Monday, February 21, 2011

Jerk Spiced Wonton Chips w/ Carribbean Salsa

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Caribbean Salsa:

  • 3 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Jerk-Seasoned Wonton Chips, recipe follows


In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, jalapenos, cucumber, bell peppers, and cilantro. In another bowl, combine the apple juice concentrate, oil, salt, and pepper. Add to the pineapple mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill for 4 hours. Serve with Jerk-Seasoned Wonton Chips.

Jerk-Seasoned Wonton Chips:

  • 25 wonton wrappers, cut in half diagonally
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, recipe follows  (search for recipe on the blog, or go to the link below for the original recipe for the seasoning).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the wonton wrappers in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle each evenly with jerk seasoning. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool completely on parchment paper. Serve immediately, or store chips in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Recipe from:

Paula's Jerk Shrimp Kebabs

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen  //  Serves: 6 servings
Prep Time:10 min  //  Inactive Prep Time: 20 min  //  Cook Time: 7 min  //  Level: Easy


  • 1/2 cup bottled jerk sauce or Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, recipe follows  (search for recipe on blog, or go to original recipe link below)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch square chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish


  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 20 minutes. Preheat the broiler or prepare the grill.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the jerk sauce, (or jerk seasoning, if using) 1/2 cup olive oil, and ginger. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss the tomatoes, onions, peppers, and parsley with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Skewer the vegetables and shrimp.
  4. Place the skewers on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, or, if grilling, place on the grill. Cook, turning once, until the vegetables are tender and the shrimp are opaque, 5 to 6 minutes more. Garnish with parsley before serving. 
Recipe from:

Paula Deen's Carribean Jerk Seasoning & Marinade

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed Scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients but vegetable oil in a bowl until well-mixed. Add oil to create a marinade to your desired consistency. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from:

Paula's Carribean Coconut Orange Cashew Rice

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen  //  Serves: 6 servings

  • Prep Time:10 min // Cook Time:  23 min // Level: Easy
  • Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
    • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3/4 cup chopped salted roasted cashews
    • 1 seedless orange


    1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add the coconut milk, orange juice, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
    2. Remove the rice from the heat and fluff with a fork. Place a clean, dry dish towel over the pan, cover with a lid, and let the rice steam for 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and cashews.
    3.  Cut off the top and bottom of the orange, just exposing the flesh. With a sharp knife, follow the curve of the fruit to cut away the peel, completely removing the white pith. Slice out each segment of orange, cutting along the membranes. Cut each segment into thirds. Stir the orange into the rice. Serve hot. 
    •  Also in this episode, Jerk Shrimp Kebabs & Jerk Wontons w/ Carribean Salsa 

    Giada's Sparkling Earl Grey Iced Tea w/ Dried Lemon Slices


    * 1 cup sugar
    * 1 cup water


    * 5 cups water
    * 5 Earl Grey tea bags
    * 4 dried or fresh lemon slices, plus extra for garnish
    * Ice
    * Sparkling water


    For the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes.

    For the tea: In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the tea bags and lemon slices. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove the tea bags and discard.

    Pour the syrup and tea mixture into an ice-filled pitcher. Pour into glasses and add a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

     For Dried Lemons:  Dried lemon slices make a terrific garnish. Just cut unpeeled fruit into 1/8" thick slices, discarding ends. Place on a large wire rack on a baking sheet and dry in a 170° oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven to air dry.  These can be kept in the freezer for convenient anytime use.

    Giada's Strawberries in Vinegar & fresh whipped cream


    * 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered, or sliced
    * 2 tablespoons sugar
    * 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    Whipped Cream (optional, of course!):

    * 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    * 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, for garnish


    For the berries: In a small bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar. Let the mixture stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.

    For the whipped cream: In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks.

    To serve: Spoon the strawberries and juices into 2 small glasses and add a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped mint and serve.

    Giada's Fresh Pasta Rollatini with Spinach, Prosciutto & Ricotta

    I just watched this episode of Giada At Home, and HAD to make sure that I had this recipe saved - this looks so amazing.  a little fiddly, but not at all difficult, and looks so impressive - perfect for a dinner party or having family over! 


    * 1 cup cake flour
    * 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
    * 2 egg yolks
    * 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    * 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    * 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, plus extra, as needed

    * 12 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
    * 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
    * 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
    * 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
    * 1 egg yolk
    * 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    * 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chopped, room temperature
    * 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 1 egg
    * 1 tablespoon water
    * Butter, for greasing the baking dish
    * 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    * 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    * 2 cups warm tomato-basil marinara sauce

    * Special equipment: 2 double layer-thick pieces of cheesecloth, each piece 8 by 16 inches in size, 4 (6-inch) pieces kitchen twine  (or you could probably use a good cloth napkin or something similar, depending on what you have around.)


    For the pasta: In a food processor, pulse together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, egg yolks, olive oil, and salt. With the food processor running, gradually add the water in a steady stream until the mixture forms a ball, adding extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Cut the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    For the filling: Place the drained spinach in the middle of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel in half and squeeze out any excess moisture. Place the spinach in a medium bowl. Add the prosciutto, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg yolk, olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, mix until combined.

    On a floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough into 2 (8-inch diameter) circles. Place the filling in the center of each circle and, using a spatula, spread evenly over the dough leaving a 1/2 to 3/4-inch border of uncovered dough. In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together until smooth. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with the egg mixture. Roll the dough into logs, jellyroll style, and pinch the edges together to seal. Roll each log in the prepared cheesecloth and secure the ends with kitchen twine.

    Oil a baking sheet. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Lower the logs into the water and cook for 15 minutes. Using 2 pairs of tongs to hold the twine, remove the logs, one at a time, and place on the prepared baking sheet until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

    Preheat the broiler. Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish.

    Remove the kitchen twine and cheesecloth. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into 12 (1/2-inch thick) slices. Fan the slices in 3 overlapping rows in the prepared baking dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the slices with the melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. with warm marinara sauce.

    See this original recipe at:  - also on this episode, Earl Grey Sweet Tea & Strawberries in Vinegar

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Damn Good Guacamole

    • 3 perfectly ripe avocado
    • 2 perfectly ripe roma tomato, seeded and diced
    • 1/2 cup diced onions
    • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (depending on hotness)
    • 1clove garlic (optional) finely chopped
    • 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro (or less, according to taste)
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • salt, pepper
    • 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

    1. Halve avocado, use a spoon to scoop the fruit out, and remove pit. Put into a large bowl with lemon juice, covering all of the avocado.  Let this sit while you seed and dice the tomato, etc.
    2. Mash the avocado w/ a banana masher to get smooth and chunks.  
    3. Add in all the diced and chop ingredients.
    4. Chop cilantro up a bit, and fold into guac.  Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like, add cumin and cayanne for more kick & flavor.
    5. Let sit for at least 1 hour before enjoying with salty yummy tortilla chips.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    All You Need To Know About Kale Chips

    Basic Recipe & Directions:  
    1. Remove the heavy, hard middle ribs from 1 bunch of kale leaves, tear into large tortilla chip pieces, they will shrink up a bit when baking.
    2. Be sure the kale is completely dry or it won't crisp up.
    3. Line baking sheet w/ aluminum foil, preheat oven (see cooking times note below)
    4. Coat leaves well with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and gently toss to coat.  You can do this in a bowl or a large ziplock bag.  (Optional, toss some sea salt in there)
    5. Lay out on parchement/silpat/aluminum foil.
    6. Bake 10-15 minutes OR crispy and bright green
    7. Toss with salt & pepper to season as desired.

    cooking times/temperatures vary.  any should work fine, just pick your poison, and be sure to keep an eye on your baking on your first try.
              @250/30min, @300/20min, @350/10-15 min,  @375/12-15 min,

    • toss kale w/ 1/4 cup sesame oil and 2 minced garlic cloves before baking
    • toss kale w/ garlic powder OR cayenne pepper for a flavorful twist
    • toss kale w/ Parmesan for a cheesy variety
    • Sweet?  toss with cinnamon and sugar!
    • Smoky?  toss w/ smoked paprika!
    • toss kale w/ 2 tbsp olive oil AND 1 tbsp lemon juice for some zip  OR a few tbsp of lemon zest
    • for some bite, toss w/ vinegar, red/white wine vinegar, apple cider or balsamic
    • Combo:  1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
    •  Spicy:  1/2 tsp ground coriander,1/4 tsp cayenne pepper,1/4 tsp curry powder
     Serving Suggestions:
    • w/ guacamole (though spoon it on gently, don's scoop!)
    • Lemon Yogurt Dip  (1 cup fat free Greek yogurt, 1 tbs lemon juice, 2 tsp grated lemon peel, ground black pepper, 1 garlic clove, minced, 1 tsp evoo)
    •  Popcorn!  Toss crushed kale chips with 1 bag plain or lightly salted popcorn, EVOO, sea salt & freshly cracked pepper.

     Instructions & variations referenced from the following sites:

    Grilled Chicken Rigatoni Florentine

    8 Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
    1 1/2 lb Dry rigatoni
    16 oz Frozen spinach, thawed
    16 oz Heavy whipping cream
    4 cups Milk, 2%
    8 oz Sour cream
    1 cup Italian three-cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago & Romano)
    2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
    2 Tbsp Canola or vegetable oil
    2 Tbsp All-purpose flour
    1 1/2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
    2 tsp Garlic salt
    2 tsp Kosher salt
    1 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
    1/2 tsp White pepper
    Dash Cayenne
    Dash Nutmeg

    1. Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs.  Season both sides of the chicken evenly with the garlic salt and the black pepper.  Set aside and let sit 30 minutes at room temperature.
    2. Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking at medium-high heat (400-450º).
    3. Cook the pasta per the package directions until it is just shy of al dente, then drain it well.  Note: You want the pasta a little underdone because it will finish cooking when it's baked.
    4. While the pasta is cooking, brush the chicken with one tablespoon of the canola/vegetable oil and grill it over direct heat for three minutes per side.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
    5. Pour the thawed spinach on top of the draining pasta and stir to allow it to drain simultaneously.
    6. Preheat your oven to 350º.
    7. For Sauce:  Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add the butter and the other tablespoon of canola/vegetable oil and let heat 30 seconds.  
    8. Add the flour and whisk constantly to make a roux. You want a blonde roux, so cook it until it just starts to give off a nutty aroma.  
    9. Add the cream to the pan and bring just to a slight boil, whisking constantly.  
    10. Add the milk, salt, garlic, white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg to the pan and bring back to a slight boil, whisking constantly.
    11. Add the cheese and sour cream to the pan and bring it back to a simmer, whisking constantly.  Remove the sauce from the heat.  Note: The sauce will be a little thin, but that's intentional, as it will thicken when baked with the pasta.
    12. Slice the chicken to 1/4" and add put it in a large mixing bowl.  Add the pasta and spinach to the bowl.  Add the sauce to the bowl and fold to combine all of the ingredients.
    13. Pour the pasta mixture into a very large baking dish.  Cover the baking dish with foil, and bake 40 minutes.  
    14. Plate the pasta with shaved Parmesan.

    Asian-Style Turkey Meatballs

    Turkey meatballs
    1/4 cup panko crumbs
    250g ground turkey
    1/2 egg
    1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/8 cup chopped chinese parsley
    1 1/2 scallions, chopped
    1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
    1 tsp sesame oil

    Dipping Sauce
    2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 tbsp fresh lime juice
    1 tbsp water

    Preheat oven to 260°C.
    Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, chinese parsley, soy sauce, and sesame oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape meat mixture into balls and transfer to a baking dish (lined with greased baking paper! :( I forgot and the meatballs stuck to the metal dish.). Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
    For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl.
    Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with sauce.

    Recipe from:

    15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

    15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

    Recipe from:
    Yield: Serves 2
    • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste (3=very garlicy, 1=not much)
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
    • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil, (probably optional)
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used 3oz of spelt and 3 oz of Kamut spaghetti)
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
    3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
    Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.

    Eat Local: Hawaii

    Seasonal Produce by Month

    January - Avocados, Lime, Rambutan, Squash, Strawberries, Starfruit, Tangerines

    February - Avocados, Ginger, Lime, Rambutan, Squash, Strawberries, Starfruit, Tangerines

    March - Avocados, Ginger, Lime, Mango, Rambutan, Squash, Strawberries, Starfruit

    April - Avocados, Celery, Ginger, Mango, Strawberries, Starfruit

    May - Celery, Ginger, Lychee, Mango, Melons, 

    June - Bananas, Celery, Ginger, Lime, Lychee, Mango, Melons, Squash, Sweet Onions

    July - Bananas, Celery, Ginger, Lime, Lychee, Mango, Melons, Squash, Sweet Onions

    August - Bananas, Celery, Ginger, Lime, Lyche, Mango, Melons, Squash, Sweet Onions

    September - Avocados, Bananas, Ginger, Lime, Lych, Mango, Melons, Squash, Starfruit, Sweet Onions,

    October - Avocados, Bananas, Ginger, Lime, Mango, Rambutan, Squash, Starfruit, Sweet Onions, Tangerines

    November - Avocados, Ginger, Lime, Rambutan, Squash, Starfruit, Sweet Onions, Tangerines

    December - Avocados, Lime, Rambutan, Squash, , Starfruit, Sweet Onions, Tangerines

    Year Round Produce

    Green Beans
    Green Onions/Scallions
    Hearts of palm
    Luau (Taro Leaf)
    Radishes & Daikon
    Sweet Peppers
    Sweet Potatoes

    Thai-Style Fried Chicken

    Unfortunately, I can't post a picture here but trust me, it looks delish!  Check it out for yourself HERE

    Marinade:  garlic, whole coriander seeds, whole white peppercorns, cilantro roots/stems, oyster sauce, chicken boullion, salt, sugar.

    Batter:  rice flour, salt, chicken boullion, seltzer water, baking soda

    Garnish/Aromatics:  shallots, yellow onion.

    I know this makes it touch but be sure to check out the recipe, looks so good!!!

    Complete Recipe at She Simmers.

    Bacon Mac & Gruyère Cheese

    ingredients:  heavy cream, fresh rosemary, bacon, pasta, Gruyère & chives 

    See the full recipe at:  Savory Sweet Life

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    My Beef & Green Pepper Empanadas

    I've been really excited about the thought of making empanadas myself.  I am always looking for something a little different to make that my picky eater boyfriend may actually eat too, so I'm doing a these empanadas for the first time with very familiar ingredients that I know he will eat - and if all goes well, I can get more creative next time!   After looking at several recipies, here's my plan:

    • 1 lb ground beef (80% lean, no more or will be dry)
    • 1 cup finely chopped carrots (i'm hiding veggies here!)
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion(or scallions)
    • 1/2 red chili, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • oil
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • a dash of paprika
    • salt & pepper
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce, or to taste
    • 1 pkg premade pie dough (2 shells)
    • 2 egg whites, beaten
    • 2 egg yolks + milk, beaten to a wash

    1. Add a little oil to a large skillet, and sautee onions and garlic.
    2. Add carrots and peppers and continue to sautee.
    3. Add ground beef and cook until brown sprinkling with spices, soy sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.  Add raisins if you are using them, and let them cook w/ the meat for a few minutes.  Stir in cilantro if using.
    4. Now taste your filling - it should taste a bit on the strong side because when it's cooked, it's going to have to flavor through that pie dough.  If it is not strong enough for you, add more of whatever it needs.
    5. If you chose to drain the meat at this point, reserve the liquid.  You want your filling to be very moist, otherwise your empanadas will dry out - use your best judgement.  if it's soup, go ahead and drain, and add a little back in. If it's looking good, then stick with it.  Alternately, you could drain to get the fat out, and add in a little chicken/beef/veg stock to put that liquid back in. I found that I did not need to drain mine at all.  When meat is finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
    To assemble
    1. Roll out package dough to be a bit thinner, about 1/8" thick.  Use a glass or a cookie cutter to cut rounds (3" diameter makes snack size, 4-5" diameter for full size).  You can get 10-12 rounds out of a single pie dough sheet.
    2. Lay a few rounds on a board, dip your fingers into the egg whites and draw a circle around the end of the first round.  Fill the round with a 1 to 1-1/2 tsp of filling making sure to get some of all of the ingredients onto it, especially if you have raisins or cilantro in it.. You are going to want to put more into it to stuff them.  Resist this temptation or they will tear your pastry!
    3. Now, fold dough over in half, and press around to seal using your fingers for now.  Repeat with as many rounds as you have layed out.  When round one is finished, press the tines of a fork around the edges to seal together.  Move onto waxed paper or a cutting board or baking sheet.  I'm baking in Hawaii and the dough was getting sticky, so i poped them in the fridge to re-firm so they wouldn't fall apart on me as I moved them.
    4. Repeat this process w/ all rounds, working in batches as needed.  When ready to bake, brush empanada tops with egg yolk wash and place on baking sheet.  
    To bake

    1. Bake in a preheated oven of 400F, for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
    2. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Pre-make tips:
    • The dough can be rolled out and cut into circles ahead of time.  Just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to a day ahead.  I would suggest layering waxed paper between the rounds to prevent them from sticking to one another.
    • Empanadas can be made ahead of time and frozen flat, then bagged when fully frozen.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425,  coat pan w/ 2 tbsp oil.  Heat oil in pan for a few minutes, then add the empanadas, coating them w/ a brush of additional oil on the tops as they may need it, and bake 30-35 minutes.
    • 1 handfull chopped cilantro, and/or 1/4 cup raisins

    Okay, this is the plan.  I'll let you know how it turns out !  
     Yummo!  Really good, though I think I will try a different crust next time, just to see the difference, but this definitely works and tastes great!

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Nigella's Guacamole


    • 3 ripe avocados
    • Scant teaspoon salt
    • 3 to 4 limes, juiced, to taste
    • 4 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
    • 1/2 fresh green chili, or to taste, minced
    • 4 scallions (white and green parts), finely sliced


    Get everything, except the avocados, prepped when you get home.
    Just before you want to eat, peel and stone the avocados and put the flesh in a bowl. Don't worry about how pulpy you make the avocado, as it will be mashed. Dissolve the salt in the lime juice and pour it over. Then add the other ingredients and mash with a fork until you have a rough lumpy mixture. At all costs avoid turning it into a smooth puree; by its nature the avocado will be smooth anyway, but you want as many soft but form-holding clumps as possible.

    Tyler's Ultimate Guacamole

    • 6 ripe avocados
    • 3 limes, juiced
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, smashed then minced
    • 2 serrano chiles, cut into rounds
    • 1 big handful fresh cilantro with stems, about 1/2 cup, finely chopped
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper


    Halve and pit the avocados. With a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados using either a fork or potato masher, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together. Drizzle with a little olive oil, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and give it 1 final mix with a fork.
    Lay a piece of plastic wrap tight on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

    Alton Brown's Guacamole

    • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 medium onion, diced
    • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    • 1 clove garlic, minced


    In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    A Mother's WonTon Soup

    I found this lovely, authentic Won-Ton soup recipe on the blog, along with a lovely dedication  to the writers mother.  We all have those home-cooked comfort foods, and no-one makes them like mom, but when mom cooking them is no longer an option, it's time for us to don our aprons, take up the task, and pass on those traditions to those we love.

    Ingredients (makes 48-54 wontons)
    • 7 oz shrimp, shelled
    • 14 oz ground pork
    • 1 package wonton wrappers
    • 1/2 egg white
    • 1 tablespoon corn strach
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine
    • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 6 cups chicken stock 
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • cilantro and green onion, chopped for garnish
    • 1 teaspoon salt 

      1. Wash the shrimp, squeeze out the excess moisture and chop coarsely.  
      2. Mix together with the ground pork, egg white, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt, sugar, rice wine and ginger.  
      3. Take your wonton wrappers and wrap them in a moist towel, this keeps the wrappers from drying out.  
      4. Wrap one teaspoon filling in each wonton wrapper. Put a small spoonfull of mixture in center, and fold dough over in half; flip the excess length over the top, and pull ends around to form a loop - check out the website for a photo of the process by clicking HERE.
      5. Bring the chicken stock and salt and white pepper to a boil and pour into a soup bowl.  
      6. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and drop in the wontons.  Cook until the wontons rise to the top, about 5 minutes.  Remove the wontons from the water and place in the prepared chicken broth.  
      7. Top with scallions, cilantro and drizzle with sesame oil.  Serve immediately.

      ** If you choose to steam the wontons you can use a bamboo steamer (as pictured) and steam for 10 minutes on high heat.  You can also eat the wontons plain without the broth and serve them alongside a dipping sauce. **

    Solstice Chocolate Espresso Cake

    And this is why I love Stumbleupon.  This is one of the most beautiful cakes I've seen in a while, and reading through the instructions, while it's not as easy as add water and frost, it's really not very difficult either.  A little fiddly and will take some time, but not anything YOU can't do!

    Check out the full recipe & the blogger's great story at Dana Treat:  Treat Yourself

    Chocolate Coffee Cake
    Baked Explorations
    Make an 8-inch 3-layer cake

    For the classic chocolate cake
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 2 2/3 cups flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    • ½ cup vegetable shortening
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
    For the coffee buttercream
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1½ cups whole milk
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 tbsp. coffee extract
    For the chocolate glaze
    • 8 ounces good-quality (60 to 72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
    • 1 tbsp. light corn syrup
    Continue to Recipe HERE.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Exploring Empanadas

    Empanadas are those wonderful little crescent packets of paistry or bread stuffed with some kind of delicious goodies - meat, cheese, veggies, whatever.  And they are addictively delicious.  Perfect for a party, snacks, packing for lunch or make a meal out of them.  You can stuff them with practically anything. But, here are some of my favorite ideas on the web....

    But FIRST:
    and remember:  you can make your own pastry, or you can buy it pre-made in the store.  
    Goya brand comes in plastic package like tortilla shells, but are called "discos" or "tapas"
    For more on folding your shells, go HERE.

    Now on to the recipes....

    onion, carrot, sweet potato, peas, raisins, rice wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce
    includes recipe for empanada dough

    corn, scallions & pre-made puff pastry for crust
    also includes serving suggestions

    chicken broth, ground beef, cloves, cilantro, discos

    Chipotle Chicken Empanadas
    cumin, queso, coriander, peppers, onion

    ground beef, potatoe, scallions, garlic, raisins, tomato sauce/paste, pie dough crust

    creamed corn, corn, ricotta, queso fresco, paprika, cumin, any dough

    onions, cumin, cinnamon, package dough, 
    Dipping sauce: Mango chutney, cilantro, sour cream


    jalapeno, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, corn, cumin

    olive oil, package pie crust

    Pork & Apple Empanadas
    pre-made dough

    Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas

    This easy quesadilla idea comes from the blog Kevin & Amanda which you can check out HERE to check out all of the step-by-step photos and more yummy recipes. 

    4 medium-sized flour tortilla shells
    1 lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
    salt and pepper
    1/2 cup scallions, diced
    8 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
    1 avocado, diced
    mild cheddar cheese, shredded
    2 tbsp butter

    1. Arrange bacon on a cooling rack (like for cookies) and set it on top of sheet pan. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can just put the bacon straight on the sheet pan. Or in a 9×13 baking dish. Either way will work. Place bacon in a cold oven, turn heat to 400, and cook 15 mins per side.
    2. Add 1/2 tbsp bacon drippings to a skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and saute about 2-3 mins until softened. Add the chicken in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 mins or until chicken is golden and cooked through, flipping just once during cooking. Remove the chicken and scallions to a plate and rinse out the skillet.
    3. Add about 1/2 tbsp butter to the skillet over medium heat. When foamy, add a tortilla and swirl it around to get it nice and buttery. Layer one side of the tortilla with chicken, bacon, avocado, and a little cheese. Use tongs to flip the other half of the tortilla over and press down. Cook the tortilla for about 1-2 mins on each side or until golden brown and crispy.
    4. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, adding a little more butter for each tortilla as needed. Eat & enjoy!
    Makes 4 quesadillas.

    Kicked Up Party Nuts

    recipe found at:
    adapted from the The Sriracha Cookbook

    1 lb salted mixed nuts
    1 egg white
    1 tsp water
    2 Tbsp Sriracha
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

    1. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Whisk together the egg white, water, and sriracha. Toss the nuts with the egg wash until evenly coated.
    2. In another bowl, mix together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and rosemary. Pour over the nuts and stir until a thick, uniform syrup forms in the bowl.
    3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper, and spread the gooey nuts into a thin layer. Bake until golden and fragrant, about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

    Cilantro & Lime Crab Salad in Avocado Halves

    I think if I were to make this, I'd serve the crab salad on top of a salad of mixed greens or arugula with sliced avocados rather than actually in the halves
    serve the crab salad on a lightly toasted croissant with sliced avocados, very similar to a favorite sandwich of mine at The Dispensing Co. in Lancaster, PA.

    Either way, this is very inspiring!

    Cilantro and Lime Crab Salad in Avocado Halves:
    Adapted recipe by For the Love of Cooking
    Original recipe on Epicurious
    • 1/2 cup lump crab meat
    • 1/2 tbsp light mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 2 tsp red onion, diced finely
    • 1-2 tsp jalapeño, diced finely
    • 1 tsp lime zest
    • Juice from 1/2 a lime
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
    • Dash of cumin
    • 1 avocado, cut in half, pit removed
    Combine the lump crab meat, mayonnaise, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and cumin together. Spoon the crab mixture into each avocado half and serve immediately. Enjoy.

    Recipe found here:

    Easy Avocado Snack

    Okay, I realize most people don't have avocados on hand all of the time.  And niether do I, but living in Hawaii they are readily available, and it is not uncommon for my boyfriend to walk in the door from work with 3 large avocados, like he did yesterday.  In my search for some easy alternatives to guacamole, slicing on sandwiches and salads, I came across this one.  How did I not think of this before?  Thanks to A Cozy Kitchen for this one, and check out her blog for more 5-minute snacks.

    Lightly toasted bread, sliced avocado, crushed red pepper,
    salt, pepper, drizzle olive oil, squirt of lemon (or lime).

    Eat it up.

    Exploring Fish Tacos

    I will admit, right off, that when I first came to hawaii and saw the abundance of fish tacos, I immediately turned my nose up.  Ew? What is fish doing in my mexican!  Being an east coast girl, this is NOT something the was really previlent and the combo sounded simply crazy to me.  However, after 6 months of living in Hawaii, I gave it a shot and had a seared tuna burrito - and it was AMAZING!  

    Since then I've tried a few more, and am surprised at how vastly different they can be!  Raw or seared fish -vs- cooked -vs- battered are completely different in taste and texture and that's not even to begin to mention the sauces and salsas that explode with flavor!  Now that we are living back on Big Island where we fish all of the time, I am looking forward to giving these easy tacos a try....

    If i haven't sold you on trying a fish taco yet, maybe these photos will.  

    cilantro, bell peppers, onions, salad greens, blackened white fish 

    panko, barbeque, hot sauce, sour cream, cabbage, monterey jack 

    (no picture)
    lime, cumin, greek yogurt/sour cream, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, green onions

    Cilantro, Chili Powder, Mixed Greens

     cilantro, sour cream, mayo, hot sauce, cabbage

    Strawberries, cucumber, lime, cabbage, cilantro

    panko, cabbage, cilantro, chives, sour cream, chili powder

    garlic, oregano, cumin, romaine, jalapeno

     I hope these recipe ideas get your stomach growling 
    and give you the push to try something just a little outside of your norm!

    Ginger Lime White Fish Steaks

    • 2 teaspoons grated lime rind
    • fresh juice from 2 limes
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
    • 2 tablespoons minced green onions
    • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 4 white fish steaks about 3/4 inch thick  (Halibut, Swordfish or other firm white fish)
    • salt and pepper
    1. Preheat broiler. 
    2. Combine line rind, lime juice, honey, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, and garlic in a small saucepan. 
    3. Dip fish in sauce. 
    4. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. 
    5. Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. 
    6. While fish is cooking, heat sauce over medium heat until reduced by half. 
    7. Serve sauce over the fish
    Recipe from:

    Easy Pork Marinade & Rub

    Pork Marinade:   Marinade at least 30 minutes prior to cooking
    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 1/4 c. pomegranate juice
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • juice of 1 lime
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    Pork Rub:  apply immediately prior to grilling
    •  1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

    use for 12 oz meat.

    recipe from:

    Easy Fish Marinade & Rub

    Fish Marinade:  Marinade at least 30 minutes prior to cooking
    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
    • 1/4 c. orange juice
    • 1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
    • 2 minced garlic cloves
    Fish Rub:  Apply to fish just  prior to grilling
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tbsp garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tbsp dried oregano

    Use for apx 12 oz meat.

    Recipe from:

    Easy Beef Marinade & Rub

    Beef Marinade:  Marinade 30 minutes prior to cooking
    • 1/4 c olive oil
    • 1 c. dark beer
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
    • 2 chopped garlic cloves
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    Beef Rub:  Apply to meat immediately before grilling
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp cumin powder
    • 1 tbsp coriander
    • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
    • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

    Use for 12 oz meat.

    Recipe from:

    Easy Poultry Marinade & Rub

    Poultry Marinade:  Marinade 30 minutes prior to cooking

    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 1/4 c. dry red wine
    • 1/4 c. soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

    Poultry Rub:  Apply rub to meat immediately before grilling.
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp curry powder
    • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/2 tsp tumeric
    • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
    • 1 tsp dried mint
    Suitable for 12 oz meat.

    Recipe from:

    Gadgets: Elevated Utensils

    Not only are these cooking utensils gorgeous and oh-so-colorful, BUT they're smart too!

    Weighted handles with little rest points keep the messy cooking part of your utensils lifted off of the counter so no need for little plates everywhere to set them on and have to clean later - fewer dishes?  Sign me up!

    You can get them HERE, at Yanko Design Store.

    Fleur de Sel (Sea Salt) Caramel Brownies

    By now, you are probably aware of my love of salty/sweet.  I came across this recipe this morning, and will be looking forward to making these one day! 

    Go to doughMESStic blog for full recipe!

    Ingredients for Sea Salt Caramel – adapted from Baked Cookbook
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    Ingredients for Brownies
    • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • pinch salt
    • 3 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup
    • half of the above caramel recipe

    How To: Moist Meatballs

    Do your meatballs crumble apart in the pan or oven, or do they come out tough or dry? 
    The one thing you may be doing wrong is over-working the meat (fussing with it too much to combine everything, making it tough.   But if this is not your problem, here's your fix:

    Soak a few slices of bread in milk, and then squeeze out the excess milk.  Use this in your meatball recipe to  glue all that meat together without imaparting any additional flavors.  Need a meatball recipe or more meatball advice?  Click HERE to see the blog entry on Guy Gourmet where I got this great tip!