Monday, March 31, 2008

Five Bananas Sitting on the Counter

I have been reading too many nursery rhymes and I have this one going in my head this evening....

Five spotted bananas sitting on the counter

One fell off and bumped her head

Mommy called the doctor and

the Doctor said

NO MORE old Bananas

jumping off the counter!

So, off with their old yellow jackets, and those bananas went on the pie plate with a little cinnamon, brown sugar, key lime juice and butter (no rum as this is rated P-G only)
Into the oven it goes at 375F for 15-20 mins.
This is the result of the P-G rated one.

But not this other one with coconut flakes and rum added to the bananas... it's rated R! Added some butter and brown sugar to a skillet, dropped a portion of the bananas to it, and did a flambé with a splash of rum and it. Served with some toasted coconut flakes and a sprig of mint.

In the end, more old yellow bananas sitting on this counter. I adapted this recipe from this website and used key lime juice instead of lemon juice. If you like to try the adult version with alcohol, try Alton Brown of Food Network's recipe below:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add banana liqueur and bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve. Serve with waffles, crepes, or ice cream.

Note: The original rhymes had monkeys/joeys in place of O and Y bananas, but I think those monkeys or even joeys will enjoy this dish. The old and yellow part only applies to bananas. Restrictions apply on the rum part and please do not drink and drive. Hope you enjoyed these bananas and Good night!

Oar Jien Oyster Omelet Drama

While I was under medication for my cold, I decided to start on a box of DVDs that my dear friend Hazel had graciously left me on her departure back to Singapore back in February. I was pleasantly surprised at this new age, romantic, riches to rags princess fairytale love story with lots of fried oyster omelets in between. A total chick flick with added bonus of watching the makings of a Taiwanese-style oyster omelet that is vaguely familiar with the Singapore/Malaysian version. Cooking and drama. What more could an oyster-loving-girl ask? And of course I couldn't wait til I recovered and could taste food again to try out several oyster omelets myself.

For more information on 'Oar Jien' or oyster omelets that are commonly sold in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, click here.

Here's the fresh tub of fresh oysters from Washington. I called it a tub because that's what it felt to me as I was the only one consuming oysters in my family. Yes, the kids and Hubs are not fans of oysters... so more for me!My first attempt used no oil in a non-stick skillet...

This turned out very well with my addition of browned crunchy bacon bits. Not like the ones sold in Singapore, Penang or Taiwan, I'm sure, but the added smokiness and crispiness of the bacon did add to the whole dish. And a few additional dashes of Tabasco made it heavenly.

Second attempt, tried this without the bacon and with the Asian chili sauce. Much spicier! Also added a little oil while cooking this and it did increase the crispiness of the omelet.

My blogger friend Lee Ping has a nice recipe on her site if you are interested in trying out the authentic version.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Give me some S'mores, please!

I simply can't hide the marshmallows from my kids. Or you guys for that matter! You guessed it! It's marshmallows dipped in that wonderful chocolate and then in some crushed graham crackers. This is a variation from the famous camping dessert that young and old enjoy. The original smores toasted marshmallows on a stick over the campfire, then added to a graham cracker, a small bar of chocolate, and topped with another graham cracker like a sandwich for easy handling.

The ones I made are not toasted (which are safer for toddlers), and I left the bowls of melted chocolate and crashed graham crackers out for the kids to dip it themselves. And they loved the making their own personal smores with the mini-marshmallows which are just their size!

I had the regular size marshmallow. See the difference in size?

After the kids went to bed, I couldn't resist roasting a couple of marshmallows for the adults, and made this over my gas stove. After all, it was snowing and cold outside, and some gooey fun smores seemed perfect!

Laid out the graham crackers and dark chocolate bars (thanks again Ioyces!).

Roasted the marshmallow on a open fire (indoors this time). Be patient with the marshmallows and try not to burn them. They should be warm enough to melt the chocolate. About a minute over the fire. You don't want them to fall off the stick either!

Sandwich the marshmallow and you have yourself a delicious treat! Careful not to burn your mouth as those marshmallows can be hot!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Back with treats from Australia

I have overloaded my schedule once again, and am amazed at how time simply flew by. And I have so many stories to tell that I'd probably talk my friends to sleep. Maybe it's a good thing that some of my girlfriends are long-distance pals (at the moment)! But I should be apologizing for my long absence too. Long story short, it began with head cold, followed by a persistent coughing and sinus infection, the kids caught croup, and then we all had that nasty strand of flu virus that was not covered in last year's flu shot. Thankfully, we are on the mend, and life goes on.

So, I finally went to the mail box after the snow melted on Tuesday, and received a fun surprise! My dear friend Ioyces send these my way and the Korean movie was hilarious! Thanks for making my day, BFF! :) The story about a 'plain Jane' fabulous baker and a handsome wealthy restaurant owner had me wanting to bake again, so there will probably be some baking post next!

Was making these last night...While on the subject of food again, can you guess what are these morsels???

I will continue to add a couple of posts I missed from St. Patrick's Day, but otherwise will continue blogging for now on, I hope! (fingers' crossed) Here's the picture of the DVD. I liked that it's only a 2 disc DVD, and it's a fun 'chick-flick' for sure!I think the title is My Love Samson.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Green Tea Cupcakes Bake

Made these for St Patrick's day in heart-shaped molds, and assembled it to look like a four-leave clover. Used green tea (matcha) powder in place of vanilla, and added cherries into the batter before baking.

It was a fun combination, and the mild flavor of the matcha did not affect the kid's taste buds. Very easy recipe and a fun addition to the Green theme for St. Patrick's Day!

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp matcha (green tea powder)
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set rack at the middle level in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Line muffin pan with paper or silicon cups. Spray the cups with some oil. I used Pam baking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir matcha, flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Alternate 1/3 of the flour mixture and half the milk mixture to the butter mixture til everything is combined. Scape the bowl and beater often.

Scoop batter into prepared pan until half-full and add a cherry onto the top of the batter. It will sink to the middle of the cupcake during baking. Bake cake(s) about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.

Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper and let cool completely.

Note: Since I used the heart-shaped molds, I simply spray the mold and added the batter til half-full and baked for 17 mins.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef Crockpot

While the family are recovering from the flu bug, I made this easy recipe for St. Patrick's Day in the crockpot, and it turned out well. The tasters that wasn't sick and actually had working taste buds (not me) confirmed that this recipe works. (Whew!)This is what it looked like in the crockpot after an hour as I forgot to snap a picture earlier.
The final result after 8 hours in the crockpot. And I didn't forget the potatoes. Since the family wanted fries, these replaced the regular boiled potatoes.
And this is the recipe with what memory bank I had while I was under cold and flu medications.

4-5 cups hot water
2-3 tbsp. cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp. sugar
1-2 tbsp. whole black pepper
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup baby carrots (approx)
2 bay leaves
1 4-lb. corned beef round or brisket, packaged with spices
8 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
1 head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cored and cut into 10 wedges


1. In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, add all the ingredient.

2. Cover and cook on the High heat setting 4 hours. Remove the lid and scatter the cabbage wedges over the top. Cover and continue cooking on High 3 to 4 hours longer, or until the beef is tender. To serve, carve the beef into slices and serve with the cabbage and potatoes, with some of the cooking liquid spooned on top of the beef to keep it moist. Makes about 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from the Family Fun.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wordful Wednesday

I was reminded of Ioyces today...can you guess what are these?
and Anne reminded me of this today...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and
had some items in front of him. When the class
began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with
golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar
was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and
poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the
golf balls. He then asked the students again if the
jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and
poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled
up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with an unanimous

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from
under the table and poured the entire contents into
the jar effectively filling the empty space between
the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided,
'I want you to recognise that this jar represents
your life. The golf balls are the important
things---your family, your children, your health,
your friends and your favourite passions---and if
everything else was lost and only they remained,
your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like
your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff. 'If
you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued,
'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf
balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all
your time and energy on the small stuff you will
never have room for the things that are important
to you.
'Pay attention to the things that are critical to
your happiness. Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.. Visit with
grandparents. Take time to get medical check-ups.
Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18.
There will always be time to clean the house and
fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls
first---the things that really matter. Set your
priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired
what the coffee represented. The professor smiled
and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The coffee just shows you that no matter how full
your life may seem, there's always room for a
couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

When things in your life seem almost too much to
handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of

Anne spend alot of time with me in December, and even brought these lovely treats to share with me. Thank you for your kindness, for introducing me to your friends and for being a great friend!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Week at School

I have been keeping busy and enjoying my time volunteering at the kids' preschool. This way, I get a chance to observe my little ones interact with their age group, and it also gives me an opportunity to play with a bunch of adorable toddlers! And I am surprised at how well behaved most of them were in a classroom environment. Okay, I know I haven't been doing this long, and I'm sure some days are better than others. But they are definitely less complicated than grown ups!

I also caught a head cold this week, and have been nursing it with lots of lemon honey tea, pak hup, and vitamin C. Made chicken soup as seen here and here, another dish filled with mushrooms, vegetables and black noodles (yes, my kids are still enjoying mushrooms, but I'm sure it'll change when they see Hubs not touching his)(dish is below)and some peanut porridge to aid my appetite, with this dish of minced ground turkey and vegetables stir-fried in ketcap manis, a dark, rich Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Did fried rice with it the next day for lunch with home-fried shallots as garnish on top.