Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kate's Chocolate Bundt Cake

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Here's the recipe for an excellent chocolate bundt cake made by Kate Matull of San Francisco.  She brought the cake to a family gathering, and it was so moist and decadent -- the hit of the party.  Besides baking, Kate enjoys playing soccer, golf, tennis and volleyball.  She also sews and made the totebag pictured below in just a few hours using an old pair of jeans that belonged to her brother, Jack.  Just look at all she has accomplished for being 9 years old!  She is pictured above with her Grandma Sharon.

Ingredients:
1 package Duncan Hines Butter Fudge Cake Mix
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 package Jello Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding Mix
12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup salad oil
1/3 cup water

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup bundt pan.  Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stephen's Pumpkin Gnocci with Sage Alfredo Sauce

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Sinfully delicious!  My son, Stephen, made these for Sunday dinner and they were a big hit.  There is nothing like homemade fresh pasta.  It takes a little time to prepare, but is well worth the effort.
 
Ingredients:

Gnocci:
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk)
1 cup flour
1 egg
Dash nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
6 T butter
1 medium onion, sliced
6-7 fresh sage leaves

Set a large pot of salted water on the stove and turn heat to high boil  In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, ricotta, flour, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Stir gently to form a very soft dough.  Dust a clean plate with flour and set it next to your work area. Turn the dough out on the plate and divide into 6 sections.  Roll each into a ball, then into a long "snake" about 3/4" thick.  Cut the snake into 1" football-shaped pillows.  Using a fork, make indentations on one side of the pillow pieces.  Set aside.  Lower the temperature on the boiling water to a light bowl.  Cook the gnocci for 2-3 minutes until they float to the surface of the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Sauce:
4 oz. chopped pancetta
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cup milk
2-1/2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
2 T fresh sage, chopped
Pinch nutmeg
Salt, pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the pancetta until crispy.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  Wipe the pan clean.  Melt butter over medium heat in the same skillet.  Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk into the butter.  Cook for 1-2 min.  Gradually add the milk into the butter/flour mixture and continue whisking until bubbly.  Cook until mixture is thick, whisking constantly.  Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat and add the cheese, sage and pancetta. (If sauce is too thick, add more milk.) 

Add cooked gnocci to the skillet and stir to coat the sauce.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stuffed Pickled Piquante Peppers

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This appetizer is so easy. Little red piquante peppers are stuffed with a feta and cream cheese mixture. The peppers come pickled in a jar, so all you do it stuff them with the cheese mixture. How easy is that? There is a sweetness and mild heat to the peppers which is complemented by the cheese stuffing. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Ingredients:
1 jar pickled piquante peppers
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese

Mix the cream cheese with the feta cheese. Drain the peppers on a paper towel, then stuff the peppers with the cheese mixture.

Michelle's Cauliflower Soup Topped with Croutons and Bacon Bits

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Another family favorite recipe.  This is an amazing, creamy, velvety soup can be served hot or cold.  What makes it unique is that it is topped with bacon bits and croutons, so is bursting with flavors and textures.  My daughter, Michelle originally got this recipe from the Giada DeLaurentiis Food Network Show.  Pictured here are Michelle, Sean and the newest family member, Madeline Ava Coffey.

Croutons:
1/2 loaf sourdough bread, cut in 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all the above ingredients together.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 10-12 min. at 400 degrees. 

Bacon:
1 lb bacon, cooked and chopped

Soup:
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup celery stalks (2 stalks)
1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 T fresh thyme leaves
1 head cauliflower, cut in 1" pieces

Saute celery, shallots, salt and pepper in the butter for 4 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 min.  Add the broth, thyme and cauliflower and boil for 20-25 minutes.  Puree in batches using an immersion blender, blender or food processor.  Season with salt and pepper.  To serve, spoon into individual bowls and top with bacon bits and croutons.  It is delicious at room temperature.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

French Onion Soup Gratinee

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This is by far the best onion soup I have ever had, better than anything you can get, even at the finest restaurants.  It takes about 4 hours to make, start to finish, but is well worth the effort.  I bought my onions at Costco, and they were sweet white onions, extra-large, about the size of a grapefruit.  It gave the soup a sweetness that went beautifully with the dark, rich broth.  I will definitely make this soup again.

Ingredients:
10-12 medium white onions, halved and sliced lengthwise (stem-to-pointy end)
3 T unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh thyme, few sprigs, stems removed
6 cups beef and/or chicken broth (or a combination of both)
2 cups water
8 slices stale baguette, sliced in 3/4" rounds
1 lb Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a large Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray.  Place butter in the pot with the onions, salt, thyme and bay leaf.  Cook covered in the oven for 1 hour.  Stir and leave the lid slightly ajar, then continue to roast in the oven for another 1-1/2 hours.  Move the Dutch oven to the cooktop, stir frequently until liquid evaporates, 15-20 min.  Reduce heat to medium.  Cook and stir 6-8 min. more.  Add 1/4 cup water and cook over medium heat until the liquid is evaporated and the onions are golden brown 6-8 min.  Repeat, this several times for 30 min. total. Onions will be getting dark brown in color.  Stir often.  Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen the caramelized onions.  Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for another 30 min.  Add more salt, if necessary.  Spoon the soup into individual ovenproof crocks, top with a toasted baguette slice, then a layer of cheese.  Broil for 2 min. until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grilled Asian Pork Chops

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These pork chops have a yummy Korean barbeque flavor, similar to kalbi short ribs.  You can marinate thinly sliced short ribs, chicken, pork tenderloin, steak, pork chops, jumbo shrimp - whatever you wish.  The pork chops turned out moist, juicy and tender.  The marinade permeated every bite, so full of flavor.  You will love it! 

Ingredients:
4, one-inch thick pork chops
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 T sesame oil
2 T sake (rice wine)
2 T sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. ginger, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Combine and mix the marinade ingredients together.  Add the marinade to the pork chops in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. 
On your gas grill, sear the pork chops 1-2 min. a side on high heat - 450 degrees.  Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-10 min. (do not overcook).  Temperature of the pork chops should be 150 degrees when they are done.  Let rest for 5-10 min. before serving.

Phyllis' Orange Basil Green Beans

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Here's a great-tasting, super easy recipe for green beans from Phyllis Hays-Martin, pictured here (on the right) with Val Kane, enjoying happy hour at Oceanside Marina. The green beans are so flavorful as the orange zest brightens up the dish and complements the fresh basil.

Ingredients:
Fresh green beans
2-3 T fresh chopped basil
1 tsp orange zest

In a pan of boiling water, cook the green beans for 10-12 min. until they are fork tender. Drain. Season with salt and pepper. Add the orange zest and fresh chopped basil. That's it! Super easy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto

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Here's a main dish that will surely please your guests.  It is so colorful, and each bite has a variety of flavors and textures.  I will definitely make this dish again.

Ingredients:
1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 salmon fillets
1/4 cup pesto
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Cut the puff pastry into rectangular pieces the same size as your salmon fillets.  Bake the puff pastry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Set aside.  Season each piece of salmon with salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 min. until done.

For each serving, place one puff pastry on the plate, top with 1 tablespoon of pesto, then 2 slices of tomatoes, top with the salmon, then the toasted almonds.   I drizzled balsamic syrup for added color, but that is optional.  Simply delicious. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Artichoke Jalapeno Spread

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This is a yummy appetizer that comes together quickly.  Make it the night before, so that the flavors have a chance to blend together.  It is simply delicious!


Ingredients:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh)
14 oz. can Trader Joe's artichoke hearts, drained
1 tsp jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Refrigerate overnight.  Spread on your favorite crackers or baguette slices.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cabbage Ramen Salad

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This is a classic recipe from the 70's.  It resembles Chinese Chicken Salad, but is easier to make.  I make the salad the night before, so that the dressing softens the dry ramen noodles.  I love the sesame oil flavoring in the dressing.


Ingredients:
1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1-1/2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3T sesame seeds
1 pkg Top Ramen, broken into bite-size pieces (discard the instant soup seasoning packet)
1 green onion, chopped fine for garnish

Salad dressing:
1/2 cup oil
6T white vinegar (can use cider or red wine vinegar)
5T sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1T sesame oil

Mix the salad ingredients together, then add the dressing and toss.  Top with the chopped green onions.  Let set in the refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight, so that the noodles soften and absorb the dressing. 

Julie's Tequila Lime Chicken

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Cousin Kenny says this is his favorite marinade of all time and loves it when Julie makes this dish for him.  The chicken turns out moist and tender with a prominent lime flavor, a perfect dish for entertaining.  You can  leave the skin on the chicken for this recipe, if you wish, as it absorbs the marinade.  

Ingredients:
1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed (5-6 limes)
1/2 cup orange juice (2 oranges)
1 T chili powder
1 T minced fresh jalapeno pepper (seeds removed)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Combine tequila, lime and orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno and garlic; add the chicken breasts and marinate overnight in refrigerator.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin side down for 5 min until browned.  Turn the chicken and grill for another 10 min, until cooked through.  Remove from gill to a plate and cover tightly.  Allow to rest 5 min.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note:  I used a panini maker and cooked the chicken breast for 5-6 min.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Marilyn's Pasta E Fagioli Soup

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Marilyn Kihara made ths delicious tomato-based soup as a late night treat while we were visiting Seattle.  This soup closely resembles Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli soup.  It is the perfect meal for those chilly nights as it is a hearty soup that tastes delicious and warms you up.  You can substitute ingredients with whatever you have on hand.  In Marilyn's version, she replaced kidney beans with corn, used Italian sausage instead of ground beef and stewed tomatoes for diced tomatoes.  Here's a great photo of Ray and Mare at the Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach.

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (61 oz) can white kidney beans, drained
3 (10 oz) cans beef stock
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp pepper
5 tsp parsley
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 (20 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz pasta
Brown beef in a skillet.  Drain fat.  Add all ingredients to crock pot except for the pasta.  Cook on low heat 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.  During the last 30 min. on high (or 1 hour on low), add the pasta.  Serve with a tossed green salad and garlic bread.  

Glenda's Buttermilk Pie

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This is a simple but elegant dessert from Glenda Stephens (picture on the right) that will surely please your guests.  The pie will disappear quickly, as it soon becomes everyone's favorite.  The top of the pie is chewy and delicious, while the rest of it melts in your mouth.  Serve with sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit.  Your house will smell like freshly made waffle cones as the pie bakes.  Pure heaven.

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs

Blend all ingredients together with a mixer for 1 min.  Pour into a greased 9" pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 min.  Insert a toothpick to test for doneness.  Cool.  Serve with sweetened whipped cream and fresh blueberries.  Absolutely wonderful.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grilled Vegetables with Pearled Couscous

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Here's a fresh, colorful side dish for your next potluck or dinner party.  You can use any assortment of seasonal vegetables.  This recipe feeds a crowd, and its flavors are amazing.  It will surely be the star of your dinner.  The pearled couscous is bigger in size and rounder in shape than regular couscous.  It adds a nice chewy texture to the dish.  I would definitely make this recipe again.

Ingredients:
Couscous:
2 boxes of Near East brand Pearled Couscous (at Safeway/Vons)
3T olive oil
5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock

Marinade:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Grilled Vegetables:
3-4 zucchini, cut lengthwise in 2"x1/2" pieces
2 yellow zucchini, cut lengthwise in 2"x1/2" pieces
10 asparagus, cut into thirds
12 cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 medium portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade cut
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

Saute the pearled couscous in olive oil until toasty in color.  Add the chicken stock.  Cook uncovered until the liquid is absorbed.  Add the lid and set aside for a few minutes.  Mix the marinade ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Pour 1/2 of the marinade over the vegetables and marinate for 15 minutes.  Grill the vegetables on the barbeque.  The onions, red and green bell peppers take longer to cook, so cook them first by themselves.  Then cook the rest of the vegetables together.  Toss the vegetables with the couscous, basil and parsley.  Add some (not all) of the additional marinade and season with salt and pepper.  Can be served at room temperature.  Delicious the next day too.

Sharon's Fig Jam Appetizer

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While visiting the Bay Area, cousin Sharon Brooks made us a tasty fig jam and goat cheese appetizer.  The goat cheese has a mild tang to it and blends well with the sweet fig jam over a slice of cocktail size pumpernickel bread.  It is the perfect pairing with a glass of wine.  Super easy!

Ingredients:
1 loaf of cocktail size pumpernickel bread, thinly sliced
6 oz. goat cheese, softened
6 oz. jar of fig jam

Spread the goat cheese on the bread, then top with a dollop of fig jam.  Delicious.
  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sole with Lemon Caper Sauce

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I tasted this dish at a local restaurant and fell in love with it.  The fish is light and delicate accompanied by a sauce that bursts with flavor from the capers and lemon zest.  I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:
4 sole fillets
Spinach leaves, stems removed, 2 handfuls
1 clove garlic sliced
2T butter
2T flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 oz. dry white wine
2T capers
1/8 tsp lemon zest
Salt, pepper to taste

Cook the butter and flour together to make a roux in a sauce pan over medium high heat; then add the milk, lemon juice and wine.  Stir the mixture with a whisk until it is gravy consistency.  Add the capers and lemon zest. Lightly oil a frying pan and saute the garlic slices, then add the spinach leaves, salt and pepper.  Cook until the spinach is wilted.  Slightly squeeze out some of the excess liquid.  Set aside.  Season the fish with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Saute the fish in a lightly oiled hot frying pan for 1-2 min. per side until cooked.  Remove the fish from pan.  On each piece of fish, spread the spinach, then roll up.  Place seam side down on a serving platter.  Top with the lemon caper sauce.  Garnish with chopped parsley (optional).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dave's Pickled Maui Onions

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While vacationing on Oahu, we got to taste Dave Kusumoto's flavorful Maui pickled onions with freshly harvested ogo, a true delicacy. Each bite bursts with a perfect blend of sweet, tangy and vinegary flavors. The ogo is a hard to find, but you can substitute it with cooked shrimp, carrots, green peppers, daikon or even jalapenos, if you wish.  You can find the Noh seasoning mix at Hawaiian and Portuguese markets.
 
Ingredients:
1 pkg Noh Portuguese Fish Vinha Dalhos seasoning mix
1/4 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 medium Maui onions, cut into 8ths
2 cups hot water, plus 1/4 cup water

Combined the Noh mix with 1/4 cup water, vinegar and sugar until blended. Place the cut onions into a quart size jar, pressing down firmly. Pour 2 cups of hot water over the onions, and let stand for a few minutes. Drain the water, then add the sauce covering the onions. Let it stand for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Miso Mayonnaise

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Here's a super easy, flavorful dip for fresh cut or steamed veggies. If you love miso, you will certainly like this recipe. It only has three ingredients so stirs up quickly.  In addition to dipping vegetables in it, you can smear it on a salmon fillet or salmon steak and bake it at 400 degrees for 15-20 min.  It's taste is uniquely Asian and pure pleasure.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods)
1 T miso (I used the red miso)
1 tsp sesame oil

Mix it altogether in a small bowl.  Refrigerate until serving time.  Excellent!

James' Tofu Sauce

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Here's a simple, delicate sauce to put on top of cold tofu that James Yuasa made for us during our recent Hawaiian vacation.  If you add a little sesame oil (1/2 tsp),  it becomes a finishing sauce for boiled or steamed chicken.  Feel free to alter the amount of the ingredients to your liking.  Be sure to use the light soy sauce or else it will taste too strong.  So good!


Ingredients:
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 T finely chopped fresh ginger, to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Refrigerate until serving time.  This can be made one day in advance.  Serve with cold tofu that has been cut into cubes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gayle's Pesto Scallops

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If you love scallops, you will enjoy this recipe.  This super easy recipe comes from Cliff and Patti's friend Gayle Miyake of Seattle.  Most of the ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joe's.  In the picture above, I drizzled fig balsamic vinegar syrup as a topping after the scallops were cooked.   Pictured here are Stephen, Patti and Cliff on TV at the Cal v. Huskies game in November.

Ingredients:
1 bag of frozen Trader Joe scallops (large size)
1 package of Trader Joe prosciutto
1 jar of Trader Joe pesto
Balsamic syrup, optional
Toothpicks

Thaw the scallops.  Cut the prosciutto strips in half lengthwise.  Wrap each scallop with a half length of prosciutto, and use a toothpick to secure it so it does not unravel.  Place a dollop of pesto on top of each scallop.  Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 min.  Check for doneness (do not overbake).  Drizzle balsamic syrup over all when served (optional).  Serve warm.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jennifer's Beer Margaritas

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Here's a delicious margarita recipe from Jennifer Powell - perfect for a hot summer day or when entertaining guests.  You just pour everything into a large pitcher and stir.  Add ice to the pitcher, if you wish, or individually in each glass.  This may sound like a strange recipe with the beer in it, but it is quite good and refreshing -- Jenn's favorite margarita recipe and super easy to make. 

Ingredients:
Large can of frozen limeade
1 bottle of beer (Light beer or Corona is best)
1 can of Tequila (can do 3/4 can then fill the rest of triple sec for a weaker version)
1 can of water

Here's Katie at a special tea party with her furry friends.  Also pictured is a sample of the cutest Hello Kitty cake-pops that Jennifer made for guests at Katie's recent birthday.  What a good mom she is!

Betty's Phyllo-Wrapped Halibut

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We had the most elegant meal at our neighbors' house.  Betty Yee made this dish for us and what a treat it was.  Fresh halibut fillets were wrapped in a delicate, phyllo crust, then baked in a hot oven.  The phyllo kept the halibut moist and tender.  You can add any sauce you wish to this, such as a lemon scallion sauce or dill sauce.  We drizzled an aged balsamic vinegar which they purchased on their recent Italian vacation.  It had a dark, rich, mellow taste and complemented the fish perfectly.

Ingredients:
2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 sheets phyllo dough
2 (5 oz) halibut fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp chopped fresh dill

Defrost the phyllos sheets according to package directions.  Lightly brush 1 sheet of phyllo dough with the olive oil.  Lay another sheet on top and lightly brush it with olive oil.  Repeat the remaining 2 sheets.  Cut the sheets in half.  Season the halibut with salt, pepper and dill.  Place the fillet near the bottom edge of one of the halved phyllo portions, fold in the sides, then roll the fillet.  Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Bake 425 degrees for 12-15 min.

Phyllis' Chicken Satay Peanut Dipping Sauce

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We went to a fabulous party at Phyllis and Dana Martin's house in Oceanside, celebrating the new year with their friends and neighbors.  Phyllis had a wonderful array of appetizers.  My favorite was her Chicken Satay Skewers which were the hit of the party.  The peanut sauce had a rich and tasty flavor - you couldn't stop eating it.  You won't be disappointed as this one's a keeper. When I made it, I used a panini maker to grill the chicken skewers, and it only took 3 minutes to cook. 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 T red curry paste
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 T brown sugar
2 T fresh squeezed lim juice
1 T fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Warm the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Heat the milk until it reaches a gentle boil and tiny beads of oil glisten on the surface, about 5 min.  Add the curry paste, stir until it dissolves, about 3 min. Serve with grilled, skewered chicken tenders or sliced chicken breasts.   

Betty's Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

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Betty Yuasa makes a super pumpkin zucchini bread that is easy to make, delicious and moist.  It was a bit hit over the holidays.  You can vary the nuts and dried fruit to your liking.  It tastes even better the second day after the flavors have a chance to blend together.  Here's a great family photo of Betty and James with their grandsons at a recent holiday party. 

Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
3 eggs
1 can (15oz) pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2-1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (optional)

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together.  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and water together until blended.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (do not overmix).  Add zucchini, nuts and coconut.  You can substitute the coconut for raisins or dried cranberries if you wish.  Divide batter into 3 lightly greased and floured loaf pans.  Bake 350 degrees for 55-60 min. Cool before slicing.

Jim's Tempura Lettuce Wraps

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Here's a quick and easy appetizer that will surely impress your guests. It comes from Chef Jim Shinbo, who cooked for the Olschefski's holiday dinner party (a small sit-down dinner for 30 guests) in Bellevue, Washington. The lettuce wraps came together quickly and were the hit of the party.

Ingredients:
Romaine lettuce, trimmed
Trader Joe's frozen shrimp tempura
Mayonnaise, mixed with a little salsa juice
Peach mango salsa (Costco) or any salsa
Mexican-mix cheese, grated

Heat the tempura according to package directions. Use medium-size romaine leaves and trim the romaine so it is a little longer than the shrimp. To assemble, on top of the romaine, spread some of the mayonnaise mixture, add some salsa, place shrimp on top, sprinkle with the cheese.

You can substitute the tempura with firm blackened fish, scallops, fried calamari or other seafood. For a lower fat version, I subsituted the mayonnaise with non-fat plain yogurt and light sour cream (half of each) mixed with salsa juice.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Victoria's Deep Dish Apple Pie

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While feasting at Ellen Suzuki's New Year's Day party, we enjoyed a scrumptious deep dish apple pie baked by her daughter, Victoria Miles. It is a super easy recipe with a rich, buttery crust (no rolling of the dough).  I am looking forward to trying it at the next family gathering.  Here's a photo of Ellen and Victoria.

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups butter
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3-4 cans prepared pie filling, apple, cherry, blueberry or any flavor

In a food processor, mix the butter, flour and sugar until ingredients are combined.  Put half of this into a 9x12 pan and press it down on the bottom of the pan.  Pour in the prepared pie filling.  Top with the remaining crust, cover the filling and press down.  Bake 350 degrees for one hour+ until golden brown.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ellen's Korean Flank Steak

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We were so fortunate to be invited to Ellen Suzuki's New Year's Day Feast in Seattle. What a treat. The tables were over-flowing with mountainous piles of delicious food, Japanese favorites and baked goods.  It was a feast to die for. One of my favorites was Korean flank steak strips which had been marinated, then battered and deep fried. Each bite was bursting with teriyaki flavor with a light, crispy, delicate crust surrounding each mouthful. Here's a photo of Ellen at her New Year's Day table.

Ingredients:
1 flank steak, cut in 1/2" strips
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 stalks green onions, finely chopped

1 cup flour
2 T cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 T baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup water

Marinate meat in sugar, soy sauce, garlic and green onions for a few hours or overnight.  Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder.  Add the eggs and cold water, and mix until consistency of heavy cream.  Fry in hot oil until golden brown.  Serve immediately.