Category Archives: Appetizers

Asian Pork Soup

I was going to save this till later in the week but since I was feeling a bit under the weather and needed some comfort food I had a feeling this soup would do the trick.  This was excellent and very simple.

You’ll need:

1 tbsp canola oil
12 oz lean boneless pork, cut into thin bite size strips
2 c freshly sliced shiitake mushroooms
2 c garlic, minced
3-14 oz cans chicken broth
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger/1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 c shredded napa cabbage
1 green onion, thinly sliced
fresh cilantro sprigs

1. In lg saucepan heat oil over med heat; add pork, cook and stir for 2-3 mins or until slightly pink in the center. Remove from pan and set aside. add mushrooms and garlic and cook until tender.

2. Stir in chicken broth, sherry soy, ginger, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Stir in pork, napa cabbage, and green onion; heat through. If desired, garnish with cilantro. Makes 6-1 c servings.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 160

Total Fat: 6 g

Cholesterol: 31 mg

Protein: 16 g

Carbohydrate: 10 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 169 mg

Home made Naan

The Butter Chicken from the other day needed a final touch – Naan.  Since I do not have a tandoori oven I thought “Well, damn, I’m out of luck when it comes to making home made Naan.”  Not so!

Using my personal search assistant I quickly found this recipe, no tandoori oven needed!

1 cup plain flour

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

I’ve made some small changes to the recipe.  You’ll, I think, be position for better results.

1. For the dough, sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.

2. Mix the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Slowly mix together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl, making a smooth and soft dough.

3. Knead well for 8-10 minutes.

4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for at least an hour

5. Cut ball into the number of pieces you desire. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Roll the dough balls out quite thinly. Sprinkle over your chosen topping and press into the surface of the dough.

7. Place the naans onto the a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then broil for 2. Turn if one naan is more brown than another.

8. Brush with butter and serve!

Home Made Naan

Home Made Naan

Quick, easy and ready for any dish.

Truly Kick Ass Garlic Bread

During the past week I made spaghetti with home made meatballs. Don’t worry, the recipe for the meatballs will be coming shortly.  With the dish I also cranked out so very simple, but truly kick ass, garlic bread.


1 Stick melted butter

1/4 chopped shallot

1/4 chopped yellow onion

1 green onion shoot, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

Some freshly chopped Parsley and Basil

1 loaf of French bread (you can pick this up from your fresh bake areas of your local store)

Really, not hard to make here… you mix all of your ingredients in a medium bowl, then brush over your French Bread. Toast in your broiler, on high, for a minute or two. Make sure you watch during the entire process as the bread could quickly burn.

Have fun!

Truly Kick Ass Garlic Bread

Turkey Tom 2009

Every year the wife makes a Turkey themed dish for thanksgiving and this year it was an appetizer.

2009-11-26 16.49.26For this you’ll need

1) One small pumpkin (pie pumpkin will work)
2) Summer Sausage
3) Colby Jack Cheese
4) Red Pepper
5) Pear
6) Mushrooms
7) Wooden shish kabob skewers


So, you’ll want to cut the base of the pumpkin so it can sit flat on the surface. In our case she used the cut piece to tilt the turkey up slightly.

Cut the red pepper to look like feet and place at the base of the pumpkin.

Take half a skewer and place it into the pumpkin where you intend on having the head, then place the pear on. For the head she used two blueberries that were available, if you don’t have any just sitting around anything will do.

Cut your summer sausage and cheese into cubes, place onto skewers in an alternating fashion. Then arrange each skewer in the pumpkin as to create the tail feather pattern.  Place a mushroom at the end of each skewer to give it the final touch.

And there you go!  A nice appetizer or centerpiece.

Pumpkin soup and roasted pumpkin seeds — waste not want not

So to mark the very beginning of fall I’ve made pumpkin soup. It was not premeditated I just felt like making pumpkin soup. In general it’s been a soup I make on Thanksgiving and Christmas but I had a hankering for it the other day and so I bought a pumpkin.

I wish I had taken a picture of the cute little squash before I gutted and roasted it, but I did not so here it is after the fact.


I halved it then took out the seeds and wrapped the squash in foil. I roasted it at 400 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. After roasting the pumpkin I turned down the oven to 250 and roasted the pumpkin seeds.


These are the seeds before roasting. I lightly rinsed them. I like leaving a bit of the pumpkin goop as it helps the tamari and salt I add to them stick nicely. I roasted them at 250 for several hours until browned and crispy.


I eat them whole. They are very yummy.

Now the soup.


1 smallish pumpkin (I wish I had weighed it but I didn’t)

48 oz vegetable stock

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

2 tbls virgin coconut oil

1 large onion

4 large garlic cloves

Salt to taste

1 tsp cumin

1 tbls coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbls dried ginger

1 tbls dried mustard

1 tsp cayenne

plain yogurt to top the soup with (optional)


So roast the pumpkin for an hour and a half or until nice and soft. Let cool a bit.

Saute onion and garlic in coconut oil. Let this cool a bit too once it’s nice and soft.

Toss pumkin in a blender and add enough broth to puree. Do the same with the onions and garlic. Blend one of the batches with all the spices. Mix it all up in a pot and just barely bring to a boil. Turn off and let sit for a few hours. Add the orange juice and reheat when you want to eat it.

If you like top it with the yogurt.



Chicken liver pâté


Well I know a lot of people don’t like liver pâté , but if you like it as much as I do you’ll find this very cheap version of the delicacy a delight.

1 lb chicken livers
1 cup butter (soft — room temperature)
1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
2 tsp tarragon
1 tsp thyme
3 bay leaves
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup cognac

Coarsely chop onions and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Add livers. Add water and wine and bring to boil. Add the herbs and spices. Boil for 3 minutes until liver is pink inside and then take off flame and cover for five minutes and let sit.

Take out the bay leaves and strain the livers, onions, and herb. Put all solids into a food processor. Put the juices aside.

Add the 1/4 cup cognac to the juices and boil and reduce all the liquid until quite thick and only 2 to 4 tbls of liquid.

Add that reduced stuff to the food processor with the cup of butter and puree the whole thing until smooth. Put into whatever containers you like. I froze half of this as it is very rich and really too much to go through with just two in the house.

Lumpia Shanghai and Pork BBQ

Years ago I discovered a local Filipino store that specializes in import food items – rice, fruit and drinks.  In the back of this tiny store is a kitchen that happens to serve authentic home made items and they are fantastic.  Healthy?  Yea, guessing not, but some of food that really hits the spot.

I had intended on making a quick salmon dish this evening but my sudden and uncontrollable urge for Lumpia took over.  I thought I would share that urge with you.

What is Lumpia Shanghai?

Lumpia Shanghai (Lumpia for short) is, essentially, a mini egg roll roughly 4 inches in length filed with beef or pork, egg, carrots and various spices.  These little guys are deep fried to sinful perfection and usually served with sweet and sour sauce (which I usually pass on).  I find the addition of carrots in the roll to be sweet enough for me.

There are a number of versions of Lumpia, usually tied to the country and region of origin. I would actually consider this food item to be the ideal finger food.  Just remember to a napkin around as your fingers are bound to get greasy.

Pork BBQ

Anyone who has exposure to Filipino food will know there seems to be a certain affinity for all things pork.  From open pit, full roasted, pigs to skewers, Filipino BBQ pork is quite enjoyable.  No, I didn’t pick up a fully roasted pig, I opted for the skewers.

These little guys are marinated in Soy sauce, with sugar, garlic and lemon juice.  Usually, the pork is BBQed (as noted by the name) but can also be prepared under a broiler.  It is very important that you continue to move/turn the skewers until cooked to your liking because pork can be easily overcooked.  If one wants to really add flavor to the mix, change out the sugar for brown sugar.

Lumpia Shanghai and Pork BBQ just begging for you to eat them!

Lumpia Shanghai and Pork BBQ just begging for you to eat them!

While store purchased Lumpia Shanghai and Pork BBQ hits the spot, if it fresh, the real challenge will be when I decide to take these on in my own kitchen.  It may be some time until that happens as I have a number of other things I would like to get to first, but I will definitely post my adventure once it takes place.