Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Jordan went to spend the night at a buddy's tonight. He hates Sushi, but we all love it. So it is the perfect time to make it. There are a million ways to make sushi. I prefer all vegetarian of course. My husband loves crab and Taylor loves shrimp. Tonight I do not have crab, so I am just making Shrimp Tempura suhsi rolls and vegetarian sushi. The first thing you need to have is Nori. You can find it at any grocery store next to the asian food. They are small sheets of seaweed paper. The next thing you need is sumeshi rice. Sumeshi is the Japanese term for the sushi rice. Here is how you make it:

•3 cups uncooked short grain rice, I acually buy sushi style rice made by rice select.
•3 cups water
•12 tbsp rice vinegar
•10 tbsp sugar
Cooking Directions
1.Cook the rice, using equal parts rice and water. I use a rice cooker.
2.Put the rice vinegar and sugar in a small pot over medium heat.
3.Stir until the sugar has melted into the rice vinegar.
4.Once the rice is finished cooking, take the rice out of the pot and put it in a large bowl
5.Cool the rice and rice vinegar mix, then slowly pour the rice vinegar mix over the rice, using a cutting motion to mix it into the rice with a WOODEN SPOON. Do not use metal when dealing with vinegar, it reacts to the vinegar and makes it taste funny.

For shrimp tempura you need:
1 cup ice cold water
1 large egg
3/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
cooking oil
1.In a medium bowl, mix the water and the egg.
2.In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda.
3.Stir the flour mix into the egg and water mix.
4.Stick the batter in the fridge for 30 minutes
5.If you are using shrimp, peel, de-vein, and wash it. Cut small cuts across the belly of the shrimp, to keep it from curling when you cook it.
7.Heat the oil in a deep fryer at 350 degrees.
8.Fry until it is golden brown.

Sushi is made all as a matter of how you like it. Everyone likes different ingredients. When rolling you need a bamboo sushi roller, We find it much easier if you first cover the bamboo roller with saran wrap, then place Nori on top of the bamboo roller.Cover the nori 3/4 of the way with sumeshi,
add wanted ingredients. I add cucumber, avacado, green onions, chives, cream cheese to mine,

 It is important to Jullian cut your veggies super super thin. Start rolling the side that is covered all the way with sumeshi. Shape... then cut. It is pretty easy.

I eat mine with soy sauce and Wasabi.

For the meat eaters I add avacado, green onions, Shrimp tempura, chives and cucumber.
Here is what the finished result of Shrimp Tempura Sush Roll
Randy likes his with Soy, Wasabi, Siracha and pickled ginger. I didn't get a shot of the pickled ginger, but you can find that in your grocery produce section.

Have fun and happy sushi eating!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pine Nut Mayhem

Saturday morning I woke up with a weird sore throat. It was different than any other sore throat I have ever had. But, I had to work at the fair, get the Pure Country Pet Boutique dog clothes booth up and running for my daughter. So even though I felt yucky, I had to push through it. By the end of the day I was really feeling bad. I woke up several times at night and had a high fever. I couldn't find any other medicine, so I took Benedryl. Good thing. Turns out I had a reaction to Pine nuts. 2 days later my fever is gone, but I can't taste anything but a yucky detergent taste in my mouth. This is not a good thing for a cook. Turns out a lot of people have this reaction to Pine nuts that come from China. This problem is called Pine Nut Intoxication, Pine Mouth amonst other things, and there is a lot of info out there about it.
It is even on Epicurious: 
steady Health:
Pinch My Salt:
There are thousands of posts about this problem. Course I had an allergic reaction, on top of the pine mouth.
There is however temporary relief of the horrible taste. After hours of reading I found a post that said if you cut up a large chunk of ginger into small pieces, boil it with 1 quart water... reduce heat once it boils and simmer for 20 minutes. Add some honey and lemon and drink. It relieves the bad taste for 20 - 30 minutes. Long enough to enjoy a meal... thank goodness. I will never eat pine nuts again. That is sad for me. Because I love pesto. But I was told that each time I eat them, my reaction can worsen each time. Which is probably why it went undiagnosed before.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pad Thai

Well I went and got sick. Sunday morning I woke up with a high fever. I am still sick, but my fever is going down. I had already bought my ingredients for dinners this week, so my sweet husband Randy is cooking tonight. I gave him the recipe to follow.If he can do it, all of you can. =) 
It is a simple recipe that is comfort food for me. Randy did a great job and even the kids gobbled it up. Randy added Chicken for his and Jordans, but here is the recipe without chicken.

Pad Thai
24 ounces dried rice sticks or rice noodles
12 tablespoon brown sugar
9 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
12 tablespoons soy sauce
6 teaspoons canola oil
9 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Steamed Broccoli ....I like mine al dente
1 cup fresh cilantro
3/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

1. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, and soy sauce

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add green onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.

4. Add broccoli, noodles, and soy sauce mixture to skillet, toss constantly until noodles and broccoli are coated with sauce.
5. Serve noodles with lime wedges and top with cilantro and chopped peanuts

serve with Siracha for spice.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Muffins aux brisures de chocolat Fudge lowfat

Sticking with my trying to eat healthy kick... for dessert I am making a low fat version of chocolate muffins. You can make it even healthier by using oat flour, but I'm not this time. baby steps. =)

Fudge Chocolate Chip Muffins
•1 applesauce
•½ cup sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•¼ teaspoon almond extract
•¾ cup flour
•1/3 cup cocoa powder
•2 teaspoons baking powder
•½ teaspoon baking soda
•½ teaspoon salt
•½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (if vegan, they have to be dairy free. But I like my original toll house.

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use paper cupcake liners in a muffin tin and combine ingredients.
2.Evenly scoop into muffin tins.
3.Bake for 20 - 30 minutes check after 20 minutes. if toothpick entered in the middle comes out clean, they are done..
4.Place toothpick in center. When the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are done.
5.Allow to fully cool, then pop out with a spoon.

Blooming Cipolla and Pâtes au pesto d'avocat

I am happy it is Friday!  Our family was here for a week so I had to get caught up on things in the dog clothes world. I am all caught up on work and I am spending the day at the beach with a good friend, a book to read, and some sun rays to catch. Yesterday I bought these beautiful basil plants that my husband planted for me. They are gorgeous! I used them last night to make my Caprese and Tonight I am making a bloomin' onion and I am stealing another recipe from Chef Chloe tonight. We went to the farmers market and got a bag of 8 avacadoes for next to nothing. Then I saw her recipe for Pâtes au pesto d'avocat ... simply translated: Avocado Pesto Pasta. Basil and Avacados...Perfect! I am also making a tossed salad. Onion, Salad, Pasta, perfect for me, but not enough for my Carnivore house. So I am making some fried chicken on the side for them.

Here is my Vegan friendly Bloomin' Onion recipe:

2 Onions
2 cups flour
2 t paprika
1 t cayenne
1 t pepper
1 t vegetable broth powder
1/2 t poultry seasoning
1 t salt

Beer Batter:
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
2 t paprika
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t vegetable broth powder
1 12 oz can warm beer

• Peel the paper off the onion but keep the base in tact

• Slice large sweet onions almost all the way through, criss crossed.

• Soak in ice water over night.

• Drain well, at least 15 minutes before dipping
• Remove the center of the onion... I just cut out about 3/4 inch core but remember to keep the base in tact.
• Dip onion in Seasoning
• Dip in Plain unsweetened soy milk
• Dip onion in Seasoning again
• Dip in beer batter
• Deep fry in Hot oil 375 degrees until deep golden color.
Sprinkle with salt and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. For me its gotta be spicy. =)

Here is Chef Chloe's Vegan Pasta Recipe and pics of the process.
If you don't care about Vegan, then you can make your pasta like I do, and you don't have to have the dried boxed pasta =)
Avocado Pesto Pasta

Serves 6
What You Need:
1 pound dried linguini
20 Big Basil leaves
½ cup pine nuts
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ of a lemon)
3 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (optional)
non vegan: add 1 cup parmesan cheese.

What You Do:
1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to package directions. While pasta cooks, in a food processor, blend basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Drain pasta. In a large serving bowl, toss pesto with hot, freshly cooked pasta and garnish each serving with a basil leaf. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with sundried tomatoes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


So that is what I discovered I am. I discovered there are many many types of Vegetarians. Many Many levels. I am a Pescatarian which means I abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. I am not Vegan. HOWEVER... I think I am going to adopt a lot of the Vegan ways. like cupcakes. Those cupcakes were just as moist and wonderful as anything that I have ever eaten. If I can make it Vegan, I will. Even my picky picky son liked them. Now to get her to post the chai tea cupcake recipe. I will pay for it. Let's get her to cave. =)

My attempt at a Vegan cupcake. Shhhhhh don’t tell the family. ;)

Ok after watching Cupcake Wars this week. I am really intrigued by Chef Chloe  who won cupcake wars, not only that, but all her cupcakes were vegan. Now unless these blow me out of the water I am not about to give up my butter permanently. But I really want to try making a something that is all Vegan and see how much my family notices. I am an on again off again vegetarian Because I really really really do not care for meat. Time constraints sometimes makes me cave because there is nothing else around, that and I do love taquitos, but honestly I am just as happy to just eat the fried shell with no meat in there.. Due to having a lot of visitors, I once again need to lose some weight. I am back on my no meat kick. Even though my recipes have meat, it is to feed the carnivores I live with. I swear I am surrounded by everyone that LOVES all things MEAT. For instance. Tonight I am making my Chicken Caprese. I just don’t put chicken on mine, I make extra tomato /garlic/basil sauce. I have been doing that for years. When we make burgers, Taylor and I do a veggie burger. Taylor I think could easily give up meat. If it were just her and I in the house we would be a lot thinner. We both love pasta and bread. SO if you are one of those non meat eaters, please just omit the meat from the pasta recipes. I promise all the flavor is still there.

Oh and I am super excited because today I ordered my mushrooms. Check this place out:  they recycle peets coffee grounds and make grow at home mushroom kits. Lots more mushroom purses are gonna be happening now! I bought 2 because if you buy 2 it is free shipping. There will be more blogging about it as my mushrooms grow.

As I said tonight I am making Caprese, but I am also making the winning recipe vegan cupcake from cupcake wars.

This is 100% Chloe’s recipe from Chloe’s site

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
(Makes 12 Cupcakes)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Frosting, recipe below
1 ½ cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. Sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk, oil, vinegar, Vanilla, and espresso powder until smooth.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a fork or small whisk.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners until each cup is 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

5. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, slice off the top 1/3 of each cupcake and slather with frosting and sliced strawberries. Place the top of the cupcake back on top and add an additional bit of frosting and sliced strawberries. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

4 cups confectioners' sugar, preferably organic
1/2 cup refined coconut oil at room temperature OR margarine (recommended: Earth Balance Organic Soy-Free Non-Hydrogenated buttery Spread) I used the Earth balance. But I used 3/4 cup. It didn't firm up until I added more.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup water

1. Combine the confectioners' sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer.
2. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. With the mixer running, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until the desired buttercream consistency.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Busy week! Happy Graduation Justin!!!

I spent the better part of the morning working on new dog clothes for my company Pure Country Pet Boutique, and the new photo contest for customers to vote on. We are getting ready for all of our kids to come visit for 9 days, PLUS This week is Graduation. Many of my daughters close friends are graduating. Also Justin, who lives with us and is like a son to us, is also graduating. We are throwing him a graduation party tonight. His 3 favorite foods are Spaghetti, Pizza and Fried Chicken. So I am making all 3. He also loves dessert pizza, so I am making that as well. We are very proud of him for finishing High School, so what better way to celebrate than with food? While this is not a gourmet post. I will share with you the recipe for fried chicken, and pizza, as well as post some pictures of the other food. I am specifically NOT making my gourmet spaghetti with homemade Bolognese sauce. He is 18 and wants typical boy food. So I am refraining from my usual palate pleasers and switching to kid pleasers for today's post. I do however make my pizza from scratch. I have yet to find a pizza I like better, and amazingly enough all the kids love it too. Here is the recipe for the dough:
Pizza Dough

• 1 cup warm water
• 2 1/4tsp active dry yeast
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon Cornmeal

I use my kitchenaid mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm water and yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the olive oil, flour, and salt. Mix with the dough hook until the dough comes together and climbs up the dough hook.

Remove the dough from the mixer and, on a floured surface, form into a smooth ball shape. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm, draft free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to desired size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Sprinkle a pizza stone with the cornmeal and place dough on top of the stone. Cover with your favorite pizza toppings. I make my pizza sauce, but you can even use your favorite marinara. Mozzerella, pepperoni... whatever everyone likes.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes depending on how thick you made the crust.

For the fried chicken, I adapted this from Paula deen several years ago. I have watched her do several throwdowns and cooking competitions and she always wins. Nothing beats real southern homemade fried chicken.
Southern Fried Chicken

• 3 eggs
• 1/3 cup water
• About 1 cup hot red pepper sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
• 2 cups self-rising flour
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• House seasoning, recipe follows
• 1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
• Oil, for frying, I use canola oil, Paula uses Peanut oil.

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange.

In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the house seasoning by sprinkling it on like you would salt. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture. A common way to coat the chicken in the south, is to put flour in a brown bag and shake the chicken in it.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot or use a deep fryer like I do. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.

Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

House Seasoning:
• 1 cup salt
• 1/4 cup black pepper
• 1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months

I also made cookie Pizzas and like I said... spaghetti.

Here are some of the kids digging in

Happy Graduation Justin! We are all so proud of you!!!

Tots thought she might get a bite

Saturday, June 12, 2010

sacs à main musroom

We are very blessed to be going to Maria's tonight. Her sister Denise is here from Brazil and will be cooking Brazillian food for us all. All of us are supposed to bring an appetizer. I am bringing my croquettes (since that is a brazillian dish) and one of my friends and families favorites...

A few years back we lived in a huge house out in the country on 5 acres. Originally I thought this was our dream home. But it did not take long to realize 5 acres of grass being mowed equaled 5 hours of yard work every week, the 6,000 square foot house meant we could all be home, but never see eachother. To make a long story short, I have never been more miserable in my life than when I lived in our "dream house". However, the ONE thing I did love, is that huge kitchen. It was a gathering place for our friends and family.  We saw the light and now live in a 2800 square foot home in beautiful Southern California. Any way. This recipe reminds me of the times we would gather in our big kitchen back home. It is the one and only mushroom dish my daughter likes. Simply translated they are "Mushroom Purses".

These have the perfect balance of Leeks and Mushrooms. Please remember when working with Leeks you wash and wash them. Leeks are grown in the sand and easily hide sand inside. Even though it takes time, the leeks are way worth it. They have become a staple in my kitchen.
So my "tip of the day" - wash wash wash wash your leeks before cooking. Otherwise you will end up with gritty food.

Mushroom Purses
4 Leeks, washed thoroughly
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs of mushrooms button mushrooms.
fontina cheese
1-2 tablespoons of fresh crushed thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 cup pinot gris
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator
1 Stick unsalted butter melted
Long stemmed chives
1. To prepare leeks, cut away the blue/green leaves on top and trim the base. Peel away the first layer.

 Slice the leeks in 1/4" rings from top to bottom. Push through each sliced ring and

 drop into a colander and then rinse with cold running water. Place the colander in a bowl  and fill with cold water. Let stand so sand/grit falls to bottom. Lift colander out of water, throw out sandy water, rinse leeks again in cold running water.
 I do this process three times. Lastly, shake away any water and set aside to dry for a few minutes. I promise you need to wash them this many times.

2. Saute leeks over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
 Do not brown. Remove from skillet and place in a large bowl

3. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop. Add 4 more tablespoons of olive oil to skillet. When hot, add of the mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan. Saute over medium high heat about 5 minutes until mushrooms are soft.

Return leeks to the skillet with the mushrooms. Add thyme, salt, pepper and wine. Cook over high heat, stirring until all liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency. Set aside.

4. Carefully unwrap the Phyllo pastry and unroll flat. Cover with a damp dish towel to prevent the dough from drying out.
5. Lay out a sheet of phyllo and brush it sparingly with melted butter. Add a sheet on top of this one, brush with butter and repeat until you have 3 sheets. Cut the sheet into 4 rectangles.

6. Place 1/3 cup of the leek/mushroom mixture in the center of the rectangle. Top this with 1 tablespoon of fontina.

7, Fold the centers of the sides inward to prevent the mixture from spilling out. Fold over and slightly twist each long end toward the center to create a cinched "purse" shape.

8. Take two or three long strands of chives and tie around each purse. Repeat with rest of mixture and sheets of phyllo pastry.

9. Place purses on an ungreased cookie sheet or baking dish. When all purses on on the sheet, place the cookie sheet with purses in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, chilling until firm.

10.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Tie a fresh WASHED long stem chive around each purse.


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