Friday, September 23, 2016

Tofu and Quinoa Patties

What is a healthy recipe, anyway? For me, the simple answer always is staying away from processed food, eating too much red meat, and not eating enough vegetables. When preparing food for my family, I always make them stay meatless for two or three meals per week. This is an effort to reduce consumption of certain key staples, such as meat, in our daily diets. This being said, the positive health benefits of cutting down on saturated fat in food dishes demonstrated in simple recipes located throughout my blog since I stated. I hope today’s recipe will be the key recipe for a meatless day, and I wish to help whoever comes to my blog will always have a healthy, happy life.

One 12 oz. firm tofu
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup cooked red beans or any cooked beans of your choice
1/2 cup total of a combination of chopped carrots, celery, and mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tbs chopped cilantro
1 egg
1 tsp fresh mined ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbs soy sauce
Other ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut, coconut oil, or olive oil
Sesame seeds

Squeeze out as much of the water from the tofu as you can (you can place the tofu on a sieve and place a heavy object on top to do this).
In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tbs oil. Stir in ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chopped carrot, celery, and mushrooms. Stir and cook until the vegetables are wilted.

Combine all the cooked vegetables, tofu, quinoa, lentil, green onions, cilantro, and beans in a food processor or blender. Add spices, Process the mixture until it has a consistency that you can mold into patties.

Shape into ten patties. Sprinkle each patty with sesame seeds.

Place 1 or 2 tbs of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add as many patties as will fit in the skillet, and fry them for two or three minutes per side (turn just once).


 Continue until all 10 patties have been fried.
Wrap the patty in a leaf of lettuce to serve with sweet soy dipping sauce.

Baked Chicken

Although I like to bake meat in my NuWave® oven, this recipes meat can be grilled over charcoal or on a stovetop range. In my kitchen, I like to have some marinade sauce already made for meat or fish dishes because most of my sauces can be refrigerated for weeks and some even for months. The simple reason that I always keep some marinade sauce in the fridge is that I usually cook for just one or two, and this method save time. The recipe today is a classic Vietnamese grilled pork or beef and served over the rice noodles or with steamed cooked rice. Either way, this dish is delicious and very easy to make as long as the marinade sauce is master.

6 chicken thighs skin removed*
Marinade sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs peanut oil
2 tbs dry sherry
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs minced lemongrass
1/3 cup minced red onions or 2 shallots
1 tbs honey
1 tbs blackstrap molasses
2 tbs sweet hot chili sauce
1 tbs five spice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp chili flakes

Combine all the marinade sauce ingredients and mix well. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade sauce into Ziploc bag to coat the chicken. Marinate overnight.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place the chicken onto the lined baking sheet.

 Bake in the preheated oven set to 350° for 20 minutes and then turn the meat over for anther 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil, if your oven has this function and broil the chicken for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove and serve.


*I removed the skin and added oil for a healthier meat (if the skin is left on, simply omit the oil).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chinese BBQ Pork for Two

We all know that BBQ pork or Char Siu is a popular Chinese dish. If we are strolling around Chinatown in large cities, this dish is sold in almost every takeout restaurant. This recipe is quite simple to create at home, even if it is just for two people. Pork tenderloin is suitable for this recipe, but pork shoulder is fine too. The marinade is for one pound of meat. Double or triple the marinade if you need to prepare for more people. I do no like to use the red food color, so it will not have the red color like most of the BBQ pork sold in a Chinese restaurant. Feel free to add the red color into the marinade, if you choose.

1 lb. pork shoulder
Marinade ingredients:
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dry sherry
1/2 tsp five spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp black strap molasses
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Add pork and turn the pork to coat with the marinade.
Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Drain pork and reserve the marinade.
Place pork on a wire rack over a baking pan.
Bake in preheated oven set to 350° or use a NuWave® oven. Turn and baste often with the reserved marinade until cooked through (about 30 to 45 minutes).

Remove from oven and serve.


Simple Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is perhaps the easiest cake to make. Either make it into a fancy one to serve after an elegant meal or simply cut a piece of cake to have for a snack with a cup of coffee. This cake is also a good way to convince the children to eat vegetables. Omitting the cream cheese frosting will make this carrot cake quite healthy and still enjoyable. I give directions for both preparing the carrot cake with or without a basic cream cheese frosting.

Dry ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice
Wet ingredients
3 eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
Additional ingredients:
2 cups grated and finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease and flour the bottom of a 9 inch square or 9 inch diameter round cake pan.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and sift well. Set aside.
In another bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat oil, both types of sugar, vanilla, and eggs together. Stir in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Beat well. Stir in the dry ingredients evenly into the carrot mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch.
Remove the cake from the oven for 10 minutes and remove from cake pan and let cake cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting ingredients:
One 8 oz. package of cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions for the frosting:
Combine all the cream cheese frosting ingredients in bowl. Use a handheld blender to mix ingredients until smooth.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Easy Red Curry with Fish

Curry is a part of the Asian taste and a very common ingredient for many recipes in everyday cooking. Homemade red curry paste is better than store-bought, especially for Thai cooking. Most of the ingredients to make curry paste use different kinds of chilies. However, this is an easy curry recipe for a nutritious meal that can be put together quickly, so I use the red curry paste available in almost every grocery market. Omit the kaffir lime leaves, or bay leaves can be substituted. This curry can be served with rice or noodles.

1 lb. fish, catfish or your choice
2 cups coconut milk*
1/2 cup kelp broth
1 tsp galangal powder**
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
1 cup white onions
1/2 tbs red curry paste
1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt and about 1 tbs fish sauce

Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro

Clean the fish, remove the guts, and slice the fish crosswise into 1 inch slices.
Heat oil over medium heat on a pot. Add onions.

 Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, red curry paste, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, and ginger.

Cook for a few minutes or until fragrant. Add kelp broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil. Simmer the coconut broth for 10 minutes. Add fish. Season to taste. Bring back to boil for 10 minutes. Add jalapeno pepper slices.

Ladle into a serving bowl. Garnish with green onions and cilantro. Extra hot chili for your spicy taste.


*For a thicker taste, use the thick coconut cream.
**Fresh galangal is better to use for this recipe; unfortunately, I do not have it on hand at this time.

Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

I have two family members require a gluten-free diet. They ask me often about cookies, cake, or bread that they can enjoy instead of a boring diet. I like to explore foods that are easy and tasty to make. I believe a healthy, gluten-free diet can be easy to achieve. These almond cookies recipe is my creation, and it is definitely healthy and delicious.

2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
10 blanched almonds, split in half

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and use a handheld blender to mix until forming a sticky dough.
Use a small ice scream scoop to scoop out just enough dough to make small balls and to place on a baking sheet. Press almonds into the center of each dough ball. Lightly press down.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 16 minutes or until becoming a light golden color. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Coconut Sponge Cake

This recipe is similar to that of making Vietnamese sponge cake that I posted in my blog before. This time, I use more eggs and use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter. Coconut milk is a significant part of the flavor for this cake. However, other flavors, such as orange and lemon, can be substituted for this cake with the same amount of liquid. This is a basic cake is made and decorated for birthday parties or other events. I am sure that this cake will be the center of the party.

6 eggs, separate egg whites from yolks
1 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla
1/4 coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350º.
Line the bottom and inside walls of a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Use coconut oil to grease all parchment paper surfaces lining the inside of the cake pan.

Melt the coconut oil and let cool.
In a bowl, combine the cake flour, salt, and baking powder (sift a couple of times) .
Beat the egg whites in a KitchenAid® or other standing mixer bowl. Gradually add half of the sugar until they hold soft peaks (it means the top of the whites should droop a little bit when removing the beater).

Combine the egg yolks with the rest of the ingredients (except the egg whites) in another KitchenAid® bowl and beat for a few minutes until thick and pale in color.
Use a rubber spatula to gently but thoroughly fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and combine both gently to preserve the air-filled quality of the egg whites (I had to try this method many times to get it done right). Repeat procedure until the other 2/3 of the egg whites is combined with the yolk mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes.

 Remove and let cool before putting any icing of your choice with top with fresh fruits.