Friday, June 25, 2010

L.A. Lakers Cake

My nephew turned 7 years old this week and requested for me to make an L.A. Lakers birthday cake for him . . . so we went off of his favorite player . . . "The Black Mamba" . . . Kobe Bryant. Yes I realize that Odom's # is 7 . . . by "Big T" turned 7 so we had to put that on his jersey . . . but made a black mamba snake as a reference to Bryant. I won't lie . . . I am NOT an L.A. Laker fan . . . Oh the things an aunt is willing to do for her nieces and nephews . . .

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Caramelized Onion Marinara

Pasta is a labor of love for me . . . I love to eat it and make it! I especially LOVE homemade marinara sauce!!! I don't mind simmering pasta sauce on the stove half the day while I clean house and fold laundry . . . those are the best days to make it because after working all day you can sit down to a plate of heaven!!! This time around I really cooked my sauce down and made it thick and rich. The sugar from the tomatoes caramelized . . . everything in the sauce melted together and became rich, and oh so tasty! I love this recipe!Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Caramelized Onion MarinaraRecipe by: Emily

1 large red Onion, chopped
4 14 oz cans diced Tomatoes
5-6 cloves roasted Garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped Sun dried Tomatoes in oil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2-3 tsp Sugar
1 tsp dried Basil
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1. Heat the Olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Cook onions for 4-5 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown. Lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the diced tomatoes with juice, sun dried tomatoes, 2-3 teaspoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, minced roasted garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, dried basil and tomato paste to the onions. Lower heat if needed and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. After simmering for 2 hours taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta! Enjoy

-This sauce is thick and has a rich sweetness that I love and really brings out the roasted garlic and sun dried tomoato flavors.
-You can also add fresh basil at the end if you like and or parsley.

-If you want the sauce to be less chunky use a potato masher and mash down the sauce half way through cooking, or puree 2 of the cans of diced tomatoes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sesame, Orange, Wasabi Noodles with Crispy Fried Tofu

I was on a bit of a Tofu kick while my hubby was away for a few days . . . he was glad to have missed my little experimentation with tofu in the kitchen . . . poor boy doesn't know what he is missing!
I promised him when we got married that he would never have to eat tofu AND that I would never "sneak" it into anything that I made. I have held to that promise . . . even though he may not fully believe me . . . anyways I like tofu, I may never crave it but I think it is fun to experiment with. I really liked it in this dish . . . with a crispy texture on the outside and the soft middle inside. It was pretty tasty! The cilantro and green onion add a great flavor and texture as well . . . I wouldn't bother making this dish if you don't have the fresh herbs and scallions!
Sesame, Orange, Wasabi Noodles with Crispy Fried Tofu
Recipe by: Emily
1-2 packages Udon noodles (or any favorite Asian noodle)
1 block Firm Tofu
1/2 cup Corn Meal
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup Canola Oil (you can also use peanut or vegetabel oil)
1 Red Pepper, seeded and julienned
1/4 -1/3 cup Wasabi Soy Dipping Sauce
2 tsp Canola Oil
2-3 Tbsp Orange Juice
1/2-1 tsp Orange Zest
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
2 Green Onions, diced
1 handful Cilantro, torn or chopped
Toasted Sesame Seeds to garnish

1. Slice the tofu in half lengthwise and then into 1/2 inch slices. Place the sliced tofu in a sallow dish and drizzle with the wasabi soy sauce, turn tofu over to coat both sides. Allow tofu slices to marinate for 1/2 hour.

2. Prepare noodles according to package directions and set aside.

3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Mix the corn meal with a pinch of cayenne pepper in a bowl. Dip the tofu slices in the cornmeal mixture to coat on all sides, tapping away excess meal. (Be sure to save the wasabi soy sauce.) Fry the tofu in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side in the oil until lightly browned. Drain the tofu slices on a paper towel and set aside.

4. Remove the oil from the pan and wipe skillet with a paper towel. Add 2 tsp of oil back to the pan; add the red pepper to the skillet and stir fry for a few minutes to soften slightly. Add the reserved wasabi soy sauce, orange juice, sesame oil, sugar, and green oniont to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute; add the noodles and toss to coat. Plate the noodle mixture then top with crispy tofu slices, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hot and Sour Soup

I LOVE oriental food! I love spicy things and I love the back of the throat heat that is in this soup! Ironically I made this on the hottest day of summer that we have had so far and tonight I am freezing due to the weather change and the fact that our AC was blasting all day while we were out of town today . . . so I could really go for a bowl of this soup now to thaw my frozen toes!
Hot and Sour SoupRecipe by: Emily

1/2 cup dried Shitaki Mushrooms
1 tsp peeled and minced Ginger
1 tsp Red Chile Paste, such as sambal oelek (add more if you like it really hot)
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 cup canned Bamboo Shoots, sliced
2 boneless Pork Chops, sliced into 1 inch strips
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
Fresh cracked Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
1 Quart Chicken Stock
1 inch piece Ginger, peeled and quartered
1 Green Onion, cut into quarters
4 sprigs of Cilantro
1/2 square Firm Tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
6 tsp Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Chopped green onions and cilantro leaves, for garnish


1. Steep the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until plumped. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
2. Heat one quart of chicken stock over medium-low heat in a sauce pan, add the peeled and quartered ginger, quarted green onion, and 4 sprigs of cilantro to the pot. Allow chicken stock to steep for 1/2 an hour before using simmering lightly. Be sure to strain the ginger, green onion and cilantro from the stock.

3. Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, add to the wok. Cook for 3 or 4 few minutes until lightly browned. Add the minced ginger, chili paste, shitaki mushrooms, bamboo shoots; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavors. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, pour it into the wok and toss everything together. Pour in the Chicken Stock, bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir until smooth. Mix the slurry into the soup and continue to simmer until the soup thickens. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1 direction to get a current going, then stop stirring. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream and watch it spin around and feather in the broth (it should be cooked almost immediately.) Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.