Monday, July 16, 2012

Chinese Cucumber Salad

I wasn't sure of the right translation for the name of this dish. Chinese do not eat salad as we know it, unless they are trying to cook American food. In fact, they often use lettuce in soup. But this dish is simple, and is a fresh, crunchy addition to any chinese meal. I'm kind of a lazy cook, and don't always use exact amounts. I'm going to estimate for this recipe.

One cucumber, sliced
About 2 TB soy sauce
About 2 TB vinegar (fragrant chinese is best, but you can use white wine)
2 cloves of garlic peeled, mashed and chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil

Put sliced cucumber in a bowl. Mix all other ingredients and whisk until it is emulsified. Pour over cucumbers. Serve cold.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cream Pie Heaven

I've made a lot of pies throughout my life, but for some reason never made cream pies from scratch. I always cheated and used instant pudding. But recently I decided that needed to change, and I have been learning to make cream pies. I have been using the "Lionhouse" recipe book, and the pies have been turning out heavenly!

I first made a lemon cream pie, and a coconut cream pie for Easter. I know the lemon sounds divine, which it was, but the coconut cream was my favorite. Last week I decided to make another coconut cream pie, and a chocolate cream pie. I still think the coconut cream pie was my favorite, but the chocolate was sinfully good! I think next I'm going to make a banana cream pie.

Because of copyright issues, I'm not going to put the recipes here. But seriously, you should google a recipe and try it. The recipe from the Lionhouse uses just the egg yolks. I saved the whites to use in an omelette the next day. It is a little tricky to temper the eggs, but it's not too hard. And then you have to stir..... a lot. It takes a little while for the mixture to thicken, but it eventually does.

If you need a pie crust recipe, try this one that I posted years ago. The key to a good pie crust is to use ice water when making it. I saw one chef that used cold fruit juice to add a little sugar to the gluten mixture. But I just use water, and my pie crusts turn out good.

Although I"m not sharing a cream pie recipe in this post, I just really want to encourage you to try one. You will never go back to instant pudding again. The only really bad thing about cream pies is that you will want to eat a lot! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chinchilla Delight Makeover

Some years ago I saw a cooking show on television that showed a good breakfast treat. Take a flour tortilla, and put some cut bananas in it. Put in some chocolate chips, then fold it like a burrito. Butter both sides and fry it (first flap side down). When it is golden brown on both sides, remove it from the pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

I don't know what the chef called this, but my kids called it "Chinchilla delight". I had pet chinchillas at the time, and I guess they thought it was weird food. I knew their palette, and knew they wouldn't like the bananas, so I used peanut butter and chocolate chips as the filling. They liked this version.

This morning I had an idea and decided to vary my recipe. It was a BIG hit! I cut up an apple in small chunks, and sauteed it in a little bit of butter. When the apple became softer, I added about 1/3 cup of brown sugar and about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. I cooked that for a little bit longer to try to carmelize it a little. I used this as the filling for my chinchilla delight. My kids likened it to the apple pies you get at McDonald's. :) Try it, you will like it!