28 September 2011

Ultra Pride

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Ever since I bought my robin blue Kitchenaid, I haven't lusted after any other kitchen appliance.

One would say I'm a pretty blessed woman. I have a cast iron cocotte for stews and braises, a Microplane for crazy fine shavings of parmesan without so much as lifting my pinkie, a Calphalon Chef's Pan for Sunday morning fry-ups or Sunday night paella (works just as well, from stove to oven) and an electric knife sharpener so I never have to struggle when slicing tomatoes for salads, among many other splurges for the kitchen. Don't get me wrong here, I don't regret any of these purchases, but I have to strike a balance between fattening my kitchen with yet another tool that will trim my cooking time and effort by another 5-10%, and simply simply saving up for a 'nest' (boy do I hate being an adult).

But even as I try to be more sensible in my daily expenditure, I find I cannot help but lust after the Ultra Pride (pictured above). After spending a phenomenal two and a half hours the previous weekend pounding away at turmeric, lemongrass, garlic and (my worst enemy) dried chillies to create Assam Laksa, I decided that all the effort was not worth it. While it was a somewhat successful attempt at the dish, even as I was chowing down the slippery rice noodle with the thick flavorful mackerel-based soup, I told myself that the next time I wanted to make Assam Laksa, I would abandon the idea as quickly as the idea came to mind.

That was until I chanced upon the Ultra Pride. Reading posts on egullet about how it mechanically pounds both wet and dry spices into a reluctant but smooth paste, I'm thinking this might be it. This might be just what the chef prescribed to demolish that wall between me and all other delectable Southeast Asian dishes. Beef rendang, Thai green curry, Mee Siam even, or Laksa Lemak! Perhaps it is time to take another plunge towards making my kitchen that bit more perfect and away from you-know-what. (!)

27 September 2011

Radicchio Salad

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I blogged about Orangette's wonderful read, and the accompanying recipes before. I haven't yet (cross fingers!) attempted a recipe of hers that doesn't work like a dream. Not only have they been a cinch to put together, they have always been packed with flavor. Her Radicchio Salad with Garlic and Black Pepper epitomises this beautifully.

Using a sharp mandolin (not sure why you would keep a blunt one anyway), thinly shred a small head of radicchio. Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and olive oil each, to a minced clove of garlic and a dash of black pepper. Pick up a shred of radicchio, dip it into the dressing and eat it. Adjust dressing if necessary - I added just a tad more lemon juice and olive oil for a more luscious coating to each shred. Serve with parmesan shavings and tuck in!