Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not your Average Pumpkin Bread!

ok, due to popular request from workplace colleagues to hurry up and post my pumpkin bread recipe, here it is, sorry for the procrastination, but you still have between now and Christmas to slide in this recipe ! This is sooooo good even big Al, who only eats chocolate chip cookies, took a bite of it and could not put it down! Now that, is AMAZING!

Not your Average Pumpkin Bread (recipe makes 2 loaves)

3/4 C mashed pumpkin or pureed (either from fresh pumpkin or Libby's canned pumpkin)
3/4 C mashed sweet potato or pureed
3 C sugar (can be reduced down to 2 1/3 C)
2/3 C vegetable oil
2/3 C milk (or water)
4 eggs
3 1/2 C flour
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger powder (optional)
1 or 2 diced apples (depending on the size of the apples, either granny smith or any apples in your pantry would do)

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients except apples and mix well with a mixer.  I typically add the eggs one at a time and continue baking, not sure if it would make a difference if you dump all 4 eggs in the mixing bowl?  When all ingredients are evenly mixed and blended, gently fold in the diced apples in your doughy mixture.  Divide into 2 loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour.  Make sure you check the middle of the bread with a knife to make sure that it comes out clean before you turn off the oven.  Alternatively, you can cut all the ingredients in half and make 1 loaf.  Do not overload your loaf pan as the baking would take longer than 1 hour, and be on the soggy side.  The lovely baked apples in the bread gives it a surprise to everybite you take. Enjoy!

Yummcious Hummus

First of  all, I would like to apologize to the audience out there this recipe does not have a picture due to several reasons that I will outline later in the blog. However, if you guys out there try this recipe and really like it, please take a moment and take picture and send it to us, we will surely post it with this recipe and will greatly appreciate it.

I decided to make this is for our weekly lab meeting. During the lab meeting, each person gets rotated to bring breakfast to feed 15 people that we have in the lab. This is my first time having to bring breakfast to the lab. Since I am in a tight budget as a grad student, I decided to set a budget for under $10 to feed 15 people. I knew going to get rotated since 3 weeks ago (we have a list of people to when to get rotated), I have started "collecting" breakfast items and formulating my menu based on what is on sale at the store. I have decided to make a breakfast casserole and hummus with french bread. I know most of you out there think hummus is an appetizer, and surely it is, but our lab members love hummus so much that it doesn't matter if it's for appetizer, entree or dessert, they can eat it anytime of the day! (and it is healthy fo ya!)

So back to the seasons that I do not have a picture for this recipe:
  1. I almost burn my blender (I thinks it's a 20 year old blender donated by a someone I know whom I appreciate very much)
  2. Uniqueness of the blender: CAN crush ice and make smoothies
  3. Disadvantage of this old blender: DOES NOT blend chickpeas, mixture is too thick-> blades got stuck->motors still running-> blender began to smoke-> chickpeas eventually got blended
  4. Lesson learned: Time to get a new blender with better motor/ Getting a real food processor

This recipe is fast and easy, should not take as long as I had, serve 10-15

  • 2 cans chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
  • 4 T tahini paste (a big shout out to Josh for contributing the paste for my dish), can get at spice store
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t papprica
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5T olive oil
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth (depending how thick you want the mixture to be)
  • salt to taste
1. Add all ingredients into the food processor/ blender, and blend until smooth
2. Depending on your spice taste pallet, add more cumin/cayenne as you like 

Aycaramba Spicey Fall Vegetable Linguine

Another post with total utilization with the recently home-made Aycaramba Spicey Cranberry Hot Sauce! Who doesn't love Fall vegetable? Here are two that is being used in today's recipe, and the blend is out of this world and totally healthy, without the Eeeeky cardboardy taste.

Aycaramba Spicey Fall Vegetable Linguine

1 box of Linguine (or any other kind of pasta in your pantry)
1 bunch kale (no its not only for decoration on a salad bar!)
1/4 - 1/2 (depending on size)  of Calabaza pumpkin, cubed in bite size
1 purple onion, rough chop
1/2 head of garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
4-6 tbsp soy sauce (this is for a whole lb of pasta, so don't be alarmed!)
1-3 tbsp of Aycaramba Spicey Cranberry Hot Sauce (http://foodieliciouslife.blogspot.com/2010/11/aycaramba-spicey-habanero-hot-sauce-and.html)
Salt and Pepper to taste, if desire.

Wash and rough chop the kale.  Boil for about 10-15 minutes to soften the vegetable.  Drain and set aside.  Boil pasta according to manufacturer's direction, set aside.  In a large skillet or wok, add a couple tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil  and stir fry garlic and onion on medium heat, and add in the Aycaramba hotsauce.  Add in the pumpkin and stir fry for a few minutes, then add soy sauce and cover for 5 minutes to soften the pumpkin.  Add in brown sugar, continue stir fry, and add in kale and finally, pasta.  Mix well.  Taste your creation, and if additional brown sugar, soy sauce of salt is required, please, feel free to add some more according to your tastebud.  This is a nice twist on a spicey creation for a pasta dish, and goes well with your favorite bottle of Riesling (at least for me anyways, but what do i know about wine?!)  Bon Appetit.

Aycaramba Habanero Sauce with Sweet Potato Wedges

So we got the recipe to the Aycaramba Habanero Sauce that was just posted (http://foodieliciouslife.blogspot.com/2010/11/aycaramba-spicey-habanero-hot-sauce-and.html), what do we do other than using it as a vaccine against sinus congestion?  Slather onto sweet potato and bake it in the oven, of course!

Aycaramba Sweet Potato Wedges

As many sweet potato as you so desire to eat, cut in wedges
Lightly coat with olive oil, and sprinkle generously salt, pepper and dried rosemarry (about 1 tsbp).  Optional is to also finely chopped garlic into the mixture.  Depending on your spicebuds, start with 1 tsp and increase accordingly, the Aycaramba Habanero Sauce onto the sweet potato, and mix everything evenly.  Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees, and bake the wedges for 25 minutes, and decrease the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.  SWEET SPICE IN HEAVEN!

Aycaramba, Spicey Cranberry Habanero Hot Sauce and Salsa if You Dare!

Alright, long absence from the City of Charm, but the test kitchen's never stopped cooking.  Today's posting is long due from late summer.  One of the nearby neighbor donated some homegrown habanero peppers and some other mixture of milder peppers (got no idea of the name, but check out the picture).  Habanero, as you know, is one of the hottest tasting chilli pepper available, ranking on the Scoville scale of 350,000–580,000 heat units.  To compare, Jalapenos are only about 2,500-8,000 Scoville heat units.  And if you are not familiar with the Scoville heat measurement unit, just google it.  Anywho, the recipe is to make a blended habanero spice paste that can be frozen and used for cooking, add to your ketchup for spicyness, or eat it straight up with your favorite chips and take it like a man!

Aycaramba Cranberry Habanero Hot Sauce / Salsa
10 - 15 habanero / scotch bonnet peppers or mixture of mild and spicy peppers
1 large purple onion, roughly diced
1/2 head of garlic (approx 10 cloves)
1-3 carrots depending on how big the carrots are
4 roma tomatoes
1/3 cups of dried cranberry
1/3 - 1/2 cups of brown sugar
Sufficient salt, approximately 1 tbsp
1-2 tbsp cumin
1-2 tbsp corriander
3-4 tbsp honey
a dash of worchestire sauce
1 spritz of orange juice

Roughly dice the vegetables and peppers and blend everything, including spices in a blender.  May require 2 batches of blending depending the size of food processor or blender, and voila, take a whiff and it will knock any pneumonia or influenza virus out cold!  Aliquot in smaller portions and freeze if desire.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ginger Fish Pouches

I know that a lot of people are scared of using ginger in their food dishes. However, ginger is very commonly used in the Asian cuisine. In this case, we used ginger to mellow out the fishy taste of seafood (in the western countries, we use lemon!). Nonetheless, the use of ginger as spices is now getting more and more popular in modern cuisines, such as "asian-style" salad dressing, BBQ sauce, as well as other meat marinades. This dish is light and packed with lots of asian flavors infusing re-hydrated shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and sesame oil (another amazing kitchen must have!) all in one pouch!

  • 3 heads of dry shiitake mushrooms (re-hydrated in water for at least 5 hours)
  • * 3-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a bunch of scallions, chopped (for garnish)
  • 2 T vegie oil
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 6 tilapia fish fillets
* If this is your 1st time using ginger, you might want to try with less of it

Marinade (combine all in one bowl)
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1 T mirin
  • 1 T chinese rice wine
  • 2 t rice wine vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Heat a small saucepan on low heat and add the vegie oil and sesame oil.
3. Sautee ginger and garlic until fragrant and turn golden (this will tone down the spicyness of the ginger and
    infuse it into the oil).
4. Assemble however many fish fillet you want per pouch (I had 3 fillet/ pouch, and 2 pouches). Make sure
    the aluminum foil is big enough to fold into a pouch
5. Squeeze out extra water from the mushrooms and remove the stems, thinly slice the caps
6. Evenly distribute the sliced mushrooms and sauteed ginger/ garlic oil mixture into each fish pouches
7. Divide and spoon the marinade evenly per pouch
8. Wrapped the fish into pouches and oven baked (aka steam) the fish for 25 min.
9. When ready, unwrap the foil slowly (don't burnt yourself by the steam) and garnish the fish with scallions.