Archive | appetizer

Go-To Light Sesame Ginger Dressing for The Salad Impaired (Like Me)

I’m salad dressing combo-making inept.

I grew up in a culture and age where salads were mostly either made with vinegar + salt + pepper or mayo. I don’t remember salads being a big part of our meals in Manila when I was young. We had our double starches (rice, bread and noodles — any combination of those) to go with the main courses. Fresh or steamed vegetables were dipped in sauces like vinegar with anchovies, soy sauce and calamansi (my favorite), or mayo and ketchup. I have a very good taste memory, but without any childhood recollection of taste combinations, I’m at a loss in a salad-inclusive North America. I even avoided volunteering to bring a salad to potlucks. It stressed me out just to think about it. [It still does.] I would gladly make you pie or cake. You can just see my deer-in-the-headlights look.

One of my cooking-related goals this year is to get in there, try as many dressings/salads (sorry, friends and family), and make some more until I can whip them together with ease. I have a 50% failing rate as far as my own rating system goes–I’m hard on myself, but that helps me keep improving. I still have a lot to learn.

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We’ve been enjoying the summer bounty from our local farmers markets. Here I used shaved carrots, radishes and a variety of tomatoes.

This dressing I’m sharing today is not one of those failures. This is my go-to recipe over the past year, my saving grace when my mind is blank at the end of the day and we have some beautiful vegetables to eat fresh. It’s a light sesame ginger dressing that has been well-received during family dinners. If we can make the kids eat a few bites of veggies, it’s considered a win.

It tastes similar to the light dressing that comes with the house salad at a Japanese restaurant. If you like that, you will love this. There’s just enough boost of flavor, but it lets the vegetables shine. It’s good to start with some lovely produce.

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Posted in appetizer, dressings and sauces, featured, healthier choices, quick & easy, raw, salads, vegetables, vegetarian0 Comments

Quick Lunch: Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

Chicken macaroni salad was one of my favorite party side dishes as a child. Back in Manila, it was dotted with raisins, which I’ve grown to dislike through the years. I’ve come to embrace it’s blushing cousin, the dried cranberries, which I simply adore in salads and use as often as I can. I love it with the tuna mac because it adds a touch of sweetness and tartness that complements the tuna and pineapple well.

Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

Tuna is my preferred alternative to chicken in salads for convenience–just drain and voila, you’ll have flavorful protein to add. And thanks to that, you can make this salad in 15 minutes or less, not including the time to wait for the water to boil. To save time, I put the pot of water on maximum heat while I start chopping vegetables to make good on time.

This is a substantial lunch or a good snack to pack for work, but watch out for the tuna smell. The chicken would be less offensive to the olfactory senses for some, for sure. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days if you keep it in the coolest corner, so it’s a good make-ahead dish as well.

I’m making slow and steady progress on the eating-healthier-lunch front, and even smaller steps on blog posting, but I’m getting there. I’m almost ready to make this again for lunch, actually.

I’ve included meat and vegan alternatives in the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

 

 

4.0 from 1 reviews
Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Active prep time: 
Cooking/Baking time: 
Total hands-on & cooking/baking time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • salt for boiling pasta and to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 120-gram can tuna, drained of water or oil
  • ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoon sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook elbow macaroni in salty water according to the package directions for al dente pasta and drain. Transfer pasta into a large bowl and add all the ingredients except for the cranberries. Add salt and pepper as desired. Add cranberries last.
Notes
Meat Alternative: Chopped cooked chicken, especially if you have leftover rotisserie chicken. Vegan Alternative: You use "simulated" chicken meat sauteed with a little bit of chicken bouillon powder or cube to add some flavor. For the mayo, Earth Balance has a "Mindful Mayo" that is dairy free.

Posted in appetizer, make-ahead, nut-free, original Gourmeted recipe, pasta, quick & easy, salads, seafood, snacks4 Comments

The Mummy Diaries, Part 2: Baked Sweet Booh!tatoes

And I’m back for more #GreatHallowTweet. BOO!!! Do check out my fellow ghoulish frighteners in crime on the left sidebar (look for the pumpkin!). Get some inspiration from them this Halloween season — trust me, they have lots of wonderful stuff for you!

As for today here at Gourmeted, I bring you: Mummified Sweet Potatoes! Yes, it’s all about the mummies. I love the cute side of mummies. I love wrapping things, especially gifts. I like wrapping food in crunch. I like wrapping, period. Wrapping means surprises, and I sure do love those.

Goodness, do I sound drunk from sweet potatoes? Perhaps.

This Halloween snack was borne out of necessity almost. Deep fried sweet potatoes with sugar were my favorite after-school snack, an indulgence I get 8 times out of ten when I beg our helpers to make them for me us. When you’re a kid, you get a lot of things for free, with a smile, too. These days, my taste buds (and hips) aren’t too fond of deep fried, but the fact remains that I have never successfully baked sweet potato fries or wedges that are crispy on the outside as the deep fried goodness. They become limp faster than burn my mouth from fresh-out-of-the-oven sweet potatoes. [Never do that, promise me, please.]

These were incredibly good and addicting.

Enter Phyllo Dough, which in my book, will always pack a crunch when you need it! You see, there’s a bit of a phyllo-mena here in the household. I’ve been on a filo kick lately because they are so darn handy with food, be it sweet or savory, snack or main meal. It’s a perfectly sane idea to keep a box or two in the freezer, just as you would do for butter. What, you don’t do that? :)

This sweet and healthy snack is easy to do, all you need are:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 t0 3 tablespoons of brown or demerara sugar (depending on how sugary you want it to be)
  • 2 sheets of phyllo dough. for every medium size sweet potato

You can double this recipe, just use the 2 butter, 2 (or 3) sugar 2 phyllo ratio and you’ll be fine.

Oven is preheated to 400°F and potato pieces are baked 10 minutes, turned, then baked for another 15 minutes. Easy enough, right? The construction is the tricky part, but I was able to do everything under an hour, including the baking time and even while shooting photos. Once you get into the groove, there’s no stopping the mummy production line.

Here’s how I did each piece:

Cut the sweet potato into wedges or a-little-fatter-than-fries size (half an inch x a quarter inch is perfect) and place in a bowl.

Lightly brush half a sheet of phyllo dough with butter, fold, then butter the exteriors, and cut into 16 strips. Sprinkle or rub each strip with sugar.

Use the remaining butter to toss the wedges in.

Fold each phyllo strip in half, lengthwise, and wrap around each piece of sweet potato.

Just tuck the beginning of the strip by overlapping after the first turn.

Tuck the end underneath the strip looping before it.

Just a little push would do. The tine of a fork could help, too. And there you have it, one mummy!

Place on a baking/cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

And bake for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 400°F.

Turn each piece, exposing the caramel-y side and bake for another 15 minutes.

VOILA!

For bulkier pieces, wrap them twice with phyllo for that extra crunch and finger-food stability if you’re serving it for a party.

The good news is, the crunch of the phyllo stays for hours. Mmm!!!

Posted in appetizer, baking, experiments, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, snacks6 Comments

The Mummy Diaries, Part 1: Spanaspookyta

Up until we moved from Manila, the Halloween holidays were spent going to cemeteries to visit our loved ones who passed away. We begin this cemetery-hopping with family from All Saints Day through All Souls Day. They weren’t ever about parties or making ghoulish treats, which would seem inappropriate when you’re visiting your loved ones’ graves. Nowadays it’s a long way from “home” to do our annual visits. I haven’t forgotten our roots, but I’m slowly adapting Western Halloween festivities. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?

Fact: I avoid horror movies and can’t watch them alone. I can’t handle haunted houses, unless you can stand me screaming my brain off, then your brain off. I’m afraid of the dark. Halloween food and costume parties are as far as I’d go for Halloween. Thanks to Renee‘s #GreatHallowTweet BlogHop, I’m getting into the spirit! I’m fumbling my way through while my Hallow cohorts have better things up their sleeve. Look for the pumpkin on the sidebar and click on their links to see what they’re up to. Whooo!!!

My first Halloween “treat” for you this year isn’t a sweet treat and requires some imagination…so forgive me. I love vegetables. For some people, knowing that this has spinach inside it is spooky in itself. Haha. [You can also check out last year’s Macawrongs.]

Mummified spanakopita!

If you poke a couple of holes with the tip of knife, boring through the filo to a glimpse of the spinach before baking, the "eyes" would well up like this.

I’ve included some photos of the process of mummifying them. These are basically snack size and would also make excellent appetizers! I already have half of mine in the freezer for later.

Spread the spinach mixture (use your go-to spanakopita filling recipe) on two filo sheets greased with olive oil or butter.

Fold over, and slice the whole length of filled filo into 2-inch width strips. You will end up with about 12 filo mummies. If you do, you will need 4 more filo sheets to for mummification.

To create the mummification strips, brush half of a single filo dough and fold crosswise. Cut in half.

For one of that halves: Cut into quarters. For the other, cut into 8 strips crosswise, which will be the mummy strips.

Get one of the quarter sheet and fold over one of the spanakopita pieces.

Use a dab of olive oil to stick them together if needed.

Lightly and sparsely brush the thin strips of filo pastry with olive oil and wrap around to create the mummy effect.

Tadah!

Posted in appetizer, baking, cheese, events, snacks, vegetables29 Comments

Fuss-Free Fridays: Red Wine Vinaigrette Recipe

Earlier this week, one cool afternoon when the sun was still up and the nearby running track oval was empty, I was doing my usual afternoon jog, getting back to my regular schedule after a couple of weeks break. It was just Mother Nature and I. You know when dogs stick out their faces out from a moving car and you can see happiness on their faces (and a shampoo commercial in there somewhere)? That’s sort of how outdoor running feels to me, wind against my skin and combing through my hair, foot to earth one step at a time. I was on my 8th lap, feeling all Zen and going with the flow, when I opened my eyes in slow-mo and my brain started screaming: “HOLY SH**…IT’S COMING AT YOU!!! WATCH OUT DON’T OPEN YOUR MOUTH…!!!” SPLAT. PBBBTTTT. Gigantic dragonfly recomposes itself mid-stumbling-flight and I in the verge of punching my fist up to the skies and breaking into insane laughter. Way to ruin the moment Mother Nature!

So that’s one of the simplest, grounding things I do: jog or run. After completing a beginner’s running program similar to Couch to 5K and running my first 5-km race, I’ve transitioned from being all about yoga to someone who craves running. I can slip into my shirt and shorts, lace up my shoes and I’m good to go. No fuss, just get up and go. It’s easy. Sometimes, I just get smacked right in the face by bugs or insects.

And that’s how I like my Fridays, too, minus the bugs and insects.

It’s an ongoing life project to balance work,  having a life outside of work, and then blogging. I love doing all three. I don’t want to be flighty or have any one of them become a chore, because they all require time. So, in an effort to balance what could sometimes be a very insane blogging schedule when I get so much into it, I’m going to start doing what I call Fuss-Free Fridays. This is when I’ll post easy recipes. Those that you won’t have to stress about — and let’s face it, some could trigger fears just from a quick glance at the length! I won’t have to sweat writing long and winding step-by-step procedures and you won’t have to bug your eyes out reading all that. Fair deal?

If you want to join me for Fuss Free Fridays: leave a link to your easy recipe blog post in the comments OR if you don’t have a blog, leave the recipe in the comments. If there’s enough participation, perhaps we can do this on a regular basis. What say you?

Now here’s an easy one to make and something that you can just use as a loose guide for creating your own vinaigrette. Admittedly I’m not a huge salad person, but when I do fall in love with a dressing or a salad, I become loyal to it.

Let’s start the weekend right and relax. Happy Fuss Free Friday!

   Get the recipe for the Red Wine Vinaigrette

Posted in appetizer, dressings and sauces, Fuss Free Fridays, quick & easy, salads10 Comments

Quick & Easy: Endives with Lox & Cream Cheese Spread

Here in Vancouver, we are quickly shifting into summer and it is getting HOT. I don’t know if it’s because of this that I am suddenly lethargic, but this has to stop soon because I have a lot of things to do! That includes our newsletter (which is looking more like June would be the next) and the roundup of the virtual Tea Exchange party I hosted. My apologies, dear participants!

Going along this lack of energy theme, I could (figuratively) barely lift a finger to prepare anything that requires cooking these days. I feel like my body’s battery is mimicking the iPhone’s. Ha ha. I haven’t baked or cooked in a while. Perhaps all the eating out has contributed to my body blues? In any case, quick and easy isn’t so bad…

I got the idea to make this from Danielle’s Home-cured Salmon Spread & Endives. She made home-cured salmon, while I used up some leftover lox. And I didn’t follow the quantities of the recipe, I just glanced at the ingredients and made a quick mix of chopped lox, walnuts, cream cheese, a drizzle of lemon juice, a few wisps of lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Serve that in crisp endive leaves and enjoy it with a glass of wine or fresh ice tea…mmm. They make a good summer combo.

It’s the easiest thing to make and it was surprisingly filling. Again, there’s no (strict) recipe required, only your imagination and an openness to taste.

I love being inspired by other people’s recipes, especially from food blogging friends. Although we don’t see each other that often (or most of the time, have never met in person), we could share the same feast.

Do you have any other no-cook recipes (or recipes that require little cooking)? Please share!

Posted in appetizer, healthier choices, quick & easy, seafood, snacks, vegetables13 Comments

Gourmet Loaded Potatoes

I was told a while ago: ‘Every dish tells a story.‘  At the same time, food is meant to be savored with every bite. Since leaving the FoodBuzz event last week, I have had more desire to achieve more than I had since starting this blog.  Joy’s been an incredible inspiration for my cooking and I hope that this is a trend that continues.

Upon my return to the office, there was a flier posted next to the time clock, “Holiday Potluck!’ So I figure, Cool! I’ll make something simple, easy, and enjoyable. My first thought was a simple garlic mashed potato dish. A few days after that posting, the HR manager asked me what I was making for the potluck because she knew about our little journal from previous discussions.

I’m going to keep it simple, garlic mashed, I think.

“What? Don’t be boring! I’ve seen the stuff you guys make! Give us something more gourmet!”

A challenge, huh? I was game. So a few more nights passed, then it hit me. Of all the things of a Thanksgiving meal, there is not much that is not considered ‘comfort food’. Then I started thinking about the various comfort foods of a meal that could not only serve 30 people, but have the flavor and memories that follow with each taste.

I would stick with the potato idea. I browsed various sites for perfect dishes but nothing was out of the ordinary.  Then it hit me. Crème fraîche Loaded Whipped Mashed Potatoes! Yeah, try saying that to your guests at your next dinner party when you make this dish.

So, I decided I would not have a toungue twister and simplify it to “Gourmet Loaded Potatoes“. It is a relatively simple dish, but its attention is needed. If you stick with it, you’ll have an incredibly tasty, rich, and flavorful new spin on the potato.

Gourmet Loaded Potatoes

I took this challenge head-on and I am proud of the results. I got rave reviews at the pot luck and I look forward to serving this dish again soon.

-Daniel

Gourmet Loaded PotatoesDownload PDF recipe for Gourmet Loaded Potatoes

Ingredients [Serves about 30, as a side dish]

  • 10 lbs of Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 lb of thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 ½ cup of heavy cream, with extra just in case
  • 1 7.5 oz package of crème fraîche
  • 1 3-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt (seasoned salt preferred)

Equipment

  • Large bowl or strainer for holding the cooked potatoes
  • Electric mixer

Preparation

1. Prepare the potatoes by submerging them in cold water in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add salt to the water and bring the pot to a boil uncovered. When you get to a rolling boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, covered. At the end of the 10 minutes, try piercing a potato with a fork. If it goes straight through, it’s done. If not, cook another 4-5 minutes and check again.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a pan in medium heat and cook the pancetta. You’re looking for a total crisp, nothing undercooked or limp. This cooking time will change depending on your pan, heat, and if you used any oil to help cook. Remove from the heat and pat dry any excess oil or grease with a paper towel.

3. Drain the potatoes from the pot completely and set them aside. Put the pot back onto the stove.

4. Add ingredients into the pot in this order: butter, crème fraîche, cream cheese, heavy cream. Grab the cooked pancetta and crumble it as much as possible. Then add the potatoes back into the pot. By the time the potatoes get into the pot, the butter should be completely melted and the cream cheese should as well.

5. Add the pepper, chives, cheddar, and the remaining salt.

6. Blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer starting with the lowest speed and progressively working to medium, about 5 minutes. When everything is well mixed, check the consistency. If it’s not whipped and/or enough, add 1/3 cup of heavy cream and continue mixing for another minute. Serve warm and enjoy!

Posted in appetizer, cheese, dailies, dairy, dining, experiments, fun, original Gourmeted recipe, vegetables12 Comments

Julia & Nora Cream Puffs (Profiteroles)

I have had several requests from friends to make cream puffs but kept putting it off (for almost a year!). I procrastinated until I found one more reason to: being featured on the Julie & Julia movie website, quite a compliment to foodies like us. I thought that made perfect sense. Waiting is a good thing, I tell myself…

Julia Child's Pâte à choux

It physically hurt me to take photos and wait patiently before devouring these.

…until I realized that I have been without cream puffs in my life for such a long time, and it all went downhill from there. Sensible eating begone as I questioned why I kept popping one puff after another into my mouth, and at the same time not really thinking about it. Don’t you have those moments? I can’t even tell you how many I’ve eaten, because I don’t know. A few friends were lucky enough to sample these, and God bless them for saving me from making a complete a Puff-woMan of myself (get it, Pac-Man?).

Julia Child's Pâte à choux

The cream filling I made is almost like Bavarian Cream. I can make an excuse that this is "healthier" than deep-fried donuts. A tiny bit? Right?

My history with cream puffs go all the way to when I was a very young child of six or seven. My mother (‘Mama’), once an avid baker, had three specialties: brownies with sticky and nutty tops, fruit tarts and cream puffs. [For all these, she used recipes by Nora Daza, quite possibly the Julia Child of the Philippines.] My mom even got orders for her baked goodies at school. I have vivid memories of our dining room looking like an assembly line of baked goods. Like pets waiting for their treats, us siblings hounded the table for the bowl and spatula leftovers of brownie batter, custard for the tart and the cream for the puffs. I was Mama’s Little Helper: from pressing the tart dough onto the metal molds to evenly placing the fruit pieces on the tarts’ custard, but when it comes to the cream puffs it’s an All-Mom Turf. Nobody messes with my mom’s cream puffs. On weeknights when she baked them for the school, I would finish off my homework early so I watch her as she carefully shaped each little mound of paste with her orange mechanical pastry bag (like this one). The craft fascinated me. The next morning she would be dressed up for work early and already filling the baked puffs (that’s already been glazed with caramel) with cream by the time we woke up to shower and get into our uniforms. Then she would drive us to school and I would be at the backseat with the big responsibility of keeping the army of brownies, tarts, or puffs nested in paper cups on pans from sliding off during the drive. Sometimes I would be allowed to eat one. I can still remember everything like it was yesterday. Come to think of it, a lot of my childhood memories include food.

You’d think that I had been baking since I was young all the way to Gourmeted.com. I didn’t. I’m a late-blooming cook/baker, like Julia, and had no interest whatsoever in anything that has do with the kitchen until my late twenties (I’m turning 31 next week). I have always enjoyed eating, though. :-)

As an homage to my two worlds of the East and West, I made cream puffs ala Julia & Nora. Also, as an homage to my mother, Mother of Cream Puffs (hehe) – it’s my mom’s birthday today!

Happy birthday Mama!

Now onto the recipes…

Julia, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, described choux pastry/paste or pâte à choux [pronounced paht ah SHOO, literally translates to “cabbage paste” as when made to the original method it resembles the vegetable] as a very, very thick white sauce into which eggs are beaten, which make the paste swell when cooked. It can be used for hors d’oeuvres when mixed with cheese, or for desserts as cream puffs when sweetened with sugar.

Julia Child's Pâte à choux

L-R: Cream Puff, Cream Puff with Blueberries (aka Blueberry Monster), Chocolate Dipped Cream Puff

Julia Child’s Pâte à Choux
Adapted from the book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1 by Julia Child, Louisette Berthole, and Simone Beck

Ingredients (makes 36-40 small puffs)

  • 100 grams unbleached all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 large eggs, divided (1 beaten in a small bowl, for egg wash)
  • 3  oz or 6 tbsps butter, cut into pieces; plus extra for greasing the baking sheets
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • Extra butter to grease the baking sheets and 1 egg, beaten,

[Note: Julia suggested adding 1 tsp of sugar and reducing the salt to a pinch for dessert puffs. I opted to use salt as above to contrast with the sweetness of the cream filling.]

Preparation:

1. Boil water, butter and seasonings in a 1.5-quart heavy bottomed saucepan.

2. Remove from the heat and quickly mix the flour in one go. Stir vigorously and blend thoroughly. Continue to stir over med-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture separates from the sides of the pan forming one mass, and it begins to film the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.

3. Create a well in the middle of the paste and break an egg into it. Stir for a few seconds until the egg is incorporated and continue to add the rest of the eggs in the same manner. The third and fourth eggs will be absorbed more slowly. Mix until smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 425°F with one rack placed on the upper third of the oven and another in the lower third. Prepare two baking sheets by rubbing butter on the baking surface.

5. To create small puffs: You can drop the paste on the baking sheet with a spoon or pipe with pastry bag (with 1/2-inch round tube opening) into mound about an inch in diameter and half an inch high, 2 inches apart. Dip a pastry brush into the egg wash and lightly tap each mound with the side of the brush. Avoid dripping down the puff and the sheet, because that prevents the puff from rising.

6. Place the sheets in the preheated oven, one on each rack, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until they puffs have doubled in size, become gold brown, and are firm and crusty to the touch. Take them out of the oven. Using a sharp knife, pierce the side of each puff to prevent the crusty outside from getting soggy. Return the baking sheets to the now turned off oven, with the door ajar, and leave for 10 minutes. Continue to cool the puffs on a cooling rack.

Freezing unfilled puffs: Wait for the puffs to completely cool before freezing. Just place in ziploc bags. Warm it up in a 425°F oven for 3 to 4 minutes to thaw and crisp before serving. When using a toaster oven for a few pieces, 400°F for a minute or two does the job as well.

Cream Filling
Adapted from Let’s Cook with Nora by Nora Daza

  • 1/3 cup sugar (you can increase to 1/2 cup if you like it really sweet)
  • 1/3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs yolks from large eggs, placed in a bowl
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a sauce pan. Blend in milk and stir until most of the lumps have dissolved. Using a whisk helps.

2. Cook in medium heat, stirring until it boils. Boil for 10 minutes then remove from heat.

3. In a separate bowl, stir half the heated mixture into the egg yolks. Mix well before adding back to the saucepan. Stir until well blended.

4. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes or until the mixture coats teh back of a spoon.

5. Cook the mixture and add vanilla.

To fill the puff shells: You can slice the puffs horizontally in half and spoon the cream into each, or you can use a pastry bag to puncture and fill each shell.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar, dip in chocolate, add fruits if you like. It’s all up to you!

For those of you who have been put off by the thought of making cream puffs because they are hard to make, don’t be! They’re not. They’re very easy to make, just take it one instruction at a time. Hands-on time for the puffs was probably 15 minutes or 20 minutes tops. You’ll be a pro in no time. :) Enjoy the recipes. Please let me know if you try them.

Posted in appetizer, baking, dairy, dessert, make-ahead, quick & easy28 Comments

4th of July Munchies

I rarely make lists as posts, so consider this a treat.I didn’t even make one for Canada Day! Shame shame. Anyway, if you’re still looking for ideas for the weekend, here are some easy peasy suggestions, ye American neighbors.

Here are recipes for dessert (or snack) that require a little more work, but you will get a lot of love from the people who will enjoy it:

Or if you want to bake something that’s easy and still be good, try these Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes or Honey-Cheese Corn Muffins.

Yes, it’s true, when you come to my party you won’t see the usual fares. :p

Happy Independence Day weekend, friends!

Posted in appetizer, chocolate, dessert, dips and sauces, events, frozen treats, fruits, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, poultry, quick & easy, salads, sweets0 Comments

Beef Rhubarb Potstickers

Could it be that my brain is now part-rhubarb? I wouldn’t doubt it really. I have to admit that although I’ve made many dishes with rhubarb by now, they are all savory. I can’t help it if that sour stalk is so good.

Had I been more prepared, I really would have loved to make the filling with pork and shrimp, but I wasn’t. In fact, I was late for the Daring Cooks’ Challenge deadline last Sunday. After all the talk about it online, I built up a gargantuan craving for it, hence, this:

Potstickers

I’ve made potstickers before but failed miserably with the pleating. Now…thanks to Jen’s recipe with detailed photos, they now closely resemble the real thing! I love it! I couldn’t help but admire my handiwork. Haha.

I did follow our challenge’s dough recipe proportions and the rest are all mine. It was very, very good. If you don’t have rhubarb, just add a little more meat and 1 tbsp lemon juice.

I’ll post a more organized recipe tomorrow, including the PDF download. I just wanted to share this quickly for those of you who have been waiting for it since I posted a mobile photo. :-)

Potsticker Wrappers

Ingredients:

  • 250 g all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 113 g warm water

Preparation (How I made it)

  1. In a medium bowl, place the flour and add half of the water. Stir with a spoon. Continue to add the remaining water little by little, probably by teaspoons.
  2. Continue to mix into a cohesive ball by hand. Place on your clean counter that’s been sprinkled with flour to prevent sticking, and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Place back inside the bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, shape dough into a shallow dome and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices. Leave one slice on the counter and place the others back into the bowl and cover with the damp towel. Slice the strip into 3/4 inch pieces and shape and flatten down with your palm into small discs. Place each disk on the counter and flatten further with your rolling pin. Continue with the rest of the dough. Be careful about putting the dough on top of each other. I made the time-consuming mistake of not putting enough flour between wrappers and my hard work went back to square one of being one big dough.

Filling the wrappers

  1. Put a wrapper on the palm of your hand and drop a tablespoon of filling at the center. Fold the wrapper in half and press firmly to attach the top-center portion.
  2. From the center, start pleating the single side of the wrapper (not both) but scrunching farther side on top of the previous pleat. Continue until you almost reach the end and you get a small teardrop-shaped hole. Simply tuck in the bottom of the ‘teardrop’ into the pointed top end of the teardrop. Each dumpling will look like the semi-circular women’s purses.

Beef Rhubarb Filling

  • 200 g ground beef (or other meat/s of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/3 cup button mushrooms, chopped (sauted in med heat for 2 mins to let the juices out
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 stalks of green onion, chopped

Preparation

In a small saucepan, saute onion, rhubarb and celery for 3 minutes in medium-high heat. Set aside and let it cool before mixing with all the other ingredients.

Pan-Frying

On a frying pan with vegetable oil in high heat, cook the dumplings until the bottoms are golden brown in color. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Let it cook until the water is almost gone. Remove the lid and let it cook for another 2 minutes.

Optional Dip: You can mix soy sauce, white vinegar with a smashed garlic. Very simple.

Posted in appetizer, Asian dish, beef, Daring Cooks, main dishes, original Gourmeted recipe, vegetables24 Comments