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Mango-Banana Frozen Yogurt

31 Jul

Anyone else sweating like a pig out there?  Just me?  Right.  Of course not.  Well, to all my fellow sweating pigs, this post is for you.

As hot July rolls over to hot August, I can’t imagine a better way to say goodbye to good ol’ July than with a frozen yogurt or “froyo” for short.  Or… “super-awesome-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-to-have-when-it’s-hot” for long.  We are short on berries but long on bananas in our humble household, and as luck would have it, we’ve got mangoes too.

Mango-Banana Frozen Yogurt

Fruity Frozen Yogurt

1 cup  frozen bananas, sliced
1 cup frozen mangoes, cubed
2 cups vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of ground cloves or cinnamon, optional

Using a blender, grind or grate the slices of frozen banana.  If your blender has a pulse feature, use it to give you more control.  Next, grind or grate the frozen mango cubes.  The grated fruits will be along the sides of the pitcher so make sure to push them down before adding the yogurt.  Add 1 cup yogurt.  Blend.  Add the last cup of yogurt.  Blend.  Add 2 tbs honey and any spices you want for flavoring.  Blend.  Place the mixture in a container and freeze for an hour.

Smile and serve.

Disclaimer: I didn’t wait an hour to allow the yogurt mixture to freeze.  After 10 minutes, I cried out, “Yo. Froyo. Ready or not, I’m taking you out.”  That’s how I ended up with a soft frozen yogurt.  Thanks to the heat, it’s also melting fast.

The nice thing about summer is the abundance of fruits especially great for shakes and smoothies.  You can use any fruits you have available.  And if you don’t have any frozen fruits, use them as is and add 1 cup of ice – you’ll end up with a nice lassi instead of a froyo.  However, if you’re feeling lazy (it’s understandable, it’s summer), make your way to Starbucks or your favorite drink bar to get something nice and cold. 

Happy summer!

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Wombat Meatball Soup

1 Apr

If you want an exotic addition for a special dinner, give wombat meat a try.  It’s delicious.  Don’t know what a wombat is?  Go here to see wombats.  Cute, aren’t they?  Feisty too, making them difficult to catch.  So if you actually find a grocery that carries wombat meat and if you get blown away by the price, you’ll know why.  It wasn’t easy getting that wombat.

How should wombat meat be cooked?  Good question.  Try one of my favorite recipes.

Vegetable and Meat Ball Soup

Vegetable and Meatball Soup

2 quarts vegetable or meat broth
1 quart water
1 lb ground meat, formed into 1 inch balls
5 small potatoes, cut in quarters
2 large carrots, sliced in chunks
1 package frozen peas (optional)
1 onion, rough chopped

2 tbs chopped parsley (optional)
olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter for sautéing
salt and pepper, to season 

 In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté and soften onions with oil or butter.  Add the water and broth.  Bring the mixture to a quick boil  then allow to simmer.  Add the meatballs.  Let the meatballs cook for 5 minutes then add the vegetables.  Allow to cook until vegetables are tender but not soft.  Season the soup with salt and pepper.  Garnish with chopped parsley.

Smile and serve.

For the meatballs, you can use beef, pork, or turkey.  Or wombat meat, if you really want to.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Pumpkin Spinach Pie

14 Mar

It’s Pi Day!  Hurray!

There isn’t any other way to celebrate Pi Day than to have your pie and eat it too.  As my contribution to Pi Day, here’s a recipe for a vegetarian pie that would make Andy Foxtrot (Mom of Peter, Paige, and Jason Foxtrot) swoon.  I hereby present Pumpkin Spinach Pie using my favorite dough: phyllo.  I know it isn’t everyone’s favorite dough (*ahem*, I’m speaking to you, The Hubby) and I know the sheets come in rectangular shapes therefore creating a non-circular pie.  Before the math geeks bring out torches and pitchforks to persecute me, here’s a recipe for a circular pie.

I know it’s all about circumference/diameter day, but in the spirit of all things pie and beautiful, here’s a recipe for a quadrilateral-shaped pie.  Pie is yummy regardless of shape and size.

Pumpkin Spinach Pie

Pumpkin Spinach Pie

4 cups of pumpkin pie filling
1 cup diced onion
2 packages frozen spinach 
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, optional
Your favorite herb, optional

20 sheets or 1 package of phyllo/filo

Preheat oven to 425 deg Fahrenheit.  Cook onion and frozen spinach in a saucepan over low heat.  Season to taste and add your favorite herb.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Prepare dough on a 15″ x 10″ x 2″ shallow rectangular  pie pan by brushing each of the 10 sheets with oil or melted butter.  Add spinach mixture and sprinkle with parmesan.  Layer pumpkin filling then top with the remaining 10 sheets.  As an option, pre-slice the top in squares or diamonds.  Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden. 

Smile and serve.

Happy Pi Day!  Happy National Pie Day, too!

Beef Pho

24 Jan

While Spain was busy colonizing the Philippine Islands from the 16th until the late 19th century, France was doing the same to Vietnam beginning in the 17th century.  European occupation brought along some cultural imposition, which is obvious in the cuisines of the occupied nations.  Many Filipino foods are Spanish “inspired” and in Vietnamese cuisine, the influence of its occupier is obvious as well: bánh mì uses baguette and cháo phở is similar to the French’s pot-au-feu.

There are many noodle houses serving only pho, definitely in California, and the more diverse parts of Washington State.  To my amusement, when I first moved to Washington State in 2005, people were talking about pho as if it were the “it” dish and something exotic, which it is to many non-Asian folks and even to some Asians not having yet been introduced to Vietnamese cuisine.

Having lived in San Jose, California where demographics show that it has the largest Vietnamese population; out of the 945,942 people reported in the 2010 US Census, 10.4% of which are Vietnamese and 2.03 x 10^-6 are family friends as they are my sisters’ BFFs, and due to Claire and Kat’s longtime friendships with Quynhnhu and Linda, respectively, Vietnamese culture has been nicely incorporated into my family’s own.

When I was a junior in high school and my youngest sister, Kat, was a senior in junior high (word play intended), she asked me to make a noodle dish called bun (pronounced būn, not buhn).  When she spent time with her friend Linda, bun was what Linda’s family served her for a meal and Kat wanted a repeat, and for the life of me, I didn’t know how to make bun.  So we set out recreating bun with Kat recalling the ingredients and flavors she remembered.  Bun and pho are both noodle soup dishes but they’re not the same in terms of the noodles used and the flavors; bun contains more spice whereas it’s optional with pho.

Now with my own household, Asian noodle soups play a primary part in our meals, especially when it’s cold, damp, and gray, as it often is in our part of the Pacific Northwest.  Although The Hubby would say that I don’t need the weather to be cold to have noodle soups.  Though it’s nice to have cold weather as an excuse.

Pho-Vietnamese noodle soup (800x450)

Pho

Beef broth
(Broth: beef bones, ginger, onions, fish sauce, salt, sugar, and cloves)
1 package of Banh pho noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
1/2 lb Beef tenderloin (sliced thinly, after cooked)
1 lb Bean sprouts
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Green onions, cut into thin rings
Thai basil
2 large or 4 small Jalapeño peppers, cut into rings (optional)
Chili sauce (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges 

Prepare the broth using a large stockpot and the listed ingredients with 5 quarts of water.  Bring the broth to a boil for about ten minutes then allow to simmer.  Remove the bones and any surface foam and fat.  Add the beef round in the simmering broth for 15 minutes.  Remove the tenderloin and allow to rest before slicing thinly.  Skim off any fat from the broth and make sure broth is clear before serving.  Leave the broth in low heat to keep warm.  Prepare the noodles according to directions on the package.  Place the cooked noodles in large bowls and on top, add the sliced tenderloin and bean sprouts.  Ladle the hot broth the beef and bean sprouts.  Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil, green onions, and Jalapeño peppers, with lime and chili sauce on the side.

Smile and serve.

Numerous pho recipes are available online and for those unfamiliar with Vietnamese foods, check out as many pho recipes as you like so you can find the recipe that fits your diet best.  Pho can also be made with chicken and vegetables, hence if you’re not a red meat eater, replace the beef with chicken or tofu.  Enjoy!

*Pho photo courtesy of The Hubby and his sturdy Nokia Lumia 920.

Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti

6 Jan

Disclaimer: the following dish is not for anyone who is currently on a low-carb and/or low-fat and/or low-sodium and/or detox and/or no-dairy diet.  In short, if you’re on a restricted diet, the Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti is not for you.  But I’m thoughtful and thusly, this one is my gift for folks who need to watch what they eat.

For everyone else, here you go.  Five-way style.  Baby, it’s cold outside, so have some Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti, and get yourself warm and cozy.

Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti

Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti

1 lb Ground meat (we used ground beef)
Oil for browning meat and onions
1/2 cup Onion, medium chopped
6 cloves Garlic, minced
5 Jalapeño peppers, chopped in small squares (optional)
2 cups Tomato sauce
2 cups Kidney beans, cooked

1 tbs Cayenne Pepper

Cumin, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste
Salt to taste
Tabasco Sauce to taste (optional)
Cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
Spaghetti, cooked
Shredded cheddar cheese (we used a mixture of mild cheddar and Monterey Jack), for topping

Prepare spaghetti according to packaging instructions and set aside.  Add oil to heated saucepan.  Reduced to medium heat then add ground meat, onions, garlic, and jalapeño to brown.  Season with cayenne pepper, cumin, and cinnamon.  Mix well.  Add tomato sauce and mix thoroughly.  Let mixture boil for several minutes then lower heat.  To increase spiciness, add Tabasco Sauce.  Add cooked kidney beans.  Mix well and allow to simmer.  Turn off heat.  Garnish chili with cilantro.  Ladle chili over spaghetti and top with shredded cheddar.

Smile and serve.

*Photo courtesy of The Hubby and his reliable Nokia Lumia 920.