Monday, August 27, 2012

Rustic Snow Princess Cookies

Baking is actually not my thing. I used to say that I can't bake, or I don't like to bake. I'd rather buy cake or cookies in the bakery. I only bake when I feel like it, or if I feel a little bit challenged by watching food channel on TV. Up to now, I'm proudly saying that I've already bake cupcakes, cookies, brownies and muffins, not mention some red velvet cakes that I made couple years ago with success. That's all. For me, baking is a real hardwork. I haven't got there yet. So, for all the bakers out there, my hat's off to you! What you do is a very amazing job.

However, lately I've decide that baking is a place that I should explore. Like a kid with a new toy, I think it has to be conquered step by step, little by little. So, 2 weeks ago I finally made this, after my daughter nagged me constantly about this cookies she's craving. And  truthfully, the making of kue putri salju or snow princess cookies is complicated enough for me. Moreover, she wanted cheese to be incorporated. Well...well...she really knows how to make my day.

This cookies is really famous in Indonesia, especially during the Eid-ul Fitr celebration. I think every family serve this to their guests. So, I was surfing the internet to find the recipe, and finally I ended up with this one. Since this is my first time, the outcome hasn't had perfect shape. That's why I call it rustic (to my defense).

Ingredients :
100 grams margarine
100 grams usalted butter
70 grams icing sugar, sieved
200 grams flour, sieved
50 grams corn starch
75 grams edam cheese, grated
50 grams cheddar cheese, grated
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon  baking powder
50 grams almond, roasted and choped finely
1 cup icing sugar (or to taste) for dusting

Mix together margarine, butter, and icing sugar and beat until soft using a hand mixer. Add the egg yolks,  and continue to beat until all incorporated.

Add flour, corn starch,  baking powder, cheese and almond, and mix all together, fold with  your hands until the dough doesn't stick to your hands.

Shape the dough into crescent-shaped, or whatever you like.

Bake the crescent-shaped cookie dough on the baking tray  layered with parchment paper in the oven, which already preheat to 180 C degrees for 15 minutes. 

Take the cookies out of the oven, and dust them with icing sugar.

I plan to make this cookies again in the future, since my daughter like them so much. So, I guess what they say is true: don't judge the cookie by its look. Eventhough it looks rustic, the taste is fantastic! LOL.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My First Try Out: Wagyu Steak!

After long curiosity, finally I had the chance to make this. It started with my husband accidentally passing by the meat section in the supermarket. He saw the sign "wagyu beef promo" and then decided to take a closer look. The promo sign didn't lie, it was really cheap. Then we bought 3 slices of wagyu beef (about 750 grams total), all only cost no more than Rp75,000. Normally, it cost more than Rp100,000 per portion (about 250 gr) in the restaurant. So, I think I did a good job on this. The meat quality was also good, still red and fresh, with georgeous white marbling fat.

Wagyu literally means Japanese cow. The cows  have unique characteristics that produce high quality beef that is famous around the world. When grilled, the marbling fat will melt down and leave the meat so tender and succulent. And the best way to grill is medium well or almost well done, when the center part of the steak is still freshly pink or has slightly red streak.  Don't worry about the seasoning. I just use salt, pepper, and paprika.

Rub the meat with salt, ground white and black pepper, and paprika powder. Put the meat in the fridge and let it rest for about 30 minutes or 1 hour. I use non-stick grill pan. This pan will make the char effect on your meat. Just rub the pan slightly with oil, and heat it with medium heat. When the pan is hot, grill the steak. Takes 2 minutes to grill each side of the steak, this will make nice char and the perfectly medium-well cooked meat.

To make the sauce, just melt the butter in the pan with low heat to dissolve the crust and the spices.  Scratch gently with a wooden or silicone spoon. Be careful, not to ruin the non-stick layer of the pan. The sauce making only takes about 2 minutes, so the butter won't be burnt. Then pour the sauce onto the steak, and   serve it with fried sliced potatoes and your favorite greens. Or anything you want.   

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Version of Doenjang Jjigae, The Fast and Delicious

I always love to cook dishes that originated from other countries, as long as it's simple, of course. And this soup is one of those. At first, I don't know what the name is. I just know that this dish is always been served in cold weather or in an emergency situation when peopel needs to eat immediately with fast and simple preparation. At least that's what I watch from Korean drama, since I'm a fan. I got inspired in the beginning from the drama Mary Stayed Out All Night (Maerineun Oebakjoong). When I saw the actors prepared this soup in no time, and somewhat it looked tasteful, I thought I should try that. After doing some little research, I knew that this soup is called Doenjang Jjigae or soybean paste soup/stew.

Korean soy bean paste and chili pepper paste

As it's called soybean paste stew, so soybean paste is the main ingredient. It's for the broth actually. As the main ingredient of miso soup is miso. This special ingredient have a distinct taste, that make us recognize immediately that this is Korean food. Miso and doenjang have similar look and taste, but each has a unique characteristic that only the palate can tell. Doenjang is slightly bitter I think. And when you mix it with gochujang (chili pepper paste), the combination is just awesome.

There are many versions of this stew, as usual. But as usual also, I go with the easiest one. The great thing about this dish is we can mix anything inside, although in restaurant they usually use shrimp. So, everybody has their own favorite. And after my first try out, my husband and daughter liked it so much, and they asked for more. So, right now, doenjang jjigae is one of our family's favorite dish.

You can have your own version of this stew. And, here's my version of Doenjang Jjigae:

4 tbs doenjang/Korean soy bean paste (or to taste)
2 tbs gochujang/Korean chili pepper paste (or to taste)
1 package Tofu, slice thickly
1 package of Shimeji mushroom (about 100 gr)
250 gr sliced beef for shabu-shabu
pakcoy (or other greens)
1 sachet dashi (optional)
1 cup diced spring onion
1 liter  water (or chicken stock)

Boil water in the sauce pan with medium heat until it shimmers. 
Then add dashi,  doenjang, and gochujang.
Stir occasionally until all blends.
Add tofu, mushroom, beef, and pakcoy. Stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Lastly, add spring onion, and serve with rice.

Serving: 3-4

 I usually mix the rice with the stew inside the bowl. Better you eat it when it's still piping hot. It comforts you the best when it's raining outside. What a day...

*note: doenjang has salty taste, so be careful if you want to add salt, which I don't do. :))
Dashi is basic japanese stock made from sea kelp and preserved bonito fish. I use it just to add flavor. You don't have to use if you don't want to. However, it's a must if you want to cook Japanese miso soup. You can buy an instant dashi, or make it from scratch.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Toast with Sweet Condensed Milk: My Version of Simple and Delectable Breakfast

Breakfast is not my thing, actually. I'm not the kind of person who sweat it out just to cook breakfast from scratch. But, sometimes I'm flexible about it. Just few days ago, I was craving for something sweet and salty. Imagining something melt down on my bread made my mouth watery. So, I just thought I had to make something. And I remember I've ever seen a famous chef made this simple breakfast somewhere with bread. So, I started my own quest in my kitchen. I had my bread, and some other ingredients, and voilĂ !

This is my super easy breakfast, you can even make it with your eyes closed! haha! Here is the simple recipe:

2 slices of bread
3-4 tsp salted butter or margarine (or to taste. I used plenty :))
3-4 tsp sweet condensed milk (or to taste) 

Melt  half portion of the butter in the pan using low heat. After it melt, add a slice of bread and toast it until it becomes golden brown. Let the butter absorbed through the bread. Then flip it. Again, let the butter seep through its other side and becomes golden brown. Take it out. Repeat the process with the other slice of bread, and put the bread on a plate. Pour sweet condensed milk over it. 

Then you'll have a delicious breakfast with no sweat at all! Believe it or not, that day I enjoyed my morning completely: watching my favorite series on TV and eating my breakfast over a glass of orange juice. Heaven!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Power of Three: Garlic, Chili, Salt

I always love  spicy foods. Just give me anything spicy and I will eat it, hahaha! And I love the combination of garlic, chilli and salt. I like to call those: 'The Power of Three', because if I have them in my kitchen I don't have to worry about how to cook anything, and anything I cook with them will definitely turn out great, at least okay. 'Anything' means nearly anything, mostly. And to be honest, I don't like to complicate things with so many ingredients and spices. Simple food is the best. And those three are the best in my down days.

These three can go along with anything in my fridge. You can match them with broccoli, sugarpeas, pak coy, carrots. I even cooked my spaghetti with them, and then add a little beef bacon if you want, you can call it: spaghetti aglio olio. Simply delicious! So far my favorite dish is Simple Spicy Carrots. Here's the recipe:

2 Carrots (medium size, sliced thinly)
2 tsp of oil/butter/margarine
1 clove of garlic (sliced thinly)
2 chillies, chopped roughly
salt to taste

In medium heat, toss sliced carrots into pan with oil/butter/margarine. Stir occasionally until the carrots are all covered with oil. Lower the heat. Then, add garlic, chillies, and salt. Continuously stirred until the carrots are wilted.Then it's ready to serve.

Serve with cooked rice for 2-3 persons.

You can also cook meat with those three. I've already tried them with corned beef and tuna, all is delicious! And, there's also another reason why I called them The Power of Three, because when I have them, I'm in power! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Changing Habit, The Side Effect of Kitchen Remodeling

I've never thought that kitchen remodeling could change your habit. Surprise...surprise! After I've put all my stuffs to my new cabinets, I've just realized something. This new kitchen is totally different than my last one. The location of the shelfs, the racks, the cabinets, the sink, even the stove was all changed. Well, it's not a bad thing actually, but after 10 years of putting things in the same place, this habit actually needs change.

Believe it or not, I had to stand there and think for about 10 seconds  remembering where I had to place my dishes. I had to squeeze my brain out to remember where I put the plates, pans, spoons, forks, etc. It's like doing things all over again. That never occurred to me before. Even, I had to learn how to ignite the stove, since it's totally a different type. And, there were many things else that I must adjust. Truthfully, it's not that simple, or easy. I think I need a week or two to adapt myself with my so called new kitchen.

Right now, I feel like I've already 'understood' it. Everything runs smoothly, and I don't have to stand there and try to remember where my plate's rack is, or in which drawer I have to put my knife. know what? It got me thinking that... this changing habit thing, it doesn't only work in the kitchen. It works in every area of our life, philosophically speaking. One thing for sure, our habit can be changed if we don't have the choice. Do you think so?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Hard It is to Get Your Dream Kitchen

I think kitchen remodelling is a tricky business. Since I didn't have a fortune to use a high-end professional kitchen contractor, I preferred to hire a local contractor instead. The price is much cheaper of course. And in the beginning, the contractor said that he would do his best to make his customer happily satisfied (well, don't they always say the same?).

After some discussion about design and cost, we decided to proceed. We've already made comparison with some other local contractors, and he's the most expensive. But, I think he's the one who can exactly read what I have in mind. And, it's hard to find that kind of contractor. So, after paying the half of his fee, he promised that he would finish the remodelling in just 3 weeks, and would installed the cabinets, sink, electricity, etc to our satisfaction. In other word, he agreed to do the making and the installation as well.

But, in week 2, he suddenly went under the radar. No words. I had the feeling that he hid something or else. So, we tried to reach out several times, and finally he answered the phone. He said his workshop just moved, because the landlord wanted to sell the place. Along with this notification, he also told us that he couldn't meet the previous deadlines, and...he asked us to pay a third of the rest of the payment. Well, I didn't see it coming, but we paid it anyway.

Briefly, after waiting another 3 weeks, the kitchen set was ready. It took almost 5 days to install the cabinets, etc, and we have to make some adjustments that we didn't predict before. He also asked us to buy some more stuffs to complete the installation, which, again, we didn't see it coming either. But, we agreed to do that since it didn't cost a lot of money. During the work, one of his men broke our washing machine pipe. My husband said that the cost would be deducted from the fee, and he seemed not too happy about it.

After all set, here comes the payment day. Since he couldn't come himself (he said he had work to do. Don't we all?), he sent his brother to pick up the rest of the payment. But...after we gave him the money, suddenly he held out another bill. What???? It turned out to be all the charges of his 'other' works, such as the removal of our old cabinets, the sink placement, . Okay, we could agree on that one, but the rest? He didn't say a word about it. He never discussed  with us about the additional charges. This really made us upset. Moreover, the finishing touch didn't meet our satisfaction. We've complained about this and all, and he didn't say much to his defense. However, we decided to still pay the bill. But, in last minute, he said we just had to pay the removal fee. Well, okay, it did ease us a little. But still the disappointment is still there, and we don't think we can hire that person again in the future. So, right now, we decide to do what he left for, the detailed finishing touch. Not really a happy ending for kitchen remodelling experience, but I'm still happy with my new kitchen, moreover I have a new stove and oven. I hope many more delicious cooking will come from this as well.