December 23, 2010

Asian Spiced Turnip and Potato Stuffed Peppers

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I think I had the most fun photographing these. I mean look at all the pictures! I haven't posted so many in...well, ever.


I love stuffed peppers, but I really hate when they're stuffed with cheese. It absolutely ruins the whole thing for me. No thank you!


So these are just perfect. Roasted in the oven, slightly crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside, filled with an Asian-spiced turnip and potato leftover hash.


Beautiful. Among other things. Enjoy!

December 18, 2010

Roasted Plethora of Vegetables

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Veggies! Roasted, lightly salted, and delicious. A true plethora of veggies! YUM.

This will work with any kind of vegetables really. Just be sure to cook them at different times depending on their original firmness.


There are so many. I'm not sure how they all fit in the pan and what it took to roast them all so wonderfully, but damn, they're good! Addictingly good. Maybe there was some crack in the olive oil...hmmm. Enjoy!

December 13, 2010

Shrimp Fried Rice

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What's your favorite kind of fried rice?

I have a thing for fried rice. I used to be able to eat an ungodly amount once upon a midnight dreary. But those days are long gone. Now I just enjoy it every now and then and in less ungodly portions.


My personal favorite kind of fried rice is Thai. There's just something about it that I can't help but love. So when we make it at home I try to add in the little flavors that I think make it Thai. Like fish sauce. MMM!


If you don't have any on hand, it's pretty cheap to pick up at your local Asian market. Be careful, some brands have a lot more sodium than others, if you're watching that kind of thing. It's all about the flavor, not the salt, with fish sauce.

What's your favorite kind of fried rice?

December 09, 2010

Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Bread

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I love making bread, especially wholesome, hearty bread. It's downright delicious.

This is my first bread with whole wheat flour, and it came out great. It may not have risen as well as I thought it would, but it tastes fantastic. It's also exactly what we wanted: a loaf of sandwich-style bread that's perfect for lunches. It's almost too good to put anything between though!


The oats gave this bread a great crunch, and helped add to the whole grain profile as well. More whole grain = more wholesome. I'm particularly impressed, as you may be able to tell.


A few notes: It is very important to let the dough double in size each time. It will need a warm place for this, so try a low-heated oven if you need to. Also, take out of the pan (used a 9x5, but size doesn't matter too much) and tap the bottom after baking. If it sounds hollow, it's done! Let cool before devouring.

December 05, 2010

Crunchy Pickles

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It's pickle time again! Crunchy pickles, mmm. The best thing about these pickles is that they stay crunchy for weeks and weeks. I made these back in August and they're still crunchy here in December. A simple, delicious, awesome snack? Or only a side and topping for burgers? You decide. Enjoy!

November 30, 2010

Spent Grain Bread

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Love bread? (Heck yeah!) Love a really hearty bread? (You know it!)

Love beer? (Are you kidding me!) Homebrew? (I've dabbled.)

Want to use those spent grains instead of just throwing them out? I mean you could feed them to livestock or grow mushrooms or even make a kind of spent grain granola. But forget that! Let's make the best damn homemade bread ever with it!


Homemade bread. Is there anything more wholesome? Is there anything that gives you such a feeling of accomplishment? And it feeds you for days!

One of the most important things is to make sure you have enough yeast and that it's still alive. And let the dough rise and double completely - even if it takes 4 hours. This will make for a lighter, airier bread. Enjoy!


Spent Grain Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 3 cups spent grain, wet
  • 1/5 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3-5 cups flour (as needed)
  • dash salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Proof yeast in mixture of water and sugar (make a starter) for 45 minutes to one hour.
  2. Put spent grain in large mixer bowl and add salt. Mix in starter, and start adding flour one cup at a time to start.
  3. Keep adding flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky (very important).
  4. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let rise until doubled. Then punch down dough.
  5. Form into a round or oblong loaf and place on cookie sheet with a thin layer of corn meal under the loaf.
  6. Allow loaf to double in size, bake in 375 F oven 30 to 40 minutes until browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  7. Let cool before cutting.
  8. Another option is to separate the dough into two loaves after it is smooth and no longer sticky. It can be baked in bread pans more easily this way.

November 25, 2010

Golden Fluffy Cornbread

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Happy Thanksgiving! It's that time of year again. Time when holidays start overlapping with each and people seem to get hungrier and hungrier as Turkey Day approaches. So to ease some of that hunger, my girlfriend made a wonderfully golden and fluffy cornbread for you all.


It's the perfect amount of fluff and grit, moist and light, and sweet enough that it doesn't need anything but those who like honey with their cornbread can still add a bit. I highly recommend featuring this dish along with your Black Turkey, green bean casserole, garlic smashed potatoes, and roasted butternut squash. Top it off with some Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies too. Enjoy!

Golden Fluffy Cornbread

Yield: Serves 14-20
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a scone pan or muffin pan. A 9 inch round cake pan can also be used.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

November 19, 2010

Easy Spinach and Egg Pizza

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I really like making pizzas. I can be as creative as I want to be, and that's kind of liberating in a way. I mean you can dream up so many different types of pizzas, healthy pizzas at that, which you'd never find in any restaurant. It's fantastic.


This one here is a completely sauceless pizza. Take some dough, lay on the spinach, add some zucchini and squash, roasted garlic and green onion, sauteed onion, a crumble of ricotta, some scrambled egg, and presto! Divine. Enjoy!

November 16, 2010

Pesce Spada alla Siciliana (Sicilian Swordfish)

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Swordfish can be expensive at a restaurant, right? At least it always is when I see it. So when I saw swordfish steaks on sale for $3.49/lb, I was all over them. I think I bought 6!


Trancia di Pesce Spada, otherwise known as Sicilian Swordfish, is so amazing. I guess it was developed by Sicilian fishermen after a good haul of swordfish. And thank goodness they did because this fish is moist. The olive oil really helps with that, and the oregano and garlic blend really well into it.

We served this with a side of Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti (awesome, I'll post on this later) and some pan-roasted corn, fresh off the cob.


What I'll do with the other two is probably some sort of miso marinade like the Miso Black Cod. Won't be as light, but damned if it won't be tasty nonetheless.

How do you like to make your swordfish?

November 10, 2010

World's Best Lasagna?

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The world's best lasagna, you say? Perhaps you're having trouble imagining a lasagna better than your grandma's. Well let me assure you, this lasagna is better!


I mean as far as traditional lasagnas go. I'm sure fancy veggie ones or ones that incorporate a whole slew of non-traditional fancinesses are fantastic. BUT this is the world's best traditional lasagna!


The secret is in the sauce. It takes the longest time to prepare, and a lot of love and simmering and seasoning goes into it, so it has to be good. It doesn't hurt when there are top-notch sausages and beef involved too. Plus the delicate mozzarella. Mmm yeah. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Fair enough? Enjoy!

November 04, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

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Wow! These cookies are good. So good. Smack yourself across the face good.


Love pumpkin? Love oats? Love cookies? Who doesn't, right? Then you will go bat-crazy over these.


They're the perfect size for enjoying any time. Small enough to feel like you haven't overindulged yet their small stature keeps calling you back for more.


They're the best cookies I've ever made, and possibly the best thing I've ever baked. Perfection in every bite. If you have a go at them, tell me what you thought and if you made any changes. Enjoy!

October 26, 2010

Mexican Rice, Spiced Black Beans, and Turmeric Corn

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I really liked how simple each of these dishes are to make. If I was just making one of them, it would almost be too easy! When all three are going though, there's a lot to be done.


They're great dishes. The beauty is that each could be a side to something bigger, say enchiladas or chilaquiles. Or each could be combined with the others and then you'd have a fantastically healthy Mexican meal on your hands. You gotta love the power of beans and rice and veggies. Enjoy!

Mexican Rice, Spiced Black Beans, and Turmeric Corn

Yield: Serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • Mexican Rice

  • 1 cup white rice (long grain, if possible)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 can tomatoes, drained (or tomato juice)
  • oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water (none if using tomato juice, unless necessary at the end)

  • Spiced Black Beans

  • 16 oz bag dried black beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • black pepper, to taste

  • Turmeric Corn

  • 1 can corn
  • 1/5 pack assorted frozen veggies (peas, carrots, green beans)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • splash lemon juice
  • water
Cooking Directions
  1. Mexican Rice
  2. In a pan, toast the rice on medium heat until brown (but not burnt!) with the minimal amount of oil. Stir frequently!
  3. Just before it's done, toss in the onion and garlic for one to two minutes.
  4. Add everything else in the pan and stir to incorporate.
  5. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
  6. Spiced Black Beans
  7. Prepare beans as directed, sifting to ensure that there are no rocks.
  8. Toss in the seasonings (except the black pepper) and cook.
  9. Add black pepper when finished cooking, if desired.

  10. Turmeric Corn
  11. Drain 1 can of corn and heat in a pan with the frozen veggies.
  12. Add the turmeric, lemon juice, and any water as needed until thoroughly heated.

October 22, 2010

Spicy Sweet Potato and Winter Squash with Tempeh Stew

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Sometimes you just throw together some crazy stuff and it fortunately happens to turn out all right. Thank goodness this was one of those times!

I was a little worried about adding the tempeh in, but hey, it worked.


The nice thing about this is that it can be savory or sweet. You get to decide. I love that. Either way, it's fantastic. Plus, the addition of yogurt makes it nice and creamy, like I know everyone likes their root stews. Enjoy!

October 18, 2010

Chilaquiles with Mole

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Now if you thought the title was referring to mole, the little blind animal who burrows underground, you'd be completely wrong (gross!). If you thought it was referring to mole sauce, one of the most awesome-est sauces in the world, you're spot on! Well done, you.

For those unaware, chilaquiles are hardened tortillas (toasted or fried) with a sauce (typically salsa roja or salsa verde) with various toppings. Some common toppings include eggs, chicken, jalapenos, cheese, beans, etc. It is typically eaten for breakfast, and it's a traditional Mexican cure for hangovers (supposedly because of the spiciness). How's that for a reason to get smashed?

Today, we used the less common mole sauce. Mmm! We also used egg, chicken, olives, homemade salsa, and nopalitos (cactus).

Mole is like a really excellently spiced thick peanut butter. It's usually thinned out by adding water or stock. It packs a flavor punch to anything it touches. More on assembling your future chilaquiles below. Enjoy!

October 14, 2010

Porkchops a la Necessity

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Sometimes we cook out of necessity, right? I mean we're hungry (starving, even), and it might seem like a better idea to order out. But there's that leftover onion or tomato or pork in the fridge that you know needs to be eaten. Hence, Porkchops a la Necessity was born!


A potent combination of pork and spices, simmered together with potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic. Sometimes necessity works! It being the mother of invention and all. Enjoy!

October 10, 2010

Gyoza

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Have you ever made gyoza before? Or any other kind of dumpling/potsticker/bun? I made some BBQ Pork Buns a long time ago, and the cooking of them is quite similar (though these are nothing like them in the end).

So simple, so tasty. Why bother buying them frozen at the store again? Never again, I say!


The beauty is that the filling can be done with just about anything. Go vegetarian instead of pork. Use the same hoisin chicken that we used here. All you need is a little imagination, and sky's the limit.

I even included the recipe for the gyoza dipping sauce. Aww, how nice of me. Enjoy!

October 05, 2010

Oyako Donburi

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This is without a doubt the absolute best Oyako Donburi I've ever had. Before, it was this little place in Berkeley. Now this one takes the cake. An amazing blend of chicken, egg, and veggies (primarily onions). Fun fact: oyako means mother and child. Hence the main ingredients, chicken and egg.


A couple notes: you can definitely take out the sugar. We left it in and I'm sure it tastes more authentic like that, but it's not needed. You can cut the oil in half as well without any problems. If you're worried about the sodium content, don't add the salt either because that can always be added on top. The type of rice (Japanese) really does make a difference, but of course, it can be done with any kind of rice.

Feel free to experiment by using different mushrooms or adding other veggies like bean sprouts, etc. Enjoy!


Oyako Donburi

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3/4 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • eggs, beaten
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken strips and onion until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off as much liquid as possible.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrot, and let simmer for a few minutes before stirring in the sugar and soy sauce. Simmer for 3 more minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in half of the green onions, stirring gently. Pour beaten eggs over the chicken mixture, and simmer until the eggs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve over Japanese sticky rice. (Important if you want it to be absolutely perfect.)

September 30, 2010

Miso Black Cod

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What's the most buttery, soft, moist, tender fish you've ever had? Got it pictured in your head? Is it dancing around in there, tantalizing your very being with its fishy power? Now throw that out the window! That fish in your head is nothing compared to black cod (or more correctly referred to as Sablefish).

But black cod just sounds so much better, right? I don't blame Nobu Matsuhisa for choosing that name in his Black Cod with Miso dish.

Anyway, it's almost indescribable how yummy it is. I'm not articulate enough to tell you how fantastic it truly is, so I hope you'll venture out to make it on your own. Enjoy!


Oh, and it was the signature item in our Japanese night. Everything was absolutely outstanding, and not at all from my own doing. Other featured items included Kabocha, pork gyoza, fresh tofu, green beans, spicy tuna avocado sushi, pear sake, and Dorayaki. Perfection.

September 24, 2010

Dorayaki (Japanese Filled Pancakes)

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Japanese filled pancakes. Or as we like to call them: Dorayaki! Hehe how fun!


They're just so cute and delicious. Sweet azuki beans sandwiched between moist little pancakes. Such a treat.


Perfect for breakfast on the go, perfect for dessert, or perfect for a snack. Dorayaki! Enjoy!

Dorayaki (Japanese Filled Pancakes)

Yield: 14-28 Dorayaki
Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 180g self-rising flour
  • 1 can sweet red beans
Cooking Directions
  1. Beat eggs in a bowl and whisk it, then slowly add in sugar and continue to whisk very well.
  2. Add milk and honey in the egg mixture
  3. Add sifted flour in the egg mixture gradually until the mixture becomes smooth.
  4. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let it stand for 30 minutes
  5. Heat a non-stick pan on medium low heat.
  6. Pour a scoop of the batter in the pan to make it a small pancake. (I used 1 tablespoon as the scoop size)
  7. Turn over when bubbles appear on the surface (about 3 minutes) and cook the other side for 40 sec to 1 minute max. (Like a pancake!) The pancake should have 1 side with coffee color and another side with pale brown color.
  8. Place the cake on a wire rack and let it cool.
  9. To assemble the Dorayaki, look for 2 pieces with about the same shape and side.
  10. Place 1 scoop of sweet red bean on the pale yellow side and cover with another cake with the same side.
**Optional: If the pancakes seem too thick to eat two of them with red bean inside, simply slice them in half (as we did with some) and fill with red bean. Voila!

Recipe courtesy of Masakan Istimewa