Strawberry-Basil Lemonade

_DSC6708

Hey guys! So I recently moved to Fresno, CA, where it is ridiculously hot – like 100 degrees at 5pm hot, which is crazy. So I thought I would cool off and make myself a good, old-fashioned, lemonade because there are really few things better. But this time I also thought maybe I’d spice things up a bit. Also because I had some left over strawberries that I needed to use.  I really did not have any recipe and have no idea if this is bogus or complete bs, but it tasted good even if I ended up eating the strawberry chunks.

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • lemons
  • strawberries
  • sugar
  • basil

I made the lemonade by squeezing 2 fresh lemons and mixing it with a couple cups of water.  This turned out to be way too tart obviously, so I added sugar until there was still some tartness, but not too bad (I figured I would get added sugar with the strawberries).  Then I cut up the strawberries and basil as finely as I could and threw them in.  Added a few cubes of ice and viola! Enjoy the rest of what little summer we have left people!

_DSC6711

Baked Honey Cod

_DSC6660

I have been trying to eat healthier recently.  More salads, fruit, and fish.  It is not really easy since i like meat so much, but it hasn’t been all bad either. I came across this recipe for a honey baked cod on Yahoo! Food that was taken from another blog and it seemed easy and delicious.  Turns out it is quite easy and tasty, but I couldn’t get the dark caramelization that they show in the picture. I am not convinced that you can get that by baking it. I think you have to broil it, but hey, I just followed the recipe on this one (kind of).

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup sesame oil (seemed excessive but who knows)
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped ginger
  • 4 to 6 oz cod fillets

_DSC6664

Directions

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bag and marinate the cod for 24 hours (my slight change was I marinated it for ~5hrs)
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake for ~8 min
  • Enjoy a nice healthy meal

_DSC6666

Glass Noodles with Pork

_DSC6576

I have been posting a lot of meat recently, well it seems that way anyway. So today I made a simple Chinese dish that my mom showed me how to make – glass noodles with minced pork. They are also referred to as cellophane noodles and are usually made of starch or beans and water.  I had a package of these glass noodles laying around from before and I know you can get them at most Asian markets, but I don’t know about regular grocery stores. I have never actually looked, but I assume they would be cheaper at Asian markets anyways. So this recipe comes courtesy of my mom and she gave me ingredients but no measurements, so nothing is exact as I am purely guessing/approximating what I used. But all in all, its fairly fast and easy and makes a nice side dish.

Ingredients

  • 8oz pkg of glass noodles
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili paste/chili oil or to taste
  • 3/4 cup dark soy sauce, separated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 cups of water or until softened
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Recipe:

  • Marinate the ground pork in 1/2 cup of dark soy sauce
  • Saute the pork with the garlic and chili paste in a wok or large sauce pan over medium heat
  • Add the glass noodles to the wok and add ~3 cups of water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, salt, white pepper, and sesame oil
  • Add more water if the noodles are still absorbing it (they soak up a lot)
  • Top with green onions and enjoy

_DSC6578

Tropical Chili Shrimp Appetizer

_DSC6243

So the other day I decided to make a light appetizer using some shrimp I had, but wasn’t enough for a meal.  This is a recipe that I made up as a conglomerate of some other recipes I saw while flipping through a magazine and thought I would try and combine aspects of each that I thought would be interesting. It turned out pretty good and refreshing, which is not something I would normally say about a shrimp dish, but it really was. It is also super easy and takes very little work to put together and only 1 pan, which is always a plus.  Try it out and let me know how it goes!

_DSC6236

Recipe:

  • 8 oz shrimp
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Juice of 1 lime/lemon
  • 1 Mango, cubed
  • 1 Avocado, cubed
  • toothpicks

Instructions

  • Wash and pat dry the shrimp
  • In a bowl, mix the shrimp with chili powder, salt, pepper, a pinch of red chili flakes, and garlic
  • In a pan over medium heat, cook the shrimp until they turn orange/pink, and add the lime juice as you cook
  • Remove them from the pan and using a toothpick, stick a shrimp on top of 1 mango cube and 1 avocado cube

_DSC6242

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

_DSC6187

So I decided to try a Meatless Monday thing and made a classic grilled cheese sandwich, that I paired with a tomato bisque soup and basic salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich?  There is just something nostalgic and comforting about it.  But in the past and growing up, I always made it with slices of American cheese. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually love American cheese and think its delicious, although others might feel that it’s too processed, which I can understand.  This time, I tried to be slightly more sophisticated and used parmesan and mild cheddar cheese.  I read somewhere that it is better to use 2 different types, with one being saltier (parmesan). So I kinda went with it, and actually it turned out pretty good. Although, I don’t think you can eff up a grilled cheese unless you burn it super bad, but even then, there’s a market for that.

_DSC6179

Ingredients:

  • Bread (whatever kind, I just used regular good old fashioned white bread)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, toss the 2 types of cheeses together and blend them together
  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/4 tbsp of butter and add the slices of bread
  • When slightly toasted, flip the bread and add the cheese blend to both slices
  • When the cheese begins to melt, flip one slice on top of the other
  • After a few minutes, flip the sandwich to finish melting the cheese and toasting the other slice of bread
  • Cut and enjoy like your inner kid wants to

_DSC6181

Crab Cups

_DSC5819

I know that I said that I would get back to doing this now that my life has settled down again, but for some reason, I just haven’t. Well, I am going to say it again and hope it sticks this time.  I recently made a crab appetizer that I have done a few times now with the help of Jenn.  It was really her idea about a year ago to make these for a dinner party, but we ate them without taking pictures, so there’s no record of that.  Coincidentally, I also made them for a dinner party this go around and took pics for good measure.  Now, they aren’t the greatest pictures (and there is no plating) as I was running late to the party (fashionably late of course). We originally got the recipe from here.  And each time, I tweaked it a little to fit my needs better.  They are definitely easy to make and so far, both dinner parties enjoyed them a lot.  My colleague actually just asked me for the recipe.

_DSC5805

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of flour tortillas, cut into drinking glass rim-sized circles
  • 1 8oz pkg soft cream cheese
  • 2 (6 ounce) can crab meat, drained (original recipe calls for 1, but c’mon…)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch paprika

_DSC5811

Directions:

  • *this is where I made some tweaks* The original recipe called for biscuit dough, which I have tried and it just turned out too doughy and took away from the whole dish.  This time I tried little circles of flour tortillas, which turned out to be a lot better
  • Brush the tortilla circles with a little bit of melter butter or olive oil and press into a muffin/cupcake pan
  • Bake the tortillas at 375 degrees for ~10 min or until golden brown and crispy
  • At the same time, mix the cream cheese, crab meat, mayo, parmesan, cheddar cheese, green onion, and Worcestershire sauce in a mixing bowl
  • Place a spoonful of the mixture into each tortilla bowl (still in the muffin pan) and garnish with a dash of paprika
  • Bake at 375 degrees for ~15-18 minutes
  • Take them out and enjoy with some friends/impress some coworkers

_DSC5815

Stuffed Bell Peppers

DSC_0029

So the other day I decided to try something that a year ago I would never have done – a stuffed bell pepper.  1) because I never stuffed anything before and 2) I never really ate whole bell peppers – just wasn’t my thing.  I can’t even tell you what got me thinking to do this, I just decided to I guess…weird.  It was a simple meal with limited ingredients and turned out decently.  It could also be an appetizer now that I think about it. Could have probably used more cheese and salt though.

Ingredients

  • Large bell peppers, halved
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cups cooked rice (brown/white/your choice)
  • Shredded cheese of your choice (amount of choice too)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika

DSC_0031

Instructions

  • In a large sauté pan, add a little oil and cook the ground pork
  • Salt and pepper generously and continue to cook
  • Add the cooked rice into the pan and continue to mix and cook (you don’t have to add all the rice, your choice)
  • Add more salt and pepper as needed
  • Place the bell pepper halves on a large baking sheet
  • Fill the halves with the pork/rice mix to desired fill
  • Top with as much cheese as you want
  • Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes
  • Top with a dash of paprika, and then eat it, duh

DSC_0040

Sesame Peanut Noodles

_DSC5727

So it has been FOREVER since I last posted, and by forever I mean 2 months.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking, but these past 2 months have been crazy.  So here is a simple vegetarian asian noodle dish I made a little while ago.  I actually got the recipe from the comments section of this Yahoo! Food article.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb noodles (I used a thin Chinese noodle)
  • 1 red bell pepper, slice
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 green onion, chopped

_DSC5721

Directions

  • Boil the noodles and drain
  • Slice the bell pepper and chop the green onion and set aside
  • In a food processor, blend the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and garlic together
  • Add the water and blend again
  • Add over the noodles and mix thoroughly
  • Add the bell pepper and green onions

_DSC5733

Limoncello Raspberry Torte

_DSC5636

Like I said in the previous post, I was going to post the dessert that my sister made for our parents. We were going with a full Italian theme, so it made sense to go with something like, say, tiramisu. But, my sister doesn’t like tiramisu, so it seemed unfair for her to make something she doesn’t even enjoy eating. We have had a lot of cheesecake recently, so that was also out. That’s when she came across this recipe for a limoncello raspberry torte. We actually had limoncello by chance from our family trip to Italy a couple of years ago. We bought a bottle because it was supposed to be a popular drink, but for some reason, we never opened it. So this seemed like as good as time as any to crack it open. The recipe itself is super easy and it tastes good too.

_DSC5609

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raspberries, divided
  • 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp Limoncello
  • 1 brick, 8 oz, Neufchatel cheese
  • Shortbread cookies for serving

_DSC5631

Directions

  • In a bowl, mash 3/4 of the raspberries
  • Mix in the sugar and limoncello, until raspberries are chunky, but semi-reduced
  • Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes
  • Place cheese on a plate
  • Combine remaining berries with the reduced mixture
  • Pour the mixture over the cheese
  • Spread the mix over shortbread cookies and enjoy

Shrimp Scampi Linguine

_DSC5344

Today was an easy going day. I left work early, took a nap, and decided to make a pasta for dinner. Shrimp was on my mind, so the obvious choice was to make a shrimp scampi. I really like shrimp scampi, but weirdly, I have never ordered it at a restaurant, nor have I ever made it before. I guess that is because my mom loves shrimp scampi and it’s almost a 100% guarantee that she will order it, which would allow me to finish her meal or at least steal some when we go out. But today I made it for the first time, but definitely not the last. Oh, and I got the recipe courtesy of the Food Network.

_DSC5327

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta (I used linguine)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 shallots, finely diced (I used red onions since I already had some)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes,to taste
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Pino Grigio)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

_DSC5330

Directions

  • Salt and boil pasta, then drain
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in 2 tbsp EVOO in a large skillet or saucepan over med-high heat
  • Saute shallots (onions), garlic, and pepper flakes until the onions are cooked through
  • Salt and pepper the shrimp
  • Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until pink/orange, then remove the shrimp
  • Add the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil
  • Add 2 tbsp EVOO and melt 2 tbsp butter into the liquid
  • Add the shrimp, parsley, and pasta to the mix
  • Add salt and pepper and mix thoroughly
  • Eat it!

_DSC5336

The recipe online also says to drizzle some EVOO on top at the end, but I found this to be unnecessary since there was plenty of oil before that, so I didn’t add any.  This recipe was a lot simpler and quicker than I thought it would be, which is pretty awesome, because it was pretty delicious. Add some parmesan cheese and top it with some parsley and that’s it. Hope you enjoy it too.