Thursday, February 28

MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit 2013

"Chocolate in 3D" was the theme for the 24th annual MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit this past Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. The event helps raise the fund for care and preservation of museum extensive collections.
MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit is one of the few professional culinary events in the country open to the general public, with area chefs and culinary students competing to create inspired, edible masterpieces featuring the key ingredient: chocolate!
(Above) First Place of the awards for Masterpiece category:
"Alice in Wonderland"
by Justin Raha (Instructure CIM/Baker College, Muskegon)
Each year, the theme of the event is connected with the collections or exhibits at the science and culture museum at Michigan State University. This year's competition theme, "Chocolate in 3D", was inspired by musuem's recent exhibition, "Adventure in Time and the 3rd Dimension: Through the Stereoscope".
Great time with my friends, Lisa and Lynne :)

Thursday, February 21

Five-Spice Duck Noodle Soup

During Chinese New Year over a week ago, I got the whole duck, along with other goodies as New Year gifts from work. I had a few menu in mind of what to do with that good-looking duck. I was thinking of five-spice-rubbed roasted duck, Pekking duck, etc. Then, I thought of rice noodle soup with five-spice duck I love back at home in Thailand. It's been a very long time since I last had that dish, and I missed it so much! I pretty much have most of the needed ingredients on hand - so duck stew with five spices in soy-based gravy was to start. 
Stewed Duck in Five-Spice gravy:
  1. Heat a large saucepan at medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 cup water. Stir until until sugar turns into thick syrup and caramelized. Add 2 tablespoons black soy sauce, 1 table spoon salt, 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice blends (or Thai "Palo" Powder), and 1/2 cup water.
  2. Place whole duck in that saucepan. Turn duck to get the sauce cover its skin as much as possible, until completely dark brown.
  3. Transfer duck and sauce mixture into a large pot. Add water to cover the whole duck. Simmer for about an hour, or until tender. Skim off the fat and foam from time to time.
  4. Taste the gravy and add seasonings if needed. I add more brown sugar and light soy sauce a couple of time. The flavor should be a combination of saltiness and sweetness, with a balance of five-spice aroma.
To assemble the noodle dish:
Cook rice noodle of your choice, place in the bowl with fresh beansprout. Add duck meat (shreded or cut in pieces), fried garlic, chopped green onions & cilantro. Then, pour the hot gravy-like broth in the bowl. Ground white pepper to finish. Thais usually add some condiments to their noodle dishes. The standard condiments on the Thai table, especially where noodles are served are fish sauce, chili powder, fresh chili in vinegar, and white sugar.We normally have personal ritual of adding these condiments in various ratio to our own flavor preference.

Wednesday, February 20

Yau Choy Stir-fry

Yau Choy - also known as Yu Choy, Yu Choy Sum, or Rapeseed Leave -  is a type of Bok Choy that looks like a thinner-stemmed version of Chinese Broccoli with pretty yellow flower buds. It is an excellent vegetable, especially for stir-fries because it cooks quickly and the stems, if not too big, don't need to be separated from the leaves.  
I stir-fry Yau Choy with chopped fresh garlic, ground pork, oyster sauce, and light soy sauce. Just add garlic to the heated oil, and add ground pork to cook. Then, add Yau Choy in with seasoning sauces and ground white pepper. Add a little water to add liquid for sauce. It doesn't take long to cook, the stems shouldn't be all the way soft and wilt. Serve with rice.

Saturday, February 16

Sweet Valentine

Who wouldn't love the beautiful heart-shaped gift box filled with delectable french macarons on Valentine's Day?
Macarons from A Piece O' Cake.

Thursday, February 14

Dinner with The Chef: The Exotic Asian Flavors fo Chef Corinne Trang

Last week, I attended an Evening with The Chef dinner event at the State Room Restaurant with my dear friends. Each of these ladies have a special place in my heart. We got together to catch up, enjoy each others company, and early-celebrate my birthday. The evening was part of Spring 2013 Visiting Chef Series - hosted by The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.
This 2-evening event is an absolute must for lovers of good food and wine. The first evening of Cooking Demonstration includes a lecture and demo of a 4-course meal. Samples of each course are served to attendees along with two wine selections. The following evening, guests enjoy "Dinner with the Chef" featuring a different 4 course meal prepare by the chef and served with wine pairings.
Chef Corinne Trang was our featured chef for the evening, and we absolutely fell in love with her. She is not only a chef but also award-winning cookbook author, spokesperson, wellness coach, TV personality, and more. She is also the founder of a hybrid wellness program called The Yoga of Food, combining mindful eating, yoga, and meditation. Here's what we had:
 Vietnamese Fresh Tofu Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
2010 Dr. Thanisch Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 
 Sweet and Sour Shrimp Soup
2011 Jolete' Pinot Noir Rose', Willamette Valley 
 Five Spice Duck with Sticky Rice in Bamboo Leaves and Curried Pineapple
2008 Four Vines Martinelli Vineyard Zinfandel, Paso Robles 
 Hot Coconut Tapioca with Banana
NV 2 Lads Sparkling Pinot Grigio, Old Mission Peninsula
We had such wonderful time! We enjoyed Chef Corinne's exotic Asian flavors, and her presence. She made sure to visit and say Hello to all the attendees - she is sweet and a lot of fun :)
The evening was very special for me, I am so thankful for having great friends who are always there for me - to support, and to celebrate with me. 

Thank you, ladies! 
With Chef Corinne Trang,
and Chef Rajeev (from Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center)

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