Friday, August 29, 2014

Slow-Cooked/ Caramelized Onions 慢煮洋葱

Unlike raw onions that are often pungent and sharp, slowly-cooked (or caramelized) onions are mellow and subtly sweet. There are two essential ingredients to caramelized onions - one being onion and the other, T-I-M-E.

It will take more than 15 minutes (or more than 30 minutes for perfect caramelization) and may not sound like a lot of time but IT IS, consider this being just ONE component to this homemade bibimbap made from many other components. The sauteed onions made here is not meant to be perfectly-caramelized and works fine for this purpose.

Slow-Cooked Onions 慢煮洋葱
Indeed, expect no haste when making caramelized onions. Slow and steady wins the race. Add a little cooking oil to the pan, start with high heat, add the onions, hear the sizzle, lower the heat to medium and wait. Occasionally, give the pan a good shake to ensure the onions don't stick to the pan (and burn); alternatively gently turn the onions with a cooking ladle to prevent sticking. Salt (pinches will do) the onions in the process to flavor the onions, and extract the sweetness out from the onions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Asian-Style Rice Vermicelli Bolognese 肉酱米粉

This dish is unconventional and that thick rice vermicelli stands out as being THE unconventional "pasta" alternative. So this is bolognese with an Asian twist!

Bunashimeji (beech) mushrooms and green onions (instead of herbs) - that's not very authentic bolognese either. Awww...

Whatever. As long as it is delicious! And indeed, absolutely delicious. On a lucky day, a dish made with twists and turns can be a successful homemade dish.

This bolognese sauce is very flavorful with generous use of vegetables (celery, tomato and tomatoes) and most importantly, the natural tangy-sweetness of the tomato gravy is superbly balanced by this secret ingredient - anchovy fillets.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Basil Walnut Pesto 罗勒/九层塔核桃青酱

The basil in our garden (picture, left) is flourishing beautifully, and it is just one basil plant. We will call it "the parent basil" for now. As he read that basil is easy to propagate from cuttings, he also tried to propagate two or three other basil plants from the cuttings of the parent basil.

"Stop!" was what I told him - to not propagate the basil as I do not use basil very often in my cooking.

Meantime, while the newly propagated basil plants are still rooting, I gotta find more ways to use the parent basil before it is "taken away" by winter in a few months time.

Without question, one of the easiest ways to use up the abundance of basil is to make pesto. I have shunned away from the expensive pine nuts and opted for walnuts for this pesto.