Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Pie for all occasions!

No matter how good the filling, the crust is the showcase: a good homemade crust takes a pie to new heights.

There are four basic ingredients in a pie crust: flour, fat, water and salt. You can come up with all kinds of tasty variations just by changing your basic ingredients, as long as you stick to the ratio of three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part liquid.

Flour: For a tender crust, choose a low-protein flour. Pastry flour, with a protein content of about 8-10%, ranks between all-purpose flour and cake flour. All-purpose flour works just fine for pie crusts, while cake flour may lack enough protein to form a workable, elastic dough.

Depending upon your tastes and the recipe, you may substitute nut flours (almond flour or hazelnut flour) or whole wheat pastry flour for part of the mixture.
If you're a novice crust-maker, start with a plain all-purpose or pastry flour dough.

Perfect Pie Crusts

Fat: Flaky crusts can be made from a variety of fats: butter, lard, shortening, duck fat, vegetable oil, or nut oils.

Crusts made with all butter are very flavorful, though they are generally not quite as flaky as crusts made with shortening or lard.
Vegetable shortening pie doughs are easier to work with and hold their shape better than all-butter crusts, but the flavor won't be as rich.

Lard produces the flakiest crust, but processed lard can have a chemical aftertaste. Some butchers or farmers' market stands may sell fresh rendered lard.

Some of the best pie crusts are made with a combination of fats: half butter, for flavor, and half shortening or lard, for flakiness.
Fans of crispier crusts use melted butter or oil for the fat, resulting in a mealier dough that bakes up as a fine-textured, crisp crust.

Liquid: Ice water, fruit juices, egg yolks, sour cream, milk or cream add different flavors and textures to your pie crust.

When adding liquid to the flour and fat mixture, it should be ice-cold in order to keep the pieces of fat cool and separate.
Always add liquid a tablespoon at a time, tossing with the flour mixture.

Humidity can affect dough performance, so you may need less liquid than the recipe calls for.

If your dough becomes too wet, you'll need to add more flour to roll out the crust, throwing off your ratio and resulting in a tough crust.

A little bit of acid--vinegar or lemon juice--helps tenderize the dough and prevents it from oxidizing.

Salt: don't forget to add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of your crust.

For a sweeter crust, add a tablespoon or two of confectioners' sugar. Granulated sugar can make the dough sticky and harder to work with.

Other additions: Wheat germ, a pinch of spice, a dash of flavorful liqueur or cold brewed coffee are all good additions to pie crusts.

Basic Flaky Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
3 tablespoons ice water

Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour. Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.

Gently gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling.

Roll out dough, and put in a pie plate. Fill with desired filling
and bake.

Baker's Secret Pie Crust

3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons shortening
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
3 cubes ice
1/2 cup cold water

Measure butter & shortening onto a plate, put into freezer for about 20 minutes.

Measure cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix.

Take 1/2 of the cold butter and 1/2 of the cold shortening, put into processor with dry ingredients and pulse off and on for about 1 minute. Scrape down twice while doing this.

Take remainder of the cold butter & cold shortening and cut in very briefly with the processor, leaving visible pea-sized chunks. Do not over process at this stage!

In a measuring cup, mix egg yolk and vinegar together, add ice cubes and water. Let this get chilled, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove mixed flours and shortening from processor, put into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle approximately 4 to 5 tablespoons of this egg, water, vinegar mixture, a little at a time, mixing gently with a fork. The key to this is, you do not want a wet dough, and you do not want to over mix.

Place this dough into plastic wrap or plastic bag, chill in refrigerator for a few minutes. (May also be frozen for a few weeks at this stage for future use).

Remove from refrigerator and roll out. This makes absolutely the BEST pie crusts.

Banana Coconut Cream Pie

1 (6-ounce) pie crust
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/3 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
2 medium bananas
Lemon juice from concentrate
Whipped cream, whipped

In heavy saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in water; stir in Condensed Milk and egg yolks. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; add margarine and vanilla. Cool slightly.

Fold in coconut. Slice bananas; dip in lemon juice and drain. Arrange on bottom of pie crust. Pour filling over bananas; cover.

Chill 4 hours or until set. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with toasted coconut and sliced bananas if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Caramel Date Cream Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

This impressive dessert is the perfect choice for a dinner party. Chock-full of nuts and silky caramel, it will satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

1 ( 14-ounce ) can Sweetened Condensed Milk( NOT evaporated milk )
2/3 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup ( 1/2 pint ) whipping cream, whipped
1 (6-ounce ) package graham cracker crumb crust

To caramelize Sweetened Condensed Milk: Pour Sweetened Condensed Milk into 2-quart glass measure. Microwave on 1/2 power Medium 4 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Reduce to 1/3 power (LOW); microwave 12 to 16 minutes or until thick and light caramel-colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. Cool. Chill thoroughly.

Stir in dates, pecans and milk; cool. Chill thoroughly. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into crust. Chill 3 hours or until set. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake Pie

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
3 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs

Pecan Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Whipping (heavy) cream, if desired

Heat oven to 400 F. Stir flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the egg yolk until mixture forms a ball. Pat about two-thirds of the dough on bottom only of 10-inch spring form pan (with side removed) to make bottom crust 1/8 inch thick. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crust just begins to brown around edge.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 F. Attach side to pan. Pat remaining dough about 1 inch up inside of pan.

Beat sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until blended; set aside. Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar in large bowl on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Beat in sweet potato mixture on low speed about 1 minute or until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour batter into spring form pan. Place spring form pan in larger pan on oven rack. Pour very hot water into larger pan to one-third the height of spring form pan.

Bake 1 hour 30 minutes or until center is set, adding very hot water to larger pan as needed.

Meanwhile, make Pecan Crumb Topping:
Stir flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in small bowl until crumbly. Stir in pecans.

Sprinkle Pecan Crumb Topping over cheesecake. Bake about 30 minutes longer or until topping is set. Cool 30 minutes. Loosen side of cheesecake from pan; remove side of pan. Refrigerate uncovered 3 to 4 hours or until chilled. Serve with whipped cream if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Pie

15 hydrox or oreo cookies, crushed
1/4 Cup butter, melted

1 1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
1 1/4 Cup chilled whipping cream
1 Tbs. vanilla
melted chocolate (optional)

Mix oreo cookies and butter together and press into sides and bottom of pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 7 minutes. Cool.

Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, cream cheese, 1/2 Cup sugar and melted butter in a large bowl.

Using clean dry beaters, beat cream with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla in medium bowl until peaks form.

Stir 1/4 of cream into peanut butter mixture, then fold in remaining cream (mixture will be thick).

Spoon into prepared crust. Refrigerate until firm.

Shepherdess Pie

1 lb Ground beef
2 ts Flour
2 ts Vegetable oil
10 oz Can sliced mushrooms,
1 Beef cube
1 Onion cube
1 c Boiling water
Salt and pepper to taste
3 1/2 c Seasoned mashed potatoes
11 oz Pkg mixed vegetables,

Brown beef and flour in hot oil. Drain of excess fat. Stir in
mushrooms, Oxo beef cubes disolved in boiling water, salt and

Turn into a 6-cup baking dish. Top with mixed vegetables ( reserve
some for garnish later), then mashed potatoes. Run tines of fork
though potato for decorative effect. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30
minutes. Garnish with remaining vegetables

Blueberry Crumb Pie

1 c Sugar
8 oz Commercial sour cream
3 tb All-purpose flour
1/8 ts Salt
4 c Fresh blueberries
1 Unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
1 tb Sugar
1/4 c Dried breadcrumbs; fine
1 tb Sugar
1 tb Butter or margarine; melted

Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well. Place blueberries in unbaked pastry shell; sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over berries. Spread sour cream mixture over berries. Combine breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is firm. Yield: one 9-inch pie.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Zesty Fruity Recipes

Lemons: A Zesty, Healthy Fruit

Your taste buds may cringe if you eat lemon alone, but this zesty citrus fruit is low in calories (one medium lemon has just 17) and high in potassium -- a single lemon provides 80 milligrams of the essential mineral. Potassium is vital for maintaining the body's fluid balance, muscle function, and basic cell function.

Lemons are also an excellent source of the cancer-fighting antioxidant vitamin C, also needed for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

No matter how you slice it, this golden fruit delivers powerhouse nutrients and great flavor.

Baked Lemon Pudding Cake

Canola cooking spray
2 tbsp butter
6 tbsp Splenda (sugar substitute)
6 tbsp super-fine granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice
Zest from one lemon, finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
Powdered sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

2.In a mixing bowl, cream the butter or margarine well with an electric mixer. Add the sugar substitute and sugar and beat well.

3.With an egg separator, separate the eggs; save the egg whites in another mixing bowl. Add the yolks to the butter mixture one by one. Gradually add the lemon juice and lemon zest. The batter will look like lemon frosting at this point. Slowly add the milk to make a thin batter. Set aside.

4.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate.

5.Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and allow the pudding cake to cool.

6.Dust top with powdered sugar and serve with fresh sliced
strawberries, if desired.

Sweet & Zesty Fish with Fruit Salsa

1/4 cup Spicy Brown Mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 cups chopped assorted fresh fruit (pineapple, kiwi, strawberries and mango)
1 pound sea bass or cod fillets or other firm-fleshed white fish

1. Preheat broiler or grill. Combine mustard and honey. Stir 2 tablespoons mustard mixture into fruit; set aside.

2. Brush remaining mustard mixture on both sides of fillets. Place in foil-lined broiler pan. Broil (or grill) fish 6 inches from heat for 8 minutes or until fish is opaque.

3. Serve fruit salsa with fish.

Citrus Fruit Bowl

Fresh citrus sections are dressed in their own juices and tossed with dried cranberries and mint for an elegantly simple fruit salad.

4 medium navel oranges
1 large pink grapefruit
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Fresh mint leaves (optional):

Cut off the peel and pith from the oranges and grapefruit. Working over a large bowl, cut out the sections of fruit from between the membranes, letting the sections fall into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes over the fruit; discard the membranes.
Add the cranberries and stir to combine. Garnish with the mint, if using.

Citrus Sweet Potatoes
Here's a marvelous way to enjoy candied sweet potatoes without all the usual fat and excess sugar.

1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon orange peel
1/4 cup orange juice
1 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons margarine

Simmer potatoes and onions in 1 inch of water in a covered saucepan until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Return vegetables to pan. Add orange peel and juice, apples, raisins, sugar, and margarine. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until potatoes and apples are glazed.


2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar

1 can pineapple slices
maraschino cherries (enough to fill centers of pineapples)

Ingredients for cake
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk


Place the butter and brown sugar in a frying pan and melt until it boils or bubbles. A cast iron pan works well because it's heavy and will be less likely to scorch.

Place pineapples in the butter and sugar mixture. Put cherries in the center of the pineapple. Cut the slices of pineapple into halves and line the sides of the frying pan with them (standing up on edge).

Combine ingredients and beat 1 minute. Pour batter over pineapples and cherries

Bake at 350°F degrees. When the cake is done, loosen the edges with a butter knife. Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes, then turn it upside down on a serving dish.


3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, well beaten
1/3 cup lemon juice or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon of lime rind
1 c. milk
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Allow butter to soften slightly to room temperature. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and flour in bowl of mixer and cream until smooth. Add egg yolks one and a time beating on low speed 30 seconds after each addition.
Stir in lemon or lime juice, grated rind, and milk.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites until they hold a stiff peak, gradually adding 1/4 cup sugar. Gently fold in the beaten egg white mixture into the butter and other ingredients.

Pour into a lightly greased 1 qt. casserole or pudding dish. Place in a pan of warm water, with the water about 1 in. deep. Baking in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven 50 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold.


The early settlers learned to cook with cranberries from the Indians of the Cape Cod area, who added cranberries and nuts to their corn breads. Cakes of dried venison and cranberries, called pemmican, were a mainstay of the Indian diet.

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1 egg
1 c. cranberries, chopped
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease bottom of loaf pan, 9 x 5 x 3 inches. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in orange peel, juice and egg just until all flour is moistened. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread in pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Loosen edges of loaf with spatula; remove from pan. Let stand at least 8 hours before slicing.

If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt. Reduce baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Puffy and Fluffy - Yummy Rice Recipes

Rice is the most eaten food in the world. It is at the very food base of many countries in the world. In fact, half of our planet's population actually depend on it for survival. It's importance as a nutritive meal is unsurpassed through human history and it can always be part of a healthy diet.

Through ancient times and modern culinary experiences, many very delightful rice recipes evolved:plain, fried, wild, mushroom, pilaf, curried, tomato and garlic, pepper, Chinese, Mexican, Spanish, risotto, Japanese, sushi style, pudding, Indian, Greek, spicy, garlic, cheese, seafood, soup and more. Many of these recipes use different types of grains: long grain, basmati, regular, brown, wild grains, green grain, forbidden rice, etc.

There are also many rice based diets for loosing weight. It is almost always portrayed as an healthy dish in diet book and magazines like Weight Watchers'. Obviously however, rice dishes with vegetables and lean meat is preferable if someone is on a diet and want to loose weight.

Thai Fried Rice / Khao Phat
Serves 6

3 cups of already cooked rice
1/4 cup of corn (small grain)
1/2 cup of finely chopped pineapple
1/4 cup of diced tomatos
1/2 cup of red kidney beans (washed and boiled or ready to serve)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/4 cup of chopped long beans
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 green of diced chiles
Optional cooked and fried egg crumbs to put on top of the final rice mixture.
Optional few slices of cucumber
Optional few finely sliced onion


Heat the oil in a wok, and when hot, fry the garlic until fragrant.Then add the kidney beans,baby corn, long beans and rice and stir fry until the rice is thoroughly mixed up with the vegetables. Then add the tomato and pineapple. Season to taste with soy sauce, salt and green chiles. Stir thoroughly, dip onto plates, and serve with spring onions and sliced cucumber. 6 servings

Fry the garlic into the oil of a preheated wok. Incorporate the beans, corn and rice. Fry the mixture while stirring without over cooking (burning). Incorporate the chopped pineapple and tomatoes and add the desired seasoning using the soy sauce, chiles and salt.

For a nice classic Thai plate presentation, add a few cucumber and onion slices as well as the optional fried egg crumbs.

Pilaf Rice

The oldest know pilaf rice recipe is from the 13th century and is described in old Arab books. Traditional Pilaf recipes were developed in Iran, Central Asia, India, Turkey, Caribbean where each developed their own "traditional" Pilaf rice their regional spices and cooking methods. For this reason there are no "real classic pilaf rice". The "Pilaf" term is usually used now to describe rice which was added broth (often chicken broth) to a tasteful degree.


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
2 pinches kosher salt
2 cups long grain rice
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 strips orange zest
Pinch of saffron strands, steeped in 1/4 cup hot water
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
Golden raisins and pistachios for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a heavy, wide, lidded pan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
Add onion, red pepper, and kosher salt.
Sweat the onions and peppers until aromatic, stirring constantly. Add the rice and stir to coat.
Continue stirring until rice smells nutty.
Add chicken broth, orange zest, saffron and water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
Stir once, then cover pan with moistened dish towel (or tea towel). Place lid on pan and fold towel corners over lid. Bake for 15 minutes.
Then rest at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes without removing the cover.
Meanwhile, simmer peas in salted water until heated through or heat in a microwave.
Remove lid from rice and turn out onto a platter. Add peas and fluff with a large fork.
Add raisins and pistachios.

Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is a perfumed rice that is very appreciated. Indispensable in Indian cuisine, basmati rice has a texture and a light and dry flavour. "Basmati" means "queen of fragrance" in Hindi. It is very aromatised.

Basmati Pilaf With Dried Fruit Recipe

2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion -- finely chopped
1 clove garlic -- finely chopped
3 1/4 cups chicken stock or water -- boiling
salt and pepper -- to taste
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup quartered dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup boiling water


In a strainer, rinse the rice under a cold tap. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cold water, and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain into the strainer and set aside.

In a large, heavy-based casserole, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring often, or until the onion is a light-gold color. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the rice and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Pour in the stock or water, and add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the liquid returns to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid in the pan.

Meanwhile, set the oven at 375 degrees. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast them for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Set them aside.

In a bowl, combine the cranberries, apricots, and raisins. Cover with the boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes.

Let the rice rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

Strain the fruits. With a fork, fluff the rice and stir in the fruits and almonds. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper, if you like, and serve at once.

Dried Raisins Rice Pudding


- 1/2 cup of white rice
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup of dried raisins
- 2.5 cup of milk
- 1 tsp. of vanilla
- Cinnamon


Heat rice in water over low heat for 15 minutes without stirring until the water is absorbed.

In a casserole mix the other ingredients including a bit of cinnamon and incorporate the cooked rice. Cook over low heat for about 45 minutes and stir once every 15 minutes.

Serve in separate desert bowls and sparkle some more cinnamon.

Rice Soup

This makes a very warming and nutritive gumbo soup dish that can be eaten as an entree or full meal.


- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 1 can of chopped whole tomatoes with its juice (28 oz)
- 2 to 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 freshly chopped tomatoes
- 3/4 cup of diced carrots
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1/2 large diced green pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery & tops
- 1 or 2 of chopped medium zucchinis
- 1/2 cup of minced parsley
- 7.5 cups of water and or or vegetable broth
- 4 teaspoon of vegetable broth (powder)
- 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 pinch of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper


Incorporate all of the above ingredients in a large soup pot. At medium heat, stir once in a while until all the vegetables are soft and tender and the rice cooked. This should take about one hour.

Risotto Rice Recipe

Risotto is a very nice dish than can be use as a complete meal or a side dish. The preparation for risotto requires more simmering than boiling and one must be gentle in the cooking process.


- Olive oil (and/or butter)
- 1 chopped onion
- 4 ounces of rice per person if it is a main dish or 2 ounces per person if it is a side dish.
- 3 to 5 cups of canned or homemade chicken broth
- Some white wine
- Saffron
- Parmesan cheese
- Optional: chopped spinach
- Optional: chopped porcini mushrooms
- Optional: chopped asparagus
- Optional: other vegetables to your taste


In a frying pan, heat some little olive oil and/or butter. Olive oil is usually preferred for this Italian dish. Add the onions and fry until the onion has a nice golden appearance. Add the rice and make sure that the rice has a nice olive oil coat. Stir and gently fry the rice for a few minutes.

Slowly incorporate some chicken broth 1/3 cup at a time. The rice should stay wet but should never be completed covered by the broth. The rice will absorb the liquid and at that point you can repeat the process of adding more broth. Let the stove at low/simmer heat and do not stop stirring. It is fine that you can hear the steam while cooking but the rice should not stick. At some point you can start using some wine to incorporate instead of the chicken broth. You'll be the master of the broth/wine proportions you will like. Do the same as with the chicken broth, 1/3 cup at a time and simmer until the wine is absorbed. It is better not to use red wine otherwise the risotto will look rather pink.

When the rice looks pretty nicely cooked you can add the other ingredients: saffron, parmesan cheese, spinach, mushrooms etc. If you use asparagus, it may be a better idea to incorporate them a bit earlier in the process.

Practice will be somehow needed to get exactly the risotto you want.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe

Ingredients :
For Chicken

1 Large whole chicken (2 kg)
2 1/2 cm Ginger, bruised
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1 teaspoon Light soy sauce

For Rice

600g Long grain rice (about 4 cups)
3 cloves Garlic, sliced
2 cm Ginger, sliced
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
6 cups Chicken stock
2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Sesame oil

For Chili sauce

6 Fresh red chilies, seeded
1 clove Garlic
2 cm Ginger
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Vinegar or lime juice
2 teaspoons Chicken stock

Method :

Boil the water in a large pot big enough to hold the chicken.
Clean the chicken.
Add in ginger and garlic to the chicken in the pot.
Carefully, put in the chicken into the boiling water.
Do not cover the pot while it's boiling. This is to prevent the chicken from hardening.
Let it immerse for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Let the chicken cool in the covered pot for 20 minutes.
Repeat the boiling process and cool for another 20 minutes.
Test for doneness by piercing the flesh with a toothpick.
When the chicken is cooked, take it out and place it in a colander.
Run cool boiled water over the whole chicken including its cavity.
This process prevents overcooking and firms up the meat.
Brush it with a mixture of sesame oil and soy sauce.
Hang chicken to dry.
Reserve enough stock for rice and chili sauce.
To the remainder of the stock, add in the cut pieces of chicken beck, legs and wings. Re-boil stock for 10 minutes.
Season stock with 2 cups of vegetables of your choice and simmer until cooked.
Season lightly with salt , pepper and spring onion.
Keep warm.

Preparing Rice

Wash and drain rice well. Heat vegetable oil in a pot or rice cooker and fry garlic and ginger until golden brown.
Add drained rice and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add 6 cups of stock, sesame oil and salt.
Cook uncovered until all liquid is absorbed.
Cover the pot tightly and reduce heat until the rice is cooked and fluffy.

Preparing Chili sauce

Mix all ingredients in an electric blender and grind finely.
Add into the boiling chicken stock.
Put into a sauce bowl.

To Serve

Put some rice on a serving plate, garnish it with sliced cucumbers and sliced tomatoes.
Cut chicken into bite size and arrange them in a separate plate.
Pour some light soy sauce.
Best eaten with hot soup and chili sauce

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Friday, January 4, 2008

New Beginnings

This new year can be a start to a New Beginning.

Do you love to cook and bake and have secretly dreamt of starting your own restaurant or bakery? Do your meals get wonderful raves from family and friends? Do you bake cakes and cookies for festive occasions or birthdays of you relatives and friends?

Starting a restaurant or bakery is a major decision that needs to be given due consideration and planned well to make it into a success.

Capital is always a Major issue. Some of us may have saved up a nest egg for a rainy day or for investment purposes. Another option will be getting a loan.

For those of you who are interested in getting a personal loan to finance your new restaurant or bakery do check out America One

America One Unsecured is the Largest US loan broker and offers unsecured personal loan & small business loan programs nationwide.

Their specialty product is a signature loan that can be used for any purpose, with no collateral required where approval is based upon your current credit standing.

America One Unsecured is able to provide Unsecured Personal loans from $1500 to $50 000.

America One Unsecured offers many different types of loan services.
Their Loan Services include Personal Loan, Small Business Loan, Start Up Loan and Fast Loan $50K as well as other services such as Commercial Mortgage, Business Credit Card, Auto Loan and many more services.

Why use America One Unsecured?

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America One Unsecured is exclusively dedicated to unsecured financing, which leads to higher approval rates and better overall customer satisfaction.

Call Toll Free 800-457-6785 now where professional staff are available for a free consultation.

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