Honey Salmon

Honey salmon is a recipe I learned from my mom.  I usually make this with a large piece of salmon when I have guests over, but sometimes I just marinate a smaller piece in a bag and sautee it (see alternate cooking method in step 2).

Ingredients:

  • Honey, a lot of it. Most likely you don’t have enough honey laying around. Buy a container of honey that is dedicated to this dish. The amount you need varies depending on the shape of your cookware and how much salmon you have. I suggest getting at least 12 oz of honey per lb of salmon. The goal is to have enough honey to submerge all or most of the salmon; you can never have too much.
  • Salmon fillet, fresh (2-3 lbs).

Preparation:

Place the salmon fillet in your bake-safe cookware and pour the honey until either the salmon is submerged or you run out of honey. Ideally the salmon should marinate overnight in the honey. Less is okay, but it’s worth the wait. At a minimum, marinate for 3 hrs.

Directions:

1. After the salmon has marinated in the honey, set your oven to broil. We want to broil the salmon under a broiler flame because normal baking will result in dry salmon. If your oven does not have a broil setting, read the alternate directions at the end of step 2.

2. Once the oven is hot, broil the salmon until the thickest part of the fillet is cooked, flaky and opaque. It shouldn’t take more than about 3-4 minutes per pound; so about 6 – 12 minutes for a 2-3 lbs salmon fillet. If the salmon is already browned to your liking before it is thoroughly cooked, cover with foil for the remaining cook time.

Alternate cooking method: If your oven does not have a broil option, don’t worry. Just sautee the salmon with a little oil for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until the thickest part is cooked through. You may need to cut the fillet into smaller portions to fit your sautee pan.

3. Plate and Serve. Yum! I usually eat honey salmon with rice, but another starch works like pasta or potatoes.

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Salad Dressing Recipe

I’ve already blogged about a simple vinaigrette dressing here previously.  However, my friend Sohee sent me another recipe called ” Sohee’s Emoe’s Delicious Salad Dressing Recipe” which I just had to try.  Since the recipe didn’t specify whether to use a dark vinegar such as balsamic or a lighter vinegar such as white vinegar or cider vinegar, I tried it both ways.  If you like your dressing to have a punch and a stronger vinegar taste, go with the balsamic, otherwise the white vinegar or cider vinegar results in a much lighter and sweeter dressing.  Both equally awesome.  Thanks soy!

Excerpt from Soy:
“My emoe makes a really awesome salad dressing (it’s seriously addictive) that’s super fast and easy to make.  I love it so much that I want to share it with you guys!  See below.  Just mix all the ingredients together.  The oil separates easily so I put all the ingredients in a shaker so that I can easily shake it up right before I pour it over my salad.  It’s also really good with any kind of fresh veggies like tomatoes, etc.  Believe me – you guys will love it.”

Ingredients:
dressing ingredients
Olive Oil – ½ Cup
Sugar – 4 TBSP
Vinegar – 6 TBSP
Salt – 1 TSP
Ground pepper – ½ TSP
Fresh minced garlic – to taste (not too much, maybe about 1-1.5 TBSP)
Sesame seed oil – a couple of drops
Sesame seeds – to taste

Directions

Just mix all ingredients together and pour over salad.

dressing ingredients

dressing ingredients

dressing ingredients

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Salsa

I make salsa all the time, even when I have only one tomato laying around; this recipe scales so easily. Once you become familiar with the ratio of ingredients and how simple it is, you’ll be making salsa all the time too.

Ingredients:
5 – 6 Tomatoes
1/3 Onion (any color)
1/2 – 1 Jalapeno (and/or a few cloves of garlic)
Cilantro (about 15 stems)
Salt
1/2 Lemon or Lime (1 tablespoon Juice)
1 Avocado (optional)

salsa ingredients

Directions:

1. Chop tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno and avocado. Some jalapenos are spicier than others, so I usually start out with half and add more later if I want more kick. You can leave out jalapenos completely if you don’t want any spice. And if you like the flavor of garlic, add a few cloves, minced.

chop tomato chop onionchop jalepeno width= chop avocado

2. Place the chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno and cilantro into a bowl (save the avocado for later) and mix. Season with the juice of 1/2 lemon (just under a tablespoon of juice) and a dash of salt. Mix again and taste. If needed add another dash of salt, mix, taste, repeat. The amount of salt really depends on your personal taste and the flavor of the tomatoes, but should usually be between 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon in total.
salsa mix chop jalepeno

3. After getting the seasoning in order, stir in the avocado and serve. I save the avocado for last so it doesn’t get too bruised from all the mixing in step 2.
salsa serve

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Butternut Squash Soup

In case you haven’t cooked with butternut squash before, it’s very similar to a pumpkin. It has a light yellow skin and orange flesh on the inside with seeds in the middle.

Who doesn’t love butternut squash soup?! It’s a tasty and hearty soup that warms the soul. Plus, butternut squash is so versatile! It can be roasted, baked, puréed into soups, or mashed into anything else. If I haven’t convinced you yet, it is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and is also an excellent source of vitamin A.

I always order anything on a menu that includes butternut squash whether it be in pasta, soup, empanada, or stew. When I found out that the soup was so easy to make….well let’s just say we have butternut squash soup a lot around here! I made the soup in various ways and using various recipes. I am going to share with you two recipes I have tried and revised a little.

Recipe #1: From the Food Network

Recipe #2: From Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

Recipe #1 [6 servings]
butternut squash butternut squash ingredients 2
-1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 medium onion, chopped
-6 cups chicken stock
-Nutmeg
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe #2 [4 servings]
butternut squash ingredients
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 stalk celery, chopped (I used 2-3 stalks in my soup)
-1 medium carrot, chopped
-2 medium potatoes, cubed (I left the potatoes out of my soup)
-1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed

-1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
-nutmeg (this is not in the original recipe, but I like to add it in)

Directions
1. For both recipes, first peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into about 1 inch cubes.
1a. For recipe #1, dice the onion.
1b. For recipe #2, dice the onion, carrots, celery and potato (if you are using).
butternut squash chopped

2. For both recipes, in a large stock pot, melt the butter and add the onions and cook until translucent for 5-7 minutes. Add the squash (For recipe #2 also add the carrots & celery). Cook for another 5 minutes.

3. For both receipes, add the stock, making sure it covers the squash (and vegetables) in the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook about 30 minutes, or until the squash (and vegetables) are tender. Use a fork to check.
butternut squash boiling

3. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. (Note: I had to do this in batches as it would not all fit in my blender and used a large bowl to transfer in between). Return blended squash to pot. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
butternut squash blender

4. Enjoy your butternut squash soup!
butternut squash soup

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Five Spice Pork / Lu3 Ro4 Fan4 [滷肉飯]

This is one of my favorite Taiwanese meals (滷肉飯).  Usually it takes hours to simmer, but I’ve got it down to less than an hour. Just make a pot of rice (or if you have a Zojirushi rice cooker, just set it for when you get home from work), make this.. and viola- Taiwanese dinner!

Prep time: 5-10 min
Cook time: 30-50min
Servings: 4 (or in my case 2 with leftovers)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork
1 med yellow onion
3-4 cloves diced garlic
2 tbsp sweet potato starch (healthier alternative to corn starch)
3tbsp cup sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup cooking rice wine
2-3 tbsp 5 spice powder (五香粉)
1 cup hot water
rock candy (~1 med sized piece), or ~1tbsp sugar cane sugar
3-4 eggs, hard boiled

Directions

1. Defrost the ground pork and put in a large bowl. Add ~ 3tbsp soy sauce, ~ 3tbsp wine, 3tbsp sesame oil, and starch. Mix well and let sit ~5min to marinate a little.

1a. Boil water and make hard boiled eggs. Peel and poke 4-5 holes in each egg with toothpick. Wait to add eggs.

2. Dice the garlic and onion. Add ~ 4tbsp oil to the skillet on med heat and add the garlic. Cook ~2 min and then add onions. Cook another 3-5 min until browned.

3. Add the pork and cook thoroughly. Use the spatula to break up the pork. After browned, drain the oil.

4. Then add the 5 spice powder and mix. Add remaining rice wine, soy sauce and water. Add eggs. Cover and cook on high heat until it boils, then lower heat to a small boil/simmer for ~40-50min. The pork should be soft, and eggs browned. Taste the pork, if there is not enough flavoring, add more soy sauce and 5 spice until you achieve your desired flavor. I tend to add extra 5 spice powder.

5. Serve over rice and enjoy! I usually separately cook some vegetables to eat with the meal. Sometimes I’ll buy 酸菜 (Suan1 Cai4, or sour vegetable) or Pickled Mustard Greens (雪裡紅) or xuělǐhóng from the asian market to serve with the meat.

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Pickled Mustard Greens (雪裡紅) or xuělǐhóng

Xuě lǐ hóng is pickled chinese mustard greens and is a vegetable that pairs really well with the stewed pork and rice dish (lu rou fan). You can also just cook and eat this with any other meat dish, or if you are feeling vegetarian, you can steam some buns (man tou) and use this as filling!

Ingredients:

1 package of pickled mustard greens, rinsed and dried
1 tbsp finely diced ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt to taste

1. Rinse the vegetable in the container. It should be fine to cook/eat as is, but I like to err on the side of caution.

2. Finely dice ginger. You will need about 1 tbsp- less if you are not a huge fan of ginger like me.

3. Add about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to a pan over medium heat and add ginger. Let flavor from ginger release into oil (less than 1 minute)

4. Add the vegetables (be careful of oil splatter if there is excess water on the mustard greens). Sautee 3-4 minutes until thoroughly heated. Taste and season with salt (Note: this vegetable is sometimes already salted, so taste first before adding more salt)

5. Serve with other dishes (like stewed pork/ lu rou fan) or eat with steamed buns.

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Chinese style spicy tendon [麻辣牛筋]

Ok, this may be a little “out there” for some of you, but for that small group of you that likes tendon, this is for you! For me, the tendon is always one of my favorite parts of eating pho! It may take some getting used to, but once you like it.. oh you like it! This is a classic Chinese dish with a spicy kick. Hey, it’s never too late to broaden your palate.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients:


- 3 pieces of beef tendon (picked up at any butcher shop- mine are from Ranch 99)
- 3 slices of ginger (quarter sized)
- 2 green onion stalks
- 2 tbsp cooking wine
- 6 cups water
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 anise star, ba jiao (八角)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for cooking

Additional ingredients for the spicy sauce

- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 -2 tbsp hot sauce (1 for mild, 2 if you want hot)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp diced green onion
- 1/2 cup reserved broth

Directions:

1. Clean the meat: Add water to a pot (large enough to hold the 3 pieces of tendon) and heat to boil. Add the tendon and boil for about 2-4 minutes to clean. Take tendon out and rinse in cold water.

2. Add 1 tbsp cooking oil to a large wok or pot on med-high heat. Add the ginger and green onions and saute for about 1 min to flavor the oil.

3. Add the cooking wine, soy sauce, tendon, 6 cups of water, the anise star/ ba jiao, cover and simmer on low heat for 2 hours.

4. After 2 hours, check the tendon. It should be tender enough for chopsticks to easily poke through the tendon. If not, cook longer until it is tender. Once tender, take the tendon out and let cool on a cutting board. Reserve 1/2 cup of the broth for the sauce.

5. Now it is time to make the sauce. In the pan previously used, add the 1/2 cup reserved broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, green onion, and hot sauce. I like to heat it up just a little bit so things mix up.

6. Take the cooled tendon and slice lengthwise to remove the fat and extract the tendon. Dice the tendon into 1 inch pieces.

7. Add the diced tendon back into the pot with the sauce mixture and mix thoroughly.

8. Decorate the surrounding edge of the serving plate with vegetables. I’ve used bok choy in this recipe. See recipe here on how to stir fry bok choy.

9. Serve and enjoy!

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Steamed Yams

Steamed yams is one of those dishes that make people ask you how it’s made. The irony is that the recipe is so simple, it’s almost embarrassing to tell.

Ingredients:

Yams: There are more than one type and they have different flavors and textures. I recommend the orange yam; it’s skin is a reddish color, has orange flesh and its ends taper to points. I have experimented with other yams, like the japanese yam, which has dark purple skin and white flesh, but found them to be either too sweet or too starchy in texture. A good steaming yam will be firm and fairly uniform in diameter, as oddly shaped yams may not cook evenly while steaming.

Equipment:
Steamer , or large pot with steaming tray.

Directions:

1. Wash the yams well and cut off any ends that are soft.

2. Steam the yams for about 30 min, or until you can poke a fork all the way in very easily.
steaming yams
It may take longer to steam depending on how many yams you are steaming and how large your steamer is. You can’t really over cook the yams, so don’t worry about that. Just make sure you don’t run out of water in your steamer!

3. After steaming, let them cool off for a few minutes, so the yams will be easier to handle. Next peel the yams (the skin should come off pretty easy) and then eat.
peeling yams
That’s it. Nothing else. Just steamed, yams.

They are good mashed too.

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