Recipes

Baked Sea Scallops

  • 16 sea scallops, rinsed and drained (**see substitutions below)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 pinches ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place scallops, melted butter, garlic, and shallots in a bowl. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs and olive oil, then sprinkle on top of scallops.

Bake in preheated oven until crumbs are brown and scallops are done, about 11 to 14 minutes. Top with chopped parsley, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

**Substitutions: If you are not a fan of scallops, you can swap them out for ½-1 lb of shrimp or white fish. The cooking time should be adjusted to 8-12 minutes for shrimp. Cooking time for fish should be about the same as for scallops, but it will depend on the thickness of the pieces.

Coriander Drop Cookies

·         1 cup vegetable shortening

·         1 cup sugar

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         2 eggs

·         3 cups flour

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         3⁄4 teaspoon salt

·         2 teaspoons coriander

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cream the shortening until fluffy, then gradually add in the sugar and beat until light.

Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg until blended.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and coriander.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the shortening-egg mixture and mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet; you can also use parchment paper or silicone sheet instead of greasing the cookie sheet.

Bake about 10 minutes until done.

Easy Bechamel Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden color, about 7 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux (cooked flour mixture). Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until smooth and thickens, about 10 to 20 minutes. Once the sauce no longer tastes gritty, season with salt and nutmeg.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)

In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed. Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

Spice Blends

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Spread some on salmon or ribs before grilling or add into a brown sugar marinade for chicken.

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


Baharat Seasoning

Baharat, a Middle Eastern spice combines cardamom, coriander seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir some into your next vegetable dish, or mix some with lime juice and oil for a savory marinade.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper**

Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, mash the ingredients together for 2 to 3 minutes.

**You can substitute white pepper if you want a less spicy blend.


Cajun Seasoning

Makes about 2 cups

  • 4 tablespoons paprika
    • 3 tablespoons dried granulated onion
    • 3 tablespoons dried granulated garlic
    • 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons white pepper
    • 3 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground thyme
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground oregano
    • 2 tablespoons ground New Mexican chile
    • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile

Combine the paprika, onion, garlic, cayenne, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, oregano, New Mexican chile, and chipotle chile in a bowl. Store in a covered container up to 6 months.

Substitutions: You can use hot or smoked paprika instead of regular to change the flavor. This recipe doesn’t call for any salt, do remember to salt your ingredients in addition to using the spice in a recipe.


Everything Bagel Spice

  • 2 ½ teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

Curries

Any leftover curry powder would be delicious mixed into deviled eggs, sprinkled over quartered new potatoes before roasting, or stirred into yogurt and served with pita chips or warm naan. Perfect for use in soups, stews, curries. Try sprinkling on fried potatoes or scrambled eggs.

Curry Powder 1

Makes about 3 tablespoons

  • 2 dried red chiles, stemmed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Combine chiles, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and cumin seeds in small bowl. Add cold water to cover, then drain. Place drained mixture in heavy small skillet. Dry-roast over medium-low heat until seeds are dry, slightly darker in color, and beginning to pop, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan from heat, and let cool in skillet.

Place nutmeg, white pepper, and turmeric in spice mill or grinder. Add the cooled spice mixture, then grind to powder. Store in a cool place in an airtight container.


Curry Powder 2

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons whole cardamom seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Add ingredients to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind up. Place in a small jar with airtight lid and shake to combine. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. When ready to use, add to dishes according to taste.


Curry Powder 3

  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or ground chilies

Add all spices to a small jar and shake. Store in airtight jar for up to 3 months.


Sweet and Mild Curry Blend

Makes 1/4 cup

2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon clove
1⁄2 teaspoon ground mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients, and store in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

Pickle Me This

Making quick refrigerator pickles only take a few minutes, and you can eat them in as little as 30-40 minutes. I like the idea of making small batches, and changing the herbs or seasoning level between jars. Have fun and experiment with flavor!

Quick Pickles

Ingredients
3/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp kosher or pickling salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup water
1-1 1/2 lbs cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
8 dried cloves
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 pint jars with lids, washed and sterilized

Combine the salt, sugar, and vinegar in a small non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved, then removed from heat. Add in the water and let cool.

Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds or spears and put into cleaned and sterilized pint jars. Mix coriander, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, dill, and garlic. Split evenly between the jars, and add the cloves. Add the cooled brine to the jars, dividing evenly. You can add a little cold water if needed until the liquid covers the cucumbers. Place the lids on the jar and tighten and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but they will have a better flavor if you can wait 24 hours. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

I like waiting 48 hours to 2 weeks before opening my quick pickles, but you can certainly eat them sooner than that. The nice thing about doing small batches is that you can experiment with different vegetables or spices without committing to a large amount.

Variations: asparagus, carrots, green beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, radishes, cherries

Pickled Onions

Ingredients
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp honey or granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pint canning jar (I always have an extra jar on hand, just in case I make too much for one jar)

Clean and sterilize the canning jar(s) and lid(s) and set aside. Pack the onions into the jar, and set in the sink or on a kitchen towel in case the vinegar splashes later.

In a non-reactive saucepan mix the vinegar, water, honey (or sugar), salt, and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then pour over the onions in the jar.

Use the back of a spoon to make sure the onions are submerged in the vinegar mixture. Carefully tighten the lids on the jar(s) and let cool to room temperature. It should take about 30-40 minutes.

You can eat the pickled onions after they’ve cooled off, or you can store them for up to three weeks. They are best eaten within a week of pickling, and make sure to store them in the refrigerator.

Quick Sandwich Bread

One of my biggest regrets is not learning how to make bread at an earlier point in life. Not only is it easy, relatively quick (with a little planning), and delicious, but it is rewarding and fun as well. If you have children, you can get them to help measure ingredients and knead the bread. It is a great way to help them connect to what they are eating.

Ingredients

3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter

Pour 1/2 cup of the warm water into a small bowl or cup and stir in the yeast and sugar. Stir gently, and let sit for 5 minutes. If the yeast is not foamy after 5 minutes, discard and purchase fresh yeast.

Place 1 cup of the flour into a bowl and add the rest of the water. Stir until well blended (it will be fairly runny and gloppy). Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time, salt, butter or oil, and stir well. The dough will be shaggy and sticky at this point. If you have a stand mixer, combine in the same steps using a dough hook. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board (or let the stand mixer work it with the dough hook) for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth. It should feel soft and a little springy to the touch at this point.

Shape the dough into a ball and put it into an oiled bowl, then flip the dough over so that the ball has a light coat of oil. This will help keep the surface elastic while rising. Cover the bowl with a clean damp towel and let it rest on the in a warm area for 1-1 1/2 hours until it is doubled in size.

Lightly butter or oil a loaf pan and set aside. The dough should be puffy and rounded. Punch the dough down, then place back on a lightly floured board. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes. It will feel tighter than the first kneading due to the development of gluten.

Stretch the dough into as much of a rectangle that you can, then fold up in thirds. Place the dough into the loaf pan with the seam (edge of loaf) on the bottom. Brush the top of the loaf lightly with oil or melted butter, cover with the damp towel again, and leave in a warm area for an hour. The dough should almost double in size again.

Once the dough has doubled it should be at or near the top of the bread pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F and make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown. Remove the loaf from the pan and set on a rack to cool.

Let the loaf cool for 2-3 hours before cutting. If you slice it too soon, the inside will be gummy instead of nice and fluffy.

Wasn’t that easy? Enjoy!

Bulgogi Broccoli Beef

I love going through my cookbooks looking for new ideas. There are times that I can’t quite decide between two recipes to use for a meal. This one was no exception. I love Jet Tila’s book, 101 Asian Dishes To Cook Before You Die, and was torn between the Broccoli and Beef and Bulgogi Beef. I combined the two, and this is the result.

Ingredients

2 large broccoli florets
1 ½-2 lbs chuck roast
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seed, toasted
3 cloves (or 3 tsp) minced garlic
3 tbsp granulated or brown sugar
¼ cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup fish sauce (you can use more or less depending on preference) *

Slice the beef thinly into strips across the grain, about ¼ inch thick, and set aside.

Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seed, garlic, sugar, and water, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sliced beef and mix thoroughly. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator three hours or as long as overnight. If you are short on space put in a gallon zip bag (close tightly), and store it in the refrigerator in that instead of a bowl.

Cut the broccoli florets into pieces and blanch in boiling salted water for 2-4 minutes until slightly tender and bright green. Remove from hot water and put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok on high heat and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the meat into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until brown. Stir and turn the meat over, continuing cooking another minute or two until browned but not cooked completely. You might need to do it in a batch or two depending on how much meat and how large the pan is.

Add the broccoli and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve it. Drizzle it into the pan with the broccoli and meat, continuously stirring the whole time. Add the fish sauce, and cook 1-3 minutes on medium high heat until the sauce it thickened.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Options: You can also serve it over rice or noodles, and add in additional vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, water chestnuts, or whatever you have on hand.

*I use Viet Kieu Dipping Sauce for the fish sauce. I find it isn’t overly “fishy” yet still adds a bit of umami.

Brunch oven pancake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

toppings (optional) – powdered sugar, maple syrup, whipped cream, your favorite jam or jelly

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Whisk or use electric mixer to make sure the batter is smooth and has no lumps. Set aside.

Spray a cast iron or oven-safe pan with non-stick spray. Heat the pan in the oven for 10 minutes.

Whisk or stir the batter one more time, then pour into hot pan. Put the pan back into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Remove pan from oven and let cool for about 5 minute. Cut and serve with your favorite topping.

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