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Cannot believe 4 months have passed since my last posting.  Quite a bit has happened during my hiatus, but the most notable one would be the baking course at ICE.  Already attended 7 sessions and 5 more to go.  It has been a fun journey, and I’m definitely gaining tiny bit of confidence in baking.

Since receiving a wedding invitation last September, I knew where I was going for my summer vacation. Wedding was in Rome, but my boyfriend suggested we should watch Aida at Arena di Verona and spend relaxing time in Amalfi. Who can say no to that?

amalfi2

But to reach the relaxing point of my journey, I had to persevere 20 hour travel time (my flight from JFK was delayed 6 hours; hence, missed my connection flight in London) and a rained out opera (20 mins into the second act, it started to pour down and the show was over!). Felt defeated and exhausted, but when I walked outside my hotel room and faced with the view of Amalfi, I knew I was “in-the-money!”

amalfi 1

Took a long bath and I tucked myself comfortably in bed for a much needed nap. Evening came, so we strolled down to the main piazza, snooped around a little and sat down at the table of a restaurant called “Taverna degli Apostoli”. As soon as Luigi, our charming waiter, brought us the menu, we knew we were in good hands. The handwritten menu was full of mouthwatering Mediterranean dishes with a sketch of Amalfi coast adorning the cover! So casual and welcoming… We ordered a bottle of white wine and started with tomato bruschetta and house salad. They were delicious and didn’t need much seasoning or dressing, since the produces were so tasty! For the main course, I ordered baked sea bass with lemon and my boyfriend had homemade fennel sausage with melted cheese. Both were done in a rustic manner yet delectable. At the end of the meal, we were stuffed, so we sipped on a glass of limoncello to punctuate the deal in Amalfi style.

With 2/3 of a tub of mascarpone cheese left from Wednesday, I made marcarpone cheese pancakes by modifying Nigella’s recipe for cottage cheese pancakes.  Since marcarpone cheese is not as liquidy as cottage cheese, I added a bit of water to the batter.

With macerated strawberries, maple syrup and Arnie Palmer with a dash of lemon basil syrup I made last week, the pancakes were a perfect summer brunch dish!

pancake

INGREDIENTS
2 eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese, strawberry, balsamic vinegar,

1. Cut strawberries into small pieces and macerate them with a pinch of sugar and 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and set it aside

2. Separate 2 eggs, and to the yolks, add sugar (4 tablespoon), mascarpone cheese (3 tablespoons), flour (2/3 cup), water (1/4 cup), and vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)

3. Beat egg whites until foamy and fold into the mix

4. Drop a ladle of batter on a hot non-stick pan and cook approx. 1 min on each side

5. Serve with macerated strawberries and maple syrup

crimini mushroom pasta

Last night, I was flipping through DVR-ed episodes of Nigella Express and when I saw her rolling up sizable ball of liguine, I knew what I was making for my dinner-for-one on Friday night.  It is extremely simple and perfect for hot summer season, since the sauce only needs a bit of chopping, grating and tossing!  I used pecorino romano (which I had in my fridge) instead of parmesan.  Also, didn’t have any parsley, sprinkled extra thyme after placing the pasta in a serving bowl.  It was velvety with cheese and musky yet refreshing as I added plenty of lemon juice.

Nigella’s Recipe on FoodNetwork.com
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/linguine-with-lemon-garlic-and-thyme-mushrooms-recipe/index.html

turkey larb1

What a gloomy Tuesday!

My boyfriend has moved to Lima on a 6AM flight and ever since it’s been raining (on and off) with uncomfortable amount of heat and humidity.  I desperately needed a “pick-me-up” dish to brighten up my “dinner-table-for-one”!

While flipping through “Donna Hay” (issue 43), saw a recipe for “veal larb”  and the thought of having this tangy, sweet and savory dish with a bowl of creamy coconut rice made me salivate.  I quickly ran over to a nearby Asian specialty store to pick up some of ingredients, and since I had ground turkey in my freezer, decided to use it instead of veal.  To the simple recipe from “Donna Hay”, I’ve added additional ingredients (minced lemongrass and sweet basil) to enhance the flavor.   Also, I’ve substituted cilantro with mint, since I just can’t bear the taste/smell of cilantro!

While working on the Larb, I’ve also prepared coconut rice (with a help from my trusted rice cooker) and sprinkled slivered almond on the top for some crunch.

The result was quite wonderful.  Dinner-for-one can never be the most exciting thing, but the turkey larb definitely proved to be a better option than a take-out dinner in a plastic container.

::Ingredients::

1/4 lb of ground turkey

1 shallot (halved and sliced)

1 teaspoon of minced lemongrass*

1 tablespoon of chopped thai basil

1 table spoon of chopped mint

1 teaspoon of minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/2 of serrano chili (chopped into small pieces)

Juice of 1/2 of lime

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 tablespoon of any type of vegetable oil

::Recipe::

  1. Mix lime juice, serrano chili, fish sauce, chopped mint and sugar in a non-metallic bowl and set it aside
  2. Cook ground turkey with 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil on a skillet for 4 mins (break the meat into small pieces and season with salt & black pepper)
  3. Add shallot, minced ginger, garlic, chopped thai basil and lemongrass into the skillet and cook for additional 4-5 mins until the meat and vegetables are cooked
  4. Place cooked meat and vegetable mixture into a serving bowl and mix with the dressing (see step 1)
  5. Serve with rice**, wedge of lime and mint/cilantro leaves

* Can find it in a frozen section of Asian food specialty stores

** Also can be served with coconut rice or spooned on Boston lettuce leaves