Monday, June 30, 2008

Two Favorite Pie Recipes

This weekend we made a couple of pies. One was a new one for my mom and me. The other was an old family favorite.

First Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Skillet Apple Pie. Boy was this tasty. What I did not do is brush on apple juice concentrate or sprinkle with sugar. What my mom suggested was adding a bit of lemon juice and zest. It was terrific this way. We ate it a la mode with homemade chocolate ice cream.

Second Argo Corn Starch's Traditional Lemon Meringue Pie. It was just as good as I remember and I haven't made it in over ten years.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The World of Empanadas

Latin America
I have previously posted about Peruvian Empanadas, otherwise known as meat turnovers. What I may not have mentioned is that although I am partial to Peruvian empanadas because I was born in Peru, my favorite one is the Colombian empanada. It is my humble opinion, that no empanada comes close in taste or texture to that of the fried Colombian empanada.

One of my sisters loved it so much as a teen that she had our friend from Colombia, Alberto teach her how to make them. She only makes them on special occasions because his version is completely from scratch. She recently made them for one of my brothers who came to visit. She made so much filling that my mom still had the filling in the freezer. Today we decided to make Colombian empanadas with my sister's prepared filling sans my sister.

We found a video that explained how to prepare "la masa" (the dough) as well as how to prepare the empanadas themselves.

The video is in Spanish.

I was searching for the recipe of the salsa that is traditionally served with the empanadas Colombianas and in doing so I happened upon a Wikipedia site that covered a large array of different versions of the empanada.


BTW, the sauce consists of finely minced green onions, cilantro, water, hot chili peppers, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. It can be blended in the blender.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Food Meme

I was tagged by Jean of the Good Health Blog

1. What food does your best friend not like?
Well, that would be my DH and he doesn't like chewy foods like tripe or squid or octopus.

2. What is your favorite cookbook?
I have lots of favorites but my all-time reliable source is the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, the one in the binder.

3. Are you more of a sushi person or a lamb person?
Definitely sushi. I don't care much for lamb.

4. Given a choice of something fried and salty or something baked and sweet, what would you choose?
Easy, fried and salty. I know it's not healthy but then again, my blood pressure is good, my cholesterol levels are good, I am thin...why not indulge once in a while ;-)

5. Do you buy whole chickens and boil them and pick the meat off or does that gross you out?
I buy whole chicken because they are more economical than parts but I don't boil the heck out of them. It doesn't gross me out but I have better ways of preparing the chicken.

6. How do you feel about butter, sour cream, cream cheese, and half and half?
Very tasty but must be used with moderation.

7. (Skip this question if you are a vegetarian) If you are a carnivore, would you be willing to hunt or butcher your meat? Or to watch someone do that for you or would you rather not think of it? Or are you grateful for the animal who gave its life to sustain your life?
Given the choices, grateful for the animal who gave its life to sustain mine although, I can easily be a vegetarian.

8. What is the most exotic ingredient or spice in your cupboard?
Cumin or turmeric

I'm adding two questions:

9. What is your favorite vegetable?

10. What is your favorite fruit?

I tag:



Monday, June 16, 2008

New Puerto Rican Restaurant on Oahu

and it's in Ewa Beach.

Gosh, I love Puerto Rican cuisine. When I lived in NJ most of my best friends were Puerto Rican. I got to eat the best mofongo, sancochado, ensalada de pulpo, arroz con gandules, etc. Of course, come Christmas time, we would get to eat pasteles.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Health Blog

Be sure to visit Jean's new blog:

The Good Health Blog

Be sure to read the post about the red foods.

Tastes of NJ - Oil Cured Olives, French Bread and Italian Sweet Sausages

oil cured olives Picture source here

There are a few food items I look forward to eating when I visit my family in New Jersey. Oil cured olives are on that list. On their own, they are dry, bitter and have a strong flavor. However, my dear mom prepares them in a way that is delicious when eaten with fresh French bread (another food I look forward too).

My mom fixes these little black jewels with vinegar, finely sliced red onions, finely sliced green pepper and perhaps a pinch of salt. It is a taste that is hard to describe but just heavenly when eaten with fresh French Bread or rolls.

French BreadNow back to the bread. The best French bread IMHO comes from Paterson, New Jersey,namely Giannella's Bakery on 21st Avenue.

You can actually go to their bakery/factory and buy the bread hot from the oven. I believe they charge $1.00 for two small loaves. I have lived in Hawaii for 15 years and I am still waiting to taste a bread that even comes close to their flavor and texture. They call it French Bread in NJ and I guess the equivalent would be a baguette. But if you tried calling the bread by that name, I think you will get a blank stare.

Italian Sweet SausagePicture source here

Today we had the bread for dinner. We ate fried Italian sweet sausages in a sandwich. Nothing fancy, just fried sausages cut into 2 inch pieces pan fried with water until the water evaporated and then it fried in its own fat. Nothing was added to the sandwich either. It was just the sausages and the bread. Pair that with iced tea and you have a dinner to please any member of the family.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Chinese Treat - Gau Gee

gau gee In Hawaii you can get tasty little Asian treats just about anywhere. They are our local fast foods. One local favorite is Chinese gau gee.

My friend Easter was kind enough to share her recipe (which her dear husband actually prepared for their family).

found at

1/2 lb. ground pork
6 med. sized shrimps, cleaned, deveined, and chopped
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp. shoyu
8 minced water chestnuts
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
Oil for frying

Combine all ingredients; mix thoroughly. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of wonton wrapper. Fold in half, forming a rectangle. Seal edges with water. Deep fry in hot oil (375 degrees) until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Family That Eats Together Stays Together

Norman Rockwell Saying Grace
Norman Rockwell's Saying Grace

Our favorite cooking padre has some good tips on keeping one's family close through the family meals.

Source: Grace Before Meals Movement
Feeling overworked, over scheduled or overly tired? Take some time out and enjoy a meal with friends or family members. This simple act can help you recharge and reconnect with the people who matter the most to you. Here are a few ways you can incorporate the GBM philosophy into your daily life:

* Eat meals with my family five days per week (or as many as possible).
* Engage the family in conversation while preparing meals.
* Say Grace before each meal.
* Turn off the TV while eating dinner.
* Introduce interesting topics for the family to discuss at mealtime.
* Tell Friends and Family about the Grace Before Meals Movement.
My family and I do try to eat our meals together at dinner time every night. It is a rare evening when we do not eat together. During the week, our son and I eat lunch together. We do watch a sit com like I Love Lucy during that short time. Sometimes he or I will just want to spend the time sharing.

Growing Shitake Mushrooms

Shittake Mushrooms
Picture source here

I don't know about you but the texture and flavor of a fresh shitake is incomparable. I probably won't be able to grow any at home in Hawaii, but I think those of you on the Mainland shouldn't have any difficulty.

Details can be found at Alexandra's blog

Spinach Cheese Pie

Spinach Cheese Pie
I was wondering what I was going to do with the leftover phyllo dough I stored in my parent's freezer. Thanks to Alexandra I found this wonder new blog. On that wonderful new blog, I found what I know will be a very delicious new recipe.

Spinach Pie from Down to Earth

I am wondering if I could substitute swiss chard for the spinach. My sister has lots of that growing in her garden.

Note: Both my parents say this pie made with Swiss chard is delicious. Apparently, it was on the menu when I was baptized as a baby.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

NJ Cravings

The other day I received an email from Hershey offering fresh from the factory Good N Plenties. I haven't them them in ages so of course, I was craving them.

Remember their commercial?

Of course, I went to the store the next day and bought a big box :-)

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

fresh mozzarella and tomato saladPicture Source here

Yesterday I mentioned my mom and I shopped at Corrado's Family Market and bought fresh mozzarella. Since today is a hot day here in NJ we thought this popular Italian salad would hit the spot. It's a shame it is too early for the home grown Jersey tomatoes. That would have made this salad perfect.

2 large fresh ripe tomatoes (preferably home grown Jersey Big Boys) sliced thickly

1/2 lb. or more if you prefer fresh mozzarellasliced same thickness as the tomatoes

3 large sweet Italian basil leaves, sliced thinly

Extra Virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Arrange the tomatoes and cheese alternately on a platter. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (freshly ground) to taste.

Serve immediately. This recipe serves three as a side salad.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Recipe for Meatless Fridays

priest cookingPicture source here

I don't think Fr. Daren will mind if I share his pasta recipe with you.

Here is the link Rotini with Tuna

Apple Turnovers Using Phyllo Dough

Phyllo DoughPicture source here

My mom and I went to Corrado's today. She stocked up on a cart full of good stuff like all kinds of fruits and veggies (Granny Smith apples, artichokes, eggplants, Italian yellow Squash, romaine lettuce, limes, grapes, shitake mushrooms, white mushrooms, etc.) We also found the oiled cured dried black olives, fresh mozzarella, Panettone and Phyllo dough.

I found an easy recipe for apple turnovers using phyllo dough here.

I did make a couple of changes. I used real melted butter instead of butter flavored Pam and I will be glazing them with an icing instead of the cinnamon sugar sprinkling on top. One, more thing, I didn't use nutmeg.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More on Takoyaki

takoyaki Picture source and also a tutorial can be found here. This is a picture of what the takoyaki we buy looks like. Those delectable balls are covered with mayo, nori and dried bonito flakes.

If you remember, I have mentioned in the past that one of my son's comfort foods from his life in Japan were takoyaki or octopus balls

I also found a blog that has a video and tutorial for making them at home. See Just Hungry