Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

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Here is a delicious strawberry cream cheese pie recipe that resembles and tastes like those cute little tarts you would get at a French bakery. The shortbread crust turns out flakey even though the dough is pressed into the pan. I added the fresh blueberries (optional) on top for added color. I would definitely make this recipe again. Here are Tim and Michelle enjoying a taste.

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar

Topping:
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

Glaze:
1 cup strawberries, crushed
3/4 cup water
3 T cornstarch
1 cup sugar

To make the crust, blend flour, butter, powdered sugar and baking powder in a food processor, just until blended and until the moist crumbs stick together. Press the dough into a pie pan until it is 1/4" thick on the bottom and sides of pan (You may have excess dough depending on the size of the pan. If so, just discard it.). Freeze crust for 10 min. Using a fork, prick the crust all over. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min. until golden brown. Cool completely in pan.

To make filling, in a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth. Spread into the cooled baked crust.

To make the glaze, crush the strawberries to make 1 cup. Add water, cornstarch and 1 cup sugar to the strawberries in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until it thickens. Cool it down to room temperature. Arrange the halved strawberries on top of the cream cheese filling, then brush the glaze on top of the strawberries using a pastry brush. (You will have extra glaze leftover as this recipe makes a lot of glaze. You can serve it over vanilla ice cream as a strawberry sundae. Yum.) Refrigerate for one hour before serving. This pie can be made up to 6 hours in advance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Corinne's Cabbage (Nappa) Rolls

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This is a Sasaki-family recipe from Corinne's mom's side of the family. Doesn't it look cute, like a little rose bud? It's a par-boiled nappa cabbage leaf that has been rolled up, cut, squeezed and served with a wonderful soy-vinegar sauce. It is a light and healthy appetizer, and the sauce is so tangy and flavorful. Your mouth will love it!

Ingredients:
1 head of nappa cabbage

Sauce:
1 T sesame oil
2 T sugar
2 T soy sauce
2 T vinegar
1 tsp salt
Few drops Tabasco
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

Separate and parboil nappa leaves for 2 minutes in boiling water. Dunk in cold water. Roll up each leaf from the stem end. Cut into slices 1/2" to 1" wide. Squeeze out excess water. Place the slices on a serving platter, cut side up, so you see the spiral. Serve with sauce.


Here's a photo of one side of Corinne's yard that she and Bill created.....a work of art, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ham and Egg Cups

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Here's a light and healthy breakfast entree that is so simple to make. It uses Egg Beaters and reduced fat cheese, so is lower in cholesterol. In a muffin tin, you just layer a thin slice of ham (or turkey), some bread cubes, egg substitute, low-fat cheese and top with enchilada sauce. They turn out like mini-frittatas with a Mexican twist. So scrumptious!

Ingredients:
12 (1-oz) slices ham or turkey
3 slices of bread, cut into small 1/2" cubes
1-1/2 cups (12 fluid oz) fat free egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
3 cups (12 oz) grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups enchilada sauce (I used El Pato brand)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 12-cup (4 oz each) muffin tin with cooking spray. Fit each ham slice into each cup (ham ends will be above cup edges). Divide bread among cups. Then divide egg substitute among cups. Sprinkle with cheese. Add a couple spoonfuls of enchilada sauce on top. Bake on middle oven rack for 15 minutes. Remove the cups from the muffin tin. Serve warm.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lorena and Julie's Chilaquiles

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Whenever I want an authentic Mexican recipe, I contact Lorena Velasquez and her mom, Julie Hernandez. They are my sources for really wonderful, home-cooked Mexican food. I could only imagine how great the food is at their family dinners when their relatives get together. In this recipe, corn tortillas are cut and fried. A red sauce is poured over the crispy tortilla chips to soften them slightly, and then the cheese is added. It can be served for breakfast or brunch and is sometimes lauded as a cure for the common hangover. It is truly scrumptious. Beware, you may find yourself eating the entire pan!

Ingredients:
1-1/2 dozen corn tortillas
1/3 cup cooking oil
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 - 3 TBSP red chili powder (recommended: Chile Nuevo Mexico Molido or ground New Mexico chili pepper)
1/2 of a 28 oz. can El Pato enchilada sauce
2 (8 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
1 cup grated or sliced jack cheese

Cut tortillas into wedges (like torilla chips). Heat 1 cup oil in frying pan and put tortillas in frying pan and fry till crisp. In separate pan, heat oil (1/3 cup), saute garlic and slowly add the chili powder being careful not to get lumpy. Bring to a boil and then add El Pato sauce and tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. Transfer chips to frying pan (no oil in frying pan) add tortilla chips, add sauce and mix thoroughly. Add the jack cheese - amount of cheese depending on your taste. Mix till cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ken's Marinade

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Here's a yummy marinade from cousin, Kenny Shimomura of Seattle. It's a favorite recipe that he recently posted on Facebook. He uses it on pork chops, flank steak or chicken, marinating the meat for two hours before grilling. Here's a great photo of him with Julie Bainbridge, a fabulous cook and wine connoisseur.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
Dash of worcestershire sauce
1 T olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 T grated ginger - to taste
Dash of chili flakes or a dash of Vietnamese hot sauce, to taste
1 stalk chives, chopped fine

Mix everything together and marinate for at least two hours before grilling. If making flank steak, Ken slices it in thin pieces before marinating.