Monday, December 22, 2008

Gingerbread pagoda, thai ceviche and a holiday party: the week in review

So tragicaly I haven't had enough hours in the day this week and in addition to not being able to cook Phillipine food for My Kitchen, My World this week, I didn't have a chance to post all my cooking adventures this week! So here goes... in no particular order!
We had a gingerbread house making party the other night. Here's my gingerbread pagoda, complete with Koi pond/Koi, and grass.
Here's the BF's Gingerbread Colisseum. You can't quite see, but the gummy bear "gladiators" inside are hilarious. One is beheaded, and the other is lying in a pool of blood. Happy Christmas everyone! hahaha. Tragically, neither of ours won awards... I guess I"m glad we didn't win the "Biggest Waste of Carbohydrates" award...
I made Thai Ceviche using an ingredient list thankfully provided by a chef from Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia. Their version was amazing, as is all their food, and this is my feeble attempt. It turned out pretty well, but something was missing...Still haven't figured out what it was though... Oh well, it was still good, and my dad's willing to be a taste-tester as long as necessary! One note: When you let the fish steep with the lime juice it turns a paler color, but at the restaurant it was basically fresh fish tossed with the sauce and then letting the fish sit with the citrus juice on it. I think I would prefer the texture of the fish better that way, but if you prefer to have the citrus "cook" the fish as they say then by all means, let it sit an hour.
Thai Ceviche:
tuna, cubed
1 can coconut milk
3 tbsp coconut water
4 Thai chilis, deseeded and sliced lengthwise
1 Jalapeno deseeded sliced lengthwise
2 stalks lemongrass
2 limes juice and zest
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro- for garnish
Steep chilis, jalapeno and lemongrass in coconut milk and coconut water together to infuse flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze one lime over fish, squeeze other into liquid mixture and add zest. Toss fish with lime juice and sesame oil. When liquid mixture has cooled also toss with fish. Garnish with cilantro, serve.
I also prepared the food for a last minute holiday party for the parents. I bought a lot premade, but I made some key things such as these Pancetta, Pear and Goat Cheese Bites from Super simple, but the taste was amazing!! The salty and crispy pancetta plus the creamy cheese and the sweetness of the pear was a super great combination. yumm.... I think I ate about a quarter of them as I made them!
Pancetta, Pear and Goat Cheese Bites:
1 Package/ 12 slices pancetta
1 package soft goat cheese
1 pear
Bake pancetta 10 min at 400 or until crispy. When cool top with 1 tsp goat cheese and slice of pear. Sprinkle with thyme.
I also made a beef roast using Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli's Food Network Recipe for Roast Beef with Potatoes and Green Peppercorns. Also AMAZING! I couldn't find peppercorns of any color in brine so I just used a jar of capers! Even after a small mix up with the oven heat and time, it came out PERFECT. The crust was fantastic. I highly recommend it!
Roast Beef with Potatoes and Green Peppercorns:
1 large beef top round, about 8 to 10 pounds Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup Dijon mustard 4 ounces green peppercorns in brine 1 lemon, juiced 4 pounds small potatoes, washed and dried
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the roast on a flat surface and season all sides with salt and pepper. Combine the mustard and green peppercorns and the lemon juice and rub all over the beef. Place it on a roasting rack. Place the potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan and season them with salt and pepper. Place the rack in the pan directly over the potatoes.
Place the pan in the center of the oven and cook, undisturbed for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F. Count about 10 minutes for each pound then begin testing the internal temperature. The thermometer should read about 130 degrees F for medium rare. Remember that "carry over" cooking (when the roast comes out of the oven and rests) will mean the temperature will increase a few degrees after the roast is removed from the oven. If it's undercooked, you can always cook it more, but if overcooked, there is no fixing it!
Remove the roast beef and place it on a flat surface for carving. Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter. Serve the roast, whole on the platter to carve at the table. Alternatively, arrange slices of beef over the potatoes and coat with a layer of the pan sauce.
So this hummus I just made look pretty...didn't actually make it... shhh don't tell the guests.
Parmesan Crisps: Super yummy, super easy. Basically, divide a tub of grated parm into thirds. Put one third at a time into a med/large nonstick skillet. let it cook until dark yellow/browned color as shown. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and dried basil while hot. Turn out onto paper towel, let cool, break into pieces. Yumm....
Red Kidney Bean Dip. Fabulous. Nigella Lawson does it again. I love her show and her recipes. The way she describes food makes it so sexy and luscious. Red Kidney Bean Dip:
3 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin) 1 large onion, finely diced 3 fat cloves garlic, minced or grated 1 3/4 cups kidney beans, reserving the liquid in the can 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 lime, zested and juiced
Special equipment: food processor
Heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until soft and golden.
Add the kidney beans and their liquid and stir in the tomato paste and spices and cook for a few minutes.
Add the lime juice to the kidney bean mixture. Take the pan off the heat and when it has cooled a little, process the mixture until it is a bumpy puree. When it is cool, arrange in small bowls and sprinkle over the reserved lime zest.
Wheew... I hope this week is a little more relaxed...


Ari (Baking and Books) said...

A gingerbread party? What fun!! Your pagoda and colosseum look fab.

Veron said...

this looks fabulous and what a great party! I love parmesan crisps!

Elra said...

Your ginger bread look awesome, I am impress Jess!

And oh, I love Thai Chevice. Delicious.

Elra said...

Hi Jess,
This is the answer to your question on how I make my Thai ceviche:

Make sure you get the freshest shrimps or squid, okay!
Basically, you marinate shrimps or squids with shallots, thai chillies (lots), fish sauce, lots of lime juice, finely chopped lemongrass for 2 hours, then when you are ready to serve, add cucumber and cilantro. I will try to post the recipe on my blog, for more detail step by step.

If you are not comfortable with raw shrimp or squid, then you can blanch them in boiling water for 1 - 2 minutes. Then completely cooled before adding the sauce. Hope this help.