Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cream White Corn Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

Creamy Sweet Corn Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

I grew up with creamy corn soup since I was little, did you?  It's probably one of my best friends at the dinner table (or late night supper) in my college years as well!  Unfortunately, those that I had devoured without the slightest hint of hesitation were limited to the canned version. ahem....


I have to say, I loved the canned version, too.  That was kind of like comfort food to me.  So, why make it from scratch, you might ask?  It's simply because that's the difference between a pretty good soup, and a totally awesome one!  Yes, try it once with the fresh corns and you'll never turn your head back to the canned isle in the supermarket, ever again!  And really, there isn't a lot more work to do to put this fresh Creamy White Corn Soup together compared to the canned version.  So, that little step of chopping the fresh corn kernels off the cobs is well worth the investment of your time. 

Creamy Sweet Corn Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

There’s a little secret in making this soup nice and thick, creamy without using too much cream.  Ready for the secret?  The natural starch from the fresh corn.  To be more specific, the starch between the corn kennels and the cobs.  So, make sure to scrape the cob real good to release the starchy power!  Oh, there’s one more thing, my childhood version of this soup didn’t have the fancy crispy prosciutto on top, of course.  But that’s a wonderful addition and simply turning this soup from homemade comforts to somewhat gourmet. 

Creamy Sweet Corn Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

Want to see how I make this Creamy White Corn Soup with Crispy Prosciutto?  Follow me to the kitchen!

1) Preheat oven to 375 degree F.  Place prosciutto on a silpat/parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

2) Remove from heat and let cool on wiring rack.

3) Simply make sure each corn kennel is nice and plum, and not dried up.  Don’t be afraid to peek inside the husk.  And only remove the husk right before cooking.  That would keep your corns nice and fresh for the longest time.

4) Cut corn kernels off the cobs.  

Pictorial 1

5) M
ake sure to scrape the starch off the cobs as you cut.

6) In a large saucepan, bring the corn and chicken stock to a boil. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 5 minutes.  I used a low sodium chicken broth, you can use anything you like, even vegetable stock would be nice in here as well.

7) Remove the soup from heat, with a handheld blender, puree the soup to your prefer consistency. You can also do that with a blender or food processor too.

Season the soup with granulated garlic, parsley, white pepper and salt, to taste.

Pictorial 2

9) In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and water together until smooth and no big lumps.

10) If you used a blender, return soup to the saucepan and reheat. 
Slowly add the corn starch slurry while gently stirring the soup.  Let soup return to a boil.

11) Then, remove from heat and stir in the cream.

12) Ladle soup into bowls and crumble cooled prosciutto on top. Enjoy!

Pictorial 3

You might noticed that I used white corns here.  I think they are sweeter than the yellow ones.  But of course, you can use either, or both.  The natural sweetness from the corns is amazing.  The crispy and salty prosciutto on top compliment this creamy soup perfectly.  I hope you’ll take advantage of the sweet corn season (From May through October) and give this recipe a try.   Do you have a favorite corn recipe?  Don’t forget to share in the comment below.  I would love to try them too.

Creamy Sweet Corn Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops

Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops

Last week, I made these Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops for someone’s house warming party.  I think they made quite an unique and elegant centerpiece.  Don’t you agree? Best of all, they can also double duty as dessert for the gathering.  How cool is that?  If you have medium size glasses or vase, fill them up with sugar and you can easily arrange the flower pops on top, pretty much like arranging real flowers (I made myself sound like an expert in arranging real flowers while I had close to zero experience on that subject matter! ha!) 

Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops

I absolutely adore how cute these flower pops turned out.  You can check out the Strawberry macaron shells recipe here.  But instead of piping them in circles, I piped some in flower shapes.  Once the macaron shells are baked, simply pipe the strawberry buttercream fillings onto one shell, gently press a lollipop stick in the middle and press on another macaron shell.  (I used these lollipop sticks.) Then, your Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops are ready for display and admiration! 

Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops

Besides house warming parties, I think these flower pops are also perfect for bridal showers, tea parties, weddings, to celebrate Spring, or simply, just because.  My little girl love them and she was so excited when she saw these pops!  The smile and excitement on her face was precious!  So, make some flower pops, and make someone happy.  The satisfaction and happiness you’ll receive in return are priceless!   

Last but not least, I want to wish you all a wonderful Easter weekend!

Strawberry Macaron Flower Pops

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Smoked Salmon Blossom Appetizer with Cucumber and Herbed Cream Cheese

Smoked Salmon  Blossom Appetizer with Cucumber and Herbed Cream Cheese

I have been really into the Spring time spirit lately.  It's a wonderful time of the year; the weather is perfect, spring break is on the way, and I really look forward to spend some time with the kiddos for the time off.  It's always a great time to get together with friends and have a little party or gatherings as well.  And this Smoked Salmon  Blossom Appetizer is just want you needed to put on the menu.  It's easy to prepare, elegant, and super scrumptious!

Smoked Salmon  Blossom Appetizer with Cucumber and Herbed Cream Cheese

For this Smoked Salmon Blossom Appetizer with Cucumber and Herbed Cream Cheese, I used crispy brioche toasts as the base.  (Click here to see the one I used.)  Then, topped with a spread of creamy and tangy herbed cream cheese, cover with a layer of refreshing and crunchy cucumber slices, and finally, the star of the show, a slice of flavorful and fatty smoked salmon rolled into a blossom.  The combined flavor is simply amazing and I love that it's like a beautiful garden on a plate.

Smoked Salmon  Blossom Appetizer with Cucumber and Herbed Cream Cheese

It's really simple to prepare and here's the step-by-step pictorial and a few tips for your reference.

1) In a small bowl, stir the lemon juice, sour cream, and chopped dill with the cream cheese until well combined.  The key is to use room temperature or softened cream cheese.  That would make it a lot easier to mix all ingredients together.

2) Spread a thin layer of the herbed cream cheese on the each toast.  You can also use your favorite cracker as well.  Just make sure that you assemble these right before serving so the crackers won't get soggy.

3) Top the cream cheese with a few thinly slices of cucumber on top, let the cucumber slices to over-lay each other a little.  I used Persian Cucumbers for this recipe.  The skin of the cucumber is tender and edible; it's pretty much seedless and perfect for this recipe.  You can use a mandolin to thinly slice the cucumber, but I found that a sharp knife did a way better job.

4) Last but not least, roll the smoked salmon into the shape of a rose.  Simply pick up one end of the salmon and roll it tightly, starting from the center.  it'll form into a blossom easily.  Of course, you can garnish with a small spring of dill on the side as well.


I hope you'll give this beautiful appetizer a try.  I'm sure you and your guests will love it.  As they are so easy to prepare and so much fun to eat.  Until next time.  Please take care and enjoy the nice weather of Spring!

Smoked Salmon  Blossom Appetizer with Cucumber and Herbed Cream Cheese

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lemon and Strawberry Cream Sandwich Cookies

Lemon and Strawberry Cream Sandwich Cookies

Easter is just around the corner.  I truly adore this time of the year as Springs symbolized growth and new lives.  (In case if you wonder...NO, I'm not pregnant, I'm just referring to my plants in the garden!)  Another great news for foodies?  It’s the strawberry season!  Although I pretty much get strawberries all year round in California, I know many of you had been looking forward to the strawberry harvest time for a while.  The inspiration for these Lemon and Strawberry Cream Sandwich Cookies?  The Easter bunny of course.  And I love pairing strawberries with lemons, as the refreshing and citrus aroma compliment well with the sweet and tart strawberries.  Okay, these are not exactly Easter bunnies as you might already knew.  It’s a very famous children books/cartoon character called MiffyClick here to the link for the Miffy Cookie Cutters if you’re interested.    

Lemon and Strawberry Cream Sandwich Cookies

I added some almond meal (almond flour) in the cookie dough for a hint of nutty flavor.  The cookies are packed with lemon zests and the lemony aroma truly shines through in these cookies.  The cookies alone are wonderful and makes perfect ice cream toppers, such as this one.  The strawberry cream filling is one of the easiest fillings I've ever made.  Yet, it’s packed with wonderful strawberry goodness and flavor.  Both the cookies and strawberry cream are not overly sweet.  But if you like yours sweeter, feel free to add a bit more powdered sugar when you make the fillings. 

Lemon and Strawberry Cream Sandwich Cookies

I can’t wait to take my Kiddos out to the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  I know, that sounds like a big even/outing.  Actually, we usually just “hunt” the goodies packed plastic eggs at the backyard.  However, my kids always look forward to it and enjoy it so much every time.  I love it when little things in life like this can bring so much joy to them.  Do you have any plans for Easter?  I would love to hear from you.  

Lemon and Strawberry Cream Sandwich Cookies

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam

Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam

Yes, yes and yes!  You’ve read that right, it’s Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam!!  It’s as luscious, decadent, rich, ridiculously good and irresistible as it sounds!!!  Yes, it has Bourbon, maple syrup, and of course, bacons in it;  all transformed into this jam!!!!  I think I’ve used too many exclamation marks in my sentences!  But who cares?  When you have something as outrageous as Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam, it deserves all the exclamation marks out there!!!  Oops, sorry for using the marks again but I just couldn't help it. 

Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam

This Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam is truly amazing!  The Bourbon gives this jam a wonderful depth of flavor.  The maple syrup adds an earthy and smoky sweetness that compliment well with the smoky and salty bacon.  I used some uncured apple wood smoked bacon here.  You can use anything that you like.  I also added some apple cider vinegar to cut the richness from the bacon and that adds a wonderful tang to this jam.  The fresh ginger and red pepper flakes give this jam the heat and spiciness that balance well with the sweetness from the brown sugar and maple.  The flavor combination is complex, yet, it’s pure indulgence that you don’t want to miss.  After all, who can resist bacon? Oink Oink....

Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam

Best of all, this Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam is a cinch to make.  Come on into the kitchen with me to see how it’s done:

1) In a large stainless steel skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown and crisp; drain out melted fat/oil as necessary, stirring frequently, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

2) Remove fat from pan but leave 1 tablespoon of fat in pan. In the same skillet, add onions, shallots and garlic and cook over medium heat, until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in red pepper flakes and ginger, stir and mix well.

3) Increase heat to high and add the bourbon and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrap up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then, add vinegar and brown sugar; let mixture come to a boil again.

4) Next, add the reserved bacon and reduce to low heat. Let the mixture simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick glaze, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of a chunky jam. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!
Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam Pictorial

Super easy to prepare, right?  One of my favorite way to serve this jam is spread it on toasts and serve with fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme leaves.  The freshness from the tomato and thyme really compliment the richness of the jam.  Go ahead, make some and share the wealth.  This jam would definitely make a wonderful homemade gift.  I also have a few more serving suggestions at the end of the recipe.  Feel free to check them out.  What is your favorite indulging ingredient?  Is it bacon? Chocolate? Or something else.  I would love to hear from you.  
Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam