Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Video

My very first video instruction on how to make ice cream!!!  I’m still trying to get used to how things work and since this is my first video, it won’t be perfect but enjoy it nevertheless!  Let me know what you think.  Hopefully, there’ll be more to come in the future.  PS, Don’t mind my different forms of communication.  I know it’s a bit weird but I’m still trying to see what will work best.

Lao Boun Phra Vet Festival

Chong and I, along with my parents, aunt & uncle, and their baby went to the Lao Boun Phra Vet Festival last weekend at Farmington, MN.  I had to convince Chong to go with me since he hates crowds but in the end, he actually had fun and was glad he went.  Good thing we won’t have the same discussion this coming weekend (soccer tournament).  Good food, good company, good times!  Here’s a glimpse of what we saw/did/ate/drank:

Pasta with Peas & Chicken

I was browsing through my favorite food website, AllRecipes, and came upon this easy and interesting Pasta with Peas and Sausage recipe that I had to try since I had most of the ingredients on hand.  The only changes I made was I used chicken instead of sausage, 2 cups of heavy cream instead of 1 1/2 cups, threw in a handful of Parmesan cheese into the heavy cream and I tossed in a handful of chopped basil at the end.  I had bought another pint of heavy cream because I was planning on making a second batch of ice cream but changed my mind and used it to make a pasta sauce instead.  I had some chicken breasts already thawed so instead of thawing out some sausage, I just used the chicken breasts, which was just as yummy.

Pasta with Peas & Chicken

Cooking the chicken breast & garlic

Cooked chicken breast & garlic

Add frozen peas

Add heavy cream

Add Parmesan cheese

Chopped basil

Cooked tri-color rotini pasta

Add rotini pasta

Add basil

Topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan

This dish was very simple to make.  It probably took me about 30 minutes from start to finish so it’s very convenient if you want something fast and tasty.  The sauce was very easy to make but I think it lacked flavor.  I prefer a more Alfredo sauce taste…maybe add some cream cheese and butter?  I love the taste and smell of fresh basil (I bought 6 plants from the Farmer’s Market and they’re currently growing along side my thyme and rosemary) and it was a great finishing touch to the dish–although I’d probably add 2x the amount next time.  I would definitely make a variation of this dish again but add more ingredients to the sauce and more veggies like some chopped broccoli.

Mom’s Garden

Chong and I went to help my mom at her garden.  Here are some random pictures of my mom’s Hmong garden that I took:

Pea pods

Pea (pod) tips

Mint+green onion/Green onion

Potato plants/Sweet corn

Freshly picked Chinese mustard green

Green bean plants/Flowering pea pods

Thai chili pepper/Cucumber (I think)

Fresh Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Chong and I received an electric ice cream maker from my wonderful cousins (thanks Cecilia, Bao & Mai!!!) at my bridal shower last year and it sat in our closet collecting dust until now.  I’ve been meaning to take it out last summer and make some ice cream but apparently, good intentions do not result in ice cream.  So after getting some huge strawberries from my Aunt, I decided to finally make some strawberry ice cream.  I followed the recipe that came along with the ice cream maker, which turned out to be delicious!

I can’t find the booklet right now so I’ll have to remember to post the recipe at a later date.  The ice cream is really simple to make.  The ingredients consist of:  heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, strawberries, lemon juice, and vanilla (which I didn’t have any).

Strawberry Ice Cream Pictorial

Strawberries tossed in sugar + lemon juice

2 hours later

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream + 3/4 c of sugar

Add 1 cup milk

Add strained strawberry/lemon juice

Churning in the ice cream maker

View from top

Actual churning process post strawberries

Frozen overnight

Single serving

My first spoonful

Jackpot!

The frozen strawberries were my favorite part!  I really liked the single serving cups (1/2 cup) because they’re so much easier to eat and you don’t have to worry think about how much you’re eating…unless you’re eating more than 1 cup in one sitting.  I gave the bigger container to my brother and he ate about 3/4 of the container in one sitting.

I’m planning on making some mint chocolate chip ice cream tomorrow.  I can’t wait to try different recipes…lemon sorbet, orange sherbet, raspberry sorbet, gelato, slushies, and of course, more ice cream!  Chong and I are not planning on gaining a gazillion pounds eating all these goodies all by ourselves.  I’ll have to distribute the calories goodies to my friends and family.  Who wouldn’t love a nice container of homemade ice cream as a gift?

Chicago Part II

Here are some more pictures from our trip to Chicago:

Our hotel room at the Hyatt Place in Itasca.  This was one of the biggest hotel room I’ve been in.  It had two sides, one for the double beds/sink/& bathroom and the other for a couch, table, fridge & sink.  I loved our hotel and will definitely be staying there again whenever I’m in Chicago.

We’ve finally reached our destination after a 1.2 mile confusing and disorienting walk.  All I wanted was some                ice cream!

The hallway/A slice of deep dish pizza

Mitsuwa’s parking lot

Yummy!

BBQ eel (My brother and I both bought 2 each–he finished his in 1 week)

A Japanese restaurant/menu inside Mitsuwa

Korean restaurant/menu

Freshly prepared sushi!

Chong’s dinner of BBQ eel/My brother and my dinner of sushi

The elk grove we drove by

Chongs’s day at the ball game

The yummiest mussels I’ve ever eaten at Maggiano’s Little Italy

Fishing

Chong and I got our fishing license last weekend (finally!) and went fishing on Sunday at Beaver Lake.  Unfortunately, we went during mid-day and didn’t get any bites.  Out of the blue this evening, Chong says that we should go fishing so we up and left to go back to Beaver Lake.

After 30 minutes or so, we started getting nibbles.  We both caught 2 fishes each but since they were so small, we (when I say we, I mean I stood there and watched Chong unhooked the fishes and threw them back into the water.  During the last 30 minutes, I could actually see the fishes nibbling on my worm.  They were about a foot down from the top of the lake.  Most of the time, I was too slow/didn’t know how to jerk my pole back so most of my worms were free fish food.  I only managed to hook 2 fishes but it’s a good start.

This was taken on Saturday

As we were leaving this evening

First catch

Second catch

I like fishing but I especially like it when I actually catch something!  We’ll go back in a month or so and fish at Beaver Lake again.  That should give the fishes enough time to fatten up.  : )

Rosemary Bread, Steak Saltimbocca, & Green Beans

Last summer, I made my first yeast bread using the rosemary from my garden.  I was a bit hesitant to try making bread from scratch but fortunately, the bread turned out to be delicious.  I can’t wait until my baby rosemary plant grows big enough to start using it.  I also made steak saltimbocca and that turned out pretty tasty, too.  Served with a side of tomato and green beans.  Yum yum.

Click here for the recipes:

Rosemary Bread

Steak Saltimbocca

Rosemary Bread Pictorial

Rosemary                                                                                    Chopped

Waiting….                                                                                     Poof!

Add seasoning and herb

Add flour and stir

Oiled and waiting to rise

1 hour later

Egg wash

Baked

Cooling (2nd RB attempt–notice how it turned out better?)

Sliced

Steak Saltimbocca Pictorial

1st layer:  flank steak, salt & peppered on both sides

2nd layer:  prosciutto

3rd layer: provolone cheese

4th layer:  sage

Rolled up

Ready to be seared

Seared

Baked…look at all that gooey cheese!

Dinner

The rosemary bread tasted so good warm out of the oven and spread with a little butter.  I’m not growing sage this year so unless I’m really craving steak saltimbocca, I probably won’t be making this dish this year.  Chong says he’ll eat it again if I make it but I’m sure he’d prefer pasta or regular steak.

Zaub Paj/Chinese Mustard Green Stir-Fry

Zaub Paj literally translates to “vegetable” “flower”, respectfully, and is also known as Chinese Mustard Green.  It is one of the most common vegetable found in Hmong cuisine.  My mom had picked some from one of her various garden and gave me a bagful.  I was craving simple and delicious Hmong food so I made a quick stir fry with pork with a side of pepper and it was divine.  Sometimes, the simplest foods are the most fulfilling.

Zaub Paj (Chinese Mustard Green) and Pork Stir-Fry Pictorial

About 2 cups of pork, sliced thinly, cooking in 2 tbsp of oil + salt & black pepper

Fully cooked

Zaub Paj/Chinese Mustard Green

Add the zaub paj into the pot

Stir until the zaub paj is cooked (2-4 minutes) depending on how you tender you like your vegetables

My HUGE plate: rice, pork + zaub paj stir-fry + side of spicy crushed peppers

That’s a total of 2 ingredients, excluding oil, salt, and black pepper.  An easy, quick and delicious meal.

My Garden

I got my green thumb from my mom because she’s always gardening so when Chong and I got our own place, with a balcony, I just had to have my little container garden.  So with a little help, I ended up with a row full of plants and flowers.  These are the plants I grew last year:

Banana tree–I had 1 big tree (pictured) and two little babies but somehow, the big tree died and now I’m left with the two smaller ones and 1 baby tree.

Extremely hot Thai peppers

Cherry tomatoes

More cherry tomatoes (right) Grape tomatoes (left)

Close up

Lemongrass

Rosemary/Basil

Basil

Sage

Rosemary

Ginger

The only sad thing about my plants is that since we live on the 3rd floor, our balcony only gets a certain amount of sunlight for a certain time.  2nd and 1st floor gets full sunlight for most of the day.  I’m so insanely jealous!  Oh well.

Remember that beautiful container of lemongrass?  Guess what happened when it got colder and I moved it inside?  I over-watered it and it DIED!!!!  I was so sad!   All that watering and grooming and letting it grow only to watch it die.  No more lemongrass for me.

I got my little garden organized 2 weeks ago and for now, I have more flowers than anything else.  Just went out and bought a rosemary and thyme plant but I don’t have any dirt so they’ll have to wait a day or two until I plant them.  I’m waiting for my mom to give me some Thai pepper plants and basil plants.  No more tomatoes for me this year.

This is what I have in my garden so far this year:

Two banana trees + 1 hidden baby tree + 1 teeny tiny little banana sprout

Petunias

I don’t know what kind these are but they’re pink

More petunias

I don’t know what these are called either

No idea what these are but they haven’t bloomed yet.  I don’t know how the middle one (petunia) got planted there

More petunias (light purple)

White daisies (just planted from seed 1 week ago)

Newest addition:  Thyme (right) Rosemary (left)

My sad sad ginger : (

I am thinking about uprooting my ginger and planting it at my parents’ house because for some reason, it’s just not growing.  The smaller one is somewhat growing but the bigger one isn’t.  Will update during late summer to see how everything’s growing.