Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday's Menu - Fried Chicken

Chicharron de Pollo Picture courtesy of this Site


One of my friends is sick so I made her homemade chicken soup with orzo. Since I needed chicken for that, I decided to make chicken for dinner tonight. BTW, Costco had a buy one get one free coupon yesterday so now I have a freezer full of chickens.

Menu:
Chicharron de pollo (deep fried chicken nuggets)
Red beans
Steamed White Rice

Chicharron de Pollo Recipe

Cut up a whole chicken but make sure they are small pieces approximately the size of a large chicken nugget
Dry with paper towels and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat up the oil in a deep fryer or a small saucepan and add enough oil to deep fry. Oil must be very hot.
Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time and remove to a platter covered with paper towels. Continue frying until all pieces are deep fried.

Red Beans Recipe:
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of tomato sauce
1 medium onion diced
3 large garlic cloves minced
Cumin
2 packets of Goya's Sazon
Salt and pepper to taste if needed
Olive oil

Heat a small saucepan and add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and brown. Add the onions and stir for a few minutes. Add the Sazon and stir until evenly orange in color. Add the tomato sauce and beans. Sprinkle with a touch of cumin. Cook on medium low for approximately 25 minutes.

On a plate, serve the chicken, beans and white rice.

Serves 4

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday's Menu - Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

Since it is Lent, I don't want to go food shopping unless it is absolutely necessary. One of my resolutions is to make do with what I already have in the cupboards and refrigerator.

We had a meat dish last night so tonight I wanted to make something different. We haven't had a quiche in a long time and we had plenty of eggs in the refrigerator as well a partial package of sliced bacon. So I decided on Quiche Lorraine with some modifications.

Menu:
Homemade Quiche Lorraine
Sliced Tomatoes with lemon and oil

I used the recipe for the single pie crust from my Cuisinart booklet. It was the first time I made pastry dough using the food processor and let me tell you, it worked quite well.

The recipe for the quiche I got from our Better Homes and Garden Cook Book. I found a similar recipe online at BH&G if you'd like a more fancier recipe.

Now, like I mentioned, some modifications were made. For instance, I used American cheese instead of the Swiss cheese. It is a small sacrifice for Lent. I also had to cut down on the 6 slices of bacon called in the recipe as we had a little less than that. The quiches are ready and they look and smell scrumptious. I just hope they taste as good as they smell...and look.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday's Menu - Covered Rice

Arroz Tapado

Today's dinner is also a Peruvian dish. Very simply to make and very tasty.

Menu:
Arroz Tapado (Covered Rice)
Green Salad
Boiled Sweet Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Recipe:
You can follow this recipe found HERE which is very similar to my mom's recipe. However, since it is Lent, I substituted ground beef for the steak, seasoned the meat with two packets of Goya's Sazon instead of using tomato paste or the tomatoes, for extra flavor, and used capers instead of olives.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Need Ideas for Meatless Fridays?

Well, check out the Hawaii Catholic Herald's recipes. They all look like they would be quite tasty!

What is Chifa?

The blend of Chinese Peruvan cooking is called Chifa. The following definition comes from Wikipedia:

El Chifa
Chifa (from the mandarin words "chi fan", meaning 'to eat rice') is the Peruvian term for Chinese food (or for a Chinese restaurant). In the 150 years since its arrival in Peru, the Chinese Peruvian culture has revolutionized Peruvian cuisine, gaining international recognition from those who have had the opportunity to sample it while visiting Peru.

Chifa reflects a fusion by Chinese Peruvians of the products that the Chinese brought with them to those that they found in Peru, and later cultivated themselves. Even some creole dishes such as tacu-tacu, lomo saltado, and arroz chaufa were influenced by the Chinese.

In downtown Lima, on CapĆ³n Street, is the barrio chino (Chinatown). The great variety of savory and sweet dishes there, with different types of meats, vegetables, and soups, created a new culinary alternative for Peruvians.
To learn more about Peruvian cuisine, click HERE

Sunday Menu - Barbeque Spare Ribs

Spare ribsPicture courtesy of Waldbaums

Menu:

Barbeque Spare Ribs
Potato Salad
Steamed Corn on the Cob

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Menu - Peruvian Boiled Dinner

Yesterday I called home and interrupted my parent's dinner. I asked my Dad what they were eating. He answered my mom's delicious "sancochado". Well, I usually don't cook on Saturdays. I tell my family that it's Mom's day off in the kitchen. Once my Dad mentioned that, I couldn't think of anything else to eat. Guess what we had for dinner?

Sancochado (Boiled Dinner)

Soup
1 package of soup bones
1 lb of beef (such as stewing, cross rib,) cut into 4 chunks
1 lb. Polish Kielbasa or Italian Sausage, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 lb slab bacon with the skin, cut into 4 thick slices
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
4 small ears of fresh corn or 2 large ears
4 large carrots
2 large celery stalks with leaves
4 large potatoes (peeled)
4 small sweet potatoes or yams or 2 large ones(peeled)
1 medium head green cabbage, quartered
6 cups water

Place all ingredients in a large soup pot and cook over medium low heat until the meat is tender. Taste before seasoning with salt as the bacon and kielbasa will be salty. Add black pepper to taste.

Sauce for boiled dinner:
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
a few drops of lemon or lime juice
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat small saucepan, add garlic and brown. Add onions and remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

To serve the sancochado, please a piece of each meat and vegetable in a large soup bowl for each person. You can add some of the broth to this or serve in a separate bowl. Top with a few tablespoons of the tomato onion sauce. Serves 4

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Menu - Potato and Asparagus Soup

Cast Iron PotPicture courtesy of Hormel Foods

Next to our wok, my favorite cooking pot is our cast iron skillet and our cast iron Dutch oven. What is your favorite?

Since asparagus is on sale, we are having a creamed asparagus soup tonight. You can substitute broccoli or leek. Note: My recipes are geared to what my family likes. Feel free to substitute or make any variations on your own to suit your tastes and needs.

When I make this soup during the week, I use a chicken broth. You can substitute vegetable broth. Because it is Lent and Friday, I will be using water and milk.

Menu:
Potato and Asparagus Soup
Imitation Crab Fried Wontons

Recipes:

Potato and Asparagus Soup
1 bunch fresh asparagus (removing the woody part and cutting them into bit size pieces
5 small to medium potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced.

3 cups Water (or stock) and 1 cup lowfat milk or 4 cups water
2 tbsp. Olive oil or butter

Heat your soup pot. Add your butter or olive oil. Add the garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables start to sweat. Add the asparagus and potatoes. Add 3 cups of water (or broth).

Cook on medium low heat until the potato is cooked thoroughly and you can mash it. Turn off heat and let cool When the soup is cool, you can use the handheld blender to whip it smoothly (my prefered way of doing it) or use the blender. If it gets to thick in the blender, add a little milk at this point.

When the mixture is all blended, add approximately 1 cup to 2 cups of milk, depending on the thickness that you like. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4

Imitation Crab Fried Wontons:
1/2 lb. imitation crab sticks (cut into bite size pieces and shredded)
1/3 cup of softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Green onions stalks, minced finely
1 package prepared wonton skins (approximately 40 to 50)
1 small bowl of water (for sealing wontons)

In a mixing bowl, add the crabmeat, cream cheese, mayonnaise and green onions. Fill each wonton skins with approximately 1/2 tablespoon of mixture and fold. Refer to previous post regarding wonton folding instructions. Refrigerate until ready to fry. These do not freeze well so make sure to fry them the same day you make them.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer until very hot. Add a few wontons at a time. When they are golden brown (it will only take a few minutes), remove and place on paper towels to drain. Continue until all the wontons are fried.

I like to serve these with sweet Thai chili sauce which you can buy at any Asian market.


NOTE:If you have leftover skins, cut them into strips and deep fry. You can even add powered sugar on these strips for a nice little sweet treat.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday Menu - Mushroom Pasta

White MushroomsPicture courtesy of Agro Tropical

Menu:
Mushroom Pasta
Homemade white bread
Tossed Salad with Oil and Vinegar Dressing

Mushroom Pasta Recipe:
1 Container or 8 oz of fresh white mushroom (or any other fresh mushroom such as Shitake, Crimini, etc., cleaned and sliced
1 Medium size onion, finely minced
3 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (I used lowfat). It would be tastier with heavy cream but it wouldn't be as healthy.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 lb. dry pasta which you cook while sauce is also cooking.

Heat a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) and add tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and the onion and stir for two minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir. Add the tomato sauce and milk, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer on medium low for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve over hot cooked pasta. Tonight it is linguine for us.

Serves 4

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shrove Tuesday Hawaiian Tradition - Malassadas

malassadas
Picture courtesy of Oso Ono

On the mainland I understand the tradition is to eat pancakes on Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. Here in Hawaii, the tradition is to eat malassadas. They are a fried ball of dough invented by the Portuguese and rolled in sugar. It is similar to zeppoles but I think I prefer the texture of the Italian zeppole. The other difference is that zeppoles are rolled in confectionery sugar and not granulated white sugar as is the malassada (which means badly baked).

Click title above to learn more about this tasty little treat.

Shrove Tuesday Menu - Roast Chicken

Roast ChickenPicture courtesy of Limnos Poultry

Menu:
Roasted whole chicken seasoned with salt and pepper
Saffron Risotto *This recipe is pretty close to the one I use from the Time Life Italian Cook Book
Steamed Asparagus

Monday Menu - Pork Chops

Pork ChopsPicture courtesy of Fairies Finest

Menu:
Pork Chops (Loin) seasoned with Salt pepper and cumin
Mashed potatoes made with reduced fat milk and 1/4 cream
Steamed corn on the cob

Sunday, February 18, 2007

How to Fold to Make Wonton Dumplings

WT4
This is the package of prepared wonton skins and a Chinese cleaver.


WT3 This is the meat mixture ready to be used to fill the wonton skins.


WT2 Place the meat mixture in the center of the skin. You want to avoid overstuffing as the wonton will not be sealed properly.


WT1 Fold over into a triangular shape.

Folding Wontons Fold back the two ends and press.


Tray of Wontons The finished product. A tray full of wonton dumplings.

Sunday Menu - Wonton Soup

Today as you may know is the start of the Chinese New Year. We will therefore be eating homemade Wonton Soup. This recipe is my grandfather's given to me by my mom. It is not like the wonton soup that is served in Chinese restaurants in the U.S. It is hearty and very tasty.

WONTONS:
1 package (approximately 50 to 80) wonton skins. My mom makes her own but it is labor intense.
1 lb. ground pork
1 egg
Approximately 1/8 cup Soy Sauce (Chinese is preferable but you can use Japanese like Kikkoman)
1 bunch of green onions minced finely (save half for garnish)
Salt and white pepper to taste
MSG is optional. I like the flavor it gives food but many people do not care for it.
Small bowl of water

BROTH:
Chicken backs or any other part of chicken
Beef soup bones
1 onion
3 carrots, peeled. Trim off the tip and the end.
2 celery stalks with leaves
1/2 head of cabbage (optional)
2 fresh ears of corn (optional)
5 cups of water

Place all the broth ingredients in a big soup pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and continue cooking for about an hour and a half. You may want to make the broth the day before so that you can refrigerate and remove the solid fat that will rise to the surface.

WONTONS:
With the exception of the wonton skins, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
On a clean and dry cutting board or counter, you can work to make your wonton dumplings. Place about 1 rounded teaspoon of meat mixture onto the center of the skin. Dip your finger in the water bowl and out line the edge of the skin with water. (My mom uses soy sauce to do this part. You can if you want). Fold over to make a triangle shape and press to seal. Then bring the two ends together from the back and press. Continue doing this until all of your skins are filled. You can place then on a cookie sheet until they are ready to be boiled.

PREPARING BOWLS FOR WONTON SOUP:
In each individual bowl, season with a pinch of salt, white pepper and MSG (optional), approximately 1 tsp of Soy Sauce and a small amount of the remaing minced green onions.

BOILING THE WONTONS:
Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil approximately 7 wontons per person. As soon as the wontons float, they are done. No need to cook long as they will cook quickly. Remove each batch to the individual bowls. Add approximately 1 cup to 1/2 cups of the hot broth to the bowl and serve immediately.

If you are able to find or make fresh noodles, cook and add this to your bowl of soup also. Do not substitute dry pasta.

This will serve approximately 6 or 7 persons. If you are only serving four, you can freeze the remaining wontons on the cookie sheet and then place them in a freezer bag.

Note: These wontons can also be deep fried or pan fried. Serve with different sauces such as soy sauce, hot sauce, dash of oil and vinegar or hot mustard.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday's Menu - Peruvian Chinese Shrimp

Our family does not eat meat on Fridays , whether or not we are in Lent. We probably shouldn't be eating shrimp either as it isn't a sacrifice to do so, but I get shrimp at a decent price.

Menu:
Camarones Reventados
Steamed White Rice

The recipe for shrimp comes from my mom by way of my Chinese grandfather.

Camarones Reventados (Burst Shrimp)

1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined but leave the tails on (the large the shrimp the better)
1 Medium size onion cut into chunks
1 Ripe tomato cut into thick slices
1 Large garlic clove, minced finely

Brown Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
pinch of MSG (optional)
dash of white pepper (or black)
pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Mix well all ingredients.

Although my mom's recipe doesn't call for it, I like to lightly coat the shrimp with cornstarch.

Heat wok or heavy fry pan and add approximately 2 tablespoons of oil. Over medium high heat, place shrimp side to side and fry to a light brown and turn over. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCOOK SHRIMP!

Remove shrimp to a bowl.

Fry the minced garlic in the remaining oil. Add the onions and stirfry one to two minutes, add tomatoes, and fry a minute more. Add the shrimp and pour the brown sauce over the shrimp and vegetables. Bring to a quick boil and serve immediately and serve with white rice.

Serves 4

Recipe for Ma's Fruit Salad

Fruit Bowl Picture courtesy of Fruit Salad

This is a very simple fruit salad to make and it is my mom's recipe.

In a big bowl, peel and dice or slice a variety of your favorite fruits. Suggestions: papaya, banana, apple, orange, strawberries, etc. By using one of each, you should be able to serve 4.

Squeeze the juice of half of a lime or lemon on the fruit and mix. Add approximately one fourth cup of condensed milk and serve. Simple but oh so ono!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

E Komo Mai

Note
To my new blog. I needed a way to organize my menus so I thought a blog would help. Sometimes I run out of ideas on what to make for dinner or I forget what I have made for my family. So be sure to check back often if you need recipes or dinner ideas.

Thursday's Menu - Mochiko Chicken

Mochiko Chicken Picture courtesy of Just Jenn

Menu:

Mochiko Chicken
Steamed Short Grain White Rice
Japanese cucumber Namasu.

To see what Mochiko Chicken is just click HERE. She not only gives you a recipe but also shows you how to do it.

My family likes the recipe I use for it but the one above will suffice. Actually, my recipe is similar but I add sesame seeds and minced green onions.

Recipe for Cucumber Namasu:
1 Japanese cucumber seeded and sliced thinly
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Rice Vinegar
Sprinkle with salt and let sit while you fry the chicken pieces
Drain
Add sugar and about one to two tablespoons rice vinegar