Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rice Revelation

The town I lived in when hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 contained many things that I will always miss. Most notably is my house and all of its belongings. But the town was also home to several dining landmarks that I still think about 4 1/2 years later. One of those landmarks is China Jade. China Jade was a Chinese restaurant with the best Chinese food ever! I have eaten Chinese food at several other establishments in and around New Orleans and several restaurants in and around DC and I have never tasted Chinese that could even hold a candle to China Jade. Their food was amazing! They had the best Won Ton Soup, Fried Rice and Egg Rolls - staples on a classic Chinese menu that really define a good one!

Every time I eat Chinese I compare it to China Jade and it never even comes close. I certainly didn't expect that the first time I would taste comparable Chinese to my beloved China Jade would be in my own kitchen. I simply made this fried rice to accompany some Asian Short Ribs that I was making for Valentine's dinner. It was easy and it seemed to fit the bill. I wasn't attempting to recreate my coveted Chalmette Chinese cuisine, but I was shocked when I had my first bite. It was delicious and VERY similar in flavor, texture and consistency to the best fried rice I have ever had and haven't had since prior to August 2005. I can't wait to make this for my brother Kent and my sister Jessica to see if they agree. They were my frequent partners in crime for China Jade visits and I know they will be the perfect judges.

Ham Fried Rice
Adapted from Southern Living November 2000

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-2 cups diced cooked ham steak
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet or wok at medium-high heat 2 minutes. Swirl the oil to coat the wok up the sides of the pan. Beat eggs with a whisk in a small bowl. Add eggs to wok; cook 2 minutes and scramble.

Remove from skillet; chop and set aside.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in skillet or wok; add bell pepper and onion; stir-fry 5 minutes until soft.

Add ham, and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until golden.

Add rice and next 2 ingredients;

stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Stir in reserved egg,

and sprinkle with green onions.

Mix ingredients together and serve.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lemon Laughter

My nephew IV has a really keen sense of humor. Even before he could talk he found ways to make people laugh. When he was not even two years old yet he had one little "act" that he always did for his audience. Whenever we would dine out with him he used to take a lemon off the table, put it close to his mouth and make an extreme pucker face and shake his shoulders like he was reacting to the sourness of the lemon. He would do it over and over again until he had us in stitches. He has always had the most acute sense of what is funny and perfect timing. I could write chapters on the funny things he has said and done since he has learned to talk, but I will always remember his first wordless joke.

Glazed Lemon Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light


  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon rind (about 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (13 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Lemon glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, combine rind and 3 tablespoons juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, and rind mixture beating until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture and 1 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture,

beating at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack;

remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons juice, and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a small bowl, stirring until smooth.

Drizzle glaze over warm cake. Garnish with grated lemon rind once glaze is set, if desired. (I forgot this step, but think it would have been pretty if I had remembered.)

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Dat!

Snow, Sunday, Superbowl, Sappy, Satisfaction, SAINTS !!!!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

15 Things to Make Before You Die - Installment #4

I was excited about tackling the list of 15 things to make before you die, but less than elated with the number of desserts on the list. I don't really have a major sweet tooth and my husband is a type 1 diabetic, so naturally all of the sugar laden sweets on the list would have to be spaced out accordingly. Since there were so many sugary dishes on the list, I decided to make a savory souffle as opposed to a sweet one. At least I would have to make one less dessert and I love anything cheesy!

Souffles were easy to make, hard to photograph. They fell so quickly that I wasn't able to snap pictures before they started to deflate. I have a huge appreciation for all the pictures I have seen in the past of sky high souffles. They must have been taken by some very speedy photographers.

View my progress on the list below:

1. Yeast Bread - Check.
2. Beef Tenderloin Steaks - Check.
3. Cream Pie
4. Creme Brulee
5. Fudge
6. Cream Puffs
7. Crown Roast
8. Fried Chicken
9. Roux - Check.
10. Pasta and Cream Sauce - Check.
11. Roasted Turkey and Gravy - Check.
12. Chocolate Pudding - Check.
13. Layer Cake - Check.
14. Souffle - Check.
15. Chicken Stock - Check.

9 down, 6 to go!

Classic Cheese Souffle
Adapted from Sunset April 2003

  • 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (6 oz.)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Generously butter six 1- to 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes; set them about 2 inches apart in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan.

2. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add flour

and stir until mixture is smooth and bubbling. Stir in milk,


and salt, and continue stirring until sauce boils and thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Add cheese

and stir until melted. Add egg yolks

and stir until the mixture is blended and smooth.

4. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites (use whisk attachment if available) with cream of tartar until short, stiff, moist peaks form.

With a flexible spatula, fold a third of the cheese sauce into whites until well blended. Add remaining sauce and gently fold in just until blended.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared soufflé dishes. Fill the dishes 3/4 of the way full.

6. Bake in a 375° oven until top is golden to deep brown and cracks look fairly dry, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately, scooping portions from single soufflé with a large spoon.

Click Here for my Adapted Printable Recipe