Cucumber Cup Gazpacho Shots

 

Cucumber cup gazpacho

Cucumber cup gazpacho

 

Sorry, I have been terribly lazy of late! Seriously, what have I been doing? Nothing much. Besides work and watching anime and painting my Nausicaa model and eating a lot… nothing much at all. 

Perhaps it’s time for an end of summer post… I realize I have an affinity for cold foods. It’s not that I dislike hot food though, I just don’t shun cold things… I’m a warm (perhaps hot?) blooded human, after all. For some weird reason, things that should be eaten hot I often just eat at 4C. ie. from the fridge. Or even lower. I like salads, and cold, “liquid salads” are certainly great. OK, probably not to the point of the whole fadish veggie smoothies stuff, I’m talking about gazpachos! It is the end of summer, so there is not much chance left for this cold soup. 

I made this simple gazpacho from 1 tomato, 1/2 sweet Vadalia onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1t balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I used 1 long English cucumber and threw in the scoopings that came out of the cucumber cups. Just mix everything to a consistency of your liking in a food processor, and serve. I had quite a fun time with the cucumber cups. But you can just serve in an old fashion bowl, of course!

Lima bean “humous”

 

lima bean "humous"

lima bean "humous"

 

If you can make humous out of chickpeas, you can make it from any other bean. I haven’t attempted the edamame puree that has been rather popular with foodies, though I probably should since there are always bags of edamame in the freezer. I like to snack on them as is though. So I resorted to killing some other beans. I tried making a lima bean puree (since I couldn’t see making a snack of of lima beans). 

This is a low-fat version, though I guess you could always add a spoonful of olive oil to help the pureeing process. I found a bit of water was enough, but the texture is for sure a bit more coarse without oil. I used this as a spread on crackers and it was OK. It didn’t lack flavor but I think it was slightly on the bland side, then again, adding more stuff to it would definitely make it too complex. I think this would be best suited for crackers that are flavored.

 

Lima Bean “Humous”

1 can lima beans

2 cloves garlic

1t cumin

1/2t salt

 

Blend all in food processor. Serve immediately or refrigerate in air tight container (should last a few days).

Quick Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

 

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

It is summer! And strawberries!

I think of parfaits as breakfast food, typically because all its ingredients (yogurt, granola, fruit) are associated with breakfast. But this was a nice, super quick dessert on a hot night. I love yogurty desserts like this: crunchy granola, sweet fruit, cold gooey yogurt. It is so healthy, yet desserty at the same time! Of course, if you wanted to indulge you could sub the yogurt with ice cream. And you can layer it with whatever fruit or granola or cereal you desire. Though berries are the best choice. I just happened to have some fresh local strawberries from W&A Farms on hand, and some yogurt and granola. Just layer, and repeat. 

Parfaits are fun to make! You can dress it up pretty fancy Gourmet-cover-shot style, but I think it will turn out pretty decent looking even if you’re just throwing things together randomly and messily like I did here. Just find a pretty glass. You can’t really go wrong. Great for entertaining when time (and skill) are limiting! 😉

Zucchini blossoms stuffed with shrimp and garlic

The first time I heard about zucchini blossoms was on an episode of Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill, where he fried these yellow squash blossoms that were stuffed with pork and cheese. I have never seen them in markets here, but finally came across these beautiful blossoms at the Steveston’s Farmer’s Market this Sunday. (More posts about the Market later! Stay tuned!)

 

Since I’ve never tried them before, I only bought a few flowers. I got about 1/2 a dozen for 50 cents! I’m going back to get more for sure. I didn’t cook them like most people do, ie. batter, deep fry in oil, because, heck, I am always looking for the healthier way out. Since I happened to have bought over a pound of fresh shrimp from one of the boats parked at the Steveston Pier that day, I decided to stuff these blossoms with a few of the smaller shrimp I had. And nothing else accents shrimp like garlic. So it was a whole clove of garlic too. It was great! 

 

 

Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed With Shrimp and Garlic:

1. Cut the stems off the blossoms and soak the blossoms in water/ rinse very well but very gently. Rip out the stamen/ style/stigma inside. Pat them dry on a piece of paper towel.

2. Carefully place a small shrimp (cooked, I used fresh, but can be from frozen) inside the blossom, then place a clove of garlic on top of the shrimp. If one clove is too much for you, just mince some up and throw a bit in instead.

3. Twist the top of the blossom to close. 

4. Grill on high for about 5 minutes, turning once (again, careful, because it’s easy to un-twist the blossom and have everything fall out.)

5. Eat! Just stuff the whole blossom into your mouth!

Green Tea Halibut with Edamame and Okra

The inspiration for this dish came actually from a batch of beautiful fresh okra, and a curiosity about cooking with tea.

Okra

I’ve always wanted to try the various ways you can use tea to cook fish (poaching, crusting, smoking). So my first attempt was to marinate halibut with green tea. The marinade also had a bit of miso, wine, and fresh ginger. The fish was then baked, along with edamame beans and whole okra pods. I liked it (and I didn’t expect you can just bake edamame straight and have it kinda crunchy like that and still edible without pre-cooking it first). The tea wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be, there is only a slight hint of it, so next time I will try some stronger stuff- maybe that expensive container of Dragon Well black tea.

Green Tea Halibut

 

Recipe follows…

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White bass steamed with umeboshi (pickled plum) and garlic

White bass is a fresh water bass, and kind of a fishy fish. If you find tilapia fishy (I don’t), this may be a bit fishier than tilapia for you. But the meat is also slightly fattier and juicier, plus it is cheaper than the market tilapia. It’s actually not fishy when cooked with some stronger but still simple ingredients – here it was simply steamed with umeboshi plums and fresh garlic slices, mixed in with some miso sauce, which went very nicely with the umeboshi.

 

Before: It is a good idea to sit the fish on a little bit of something (in this case it was stalks of green onion), to let the steam circulate:
before

After: Steam for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish, this one was a little over a pound), then drizzle with a bit of veg oil, and soy sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro – as typical in pretty much all Chinese steamed fish dishes! 😀
ume and garlic white bass

 

Delish. Sweet, sour, and savoury – all in one. Made it again simple Cantonese style – just steaming with ginger (minus the umeboshi and miso) – and that tasted fishier (but it was still good for me). If I were to cook white bass again (and I would), I would go with the umeboshi and garlic.

 

 

All aboard in no time – Crunchy Napa Cabbage Boats

It’s Spring! That means Spring cleaning! So I’ve been spending many a weekend (including the four days of Easter long weekend :-P) painting the house, throwing out a lot of old junk, getting some new furniture, and rearrranging things.

When you are trapped at home, looking too crappy, dusty, paint-splattered, and are generally too tired to go out, a rotisserie chicken always comes in handy. And with some leafy vegetables in the fridge, I was pretty much set. (And bread too, who can forget about bread?) 

These are little cabbage boats I put together for a quick lunch during painting. Basically I had in my fridge half a head of napa cabbage, half a carrot, some green onions, and left over rotisserie chicken (because I anticipated I would need that chicken). Cabbage rolls would have involved actual cooking, and I was too famished for that. I could have just ripped the cabbage up and thrown together a simple bowl of chicken salad, but hey, this is just as simple and a lot more fun. The Napa was crunchy and the chicken and hot sauce tastey. You’d definitely need to use your hands to eat this, but the boats held together nicely and it was not as messy as I anticipated.

Cabbage Boats

Crunch Napa Cabbage Boats

Materials: (makes about 6 boats)
– Half a head of Taiwanese Napa cabbage (I find Taiwanese Napa the best for this – the leaves are crunchy and sweet and thick enough to make little boats.)
– Half a carrot, julienned
– 2 green onions, chopped
– Left over chicken, shredded (you can also substitute with canned fish, cold cuts, char siu, tofu, whatever.)
– Srirarcha and/or soy sauce, to taste.

Protocol:
1. Wash cabbage and reserve 6 large pieces that can serve as “boats”. Cut the rest up into strips.
2. Mix cabbage with carrots, onions, and chicken, and 1/2T Sriracha sauce, some soy sauce (more or less depending on desired spiciness). If you want, you could also first cook the cabbage until it is soft – this will hold the filling together better but will make it less crunchy.
3. Stuff boats with the cabbage mixture and serve.

Chomped