26 March 2010

Thai Coconut Soup

Thai Coconut Soup
¼ cup cilantro (fresh)
olive oil
1 leek (bottom part)
galangal (cut 3-4 round slices)
lemon grass, cut in half
lemon leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger

Put all the above mentioned ingredients in saucepan and brown over medium heat until it gets light brown.

Then Add:

Canned coconut milk (shake first) – 1 can of coconut milk + 1 can full of water.
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
½ lime (squeeze the juice)
Palm sugar (to taste)
Shitake mushrooms

Boil everything gently for another 5 minutes.
Remove inedible pieces of lemon grass and galangal.
Add seafood as desired (for example: cod, shrimp, and scallops.)
Sprinkle with red pepper to get a kick (I used some red curry paste instead and it was great!)

cooking links

Adam found these links today and I thought they were pretty interesting. These are obviously the writer's opinion as far as "best" and all, and some are not very practical if you're on a tight budget (for example, get rid of all your non-stick pans and replace with cast iron and/or copper). But they're something to think about at least.

unusual cooking concepts

easy ways to improve your cooking

tips for great home cooking

common errors made in cooking

24 March 2010

home-cooked Chinese

One of the missionaries requested meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs. So Aaron took the suggestion and ran with it. He's got a handful of Chinese recipe books and was excited to use them. We made two dishes with lots of rice and some steamed asparagus on the side.

Lychee Pork
Company's Coming Chinese Cooking

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin cut into small cubes
  • cooking oil for frying
  • 20 oz can of lychee* fruit with syrup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

-Stir flour and salt in medium bowl.
-Beat eggs with fork in small bowl.
-Dip pork in flour and then egg until coated.
-It said to deep-fry, but we just did a simple pan-fry, just making sure pieces were cooked all the way through. It will be fairly light colored because of the flour. Remove to paper towels to drain.
-Combine next 6 ingredients (lychee - soy sauce) in medium saucepan. Bring to boil.
-Stir water into cornstarch in small cup. Stir into lychee mixture until thickened. Pour over pork. Stir lightly until combined.

*Lychee is an incredibly sweet berry found in China and southeast Asia. We got our can at an Asian supermarket here in Calgary.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Hawaiian Meatballs
Joy of Cooking

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs moistened with milk (we used quick oats)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

-Combine ingredients and form into 1-inch balls and saute in 2 tbsp vegetable oil until brown.
-We finished cooking in oven (about 15 minutes at 350) after pouring can of pineapple (chunks or tidbits) and sweet and sour sauce on top.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Company's Coming Chinese Cooking

  • 1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice (from can of tidbits)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp water
  • splash of soy sauce (says Aaron)

Stir pineapple juice into cornstarch in small bowl. Add next four ingredients and stir.

Over all impression - excellent. I'm not even a big fan of Chinese food and it was pretty good. I wouldn't suggest making both recipes at the same time though, simply because they are both rather sweet (with the lychee and pineapple). The missionaries went back for seconds (and thirds) and almost left us with no leftovers.

19 March 2010

cake mix cookie sandwiches

If you're in the mood for something sweet and don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, these are great - looks like a cookie, tastes like cake. All you need is:

  • one cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup water
Mix together and drop by tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. There's lots of variation, depending on what flavor of mix you use, and you can always stir in chocolate chips, raisins, or candies. I used a yellow cake mix and added 1/2 cup applesauce (minus 1 egg and the water), along with a tsp of pumpkin pie spice and a tsp of cinnamon. Whatever you're in the mood for.

To make them into sandwiches, simply frost the bottom of a cookie and match it up with one about the same size. If you want to make a lot, drop the batter by the teaspoon and you'll get something closer to an oreo size (which is what I did for the cookies shown). These are just plain rainbow chip cookies, so they definitely needed some fun frosting in the middle.

16 March 2010

Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta

I was surfing blogs this week and came across this blogger's link to this this recipe. I made it tonight and it was so yummy! We're not big fans of bell peppers (they taste too acidic for us), so we left it out.

8 ounces penne, whole wheat
16 ounces shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1 red pepper, sliced
1 lb asparagus, cut in one inch pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 clove garlic, chopped
  1. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add garlic and cook for one minute.

  3. Add asparagus and sautee' asparagus for 3 minutes.

  4. Add shrimp, red pepper, oregano and basil.

  5. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and vegetables are tender-crisp; stirring occasionally.

  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package.

  7. Drain pasta. Add shrimp & vegetables.

  8. Toss with 1/4 tsp red pepper and parmesan cheese. Serve & enjoy!

12 March 2010

thyme grilled vegetables

Adam found this recipe for grilled vegetables with thyme, and yum! It's red potatoes, bell peppers (red, yellow, and green) and pearl onions with thyme, a little bit of salt, chicken broth, and olive oil. That's it!

You can do them on the grill as the instructions say. Or you can do it in the oven in a baking dish at 350 for the same timing as on the grill.

10 March 2010

Awesome Bread Recipe

Just posted this on my personal blog. Hands down the best bread recipe I have ever tried. It is a whole wheat honey bread. YUMMY!:)

09 March 2010

Italian Sausage and Pasta Bake

I cut this recipe in half and still had enough to feed 6 adults! I didn't have any fennel seed, but it still tasted good without it. It wasn't my favorite, but Aaron really liked it. From Recipezaar #286627.



  1. Cut sausage into 1/2 inch chunks. I large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat, in batches and adding oil if necessary. Transfer sausage to a bowl.
  2. Pour off any fat from pan. Add onions, garlic and red pepper, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in pasta sauce, tomato sauce, basil, oregano and fennel seeds; bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Return sausage and any accumulated juices to pan; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until sausage is firm throughout.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 6 minutes, add spinach;cook for 1 minute. Drain well and return to pot. Add sausage mixture and provolone/mozzarella cheese; stir to combine well.
  4. Transfer to 2 greased 8-inch square baking dishes or 1 13x9-inch dish. Sprinkle with Asiago/parmesan cheese. Cover dish with greased foil, greased side down.
  5. To serve: Bake, covered with foil, in in 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or for 1 hour if from the refrigerator. This freezes beautifully (thaw in refrigerator before baking).

08 March 2010

Stuffed Jumbo Shells

This was yummy and a hit tonight with friends. I got the recipe off the back of the box of shells. I ended up using just half the box of shells- I now have some to use for another recipe :) I didn't have any spinach- so I just cooked the ground beef with the onion and garlic for 5 min. and didn't add any water. I didn't have any parmigiano cheese, so I used 1/4 c. of Parmesan and 1/4 mozzarella mixed together for the filling. This is an easy recipe to adjust to what is on hand.

1 box jumbo shells pasta
1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 bag (6oz) baby spinach
1 cup finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese
1 jar sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella

PREHEAT oven to 350
COOK jumbo shells according to directions: drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water
COOK ground beef in large skillet until meat is no longer pink. Drain grease.
ADD oil, spinach, onion, garlic and reserved pasta water. Continue cooking 10min, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
ADD seasonings and blend well. Let mixture cool enough to handle.
STIR in egg and Parmigiano cheese.
POUR 1 cup of sauce into 13 x 9 baking dish
FILL jumbo shells with meat mixture and place in dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells, sprinkle mozzarella over the top, and cover with foil.
BAKE for 30 min.

06 March 2010

random news flash

I haven't posted much on this blog lately because we've had a series of cooking failures here. Not horribly bad, nothing burned or destroyed, but just stuff we didn't like.

The verdict is in: after multiple attempts, we do not like foods made with coconut milk.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

I found this while looking for meat-less meals. I didn't have any chipotle chili, so I used a combination of cayenne and chili powder. Turned out OK. I have wimpy taste-buds and can't handle spicy.
Found the recipe here.


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile, (see Note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and potato and cook, stirring often, until the onion is slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.

02 March 2010

lemon pie

Made this tonight for dessert - it's another new one for me, but I'm not counting anymore. It's very tangy - if you don't like lemon, you probably wouldn't like this. I do like lemon, and I loved this!

15-oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed = about 6 lemons. I used the little bottle things and it took about almost 2 full ones.)

graham cracker crust - either store bought or homemade

1. Mix the condensed milk and egg yolks with a hand-held mixer at medium speed until the mixture lightens, about 3 minutes.
2. With the mixer running, pour the lemon juice in slowly until it's entirely incorporated.
3. Pour into graham cracker crust.
4. Bake on center rack of oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until it's completely set.
5. Let cool for at least an hour before eating.

We ate it with vanilla ice cream. The pie would go great with a meringue, which you could use the egg whites for after separating the yolks. I was a klutz and broke one of the yolks in the whites, so they were no good for the meringue and I dumped them.