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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bacon and Eggs: Under the Tuscan Sun

As a part of the 5 Star Makeover event, I have created an Italian version of Bacon and Eggs. Traditionally a breakfast plate, bacon and eggs were popularized in various parts of the UK. A fun modern spin of bacon and eggs can be seen at The Fat Duck where Heston Blumenthal serves nitro-scrambled eggs with bacon ice cream. In my interpretation, I wanted to paint the image of a beautiful morning, using simple, fresh, and flavorful ingredients. 

Bacon and Eggs: Under the Tuscan Sun

Uova da Raviolo with a Pancetta Carpaccio, served with Italian Pesto

I prepared a Uova da Raviolo and a Pancetta Carpaccio, served with Italian Pesto.

Uova da Raviolo

Uova da Raviolo is a large single ravioli with a soft egg yolk inside. The egg yolk sits on top of a garlic ricotta cheese mixture before it is enclosed with fresh pasta sheet. The ravioli is boiled for approximately 3 to 5 minutes (when using fresh pasta sheet) and the enclosed egg stays soft. The creaminess of the ravioli mixed with the sharp flavors of pancetta carpaccio is like an explosion of flavors!
Pancetta Carpaccio

The Pancetta Carpaccio consists of thinly sliced pancetta, Lagrein cheese and cantaloupe. Lagrein cheese is an Italian alpine cheese from the Alto Adige. On average, there are only 12 cows per farm and the cheese is cured in a bath of spices, herbs, garlic, and a local red wine (Lagrein). I thought the richness of this specific cheese would accent the carpaccio well. The dish is accompanied by a traditional Italian Basil Pesto made with a mortar and pestle using fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and parmagiano-reggiano.

When I started Bacon and Soufflé about a month ago, I intended to share with you my dining experiences and fun culinary creations. More importantly, though, I wanted to seek out others who constantly inspire. Natasha from 5 Star Foodie is an amazing home chef who always inspires, adding a new spin to each one of her culinary creations. When Natasha and Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks! asked me to be a part of the 5 Star Makeover event to create my own interpretation of Bacon and Eggs, I was thrilled to accept the invitation. I hope you enjoyed my dish!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dessert or Entrée: Salmon Mousse with Teriyaki Glaze

I realize that there are those who enjoy eating something savory first thing in the morning (my husband), like a breakfast sandwich or a plate of pasta, and those who prefer to stick with oatmeal and pastries. I am of the latter. I have managed to convince myself that my stomach enjoys starting the day with the taste of sweetness. My dilemma usually begins on some weekends when I wake up so late that it is pretty much past lunchtime. Today is the day I found a solution for my problem.

Salmon Mousse with Teriyaki Glaze, Cheese Wafer Crisp, Cream Foam
served with Freshly Baked Focaccia Bread
 Now if I can trick my stomach into thinking that it is eating a dessert but really it is a salmon fillet with teriyaki sauce and focaccia bread, I think we may finally be able to make peace. I made a salmon mousse that is flavored with a little bit of mirin and soy sauce, accompanied by a rich teriyaki glaze. I served the salmon mousse with a freshly baked focaccia bread. A parmigiano-reggiano wafer crisp and a little bit of cream foam topped the mousse.

The salmon mousse is both flaky and creamy and the teriyaki glaze has the perfect texture and flavor for this mousse. Teriyaki glaze is very easy to make - all you need is soy sauce, mirin (a Japanese sweet wine), and sugar. I used 1/4 cup soy sauce: 1/4 cup mirin: 1 tbsp white sugar, and I heated the sauce in a pan. As it cools on the plate, it hardens slightly to form a beautiful glaze. The perfect Sunday brunch.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Very First Blogger Award!!

The best part of every day is that you never know what each day brings. You wake up in the morning, proceed about your plans for the day. Then, ta da!, I check my emails and received my first blog award - the Stylish blogger Award! What I am most thankful for is that this award is passed on by other bloggers who are just as obsessed over food as I am. That's right. Those who have amazing culinary skills and incredibly high expectations actually wanted to pass this award on to me! I am so flattered. Made my day. So thank you.

To receive this Stylish Blogger Award you must:
1.  Write a post and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2.  Share 7 things about yourself. (oh my, please continue visiting my blog even after you discover these)
3.  Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers.
4.  Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

Thank you to Chris and Amy from A Couple in the Kitchen and thank you to Steph at okie dokie artichokie for the wonderful award! I knew I had to find a way to express my thanks to you somehow, so I woke up bright and early to bake you cookies. Thank you! xoxo.

Chocolate Mint Shortbread xoxo Cookies from Jessica
Here comes the 7 things about me... 
  1. Jason is my amazing husband. Coincidentally, my Chinese name is also "Jason".
  2. I am 1/4 German, and so, coffee time is an official meal. Yes, in addition to the 3 meals + snacks. 
  3. Jason and I were married last September in Santa Monica, and I am still in wedding bliss.
  4. The very next day, we flew to Scotland to spend our honeymoon. I enjoyed every second of our dinner at Andrew Fairlie, the only 2-Michelin starred restaurant in Scotland.
  5. I have recently (okay, maybe not that recent) been transformed into a complete sci-fi nerd. BSG, Big Bang Theory, online gaming, fantasy novels - Yippee!
  6. At the age of 13, I broke my own sleeping record by sleeping a full 23 hours after an exhausting trip. My mom visited my room numerous times to ensure that I was still breathing.
  7. I am trying to finish P90X and have a body like Tony Horton's (just kidding, maybe 'slightly' less muscular). 
10 recently discovered great bloggers! Please check them out - it's inspiring, creative, and so fun to read.
  1. Sommer from a Spicy Perspective 
  2. Rich from Oil and Butter
  3. Natasha from 5 Star Foodie
  4. Kimberly from UnrivaledKitch
  5. Junia from Mis Pensamientos
  6. Charmaine from Speakeasy Kitchen
  7. Sandra from Sandra's Easy Cooking
  8. Lizzy from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!
  9. Amy from Fragrant Vanilla Cake
  10. Liz from Blog is the New Black

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Treasure Chest: Spring's definition of Chicken Pasta

Spring is approaching! I know it is still cold (yes, I am in California and it is cold here), still rainy, and still feels like winter. But I know that I can almost see Spring; a Spring filled with sunshine and beautiful blooming flowers. The thought of Spring inspired me to make a fun dish with lots of light colors and healthy ingredients.

Chicken Bacon Roulade Pasta with Zucchini Cheese Melts

Through the spyglass you will find a treasure chest consisting of chicken bacon roulades with a creamy angel hair pasta, accompanied by zucchini cheddar cheese melt and a treasure pocket of zucchini cheese. I found that the zucchini bits add a delicious crunch to the dish and the cheddar cheese adds a layer of richness to the chicken roulades. The flavors of this dish have come together so well that I feel like I am ready for Spring!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gastropub Cuisine, Gourmet Pork Shoulder Pizza

Although there are numerous restaurants that I love and enjoy, there are only a handful that inspire my cooking. Those are the restaurants I look forward to visiting everytime. Waterloo & City is one of them.

Waterloo & City was designed as a traditional British gastropub, which by definition has a relaxed atmosphere while serving gastronomic cuisine. However, those in LA have begun to associate the restaurant with molecular gastronomy cuisine, mainly due to its creative spin on popular comfort food and its ever-changing menu. I cannot tell you how much I loved their winter squash cheesecake with candied bacon and crème fraiche. Anyway, we ordered their "Braised Short Rib Pizza, Stilton, Chimichuri" and were instantly in love. The way the tenderness and juiciness of short ribs melt onto the pizza, making the thin crust pizza feel like a deep dish. The way the chimichuri brings an extreme flavor and texture to the entire pizza.

I was inspired to make what I personally thought was the best pizza I have ever had - Ale Braised Pork Shoulder Pizza with Candied Apple Pecans.

Ale Braised Pork Shoulder Pizza with Candied Apple Pecans

Pork shoulder was braised in the oven with Belgian ale, pancetta, onions, and various herbs for approximately four hours. I covered the fresh pizza crust with shredded pork shoulder pieces and a thin layer of marinara sauce. The pizza was then topped with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, candied whole pecans and apple slices, basil leaves, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for the spice. Salty, sweet, spicy, savory and creaminess all came together in this pizza. It was so good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homemade + Traditional - Chinese New Year

Yes, Chinese New Year deserves two separate posts. Why? Because there's too much food consumed to fit into just one. In the previous post, I made many "lucky" dishes prior to Chinese New Year because I knew I would be traveling and would not have as much time to cook. Now, I would like to share delicious family homemade food that I was able to enjoy over the last few days.

Fried Red Bean Rice Cakes for Breakfast

Quinoa Tabbouleh, Sesame Vermicelli Salad, and Lemongrass Salmon
Wild Salmon Spring Rolls

Chinese Pork Tamale

Thai Coconut Dessert

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!