Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fig Berries Cream Cheese Loaf

I came across this fabulous cream cheese loaf recipe this afternoon from My Kitchen Snippets. The recipe is so easy that you can really make it in less than 5 minutes (pre-baking)! Since I have some figs, blueberries and strawberries in the fridge, I decided to throw everything together in the loaf!

The results was wonderful. It will be a perfect afternoon tea snack for both of us or even breakfast!

5 oz of low fat cream cheese

1 egg - yolk and white separated

2 tbsp of powder sugar (use more sugar if you have sweet tooth ;) )
1/2 cup fresh berries (use blueberries, strawberries) and fig

1 (11 oz) tube of bread stick dough (Pillsbury)


1/2 cup of powder sugar

2 tbsp of lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 350F
2) Mix together cream cheese, powder sugar and egg yolk

3) Unroll breadstick dough into a rectangular shape (you need to press the seam together - tightly!)

4) Spread 2) mixture on the center of the dough
5) Put berries and fig over the cream cheese evenly

6) Start from the top and bring and braid dough strip to cover the filling
7) Beat the egg white and brush it all over the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the loaf.
8) Combined the powder sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle all over the cool loaf before serving

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Lion's Head" meatballs - 狮子头

I knew nothing about "Lion's head" meatballs before I met J. Ever since I met him, he has been raving about this particular dish that he had when he lived in China a few years ago. After he talked so much about this dish, he finally took me to a Shanghainese restaurant in town a few months ago to try it out. Well, I have to say that my first Lion's Head dish didn't leave any particular impression on me. Probably because we had a table fulled of wonderful dishes at that time. :)

I have this lovely cookbook from Williams Sonoma - Savoring China with Lion's Head recipe in it. I gathered all the ingredients needed last weekend and decided to give it a try tonight! Actually I would suggest you to try it when you have at least 1 1/2 hour. I made it in a rush tonight as I didn't start until ~6pm (after work).

My Lion's Head dish came out as yummy as what I expected... The meatballs were well-cooked with Chinese rice wine, soy sauce and the chicken stock. The napa cabbage's sweetness complimented the savory taste of the soy-sauce coated meatballs. Yum... It was delicious.

Adapted from Willian Sonoma - Savoring China cookbook
Yields ~10 medium size meatballs
1.5 lb minced pork (preferred fatty pork)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/3 cup finely chopped water chestnut
2 tablespoons of finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic
soy sauce
3/4 of medium size napa cabbage - roughly chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chicken or beef stock (heated)
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine

1) Combine and mix well ground pork with chopped green onion, chopped water chestnut, ginger and garlic.
2) Add 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to 1). Mix thoroughly.
3) Divide the mixture into ~10 medium size meatballs.
4) In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to make a creamy paste, adding water if needed.
5) In a deep pan (preferred wok), heat the oil. One at a time, coat the meatballs in the soy sauce-cornstarch mixture and slip into the hot oil. Fry, turning as needed until the surface is lightly browned. Transfer the balls to a plate.
6) Add the napa cabbage to the hot oil and fry briefly just until wilted.
7) Add meatballs to the wok with cabbage.
8) Add heated chicken or beef stock, rice wine, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a dash of pepper.
9) Cover with a lid for ~30 minutes in low-medium heat
10) Before serving, add a teaspoon of corn starch to the wok to thicken the gravy.

Serves ~4-8 ppl

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shrimp Summer Vegetable Wheat Pasta

Yesterday I went to the Sprouts and spotted some fresh summer vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash and some sweet corn. I bought some of them! On one hand I am happy to enjoy summer fruits and vegetables, on the other hand I am not very thrilled about the summer in Arizona. It has been in at least 110F in the last 2 weeks. This weekend the weather will be at 115F. I am telling you... 115F is like the tipping point. After 115F, it goes from hot to hell. Argh, the summer. You got to love the heat to live in AZ. LOL

I made my tomato-based sauce from scratch today. I cut up a few medium size shrimp, some garlic, 4 medium size tomatoes, one small zucchini, and a couple of carrots. I didn't make my pasta (;P of course not, otherwise dinner won't be ready by 7pm and I didn't get back from work till ~6:15pm) but used half of pack of the wheat pasta from store. Oh yeah, my friend - Giuseppe brought me a piece of the Parmesan cheese from Italy in May! Thanks G! I grated a bit of the Parmesan on top of the pasta and served it hot.