyme, scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix to combine well.

3 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook fritters in two batches. Drop six mounds of batter (2 Tbsp each) into the skillet. Flatten slightly. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

one of my favorite pastas

Italian sausage and clam linguine is full of savoriness.
The pasta completely absorbed almost all of the sauce when sautéing them in the end, which is the way we love to eat pasta!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Juicy Braised Rosemary Lamb Shanks

One of Emeril’s lamb shank recipes....
is a delightful treat in the winter. This is actually really easy to make, and lamb shanks are a delicious and affordable cut of meat to get at grocery stores. Cutting and preparing the ingredients take some time, waiting for the Dutch oven to cook everything down for 2 hours while the aromas fill your kitchen is torture, but it is totally worth the wait.
I followed the directions and made Emeril’s Essence - these are all ingredients mostly our pantry will have.
The original recipe is here


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 4 large lamb shanks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • Emeril’s Essence

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.


In a shallow dish, combine the flour and Essence. ( Emeril’s Essence listed above)

Season the lamb with generously with salt and pepper, then dredge the lamb shanks in the seasoned flour, shaking to remove excess.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and also 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until hot. Add the lamb shanks, in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, and cook until well-browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan, and cook, stirring, until soft and caramelized around the edges, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to deglaze the pan. Cook until reduced by half. Add the

tomatoes and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the rosemary, thyme, chicken broth, and reserved shanks and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, cover tightly, and cook, turning the meat occasio

nally, until the meat is tender and falling from the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Voila! Juicy, tender and delicious.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

True Spaghettofu fusion 烏魚子義大利麵

This is a true combination of Taiwanese and Italian food - we made a bottarga pasta from a Taiwanese delicacy 烏魚子, mullet roe

Commonly a Spaghetti alla Bottarga recipe, which is eaten typically by the locals in Sardegne, we used a Perciatelli pasta ( which is spaghetti with holes ) instead of Spaghetti,and instead of an Italian mullet roe, we used 烏魚子, mullet roe in Taiwan. The mullet fish can be found in many seas of the world, but Taiwan has perfected the process of making and selling the mullet roe as an industry.

This has now offically become one of my favorite pasta dishes! It's so strong in a sea-salty savory flavor (but not fishy) light in texture, and it's so easy and simple to make.

8 tablespoons of olive oil
1 and half tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound of Perciatelli
2 bunches Italian parsley, finely chopped, to yield 1/2 cup
6 ounces Bottarga, tuna or mullet
Cheese grater
Option: zest of 2 lemons

Heat 6 quarts water to boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat olive oil, red pepper and garlic over low heat until just fragrant, about 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Cook the Perciatelli according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and pour into oil mixture and add parsley. Toss to mix well over medium heat and pour into warmed serving bowl. Shave Bottarga over bowl, and serve! Or, sprinkle with lemon zest as a finishing touch.

Culinary tour in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong

Taking a trip to Asia is truly a culinary tour. Here are some pictures of food from our trip to Japan, Taiwan and HongKong. There were days where I ate 5 times a day, and how I wish I had more space to consume all the delicious foods! I was so happy to introduce Michele to all the wonderful food Asia has to offer! From seafood, meats, noodles and deserts, tutti e delizioso! ( everything is delicious)

Pastries and sweets

The Japanese really have perfected French pastries and deserts. Macaroons are really the hot item in trendy areas like Ginza and Roppongi.

Typical Chinese desert, BBQ pork puff pastries and Chinese red bean semi-freddos

OH my LOVE for Mr. DONUT!!!

...and these are custom-made cupcakes especially ordered for our wedding party. Strawberries were in season, so sweet and delicious. Chinese deserts tend to be less sweet, so this cupcake was not as sugary or overtly topped with whipped cream. Just a light and yummy cupcake and fresh fruit!

Oodles of Noodles

One of the must-do items when visiting Japan is to explore all the different kinds of Ramen you can! It's such a Ramen paradise! This one is a miso and peanut soup base....

We ordered not one, but two bowls of these Dan-Dan noodles at DingTaiFeng...the noodles were made fresh and the sauce was delicately balanced

Only in Japan...

The best Shitake mushroom I ever had! Grilled, nigiri style, so meaty and juicy

Grilled toro. I was in heaven.

The perfect bite, part of our 250 USD dinner. Just two guests, 2 sushi masters and 7 other waitstaff serving us. Service in Japan is impeccable!

Burgers...not!! Earmuffs, Shibuya style

Truly Melts-in-your-mouth Black pork Katsu.

Asia's City, HongKong

The contrast of HongKong! One of the best sandwiches I had for lunch at Penninsula hotel, and a light and soothing porridge for breakfast....