Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A belated Chinese New Year, Part 3

We celebrated Chinese New Years day by...eating unlimited tapas at La Tasca, since it coincided with DC's Restaurant Week 2013. They had an enormous menu for only $20pp and our group of five ordered multiples of each dish, so we were practically rolling about after our meal. Photo credits to my friend Ming, and I also apologize that this post is two months late...

First round of sangria: white peach

Empanadas, stuffed with beef and cheese. So good, we got another one of this.

Angus beef with mushrooms and potatoes

Mussels sauteed in marinara

Eggplant fries with cheese dip, very tasty. 

Tomato salad

Chickpea and spinach stew

Garlic chicken

Huevos idea what this was

Second round of sangria: mango blackberry, with a brandy & triple sec booster shot. We approve.

Garlic shrimp

Grilled lamb skewer, meh.

Salmon with fried mussels and spinach

Sauteed wild mushrooms in garlic...except they don't look very wild to me

Bread with tomato spread, blargh I didn't touch this one though.

Grilled veggies - squash, zucchini, asparagus, and mushrooms

Veggie paella, yummy.

Pepper stuffed with shrimp, spinach, and mushroom...this was so good that our group ordered 10 of this. I'm not exaggerating, we each wanted two for ourselves.

Brussels sprouts

Chicken and ham croquettes
Spinach salad with pear, dates, and walnuts

Cheese bread

This is only a small portion of the plates they cleared from our table.

Chinese New Year festival outside after our meal. We may be smiley on the outside, but we're really wincing from pain in our stomachs. 

And I went grocery shopping afterwards :) The most relevant part of our day. Afterwards, I went home and fell asleep, and didn't eat another bite until dinner the next day. I'm still torn whether that meal was worth it or too much...

722 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 347-9190

Monday, March 25, 2013

Classic Homemade Tiramisu

I'm a huge tiramisu fan, and I mean huge. It's one of my favorite desserts and it's one of the things I try and order each time I see it on the menu, but I'm often disappointed. It's usually too soggy or too boozy, and that just doesn't mesh well with me. 

A large part of the reason I like to make things at home is that I get to control the outcome and make things just how I like it. And this recipe is perfect, at least to my preferences. It's not one of those shortcut recipes so you'll need to make an egg custard over a water bath and all that other jazz, but I promise that it's worth it in the end. My roomie said that she liked it more than tiramisus that she's tried from restaurants :DD

  • 6 oz espresso or strong coffee + 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 shot whiskey
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pack of ladyfinger cookies (about 20)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Brew your coffee! I just used instant decaf, and added in 1 tsp sugar.

Take your egg yolks and beat until it's fluffy and lightened in color.

Add sugar and alcohol, whisk until well blended, and cook over a hot water bath until thickened (stirring frequently) to a thick custard.

Whip up your whipped cream until you have soft peaks.

In a separate bowl, beat mascarpone cheese until fluffy, then beat in the egg custard mixture.

Fold the whipped cream carefully into the egg/mascarpone mixture. Don't just stir or it'll deflate!

This is your setup for putting your tiramisu together. Line your tin with two layers of plastic wrap. Soak each ladyfinger cookie in the espresso for about 10 seconds on each side, then place them side by side in the tin.

Spread half of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers. Smooth out.

Add another layer of soaked ladyfingers, and then spread the rest of the cream mixture on top and smooth. Cover in more plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours to overnight.

When ready to serve, invert onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap.

Sift some cocoa powder on top for decoration.

Cut slices and eat! I like how the ladyfinger size delineates an approximate portion (I think a serving = a slice two ladyfingers wide, some people think it's just one though...)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not relevant

But this is what I've been doing in my free time

Second attempt at Chicken Tikka Makhani

I adore this dish. I've made and blogged about this before, but that was before I had a DSLR, so I wanted to go through a more complete step-by-step tutorial of how to make this dish because it's my favorite thing ever. Tikka Makhani is my favorite Indian dish and this is better than anything I've had in restaurants (okay I'm getting a little cocky). But seriously, give it a try. 

Recipe from Serious Eats

Ingredients for Chicken Tikka:
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp garam masala (see instructions)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

I made my own garam masala using 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin, 3/4 tsp ground coriander, 5 cardamom pods, 3/4 tsp ground pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Or you can just go buy some at WF or World Market.

Put all of the Chicken Tikka ingredients (minus the chicken!) into the blender.

Blend all ingredients until you get a smooth paste.

Marinate your chicken for several hours or overnight.

Ingredients for the Sauce:
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or to taste

Melt the butter.

Add in onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add tomato, water, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is preparing, you can bake your chicken tikka. 

My oven was being wonky so I ended up cooking it over the stove.

So I just heated some oil in a cast iron dutch oven, then cooked each side of the chicken for about 3 minutes. Make sure to avoid crowding the pan.

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

When your sauce is done cooking, transfer to a blender.

Blend until smooth.

If you want to be fancy, sieve it through a fine mesh strainer. You can skip this step but the sauce will not be as smooth.

Warning that in exchange for a fancier sauce, the sieving does take awhile. Use a silicone spatula to help you push the sauce through better.

Bring sauce back to stove so that it barely bubbles. Stir in pepper, honey, and heavy cream.

Stir in the chicken pieces.

I had prepped some rice with peas earlier on to with my chicken makhani.

It's flippin' fantastic, trust.