Créme Caramel

Créme Caramel, by Reggie Soang

Creme Caramel
Makes: 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes (not including inactive time)

Custard Base:
2 cups/430g whole milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup/115g sugar
1/4 t salt

1/2 cup/230g sugar
1 tablespoon water

  1. Pre-heat oven at 325F.
  2. For the custard base, combine milk, eggs, sugar, and salt, with a blender or whisk. 
  3. To make caramel, heat sugar and water until an appealing brown. Pour it into ramekins and swirl the ramekins to make sure it covers the bottom. Cool down completely into a hard candy.
  4. Set up an ovenproof roasting pan and fill the pan so that the water comes half-way up the sides of the pan. Pour in the custard base and place the ramekins inside the roasting pan. Cover the roasting pan with a tin foil. 
  5. Bake the custard for 30 minutes. Once the custard is set, remove them to a rack to cool, and then refrigerate for several hours until thoroughly chilled.

Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt, by Reggie Soang

Homemade Yogurt
Makes: 24 oz. 

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes (not including inactive time)

1 pint/2cup Whole Milk
8 oz. Yogurt

  1. Bring the milk to scalding hot (just below boiling point, around 200F/93C), turn off the heat and let it cool down for 30 minutes (temperature will be around 105F/40C). Add yogurt. Let sit in room temperature and cover with a plastic for 6 to 8 hours. 
  2. Refrigerate the homemade yogurt, and it could last for a week.

Homeschooling Meals – Tuscan Bread Soup (Ribollita)

Ribollita, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for YouTube video)

Ribollita is a delicious soup from the Tuscan region of Italy. The soup is made with loads of vegetables and white beans traditionally. I am using chickpeas for the nuttier flavor, and rather than using kale in a conventional recipe, I am substituting savoy cabbage because it’s packed with umami when cooked in a tomato stew. The heart of the soup is the added breadcrumbs at the end. Though traditionally, stale bread is used, anything that could soak up and thicken the soup is welcome. Adding breadcrumbs gives the soup a nice and pillowy texture when sipping on the broth. Ribollita is a wonderful meal at the end of a long day.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

For the Stew:
1/2 cup EVOO
1 cup diced onions, medium dice
2 cups chopped carrots, 1 to 2 inch thick cuts on the bias
2 cups chopped celery, 2-inch long cut
1 head garlic, cut in chunks
1/4 cup chopped parsley stems, 1-inch long cut
1/2 head of savoy cabbage, cut into large chunks
2 teaspoon dried chili
1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
2 cups chopped sweet potatoes, large dice
4 cups water or liquid from cooking the chickpeas
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or cooked cannellini beans)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (or panko)

For Pesto:
1 cup chopped parsley, finely chopped
4 tablespoons EVOO
3 cloves fresh garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. In a soup pot, heat up the olive oil at medium-high heat and cook onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley stems until flavors combine. Add Cabbage and cook until wilted and tender. Add dried chilies, black pepper, sweet potatoes, and liquid. Cook until all the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, and cooked chickpeas. Simmer the pot until the stew has thickened and reduced about 1/3.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto by grating garlic into a bowl and mix in with olive oil and a splash of water. Mix garlic mixture until creamy and fold in chopped parsley. Add lemon juice to help bring the sauce together. 
  4. After the stew is reduced, add breadcrumbs and stir them in gently. Once the breadcrumbs become like little curds, the stew is done. Taste to season. Bon Appétit!

Homeschooling Meals – Steamed Egg Custard (aka. chawanmushi)

Chawanmushi, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for YouTube video)

Chawanmushi is a savory egg-based pudding. Simply mix eggs with a flavored liquid and bake them in a water bath, you’d end up with a silken tofu-like custard that is smooth and comforting. In addition to the eggs, add thinly sliced carrots, scallions, ginger, and chilies, you’d have a delightful egg dish as the centerpiece of your meal. Steamed rice is a great complement to chawanmushi.

For the latest New Lifestyle Home Cooking Series:

Serves: 4 Portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

4 eggs
2 + 2/3 cups dashi or chicken stock
4 teaspoon mirin
4 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of MSG
1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots, on the bias
1/4 cup thinly sliced mushroom, either dried or fresh
2 stalks of scallions, sliced on the bias
1-inch knob of ginger, sliced to thin strips
Half a piece jalapeño, thinly sliced

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. To make the egg mix, beat the eggs until foamy and loose and strain. Add mirin, soy sauce, salt, and MSG to the stock and mix well. And then mix in the beaten eggs.
  3. Prep the veggies accordingly. Meanwhile, boil enough water that could fill a roasting tray halfway up.
  4. Set up a roasting tray with a clean kitchen towel at the bottom. Place ramekins or soup bowls in the roasting tray, leaving some space in between. Evenly distribute veggies among the bowls and divide up the egg mixture equally as well.
  5. Pour hot water into the roasting tray until it reaches halfway up. Cover the roasting tray with a piece of tin foil and put the tray in the oven. Depending on the size of your bowls or ramekins; a 6-inch wide and 2-inch deep bowl will take about 50 minutes to cook, while a 3.5-inch and 2-inch deep bowl will take about 25 minutes to cook
  6. To test the doneness of chawanmushi, insert a skewer into the middle of the bowl and it should come out clean. Let rest for 5 minutes with the cover on and then dig in! Bon Appétit!

Homeschooling Meals – Chicken Stroganoff

Chicken Stroganoff, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

Stroganoff might sound foreign, but it is just a stir fry with added sour cream and mustard. Paprika, fennel seeds, and green cardamom are just a few spices that make this dish sign. Stroganoff could also be easily adapted as a vegetarian dish by switching out meat with more mushrooms; oyster mushroom would be a great substitute as it is meaty and packs with umami flavor. Add just enough sour cream to enrich the sauce and keep it light for a late spring dish.

For New Lifestyle Latest Cooking Series:

Chicken Stroganoff
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

For Stroganoff:
4 pieces of chicken thighs, skin on
3 tablespoons cooking oil, for marinade
2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 cloves fresh garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cooking oil, for sautéing vegetables
2 cups quartered button mushroom
1 cup sliced onions, in strips
2 cups sliced red bell peppers, in strips
4 cloves garlic, silvered
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup water or chicken stock, 
3 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1/2 cup frozen green peas, defrosted

For Rice:
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 cloves green cardamom 
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 + 1/2 cup long-grain rice
2 + 2/3 cups water

  1. Make the chicken marinade by mixing oil, paprika, chili powder, and grated garlic. Rub the marinade over the chicken and let rest for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the veggies and cook the rice.
  3. To cook the rice, heat up a medium pot with oil in it on medium-low heat. Add fennel seeds and green cardamom and toast until fragrant. 
  4. Add tomato paste and paprika and toast until fragrant.
  5. Add rice and toast rice until nice and toasty (add more oil for toasting if you need to).
  6. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until all the water is absorbed. Leave the cover on for 10 more minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork.
  7. Pre-heat oven at 350F for roasting chicken thighs.
  8. Once the chicken is ready, add 1 tablespoon of oil per thigh into a skillet and cook the chicken on high heat. Sear the chicken skin side down until nice and golden brown. Flip the chicken over onto a baking tray and slide it into the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until nice and juicy. 
  9. Meanwhile, on high heat, using the same skillet and adding new oil, heat the oil until shimmering and add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until golden brown, and then add onions, red peppers, and garlic and cook until caramelized. 
  10. Add tomato paste and paprika and cook until fragrant and sticky. Add water or stock to deglaze the pan. Reduce the liquid by a quarter and turn off the heat.
  11. Add sour cream and grain mustard and stir them in. Fold in peas to finish.
  12. To serve, ladle stroganoff over rice and serve the chicken on the side. Bon Appétit!

Homeschooling Meals – Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

An American classic combo here for the family and kids. Tomato soup is light and healthy; it is mainly made with tomatoes and veggies, with a tiny pad of butter to finish. A grilled cheese with flatbread gives a fun twist to a classic version; this modern grilled cheese has three types of cheese to help achieve the essence of a perfect grilled cheese: stretch and gooey.

For the latest Happy Lifestyle Home Cooking Series:

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

For tomato Soup:
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup grated red onion
5 cloves fresh garlic, grated
1 cup grated carrots
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
1 chicken bouillon cube, Knorr brand (optional)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon AP flour
1 tablespoon sliced scallions, for garnish
1 tablespoon of sour cream, optional for garnish

For Grilled Cheese
4 slices flatbread (or any bread you have on hand)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated cheddar
4 slices American yellow cheese

  1. Take out 1 tablespoon of butter and leave it to soften at room temperature
  2. Heat up a medium pot on medium-high heat. Add oil and cook red onions, garlic, carrots until tender and fragrant
  3. Add tomato paste and cook until fragrant
  4. Add dried oregano and fresh thyme and cook until fragrant
  5. Add whole peeled tomatoes, water, and chicken bouillon, otherwise, add 2 teaspoons of salt to season. Bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft to mash.
  6. Blend the tomato soup in a blender until smooth. Meanwhile using a fork, mix softened butter with 1 tablespoon of flour until forming a paste. Pour the soup back into a pot and add the butter mixture and whisk to combine. Bring the soup back to a simmer and keep whisking for 1 minute. Adjust seasoning and set it aside.
  7. To make grilled cheese, lay half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese onto two pieces of flatbread and follow by adding American cheese. Add the other half of the mozzarella and cheddar on top of American cheese. Cover the cheeses with the other two pieces of flatbread. 
  8. Fit a piece of parchment paper in a skillet and brush it with oil. Put one grilled cheese sandwich on top and cook until nice and crispy at the bottom. Flip the sandwich over and cook the other side until brown and crispy as well. Do the same with the second sandwich. Cut grilled cheese into wedges like pizza, and serve with hot tomato soup. Garnish the soup with scallions and sour cream. Bon Appétit!

Homeschooling Meals – Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

When time is not on your side, make chicken noodle soup. Once the veggies are chopped, the cooking steps are straight forward. Cook the veggies to concentrate the sweetness, toast the spices to release the flavors, and then add the liquid and chicken to make the broth. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook until all the ingredients are nice and tender. A pot of chicken noodle soup is the ultimate comfort food on any given day.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves: 4 portion

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup sliced mushroom 
1 cup medium diced carrots
1 cup medium diced onions
1 cup medium diced celery
4 cloves garlic, silvered
1 1-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon dried oregano
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorn
1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 chicken bouillon cube, Knorr brand (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 + 1/2 cup water
1 + 1/2 cup diced chicken, either cooked or raw
2 portions linguine, portions are according to the package
1 tablespoon chopped scallions, for garnish
1 teaspoon EVOO
1 wedge of lemon

  1. Heat up a medium-size pot on high heat, add cooking oil and sauté mushrooms until slightly browned, and then add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Cook the veggies until almost tender.
  2. Add ginger, dried oregano, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add black peppercorn, chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, stock, and water. Add chicken if using raw. Bring the pot to a boil and turn down to simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked and the veggies are tender (if using cooked chicken, add it last after the broth is made).
  4. Meanwhile, have a pot of water boiling, snap linguine into 3 parts and cook 10 minutes until tender. Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Check the chicken and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice, drizzles of EVOO, and chopped scallions. Bon Appétit!

Mother’s Day Special – Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

Yorkshire pudding is the best to complement a roast dinner. Put some delicious chicken and veggies inside of the pudding, it’s a mouthful of ecstasy. Yorkshire pudding is also great for mopping up the sauce at the bottom of the plate…amazing ending to a beautiful roast dinner!

For Mother’s Day, 2020

Yorkshire Pudding
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

1 cup eggs (3 jumbo size, 4 large size)
1 cup milk
1 cup AP flour
Cooking oil

  1. Whisk together eggs and milk first, and then add AP flour. Whisk until nice and smooth. Let batter rest at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  2. Pre-heat oven at 500F 15 minutes before you want to bake Yorkshire pudding. Using a muffin tin, put 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in as many cups as you want to make the pudding. Put the muffin tin on another baking tray and slide them into the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.
  3. Once the timer is up, carefully take the muffin tin out and pour 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cups. Set timer for 13 minutes.
  4. After time is up, carefully take the muffin tin out and lift the Yorkshire pudding out of the cups, and then invert them onto a sheet of paper towel to drain off excess oil. Yorkshire pudding should be nice and crispy on the outside and feels light to the touch.
  5. Serve Yorkshire pudding with a roast dinner or have it with eggs for breakfast. Bon Appétit!

Mother’s Day Special – Grapefruit Salad

Grapefruit Salad, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

A simple grapefruit salad opens up the appetite for a more comforting main course. To balance out the bitter, yet joyful, flavor of grapefruit, add some crunch with radishes, some sharpness with scallions and cilantro. This salad is best served right away with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and drizzles of EVOO.

For Mother’s Day, 2020

Grapefruit Salad with Radishes, Cilantro, Scallions
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes

3 Grapefruit
4 pieces radishes, sliced into 1/16-inch coins
2 stalk scallions, sliced 1/8-inch thick on the bias
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons EVOO
salt, to taste

  1. To peel a grapefruit, sliced the top and bottom off and set it on the cutting board. Slant the knife inward at 45 degrees and cut the peels off from top to bottom of the grapefruit. Trim off any excess pith. Turn the grapefruit over and sliced it into 1/4-inch thick puck or wedges.
  2. Place grapefruit slices in the middle of the plate and drizzle 2 tablespoons of each lemon juice and EVOO over them. Sprinkle a pinch of salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, dress the radishes, scallions, and cilantro leaves with the rest of lemon juice and EVOO, add salt to taste. Sprinkle the radishes, scallions, and cilantro around the plate, and then some on top of the grapefruit. Serve immediately. Bon appétit!

Mother’s Day Special – Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Roasted Chicken and Veggies, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

Roasted Chicken and veggies are some of the best dishes to cook for a special occasion. With a little bit of planning, the chicken will be roasted just in time for dinner with everything else falling into place. My way of roasting chicken is easy and manageable. I also blanch the veggies prior to roasting; therefore, all the veggies will be tender, juicy, and evenly cooked at the end. Ideally, you want to marinate the chicken overnight. However, if time is short, season the chicken a few hours before cooking and rub it generously with EVOO.

For Mother’s Day Special, 2020

Roasted Chicken and Veggies
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 30 Minutes (including making chicken marinade)
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes (not including marinating time)

For the Marinade
1 whole chicken, around 3.5#
1 head fresh garlic, peeled
1 bunch parsley
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup EVOO

For Roasted Chicken:
5 small Yukon potatoes
5 small carrots
2 small red onions
1 head garlic
3 stalks celery
1 Roma tomato, halved
Small bunch of thyme
Any leftover chicken marinade
1/2 cup chicken stock, for making the sauce, using water is fine

Marinating Chicken Overnight

  1. To make the marinade, blitz garlic, parsley, chili powder, salt, and EVOO in a food processor until pesto consistency, chunky and saucy. 
  2. Cut the backbone off the chicken by cutting through both sides of the vertebrae. Starting from the neck, use the tip of the knife to cut through the tiny bones next to the vertebrae, and then use the back of the knife to cut through the thicker part of the bones toward the end of the chicken. Open the chicken up like a book. 
  3. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and refrigerate overnight

The Next Day

  1. Take the chicken out at least 1 hour before roasting.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 450F
  3. Prep your veggies by peeling potatoes, carrots, onions, but leave them whole
  4. Break up a heard of garlic but don’t peel them
  5. Wash celery stalks and cut them into 3 inch long
  6. Put potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions in a pot of cold water and bring the water up to a boil. Immediately strain the veggies. Once the veggies are cool enough to handle, cut carrots  in half lengthwise. Quarter potatoes and onions. 
  7. Toss the pre-heated veggies with leftover rub or with EVOO, salt, and black pepper.
  8. Add the veggies, plus tomatoes and thyme to a roasting tray. Put the chicken right on top of the veggies and put the roasting tray on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 45 minutes. 
  9. Check the chicken after 20 minutes to make sure the skins are not getting browned too quickly. If you have a thermometer, the breast should be at 150~153F and the thighs should be at 170~173F after 45 minutes. The temperature of the chicken will reach 165F, as recommended by the USDA. *Don’t cook your chicken to 165F, because the chicken will keep on cooking after you take it out of the oven and dry out.
  10. Rest the roasted chicken for at least 30 minutes before carving to retain most of the juice. 
  11. While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. Scrape all the juice and brown bits off the roasting tray into a pot, and then add some water or chicken stock to make the sauce. Bring the sauce up to a boil and adjust the seasoning. Reduce the sauce to the consistency that you prefer.
  12. Cut up the chicken into 12 pieces: cut off two wings, cut each breast into 3 pieces, and cut off the drumsticks from the thighs. 
  13. Serve the chicken on top of the roasted veggies, and then pour the sauce all over. Bon Appétit!