Thursday, July 31, 2014

Steamed Edamame and Mushroom Dumplings

Check out another of my award winning recipe! My steamed edamame and mushroom dumplings won the Magnacare Healthy Chef 2014 recipe contest. I was thrilled beyond words when I got the news.


 These dumplings are extremely delightful and so easy to make. I made them on a week night after getting home from work. You can either steam them or boil them with some noodles and vegetables for a nice hearty dumpling noodle soup.

I made a bunch of these for the contest and my boyfriend loved them. I still remember him saying "this is a winner hunny" while he munch on these dumplings non-stop. He is such a wonderful supporter....always happy to be my taste tester.

These are really yummy.....the edamame provides the right amount of crunch and the sweet daikon pairs perfectly with the mushrooms and aromatic flavors from the sesame oil, ginger and fresh chives. Be sure to try making them today!

Ingredients (makes about 40 dumplings):
1.       3 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
2.       2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
3.       1 tablespoon fresh shallot, minced
4.       1 cup fresh daikon, fine diced
5.       3 cups cooked edamame, lightly mashed
6.       2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
7.       1½ teaspoons soy sauce
8.       1½ teaspoons sesame oil
9.       1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
10.   ½ teaspoon ground pepper
11.   Wonton wrappers (about 40 pieces)
12.   Water

Method:
1.     In a sauté pan on medium to high heat, sauté mushrooms with garlic and shallots. There’s no need to use oil here because the mushrooms will start to release its own water to prevent sticking to the pan. Sauté until mushrooms are tender about 5 to 8 minutes.

2.    While mushrooms cool to room temperature, prepare other ingredients. Dice daikon and mash edamame beans and mince ginger. Combine edamame beans, daikon and ginger in a medium to large size mixing bowl. Add rest of the ingredients to mixing bowl and mix well.

3.    Set up wonton wrapping station:
a.       Set up a little tray of water (for sealing wontons)
b.      Set aside a plate for placing wrapped wontons
c.       Set aside a teaspoon for scooping filling

4.    Mushrooms should have cooled by now. Add to mixing bowl and mix well.

5.    To wrap wontons:
a.       Please a piece of wonton wrapper on one palm
b.      Spoon about ¾ teaspoon of filling onto the center of the wonton wrapper. Using your index finger, dip into water and lightly wet along all sides of the wonton wrapper. Then fold in half to form a triangle. Make sure to lightly squeeze all air out of the wonton
c.       Pull the 2 corners of the triangle together and seal with water to form the shape as shown in the picture.

6.     Set up a steamer and steam wontons for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite dumpling sauce.

Note: 
I prefer to use bamboo steamers and line them with large leafy greens so that 
everything on the steamer is edible!
 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cinnamon and Cumin Roasted Carrots

I love summer time! It is one of the best seasons for me to indulge in my kitchen, making simple yet super delicious dishes because the vegetables themselves are at their peak...very flavorful even on their own.


This cinnamon and cumin roasted carrots is one of my all time favorite dishes. Its takes such a short time to make but goes a long way in flavor and nutrition. The warm cinnamon makes it an ideal dish for breakfast....need that kick to start the day right. Also, I prefer to use bunch carrots with intact stalks for this dish because they do look a lot prettier like this. Remember, we eat with our eyes too!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):
1. 7 whole carrots, with the stalk attached and trimmed
2. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
5. 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
6. 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Mix all seasonings together and rub over cleaned carrots
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread carrots evenly on baking sheet
4. Bake in oven for about 18-20 minutes

Ready to enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Crunchy Green Beans with Mushrooms and Pecans

Here is another take on my green beans with almonds recipe and it is also an award winning recipe with the Royalty Pecan Farms 2014 Recipe Challenge. It was place first in the most healthy recipe category. Try this today for a quick and easy yet flavorful and healthy dinner.

The earthy flavor of the pecans pairs perfectly with the sweet green beans. The mushrooms add a different texture to the overall dish and the always lovely umami flavor. This dish will pair perfectly with your favorite noodles, or rice or even garlic toast.


Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 1 lb green beans
2. 2 cups medium crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3. 1/2 cup pecans, dry roasted and coarsely chopped
4. 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
5. 1 medium shallot, finely minced
6. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
7. 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
8. Salt and pepper to taste
9. 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Method:
1. In a medium pot, bring to boil 2 to 3 cups of water depending on the amount of green beans you are using. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes.
2. In the meantime, in a separate bowl, prepare an ice bath (i.e., add ice cubes and water into a bowl).
3. In a saucepan, sauté garlic and shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. The green beans should be done by now. If so, dish out and place into ice bath.
5. Add mushrooms and chili flakes to sauté pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook covered for about 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Drain ice bath and add the green beans back into the saucepan. Season with onion powder. Stir-fry well to combine flavors. Cook covered for another 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Dish onto serving dish, drizzle with olive oil, and top with toasted pecans.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sundried Tomato and Leek Gremolata with Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms

These brings me back to Italy for sure. The intense flavor of the sundried tomatoes is a perfect partner to the mild oniony flavor of the leeks in this creative take on the traditional Italian gremolata. Traditional gremolata is a simple yet delicious combination of parsley, lemon zest and garlic. So instead of lemon zest, I am using sundried tomatoes. And I added leeks for an extra punch in flavor and aromatics.


And like I always like to do....to keep things light and healthy, these stuffed mushrooms are steamed. Steaming preserves a lot more of the nutrients as well as the intense flavors of the ingredients. Steaming also keeps the mushrooms juicy for a wonderful bite.

These steamed stuffed mushrooms look elegant enough to serve at restaurants but they are so easy to make that they are also perfect snacks for weeknights. Make them today for your next party and be receive all the wows from your guests!

Ingredients (makes about 32 pieces, serves 8): 
1.       4 cloves garlic
2.       2 cups flat leaf parsley
3.       2 cups leek, washed and drained
4.       1 cup Bella Sun Luci sundried tomatoes marinated in olive oil
5.       2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6.       ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
7.       1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
8.       2 lbs Crimini mushrooms, stems removed
9.       Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle

Method:

1.     Blend ingredients 1 to 7 in a food processor until it becomes quite a fine mash. Remove mixture from food processor into a mixing bowl.
2.     Place shrimp in food processor and pulse about 4 or 5 times until shrimp is fine diced but not mushy. Remove shrimp into mixing bowl and mix well with the rest of the ingredients.
3.     Stuff each mushroom generously with the sundried tomato and shrimp filling and place onto a plate or bamboo steamer.
4.     Prepare a steamer and steam stuffed mushrooms for about 20 minutes. Garnish with some extra virgin olive oil and chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.


 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Warm Melon and Daikon Salad with Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing

Melons are in season and I have been thinking hard about making something delicious with them. Melons are the sweetest when they are in season...and so I thought why not highlight that sweetness with some roasted daikon radish and contrast it with a spicy honey mustard dressing. The slight crunch from the roasted daikon also adds interesting texture to the overall dish.

This warm salad is amazing and can be served cold too. Every bite is delightful and definitely screams summer!


Ingredients (for salad)(serves about 4):
1. 3 cups daikon, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
2. 2 cups honeydew melon, shaped into balls using a melon baller
3. 2 cups cantaloupe melon, shaped into balls using a melon baller
4. 2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
5. Drizzle of grapeseed oil

Ingredients (for dressing)(serves about 4):
1. 1 tablespoon whole grain or dijon mustard
2. 1 tablespoon honey
3. 2 tablespoons lemon
4. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5. 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
6. Salt and pepper to taste 

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Peel and chop daikon. Drizzle with grapeseed oil, salt and pepper and roast in oven on a sheet pan for 30 minutes.
3. While daikon is roasting, use a melon baller to make balls of honeydew melon and cantaloupe melon into a large mixing bowl.
4. Make dressing by mixing all the ingredients for dressing in another mixing bowl and set aside.
5. Chop and add chives to melon balls.
6. When daikon is ready, remove from oven and add to melon balls. Then dress with dressing right away and toss well to coat.
7. Serve warm. May be serve cold too but I prefer it warm.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Flower Blooms with Sweet Vidalia Onions and Savory Mushrooms

Please cast your vote for my recipe to make it the winner of the Vidalia Onion Committee V Culinary Challenge Facebook page. Select "Vote Now" and look for the Summer Flower Blooms with Sweet Vidalia Onions and Savory Mushrooms recipe.

 

These are like blooms of summer flowers. The sweetness from the carefully caramelized vidalia onions pairs perfectly with the savory umami flavor of the saute crimini mushrooms. I prefer to use vidalia onions in this case because of the natural sweetness of the vidalia onions. They caramelized so perfectly and the natural sweetness is intense yet mellow...simply wonderful. There's no need for added sugar at all! Paired with a savory mushroom saute with parsley and hint of chilli flakes, its a mouthful of perfect sweet and savory goodness. 

For the flower cups, I prefer to use phyllo pastry in the case rather than the thicker egg wonton wrappers because I didn't want the cups to outshine the filling. The thinness of the phyllo pastry adds just enough crunch to complement each bite but does not overwhelm each bite with too much dough and too little filling.

Make them bigger for a main dish or make them smaller as a perfect party finger food that is sure to impress. You can even make the filling ahead, say the day before your party. Then bake the cups the morning of. When it's time for the party, fill the cups and warm them up in the oven for about 5 minutes and you are all good to go. 

Ingredients (makes about 18 bigger entree size cups to 26 smaller finger-food size cups):
1. 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2. 2 medium to large onions, thinly sliced
3. 1 lb crimini mushrooms, diced
4. 1/3 cup curly parsley, chopped
5. 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. Phyllo pastry sheets, stacked together in 4 layers and cut into squares of 3X3 inches
8. Truffle oil (optional for drizzle)

Method:
1. In a shallow saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil over medium/high heat. Sweat/Saute onions until they get translucent (edges of some pieces might brown a little and that's ok. In fact, that's what you want!). Then turn the heat to medium/low and slowly caramelize until onions are soft and has a light brown color and taste absolutely delicious. Season with salt as you go along as necessary and add water to the pan as necessary to prevent onions from drying out.

2. Remove the onions and set aside. In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil on high heat and saute mushrooms until tender and brown for about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and chili flakes. Then add parsley at the end to lightly wilt. Leave mushrooms in pan and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Each flower cup consist of 4 to 5 pieces of phyllo pastry squares that you have already cut out. This is how you assemble the phyllo sheets to create the flower cup. Lay one sheet of phyllo square on your work surface and brush lightly with some grapeseed oil. Then lay the next sheet on top at a slight angle from the sheet below. Repeat for the next 2 to 3 sheets.

5. Line the inside of a mini muffin tin with each stack of sheets to form a cup and bake blind at 375 degrees Fahreheit.

6. Remove the flower cups and fill them with a teaspoon of caramelized onions and saute mushrooms each. 

7. Drizzle with truffle oil if desired and serve warm. If not using truffle oil, you also have the option to serve these at room temperature.


Trust me....once you start munching on these darlings, you cannot stop. If you like this recipe, please cast your vote on the Vidalia Onion Committee V Culinary Challenge Facebook page. Select "Vote Now" and look for the Summer Flower Blooms with Sweet Vidalia Onions and Savory Mushrooms recipe.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sweet Potato Pots of Gold

 

I call them pretty little Pots of Gold because they are! Impress your guests at your next party with these delightful and delicious darlings or make them for a perfect appetizer or snack.

I created 2 different versions - the Sweet version and the Savory version, so that there's a golden pot out there for everyone. I love them both and got awesome reviews on both. Once you start popping them, you really can't stop. The Savory Pots are filled with yummy Louisiana sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, garlic and ginger. The Sweet Pots are filled with yummy Louisiana sweet potatoes, toasted pecan nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Try these for your next party....they are definitely dressed to impress!

Ingredients for Savory Pots (makes about 32 pieces):
1. 3/4 cup Louisiana sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2. 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
3. 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
4. 1/4 cup fresh herbs (such as parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary), finely chopped
5. 1 teaspoon onion powder
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. 32 sheets of wonton wrapper
8. 32 pieces of fresh chives, cut to about 5-6 inches long 

Ingredients for Sweet Pots (makes about 32 pieces):
1. 3/4 cup Louisiana sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2. 1/4 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted
3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4. 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
6. 32 sheets of wonton paper
7. 32 pieces of fresh chives, cut to about 5-6 inches long

Ingredients for Spicy Mayo dip (optional):
1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2. 1 tablespoon chili oil or fried chili paste
3. Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Cook and mash sweet potatoes and divide into 2 mixing bowls, 3/4 cup each.
2. If making Sweet Pots, in a saute pan, lightly toast pecan nuts until fragrant. Remove and set aside.
3. For Savory Pots, mix ingredients 1 to 6 under Savory Pots in a mixing bowl. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set mixture aside.


4. For Sweet Pots, mix ingredients 1 to 5 under Sweet Pots in a mixing bowl. Mix well and set mixture aside.


5. To wrap, place a piece of wonton wrapper in one palm, using a teaspoon, scoop about 3/4 teaspoon of either mixture onto the center of the wrapper.
6. Wrap by pulling up the sides of the wrapper to form the shape of a little pot of gold.
7. Close the top of the pot by tying with a piece of chive with 2 knots. Set aside on a tray (would be a good idea to separate the Sweet Pots from the Savory Pots as you continue to wrap.


8. In a wok or a shallow pan, heat up enough vegetable oil for a shallow fry.
9. Once the oil is hot enough, lightly fry these little darlings for about 2 to 3 minutes each until golden brown. Remove onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil before serving.
10. Serve warm with spicy mayo dip or your favorite dip!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Tomato and Avocado Stacked Salad

A wonderful non-cook recipe perfect for a date night. This simple yet elegant salad combines the sweet fresh flavor of tomatoes with the creamy texture of avocados. The toasted almonds on top adds that surprising crunch to the overall dish. Dress it up with an aromatic and savory toasted sesame oil salad dressing....Who would have though roasted sesame oil and avocados are a perfect match made in heaven? This is the definitely the perfect way to start a date, a good conversation.


Ingredients (makes 8 to 10 servings):
1. 6 medium/large tomatoes, sliced horizontally
2. 4 medium ripe California avocados, sliced
3. 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
4. 6 teaspoons vegan cheese
5. 6 tablespoons dry roasted California almonds, roughly chopped
6. 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice
7. 4 tablespoons California extra virgin olive oil
8. 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
9. Salt and pepper to taste

Method for dressing and topping:
1. In a bowl, mix well vegan cheese and mayonnaise.
2. Season with salt and mix well.
3. In another bowl, add white wine vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil and sesame oil and mix well.

Method to assemble salad:
1. On a medium to large white shallow serving plate, lay 1 slice of tomato.
2. Top with slices of avocado to cover the top of the tomato slice.
3. Top with another slice of tomato.
4. Garnish with 1/2 tablespoon of mayonnaise/cheese mixture.
5. Drizzle with salad dressing and sprinkle chopped almonds over the top.
6. Ready to serve!

Nutritional value of one serving of this recipe:
At only 216 calories, each serving of this salad gives you 6.5g of dietary fiber, 3.4g of protein, 13%* of your daily required Vitamin A and 26%* of your daily required Vitamin C.

* based on a 2,000 calories a day diet

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Honey Dijon Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Apple and Kale Salad

Perfectly grilled sweet shrimp with a side of crunchy and spicy salad and a sweet and tart dressing...this is my entry to the Saucy Mama's food bloggers' recipe contest. 

The Honey Dijon Dressing and the Balsamic Vinaigrette are the 2 of my favorite sauces out of the 6 sauces in the bloggers' kit. The sweet honey dijon and the tart balsamic vinegrette sparked my inspiration right away to compose a dish flavor that perfectly marries the sweet profile of the honey dijon dressing and the sour profile of the balsamic vinaigrette. 


This grilled shrimp with spicy apple and kale salad dish showcases the wonderful flavors of Saucy Mama's Honey Dijon Dressing and Balsamic Vinaigrette. The natural sweetness of the shrimp is enhanced by the honey dijon dressing that's infused with fresh garlic. The cloves, coriander and cumin and maple syrup gives the balsamic vinaigrette an additional layer of unforgettable sweet earthy flavor that balances the spiciness from the red fresno. And the crunch from the refreshing gala apples gives the dish a perfect texture contrast. 

 

Servings: about 4
(but feel free to grill up more shrimp than you need! there's never too many shrimps!)

Prep time: 1 hour                  Cook time: 30 mins (including plating)

Ingredients for Honey Dijon Grilled Shrimp (Serves about 4):
1. ~ 2 lb medium/large shrimp (20-25 count), peeled and veins removed
2. 1 cup Saucy Mama's Honey Dijon dressing
3. 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4. Handful of bamboo skewers
5. Grapeseed oil 

Ingredients for Spicy Apple and Kale Salad (Serves about 4):
1. 2 gala apples, julienned
2. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
3. 2 cups lacinato kale, chiffonade
4. 1 red fresno chilli, roasted and peeled, diced
5. Salt and pepper to taste
6. Handful of micro greens for garnish

Ingredients for Sweet Balsamic Sauce for Salad:
1. 1 cup Saucy Mama's Balsamic Vinaigrette
2. 3 whole cloves
3. 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
4. 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
5. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
6. 2 teaspoons honey

Method:
1. Make the balsamic sauce first. In a small pot, over low heat, slowly reduce the balsamic vinaigrette with the whole spices, maple syrup and honey until about 3/4 of the original volume
2. Strain sauce over a fine sieve to remove the whole spices
3. Whisk the sauce to form a nice emulsion and let sit to thicken
4. Next mince garlic and add to honey dijon dressing and set aside for the garlic to infuse into the dressing
5. Julienne apples and add lemon juice to it to prevent it from turning brown. Chiffonade kale and steam in a steamer for about 5 minutes until soften. Let cool before adding it to the apples
6. Heat grill pan and brush with grapeseed oil. Grill red fresno chilli until skin bubbles. Let cool, then peel skin and small dice and add to apples and kale. Mix well and set aside
7.  Skewer shrimp and brush one side with honey dijon dressing and place dressed side on grill pan Brush the other side with dressing and grill each side for about 2 minutes each
8. Remove shrimp from grill pan and plate with apple and kale salad and sweet balsamic sauce

Try this today for your summer day grilling party!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring Vegan Pizza with Homemade Thin Crust

My first case of neat meat alternative just arrived 2 weeks ago. And I couldn't wait to try them on my homemade pizza crust. It was such a wonderful day this past Saturday......the sun was out and the temperature was perfect. It was the perfect day for al fresco dining, which was exactly what my boyfriend and I did.

A simple homemade thin crust, topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, chiffonade lacinato kale, sliced rainbow carrots and the Italian flavored neat, it was the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful day!

P.S. And yes, I confess....I do like my pizzas cheeseless and over-topped with stuff. I really do think that that's the only way to enjoy pizza!



The recipe below makes about 3 personal sized pizzas.

Ingredients (for pizza dough):
1. 200g organic unbleached all-purpose flour
2. 4g fine sea salt
3. 2g white sesame seeds
4. 1g instant dry yeast
5. 140g warm water

Method (for pizza crust):
1. Mix yeast and about 2 tablespoons of the warm water and set aside
2. Pour rest of the water into flour and mix until just combined and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes
3. Sprinkle sea salt over dough mixture and pour the yeast mixture over the dough. Then add sesame seeds. Then using your hands, mix dough lightly to combine the salt and the yeast into the dough
4. Let rise for about 8 hours or overnight before shaping into smaller size dough balls depending on the size of the pizza you want to make
5. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before using

Ingredients (for toppings):
1. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2. 1 cup rainbow carrots, sliced
3. 2 cups kale, chiffonade
4. 2.5 ounces (about 1/2 pack) of neat, cooked per package instructions
5. 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
6. Generous tablespoons of your favorite pizza or pasta sauce
7. 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
8. Salt and pepper to taste
9. Extra virgin olive oil

Method (for assembling pizza):
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spread dough evenly and thinly on a piece of parchment paper sized to fit a large cookie sheet
3. Spread tomato sauce generously over the pizza dough
4. Lay ingredients randomly on pizza dough – carrots, cherry tomatoes, kale and garlic. Sprinkle generously the Italian seasoning over the top. Season pizza with salt and pepper
5. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the top
6. Bake pizza in oven for about 10 minutes
7. Remove from oven and sprinkle cooked neat generously over the top and drizzle with olive oil

Enjoy warm with a side of family and friends!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mushroom Avocado Pizzette "Scoops"

This is one of my favorite party dishes to make because it never fails to please the crowd and I always get a lot of compliments for it. These pretty little pizzette "scoops" are not only extremely easy to make but also very easy and not messy at all to eat at a party or gathering.


The thin pizza crust is awfully light with big air pockets inside, giving it  a delightful crunch that works perfectly with the creamy texture of the avocadoes and meaty texture of the Portobello mushrooms to give the guest an amazing mouth feel with every bite.

The lemony flavor in the avocado base also complements the umami flavor of the Portobello mushrooms wonderfully. The hint of black truffle oil at the end further highlights the intense umami flavor of the Portobello mushrooms in a way that no words can describe. Every bite is like a trip to culinary paradise.

Whether its for an intimate party of 4 or an exciting party of 20, this is an easy yet super elegant dish to make to impress your friends!

Makes about 20 little Pizzettes

Ingredients (for pizzette thin crust):
1. 250 grams Bob's Red Mill organic unbleached white flour
2. 175 grams warm water
3. 5 grams fine sea salt
4. 0.5 grams Bob's Red Mill active dry yeast

Method for pizzette thin crust:
1. To make the pizza dough crust, first dissolve yeast in about 2 tablespoons of the warm water.
2. Pour the rest of the water into a mixing bowl with the flour and mix until just combined.
3. Cover mixing bowl and let mixture sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle sea salt over dough. Then add yeast mixture and lightly knead to combine all ingredients.
4. Let dough proof/rise for about 1 hour before giving the dough a quick fold. Then let rise for another 8 to 10 hours until dough has doubled in size.
5. Once the dough is ready for shaping, preheat oven to 500F.
6. Portion out 20 portions of the dough (about 20 grams per portion) and shape them into round discs and lay them over the bottom of a mini muffin tray.
7. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes.


Ingredients (for pizzette "scoops" filling):
1. 4 big Portobello mushroom caps, diced
2. 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3. 1 tablespoon Eden Foods Spanish extra virgin olive oil
4. 2 large ripen avocados
5. Juice from half a lemon
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. 1 cup micro greens, for garnish
8. Drizzle of black truffle oil

Method for pizzette filling:
1. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and sauté mushrooms and garlic till mushrooms soften and becomes tender. Season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a separate bowl, mash avocadoes together with the fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Method for assembling pizzette "scoops":
1. Remove pizzette bowls from the muffin try and place on a dish.
2. Spoon about 1 tablespoon amount of avocado mixture into each pizzette bowl, then top with about 1 teaspoon amount of the sauté mushrooms and garnish with some micro greens.

 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Refreshing Spring Fruit Salad

Spring has been pretty late this year. To extend a warm welcome to our long awaited Spring, I brought together the seasons most colorful creations - strawberries, mangoes, avocadoes and pears, in a lovely refreshing fruit salad. Creamy avocadoes with sweet mangoes and strawberries and crunchy pears. To complement the natural sweetness of the mangoes and the creaminess of the avocadoes, I made a citrus roasted sesame vinaigrette to go with this delightful little treat.
 

Ingredients (serves about 6 to 8):
1. 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
2. 1 lb organic strawberries, sliced
3. 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
4. 1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled and diced
 
Ingredients for Citrus Sesame Dressing:
1. Juice from 1 orange
2. Juice from 1 lemon
3. 2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
4. ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, dry roasted and crushed
5. ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme, rough chopped
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. Mixed sprouted micro greens, for garnish
 
Method:
1. Make dressing. Mix all ingredients for Citrus Sesame Dressing in a mixing bowl and whisk until a slight emulsion forms. Then set aside.
2. Dice mango and slice strawberries. Put diced mangoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place strawberries in another bowl or plate and set aside.
3. Dice pear and avocado and add to mangoes in the large mixing bowl. Toss in a few tablespoons of the dressing. The citrus juices will prevent the avocado and pear from turning brown while you plate the salad.
4. Lay strawberry slices in a circular ring on a salad plate.
5. Spoon out a generous portion of the diced mangoes, avocadoes and pears and place in the center of the ring of strawberry slices. About 3 to 4 tablespoons.
6. Top with sprouted micro greens.
7. Then drizzle some of the citrus sesame dressing over the top.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Steamed Chinese Meatless Wontons

This is an award winning recipe! These amazing little pockets of joy won the recent nationwide recipe contest hosted by neat, a company located in Lancaster, PA that produces and sells a wonderful meat alternative product.
 
These are wonderful little snacks are great on their own or serve them with my spicy ginger sesame sauce or with your favorite gyoza sauce. Savory with a nice crunch from the water chestnuts, these are definitely crowd pleasers. So try them today and let me know what you think!


Ingredients (makes about 38 wontons):

1. 8 oz neat (original flavor), broken into crumbles
2. 6 oz canned water chestnuts, fine chopped
3. 2 tablespoons spring onion, chopped
4. 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
5. 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
6. 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
7. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
8. 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
9. 1.5 teaspoon fine sea salt
10. 1.5 teaspoon ground white pepper
11. Egg-free wonton or potsticker wrappers
12. Water
13. Spring onion (green part), roughly chopped for garnish

Cooking Method :

1. Mix all ingredients (ingredients number 1 to 9) in a big mixing bowl until well combined.
2. Prepare dumpling assembling station:
       a.       Fill a small bowl or saucer with water and set aside
        b.      Place a small stack of wrappers on a plate
        c.       Set a teaspoon aside for scooping the filling onto the wrapper
3. Place a teaspoon amount of filling onto the center of a single sheet of wrapper. Dip your index finger into the bowl of water and lightly wet the wrapper all around.
4. Using 6 to 8 pleats, pleat the wrapper into the shape of a little basket without closing the top completely.
5. Bring to boil a pot of water with a steamer basket on top or use a bamboo steamer with a Chinese wok.
6. Steam dumplings for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove steam basket from steamer and garnish with spring onion.
7. Enjoy them while they are warm! They are flavorful to be eaten on their own or try them with your favorite gyoza sauce.

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lentils Stuffed Tomatoes

These pretty little stuffed tomatoes not only look amazing but also taste amazing. My inspiration came from my recent trip to Istanbul. People in Istanbul and the Middle East eat a lot of lentils. My trip to the spice bazaar in the grand ancient city inspired my choices of spices in this lentils recipe. This savory appetizer is mildly spicy from the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper with a hint of refreshing earthiness from the ground coriander.

To give the dish a nice crunchy texture to complement the fresh tomatoes, I used a tri-colored quinoa inside the stuffing and coarsely ground nuts on top.


Ingredients (makes about 10 medium tomatoes):
1.       10 medium tomatoes-on-the-vine
2.       1 cup uncooked red lentils
3.       1 cup uncooked quinoa (can be white or red or black or tri colored)
4.       2 cups carrots, small diced
5.       2 cups baby Portobello mushrooms, small diced
6.       1.5 cups sweet yellow onions, small diced
7.       3 cups Lacinato kale (or your favorite leafy green), chopped
8.       3 cloves garlic, minced
9.       0.5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
10.   2 teaspoon smoked paprika
11.   1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12.   1 teaspoon onion powder
13.   1 teaspoon ground coriander
14.   1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
15.   Salt and pepper to taste
16.   0.25 cups coarsely ground mixed nuts

Method:
1. In a small pot bring lentils to boil in plenty of water and simmer for about 8 mins. Drain lentils into a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In another pot, bring quinoa to boil with 2 cups of water and simmer covered for ~ 15 mins. With lid on, set aside to stand for ~ 10 mins before fluffing with a fork.
3. While quinoa cools, prepare other ingredients – dice carrots, mushrooms and onions. Mince garlic and chop kale.
4. In a sauté pan, heat up some olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes until onion starts to get translucent and mushrooms soften a little.
5. Add smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder and ground coriander and mix well.
6. Add kale and sauté until kale wilts nicely. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat off, add lemon juice and mix well.
7. Remove vegetables into a separate bowl to cool before adding to lentil and quinoa mixture.
8. Let vegetables cool. Using a paring knife, core tomatoes. Remove all seeds and juices.

9. Preheat oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. Mix vegetables and quinoa with lentils in mixing bowl.
11. Stuff each tomato generously and lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
12. Sprinkle ground nuts on tops of each stuffed tomato and drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil.
13. Bake in oven for 20-25 mins until tomato has softened slightly and some skin starts to pull away.

Enjoy it warm with your friends and family! This is a dish fun to make and fun to eat as an appetizer, an entertaining snack or like my boyfriend, as his entrée for dinner.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thyme Country Style Biscuits

Biscuits as Americans know them, are soft baked goods. They are not the crunchy cracker-like biscuits that some of us grew up with. I learnt how to make the traditional country style biscuits in one of my baking classes at culinary school. I love the flakiness of the biscuit but because it was made with refined sugar and butter, I couldn't bring myself to eat them. They smell awesome though.

So I decided to try making country style biscuits my way...using coconut oil instead of butter and using maple sugar crystals instead of refined sugar. And to kick up the flavor another notch, I added thyme to the dough and also at the end of the baking process to give the biscuits a little hint of fresh lemony flavor without the tartness of lemon.


Ingredients (makes about 18 biscuits):
1. 600 g pastry flour
2. 12 g salt
3. 15 g maple sugar crystals
4. 30 g baking powder
5. 15 g fresh thyme, chopped (leave some to sprinkle on top)
6. 200 g coconut oil, solid break into chunks
7. 360 ml water

Method:
1. Sift dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl, making sure they are blended thoroughly.
2. Cut in the chunks of coconut oil. Cutting in means - add coconut oil chunks into the bowl of dry ingredients. Then using your finger tips, swiftly and gently break up the coconut oil chunks into smaller pieces about the size of a green pea. The mixture should look mealy. Do not overmix.
3. Add water into the mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon, combining only until the mixture holds together.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until it forms one mass, should take only about 5 to 6 kneadings. Do not use to much force like you would when kneading a bread dough.
5. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1 cm. Cut with a floured cutter and placed the biscuits on a paper-lined sheet pan.
5. Bake at 400F until the tops are light brown, the sides almost white and the interiors still moist. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Remove biscuits from oven and sprinkle fresh thyme over the biscuits.
7. Allow the biscuits to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Nutritional value of this recipe:
This is a nice little treat for yourself. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but bear in mind, the saturated fat in coconut oil is not the same as the saturated fat in butter. The saturated fat in coconut oil consist of medium chains of carbon and are therefore more easily digested by the human body and converted into energy.