Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Crisp

Seriously, I have made apple crisp so many times in the past, but never really followed any recipes until this time when my sister-in-law sent me the link of this wonderful recipe.  I saw a lot of great comments from the reviews.  Only a few were commenting that the apple crisp was too sweet.  I tried this recipe yesterday, but adapted a little bit to suit my taste.  I didn't add water to the apples like the recipe said, and I cut the amount of sugar by half.  The apple crisp was very delicious.  I will definitely make it again.

Adapted from Diane Kester

10 cups apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter - softened
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Place the sliced apples in a 9 "X 13"baking dish.  Mix with sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour, and cinnamon well.  
  3. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and softened butter together.  Crumble over the apple mixture.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes.  
  5. Serve with ice cream.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Snap Peas And Eggplant With Quinoa

What an enjoyable evening having this yummy, savory side dish yesterday!  The aroma of the garlic filled the kitchen, or perhaps the entire floor of my house during cooking.  Don't let the recipe scare you, it's not as complicated as it looks.  All the steps are pretty straightforward.   This side dish doesn't have to be served hot.  So you can make it in advance.  In order to maintain the crunchiness of the snap peas, make sure you don't overcook them.  The whole dish will taste amazing once the assembling is done.  


For Eggplant
1 eggplant - approx. 12 oz - half peeled
2 tablespoons fish sauce 
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger - minced
2 stalks rosemary - stems removed

For quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For snap peas
4 cups snap peas
8 cups water

For the dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves - minced
1 stalk rosemary
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 cup green onion - chopped
Ready to go into the oven

Cut the baked eggplant into strips


  1. Soak quinoa in the water for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain well in a fine metal strainer.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of water in a small pot.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low.  Cover with lid and simmer for 15 minutes.  
  5. Remove from heat.  Set aside.  
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1/2" slices lengthwise.
  3. Arrange eggplant in a 13"X 9" glass baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl, mix garlic, ginger, olive oil, fish sauce, brown sugar, and rosemary well.
  5. Pour the mixture over eggplant slices.  Make sure all the slices are coated with the mixture.  
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.  Flip to the other side, bake for another 10 minutes.
Snap peas
  1. String the snap peas.
  2. Cook the snap peas in boiling water for 1 minute.  Drain well.  
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Saute garlic.
  3. Remove from heat.  Add rosemary, fish sauce, and green onion to the oil.  Mix well.
For Assembling
  1. Keep the baked eggplant in the baking dish.  Cut into small strips.  Toss with snap peas, quinoa and the dressing.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegetable, Apple Soup With Meatballs

Recently, I have been obsessed with lemongrass and basil.  These two ingredients have become my good friends in the kitchen.  I love the zesty and lemony taste of  lemongrass, and the aroma of basil.  Luckily, they are quite easy to find these days.  In this vegetable soup recipe, besides using some of the main vegetable ingredients, I also added an apple to it.  That gave a little fruity taste to the soup.  When I make meatball dishes, I like to sear the meatballs first before adding them to other ingredients.  The vegetable broth that I was using really enhanced the flavors of the soup.  It was tasty enough without additional seasonings.  

8 oz lean ground pork
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Pinch black pepper
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 cup shallots - chopped
1 cup onion - chopped
1/2 cup carrot - chopped
2 tomatoes - seed removed and diced
1 potato - peeled and chopped
1 apple - peeled and diced
1 stalk lemon grass
2 basil leaves
4 cups vegetable broth
Toasted baguette slices

The soup goes well with baguette
  1. In a bowl, combine ground pork, bread crumbs, egg, garlic salt, and black pepper.  Mix well.  Roll into 12 balls. 
  2. In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
  3. Add meatballs to the oil, sear-fry until golden brown.  Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium heat.  Saute garlic, shallots, and onion.   
  5. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, carrots, potato, apple, lemon grass, and basil to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to low temperature.  Cover and simmer for half an hour.  Add meatballs to the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes.  
  7. Serve with baguette slices.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fried Boneless Chicken Wings

I know it is not that special making fried chicken wings.  How about fried boneless chicken wings?  The word 'boneless' should make the chicken wings a little unique, I guess.  I have to admit that I didn't find the whole deboning process pleasant.  The skin can easily be ripped open if it is not done precisely.  At first, I was preparing to debone 20 pieces of chicken wings, but I ended up doing 10 pieces.  My thumbs started to hurt from pulling the bones out.  So I had to call it quits.  Perhaps it will be easier next time if I do the deboning again.  Anyway, it was a learning experience for me.  If you are interested in learning how to debone chicken wings, go visit the blog of Dave's cupboardIt's a great blog, and the instruction is quite easy to follow.  I would try to make stuffed chicken wings using the whole wings when I regain my enthusiasm.  The fried boneless chicken wings were delicious yesterday.  So it was worth the effort even though I had to go through some difficulties.  I could eat the whole piece of chicken wing using the cutlery.  My fingers stayed clean during the whole meal. 

10 chicken wings - deboned
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch black pepper
2 to 3 cups of oil for frying


  1. Marinate the chicken wings with garlic salt, paprika, and black pepper for half an hour.
  2. Mix flour, corn starch, and baking powder well in a bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Whisk the egg, and milk well.  Set aside.
  4. Dip the wings in the egg mixture, then coat in the flour mixture.
  5. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
  6. Place the chicken wings in the hot oil and fry until the wings are crispy and fully cooked. 
  7. Serve immediately.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Arugula And Jicama Salad

We just had a simple but delicious arugula salad for lunch today.  My husband and I love arugula.  It is always the main ingredient in our tossed salad.  Besides arugula, there were also Jicama, pine nuts, orange, and blueberries in this salad. Jicama is a root vegetable.  It doesn't look so appealing as it has a very rough skin on the outside.  Don't judge by the look.  It is a fabulous and tasty root vegetable.  I love its sweet and crunchy taste.  It goes well with either vegetable or fruit salad. Remember, the skin of the jicama has to be removed before you eat it.

4 cups arugula 
1/2 cup jicama - peeled and chopped
1 orange - peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup pine nuts - toasted
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons orange juice

  1. Combine arugula, jicama, orange, blueberries and pine nuts in a salad bowl.
  2. Mix honey and orange juice well.  
  3. Toss the salad with the honey and orange dressing.
Makes two servings.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Crepes With Seaweed

Last week, when my husband and I were stopping at the food court in the mall, I saw people lining up for the crepes.  Some people ordered savory crepes, and some ordered sweet crepes. They all looked delicious.  So I was telling myself that I should make my own crepes at home someday.  This morning, my craving for crepes struck at breakfast time.  At the same time, I found a bag of seaweed snacks in the pantry by coincidence.  So the idea of making savory crepes with seaweed came to my mind.  The seaweed snacks can easily be found in most Asian markets.  They are individually packed and can be considered as healthy snacks.  I also found some simulated king crab sticks in the fridge that could also be added to the crepes.  As this was my first attempt, I wasn't sure if the turnout would be good. Luckily, I was quite happy with the result.  Making crepes is fun.  

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
6 to 8 pieces seaweed snacks
1/2 cup green onions - chopped
4 simulated king crab sticks - diced
1/2 cup tomato - diced and seed removed
 Seaweed snack pack is shown above the plate
  1. In a bowl, beat eggs, flour, salt, milk and chicken broth together.
  2. Add oil to the mixture, and continue beating until smooth.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium low heat.  Brush with oil.
  4. Place a piece of the seaweed snack in the center of the pan, sprinkle some chopped green onions all over the pan, and pour one scoop (regular ice cream scoop) or 1/4 cup of the mixture over. Tilt the pan until the mixture covers the surface of the pan.  It's fine if the green onions move around, but the seaweed should remain in the center.  
  5. Cook for about 2 minutes. Flip to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes or until brown.
  6. Remove the crepe from the pan, and place the crepe on a plate with the seaweed side down.  Fold in half.
  7. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Sprinkle diced simulated king crab, diced tomato, and some green onions over the crepes.  Serve with or without the teriyaki sauce.

Makes 6 to 8 crepes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coconut Butter Rolls

I baked some coconut butter rolls yesterday, and they were heavenly yummy.  The steps of making these coconut rolls are very similar to those of making cinnamon rolls.  The only difference is the filling. Instead of cinnamon and brown sugar, the buttery taste coconut filling is rolled inside.  If you love sweet rolls or buns, these coconut butter rolls will sure make you mouth watering.  


For the dough
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or butter - room temperature
1/2 cup evaporated milk (or regular milk)
1 egg
3  cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

For coconut filling

2  cups shredded coconut - sweetened
1 egg - room temperature
1/2 cup butter - softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

For the glaze
1/4 cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the filling
  1. Beat egg, butter, sugar, and flour together until creamy.
  2. Add shredded coconut to the mixture and mix together.  
For the glaze
Mix 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract together.

For the dough

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.  Add yeast to the water and stir to dissolve.  Let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, using a flat paddle attachment to beat butter or shortening until creamy.  Add egg, sugar, milk, and salt to the butter or shortening and continue beating at medium speed until smooth. 
  3. Add yeast to the mixture, mix slightly.
  4. Switch to a dough hook.  Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time to the mixture and mix it at low speed until 3 cups of flour are finished.  Turn up the speed to medium and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is nicely formed.  
  5. Place the dough in a floured bowl.  Sprinkle a little bit of flour over the top of the dough if it is still sticky.  Knead the dough slightly by hands until it's smooth.  Gather the dough and sprinkle some flour over the top again.  Cover with plastic wraps.  
  6. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size.  
  7. Punch dough down and knead slightly.
  8. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to approx 14" X 9".  
  9. Spread the coconut filling evenly over the surface of the dough.  Gently roll up the dough and cut into 12 pieces.  
  10. Place them in a greased 9"X 13"X 1 3/4" baking pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise to double in size.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  12. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven.  
  14. Spread glaze on rolls.
  15. Serve warm.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Green Curry Pork Stew

Early this morning, when I tried to think of what meals I should prepare, my mind just went blank.  I couldn't come up with anything at all.  Perhaps I was just finding an excuse, I could just be too lazy to think.  I got spoiled by the Thanksgiving weekend as I didn't really have to cook for a few days. Nevertheless, my cooking mood should come back soon.  I know myself very well.  I know that my passion in cooking seldom disappears.  In order to get me back on my feet without stressing me out, I decided to make something simple for our dinner.  Finally, green curry pork stew was served on time tonight with rice on the side.  The meal was tasty.  The green curry paste that I used was very mild which I totally preferred.  My day in the kitchen ended peacefully, and now I look forward to starting a new day tomorrow.  

1 lb boneless pork - cut into 1/2" cubes
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 cup onion - chopped
1/2 cup carrots - chopped
5 tablespoons green curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 teaspoons water
Pinch salt and pepper


  1. In a pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.  Saute garlic and onion.
  2. Add pork and cook until brown. 
  3. Add green curry paste, carrots and coconut milk.  
  4. Cover and simmer for one hour or until tender over low heat.
  5. In a small bowl, mix corn starch with water.
  6. Add the corn starch mixture to the pork.  Stir until thickened.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove from heat. 
  9. Serve with rice.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Duck Legs With Orange Honey Sauce

Duck legs are on sale at one of our local supermarkets this week.  That sounded good to have for dinner, and something that I didn't normally cook for the family.  So I bought a few while I was doing my grocery shopping.  Since they were frozen, I couldn't use them the same day I bought.  I kept them in the freezer and took them out yesterday morning.  After the duck legs had thawed completely, I started cooking them in the afternoon.  I had looked up some recipes of the 'Duck Leg Confit,' but I didn't like the whole long process.  So I decided to cook the duck legs my way.  One of the ingredients I used was lemongrass. Lemongrass has a zesty flavor, and the aroma is incredible. It always goes well with any kinds of poultry.  You can probably find it at your local Asian markets. It is usually sold in a bundle of lemongrass stalks.  Yesterday, the duck legs tasted perfect with the mashed potatoes on the bottom, and the orange honey gravy on the side.  I didn't pour the gravy over the duck legs as I wanted to maintain the crispiness of the skin.

3 to 4 duck legs
2 stalks lemongrass
1 rosemary sprig
4 basil leaves
5 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 cups water

For orange honey gravy
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon butter

Duck legs are in the drying process

Lemongrass stalks
  1. Pour 12 cups of water into a pot and boil over high heat.  Add lemongrass, rosemary, basil, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Put the duck legs in the pot.  Cook uncovered with the ingredients over high heat for one minute.  Then turn down the temperature to low heat.  Continue to cook uncovered for 50 minutes to one hour with the ingredients.
  3. Remove from heat.  Place the duck legs on a rack inside a pan.  Let dry for one to two hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and bake the duck legs for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven to broil/grill on high and grill the duck legs for 4 minutes so that the skin becomes crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven.  Serve with mashed potatoes, salad greens, and the orange honey gravy immediately.
Orange honey gravy
  1. Whisk all the ingredients except butter together.  
  2. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.  Add the flour mixture slowly to the butter and continue to whisk until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve on the side of the duck legs. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chunky Vegetable Barley Soup In Bread Bowl

I seldom buy buns or bread as I always make my own.  Yesterday, unintentionally, I saw some round bread bowls right in front of me once I entered the supermarket.  The bread bowls were displayed nicely in a big basket along with the price tag.  That's how the whole thing caught my eye.  Looking at the price, they were only selling for CDN$0.59 each.  How could it possibly go wrong with this price for a big, decent size bread bowl?  So I picked up a few and put them in my cart.  As the cold weather is approaching, what else could be better than a bowl of hot soup.  I make barley soup only occasionally.  For some reason, the barley was suddenly in my head when I walked through the aisles.  I decided to make some barley soup serving in these magnificent edible bowls for dinner yesterday.  The soup was chunky, thick, and creamy.  Thanks to the barley!
1/4 cup barley
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup carrots - chopped
1/2 cup onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1/2 cup Chinese bok choy - chopped
2 to 3 French bread bowls
2 tablespoons olive oil
Bok Choy
  1. Cut off the round top of the bread.  About 4" diameters.
  2. Remove the bread in the center.  Keep the bread for dipping.  Set aside. 
  3. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, onion, and barley.  Saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly brown. 
  4. Add vegetable broth and carrots.  Bring to a boil.   
  5. Reduce heat to low temperature and cook for 45 minutes to one hour or until barley is tender.  
  6. Add bok choy and continue to cook for 10 minutes. 
  7. Remove from heat.  Pour the soup in the bread bowls.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Almond Shrimp Balls

Almond Shrimp Balls, another great appetizer to make using my favorite ingredient 'shrimp.' Its crisp, clean look makes it a very elegant dish for entertaining or social gathering.  You can easily get applause from your relatives or friends when you are serving this dish.  For the ingredients, you will only need a few.  The steps are not complicated.  As long as you buy the shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined, that would save you a lot of time in preparation.

26 shrimp - peeled and deveiled
1 egg white
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Pinch salt and pepper

Put the shrimp inside a freezer bag and pound the shrimp
gently with a meat mallet until paste is formed

Roll the shrimp balls in sliced almonds

Ready to drop the balls into the oil


  1. Dry the shrimp thoroughly.
  2. Put a small spoonful of oil inside a freezer bag or a sandwich bag and grease the bag,
    so that the shrimp paste won't stick to the inside surface of the bag.  
  3. Put the shrimp inside the bag, seal but leave a small gap open,
    so the air inside the bag can come out.  
  4. Pound the shrimp gently with a meat mallet until paste is formed. (Too much force can break the bag)
  5. Leave the shrimp paste inside the bag.  Fold down the top of the bag so that the shrimp paste can be reached by a spoon. 
  6. Add pinch of salt and pepper to the shrimp paste.  Mix well with a spoon.
  7. Place sliced almonds in a shallow dish.
  8. Place egg white in a small soup bowl and beat with a fork slightly.
  9. Form tablespoonful of shrimp paste into balls, dip in the egg white and roll the balls in sliced almonds .
  10. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
  11. Drop the balls in the oil and fry until brown.
  12. Drain on paper towels.
  13. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
Makes approximately six balls.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Carrot Buns

I use carrot a lot, but never came up with an idea of using it to make buns until the day before yesterday.  As my skill in bread making has already been to my standard, I was quite confident that I could create a good carrot buns recipe.  Besides using most of the basic bread ingredients, I added pureed carrots to the ingredients.  I substituted honey for sugar.  The steps are basically the same as other bread that I follow.  I was full of joy when I saw those buns come out so fluffy from the oven.  With the glaze on top of the buns, it gave the buns a rich, buttery taste.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup pureed carrots
1 egg
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup butter or shortening - softened
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons skim milk powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For pureeing carrots:  Peel and chop two carrots (about 7 1/2" long each).  Place carrots in a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain well.  Using a food processor, puree the carrots until smooth.

For butter glaze : Mix 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract together well.

1  12-cup muffin pan or 2  6-cup muffin pans

 Waiting for the dough to rise

The dough has doubled in bulk

Ready to go into the oven


  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water.  Add yeast to the water and stir to dissolve.  Let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, using a flat paddle attachment to beat butter or shortening until creamy.  Add egg, pureed carrots, honey, skim milk powder, and salt to the shortening and continue beating at medium speed until smooth. 
  3. Add yeast to the mixture, mix slightly.
  4. Switch to a dough hook.  Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time to the mixture and mix it at low speed until 2 1/2 cups of flour are finished.  Turn up the speed to medium and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is nicely formed.  
  5. Place the dough in a floured bowl.  Sprinkle a little bit of flour over the top of the dough if it is still sticky.  Knead the dough slightly by hands until it's smooth.  Gather the dough and sprinkle some flour over the top again.  Cover with plastic wraps.  
  6. Let rise until the dough has doubled in bulk.  
  7. Punch dough down and knead slightly.
  8. Put the dough onto a floured surface and divided into 12 pieces.  
  9. Roll each piece into a ball.  Place the dough into each greased muffin cup.  Cover with plastic wraps.  Let rise until double.  
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes.
  11. Dip the top of the buns into the glaze and place the buns onto a plate. 
Makes approximately 12 buns.