Category Archives: Food-Side Dishes

Arancini

Usually when i made risotto for dinner , i always ended up making too much for our little family . It is family of three after all . And then nobody wanted to touch the risotto the next day because truth is .. who really wants leftover risotto ? Risotto is always the best when it’s just got done being cooked , overnight ? not so much ..

So that was the story last night , i cooked risotto , with seared scallops , and of course by the time we finished , there was no scallops left LOL .. just risotto and there it went to the fridge , maybe someone will eat it tomorrow ?

Before it went to trash after sitting so many days in the fridge , i thought why not turning this leftovers into rice balls ? As a snack of course , not main course .. my family likes rice , my son loves cheese and who doesn’t like deep fried food ? LOL .. so there it was .. mixing up Arancini , Italian Rice Balls stuffed with mozzarella . It is super easy and simple , just a little mess from the oil to deep fry , but other than that .. it’s quick . As long as you’re not cooking the risotto right now .. if you do , you probably will have to wait til it’s totally cool , or you’ll have problem shape it into balls .

arancini1

You need :

Left overs risotto , about 2-3 cups , or whatever you have !

1-2 eggs , i did 2 for 2 cups of risotto

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

you can add grated parmesan i believe , but i don’t have cheese grate or food processor at the moment , due to relocating , so i skipped the fresh parmesan

about 3 oz of mozzarella ( i bought it from the deli and just ask them to cut about 3/4 inch thick just 1 slice would be enough , then dice it)

extra bread crumbs to dredge the balls

canola oil

So , just mix the eggs , risotto and bread crumbs together , add parmesan if you use it . Mix well , shape into a ball and stuff it with mozzarella cheese . Roll it into the bread crumbs and deep fry . Make sure it’s hot oil and turn down to medium low , cook for 4 minutes until it’s golden brown . Your cheese should be melted by this time !

arancini2 arancini3

Baked Beans

I was in charged to bring side dish , originally was going to make potato salad , but changed my mind , and tried making baked beans . You could always get canned baked beans , such as Bush’s baked beans , but what fun is that ?

So i decided to try it , i like baked beans but in my opinion , home made is better than canned . With their sweet smoky flavor .. i couldn’t resist but to try ..

I was right .. everyone at the gathering loved the baked beans , someone even said ” it’s not 4th of july without the baked beans .. ” LOL ..

So here is baked beans

You need ;

8-10 slices of thick bacon

fry the bacon , until it’s almost done , and then leave about 1/4 cup of the fat , and reserve the rest or throw it away , for Asians like me , bacon grease is like gold , so i saved it and put it in the fridge for cooking next time , great flavor !

Then add in :

1 large onion , finely chopped

1 green pepper , diced

and saute about 5 minutes . Next , add in :

2 large cans of pork and beans

About 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce , i used kraft sweet BBQ sauce

Almost 1 cup of brown sugar

About 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

That’s it , simmer and bring it to boil then transfer it into your casserole dish . Place the bacon on top of it , and bake it at 325 F for about 2 hours until it’s very thick and your house smells so yummy !!

Chocolate Orange Loaf

It’s been a long time since i made something in the kitchen . Summer is here , and i am getting lazier and lazier to make a mess in the kitchen . Texas hot days is really not fun to be busy in the kitchen . I have spent much of my time outdoor , taking care of my garden . So , by the time i go into the house , i don’t feel like cooking anymore because i was too hot from outside LOL

But anyway , over this past week i borrowed a book from the library . I was actually looking for fish keeping book , especially Cichlid book . Then i ran into cookbook shelves , right by the animals . I landed on Nigella Lawson’s cook book . I used to watch her show , back when my son was little baby . And i love cook books , i collect cook books , but i don’t have any of her book . So i checked it out , and last night during my relaxing time , i went through it . Wasn’t a good idea , because it was late , around 10 pm , and i was getting hungry looking all those pages full of food pictures !

My choice for today’s dessert landed on something easy and quick , yet looks delicious . It was Chocolate Orange Loaf . It turns out really good , make sure you use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder . And the rest , is really not complicated recipe at all .Have fun and enjoy !

chocolate orange loaf

 

 

Ingredients :

10 tbsp. of unsalted butter , room temperature

2 tbsp. of corn syrup

1 cup packed dark brown sugar ( i used light )

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

3 tbsp. of good quality cocoa powder

2 large eggs

zest of 1 large orange and juice of an orange

1. In a mixing bowl , beat the butter until creamy , add the corn syrup , mix well .

2. Add in the brown sugar , and beat until light in color for few minutes .

3. In a mixing bowl , mix the dry ingredients , flour , baking soda and cocoa powder . Add 1 tbsp. into the butter mixture , then add 1 egg , then add 2 or more tbsp. of dry ingredients into the butter mixture , and add in the 2nd egg . Adding the rest of flour mixture into the butter egg mixture , keep beating .

4. Add in the zest and the juice until mix well .

5. Grease 5×8 loaf pan , line with parchment paper , pour the batter in and bake at 325 F for 45-50 minutes .

Ayam Rice Rica

Today’s cooking was Ayam Rica Rica , originally from the city of Manado , in North Sulawesi island in Indonesia . From what i heard people love their food spicy over there , but then again i think most Indonesian love spicy food . This was not a hard dish to make , it’s a bit time consuming just like most indonesian food are . What i meant by time consuming is especially if you don’t have food processor , it will def. take your time to grind the spices into paste . Other than that it’s pretty good .

I also took the time to make a side dish earlier , which is Sambal Goreng Kentang , it is also another indonesian dish , made from potatoes , diced fried potatoes , and then saute in chili spiced paste with coconut milk and lemon grass . Love this dish .. it’s really yummy .

 

 

Direction for ayam rica rica : 

1 package of whole cut up chicken , or get a whole chicken and cut it up yourself

For the spice paste :

About 6-7 large shallots

About 5 garlic cloves

About 10-12 thai chilies

2 inches of ginger

1 roma tomatoes

Dump everything in the food processor and pulse until it’s all become smooth paste . Or you can use your mortar pestle to make a paste.  Heat up canola oil in a wok , then fry the spice paste for 4 minutes until it’s fragrant , then add the cut up chicken along with the salt , pepper and sugar , and smashed lemon grass about 2 stalks and smashed 2 inches of galangal . Cover and let it cook medium low for 30-45 minutes , then open the lid and cook out some of the juice and the spice paste becomes very thick and covering the chicken . You don’t need to stir often , but just watch it so it doesn’t burn on the bottom .Adjust your seasoning when it’s done cooking .

Direction for Sambal Goreng Kentang ( Fried diced potatoes in spiced chili paste and coconut milk ) 

About 6-7 medium yukon gold potatoes , diced

250 ml of coconut milk

3 garlic cloves

2 large shallots

1 inch of ginger

smashed 1 inch galangal

smashed 1 lemon grass

1. Deep fry the diced potatoes until it’s light brown on the outside .Set aside

2. In a skillet , heat up canola oil , then stir fry the paste , for few minutes . Add lemon grass and galangal , and coconut milk . Bring to slightly boil , simmer for few minutes until the coconut milk is slightly reduced . Then add the potatoes and mix well .

ayam rica rica sambel goreng kentang

Lemper Ayam

Sticky Rice with chicken filling , called as Lemper Ayam is a traditional snack in Indonesia . I remember me and my mom walked to the market and stopped by after grocery shopping to buy this snack . This was her favorite , wasn’t so much for me . She really liked this , it was all wrapped up in green banana leaves . I never wondered how they made this .. i never thought i would have to try to make it myself . But living oversea pushed you to do things that you never thought you’d do . Even my mom never made lemper ayam herself , she always bought it .. why did we have to make them , when they’re available basically everyday every time you go to the market ?

Having said that , it takes time to make lemper ayam , but i believe if you make the filling ahead of time , you can save a lot of time . And cut down the total time .

For Chicken Fillings : 

About 4 pieces of boneless skinless chicken thigh / tenders

1/2 of small onion , or if you have shallot , you can use about 2 large shallots

6-8 garlic cloves

salt , pepper , 2 bay leaves , 1 stalk of lemon grass , smashed , white part only

2 tbsp. of ground coriander

1/4 cup of toasted almond or if you have 3 candlenut

300 ml of coconut milk

1. Boil the chicken until it’s done , then remove from the pot , let it cool and shred the chicken . Set aside .

2. Make a paste from the onion , garlic , and almond . Then saute the paste in a heated skillet with oil , add bay leaves and lemon grass and coriander .

3. Add the chicken , stir until it’s mixed , add coconut milk . Bring to boil then simmer until the chicken dry .

For sticky rice : 

500 grams of sticky rice soaked for 2 hours

500 ml of coconut milk

2 bay leaves

1 stalk of lemon grass , smashed

1/2 tsp. of salt

1.After soaking for 2 hours , steam the rice for 15 minutes .

2. Boil the coconut milk with bay leaves , lemon grass and salt , then add in the pre-steamed sticky rice , mix until all the coconut milk has been absorbed by the rice . Takes few minutes .

3. Place the rice back into the steamer , steam for 20 minutes . Done . Let it cool

Assemble : 

Take about 2 tbsp. of rice with slightly wet hands , and then roll them into a ball , add the filling , cover up with more rice and roll them up and shape into slightly oblong shape . Wrap with banana leaves if you have , if not , wrap it with plastic wrap . Store in the fridge

lemper1

lemper2

Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus is one of our favorite vegetable . They’re widely available during early spring time , once spring is over , chances are , it’s be hard to find any fresh asparagus in the market . I never really cared about canned asparagus , just like any other vegetables , i like them thousand times better than having them straight from the can . That’s why i always get vegetables when they’re in season , if not , then find something else , that way , you don’t need to eat veggies from can .

So , since asparagus is one of our favorite , i found a super easy way to make it a yummy side dish . Asparagus comes in 2 colors , white and green . For white asparagus , i remember when i was small , during a wedding party , they always served this soup , asparagus soup with real crab meat , and it is OMG .. delicious !!! I never tried to re-create that dish yet , it’s not easy to find white asparagus . Green asparagus is super easy to find . First before you wash the asparagus , cut the thick end of the asparagus , it’s easy to break with just hand without necessary used of a knife . Then wash them , and lay them on the cookie sheet , and then sprinkle with little mix of olive oil and sesame oil , add little garlic powder and onion powder , kosher salt , and sesame seed . Mix well , and bake at 425 F for about 10-12 minutes . And your side dish is ready !!

roasted asparagus

Parmesan Crackers

This is my favorite snack .. i love cheese crackers !! They’re so easy to make , within 5 minutes you’re done and just let it sit in the fridge for an hour , and you’ll get yourself some yummy snack . They are so addicting because you wouldn’t be able to stop with just 1 or 2 . If you’d like ,  you can always add in chopped thyme in there , Although i grow them in my backyard , for these crackers , i prefer to skip them . Just make it simple crackers . In a way it also reminds me of the dutch cheese cookies called kaastengel . Though i think this tastes better than kaastengel !!! Try it !

 

 

Direction : 

1 stick of unsalted butter , room temperature

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese ( choose a good brand for this )

3/4 tsp. of kosher salt

1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl , beat the butter until creamy for a minute , high speed . Then add the parmesan cheese and beat until combined . Add the salt and pepper , then finally add the all purpose flour .

2. If the dough is too dry , add 1 tsp. of water and it should come together just fine .

3. Roll the dough into a 9 inches log and wrap it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour .

parm crackers

After chilling in the fridge for an hour , preheat your oven to 350 F . Unwrap the cheese log and start slicing the crackers into 1/4 inch of thickness . 

parm crackers2

 

Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet , and bake for 22 minutes , turn half way .

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Remove from the oven once they’re golden brown . Cool and serve , you can store this in an air tight container for few days too .

parm crackers5

Edamame Succotash

I love edamame , but we usually just using it for snack .. or appetizer when we go to sushi house . Then as i was browsing the healthy cookbook ( i don’t do this quite often LOL ) , I came across a recipe that is called edamame succotash . As far as i know succotash is just a bunch of veggies put together , seasoned and served as a side dish .

But i have never seen one that is with edamame .. but then again i wonder , why not ?? This is really good and very healthy for you , all the ingredients are healthy and it won’t make you feel bad eating it !!

I served this with blackened catfish , the recipe for the blackened seasoning is here .

edamame

Direction : 

1/2 of red bell pepper , chopped

1/2 small sweet onion , chopped

2 garlic cloves , minced

2 roma tomatoes , seeded and chopped

3 ears of sweet corn

1 cup of edamame or more if you’d like

2 slices of bacon ( replace with turkey bacon if you’re feeling really healthy )

kosher salt and black pepper

olive oil

1. Cook the corn , leave the corn unhusked , soak for about 15 minutes in a deep pan . Then preheat oven to 375 F , then when it’s ready , place the corn in a shallow baking dish , and bake about 25 minutes . Take it out , let it cool , before peeling everything . Then scrape off the corn with knife in a large bowl .

2. Heat olive oil , then add garlic onion , red bell pepper and corn , cook for few minutes until veggies are slightly tender . Then add the bacon , and salt and pepper .

3. When it’s almost done , add the tomatoes , cook for another few minutes , and you’re done !

fish

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

I love sweet potatoes ! Period .. unfortunately they come only during the holidays .. i wish we can have more sweet potatoes even during regular days . I am more into sweet potato than regular potatoes . This particular recipe , almost tastes like a dessert than a side dish . I think it’s because of the pecan brown sugar topping , although without the topping i can eat it just fine !!

Direction : 

3 large sweet potatoes , about 4-5 cups of cubed sweet potatoes

Add water and bring to boil , until it’s all cooked , and soft enough to be mashed . Once it’s done , drain and mash . Then add :

2 large eggs

1/2 cup of sugar

4 tbsp. of softened butter , unsalted

1/2 tsp. of salt

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

Mix them all well , pour into casserole dish . Then add the topping :

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of flour

3 tbsp. butter , softened

1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Mix flour and brown sugar , then mix the butter , and add the pecans . Mixture should be crumbly , sprinkle on top of the casserole , bake at 350 F for 30 minutes .

Green beans w/ Caramelized Onion

This is my favourite way to cook  green beans during special occasion . Because it has a really yummy flavor , i would love to make this more than just for special occasion !! They’re super easy , the key is to blanch your green beans and not to overcook it , or it will lose it’s crunchiness and all the good stuff in it . Then caranelized the onion slowly , and don’t forget to add the bacon .. for the extra flavor .

Direction : 

1 lb of green beans , ends removed , washed and drained

Bring water to boil , then blanch the green beans for 5-6 minutes , remove and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process

1 red bell pepper , cut in strips

1 onion , sliced thin

3-4 slices of bacon

1. Cook bacon in a skillet , until it’s half way done , then add the onion , cook slowly with the bacon , until onion is started to caramelized , and then add the red bell pepper and green beans in .

2. Add the seasonings , 3 tbsp. of soy sauce , 1 tbsp of mirin , and 3-4 tbsp. of brown sugar and 1 tbsp. of butter Toss to combine .

Chinese Broccoli ( Gai Lan ) w/ oyster sauce

We were shopping at the korean market today when i ran across chinese broccoli , i remember my mom used to make chinese broccoli ( gai lan ) , except i don’t quite remember how it looks like . So i was happy when i ran across the vegetable and it said gai lan . I bought them , and cooked them for dinner . Turned out to be super yummy .. i miss this thing and looks like i’ll be buying more and more of this stuff everytime we make a trip to the korean market .

Direction : 

1 bunch of chinese broccoli

5 garlic cloves

1 inch of fresh ginger

3 tbsp. of oyster sauce

3/4 cup of vegetable or chicken broth

1 tbsp. of sugar

1 tbsp. of mirin

1. Wash the vegetable , just remove about 1/2 inch of the very end of the stems . Peel the garlic and smash not too hard , you want this still intact . Peel of ginger . Mix vegetable broth , oyster sauce , and salt , sugar and mirin , set aside .

2. Heat up oil in a large skillet , then toast garlic about 2 minutes until it’s light brown , add ginger , saute for 1 minute , then add the vegetable , turn it until it’s all covered with the oil . Then add the sauce mixture . And turn it around again . Cover for about 5 minutes .

3. It is done when the stems are easy to be poked with knife / pork . Remove the vegetables , add sesame oil into the rest of the sauce , and  you can make the sauce thicker or just leave it as it is .

Fried Potatoes with Caramelized Onion

The recipe was called McAlister Potatoes , i don’t know why they call it mcalister , but i like to call it fried taters .. 😀 I’ve made this a while ago , the only thing with this potatoes , you need to choose some small gold yukon potatoes . I love yukon potatoes , it’s basically the potatoes that i usually buy , either red or gold yukon . I don’t care so much for russet potatoes unless i need to make potato salad . Otherwise , boiling , steaming , baking , to me , needs to be red or yukon .

Mashed potatoes gets boring after a while , the same with baked or steamed or boiled . So this is a change to serve potatoes as a side dish with my dijon salmon , and this def. is a yummy side dish !

Direction : 

About 5 small yukon gold potatoes

Boil these potatoes , covered with water , boil until it’s tender , try to use your fork , if it goes in just fine , Then it’s time to drain the water and let it cool slightly .Then using kitchen towel , wrap your potato one by one and smash it with your palm . Be ready to fry it later on.

Meanwhile , caramelize onion and bacon on a skillet .

1 cup of chopped onions

about 3-4 slices of bacon , diced

Cook these , until the onions are caramelized , under medium heat . Set aside , do not throw away the fat on the skillet , add few tbsp. olive oil in the skillet to fry the potatoes. Fry them until it’s crispy on both side .

Remove and topped with caramelized onion and bacon .Serve warm.

Blackened Tilapia with Corn Stuffed Poblanos

I love anything blackened , be it , fish or chicken or whatever , blackened spices has a really great taste . I usually use it for chicken , using boneless chicken breast or thighs and flatten them up with the mallet , and then i would sprinkle / rub it with blackened spices .. then i would grill it . Perfect !

This time i bought tilapia , and i mixed my own blackened spices and this was a super quick easy dinner , you can always serve this with rice or potatoes or other veggies , i happened to serve it with corn stuffed poblanos . They’re not too bad either , just taking the time baking the pepper and corn . If you’ve tried mac and cheese stuffed poblanos , this is almost like that one too .

Direction for Blackened Spices : 

1/2 tbsp. paprika

1/2 tbsp. smoked paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 heaping tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. oregano

3/4 tsp. cumin

Mix all the ingredients together , shake it to well blended , and store in a jar .

For the tilapia , i used 1 lb of tilapia , and rub the spices all over the fish . You can either grill it or cook it on a skillet with very little oil . 2 minutes on each side .

Direction for Poblanos 

6 small poblanos

4 ears of corn

monterey jack cheese

1 bunch of green onion chopped

chopped cilantro

juice from 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 450 F , wash the pepper , dry well . Then toss with salt , cumin and 1-2 tbsp. of vegetable oil , until it’s all coated well . Bake about 20 minutes , turn half way . Take it out ,let it cool , you can either remove the skin or just leave it . Then cut a slit , and remove the seeds .

2. Brush the corn with vegetable oils , sprinkle with salt and cumin , bake for 10 minutes , turn , bake another 10 minutes . Then remove , and let it cool . Then scrape off the corn with knife . Add in the chopped green onions , cilantro and lime juice . Salt and pepper to taste .

3. Spoon the corn into the poblanos , sprinkle with cheese on top .Broil , until cheese is melted .

Buttermilk Cornbread

I usually just buy store cornbread , Kroger has a really yummy corn bread i must say . The other day i thought about trying this , i have everything on hand , even the yellow cornmeal that’s been sitting since i used it not too long ago . I had to corn meal for something , but i only ended up using it very little . So yellow corn meal was in the cabinet , waiting to be used sometime . And that time was finally came .. although i still have plenty leftovers .

Corn bread is not really hard to make , from what i heard , the southern style cornbread is not as sweet as the north or midwest corn bread . How true is this , i am not quite sure . The only time i had corn bread was at cracker barrel , which originated from the south .. i think it started in Florida . ( not 100% sure either ) . The cornbread at cracker barrel wasn’t sweet either , in fact it was a little salty than anything else . And we used to eat it with butter and jam . It was always served with butter and jam .

Now the corn bread that i bought from the store , Kroger , it is sweet and i loved them . I like it just the way it is , i don’t even bother to butter them up . So , this corn bread i made my own , although not as sweet as store made , but it has perfect amount of sweetness , you could always tweak the sugar if you want it sweeter . Either way it’s yummy , and not hard to make at all . It was quick !

Direction : 

1 stick of unsalted butter

2/3 cup of sugar  or more if you like it sweeter

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup of yellow corn meal

1 cup of buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1. In a small pot , melt the butter , remove from the heat . Whisk in the sugar until well blended , then add the eggs and whisking well . Add buttermilk , and finally add the flour and yellow cornmeal and baking soda .

2. Pour the batter in a 8 inch square pan , buttered or lined with parchment paper , bake for about 30-40 minutes , or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean .

Collard Greens

I never had collard greens , though i’ve heard that southern people like collard greens . But living in Indiana , you hardly seen greens being sold at the groceries , other than green beans , lettuce , corn , spinach , those kind of stuff . Even kale is sometimes hardly available , let alone mustard greens , collard greens .. I guess living down south has its own advantages , such as , plenty and cheap vegetables ! So i took that advantage today too , by trying collard greens . I thought how hard can this be to cook anyway ? It’s vegetable , couldn’t be any difference than making saute bok choy , mustard greens .. those stuff . I thought garlic , onion , bacon will do the work for the collard greens . I did my research before jumping into it , and most of them ,instead of sauteeing the collard greens , they simmer the greens with ham or hock .. around those area . I did slightly different , but i took a bite and tried it .. I LOVED IT .. i was warned by my husband’s uncle that it might have a slight bitter taste like mustard greens , but mustard greens was so bitter for me ! Thank God that this wasn’t as close as that mustard greens .. Collard greens will def. be cooked more often in our household !

Direction :

1 bunch of collard greens , remove leaves from the stem , then cut the leaves into 2 inches strips .

4 garlic cloves , minced

1/4 cup of chopped sweet onion

1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

4 strips of bacon , chopped

1 cup of chicken broth

1 tsp. of sugar

1. In a skillet heat up vegetable oil , then add the onion , garlic and red pepper flakes , cook for a minute or two , add bacon , cook about 3 minutes .

2. Add the collard greens , stir until wilted , then add 1 cup of chicken broth and sugar . Bring to boil , simmer for 30 minutes . Serve .

Cheese Crackers

Normally i would just use parmesan cheese for these home made cheese crackers , but the other day i saw Edam cheese was on sale at the grocery store . I picked  up Edam cheese , i hardly use Edam cheese . The only thing i know that they don’t have stinky smell like most cheese does , and they have a slight nutty flavour , similar to Gruyere cheese , and usually we use Edam cheese for dutch cheese cookies ( Kaastengel ) . I though it wouldn’t hurt just to try using Edam cheese for these crackers . Turned out i have probably few tbsp left for the parmesan cheese . Instead of using 100% Edam cheese , i probably ended up using 80% of edam cheese and the rest would be the leftover parmesan cheese . The result , was yummier crackers . But if you are into cheese so much , probably it would be best to use 100% of parmesan cheese , instead of mixing it with Edam . Like i said Edam has a slightly milder flavour compared to parmesan .But if you don’t like things that are too cheesy , mix it with Edam , you will like it . For me personally , i don’t mind both of them . In fact it tastes similar to Kaastengel , the dutch cheese cookies that was very popular back in Indonesia .

You need :

1 cup of edam cheese ( or you can mix it with little parmesan or replace the whole edam cheese with parmesan cheese if you like strong cheese flavour )

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. of kosher salt ( if you use regular salt , i would decrease it by half because kosher salt has bigger grains than regular table salt )

1/4 tsp. of ground black pepper ( optional )

1 tbsp. of chopped fresh thyme ( optional )

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1 tsp. or more water

In a large bowl , cream the butter , about a minute or so , then add in the cheese . Beat until mixture combined . Add the salt , black pepper and the thyme , and then add the flour . The dough will be crumbly and dry , if it’s way too dry , add 1 tsp. of water , you can add more by tsp. if you think the dough won’t hold together still . Pat the dough , and if it stays and won’t crumble , then it’s ready to be roll into a 9 inch log  , and refrigerate for at least an hour , you can freeze it too ( for future use ) . When you ready to bake , slice the log into 1/2 inch thickness ,  preheat oven to 350 F and bake for 22 minutes . Should make about 24 crackers .

Mustard Greens w/ chicken bites

When i was younger , my mom cooked this vegetable a lot . To the point where i complained a lot too .. 😀 They call this sawi hijau , and in my opinion , mustard greens are bitter , but it’s still edible , unlike bitter melon , which only took me one bite to dislike it . So , the other day , grocery shopping , and i saw the same exact vegetable my mom used to cook . They’re called Mustard Greens over here . I guess they’re supposed to be very healthy and nutritious . The only down side about this in my opinion is its bitterness ,unlike swiss chard where after being cooked , the bitterness just barely noticeable .Just a note , you can always skip the meat and just have vegetable only dish . The chicken that i added here is just an extra thing .

You need :

1 bunch of mustard greens , cut the stems in few pieces and the leaves , then separate them after washing .

2 garlic cloves

1 small shallots

pepper , salt and sugar

vegetable oil

chicken thigh boneless , cut into pieces ( sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp. of soy sauce , mix , then sprinkle with corn flour ) <– optional

1. Heat up the oil in a skillet , then saute garlic and shallot for 30 seconds , add the sugar , salt and pepper.

2. Add the stems , cook for about a minute or so , if you using chicken , drop the chicken pieces now . Cook for few minutes . Add little water , and cover for a minute or two . Then add the leaves , keep stirring until leaves are wilted . Done !

Swiss Chard with Bay Scallops

Never tried swiss chard before . But according to a friend of mine , swiss chard is really delicious . I remember everytime i went to the farmer’s market , the next day when he found out , he would ask me , if i saw swiss chard because he’s been looking for it . So .. these past couple weeks , i saw swiss chard at the grocery store .. not to be mistaken with rhubarb btw .. since they both have red stems . Swiss chard comes in 2 colors , white and red . The red one looks pretty , so that’s what i picked up .. And since they’re very nutritious , i didn’t expect the taste would be good LOL .. nothing nutritious have a good taste , right ? well hardly .. any .. But i was surprised , although as i cut them , i can smell the bitter smell .. but once it’s cooked , it has a very delicious taste !! I didn’t do anything complicated with siwss chard , only saute them and add the scallops .. Next time i would love to try with sea scallops , didn’t use it this time , too expensive , instead i used bay scallops ..

You need :

3 garlic cloves

1 small shallot

1 bunch of red swiss chard

1/2 lb of bay scallops or sea scallops

salt and pepper

1 c. of chicken broth

1/4 cup of marsala wine

olive oil

1. In a skillet , heat up olive oil , add garlic , then saute the swiss chard , sprinkle with salt pepper , and cook until wilted . Remove , set aside .

2. Add bay scallops that’s been rolled on the flour mixture , and becareful cooking it , they cook VERY fast .. 1-2 minutes is enough , overcook will make your scallops rubbery . Remove , set aside .

3. In the same skillet , add shallots , and cook a minute then add the wine , scrape off the brown bits on the pan , then let it evaporates , and then add chicken broth , bring to boil . SImmer , put the swiss chard back in there with bay scallops , turn the heat off , toss to coat , serve .

Deep Fried Yellow Squash

Alright , first of all , i don’t usually cook using Paula Deen’s recipe , since i don’t like using overload of butter or mayo or cream cheese like she does . But this one looks pretty delicious , reminds me of vegetable tempura on food stall . So i thought i should give it a try , super easy and if  you like squash or don’t like it .. you will still like it . As they all say ” everything is good fried ! ”

You need :

About 4 yellow squash , cut about 1/4 inch thickness

3 large eggs

1/2 cup of buttermilk

Beat eggs and buttermilk until mixture combine , place the squash in it and toss to coat gently . Let it sit for 30 minutes . Then when you’re ready , drain , and discard the liquid .

1 cup of yellow cornmeal

1 cup of all purpose flour

3 tbsp. of cajun seasoning

1/2 tsp. of salt

1/2 tsp. of baking powder

Mix all these ingredients together, dredge the squash on the flour mixture . Deep fried for about 2-3 minutes . Serve immediately .

1

Fiesta Chicken Fajita Salad

This would be a great meal for hot summer days . And that’s what we had tonight , it’s super simple and easy . It requires salsa , if you do want to make it even easier , you can always get a jar of store bought salsa , but i made my own , since they’re not hard at all and you can adjust the taste to your preference . Other than that .. just a can of black beans and sweet corn and chicken breasts , and you’ll be ready for your salad !

For home made salsa , you need : (if you buy store bought , skip this step )

1-28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes

bunch of fresh cilantro

1/2 cup of onion

1/2 cup of red onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 jalapeno

salt , pepper

2 tsp. of cumin

little sugar if it’s too sour

Mix these ingredients together in food processor .

For Fajita seasoning 🙁 skip this step if you buy the store packet seasoning )

  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. crushed chicken bouillon cube
  • 1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

Mix these ingredients together . Store in a air tight container .

For the salad :

Fajita seasoning

chicken breast , or chicken thighs , pounded so it’s a little thin , and even

1 – 15 oz can black beans

1 -15 oz can of sweet corn ( or you can use fresh corn , boil and stripped off the kernels )

1/2 cup of salsa ( home made or store bought )

oil

1. Sprinkle the meat that has been pounded with the fajita seasoning on both sides . Cook for 3 minutes , if it’s for breasts , cook for 2 minutes if it’s really thin .Cook on each side until it’s all done . Set aside .

2. In a small pot , mix the corn , black beans , 1/2 cup of salsa and about 2 tsp. of fajita seasonings . Warm it up . Set aside .

3. To serve , tear up lettuce and place on a plate , then add the beans corn salsa mixture , and place the fajita chicken . Top with extra salsa if you want to . I like this served at room temperature or cold for the beans , corn salsa mixture .