Monday, November 4, 2013

Dried Fuyu Persimmon


Fuyu persimmons are my favorite fall fruit that I can’t hardly wait to pick them. And I can tell you this. I am a lucky woman. Because my persimmon tree is loaded for me to enjoy every years since it’s grown enough to produce beautiful orange hue fruit. And the tree is barely 7 feet tall! In fact, not only me who enjoy the persimmons, the hubby has become a fan of persimmon as well (because he couldn’t stand seeing me love to eat them too much, so he tried and……voila!)

I remember last time I posted simple persimmon gallett and it was delicious. I’m thinking of making it again actually or I might make persimmon pie or persimmon cinnamon coffee cake!
  Sounds good, eh? 


When I was still employed, one of my colleague brought me a small ziploc bag of dried persimmon, which he made it himself. I swear to myself that one of these day I would try to dehydrate my own persimmon. But the chance of doing that has never come true. The hubby and I love to eat them fresh, just like eating an apple, and we eating them like crazy. Yeah, like crazy!  

So, this is it. This year, this time, this moment, I am going to dry my persimmons!!!

I cut up my persimmon and didn’t even realize how much I have cut them already. As far as I knew, I have filled up all the trays to go into the dehydrator machine which took me the whole morning to finish it up.    


 I left the machine run for about 10 hours. However, I have checked them in between because my nerves wouldn’t let me stay still. Well, some of them were ready but some were not. I guessed that was because my inconsistency when I cut them, because I cut them with a knife. They came out in different size in thickness. Oh well! So, I took those that were ready out of the machine and let it run for another couple hours for those that were still moist.
And the result? Oh yes!
One thing I know that I have gone c-r-a-z-i-e-r about persimmons! 

How to:

As much or as little of fresh Fuyu persimmons
A sharp knife or a mandolin slicer if you have one
A dehydrator machine

- clean your persimmons and slice about 3/4” thick. Peel or unpeeled, you decide – I didn’t peel mine.
- arrange in single layer on each tray and put them back to the dehydrator
- left the machine run for at least 8 hours or more if you like your persimmon in the drier side. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yum Pla Muk Yang / Spicy Grilled Giant Squid Salad

I love squid. But cleaning them is just another thing to think about, especially when I have a little time to spare these days. I love the fact that there is already cleaned squid in froze form available in supermarket everywhere. Of course, fresh squid out from the ocean are the best for cooking, but like I said “cleaning them is just another thing to think about.”    And I am lazy, too.   :(

Two days ago, I brought home a package of giant squid from Asian market for grilling that would go with Thai spicy dipping sauce for my laidback weekend. I didn’t know what had happened, my original plan of grilled squid and spicy dipping sauce had turned into a salad. And I was happy with that.

This salad, of course, was spicy, salty, sweet and sour. Just like another typical Thai salad that must have all of these elements combined. There was nothing special about this salad, really, except it’s so easy to make and too yummy to pass. And if you like squid and spicy, I can tell you this… Spicy grilled squid salad go good with your favorite drinks, especially Thai beer. Yummmm….

What you need:

10 oz. large squid tubes cleaned
1 medium Persian cucumber, thin sliced
1 cup celery, sliced with leaves included
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup carrot, julienned 
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, thinly sliced – optional
* use any veggies you like
- set the grill on medium high and grill the squid approximately 5-7 minutes on both side, or when it start to curl and shrink, it's done.  as you know overcooked squid tend to be rubbery in texture.  so you don't want that.
- when squid is cooked, cut it into rings
- combine all of the veggies and grilled squid in a mixing bowl and pour dressing over and mix well
- serve immediately

2 tbsp. fish sauce
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
5-6 Thai green + red chilies
3 cloves garlic
- whisk all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. set aside.
*this salad dressing is just basic, so adjust to your own taste


Monday, October 21, 2013

Khoa Pad Namm Prik Pao / Thai Roasted Chili Paste Fried Rice

My idea for lunch today is a quick fried rice with roasted chili paste or namm prik pao in Thai. Namm prik pao is used in a variety of Thai cooking from soup, spread, salad, and stir-fried, especially the well-known dish “Tom Yum” and “Thai Spicy Manila Clams in Roasted Chili Paste and Thai Basil” I made last year.

Namm prik pao is not as spicy as other chili paste that is usually uses in curry. It tends to be a little on the sweet side with a light hint of heat from roasted chili. It’s also used as a spread on a piece of bread as you may as jam to make a sandwich. Sounds a little strange to you? I know. But if you are an open-minded person and willing to try whatever new to you, I’m pretty sure that you will like find it very interesting. Who know, you might like it?

The process of making this dish is doing the quick stir-fried since all the veggies have to be cut up and ready to go. The cooking time may take less than 10 minutes over medium-high heat. But don’t worry just try to be easy as you go if you are not familiar to stir-fry. But if you’ve made fried rice before, it’s just really the same method.

 Since the roasted chili paste is not as spicy as I like it to be, I have added slices jalapeno to spice the dish up a little. The fried egg is just an optional that go together with the dish very well if you like to have one.

What you need:   1 servings

3/4 cup cooked white (or brown) rice – refrigerated leftover rice is preferred
1/4 cup ground Turkey (or chicken, pork, beef, seafood)
1/4 cup red and yellow bell pepper, cubed
1 small green jalapeno, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mushroom, sliced
1/4 cup white onion, finely sliced
1-2 clove garlic, minced
A handful Thai basil leaves
1 tbsp. Thai roasted chili in oil
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 fried egg – optional

How to:

- add oil into a sauté pan or wok and set on medium-high heat
- when the oil gets hot, add garlic and stir-fry for a few second just the garlic turns fragrant, add ground turkey and onion and stir to cook through
- add roasted chili oil and rice and stir a few times to combine, then add bell pepper, jalapeno, mushroom, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes, then add Thai basil, stir and turn off the heat
- serve immediately with or without fried egg as you desired


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Simple...Lentil Soup...

 “Wow! It’s such a perfect day to make soup.”   

Woke up to the gloomy cloudy morning that seemed like it would last like this all day, I quickly wrapped myself up with my oversize sweater to warm up a little before heading to the kitchen and looking for something to make soup. It was a perfect day to simmer up some soup! Oh, you should know how much I love a good hot bowl of soup as I have been waiting all summer long for this. And don’t be surprised if you see more posts on soup on my blog.  

As soon as the hubby found out that I would be making soup, he instantly said, “Are you making lentil soup?” And I took that as a hint!

As I have mentioned before that the hubby and I love to fill ourselves up with lentil soup whenever we go to the Middle Eastern restaurant (and of course, the hubby’s favorite leg of lamb).   I decided to make my own version at home with lemon and ginger.   I’ve made lentil soup for a few times and the hubby is loving it.    He usually finishes up the soup I made today, and two days later would ask me to make it again.     And that tells me, the soup is actually really good… and awesomely healthy, too.   

Just perfect for the cool air day, isn’t it? 



What you need:   for 2-4 servings

 3/4 cup dried green lentil
1 cup honey golden potato, cubed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, cubed
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh or dried thyme leaves
1 tbsp. fresh or dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. lemon juice

*** I love to soak the dried lentil first while chopping the other ingredients which make the cooking faster.

How to:

 - In a medium heavy bottom pan, add olive oil over medium heat, add onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and potato and cook until all the veggies are cook and tender approx. 7-10 minutes.  
- Then add tomato sauce, chicken stock, cumin, salt and pepper, and stir well. 
- Add thyme and oregano, low the heat to medium-low and let it cook for another 25-30 minutes or until the lentil are tender. **Time to cook lentil may vary if dried lentil are added directly to the pot.
- After the lentil are cooked, turn off the heat and add lemon juice and chopped parsley
- Serve as you wish


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pork Kang Pa / Jungle Curry Pork

Lately, I’ve been nostalgically thinking about my dad cooking: what he liked to eat; what he liked to cook the most, and what I’ve learned from him. 

My dad loved to cook and loved to eat spicy food.  Even though the weather in Thailand was so hot, sticky and yucky with the high humidity and boiling temperature, but when it's a time for cooking, some chilies, more or less, had to be included every time.     There was one dish that my dad had cooked most often than other dishes.   I remember very well because I was there to help him vigorously pounding the homemade chili paste with the heavy pastel and mortar that made out of granite forever!    The dish called Kang-Pa.    The dish was very very very spicy that when you eating it, it would make you sweat and perspire like you just got out from the hot steam shower, in which he said that was a good thing; it was good for blood circulation.   the meat of his choice for this dish was usually beef most of the time.  (I was still eating beef then when I was younger but stopped in my early 20s)    However, today I make Kang-Pa with pork because I've gave up eating beef meat long time ago.    What about the hubby if you are curious?   The hubby only prefers good cut of steak once or twice a week.     But if you have noticed, there was only one dish I cooked with beef posted on my blog.

Kang-Pa has translated to many names in English that were tried to provide some senses of what the dish is about.   Some might call it “Jungle curry” or “Country-Style curry” or “Kang-Ped.”   But whatever name one might call, it basically the kind of curry that has no coconut milk included.    The popular vegetables used for this dish are either Thai eggplants or bamboo shoot.   But any vegetables you like to eat would also work.

The dish has lots of Thai herbs and each one of them has its own little heat more or less.
First, we have red curry chili paste.  Yes, it is chili paste after all, and it’s spicy!
Second, the young green peppercorn has mild and gentle heat at first, but its heat has ability to warm your body up from the inside out.   It also has a well reputation of a fat- burner herb.
Third, Krachai is a relative of ginger and galangal, and yes, they are herbs.  Its aromatic light brow roots has less heat but it is famously used to add favor in Thai cooking.   Also, Krachai has an antimicrobial properties and help relieve stomach ache caused by gas and bloating.
And last, the Thai holy basil.   Many people are confused between Thai basil and Thai holy basil. Both types of basil have its own distinctive aroma and flavor but the differences between the two can be checked on its leaf.   Thai basil has a purple hue and smoother leaf, while the Thai holy basil has bright green color and if you look closely, its leaf has very tiny fine fur on it.   And if you rub on the Thai holy basil leaf, or chew on it, you will get the hint of lemony mixed heat which has stronger taste than the Thai basil.

Imagine how hot and spicy this dish would be with all those heat adding up together?    Oh yes! And believe me, this dish is definitely not for the faint of heart.   All I know is that my dad would definitely be really proud of me right now. 

What you need:   can be served 3-4 people

10 oz. pork meat, sliced into bite size
2 tbsp. Kang Pa chili paste or red curry chili paste
1/4 cup young green peppercorn in brine
1/4 cup Krachai in brine
1/2 cup zucchini, cut into bite size as you preferred (Thai eggplants is originally used)
3 oz. Shimeji mushrooms, root trimmed (or other type of mushrooms but not shitake)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
6-7 Thai chili, sliced
1/4 cup Thai holy basil leaves

How to:

- Set a sauté pan over medium heat, add canola/vegetable oil into the pan to heat up
- Add chili paste into the hot oil and stir fry until it fragrant
- Add pork meat and stir to cook the meat
- Add water, green peppercorn, Krachai, mushroom, and zucchini
- Season with fish sauce and sugar and add sliced chili
- Low the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked through
- Add Thai holy basil leaves and turn off the heat
- Serve with steamed jasmine white/brown rice




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Whole Wheat Peachy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Glazed

I have an itch to bake for quite sometimes now since my last popsicles I made for summer, but I just can’t decide what to bake first. When I turn around to ask the hubby, his answer would be his absolute favorite “Carrot cake!”  I should have known that already.   I asked him anyway if he would feel like to have a cake.   But the feeling of “just bake something” doesn’t work for me if no one want to eat it.   Right?

When it comes to baking, I’d more likely go for the unfussy and easy to put together recipes with a promise result.      Since I am just an amateur baker who thought herself to bake and like to try out what works and what’s not, I particularly try to avoid those recipes with too many techniques involved.    Not because I don’t want to learn to bake something that new to me (I have chiffon cake on my list that I’d like to learn how to bake one of these days), but I just have too many lazy bones in my body (what a silly excuse!).  


So, I go for the easy one today with the ingredients I already have in my pantry.  And also it’s my last chance to bake something with sweet juicy summer fruit like peach – Whole Wheat Peachy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with a Drizzle of Lemon Glazed.     Sounds yummy!

I used organic whole wheat flour for my recipe but you can absolutely use all-purpose flour or mix half of each.    One thing that I forgot to add was either ground cinnamon or ground ginger or just some ground all-spiced to give it a hint of awesomeness.  
This recipe is definitely a keeper.   I can say it is a perfect cake to take to a potluck party for sure.

The cake came out surprisingly and incredibly moist with the perfectly right amount of sweetness.
Thankfully for the lemon glazed I poured on top of the cake that slowly seeping all the way through the cake to keep the cake moist and crate the lemony sweet goodness.   Though the hubby was not crazy about the poppy seeds as much as I did, but he finished a huge piece with cool whip on the side in no time.  Yay, he didn’t like it at all (with my eyes rolling).

What you need:   for 1 9-in round cake pan

For cake:

1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 large egg
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 peaches peeled and sliced


Lemon glazed:

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
: Whisk together to mix well

How to:

- Preheat the oven to 350’F and lightly grease a 9-in round or square pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside
- In another large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and sugar for 2 minutes, and add in lemon juice and zest, vanilla, and yogurt, then stir in the dry mixture in 3 batches until well blended (I whisk everything by hand. If you have electric mixer, it would be easier and faster)
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and give it a shake to make it even
- Arrange the peaches on top of the batter, or however you like, and gently push them down into the batter a little
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the taster comes out clean
- When the cake is done, take it out from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then drizzle with lemon glaze on top
- Let cool before serving or serve warm with your cup of coffee or your favorite tea


Monday, September 16, 2013

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Shhh…. Did you hear that? The loud screams of freshness coming out from this salad.

Whenever the hubby and I go to the Middle Eastern restaurant, I usually fill myself up with pita chips, hummus, tzatziki, and tabbouleh while the hubby enjoys a few leg of lamb, lentil soup, and baklava.

By all mean, lentil soup and baklava are my favorite, too! But not so much for a leg of lamb. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Since I don’t eat beef, the lamb meat has a pretty strong taste and smell close to beef. Though I have tried “a bite,” I had threw up because of its strong flavor that just trapped in my throat and wouldn’t go down. I bet it’s good because the hubby enjoys it so much every time. I don’t mind though because I enjoy my tzatziki and tabbluleh so much every time as well.

 And today I feel like making tabbouleh myself at home with a little extras of quinoa and cucumber to add a little more body into it. But, what did I tell ya? While making this salad and after shooting a few pictures and after I finish eating this salad, I could hear the loud screams, “oh, I’m so F-R-E-S-H” til the end of my last bite. [shhh…. I was almost licking my plate!]

 What you need:   2-4 servings

1/2 cup dried quinoa
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
2 medium Roma tomatoes, cubed
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 small/1 medium Persian cucumber, cubed
1 medium Lemon juice and zest
3-4 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
A tiny pinch of sugar

How to:

- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add dried quinoa, stir and low the heat to simmer. Let it cooks for 10-15 minutes with the lid cover, check and stir occasionally, until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Set aside and let cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine parsley, mint, onion, cucumber, and quinoa.
- Whisk lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and sugar to blend well, pour over the salad and toss to mix well.
- Leave the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set and enhance the flavor before serving


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Soda-Soy Braised Spicy Riblets

These succulent looking riblets was not meant to be posted. But after the taste test result, I have to say, “Why not share this with the world?” Yeah, why not?

My first initial plan for these riblets was to cook them over the hot grill. But my lazy bones at the moment disagreed with me. It was not only because the hot weather in the afternoon that started to heat up, but also I had to make another side dish to go with it as well. As a result, I skipped steps. Instead of put those riblets on the grill and try to cook the marinated juice down to make a thick sauce to brush on the riblets while grilling, I decided to cook them in the aluminum foil pan all together with the marinated juice over the medium heat grill and forget about it for almost an hour in order to get them soft and tender. I also wanted to cook the sauce down as much as possible. Surprisingly, the sauce had cooked down and caramelized the riblets from the bottom up which created the grilled effect to the riblets with the shiny and sticky sauce all over.

My first reaction was not so sure how those riblest would come out. But after my first bite, I went nuts! “OMG!” The riblets were soft and tender, but not to the point that I could say that it will melt in your mouth. The caramelized sauce was so T-A-S-T-Y with a huge kick of spiciness from those chili and garlic I added into the marinade.

All I can say is that I licked my fingers clean eating these riblets. I will definitely make it again with chicken drumsticks next time.

What you need:

2 lbs. pork riblets, cut and cleaned
1 can soda – any flavor, coke, sprite, sierra mist, etc.
10 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
10 Thai red chili, lightly smashed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tbsp. ground black pepper

How to:

- Whisk brown sugar, pepper, and soy sauce, add garlic, chili, soda, and stir to mix well
- Pour over the pork riblets and let them marinade overnight in the refrigerator
- Turn on the grill to medium
- Transfer the marinated pork and everything to a aluminum foil pan and set it over the grill, close the grill and let it cook for 40 minutes with another piece of aluminum foil cover on top. Give the pan a shake once or twice in between. After 40m minutes, the juice should be reduced, uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes, the juice now will turn scorch brown and caramelized. Take off the heat immediately.
- Serve with a sprinkle of chopped green onion, with rice, coleslaw, salad, or as you wish.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Papaya Smoothie Detox

Seriously, I was not going to post it because I was afraid that you might say, “oh no, not another smoothie!” But one thing that you may already (or not) know that I drink my smoothie every (late) morning, sometime with or without adding yogurt. I love drinking smoothies not just for the glorious taste but also the wonderful nutrients I get from them. You know? You are not getting any younger! Plus, they make me feel like a Wonder woman who can take on anything that comes her way!


At the same time, I have so much fun trying out new combination of fruit, veggies, and juice and whatever fresh ingredients I have on hand at home that sometime the hubby never dared to try it with me, especially the detox one. What I’m trying to say is that, more for me!

What you need:   for 1 big glass

1 cup ripe papaya, cubed
1/3 cup orange juice
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium apple, chopped
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 thinly slices fresh ginger
1/2 cup crushed ice
Honey – optional

>> Add the entire ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and frothy

Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Peachy Gingered Limeade Popsicles

I made these popsicles about a few weeks ago when the heat in L.A. was so unbelievably HOT.    The day I was making them, I’ve locked myself up in the ice-cooled conditioning house with my two dogs because I was too afraid to go outside dealing with the brutally heat.   As soon as they got frozen, I ate one after another like crazy trying to cool the heat from the inside out.   And then the next day, the temperature had gone down about 20+ degrees, from 95' F to 68' F instantly, UNBELIEVABLE!  

However, making popsicles are the most fun thing I love about summer.   They are easy to make and they can be made using almost anything you have on hand, just use your unlimited imagination.  
This might be the last popsicles I made this summer season because the cool breeze of fall has been waiting to show up just around the corner.    But hey!  who say I can't have popsicles with my sweater and scarf on! 

What you need:   for 10/2oz. popsicles

1 cup chopped fresh peach (2 peaches)
3/4 cup simple gingered syrup
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

: blend everything in a blender until smooth
: fill 2 oz. popsicle molds, insert the sticks, and freeze at least 6 hours before serving

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chicken Salad Bite with Gingery Pickled Daikon & Carrot and Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce

Honestly, before I put this up, I don’t really know what to call it.   Chicken lettuce wrap?    Nah, it’s not a wrap!    Breadless Chicken Bahn Mi, perhaps?    Nah! Even though I was inspired by Bahn Mi sandwich, but I must give some respect for the authentic Bahn Mi.
Let’s say “Chicken Salad Bite” then.   Because it is a kind of salad in a small bite.

And since I’ve made pickled daikon and carrot, one essential element of Bahn Mi, I’ve posted it from the previous post, I just wanted to show you how easy that is to incorporate the pickled in a typical everyday salad like chicken salad using store bought rotisserie chicken. Besides, I don’t really feel like cooking today, except, making the quick and easy version spicy peanut sauce which took approximately 10 minutes to finish. This sauce tastes good with everything. I promise.
My chicken salad comes in a small bite because I feel like a "Diva" today after last night I had pampered myself (and the hubby) with a full body massage at our favorite massage place.   Each bite is packed with a punch of gingery spiced of the pickled and a little sweet spicy and crunchy kick of Thai peanut sauce.

And to make my “diva” moment even more divine, I served it with a well-chilled white wine just to keep me calm a little.    Cheers!   (-^_^-)

The Bite:    make as many as you like for your desired servings

Shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
Lettuce leaves
Pickled daikon and carrot
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Assemble: start with shredded chicken on the lettuce leaves, cucumber sliced and the pickled, followed by the peanut sauce and garnish with cilantro leaf.

Quick Thai Spicy peanut sauce:    makes approx. 1 cup
What you need:

1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. red curry paste
3/4 cup coarsely ground roasted unsalted peanuts or peanut butter
2 tsps. Salt
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. vinegar

How to:

Whisk coconut milk and red curry paste to mix well in a small sauce pan and heat it up on the medium heat. When it starts a little bubble boil around the edge of the sauce pan, add ground peanut (or peanut butter if used), and season with salt, sugar and vinegar. Let it cooks for another 3-5 minutes. At this point, if the sauce becomes too thick, you can add water to loosen up the sauce a little bit or as your preferred consistency. Take off the heat and let it cool in a room temperature before serving. Please keep in mind, the sauce will get thicken as it cool down.


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