Sunday, December 12, 2010

Soy-Sauced Green Beans and Soba Bento!

A good way to get your greens and whole wheat! The beans are a bit on the salty side, so unseasoned buckwheat noodles balance them out. Obviously, it can also be eaten fresh; it doesn't need to be made into bento.

Protip: These are great made either with frozen or fresh beans :) Frozen tend to make softer beans while with fresh you can turn up the heat and make crisper bean!

Soy-Sauced Green Beans and Soba

1. Boil some water for your soba. In the mean time, heat up a bit of canola oil in a skillet (medium heat).
2. Smash 1 clove garlic per serving and chop finely. Throw it on the skillet when the oil is hot enough it loses some viscosity (a.k.a. becomes runnier).
3. When the garlic smells nice, add the green beans (frozen or trimmed and washed fresh). For frozen, keep the heat medium & cover until the beans thaw out a bit, then uncover, add a splash of dark soy sauce and turn it up to med-high. For fresh, turn up the heat to med-high, add the soy sauce, and do not cover.
4. At this point, your water should be boiling, so throw in the soba and let it boil for 5 minutes or so (or whatever you package says) 'til their insides are all cooked but they're still slightly firm (commonly referred to as al dente).
5. Taste your green beans after the ends get black. Add more soy sauce if necessary. If it got too salty, a bit of mirin will temper it. Take them off the heat before they get soggy.
6. Drain your soba and wash with cold water to stop them cooking. Make a nest in your bento container with the noodles, then surround with the green beans. Pair with a clementine and piece of cheese for a well-rounded, colourful meal :)

Happy Lunching! Read More......

Packet Portobello Burger

Necessity is the mother of this recipe: all the frying pans in the house are dirty, and I really didn't want to wash anything, so I decided to make the usual portobello steak using a foil packet and the toaster oven instead.

The carrots add nutrients, colour, and a subtle earthy sweetness that compliments the savoury mushroom and slight pungency of Havarti.

1. Wipe off portobello and break off stem, if present. Rip the stem up into little pieces.
2. Chop up 1/4 of a small onion.
3. Put the portobello cap gill-side up on a big piece of aluminum foil (at least 4x as big as the mushroom.)
4. Put the stem pieces and chopped up onion on top.
5. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, or just salt.
6. Bring up the edges of the foil and crimp shut, making a cozy tent around your portobella
7. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
8. In the mean time, grate some carrots. I actually thought it was a lot of work, and wasted some carrot, so next time I'll probably just chop it into matchsticks. Also, I leave the skin on my carrots for extra nutrients. Just make sure to scrub it well, and always get organic carrots :)
9. When the mushroom is done, push it to the back of your toaster oven and toast your hamburger buns with a piece of havarti.
10. Let it cool off a little, then assemble your burger as shown.
11. Pair with romaine salad for a delicious nutritious meal.

Happy Eating! Read More......

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bento~ Many Ways!

I bring lunch to school pretty much every day, and sometimes it can be a challenge to create a balanced meal, especially on a student's timetable! Bento is technically the Japanese term for a packed lunch, and although they are generally not heated, I like my lunches piping hot ;P so it's kinda like a Chinese-Japanese fusion bento thingy. But whatever. Here are some of the bento I've made, with tips for EXTRA DELICIOUS TIME.

Leftover Bento Parfait
Made of last night's Asian Fusion leftovers! The doggie-bag actual yielded 3 meals worth -- which is pretty good for restaurant leftovers ;P

The parfait keeps the oil (since restaurant food is always way greasy compared to home!) from splattering on top, and absorbs the delicious sauce on bottom, creating the most awesome lunchtime experience ever!

Leftover stir fry makes a good bento 'cause it's got lots of colours (eat your colours!) and is very flavourful. Just add rice (either from the restaurant, or steam your own) and it's a complete meal!


Really Quick Mashed Potato Bento with Veggie-Cod Heart
This bento was made on one of those mornings where I woke up and realized I forgot to pack lunch the night before (OH NOEZZZZ). Frozen corn and peas sprinkled with salt and topped with mashed potates makes a kinda shepard-pie like dish. Pepper for flavour on top, and a chunk of veggie cod steak, cut into a heart shape, adds protein. The only colour it's missing is red (according to the Japanese 5-colour per meal deal: red, yellow, green, black, white) so I'd probably add like an apple to balance it out. Or not, if apples aren't in season. I hate dull apples.



Finally, Ultra-Healthy Bento of Awesomeness features stir-fried peas and corn (just a pinch salt, a touch of sesame oil, and throw in some scallions at the end) on a bed of brown rice, topped with seared veggie cod steak. Carrots add the requisite red (orange counts as red in Asia-land...as far as food goes, anyways) while grapes and brie cheese make a decadent dessert.

Alright guys, let's make some SUPER-DELICIOUS BENTO TIME! Read More......

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bubble Tea (Boba)

Probably the most famous invention of Taiwan (food-wise) is boba milk tea! Or bubble milk tea. Or pearl milk tea. Whatever you call it, it is delicious, and cheap and common... in Taiwan, anyway :P

In USA it is not so common, and not so cheap. Especially if you live in MN. I heard vicious rumors from my Californian roommates that California had bubble tea for around $2. WHAT IS THIS???

I digress. Today I am showing you how to make boba at home! Yay! Much cheaper and easier for those of you who cannot just go to the nearest beverage shop and buy one for less than US$1

Boba is super easy to make at home! So now I will show you how to do it (saves you a lot of money, too)

Read More......

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pancakes

A super-easy pancake/waffle recipe, shown here with blueberries mixed in. I like to make it ahead of time and keep it in a glass container in the fridge. When I want to use some, I just stir it up and pour into a bowl, then mix in the fruits and stuff.

Stupid-Easy Pancake/Waffle Batter

Beat 2 eggs until fluffy

Add
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 3/4 cups milk
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon white sugar
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Beat just until smooth.

At this point, put what you're not going to use in the fridge. Then you can stir in whatever fruits and stuff you want. I used frozen blueberries here; raspberries work well too. Just don't add too many, 'cause the frozen bits need longer to cook. Tiny fruits work better than big fruits :)

Comments: These turn out lighter in colour than normal; do not allow to burn. Also, can keep covered in fridge 1 week. Stir before using.
Happy Cooking! Read More......

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Mix

This is my guacamole and hummus replacement because I cannot find avocados or chickpeas here!

Ingredients:
Eggplant
1 head of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)


Read More......

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins!


More things to do with overripe bananas!

This one's also a recipe from my mother-in-law, Laurie. I've modified it a bit to include candied walnuts (SUPER YUMMY!). In the picture you can see the walnut muffin on left and the chocolate chip muffin on right.
Unlike most muffin recipes, which demand precise and quick beating to prevent too much air from entering the batter and ruining your muffin, this recipe is extremely forgiving. It also produces a softer muffin, almost like cake, with a delicious crust.

Banana-Chocolate-Chip(-or-Candied-Walnuts) Muffins

Preheat your oven to 350 F and generously grease a muffin tin (I use spray-on oil -- works wonders!)

1. In a large bowl, mash up 2 overripe bananas and 1 c. sugar until there are no chunks left.
2. Add 1 1/4 c. flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 c. vegetable oil, and 2 eggs.
3. Beat it with a mixer until smooth.
4. Pour the mixture into the tins 4/5 full (fuller than normal cupcakes and stuff). This recipe will make exactly 12 muffins. If you have leftover batter, your muffin tins are not full enough. Keep pouring.
5. Sprinkle 6-8 chocolate chips on top of each muffin you want chocolate chips in; the chips will sink and disperse themselves as it bakes. For the candied walnuts, do the same, but stir it a bit with a wooden chopstick because the walnuts are not heavy enough to sink and will all end up on top (unless you like it that way. Weirdo. ;P j/k, it's kinda like streusel if you do it that way.) You can also do both! Do the walnuts first, stir, then sprinkle with chips.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or so. They should be all the way brown with maybe a hint of yellow at the very top. I like them all the way brown. More crust :3
7. Take out of the oven and let cool for a minute or two. Using wooden chopsticks, gently loosen the sides of each muffin.
8. Invert onto a cooling rack. Flip muffins over (so the melty chocolate doesn't muck up the cooling rack) and let cool.

They taste great with white cheese -- any kind, pretty much: white cheddar, gouda, brie, gruyere...(also ham, purportedly. That's how Laurie eats them: cheese and ham O.o). Pair with an egg for AWESOME BREAKFAST TIME.

Also, the trick to having hot muffins for breakfast is to measure out all the dry ingredients ahead of time and have the mixer set up, then wake up an hour early the next morning and make it. It will be possible in your half-asleep state because everything is already measured. Wash the dishes while the muffins are baking, because hell, why not? You're not awake enough to resent doing dishes yet. By the time you're conscious enough to want breakfast, the muffins are piping hot out of the oven! FLAWLESS PLAN! In fact, that is what I did this morning! AND IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!

HAPPY BAKING! Read More......

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Steamed Banana Cake

Asian cakes are often steamed because most homes do not own a large oven like Western homes. It is possible to bake cakes in the toaster oven, but steaming is quicker and fluffier!

There are many methods of steaming, and all work equally well. I usually use an electric steamer, but bamboo steamers are also popular. It is also possible to ghetto-rig a steamer by heating a wok of boiling water, putting a rack in the bottom to keep the cake pan out of the water, and steaming your cake suspended over the water. Make sure your wok cover fits over the pan or bowl you are using!

Bananas are naturally sweet, and the riper they are, the sweeter they get, so adjust your sugar levels accordingly!

This recipe can be made and steamed all in one bowl. It is quick, easy, and has minimal clean-up work. Very good for a quick snack and has only about 115 calories per serving! Calories were calculated using My Fitness Pal's Recipe Calculator


Read More......

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers...Kitti-Style!

After reading Gracie's toaster-oven recipe for peppers stuffed with rice I had to try it out too! But, I like my stuffed veggies on the creamier side, so I made some alterations~
Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers
1 mini bell pepper
some brown rice
1 T. or so of cream cheese
chopped green onions
a handful of romano
Chop the (freshly washed) bell pepper in half, scoop out seeds and trim stem.
Mix everything else in a small bowl.
Stuff the pepper.
Sprinkle with some more shredded romano cheese.
Toast at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is browned.
Serve immediately with crusty bread topped with a pat of butter.


Alternatively, they make a great breakfast dish accompanied by a sunny-side egg!Happy toasting!
Read More......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cat's Eye Coins

Today I am going to show you how to make a nice snack that is sweet but still has nutritional value.


Cat's Eye Coins
Photobucket

Ingredients:
1 banana
1 TBS Peanut Butter

Read More......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toaster Oven Recipe~Toasted Peppers Stuffed with Rice

Another toaster oven recipe! The slight sweetness of the bell peppers is delicious when toasted! Feel free to add more veggies or meat to your filling. I found my celery to be moldy so I couldn't add anything other than onion to the filling rice This makes 2 servings of one pepper each.


Ingredients:

2 Bell Peppers, any color

1 cup of cooked rice (or enough to fill your peppers)

1/4 onion, diced

Cheese for sprinkling on top

Salt and Pepper to taste


Read More......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toaster Oven Recipe~Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Delicious, healthy french fries! The sweetness of the potato is balanced with the salt and pepper. For more variety, try herb blends (basil?) or cinnamon!

Ingredients:
Sweet potatoes
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste
OR Cinnamon Powder


Read More......

Monday, October 25, 2010

Easy Cinnamon French Toast


Preheat skillet to medium heat (water sizzles on contact)

Method for Cinnamon Sugar: 1 t. cinnamon to 3 T. sugar. Just kidding. I never measure. But a lot more sugar than cinnamon, and mix it until it looks like cinnamon sugar. :)) Taste test optional, but highly recommended!

3 slices Cinnamon Chunk Bread (drier/firmer is better)

In a bowl, whisk:
1 egg
Splash milk
Cinnamon sugar to taste
Splash vanilla

Dip bread in mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place bread sugar-side down on buttered skillet. Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar, smear with fork to get it to absorb (stray sugar will caramelize and create sticky, delicious, hard-to-clean messes). When it is firm and lightly brown on the bottom, flip and repeat.

Serve immediately with maple syrup. Read More......

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Supermoist Spiced Banana Bread!

What can you do with overripe bananas? Make this amazingly moist and delicious banana bread! I got this recipe from Laurie, my future mother-in-law, who got it from a really old church recipe book and doctored it up for EXTRA AMAZING.

The spiciness makes it apt for a cold autumn day. I made this two days ago and it was almost gone by yesterday! This recipe makes 1 lightly crusted banana-licious loaf.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease a loaf pan (I used Pyrex glass)

Cream 1 stick butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar.

Using a mixer, incorporate 2 bananas, beating 'til smooth-ish and homogeneous.


Homogeneously mixed!

Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 eggs, splash vanilla, beat well.
Add 1 1/2 c. flour, 1 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. baking soda.
Sprinkle with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, to taste. Beat and waft to determine level of spiciness. I go heavier on the cinnamon and cloves; nutmeg is strong so add just a bit at a time.
Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for 45+ minutes, 'til the top is evenly browned and crunch-ish.

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before loosening the sides and turning out to finish cooling.

Keep stored in the loaf pan with the cut side covered with foil to preserve the delicate balance of crust and moistness. (I couldn't get any pictures because it was all eaten up xD)Serve toasted with brie or butter.

It makes a delicious breakfast served with easy-over egg:
Happy baking! Read More......

Friday, October 22, 2010

Portabella 2 Ways!

Giant portabella mushrooms are delicious all sorts of ways: stir-fried, sauteed, baked, etc. They can even take the place of beef for a delicious vegetarian steak; the longer they cook the richer the flavours become!

Here are two fancier renditions:

Artichoke-Stuffed Portabella Cap

Wipe any dirt off the portabella. Cut off the stem and chop into pieces.

In a medium bowl, crush 1/2 handful oyster crackers. Add 3 T. cream cheese, dash garlic powder, 1/2 handful chopped red onion, the portabella stem, and 1/2 handful grated hard cheese (like romano) and mash everything together 'til even. Add 2-3 chopped up artichoke hearts and smash 'til homogeneous-ish.

Smear the mixture into the portabella cap. Bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes or so, 'til the mushroom looks soft or exudes juices, and the top is lightly brown.

Serve immediately, paired with crusty french bread and butter.

Tomato Salsa Portabella

I just made these today because I really wanted guacamole with tomatoes, but we didn't have any avocado and even if I went and bought avocado they wouldn't be ripe for at least two days. So, I figure that if I could get some chunky tomato salsa, I could pretend it was like guacamole. We had some portabella, so the next best thing is obviously salsa and portabella. And then I decided it needed some protein, so I added hummus. And romano, for depth, and contrasting texture. Yeah. It made sense at the time. But it was super delicious, so here it is:

In a skillet, melt 2-3 t. butter. Put the portabella stem-side up on top of the melted butter and swirl it around a bit to cover it nicely.

Cook over medium to medium-low heat 'til juice appears in the gills. Flip the mushroom over and keep cooking. In the meantime, slice up some french bread and toast it.

When the mushroom smells amazing exudes juice when poked, remove it from the heat. Smear with 2-3 spoonfuls pine-nut hummus, sprinkle with shredded romano cheese, and pour a good amount of chunky tomato salsa on top. Try to get one without too much sodium, like Trader Joe's.

Serve immediately, with the toasted french bread and a healthy smear of butter. Read More......

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Creme Brulee!


This recipe is handy for using up leftover whipping cream from making cakes! It is a delicious dessert on its own too ;P The leftover egg whites may then be used for meringues, or low-fat omelets. This time, I'm going to try making macarons with my leftover whites...wish me luck!

Note: YOU NEED A CREME BRULEE TORCH TO MAKE CREME BRULEE. They are also called butane torch, or kitchen torch, or whatever. But you need one. Some recipes say you can put the creme brulee in a dish of ice or ice water and place it under a boiler. THESE ARE LIES. The ice water melts and the creme gets warm and the sugar doesn't brulee and it is a huge mess. Don't do it. Get a torch.

Method for Creme Brulee:
Heat large pot of water
Preheat oven to 300
Prepare 4-5 ramekins in large baking dish with deep sides (like a bar pan)

Heat 1 cup heavy cream + 2 T. sugar to bubbles at edge, cool slightly

Beat 2 egg yolks [3 for firmer creme if you're using deep ramekins] w/ vanilla 'til light-coloured and smooth

Pour small amount heated cream into eggs, beat 'til smooth. Gradually add remaining cream, stirring to incorporate.

Pour through sieve into ramekins. Place dish in oven, pour in hot water to halfway up side of ramekin.

Bake 20-30 min. 'til center doesn't jiggle.

Cool. When room temp, cover with cling-wrap and chill thoroughly

For creme brulee sugar:
1 part vanilla sugar to 1 part brown sugar toasted at low temp 10 min. [temp yet to be perfected]
Alternatively, 2 parts white (or vanilla) sugar to 1 part brown sugar. Use more white sugar if using dark brown sugar; however, the product tends to be more 'sticky' and forms globs when torched. Some people like this.

To Serve:
Sprinkle even coating of sugar over creme brulee; torch.
Serve immediately Read More......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Onigiri Veggie Time



Onigiri are great for convenient lunches. Just make them the morning of and pack with a little container of fruit and veggies and a handful of nuts for a delicious and nutritionally complete meal :3 They are also amazingly versatile: you can put pretty much anything in onigiri so long as it doesn't interfere with the stickiness of the rice, which is what holds it together!

Aside from the obvious food ingredients, all you need to enjoy delicious onigiri is a rice cooker (which all of you have, I know it!) and like...30 minutes.

Here is how:

1. The night before, put 1/3 cup rice per onigiri into the rice cooker, and set the timer to finish cooking when you wake up.

2. The next morning, fluff the rice, then prepare the filling/mix-in/covering (thaw frozen peas/corn, stir-fry asparagus and mushrooms, make egg skin, etc.)

3. Mix, fill, wrap. I use cling wrap for mine to cut down on mess. For filling, an onigiri mold is indispensable.

4. FINISH!

Here are some onigiri I've made in this past week or so, for inspiration:


Stir-fried onion, carrots, and corn.




Omuraisu Onigiri--my favourite! Although it is not very photogenic... This is what is on the inside:

Also, see the rice coming out of the cling wrap? Make sure to leave room for squishing, or this will happen TT___TT


Progress photo of asparagus-mushroom stir-fry onigiri (the very first picture in this post).

The onigiri mold really helps you put more filling in the onigiri...nummy! (Although I didn't add enough salt to this one, so it was a bit bland TT__TT) Read More......

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frog on a Boat

Similar to the ever popular "Toad in a Hole", I have altered the method slightly for a Frog on a Boat breakfast!
recipe

NOTE: No real frogs are involved in the making of this breakfast


Read More......

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Asian Pear Hand Pies and Eggy Bread Sticks

tAutumn weather means time for baking!  Sweet apple pies, savory breads, toasting pumpkin seeds, baking large cuts of ham or turkey, the whole deal!  Unfortunately, I only have a little toaster oven 045

But that's ok!  Today I bring you some Asian Pear Hand Pies!  They are an easy, low-calorie, low-fat, on-the-go food.  Able to be made with minimal ingredients and just a toaster oven and a stove top burner.

pear,pie,to-go
Made with milk toast for the pie skin, this is a quick bake and smells very fragant!

Read More......

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Orange Creme Mousse-Filled Cake with Fresh Strawberry and Peach Garnish

Cake has always been associate with celebration. In our family, every birthday would be invariably accompanied by a two-layer cake-from-a-box sandwiched around a delightful ambrosia of canned fruit and cream, and smothered in more whipped cream, with icing accents. As we (mostly I) grew up and inherited the cake-making position, we started experimenting, adding more fruit, garnishes, piped roses and fondant figurines. Eventually the cakes grew so extravagant they started resembling sculptures or abstract art.

Nowadays we haven't got the time for such ambitious cakes, and with the sisters scattered we try to keep things simple(ish). Just yesterday it was our mother's birthday, and this is the cake that I made for her. This gorgeous monstrosity takes about 5 hours to assemble, but it's worth every minute.

Note: I used the Heart Tasty-Fill Pan from Wilton's for this recipe, but if you haven't got a tunnel cake pan, you can sandwich the mousse as a filling between two 8'' or 9'' rounds so long as you set it first, otherwise it will gooze everywhere. Also, it helps to make a little fence with whipped cream 'round the edge of the bottom cake round to keep the mousse in.

Read More......

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blog LAUNCH!

Hey all! This is Kitti announcing the launch of 3 Peas Cafe! Read more about us on the About Us page!

About the Title
We decided on peas because it emphasizes the healthy part of cooking. It also alludes to the simile "like peas in a pod". Until recently, we all lived together in the same house, and even though we are all in separate households now, we want to create something that has the same cozy feeling. The abbreviation, 3PC, alludes computers (Personal Computer, PC, get it? xD) and how we are staying in touch via technology.

About the Banner
The title banner was created by me, Kitti. The two peas in the pod represent me and Jessica, who are still in the United States of America (albeit different cities) and the second pea all the way on the other side is Gracie off in Taiwanland. The style is reminiscent of Asian painting because a) I like it a lot and b) we are of Chinese descent and grew up eating traditional Taiwanese dishes, which is reflected in the food we make.

To commemorate the creation of this blog I have prepared an EXTRA SPECIAL (read: ridiculously easy) recipe.

Read More......