Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Limoncello by Me!


Yup! I made limoncello.  Not just say I'm going to make it like I have the past 13 years.

It tastes pretty good, too. The Husband said, "Whoa!" on the first day of tasting. Potent. Today, the fourth day, he said, "It has mellowed." Yup. Still potent, but now the lemony taste is coming through.

I chose Giada de Laurentiis' limoncello recipe because it didn't require months of waiting for the solution to do it's thing in a closet before we can drink it. Yup. Instant gratification.

Of course I modified the recipe as I went along. I pared lemon peels from 15 lemons and added lemon juice to the sugar syrup. I waited six days to decant the liqueur because I didn't have any bottles and jars. The recipe says that it's good in the refrigerator for a month, but I think it can last longer. After all I used the Costco brand of vodka, which is 60 proof. Yeah, dragon fire. But, remember, it's a mellow fire. Giggle.

I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at JeshStG Artwork. Click here to check out the other participants. Thank you, Jesh.





Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Domestic Diva Challenge -- One Down!


Ha! I completed  #4 on my list of seven things to do before the summer ends. 

A jar of lemon peels covered with vodka is now sitting in the cupboard with the glasses. In four to six weeks, it will become lemon extract. I hope, I hope. 

The first thing I plan to make with the stuff is lemon cookies. They were the first—and when I think of it, the only—cookies that the Mama baked when I was a small kid. They were perfectly round, golden, and yummily lemon flavored. I have yet to taste a lemon cookie that rivals my memory of the Mama's cookies. 

If you're curious, this was my recipe, which I adapted from Mommypotamus's.
  1. Zested 9 medium lemons. Don't get any of the white peel. 
  2. Place lemon strips in a jar and cover with about 1.5 cup of vodka. 
  3. Shake well, then put in a cupboard.
The rest of the instructions are from Mommypotamus:
  1. Shake the mixture every day for a week.  
  2. Shake every so often for 4 to 6 weeks, which I shall translate as once every 3 or 4 days. 
  3. Strain the lemon peels and pour lemon extract into clean jars. 
  4. Store in cabinet or refrigerator.

What will I do with those lemons I zested? (The zester is a very cool tool by the way.) Make lemonade!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Taboongow


Here's another post that I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird Says Chirp. Chirp. FYI: I slightly edited the post for today. Tomorrow, I shall be back to regular posting. Maybe.

Gourds for the Eating
(originally published November 20, 2008)

Several years ago, in the upcountry of Maui, I heard birds coo, “Ta-boong-ow. Ta-boong-ow.” I wondered if they were hungry for the gourd, and whether they wanted the long, bat-shaped ones or the ones that look like hourglass women.

Taboongow is the Ilokano word for upo, which is the Tagalog name for the gourd. (Please note that I’m phonetically spelling ta-boong-ow according to what my American ears hear.) Many people think of this vine-growing vegetable as an ornamental plant to dry and use for display or to make into crafts or musical instruments. Taboongow is also yummy to eat when they are still fresh. If you eat the gourd young, you can eat the center white part as well. Otherwise, you cut it away so you cook only the light-green part.


There are many types of gourds. Taboongow is known as the bottle gourd. They are light green and smooth-skinned. They may grow straight, roundish, or curvy. They are not to be confused with the bitter gourds (bittermelon) or the ridged gourds, which are made into loofahs when the fruits are dry.
 

The Daddy grew taboongow every year and when he passed away years ago, the Mama continued the annual sowing. In recent years, she lets the vines climb up the fruit trees in the back yard. This year, the Mama had a decent crop. We have been eating taboongow almost once a week since summer. Usually, when the Mama cuts up a fruit, we cook part of it into a soup and she freezes the rest uncooked for the winter. This year, the Mama and I decided we’d just cook each fruit she harvests and freeze cooked portions.

Taboongow doesn’t have a strong taste. In other words, it works with almost any spices and herbs you want to add to it. I’ve experimented a lot this year. So far it has tasted good with a curry, coconut, basil and thyme, or cilantro base. I’ve cooked it with shrimp, bacon, chicken, tofu, fish, or pork. All good. I’m sure it would taste good with beef. Hmmm.

Taboongow soup is one of my favorite dishes. The basis of my soup goes like this: Sauté onions and garlic. Add chicken or pork, if you’re using it. Once meat is brown, add tomatoes. Once tomatoes are broken up, add any herbs and/or other veggies (bell pepper, celery, etc.). Add up to 1 cup of water. Put lid on and simmer until meat is almost done. Now, stir in taboongow so it is coated with the liquid. Cook until the taboongow is translucent.


Things to note: The fruit is 90 percent water, so your soup will get a bit more flavorably soupier. (Are there such words? asked the Husband) Also it has been years since I’ve added salt to my cooking. So, add in salt where you normally would when making a soup.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for What's Wrong with Your Cake?

Once-upon-a-time, a long time ago, when I was still a young thing. . . .
 
After the Birthday Gal happily blew our her candles on the carrot cake that I baked, the other student assistant and I cut the cake and served the slices to the Birthday Gal and everyone else in the Department of Secondary Education office. The cake looked yummy. Everyone took a bite. Several people looked puzzled as they chewed.

The gruff teddy bear of a department chair said, "Sue, did you forget to turn on the oven?"

"Huh?"

The Teddy Bear Chair examined his cake. "It's flat."

"That's the way it's supposed to be." I said.

"I love it," said the Birthday Gal. "It's just like the cake from home. All full of nuts and carrots. Thank you, Sue."

The Birthday Gal was from Central America. She gave me a hug and took another slice.

The Teddy Bear Chair continued eating his cake. "Have you made this cake before?" he asked.

"First time," I said.

"So, we're your guinea pigs," he said.

"All my cakes are first times," I said. "They're never the same. I don't measure things."

"Ah ha! That's why. Measure next time, Sue." He said, then turned, walking into his cavern of an office with his nearly eaten piece of cake.

Much later, as I sat at my desk, typing paperwork, my supervisor Dr. Who-Writes-Romances-During-Her-Breaks came out from her office behind me. "Sue," she said, her voice full of excitement. "I know what's wrong with your cake."

"Yes," I said, thinking there was nothing wrong with my cake.

"You forgot the flour!" she said. She went back into office with a satisfied look on her face as if she had solved a mystery. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I did use flour.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Eggplant, Tomato, and Sausage Pasta


The other night, I made the kind of red pasta sauce for which I have been hankering for the longest time. Hurrah! The photo shows the leftovers I ate for breakfast.

Getting that "perfect" taste was by accident so I have no idea if I will be able to do it again. Booo!

I'm one of those people who likes to read cookbooks but modifies recipes while cooking and doesn't pay attention to how things are being changed. I also rarely measure amounts, and, when I do, I'm eyeballing amounts. That's probably why my chemistry experiments in school usually failed. Ha! on the person who copied my answers.

Ingredients I Prepped
  1. Slice 1/4" circles out of two long Japanese eggplants
  2. Destem a handful of cremini mushrooms and slice them into halves
  3. Mince two fist fulls of chives (which is from the Mama's garden)
  4. Smash and mince 6 to 9 garlic cloves (assorted sizes of small to medium)
  5. Dice a small yellow onion.
  6. Slice 1/4" circles out of two basil-mozzarella sausages  (already precooked)
  7. Defrost a cereal bowl of frozen tomatoes, probably 10 to 14 small and medium size (which we had picked last year at a U-Pick organic tomato farm)
  8. Boil 8 ounces of  fresh garlic-basil pasta.
How I Cooked the Sauce

Saute the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, garlic and chives. Stir. A minute later, add the defrosted tomatoes. Stir. A few minutes later, add the eggplants. Stir. A minute later, add dried basil and black pepper. (I don't add salt because the Husband is on a low-salt diet.) Let it all simmer for about 5 minutes, gently stirring now and then to make sure the eggplants get cooked in the juices. Finally combine the sausages with the concoction. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring to make sure nothing gets stuck on the bottom of the pan. That happens to me a lot. (Note:  If the sausages weren't precooked, I would have added them after sauteing the onions.) Oh, at the last minute I threw in less than a handful of leftover snap peas.

The Verdict

I served the dish by first putting a layer of noodles on the plate, next a slice of provolone cheese, then a layer of the sauce. 

The Husband told me what he thought about the dish before I could ask. "Yum," he said. "This is like eggplant parmigiana."

"I like the eggplants," said the Mama. She ate most of the sauce, picking out almost all of the eggplants.

Molly the Cat turned away from a sampling, but she did give it a good sniff.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Bargain Jar of Pickles


$3.99 for a gallon jar of kosher whole dill pickles. About 70 of them. Three to four-inches long and rather thick, too. As far as I'm concerned, the $3.99 gallon jar of pickles is the best deal at Costco.Yes, indeed.

A medium-size jar of kosher pickles at the supermarkets costs more than that. And, when I think how much a single Kosher pickle of this kind costs at a deli—oh, my!

The Husband and I bought our second gigantic jar of pickles last week. We went through the first jar in a little over two months. Uh-huh, we like our pickles. We don't eat a pickle every day nor do we each eat a pickle. Even though pickles contribute to our probiotic consumption, we gotta be moderate about it. We also do not want to get tired of these yummy pickles that take up a lot of space on the top shelf of the refrigerator.

The Mama doesn't care for pickles. Too sour. But, she does eye the jar, no doubt thinking about what could be stored in it. I asked her if she would like the first jar. Magnanimously, she answered, "Keep the jar." Cool! She can have this second jar. I still have no idea what to use the empty jar for. So many possibilities. One of which is a terrarium. Maybe an aquarium for goldfish. Molly the Cat wouldn't be able to reach in there.

Open-Faced Tuna Fish Sandwich

Have you tried deep-fried pickles yet? Me, either. But, what I shall try making one day are baked cheesy pickle balls. It's the same, simple concept as cheesy olive balls. Make a dough out of flour, cheese, and butter; next wrap pieces of the dough around small chucks of pickle; then bake at 400 degrees for  about 20 minutes.

The other day, I made open-faced tuna fish sandwiches that the Husband said was "Tasty!" and that the Mama ate all up. Molly took a nibble and smacked her lips, which I've chosen to interpret as a paws up.

It's a very simple recipe. Mix together some or all of these ingredients in a bowl (Add other ingredients that you like, too):
1 can of tuna
Diced pickle
Diced avocado
Diced olives
Diced red pepper
Minced green onion
1 heaping Tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 heaping Tablespoon of pesto (I used some from the jar we bought at Costco)
Black pepper to taste

Cut a sandwich roll in half, lengthwise. Hollow out each half, and then fill with the concoction.

As Julia Child used to say, "Bon Appétit!"


Thursday, January 27, 2011

P is for Pinakbet

Today's letter is P.

Pinakbet.  What a chicken says when it wants to gamble? Nope.

Pinakbet. An Ilocano dish with eggplant, bittermelon, tomatoes, and long beans? Yep, that's it. If I happen to have kabocha squash and/or okra, I'll throw some into the mix, too. Depending on my mood, I'll make it with or without pork. On rare occasions, I'll go classic and add a bit of bagoong (fermented, finely ground fish or shrimp). I say rare because that stuff is very salty. Click here for a photo of what pinakbet looks like.

How do you pronounce pinakbet? I say pin-auk-bit.  But, you must realize that I don't have an Ilocano accent. Never had.

Pinakbet is one of my favorite dishes. When I was growing up, the mama cooked it often during the summer. Except for the onions and garlic, all the vegetables for the dish were freshly picked out of the daddy's garden. I have yet to eat a version that has topped or even come close to the mama's.  And, now, the mama's pinakbet is a lovely memory. The dish has too many ingredients to prep that the mama is tired before she starts cooking it.

A few weeks ago, I had a yen for pinakbet and decided to make it when I saw a decent looking Italian eggplant at the grocery store. This essentially is what I threw together, adding some veggies that the mama froze last summer. (Note: Because I don't use salt, I add a lot of garlic.)

Ingredients
  • about 1/2 pound of pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 5 garlic, minced
  • handful of chives, minced
  • 1 can of cut tomatoes (I would've used 3 or 4 medium tomatoes, if I had fresh ones)
  • 1 medium Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (I think Japanese eggplant tastes better in pinakbet.)
  • 1/2  kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint size bag of frozen long beans, cut into about 2-inch pieces (probably equivalent to 5/8 pound)
  • 10 small frozen bittermelons 
  • Black pepper to taste
What I Did
  1. Brown the pork in a large sauce pan.
  2. Add the onions and stir until softened.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, and chives. Also add black pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. (If I were to add bagoong, here's where I would stir in a solution made of about 1/8 teaspoon bagoong and 1/3 cup of water.)
  4. Add the eggplant and squash. (Also add the bittermelon, if everyone will be eating it.) Add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, if it looks like the food might burn. Cover the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the long beans, and gently mix everything together. Cover the pan and simmer for about another five minutes. I know the dish is done when the eggplant and kabocha are cooked.
  6. The husband cannot handle bittermelon, so I prepare the frozen bittermelon separately.  I microwave it with some of the sauce from the pan for about 2 to 3 minutes. I then mix the bittermelon into the mama's and my bowls of pinakbet. I will also add salt to the mama's portion.
For "real" pinakbet recipes with precise portions, check out this recipe with pork or this one with shrimp.

To read other "P" posts in Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock, head over to here. I hope you do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Savory and Sweet Scones


On Saturday, I decided to experiment with baking savory and sweet scones in the same pan. Hmm, I could've baked a full pan of both and stuck half of the scones in the freezer. That just dawned on me. But then, I'd have to remember to rotate the pans in the oven so that they each became evenly undercooked, burnt, or just right. Besides, if I had tried going for full recipes that day, I would've found out I didn't have enough rice flour.

As you can tell, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants baker. (Do I need all those hyphens?)

Heads up, all you gentle readers who are precise measurers (measurists?) out there. Be prepared to shudder.

Savory Scones Ingredients
Handful of fresh chives, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5-inch chunk of cheddar cheese, grated

Sweet Scones Ingredients
Brown sugar (almost 1/2 a cup)
Chocolate chips (just more than a 1/3 cup)

I made the scones gluten-free because I didn't have whole-wheat flour on hand. Better on the tummy anyway. I shook the flours from their bags into the bowls. I'm not kidding. The husband should take a video of me baking. If you want the correct proportion of the flours for a gluten-free mix, check here.

Dry Ingredients
Rice flour
Tapioca flour
Potato flour
Barley flakes (That's what we decided they were.)
Baking powder

Wet Ingredients
1 egg
Juice from half a lemon
Olive oil

In Which Batch Did It Go?
Yogurt (I think it went into the savory mix, but I'm just not sure.)

Baking Time: About 20 minutes

Experiment Results
Batter: The sweet mix was a bit runny, while the savory mix was a bit dry. I forgot to make the scone cuts before baking. So, maybe I had baked a coffee cake instead.

Taste: The husband and the mama both said, "Yum."  I agree.

Conclusion: I will bake savory and sweet scones in the same pan, again. One day. Maybe with measured amounts.

P.S. I'm having fun at Skip to My Lou's Monday blog hop. Check out recipes and craft instructions with me, by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Being Heavy Handed

Burp.

Excuse me.

It's past midnight. Dinner was over at six this evening. I am still full.

Tonight's dinner was extra rich. I didn't realize it was. Until now.

We invited friends over for dinner, and  I wanted to serve something that would be easy to put together and eat because we were going to a meeting afterwards. So, I made fried sirloin beef wontons and shrimp and grits. The grits were cooked with gouda and cheddar cheeses. The shrimps, with a bit of onion and chives, were sauteed in olive oil, and at the last second (freshly cooked) bacon bits were stirred into the mixture. 

Fried meat bits. Shrimp. Bacon. Cheeses. Tooo, tooo heavy. I was just not thinking, was I?

The shrimp and grits dish was delicious. I followed (kinda) the Smokey Shrimp and Grits recipe at the Whistlestop Cafe Cooking blog. The cook adds creamed spinach to the dish. I didn't. Just as well.

Did I mention that we had semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies for dessert?

And, that I drank a bottle of Fire Rock Pale Ale?

Grrrrooaaaan

Burp.

Excuse me.

P.S. I've joined up at All Thingz Related's linky party today. Check out all the great projects and recipes there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yummy and Nutritious Sidewalk Weed


"We're having sidewalk weed again."

"Oh joy," said the husband.

Not really. He didn't say that. He just ate it. Until a few years ago, he didn't know that the weed he saw growing wildly along the sidewalk and on vacant lots was edible. Ha! Then he met me.

Specifically, I'm talking about purslane, also known as pigsweed. Portulaca oleracea is its scientific name. The Mexicans call it verdolaga. The Mama calls it kakalangay (an approximate Ilocano spelling to what I hear). Not ngalog, she says. That's something else.

Have I lost you? I'm talking about the fleshy, pinkish looking weed that spreads out on the ground. It look anemic and very unappetizing. Water it, and voila, you have what you see in that photo above. It is good to eat.

Very good to eat, in fact. Tasty, too. The weed, okay the herb, is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and a whole bunch of the B-vitamin complex. It's also rich in omega-3 fatty acid goodness. Better than fish oil, unless you like fish oil.

When I was a kid, the stuff grew wild in the backyard. Now and then, the Mama boiled it and mixed it with tomatoes and fish sauce. I didn't care for it, but that could've been because of the heavy fish sauce.

Today, I like eating purslane. More so, when I learned that it provides me with the nutrition I need, particularly omega-3. And, these days, it's a summer staple food ever since the year Mama cooked it and the husband  didn't gag or say "Yuck."  In other words, we eat it often. The mama harvests the wild growth from between her vegetable rows. This year, it wasn't coming in quick enough for her, so she planted some in a box. And, that means, I'm continually thinking of new ways to cook the herb.

Last night, I added about 2 lose cups of purslane to my kahula pork recipe. Earlier this week, I created this tasty, quick and easy corn recipe.

Ingredients
Corn from two corn cobs
2 hand fulls of purslane
1/4 cup of diced chives (or green onion)
1 tablespoon butter substitute (or butter or olive oil)
Black pepper
Salt (optional)
Steps
  1. Heat fat in pan.
  2. Saute purslane until slightly limp (less than a minute).
  3. Add corn and chives. Stir frequently.
  4. Add black pepper and salt to your taste. Remove the pan from the heat when the veggies are done to the firmness that you like.
If you don't feel confident about digging it out of your yard or the streets, then you just might find purslane at your farmers market.

Want to know more about purslane? Well, then, here you go:
P.S. I just linked up to these Friday linky parties. Check 'em out!
Saving Money and Living Life: Faboulous Friday Linky Party
The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday
Whistlestop Cafe Cooking: Friday's Favorite Linky Party
 P.P.S. I love a party. Here are three more I've just joined. Recipes galore at these ones.
Foodie Fridays
Wholesome Whole Foods
Fight Back Friday 

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Recipes to Try

    Today, I read a recipe for sunflower cupcakes by Megan Berry at her blog, Fowl Single File, that had me drooling. Her cupcakes are not made of sunflowers, but I'm sure you could probably add sunflower seeds or sprouts to the batter. They are chocolate cupcakes with yellow cream cheese icing edged around an Oreo cookie middle. Yummm. They look like sunflowers. See for yourself!  Be sure to come back and finishing reading here. Click.

    Did you notice that she used a pastry bag to get the sunflower look? I've never used one, even though I have one, because I feel kind of scared about using it.  But, those cupcakes look so tasty, I'm now willing to conquer the fear. 

    No scaredy cat me!

    That, in turn, got me thinking about recipes I've bookmarked from food/craft blogs that I like to read, but haven't tried making for one reason or another, including being lazy.

    Not anymore.

    Before the beginning of winter, I will have made the sunflower cupcakes and these recipes. I don't guarantee that I will follow them exactly, but I shall have made them. Stay tuned.
    How about you, dear readers? Are there recipes or crafts you've been wanting to attempt, books to read, stories to write, or whatever else, but for some reason haven't yet? What might inspire you to just do it?

      Saturday, June 5, 2010

      Cloud Pie


      The other week, I said to the mama and the husband that I would make an apricot pie for dinner. Then added, "Maybe." Just in case I couldn't.

      "Where are you going to get the apricots?" the husband asked.

      "I took a bag out of the freezer yesterday." I was sure they were apricots and not persimmon. We still have a few bags left of last year's harvest in the freezer. Of course, none of the bags have labels. Like almost everything, baking can become an adventure for me.

      Ingredients

      Flour. I had less than a cup of unbleached white flour. At least I thought it was wheat flour. For good measure, I threw in a handful of garbanzo flour and another handful or so of brown rice flour to make 2 cups. Two-crusted pie was what I wanted to bake.

      Shortening. I used coconut oil. I cut it into the flour until everything was nice and crumbly. Then I added 1/4 cup of ice cold water. Dry. I added another quarter cup. Dry. Another quarter. Still dry. By then I suspected I didn't have any wheat flour in my mix. In went another quarter cup. Finally, something that looked like pie dough.

      Fruit. Guess what? That wasn't a bag of frozen apricots. They were persimmons. I had never made a pie out of persimmons. What was a gal to do?  I poured the persimmons into a bowl. I also diced an apple and threw it into the bowl for good measure. 

      Spices and other stuff. 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls. Then as much cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, or was it cloves, that I felt like shaking in. 

      Procedures
      1. Rolled out half the dough. Nice. It crumbled when I picked it up. Sigh.  
      2. Patted the dang dough into the pie pan. 
      3. Added the fruit mixture. 
      4. Rolled out the rest of the dough and placed the pieces on the top of the mixture. I was able to cover most of it.
      5. Put it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.
      Results

      "The crust is dry," said the husband, as he kept on eating.

      "She put a lot of decoration on the pie," said the mama, as she kept on eating.

      Surprisingly that persimmon pie had the same consistency as pumpkin pie. The taste reminded me of pumpkin pie, probably because of the spices. I'll make persimmon pie again. Maybe, I'll add walnuts.

      Monday, May 17, 2010

      Chocolate Croissants

      Not to worry. This is not another post about food as metaphor like yesterday's post about potato salad.

      I really have a recipe about chocolate croissants. A cheating recipe, that is.

      Yesterday I had a yen for chocolate. The whole time the husband and I were waiting in line at the grocery store, I was eyeing the candy bar racks. No, I won't moan about the rising cost of candy bars that are smaller than they once were. Oh, I just did. Anyway, the only thing that kept me from grabbing a chocolate candy bar was knowing it really wouldn't taste as good as I imagined. I wanted a true chocolate-taste experience like the one I get when I eat chocolate croissants from an honest-to-goodness patisserie.

      Unfortunately, we have no patisseries in town. The market where we shopped did sell freshly baked croissants. Not flaky, buttery rich ones, but okay enough. Fortunately, when the husband wasn't looking, I had slipped a package of them into the cart. La, la, la, la. Look over there, Husband.

      So, short story long, as we were eating dinner, I was eyeing (yes, again with the eyeing) the croissants. I wanted to eat one. But how do I introduce it into a meal almost done. Ah-ha! Dessert. Ah-ha, again! Chocolate croissants.

      Here's my recipe, which serves two.

      Ingredients
      • Chocolate chips (I was lucky to find leftover organic semi-sweet chips in the fridge.)
      • 1 croissant
      Procedure
      1. Split croissant into two pieces.
      2. Sprinkle chocolate chips over each piece.
      3. Microwave for 35 seconds.
      4. Fold each piece in half. Serve.
      Verdict: The husband said, "We must have that again."

      Monday, May 10, 2010

      Suddenly Mashed Potatoes

      The plan was to make potato salad the other night. I had a bunch of mini Yukon Gold potatoes from the organic farm stand. And, the summer-like weather that night just called for having potato salad for dinner. So, I washed and scrubbed the potatoes  and put them on the stove to cook. I set the heat to medium so I could forget about them for half an hour.

      By the time I took them off the stove, I didn't feel link mincing and dicing the other ingredients. I didn't think about doing all that while the potatoes were boiling. Playing Jungle Jewels on Facebook was just so urgent, you know.  Sooooo, I made mashed potatoes. Didn't even take off the peelings.

      Here you go. My top-off-the-head recipe for Suddenly Mashed Potatoes.
      1. Dump potatoes into bowl. 
      2. Add the last of the martini olives and their juice. (In my recipe, it was about 4 olives and a 1/4 cup of liquid.)
      3. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of plain yogurt.
      4. Add about 3 tablespoons of butter or whatever you use in its place.
      5. Mash. Mash. Mash.
      6. Take photo of the dish, then serve.
      The Verdict: Definitely not a mashed potato taste, but still delish. The husband said, as he took a second helping, "This almost tastes like potato salad."

      OK, then. Maybe I'll turn the leftovers into potato salad. Or not.

      Monday, May 3, 2010

      Pancit


      Pancit, which I pronounce as pawn-sit, is a Filipino noodle dish. Until I was an adult, I thought pancit was made only with translucent mung bean noodles. Then I learned that many Filipinos make pancit with rice noodles or wheat noodles. It was a rude awakening for me. Still, to this day, I make pancit with clear mung bean noodles, the way the mama showed me. Always will.

      Preparing pancit isn't difficult, just labor intensive, especially if you want to add a variety of vegetables to it.  While growing up, the mama cooked pancit for parties or other special occasions. After I got married, the mama would make a huge pot full of pancit so that I could take leftovers home to stick in my freezer.  Now that the husband and I are living with the mama, I like to make pancit for her now and then.

      Like all my recipes, many of the ingredients vary each time I prepare pancit. The ingredient that stays the same is mung bean noodles. You can find it at any Asian market or at the Asian section in your supermarket. If none is available, you could order it from amazon.com. This is a decent brand: Pure Mung Bean Vermicelli - 8.8 oz.

      The following recipe serves four to six or more people, depending on what else you plan to put on the table.

      Ingredients
      About 6 to 8 ounces of mung bean noodles
      1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
      1 carrot, diced
      2 stalks celery, very thinly sliced (almost transparent)
      3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
      2 green onions, sliced
      Handful of cilantro, chopped
      2 medium (or 3 small) juicy tomatoes, chopped
      1 large portobello mushroom, or 5 to 6 medium sized brown or white mushrooms, chopped
      1 bundle of chard or spinach, or 4 to 6 heads of bok choy (depending on size), or 1/2 a head of cabbage, chopped
      1/2 to 1 pound of shrimp, cleaned and deveined
      salt and pepper, to taste

      Preparation

      1. Soak the noodles in hot water. When they've softened, cut them into smaller segments with a scissor. (I suppose this step could be done vice versa. Just never thought about it until now.)
      2. Saute onions and carrot in large wok-like pan. When they are soft, stir in celery and garlic and saute for a minute.
      3. Add tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Saute for another minute. (The mix should start to liquefy.)
      4. Add vegetables. Cover pot and steam for a few minutes.
      5. Stir in mushrooms.
      6. Fold in mung bean noodles. Cover pot and steam for a couple of minutes. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water, if necessary. You don't want the noodles to stick to the pan.
      7. Stir in shrimp and cook until the shrimp is done. 
      8. Add salt and pepper, to taste. You can also add soy sauce, if you want.

      Wednesday, March 31, 2010

      Free Online Printable Recipe Cards

      My recipes are written on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes that are messily piled together on my designated cookbook shelf in the kitchen. I also have jotted recipes and stored them on my computer, which I will only find again by accidentally stumbling upon them.  Computers are definitely not the place for me to keep them.  In short, I need to go back to using recipe card boxes.

      Recipe card boxes are neat. I love finding them at garage sales and thrift shops. I just don't use them for their original intentions. The one on my desk holds business cards and all my library cards from different cities, for instance.

      Anyway, I think the day for transferring my recipes onto cute recipe cards is coming sooner than later. Earlier this month, one of my favorite cooking and crafts blogs—Skip to My Lou— began offering printable recipe cards for free. Yep, f-r-e-e!  Who doesn't like free stuff, especially when the things are cute and useful.  Thank you Cindy, the creative cool owner of Skip to My Lou!

      There are two designs from which to choose and you can select either a 3x5 or 4x6 format. The instructions are easy to follow to key in your ingredients and directions. When you're ready, voila, you click your print button.

      I tried a 4x6 format for my first recipe card. Cute design, don't you think? I like that the card says "From the kitchen of Su-sieee! Mac."  It makes me feel like I'm a cook.

      Ready to try it out? Here are your links:

      Thursday, March 18, 2010

      Sweet Potato Biscuits with Bacon Fat

      That’s right. Bacon fat. Does it make it right by using nitrates-free bacon fat? How about the fact that the recipe uses non-gluten flour?

      I created this biscuit recipe a couple months ago. The biscuits were dense and deelish. The hubby thought they were sweet. Mama ate her biscuit as her dessert. 

      Before I get to my recipe, you ought to know that I’m not a purist. Nor am I precise about things, unless I need and/or want to. In other words, I measure by intuition. Sometimes my dishes are just yummy divine. Sometimes not. Fortunately, that's not too often. Huh?
      INGREDIENTS
      About 1/2 to 3/4 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
      4 to 5 roasted garlic cloves
      1 egg
      2 cups gluten-free flour
      A slight palm full of baking powder
      2 heaping teaspoons (regular spoons) bacon fat
      Yogurt (plain)
       HOW TO MAKE 'EM
      1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.
      2. Mash the sweet potato and garlic together. Beat in egg  to mix.
      3. Combine dry ingredients. Then, cut in bacon fat until the mixture is size of rice grains. 
      4. Mix in wet ingredients. Add enough yogurt(about 3 to 4 teaspoons)to create a biscuit dough. 
      5. Spoon out biscuits (as big or small as you want) onto an iron fry pan. If you snuggle them, they'll come out soft and fluffy.
      6. Bake until golden brown about 20 minutes. More or less, depending on size of biscuits.

      Wednesday, March 10, 2010

      Killer Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies


      Peanut butter (PB) is a staple in our household. The husband and I eat it for breakfast almost every other day. That's why we can go through a jar of PB in a week and a half. The mama, on the other had, can make a jar last six months. I kid you not.  And, the mama, definitely likes peanut butter, but she's very stingy (though her word would be "economical") about how much she puts on her roll or slice of bread.

      A month ago, she ran out of peanut butter.  (Yes, we have our own separate jars.) I pulled out the jar of PB I had bought last year in anticipation of her getting to the end of her current jar.  The "sell by" date on the new jar was January 2010.  Sigh.  I couldn't have the Mama eat a stale jar of PB for six months, and I surely didn't want to be eating it either.

      So, like any home cook on a budget, I found ways to use up the PB quickly and generously. I integrated it into a pasta dish and meat marinade, for instance.  I also dug out the cookbooks to find a peanut butter cookie recipe.  And, what do ya know? In one of my favorite cookbooks, The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook, Volume I,  by Michael Bauer and Fran Irwin, I discovered a recipe called "Killer Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies." 

      The result was a cakey-like cookie made with cocoa and lots of PB. Very yummy! Making them was not at all hard. In other words, nothing to sweat or fret about.  I modified the recipe a bit by substituting 3/4 cup fructose for 1 cup white sugar. Because I'm into a gluten-free diet, I substituted non-gluten flour for the all-purpose flour. You can find the actual recipe here at Google Books. 

      Happy Eating!

      Wednesday, February 24, 2010

      Kinda Salt-Free Kalua Pork

      Kalua Pork is a Hawaiian Luau dish that you can make easily and cheaply. It is one of my comfort foods. How comforting? I froze 4 to 5 meals worth of it last week.

      Traditionally, Kalua Pork is a whole pig that's wrapped in taro leaves and then cooked slowly in an underground pit. That's what kalua means. Not to worry, you can make your own version of this delish pork that falls off the fork and melts in your mouth without bothering to dig a hole in your backyard.  You also don't need to buy a whole pig. A pork butt (with or without the bone) is just fine. And, if you don't have taro leaves, that's okay too. In my recipe I substitute chard.

      Making Kalua Pork does requires slooow cooking. Some people use a crockpot. I use the oven. Just like almost any other dish, there is no standard way to make Kalua Pork. My recipe is heavy on the herbs to compensate for not using salt due to the husband's diet.  Here 'tis.

      Ingredients
      5 pound boneless pork butt
      1 bulb of garlic, minced roughly
      8 tablespoons of fresh chives, diced
      2 tablespoons of nori flakes
      1 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
      1/4 cup of salt-free liquid smoke
      1 bundle of chard

      Preparation
      1. Combine herbs and spice in a large bowl.
      2. Rinse meat, pat dry. Poke holes in the meat so that the rub can seep into it, and then roll meat into herb mixture.
      3. Pour liquid smoke over the meat. Cover meat and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
      4. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Wash the chard.
      5. Line your roasting pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Lay half of the chard in the pan. Place meat on chard, and cover it with the rest of the chard. Finally, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. (I like to lay parchment paper on top before adding the foil because I don't like the foil touching the food. I'm just that way.)
      6. Roast for 5 hours.  When it's done, simply pull the meat apart with a fork, and serve.

      Tuesday, February 9, 2010

      Shrimp Toast

      The other week, I wrote about my day of frenzied cooking with a promise (mostly to myself) that I would post some, if not all, of the dishes I made. As usual, I had good intentions. Here's the but: I can't find my notes. Oh well. I do have a positive but though: Here's a photo of the shrimp toast I made that day for lunch. I recall the husband and the mama were smackingly happy about the repast.

      Many of you dear readers have probably ate shrimp toast as part of a dim sum treat. They really are simple and easy to make at home. You can combine as many, or as few, ingredients that you want with the shrimp. You can add fresh and/or dried spices and herbs. You can mince the shrimp, or dice it not so finely, as my photo shows. My recipe was very simple. Here's what I did:

      The Mixture. I combined diced shrimp with garlic powder, black pepper, minced chives (fresh), and a couple of teaspoons of rice flour. To make everything stick, I mixed in a teaspoon or so of mayonnaise. (Many recipes use egg whites.) I chilled the mix for a few hours, thinking that it would help the mixture stick to the bread as it went down in the pan. (That was the frightening part for me.) It did help.

      The Preparation. I spread the shrimp mix onto slices of bread, and cut them into thirds. Next, I heated up a mixture of olive oil and butter in a pan. I had put the slices into the pan, shrimp side down and fried them for about a minute, more or less. I turned the slices over and fried for about another minute. I fried three pieces at a time to make it easier for me to manage.

      You can find a number of different shrimp recipes on the Internet. Here are just a few:

      Emile Legasse's Shrimp Toast Recipe at Food Network
      Martin Yan's Shrimp Toast Recipe:
      Shrimp Toast recipe at Chinese Food DIY:
      Easy Shrimp Toast Recipe at Nibbledish.com

      P.S. Did you notice the fingers in the photo? Those belong to the husband who patiently waited for me to take the photo. Thank you, The Husband.