Friday, May 9, 2014

Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri


Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com 

Well, hello my lovelies. Did you miss me? I know it's been a while since my last post. I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. My weekdays are hectic balancing act between work and school runs and lately our weekends are booked with barbecues, karting, and parties with friends...not that I'm complaining. It's just that I couldn't find time to work on my craft...cooking and photography.

I can't believe it's more than 2 years since I started this little project! Haidee's Kitchen was just intended to be as my online notes on the recipes I have loved so I don't forget them. I can't believe it almost reached 60K views as of writing this post. So thank you for the support, you're all awesome!

So what have I been up to lately? Well, I have started a new project. Ok, let's rewind that. At the beginning of this year I was thinking what could be my 2014 project. 2012 was when I started this blog, 2013 was my organic garden which is thriving even with this extreme gulf summer heat and is producing more than what my family can consume.

Oregano I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com 

I thought of a million things to do for this year, (exagg!)... I know I sound like I'm contradicting myself as I began my post with my excuse on why I haven't had time to post sooner. But I believe you can always find time for the things you love. So lately, my other loves were given priority. But today, this very minute, you have my full attention. Yes, I love y'all too!

Also, I believe one should never stop learning, lest you stop growing. And learning new things is important to me. I'm blessed to have a supporting husband who are supportive with my personal pursuit. He encourages that I pursue my passion... (except when I told him I want to learn pottery. He begged me not to, saying we don't have more space for my works of art, LOL! He's probably right).

So 2012 was Project Food Blog, 2013 was Project Organic Garden and 2014 is Project Health...I'm taking better care of me.

It's amazing that the more I learn about food, the more I learn that every morsel that goes into your body makes a big difference. And the more I learn about real food, the kinder I become to my body. I try to stay away from processed food and choose a healthier option. I also become aware that not everything advertised as good are actually good. No Calorie Artificial Sweetener? No thank you. I'd take the muscovado sugar instead if there are no better option. And please don't ask me how much calorie is packed in my sandwich, I don't have time for that and I absolutely think it is pointless. I also am not into those fad diet. Sure, with my background in physiotherapy and personal training I know how to lose 5kg in 2 weeks, but do I really want to subject my body to that kind of stress just to fit into a dress? I don't think so. So I've decided to take the longer route to weight loss, to listen to my body and be patient that over time I will achieve my goal. I have decided to start my yoga practice...everyday.

Yes, I committed to myself to do yoga everyday whether I feel like it or not. Whether I feel strong, or flexible, or tired. Because they say it takes 21 days to form a habit. And that's what I'm trying to develop, a habit that will eventually turn into a life style.

And all my ongoing "projects" are kind of inter-related. Diet and exercise are both essential to weight loss. So the food that I mostly prepare at home are healthy or healthier versions of the food that I love. But don't get me wrong, I still love them chocolate cake!

I have been getting inspiration from fellow foodies. The book that I have been devouring now is the beautifully written and visually delicious cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow, "It's All Good". Most of her meals are simple and yet so flavorful and satisfying.

Today, I'm sharing a dish inspired my her recipe "Sauteed Corn with Chimichurri". I said inspired because I made it with my own version of chimichurri with fresh oregano picked from my garden and used canned corn instead of fresh because that was what I had in the pantry.

Have you tried chimichurri? It's almost the same as pesto, but instead of cheese you replace it with the heat of jalapeno. I like to char the jalapeno a bit to add more depth of flavor. My version is one part oregano, 1 part cilantro for more contrasting flavor. If you want the oregano to stand our, feel free to swap it with flat leaf parsley.

Charred Jalapeno I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com 


The chimichurri is good as condiment for meat, especially steak. But it is lovely too when added on corn and serve it as a side dish or as a satisfying vegan meal. I think I had me 2 helpings when I cooked it for this shoot. And yet, I don't feel guilty, 'coz "it's all good."

Oregano I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com 

Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com 



Sauteed Corn with Chimichurri

Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:
2 x 400g canned corn (drained weight 280g)
4 tbsp chimichurri*
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat a cast iron skillet. Pour in the EVOO

2. Add the corn, sautéing occasionally. This will allow the corn to develop a nice char, about 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook; the corn should still be plump and juicy.

3. Take the skillet off the heat and mix-in the chimichurri. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking.


For the Chimichurri*

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 packed cup fresh oregano leaves
1 packed cup fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley leaf
1 medium jalapeno, charred, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup EVOO
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor. Add more EVOO if it's too dry. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before using. Keep the rest in a tight-lid jar and store in the fridge for 2 weeks or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Oregano I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com 
Chimichurri, 03 May 2014
Haidee's Kitchen

All photos for this post taken using iPhone5.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Almond Milk

*Updated 24 Feb 2014.

I'm all about superfoods these days. The more I learn about them and eat them, the more I fall in love with them. I recently encountered raw cacao nibs and it was love at first bite...or rather, nibble. I blame the vegans and the organic hippies, their green gospel is proliferating and their preaching is getting through me. I fear that one day, one day, I might just say no to butter and bacon! Oh, the thought gives me the chills!

Anyway, I don't think I'll be a food extremist, I'm all about balance. And I'm a gastronomic adventurer so no way I would let myself be restricted by certain food religion. Having said that, it is sensible to learn more about good food. I don't really like calorie-counting-artificial-sugar diet fad. I like whole food...real food.

Lately, I have been trading my favorite moo lattes to soy-cappuccino and have mustered the strength to say no to whip cream...and I love it! At home, I've been whipping up smoothies with fruits, nuts and seeds using soy, coconut milk and nut milk as my base. However, these vegan milk are not easy to come by around here, and when they do, they're usually ridiculously expensive! Another issue is that though they are labeled organic, some are heavily laden with unnatural ingredients and preservatives which I cannot even pronounce, thus would like to stay away from.


So to solve this problem, I make my own nut milk. Not only do I save a lot of dinars for doing so, I know exactly what is in them. And it will keep well in the fridge for a week without the need for preservatives. Best of all, it's so easy to make I don't even break a sweat!

Here's 2 of my favorite flavored almond milk, cinnamon and cacao.


Cacao and Cinnamon Almond Milk I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com
First, you have to rehydrate the raw almonds overnight so it will yield the maximum amount of "milk". 2 cups of almonds will turn into 3 to 3.5 cups when rehydrated.

When you're ready to grind your milk, here are the equipments you will need:
1. electric blender
2. jelly strainer with stand, ( I use Lakeland Jelly Strainer kit, if you don't have one, a fine-meshed strainer and cheese cloth will do the job as well).
3. a bowl that will fit under your jelly strainer
4. dry measuring cup
5. wet measuring cup
6. measuring spoons


If you're a purist, almond and water is all you need to make a raw, unsweetened almond milk. My ratio is 1.5 cups rehydrated raw almonds + 3 cups water. Blend until you get the texture that you want then strain it. But that can be pretty...blah. So I'm sharing with you 2 of my favorite flavors, cinnamon and cacao.

Now let's get started.

Cinnamon Almond Milk



Time (from prep to finish): Under 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rehydrated raw almonds
3 cups water
2 tbsp natural, unprocessed light muscovado sugar, add more as per your preference*
beans of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
*You can substitute muscovado sugar with agave nectar or dates to make this a sugar-free recipe. Use 1tbsp agave nectar or 4 pieces of dates, seeded.

Directions:
1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend for 2 minutes at a time until you get the smoothness/texture that you want. Taste and add sugar to your liking.

2. Pour the mixture into the jelly strainer and let the milk drip into the bowl by itself. When the flow has stopped, give it a good squeeze until all the milk has been wrung out. Discard the sap or better yer, use it as a body scrub ;-)

Cacao Almond Milk



Time (from prep to finish): Under 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rehydrated raw almonds
3 cups water
2 tbsp natural, unprocessed light muscovado sugar, add more as per your preference*
beans of 1/2 vanilla pod
2 tbsp cacao nibs,  (or 1 tbsp cacao powder or cocoa powder)
1/8 tsp salt
*You can substitute muscovado sugar with agave nectar or dates to make this a sugar-free recipe. Use 1tbsp agave nectar or 4 pieces of dates, seeded.

Directions:
1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend for 2 minutes at a time until you get the smoothness/texture that you want. Taste and add sugar to your liking.

2. Pour the mixture into the jelly strainer and let the milk drip into the bowl by itself. When the flow has stopped, give it a good squeeze until all the milk has been wrung out.



Haidee's Kitchen
15 Feb 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cha Soba


Brrrr....the temperature continuous to drop here in the gulf. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. In fact, this is my favorite season, I mean who doesn't want a break from the scorching hot summer in the desert? I love the winter here. It rarely drops below 10*C which is just perfect. These days, a hot soup is just what I need to warm my tummy. I've revisited an old post, Zaru Cha Soba (Cold Green Tea Noodles served with a hot dipping dashi broth). This is pretty much the same as that except instead of using the dashi broth as dipping sauce, The noodle is served right in the hot broth. Whatever and whichever way you serve it, it will taste amazing!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
400g dried cha (green tea) buckwheat noodles
water for boiling the noodles
a big bowl of ice cubes

For the Hot Broth:
4 tbsp dashi granules
4 cups water
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup Kikoman soy sauce

Toppings & Garnish:
shredded kani (crab sticks), as desired 
togarashi (red chili flakes), as desired


Direction:

1. Place Cha noodles in boiling water and cook as directed in the package. Drain and transfer the the noodles on a bowl of ice cubes to stop the cooking process and prevents it from becoming soggy. Set Aside.

2. In a sauce pan, dissolve the dashi granules in water and bring up to a boil. Bring the heat down then add mirin and soy sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

3. To serve, transfer the cold soba on a bowl, pour a few laddleful of broth, top with shredded kani and togarashi. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings

Homecooked Meals
24 Nov 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peppermint-Choco-Mallows Stirrers

I promised my friend, Joyce I will be posting the recipe for this treat, if you can call it recipe at all. There is no cooking involved and I made it with very little effort. It's a perfect gift for the holidays. In fact, I made this last year for Rocky to give-away to his friends.

So this is part of my holiday "Edible Gifts" series...my Peppermint-Choco-Mallows Stirrer-- store-bought marshmallows dipped in chocolate and covered with crushed peppermint candy cane. That's pretty much it, 3 ingredients, no cooking required. This ideally serves as a stirrer for hot cocoa or hot milk, let the peppermint and chocolate-covered marshmallows melt in the hot drink before you drink and enjoy. Some of Rocky's friends gobbled it by itself. I don't blame them, I may have had a stick or two,(...ok maybe more!), when I was packaging them, you know, for quality check.

It perfectly pairs with your hot drink especially on Christmas morning or after the "Noche Buena" (Christmas dinner). And, if you've been naughty this year, this might score you some "nice" points with Santa if you leave a stick next to his hot milk and cookies under the Christmas tree.


peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com

Difficulty: Super Easy!

Prep and Assembly Time: 30 to 40 minutes

What you will need:
1 pack popsicle sticks
Double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water
shallow bowl for the crushed candy cane
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Ingredients:
1 pack large white marshmallows, (approximately 50 pcs)
4 cups dark, milk chocolate or white chocolate, (1 used 2 cups dark chocolate and 2 cups of white chocolate)
10 x 8in peppermint candy cane, finely chopped

Directions:

1. In a double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt/temper 2 cups of dark chocolate, make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. 
*Alternatively, you may melt the chocolate in the microwave, set on high, at 20 seconds interval until melted.
**For tips on tempering chocolate, click here.

2. Dip 1 inch of the popsicle stick in melted chocolate, stick into the marshmallows and immediately roll over the chopped candy cane. Let it stand to cool and harden on the baking sheet. Repeat process until half of the marshmallows are well coated.

3. Repeat the process using the white chocolate and the remaining half of the marshmallows and candy cane. Let it cool completely at room temperature.

Makes approximately 50 stirrers.

For more Edible Gifts suggestions, you may want to check these out:
1. Bourbon Dulce De Leche
2. Almond Butter Cups
3. Dark Hazelnut Butter
4. Vanilla Extract
5. Rocky Crunch

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours! xoxo





peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com


peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I www.haideekitchen.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bourbon Dulce de Leche







It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is just around the corner. My tree is up and decorated in gold and silver, my holiday table is set. Oh yes, we're on festive mode before December hits! Why? Why not!

If you're like me, you'd probably be collecting ideas of what to give to friends and family right about now. I put a lot of thought into it. I'm not Oprah that money is no object, but with little creativity and a bit of (fun) work, I can give my loved ones some of my favorite things. I started that last year, I decided to give them something handmade and homemade. I hope they liked them 'coz I sure enjoyed making them.

So I thought I'd share some of the recipes with you. You can find the links for the recipes on the home page under the label "Edible Gifts". They're so easy to make anybody can make them.

Here's one that I gave to some of my girlfriends, my Dulce de Leche spiked with Bourbon whiskey and spiced with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. I loooove dulce de leche. It's great with vanilla ice cream, (way better than caramel!), on top of cupcakes, brownies and slathered on top of  my mom's "suman sa lihiya" (sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf). It's also good by itself, just grab a spoon, dunk it in the sticky pot and indulge!

It's simple to make but time consuming, that is if you take the route that I took. There are so many ways to make it, from simple to scary, (the thought of putting a can of condensed milk inside a pressure cooker gives me goosebumps!). The simplest I think is the method recommended by Donna Hay. I tried it many times but it does not give me the result I was looking for, I always get a darker top. And so I take the road less traveled and go for the longer method. Turns out perfect all the time!

Bourbon Dulce De Leche

Cooking Time: 60-80 minutes depending on the consistency and color that you like. It becomes darker as it as you cook longer.

Ingredients
2 x 395g can condensed milk
2 tsps Bourbon Whiskey
Beans of a 2 inch Organic Grade-A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Pod 
Pinch of Salt

Direction:
1. Slowly cook the condensed milk in a double boiler until it thickens and changed into a darker, caramel color, stirring occasionally. Careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the pot where the milk is in. Add more water into the double-boiler if needed.

2. Once you've achieved the color and texture that you like add the bourbon, vanilla beans and salt, stir until fully incorporated and remove from heat.

3. Let it cool completely before transferring into sterilized decorative bottles.

Note on Storage:
This will keep for 2 days at room temperature or up to 1 month in the fridge but might lose it's creamy texture. To reheat, transfer into a heat-proof dish and microwave at 15 seconds interval until you get the desired temperature and smoothness.

Enjoy!

Makes 2 cups




Monday, November 4, 2013

Carrot Cake






My sister came for a 1-week visit last month and I promised to make her trip to the island worthwhile by taking her to few of my current favorite places to eat, (because there is nothing much to do here but that), and to cook/bake for her. She told me that wasn't necessary as the purpose of her visit was to spend time with his nephew. Still, I cannot let her go hungry. And so she let me drag her onto a weeklong gastronomic trip around the country.

I took her to the "new" Hash House in Adliya, the island's most happening place. The new owners totally revamped and re-oomphed this resto. This now tops my list when I'm craving for Thai food.
 
Hash House


 Then, to my favorite place for afternoon tea, The Tea Room @ Trousseau. They serve the best scones which pairs perfectly with rose bud tea. Divine!


The Tea Room @ Trousseau

The Tea Room @ Trousseau

And of course I had to bring her to my favorite restaurant outside the city that serves delicious arabic food with a modern twist, Villa Mamas. The chef is also a forerunner in advocating organic, local products and produce in the restaurant scene in the island. Definitely a must try when in Bahrain.






Eggplant Explosion, a modern twist on the Persian dish kashk-e bademjan @ Villa Mamas

Shish Barak, lamb in wonton wrapper with yogurt sauce @ Villa Mamas

We visited several more but posting all the photos might be too much for this blog, (follow me on instagram instead!).

Memories

And because I also promised to cook for her, I made mushroom risotto with truffle oil for dinner and taught her how to bake this decadence, a 3-layer carrot cake. This cake has become a family favorite and I think it's time to share it with y'all.

The recipe was adapted and slightly modified from Chef Emeril Lagasse's recipe; (for the link, click here). The only modifications are: (1) I used only half of the pecans called for this recipe and sub the half with walnuts, because the husband is not a fan of pecans. And (2) for the frosting, the original recipe called of 1lb of sugar which I find too sweet for my liking, so I made my frosting with just 3 cups of sugar instead.

My sister's visit was short but sweet...even sweeter than cream cheese frosting. And that's what we live for. We may live miles apart but our hearts will always be together. And when we are together, we build memories that will last...until we meet again.


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 60 minutes
Baking Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 130-140minutes

Ingredients:

3 sticks, plus more for coating the pan, room temperature
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsps salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated or (food processor) chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans,
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven at 180*C.
2. Prepare 3 (9in) cake pan, coat inside of the pan with butter, line with parchment paper, then coat again with butter. Set aside.
3. Sift dry ingredients together, (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt). Mix well.
4. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter for 1 minute or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat over medium speed until light and fluffy. Alternately add eggs and dry ingredients over medium speed. Add vanilla extract. Add carrots and beat until well mixed. Then fold in the nuts. 5. Divide the mixture into 3 pans and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check with a toothpick or cake tester, if the toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes clean, the cake is done. *I usually like my cake really moist and don't go over 30 minutes. But, since I'm making a 3 layer cake, I let it bake a little longer so the bottom layer withstand the weight.
6. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let the cake cook for a further 30 minutes on the cooling rack before icing.

For the Frosting:

7. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar over medium speed. Once all the sugar is incorporated, crank up the speed to high and mix for a further minute. To assemble:
8. Line 3in parchment paper around the cake stand. Place bottom layer cake. Frost the top, about 1cm thick. Sprinkle half of the mixed chopped nuts. Top with the middle layer and repeat the process. Finally add the top layer and frost generously with the remaining frosting.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Almond Butter Cups


Hey! mums, are you running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained for this seemingly endless summer? Hang in there, only few more days and it's back to school! In the meantime, here's a yummy treat to serve on playdates... a better, healthier version of that addicting Reese's peanut butter cups! These are made with homemade almond butter sweetened with organic agave nectar and dark chocolate. It's a breeze to make which means the little ones can help make these too, no baking required!

You can prepare the almond butter ahead of time and it will keep in the fridge for 6 months or longer. It's basically the same as my Dark Hazelnut Butter with the sub of blanched almonds (duh!) and no cocoa added. Try the recipe, I'm sure you'll love it!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 35 to 65 minutes

Ingredients for the Almond Butter Cups:
2 cups Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips or any chocolate chips/bars you like
1 cup almond butter

You will need:
16 cupcake liners
cupcake pans
spoon
spatula
microwavable dish

Directions:

1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwavable dish. With the temperature set high, heat the chips at 30 minutes interval until most of the chocolates are melted. Careful not to burn it! Temper the chocolate to retain its gloss and shine when it hardens. For tips on tempering chocolate, check out this video from Alton Brown. Once melted and tempered, scoop 1 tsp of chocolate liquid in the cupcake liner and coat the bottom and the side of the liner halfway to the top. Do the same for the rest of the liners. Reserve the rest of the chocolate liquid for later.

3. Freeze the chocolates in cups for 5 minutes.

4. Once set, fill each chocolate cups with 1 tsp almond butter, press on the side for even cups. Then cover the almond butter with 1 tsp liquid chocolate. Make sure the almond butter is fully covered. Touch-up and make it pretty by swirling the top with a spoon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Take it out and leave it in the countertop for a few hours before putting in a jar or container. Be sure to pop one in your mouth for quality check ;-)

Makes 16 cups


And here's how to make Almond Butter:

Roasting Time: 10 minutes
Butter-making Time: 30-60 minutes (depending on your equipment and the level of smoothness of the butter)
Total Time: 40-75 minutes

Tools:
Baking sheet
food processor


Ingredients:
500 g  raw blanched almonds
4-5 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
beans of 2-inch vanilla pods

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160*C. Place the raw almonds on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the roasting time. Keep a close eye on it; you only want a light to medium roast.

2. Transfer the almonds into the food processor. You may process the whole batch if you have a big food processor or you can grind half of it first. Grind the nuts until it forms a paste. This is where you'll need a lot of patience; the length of time will depend on how powerful your machine is and how smooth you want your butter to be*. Do not be tempted to add oil, you don't need it; the nuts will release its natural oil. I found that grinding the nuts while it is still warm makes it easier to release its oil. Once you get the desired consistency, add the agave nectar, salt and vanilla beans. Give it a whir for another 5 minutes until well combined. Transfer to jars and leave to cool completely before putting on the lid.
Note: For the batch I used for almond butter cups, I left it a little grainy so it will hold it's form.






Homemade Treats
30 March 2013