Archive for the ‘In the Kitchen’ Category

Turkey Roll

November 28, 2014

plateHere’s an idea I saw in a magazine and decided to give it a try for Thanksgiving. It was not hard to do and the best part is that I did 2 rolls and it took only an hour in the oven. I bought a whole turkey breast which still had the bone in the middle. There are 2 halves. Cut along the bone on both sides to get 2 breasts. I removed the skin and then filleted the starting on one half of the breast going one way and other half going the other way so the fillet is around 3/4″ thick.

Make sure the grain is going across left to right so when the roll is cut, you will be cutting across the grain.

I made the stuffing by sautéing a chopped chicken/pesto sausage and onions with celery, dried cranberries with olive oil. Then I added the seasoned bread crumbs with sage, pepper and a little salt. Add broth and drizzle olive oil to moisten the breadcrumbs. I kept in on the dryer side since I figured it would absorb some of the juices from the turkey while cooking.

Here is a photo of the fillet with layer of stuffing on top just before rolling:



1 diced chicken/pesto sausage
1 diced small onion
1 stalk diced celery
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup olive oil – use 1/8 cup to sauté then the rest to drizzle over bread crumbs
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 t dried sage
pepper/salt to taste
broth to moisten bread crumbs

Leave a space along the edges so the stuffing does not fall out. Stuff back in if it does. Roll the turkey up using firm pressure but not too tight.



baconThen wrap bacon around overlapping the edges. Tie with oven string to keep it together. Bake 30min at 375 degrees then reduce to 350 for another 30 minutes or until an inserted thermometer reads 165 degrees.

When done, remove from oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes. This way it stays firm while slicing.



Pear, Macadamia, Cranberry Stuffing

November 26, 2011

Here is a vegetarian stuffing that is also low fat using olive oil and vegetable broth instead of butter or margarine. Here are the ingredients:

1 medium onion chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

1 bosc pear cut into 3/8″ cubes

1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup olive oil

vegetable broth

6 oz. bag seasoned corn bread stuffing

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. dried sage

black pepper to taste

Saute onions in some of the olive oil until transluscent. Add in celery then continue to saute until softened. Add in nuts, pear, cranberries and seasonings and continue to saute for a couple more minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in cornbread stuffing and drizzle the oil over and mix thoroughly. Add in broth as needed to moisten stuffing – more or less depending on how moist you want it. Mix in parsley. Transfer to oven-proof casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Fluff before serving and enjoy!



August 7, 2011

Here we are in mom and dad’s kitchen where I learned how to cook. They are working together making tempura – a Japanese way to fry vegetables, shrimp, or fish. You can use all kinds of vegetables like string beans, zucchini, sweet potato, ocra, etc. This time they are frying sliced eggplant.




It is easier just to get a tempura batter mix. Follow the instructions for preparation. Dip the eggplant slices in this batter on both sides.








The next ingredient is panko or Japanese style bread crumbs. It give a crunch to the tempura.







Just put into a plate and take the dipped eggplant and coat with the panko on both sides.







Use a light high-temp oil like grapeseed oil. Make sure it is hot enough by putting a drop of batter in first to make sure it frys well. If not hot enough it will get greasy. If it starts to smoke then it is too hot. Brown on both sides. Here you can see a production where the newly dipped pieces get dropped in on one side and the browned ones come out on the other. When done, put onto paper napkins to soak up excess oil.






You can also get a prepared tempura dipping sauce. Eat while hot and enjoy!


August 6, 2011

Every region in Italy is known its culinary specialties. Genoa is known for pesto. While living in Italy, I would go there and order it every time. Our friend Marco, is from that area and makes pesto from scratch.





While visiting my mom and dad in Hawaii, I saw some big patches of beautiful basil growing in dad’s garden so decided to make some pesto.




Here are the ingredients:

  • 3 cups basil leaves (packed down)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil into a blender or food processor and blend or pulse until smooth but still a bit chunky. Add parmesan cheese and blend lightly to mix in. Add more olive oil if needed to blend smoothly.

Cook some pasta (farfalle used in this picture above) al dente. Drain and put into a bowl. Spoon some pesto over and mix, well coating the pasta. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Unused pesto can be put into a jar with a little olive oil on top to cover. If not used within 10 days or so, you can freeze it for future use.

Some pestos use walnuts instead of pine nuts. The quality and type of parmesan (parmagiano reggiano) will make a good pesto as well as using pecorino cheese. The best pesto genovese I ever had came in a jar from Italy and it was the type of cheese used that made it really good and memorable.

Li Hing Pineapple

July 31, 2011

This is probably the easiest recipe to do. You just have to find a fresh pineapple and li hing powder. Li Hing Mui came over with the Chinese immigrants to Hawaii and has been a popular snack item for generations.

The powder can be found in some asian supermarkets, especially if they have a Chinese or Hawaiian section. If you go to Hawaii you can even find the powder in Walmart. You can also mail order it by looking online. Li Hing Mui is a sweet and salty, licorice flavored dried plum. The powder is made of the plum, sugar, salt and licorice. Something about the salt that makes the tartness of the pineapple go away. As a kid, we used to take a half lemon, stick a li hing mui seed into it and suck the whole thing!

Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Then slice the rind away top to bottom thick enough to cut the little node things away too.

Cut in half lengthways then again into a quarter. If the core is tough, then slice the core part away. Then slice into about 3/8″ thick slices and put into a bowl. After done, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the powder over the pineapple while mixing. Add more or less to your taste and amount of pineapple.

Let sit for a while (30 mins or more) to let the flavors sink in. Also refrigerate if left to sit longer. You can also use the powder on mangoes and other fruit. Google it and people use it on everything… We just got back from a shaved ice stand in Hawaii and they have the li hing powder to sprinkle on top of the flavored ice!

Phyllo Caramel Fruit Cups

June 21, 2011

At first when I wanted to make these, I searched all the markets for pre-made phyllo (fillo) dough cups. Luckily, I couldn’t find any so it forced me to make them myself using phyllo dough sheets you can find everywhere! I’m glad that happened because I found out how easy it is to make them and save a lot of money also! Saving money is always good! Also, once you make these cups, you can make other desserts, and appetizers which I’ll do in a future recipe…


Here are the ingredients to make 24 cups:

• 12 sheets phyllo dough (follow defrosting instructions)

• 2 T melted butter or margarine

Take one sheet and lay on a cookie sheet and lightly brush the butter on one half. Then fold in half and press flat. I find that folding one sheet in half is easier to work with and the sheets won’t tear. Then brush that side and lay another sheet on top so that when you fold it in half it layers up together. Continue with the third sheet. You could use cooking spray (which is faster and easier) but I did not like the taste of it (canola).

So when you are done, you’ll have 6 layers total.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 6 equal pieces (half lengthwise and then into thirds)

Take each piece and press into a mini-cupcake pan, letting the corners sort of flair upward. I have a 24 piece pan which works nicely.

Bake the phyllo for around 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven – until golden brown.

Lift out of the pan and transfer to a cookie sheet to cool.

While it is cooling you can now make the filling with these ingredients:

• 4 oz. cream cheese

• 2 T caramel syrup

• 2 T sour cream

• 1 T milk

Put the ingredients into a bowl and blend at medium speed until smooth and creamy. I then spoon the mixture into a plastic baggie and snip a corner to pipe the cream into the cups. This makes it go really fast and is a lot easier and neater.

Squeeze a little caramel over the cream for a little more sweetness. Then you can add whatever fruit you want. I sliced some strawberries and added blueberries with a leaf of chocolate mint.

These are really fun to make and using your creativity, you can come up with all sorts of combinations. I’ve seen yogurt, whipped cream and even ice cream used as the filling with all kinds of fruits – kiwi, mango, pineapple, and all kinds of berries… Try it and let us know what you come up with!

CinnaSpin Cookies

June 17, 2011

This is a recipe I found on the Betty Crocker website. They look like little cinnabon rolls in a cookie. Here are the ingredients for the cookie dough:

  • 1 batch of sugar cookie pre-mix (1 lb.)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 egg

Mix all ingredients into a soft dough. I then put the bowl in the freezer for around 10 min. so rolling it is easier. At room temperature, the dough is too soft and won’t roll right.
Roll a ball of dough out into a 4-5″ roll. I just do it between my palms like I’m rolling some clay. Then take the rolled out dough and place it on to a bed of cinnamon (just one edge only). The heat from your palms will actually soften the dough pretty quick so do it fast or it will get too soft to coil. You can try to roll it out on a waxed paper surface but I think between your palms is faster and easier.
Now, coil the roll with the cinnamon edge on the inside. When done, press the end to the roll so it does not roll apart. Then place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch or two apart. Bake about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until light golden. I think these cookies are better on the soft side so don’t over-bake. Remove from oven and cool for a minute before removing from pan to cooling rack. Don’t forget to put the unused dough into the freezer in-between batches to keep it hard.

Make a glaze with 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until smooth and put into a baggie. Snip a corner of the baggie so you can squeeze the glaze out onto the cooled cookies. Let the glaze harden (if you can wait) then enjoy!

Steak n’Bean Chili

May 27, 2011

Here is a chili recipe that cooks in a slow cooker that has steak, ground sirloin and sausage with 4 kinds of beans (white, brown, black, red) which makes for a colorful dish. Here are the ingredients:

1 lb. ground sirloin (low fat content)

1 lb. steak cut into 1/2″ or smaller cubes

1 lb. smoked sausage cut into slices

1 large onion diced

1 yellow bell pepper diced

1 stalk celery diced

1 serrano pepper diced small (add another if you want hotter)

1 can each (15 oz) of white beans, pinto beans, black beans and kidney beans

1 can (15 oz) tomato paste

1 can (15 oz) diced stewed tomatoes

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1-1/2 teaspoon salt and dusting of black pepper

Brown the ground meat and drain. Add to the crock pot. Then brown the steak and sausage and add to pot. Saute the onion until translucent then the bell pepper and celery and continue to saute until soft. Add to the pot. Add all the seasonings. Drain and rinse the beans and add with tomatoes and paste to the pot. Stir and put the crockpot on low for around 4 hours.

I like to serve it on a bed of rice. That’s it – really easy for a hearty dish that satisfies a crowd. Some people like sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onion as condiments but for me it’s not needed. You can use green bell pepper or jalapeno peppers if desired but I prefer the yellow and serrano flavors. Enjoy!

Steamed Artichokes

May 14, 2011

Eating artichokes is sort of like eating sunflower seeds… it takes a bit of work pulling off the petals and nibbling off the tiny bit of flavorful morsel at the end. However, you are rewarded by a nice artichoke heart at the end! Yes they are petals since an artichoke is technically a flower bud from a thistle family. If left on the plant, it will bloom into a nice purple thistle flower. We are fortunate to live in Southern California where artichokes grow quite easily. We started with one seedling 4 years ago. After that plant produced around a dozen or more artichokes, I just cut the plant down at ground level. A month or so later a half dozen shoots sprouted from the old stem. I just dug the small plants out and transplanted them. Each in turn produced another dozen or so artichokes and produce new plants again. So each year new sprouts emerge where the old plant was. They grow like weeds and need lots of sun and water and a little fertilizer at the beginning. We end up with lots of artichokes and our neighbors are quite happy when we share them.

The most tender artichokes are the ones that are harvested first. Ones from later in the season tend to be harder with drier petals. I was told that the plants will keep producing for 4-5 years so I may have to start new plants soon. Not sure if shoots after that will grow into producing plants or not.

This one in the pot is the first of the season and as you see is really big!

I just put about an inch of water in the pot with a pinch of salt and place the artichoke in the pot with a lid and let it steam for 20-25 minutes. When ready just put on a plate and start pulling off the petals from the bottom petals and work your way inward. We just use melted butter to dip the end in before biting the end and using your teeth to pull off the meaty part. You can also put some garlic salt in the butter for a little more flavor if you prefer.

When you finish all the petals, you are left with the base or heart of the artichoke. There is a fuzzy, bristly part that you need to scrape off the top of the heart.






Now your are left with the heart that you can slice into pieces and enjoy! All that hard work comes to fruition! Actually though, sharing an artichoke is one of life’s simple pleasures! So head to the market and get some artichokes now that they are in season and get some seeds or plants to grow in your backyard.

House Special Chow Mein

May 3, 2011

This is a great recipe to make for a potluck or large gathering. It has a little bit of everything, hence the House Special name. Use the recipe as a guide but get creative and use other vegetables like celery, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, bean sprouts, etc. and/or chicken if you prefer. I also like the Canton noodles which is a thick, wheat/egg noodle but you can use other types instead. Also, I like to pre-cook the meats separately, so I can drain excess oil and to control the cooking of the various ingredients.

(shown in this photo is baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, green onion, sliced and fried lup cheong, and pork strips already fried)

Here is my ingredients list:
Large package (16 oz) Canton noodles
1.5 lbs shrimp, shelled, deveined (butterflied from back)
1 lb. pork strips
4-5 links lup cheong (Chinese-style sausage)
1 medium onion
1 bunch green onions
3-4 shitake mushrooms
2-3 bunches baby bok choy
1 can baby corn
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper

First thing I do is pre-cook the meats. I shell and butterfly cut the shrimp from the back and devein. Then saute quickly for a few minutes until shrimp turn opaque then remove from wok. At this time, also take a large pot of water and heat to a boil to cook the noodles later.

Then I slice the lup cheong at a slight diagonal and fry. Lup cheong is a dense, pork sausage that has a slightly sweet flavor. The sausage can be quite oily so I like to fry, remove from wok and drain the oil out. Then fry the pork strips and remove from the wok. Luckily at the Asian market I shop at, I can find the pork already sliced in thin strips (in the freezer section).
With a clean wok, I add vegetable oil and saute the round onion. Then add the sliced mushrooms and saute. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. While cooking, I take the canned ingredients (baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots) and wash well, draining the water a few times to get rid of the canned taste.
I then add these to the wok and saute. Add soy sauce and fish sauce.

While this is cooking, take the noodles and cook in the pot of water. The noodles only take a couple of minutes to soften so check often and don’t overcook or the noodles will get soggy. When done, drain in a colander and add to the wok. Add the meats, shrimp and sliced green onions and mix. Cook just for a couple more minutes while tossing the ingredients together to mix well. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like.
Transfer to a large platter or pan for your table and enjoy!