Monday, December 5, 2016

Avocado Pesto

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably already know that I've been shifting gears into more healthier eating. I started kickboxing 7 weeks ago (and I do it 5 times a week!), and since then, have decided to eat healthy 6 days a week, leaving me with only 1 day out of the week where I can indulge. This recipe is one of the first in my series of "healthy eats." I wanted to combine avocados with a classic pesto sauce because we all know avocados contain good fat that our body needs. This recipe has been "husband approved" and I hope that you guys love it, too!

INGREDIENTS:


1 4 ounce container of Basil

half a bunch of cilantro

juice from 2 lemons

2 small ripe avocados (or 1 large Hass avocado)

4 small cloves of finely chopped garlic

2 big pinches of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard (or to taste)

1/4 cup of pine nuts (optional)

black pepper to taste

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

YOU'LL ALSO NEED:


noodles of your choice, cooked according to the packaging

grilled chicken strips

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all of the above ingredients into a food processor or blender EXCEPT for the olive oil. Pulse the ingredients until just combined and then slowly drizzle in your olive oil until desired consistency. Taste check. Store any unused pesto in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for later use.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Nom Pao/Banh Bao (Steamed Bun with Meat Filling)

 

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH:


1 cup of lukewarm WHOLE milk

2 teaspoons of active dry yeast

1/3 cup of sugar (add a Tablespoon more if you like your buns a tad sweeter)

4 cups of cake flour (may sub for all purpose flour)

2 teaspoons of Alsa baking powder or Rumford baking powder

2 Tablespoons of tapioca starch

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:


1 pound of ground turkey (may sub for ground pork or chicken)

1/4 cup of minced woodear mushroom (may sub for any mushroom)

1/3 cup of finely chopped sweet onion

1 green onion chopped

2 teaspoons of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of msg (optional)

1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 Tablespoon of fish sauce

1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 egg

3 Tablespoons of plain breadcrumbs

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:


4 hard boiled eggs, each quartered (to make 16 pieces)

a steamer

16 parchment squares

water

vinegar

ice cream scoop (optional)

MAKE THE FILLING:


Into a large mixing combine all of the ingredients for the filling together and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

TO MAKE THE DOUGH:

1. Warm up milk until lukewarm (make sure it's not too hot!). Add in your sugar and active dry yeast. Stir and set aside until foamy.
2. Into a large mixing bowl, add in your cake flour, salt, tapioca starch, and baking powder. Stir until combined.
3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, stir milk and yeast mixture, and pour it into your your large mixing bowl.
4. Using a wooden spoon, stir for about 30 seconds and then add in your vegetable oil. Stir again.
5. Dump your dough onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for an additional 3-5 minutes, until nice and smooth. Sprinkle in more flour as needed.
6. Put a bit of vegetable oil into the same large mixing bowl as earlier, and lightly coat the bowl all over. Add in your dough, toss to coat and cover with saran wrap (directly on the surface of the dough) for about an hour or until doubled in size.
7. Place dough onto clean surface, poke it all over with your fingers, and gently roll it into a log (about 16 inches long). Divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieces and cover with a clean dish towel until ready to use.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE:

1. Take one of your dough pieces and cut it in half. Place the other piece back under your dish towel. Flatten your dough using your hands, and then bring the dough under itself to create a smooth rounded ball. Place ball on counter and using a rolling pin, roll it out flat, making sure it's thick in the middle and thinner as you go out.
2. Place about two Tablespoons of meat filling (use an ice cream scoop for even sized fillings) in the middle of your dough then add a piece of egg on top. Bring up the dough up over the egg and meat filling, and pinch to seal. Place shaped dough onto a parchment square and repeat steps with the other pieces of dough.
3. Put enough water into your pot for steaming. How much you use will depend on how big your steamer is. Add in 1/4 cup of vinegar. Add on your steamer compartments. (I stack two on top of each other, but only place the buns in the top compartment only.) Cover with a lid. With your stove on medium high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil and allow the steamer to get nice and hot for a 5 full minutes.
4. Place your shaped buns into the hot steamer (you may need to work in batches) and steam for about 25 minutes or until filling is cooked through. Serve hot or wait for them to cool down, saran wrap, and place them into the fridge for up to two days. These microwave really well! :)

NOTES:

-You may sub for all purpose flour but using cake flour will yield in a much softer and whiter bun.
-You may make ahead: scoop out your meat filling onto baking sheet fitted with foil, freeze, and then place shaped filling into ziplock baggies until ready to
use!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Spam and Egg Kimbap

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My kids LOVE this stuff! You can can call these spam and egg kimbap, or simply, a deconstructed spam and egg musubi. These are super easy to put together and make great school lunches, not to mention, they aren't messy when your kids start to eat them! It's a win-win!

Feel free to switch up the fillings with whatever you'd like. It also tastes great with some raw tuna and avocado slices, too! Just make sure to have some soy sauce on hand for dipping. YOU'RE WELCOME! :)

INGREDIENTS:
(the following makes 4-5 whole kimbaps or 40-50 sliced pieces of kimbap)

one can of 25% less sodium spam

2 extra large eggs

TO MARINADE THE SPAM:


1/4 cup of hot water

2 Tablespoons of packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

1 Tablespoon of Maggie seasoning or soy sauce

2 teaspoons of Mirin

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

FOR THE RICE FILLING:

4 cups of cooked rice

2 Tablespoons of sushi vinegar

1 Tablespoon of furikake rice seasoning

3 teaspoons of olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:


5 pieces of Nori (roasted seaweed)

olive oil

bamboo sushi mat (optional)

sesame seeds (for garnish)

small bowl of water

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INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Remove spam from can and slice into 6, 1/4 inch thick slices. (You will only need half a can of spam for this recipe, but I always keep the other half to use the following day.)
2. Make your marinade for your spam. Into a shallow dish, add in your cut spam and then pour your marinade on top. Marinade at room temp for 30 minutes.
3. Into a small bowl, whisk together your extra large eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Into a hot pan on medium heat, add in some olive oil. Pour in your eggs. Swirl the pan around to evenly distribute the eggs. Once the bottom is cooked, use a flat spatula to carefully turn over the eggs. Cook for additional minute, or until cooked through. Transfer cooked eggs onto a cutting board and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
5. Fry your spam: Into a hot pan on medium high heat, add in half of your spam. (Use all of the spam if cooking for a large group.) Fry until golden brown. Flip spam over and add in some of your marinade--you want just enough liquid in there to create some gooey sauce. Cook until liquid has evaporated and spam is cooked to your liking. Remove from heat, and slice up spam into strips. (Place any uncooked spam (in marinade) into the fridge for later use.
6. Into a large mixing bowl, add in 4 cups of cooked rice and season with sushi vinegar, furikake, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE SPAM AND EGG KIMBAP:


Lay a sheet of seaweed (shiny side down) on your bamboo sushi mat. Top with two scoops of seasoned rice (3/4 cup to 1 cup of rice), making sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch border on the top and bottom of your seaweed sheet. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water to press down on the rice, making sure it is even and flat. Add in two slices of egg, followed by two slices of spam. Roll your seaweed over the spam and egg, keeping it nice and tight. Roll the bamboo sushi mat over your finished kimbap, and hold it tightly for several seconds. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the kimbap with olive oil or sesame oil. Slice the ends off (and then eat them!). Slice equally into 8-10 pieces. Garnish with more furikake or sesame seeds. Serve immediately or eat in one day!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chicken Tenders

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This recipe for homemade chicken tenders is currently, on heavy rotation in this house. I just had to tell my kids that, "mommy is chicken tendered-out!" LOL. So, no, no more chicken tenders for us for a while, but, yes, make some for your kids! Beats getting chicken mcnuggets from Mcdonald's, right?! :)

INGREDIENTS:


2 pounds of chicken tenders

2 cups of buttermilk OR 2 cups of milk plus 2 Tablespoons of vinegar (allow milk and vinegar mixture to sour before using, about 7 minutes)

FOR THE FLOUR MIXTURE:
(double this mixture if you plan on frying up all 2 pounds of chicken tenders that day)

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of white pepper

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

*you will also need to reserve about 3 Tablespoons of your buttermilk to mix into your flour mixture)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

2 eggs (add an extra egg if frying up all of the chicken tenders)

vegetable oil or canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Into a 13x9 inch baking dish, add in your buttermilk. Add in all of your chicken tenders. Cover baking dish, and place it into the fridge for at least 3 hours OR for up to 48 hours.

2. Into a shallow dish, make your flour mixture. Drizzle in some of your chicken-flavored buttermilk, just until mixture is slightly crumbly. Don't add too much, because as you start to toss your chicken into the flour mixture, the flour will begin to clump up on its own.

3. Into another shallow dish, crack your eggs and lightly beat it with a fork.

4. Take your chicken tenders, dip them into the eggs, and then the flour. Tap off excess. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

5. In a cast iron skillet, heat up some vegetable oil to 350 degrees.

6. Fry up your chicken tenders for about 7-8 minutes, turning frequently, and until golden brown. Do not overcrowd your skillet! Drain on paper towels and serve immediately!

NOTES:

-You may cut the recipe in half. It takes my family 2 days to finish almost 2 pounds of chicken, so just keep the uncooked chicken in the fridge until ready to fry! It should be good for up to 48 hours in the fridge.

-If you realize that your flour mixture is running low (and you still have 2-3 pieces of chicken to coat) simply sprinkle in enough flour to coat your chicken pieces. Add an extra pinch of salt if you'd like!

Scones with Raspberry Jam

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This scone recipe was a must-have for the month of September. Why, you ask? Well, for starters, IT'S FAIR SEASON! I know it's supposed to be called the Washington State Fair, but old habits die hard and I still call it, the Puyallup Fair--SUE ME.

INGREDIENTS:


2 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 Tablespoon of sugar

2 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (I recommend the brand Rumford)

6 Tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter

3/4 cup to 1 cup of heavy cream

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:


raspberry jam (of course!!)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Into your stand mixer (or by hand), add in your first 4 ingredients. Mix well. Add in your softened butter. Place the dough hook onto your stand mixer, turn mixer to 'stir,' gradually turn to speed 2, and mix just until crumbly. With the mixture still on, add in 3/4 cup of your heavy cream. Mix just until dough starts to pull away from the sides and turn into a ball. Onto a lightly floured surface, dump your dough on top, and form it into a smooth ball. Divide dough into fourths, flatten out each piece into a 1 inch disc, and cover tightly with saran wrap. Place the discs into the fridge until chilled, about 3 hours OR overnight. Remove dough from fridge and shape into scones. Place shaped scones on some silpat (or parchment paper) and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 14 minutes, or until tops and bottoms have slightly browned. Serve warm with some jam.

NOTES:


-This recipe makes 16 small scones. You may cut them out larger if you'd like, just make sure to bake them a bit longer.

-Make these ahead! Unbaked scones be stored in the fridge for up to a week or may be frozen for later use.

-These taste best eaten the same day. You may keep these in an airtight container and keep them on the counter for 2 days. I recommend reheating them in the oven. Homemade scones lose their texture over time and do not taste good when you reheat them in the microwave.

-Bake only as much as you can eat! FRESH SCONES ARE THE BEST!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Vegetable Yakisoba

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Yakisoba, chow mein, lo-mein...I love them all the same! I love the texture of yakisoba noodles over chow mein noodles, that's why I use it in this recipe. Oddly enough, when I make this dish, I tend to call it "chow mein," although chow mein noodles are supposed to be more crispier than yakisoba noodles. Go, figure.

Anyone else as screwed up as I am?!?


INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of fresh Yakisoba noodles

3 cloves of chopped garlic

2 cups of chopped cabbage

1 cup of carrots sliced julienne

2 stalk of sliced celery

Half of a white onion, sliced

2 scallions, chopped

YAKISOBA SAUCE:

3 Tablespoons of dark soy sauce

2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce

2 Tablespoons of oyster sauce

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1/4 tsp of msg (optional)

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/4 cup of hot water

FOR THE CHICKEN STOCK (may sub for 1/2 cup of canned chicken stock or omit this part and just use water to cook the vegetables):

1/2 cup of hot water

1 tsp of Better than Bullion paste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start off by removing your Yakisoba noodles from the packaging. Place the noodles into a colander, and wash the oil from the noddles, making sure to separate the noodles as you go along. Drain well. Set aside.

2. Make your Yakisoba sauce: into a small mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients together, adding your hot water, last. Mix well and set aside.

3. Make your chicken stock. Set aside.

4. Into a hot skillet, add in some oil. Add in all of your veggies, EXCEPT for your scallions and white onions. Add in half of your chicken stock (or water) and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add in the rest of the chicken stock, cover, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until veggies are tender and all of the liquid has evaporated. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in your scallions and white onions, and cook on high for 1-2 minutes. Remove cooked veggies from skillet and set aside.

5. Wipe down your skillet using a paper towel. Into your skillet on medium high heat, add in two Tablespoons of oil. Add in your chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add in your Yakisoba noodles, and all of your reserved sauce. Add in your cooked veggies. Turn heat up to high, and stir fry until all the sauce has evaporate and cooked into the noodles. Serve immediately!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Snickerdoodles are a bit nostalgic to me. Back when they used to teach Home Economics in middle school, it was my first, homemade cookie that I ever had; they were soft; they were chewy; they were crunchy around the edges, yet soft and chewy in the middle. At the time, I thought they were the best thing, EVER! So, to my middle school teacher, Ms. Young, if you're reading this, I want to let you know that the first time I ever baked anything was with you! Who knows...maybe my love for baking started much earlier than I thought!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of softened unsalted butter

1 1/2 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 3/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda


FOR THE CINNAMON AND BROWN SUGAR COATING:

3 Tablespoons of sugar

3 teaspoons of cinnamon

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

vanilla bean ice cream or ice cream of your choice!

sprinkles!! All the sprinkles!!

round biscuit or cookie cutter

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Line a small baking dish with some parchment paper. Take your ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften a bit before using (about 10 minutes). Scoop out desired amount of ice cream into the baking dish and level it out using a flat spatula. Cover the ice cream with a piece of saran wrap, making sure to press over the ice cream's surface. Freeze until firm. (I usually do this whole step the night before)

2. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and using a biscuit cutter, cut out your ice cream. Place your cut-out ice cream pieces back into the freezer until ready to assemble.

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 400 DEGREES F.

3. Into a shallow plate, mix together your sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

4. Into a mixing bowl, add in your flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

5. In a large mixing bowl, add in your softened butter and sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat JUST UNTIL COMBINED. Add in your eggs and vanilla and beat just until combined. USING A SPATULA, fold in your dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix.

6. Using a melon baller (or by hand) shape your cookie dough and drop them into your cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place them on your cookie sheet fitted with some silpat (or parchment paper/foil), making sure to space them at least two inches apart.

7. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, EXACTLY.

8. Immediately remove cookies from your baking sheet and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack until ready to use.

9. Remove your ice cream from the freezer and begin to assemble your ice cream sandwiches. Roll them gently into your sprinkles (if using). I recommend making two at a time (leaving the rest in the freezer while you work), and eating them asap! In other words, make them and eat them right away! The ice cream will begin to melt as soon as you take them out of the freezer.

NOTES:

-Do not attempt to put any assembled ice cream sandwiches back into the freezer: the cookies will harden and it will be quite difficult to eat!

-This recipe makes over 3 1/2 dozen cookies. You may cut the recipe in half, but why would you?! Chilled dough makes the BEST cookies! Simply roll out the leftover dough into two separate logs, wrap each one in saran wrap, and place them into the freezer for later use.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Thai Iced Tea

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Thai tea during the summertime is LIFE. I am an avid coffee drinker, but during the summertime, I like to sometimes sub my coffee for an ice cold, refreshing glass, of this Thai iced tea. Kick it up a notch by adding in some homemade boba (tapioca pearls). You can find that recipe here.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of water

1 cup of Panthai Iced Tea Mix

3/4 cup of brown sugar

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

half n half or milk of choice


INSTRUCTIONS:

Boil 4 cups of water in a medium sized pot. Add in your Thai tea mix and brown sugar. Boil for 3 minutes. Turn off, remove from heat, and allow the tea to steep for an additional 40 minutes. Strain tea leaves from the tea. Pour into tall glass with ice. Add in your "creamer" of choice and drink immediately.



NOTES:
Don't walk away from your tea while it's boiling on the stove. If your pot is too small, your tea may boil over!

Homemade Boba in Vanilla Syrup

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Homemade boba aka tapioca pearls taste amaaaazing!! My husband, who isn't a fan of boba, loves the homemade version! I can literally eat it, on its own, when it's soaked up in some vanilla syrup! It's that good! And why am I using so many exclamation points! Does it sound like I'm yelling?!? LOL.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup of boba (I recommend the brand Bolle)

6 cups of FILTERED water

FOR THE VANILLA SYRUP:


1/2 cup of water

1/2 of sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

TO MAKE THE VANILLA SYRUP:


Into a saucepan, add in your water and sugar and bring it to a boil just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and stir in your vanilla. Set aside and allow to cool down before using.

TO MAKE THE BOBA:

Boil 6 cups of filtered water. Add in your tapioca pearls. Boil your boba until they've all floated to the surface (should take 2-3 minutes,tops). Turn heat down to low, and cook for an additional 20 minutes (making sure to stir every 2-3 minutes to prevent your boba from sticking to the bottom). Turn the stove OFF, cover the pot with a lid, and allow the boba to cook for an additional 25 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this time. Once done, remove lid, stir, and check for doneness. If not cooked to your liking, cover with lid, and cook for additional 5 more minutes. Strain in colander, and run some cold water through the boba, using your hands to lightly separate them. Place boba into a bowl, and add in your cooled down vanilla syrup. Allow to soak for 2-3 hours.

I LOVE to add boba into my Thai iced teas! Click here for the recipe!

NOTES:

You must use filtered water for the best boba! Using unfiltered water will make your boba clump together, and they won't separate well. Only make as much boba as needed, per day. Once refrigerated, the boba hardens and loses its chewiness. This recipe makes enough boba for approximately 6-8 tall glasses (more or less depending on how much boba you add per glass!)



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Potato dinner rolls

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As much as I love Asian food, I can also survive, alone, on bread and butter. Homemade bread is such a lost art these days; if you want to impress anyone, then this recipe is the way to go! It's perfect for a big family dinner, church potluck, or plain JUST BECAUSE. Even for a novice baker, this recipe is pretty fool-proof. Try it out, and see for yourself! :)

INGREDIENTS:


2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast

1/4 cup of sugar

3/4 cup of lukewarm WHOLE milk

4 1/4 cups of all purpose flour

8 ounces of mashed potato (about 1 large russet potato)

2 teaspoons of salt

6 Tablespoons of softened unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

FOR THE EGG WASH:


1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon of water

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

some vegetable oil

cooking spray

foil

13x9 inch (preferably aluminum) pan

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Wash and scrub your potato. Pat it dry. Using a fork, poke holes all over the potato. Place your potato into a microwave-safe dish, and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Flip your potato over, and microwave the other side for 3 more minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before touching. Once cooled, remove all of the skin. Mash up your potatoes using a fork, and then using a kitchen scale, weigh out 8 ounces of mashed potatoes. If you don't have a kitchen scale, then measure out 1 cup of lightly packed mashed potato.


2. Heat up your milk in the microwave until lukewarm. (In my microwave, it only takes about 30-40 seconds) Make sure it isn't too hot, or else you'll kill the yeast! Sprinkle in your yeast and sugar. Mix well and set aside until foamy (about 5 minutes).

3. Into your stand mixer (or by hand), add in your all purpose flour, salt, mashed potatoes, butter, and eggs. Once your yeast mixture has bloomed, at that in as well. Using your dough hook attachment, turn mixer to "stir." Mix until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.

4. Dump your dough onto a clean work surface. Knead with your hands until you've formed a smooth ball. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, toss to coat, cover with saran wrap, and allow for it to double in size. Could take you anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hour.

5. Fit your baking pan with some aluminum foil. Spray generously with some cooking spray. Set aside.

6. Once your dough has doubled in size, place it onto your clean work surface, gently deflate it, and begin to roll it out into an 18 inch long log. Cut out your dough into 18 equal pieces (cutting them 1 inch apart).

7. Roll out each dough, one at time, into a nice smooth ball. Cover any pieces that aren't being used, with a clean towel, to prevent drying. Place your rolls into your greased pan, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow for them to rise until doubled in size.

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F.

8. Coat each roll with your egg wash and bake for about 15 minutes. Rotate your pan, and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.

9. Remove your dinner rolls from the oven, and then turn them out onto a wire rack.

10. Serve immediately!



NOTES:


-This recipe makes 18 large dinner rolls. Feel free to make the rolls smaller to feed little mouths.

-Freeze any freshly made dinner rolls to enjoy later. I wrap each dinner roll, individually, in saran wrap and then just thaw them out on the counter before eating.

-Aluminum baking pans bake your dinner rolls more evenly, but you are free to use whichever kind of pan you have on hand.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Beef Chow Fun

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Straight up--If I was an inmate on death row, my one and only last meal, would be chow fun. Sounds crazy, huh? Chow fun is, and will always be, my most favorite thing to eat on the planet! Beef chow fun, shrimp chow fun....I LOVE ALL THE CHOW FUN'S IN THE WORLD.


INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of fresh rice noodles (may use dried noodles: follow the directions on the packaging)

8 ounces of sliced beef (I like to use tri-tip)

1 small bunch of sliced Chinese broccoli

3 scallions cut 1 1/2 inch in length

half of a white onion, sliced

4 cloves of chopped garlic

1 teaspoon of corn starch

garlic powder

fish sauce

oyster sauce

FOR THE SAUCE:

3 Tablespoons of double black soy sauce (or dark soy sauce)

2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce

2 Tablespoons of oyster sauce

2 Tablespoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of Mirin

1/4 cup of water

black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start off by making your sauce: place all of your sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and bring it to a quick rolling boil. Stir just until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

2. Separate your fresh rice noodles. If using dried noodles, follow the directions on the packaging. Set aside.

3. Marinade your beef with 3 Tablespoons of your reserved sauce. Add 1 teaspoon of corn starch. Mix well. Set aside.

4. Into a hot skillet or wok, add in a bit of water. Add in your sliced Chinese broccoli, pinch of salt, and black pepper. Stir, cover with lid, reduce heat to medium, and steam for 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and place into colander to remove any excess liquid. Set aside.

5. Into the same skillet on medium-high heat, add in a bit of oil. Add in your marinaded beef slices. Add garlic powder, fish sauce, and oyster sauce to taste. Cook just until no longer pink. Set aside.

6. Wipe down your skillet before using. On medium-high heat, add in 2 Tablespoons of oil and chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add in all of your noodles, making sure to separate them in the process. Pour in the rest of your reserved sauce, sliced onions, and sliced scallions. Cook on high heat until the noodles are well coated. Remove from heat and serve immediately!

NOTES: *I've only used this sauce recipe with fresh rice noodles. If using cooked, dried noodles, I would recommend using only half of the sauce, at first, and then gradually adding more sauce to taste.

*Do not cut the sauce recipe in half. If you plan on using only 1 pound of noodles, then use only half of the chow fun sauce. Store the other half in an airtight container, and place it into the fridge for later use. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lemon Cake with Lemon Icing

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I don't discriminate--I love cake of all sorts. BUT I must say...lemon cake with lemon icing is the way to my heart (well, at least at the moment, it is!). This cake has the perfect balance of sweet-to-tartness that will tickle your taste buds. It's soft, not overly-sweet, and has a very soft crumb. Your family and friends will go nuts over this one!

INGREDIENTS:

6 EXTRA LARGE eggs (separate the egg yolks from the egg whites)

2 sticks (1 cup) of softened unsalted butter

2 cups of caster sugar (may sub for granulated sugar)

8 ounces of sour cream

3 cups of sifted cake flour

1/2 tsp of baking soda

3/4 tsp of salt

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp of lemon oil or lemon extract

The zest from 2 lemons

cream of tartar

FOR THE LEMON SYRUP:

1/4 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of water

The juice from two lemons

FOR THE LEMON GLAZE:

2 cups of sifted powdered sugar

2-4 Tablespoons of lemon juice
(I use about 1 1/2 lemons for this)

A bit of lemon oil

Pinch of salt

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

A 10-inch aluminum tube pan

a skewer or something to poke holes with all over the finished cake

softened butter to grease pan

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INSTRUCTIONS:


PREHEAT OVEN TO 325 degrees F.

1. Butter your tube pan all over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Generously coat the whole pan with cake flour and then tap off the excess. Set this aside.
2. Sift your cake flour, salt, and baking soda together. Set this aside.
3. Separate your eggs; place your egg yolks into a small bowl.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add in your egg whites along with some cream of tartar and beat until stiff. Set this aside.
5. In your stand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar for at least 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
6. "Stir" in your sour cream just until combined.
7. Alternate adding in your flour mixture and egg yolks until fully combined with your creamed mixture.
8. Add in your lemon oil, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
9. Fold in your egg whites (by hand) just until combined.
10. Pour cake batter into your tube pan, give it a little jiggle to evenly disperse the batter, and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Check after 1 hour for doneness using a skewer.
11. While the cake is baking, make your syrup. Place sugar and water into a small saucepan, bring it to a quick rolling boil, and remove from heat. Add in your lemon juice. Mix well and allow this mixture to cool down.
12. Make your lemon icing: place sifted powdered sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Add in your lemon juice. For thicker glaze, start off with only 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and add more from there. Add in a small squeeze of lemon oil. Mix using a wire whisk. Add more or less powdered sugar to control consistency. Cover until ready to use.
13. When cake is done, allow it to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen up the cake from pan and set it on a wire rack.
14. Using a skewer, poke holes throughout the whole cake. Using a spoon, slowly pour the lemon syrup all over the cake.
15. Once the cake has cooled down, pour your lemon glaze all over the cake. Allow for glaze to set (about 15 minutes). ENJOY!



NOTES:


-For best results, use extra large eggs.
-To make caster sugar, place white granulated sugar into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
-Love pound cake? If you do not separate the eggs and just beat them in whole, the cake will be much denser and taste like a pound cake!
-If you do not separate the eggs, the cooking time will be a bit longer.
-Add a little lemon zest to the lemon glaze for a little kick!
-I highly recommend purchasing some lemon oil (I use the Wilton brand) if you can find some! I found mine from my local craft store, Michaels. If you really want to splurge, Lorann makes a good lemon oil, as well.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Banh Xeo (Asian Sizzling Crepes)

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These savory, sizzling crepes are a real crowd-pleaser in the summertime. They are light, crispy, and packed with so much flavor! You may use whatever filling combination you'd like! Some favorites are ground chicken, and pork belly. You are also free to add as much or as little crepe batter when you're frying these up. If you'd like a thicker crepe, simply add a bit more crepe batter into the pan while swirling it around in the hot pan. The thicker the batter, the longer it will take to make them crispy. For EXTRA crispiness, after you've added in your ground pork and blanched bean sprouts, turn your heat down to low, cover with a lid, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes (or until crunchy), remove lid, and continue with flipping your crepe over as instructed.

INGREDIENTS:

10 ounces of rice flour

2 ounces of corn starch

1 teaspoon of tumeric

1 tsp of salt

yellow food coloring

1 Tablespoon of olive oil (may sub for vegetable oil)

1 (14 ounce) can of coconut cream

3 1/2 cups of club soda

FOR THE FILLING:

2 pounds of ground pork

4 cloves of chopped garlic

4 Tablespoons of water

1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce

1/2 Tablespoon of fish sauce

1/4 tsp of sugar

lots of black pepper

msg (optional)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

bean sprouts (I use about half of a large bag of beansprouts for this whole recipe)

1 whole onion, sliced

1 1/2 pound of cooked shrimp meat (I like to buy them fresh from the seafood counter)

GARNISHES:

one head of lettuce

assortment of mints

cilantro

basil

Thai chili peppers

FOR THE SWEET AND SOUR DIPPING SAUCE:

1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 3/4 cup of very hot water

1/4 cup of good fish sauce ( I like the Three Crabs Brand)

3-4 Tablespoons of vinegar

crushed roasted peanuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Into a large mixing bowl, add in your rice flour, cornstarch, tumeric, salt, oil, food coloring, coconut cream, and club soda. Mix well using a wire whisk. Cover tightly with saran wrap, and allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 4 hours before using.

2. Soak your veggies in some cold water, and clean them VERY WELL. Drain, pat them completely dry (or a salad spinner works wonders!), and place them on a large platter. You may choose to cut up your lettuce into thin strips, but I would leave everything else whole.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add in your bean sprouts, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until just softened. Drain, and run some cold water through the bean sprouts to prevent them from over cooking. Set aside.

4. Into a large skillet on medium-high heat, drizzle in some oil. Add in your chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in your ground pork and cook until no longer pink. Drain, and using a paper towel, wipe off any excess oil from the skillet. Add your ground pork back into your skillet, and add in your water, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, lots of black pepper, and msg (if using). Taste check for seasoning. (You don't want it overly salty, just not bland either) Place your seasoned ground pork into a large dish until ready to use.

Get your work station ready! Make sure you have everything around you, next to your stovetop, ready to use: sliced onions? Check. Shrimp? Check. Blanched bean sprouts? Check. Seasoned ground pork? Check.

5. (Make sure you mix your crepe batter well before you begin. The rice flour and cornstarch will have settled on the bottom of the bowl, and this is normal. ALWAYS give it a good stir if it's been sitting, undisturbed, for a while.) Into a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat (make sure pan is HOT), drizzle in a bit of oil. Add in a few slices of onions and cooked shrimp. When onion and shrimp start to brown, add in a thin layer of batter. In my pan, I use about 1/4 cup of batter each time (how much batter you pour in depends on the size of your pan, and how thin/thick you like your crepes). Quickly, using your wrists, swirl your batter all around the pan until it's evenly distributed. When the outer edges of the crepe begin to crisp up or pull away from the pan, add in a handful of ground pork, and some bean sprouts. (I don't like to overfill my crepes, but to each their own. :)) Continue to cook until desired crispiness. When ready, flip over one side of the crepe to cover your filling, remove from pan, and serve immediately!

NOTES:


*This recipe makes a lot of crepes. Scale down the recipe by half if you wish.

*Crepe batter sits well in the fridge for up to three days. Stir well, after you take it out of the fridge and always allow it to come to room temp (at least 30 min) before using.

*A good non-stick pan is key! If your pan sucks, your crepes will suck. THE END.

*FOR EXTRA CRISPINESS: after you've added in your fillings onto the crepe, cover the pan with a lid, turn down heat to LOW, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until desired crispiness.

*If you are making a lot of crepes at once, make sure you separate each crepe with some foil to prevent them from sticking to each other. I usually serve two at a time for each plate, and then place the rest of the crepes on a large platter, separating each one with some foil.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Homemade Breadsticks

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I have a confession to make: I'm a known "carbaholic." I love all things bread, and homemade bread (or should I say, breadsticks), is definitely the way to my heart. These breadsticks are the perfect mate to your favorite pasta dish. And guess what?! They are soft, chewy, and are practically fool-proof. Not to mention...kids really enjoy shaping out the breadsticks; It's a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of warm water

2 tsp of active dry yeast

2 Tablespoons of sugar

2 1/2 cups of all propose flour

1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 tsp plus 1/4 tsp of salt

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

melted coconut oil (may sub for butter)

garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Sprinkle the yeast into your warm water. Stir. Add in your sugar. Stir, again. Set this mixture aside and allow the yeast to "bloom" or become foamy (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare your dry ingredients.

2. Into a large mixing bowl, add in your flour and vital wheat gluten. Mix well.

3. Once your yeast and water mixture has become foamy, add that into your dry ingredients along with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix for about 30 seconds and then add in your salt. Mix for 1 minute more.

4. Place your dough onto a lightly floured surface, and quickly knead your dough for 2-3 minutes until it forms a nice, smooth ball. Use additional flour as needed but overall, dough should remain slightly tacky.

5. Place dough into a well oiled mixing bowl, cover with kitchen towel, and place in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled in size (about an hour).

6. Place your dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate it by giving it a few light punches or simply using the fold-over method a few times.

7. Roll out the dough into a 24-inch long log. Cut into 12 equal sized pieces and gently roll out each piece of dough into 8-inch long breadsticks.

8. Place formed breadsticks, 1-inch apart, onto a large baking sheet fitted with some parchment paper. Cover with kitchen towel and allow them to rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes to an hour).

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 DEGREES F.

9. Carefully brush the tops of the breadsticks with some melted coconut oil and then with some garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes, or until breadsticks turn slightly golden brown. Serve immediately!

NOTES:

-These taste best eaten same day.

-May reheat in microwave for 10 seconds a piece.

-Add 3 Tablespoons of Bakers Special Dry milk to your dry mix if you have it! Otherwise, follow directions as written.

-Do not rush bread making! Make sure dough has properly risen before moving onto next step.

-There is such a thing as "over-proofing." In other words, don't let your dough rise for too long or it will result in heavy, brick-hard breadsticks.

-If it's a warm day, your bread may rise faster. Check your dough after 30 minutes to ensure you don't over-proof. If it's cold, it may take you longer than an hour for your dough to rise.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lemon Bars

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I was on the search for a good lemon bar recipe for a while...all came up short. Most had too little crust, or not enough lemon filling, or waaaay too much sugar! Even the amount I use in this recipe is the most that I've ever used! BUT that's the price you pay when you're dealing with desserts that require fresh lemon juice; hashtag, sorry-but-not-sorry!

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CRUST:

2 sticks (1 cup) of softened, unsalted butter

1/3 cup of sugar

2 cups of all purpose flour

the zest from 2 lemons

1/4 tsp of salt

FOR THE LEMON FILLING:


6 LARGE eggs

2 cups MINUS 2 Tablespoons of caster sugar

3/4 cup of sifted all purpose flour

1/4 tsp of salt

3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F.

1. Place your butter into a large mixing bowl and beat it until it has dispersed all over the bowl, about 20-30 seconds. Add in your granulated sugar and beat for 30 seconds more. Add the flour, salt, and lemon zest and mix until combined and crumbly. Pour your shortbread mixture into a 13x9 inch glass pan and firmly press the mixture down, making a nice even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges have turned slightly golden brown. When there's about 10 minutes left, gather all of the ingredients for the lemon filling.

2. Into a large mixing bowl, whisk together your eggs, caster sugar, sifted all purpose flour, and salt. Finally, add in your fresh lemon juice and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour your lemon filling onto the hot crust, LOWER THE OVEN TEMP TO 325 DEGREES F. and bake for about 20 minutes, or until there's a slight jiggle in the middle of your pan when you wiggle it.

4. Remove the pan from the oven, allow it to cool to room temp. and then place a piece of saran wrap over it. Refrigerate until lemon bars have fully set, about 3 hours, or even better, overnight!

5. Remove lemon bars from the fridge, and allow them to come to room temp before dusting with powdered sugar. Cut into squares and serve immediately!

NOTES:

-Make these ahead! Place lemon bars into the freezer after you're done baking and pull them out whenever you want some! Make sure you allow it to come to room temp before dusting with powdered sugar.

-You may use any 13x9 inch pan, but I love the results the glass pan gives me.

-Dip your knife into some hot water before cutting into your lemon bars to get those perfect squares!

-I usually get 3/4 cup of lemon juice from the larger lemons. If you use Meyer lemons, they are less acidic and require less sugar. If you use the tiny lemons, those are REALLY acidic, and I'd recommend using the full 2 cups of sugar.

-To make caster sugar, just pulse granulated sugar in a food processor until smooth.

-Different pans yield different cooking times, so I'd recommend checking on your lemon bars after 15 minutes.

-Make sure your crust is fully baked before adding in your filling.

Cheese and Bacon Scones

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If you are a lover of scones, then my recipe is a must-try! Most people love sweet scones filled with jam (recipe for that one is coming up! :)), but if you are looking for a change, or have never tried a savory, moist, and cheesy scone, then this recipe will be a game-changer for you!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of all purpose flour (I recommend the brand King Arthur)

1/4 tsp of salt

2 tsp of sugar

2 1/2 tsp of baking powder (I recommend the brand Rumford; it's aluminum-free)

1/2 tsp of ground mustard powder

1 Tablespoon of dried onion

6 Tablespoons of cubed, softened unsalted butter

4 ounces of shredded Asiago cheese

4 ounces of shredded extra sharp cheddar

1/3 cup of bacon bits

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream

FOR EGG WASH:

1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon of water lightly beaten

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Add the first 6 ingredients into your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn the mixer to "stir" and mix until all combined. Turn mixer off and add in your cubed butter. Turn mixer to speed "4" and mix until crumbly. Turn mixer off again and add in your shredded cheeses and bacon bits and mix just until combined or until all of the cheese and bacon bits are covered in flour. With the mixer on "stir" add in your heavy cream and mix just until the dough forms a ball. The dough should be wet but not be too sticky.

2. Place your dough onto a lightly floured surface, and quickly shape it into a ball. Divide the dough in half, and using your hands, flatten out each ball into a 1 inch thick disk. Cover each disc in saran warp and allow them to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 400 degrees F.

3. Remove your discs from the fridge and cut out your scones. Place them onto an un-greased baking sheet fitted with some parchment paper on top. Add a layer of egg wash to each scone. Bake for 15-17 minutes for larger scones and 12-15 for smaller ones (I cut out 12 larger scones and they take about 17 minutes in my oven). You'll know when they're done when they become golden brown on top and are slightly golden brown on the bottom. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before eating.

NOTES FOR THE BEST SCONES:

-If using real bacon, cook bacon and them crumble it up to make 3/4 cup. If using diced ham, use 3/4 cup as well.

-Use good baking powder with no aluminum in it.

-Use good flour.

-Don't overwork the dough.

-Use heavy cream instead of buttermilk.

-Use silpat vs. parchment paper (it rises better and cooks more evenly).

-Oven times vary; the colder the dough, the longer it'll take to bake.

-May mix by hand using pastry cutter or even a food processor (be careful not to over-mix when using a food processor).

-Use extra sharp cheeses for optimum cheesy flavor. :)

-Great make-ahead recipe; dough can sit in the fridge for up to three days or may be frozen for later use.

-Do a double egg wash if you have time. Wait 15 minutes after the first coating, then add another coating of egg wash; it makes the tops nice and golden brown and gives the scones a nice crunch!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Linda's Chipotle Salsa

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If you are a lover of salsa, then this recipe is for you! My best friend Linda has been dubbed the "salsa queen" by all of her friends. For a long time, every time she was set to show up for a party, everyone would ask her to make her famous salsa.

Well, guess what?? Now's the time to share with you all, her infamous recipe!

Enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS:

4 (14.5 oz) cans of fire roasted tomatoes

1 (7 oz) can of Embasa chipotle peppers

1 whole medium onion, roughly chopped

1 whole jalapeno

1 whole jalapeno, deseeded

2 cloves of garlic

1 whole bunch of cilantro

salt

black pepper

smoked paprika

chili powder

ADDITIONAL ITEMS NEEDED:

Tortilla chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place all of the above ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. May need to work in batches. Season to taste. Place finished salsa into the fridge for at least one hour, to allow all of the flavors to set.

NOTES:

I use a total of two jalapenos, but deseed only one of them. I like my salsa spicy, so if you don't like it too spicy, I recommend using only one jalapeno (deseeded). Always start with one, and then work your way up to the spice level that
you want!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Baked Salmon

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My baked salmon is an easy weeknight dinner that your whole house will love! My family and friends love this recipe and devour it in an instant! If you love salmon and want to try something new, then this recipe is right up your alley! :)

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of salmon (whole)

light mayo (enough to cover fish)

2 pinches of salt

black pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

onion powder to taste

1 cup of crushed fried onion

extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and pat your salmon dry. Put some foil on top of a large baking sheet and place your salmon on top. Lightly drizzle some olive oil all over your salmon and massage it in. Evenly coat your whole fish with some light mayo. Season with salt, black pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Bake for about 25 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. Check for doneness at the thickest part of your salmon (if it flakes off easily then it's done!). Remove your salmon from the oven and sprinkle your crushed, fried onion on top. Place your salmon back into the oven and continue to back for another 2-3 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Strawberry Crumb Bars

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I don't know about you guys, but strawberry flavored ANYTHING is my absolute favorite! These strawberry crumb bars aren't overly sweet (as with most of my desserts) and have this yummy, crumbly topping made with cinnamon and nutmeg...YUM!

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. of fresh strawberries chopped

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon of cornstarch

FOR THE CRUST:


2 cups of all purpose flour

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

pinch of salt

zest from one lemon

1 egg lightly beaten

1/2 cup of SOFTENED unsalted butter, cubed

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING:

1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 cup of crispy rice cereal

1/2 cup of sugar

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar

pinch of salt

cinnamon to taste

ground nutmeg to taste

1/4 cup of melted butter flavored shortening (may sub for butter)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:


13x9 inch baking dish

parchment paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 degrees F.

1. Place your chopped strawberries into a mixing bowl and add in your sugar, vanilla extract, and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
2. Make your crust: into a mixing bowl, add in your all purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, pinch of salt, zest from one lemon, and egg. Add in your cubed softened butter, and using a fork, begin to mix your ingredients together. Once slightly combined, use your hands to mix it until crumbly. REMOVE 1/2 CUP OF THIS MIXTURE AND SET THIS ASIDE.
3. Press your crust mixture firmly into your baking dish fitted with a piece of parchment paper.
4. Take your strawberry mixture and pour it evenly over your crust.
5. Make your topping: into a mixing bowl, add in your all purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, crispy rice cereal, pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and melted shortening. Mix it until crumbly. Take your 1/2 cup of reserved mixture from earlier, and add that into your mixing bowl until well combined.
6. Take your crumb topping and spread it evenly over your strawberries. (You may not use all of the crumb topping)
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is slightly browned. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

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