Monday, March 31, 2008

Pat's Apple Crisp

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Here is the ultimate apple crisp recipe, guaranteed to get you compliments every time you make this. Your kitchen will smell wonderful as it bakes. As a variation, you can add nuts or raisins to the topping. This recipe comes from my friend Pat Petredis, an award-winning cook, of Fox Island, Washington.

Ingredients:
4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup water
¾ cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, unsalted and chilled

Mix apples, cinnamon and water. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar and butter with a pastry blender until it resembles peas. Place apples in a buttered 10” baking dish. Top with flour mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min. until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

Pat's Sour Cream Potato Casserole

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This is a very easy and cheesy potato casserole dish and is a big hit at parties. It is sinfully rich and absolutely scrumptious! It comes from Pat Petredis of Fox Island, Washington, pictured here with husband, Paul, on their wedding day.

Ingredients:
2 lb. frozen diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
16 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cube butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Thaw the potatoes. Melt the butter. Mix everything together. Bake in an ungreased 9x12” pan at 350 degrees for 60 min. until golden brown.

Stephen's Oven-Roasted Cauliflower

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Here's a different approach to cooking cauliflower from my talented son, Stephen Loase, of Los Angeles (pictured on keyboards). The lemon juice gives the cauliflower a nice tangy taste. You can hear Stephen's band and the music he composes on www.myspace.com/lonelymattresssalesman.

Ingredients:
1 large cauliflower, about 2 pounds, cut into 1 1/2- inch flowerets
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the garlic. Toss to mix well and place in a large baking dish or shallow roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast the cauliflower, turning once or twice, until tender and caramelized around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir the garlic into the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately.

Somen Salad

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This noodle salad is bursting with flavors and textures. It is so colorful that it looks impressive when served. You can get the somen noodles, kamaboko (processed pink and white fish cake) and cha sui at an Asian market. It is truly a meal in itself.

Ingredients:
2 packages Somen noodles
Iceberg lettuce, chopped
Cha sui (Chinese style barbequed pork) or ham, sliced julienne
2 beaten eggs, fried and sliced in slivers
1 kamaboko (processed fish cake), cut in slivers
2-3 green onions, chopped

Dressing:
2 T sesame seeds
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
3 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce

Cook the somen noodles according to package directions. Let cool. Beat the eggs and fry until done. Cut the eggs into strips. In a 9x13x2" pan, layer the noodles, then the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Use enough of each ingredient to cover one layer in the pan. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. At serving time, pour the dressing over all.

Ginger Nut Crusted Fish

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If you love macadamia nuts, this recipe is for you. There won't be any leftovers, as it is so good. We made this recipe with tilapia, pictured here, but it would be equally as good with halibut, snapper or any other white fish.  It is easy to make and tastes decadent.

Ingredients:
2 T honey
1 T soy sauce
1 T lime juice (freshly squeezed)
2 T fresh ginger, finely grated
1 T green onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup Macadamia nuts (or almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts), chopped
1 lb fish (tilapia, halibut, snapper, mahi mahi)

In small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, green onion and garlic. Place fish on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush mixture evenly over fillets; sprinkle evenly with chopped nuts. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 min. or until fish is cooked through and just flakes when tested with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

Here's a photo of the halibut caught by Denny and his friends in Alaska several years ago.  

Cream of Mushroom Soup

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I love this soup! It's pretty uncomplicated to make and tastes exceptional. You won't be able to eat canned cream of mushroom soup after you taste this one. Of course, if you use cream instead of milk, the soup will taste richer. It's excellent!

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter
2 T chopped onions
½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken broth
½ lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cups scalded milk, half & half or cream

Sauté the onions in the butter. Add the flour and seasonings to make a roux and cook for a 1-2 min. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 30 min. Add the fresh mushrooms and cream and simmer for another 5 min.

Mulligatawny Soup

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This classic Anglo-Indian soup is a wonderful creamy blend of spices and seasonings. Mulligatawny soup was featured in a Seinfeld episode as Kramer's favorite in the "Soup Natzi" episode. This recipe reminds me of the good times Michelle and I had at our favorite Indian restaurant at our regular Saturday lunches when she lived in San Diego. I miss that.

Ingredients:
6 chicken thighs, skinless
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 T curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream or plain yogurt
Cilantro, finely chopped

Place chicken, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, curry, cumin, salt, pepper and chicken broth in a crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (or High for 4-5 hours). Remove bones from chicken. Set chicken aside, to be added later. In a blender or food processor puree the soup in batches and return to crock pot. Stir in cream and cooked chicken. Cook on high for 30 min until heated. Garnish with cilantro.

Mom's Udon

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On hot summer days, my mom would make a cold version of this soup where the broth is chilled first before serving. It’s a very refreshing summer meal. You can serve this cold or hot, and add whatever meat and vegetables you like to this soup. The udon broth below includes "dashi", an instant soup mix (bouillon), which you can get at a Japanese market.

Ingredients:
6 cups dashi (broth)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 T mirin
½ tsp salt
1 pkg ready-made udon noodles

Prepare the dashi (broth) according to its directions. Mix dashi, soy sauce, mirin and salt together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook the ready-made udon noodles according to package directions. Pour udon broth over the noodles. Top with whatever ingredients you have on hand, such as:

-- Cooked meat or seafood (like leftovers) – chicken slices, beef slices, pork slices, shrimp or crab
-- Chopped green onions
-- Cooked spinach leaves
-- Tofu slices
-- Bean sprouts
-- Bonito flakes
-- Japanese kamaboko slices
-- Sliced mushrooms
-- Egg

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

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This is a quick and easy way to make asparagus in your oven. Try not to overcook the asparagus, as it should be served tender crisp. It still is cooking after you take it out of the oven, so adjust your time accordingly. It's a cinch to make!

Ingredients:
2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, after baking

Heat oven to 450. Place asparagus in a single layer on a shallow baking dish or brimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic and basil. Bake 6-8 min. at 450 degrees. Do not overcook. It can also be grilled on a barbeque for 4-6 min. total. Add salt and pepper after cooking.

Spinach Casserole

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This is a great vegetarian meal in itself, full of spinach, eggs and cheese. I sometimes make this as a side dish at Thanksgiving. It also freezes nicely, and the leftovers microwave just fine. I hope you will try it as it is easy to make and very yummy.

Ingredients:
2, 10-oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup cheddar or jack cheese, shredded
¼ cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-2 T butter, cut in small cubes

Defrost the spinach. Squeeze out some, but not all, of the water. Mix all ingredients together and place in a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. until puffy and light brown on top. Serve hot.

Broccoli Cauliflower and Bacon Salad

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Broccoli, cauliflower, bacon, cheese and mayonnaise, all in one salad. What more could you ask for? True bacon lovers will love this salad. Make sure you use Best Food's Mayonnaise. There is none other better than that. Some people put raisins in it, but I think that's kind of funky, myself. You will truly love this one. It's one of those salads that goes well with barbequed food.

Ingredients:
3 cups broccoli flowerets
3 cups cauliflower pieces
1 cup Best Food’s mayonnaise
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. bacon, cut, fried and drained
¼ cup red onion, chopped fine

Mix everything together and refrigerate until serving time.

Tuscan Bread Salad

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This is one of my favorite salads to take to potlucks as it is so colorful and has many different textures and flavors in it. Be sure that the baguette is day old, slightly stale, as it will hold up better when the dressing is added. You can even toast the bread cubes in the oven for a few minutes if your bread if very fresh and soft. This salad is a meal in itself. I could eat just this for dinner! Simply delicious.

Ingredients:

4 cups seedy baguette, cut in 1” cubes
4 tomatoes, chopped
½ green bell pepper
½ yellow bell pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
½ cup Greek olives, pitted
1 cup feta or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Dressing:
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Toss salad with dressing 30 min. before serving, so that the dressing soaks into the bread. The best bread to use is a seedy baguette or bread that has a crispy hard crust. If your bread is too fresh, it will become soggy in the salad. You can bake the bread cubes in a 300 degree oven for 8 minutes to make them firmer, if you wish.

Corinne's Corn and Tomato Salad

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This is an excellent recipe for the summertime when fresh corn is in season. Be sure to use fresh corn versus canned or frozen corn. The sherry vinegar gives it a nice flavor, so be sure to use that too. Another great recipe from the kitchen of Corinne Gooden, my cooking idol.

Ingredients:
½ cup chopped red onion
1 T olive oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ cup fresh basil, slivered
3 T sherry vinegar
2 oz fresh goat cheese (Chevre), crumbled
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Using a sharp knife, cut off the corn kernels from each ear of fresh corn on the cob. In a 10-12” frying pan over medium high heat, cook onion in olive oil until limp, 5-7 min. Add corn kernels and stir often until tender, 5-6 min. In a serving bowl, stir the corn, tomatoes, basil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper. Right before serving, sprinkle goat cheese over salad. Serve at room temperature.

Potato Salad

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This is my plain and basic version of potato salad. You can add chopped pickles (sweet or dill), olives (green or black), pimentoes, radishes or whatever you wish. This goes good with Hawaiian Baked Beans and to me is comfort food at its best.

Ingredients:
8 Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled and cubed (leave skins on)
2-3 T cider vinegar
2 tsp capers
¼ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup green onion, finely chopped
3-4 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard, to taste
Salt, pepper, to taste

The trick to making good potato salad is to boil the potatoes the night before, then sprinkle them with cider vinegar, and let them cool down thoroughly in the refrigerator before adding the rest of the ingredients. The following day, gently mix the potatoes with chopped eggs and onion, and add mayonnaise and mustard. Chill for an hour or so before serving. If you make this in advance, you may need to add more mayonnaise before serving as it gets absorbed into the potatoes.

Berry Almond Coffee Cake

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I love the almond flavoring in this coffee cake. It is perfect for breakfast or brunch, is a great accompaniment to Corinne's Quiche and doesn't take long to make. If you use frozen berries instead of fresh ones, be sure to increase the baking time by 10-15 min.

1 cube butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries
Powdered sugar for dusting

Mix butter and sugar until well blended; add eggs and almond extract. Add flour and baking powder and stir just until blended. Do not overmix or the batter will be tough. Fold in berries. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased and floured square or round baking pan (8”-10”) for 30-35 min. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

Cake in a Cloud

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This cake resembles a cloud once you get it put together. You can use Heath bars or any chocolate-covered toffee bar instead of the Skor candy bars. In each scoopful, you will get a taste of chocolate cake, pudding, whipped cream and toffee nuggets. It resembles a chocolate trifle and feeds a large crowd.

Ingredients:
1 pkg Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake Mix (plus oil, eggs, water, per directions on box)
2 pkgs Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding (large size)
5 cups milk
3 small tubs of Cool Whip
3 Skor candy bars, crushed

Make cake mix according to directions in two 9” pans. Cool. Mix pudding and milk with wire whisk. Set aside. In a deep, large round bowl, layer the following:

-- One layer of cake
-- ½ of the pudding
-- 1 tub Cool Whip (fill in the gaps and sides of the bowl with Cool Whip)
-- The other cake layer
-- The rest of pudding
-- 1 tub Cool Whip to cover all

Use the rest of the Cool Whip to simulate a cloud effect, rounding the top of the bowl, so it looks like one big mound. Sprinkle the crushed Skor candy bars on top. To serve, spoon into individual serving bowls.

Magic Cookie Bars

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This is the easiest cookie to make on the face of the earth. There is no mixing or stirring. You just layer the ingredients in a rectangular baking pan. So simple!

Ingredients:
Layer in a 9"x13"x2" pan in this order:

1 stick margarine melted
1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large package semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped nuts

Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 min. Cool before cutting.

Hide's Shiozake (Salted Salmon)

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Denny requested this recipe from Hide Obatake, as Denny's uncle made something similar to this when he was younger, which he was very fond of. When Hide was a child, his relatives from Hokkaido, Japan used to send his family a whole Shiozake wrapped in straw. It had so much salt that it never spoiled even at room temperature. This was the common way to preserve fish in pre-ice box and refrigerator era. It is very salty and eaten only in small quantities.

Ingredients:
2 lb salmon filet (with skin on)
2-1/2 – 4T sea salt (do not use table salt)

Rub the salt into the salmon as you would a barbeque rub. Wrap the salmon with a paper towel and keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days. Put a folded bamboo sushi wrapper underneath to keep it from the liquid. You can slice it before cooking, or slice it and freeze individually. You can adjust the salt to your liking. You can bake or broil the salmon.

This is an extremely salty recipe, so is eaten in small quantities. Some folks boil or rinse the salmon multiple times after it is cooked and then dip it in vinegar to cut the heavy salty taste.


Sweet and Sour Spareribs

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I searched and searched and finally found this recipe for sweet and sour spareribs. Denny loves it! He can eat the entire batch in one sitting. As a variation, you can add a can of pineapple chunks, and substitute the water with pineapple juice from the canned pineapples. It's a very sweet recipe - Hawaiian style. The sauce is so good over Japanese rice.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. pork spareribs
1 T soy sauce
2 T flour
3 T salad oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small piece ginger root, minced
2/3 cup white vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp salt

Ask your butcher to cut the bone in half, so you have smaller pieces. Sprinkle soy sauce and flour over spareribs; mix gently. In a large frying pan, heat oil. Brown ribs with garlic and ginger; drain off excess fat. Add remaining ingredients; simmer 45 min. until the meat is tender.

Cliff and Patti's Christmas Spinach Salad

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Here's a great salad recipe from Patti and Cliff. It's very festive (green, red and white) and perfect for the Christmas holiday. Trader Joe’s spinach works best (buy two, 8 oz. size). If you put the cranberries in the salad dressing, they will be less chewy. You're going to like this salad. It will soon become a regular holiday favorite. Here's a great photo of Cliff and Patti vacationing on Maui.

Ingredients:
1 lb baby spinach, washed
2 Asian pears or regular pears, sliced
8 oz. goat cheese (Chevre or Feta), crumbled
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cranberry Dressing:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
¼ tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp pepper or to taste
1-1/2 cup olive oil


Mom's Batayaki

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This is great dish for a dinner party! You place an electric skillet in the center of the table, and a platter of raw food. Everyone cooks their own food, and then dips the food in a wonderful batayaki sauce, eating it with Japanese rice. Yum! We have had many wonderful batayaki family meals together over the years. Pictured here is my mom with her mom, Grandma Miki Tanagi.

Ingredients:

Batayaki Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 T sesame oil
ginger, grated – to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
Chopped green onions
Sesame seeds

Mix soy sauce, sugar, water, sesame oil, ginger and garlic together. Microwave the sauce until the sugar dissolves (1 min). Serve in individual bowls. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Meat and Vegetable Tray:
Sukiyaki meat (buy at a Japanese market like Mitsuwa, Nijiya or Marukai in San Diego)
Tofu, sliced
White onions, sliced
Spinach, nappa or bok choy slices
Zucchini, sliced
Mushrooms, sliced
Bell peppers, sliced

Place a large electric skillet or electric frying pan in the middle of the table. Melt butter in the pan. Each person cooks their own meat and vegetables, then dips the cooked food in the batayaki sauce. Serve with Japanese rice.

Auntie Fumi's Sukiyaki

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So delicious! It has a nice sweet broth that goes well with rice. You can get the thinly-sliced sukiyaki meat from a Japanese market. This recipe is from Auntie Fumi Matsuda, formerly from Twin Falls, Idaho, who is pictured here at a 90th birthday party celebration.

Ingredients:

2 T oil
1 lb sukiyaki meat or sliced chicken
2 onions, sliced
4 oz yam noodles (Shirataki)
1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cube tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch green onions, cut into 2" lengths
2 leaves nappa cabbage, sliced
1/4 cup sugar (add to meat)

Sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup mirin

Arrange meat and vegetables on a large platter. Heat an electric frying pan to 375 degrees and add 2 tbsp. oil. Brown meat in oil, add ¼ cup of sugar, and move meat to corner of skillet. Add other vegetables, keeping each separate. Add sauce, cover, bring to a boil and cook 2 min. Uncover and turn all ingredients while cooking 5-10 min. more until everything is cooked.

Mom's Chinese-Style Spareribs

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Another family favorite recipe! I would ask my mom to make this for me on my birthday each year. This was her own, original recipe. She is depicted here in Roger’s painting from the “American Diary Series”.

Ingredients:
2 sides pork spareribs, cut up

Marinade:
¾ cup beef broth
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp ginger, freshly grated
2 T soy sauce

Marinate the ribs for 2 hours or overnight. Bake the ribs in a roasting pan with the marinade at 375 degrees for 1-1/2 hours, turning the ribs at 15 min. intervals. Cover the pan with foil if all the marinade evaporates while baking. I like a lot of sauce on the ribs, so I make a second batch of the marinade, adding 2 T of cornstarch to it and microwaving it for 1 minute until thick. I baste the ribs with this sauce towards the end of the cooking time and serve the extra sauce on the side.




Chocolate Eclairs

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Here's my luscious chocolate eclair recipe. Follow the instructions in my Mom's Cream Puff recipe (see next posting) for the puff pastry portion, then fill with a custard filling and top with my chocolate ganache recipe. Again, the tricky part is cooking the puff pastry long enough to ensure it is fully cooked. No peaking while it is baking or the pastry will fall.

Ingredients:

Custard Filling:
1 large package Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 cups milk
1-1/2 small tubs of Cool Whip

Mix the instant pudding with the milk. Quickly fold in the Cool Whip before the pudding gets thick and sets. You can use a wire whip to do this. After the filling is thorough blended and sets up, cut each puff pastry in half, remove excess dough, then fill the pastry with this mixture.

Chocolate GanacheTopping:
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1 pint whipping cream

Melt the chocolate chips and cream together over medium heat in a saucepan. Remove from the stove. Cool for several hours until the ganache thickens to a pudding consistency. Frost the top of the filled pastry. Store eclairs in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Mom's Cream Puffs

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My mom used to make these for special occasions, one of my favorite desserts. A couple things to remember when making them -- do not open the oven while they are baking or they will fall. They should be crispy on the outside. Sometimes, I lengthen the baking time, but if they get too brown and dark, you can poke multiple holes in it using a toothpick, turn the oven off, and let them sit there until the oven cools down. That will ensure that they are fully cooked. As you cut them open prior to filling, there may be a slightly wet web, an uncooked center part, which you can just remove before filling.

Ingredients:
Puff Pastry:
1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Boil the water and butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour over low heat until a roux is formed (about 1 min). Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at once with a mixer and continue beating until smooth. Drop ¼ cupfuls, 3” apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min, then reduce heat while baking to 350 degrees, and bake for 30-35 more min. Cool on a wire rack. Cut in half lengthwise and remove any wet dough from the center.

Filling:
1 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to taste)
1/2 tsp almond extract

Whip the whipping cream with a mixer until stiff peaks form, then add the powdered sugar and almond extract. Be careful that you do not over beat, as it will turn into butter. Fill the cream puffs. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.


Spam Musubi

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Great comfort food! If you like Spam, you must try this recipe. Hawaiians eat more than four million cans of Spam a year, or an average of 12 cans per person.

Ingredients:
5 cups cooked Japanese rice, at room temperature
5 sheets seaweed (nori), cut in strips lengthwise
1 can Spam
1 bottle teriyaki sauce (JES brand or Trader's Joe's work fine)

Make the rice ahead of time and cool to room temperature. Cut Spam into 8 slices. Fry until slightly crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Dip the Spam slices in the teriyaki sauce. Cut nori into strips and set aside. Fill musubi maker or empty Spam can (with both ends open) with rice and press down until the rice is 3/4-inch high. Top with Spam slice. Remove from mold and fold nori strip over Spam and rice until completely wrapped. Dampen the end of the nori with water to seal it.

Super Nachos

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I serve this with my own tortilla chips, which I make by deep frying corn or flour tortillas, which were cut into strips or wedges. Drain on paper towels and add some seasoning salt. Addicting!

Ingredients:
On a large platter, layer in the following order:

1 can refried beans – spread 1/2” thick on the platter
1 small can Ortega chopped green chilies
1 can sliced black olives
¼ cup green onions, chopped
¾ - 1 cup salsa, in spoonfuls
1+ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Haas avocados, diced
1 pint sour cream
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

You can modify the amount of ingredients to your taste or whatever you have on hand.

Brie and Jam Appetizer

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So easy! I make this appetizer all the time. It is so delicious, simple and quick to put together.

Ingredients:
1 round or wedge of brie cheese, any size
Blueberry jam or any flavor of jam

Spread a generous layer of jam on top of the brie. Serve with crackers.

Hawaiian Baked Beans

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These baked beans have a wonderful, sweet sauce and are the perfect side dish at your barbecue or picnic. Let see...Hawaiian baked beans with Corinne or Bea's homemade potato salad -- Absolute heaven! Yum.


Ingredients:

1, 16-oz can Great Northern beans
1, 16-oz can kidney beans
1, 16-oz can baked beans
1 medium onion, chopped fine
½-1 lb chopped ham or cooked bacon, chopped and drained
1 lb ground beef, sautéed and drained
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 T prepared mustard
1-1/2 T cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together and put in a greased 9x13x2 baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours. Remove foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes more.

Roasted Tomatoes

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Another easy recipe! There were no leftovers when I made these tomatoes. They were flavorful and a good side dish for roast beef or a pork roast. For a fancy version, after roasting, dot the tomatoes with goat cheese and drizzle balsamic syrup over all. So colorful!

Ingredients:

12 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise, with seeds removed
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and slice lengthwise. Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Hide's Agedashi Tofu

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I love Agedashi Tofu and order it each time I frequent a Japanese restaurant. This recipe comes from Hide Obatake, a former chef of the Mikado Restaurant in Seattle. He is currently President and founder of Magic Dragon, a gourmet Asian quick-serve restaurant. He is pictured here with his wife, Reiko, vacationing in Florence, Italy. He is my secret source for authentic Japanese recipes. He has the best recipes!

Ingredients:
1 block Medium firm tofu
Japanese rice starch
Concentrated Bonito Flavored Soup Base
Grated ginger (to taste)
Minced green onions (to taste)
Bonito flakes (optional)
Oil for deep frying

The key to good agedashi is the temperature of the oil. It must be hot enough when deep frying so that the outside of the tofu will be crispy. Drain the tofu, and pat dry with paper towels. Use Japanese rice starch to coat the tofu for the best results. Deep fry until golden brown, turning once. Remove and drain on paper towels. Make the sauce using the concentrated bonito flavored soup base purchased at a Japanese market. The water to flavoring ratio is 5:1. To serve, pour soup over the fried tofu. Top with grated ginger, minced green onions and a few bonito flakes.

Matsutake Gohan

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Here's a good recipe for Matsutake Gohan from Uwajimaya.com Recipes. Matsutake mushrooms are considered a Japanese delicacy as they are hard to harvest, so are expensive in price. My parents used to go matsutake hunting in the Pacific Northwest coniferous forests in early September during matsutake season. My mom would slice them, pan fry them in butter, or make matsutake gohan with it. Delicious!

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups Calrose short grain rice
2-2/3 cups water (with a pinch of dashi or chicken broth flavoring)
2 medium Matsutake mushrooms
2 T sake
2 T soy sauce

Rinse the mushrooms and slice. Cook rice in a rice cooker with seasoned water, sake and soy sauce. When the rice begins to steam, add the mushrooms to the rice cooker and allow the rice to continue steaming. Do not mix the ingredients until the rice has finished cooking. You can also add shredded carrots, gobo, aburage, chicken, whatever you like to this recipe along with the mushrooms.

Bea's Vinegar Miso Salad Dressing

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Here's an easy recipe for a yummy, fat-free salad dressing. There is no oil in it, but it carries a nice miso flavor, a perfect topping for a tossed green salad accompanying an Asian meal. Miso is made from fermented soybeans and grains. It can be salty, sweet, mild, rich, dark or light. Some say miso neutralizes the effects of smoking and radiation, discourages the growth of cancer, and breaks down cholesterol. Others say it preserves beautiful skin and counteracts the effects of aging. This tasty recipe comes from Bea Kiyohara of Seattle. It is excellent!

Ingredients:

3 T miso
1-1/2 T rice vinegar
2 T sugar
1 T Aji-Mirin

Mix everything together and pour it on your favorite salad.

Homemade Granola

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When my kids were growing up, I would make large batches of homemade granola, and we would munch on it all day long. It is addicting. You can add any chopped nuts or dried fruit to this. Pictured here are my two amazing kids, Stephen and Michelle.

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups oats (old-fashioned, not instant)
1 cup dried shaved coconut (1/4" strips from Whole Foods)
½ cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup honey
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries (add after baking)

Mix everything but the raisins or cranberries. Bake in a large roasting pan at 325 degrees for 30-45 min. until golden brown. Cool. Then add the dried fruit.