Archive for October, 2012

‘National Yorkshire Pudding Day’

Octber 13th is ‘National Yorkshire Pudding Day’. Yorkshire Pudding is not a pudding in the sense that most people think of as pudding.  In other words Yorkshire Pudding is not a sweet dessert but rather a very eggy dish very similar to Popovers.  Traditionally Yorkshire Pudding baked in the drippings of a Roast Beef and served with the Beef as a starch dish.

Yorkshire Pudding is probably one of those dishes that you either love or intensely dislike.  I happen to love it.  Yorkshire Pudding has its origins in old England.  It is made with lots of Eggs, Milk and some flour and has to be beaten extremely well to incorporate the flour into the Eggs and Milk.  By beating really well, you are beating lots of air into the batter and this is what makes it puff up.  You do have to bake it in a very hot oven.

If you like Popovers, Cream Puffs or Eclairs, you will most likely like Yorkshire Pudding.  For a different use of the Pudding, try my recipe for ‘Toad in the Hole’ which is another traditional English Dish.  Toad in the Hole is usually made with cube steak or leftover roast beef which is placed in a dish of Yorkshire Pudding and then baked.  When it is baked, the batter rises up over and around the Beef, thus making the ‘toad in the hole’.

The version in the ‘Breakfast’ Recipe section on this site is for a Sausage Version of ‘Toad in the Hole’ and is a fun dish for breakfast, or brunch, or lunch or dinner.  It can be served with a fruit dish for breakfast or brunch and/or a salad for lunch or dinner.  Try it and let me know how your family likes it.

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/10/12 at 11:17 PM

Categories: Baking, Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , ,

MOLDY CHEESE DAY

What does ‘Moldy Cheese Day’ mean to you.  Cheese with Mold that ‘you shouldn’t eat’ or Cheese that is specifically made with ‘Good Mold’ running through it.  I’m sure that Moldy Cheese Day refers to the kinds of Cheese that are made with mold.  Maybe you have eaten some and haven’t even thought about those blue streaks or green streaks.

 

What kinds of Cheese have Mold?

 

     

  • French Bleu – Great for Salad Dressing
  • Danish Blue
  • Gorgonzola – 
  • Roquefort – Also good for Salad Dressing
  • Stiltson – an English Cheese

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/10/09 at 4:44 PM

Categories: Main   Tags:

NATIONAL NOODLE DAY

Hooray!  October 6th is ‘National Noodle Day’.  Now, who doesn’t like Noodles and who can count the number of different types of noodles there are?  It seems that every time I go to the market there are another dozen different types of Noodles.  The Noodle or Pasta Shelf used to be pretty blase, but every since we started importing Pasta from Italy it seems that new ones keep coming out all the time.

 

It is amazing how many different types of pasta there are.  And to think that they are all pretty much made from the same ingredients.  Basic Pasta is made from Flour, Eggs, and Olive Oil.  Even though most pastas are made from the aforementioned ingredients, there are a few other types.  Below is a list of some of the Noodles available for purchase.

 

Egg Noodles (very thin to very thick)

Water Noodles (Asian Noodle made only with Flour & Water)

Rice Noodles (thin to thick – mostly Asian)

Pasta made from Corn

There are flat noodles and round noodles.  There are tubular noodles and noodles large enough to stuff.  We could go on and on and never cover all the types of noodles there are.  Now, when someone says ‘Noodles’ I think of Chicken Noodle Soup which is best made with very thn noodles.  The next thing I think of are Asian Noodles Dishes.  You can find Chinese Noodles, Vietnamese Noodles and Thai Noodles, to name a few.  They are all very good.

Cooked Fettucini

 

 

Fettucini can be used as the basis for many dishes, most notabley Fettucini Alfredo which is a Cream Sauce.  Most likely unhealthy because of the fat content, but oh so good.  Just don’t partake of it too frequently.  Fettucini can also be dressed with a Tomato or Vegetable Sauce and is almost as good that way.

Steaks & Mushrooms with Noodles and Peas

 

The above dish is a Steak and Mushroom dish made with short but curly Egg Noodles.  This is a good way to use leftover meat.

 

Fried Mai Fun Noodles

Mai Fun Noodle sare a very thin Rice Stick which can either be soaked in hot water to serve with soup or it can be fried to serve with dishes like Mongolian Beef. (shown below)  Frying Mai Fun Noodles is especially fun for children to watch because they puff up almost instantly upon being put into the hot oil.  The key to get them to cook properly is to have the oil hot enough so that they will puff up immediately, but not so hot that they will crisp before they have a chance to puff.  The oil temperature should be around 360 degrees for ideal puffing.

 

 

 

Mongolian Beef, shown at right is made with Beef Steak, and Scallions and is seaonsed with Hoison Sauce, Garlic, Soy Sauce and is usuallyserved on top of fried Mai Fun Noodles.  This is a favorite dish of mine.

Mongolian Beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuna Noodle Casserole

 

Last, but not least, is a dish that people either love or intensely dislike.  This is the All-American Tuna Noodle Casserole which is traditionally made with Cream of Mushroom Soup.  The one shown above is make with a Cheese Sauce similar to that used for Macaroi and Cheese and it also has Baby Peas and dieced Red Bell Pepper added for color and flavor interest.

Try some different Noodles today and give yourself a taste treat.  If you are close to a Vietnamese Restaurant, do try some Pho.  Pho is a dish of Noodles in a broth which can contain a large variety of meat and vegetables.  Pho is a whole meal initself and is quite delicious!

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/10/06 at 12:02 AM

Categories: Main   Tags:

Mexican Lasagna – CULINARY MAKEOVERS # 13

CULINARY MAKEOVERS

Number Thirteen

Mexican Lasagna

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday we had Tacos for Dinner.  There are just certain things that cannot be made in amounts small enough for two people, therefore there are leftovers.  Not wanting to throw out the leftovers, I decided to turn them into a new dish.  The items that were left over was the cooked Ground Beef Mixture that we used for the Tacos along with Salsa and diced Tomatoes.  In the freezer I had some Basil Pasta that I had made at a previous meal.

The Basil Pasta was homemade and even though it was a very small amount, it was so good (I make very thin pasta which we love) I just couldn’t throw it away.  In addition, I had another type of pasta in the freezer.  The second pasta was completely different from the Basil Pasta, but that didn’t matter.  In addition, there was some shredded Mozzarella Cheese and Corn Kernels.  I added some Enchilada Sauce (also in the freezer) to the Salsa and diced Tomatoes.

I thinly sliced some Green Onions (Scallions) and Olives.  These two items were used as a garnish on top of the finished dish.

So here is what I did to create the Mexican Lasagna.

  • I took my 9 x9 glass baking dish and lightly coated the bottom with a small amount of Olive Oil.
  • The Basil Pasta was laid out on the bottom of the dish.  (Coincidentally, there was just enough to cover the bottom.

Basil Pasta at Bottom of Dish

 

  • Next, I added part of  the Enchilada Sauce/Salsa/Tomato Mixture to the cooked Ground Beef and tossed it all together.  Then the Beef was placed on top of the Basil Pasta.

The Cooked Meat with Red Bell Peppers

Sauce Added to the Cooked Meat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauced Meat Added to the Pasta

 

  • Next came a layer of Corn Kernels.  ( No need to cook – this gets done when you bake the Lasagna)

 

Corn Added

 

  • On top of the Corn I placed the other Pasta that I had leftover and then added some more of the Sauce.

 

Sauce added to Second Layer of Pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • On top of the Sauce went the shredded Cheese and on top of this went the Green Onions and Sliced Olives.  Since I put this together in the morning it had to be refrigerated until dinner time.

Cheese Added

Green Onions and Olives Added

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • About 45 minutes before dinner I placed the dish of Lasagna in a cold oven.  (Do not put cold glass in a hot oven – the sudden temperature differential will cause the glass to expand too rapidly and break)
  • I then turned the oven to 350 degrees and allowed the Lasagna to cook until it was heated through and the cheese on top had melted.  (You can tell when it is done because not only will the cheese melt, but the sauce will start steaming when it becomes heated)

 

In the Oven

Baled amd Ready to Serve

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/10/04 at 9:00 PM

Categories: Condiments, Dinner Ideas, Leftovers, Main, Mexican, Pasta   Tags: , , , , , , ,

‘National Taco Day’.

Thursday, October 4th is ‘National Taco Day’.  Like many other ethnic foods, Tacos have become as American as Apple Pie, although Apple Pie actually originated in England.  Just like people, there are many variations of tacos.  If you want authentic tacos, try going to Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles where there are many Mexican Restaurants.  Here in Newbury Park, we have a taco place that is as authentic as I have ever eaten here in the States.  It is called ‘Taco Sanchez’ and it is situated in the old Taco Bell building by Roma’s Italian Deli right off of Borchard Road.

 

Pictured are Carne Asado Tacos

with Mango Salsa and Guacamole

 

 

Since Thursday is ‘National Taco Day’, it would be fun to make tacos for your family and/or your friends for dinner.  Tacos are one of those dishes that can be turned into party food very easily and what is more fun than to have a Taco Bar Party.  To make a Taco Bar Party or just Tacos for dinner you will need some important ingredients and you will have to decide what fillings your Tacos should have.

MEAT FILLINGS                                                   ACCOMPANIMENTS

  • Carne Asada (Beef)                                        Salsa Cruda
  • Carnitas (Pork)                                              Guacamole
  • Chicken                                                         Shredded Cabbage or Lettuce
  • Shrimp                                                          Diced Tomatoes
  • Lobster                                                          Shredded Cheese
  • Ahi                                                                Green Onions
  • Tofu                                                              Sliced Radishes

Additional Items

Crema (Mexican version of Creme Fraiche)

Tortilla Chips

Grilled Scallions (Green Onions)

Sliced Olives

Cilantro Leaves

 

To make your Tacos, it is best to prep all the items ahead of time, except maybe for the Meat Fillings which should be hot when served.  Some items can be reheated, but most are best right after being origianlly cooked.

 

Prepare your Garnishes or Accompaniments first and refrigerate if there is going to be a lot of time between prep and serving.

salsa-cruda/ is an uncooked Tomato Salsa usually made with Tomatoes, Chilies, Garlic and Cilantro along with a little Salt and the Juice of a Lime or two.

 

Salsa Cruda

 

Guacamole  is a wonderful condiment made from Avocadoes, Garlic, Jalapenos (optional), Salt, Cilantro and Lime Juice.  The Guacamole we were served in Guadlajara was simply mashed Avocadoes and Lime Juice, but I like it with the additional ingredients listed above.  Mole refers to ‘sauce’ and the name guaca as told to me by one of my Hispanic Students just means crazy, mixed, so therefore,Guacamole is just a sauce of ‘mixed up’ Avocadoes.  Hence, the mashed Avocadoes and Lime in Guadalajara.  The lime wasn’t even in it – just served on the side.  For the recipe go to chunky-guacamole/

 

Guacamole

 

Shredded Lettuce and Diced Tomaotes

 

Guacamole, Lettuce & Tomatoes

 

The filling that I recently used was Ground Beef cooked with Garlic, diced Onions and diced Red Bell Pepper or Pimiento in Spanish.  The Garlic and Onions were sauteed first and then the Beef was added.  The Bell Peppers were added just at the end to avoid being overcooked.

 

Cooking the Meat

Cooked Meat with diced Bell Peppers added

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep the Meat warm while frying your Taco Shells.  You can also do the Taco Shells ahead and keep warm in the oven.  Tacos are usually made from Corn Tortillas, but you can also use Flour Tortillas, especially if you want soft tacos.  Corn Tortillas are usually fried crisp but you can also cook them so that they will be soft.  When frying your Tortillas in Oil, be sure to either drain them on a rack set over a baking pan or drain on paper towels.  The rack method is best in that the oil drips down.  With the paper towels, the Taco Shells will be sitting on the oil that drains off of them.  First fry them on each side, flat then use a wooden spoon to help fold them and leave a space for the filling to be put into.

 

Frying Tortillas

 

 

Fried Tortillas

 

Mexican Fruit Salad is a nice accompaniment to a Taco Meal.  Use Tropical Fruit such as Papaya, Pineapple, Mango and Melons.

 

Mexican Fruit Salad with Blood Orange Syrup and Lime Juice

 

To complete the meal, add Mexican Rice mexican-rice/ or refried Beans.

Whichever way you make your Tacos, enjoy them or if you don’t feel like cooking, just go to your local Tacqueria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/10/02 at 10:50 PM

Categories: Condiments, Dinner Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main, Mexican, National Food Days, Salads, Tropical Food   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,