Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taco Pastries

This is a fun, delicious, easy and not very healthy recipe :D Just what I like!

1 lb. Ground beef
3 tbsp. Taco seasoning
1/2 cup Black beans (canned)
Phyllo Dough
Salso con queso (tostitos brand found in the chip aisle)
Chunky Salsa
Chilli Sauce (asian aisle)
Shredded mexican style cheese
Sour cream
light cooking oil spray

Cook the ground beef and taco seasoning in a pan til browned through
Add rinsed and drained black beans - cook for a few more minutes

Grab a muffin tin and spray down with the cooking oil
Add the Phyllo dough in layers forming a cup shape and filling the cup
Fill each phyllo dough belly with 1 tbsp salsa con queso
Add a tbsp or so of the beef/bean mixture on top
layer on the slasa and chill sauce then the shredded cheese on top

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until top layer of cheese is melted)

Remove from oven, cool down for 5 minutes

Remove each pastry from the tin and add a spoon full of guacamole and a spoon full of sour cream on top.


Armadillo Eggs

This recipe is more of an appetizer, but heavy and filling enough to be a main course. I made them yesterday for the first time and they were great! This is original recipe by me, I read a few recipes online and came up with this one. 

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 an Onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 egg
1 tsp. All purpose flour

4 oz. cream cheese (at room temp)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. dried cilantro (you can also use fresh, the store was out of it when i went shopping)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Salt to taste (remember there is salt in the ground beef already)

6 medium sized peppers (I used sweet peppers)

First preheat the oven to 375

Then make the ground beef and set it aside
Wash your hands then mix the chopped onions, salt, pepper, egg and flour with the meat THOROUGHLY (yes you have to get your hands in their and get dirty) - set this aside

Take the peppers and cut them into quarters. So first cut the tails off, then slice them long ways, then across. Take all the guts out (seeds and ribs).

Make the cream cheese mixture:
All rectangular cream cheese boxes come with measurements by the ounce.
Mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, cumin and salt together in a bowl.

Now spoon the cheese mixture onto each piece of pepper. 

When finished, take about a handful of beef mixture into your hand and flatten it out. Place the peppers (cheese side down) in the middle of the beef mixture. Next, roll the beef around it into a ball. 

Get a flat oven safe dish, put some parchment paper down on top of it, and place the meat balls a couple of centimeters away from each other on top of the paper. 

Place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Or until browned. Use tongs to remove and cool before eating. I served mine with salsa on top and it was delicious.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

melba toast and sun-dried tomato snack

This is a healthy delicious snack that is great for when you have guests over

Melba sesame toast
fat free cream cheese
California sun-dried tomatoes (found in the produce section)

place the toast in singles on a plate
smear the cream cheese over the toast
remove the tomatoes from the oil and place on top


Beef and Broccoli

Beef steak piece
ground ginger
ground garlic
Olive Oil
soy sauce
chilli sauce
Sweet sauce

slice the beef steak piece into thin strips
Cover the strips with salt and pepper
add a tsp of garlic and ginger each
rub into the strips and set aside for it to soak up the spices
In a pan, saute the broccoli in olive oil with a dash of soy sauce and set aside
In a small wok add a tbsp. of olive oil
saute the strips for 5 minutes on high heat
turn to medium low heat
add a tsp. each of the sauces
Add a 2 more tbsps of soy sauce
add a dash of flour to thicken the sauce
Continue cooking at low heat covered for 10 more minutes
Add the broccoli to the meat and mix

Serve over a bed of steamed white rice (or brown if you're feeling healthy)


Pineapple Cake

Note: this recipe isn't entirely mine, I made a few tweaks to recipes I found online

Cake Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup White Sugar (or splenda)
Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Baking Soda
20 oz can crushed pineapple

note: these measurements serve about 8-10 people (depending on how you cut the slices)

Pre-heat the oven to 350
Take a medium-large bowl and add the flour
Add 3/4 cup sugar or splenda (some recipes call for more, there is no need for that)
Add the baking soda
Mix all these dry ingredients together
Make a crater in the middle and add the eggs, vanilla extract and pineapples

 Now mix until all ingredients are uniform

Butter the sides of your baking pan (i used a round glass pan with high edges and it has worked really well for me)
Now dust lightly with flour
Add the cake mixture prepared above
Place in the middle rack of the oven
Turn the timer to 40 mins (but be sure to check at 30mins - each oven varies and it may be done by this time)
Use a toothpick in the center to check if done (pierce tooth pick into the cake as far as you can, it should pull out clean if its done, if its wet it needs more time in the oven)
This one turned out a little darker than it should, make sure to keep an eye on the oven and cake, my second one turned out much better ;) 

Icing Ingredients:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 pack cream cheese (8 oz) (go for the light for less calories)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (yes you do need this type to make the icing a good consistency)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

keep the butter and cream cheese out for a few hours so they are sufficiently soft, if you arent able to do this, just stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds
mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until its uniform
depending on the weather, you may want to refrigerate the icing for a little while

note: the icing adds unnecessary calories and the cake tastes fine without it, however if you are hoping to impresses, the icing is very delicious ;)

When the cake is done, give it at least an hour+ to cool down before icing

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Afghan Rice (Kabuli) and Meatballs (Kofta)

When I was growing up in Southern California, my parents had a lot of friends who hailed from the exotic land of Afghanistan. Many a weekend we had dinner parties we invited each other to. I was always excited when we were invited over to theirs, because the food was so delicious. Afghan food is similar to Indian yet has a distinct flavor. Now living in the North East and failing to make any Afghan friends here, I had a sudden craving and decided to make a dish myself. It was a lengthy process (nearly two hours) with many steps. Try to follow the instructions exactly.

I will start with the rice first

4 cups of Basmati Rice (can be found in any Indian store and now regular stores are carrying it as well)
White Sugar (can substitute splenda)
4 julienne carrots (video posted below of this process)
1/2 cup of black raisins
vegetable oil (don't use olive oil, it has a distinct flavor/scent that will take over the taste of the dish)
3 stalks Cinnamon, 6 Cardamom, 1tsp cumin (grind these in grinder or by hand)

black pepper
a video on how to julienne carrots


wash the rice 3 times and drain (leave aside)
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
In a saucepan, heat up 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat
Add the carrots
Add 1 tsp sugar
Cook while stirring for a few minutes
Add the raisins
Cook for 10 more minutes
Take off heat and Set aside
In another saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of oil and 1 tbsp. sugar
Cook until sugar dissolves
Remove pan from heat and cool
Add 1 cup of water
Return pan to heat to boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes
Take off heat and set aside
Heat water in a large pot til boiling
Add the washed rice and boil for 6 minutes
Strain the rice
Obtain a heavy oven safe pot
Add the rice
Add the carrots and raisins mixture
Add the syrup mixture
Add a pinch of saffron and the ground spices
Cover the pot and put on high heat on the stove for 5 minutes
Then place pot into oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes
The rice should be removed at 20 minutes and placed on a wooden slab until oven cools
Once oven is cool place rice back in to stay warm while you work on the kofta

Now for the Kofta

2 lbs. of ground beef
let it strain while you ready the other ingredients
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic thinly sliced
3 Cloves of garlic cut into 2 pieces
2 medium onion chopped roughly into 2 inch cubes
Ground Black pepper
Olive oil
1.5 cans tomato paste

blend the onion and garlic pieces (not the slices) with the black pepper in a food processor finely
Add 2 tsp of salt and the above onion and garlic mixture in the ground beef
In a large non-stick flat pan with high sides, heat about 3/4 cup of oil - heat up at medium high heat
Add the onions - cook until reddish brown (dont burn)
Add the sliced garlic half-way through
While the onions are cooking, mix the tomato paste, 3 cups of water and 2 tsp. of salt together
Add to the onions when they are ready
Cook for five minutes
Take about half a handful of ground beef mixture and toss and roll it in your palms until you get a perfect sphere
Add to the pan

Continue until all the beef is used up
Cover and cook for another 30 minutes

To complete this meal, make a simple salad:
take piece of iceberg letter and slice 2mm thick slices
then cut the other way 2mm until you have chopped pieces
do the same with cucumbers and tomatoes
Mix together
Don't add any dressing or anything on top

here is what your finished product should look like:


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pound Cake w/Raisins

Note: I do not like my cakes too sweet, so I barely put any in this recipe, if this is not enough for you, by all means adjust it to your liking

2 cups Cake flour
1 tsp. baking Soda
3 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl thoroughly using a fork

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Butter and lightly flour a cake pan in preparation
Check the picture below to see what kind of pan i used
Pour the mixture into the pan
Sprinkle Raisins on top
Place pan in the bottom third of oven
Bake for just over 30 minutes
Check the cake to see if cooked through by sticking any utensil or toothpick down into the middle, if it comes up clean, its cooked through, if there is gunk on it, its not.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chilli Beef Stir Fry

Ingredients for marinating:
1/2 lb. lean beef sliced into thin pieces
1/2 tsp. ginger paste
1/2 tsp. garlic paste
2 tbsp. yogurt (preferably greek)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oil

Assorted sliced vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli etc.)
peanut sauce
chilli sauce
soy sauce

Marinate the beef in the other ingredients (except for the veggies) for an hour or so
Saute in 1 tbsp. olive oil in a wok style dish
when halfway through - add the chilli sauce to taste
keep sauteing to desired "done-ness"

Saute veggies in a separate wok with a splash of olive oil
when slightly tender add the soy sauce to taste
add some peanut sauce, don't over-do this, it can get too sweet

When the veggies are sauteed to perfection, add the beef

Serve with plain white rice


My beef in mid-stir fry with chilli sauce

My assortment of veggies (you can buy pre-cut at whole foods)

 The final product :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Chicken with Fish Sauce (inspired by An)

1lb. chicken cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. sriracha sauce
1 medium sized shallot sliced thin
1/2 tsp. Ginger paste
1/2 tsp. garlic paste
1.5 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions

marinate the chicken in everything but the green onions for 1 - 1.5 hours
using a deep frying pan, fill with enough oil to cover entire base
heat oil 
add sugar and wait until it is all melted away
add the chicken wait till browned then turn over
add the green onions to a little space in the pan
remove chicken to serving platter
add the fried green onions

enjoy (serve with steamed white rice)!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Carrot and Ginger Soup

1/2 lb. carrots (washed, peeled and diced)
1/2 onion medium (diced)
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 sprig thyme
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1.5 cups water
1 tbsp. butter

*note: these ingredients are enough for two

get a medium sized saucepan and add the butter - heat till melted
add all ingredients except water
cook for two minutes (stir every now and then)
add water, cover and bring to boil
simmer uncovered till carrots are tender
remove from heat and remove thyme
blend soup till smooth and creamy