Sunday, September 16, 2012

Goat Cheese, Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad

This summer, I started growing heirloom tomatoes and basil. My green thumbs did not fail me. I think I will have tomatoes to last me until Winter.

Everyone I know loves Caprese Salad except for my husband who does not like fresh tomatoes!!! Well, more for me I guess LOL.  I decided to make a twist on the regular Caprese Salad. I used goat cheese and added a slice of watermelon for more sweetness. This is an amazing and refreshing salad and very easy to make. You just need the 5 ingredients below.

Caprese Salad for 2:

2 medium size yellow heirloom tomato 
2 medium size red heirloom tomato
1/2 log of goat cheese or crumbled
1 small seedless watermelon
10 pieces of fresh Italian basil
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Wash tomatoes and dry. Slice tomatoes and arrange on the plate. Slice watermelon in square pieces. Slice the goat cheese log and arrange them as shown with the basil. Sprinkle salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on top of each arrangement. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Home Grown Cherry Tomatoes

This summer, I was brave enough to grow 6 different types of cherry tomatoes - Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Sweet Red 100, Red Pear, and I forgot the name of the other two!! I also grew 3 types of heirlooms - Mr. Stripey, Black Prince and Cherokee Purple.

I'm blessed with a green thumb and all of these I planted have given me an abundant of harvest! Since I love to cook and I have this food blog, I thought it's just appropriate to include my harvest in the mix and share my other passion - GARDENING!

I used these tomatoes in salads, made pasta sauce and some other dish. I also enjoy them as a snack. Fall season is here now so  I think I will only have a few months to enjoy them before frost comes!

Enjoy the photos!

Pickled Tri-Color Beans, Okra, Green Cherry Tomatoes and Carrots

I love anything pickled! Well, except maybe for pickled pork feet and pickled eggs! One visit at a Farmers Market, I saw and bought some spicy pickled green beans. I fell in love with the crunchiness. After consuming the whole jar of these beans in one seating, I decided to call the vendor and ordered a box! The 10 jars lasted about....well, not very long!

It's been about 3 years since I saw that vendor again. Earlier this year, my husband and I visited Nellie's Crab Shack for lunch in SF. They served his crab sandwich with some pickled vegetables. I remember the okra and carrots. When I took my daughter there a few months ago, I ate more of her pickles!

Okay, now it has come to that point that I need to make my own since I now have a variety of vegetables I can pick freshly from my own garden. My husband bought me a box of pickling mason jars last year because I wanted to pickle some Meyer lemons but I never had the time. I am finally making use of the jars!


1 lb fresh okra
1 lb tri-color beans (yellow, green and purple) or just green
2 large carrots
2 cups green cherry tomatoes
2 large jalapenos
1 1/2 cup Penzys Pickling Spice Mix
5 cups of white vinegar
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup sea salt
3 1 quart mason jar

Wash the mason jars thoroughly with hot water and dry. Cut the tip ends of the okra and beans. Peel the carrots and cut about 3 inches lengthwise.Slice the jalapenos in strips. Boil in a pot the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Shake the pickling spice well inside a zip lock and pour 1/2 cup in each jar. Add about 5 strips of jalapenos in each jar. Divide the carrots, okra, beans and cherry tomatoes and stuff the jars. Pour about 2 cups or more of the hot brine and leave about 1 inch head space from the rim of the jar. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.With this process, the pickled veggies will be good for 3 months. 

Herb Rubbed Pork Ribs

I've been slacking on blogging the food I've been cooking the past several months! I think the lazy bug stayed a bit too long in my system and got comfortable. Well, it's time to share some of the recipes I've indulged in this summer using some of the herbs and vegetables I planted in my backyard.

Any type of meat will be amazingly delicious with this recipe of fresh  herbs with added spices. My hubby and son loves their meat!  I decided to go with the other white meat - PORK!

Enjoy rubbing!

1 rack slab of pork ribs (about 15-18 ribs)
10 sprigs of fresh oregano
10 sprigs of fresh German thyme
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 tablespoon lemon-black pepper seasoning
3 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoon salt
3 table spoon garlic powder
1/2 cup olive oil

Finely chop all the fresh herbs then combine with the remaining ingredients and mixed well. Rub the mix on the ribs covering front and back. Wrap the rubbed ribs in a saran wrap, roll it and put inside the 2 gallon ziplock or cut in half and put in  1 gallon ziplock. Keep in fridge overnight and grill or broil the next day.  Enjoy with some beer or wine or just simply have it for dinner with rice, noodles and your favorite veggies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies

Okay folks, I know it has been a few months since my last post. My new job has kept me busy and I haven't had a chance to blog. I still find a lot of time in the kitchen but after a long day, I just want to sit on the couch, watch TV and catch up on my shows, check my wall feed on Facebook or cuddle with my husband.

This blog I'm writing tonight is dedicated to my husband on this very special day of LOVE and HEARTS. I'll lead you to the step by step process up to the last bite of his piece of brownie :-).

First is the card - it caught my attention because of the words written on it and every word touched my heart deeply. It's like they came straight out of my mouth! I found this card in January while I was perusing for office supplies at a nearby store in Palo Alto. I kept it inside my desk drawer until today. Here's what's inside the card....

Sometimes I think about how you jumped right into the whole parenting thing...
You didn't scare off, or run away, you did just the opposite.
You embraced the idea right from the start.
And accepted us as the package deal we were, with the kind of love that changed our lives forever,
You're the best thing that ever happened to us.
And I still can't believe I get to share my life with you,

Happy Valentine's Day

Fast forward to today, I contemplated all day on what to buy or make to go with the card. I went to a couple of stores and everyone was buying chocolates, heart candies, flowers, stuffed animals, balloons and anything that is red with hearts on it! I wanted to do something different. I decided to go with what will make my husband smile, happy and pleased. He loves red velvet and he loves brownies. So I thought, why not combine the two and double the pleasure. I found a great recipe and they came out absolutely heavenly delicious! I was very impressed with myself :-)

Enjoy baking these because I certainly did!


3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp red food coloring
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalsted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flower
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8x8 baking pan.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and vanilla into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a stainless medium size bowl, with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on a medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two ingredients together until they are one uniform color. Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined. Do not overmix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn't anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 30-45 minutes. Cut into 12 bars and decorate or simply sprinkle confectioner sugar on top. Serve with milk or your favorite tea.