Friday, September 26, 2008

Hazelnut Apple Supreme

I was going to make a basic apple pie. Then, this beautiful green squash in the garden was calling out my name! Instead of a pie crust, you can fill a squash with fruit filling. For a lot of people out there who don't feel like making and rolling out dough, this is a piece of cake...well, a piece of squash, actually! :)

Roasted Hazelnuts
Apple Strudel filling
  • Roast some hazelnuts in a shallow pan at about 375 until golden - about 15 minutes
  • Chop in a mini processor and set aside
  • Cut the top off a squash, and take out the insides (just like for a jack o'lantern)
  • Fill the squash with the apple strudel filling
  • Bake the filled squash at 375 for about 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the roasted hazelnuts on top for the last 5 minutes

This is an easy, eye opening, delicious dessert for a party or get together.

A Gardener's Delight

During my trip to Oregon, I helped cook for our group of 14, most of them published authors of cookbooks or gardening books. I wanted to make something great and unique. As usual, I used my "leftover makeover" ideas for this recipe. The leftovers this time were a natural treasure! One of the gardeners let me use whatever was abundant in their garden. The ground was strewn with 100's of apples and pears, so that was first. (See next post for recipes).

Organic food of Oregon

I just came back from a trip to Oregon, where a group of gardeners and Chefs shared ideas and of course, great food! Recipes will be coming soon. Stay tuned! Here I am at one of the gardens in Oregon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Plumapple Pie

In the summer, fruit's falling everywhere you look. There's plenty of orchards where the fruit's falling faster than families can keep up with it. You're always going to work, and someone has a bag of fruit with a post-it attached with the sentence, "Please take me". If you haven't taken it in the past, TAKE IT NOW! :) When you have a lot of fruits, make fruit pie. I had a lot of leftover apples and plums. The plums were so bruised and broken and battered, that anyone else would've thrown them out. I, on the other hand, made this scrumptious summer pie. I promise you there will be NOTHING left on the plate after you serve this.

At first I just made the Plum Jam, but it was so good and I had a lot leftover, that I also decided to combine it with the apple filling from the apple strudel that I had made (See apple strudel recipe) and turn it into a pie

Plum Jam
3 cups of Plums
2 cups of granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Lemon juice
Pinch of Salt

  • Cook above ingredients in a pot on low to medium heat until all the ingredients become soft and darken in color, and become sticky, like jam should be
  • Leave it to cool down

Arkansas Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks of butter (unsalted)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold whole milk (or cold water)

  • Mix the flour and salt together in mixing bowl
  • Cut the butter into cubes
  • Mix it all together until becomes crumbly
  • Then add the milk (or water) and stir for a few seconds
  • Take it out of the bowl, wrap into saran wrap, and put in the fridge for a half hour
  • Roll out the dough for a short time, so it doesn't get overkneaded
  • Put 1/2 of it at the bottom of a greased 8" pie pan, and put in the fridge again for 10 minutes
  • Take out of the fridge
  • Brush with egg yolk. Prebake it in the over for 5-8 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Put in the apple filling first
  • Then put the plum jam over it
  • Put the remaining dough over the fruit
  • It's up to you how you "design" the top of the pie. I pinch the sides with a fork, and poked some holes so the steam can come out. Then I brushed with egg yolk, and sprinkled some cinnamon sugar
  • Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until brown

Serve with a little ice cream if you like, but trust me, this pie doesn't need it.

Fried Rice and Sliced Pork and baby yellow tomatos

One of the most simplest leftovers to transform is rice. Next time you do chinese takeout, ask for extra steamed rice. You can easily turn it into fried rice with a little egg and some veggies. Here I served it with sliced pork and baby yellow tomatos.

Fried Rice
Leftover rice
pesto sauce (optional)
Chopped onion

This is a piece of cake, or should I say, real easy fried rice:
  • So simply saute some onions until brown
  • Add egg, stir until done
  • Add the leftover rice
  • Stir fry until soft
  • (Add a little pesto sauce if you like and blanched brocolli)
  • Add salt (or fish sauce)
  • Done!
Sliced pork with baby yellow tomatos
(The tip here is to filet the pork chop into two slices, so it's thinner and looks like more on the plate! :))

  • Marinade the pork with paprika, fish sauce, sugar, pepper and soy sauce for at least 2 hours
  • Sear it on medium heat until brown
  • (Tips: DON'T OVER DO IT, just nicely browned on each side, flip it constantly every minute and a half. You don't want it to be chewy.)
  • Take it out to rest
  • Add onions into the same sauce pan and saute until brown
  • Add in baby yellow tomatos and balsamic vinegar, sugar, fish sauce (Fish sauce is a great staple ingredient to have, a great substiute for salt, and you can get a huge bottle for a $1! in an asian market)
  • Reduce until thickens
  • Serve over the sliced pork and enjoy!

Creamy Carrot Soup

Don't you hate when you go to have your salad, and you find that all your carrots are soft! Don't throw them away! Make this warm, comforting, carrot soup.

Young Ginger
Vegetable broth
Garnishing - mint
Whole milk
Ground Black pepper

  • Saute onions until soft in a pot
  • Add in mushrooms and ginger
  • Add in vegetable broth, carrots, and potatos.
  • Cook until soft on medium heat
  • Add in a little salt and pepper to taste
  • Take it off the heat.
  • Blend until smooth in a food processor/blender
  • You can either serve it like this, or strain it to make it even smoother
  • Put it back into the pot. Add a little milk. Simmer for a minute.
  • Garnish with mint, (and extra shredded ginger, and sauteed mushrooms)