Sunomono Salad

Jun 04 2010 Published by under Food

One of the lightest most wonderful salads of the Japanese cuisine is the sunomono salad. The frase sunomono means “vinegared food.” When people think of vinegar they think of some foul tasting. The Japanese use rice vinegar which is not that sour as normal vinegar. The dressing used for this salad is called Amazu which means Sweet Vinegar, which precisely describes the taste.

Sunomono Salad

Sunomono Salad

This salad is really light and crisp. It is perfect for hot summer days when you need something that tastes fresh. I made mine with shrimp and surimi, but you can use other fish ingredients. The dressing is a sweet sauce that also very fresh. The idea is to add barely enough dressing so you taste the salad, not the sauce.

For sunomono

2 Cucumbers
6 Cooked Shrimp
2 Surimi Sticks
4 Tablespoons of Sweet Vinegar dressing (recipe follows)
1 Sprinkle of Toasted Sesame Seeds

Peel and core the cucumbers. Julian the cucumbers into small spaghetti like strips 1/8 of an inch thick. If you have a mandolin this process is much faster. Cool the cucumber in the refrigerator. Cut the surimi into small pieces. To assemble the salad make sure all the ingredients are cold. Add the cucumber strips into the bowl. Add about 1 Tablespoon of sweet vinegar. Add the surimi and the shrimp. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Variation — You can also use cooked octopus, and furikake as toppings.

For Sweet Vinegar dressing

1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Sugar
1/2 Cup of water
1/2 Teaspoon of Dashinomoto

Add water to a small sauce pan. Dissolve the dashinomoto. Add the sugar and vinegar. Boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cool down. Place in the refrigerator to make it cold. For this this you need the dressing to be cold.

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Crepes

Jun 03 2010 Published by under Food

Crepes are the original pancake but much thinner. They were largely forgotten in favor of the much thicker pancakes you enjoy today. They were reintroduced by the French with the famous Crepes Suzette. This dish is served with much flare as it usually prepared in front of dinning guest. The end of the preparation, the crepes suzette is set on fire to flame the alcohol and sugars. When this dish was invented this happened by accident.

Creamed Mushroom Crepes

Creamed Mushroom Crepes

Crepes are a very versatile dish. You can serve them with sweet or savory fillings. There are endless combination that can be made. This can make crepes the main dish, a breakfast item or a dessert. Today I am making Creamed Mushroom Crepes, and it is going to be my breakfast.

For Crepes

1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Water
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons of Butter
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Leave the batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Heat butter in non-stick pan. Pour two tablespoons of batter into the pan. Quickly rotate the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter all over the pan. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk. Cook until the bottom side is golden brown. Carefully flip the crepe with a spatula. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

You can fill the crepes with all types of fillings. Here are sum suggestions:

Strawberry Marmalade
Penut butter and Bananas
Apple Sauce
Fresh Fruits and Cottage Cheese
Chocolate
Ice Cream
Cajeta
Ham and Spinach
Ham and Cheese
Creamed Mushroom

For Creamed Mushroom Filling

1/2 Large Onion
1 Cup of Mushrooms
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup of Cream
1 Teaspoon of Tarragon
1/2 Teaspoon of Thyme

Heat the butter and the oil in a saute pan. Dice the onion. Add to the pan and cook the onion until transparent, but not browned. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cook until soft. Add the finely minced garlic, cream, tarragon and thyme and cook on low heat for 1 minute. Salt according to taste. Serve over the crepes.

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McDonalds Egg Muffins

Jun 01 2010 Published by under Food

I learned to make this dish a long time ago. It was fashioned after my favorite breakfast item from the Mcdonald’s menu, the Egg McMuffin. It is a very simple dish to make. You can have it ready in less than two minutes. After this recipe, there is no excuse for missing the most  important meal of the day.

Egg, Ham and Cheese Muffin

Egg, Ham and Cheese Muffin

The simplicity of the dish requires the use of a microwave and a toaster oven. It is the only way to have the breakfast that fast. You start  toasting the muffin in the toaster oven. Then you nuke the egg in the microwave. By the time the toaster oven finishes, the only thing left to do is to assemble.

For Egg Muffins

1 Egg
1 English Muffin
1 Ham
1 American Cheese
1 Teaspoon Butter

Slice the English muffin in half to get two pieces. Toast them in the toaster oven on medium. On a microwave safe cup,  add 1 teaspoon of butter. Melt in the microwave for 20 seconds. Move the butter around to coat the bottom part. Be careful the cup will be hot. Crack the egg. Add the egg in the cup with the melted butter. Cook for 1 minute on the microwave. Put the bottom part of the muffin on a plate. Place the cheese on top of it. Turn over the cup over the muffin and the egg should slide off. If it does not slide off you did not coat the cup with butter correctly. Add the ham. Place the top part of the muffin. Variations — You can use bacon, or other types of cheeses. You can also add a slice of tomato, or onions. The cooking time for the egg will differ according to your microwave.

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Soy Ginger Salmon

May 28 2010 Published by under Food

Well it is Sushi Friday again, so I have a wonderful dish filled with Japanese flavor. This time I have a soy sauce and ginger marinated salmon with a tartar sauce. You can serve this with a side order of sushi rice.

Soy Ginger Salmon

Soy Ginger Salmon

This dish is combines the delicate flavors of the salmon, with the salty of the soy and the sweetness of the ginger and mirin. It is a simple dish that can be made in short notice. The dish will surprise your guests as it appears that you spent a lot of time in the kitchen. It is sushi friday, so enjoy the start of your weekend with this dish.

For Soy Ginger Salmon

1 1/2 Lb of salmon
1 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup of mirin
1 Tablespoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of pickled ginger
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of shichimi togareshi
1 teaspoon of coarse grind pepper
1/4 Cup tartar sauce

To make the marinade, add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to a small tray. Mix all the ingredients. Cut the salmon into 4 to 6 pieces. Place salmon skin down on the marinade. Add the ginger, garlic, and shichimi togareshi over the salmon pieces. Sprinkle with the coarse grind pepper. Add a few tablespoons of marinade over the salmon. Let the salmon stand in the marinade for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Add the salmon to a baking sheet. Place one spoonful of tartar sauce over each salmon steak. Cook the salmon for 20 minutes. Let the salmon cool down before serving.

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Tortas

May 27 2010 Published by under Food

So you baked the homemade bread. Your kitchen is smelling great. Now what to do with your rustic bread loaf. Well how about some tortas. Tortas are the Mexican variant of the Hero Sandwich. You can make them in all sorts of flavors and fillings.

Torta

Ham and Cheese Torta

Traditionally, a torta is not a torta without out some chicharon. Chicharon is fried pork rinds, which taste better than  how it sounds. The best quality chicharon can be found in Mexican butcher shops. The stuff they sell next to the potato chips is made from flour, and not real chicharon, so it should be considered a poor substitute. For the fillings you can use cooked chicken, ham, bacon, or basically any kind of cold meat.  You can also top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and especially avocados. Go crazy with the cheese. This is my recipe for Ham and Cheese Tortas.

For Ham and Cheese Tortas.

1 Loaf of Homemade Bread (or store bought French Bread)
3 Pieces of chicharon
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
3 Pieces of ham
2 Slices of American cheese
2 Pieces of Lettuce

Using a serrated knife, slice the loaf of bread lengthwise to the size of torta that you want. Put the Bread sideways and slice to make two pieces. Spread the mayonnaise to the top part of the bread. Break the chicharon pieces and add to the bottom part of the bread. Layer the Ham over the chicharon. Top with the lettuce and cheese. Bring the top part of the bread to complete the sandwich.

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Homemade Bread

May 26 2010 Published by under Food

A friend asked me the other day where to find good bread. Most stores where I live sell a tasteless, textureless, substance which they want to pass on as bread. Then it gets stale and hard the following day after you buy it. This would not do, so I decided to look for a good, and simple bread recipe.

Homemade Bread

Homemade Bread

I had noticed something was wrong with the bread you buy in stores a few years ago. One day I needed to buy yeast to make a pizza dough recipe. Since I could not find it in the supermarket, I figured the next logical place to find yeast would be at the bakers. After visiting several stores, no one had yeast to sell me. I asked about how do they make the bread without yeast, and they told me they had ready mixes, and a special powders to rise the bread. That explained why the store bought bread had something wrong.

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread aroma filling the kitchen. Here is a simple recipe, to make good homemade bread.  It requires very little preparation time, although a long resting period. The most important tip for this recipe is to use high protein flour, or bread flour. That gives the bread a better taste, and a better crumb. The recipe will work also work with regular flour.

For two loafs of bread

2 Cups Bread Flour
1/2 TableSpoon Yeast
1/2 TableSpoon of Salt
1 Cups of Water

Heat the water until it is barely warm. Add yeast to the warm water and wait for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix the salt and the water. Add the yeast and the water to the bowl. Mix. The flour should be almost pulling off from the bowl. If the flour is too watery add a little more flour. Form the dough into a ball. Flour a large tray or your working table. Knead the dough by pushing it with hard with the palm of one hand, then folding over itself. Knead the dough about 10 times. it should be a smooth ball by now. Clean the mixing bowl. Put the dough in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for two hours. After two hours the dough will have doubled in size. Flour the working area again, and knead the dough five times. Cut the dough into two pieces. Form each half into a cylindric roll. Punch down the dough and form  into a roll again. The idea is to get the roll longer each time to about 1 foot long. Add cooking oil to a baking sheet. Place the two rolls separate from one another over the baking sheet. Cut 3 o 4 diagonal slices 1/2 inch into the bread. Let the rolls rise for 3 hours. The rolls will look like baguettes at this point. Preheat the oven to 425F. Bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Leave the bread a few minutes to cool down.

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Pizza Hut Quepapas

May 25 2010 Published by under Food

Every time we order pizza from Pizza Hut, there is a side order that is preferred more than the pizza itself. They are crunchy, small and spicy. They are called Quepapas. Quepapas are basically tater tots filled with cheddar cheese and a jalapeño bite to them. They only send out twelve Quepapas per order, so there is always a fight to see who gets the last one. I decided to learn how to make them so everyone in my house can get enough.

tatter-tots

Pizza Hut Quepapas

Quepapas are very simple to make, and they are a great side order for a lot of dishes. You can vary the amount of jalapeño in the recipe to make them spicier. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

For QuePapas

1 Large Potato
2 Eggs
1 Jalapeño Pepper
6oz Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1 Cup of Breadcrumbs

Peel the Potato. Using the smaller size  in a grater (1/8 inch holes), grate the potato. You should have about 2 cups of grated potatoes if not, grate another potato. Put the grated potatoes in a towel and try to wring out as much liquid as you can. Using the same size, grate the cheddar cheese. Combine in a large bowl the grated potatoes, grated cheddar cheese, jalapeños, eggs, salt and the flour. The mixture should be thick enough to form small 1 inch balls. If it is too soft, add a little more flour. In a separate bowl put the breadcrumbs. Coat the formed potato balls with the breadcrumbs. Let the coated balls rest for 5 minutes so that the mixture sticks better. Add to a fryer at 400F and fry for 3 minutes or until golden brown. If you do not have a fryer, you can cook them in a large skillet with 1/2 and inch of cooking oil turning them over once.

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Mini Pizzas

May 24 2010 Published by under Food

Sometimes you want a pizza fast. Sometimes you just want a single serving of pizza. Sometimes everyone wants a different flavor of pizza. My mini pizzas solve all of these problems. I have tried all types of pizzas dough, both made from scratch and store bought, and nothing tastes better than this. It is a crunchy thin crust that you can enjoy with your favorite toppings. My kid approves of his cheese only mini pizzas, and even prefers them to any delivery pizzas. The best part is that you can have a pizza in about 7 minutes.

Peperoni pizza, Cheese pizzas, Hawaiian Pizza, Pepperoni Mushroom Pizza

Mini Pizzas

When I was developing the recipe I wanted something that came out really fast. The fastest way to cook anything in your kitchen is using the microwave. The problem with using the microwave to cook pizzas is that you get a soggy result. The better way to get a crunchy pizza is to use the oven. This takes time, 15 to 20 minutes at least plus some time to preheat. After some trial and error I discovered that the best method was to combine both techniques to achieve both speed and crunch. I use thin pita bread for the pizza crust. When buying the pita bread make sure you get the thin one, and not the thicker type. You can vary the cooking times in order to get a softer or crispier pizza.

For a Mini Pizza:

1 Pita Bread
2 Tablespoons Spaghetti Sauce
1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 Dash Herb of Provence (optional)
Toppings

Place pita bread flat on a board. Add the spaghetti sauce. Distribute sauce all over the pitta bread with a spoon, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Add the cheese over all the spaghetti sauce. Add the toppings.  Make sure you do not add a lot of toppings or they will not cook well. You should be able to see some of the cheese.Put a dash of Herbs of Provence all over the pizza to give better flavor. Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt. Cook in the toaster oven on 425 F for 5 minutes, or toast on high about two or three times. When you see the pita starting to brown, your pizza is done. Slice with a pizza cutter. *** The cooking times are for my microwave, and toaster oven. You might need to experiment on yours to see what is the appropriate time on your own equipment. The microwave time also varies when making more than one at a time. Basically microwave untilthe cheese melts. Bake or toast it until the crust browns.

Topping Suggestions:
Pepperoni Cheese
Cheese Only
Pepperoni Mushroom
Pineapple Ham (Hawaiian Pizza)
Bell Pepper, Olives, Tomatoes, Onion (Veggie Pizza)
Cooked Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni (All Meat Pizza)
Cheese Basil Tomatoes (Margarita Pizza)

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