Strawberry Banana Bread Swirl [USA]

Trader Joe’s sells bags of freeze-dried strawberries that can be turned into powder with a few pulses in a food processor.

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Blueberry Spinach Smoothie [USA]

This blueberry spinach smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a cup of spinach for breakfast without overpowering the taste of the other ingredients. I prefer to use frozen spinach and blueberries since they eliminate the need for adding in any extra ice. There are many benefits of each of the ingredients in this smoothie, but the following are some that stood out to me!

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Cong You Bing: Scallion Pancakes [China]

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Scallion pancakes are so loved that they have made it from the streets of China to restaurants all over the world. Chinese historians still debate on the exact origin of these pancakes, however the most widely accepted belief is that it originated in Shanghai, a city with a large foreign population of Indians. The support for this theory comes from the fact that the technique behind making scallion pancakes closely resembles that of making paratha, an Indian flatbread.

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Dahi Toast [India]

This recipe is inspired from the Dahi Toast recipe by Priya Krishna and has been adapted to use the ingredients we have in our pantry. We did not, and still don’t, have 30 fresh curry leaves on hand and in this time of shelter-in-place, we made do by replacing it with some bay leaves and lime zest. If you’re looking to try this recipe out but don’t have curry leaves either, some other suggested substitutes include basil, kaffir lime leaves, or lemon balm.

We thought the mustard seeds looked lonely with just the bay leaves and lime zest for company, so we added in a garlic clove and some scallions to jazz it up and give the oil a bit more flavor and body. The yogurt filling is tangy, spicy, and SO good that we’re looking forward to using the extra in a taco, or over some potatoes, or with whatever is for dinner!

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Salsa Verde [Mexico]

There are many “green sauce” recipes out there across different cultures that makes use of fresh and vibrant green herbs, however one of our favorites is the Mexican version that’s built on a foundation of tomatillos. Our recipe is straightforward and almost a no-recipe recipe giving you the ability to adjust the flavors to your liking. All you need to do is get a good char on the tomatillos, onions, and serranos before blending them with some cilantro, lime, and salt. You can char them on a grill, in a cast iron skillet, or under a broiler. We start with a recommendation of 2 serranos for every 5 tomatillos, but of course you can control the spice level of the sauce by either adding more or taking one away. Remember, taste along the way to see just how much salt and lime juice you want to add!

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Cacao Cashew Bars [USA]

These cacao cashew bars are made with roasted cacao nibs and cashews bound together with figs and dates for a healthy bite when you’re craving something sweet! It’s a guilt-free snack that comes with no added processed sugar as long as you’re paying attention to the ingredients label when purchasing. Feel free to add or take away any ingredients such as dried fruits or nuts when making these bars to customize your own.

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Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Sandwich [USA]

There are tons and tons of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich recipes out there in the blogosphere, but there’s always room for one more right? After reviewing a handful of recipes, we picked and chose aspects of each that we liked to create our own version. Instead of using sugar, we substituted in a red bell pepper for sweetness and a bonus color boost. Also, while some recipes called for blanching and peeling the skin off the tomatoes, we’ve opted to keep the skin on for extra fiber. Any leftovers can be cooled and then portioned in zip-lock bags to be frozen for up to 3 months. If you’d like a richer tomato soup, just whisk in some cream prior to serving.

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Toast Skagen [Sweden]

When I visited my friend in Sweden, one of the dishes on my must-try list was Toast Skagen. And it did not disappoint. I loved it so much that the night her fiance planned to cook dinner for us, I asked him to include this classic on the menu! Contrary to intuition, with Skagen being a fishing port in northern Denmark, toast Skagen is a Swedish dish invented in 1956 by the Swedish chef Tore Wretman.

The recipe below was originally a no-recipe recipe, where my friend’s fiance obtained a list of ingredients from his brother (who used to mix together the ingredients for toast skagen at his supermarket job) and intuitively combined them following a 1:1 ratio of mayonnaise to creme fraiche; however when I recreated the dish at home, I measured out each of the ingredients from the list for you in the recipe below to give you guidelines on where to start. As with any recipe, feel free to alter it to your tastes.

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Avocado Roses & Scrambled Eggs Sourdough Toast [USA]

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Our neighborhood supermarket was having a 2 for $1.00 sale on avocados, so there was no way we can resist purchasing a small box for ourselves! Luckily we still had some sourdough bread leftover from an earlier grocery haul… and what do we do when we have avocados AND bread in the kitchen? We make avocado toast. With some time on our hands, we shaped the avocado slices into roses (you know, for the ‘gram), but don’t feel any pressure to do so when making your version of this recipe at home.

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Fermented Tea Leaf Garnish 4 Ways [Myanmar]

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Homework?? Yayyy! Nerd alert – I was honestly excited when Chef gave us all a bag of fermented tea leaves to take home and make something yummy out of for a tasting this upcoming Wednesday. Looking into the origin of the ingredient, fermented tea leaves are a commonly used ingredient called lahpet in Myanmar. Tasting it on its own, the leaf is quite bitter. In Myanmar, lahpet is traditionally used to make lahpet thoke, a tea leaf cabbage salad, or ahlu lahpet, a snack dish where the lahpet is served in the center of a tray surrounded by crunchier elements to be mixed with and eaten all together.

After brainstorming several ideas, the one that stuck was turning the fermented tea leaf into a crispy garnish that can go over a bowl of congee, silken tofu, or the like! Continue reading to discover the four ways I’ve flavored the garnish. My favorite so far is the Parmesan Tea Leaf Garnish! I’ll be needing to make a second batch of that one to take to the restaurant since the first is already almost all gone…

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Eggs & Asparagus Nest [USA]

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Asparagus and eggs, there’s no surprise why this combo has been served time and time again! Hint: it’s quick AND delicious. Today’s take was finished with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a pinch of fleur de sel, but another great option is to top it with a generous grating of fresh Parmesan or if you have time to make the sauce, a spoonful of hollandaise. No plates needed here – we recommend serving it right in the skillet.

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Xi’an Beef & Chives Potstickers [China]

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Potstickers are dumplings that have been pan-fried on one side for the crispy bottoms and then steamed to ensure the filling and tops of the wrapper are cooked through. The origin story is that an imperial court chef in the Song dynasty accidentally left a batch of dumplings on the stove for a bit too long and burnt the bottoms of the batch. Without time to prepare a new batch, he brazenly served them bottom-side up, bringing attention to the burnt bottoms and claiming that the burning was intentional. Luckily, the crispy bottoms brought a difference in texture to the traditional dumpling and pleased the members of the court so much that potstickers were born.

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Cremini Mushroom & Camembert Cheese Crostini [Italy]

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“Crostini” translates into “little crusts” in Italian and the variations are endless. They can be simply brushed with extra-virgin olive oil before being seasoned with salt and pepper, or topped with any combination of meats, vegetables, cheeses and herbs! For today, we have a baguette slice that has been brushed with butter and toasted until the exterior is just crisp before being topped with a slice of gooey Camembert cheese followed by cremini mushrooms that’s been cooked with shallots, garlic and parsley. A hit of lemon juice during cooking and even right before serving adds a burst of brightness that takes each bite to the next level.

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Omelette Au Jambon Et Au Fromage [France]

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“Baveuse” – a French word used to describe perfectly cooked rolled omelettes where the exterior is smooth and uncolored and the interior is loose and slightly runny. To achieve this, make sure the pan you’re using is properly seasoned or opt for a nonstick pan. Then play with the heat. You want a nice, gentle heat so that the pan is thoroughly heated, but not too hot that the butter browns and colors the eggs when added.

Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can customize your omelette any way you like. We know it’s hard, but restraint in the amount of filling you add is key! We’ve been guilty of “unrollable” masses that ended up being diner omelettes (still delicious though!) as opposed to the more elegant rolled omelettes.

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Seared Salmon over Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Beets [USA]

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Anyone else think “chunking” is a weird word? Current thoughts at the moment as we try to decide what word best describes breaking apart a fillet with a spoon… What verb would you use? The chunking of the cooked salmon fillet is optional, but we think that it makes for a nice presentation.

Anyway, moving on. For dinner tonight we have a simple recipe of pan-seared salmon over shredded brussel sprouts with a side of beets. Cook the beets first. The preparation of the beets we kept simple, quickly peeling and getting them into a pot of boiling, salted water at the beginning as they can take a while to cook through. The rest of the dish comes together quickly, and all of the knife-work can be done while the beets are cooking away.

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