Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

Thai Noodle Salad

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

It got really cold in Eugene this week – so sad to see summer go, especially since it was late in arriving. But I still have a pile of farmer’s market tomatoes on my counter, so I made this salad for dinner tonight, for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. It would make a great dinner for those really hot nights of summer. So make a mental note, OK? When tomato season rolls around again, you’ll be ready.

Thai Noodle Salad

Thai Noodle Salad

Thai Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Glass Noodles and Egg
Serves 2

2 oz Bean thread noodles – also known as glass noodles or cellophane noodles. I found them at my Asian market.
2 eggs
1 T vegetable oil
1/3 c. roasted peanuts, chopped

1 T vegetable oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 T rice vinegar
1 T honey or brown sugar
1 T fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
1/2 – 1 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

1 small or 1/2 a large cucumber, sliced
2 medium or 3 small top-quality tomatoes, chopped, and/or a generous handful of cherry tomatoes… Basically as many tomatoes as you can handle. Go crazy!
2 small or 1 large carrot, grated or sliced
2 green onions, sliced
A generous handful of any or all of the following herbs, sliced: Cilantro, mint, basil, Thai basil

Put the noodles in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them until fully submerged. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat 1 T oil in a skillet and fry the eggs to desired doneness. (I don’t really do runny eggs, so I fried mine crispy, but I imagine that poached would also be a good way to go for this.) Remove from the pan, and slice up the egg into bite-size pieces.

Mix up the dressing ingredients in a small glass jar with a tight fitting lid so you can shake it well before applying to the salad.

Divide your prepped veggies between two bowls. When the noodles are done, drain them and put a portion in each bowl. (Now that they are soft you might want to cut them up with scissors into shorter pieces.) Top with egg, peanuts, and dressing. Take a moment to admire how pretty it looks, then stir well and eat!

Peach Quinoa

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Hey, I’ve been away for awhile. Life happens… Face it better with a good breakfast. This one couldn’t be easier.

Peach Quinoa Porridge

Peach Quinoa Porridge

Peach Quinoa Porridge
4 servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

Per serving:

Pinch salt
Dash cinnamon
Dash cardamom
Dash nutmeg
Honey to taste
1 fresh peach or nectarine, diced
1/4 c. whole milk

Very important: Rinse and drain the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Put 1 part quinoa to 2 parts fresh water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil; then turn heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Check it, if still seems pretty wet then let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. If all the water has been absorbed, replace the cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork.

Prepare as below and serve immediately, or let it cool and keep it in the fridge to heat up one serving at a time:

For each serving, stir in salt, spices, honey, peaches, and milk. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

As I was typing this up, I realized toasted nuts such as pecans or walnuts would make this even better…

Kung Pao Chicken

Friday, April 15th, 2011


Ohhhhhhhh…. Spring. You’re such a tease. That beautiful day for April Fool’s? Not enough. Now that it’s officially mid-April, I’m ready for some more warm days. As I donned my handknit wool socks this morning, I thought, goodness knows I like wearing my handknits but I am so ready to pack them up for awhile!

I have definitely enjoyed the return of the farmers’ market the last few weeks. Fresh bok choi, radishes, and green onions give me hope.

It’s quite nice to have it getting light at 6:30 and not going completely dark until 8.

BUT it’s still so chilly. I’m craving warmth, even heat.

I guess I’ll have to make my own. Who’s with me?

Kung Pao Chicken
Adapted from various internet recipes

1. Marinate 2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch chunks) in:
1 T white wine
1 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 t corn starch
4-6 crushed garlic cloves

2. Then make sauce:
2 T white wine
2 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 T honey or brown sugar
1 T corn starch
Combine ingredients in a measuring cup, stirring briskly with a fork, and set aside.

3. Start a nice big pot of steamed rice.

4. Prep your veggies:
2-3 medium-to-large bunches bok choi: separate stalks from leaves; slice the stalks in 1/2 inch pieces, cut or tear the leaves into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
4 spring onions: separate white parts, sliced, from green parts, coarsely chopped.
a handful of small radishes, sliced

5. Gather your goodies:
2 T vegetable oil
4-8 dried red chile peppers (I used 6 big ones and the spicy was a good, medium spicy)
1/2 cup chopped or whole roasted peanuts


Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, and cover to let them steam a minute or two. Remove the cover, add bell peppers, and stir occasionally until beginning to brown. Add white portions of onions. Then add bok choi stems. When everything is nicely browned around the edges, throw in the bok choi leaves and green onion tops and stir until just wilted. Remove all the veggies to a covered dish.

Heat another T of oil. Add the red peppers and let them sizzle for a moment. Drain the chicken from its marinade, and distribute it as evenly as possible in the pan. Let it fry without moving the pieces until browned, then continue to cook and stir occasionally until liquid is evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the chicken to the covered dish, give the sauce a good stir and add it to the pan. Replace the pan on the heat and stir the sauce until it’s bubbly and very thick – it will thin out when you add the vegetables and chicken back into the pan. Do so, stirring well to combine everything, and then add the radishes and peanuts. Stir again, and season to taste with salt and fresh-ground pepper.

Serve over steamed rice.

Granola Nirvana

Thursday, November 18th, 2010


Adapted from Blueprint magazine

4 c rolled oats

1 c large-flaked coconut (if using finely shredded, use 1/2 cup)
1/2 c sliced almonds
3 T sesame seeds
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
1/4 t ground ginger
pinch fresh-ground nutmeg
1/4 t salt

1/4 c canola or safflower oil
1/4 c brown sugar
3 T honey
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300° and put oats in a large glass baking dish or roasting pan. Toast the oats for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine oats with the other dry ingredients. Stir well to combine.

In a small saucepan, combine oil, sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour the sugar mixture over the oat mixture, stirring and tossing until coated. Pour into the baking pan, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until ingredients are golden brown and smell delicious.

Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Pumpkin-Corn Chowder with Chicken and Poblanos

Friday, November 12th, 2010

For my birthday last month, BN cooked me dinner. He made pumpkin curry, and grilled the pumpkin. Talk about yum! One of my knitting friends shared Poblano peppers from her garden, and I invented a soup using them and the leftover pumpkin and acorn squash. Delicious… you must try this.

Pumpkin-Corn Chowder with Grilled Chicken and Poblano Peppers
Serves 5 to 6


Pumpkin-Corn Chowder

2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ground cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t dried thyme
1 small baking pumpkin or 2 small acorn squashes
1 large or 2 small poblano chile peppers
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3-4 cups chicken broth
2 cups frozen corn
1 1/3 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the pumpkin or squash into quarters, removing pulp and seeds. Cut the chiles in half and remove stems and seeds. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Pat the chicken dry, then mist or brush on olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill the squash over high heat, until the skin is blackened and the flesh is very soft. Grill the chiles over medium-low heat until the soft and skin is blistered. Grill the chicken until just done, being careful not to overcook.

Scoop the flesh of the squash out of the skin, discarding skin. Puree the squash in a blender with enough chicken broth to make a thick liquid.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Saute the onion until softened, then stir in the garlic and spices. Pour the pumpkin mixture through a sieve into the pot, stirring to push the puree through. Discard strings or other solids. Bring the soup to a simmer.

Peel the blackened/blistered skin off of the chiles and chop finely. Add to the soup.

Shred the cooked chicken with two forks and add to the soup.

Puree the corn with the milk briefly in the blender – some whole kernels should remain. Stir into the soup. Once the soup is heated through, adjust the thickness with more chicken broth if needed, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Dinner with Harumi

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I recently checked two Harumi Kurihara books out of the library. She’s the home-cooking star of Japan and I wanted to explore her recipes. Tonight I cooked 4 of them – with help from BN and my visiting sister GC, and they came out quite well. The only thing that went wrong was burning the first batch of sesame seeds but luckily I had more on hand.


But I’m glad we were able to pull off 4 dishes for one meal, because I see a unifying aspect of Japanese cuisine, with all its diversity, in that there is always a variety. Either you are presented with a series of exquisite little portions, or there is a delightful assortment of goodies in a compartmented box. (Bento!) I’m not sure my family-style spread looks authentic, but the flavors were good and we all had plenty to eat.

The funny thing is that when GC and I went to the Asian market this morning, they were closed for vacation. So, I bought miso at the supermarket and all the other seasonings and things I already had on hand!

Rice with Fresh Ginger
From Everyday Harumi

HarumiDinner41 1/4 c Japanese sushi rice
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 oz shimeji mushrooms (I used shitakes), tough stems removed and sliced
1 1/2 c dashi stock (I used an instant tea-bag type of packet)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
1 tsp sake (I didn’t have any, so I omitted it…)
salt – to taste
nori seaweed – to serve, optional

Wash the rice in cold water. Drain it in a strainer and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. In a large liquid measuring cup, add the dashi stock to the soy, mirin, and sake until it makes 1 1/2 cups liquid. I used my rice cooker, but for stovetop prep, put the rice in a heavy saucepan, add the ginger, mushrooms, and dashi stock mixture. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pan and place over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down low. After cooking for 10-12 minutes, turn off the heat and leave for a further 10 minutes, keeping the lid on. Stir the rice, add a pinch of salt if desired, and serve garnished with some nori seaweed.

Eggplant “Dengaku” Style
Adapted from Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking

HarumiDinner2This eggplant dish is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I’ve adapted it to my preferred method of cooking eggplant, roasting.

1 large eggplant
2 Tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
3 Tbsp hatcho miso (or substitute red miso)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp sake (I subbed rice vinegar)
toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°

To make the dengaku miso sauce, combine the miso, sugar, mirin, and sake in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until thickened and smooth.

Cut the eggplant in half, and then run a knife around the inside of the eggplant, loosening the skin from the flesh. Score the flat surface with a lattice pattern.

Brush each cut side with 1 Tbsp of oil, and place cut side down on a non-stick or foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until well-browned. Turn the eggplants cut side-up, and brush liberally with the miso sauce. Return to the oven until the sauce is hot and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Chicken with Soy and Balsamic Dressing
From Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking

HarumiDinner3Marinate 1 lb boneless chicken thigh or breast meat (cut in bite size pieces) in 2 T soy sauce, 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic sliced, and coarsely ground black pepper for 30 minutes.

Saute 1/2 cabbage, cut in 4 thick wedges, in a mixture of oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Saute the chicken with its marinade and serve on top of cabbage. Top with a handful of fresh basil leaves.

Sesame Salad Dressing
From Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking

HarumiDinner1Combine & mix well: 2 T sesame paste (or tahini), 2 T ground toasted white sesame seeds, 2 T dashi stock, 1 T rice vinegar, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T superfine sugar, salt and hot pepper to taste.

We made a simple salad of red lettuce, finely grated carrots (an tip from Harumi), crisp cucumber from the farmer’s market, and green onions.

I was struck by an ingredient that’s very common in Harumi’s cooking – freshly ground toasted sesame seeds. I’m going to have to get a larger mortar and pestle…

Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry

Saturday, June 26th, 2010


We’ve been grilling a lot this summer. Tonight BN grilled a couple of chicken skewers to upgrade my standby stir-fry recipe. (Plus the day’s farmers’ market haul.) It was delicious!

Grilled Chicken with Stir-Fried Veggies (serves 3-4)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
Marinate in a mixture of the following, in a covered dish:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1-inch chunk fresh ginger, minced
2 T sugar
1 t toasted sesame oil
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T hoisin sauce (optional)
1 T mirin (Japanese sweet rice cooking wine, optional)
1 T cornstarch

Meanwhile, prep your veggies:
Broccoli crowns and stems (peel them for a crisp addition)
Carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut diagonally into sticks
Sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed
Red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 bunch of greens such as bok choi or chard, sliced into strips
Small handful green onions, sliced

1-2 T cooking oil (I like refined sesame)

Steamed rice, to serve.

Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade. Thread the chicken onto skewers and grill over high heat to sear and then lower heat until cooked through.

Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium high, add the broccoli and a splash of water. Cover the pan and let the broccoli steam for a minute or two, then remove the lid and let the extra water evaporate. Remove the broccoli to a large covered dish. Add a bit more oil and the carrots. Let them sizzle and steam for a bit, then add the bell pepper and cook a bit more. Add the peas and stir until heated, just a minute or less. Remove to the bowl. (Note: if using bok choi, I would add it at the same time as the bell pepper.)

Add the reserved marinade to the pan, and the chard, if using. Stir until the chard is wilted and the sauce is thickened. Cover and simmer until the chard is tender.

When the chicken is done, slide it off the skewers and into the bowl with the veggies. Pour the sauce with greens over all, add green onions, and stir until well-combined. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

Pesto Fusion

Sunday, June 20th, 2010


I bought 3 big bunches of herbs from the farmers’ market – basil, parsley, and cilantro. Here’s a tip for storing herbs: clean the stray leaves and/or dirt from the stems, trimming if needed, and set the bunch in a glass or tall plastic tub (like from yogurt, those ones are taking over my house), with an inch or so of water, and a plastic bag loosely tied over the leaves. Parsley and cilantro will keep this way fairly well for several weeks. Basil on the other hand, you must use within several days. Only one thing to do: make pesto.

This time I made two batches – one classic Italian style with olive oil and pine nuts, with basil and parsley, and one Asian-inspired with basil and cilantro, peanuts, sesame oil, and lime juice.

Stored in small portions in the freezer (again the yogurt tubs, this time the single-serving size), all you have to do is boil some noodles, cook some veggies and/or meat, and toss with the pesto (thawed, of course.) An easy noodle bowl for dinner.

Cilantro Pesto (makes 1 cup pesto)

1 cup torn basil leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup canola or regular sesame oil
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Place all the ingredients in the blender and process until fairly smooth. Divide into portions in small airtight containers and store in the freezer.

Black Beans ‘n Rice

Monday, May 31st, 2010


Black Beans with Orange and Chipotle
Adapted from Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley

Serves 6

1 lb dry black beans
2-4 slices of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
Zest and juice of one orange
1-2 tsp minced canned chipotle in adobo
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

To serve:
Steamed rice
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Chopped veggies such as tomatoes, red onions, green onions, radishes, cilantro
Lime or lemon juice
Tortilla chips

I’ve been wanting to cook more beans (way too easy to open cans!) and when I saw the recipe in this inspiring cookbook (my sister HN had checked it out from the library) I decided to try it. Oddly, it didn’t instruct me to soak the beans, just cook them for 1.5 hours. That sounded like a recipe for rocks, so I turned to trusty Cook’s Illustrated, a recent issue featured Cajun Red Beans and Rice, for detailed instructions about preparing the beans.

In a large bowl, dissolve 3 T salt in 4 quarts water. Pick over the beans, and add them to the water – soak at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 24. Drain and rinse them when ready to cook.

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the strips and crumble them to add back in later. Add the onions, and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook and stir a minute or two. Add the beans, bacon, bay leaf, orange zest, 1 tsp salt, and 7 cups water. (Note: I used 8 cups as the recipe calls for, and the result was basically a thick soup. I was wanting more of a baked-bean consistency, so next time I will try less, or perhaps leave the lid off the pot to let some evaporate. But I’m cautious of not adding enough water, the beans won’t soften all the way if they don’t cook in enough liquid. On the other hand, things thicken up some once the beans are fully cooked. So there’s a balance to strike here…)

Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer. After about an hour, or when the beans are just tender, stir in the orange juice, chipotle, and vinegar. Stir these items in well, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Cook, uncovered, for another 30 minutes or so, to thicken up the stew.

Serve over rice with toppings of your choice.

Pesto Chicken Sandwich

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

PestoChickenGrill PestoChickenAssembly


This sandwich reminds me of my favorite lunch from Zoccoli’s in Santa Cruz. I think this version is even better, though – fresh ingredients and hot off the grill. Great picnic food.

Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwiches

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: optionally brined for at least 1 hour
Ciabatta rolls
Red bell pepper
Sweet onion
Provolone cheese
Olive oil (I used my Misto sprayer, it works great for picnics)
Salt & Pepper

Brush or mist the chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the rolls in half and keep in a bag until ready to toast. Cut the bell pepper into wedges and thread onto skewers. Slice the onion into 1-inch rings and thread onto skewers. Mist the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

On the grill, the chicken will probably finish first, so start the veggies earlier if you wish. Put the chicken over high heat for a short while, until grill marks appear, then lower the heat (or move to the cool side of the grill) and cover to cook through. Keep an eye on the veggies and make sure they brown evenly without too much charring.

Mist or brush the bread with olive oil and place oil-side down on the grill, until golden.

Assemble the sandwiches: Spread pesto on the bread, slice the chicken and layer it on, add cheese, peppers, and onion. Enjoy the scenery as you devour your delicious sandwich.