Cooking with healthy Quinoa – roasted with broccoli and chicken

I always try to eat healthy and explore something new. I’ve never cook quinoa, but I’ve heard a lot of good thing about it.  It is very nutritious, good for blood sugar control, gluten free, very high in fiber, protein, important mineral and antioxidants. It sounds like all you can get!!! Why not trying it out?

Find out what is good about quinoa

I grew up with rice and noodle, quinoa is definitely something new to me. I know there is a trend in the Western world to cook with quinoa, but I have no idea how should I cook them. Therefore, I have to look into some recipes, to get the idea and some inspiration. I found this recipe to roast it with broccoli and chicken, looking quite delicious. So, I am going to try my first quinoa dish with this.

Roasted broccoli chicken and cheddar quinoa bake

Of course, I always improvise the recipe a bit, to make it my own style. To add something on top, or to change the ingredients that I don’t like. But I like almost everything of this recipe, the only thing I feel missing is a bit of garlic, and to mix with some parmesan cheese, instead of having only cheddar cheese.

First of all, I would like to do the chicken with sous vide cooking. So, I’ve spent one hour to  cook the chicken breast with 60C in the hot bath, get them out and let them cool down. To cook the quinoa, more or less like cooking the rice or risotto. I am following this recipe to use 1 3/4 cup of chicken stock to cook 1 cup of quinoa. But I guess you can also cook with regular water, and I might try to cook them in the rice cooker next time and see if that works. When the quinoa absorb all the stock, switch off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I am getting the vegetable ready, I prefer to fry them with a pan instead of grilling them in the oven. Hit the pan and drizzle with some olive oil, put some minced garlic, and then put the chopped red onion and broccoli. Fry them with medium heat until they are half way cooked, do not oven cook them as they will still be cooked in the oven for another 25 minutes later on. Season them with some salt and red chilli flakes.

Now, let’s work on the quinoa. Mix the chopped tomato and shredded chicken in, and then add the cheddar cheese mix with parmesan cheese. Mix them well, and then also adding the broccoli mix, mix everything together in a large pan and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Finish it by adding more cheese as a top layer, and some breadcrumbs to make it more crunchy. Roast it in the oven for 20-25 minutes under 200C.

I feel very satisfied with my first quinoa cooking and I like the texture of it, for sure will try out new dishes with it in the future.

No Cheese with Seafood!!! Calamari night – stuffed calamari and calamari pasta with cheese

I went to bed very late on Saturday night, it so happened that I caught this TV show about David Rocco. I like to watch his show, as the way he cook is very simple, simple Italian food, just like home cooking. As he always says that he is an Italian, not a chef. All the dishes he made are very down to earth, and simply just about food.

That episode of this show is about seafood, and he would like to break the rule of putting cheese in the seafood dish. I still remember back then, I used to work with Italian crew in New York. When we go out for dinner, I ordered a seafood dish and asking the waiter for some cheese, they all looked at me like, WHAAAAAATTTTT? “You NEVER put cheese with seafood, you will be killing the dish!!!!!” And I remember there is a poster on the wall at Da Silvano Restaurant in NYC, with a big bubble saying “WHAT??? Cheese with Seafood???” something like that. So, I became very careful on putting cheese with seafood since then.

David Rocco in the show was cooking two dishes with calamari and pecorino cheese, he said why not putting them together, as they taste good! I know seafood and cheese together is not tasting bad, but it’s more about what the Italian said somehow. Hearing that from an Italian, and said that they do that quite a lot especially around the South, I am happy to try it out.

Stuffed Calamari –

The stuffed calamari is actually very rich, make sure you have few people to share, otherwise will be tough to finish it by yourself. For the stuffing, mix breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, spicy salami cubes, pecorino cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then add one egg to bind them together. Get a calamari tube ready, and stuff everything inside the tube, close both ends with a toothpick. Heat up the pan, put some olive oil, fry the garlic and parsley for a minute and then place the stuffed calamari in the pan. Fry each side for few minutes until it’s done, do not overcook the calamari, otherwise will become too chewy.

Calamari and Pepperoni Alfredo Spaghetti –

I used spaghetti for this dish and boil a pot of water for getting the spaghetti ready. On the other hand, get a sauce pan and heat it up, add olive oil, garlic and parsley in the pan and fry for a minute. You can add some red chili flakes if you like spicy, then add the calamari strips. Now add some salt, white wine or procescco in the pan, let it boil a bit, make sure there is enough sauce or otherwise might need to add olive oil. Meantime, crack two eggs in a bowl, add some black pepper, beat the egg and then add pecorino into the egg. When the pasta is ready, drain the water and then pour all the spaghetti into the sauce, and add the eggs into the pasta and the sauce, mix them well and ready to serve. Add some pasta water if you feel it’s too dry.
 

Sunday dinner snack night

Instead of having one big full meal, it’s good to have snacks to fill up your stomach on Sunday night. Checking out the page of Tasty on Facebook, and found a lot of snacks that I would like to try. I was thinking to make five of them, but I ended up with making only three, already feel full. Maybe I will try to make to other two tomorrow.

https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty/?hc_ref=SEARCH

1. Jalapenos with cream cheese and bacon

This one is definitely worth to make it, as it is so easy but tasty! Jalapenos + cream cheese + bacon = in oven 220C for 15 minutes, that’s it!!! So Yummy!

2. Potato chips

They showed how to do potato wedges, but I ended up to make potato chips, and I’ve also improvised a bit. Cut potato in to strips or wedges, season them with olive oil, salt, ground paprika, rosemary and thyme. In oven 200C around 25 minutes, then add parmesan cheese and pepper, then grill 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Chicken nuggets with salad

They called it chicken popcorn, I feel a bit weird with the name as it sounds like chickenpox. I rather called it mini chicken nuggets. Cut chicken breast into cubes, and dip them into egg white, then fill the surface with breadcrumbs. They used Ritz crackers, but I think breadcrumbs will do the same job. I just add some salt because Ritz crackers are already salty, but not for breadcrumbs. Place them nicely on a bake tray in the oven under 220C for 12 to 15 minutes. Melt some butter, add chili powder and some lime juice, put it back in the oven and grill it for another 5 minutes.

 

I’ve also trying to make other snacks the day after, and I’ve done this avocado with prosciutto wrap, also very simple. Cut the avocado into wedges, wrap each piece with prosciutto, and then pan fry them. Serve them with some Romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese and a touch of lime juice.

 

Making Swedish meatballs without breadcrumb

I watched a TV show the other day, it’s about working and travelling in Sweden. One of the famous dish in Sweden, I guess everyone would say meatball, as that’s what you can eat and get in Ikea even if you’ve never been to Sweden. In that show, the actress was learning how to make meatball from one of the local at home. The Swedish woman learned from her mother, and her mother learned from her grandma, a recipe that pass on from generation to generation. My husband was also watching the show, and when they talked about putting mashed potatoes into the minced meat, my husband said that is very traditional. I thought everyone is putting breadcrumb for meatball, but then my husband said can use both, either potatoes or breadcrumb. Then, he started to talk about the meatballs that him or his mother used to make back in Germany, sounds so nice, and yes maybe we should do meatballs dinner on the coming Sunday.

So, as planned, this Sunday dinner will be – Swedish Meatballs! After cooking the Sunday brunch, frisee aux Lardons with some cold cuts. I started to search for recipes, just would like to have some more background or reference of the Swedish Meatballs, even I kind of have an idea how to make them, by watching the show the other night and talking with my husband. It is still good to explore a bit more on different recipes before cooking. I’ve been reading about 10 to 20 recipes, but they are all using breadcrumb instead of potatoes. In order to make it a bit different than the others, I am trying to make this with potatoes.

The first thing to do is to cook all those potatoes, put all the potatoes into a big pot and cover them with water, boil them for around 20 to 30 mins. When you are cooking the potatoes, you can work on the onion, finely chop them with the food processor, and then fry them with some butter in the pan. Leave them to cool down for later use. When the potatoes are done, remove the skin, put them in a big bowl and smash them with masher. Before adding anything, put aside some mashed potatoes that you are going to use for the meatballs. For the rest, add butter, salt, pepper, plus the kind of spice that you want, could be dill and thyme for example, then keep mixing until it’s done. Now, we can start working with the meatballs, use a bowl that is big enough for mixing. Put minced pork and minced beef all in the bowl, the best is 50/50, but of course it’s up to you to make the kind of combination you like. Then, add those cooked onion, salt, pepper, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, now here, I guess you can add anything that you like to make your meatball tasty, I guess it’s not a bad idea to add minced garlic and red chili, as I also add them later as a filling for some of the meatballs. Moreover, add 2 eggs, some heavy cream and the mashed potatoes, and now you can start mixing. My husband said I should not mix too match, and should not use cream or potatoes, as he prefers more texture than those recipes I read, that you should make the meatballs very smooth. Well, different preference, as long as they are tasty!

When the mixing of meat is done, now we can start to put them into shape! My husband requested to have a filling, so I put some Emmanuelle cheese cube, and some of them with minced garlic and red chili. Now, to fry them, you have to make sure to keep the ball shape, you can use two spoon to roll them around when the entire surface is not cooked yet. When all the meatballs are done, now we can start to cook the sauce. Place some butter in the saucepan, put some flour in, then pour in some chicken stock and season it with salt and pepper, then add the heavy cream and some black currant jam. Let it cook until it gets thicker, then put all the meatballs in and cook together. Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes and some green beans and garnish them with some chopped parsley. A lot of recipes are talking about serving the meatballs with lingonberry jam, but I just could not find it here in Hong Kong, so I’ve used cranberry jam instead. I actually love those spicy meatballs, next time I guess I will put garlic and red chili for sure into the mixing. And actually they do taste better after one day, my husband loves to eat them cold with mustard as well.

 

Herb Crusted Red Snapper with Angel Hair

Tonight I want to cook something with fish, I found a recipe from Gordon Ramsay by cooking the fish with the herb crusted that looks good, maybe I should give it a try.

Do grocery at the supermarket, I can find some red snappers that are looking quite good. So, I decided to cook that with the herb crusted. What is good to go with the fish? I am thinking maybe angel hair pasta. Of course, you can have that with some fresh salad or even rice.

First of all, I am going to work on the herb crust. Put some breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, red chili, a touch of lemon juice, pinch of salt and some olive oil into the food processor and mix them. That’s it, leave them aside until we need them. Remember to pre-heat the oven under 180C for grilling the fish later on. I am getting the source ready before cooking the fish, heat up the pan with a good amount of olive oil, put some garlic, red chili and the minced shallot, then put the pancetta, fry them until they start to turn gold. Add the cherry tomatoes, and a touch of salt, not too much. Now, add some white wine, let them cook a bit, add some chopped basil when it’s almost done. Now, pan fry the fish with butter, garlic and some ginger, season them with some salt and pepper. When they are almost done, place them on the tray and place some cooked pancetta and cherry tomatoes on top of them. And then, top them up with the herb crush, like fully covered. Place them inside the oven and grill for 15 minutes. When it’s 5 minutes left for the grill fish, start to boil the angel hair pasta which takes around 3 minutes to cook only. Heat up the source once again when the pasta is done, stir them well with the source and get ready to serve.

I don’t know what and where went wrong, but something taste bitter from the dish. I guess it’s the lemon seeds that smashed and mixed in the herb crust. Not sure, but this dish definitely needs some improvement. Life is about learning from the mistake, next time I will do it better!

 

 

Grilled Mussel with Penne Pasta


Long time no see is a Chinese idiom, so long time no cook……. I was away two weeks for business trip, I miss my cooking, of course can’t wait to cook something tonight!

I watched Jamie Oliver’s show the other time, and he was cooking this grilled mussels that go with tomato soup. I was thinking to cook that a while ago, but I guess today I want to do it, but instead of tomato soup, I will make it with pasta.

In order to grill the mussels and penne pasta at the same time, I tried to get both ready almost at the same time. Before cooking anything, it’s better to get everything chopped and ready. First of all, let’s prepare the breadcrumbs for grilling. Mix the breadcrumbs, some Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, some olive oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor. So that’s ready for the grilling part later on. Now to chop everything, garlic, red chilli, onion, celery, tomatoes and coriander, and ready for cooking.

To boil a pot of hot water and cook the penne first, because the cooking time is around 11 minutes. On the other hand, heat up the sauce pan with butter, and put the minced garlic, then chopped onion, fry until the onion turn slightly brown, then add chopped celery and tomatoes and red chilli. When everything is kind of cooked, pour some white wine in, and then add some water or you can add chicken stock. I always think water is good enough already. Then, put the mussels in the sauce pan, and cook for 4 minutes with lid on, then cook it without lid for another 2 to 3 minutes. When all the mussels are opened up, that means all cooked.

Now put the cooked pasta in a bake tray, and pour some stock from the mussels in the tray and mix with the pasta. Then, remove one of the shell from the mussel and let it just sit on the other half of the shell and place it on top of the pasta in the tray to create a layer of mussel. You can let those onion, tomato and celery sit inside of the mussel. After putting all mussels on top of the pasta, then put the breadcrumbs on top of each mussels. And place the tray inside of the pre-heat oven under 190C for around 15 to 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn brown.