Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Broiled Mango and Bavarian Seasoning Chicken Thighs

My daughter said she is tired of eating chicken and that I should cook fish for dinner tonight. I told her that we will have to stop by the supermarket to get fish because I am pretty sure I don't have any in the freezer. She said she is tired and just want to go straight home, eat and sleep. She said if it's going to be chicken, then it will have to be Chinese style orange chicken breast. I knew for sure that I will not be able to cook that either because there are only thighs and drumsticks in the freezer. So I started searching for a recipe online used by fellow chefs and resulted in Broiled Mango and Bavarian Chicken Thighs.

The recipe was originally developed by my idol chef - Bobby Flay. I modified several important details from his recipe. I substituted mango juice instead of tangerine juice and broiled the chicken rather than grilling it as I don't own a grill - YET! I also used the Penzeys Bavarian Seasoning and Shallot Pepper seasoning that I recently bought to substitute the thyme and pepper in his recipe and I used honey instead of maple syrup. The outcome was unbelievably delicious! It was sweet and spicy.


12 pieces of chicken thighs
vegetable oil spray
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups of mango nectar juice
2 teaspoons Shallot and Pepper seasoning
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoon Bavarian Seasoning (crushed brown mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, sage)

Set the oven on broil. Spray a deep baking pan with the vegetable oil spray. Mix the salt and Bavarian seasoning and rub all over the chicken. Arrange the chicken in the baking pan and broil for 30 minutes (15 minutes each side) or until the chicken is done. Make sure to check every 5 minutes to make sure its not burning the skin. Flip the chicken if broiler is on high heat. In the meantime, in a deep small pot, mix and boil the mango juice and the shallot pepper seasoning. Cook for about 15 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Add the honey, soy sauce and continue to boil for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour all over the chicken. Enjoy with your favorite side.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pesto Turkey Lasagna

My daughter and I were driving home from work and I asked her what I should cook for dinner. She said something creamy because she drank milk all day while doing the 'Got Milk' campaign. She did not want anything that has too much spice in it. I started thinking what I could possibly have in my pantry and my freezer  that I can cook to avoid stopping by the supermarket. We were a few exit away from our house when I suddenly thought of some items I already have and I told her I will make lasagna for dinner. Here is what I made. This is my own recipe that I just put together tonight using all the ingredients I currently have.


Servings 8-10
1 box of 16 ounces lasagna
2 pounds ground turkey
4 cups of mixed grated cheese (mexican blend)
1 cup of pesto sauce (store bought)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 large onion (diced)
6 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon shallot and pepper seasoning (substitute with lemon pepper seasoning if its not available)

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
4 cups milk

Boil 4 quarts of water and cook lasagna noodles as instructed on the box. Turn on the oven and set for 350 degrees. Heat a medium frying pan and add olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and stir until brown. Add the turkey meat, pepper seasoning, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the stove and set aside.
In the meantime, in a deeper pot melt the butter and add the flour. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Cook for a few minutes, until it starts bubbling and thickens. Turn off heat and set aside.

Grease a baking dish with the pesto
arrange 1/4 of the pasta sheets to cover the bottom. Add a layer of pesto on top of the noodles

Add bechamel sauce on top of the layer
Add a layer (1/3) of meat (spread evenly)


then 1/4 of the grated cheese. Add one more layer of everything and finish with pasta covered with bechamel and cheese

 Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and bubbling

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Asian Ground Beef on Lettuce Boat

It's one of those nights again when I have no clue what to cook! I have so many spices I would like to use and so many recipe in my head I would like to try. I checked my freezer to see what meat I have and I decided to take out the ground beef. I looked online to get an idea on how to prepare my meat of choice for dinner. I checked out my favorite site for recipes - Foodgawker. I came across Asian Beef Lettuce Wrap recipe. I love lettuce wraps!! This recipe has ground beef which made me try it but I also made a few substitution to make it my own.


1 head romaine lettuce and cut off about 3 inches from the bottom
2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoon sesame oil
1 large onion diced
4 cloves fresh garlic minced
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chile sauce (optional)
1 cup diced cauliflower (or 1 cup of diced water chestnut)
1/2 cup of yellow/red/orange baby sweet peppers chopped

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not to tear them. Set aside.

In a large skillet over high heat, brown the garlic and onion with 2 tablespoon sesame oil. Add the ground beef, stir with the garlic and onion and brown thoroughly then reduce the heat to medium. Add the basil and cook for about 2 minutes or until its wilted. Drain any excessive fat of oil if necessary. Stirring frequently, add the remaining sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and chile sauce. Add the cauliflower, stir, cover and cook for about 5 minutes in medium heat.

Arrange romaine lettuce on a plate and pile mixture on it. Serve each person with 4 pieces of lettuce and let them spoon portions of the meat into the leaf. Eat them like a taco and enjoy!

Szechuan Eggplant and Basil

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetable. They come in different sizes and shape! I bought a pack from my regular asian market and have been trying to figure out how to cook them besides frying, baking or boiling. That was the only way I have cooked them in the past. Now that I discovered hundreds of spices from around the world, I thought it's time for me to make my eggplant a bit more exotic and flavorful!


8 small size Indian eggplant or Thai Eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs) cut into quarters
6 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoon red chile pepper
2 teaspoon szechuan seasoning**
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 cup of water
1 cup of fresh basil leaves

Rinse the eggplant with cold water and pat dry. With a large, sharp knife cut off its stem end. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into quarters. Heat the saute pan with the oil. Add the garlic and stir until medium brown. Add the basil and cook for 1 minute. Add the eggplant and stir for about 1 minute then add the red chile pepper and the szechuan seasoning. Stir for another minute in high heat. Add the water, stir, cover and simmer in medium heat for 10 minutes or until the eggplant are soft and the liquid evaporated. The dish is done and enjoy with steamed rice.

**Szechuan Pepper and Salt by Penzeys Spices
 - Coarse Flake Salt and Szechuan Peppercorns - the peppercorns are roasted and ground with flake salt to a fine powder.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potatoes)

Here is one of my favorite Indian dish that is easy to make as long as you have all the spices in your pantry. Aloo Gobi is a Punjabi classic made with potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi). I enjoyed making this dish from scratch with the simple recipe I borrowed from No Recipes with a few minor substitution.


2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tsp of ginger powder
1 medium onion minced
1 tsp of chili powder
2 tsp garam masala1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp honey
1 cup of water
3 gold potatoes cut into 1/2" cubes
1 medium head cauliflower florets cut up
1/2 cup green peas
1 tbs lemon juice
cilantro hand torn for garnish

Heat heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until very hot and add the oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin and cloves and stir until the spices begin to crackle. Add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant then add the onion. Fry this mixture until the onions are soft and just starting to turn brown, then add the chili, garam masala, turmeric, salt, honey, water and potatoes.
Cover and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, add the cauliflower and cook until everything is tender, another 30-40 minutes. Add the lemon juice and peas at the very end and serve the Aloo Gobi garnished with cilantro alongside some basmati rice or naan flat bread.

Garam Masala Chicken

I received a big bag of Indian Spices as a housewarming gift from our good friends, Sammy and Lauren. I couldn't wait to try and cook my favorite Indian dishes from scratch!!! Here is my first try which turned out pretty good. I found a very basic recipe online and made a few changes but it was still very good.

1 lb breast of chicken chopped in cubes
1 large onion sliced thin
2 large tomatoes diced
2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon ginger powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon garam masala powder
5 teaspoon vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the tomatoes, garlic and ginger and fry for about 5 minutes. Now add all the other spices and mix well. Add the chicken and cook until brown in medium heat to avoid burning. Add 1 1/2 cup of hot water to the chicken, simmer and cover. Cook till the chicken is tender. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with Naans (Indian flatbread) or plain boiled rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crab and Lobster Ravioli w/ Tomato, Basil and Caper Sauce

I found these raviolis at Costco and they are divine! The raviolis has real crab and lobster meat! I made my own sauce and paired it with some Reisling.

4 lbs Crab and Lobster Ravioli (from Costco) (6 servings)
6 large tomatoes diced
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoon capers
6 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
 4 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the raviolis as directed on the package. Heat the frying pan and add the olive oil. Toss the garlic and capers in the heated oil and stir for about 1 minute in medium heat. Add the basil, tomatoes, italian seasoning, salt and pepper and sugar (optional only if tomatoes aren't sweet enough).  Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes covered in medium heat. Arrange the raviolis on a large plate (about 6 pieces each plate) and pour some of the sauce on top. Enjoy!

Pork Loin and Asparagus with Black Bean Sauce

Asparagus were on sale at Safeway and I couldn't help myself and bought more than what I needed for one dish. Here is what I cooked with the second batch 2 days later.


1 lb pork loin cut in cubes
1 bunch of fresh asparagus cut up (about 10 stalks) (discard about 2 inches from the bottom)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoon black bean sauce
6 garlic cloves chopped
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon corn starch
3 tablespoon sesame oil

Heat frying pan and add sesame oil. After a few seconds, add the garlic and brown. Add the pork loin, stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the asparagus, black bean sauce, hoisin sauce and the basil leaves. Stir all ingredients and cook for about 3 minutes in medium heat. While its simmering, combine the water and corn starch in a bowl and add in the pan and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes in slow heat until the sauce thickens then its done!