Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

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We made these spring rolls for Michelle's birthday. We served them cold, and they were so refreshing in taste that we ate the entire platter before dinner.  We served them with a hoisin peanut dipping sauce, which was very easy to make.  I will definitely make this again.  Enjoy!

1 package clear edible rice paper sheets (round spring roll wrappers) - banh trang
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and sliced in half lengthwise
1 carrot, peeled, cut in slivers
1 cucumber, peeled, cut in slivers
Vermicelli rice noodles (very thin)
Fresh cilantro, mint and basil, equal amounts

Boil the shrimp for 3 minutes in a sauce pan of boiling water.  Rinse in cold water to cool down, cut in half lengthwise, then set aside.  Cook the vermicelli rice noodles according to package directions, about 8-minutes in boiling water.  Drain, rinse with cold water, set aside.  Peel and cut the carrot and cucumber, set aside.  Chop the cilantro, mint and basil, set aside.

To assemble:  Fill a pie pan with hot water.  Soak the individual spring roll wrappers one at a time in the pie pan for 5-7 seconds until softened.  Place the round noodle on a flat surface, add 3 pieces of shrimp (pink side down); then sprinkle some of the cilantro-mint-basil mixture, add the carrot and cucumber slivers, then the vermicelli noodles (about 3/4" in diameter).  Fold in the left and right sides of the noodle about 1-1/2".  Starting at the end closest to you, tightly roll up the noodle (as if you were making a burrito).  The noodle will adhere to itself.  Make sure you have rolled it tightly or else the contents will fall out when you cut the spring roll in half.  Cut each roll in half diagonally and place on a large platter.  Serve with hoisin-peanut sauce.

Hoisin-Peanut Sauce:
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 T rice vinegar
1 tsp garlic chili sauce

Mix all ingredients together.  If the sauce is too thick, add some water to thin it down.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

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Truly the most decadent frosting ever.  I have been looking for a rich whipped cream frosting.  It is thick in consistency, so holds up especially well if you pipe it onto cupcakes.  You can use almond or vanilla flavoring.  I will definitely make this again as my family loved it.

1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 (8 oz) tubs of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 3/4 tsp almond extract

Mix the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar and almond extract until well blended.  Whip the heavy cream until stiff.  Fold the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream.  Frost your cake, and keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.

Grilled Squid with Ponzu Sauce

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I could not believe how tender this squid was.  We cooked it in a panini maker, and it took only 4 minutes to cook.  I like the grill lines that the panini maker puts on whatever you are cooking.  You can grill it on the barbeque or on the stovetop in a grill pan.  Serve with ponzu sauce.  Enjoy!

1 squid
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
Salt, pepper, to taste

To clean the squid, hold the body firmly, grasp the head and twist to pull the head away from the body.  Be careful not to break the ink sac.  The internal body and tentacles should separate and from the head.  Cut the tentacles off just below the eyes.  There is a small beak in the center of the tentacles.  Just squeeze it to remove it.  Discard the head and ink sac.  At the top of the body is a clear piece of cartilege.  Pull it out and discard it.  Rinse everything thoroughly inside and outside. 

Season the squid with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Drizzle olive oil over the squid.  Set the panini maker to sear or high heat.  Once it is heated, spray with Pam, and add the squid.  Grill for 4 minutes in the panini maker (6-8 minutes on barbeque or grill pan).  Do not overcook.  Slice in thin rings.  Serve with ponzu sauce.

Ponzu Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 T rice vinegar
1/3 cup dashi broth (see package directions)

Make the dashi broth according to package directions.  Add soy sauce, lemon juice and rice vinegar.  Mix everything together.  Store in refrigerator.

Liz's Quinoa Black Bean Corn Salad

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Liz Olschefski made this salad for us while we were vacationing in Hawaii. It was so refreshing, light and delicious....a meal in itself. It was a nice accompaniment to the bbq steaks her husband cooked to perfection.

2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Cilantro, chopped (to taste)
1 cup corn, pre-cooked
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/4 tsp cumin
1, 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix oil, lemon and cilantro. Cook quinoa according to package directions adding the cumin to the water. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl. Rinse the black beans. Add all ingredients to the quinoa and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

Sesame Miso Ramen (Miso tan tan)

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I have been experimenting with sesame tan tan broths, trying to recreate a ramen that I had in Honolulu.  Denny loved this one.  It is a hearty soup with a seasoned ground pork topping, very satisfying and a meal in itself. 

4 cups of chicken stock (can use a combination of pork and chicken stock)
2 T black bean chili sauce
2 T Asian sesame paste
2 T miso
1 T soy sauce
1 T sugar

Meat topping:
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced shallots
1 slice Thai red chili (or sprinkle some red chili flakes to taste)
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt, pepper to taste

Other ingredients:
Chopped green onions
Ramen noodles

Cook ramen noodles according to package directions.  Drain, and set aside.  In a large saucepan, heat the soup ingredients and simmer for a 15 minutes.  In a separate pan, saute the garlic and shallots in canola oil, add the ground pork.  Cook until the pork is no longer pink.  Add the meat seasoning and cook for a few minutes more.  In an individual serving bowl, add the noodles then the meat topping.  Pour the broth over all and top with green onions.

Note:  The recipe calls for Asian sesame paste which is made from ground roasted sesame seeds.  You can find it at a Japanese or Chinese market. Tahini is also a sesame paste, but is made from hulled seeds rather than whole roasted seeds, so does not have the same flavor.

Here's my growing family at Jack London Square:

Bill's Chocolate Cookies

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Delicious!  You have to try Bill Lemire's chocolate cookies.  Not only is he a great dentist, sailor, biker and the husband of my best buddy, Corinne, he bakes!  These cookies are rich and chocolatey.  You won't be able to eat just one.

2 cups plus 2 T flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Sanding sugar for rolling (Turbinado)

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Beat butter and sugar on medium speed with mixer until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue to mix.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture; beat to combine.  Form dough into a flattened disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.  Heat oven to 350 degrees, shape dough into 1-1/4 inch balls.  Roll each ball into sanding sugar.  Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake 10-12 min, rotating sheet halfway through.  Transfer to cooling rack for 5 min.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Betty's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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If you enjoy thin, crispy, buttery cookies that are moist and chewy in the middle, Betty Yuasa has a great version of chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe makes four dozen cookies.  You won't be able to stop eating them!  Simply addictive.

1-1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1, 12-oz package semisweet chocolate chips

Mix the flour, soda and cinnamon, and set aside.  Beat butter, brown sugar and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  At low speed beat in the flour mixture.  Fold in the oats and chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two baking sheets.  Shape the dough into one-inch balls.  Place cookies two inches apart on cookie sheet.  Bake until lightly browned around the edges, 10-12 minutes.  Transfer baking sheets to wire rack to cool slightly, then remove cookies from baking sheet to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Miso Chicken

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This chicken recipe is excellent, if you like Hawaiian-style cooking.  It is very flavorful with its Asian seasonings and has a sweet sauce.  I would definitely make this one again.  Enjoy!

6-8 chicken thighs (skinned)
4 T red miso
6 T sake
6 T sugar
4 T chicken stock
2 T mirin
3 T ginger, chopped
3 T green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Saute the chicken in a little oil for 2-3 minutes a side until brown.  Mix the remaining ingredients.  Place the chicken and sauce in a baking dish, cover it, and bake for 20 minutes.  Turn the chicken over, and continue baking for another 20 minutes until done.  De-grease the sauce before serving.  Serve over rice, and spoon the sauce over the chicken.   Delicious!

Turkey Chili

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Here's my new recipe for turkey chili.  I like to add a dollop of sour cream on top with shredded cheese and chopped chives.  Tastes great on cold, rainy days, and even better the seecond day.  My cute little grand-daughter Madeline Ava Coffey (8 mos.) is pictured below. 

1-lb. ground turkey
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green or red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
22 oz. can of diced tomatoes (use the liquid)
3/4 cup of tomato sauce
2 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T cornmeal
3 splashes of Tabasco sauce

Optional toppings:
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Chives or green onions, chopped fine

Brown the ground turkey in a little olive oil.  Set aside.  Saute the onions, bell pepper and garlic in a little olive oil.  Add the ground turkey and the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer for an hour on the stove top until the flavors have blended.  Serve in a soup bowl with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped chives on top.  You can also cook the chili in a crockpot on low for 8 hours. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Michelle's Enchiladas Verde

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These are excellent!  Michelle made Shredded Pork Enchiladas Verde from the Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's Cookbook.  The salsa verde has a nice fresh, tangy flavor.  You can use slow-cooked braised pork or buy it pre-made at Trader Joe's.  The enchiladas are easy to put together, and are a meal in itself.  You will love them!

1, 12-oz pkg refrigerated Traditional Carnitas, shredded (about 2 cups) or slow-cooked braised pork
12 corn tortillas (6-in. size)
1 T canola oil
1-1/2 jars Salsa Verde
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 cup thinly sliced lettuce, romaine and red cabbage
1 cup frozen roasted corn, thawed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat and soften tortillas for 3-5 seconds a side, until limp.  In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup salsa, 1 cup sour cream and cilantro.  Reserve the rest of the sour cream and cilantro as a garnish.  Place 2 tablespoons of the pork, 2 tablespoons of the sour cream mixture and 1 tablespoon of cheese on each tortilla.  Roll them up, and place seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 10 min. at 350 degrees until the cheese melts.  Pour remaining salsa verde on top.  Garnish with lettuce combination, corn, sour cream and cilantro.  Absolutely delicious.

Pictured here are Michelle's kids, little Madeline and Seanie Coffey.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicken with Red Coconut Curry Sauce

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I tasted a delicious red coconut curry dish last weekend  in Santa Monica at the Blue Plate Oysterette and was trying to replicate the sauce.  The sauce at the restaurant was so good that we ate every drop. This recipe is from the label on a can of coconut milk, but has been tweaked slightly.  It tasted even better the second day as the flavors had blended together.  Enjoy!

2 half chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
Canola oil
1 T Mae Ploy red curry paste
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red, yellow and green bell pepper
1 zucchini, sliced
1 can coconut milk
1 T brown sugar
1 T fish sauce
1 T lime juice
1/3 cup fresh Thai basil

Saute the onions in a little oil for a few minutes to soften.  Add the bell peppers and zucchini and saute for 3 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Saute the chicken in a little oil until tender and cooked.  Remove from pan.  Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice togther in the frying pan, simmer for 10 min.  Add the vegetables, chicken and basil.  Simmer for 10 min.  Serve over rice.

New Year's Feast at Hide and Reiko's

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Dining at Hide and Reiko Obatake's house is always a treat, and the New Year's Day feast of osechi-mori that Hide prepared was beyond belief. Everything was skillfully and artfully prepared and placed on the serving platters with style and precision. It was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate -- so memorable!  James and Betty Yuasa contributed the huge smoked trout, kimpira gobo, fresh shrimp and Millionaire's Shortbread cookies.  Here are photos of the memorable meal.

Corinne's Oyako Donburi

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My good buddy, Corinne, gave me this recipe years ago, and it is still a family favorite. The chicken, shiitake mushrooms and eggs are simmered in a savory sauce, then served over hot Japanese rice. It is perfect on cold winter days. The name "oyakodon" literally means "mother and egg" because the recipe incorporates both the chicken and the egg.  If you the add the extra toppings, it is so colorful as well as delicious.

1-1/2 cup chicken breasts, cut in bite-size pieces
2 T soy sauce
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
4-5 eggs
1-2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 can bamboo shoots, drained, cut in thin strips
1/2 kamaboko (fish cake), cut in strips (optional)
2-3 T green onions chopped fine
Seasoned nori, finely cut
Pickled ginger (shoga)

Saute the chicken in a little oil, then add the broth and seasonings.  Add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots and kamaboko (optional) and simmer until the chicken is cooked.  Slightly beat the eggs to break the yolks, then drizzle the eggs over the sauce, and do not stir it.  The egg will trap the chicken, mushrooms and onions and will harden as it cooks. Cover pan and remove from heat.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the egg sets.   Top with green onions, thinly slices seawood (nori) and pickled ginger (shoga).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza

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This deep dish pizza is reminiscent of Zachary's pizza in the Bay Area, but the recipe is simplified using uncooked pizza dough from Trader Joe's.  It is so rich and delicious, warm oozing mozzarella embedded between two layers of pizza crust with a rich pizza sauce on top.  It tastes like a casserole pie and will appease even the hungriest appetite.  You can vary the ingredients to your liking.  For best results use a 12" deep dish pizza pan.

2 packages Trader Joe's unflavored pizza crust dough (uncooked)
1 pkg (16 oz) Trader Joe's shredded mozarella cheese
1/4 cup each,  parmesan and romano cheeses
1 (23 oz) can crushed tomatoes with puree
1-1/2 tsp oregano
2-3 T fresh chopped basil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Toppings:  Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green pepper, onions, mushrooms, olives (your choice)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Prepare your toppings, i.e., saute the mushrooms, green peppers, onions until done.  In a separate saucepan mix the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper over medium-high heat, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Grease the deep dish pan with Crisco.  Flour your hands and roll one package of the pizza dough out on a floured surface, stretching it to fit into the pan and up the sides of the pan.  Sprinkle the cheeses and all your toppings on top of the dough.  Roll the second pizza crust out and place it on top.  Seal the edges of the crust, tearing off and discarding the excess crust.  Make 8 small slits with a knife in the top crust.  Pour the pizza sauce on top to 1/4" of the edge (note: you may not need to use all of the sauce).  Sprinkle chopped fresh basil on top (optional).  Bake 35 minutes at 475 degrees.  Absolutely the best deep dish pizza you have ever eaten!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stephen's Easy Grilled Lobster

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What a treat - on Christmas eve, my son, Stephen Loase, brought lobster which he barbequed for us.  This is a super simple recipe.  The lobster turned out moist and delicious.

5 lobster tails - halved
1 stick of butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter with the chopped garlic in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise.  Baste the lobster with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill flesh side down on the barbeque for 4-5 minutes.  Do not overcook. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Betty's Millionaire's Shortbread Cookies

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Betty Yuasa brought these cookies to a recent gathering and they were a big hit.  Who doesn't love a buttery shortbread crust with a smooth, gooey caramel layer topped with chocolate?  It is the perfect ending to any meal -- the ultimate indulgence.  Here's Betty (left) pictured with Reiko Obatake.

2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
1-1/2 cups cold, unsalted butter, divided
1-1/2 tsp vanilla, divided
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1, 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 lb. milk or dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan, layer the pan with parchment paper (the edges of the paper should hang over the top of the pan), and butter the paper.  Make the shortbread by measuring the flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor and pulse just until mixed.  Add 1 cup butter in chunks and pulse until roughly mixed.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp vanilla; process until a ball is formed.  Press evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 35-40 min, turning the pan halfway through to brown evenly.

Make the caramel by melting the remaining 1/2 cup butter over low heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 cup brown sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk.  Raise heat to medium-low; bring to boil, stirring constantly for 10 min.  Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla.  Pour over the baked crust; let cool.  Melt chocolate, then pour over the caramel layer.  Cool completely in pan, then use parchment paper to lift the shortbread out of the pan.  Cut into squares.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Corinne's Stout Coffee Cake

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Corinne Gooden's coffee cake is an unusual blend of flavors including stout beer and caraway seeds that work surprisingly well together.  The coffee cakes are made in small individual size tart pans.  All you need to accompany them is a freshly-brewed double Americano, and you will be in heaven.  Pictured below is Corinne's latest knitting project, a one-piece stylish knitted vest.  Her stitching is absolutely perfect!  She is a woman of many talents.

For the batter:
1/2 cup currants
1-1/2 cups whole rolled oats
1-1/2 cups imperial stout beer
10 T butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

For the streusel:
1-1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 stick butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds

Two hours before you mix the cake, combine oatmeal, currants and stout in a container.  Set aside.  Beat butter on medium speed until smooth 45-60 seconds.  Combine sugar, brown sugar and salt in a separate bowl.  Add sugars to butter and mix on low until well combined.  Increase speed to medium, mix until light and fluffy about 4-5 min.  Ensure eggs are at room temperature and whisk to lightly combine.  Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar on low speed.  Scrape down often.  Drain the oat/currant/stout mixture and reserve the stout and soaked oat-currant mixture in separate bowls.  Sift flour and baking soda.  On low speed, incorporate the flour and stout into the butter-sugar-egg mixture in three batches, by alternating dry and liquid (begin and end with the flour).  Mix just until moistened.  Scrape down at least once.  Decant the batter/dough in a large mixing bowl.  With a rubber spatula, ensure the mixture is well incorporated from top to bottom.  Gently fold in the currants and oats.

Make the streusel:
Roughly chop the pecans.  Mix brown sugar, sugar, flour, caraway seeds and salt on low speed until combined.  Add cold, diced butter and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add the nuts.  Combine just until mixture clumps together.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350.  Spread 13, 4-inch diameter paper baking moulds on two baking sheets and fill each mould halfway with batter.  Top generously with streusel.  Bake 14-19 min.  Turn trays once during baking.  Cakes are done when they are golden brown and spring back to touch.  Delish!