Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Easy Crab and Jalapeno Omelette

Being in my last semester of college, I managed to get almost all of my credits out of the way. The way I noodled with my schedule, I managed to get Tuesday and Thursday mornings off in hopes of getting a job. Well I don't have one still, sadly, but I DO have a lot of free time for homework, the gym, and cooking!

Here's a fast, simple, healthy, and decant breakfast idea!

Crab and Jalapeno Omelette

-2 eggs (substitute 3 egg whites if you'd rather)
-1/2 c. imitation crab meat, flake style, chopped
-1 fresh jalapeno
-Cheese (I used a Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Single)
-Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat pan. Spray with cooking spray. While the pan is heating, mix eggs in a small bowl.
2. When pan is hot, add eggs and move pan around to cover the bottom with egg. Every now and again, use a spatula to lightly push some of the cooked eggs aside. Tilt the pan so the runny egg on top fills in the gap. Make sure the bottom doesn't burn!
3. When eggs are mostly cooked (it won't take but a minute), add crab meat, jalapeno, and cheese. Fold the omelette in half while still in the pan so the cheese will melt quickly.
4. Slide onto a plate and sprinkle with black pepper. Enjoy!
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
Hard to believe you can have something so gourmet in less than five minutes, right?
P.S. I took all the seeds out of my jalapeno and it was STILL super spicy, so if you want less heat, try only using half the pepper.
Happy Eating!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi!

Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

I just love it. It's delicious, healthy, and super fun to make. This was my first attempt, and I am hoping for many more soon (in fact, I think a friend is coming over tomorrow and we can make some)!

Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
You ready for the fun fact? I didn't use a recipe. I just kind of made it up.

You see, I decided that I wanted to spend two weeks on an All-Asian (or mostly Asian, mostly Japanese) Diet. Boyfriend and I went to Chinatown in NYC to get some groceries and discovered how inexpensive fresh fish and vegetables are out there. Like...I want to ONLY buy from Chinatown because of it. So we bought over a pound of fresh salmon, some imitation crab sticks, sushi rice, a bamboo sushi mat, nice chopsticks, wooden skewers, and the list goes on! Once I finally move to the city for good, you can bet your britches I'm going to be buying awesome bowls and plates. So I decided to try my hand at making sushi! I did look up a sushi rice recipe (involving rice vinegar and salt that I added to taste), and took a chance! So here's my take on a Philadelphia Roll, a California Roll, and a Spicy Crab Roll!
Delicious ingredients! - Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
-3 c. sushi rice, cooked, rice vinegar and salt added (this may leave you with extra rice, I can't quite remember)
-3 sheets nori

Philadelphia Roll
-1 oz. fresh salmon, raw, cut into small, relatively thin strips
-2 tbsp. light cream cheese, spreadable
-1/4 cucumber, julienned
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

California Roll
-2 imitation crab sticks, cut in half lengthwise
-1 tbsp. light cream cheese, spreadable
-1/4 cucumber, julienned (1/2 avocado is preferred, but I didn't have any at the time of my original picture-taking)
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

Spicy Crab Roll
-2 imitation crab sticks, shredded
-1 tbsp. light mayonnaise
-3/4 tbsp. sriracha hot sauce
-1/2 avocado, halved and thinly sliced
-2 green onions, thinly sliced
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

1. Lay a piece of nori on the sushi mat.
2. Gently spread rice evenly across the nori. Do not make the layer too thick, but be sure to cover the surface.
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
3. Pile on the ingredients of your choice. I placed all of them at the end so they would end up in the center when I rolled. If you want a mix of rice and ingredients, cover the entire sheet.
Philadelphia Roll. - Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
4. Firmly roll up the nori using the bamboo mat. Make sure the ingredients stay together!
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
5. Slice evenly and plate. Enjoy!
Philadelphia and California Rolls. - Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
I also attempted a roll with the rice on the outside and the nori on the inside, like you see in many restaurants. That was much harder and a horse of a completely different color. I'll try again sometime.
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

Spicy Crab Roll. - Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
Making sushi in your own home is much more simple than you think! It takes a bit of patience but it is so worth it!

Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
Happy Eating!

Dango (Rice Flour Balls)

Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
If you've ever watched Japanese anime, you've probably seen these white balls on skewers that the characters eat. I never quite knew what they were, so in my research for Japanese food, I read about dango, which are essentially mochi balls. I found the recipe on this website. Boyfriend and I discovered that they're a tad tasteless, so make sure you pile on the sauces! The boy didn't like them but I actually thought they were pretty good.

Ready to be boiled. Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters
Boiled, skewered, and rolled in mochi flour.
Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

Ready for the oven! Photo Copyright 2012 Katie Peters

You don't have to put them in the oven, but it definitely adds a little bit of a crisp outside that is a nice contrast to the gooey, chewy inside. We ate ours with soy sauce and wasabi alongside yakitori and sushi. Those recipes will come next!
Happy Eating!



Easy Coconut-Curry Kale

So I've been making lots of food lately but never take nice pictures or upload the recipes to my blog. So tonight, I have a quick and simple recipe for you to try! My boyfriend doesn't like kale much, and the last time I ate it, it was in the form of tasty, salty, crispy chips, so I thought I'd try again! This is a very healthy version using LIGHT coconut milk rather than the usual (which I love). I think it affects the flavor a tad, but with the curry paste, I can't complain! Hopefully I'll make it for the boy soon and maybe he'll like it.

-3 1/2 c. chopped and washed kale
-1/4 c. water
-2/3 c. light coconut milk
-1 tbsp. Thai Kitchen green curry paste
-freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Add the kale and water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cook for five minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Lower heat to medium and cook for another four to five minutes, stirring often.
3. Move some of the kale over in the pot and tilt so the coconut milk fills the area. Add the green curry paste to the coconut milk and mix until smooth. Return pot to normal position and stir. Add a couple dashes of pepper. Turn heat to low and simmer for eight to ten minutes (approximately the time it took for my salmon to cook). Remember to keep stirring now and again to incorporate the coconut milk and curry.
4. The kale should end up being soft and flavorful, with all the coconut milk soaked in. So easy, right? Enjoy!

Coconut-curry kale (top right). With pan-seared salmon, chicken bouillon-spiced rice, and kimchi.
Photo copyright 2012 Katie Peters
Happy Eating!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hang on, bloggers!
Don't give up on me yet!

I've been so busy with life (and preparing for my graduation in May) that I haven't really had much time to dedicate to food blogging. I have, however, been trying to follow a Japanese and Asian-style diet in the last few days and it's supposed to last me another week and a half. It's delicious, pretty simple, and lots of fun, but the high salt content is turning me off. Learning how to adjust the recipes and not use so much. Also a lot of carbs I don't need. But it's a good experiment and overall pretty healthy! Salmon's expensive, though...I have no clue how the Japanese can afford that! Haha. I'm working on a lot of recipes, so hopefully I'll have something for you soon. Having a really bad camera doesn't help my blogging experience, either. One day I'll have an AMAZING camera...let me just pay for food, rent, and the headshots/resumes/website/clothes I need for the start of my career first...!!!

Oy vey! Taking a break from crazy life never seems long enough!

So here's a picture of some yummy Asian food to tide you over until then. ;) Clear soup with mushroom and green onion, pan-fried tofu with soy and ginger, homemade rice ball, and soy-boiled bok choy. Mmm.

Photo Copyright 2012 - Katie Peters

P.S. I also have a recipe for homemade tangelo marmalade coming up! Made it for E for Christmas. :)

Happy Eating and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 Experience

Thanksgiving this year was such a great experience for me! I was sad to be away from home again (haven't celebrated with my family since 2008) but I figured as I'm getting ready to graduate and move away permanently, it was about time I started getting ready to create my own traditions and have my own recipes! Last year, my boyfriend and I made the usual boxed Stove Top stuffing, Idaho potato flakes, can of gravy, can of cranberry jelly, and turkey cutlets and legs (his oven is itty-bitty). This year, thanks to the generous offer of oven use from my friend Tony, Thanksgiving was able to be bigger. And since I had a full-size oven to cook with and lots of time on my hands, why not go all out? I decided that I would make everything from scratch this time around. I wanted to see if I could make things a little bit healthier (or at least have more nutrients even if it had more fat) by creating homemade dishes, and plus it would stretch my cooking skills to a new level.

A couple weeks before I left for NYC, I wrote out a recipe list for myself:
-mashed potatoes
-sweet potatoes
-green beans
-cranberry sauce

It seemed like a crazy idea. But I was willing to do it. All I needed was time, determination, and money. Looking back at the basic list, I decided that it sounded a bit plain, so I started to think of a bit more complex menu ideas. Mashed potatoes would be flavored with rosemary and garlic. The stuffing would have cornbread and veggies. The Jell-O would be two-layer and studded with mini-marshmallows and fruit (like my parents always do). The cranberry sauce would be spiked with orange. I was finally ready.

I bought several ingredients in Ithaca where it was cheaper, and dragged them across the state with me. It was worth it (even though I was carrying a small suitcase and a piano keyboard as well!).

Thanksgiving day, my boyfriend had to spend time in Chicago, so we moved our celebration to the following day. Though this had initially put a damper in my carefully constructed schedule, I got to shove everything a day later and be lazy a day longer, so really, it was okay. I started by cooking the pies, cornbread (for the stuffing) and cranberry-orange sauce on Thursday (I was crashing at Tony's that night so I could spend the next day cooking, so I had to get them done).

The pies ended up being the favorite part of the dinner, surprisingly, though they took the least effort!
Click Here For The Pecan-Walnut Pie and Pumpkin Pie Recipes
Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

 I was immensely proud of the cranberry-orange sauce, though I never wrote the measurements down!
Click Here For The Cranberry-Orange Sauce Recipe
Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

I shoved the pies in the fridge (and later, the freezer), and when I was ready, I packed everything up and took a taxi across Manhattan to Tony's apartment. Carrying all those groceries was crazy! Luckily, I got to have the night off and went to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with Tony and our friend Jeff. I made a simple rocket/butter lettuce salad with walnuts, gouda, and pears, dressed with olive oil/balsamic vinegar. It's one of my favorite salads that I first ate in Italy (pretty sure it was different cheese, though). We had a nice night of food and wine, then returned to Tony's and crashed.

Friday, Tony was off to work all day and his roommate Erik hadn't returned from his trip yet, so I got to spend most of the day by myself. I lazed around for a bit, knowing that if I got started immediately, I would run out of things to do. When I finally made the decision to start, I made the sweet potatoes first, because I knew I could refrigerate those for awhile without them getting soggy (like stuffing).

Click Here For The Sweet Potato Recipe
Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
After I mashed the sweet potatoes and popped them in the fridge, I tackled the bird! Dealt with the giblets and popped them in a pot to make some turkey stock.
Click Here For The Turkey Stock Recipe

I cleaned the bird, drained it, and rubbed it all over with spices. Then I covered it in foil and put it back in the fridge to let it marinate a little bit while I made the stuffing.

Stuffing is one of my boyfriend's and my favorite side dishes, so I had to make sure it was delicious! I used cornbread, which he specifically wanted, and combined it with light whole wheat bread for a bit of health value. I'm very happy with my decision to add celery and onion because it added lots more depth, flavor, and texture. I would have to say that I'm quite happy with how it turned out! My parents haven't stuffed a turkey in awhile, so when Ethan asked me to put some in the turkey, I was unsure. I have to say that I'm glad I did!
Click Here For The Whole-Wheat and Cornbread Stuffing Recipe
Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
Once the stuffing was ready, I took the turkey out of the fridge, doused it in melted butter and stuffed it! I was scared that I was going to mess up or the turkey would be terrible and a waste of four hours of my life, but I have to say that I am so proud. It was juicy and tender, the skin was beautifully crispy--it was everything I could have wanted! And the boys were impressed. Oh, did I mention that it was 20lb. turkey so that I could feed five men? Yep. Five men and myself. And we still had plenty of leftovers (thank goodness! I love my Thanksgiving leftovers). I hope every year from now is as successful as this one. I would like just a bit more flavor in the future, though...perhaps putting some spices underneath the skin next time? We shall see!
Click Here For The Successful First-Attempt Turkey Recipe
Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
In the meantime, I made the double-layer Jell-O with lime and strawberry flavors (always the choice of my folks), and throughout its refrigeration time added crushed pineapple, canned mandarin orange slices, and mini marshmallows. I got far too impatient with the layering and poured in some of the lime too early, creating a small section of brown Jell-O, but that's okay. Live and learn. I also spent some time snapping the ends off my fresh green beans, which I later pan-sauteed with cayenne, a dash of cumin, salt and pepper. It made a nice contrast to the other flavors of dinner.

I put the potatoes together in a dash because I have been making them in my apartment in Ithaca almost all semester. I am obsessed with them.
Click Here For The Rosemary-Garlic Mashed Potato Recipe
Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
Lastly came the gravy! I asked my dad at the beginning of the month for some turkey tips as well as his gravy recipe, because it's always been one of my favorite parts of dinner. My dad makes damn good gravy, guys. I adapted it just a tiny bit, but I have to say that he would be satisfied with it!
Click Here For Dad's Turkey Gravy Recipe
Photo Copyright 2011 - Katie Peters

The final spread (minus desserts) - Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
All in all, Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success! All of my men were well-fed, full, and satisfied, as was I. I had a stomach-ache afterwards from eating too much too fast! I can't wait for the next Thanksgiving (though my body will thank me if I do) and to cook for people again. It was a great culinary expedition and a fun, new, slightly stressful experience. I think it was helpful kicking people out of the kitchen, though, so I was master of my domain. I think it would be much more stressful if others were in the kitchen, too. I found myself getting a little antsy toward the end of my journey (especially as the boys began wandering into the kitchen and finger-tasting everything, asking when food would be ready, or staring longingly in expectation), and I must have lost a pound through sweating my ass off, but yes. It was definitely all worth it. Plus, the praise I received through mouthfuls of meat, carbs, and dessert wasn't so bad, either. ;)

Hope everyone else had a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving as well! Next, a delicious Christmas dinner back in WA from my parents!

Happiest of Eating, everyone!

Simple Cranberry-Orange Sauce

This recipe is actually not worth posting because I played everything by ear and have no recollection of how much of each ingredient I used. However, I figured I may as well share the basics with you. It's a recipe that is super easy to adjust so you could probably make it better than I! It was my first attempt at making homemade cranberry sauce, and I was incredibly proud of it. It had the right balance of sweetness, tartness, and citrus bite!

Simple, Recipe-less Cranberry-Orange Sauce

-1 bag fresh cranberries
-water (not a lot, just enough to fill the bottom of the pot and cover the bottom half of the berries)
-sugar (at least a cup)
-zest of an orange
-juice of the same orange (watch for seeds!)

Colorful cranberries and orange! - Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

1. Combine all ingredients in a pot. Make sure the sugar dissolves. As the mixture begins to heat up, the berries will start to pop and burst, which is really fun. Add more water/sugar as necessary, especially depending on how tart your cranberries are.
Steamy! - Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters

That's it! Stupid-simple!

Photo Copyright 2011 Katie Peters
Happy Eating!