Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fresh Pumpkin Pancakes


These can easily be made with canned pumpkin as well and, as is the case with pancakes, they are super simple!


To your favorite pancake mix (hand-made or from a box) add cinnamon, nutmeg and pureed pumpkin. (Roast a pumkin until tender, puree). Make sure you pancake dough is a little runny but not to runny, definitely able to stand on it's own before scooping some into a hot griddle and cooking all the way through. For a real treat, enjoy these pancakes with the syrup from the Baklava Crepes recipe.

Sweet Potato and Apple Pasta


Occassionally inspiration hits when there are just the right ingredients in the fridge, ingredients that need to be used within a day or two or tossed. I'm lucky to have the appropriate ingredients and inspiration for the creation of this dish, inspired by a Vegetarian Pumpkin Alfredo, this pasta dish is a little sweet and would definitely fit a fall evening with a cup of cider in the most beautiful of ways.


In a saucepan boil 2 Apples, peeled and chunked with 4 small sweet potatoes, chopped with a small touch of water (maybe 1/4 cup). When the apples and potatoes are tender, drain about half of the liquid then use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to pure the potatoes and apples together. Add to the mix about 1/2 - 3/4 cups of soft Tofu. Meanwhile, prepare a couple cups of pasta, I used Penne. Season the sauce with cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of brown sugar. When pasta is finished, add sauce to the pasta  until you reach the desired consistency, serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chopped almonds on top!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tomato Soup

With a killer sore throat and an ever growing hankering for tomato soup, I made my way to the local grocer, picked out a handful of tomatoes and made my way home to attempt my first ever home-made tomato soup. It was incredibly easy and absolutely satisfying.


Slice in half 4-5 Red Tomatoes and place in a pan to be roasted at 350 for 20-30 minutes. If desiring a bit of kick add to the pan two chili peppers to be roasted simultaneously. Upon finishing in the oven, let tomatoes cool for 10 minutes before removing skins and leaf. Throw tomato pulp and whole chilies into a pot, blender or food processor. If in pot, use an immersion blender to puree the tomatoes and chiles. Add a splash of liquid if need be and some salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer a creamy tomato soup, add a bit of milk and stir until incorporated - thickness and flavor are up to you! Once you've reached the right consistency and flavor, pour into a bowl and serve alongside a grilled cheese sandwich or crackers!

Stuffed Pumpkin


A pumpkin for two dollars, feta left over from some special event, beer bread waiting patiently in the freezer for a moment of glory and it was long before the pumpkin was stuffed and in the oven roasting.


Gut a small pumpkin and save seeds for roasting or discard. Layer in the pumpkin Day Old (or older and recently thawed) Bread (I used an old 1/4 loaf of Beer Bread), followed by a bit of minced Garlic, Green Onions and Feta Cheese, continue until the Pumpkin is filled to the brim. Mix into about a cup or less of milk a dash of salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg; pour into pumpkin. Place pumpkin lid on top and roast for about an hour and a half to two hours at 350 degrees until the pumpkin is tender and easily pierced with a chopstick or a fork. Cut in half and enjoy!

For more complete directions or just to see where the inspiration for this recipe came from, click this.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Burrito


As English speakers in Korea like to say: "Let me be frank" or "Frankly speaking..." This was not an all-star dinner. However, it has potential and will not be left to suffer the consequences of here you have it, a recipe which I am less than impressed with but choosing to post for reasons completely unexplainable.


Saute in a bit of oil, 2 cloves of Garlic, minced, 1 red onion, diced, and 3-4 small sweet potatoes until the potatoes are tender and/or nearing on crispy.  Before adding eggs, chop up a handful of kimchi and add to the burrito mix. Whisk together 4-5 eggs with a touch of salt, pepper, cayenne and a splash of milk, add to skillet and scramble with the veggies. Scoop into large tortillas, top with cheese, sour cream if available (this could be an ingredient that would make these burritos supreme, I'm not sure), and enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner! (In our house, burritos are always placed into the oven or on a dry skillet for a few minutes so the tortilla is crispy and the cheese inside is melty!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thai Tea (with Tamarind)


I have a deep and special love for Thai Tea. I made it a personal objective to drink at least 1 glass of Thai Tea everyday I was in Thailand...some day's I'd down 3 or 4. I love the sweet-creaminess of Thai Tea and want so desperately to recreate it.

One aspect of Thai Tea that is 'crucial' is the orange color. Online recipes generally suggest one of two things: a) Add Orange Food Coloring *lame* or b) Purchase Thai Tea Leaves (which is always followed by a comment regarding the difficulty of purchasing/finding Thai Tea Leaves).

But the thing is, the orange color comes from Tamarind. So one should be able to recreate Thai Tea with REAL tamarind. That's what I'm attempting to's not perfect yet, but it's always been delicious so take a shot at Thai Tea with Real Tamarind.


In a standard sized tea pot add about 1 Tbsp Tamarind (found in Asian/International Markets) -- best to put into a strainer or tea bag as it will not fully dissolve and will need to be strained out at some point in the process. Add 5-6 Teabags or teaspoons of plain black tea/Lipton and sugar to taste. Fill with boiling water, let set for an hour or so (this could be the part I don't have perfected...just saying) Transfer to pitcher or water jug and refrigerate. Serve with Sweetened Condensed Milk, enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spicy Sesame Noodles


From Fresh from the Oven's adaptation of a
July 2007 Bon Appetit Recipe comes the
519 Rendition of:
Spicy Sesame Noodles


In 1 tablespoon peanut oil saute 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger and 2-4 garlic cloves, minced. Transfer to large bowl and add the following: 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon (or more) hot chili oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Prepare 1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles or other fresh noodle. Run under cold water and add to sauce. Top noodles with 12 green onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced. Let set one hour at room temperature and serve with 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts and 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves.

Enjoy with Thai Tea on a warm spring day or save the recipe for warmer summer days!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mexican Tortilla Lasagna

Finding inspiration from Martha Stewart's Tortilla and Black Bean Pie and being thrilled with my recent NiceDeli purchase (in huge thanks to Jen M.) I was eager to throw together a bit of Mexican flare with this Mexican style Tortilla Lasagna.



Saute Onion, Green Chile and 2 Cloves Garlic in a bit of oil 5-ish minutes. Add 1.5-2 cups Black Beans, drained. Season with Salt, Pepper, Cumin and Chili Powder. Add 1 cup of Beer and simmer until thickened (if you become impatient, it is acceptable to drain off some of the liquid). In a round pan or casserole dish set down a corn tortilla, top with a portion of the black bean mixture, followed by shredded cheddar, a tortilla and so-on until the bean mixture has been completely used. Top final layer with cheese and cover. Place in oven of about 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so until cheese is melty and beautiful. (Can remove lid for the last 10 minutes so as to get a golden look to the top of the dish). Enjoy with a margarita, glass of beer or your beverage of choice and good company.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hassleback Hash


What could be better than combining the timeless Harrington favorite of Hash with the recently discovered awesome-ness of Hasselback Potatoes?

Not much. Not much at all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Soju Margarita

What better companion exists for Green Chile Smothered Black Bean and Rice Burritos in Korea than a mock Margarita made with Soju. There's actually not much about this that's margarita, other than it be served alongside burritos. There's actually not much about this that's worthy of a recipe post.

Strawberries + Soju + Blender = Soju Margarita.


Green Chile Smothered Rice and Bean Burrito


I love roasting things. Tomatoes and Green Chilies are at the top of my list.

We also found corn starch the other day at E-Mart. So, I set to making this green chili knowing I could roast my peppers and thicken the sauce if need be.


Chili - Roast at about 350-400 degrees 5-6 green chilies and 2 red onions (if you have tomatoes, throw a couple of them in as well).  Roast for 20-30 minutes or until fragrant and wilted. With a bit of broth, green tea or beer - run the veggies through a food processor, season with salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and cilantro. Heat on stove top, add liquid if needed or cornstarch if necessary.

Burritos - Prepare 2 cups of black beans and about 2 cups of rice; season as desired. Fill flour tortillas with a few spoonfuls of beans and rice, top with shredded cheese - heat in the oven until a little crispy on the outside and warm and delicious on the inside. Top with chili.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Soju Hot Sauce


I haven't had a chance to use my Soju Hot Sauce and honestly, I'm too sure it worked out so hot. It would have been hugely beneficial to have only whole spices as opposed to using powdered cumin, however, that's not how I roll, so I modified and experimented using this recipe as my inspiration.

Basic idea: Shove a few dry or fresh hot chilies into a glass bottle, add toasted whole black peppercorns, allspice (or a combo of cinnamon and cloves) and some cumin seeds before pouring into the bottle a clear alcohol - in Korea, go for Soju. Let sit for a minimum of a week before experimenting and enjoying your home made hot sauce!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baklava Crepes


Rarely is a recipe uniquely my design, it seems someone always mentions this or that and the wheels start turning. These crepes, for example, were wrought when a friend asked:

"Melissa, how can I have Baklava without Phyllo Dough?"

My response included: make your own phyllo dough (difficult), pay an arm and a leg for phyllo from an online grocer in Korea, make the filling and use with cinnamon roll dough, on pancakes, in french toast or in crepes. Well dear reader, that was enough to inspire me! Hopefully it does something for my friend ^.^


For Crepes:
Whisk together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup Milk and 1/2 cup Water. Gradually add 1 Cup of Flour. Add pinch of Salt and 2 Tbsp. Melted Butter. Heat a skillet over medium/high heat, grease lightly coat pan with approximately 1/4 cup batter, cook about 2 minutes then flip - continue until batter is all used.
For Baklava Syrup:
Simmer on stovetop until syrup like or Crepes are ready: 1 part Honey, 1 part Water, throw in Orange and Lemon Rind (or orange and lemon hard candies) and season with Cinnamon.

For Crepe/Baklava Filling:
Choose a Nut, finally chop 2-3 handfuls (or more for garnish, etc.) mix with Honey and Cinnamon.

Fill Crepes with a bit of the nut filling (could add some whip topping if it's on hand and you're in for some calories), wrap and top with syrup. Enjoy every bite because before you know it, the dish will be devoured!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Buried Strawberry Blondies topped with Strawberry Syrup


Having seen some delectable Oreo Brownies on Pinterest (which are currently refusing to be linked), my creative baking wheels got to turning. An abundance of frozen strawberries and the availability of Strawberry Cream Filled Cookies gave birth to these Blondies. The concept of burying cookies in brownies (or blondies) is an idea I'm keen on playing around with as often as possible, just for the plain fun of it!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and grease a square or round cake pan. Cream together 1/2 Cup Butter and 1 Cup Brown Sugar. Whisk in 1 Egg and 1 tsp. Vanilla. Gradually add 1 Cup Flour, 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder, 1/8 tsp. Baking Soda and a Pinch of Salt. Spread approximately half of batter into the bottom of the pan, layer on strawberry cookies followed by the rest of the batter (this was actually quite tricky as the batter was quite thick, however a bit of magic with the spatula and you should be in business.) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, cool. Top with strawberry syrup, a simple mixture of diced/pureed strawberries and sugar to taste, simmered on the stove top. Enjoy with the best of friends as the weather is just beginning to warm up - you won't be disappointed!
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