Saturday, December 22, 2007

Japanese Salad Dressings

My original Bible Study cum Discipleship group decided to have a Japanese theme for our Christmas party this year. For potluck, somebody already volunteered Chicken Teriyaki. Another volunteered the ever-popular Tempura. Another is bringing California Maki. Still another volunteered the Cold Soba noodles. I was already running out of "popular" dishes to bring, so I did my search of Japanese recipes on the internet.

I decided to bring a vegetable dish to complement the carbohydrate and meat dishes. Hubby, by the way, also requested for a light salad dish. And when I searched the internet for a salad recipe, I was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of salad dressings available.

I just bought and washed and dried romaine lettuce, cleaned and sliced some cucumbers, salad tomatoes, white onions. Added some sliced crabsticks and grapes. Then made three dressings which I got from the website. And everybody enjoyed these "home-made" dressings. Here are the recipes girls!

Creamy Sesame Salad Dressing

2 T ground white sesame seeds
1 t rice vinegar
1 t sesame oil
1 t sugar
1 t soy sauce
1 t grated onion
2 t mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add mayonnaise as you like. This recipes makes 2 servings.

Wasabi Salad Dressing

1 T soy sauce
1 t wasabi paste
1/2 t sesame oil
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T sugar

Whisk everything together. Cool dressing in the refrigerator until ready to serve. adjust amount of wasabi and sugar depending on your preference.

Sesame Salad Dressing

3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 t sugar
1 t ground sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Makes 2 servings.

Note: The above recipes were the exact instructions from the website. For the potluck, I made a big batch of each dressing and just adjusted the taste accordingly.

Next year, we agreed on Italian theme, so I better do my search ahead of time...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Coffee Jelly

Since I am the only coffee addict in our family, it is quite inconvenient, not to mention impractical to make this dessert just for my own consumption. So, I tried to serve this at our church's Couples@Work Fellowship. It was a big hit with the members! Some asked for second servings, some asked for the left-overs to take home, some asked for the recipe.

The version I served them was a bit strong. I think it was because I added coffee liquour. (Somebody gave us a bottle of Kahlua and well, since I do not drink, I add a tablespoon or two of liquour to some of my baked goodies, when appropriate.) If you prefer desserts without the spike, simply omit the liquour. But I assure you, the liquour really adds flavor. If you do not have coffee liquour, you can use brandy.

1 box unflavored gelatin
1/4 c lukewarm water
1/2 c white sugar
1 drop vanilla
2 c coffee (2c lukewarm water + 1 T instant coffee)
1 T coffee liquour (I use Kahlua)

1. Mix the gelatin and water. Set aside for a while to allow the gelatin to bloom.

2. Combine sugar and coffee and bring to a boil. Add the gelatin and heat just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in liquour and vanilla. Pour into an 8 inch pan or any gelatin moulder and allow gelatin to set. Chill in the refregerator. Meanwhile, make the topping.

1 pack (250ml) all-pupose cream, well chilled
4 T white sugar

1. Whip chilled cream, using an electric mixer, gradually adding sugar. Continue whipping until cream is slightly stiff. Chill until ready to serve.

2. To serve, Cut gelatin into cubes. Spoon into wine glasses. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle corn flakes on top.

Note: Instead of whipped cream, we can use vanilla or even mocha ice cream. Another variation would be to use chocolate shavings instead of cornflakes.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Of course, mothers always believe that oatmeal is good for everybody's health. So, I bought a bag of quick-cooking oats, even if I know that my kids and hubby do not really like to eat them. I figured I will be able to force them to eat since that is the only thing available in the pantry. No such luck with my picky-eaters. So I had to figure out a way to 'disguise' the oatmeals.

At first, I tried baking peanut butter oatmeal cookies. They did not pass the taste-test. Probably because my picky eaters can still detect the presence of the 'healthy white stuff' inside the cookies. I searched the internet and found this interesting recipe. Everybody in my family loves chocolate. The reviews said these cookies are soft and chewy. And best of all, I would be able to hide the 'healthy white stuff' inside the dark brown chocolate color of the cookies!

What a success! The kids love the cookies and kept asking for more. Although they suspect it contains the 'healthy white stuff' they are not complaining because they taste really great! They turned out to be soft and chewy and very tasty. Even my sisters, who are dessert fanatics, gave good reviews.

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardeli - given by my 3rd sis from u.s.a)
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c sugar (you can increase up to 1/2 c if you want sweeter cookies)
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 T oats ( I added up to 4 T)
1/4 c chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter large rimmed baking sheet.

2. Sift first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and beat until moist clumps form. Dough will be very firm. Add chocolate chips. Knead gently to blend.

3. Using moistened palm, shape 1 generous tablespoon into ball. Place on prepared sheet; flatten to 2 inch round. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing rounds 2 inches apart.

4. Bake cookies until center is slightly firm and top is cracked, about 14 min. Cool on sheet.

Note: I followed the recipe above faithfully until after adding the flour, I felt that the mixture was too firm and hard to handle. I added 1 egg to the mixture at this point. The cookies turned out soft and chewy and moist, though a bit crumbly. They tasted great nevertheless! One of these days, I might try the original recipe to see what it will turn out.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Korean Bulgogi

This dish is simply yummy and irresistible. It disappeared before I could take a photograph of it! (The picture here was added on Dec 10, taken from the internet.) And it got the stamp of approval from my harshest critic - my hubby! He said the beef was very tender and juicy. It must be the marinade...

I got this recipe from "Cooking With a Cause" a compilation of recipes from the friends and staff of Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ. This book was a gift from the children's Ninang Fanny.

1 K sirloin beef, thinly sliced (buy the sukiyaki cut)
1 big ginger, grated
1 whole garlic, skinned, chopped
1 C brown sugar
1 C soy sauce
1 C sesame oil
spring onions

1. Marinate the beef slices in the rest of the ingredients, except the spring onions, for at least 2 hours. Better if marinated overnight in the chiller. Or some portions may be kept in the freezer for a read-to-cook meal another time.

2. If you want more sauce, increase the brown sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce equally.

3. When ready to cook, stir fry in pan (no need to put oil) just until the meat turns brown. I do it several pieces at a time. Do not overcrowd the cooking pan. Do not overcook or the meat will harden.

4. Dish up and sprinkle with chopped spring onions before serving.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Prawns Thermidor

This dish was a big hit with the whole family! The preparation took a bit longer because of all the chopping we have to do, but the result was terrific!

1/2 kilo prawns (about 12 pieces)
1 bottle gin
2 T butter
1 t minced garlic
1/4 c chopped onions
1 & 1/4 c milk
1/2 bar grated cheese
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1 T chopped celery stalk
2 T chopped spring onions
2 T all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 container cottage cheese
Chopped parsley, optional

1. Using kitchen scissors, carefully cut the shell of the prawns from the neck down to the tail, making sure to keep the shells intact. Carefully remove prawn meat and chop coarsely. Add enough gin to cover chopped prawns completely until ready to use.

2. Arrange prawn shells in a baking dish.

3. Saute garlic, onion in butter. Add bell pepper and celery stalk. Add prawns and saute only until its color becomes pink. Stir in flour, salt, pepper. Saute until flour is no longer visible. Pour in milk and allow to boil. Stir constantly until mixture thickens. Stir in cottage cheese.

4. Fill prawns with cooked mixture. Top with spring onions and grated cheese. Bkae at 375F for 15 - 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley or other fresh herbs if desired.
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