Thursday, January 23, 2014

Braised Pork with Chimichurri Pesto

Found my old collection of cooking magazines, down in the basement. It's like Christmas all over again :) Had fun going through them and finally one caught my attention. Braised pork with Chimichurri pesto. Got to admit, I hesitated a bit. Although I never heard any complaints when I served any greens, I was not sure how the kids would like the pesto. It's a lot of herbs. 

The next day I went grocery shopping, first thing I saw, pork shoulder was on discount.. talking about divine intervention! :)  So I decided to give it a try. I can always bake some pizza for the kids :)

Boy,  am I GLAD I tried this recipe. Turned out, they are ssooo good! Braising the pork shoulder in such a low temperature for a long time resulting in tender, succulent and flavorful meat. The pesto is not too strong either, kids love 'em. Leftover pesto, I added it to scramble eggs, toast and pasta.. yummy!

serving: 8

adapted from the Food & Wine Magazine

5 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed the fat and cut into 5 equal pieces
Salt and ground pepper
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups of water

Preheat oven to 275 F. Pat dry the pork shoulder, seasoned with salt and pepper. 

In a large skillet, melted the butter in oil. Then brown the pork all sides on high heat (3-4 minutes per side).

Transfer to an enameled cast-iron casserole. Add garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaf, stock and water. Bring to boil. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 1/2 hours. Transfer to a dish and keep warm.

Strain the liquid, return to the casserole and reduce by half over moderately high heat. Season with salt and pepper, add it to the pork and serve with chimichurri pesto (recipe below)


2 chopped garlic clove
1 seeded jalapeno
1 tsp salt
1 bunch curly-leaf parsley, stemmed
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stemmed
1/4 cup chopped oregano
3/4 cup good olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

In a mortar, mash the garlic and jalapeno, seasoned with salt.
Using a food processor, work in the parsley, oregano, olive oil and vinegar. Add the mashed garlic and jalapeno to the mixture. Process until nearly smooth. It will be pasty. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

I like to serve this dish with steamed rice on the side

Thank you for reading :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Fritata

Our family is a big fan of eggs. Hubby loves omelettes, daughter: scrambled, son: sunny side up .. and me? I love frittatas! They are quick and easy to make and healthy. Toss some salads on the side, you have a satisfying meal. Ingredients can be anything you find from the fridge, potato/cheese, mushroom/spinach, bacon/sausage, chorizo... but our family favorite is asparagus and smoked salmon.

adapted from - Emeril Lagasse

1 lb asparagus, discard tough ends, cut 1-inch diagonal
8 large eggs
3 ounces cream cheese, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
8 ounces smoked salmon, thinly slice
2 Tbsp chopped dill
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 F

Blanch the asparagus, drain, plunge into an ice-water bath. When it's chilled, remove from the water, drain well.

Whisk together eggs, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir in smoked salmon, dill and asparagus.

Use 10-inch nonstick, ovenproof skillet, to saute the onion with butter until softened (about 3 minutes). Reduced heat to low, pour the egg mixture. Cover and cook about 15 minutes, just until the bottom and sides are set.

Uncover and bake for 13 minutes. Remove frittata from the oven, sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for additional 2 minutes, just until the cheese is melted and eggs are cooked through.

Let frittata to cool before unmold and place it to a large serving plates. Cut into wedges and garnish with capers.

Thank you for reading :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jakarta Creamy Beef Soup with Coconut Milk (Soto Betawi)

Soto is an Indonesian traditional soup that mainly made with broth, meat and vegetable with a twist of spices. Some town or areas have their own version of soto. I'm from Bandung. Ours is made with clear beef broth, meat and slices of radish. Jakarta (or Betawi)  is the capital city of Indonesia, has different interpretation of soto. Coconut milk is added to the broth, which makes it so deep and rich in flavor.

A day before Christmas, my friend, Sendy, who lives 2 hours away, invited us to come for a visit. "I'll cook Soto Betawi," she said. Yaaayy! Nothing I love more than a get-together that involves comfort food from my childhood. So we stuffed our mini van with our two kids, couples pillows and blankets, few snack for on the road .. Oh! and we also took Toffee, our newest so-called bundle of joy, along with us :)

That was more than 2 weeks ago...

Then we had this massive winter storm that literally paralyzed the city we lived in, followed by below-zero temperature. I was tormented, desperate for another bowl of flavorful, soul-enriched, comfort soup. I just have to made some.

Before you scroll down to the recipe section below, here is the picture of Belinjo crackers, Kecap manis and fried shallot. You will NEED them to magically transform the soup into a perfection!

serves: 8

Ingredients A:
- 4 lbs beef shank, no bone
- 2 lbs beef tripe, preferably honeycomb type (if you are not a fan of beef tripe, you may substitute this with 1 lbs beef shank)
- water to cover
- 2 - 3 inches of cinnamon stick
- 1 nutmeg, smashed it so that it'll crack
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 6 cloves
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tomatoes
- lemon
- Kecap manis, Fried shallot and Belinjo crackers (see pictures below)

Ingredients B:
- 2 inches ginger, peeled skin, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 15 shallots, peeled
- 7 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp coriander seed, toasted (see notes)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 Tbsp oil

Clean the beef tripe by rinsing it with rubbing baking soda, let it sit 3-5 minutes then rinse with warm water. Then soak it with lemon and warm water for about 1 hour. Discard the water. Place the tripe on a soup pot, cover with cold water. Boil them with medium high heat, uncovered. Discard the water. Now the tripe are ready to cook.

Place beef shank in a large stock pot. Add water just to cover with the meat. Slowly bring to a boil. Don't be in a hurry to skim off any fat, you'll loose some flavor.

Add beef tripe, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, kaffir lime leaves, cloves and salt to the pot. Add more water, if necessary, to cover all meat and tripe. Bring to a boil one more time. Reduce the heat, simmer, covered for 1.5 hours or until the meat and tripe are tender.

Remove meat and tripe from the broth. Let it cool. Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes; the tripe into long stripes. Measure 12 cups of broth and return them to the stock pot. Add the meat and the tripe. Set it aside. If you have less than 12 cups, add water to the broth. Discard all spices and leaves.

Place all ingredients B in a food processor. Add more oil as needed to blend ingredients to a smooth paste.

Heat the oil on a deep wok, saute the paste until fragrant. Add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the stock pot with broth and meat. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Ladle the soup into a deep bowl. Add cut tomatoes and Belinjo crackers. Sprinkle with fried shallot and lemon juice and drizzle with kecap manis .. VOILA!!

Notes: Use a wide-frying pan, heat the coriander seeds on medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove the seeds when they darken and become fragrant

I hope you have the opportunity to try Soto Betawi recipe .. and when you do, please leave a feedback!
Thank you for reading my blog. 'Til next time ...  :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Easy Roasted Potatoes & Chicken

If your kids have tons of after-school activities like mine, then you might want to adopt this dish. Just add salad on the side .. and you're all set.

I was playing around with my flipboard and came across this incredible simple recipe. Thanks to Jessica Seinfeld and her new book: The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified.  She saved my family from weeknight's nightmares... you know .. it's-close-to-dinnertime-and-I've-no-idea-what-to-cook kind of nightmares

Between the busy month of November and December I have made this chicken at least 4 times already. No one's complaining. Hubby is happy 'cause it's inexpensive, I'm happy 'cause it's super easy, fast; and the kids are happy 'cause it's insanely delicious. Oh, and I can easily find what I need, right out of my pantry, too. See! Everybody's happy! :)

The end result? Super moist potatoes and crispy skin roasted chicken. Don't need to make extra 'cause you can always make a new fresh batch tomorrow .. in a flash!

Here  it is ..

adapted from The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolute Terrified by Jessica Seinfield

2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs),
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves (about 2 sprigs)
2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 lbs in total)
4 chicken drumstick (about 1 lb in total)
2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

1. Move the oven rack in the low position. Heat your oven to 425 F.

2. On a large ovenproof skillet (I use aluminum-covered roasting pan instead), scattered the onion slices.

3. Slices the potatoes 1/4 inc thick, don't have to peel the skin. Place it on top of the onions, overlapping as necessary. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Wash and dry the rosemary sprigs then pull the leaves from their sprigs and sprinkle all over the potatoes.

4. Wash the chicken. Pat them dry with paper towel.

5. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, garlic powder, cayene powder remaining salt and black pepper. With you finger, rub the spices on both sides of the chicken. Lay the chicken on top of the potatoes, skin side up. Roast them about 1 hour, until chicken is no longer pink on the inside.

Notes: If you have extra time in hand, cook some rice. They go so well with this honey! 

Thank you for reading my blog! :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Brazilian Cheese Roll (Pao de Queijo)

Pao de Queijo is one of Brazil's most popular breakfast food or snack. They taste best when served warm. These puffs are slightly crispy from the outside but soft, chewy and moist on the inside.

First time I had them was 12 years ago. Andy and I were celebrating our FIRST anniversary at one of Fogo de Chao's chain in Chicago. Well, let's just say .. I am a meat-eater.. a BIG fan that is.. but instead of trying out the 11 different of type of those succulent meats, I was busy stuffing my face with the newly-found, scrumptious, little balls of heaven. 

So my new obsession begun. After doing some research, turned out there are many ways to make them. 

One method includes making a choux in which you boiled the flour and wet ingredients first before baking, and there is another method that called out for cooked potatoes as one of the ingredients. 

Recipe after recipe I've tried but none yielded a perfect result like I want them to be. Instead of chewy, they ended up rubbery. Instead of being puffed, they sank (and so does my heart...). 

Until I found this recipe, the best and easiest. No fuss. Even my 9 y.o daughter, Abby, loooves to do this on her own. (ps: she is an "all-cheese" lover and, just like her mom, kinda obsessed to bake these cheese puffs to a perfection). 

You might want to experiment with different type of cheese. We tried Cheddar, Parmesan, Jack pepper and my fave cheese, Havarti but the authentic recipe called for Brazilian cheese queijo minasHere is the basic recipe. Feel free to add some herbs or flavoring to the mixture.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

About Mommy Makes

Welcome to Mommy Makes!

I'm Fen. I am a wife and a mother, who tries so hard to balance home-management, kids activities, school involvement and a myriad of other things. I love to cook and bake but dislike the clean ups and dirty dishes. I am not a chef. Never been in a culinary school. I taught myself pretty much... everything!! :) I'm all about flavorful dishes and deliciousness. By starting this blog perhaps I could share what I have learned and hopefully inspire you to create something wonderful right from the comfort of your home.

When I'm not busy doing my mommy's duty, you can find me curling up on the couch with my family or doing all crafty stuff with my kids. Once a year, usually in summer, dearest hubby would take us on a trip. I love being able to see different things, taste different foods, experience different cultures .. but mostly, I get to practice my photography skill :)

I was born in Bandung, Indonesia. I grew up there until I was 18. So, you see, English is not my first language. Please forgive the occasional weird phrases and grammatical mistakes. I promise to try my best to write as decently as I can.

Now, let me introduce you to Mommy Makes' staff.

Andy, my hubby, is an engineer from 7-6. At home, he is my personal taste-tester, food critique and occasionally, manual dishwasher. If he's no-likey, recipe wont make it to this blog :)  Sometimes he would cook for me. We called him "eyeball-it chef" :)

Abby, my girl, my personal sous-chef and my editor of grammar and spelling :) Despite of her petite looks, she has a pretty well-developed taste buds. Her favorite foods are all kinds cheese, sushi and sashimi, smoked salmon, fatty tuna, medium rare steaks.

My other sous chef is my youngest, Matthew. He always try to describe my cooking, in the way Andrew Zimmern describes unique taste of the food that he's eating. His favorite foods is sushi and noodles. He loves spicy foods.

Last but not the least, our lovable Chi-mix, Toffee, who looooves to take up resident on my feet while I'm doing the preps in the kitchen. Toffee is our occasional crumb vacuum. Celery and cucumber are among his favorite foods.

I love comments and feedback so please don’t hesitate to contact me at
or simply just leave a comment on my blog. Can't wait to hear from you!

Thank you for reading!