Monday, June 18, 2007

Gazpacho Soup

Ok, sorry for all the posts, I've been a little busy in the kitchen and want to share(I'll hold off on giving the recipe for the barley pancakes and veggie muffins until later), but I HAVE to post this. This is a super summer time soup, and we used to scarf this down when I was a teenager. Definitely a must on those hot days. Fortunately the hubby doesn't like this so I get it all to myself. This serves four and will last about 3 days in the fridge.

1 clove peeled garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 green pepper, seeded, and quartered
1 small onion quartered
2 large tomatoes
1/2 - 1 cucumber(you decide how much cucumber you like)
1 Tbsp ground almonds
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
1-2 dashes of Worcesteshire sauce
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

Put everything in the blender. Hit on. Chill for about 2 hours. Garnish with the parsley.

tips: I sometimes have to blend in batches, just stir everything together in a big bowl afterwards. Leave out the Worcestershire if you don't like the taste. The chilling lets the garlic settle in better.

I sometimes add plain yogurt, which tastes very good too.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I'm posting this on request from a friend who loves chocolate and pumpkin. This is one of my favorite desserts.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spices(nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon)
1 cup pureed pumpkin(home made or canned...fresh baked pumpkin tastes dang good, and can double as baby food)
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 - 1 cup milk chocolate chips(the dark or semisweet, just feel too bitter, sorry Ghiradelli's)

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients together and then mix into the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips. Dish into muffin cups and bake between 20-25 minutes at 350(I think...that is what 180 C translates to, right?)

Let cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes before popping out to cool.

Once cooled, frost with.....

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1-2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Let the cream cheese and butter soften and blend together. Mix in the vanilla and sugar(most recipes call for powdered sugar, but granulated works just fine).

Stores well in the fridge.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Asian food for the Mexican Cuisine lover

This is a dish from Okinawa and has become very popular throughout all of Japan(if only they knew it was really a Mexican dish in disguise). It works really well if you don't have tortillas handy and/or you have a ton of rice.

1 lbs. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
2-4 tomatoes
2 cups-ish grated cheese
1 head of lettuce
1 avocado
some salsa
taco toppings

3-4 cups short grain rice

1. Start you rice cooking. Follow directions for your rice cooker or in a pot on the stove follow a 2-1 ratio(2 cups water for every 1 cup rice) and boil. You migh want to make more than you think you'll need, it disappears fast, and if you have left overs you can wrap a serving in saran wrap and freeze for later use (just pop in the microwave for 2-3 minutes).

2. cook ground beef, drain, add taco seasoning and water as directed by the package.
3. dice the tomatoes
4. shred the lettuce
5. dice the avocado

dish out the rice, put the beef on top along with tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa, cheese, oh and sour cream tastes good too. Anything you like on your tacos works. Great for kids with wheat allergies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Suck it, Rachel Ray!

La Yen's 30 minute Dinner: Herbed Salmon with Bulghur and Vegetable Salad

You need:
salmon fillets
1/2 C bulghur
2 C fresh green beans
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
Stinky Cheese (feta or whatever), grated or crumbled
1/2 c pine nuts
1/2 onion
herbs of your choice
1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn into bites

MMMKKK--start your timer!

1. Put on about 2 C water to boil. When it is boiling, pour 1 C of it over the bulghur and cover it tightly, for about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425. This should take about 15 minutes.

3. Steam your beans and let them cool down while everything else is cooking.

4. While the oven is preheating, put 2 T of butter and a generous helping of herbs in a baking dish (I use dill, garlic salt, parsley, and dried chives). Put the dish in the oven while it is preheating.

5. Mince the onion and saute it in butter, over medium.

6. When the onion is translucent add the pine nuts and toast for a few minutes.

7. When the oven is close to being preheated the butter should be sizzling and the herbs should be toasty. Add the salmon fillets. Bake for about 5 minutes, turn over, and bake for another 3 minutes or so. Then take out.

8. Fluff up the bulghur, add the onions and pine nuts, chopped tomato, cheese, green beans, and lettuce. Drizzle with oil/juice and toss.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Necessity is the mother of lunch

I made this concoction today while cleaning out the fridge, and was very pleased.

Spinach Artichoke Parmesan Dip (mix in a big glob when the gnoochi are still hot)
Tomato wedges

Jooj ate it up and so did I

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Watermelon Lemonade--refreshing!

I always have to double this recipe because it is quite popular--especially at outdoor BBQs! I'd recommend you use a really good citrus juicer (like the "citrus squeezer" at Crate and Barrel). The last time I made this recipe was for a Memorial Day BBQ at my home. I had two papercuts on my fingers and boy, did they sting when I squeezed all those lemons! But the end result was worth it. Make the drink several hours ahead of your party to give the drink time to chill. My husband does not like regular lemonade but he loves this drink. Have a great summer!

8 cups 1-inch pieces seedless watermelon (from about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Ice cubes
Lemon wedges

Working in 2 batches, blend watermelon and lemon juice in processor or blender until smooth. Transfer to pitcher. Bring 3 1/2 cups water and sugar to boil in medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add hot syrup to pitcher with watermelon-lemon juice. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. Fill tall glasses with ice. Pour Watermelon Lemonade over and garnish glasses with lemon wedges.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tropical Pancakes

This is something I threw together this morning with some left over ingredients, it worked pretty well.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4-1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup milk
1 egg(optional)
1/4-1/2 cup crushed pineapple (I cuisinarted cubed pineapple)
about 1/4 cup shredded coconut(It's up to you, I eye ball how much I want)

Directions: Mix the dry ingredients together then slowly blend in the milk and the egg. Add the pineapple and shredded coconut. Cook up those bad boys on a skillet over medium low heat. Flip when the bubbles start to pop and stay.

Top with banana, kiwi, strawberries, or any fruit your heart desires. I also added plain yogurt and syrup on top in addition to my bananas, it was a pretty wicked breakfast, and great for the summer season.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Chicken Piccata

All my good cook friends keep talking about Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa... so I finally bought one of her cookbooks Barefoot Contessa at Home. (Costco price - 18.99) We loved the Chicken Piccata.

4 split (2 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups seasoned dried bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
sliced lemon for serving
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound it out to 1/4inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper on a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the eggs and 1 Tbsp water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread-crumb mixtures.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add 2 chicken breasts adn cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan while you cook the rest of the chicken. heat more olive oil in the saute pan and cook the second 2 chicken breasts. Place them on the same sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 min while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. On medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter and then add the lemon juice, white wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by halve, about 2 min. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and swirl to combine.

Discard the lemon halves. Serve on chicken breast on each plate, spoon on the sauce, and serve with sliced lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

ps. I didn't do the lemon slices or parsley for serving... I would if I were entertaining... and I didn't have parchment paper... I need to get some - it seems I've been doing a lot of stuff that asks for it... so I use Pam spray... and a plastic baggy to pound the chicken.

Chicken Caterpillar Kebabs

Another recipe from Annabel Karmel's First Meals .


Prep time: 40 min, including 30 min marinating; cook time 15 min 350 degree F Makes 8 portions Provides beta-carotene, iron, protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc

4 chicken breast fillets (about 1 1/4 lb) cubed
1 cup canned lychees
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into triangles

3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed is yummy)

To decorate:
8 cherry tomatoes or radishes
16 whole cloves
8 green onion fans (TIP: to make green onion fans, cut green onions into 3-inch lengths. Make four slashes at one end of each. Place in ice water until the ends curl.)

Mix together the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Add the chicken and leave to marinate for at least 30 min. While the chicken marinate, soak eight bamboo skewers in water to keep them from burning.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers, putting half a lychee and a red pepper triangle between each piece of chicken. Arrange on a baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for about 15 min, basting with the marinade and turning occasionally, until cooked through.

To decorate, make a face for each caterpillar using a cherry tomato or radish, studded with clove eyes. Attach it to the tip of the skewer and thread on a green onion tail.

Hungarian Goulash

This is from Annabel Karmel's First Meals that Cabesh suggested I purchase ...and did more than a year ago. It is one of the BEST family-friendly cookbooks I have.

Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 2hours 20 min
300 degree F
Makes 8 portions
Provides beta-cartotene, iron, potassium, protein, B vitamins including folate, vitamin C, and zinc
Suitable for Freezing

For young children, chop the meat and vegetables into small pieces or process in a blender for just a few seconds. Serve with noodles.

flour for coating
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1lb lean chuck steak, cut into cubes
2tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or beef stock (I like chicken stock - that organic one from Costco)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I buy that fresh parsley that come in the tubes you find in the produce section so as not to have the leafy kind go bad on me)
6 tbsp sour cream
1/2 lb egg noodles (I like the skinny egg noodles)

Spread the flour on a plate, season lightly, and use to coat the beef. Warm the vegetable oil in an ovenproof Dutch oven, add the beef, and saute until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onions to the casserole and saute for 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and cook for about 2 minutes.

Return the sauteed meat to the pan, pour in the stock, and stir in the tomato puree, ketchup, Worchestershire sauce, and chopped parsley. Cover, transfer to the preheated oven, and cook for about 2 hours. Check that the meat is tender. Season to taste and stir in the sour cream. Set aside and keep warm.

Cook the noodles in boiling, lightly salted water according to the instructions on the package. Drain, arrange a bed of noodles on each plate, and top with a serving of goulash.

ps. I added a bit more freshly ground pepper and ketchup at the end... right before spooned the goulash over the noodles. Leftovers taste great.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Summer Salad

I went to a baby shower yesterday and had some of this amazing salad my friend Stacey Ball made.

Here's what it had in it:

Cucumbers chopped
Avocados chopped
Grape Tomatoes
Feta Cheese
Finely chopped red onion
Newman's LIGHT Balsamic Vinagrette
Fresh ground pepper

It was the perfect, summer salad... savory and light.