February 8, 2007

TV, Movies & A Book on CD

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I reserved a book, PUCCINI'S GHOSTS by Morag Joss, at the library and when I picked it up today I was given a book on CD (11 cds in all) instead of the book itself, I'm not sure how it happened. I have never tried "listening" to a book before but I took the CDs home anyway. I made another reservation for the book and will have to wait probably 3 more weeks for it. I listened to cd 1 in my car and I kinda liked it, it's not bad at all. I feel like a child having strangers tell me a bedtime story, and I will be able to continue "reading" while doing other stuff, like beading.:-)

TV shows: I haven't been watching a lot of tv lately, there aren't many interesting new sitcoms or dramas. The only shows I regularly watch are Heroes, Medium, and Law & Order SVU and the reality shows Project Runway and Top Chef. Top Chef had its finale last week and Bravo introduced another reality show, Top Design with Todd Oldham as host. There are 12 contestants, 6 men and 6 women, although I believe ALL the men are gay, including the married one with a 3 year old child. Even the tough guy who complained that he will be living with all these "girls", I think is also gay, he was eliminated on the second episode. The show is just okay, not as interesting as Project Runway, it also has some product placements but not as blatant as Top Chef. The judges seem to be uninterested and lifeless, I'll give it another week to see if something exciting happens.

Movies on DVD:
I just saw a very fascinating, funny, intelligent, entertaining, bizarre, and sad (in a way) movie, I love, love, love it: THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP by the same person who made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of my favorite movies. This is the kind of movie that you will either hate or love, there's no in between. If you don't get it you will hate it for sure. Five Brilliant Stars

HOLLYWOODLAND, a movie about the actor who played superman on TV, George Reeves. I borrowed this movie because Adrien Brody is in it. I absolutely love him (and his beak) in DUMMY and of course THE PIANIST. The movie is very good, Ben Affleck is surprisingly not bad. Four Stars

Stuffed Poblano Peppers and Sauteed Bitter Melon

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I try to have an all-vegetable dinner once or twice a week to balance our diet a bit because of the fatty snacks and meaty dinners that I cook all week. The spicy stuffed poblano peppers are really good either with steamed rice or dinner rolls. The bitter melon is for me because no one else likes it.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers
6 poblano peppers, charred and skins removed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups grated jalapeƱo pepper jack cheese
olive oil
2 ell beaten eggs
Japanese panko breadcrumbs
  • Make a slit on the sides of the peppers, remove seeds and stems. Set aside. In a skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Mix in cheese and stuff the peppers. Dip peppers in egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Fry on medium heat until golden brown.

Sauted Bitter Melon
1 bitter melon
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 well beaten eggs
½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Cut the bitter melon in half lengthwise, scoop out and scrape the soft innards, then slice. Boil 2 cups salted water and cook bitter melon for 1 minute. Drain, rinse, and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. In a wok or pan, saute garlic and onion for 2 minutes, add tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs and salt, cook until eggs are set but still moist. Drain the bitter melon and add to the mixture in the pan, stir to mix and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

February 6, 2007

Buns, Buns, Buns

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chocolate, caramel, and walnuts in this weird shaped sticky bun

Yesterday I made 2 batches of sweet bread dough because I'm crazy that way.:-) My daughter wanted the chocolate sticky buns and I wanted these coffee buns and of course I must make them both! For the coffee buns I looked online for the same kind of bread and found Rotiboy which is Malaysian/Singaporean, a version of the Mexican concha (shell) rolls or buns, the recipe of which I have in one of my bread cookbooks. I will not post the recipe for the coffee buns because they were not satisfactory to me, the filling oozed out and they do not look pretty. I'll try again some other time.

cousins concha bun and rotiboy coffee bun

The chocolate sticky buns are adapted from THE BREAD BIBLE by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I used sweet bread dough instead of brioche dough because the filling and caramel are very rich already and my family might think I'm trying to kill them with too much eggs and butter.:)

Chocolate Sticky Buns
sweet bread dough
4½ to 5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 packets active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs

chocolate ganache filling
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 large egg white

¼ cup butter
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ cup coarsely broken untoasted walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Dough: In a large bowl, combine 1½ C flour, sugar, and yeast. Heat water, milk and butter to 120° to 130°F. Gradually add to dry ingredients, beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl ocassionally. Add salt, eggs and ½ C flour, beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 4 to 6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Chocolate ganache: In a small bowl place the chocolate and microware, stirring every 15 seconds until almost melted. Stir until melted then add heavy cream and syrup, stir in egg white. Set aside to firm up, it should be firm but spreadable.
  • Topping: In a small saucepan, off the heat, stir together butter, sugar and syrup, bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. simmer for 3 minute, then pour in the heavy cream and continue to simmer for 3 minutes. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle the walnuts evenly.
  • Shape the buns: Gently remove gas from dough down, shape or roll into a 14 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread ganache up to edges on all sides, sprinkle chips evenly. Roll from a long end, slice into 12 portions. Place in the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • Bake the buns: Preheat oven to 375°, bake for 10 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 3 minutes, invert onto a platter, scraping the topping left on the pan onto the buns.


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Most recipes recommend simply cooking kohlrabi with carrots, sauteeing them in butter or making them into gratin as a side dish. I didn't want simple so I added them (in place of cabbage) with carrots and potatoes to boiled pre-seasoned corned beef beef brisket. Serve with lots of French dijon grainy mustard. The root vegetable is sweet and mild like turnip. It's the perfect substitute to the smelly and awful cabbage when making this dish. I noticed that they look and taste almost like the Philippine radish which looks like the Japanese daikon but spicier.

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