Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Smartest Man in the World

A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a priest were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot grabbed a parachute and yelled to the passengers that they better jump, and he himself bailed out.
Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining.
The doctor grabbed one and said “I’m a doctor, I save lives, so I must live,” and jumped out.
The lawyer then said, “I’m a lawyer and lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live.” He also grabbed a parachute and jumped.
The priest looked at the little boy and said, “My son, I’ve lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace.”
The little boy handed the parachute back to the priest and said, “Not to worry Father. The smartest man in the world just took off with my back pack.”

Moral: Your job doesn’t always define you, but being a good human being does.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Semi-Homemade Tomato BBQ Sauce

For easy cooking, rotisserie or BBQ is the easiest method to create a meal for large or small groups. I have been cooking for quite sometime now and the best way to create a wonderful meal is to have a ready-made sauce. I like to make BBQ sauce at home because most of the BBQ sauces in bottles that are sold in stores are way too sweet for my taste. However, I like to use some of the BBQ sauce flavors to add into my sauce.  It works for me. With ready-made sauce, I think meals can be ready using either meat or seafood. Today, I will demonstrate this tomato BBQ sauce recipe. This sauce is a life saver.
Ingredients:
1/4 cups olive oil
Two 14.5 cans tomato stew, blend in  blender
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbs blackstrap molasses
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup total of fresh herbs, oregano, thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cups BBQ sauce, your choice
Directions:
Heat oil in a medium-size saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until softened and fragrant.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients uncovered, and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

 Season with some salt, if needed. Let cool and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Use the handheld blender to give the sauce a smooth textutre

Stir-fry Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Tofu

Most of Asian family is large family like mine. However, with a busy life seems the family get smaller each day. The Asian recipes are for most part to create for large family or big event. I feel that my job now is to start create a wonderful Asian cooking for two. The recipe today is similar to Pad Thai recipe, but it is much easier to accomplish at home because it is not a long-list of ingredients. I saw many video for Thai cooking on the street and it gave me this idea to create this recipe. The dry noodles are usually used but I prefer fresh noodles because it much faster. The sauce for this dish is a combination of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. The original of the sour taste comes from tamarind but the lime juice will do the job. I use the dark molasses and honey to get a sweet flavor but healthier or use dark brown sugar if health issue is not the case. For quick cooking use shrimps but other protein such as chicken, pork or beef can be used to be sure to adjust the cooking time. Let get cooking

Ingredients:
For the sauce:
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp molasses
11/2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice wive vinegar
1/4 tsp chili flakes or cayenne powder
For the noodles and others:
4 to 6 oz noodles
4 oz shrimps, peeled, deveined
1 eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz tofu, cut into cube
1 cups beansprouts
1 shallot, slice
2 garlic, minced
3 tbsp oil
Garnish with roasted peanut, chives and Basil



Directions:
for the sauce: Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk well. Adjust the seasoning for your taste such as more sweet, salty and set a side
If using the dry noodles, let the noodles soaked in a warm water until softened,pliable. I soaked fresh noodles for 5 minutes.
In a nonstick skillet heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-heat. Add shrimp in layer not over lap and cook, without disturbing, until beginning to brown.

Now stir and cook for 1 minute or until shrimps turn pink. Remove to the bowl.

Add 1 tbsp oil to the skillet and add tofu. Cook undisturbed to brown the tofu like shrimp and remove into the bowl with shrimps.

Add the shallot and garlic to the empty skillet and stir and cook until fragrant,about 1 minutes. you might need a little more oil but I don't.

Add beaten egg, stirring vigorously to make a scrambles eggs but moist, about 10 second or more.


Add noodles and toss to combine. Add sauce and turn heat up to high, tossing gently until noodles are well coat with sauce.

Return shrimps, tofu to the skillet. Add beansprouts, tossing again to combine, about 1 minutes. Add half of the chives. Toss well.

To serve:
Place noodles on a serving plate and sprinkle the roasted peanut, chives and basil.




 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Asparagus Crab Meat Soup

I started learning how to cook from my mother when we still owned a restaurant in Chicago. Most of us also learned cooking from famous chefs or from cookbooks. However, I try to create easy, healthy recipes for my family, and I hope that busy women out there will try to make a good meal for their families. Today’s recipe is for another good healthy soup that is popular in Chinese restaurants or takeouts. I use the dashi stock to make this soup much tastier and healthier. The dashi stock is very easy to make, but the dashi powder is also good too and saves time for busy cooks. I will now repeat how to make the dashi stock making it even easier for the reader to follow. Here it is.

Ingredients:
Dashi stock ingredients:
One 4” x 4” piece kelp or kombu
1 oz. bonito flakes or a handful of anchovies
5 cups water

Directions:
In a saucepan, soak the kombu in water for 1 hour. Turn the heat to moderate heat and cook over low heat to allow more time for its flavor to infuse the water. Remove the kelp or kombu when the water starts to bubble. Add the bonito flakes and turn the heat up until gently boiling. Turn off the heat. Let the bonito flakes settle to the bottom and drain the dashi stock. If using anchovies, soak the anchovies at the same time as the kombu and slowly boil the stock.

Ingredients for Crab soup:
2 cups crab meat
2 eggs
1/2 lbs fresh asparagus
Stock ingredients:
5 cups of all dashi stock above
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs dry sherry
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 cup green onions and cilantro
4 tbs cornstarch added with 5 tbs water

Directions:
Slice asparagus and set aside.

Break eggs and set aside.
Heat 2 tbs oil in saucepan and stir-fry fresh ginger until fragrant. Stir in crab meat and cook for 2 minutes.




 Add the stock and bring to boil. Add asparagus. Bring back to boil.

Season with soy sauce, dry sherry, salt, and pepper. Stir gently the broken eggs into a thin stream. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and boil gently.

 Ladle soup into a serving bowl and sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.


Vegetable Bread Using a Bread Machine

Since I have owned a bread machine, most of my breads have been created by using this wonderful machine. The bread dough comes out perfectly every time.  For this recipe, I use the sweet dough or the potato bread dough recipe. The filling for this recipe is just about the vegetables that are a combination of carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and onions. I use whatever vegetables that are available to me. Squeeze out the excess water after blending the vegetables in a blender to prevent the dough from becoming soggy. The type of cheese used is also your choice to suite your family’s tastes. So, here is the simple vegetable bread for breakfast or for snacks.

Ingredients:
Bread machine ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs butter or coconut oil
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp active dry yeast

Directions:
Place all the ingredients listed above into the bread machine pan and press start.
When the doors finished and has risen enough, the machine will make a beeping sound.
Remove dough and place onto a floured countertop. Gently roll dough with a rolling pin into 12” x 12” rectangle.

The filling ingredients:
1 carrot
1 mushroom
1/3 zucchini
1/3 yellow squash
1/4 cup red onion
1 garlic clove
 
Other ingredients:
2 tbs green onion and 2 cups cheese
Egg wash:
1 beaten egg

Directions:
Place all the filling ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times to chop the vegetables into fine pieces. Squeeze out the excess water until the remaining solids equal approximately 1 cup.
Spread the chopped vegetables onto the prepared dough above. Top with about 2 cups of cheese and green onion.
Starting at one edge, roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. With seam side down, with a knife lightly score the dough into 1 inch sections. Cut dough into 12 pieces.







 

Place rolls cut side up into a prepared pan (butter the pan or spray with oil).

 Cover and let dough rise for 1 hour or until double in size. Brush with egg wash.
 

 

Bake in a preheated oven set to 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Shrimp and Crab Zucchini Soup

Summer is the time to make this soup because zucchini is grown here now, and the farmers markets everywhere where I live are selling zucchini. Zucchini is a cross between cucumbers and pumpkins. As some studies stated, this vegetable is rich in carotene, which strengthens the mucous membranes gives the body natural resistance. This soup is very easy to prepare and light in calories, but rich in protein. I like to promote a healthy eating habit, and this soup is one of my favorites. Japanese cooking is famous for healthy and light dishes that are heart friendly and age defying. Many of the recipes for making soup in Japan use Dashi stock as the number one stock. This stock is not just healthy and very easy to make, it will not take a lot of time to make, but for the busy cook, make enough this stock for a few days. The rest of the recipe is just simply put together in no time.

Ingredients:
For Dashi stock:
One 4” x 4” piece of kombu (kelp seaweed)
4 cups water
1/2 cup

1 oz dried bonito flakes (about a handful)




Directions:
Soak kelp in a pan with 4 cups of water for one hour. After one hour of soaking time, place the pan over medium heat and bring to boil. Take out the kombu when the water starts to boil. Add the bonito flakes and turn the heat to gentle boil. Turn the heat off. Let the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pan and drain through a sieve or paper towel. The Dashi stock is ready. Double or triple the recipe if needed.
 

The ingredients for the zucchini soup:
Soup base ingredients:
4 cups Dashi stock
2 cups shrimp stock or water
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar

Other ingredients:
12 medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup cooked Crab meat (Costco brand)
1 cup chopped white onion
1 medium zucchini, cut into pieces
4 button mushrooms slices

Garnishes:

Basil leaf
Green onions, chopped

Directions:
Add all the soup base ingredients into a soup pot. Bring to boil. Add zucchini and mushrooms. Bring to boil. Add shrimp and crabs. Remove the residue from the surface and then cook until the shrimp change color to pink. Sprinkle with basil leaf and green onions and serve.

Fish Stew with Coconut Milk

It seems to me that every country with a long coastline will have its own fish soup. I posted many recipes for fish stew on my blog. Yesterday, one of my neighbors stopped by and gave me some of the white fish that he caught on his fishing trip.  It gave me an idea to create a fish soup. Today, I will introduce this easy version of "Moqueca", Brazilian fish stew. I went through many wonderful blog recipes that are similar to Thai or Vietnamese fish soup cook with coconut milk. However, it will depend upon cook’s idea for adding spices to make a slightly different taste than the original one. Cooking is fun, and the cook should use whatever ingredients that is in the pantry to create a fantastic meal. Life is too short, so make the most of it. Healthy eating everyday is my goal. This easy tasty healthy soup is the one.
Ingredients:
1 lb. cod or any white firm fish fillet
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lemon
Soup base ingredients:
2 tbs coconut oil
1/2  tbs fresh chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
One 14.5 oz. can of coconut milk,
2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 total cup of red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomato
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
 
Garnishes:
 Chopped green onions and cilantro

Directions:
Cut fish into big chunks and place in a bowl. Add garlic and lemon juice. Refrigerate until needed.
In a large saucepan, heat coconut oil. Stir in onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add paprika. Add tomato. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil and turn the heat to medium low. Simmer for 25 minutes. This is the soup base.
When ready to serve. Bring it back to boil. Add fish and cook for 10 minutes. Add chopped green onions and cilantro. Serve with rice or bread.
You can add shrimp or other vegetables, such as cauliflower, potatoes, and carrots.