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23rd Week of Cooking

I’m back to my usual routine of cooking and gyming, after a very awesome and blessed ‘break’ the past month… 3 weeks of my daddy here, and 1 week on holiday @ Vegas. I’m now refreshed and recharged for my journey of cooking and wifely duties. haha

Karen, my neighbour, was very sweet to bless me with a Rasa Malaysia cookbook, knowing that I always use recipes from the blog. In this posting, I have already made 2 dishes from that book (Char Siew and Sio Ba a.k.a crispy pork)! Some of the recipes are the same, while there are others which seem to have been refined from the blog. E.g. on the blog, she says to char the char siew over the stove fire/bbq fire; in the book, she says to broil it. And the broiling gave a much nicer ‘char’!

Char Siew, 2nd try... this time using the Rasa Malaysia Cookbook

tempura a lot of things.. prawn, mushroom, green beans... Rasa Malaysia blog

1st try making tempura from scratch and it was much easier than I expected! Another time, we tried making it with a tempura batter, and it didn’t adhere to the food very well. This Rasa Malaysia recipe adheres to the food very well, and making it from scratch means that I don’t have to specially buy an additional item for my pantry. This is going into my recipe box!

Tempura served with soba and salmon

first attempt at sio ba! recipe from Rasa Malaysia Cookbook (also available on the blog, but slightly different)

Hubby has been going on about how his colleague’s wife made very nice sio ba. So I took the unintentional hint, and decided to try making it too! It was only a 50% success, unfortunately. The skin was not crisped evenly. Hubby had a discussion with his colleagues and concluded that it’s because I didn’t poke the skin enough! haha. The marinate for the bottom part of the meat was nice though.

served with sweet sauce beef, recipe from Rasa Malaysia Blog

Made this very simple beef dish from Rasa Malaysia. Minimal preparation and ingredients, and no marinating time required… a good dish when I’m lazy!

Bulgogi chicken, recipe from Rasa Malaysia Blog

The Rasa Malaysia recipe called for pork belly… But considering that we just took in that much belly the day before, I used chicken instead. Verdict: YUMMY! And easy to make! Tastes like the bulgogi back home! hubby was disappointed that it wasn’t going to be in his dinnerbox.

Cereal Chicken

My second attempt at cereal something (when I first came, I tried making cereal prawns.. which didn’t quite work out too well). Thanks to Kimbery and my daddy, I now have the correct Nestum oats!!! And I loved how this dish turned out!

This recipe was adapted from the Cereal Prawns recipe in the ‘No More Failed Recipes – Zi Char’ book.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 Chili padi, chopped
  • some curry leaves
  • butter
  • Nestum oats
  • Corn flour
  • Salt
  • Sugar

Method:

  • Coat chicken breast slices with corn flour and fry till almost golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Melt some butter in pan, add nestum oats, and fry over low heat till golden brown and crispy.
  • Melt some butter in pan and fry chili padi, curry leaves. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add chicken pieces and stir to combine. Add oats to coat well.

Las Vegas & Some of the Grand Circle – October 2011

I realised that I haven’t blogged much about our holiday trips, and figured that I really should, before I start forgetting about what we did on each holiday. We both thank God for this wonderful opportunity to travel more within the US, especially since most of our trips have largely only been within Asia thus far!

We are overwhelmed with the favour of God at every turn… fantastic weather, free upgrade of rental car, and everything always working together for our good without our conscious planning.

This will be a rather long entry… here it goes!

Day 1: Arrival at Vegas & Night displays

We took our virgin Southwest flight to Vegas and arrived in the late afternoon. We chose a later flight because it was the cheapest… Well, Vegas never sleeps at night, so we managed to still get quite a bit done!

We covered the ‘must see’ night shows/displays at a few of the resorts, including Sirens of TI at Treasure Island, Mirage Volcano Eruption, and the Bellagio water fountains. Since the night was still young after that was done, we continued to explore some of the others too, including Caesars Palace and Paris.

Sirens of TI at Treasure Island

'Volcano Eruption' at Mirage

Fountains @ Bellagio

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens... the tree's face can move!

Paris... in Vegas

Caesars Palace.. 'daytime' at night

Day 2: Exploring the Las Vegas Strip

A day of walking, walking, and more walking! We set out at 7am for breakfast off the strip at Eggs and I. Hubby had a breakfast skillet, and I had an egg-crepe hybrid. It was a pretty interesting meal, only that it was a little too salty for our Asian tastebuds.

We headed to the strip immediately after breakfast… and we realized that Vegas doesn’t wake up too early! Anyhow, we proceeded with our plans to explore the strip, and covered Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York, MGM, Planet Hollywood, M&Ms, Cosmopolitan, the Fashion Show Mall, Wynn, Palazzo, and Venetian. The Venetian was our favourite because of how we were transported into the world of Venice, with the architecture, gondolas, street performances, live ‘statues’, etc. According to our friends, the other IRs used to have people dressed in costumes walking around. Sadly, it seems that the Venetian is the only one which carries on with this.

The Venetian

In the evening, we watched Mystere by Cirque du Soleil, after which we went to the Fremont Street Experience, which is supposed to be the old Vegas Strip.

Day 3: Zion National Park

An early day! We set off at 7am for an approximate 2.5hr drive. We took the shuttle through the park, stopping at every stop for photos. We then hiked at various stops on the return shuttle. We did the Riverside walk, Weeping Rock, Emerald Pool, and the Canyon Overlook.

Our favourite: the Canyon Overlook hike! The trail was much less ‘perfectly’ paved than the others, which made it feel like a more interesting hike, rather than just a walk. The view throughout the hike was lovely, and the view at the end was surprising fantastic!

View at the end of the Canyon Overlook Trail

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce 'Amphitheatre'

Set off at about 7am. Oohed and ahhhed for a while at the first sighting of the ‘Amphitheatre’ at Sunrise Point,  then did the Queens Garden Trail-Navajo Loop Trail for 2 hours, which was one of our favourite hikes. Being at the bottom of the canyons was quite something. We got a lovely ‘shock’ when we entered the Wall Street, where the ‘walls’ closed in on us! We spent the remainder of our time driving around to the various look out points. We were left with about 2 hours of daylight at 4pm, and decided to embark on the fairyland trail which was 4 hours long. On hindsight, we should have done the fairyland hike and not the various look out points.

The hike was a little scary (ok, to me at least) because there wasn’t a single soul around! And I was paranoid of running into any animals, e.g. the Mountain Lion! I was already rehearsing in my mind the various options.. e.g. ‘in Jesus Name, go away!’ I even asked hubby what he would do…. After just about 40 minutes of hiking, I convinced hubby that we should return before it got dark. So very sadly, we only completed less than a quarter of the hike. I really do hope we will have a chance to return and complete the hike somehow. I think that if we had embarked on the hike earlier in the day, there would probably be other hikers around, and it would be less scary. The hardcore hiking without anyone else around is just not something a city girl like me is accustomed to.

the Wall Street

Day 5: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Grand Canyon National Park

so surreal walking into this canyon

The most out of this world place.. the Antelope Canyon! We set off at 6.30am, only to discover upon arrival that they were on Pacific time (1 hr behind what we thought). We also didn’t make a reservation, and the first place we went to was booked. Thank God that He provided! We were driving around the other tour providers, and it so happened that one of the tour groups were starting that time, and a staff was around to help us. There was also exactly 2 more vacancies for us. We couldn’t close our jaws from the moment we stepped in. Awesome. Canyon Overland Tours with Rob was great!

sandfall!

dancing flame

a heart

On the way to Grand Canyon, we passed by a scenic lookout for the Horseshoe Bend, and decided to u-turn back to take a look. It was the right decision! Very nice! Some of the locals were just lying down and looking over the bend. Took about 30min.

Horseshoe Bend

Finally, we arrived at the Grand Canyon, but weren’t as impressed as we thought we’d be. Drove around to all the lookouts that were open to cars. Walked just a very short distance down one of the trails, which already appeared to be very strenuous. We didn’t have enough time, if not we would have attempted one hike.

Grand Canyon

After dinner, we took the shuttle to the most popular point for sunset (Hopi Point). On the way back in the shuttle, we realized that the moon was ‘rising’, so we ran with other tourists to a spot where the ‘moon rise’ could be seen. Everyone was trying to get good shots… using rocks and each other’s heads (?!) as tripods!

'moonrise'

Day 6: Back to shopping and eating

On the journey back to Vegas, we passed through the historic Route 66 at Williams (where we stayed for the night after Grand Canyon), as well as Hoover Dam (the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere). We spent the afternoon shopping, then checked-in at Mandalay Bay, took a short nap, and headed out to watch KA by Cirque du Soleil. It was simply AWESOME and mind-blowing, and in our opinion, much better than Mystere.

the historic route 66

Hoover Dam

Day 7: Mandalay Bay

Finally, a day where we could sleep in a little more and just relax! We headed straight for the ‘beach’ in the middle of the desert… the pool that Mandalay Bay is famous for. Loved our stay here!! Last stop was the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.

Mandalay Bay

the lazy pool.. with a tide that pushes you along..

the wave pool

Goodbye Vegas for now. Thank You Jesus, and thank you hubby for the wonderful, fruitful holiday!

Cooking with Daddy

My dad was here for 3 weeks, and I had such a WONDERFUL time together with him. I really thank God for the quality time we were blessed with, the places we went to together, and just the simple things in life we did together… taking evening walks, cooking together, having tea in the backyard, grocery shopping… I will always treasure these times, and am already looking forward to my daddy’s next visit next year!! 🙂 I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with such a wonderful family and such wonderful, godly, loving parents!

Thank you Daddy for coming all the way to stay with us and spend time with me 🙂 I love you!

Here are pictures of some of the food we cooked/ate together…

1st meal for daddy - Teriyaki Chicken

Noodle making with daddy

Curry chicken, cooked by daddy!

Abacus seeds

Abacus seed with veg soup

fried noodles

daddy's fav... ribeye steak

Apple pie in the making

daddy is very excited about the apple pie!

another 2 more apple pies!

first claypot rice in a claypot

plum sauce taking so long that daddy is reading!

presenting.. homemade plum sauce!

sweet and sour chicken, made with our homemade plum sauce

prima paste mee siam, brought by Daddy!

BLISS

22nd week of cooking

My daddy will be reaching tomorrow!!! 🙂 YAY! Very excited! So, I may not be updating this blog for the next 3 weeks…

Sausage buns

Char Siew Bun, using the same dough

I wanted to make full use of the Char Siew I made the previous week, and decided to make some buns! Unfortunately, the bread wasn’t as soft as I hoped and imagined it to be. I will be trying this recipe next time.

Corn soup! The corns were going at 8 for $1 at walmart. haha

SY told me how she cooks her corn soup, and it sounded very nice. I didn’t have all the ingredients though, so I kinda improvised a little. Final ingredients: corn, boneless pork ribs, dates, carrot, yellow onion, bay leaves, salt.

Claypot braised tofu, recipe from Rasa Malaysia

I really loved this recipe from Rasa Malaysia. Added more mushrooms, veg, and egg. Have a thing for claypots these days. Looking at any claypot dish just makes me salivate! haha. Maybe I really do miss SG.

Kung Pao Chicken, recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Kung Pao Chicken! Haven’t eaten this at all since I came here. Finally!

Baked rice, recipe from Noob Cook

the 'liao' includes Spam a.k.a. luncheon meat, mushrooms, chicken...

Baked rice!! Recipe from Noobcook. Quite nice!

Economic bee hoon! Bee Hoon recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Economic bee hoon, recipe from Rasa Malaysia… To finish up the can of Spam used for the baked rice dish.

Cornmeal bread

I had a most random craving – for cornmeal bread. And since I had corn in my fridge, I decided to try baking them. Used this recipe, which turned out to be pretty ok, just that I cut the amount of sugar for fear of them being too sweet… And in the end, they were too bland to enjoy!

Kenny Rogers style lunch

Since I was doing cornbread, I thought I should do a Kenny Rogers style meal! Complete with roasted chicken and mashed potato. I followed this recipe which was quite nice, just that I should probably cut the salt by HALF!

Trip to Red Fish Lake & Sun Valley (3-4 Sept 2011)

Realised that I haven’t been updating the blog on our holidays and adventures. Tsk myself! I really should, so that I would have proper ‘records’ of our 2 years here. So I will start now, before I generate further backlog. This post is about our most recent getaway (the posts will not be in chronological order due to how much backlog I have)

On this trip, we went to Red Fish Lake and Sun Valley. Sun Valley is supposed to be where the rich and famous holiday and ski. There were photos of Marilyn Monroe, Arnold, etc there. Apparently, a lot of celebrities have vacation homes there too.

Scenery on the way to Red Fish Lake

All the ladies!

Hubby at the Redfish Lake, Stanley

The water was super clear

I wanted to take these, but it's a good thing we didn't. Would have taken us forever to cover the whole lake!

Always happy to drive the boat

Such lovely scenery at the lake

Outdoor ice-skating rink at Sun Valley

you can dine here while watching the ice show at the ice-skating rink

Ice show! LOVED it so much. Lots of star performers.. Olympic medalists, US champions... Jaw-dropping stunts!

Side note on the Ice Show… We were the only ‘swa ku’ ones who didn’t know that we had to bring blankets to cover the very cold metal benches. Everyone else was so well-equipped with thick, fluffy blankets and puffy jackets!

car auction for all the happening vintage cars! Truly a place for the rich and famous.

the chair lift that we took to the top of Bald Mountain

Scenery from the peak of Bald Mountain

21st Week of Cooking

Baked flounder

Got this recipe from AllRecipes… Was trying to find a way to cook the flounder which does have a little fishy smell, and is so flaky when cooked that it’s hard to handle without it falling apart. My personal conclusion is that it’s best to bake the flounder so that I don’t have to flip it. I replaced the recipe’s majoram with oregano, and pre-panfried the mushrooms and green onions briefly before placing the fillets on top.

It turned out that hubby loved this dish! I couldn’t quite believe that he liked it so much. He was actually disappointed that the next day’s lunch wasn’t this baked flounder. Haha.. he even raved about it for a few days after. Definitely has to go into my recipe box then!

Making full use of the home made noodles, wanton noodles style

Char Siew, recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Invited SY over for the homemade noodles dinner so that she wouldn’t have to cook the noodles herself after a long day’s work. The char siew was actually quite simple to make… just pre-marinate 2 days before, then bake, and char the pieces! Used them for the wonton mee dinner, hubby’s charsiew rice for lunch the next day, and char siew bun (will post the pic next week).

tonkatsu, recipe from Rasa Malaysia

This was a quick dinner because I was feeling lazy, and wanted to ‘close’ the kitchen early for the long weekend! 😛

20th Week of Cooking

Posted on

Was feeling a little lazy this week, so I made mostly hassle-free dishes. Will be more adventurous next week!

Chicken Curry (Premix) and veg

I haven’t been using my premixes, and decided that I really need to start using them before they expire mid next year. Followed the Rasa Malaysia Recipe for the veg. It was nice!

chicken noodle

Used the Rasa Malaysia recipe for this chicken noodle. Was quite yummy! Just that my chicken didn’t char like the one in her pic.. I think it’s because I poured in all the marinade together with the chicken. Oh well…

 

minced pork mushroom noodles

Minced pork mushroom noodles… daddy’s hakka-style. Marinated the minced pork with fish sauce, pepper, and a little soya sauce. Stir fried the pork with sliced mushroom, mushroom water, and some chicken stock (to make enough gravy for the noodles). Added oyster sauce and soya sauce to taste. Poured over the boiled noodles. Yum yum… reminds me of my beloved daddy! 🙂

steak with butter veg and gold yukon mashed potato

This was such an easy Sunday dinner to put together.. and just for the fun of comparing the cost of this home cooked meal vs eating out, I calculated the cost of this meal for the 2 of us. It came up to a grand total of $4!! For 2 of us!

Zucchini and sliced mushrooms stir-fried with butter, pepper, and salt; Beef tenderized with baking soda for about 10 min before washing off, and marinated with McCormick Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning, black pepper, salt, and a little bit of rosemary. Grilled to a perfect medium on our mini electric grill by hubby!