More recipe suggestions...

Lately, Kevin and Nina have had opinions about what I cook for dinner. Tonight, Kevin told me that the thing he enjoys doing with me is cooking. What a blessing to be able to use my passion for cooking and eating with my loved ones. Here are some of the dinners that had a "thumbs up" rating these past few months. Hope this helps you plan some meals for your family. :)

MUSSELS 2 WAYS : Steamed and Baked :

I found 2 lbs of mussels for $12 and I was ecstatic! I have been on the lookout for cheaper seafood and I'm glad I did. The problem is they were in these 2lb bags so I really didn't have a choice but to cook them all! 

Steamed Mussels with White Wine

Source : Hank Shaw, about.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb live mussels
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 chopped scallions or 1 chopped shallot
  • 2 chopped green garlic shoots or 2 cloves chopped garlic

Preparation:

Scrub and debeard the mussels. The "beard" is the fibrous hairy thing hanging from one side of the tasty bivalve. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion.

In case you are wondering, a mussel is alive if it reacts. Its shell should be closed. If it is open, sit the mussel on the kitchen couter for a bit. It may close when you are not looking.

Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large, wide-bottomed pot with a lid; I use a Dutch oven. Saute the shallot or green onion until it is soft but not browned. Add the garlic cloves if using -- if you are using green garlic, leave it out for now.

Add the white wine (I'd suggest a chenin blanc or something crisp, but you can use any decent white), and bring it to a boil. Add the mussels in one layer if possible.

Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for 3-8 minutes. After three minutes, check the mussels; many should be open. You want them all open, but some will do this faster than others.

As soon as most of the mussels are open, turn off the heat and toss in the green garlic, if using. Cover for a minute while you prepare bowls and plates.

Spoon out plenty of mussels and broth, which should be briny enough to not need any more salt. Throw out any mussels that did not open.

Serve with crusty bread, more white wine -- and an extra bowl for the shells.

Baked Tahong (Source : panlasangpinoy.com)

Ingredients:

2 lbs mussels (tahong), cleaned and boiled until the shells open

1/2 cup butter, softened

7 cloves garlic, pounded and minced

1 cup quickmelt cheese, grated

Cooking procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine butter and garlic then mix well.

3. Remove the extra shell from the mussel. Place some butter and garlic mixture on the mussels using a teaspoon or brush.

4. Top the mussels with grated quickmelt cheese.

5. Arrange the mussels in a baking tray lined with Aluminum foil.

6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.

8. Serve as an appetizer dish. Share and enjoy!

Quick homemade pizza :

It's not as good as the traditional homemade crust, but this doesn't need much time to make. The kids enjoy making it. We've topped it with marinara sauce, pineapple, ham, pesto, goat cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, onions.

Thinking about it though, I think it is worth it to just buy pizza crust in the local pizza store.

Source : Chef Rider, allrecipes.com

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

1 tsp white sugar

1 cup warm water (110F)

2 1/2 cups bread flour

2 T olive oil

1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Asparagus with Sweet soy sauce 

(Source : vietworldkitchen.com)

1 pound medium asparagus spears

Salt

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 teaspoons light (regular) soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon toasted hulled (white) sesame seeds

1. Use your fingers to snap off the woody ends of each asparagus spear. If they are short (around 4 inches long) like the ones I bought, keep them that length. Otherwise, cut them on the diagonal into dramatic 2 inch lengths. 

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. While the water heats up, ready a large bowl of ice water and set it near the stove. 

3. Add all the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until bright green and crisp tender. Eat one to make sure.

4. Drain in a colander, then immediately transfer to the ice water bath to cool. Drain again, pat the asparagus dry with paper towel or a dishtowel, then set aside in a bowl or plastic zip-top bag. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

5. For the dressing, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl, stirring or whisking to dissolve the sugar. Taste and make sure the flavor is balanced between being rich, salty and sweet. About 2 hours before serving, toss the asparagus in the dressing and set aside for the seasonings to penetrate. Right before serving, transfer to a plate and garnish with a shower of sesame seeds. 

My Mom's Clam Chowder

1. Pan fry 3 strips of bacon until crispy. Set aside bacon, do not discard oil.

2. Using bacon fat, saute chopped garlic, onions, celery, carrots. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Put in clams (if using fresh clams, after cleaning them, boil/steam until the shells open, and discard shells, I used canned clams in water) and clam juice (I use chicken stock if I don't have clam juice)

4. Add chopped potatoes and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat on medium heat until potatoes are cooked.

5. Add cream (I've used evaporated milk / thickened it with corn starch). When you've reached your desired thickness, add in some chopped parsley and serve hot.

Tilapia in Coconut Milk with Mango Couscous

Source : all-fish-seafood-recipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds tilapia, cleaned (about 2 - 3 pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach (or mustard leaves)
  • 3 cups coconut cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bulb onion, finely sliced
  • 1 knob ginger, cut into strips
  • 2 banana peppers
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (bagoong)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil

How to cook Pinoy Tilapia in Coconut Milk:

  • Saute garlic, ginger, and onions in hot oil.
  • Add the shrimp paste and fish sauce.
  • Pour in the coconut cream and stir until natural oil from the coconut cream comes out.
  • Add the banana pepper and simmer for 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Lower the heat and add the tilapia and Simmer for 7 - 10 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and simmer for about a minute.
  • Serve the Pinoy Tilapia in Coconut Milk (Ginataang Tilapia) hot.

Mango Couscous

(Source : Oprah.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 mango , peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno chili , seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 ripe tomato , chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley sprigs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt , plus more to taste

Directions

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add garlic, mango and jalapeño. Sauté until mango begins to color, about 1 minute.

Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, couscous, raisins, tomato, lime juice, cilantro and parsley and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Japanese Spread :

Kamameshi Rice (Pinoy version)

Source :  

Nancy Reyes Lumen

1 lb Japanese pumpkin, kabocha

3/4 cup dashi stock

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

1 Cut kabocha into small chunks about 1 and 1/2 inch cube.

2 Leave skin on (the texture of the cooked skin is great!).

3 Put dashi soup stock, sugar, soy sauce, and kabocha chunks in a pan.

4 Place the pan in high heat and bring it to boil.

5 Turn down the heat to low.

6 Simmer kabocha until the liquid is almost gone.

7 Serve warm or cold. (I prefer it cold).

Sweet Kabocha (source : Japanesefood.com)

1 lb Japanese pumpkin, kabocha

3/4 cup dashi stock

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

1 Cut kabocha into small chunks about 1 and 1/2 inch cube.

2 Leave skin on (the texture of the cooked skin is great!).

3 Put dashi soup stock, sugar, soy sauce, and kabocha chunks in a pan.

4 Place the pan in high heat and bring it to boil.

5 Turn down the heat to low.

6 Simmer kabocha until the liquid is almost gone.

7 Serve warm or cold. (I prefer it cold).

Shrimp and Veggie Tempura (Source : Tyler Florence)

Ingredients

Dipping sauce:

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

Tempura:

1 pound large shrimp, peeled with tails on

1 cup rice flour, plus 1 cup for dusting

1 cup cold seltzer water

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Kosher salt

Peanut oil, for frying

2 red bell peppers, sliced into strips

2 avocados, peeled and sliced thick

1 lemon, sliced very thin

12 green beans

8 shiitake mushrooms, halved

4 scallions

Directions

Make the dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside to allow the flavors to develop.

Prepare the shrimp: Butterfly the shrimp by cutting down the back, being careful not to cut all the way through. Open the shrimp like a book and rinse well with cold water.

Make the Tempura batter: Put the flour in a bowl and whisk in the seltzer to get out all the lumps. Add the egg yolks and blend it in well. Flavor with sesame oil and a pinch of salt. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream.

Time to fry: Heat about 2 inches of peanut oil to 375 degrees F in a wok or deep skillet. Dry the shrimp and vegetables well. Dust them with flour to soak up any remaining moisture and shake off the excess. Dip them into the batter one by one. Drop 4 or 5 pieces at a time in the hot oil, do not overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown, turning once, about 3 minutes. To keep the oil clean between batches, skim off the small bits of batter that float in the oil. Remove the fried shrimp and vegetables from the oil and drain on paper towels; season them with salt. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Breakfast Cookies

(Source : My friend Kaneena, who brought some for our playdate. I had to try it!)

  • Margarine or Butter                1/2 cup
  • White Sugar                          1/4 cup
  • Brown Sugar                          1/3 cup
  • Egg                                          1
  • Flour, Whole Wheat                1 cup
  • Baking Powder                       1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda                          1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla                                   1/2 tsp
  • Rolled Oats                            1/2 cup
  • Coconut                                 1/2 cup
  • Raisins                                  1/2 cup
  • Sunflower Seeds, No Shells    1/4 cup
  • Flax Seeds                             2 tbsp

(the recipe called for whole flax seeds, but I used ground flax seed - apparently it's absorbed better by the body)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. In a large bowl, mix together margarine/butter, sugars, egg, flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and rolled oats.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Drop dough by tablespoons 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Fettucini with Zucchini and Shrimp

1. Fry thinly sliced zucchini in olive oil until cooked. Set aside.

2. Cook fettucini according to package directions.

2. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil. Add anchovy paste and red pepper flakes.

3. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper.

4. Add some white wine, then some cherry tomatoes.

5. Let sauce cook in 3 minutes, then add in cooked fettucini and some pasta water.

6. Top with fresh parsley.

Kale Chips (source : Gwyneth Paltrow)

Recipe: 

1 big bunch of kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into pieces 

2 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, toss the kale with the olive oil and spread out on 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy!

Chicken Pot pie with Parmesan Corn Meal Crust (source : Giada de Laurentiis)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

4 tablespoons flour

4 cups chicken or turkey stock

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups shredded turkey

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 prepared pie crust

1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in saucepan and cook chopped onion until tender. Stir in celery and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until tender. Stir in turkey, parsley and peas. Pour mixture into casserole. Top with pie crust and brush with egg. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden.