Friday, April 25, 2008

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

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These little gems are outstanding! Here’s a jalapeño popper recipe that is baked and not fried. The cheesy filling is a nice complement to the spicy peppers. Remember to carefully remove the seeds and membrane wearing gloves. This will cut down on the heat of the peppers. You will want to double this recipe for large parties.

6 jalapeño peppers
1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature
4-5 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
1 tsp green onions, very finely chopped
¼ tsp garlic powder
Dash cayenne pepper
One splash of Worcestershire sauce

Cut the peppers in half, removing seeds and membrane. Mix cheeses, garlic powder, salt, Worcestershire sauce, bacon and green onions. Stuff each pepper with cheese mixture. Bake 400 degrees for 15 min. Makes one dozen (12 halves). These can be made earlier in the day and served at room temperature.

Monday, April 21, 2008

James' Sausage and Spinach Soup

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This recipe is from James Yuasa of Renton, Washington, pictured here with his wife, Betty, vacationing on Maui. James recommends Trader Joe’s brand of sweet Italian sausage for this soup. This dish is perfect for those chilly nights in the Northwest. It is thick, hearty and a meal in itself. So good!

½ onion, chopped
2-3 links sweet Italian sausage (remove skin)
1 quart chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
½ cup Calrose rice (uncooked)
8 oz. frozen spinach (1/2 of a bag)
Parmesan cheese, grated

Saute the onion with the sausage for a few minutes until the sausage is browned. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and rice. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the frozen spinach, and bring to boil again. Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hide's Hamachi Kama Shioyaki

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We order Hamachi Kama just about every time we go to a sushi bar. The fish is so tender, juicy and delicious. Here are some tips on making Hamachi Kama from Hide Obatake of Renton, Washington.

Hide says in Japan they would make this dish with Buri Kama instead of Hamachi. Hamachi is young yellowtail whereas Buri is the older fish. It is the collar or the meaty part of the fish surrounding the gills. The key to making good kama is to use fresh, wild fish. Avoid farm-raised fish as it bad for your health.

This is a very simple recipe. Use good fresh kama, rub in the sea salt, and grill it for 8-10 min. Serve with daikon oroshi and lemon wedges. Be sure to use sea salt when making this dish and wait at least a few hours after salting before cooking. Hide likes to wait 2-3 days before cooking because the combination of SALT and TIME creates the special flavor. As Hide says, "Let the salt soak into the fish. Salt is the great wisdom of human beings."

Mariko's Egyptian Eggplant Moussaka

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This recipe comes from Mariko Shimomura of Seattle, who first tasted a variation of this dish in Beirut where she attended American University in the Middle Eastern Studies Masters Program. This is a favorite dish of hers that her Egyptian roommate’s mom made. In Lebanon, they call it “batenjan al four” (baked eggplant), and in Egypt it’s called "m’saha" which literally translates to “cold”, but also is the arabized word for “moussaka”. If you are an eggplant fan, you should try this dish. It has a wonderful Middle Eastern flavor, and your kitchen will smell great as it bakes.

1 large eggplant, sliced
2, 15-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp each of cinnamon and curry (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1- 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced in rings

Slice and lightly sauté the eggplant in olive oil for 1-2 minutes a side, then layer in the bottom of an 11x13 pan. In a frying pan, brown the ground beef, then spread it on top of the eggplant. Chop garlic and onion and fry lightly in a little bit of olive oil. Add tomatoes to the pan and let simmer a few minutes. Season to taste with curry, cinnamon and salt. Pour the tomatoes over the meat layer. Slice the peppers horizontally (so they're ring shaped) and arrange the slices as the top layer. Bake at 375 for about a half an hour .

Graham Cracker Toffee Bars

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I found this while surfing internet for a recipe to use up leftover graham crackers. It had received a 5-star rating. The butter and brown sugar turns into a yummy thin caramel coating which is baked into the graham crackers. You add a semi-sweet chocolate frosting and chopped nuts on top. It is heaven! You won't be able to stop eating them.

12 graham crackers
1-1/2 sticks butter, cut up
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 15x10x1 pan with foil with 2" overhang on all sides. Place the graham crackers in a single layer on the foil. Melt butter, brown sugar and salt and whisk together in a sauce pan on high heat on the stove for 1 minute. Pour over the graham crackers. Bake 10 min. Take pan out of the oven and immediately scatter the chocolate chips over all. Bake 1 min. Take pan out of oven and immediately spread the melted chips over all. Sprinkle the nuts on top. Cool 30 min. Freeze 15 min. Lift foil and break into irregular sized chunks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

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This recipe is very simple and tastes light and crispy. I use dark meat as it is more moist than white meat. It has a wonderful ginger flavor. Pictured here are Denny and his buddy, Ray Kihara, two men who have traveled the world in search of the best fried chicken. This recipe is from website.

2-4 boneless chicken thighs
1 piece fresh ginger (the size of your thumb) finely grated
3 T soy sauce
1 T sake or sherry
Peanut oil for deep frying

Cut the thighs into bite-sized pieces. Leave some of the skin on as it adds to the crispiness. Put the chicken in a bowl with the grated ginger, soy sauce and sake, and mix well. Marinate for ½ hour to 1 hour and not any longer or else the salt in the soy sauce will toughen the chicken. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Toss the chicken in cornstarch so that each piece is fully coated. Deep fry the chicken pieces a few at a time (don’t overcrowd them) for 5-6 min. until deep golden brown. Drain well, and serve with lemon slices.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sea Bass

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This is a moist and succulent fish recipe. So delicious! We got our fresh fish at Whole Foods when we tried this recipe. The stove-top sauteeing sears in the juices. If you love fish, you should try this one. You won't be sorry.

1-1/2 lb sea bass
2 T sesame oil
2 T butter, melted
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
Kosher salt, to taste
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tomato, diced small

Preheat oven to 425. Heat sesame oil in oven-safe skillet over medium heat on stove top. Add sea bass with garlic and melted butter. Saute on medium heat for 3-4 minutes total, turning and sauteeing both sides of the fish. Squeeze ½ lemon over fish and cover with cilantro. Sprinkle kosher salt on top. Add the diced tomato on top of fish. Place pan in oven and bake at 425 degrees for 8-12 min. depending on thickness. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Corinne's Cheesecake

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This is a classic, tried and true cheesecake recipe from Corinne Gooden. You can add whatever fresh fruit is in season to this at the time of serving. It tastes best if you make it the day before. Here's a great photo of Corinne's girls, Amy and Sydne Gooden. Amy is a talented maritime engineer residing in West Seattle, while Sydne is an extraordinary chef, living in NewYork City.

1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted

Mix ingredients together. In a greased spring form pan, press the crust ingredients on the bottom and sides of the pan.

2, 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Splash lemon juice

Mix filling ingredients together. Pour into the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min.

1-1/2 cup sour cream
4 T sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Mix topping ingredients. Spread on top of the cheesecake after it has baked. Return to oven and bake at a pre-heated 450 degrees for 7 min. Cool and refrigerate the cheesecake, so that it sets completely. Serve with fresh berries.

Boston Cream Pie

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I enjoy making this dessert for parties and family gatherings, which is a favorite of my kids, Michelle and Stephen, pictured here. I make it in a 12" round cake pan which you can get at Michael's Craft Store. The trickiest part is making the ganache frosting. It needs to cool to room temperature to get to the right pudding-like consistency. Splitting the cake in half horizontally and separating the layers is also tricky because the layers are very thin. I use the longest bread knife I can find to cut it, and carefully lift the cake onto a flat surface.

1 Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix plus ingredients as listed on package (eggs, water, oil)

1 pkg Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding (large size)
2 cups milk
1-1/2 small tubs of Cool Whip

Ganache Topping:
1 pkg semisweet chocolate chips -12-oz
1 pint whipping cream
Sliced almonds, chopped pecans or fresh sliced strawberries.

Make the cake according to directions, but use a greased 12" cake pan or deep dish pizza pan and adjust time to 30 min. Let cake cool completely. Cut cake in half horizontally and separate the layers. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt chocolate chips in whipping cream over med-high heat. Stir often. Once the chocolate chips have melted, let this cool several hours on the counter until thick (like pudding consistency). In a large bowl, mix pudding and milk with a wire whisk. Before the pudding sets, fold in the Cool Whip. Let set in refrigerator 15 min. or more. When ready to assemble, spread all the filling on the bottom cake layer, then place the other half of the cake on top. Spread ganache topping over the cake. Top with chopped nuts and/or strawberries, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Teri's Gordon Cup Cocktail

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This is a very refreshing cocktail with a muddled cucumber and lime flavoring. This recipe comes from Teri Tuuri of Castro Valley, California, pictured here with her hubby, Rick, at the famous TFE Convention in San Francisco.

2/3 of one small lime, cut into 6ths
2, 1-2” thick peeled cucumber rounds
¼ cup gin
1-1/2 T simple syrup
1 cup cracked ice
Pinch of sea salt

Place lime and cucumber in cocktail shaker; mash with wooden spoon until lime is juiced and cucumber is pulpy. Add gin and simple syrup, then ice. Cover. Shake vigorously 3 times. Pour contents of shaker into glass. Sprinkle with sea salt. To make simple syrup stir 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Boil one minute. Cool, then chill up to one month.

Rick's Mother's (Thin-Cut) Leathery Pork Chops

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This is Rick Tuuri's most memorable dish that reminds him of his mom, which she served on Wednesdays as he was growing up. He describes the pork chops as unforgettable, both in flavor and texture -- you could serve them to your finest enemies. The shape and form was such that you could literally nail the pork chops to the bottom of your shoes and take a walk in them. Pictured here are Rick and Teri Tuuri of Castro Valley, California at a TFE Convention in San Francisco.

Pork chops- 1/4" thin cut
Iodized salt
Pepper - from the can (no need to grind)
Crisco shortening, the solid kind
1 medium onion, chopped in irregular-sized chunks

Take the pork chops cold from the refrigerator and wash and rinse them thoroughly in water. Add salt and pepper. Using an electric stove or slow gas range, put some Crisco and the pork chops in a frying pan while the pork chops are still cold and wet. Turn the stove on. Turn the pork chops every 3 or 4 min. Just keep flipping them over and over. Cut the meat several times to test for doneness. Repeat until the meat is a gray-brown color with no juice anywhere in the pan. This will ensure that the pork is cooked properly to avoid trichinosis. Use a metal spatula to dig it out of the pan. Next, make the gravy, by chopping the onion in big chunks and sauteeing it in the same pan until slightly cooked, still tender crisp. Using a fork, mix in water and a little flour into the pan, so that the gravy has a recognizable, uneven bumpiness to it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Clam Chowder

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Absolutely delicious! This recipe takes time to prepare, but is well worth the effort. We make large batches and freeze it. You can use the juice from the clams and shrimp, and substitute it for the water for extra flavor. This recipe came from the McCormick & Schmick Cookbook.


2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
4 strips bacon, chopped and fried
4 T margarine
¾ cup flour
¼ cup each carrots, onions, celery and bell pepper – all diced
1 quart water
1, 8-oz. bottle clam juice
1-1/2 lbs. canned or fresh clams, diced
1-1/2 lbs. canned or fresh baby shrimp
1 cup cream
½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
¼ tsp sage
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt

Blanch potatoes until barely tender, just a few minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain and set aside. Sauté bacon, drain and set aside. Return bacon grease to pot and half of the margarine. Add flour and cook roux on low heat 3-4 min. Remove roux from pot and set aside. Add rest of margarine to pot and sauté vegetables until soft. Return roux to pot, add water and clam juice. Raise heat to high and cook 6-8 min until thick. Add clams, bacon, potatoes, seasoning and cream. Simmer 5 min.

Honey Garlic Chicken

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When you bake this chicken, within a few minutes your kitchen will have a wonderful aroma of roasted garlic. The amount of garlic listed is correct at 12-24 cloves. That sounds like a lot, but the garlic truly makes this recipe. The butter and honey carmelizes the garlic, and it turns into candied garlic. A favorite dish of Tim & Michelle.


6-8 chicken thighs
12-24 cloves of garlic, unhusked
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup honey
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken thighs and garlic in a baking dish. Drizzle the melted butter over the chicken and garlic. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 min. Drizzle honey over the chicken and bake for another 20 minutes, checking the chicken every 5 min. during this last 20 minute period. Baste with additional honey, and keep turning the chicken over as the honey and butter caramelizes. Watch it carefully at this point as it will burn easily.

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

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I first had this appetizer at a baby shower for Guadalupe Petrone several years ago, and have been making it ever since. It is a real crowd-pleaser and easy, easy, easy! I buy the prosciutto at Trader Joe's where it is reasonably priced and good quality. You could substitute thinly sliced ham, but I think you will like the prosciutto taste better.

8 slices prosciutto
16 asparagus spears
1 T extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat with olive oil. Wrap a half slice of prosciutto around each asparagus spear, starting at the bottom, and spiraling up to the tip. Place the wrapped spears on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove, and shake the pan back and forth to roll the spears over. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until asparagus is tender, and prosciutto is crisp. Serve immediately.

Raspberry Torte

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This one has a delicate buttery shortbread crust, a berry filling, and a rich, almond-mascarpone cheese whipping cream topping. You can substitute frozen or fresh blueberries for the raspberries. If you use fresh berries, decrease the amount of cornstarch to 4 T.



1-1/4 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup soft butter (it makes a difference if your butter is soft)

6 T cornstarch
1 C sugar
2, 10-oz packages of frozen raspberries

1 pint whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp almond extract
¼ cup mascarpone cheese

Mix crust ingredients and press into a 9x13x2” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min. On stovetop in a saucepan, cook the raspberries, sugar and cornstarch on medium heat until thick. Let cool. Then spread it over the crust. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Right before serving whip the cream until stiff; then add the powdered sugar, almond extract and mascarpone cheese after cream is fully whipped. Spread this over the berry layer.

Quick Banana Bread

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Ever wonder what to do with that one last banana with brown spots on it? Well, try making this banana bread, as that one banana will be the perfect amount for this bread. You will like it!

½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup mashed bananas
1-1/4 cup flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Mix the shortening and sugar, then beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix the two together, and stir just until blended. Do not over mix, or the bread will become tough. Pour into a greased and floured 9x9x2” plan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min. Cool completely. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Asian-Glazed Salmon

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This glaze is very simple and tastes great -- a wonderful blend of Asian flavors with the brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and hoisin combination. Serve with rice, and Sharon's sunomono salad for a delicious dinner. Pictured here is the Rialto Fish Market in Venice, Italy.

½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 T hoisin sauce
2 T fresh ginger, finely chopped
dash dried red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ tsp garlic, minced
1 T fresh lime juice
1-2 lbs salmon filets

Heat or microwave brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic and lime juice until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool. Place salmon on a broiler pan and baste with the sauce. Let sit 15 min. Broil 8 min. or until done. Baste frequently using additional sauce. Baste again prior to serving. Sauce will burn, so watch it carefully.

Breakfast Casserole

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This is a good dish to serve for breakfast or brunch on Christmas morning. You can make it the night before, and just pop it into the oven the next morning. There are variations of this recipe where cooked diced sausage or chopped ham has been added to it, which are equally as good.

6 slices bread (firm)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. can diced green chilies
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp dry mustard

Butter the bread slices, and cut into cubes. Layer the bread cubes, cheeses and chilies. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk and seasonings, and pour over the the bread and cheese. Chill overnight or at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 min.

San Francisco Cioppino

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Here's a San Francisco-style cioppino recipe that I use often. You make the soup first, then add the seafood at the end. You can add whatever seafood you like, such as fresh crab, shrimp, fish, mussels, squid, etc. It is so good when served with fresh garlic bread. Another Denny favorite! He's pictured here at the Grand Cayman Turtle Farm.


¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2/3 cup parsley, chopped
1, 15-oz. can of tomato sauce
1, 28-oz. can of tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine (cabernet)
One bay leaf
1 tsp dry basil
½ tsp oregano
One dozen clams in shell, scrubbed
1 lb large shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 large Dungeness crab (2 lb), cracked

In a large pan over medium heat, combine oil, garlic, bell pepper and parsley and sauté until onion is cooked. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes and their liquid, the wine, bay leaf, basil and oregano. Cover and simmer until thick, about 20 min. Add seafood and simmer until clams pop open, about 20 min. Spoon into large individual bowls. Serve with warm sourdough bread.

Fish Tacos

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I could eat these every day. This is the Rubio's fish taco recipe that is a San Diego favorite. Rubio's has been selling fish tacos since 1983, and over 50 million have been sold. It's a wonderful combination of crispy battered fish, a cool white sauce, homemade salsa and shredded cabbage. You can add guacamole and shredded cheese to this if you like.

12 pieces cod or whitefish fillets (1-1/2 oz. each)
12 corn tortillas
1 cup flour
1 cup beer
Garlic powder, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Oil for deep frying
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
6 tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ onion, minced
2 T cilantro leaves, chopped (stems removed)
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped fine
1-1/2 tsp Salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 head cabbage, shredded
Lime wedges

Mix flour, garlic powder and pepper with beer. Set aside. Wash fish by dipping in cold, lightly salted water or water with lemon juice. Dry each piece before dipping into batter. In separate bowl, mix mayonnaise and yogurt and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the garlic, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, salt and pepper and set aside. Deep fry fish in 375 degree oil until crispy and golden brown. Warm the tortilla in a skillet until soft and hot. To assemble, on each tortilla layer the fish, white sauce, salsa and cabbage. Top it off with a squeeze of lime.

Polynesian Crab Stack

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This recipe comes from an Asian-fusion restaurant called Roppongi's Restaurant in La Jolla, California. It is a regular tapas menu item and my very favorite. I order this each time I go to the restaurant as it is a phenomenal appetizer.


2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled, chopped fine
2-3 tsp sugar
2 T lime juice
2 tsp garlic, chopped fine
2 T water

Crab Stack:
¼ cup radish sprouts
¼ cup roma tomatoes, diced
¼ cup cucumber, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup mango, diced
¼ cup avocado, diced
¼ cup crab meat, canned or fresh

2 T chopped peanuts
1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix dressing ingredients, and if possible, refrigerate overnight. Use a cylinder shape mold or tin can (open at both ends). Layer crab stack veggies and crab in the order listed. Press down. To serve, remove mold on a platter. Drizzle dressing over all. Sprinkle topping. Serve immediately with baguette slices or crackers. Serves 4-6.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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This recipe closely resembles P. F. Chang's Soothing Lettuce Wraps. You cook it quickly in a hot wok, serve it over deep fried miafun noodles, and spoon it onto iceberg lettuce leaves. It's definitely a crowd-pleasing appetizer or side dish. Have extra lettuce leaves available.

3 T oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, finely diced
1 cup water chestnuts, minced
2/3 cup mushrooms, chopped fine
3 T onions, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 T soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
½ tsp rice wine vinegar
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce
Miafun noodles (rice sticks)
Oil for deep-frying

Stir fry in a wok over high heat the oil, chicken, water chestnuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Add soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar. Sauté until chicken is cooked 4-5 min. Set aside.
In a separate frying pan, heat 1" of oil to 375 degrees. Deep fry the miafun noodles for a few seconds until they puff up and are crispy. (They fry quickly, so watch them carefully.) Drain on paper towels.

¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T ketchup
1 T lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 T dry mustard powder
2 tsp water
1-2 tsp garlic chili paste (red)

Mix sugar, water, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Set aside. Combine dry mustard and water. At serving time, add the garlic-chili paste and mustard to the topping sauce to taste. To serve, place the miafun noodles on a large platter. Put the chicken filling on top of the noodles. Serve with the lettuce leaves on the side, and the topping in a side bowl. This topping can be spooned over the lettuce wraps before eating.


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Excellent party food... This is a classic appetizer and finger food at its finest. Here we are enjoying this same appetizer with the Kihara's and Plucinski's at the Sir Francis Drake.


1 lb buffalo mozzarella, cut in small chunks
1/2 lb sopressata, sliced
1/2 lb prosciutto slices, rolled up
1/2 lb Genoa salami, sliced
1 lb provolone cheese, cut in triangles
2 cups Giardinera hot pickled vegetable salad or whole pepperocinis
2 cups marinated artichoke hearts (optional)
16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut
Assorted olives (green, black, Greek)

Place the ingredients on a large platter. Serve with thin breadsticks, crackers or a thinly sliced baguette.