Saturday, February 4, 2012

Udon Noodles with Spicy Ground Pork

I was in the mood for a new ground pork recipe and the Udon noodles caught my eye.  Recipe off  These turned out fantastic.  So easy and so tasty.  I just loved them and will definitely be making this dish again.  I edited the original recipe just a bit based on what I had on hand and that posted below reflects my changes.  Awesome Asian dish with just the right amount of spice!

Udon Noodles with Spicy Ground Pork

1 packet of udon noodles
oil for pan frying
1/2 pound of ground pork
2 stalks green onions, sliced
3 stalks of boy choy - boil separately
3 red chilli peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced

2 tbsps dark soy sauce
dashes of hot chili sesame oil to taste
1 T sugar
First, boil the noodles according to package instructions. I ran my noodles under some cold water to lessen the starchiness. Next, heat about 2 T of oil in your wok or pan. Add the minced garlic, shallots, red chillis and green onions and saute on low heat till fragrant. Add the ground pork and stir around briskly. Pour in the seasoning ingredients and stir-fry till cooked. Finally, add in the cooked noodles and stir-around to coat evenly or dish the pork mixture on top.   Serve with a side of steamed bok choy (salt and pepper to taste).

Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Buttercream

I found this recipe off  At the time it was the Christmas season and I was feeling festive!  These turned out really good!  Great flavor and not too overpowering.  And so pretty!  I used yellow glass sprinkles on top.

Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup eggnog
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spiced Rum Buttercream:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 11/2 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup spiced rum
To make cupcake:
  1. Measure out flour and set aside.
  2. Add sugar and butter in a bowl and cream on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs in 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the eggnog and vanilla to start. Mix after addition until incorporated-do not overbeat.
  3. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer cupcakes from tins to cooling rack. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
 To make Spice Rum Buttercream:
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
  2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium  high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms soft medium peaks; about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
  4. Add salt and spiced rum and mix to combine.

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings

Now sure, this may not look pretty.  But if you've ever had chicken and dumplings, it never is.  I tried this dish at the Cracker Barrel and thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  Where had this dish been all my life?  So I started doing my research and realized everyone has their own version.  The difference I repeatedly found was people saying "real" chicken and dumplings use crisco (vs. butter).  It's the secret ingredient!  I also read you can use chicken fat instead and it's healthier and even more flavorful.  You'll need to make the chicken a day ahead though so the fat hardens on top of the broth.  This tasted just like the Cracker Barrel's.  Yummmm-O!  Recipe off

  • 1 large fryer chicken (4-5 lbs.), neck and gizzards removed
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. shortening
  • 1 cup milk

  1. Place the chicken, onions, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so water maintains a gentle simmer. Cook chicken for 1 hour or until cooked through (about 165 degrees). About 30 minutes after you start cooking the chicken you can skip to Step 4 and start making the dumplings or you can wait until the chicken is fully cooked.
  2. Once chicken is done, remove from the broth and let cool. Remove chicken from the bone (this shouldn’t be hard, it should be falling off pretty easily at this point) and shred into medium-sized pieces, discarding bones and skin.
  3. Pour the chicken broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth (I improvised and used a coffee filter), discarding vegetables. Reserve 6 cups of the broth for the dumplings. Refrigerate or freeze the rest to use in for another recipe. It’s much more flavorful than the chicken broth you buy at the grocery store.
  4. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles small peas.
  5. Add milk — 1/4 cup at a time, you may not need a full cup — and stir until a ball of dough just begins to form, being careful not to over-mix.
  6. Roll out the dough onto floured surface that you don’t mind cutting on. Roll about ¼ inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into rectangles about 1 inch wide by 3 inches long. Place strips on wax paper and allow to harden up a bit, about 30 minutes.
  7. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat, bring broth to a gentle simmer and drop in dumplings. Cover and allow to cook for 6-7 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat to low and add chicken. Allow to cook until thickened, approximately 15-20 minutes, or longer. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This recipe is seriously the best carrot cake I have ever eaten.  The pioneer woman is a culinary genius.  This recipe is off  Love her stuff.  She describes it as "eat...faint...repeat as needed".  Yeah, pretty much.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Grated Carrots
  • _____
  • For Icing
  • 1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
  • 1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 cup Pecans, Chopped Finely

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and combine. Then add carrots and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured (Baker’s Joyed) pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake at 350F until done, 25 (sheet cake) to 50 (Bundt pan) minutes, depending on the pan you use.
Cool completely.
In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. Spread on cooled carrot cake.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

I found this recipe on because I was looking for something out of the norm to make (vs. cupcakes or bars).  Plus, I'd never attempted to make fudge before.  The recipe was fairly easy and didn't take long.  The entire plate vanished amidst my coworkers.  The one mistake I made which I learned was a critical step! was to cool fudge SLOOoooooowly.  I thought the recipe was just written by a slacker.  Nope, it must be cooled gradually or else the sugar will precipitate out and form an entirely different consistency (think grainy rather than smooth fudge).  But it was tasty nevertheless and I will definitely try my hand at fudge again.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs corn syrup
  • 3/4 tsp  kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Spray an 8x8 inch  baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugars, cream, milk, corn syrup and salt.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 242 degrees (ie the soft-ball stage).  Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and flour.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish, and allow to cool until it reaches 110 degrees, 10 to 20 minutes.

Use a large spoon to scrape the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat at medium speed until the fudge thickens and holds its shape, 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the fudge to the prepared 8x8 inch dish and smooth the top with a spatula.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, pressing them lightly into the fudge.

Allow to set at least 2 hours.  Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.