Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stuffed Vegetables

Tonight, I decided to try my own take on stuffed vegetables. I basically just threw in a bunch of left overs that I had, so I might do things a little different next time, but it was pretty good for a first attempt. p.s. I actually don't reccommend worrying about the eggplant. I love eggplant, so I do reccommend including it in the mixture, but it wasn't as flavorful as the peppers. So really, you can try it, but it's not as good as the stuffed peppers. It's pretty, though:)

Stuffed Vegetables
1/2 lb ground pork (or beef or chicken or whatever you have)
1/2 c cooked short grain white rice
1/2 grated zucchini
1/2 eggplant
2 green peppers
2 eggs
1 c bread crumbs (I used Japanese bread crumbs)
worsteshire sauce
soy sauce (needs a lot more than you might think)
yakitori sauce
sesame seed oil

  1. Preheat the over to 350.
  2. Cut peppers in half and pull out the pith and seeds. scoop out a hole in the eggplant. take remaining inside of eggplant, chop up really fine, and put in a large mixing bowl. Add zucchini, meat, rice, eggs, bread crumbs, and sauces. Mix well with hands.
  3. Using a spoon, put meat mixture inside the eggplant and peppers. Oil the bottom of a 9x13 pan, and add vegetables with meat side up. add a little bit of water to steam.
  4. Cover with foil and cook for 45-60 minutes in the oven. Once the meat is cooked through, take foil off, turn overn to "broil" and let cook for a few minutes until the tops of the meat is brown. Pull out of the oven, let cool a little, and serve.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Best Banana Bread

I have always loved banana bread, but I've never had the perfect kind. They're always a little too dry or too dense or too crumbly. So, I combined and altered some of the best looking recipes I could find and made the ultimate banana bread recipe.

My Banana Bread
makes 3-9x5 pans of bread
crumb topping:
1/3 c. brown sugar
2T flour
1t cinnamon
1T butter (still cold)
  1. combine brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon
  2. cut the butter into the mixture until corn meal consistency
  3. sprinkle on bread batter in the bread pan
Bread batter:
cinnamon sugar (to dust the greased pans)
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
3 XL eggs
7 really ripe bananas (mashed)
1 (16 oz) container (I use light) sour cream
1 T vanilla (or as much as you want ... I like a lot)
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3 t baking soda
4 1/2 C flour
3/4 C butter room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease pans, dust with cinnamon sugar.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar. Mix in eggs, bananas, sour cream, vanilla, & cinnamon.
  3. Slowly mix in salt, baking soda, flour. Pour into pans.
  4. Sprinkle tops with crumb mixture.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
*you could also add one box of instant vanilla pudding to the batter to make it extra "vanilla-ey" and moist

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Nancy's Summer Squash

I got a bunch of Summer Squash from Nancy Price from work, so I decided to take advantage of her garden and make a couple vegetable dishes. And I think they turned out really, really well. All we had for dinner was vegetables and we were very satisfied. (well, I can only speak for myself, but Blake kept saying how good it was, and he usually doesn't like vegetables, so I think it's a good thing)

Vegetable Lasagna
3-4 summer squash (zucchini would be great, or yellow squash or whatever you have on hand) sliced thin
1/2 of an eggplant, peeled and sliced thin
1-1/2 C mozzarella or other white, soft cheese, grated
1/4 C Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

for the sauce:
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 large onion
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
salt & pepper
1 t herbs de provence
olive oil

  1. slice squash and eggplant and set aside. Take eggplant and sprinkle with salt, layer in a colander and put a heavy, metal bowl on top. This releases all the bitter juices in the eggplant. Set aside.
  2. To cook the sauce, dice the onions fairly small. In a large sauce pan or skillet with high sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender and slightly browned. Add garlic and continue to cook until fragrant and soft. Add tomatoes, and heat through. Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste. When the flavors are well incorporated, put in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Put about one cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish you will be baking it in (I used a pie pan this time). Place sliced squash on top, layering a little as you go around. Add more sauce to cover vegetables, and top with cheese. Layer eggplant on top (the same way) put sauce and cheese on top again. Add another layer of squash and do the same with the sauce and cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. When everything is cooked through and the sauce and cheese are bubbling, take off the foil, change the oven to "broil" and bake for a few more minutes until cheese is browned and bubbley. Take out of oven, cool a little, and serve.

Roasted Vegetables
2-3 Summer squash, sliced thin
3-4 tomatoes, sliced thin
1/2 of an eggplant, sliced thin
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs de provence

  1. Coat the dish you're using with olive oil.
  2. Layer vegetable slices in a consistent order. (I did squash, eggplant, tomato, repeated over and over)
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs and drizzle some oilive oil on top.
  4. Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until vegetables look tender. Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Really Quick Dinner

Vegetable Stir Fry (野菜炒め)12-14 pieces of frozen or fresh shrimp (if frozen, thaw in cold--not warm--water until tender)
1 green pepper, sliced into long, thin strips
1/2 of an eggplant, cut into thin long pieces
1/4 of a cabbage, coarsely cut into similar shapes to other vegetables
carrots, cut into thin long pieces
onions, sliced into long thin strips
4 cloves garlic, crushed, not chopped
canola or vegetable oil for wok/frying pan

soy sauce
hoisin sauce
grated ginger
rice wine vinegar
sesame seed oil
chili oil
white pepper
salt & black pepper
  1. Heat wok/frying pan on high heat and add canola/vegetable oil. Add carrots, onions and cook until slightly tender. Add green peppers, eggplant, and cabbage and cook until cabbage cooks down a bit.
  2. Push the vegetables over to the side a little to make room for the shrimp. Add the shrimp to the wok, making sure they all are touching the hot metal. Cook quickly on both sides until slightly pink.
  3. Add garlic, and continue to fry. In the mean time, mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the stir fry and toss.
  4. Serve on the side with rice, while still hot.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What to do with Pork Chops

I always buy pork chops at Costco, but lately I've been a little bored of the same old thing, and we end up with a lot of pork chops in the freezer. So, tonight and I think last Thursday, I made a couple of new Pork dishes that I would like to share. But, these were both experiments, as usual, so they are kind of hard for me to keep track of measurements. Hopefully, though, I remember all the ingredients.

Japanese Pork Chops
serves 2 people
for the marinade:
2 T white and black sesame seeds, ground fine
1/2 C soy sauce
1~2 T fresh grated ginger
5 cloves finely minced garlic
3 T rice wine vinegar
3 T mirin (sweet sake)
2 T sesame seed oil
1 t "shichimi garashi" (Japanese spice--you can get it in almost any asian food section of a grocery store)
juice of one lemon
1/2 C Yakiniku sauce

1 large pork chop, cut in half so to roughly 1 inch thick.

  1. Combine all ingredients for marinade in a small shallow bowl. Add pork chops and stab with a fork a few times. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In the mean time, cook rice. (I recommend Japanese short grain rice. It's the only way to go, I think)
  3. After letting the pork sit in the marinade for a while, take them out and let the marinade drain off them as you pull them out. You don't want a lot of excess.
  4. heat a semi-deep frying pan to medium high heat and brown both sides of the chops. Once browned, turn the heat down to medium low and add water or broth and cover.
  5. Once it's cooked through, you can slice it and serve it. I added extra ground sesame seeds and ponzu sauce over the top of it. I like the sesame seeds because of the really deep, rich texture and taste it adds and the ponzu (I bought a specific citrus blend ponzu sauce shown in the background) a nice light tang to it.

Pork Tacos
serves 2 people
for the poaching liquid:
1 t dried cilantro
2 t chili powder (give or take depending on how spicy you want it ... I may have overdone it)
2 t cayenne pepper (same)
2 t crushed red pepper flakes (same)
1 t cumin
1 t oregano
salt & pepper
3~4 T soy sauce (tenderizes the meat and adds great flavor)
2 C water
2 T taco seasoning
juice of 1 lime

1 pork chop
  1. Add all ingredients of poaching liquid in the smallest pot you have and bring to a simmer while stirring
  2. Add pork chop and leave it until completely cooked.
  3. Once cooked through bring pork out of pot and shred. Place back in the concentrated poaching liquid, which now looks like a dark sauce, and let cook until pork absorbs the sauce
  4. Cook tortillas, add cheese to melt, add pork. Take off heat and add tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, and whatever else you add to your tacos.
  5. Roll up and serve immediately.