Friday, April 27, 2012

Yogurt Panna Cottas with Strawberry & Honey

Here is another so easy dessert yet is so elegant and healthy because I used fat-free milk and non-fat plain Greek yogurt to cut some of calories down from its original recipe.  I also add some of fresh strawberry, but you can use any kind of fruit you like, and a drizzle of honey on top for the refreshing look and taste.  Consider making this dessert earlier because its need to be chilled for at least 2-3 hours.   This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine.  

What you need:  for 4 servings

1 envelop/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp water
2 cup fat-free milk
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Fresh strawberry and honey

- mix gelatin and water to dissolve and set aside
- in a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of milk to a simmer with sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin to mix well, and set aside
- in a medium bowl, whisk another cup of milk and yogurt and whisk in gently the warm milk to combine
- pour in 8 oz/ 4 dessert cups and drop a few of cut strawberry
- refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until it set
- serve with a drizzle of honey on top and garnish with a strawberry as you desired


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Carrot & Pineapple Smoothie

I love eating carrots in every ways.  Who doesn’t?  huhh!  It adds great flavor and beautiful color in all dishes.  It makes the best carrot cake that everyone loves.  It also pickles perfectly with other root vegetable like beets, daikon, and radish.  And even some people who like something wacky or think out of the box have come up with a genius idea of making carrot ice-cream.  I don’t know what it tastes like because I’ve never had it before, but it sounds awesomely good to me.
 In its vivid color, carrots are full of beta-carotene, vitamin A, B, C, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fibers that our bodies need daily; and besides that, it is so good for your eyes and skin.  Eating a cup of fresh carrots every day can make your skin looks, at least, 5 years younger than your actual age!  Don’t believe me?  hhmm…..   Let’s try if it works.   You have nothing to lose anyway.   Right?   
Here is another delightful smoothie make with carrots that mix perfectly with a tropical fruit like pineapple and the natural sweetness from OJ, plus nonfat yogurt for its creamy goodness.    I guarantee, you will not only like it, you will love it!    ^___^

what you need: 

¼ cup carrot chopped
¼ cup fresh or frozen pineapple
¼ cup orange juice
6 oz non-fat plain yogurt
½ cup crushed ice – forget about the ice if using frozen pineapple
Add a few drops of honey if you want more sweet

- In the blender, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth and frothy.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shrimp and Veggies Delight Salad with Coconut Lime dressing


This salad is made of fresh and raw veggies I have on hand in my refrigerator and I’ve added some poached shrimp to make it as a quick lunch or light dinner.  It can be made of any veggies that you like fresh and, preferably, can be eaten raw, or add some fresh and crisp fruits like apple or pears to better it flavor and make it more elegant and fun to eat.  The key of this yummy goodness is the dressing.  The natural sweetness of coconut milk blends perfectly with the perfect kick of lime juice and chili garlic sauce, and add  some succulent poached shrimp, together, make such a one big happy family that would make you go ahhhhhh……..Healthy-licious!  

 For the salad

300g poached or cooked shrimp
¼ cup celery thinly sliced
¼ cup small radishes thinly sliced
½ cup Persian cucumbers cut lengthwise and chopped crosswise
½ cu cherry tomatoes halved
¼ cup orange bell pepper or sweet pepper thinly sliced
¼ cup carrot shredded and a few thinly sliced
2 tbsp parsley finely chopped

For dressing:   

¼ cup coconut milk
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (or more)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and pour it over the veggies and let it sit in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to blend flavor.  



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Salmon Tartare on Wonton Crisps

Came home from supermarket today, I got a really nice piece of Salmon fillet to make….something.… well, I have not decided yet what to make, supposedly, for dinner.  And when I looked at it and tried to think about the menu…hmmm…Bake? Boiled? Soup? (yes, I talk about Salmon soup, never had it?), the picture of Salmon sashimi was just floating in front of me and I just couldn’t help it and started to cut a little piece of raw salmon and dipped in the hot sauce for a sample.    YES!…Salmon Tartare!  

As you already know that Salmon is rich in Omega-3, along with the niacin and vitamin 12, is extremely beneficial for cardiovascular health.  The omega-3 in salmon also helps in reducing depression, the principal causes that boost the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and thus, keeps a person in good mood.   That why I love Salmon and need to eat it more often.  However, be caution when eating raw fish. 

I guarantee that you will love this dish.   It’s spicy with a little piece of Thai bird chili on top; it’s so tasty with the addition of tobacco and sesame seeds; and it’s so simple to make.   Really!   I fried up wonton skins to go with it and it was perfect!  But don’t’ worry.  If you do not have wonton skin, you can have the tartare with your favorite chips or just eat the tartare plain (with a nice glass of chilled Pinot Grigio, of course).   I really hope you try this.  It’s deli-ci-ous!    ^o^

What you need:

7 oz. Salmon, finely diced
¼ cup Persian cucumber, thinly diced
¼ cup Red bell pepper, thinly diced
2 tbsp white part of green onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp fresh squeeze lime juice + zest
1 tbsp Rice vinegar
1 tbsp Tabasco
1 tbsp EV olive oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seed
Pinch of Salt
4 small green Thai bird’s eye chilies thinly sliced – or you can use green Jalapeno  
4 squares wonton wrapper – cut into quarters so they are equal to 16 small squares, then quick deep fry them
Oil to fry wonton

- Add all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and gently fold them to combine the flavor
- Spoon the salmon tartare on the fried wonton, top with thinly sliced Thai chili and toasted sesame seed and serve immediately 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simply Sweet Orange Custard...

"Honey!  What’s for dessert?”   That what I would hear every single night from my sweet tooth hubby who has to have, must have, something sweet after dinner almost every night.  I, myself, am not a big fan of a sweet stuff.  After finish my dinner that means I’m done eating.  If I do really want something sweet, I’d rather have an orange, tangerine (my favorite), or a cup of grapes or berries, or any other kind of fruit that is in season after dinner.  Nowadays, I found myself start to make more dessert than I used to before just to make a hubby stop asking about it, once in a while, which he doesn’t really mind if I don’t make it, he can just has some fruit and be happy still. 

Since we always have some oranges store in the basket on the counter in the kitchen all the time, I decided to make something sweet and simple, something that I like it, too!  You can’t beat that, right?  ^__^

What you need:
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh squeeze orange juice
1 tbsp finely grates orange zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup milk – I used reduced-fat milk
A few drops of vanilla extract

How to:  Preheat the oven at 350’F
  • In a small bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed for a few minutes
  • Add the eggs, flour and salt and continue beating at the same speed until it thickened
  • Stir in milk, orange juice, orange zest, and lemon juice
  • Pour into 4 /6-oz. ramekins, place ramekins in baking pan and add about 1 or 2 in. of boiling water to pan
  • Bake uncovered at 350’ F for 40-45 minutes until it set in the middle and the surface of the custard turn slightly golden brown
  • Carefully remove ramekins from baking pan and serve warm with a piece of fresh orange segment on top

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easy Bunny Deviled Eggs

Well, it’s an Easter Bunny Sunday and this is what people are making every years when it comes to the egg hunting seasons, deviled eggs!  For crying out loud, there are so many different recipes out there to make deviled eggs and I know for sure that all of them are delicious.  The truth is no matter how they are cooked, they are delightful.   And who doesn’t like eggs, right? 
My deviled eggs are probably the easiest recipe to make because I cheat it (and I accepted with pride!) with a store-bought basil pesto.   It’s easy, convenient, great taste, and also, it’s healthier than using mayonnaise.   Though the flavorful basil pesto is easy to make with the just a few ingredients of EV olive oil, basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper, blended together in the food processor, but this store-bought I got from Fresh and Easy store tastes awesomely good, and my hubby loves to buy it all the time.  When using the pesto for my deviled eggs, I also top a drop of Sriracha hot sauce to give the eggs a little spice kick.  And the Persian cucumber sliced at the end, surprisingly, will help refresh your palate afterward, trust me!

5 hard-boiled eggs cut lengthwise and separate all the egg yolks

3 tbsp store-bought Basil Pesto

Pinch of salt and pepper

Sriracha hot sauce

1 tsp of each red/yellow bell pepper thinly cut into tiny cubes

1 medium Persian cucumber thinly sliced

- cut hard-boiled eggs lengthwise and separate all the yolks into a mixing bowl

- add basil pesto into egg yolks, add salt and pepper to taste and mix well

- fill all the egg white cups with the yolks mixture evenly

- add a drop of sriracha hot sauce on top and garnish with tiny cubes of red/yellow bell pepper, voila!



Saturday, April 7, 2012


I’ve made pad-see-ew in numerous times in Thailand at my small restaurant in Khon Kaen University for college students, most of the times, that came in for a quick and easy meal all day long. And this dish was one of many popular dishes beside fried-rice, spicy chicken basil, and spicy beef balls noodle soup that I made in just a few minutes per one serving (it so-called “fast food” for Thais as for hamburger or sandwich here in the U.S., yeb! You heard it right, “fast food”). 

Pad-see-ew is a very popular in Thailand for a quick meal throughout the day. It’s easy to make, yet it’s so complicated for some of those who have never tried to make it before. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because this dish is required the highest heat when cooking with a well-seasoned steel wok (or known as a Chinese wok) on the high- heat gas stove, so you can get a toasty test quality of the burnt dark soy sauce mixed with other seasonings at the bottom of the wok. That is a key of cooking pad-see-ew.

If you attempt to use a non-stick stir-fry pan to make pad-see-ew, you will be disappointed with the result, big time, no matter how good the recipe is.   However, this is supposed to be simple as I always say to you in the first place, right?    So here's the deal…..If you really want to try this at home and do not have a steel wok but a non-stick pan, you have to let it burns (just a little) at the bottom while cooking it, so you can get the nearest result of the restaurant "flavor” for your homemade effort.   As for noodles, use fresh noodles only!    Why?  If you use other kinds of dried noodles, you will get a different product that isn’t pad-see-ew!   BUT hey!…sky’s the limit.   You can experiment with other kind of fresh noodles like linguine pasta or Udon noodles and make it you own, how’s that sound?     What I’m saying that if you want a real authentic pad-see-ew, you should definitely use this kind of flat rice noodles only!    Please don’t freak out or give up after reading this.   Thus, pad-see-ew usually calls for Chinese broccoli, but this time I like to add some color of red bell pepper and slices of carrots to make it pretty to look at, and colorful dish is very important for our daily diet, too.    Did I mention before that I love colorful dishes?    Chinese broccoli or Kai-lan can be found at most Asian supermarket but you can use regular broccoli florets or broccolini as it has the same great taste as well.     Okay, enough talking and let’s start it, shall we?

What you need:

12 oz flat rice noodle – about 1/3 of the package
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons sweet dark or black soy sauce – I use a healthy boy brand
2 tablespoons light soy sauce – I used soy sauce with mushroom, healthy boy brand
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 clove garlic, minced
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup chicken chopped (or meat of your choice)
1 cup Chinese broccoli, chopped
½ cup carrot, thin cut crosswise - optional
½ cup red bell pepper, thin sliced – optional
4 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
A dash of ground white pepper

**This dish requires a fast stir-fry, so have everything prepared and ready to go for quick cooking

- Add the oil to the wok on the high heat and let it smokes up a little before adding minced garlic and quickly stir.
- Immediately add meat to the wok, stir, add chopped onion and cook until the meat is cooked through.

- Add noodles and sweet dark soy sauce, stir. Add chopped carrots and red bell pepper. Then bring the noodles and meat to the side of the pan to make room for the eggs

- Add the eggs and scramble to cook the eggs, gently fold in noodles and meat to mix well

- Add seasoning of light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white vinegar and stir. Let the bottom of the wok burn a little bit while stirring it gently
- Add all the vegetables and cook another few minute, turn off the heat and add a dash of ground white pepper
- Serve immediately while it’s still hot with some dried chili flake as desire



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thai Tuna Fish Cakes and Cucumber/Carrot Relish

Have I ever mentioned to you that I have such a wonderful brother-in-law who loves fishing; I meant…he really…really…really loves fishing.  His fav is deep sea fishing which he fish for Yellow Fin Tuna, Blue Fin Tuna, Albacore, and Cod, just to name a few, and even giant squid sometimes.   And I am lucky enough that he shares his fish with me…because my hubby (his brother) and I love eating fish! That’s why!  There are all kinds of recipes to cook with fish; especially yellow fin tuna that no one denies that it is perfect for sashimi!   Perhaps, yellow fin tuna sashimi could be my next post, what do you think?

This time I’m making Thai style spicy fish cakes with Blue Fin Tuna.  Sounds great!   Originally, Thai fish cakes are made from white-fleshed fish that providing more smooth, light, and fluffy of texture to the fish cakes. Adding to its distinctive flavor are spicy red chili paste, thinly slice green bean, and kaffir lime leaf with no batter is required for this recipe which makes it so much more flavorful with the fresh taste of fish, spices, and herbs.  With today convenience, you can find already ground up white fish paste ready to use for fish cakes at most Asian markets (in fresh and frozen form), which I use it sometimes for more authentic taste.  As for tuna I’m using this time, it gives the cakes more on meaty side than the white fish, and the taste is nothing different but the same amazing taste when serves hot as an appetizer with sweet chili sauce ( I use Mae Ploy brand can be found at any supermarket store) for dipping along with cucumber and carrot relish and a sprinkle of roasted peanuts gives a little crunchy that will make you smile… me.  ^___^

What you need:

1 ½ lbs Tuna
1 egg
2 tbsp red chili paste
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Thai fish sauce or light soy sauce
1 cup fresh green beans, thinly sliced
¼ cup or 5 big leaves kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
2 cups Canola oil for deep frying

- Cut tuna into small pieces before put in the food processor so it’s easier when pulse, add egg, red curry paste, salt, sugar, fish sauce or soy sauce, corn starch and blend to mix well and until it form smooth consistency paste-like

 - Transfer the fish paste into a large bowl, add green beans and kaffir lime leaf and fold them together to mix well

- Form a patty of fish paste with your wet hand to prevent from sticking and place onto a parchment paper until you finish forming patties so you can fry them at the same time

- Set a deep-frying pan with canola oil at 375’F degree

- Drop in fish cakes 3-4 each batch and cook for about 8 minutes, turning once
- Serve immediately while it hot for its best with cucumber/carrot relish and sweet chili sauce

 Cucumber and carrot relish:

1 cup cucumber thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup carrot thinly sliced crosswise
½ cup radish thinly sliced
2 medium jalapeno chili, thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup or 4 medium shallot, thinly slice
¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

- add all the veggies into a bowl and set aside

¼ cup white vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt

- in a small sauce pan, add white vinegar, sugar, and salt over low-heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, let the mixture cool down before add it into the veggies bowl

- When the mixture has cooled down, add it into a veggies bowl and let it marinate for 10 minutes, sprinkle with roasted peanut before serving



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