Saturday, August 7, 2010
Long story short is...I'm back and I hope you are as well!
From My Kitchen to Yours.....Let's get cooking...(again)!
I'm an avid lover of Asian food, seriously...I can't get enough of it. From Thai to Japan, it's all scrumptious to me. Sometimes I wish I could travel around like Andrew Zimmern! He has the most amazing job! So anyway....a few days ago I brought home some California rolls from the supermarket to have for lunch (I know...ewww! but in my defense this supermarket had a sushi chef station.. ok). Well after the family devoured the rolls, my husband teased me by saying "wow babe, these rolls are good....too bad you can't make these"........................If you know me....or even of me, then you know telling me I can't do something only makes me mad, and then I just have to achieve whatever you said I couldn't do....(yeah..it's an Aries thing & yeah..I get tricked into doing tons of stuff..lol). So I huffed and puffed how he was wrong and how I could cook anything if given the proper materials. Well... He quickly fired back about my long unused makisu (巻き簾) is a mat woven from bamboo and cotton string) & and other Asian cookware laying dormant in their respective boxes.
Fast forward to crunch time....
Here's what you need..............This is the recipe I followed
Ingredients for 5 California Rolls [40 pieces]:
200g Imitation Crab Sticks - Oosaki brand is our preferred choice - North American product should be squeezed to remove excess water
2 Avocados - Haas is the best - not to ripe [buy them green/hard and wrap in newspaper for 24 hours] peel and cut into wedges
5 Half sheets of Nori - Takaokaya Gold and Yamamotoyama Gold are excellent - Full sheets are to be halved width-wise by folding and then carefully pulling the sheet apart
50g Toasted Sesame Seeds - Buy Black and White for a decorative touch
50g Tobiko [flying fish roe] - You may use Masago but tobiko is a superior product - pick a color... a good Japanese food store will offer many colors. Our shop has red, orange, green wasabi, black, and gold.
Tezu Prepare a small bowl of water mixed with a small amount of unsweetened Rice Vinegar for moistening your finger tips [not your whole hands... we try to only use our fingertips!]
Wasabi and Japanese Mayonnaise [Optional Ingredients - QP is the best]
Let's Get Started
Place a sheet of cellophane wrap - same size as your rolling mat on your sudare [bamboo rolling mat]. Cool your hands down under a cold running water tap and dry your hands [cold hands will sweat less and stick less to your rice].
Dip your fingers in your Tezu and wave your hands to remove excess water. Take some rice with your finger tips [10 cm round ball]. Place the rice ball in the center of the wrap and gently distribute the rice the width of your nori sheet and 5 cm longer then then your sheet of seaweed. Don't work your rice too much [if you smash your rice grains you are pressing too hard].
Center your nori sheet on the sheet of rice. You may now fill your roll.
Put the cucumber strips alongside your avocado and do likewise with your crab sticks. Lay a strip of Japanese mayonnaise and/or wasabi.
Start To Roll
Roll the side nearest you to form a center core of ingredients surrounded by nori [there should be that 5 cm band of rice left after your nori].
Pull out you wrap at the end of your roll and overlap your ingredients roll over the last band of rice. By pulling and lightly squeezing your mat, form your roll circular or triangular-wise [gently hold your ingredient in on the ends while manipulating your roll].
Gently set your roll to the side and spread sesame seeds and/or tobiko on your cellophane wrap with your mat underneath. Re-position your roll on the cellophane and gently re-form your roll to embed slightly your outside ingredients. Carefully move your mat to one end of your roll to shape the end of your roll [a small amount of your ingredients squeezed out is normal... too much means your squeezing too much].
Cut & Serve
Cut your roll into 8 pieces. Your knife must be very sharp [a Yanagiba sushi knife is ideal... it is available in our online store].
Place the tip of your knife into your bowl of Tezu. Invert your knife to a vertical position and tap the butt end of your knife and let the water flow along the blade to the tip. This will insure that your rice does not stick to your knife. Place your roll on a cutting board and cut your roll in half [leave the cellophane on!].
Halve your pieces again and once more and remove the cellophane wrap and voila! 8 delicious California rolls.
This was soo much fun to make! Here are some things I left out.....
-I didnt use the Toasted Sesame Seeds
-I used tenzu on my palm as well as my fingers.....that rice is sticky!!
- I also used some tomago [たまご] egg in mine.
To complete the meal I added some from frozen gyoza and shumai...oh yeah...and some red bean Ice cream! Next time I'll make the shumai from scratch too!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
- Cabbage, shredded -- 1/2 head
- 1 handful of peeled baby carrots, grated.
- 3 Scallions, minced
- White vinegar -- 1/2 cup
- Water -- 1/2 cup
- 1 Jalapeño pepper, minced
- Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
Friday, May 14, 2010
Alright let's heat things up!
I recently got in on a good deal on some chicken at my local market. The price per pound was phenomenal so I snapped up more than my fair share. What to do with so much bird you ask??? Well I turned to my spice cabinet for some ideas....and it came to me!
Jerk it of course!!!!
What you need.........
- 1 Tbl. ground allspice
- 1 Tbl. ground thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground sage
- 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. minced ginger
- 2 Tbls. fresh garlic (crushed)
- 1 Tbls. brown sugar or molasses
- 1/4 Cup. Soy sauce
- 1/4 Cup. dark rum (optional, but encouraged)
- 3/4 Cup. white vinegar
- 1/2 Cup. orange juice
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 Scotch bonnet peppers
- 3 green onions, diced
- 1 Cup. white onion, diced
- a few pounds of chicken thighs and drumsticks (I skinned mine).
Wait a while!..................
Monday, May 10, 2010
Pupusas are thick masa harina "cakes" stuffed with cheese or meat. They are very popular in El Salvador. They are made with "Masa harina". It'sdifferent from corn flour in that it is made with ground homily which has been said to be more nutritious than regular corn flour.
- 2 cups Masa Harina
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup chopped up cheese
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
- one or two pounds chicken breast(boneless and skinless if you have it)
- two large onions (julienned)
- one medium green pepper (julienned)
- one large red pepper (julienned)
- one small can of tomato sauce
- half of a large lime (juiced then sliced up)
- 1/4 cup of red vinegar
- 1/2cup of cilantro
- 1 tbs of adobo
- 1 package of Sazón with Coriander and Annatto
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Spring is here, and so are the fruits and veggies of the season! Therefore I've decided to make a cake.....more specifically A CARROT CAKE! YUMMM!
This used to be my mom's most favorite cake. It was like her kryptonite, I remember walking into this store in Manhattan with my mom and sister once, there over on the counter.... she saw her favorite little square cake sitting all wrapped up in plastic and ready to eat. She promptly purchased that and I think some double mint gum. When we stepped outside she gave me and my sister a piece of the sweet carroty goodness......It's been my favorite ever since.
I had been craving this yummy treat for the longest .......here it is, my version....enjoy!
What you need............
- 3 extra large eggs
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- 2/4 cups olive oil
- 1 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 Cups Soft a Silk or Swan’s Down Cake Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 Cups Raw Shredded Carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapples (drained)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 package or 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 small peach - cut into slices
- 1 small plum - cut into slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour whatever size pan you are using.
In a large container, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in walnuts. Pour into pan.Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Make your frosting (or buy some...but. I enjoyed making mine today!)
In a medium container, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cake once it is completely cool.
*If you tend to burn the edges like I do..Just trim the cake.
*decorate with your plum and peach slices!
ENJOY!! I know I will!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
That's right folks I'm one of the lucky 80,000 ConEdison customers that don't have power in their homes due to the crazy storm that blew in Friday night. It's day two of the blackout and I'm beyond angry. My food is spoiling in the fridge, so I have decided to cook whatever I can rather than let it go to waste. Cooking in an almost pitch black house is no easy feat, and eating out was no option due to the high winds and soaking rains. I'm a mommy of two boys and one infant girl so there was no way I was getting in the car and chancing getting into an accident. Sooooooo I gathered up the remaining food worth saving and here is the most note worthy recipe. I was saving this shrimp for more pad Thai, but oh well. Sorry the pictures are bad..... They were taken in a blackout effected kitchen after all.
What you need.....
About 20 large shrimp
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup olive oil
6-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 stalks scalions ( chopped)
1 tbl spoon lemon herb seasoning
4 slices of lemon.
1 or 2 pinches of dried parsley
Cook it up!
Rinse shrimp (peel, and devein if necessary) and set aside. Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic 1 or 2 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add shrimp, green onions, and lemon herb seasoning. cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook.
Add chopped parsley and salt and pepper before serving. Garnish with lemon slices and cilantro sprigs.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
How I love thee........
I honestly love this awesome green sauce!! I began making this when I first started making Mexican style tacos at home. Now I think I will make this and keep some in the freezer to put on just about everything. Lately I have been tweaking the recipe, and this is the final result......I think =^_^=.......at least until I think of something else yummy that "just hasssss to be thrown in"! If you decide to give this sauce a go, then don't be affraid to do a little "tweaking of your own.....as I type I just added some sour cream & cotija cheese for a spicy, creamy, fresh tasting treat!
What you need.......
- 2 large tomatillos, husks removed, washed, and quartered
- 1 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of cilantro
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
- 2 small habanero or scotch bonnet peppers
- a dash of salt
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 1/2 red tomato (you can leave this out if you like)
- 1/2 large white onion (I like red if I remember to buy them)
- a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Well there is no "cooking" involved...........but the next step is to toss all of these ingredients into a blender (I used my new awesome Wolfgang Puck immersion blender ^_^) and process to a smooth consistency.
All done! enjoy over some homemade tacos or whatever else you think of.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Another one of my favorite dishes to order when enjoying the occasional nice lunch out in the city! It's not too hard to make and will earn you fantastic reviews from the young and old (it did for me ^_^). If you don't try anything else on my blog.......please make an exception for this gem! I promise you it's worth every second spent searching for the elusive tamarind paste!
"Sweet, sour and salty tastes all blend and balance in this traditional Thai favorite. The fruity-sour taste of tamarind is almost impossible to duplicate, and is worth searching for in Asian or Indian markets".
What you need………..
- 2 Packages of rice noodles
- 18 shrimp large, shelled and de-veined
- 1 ½ chicken breast sliced into thin strips
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- ½ cup chopped scallions (I used a green pepper/onion mix...I forgot the scallions at the store :-( oh well)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 1 medium sliced lime
- 4 tablespoons Huy Fong Chili Sauce*
- (2 cups prepared pad Thai sauce)* see below...
Make Thai sauce by combining the ingredients below (to taste) in a small sauce pan, bring to a boil then set aside.
½ cup palm (or regular) sugar
½ cup fish sauce
½ cup tamarind paste or concentrate
1 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. vegetable oil
½ tbs. garlic, minced
Heat oil in a wok, sir fry chicken until it turns white and is cooked through. Remove and set aside. Add shrimp to the wok, cook until shrimp is pink, remove and set aside. Clean out wok, reheat, then add 1 tablespoon oil, and scramble the eggs for about 1 minute, then add the noodles, chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, and sauce.
Stir-fry all ingredients until well cooked and combined. Serve with, peanuts sprinkled over the top, with Huy Fong chill sauce, fresh cilantro and lime wedges as garnishes.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
With this dish I officially declare the opening of Valles Garden!.....or Mom foo's as the kiddos call it! LOL!
Here is my (I must say AWESOME) version of one of my favorite Chinese dishes! Thanks to my recent shopping trip, I finally have the ingredients to make it.
What you need
• 1½ lb chicken breast (skinned & DE-boned)
• 2 medium eggs (whites only)
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• ½ cup oyster sauce (or more if you like)
• 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 pound broccoli (I use florets or baby)
• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 4 garlic cloves
• 3 oz stir-fry oil
Cook it up!
Velvet the chicken.....
slice the chicken up into strips. Combine egg whites, 1 teaspoon corn starch, and two pinches of salt in a bowl....then add mixture to the chicken slices and store in a container with a tight fitting cover for 30 minutes. Next heat the wok to high and add 2oz of oil, stir fry chicken until it is white then promptly remove and place chicken on a plate or in a colander with paper towels to absorb moisture. Clean out the wok.
Place the broccoli in a microwave safe container, add ½ cup water and cook on high for 3 minutes (more or less depending on how firm you want your broccoli to be). drain and set aside.
Make the sauce by combining 2 tablespoons soy, oyster sauce, and water in a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch and water.
Heat wok and add a few tablespoons of oil (more if needed). Add the broccoli and the velveted chicken, stirring and tossing to cook the chicken through. Add the sauce and cornstarch mixture, stir quickly to thicken. Mix everything together and serve hot rice.
*To add a spicy zip add a tiny dollop of Huy Fong chill sauce!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
With the thoughts of better homemade Asian fair in the back of my mind, An impromptu trip to K-Town (A strip of Korean stores & restaurants in Manhattan) turned into a super cool shopping trip!
When I walked into the little market I didn't expect to be visually assaulted by the humongous array of Asian food products! I'm sure some of you are wondering why I was so excited.......I mean it's just food right? Well for me it is exciting when I can walk into a market, and find Asian food other than soy sauce and ramen noodles! It's not like I live near a store that carries even 1/100th of what they had there so naturally I went nuts. I think I looked at everything they had in the store from pots to frozen pork patties, to dried anchovies and shitake mushrooms! they had it all........or maybe most of it..LOL!
On the list of goodies picked up by me were a few of my favorites! Shumai, red bean ice cream, gyoza and something else I can't remember without getting up and looking in the freezer..... :-p
Now with that said you know some super tasty food is coming your way soon!