Sichuan Chili Oil

Sichuan Chili Oil
Chili oil is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines and it's super easy to make your own! At it's base chili oil is oil and chili pepper flakes! You simply heat the oil, add the chili pepper flakes and let cool/sit so that the chili pepper heat is infused into the oil! You can add extra flavours to the chili oil making it more complex with common additions being garlic and ginger. This is a Sichuan chili oil because of the use of Sichuan peppercorns which add a nice lemony aroma along with creating a slight tingly numbness in the mouth which goes perfectly with the spicy heat of the chili peppers. Sichuan peppercorns come in green and red and you can typically find the in an Asian/Chinese grocery store, though they are usually labeled poorly so you have to look at what's in the package to make sure you are getting the right thing. This Sichuan chili oil is spiced with hints of cinnamon, star anise and black cardamom and I tend to use Korean style chili pepper flakes as they are easy to come by. (I use the same chili pepper flakes in my homemade kimchi.) Once made, this chili oil will last for months in a sealed container in the fridge.

Ultimate Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Ultimate Fudgy Cocoa Brownies
Brownies have to be one of my all time favourite treats and I like them nice and thick, moist and fudgy! The trick to getting fudgy brownies is to have a higher fat to flour ratio and to have more moisture and this recipe accomplishes this by using 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, and 4 eggs to 1 cup flour and 1 cup cocoa powder. Using half brown sugar increases the moisture in the brownies and adds an extra layer of flavour and a small amount of oil also adds to the fudgy-ness. The next trick to keeping these brownies nice and moist is to not over bake them! You want to pull these brownies out of the oven a little early and allow them to finish baking in the pan as they cool outside of the oven; having said that, these brownies are so easy to make! You simply mix the wet ingredients, mix in the dry ingredients, pour into a baking pan and bake! All said and done you are in the ultimate fudgy cocoa brownie heaven in about 30 minutes!

Oh, right, I almost forgot to mention the huge chunk of dark chocolate! I like to cut 2 full dark chocolate bars up into huge chunks and bake them into the brownies! Those chunks of chocolate are so amazing when they are still warm from the oven and the chocolate is nice and melted, ooey-gooey and good! Lava brownies anyone? The chunks of chocolate are also fantastic when cool, giving the fudgy brownies a nice solid bite! Enough talking about these brownies, it's time to get to baking some!

Mexican Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Mexican Shredded Beef Enchiladas
Enchiladas are are always welcome in my books! You really can't go wrong taking a tasty filling, wrapping it up in a tortilla, smothering it with sauce and cheese and baking it until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is all nice and melted and good! These enchiladas are stuffed with tender Mexican pulled beef and a chipotle and ancho enchilada sauce with a hint of cocoa. Although I could devour an entire batch of these shredded beef enchiladas just with the meat, sauce, tortillas and melted cheese, I also like to top them with some cool and fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and queso fresco for one really tasty and satisfying meal!

Pasta Recipes

Pasta Recipes

Pasta has to be one of my favourite go to meals! It's so easy just to toss a few simple ingredients together with pasta for a quick and tasty meal and it's versatile enough to be used in everything from soups to salads to casseroles and lets not forget, simply with a tasty sauce! I have been making a lot of pasta lately so I thought that I would take some of the best pasta recipes on Closet Cooking and share them with you here in this roundup of these top pasta recipes! These recipes include some of the most pinned pasta recipes, some of my favourites along some of the most viewed! With the cooler days I have been enjoying noodles of all sorts in soups, casseroles and with hearty sauces but lets not forget some of the lighter pasta dishes! If you are looking for a tasty pasta meal, you can'y go wrong with one of these!

Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup
Another classic dish at Chinese restaurants is egg drop soup! This is a super simple soup where a egg is poured into simmering chicken broth in a thin stream the cooks into smooth ribbons that gives the soup an amazing creamy texture. I like to use a homemade chicken broth for this to maximize flavour but store bought will also do! The chicken broth is jazzed up by simmering it with green onions, ginger and white peppercorns along with a dried shiitake mushrooms and a few slices of bacon. The green onions, ginger and white peppercorns give the chicken broth a nice Asian flare and the dried shiitake mushrooms and bacon add layers of umami flavour and a hint of smokiness and meatiness! Once the broth is ready cornstarch is added to thicken a bit before the eggs slowly are added in a thin stream that allows them to cook into thin ribbons in the soup. The egg drop soup is finished off with toasted sesame oil, for its magical aroma, along with a garnish of green onions and optional sliced shiitake mushrooms. The perfect way to start off your Lunar New Year celebrations!