Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Bars

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Wow! These turned out great. I took portions of two different recipes to come up with this one. They are buttery, rich, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Denny's favorite!


Shortbread Crust:

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour

Blueberry Filling:
6 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cups sugar
3-4 T cornstarch (use 4T if using frozen berries)

Streusel Topping:
3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
Sliced almonds (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl using a mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour and mix just until blended (do not overmix). Press dough with fingers into a 13x9x2 pan which has been lined with foil. (Make sure the foil hangs over the edges of the pan by 2". You will grab the foil to remove the pastry from the pan when cooled). Bake crust 20 min. until golden brown. Cool slightly.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and cornstarch. Heat to boiling over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Boil 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.

In a medium bowl using a pastry blender or two knives, mix the flour, butter and sugar, until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Spread the blueberry mixture over the crust. Sprinkle streusel over the blueberries. Sprinkle almonds on top, if desired. Bake 45-50 min. until the blueberry mixture bubbles, and the top is golden brown. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. After an hour or more, lift the pastry out of the pan by lifting the foil. Cut into 36 serving size portions.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Caramelized Nuts

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These caramelized pecans are so addicting -- we can't stop eating them. They are delicious sprinkled in a salad or as a standalone snack, an easy recipe that takes just a few minutes to cook. It makes a unique hostess gift when wrapped in a cellophane bag with a festive bow.

3 T unsalted butter
3 T sugar
1-1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

In a frying pan over medium high heat, melt the butter, add 3 T sugar, stir until bubbling. Add the nuts and cook until the nuts are golden brown, stirring often. Transfer nuts to a foil-lined baking sheet, and let cool for 15 min. In a separate bowl, mix the cinnamon with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add the nuts and mix until coated. Remove nuts from excess cinnamon sugar, and store in an air tight container.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Korean Tofu Soup

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My son, Stephen, got us hooked on eating Korean food, especially the soft tofu soup. I love the little dishes of pickled veggies and condiments that accompany the entrees at Korean restaurants. I combined a couple of Korean tofu soup recipes to come up with this version. On cold winter days, this soup is just the thing to warm you up. It is especially good over rice. You can adjust the hotness of the chili flavoring to your taste. Pictured here is Uncle Stephen babysitting his nephew Seanie (6 mos.).

3 green onions, finely chopped
3 brown mushrooms, chopped
8 oz. ground turkey
1/2 onion, medium-size, diced
1/2 cup kim chee (optional)
1 T miso paste
1 tsp Kochujang paste
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 carton soft tofu, cut in squares
Dash or two of chili oil (optional)

Mix these seasonings together: the miso, kochujang, sesame oil and garlic. In a frying pan, heat a little canola oil, add the seasonings and saute for a few minutes over medium high heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, saute for a few more minutes; then add the meat and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the broth, kim chee (optional) and tofu. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over cooked rice in a soup bowl. You can add a fresh raw egg to this soup if you wish.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dana's Lasagna

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YUM! You have to try Dana's lasagna. It is absolutely delicious. We had bowlsful while watching a Chargers game one Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect ratio of sauce, cheeses and pasta, and was equally delicious as leftovers the next day. This was originally a Betty Crocker recipe that was tweaked slightly. It is well worth the effort.

1 lb ground beef
6 oz lean ground pork
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 can (1-lb) crushed tomatoes
1 can, (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 T parsley flakes
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil leaves, dried
3 cups ricotta cheese (low-fat)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 T parsley flakes
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 pkg, (8-oz) lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Saute and stir ground beef, pork, onion and garlic in a large saucepan or Dutch oven until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off all fat. Add tomatoes and break up with a fork. Stir in tomato sauce, 2 T parsley flakes, sugar, 1 tsp salt and basil. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered one hour or until mixture is the consistency of spaghetti sauce. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 T parsley flakes, 1-1/2 tsp salt and oregano. Reserve 1/2 cup meat sauce for the thin top layer. In an ungreased baking pan, 13x9x2", layer 1/4 each of the noodles, remaining meat sauce, the mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese mixture; Repeat 3 times. Spread reserved meat sauce over the top; sprinkle with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. If desired, lasagna can be covered and refrigerated several hours at this point. Bake uncovered 45 minutes -1 hour. Allow an additional 10-15 min if refrigerated. For easier cutting, let stand 15 min. after removing from oven (highly recommended). Makes 12, 3-inch square servings.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Asiago Crisps with Pine Nuts

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These little gems are delicious, so easy to make and are a unique appetizer. They resemble thin, delicate crackers, but are just three ingredients: asiago cheese, pine nuts and fresh sage. I found the asiago cheese already shredded at Safeway (Von's). You are supposed to gently curl the crisps around a rolling pin while hot, but I left them flat as they were too hot to handle, and you would need to curl them quickly right from the oven. This recipe came from the Food Network Magazine.

2 pkgs (6 oz) shredded asiago cheese
1 pkg fresh sage (whole leaves)
1/2 cup of pine nuts

Finely mince the fresh sage; set aside. Place a Silpat on a cookie sheet. Place a heaping tablespoon of asiago cheese in a small mound as you would if you were making cookies, approximately 1-2" apart. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of pine nuts on top. Top with minced sage. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 min until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Pictured below is adorable little baby Sean at 6 months of age.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Glenda's Cranberry Sauce with Raspberry Vinegar

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Here's a yummy cranberry relish recipe with a hint of raspberry flavoring - a perfect accompaniment to your holiday turkey and bursting with flavor. It will become a holiday classic recipe as it is so good. It's from my buddy Glenda Stephens, pictured here with former co-worker Gail Maigue.

1-1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup water
1, 12-oz package fresh cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 T orange zest

Combine the sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Mix in the cranberries, cinnamon stick and orange zest. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min. until the berries pop open. Cool. Discard cinnamon stick. Chill in refrigerator. Can be made one week in advance.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

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This is an old recipe that I found in my mom's recipe box. I made it for our Sunday family dinner when Stephen, Tim, Michelle and grandson, Sean, came to visit. It is very easy to make and rich tasting. You will love it!

4 squares (4 oz.) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups (1 pint) cold whipping cream
9-inch baked pastry shell, graham cracker crust or Oreo crust

In a 2-quart glass bowl, place chocolate squares, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Microwave on high for 2-4 min, stirring after each minute, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature about 1.5 hours. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff. Gradually fold in the chocolate mixture. Pour into the baked shell. Refrigerate 4 hours or more until set. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate syrup (if desired). Refrigerate leftovers.

Oreo Crust
1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookie crumbs (approximately 20-22 Oreos)
3 tablespoons melted butter

Mix crumbs and butter in a bowl with a spoon. Press the crust into into a pie plate or springform pan.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cambodian Spinach Leaf Appetizer

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We went to a cute Cambodian restaurant in the Mission District in San Francisco called Angkor Borei with Patti and Cliff. The restaurant received high ratings on yelp.com and was mentioned in the SF Chronicle's article "Bargain Bites". We had the most wonderful spinach leaf appetizer, a dish bursting with an array of fresh flavors - sweet, sour, pungent and salty. We ate every bit of it. It is one of the most popular menu items and I can see why. I located this recipe on internet which closely resembles the dish. You can use your favorite dipping sauce to accompany this dish. The one below is a light and sweet Vietnamese dipping sauce used with spring rolls.

-Fresh spinach leaves (medium to large size)
-Coconut, shredded and toasted under broiler for a few minutes
-Roasted peanuts, salted or unsalted
-Fresh ginger, peeled and cut into tiny cubes
-Red onion, finely diced
-Serrano chili, seeds removed, finely diced
-Lime, diced small with rind removed
-Tiny dried shrimp (I substituted with fresh cooked baby shrimp)

Dipping sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2T fish sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup lime juice
1-2 tsp garlic chili sauce

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasoning to your liking. This sauce is light, full of lime and mild. If you want a hotter sauce, increase the garlic chili sauce. An alternative dipping sauce is Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce which you can buy at Ranch 99 Market for $2.99 for a large 32 oz. bottle. It's thick, sweet and hot in flavor.

To serve, place the spinach leaves on a large tray along with the individual bowls containing the filling ingredients. Each guest places an assortment of the ingredients on an individual spinach leaf, then tops it with a spoonful of the sauce. It's so flavorful!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hormel Chili-Cheese Dip

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Here's a recipe that a former co-worker gave me years ago. It's a hot dip that is delicious with tortilla chips and crowd-pleasing. You just layer everything in a pie pan,then microwave it ...very easy. The perfect thing to eat while watching Sunday afternoon football. Here's Tim and baby Sean, enjoying a 49ers game.

1, 8-oz pkg Philadelphia cream cheese
1 pkg Lawry's taco seasoning (to taste)
1 can Hormel chili WITHOUT beans
1+ cup Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

In a glass pie pan, layer the cream cheese, sprinkle the taco seasoning, Hormel chili and cheese. Microwave for 4-5 min. Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bea's Eggplant Parmigiana

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Eggplant parmigiana is one of my favorite Italian dishes that I order whenever I go to an Italian restaurant. You should taste Bea Kiyohara's version as it is absolutely delicious! She uses the cold leftovers in sandwiches the next day on toasted bread with a little mayonnaise. I got totally addicted to these sandwiches when we stayed at her place last summer. This photo was taken a few years ago when little Miko was just an infant.

2 medium eggplants
Bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
2 eggs beaten
Extra virgin olive oil

Slice the eggplant crosswise into 1/4"-1/2" thick circles. Place on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt on both sides. Wait for 30 min. After 30 min. rinse the eggplants with water and pat dry. Dip the circles into the beaten eggs, then into the crumbs. Fry them in a little olive oil until brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Bea's marinara sauce:
3, 14.5 oz cans of tomato sauce
Add the following to taste: garlic salt, parsley, oregano (or Italian seasoning), sugar, salt and pepper

Simmer the tomato sauce ingredients together for 30-45 min. or you can use pre-made marinara sauce.

In an oiled 9x13 pan, layer the eggplant circles, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Repeat until all of the eggplants are used. Top with extra sauce and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-min. to an 1hour.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bill's Berry Pie

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This is the best berry pie ever! Bill Lemire baked this homemade pie which was totally scrumptious. He served it while it was still warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream. You can use any assortment of fresh or frozen berries.

2, Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, at room temperature
6 cups whole berries, fresh or frozen
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cup sugar
3-1/2 to 4 Tablespoons tapioca
2 Tablespoons butter, cut up

Place one pie crust in the pie pan. In a large bowl, mix berries, sugar and tapioca. Place berry mixture in the pie pan. Dot with butter. Cut slits in the second crust (see photo). Place the second crust on top of the berries. Pinch the edges of the two crusts to seal (flute edges, if desired). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min. then cover edges of crust to prevent over-browning. Continue baking for an additional 25-30 min. more. Serve with vanilla ice cream. (If you are using frozen blueberries, increase the tapioca to 4-5 Tablespoons.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ken's Chili

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After trying out recipes for weeks, Kenny has found his favorite chili recipe, perfect for those chilly nights in Seattle. Chuck steak and beer give it flavor and a hearty consistency. Enjoy!

1 lb chuck steak, cut in cubes
Flour to dust
Oil to brown the steak
12 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz barbeque sauce
4 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
12 oz. beer
1 head of garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
Canned beans (pinto or kidney beans, whatever you prefer)

Dust the steak with flour and brown in a cast iron deep pan or pot. Pour in the tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, seasonings, garlic, onion, jalapeno, but only put in 6 oz. of beer. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1-2 hours. Add remainder of beer when the chili thickens and simmer again until the chili is reduced to a thick consistency.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hide's Feast

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I cannot even begin to describe the wonderful Japanese feast we had at Hide and Reiko Obatake's house on our recent trip to Seattle. Hide truly outdid himself cooking a wide array of seafood and Japanese delicacies for his guests. It was such a memorable evening. I have never tasted anything so delicious like that before. Here's a list and the photos of the food he prepared.
--Fresh crisp, cucumber slices with an ume dipping sauce and a dark miso dipping sauce
--Seared albacore tuna (caught by Denny in Ilwaco) topped with radish sprouts
--Deep-fried saba in a delicately seasoned broth, sprinkled with white sesame seeds
--Japanese lotus root, cooked to perfection
--Fava beans in the pod, grilled on the barbeque
--Pork belly and daikon, simmered in a wonderful miso broth with slivered fresh ginger on top
--A special Okinawan sake - Awamori
--Live, whole jumbo prawns,seasoned with kosher salt and grilled on the barbecue
--Steamed orata, a fish we had first tasted and enjoyed in Venice
--Four types of mushrooms with tender pea pods steamed at a low temperature to keep in the flavors
--Onion and barley soup with a whole, perfectly formed small onion in tact in my soup bowl
--Copper River salmon collars marinated in kosher salt in the freezer for two months, that were grilled, then cooked with rice in a dashi broth, then tossed together right before serving
--Red bean and jelly ice bars for dessert

Corinne's Chicken Karaage

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I had the most wonderful chicken kaarage at Corinne's. She used potato starch instead of flour which gave the chicken a nice crispy, crunchy coating. She marinated the chicken overnight, and the garlic and seasonings permeated throughout the meat. I ate the leftovers on the ferry on the way back to Seattle. It was so good. This makes great picnic food!

4 lbs. chicken thighs, boned and skinned
3 T sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
5-6 cloves garlic, grated
3 inches of fresh ginger, grated (about 4 T)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 eggs
2 cups potato starch
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Cut the chicken into 3-inch pieces. Combine sake, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Add chicken and marinate overnight, refrigerated, or for at least 2 hours. Remove chicken from fridge at least 30 min. before you plan to fry. Fill a frying pay with enough oil so that the chicken pieces can submerge completely. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until oil sizzles instantly upon contact with a drop of water. Once the oil is hot, break eggs into the marinating chicken and combine by hand, making sure the egg is evenly distributed. Dredge chicken pieces in potato starch. Fry chicken in batches until cooked through, about 6-9 min. Drain chicken on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Here are photos from Corinne's beautiful garden.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Teiya's Favorite Ritz Cracker Chicken

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This recipe comes from Teiya's mom, Gina Shimomura, and was made for Teiya's 8th birthday dinner at her Grandma Bea's house in Seattle.

2 whole chicken breasts
2 rolls Ritz crackers
1 stick melted butter
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 cans Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom soup
1, 8 oz. sour cream

Boil or bake the chicken, then debone it. Crush the Ritz crackers into crumbs, then pour the melted butter over crumbs. Put half of this into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Then add chicken. Take the chicken broth, chicken soup, and sour cream and mix them together. Pour over top of the chicken. Put the remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Here's Teiya in a new outfit and earrings after lunch and a day of shopping with Uncle Trace and Aunt Joby.

Pictured below is her dad, Mark and cousin Miko.