Monday, January 31, 2011

Beer Cheese Potato Soup

Nothing beats coming home to a crock-pot full of warm, delicious Potato Soup. Nothing offers comfort the same way a bowl of this soup can!


8-10 Potatoes, cubed
1 Onion, diced
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 lg Carrot, diced
2 cups Water (or enough to cover veggies)
Chicken Granules
Salt, Pepper and Parsley to Taste
1 cup Milk
Flour/Water Mixture to thicken
1-2 cups Shredded Cheese
1-2 cups Ham, precooked



Throw first 7 ingredients into crock pot (may include ham if you know guests will appreciate ham). Cook on low 6-8 hours. Upon returning home or waiting 6 hours add one cup milk to mixture as well as flour/water mixture to thicken. Once milk and flour are incorporated add cheese and stir as cheese melts into soup broth. Warm ham up in a skillet and allow guests to add as much or little as they please to their bowl of Beer Cheese Potato Soup and enjoy with a large group of friends gathered for a night of games and conversation!

French Toast Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries

I have yet to photograph these gems, but they are delcious. Inspiration is from the French Croque Monsuier (sp?) and tastes exceptionally delicious alongside a small pile of sweet potato fries.

For the fries, simply peel, slice, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, pop in the oven at 350F/200C and bake until soft and the center and crunchy on the outside (or until edible).


As for the French toast sandwich? Simply put together the sandwich you've been dreaming up, we've done onion, spinach, hummus and mozzarella as well as marinara, onion, spinach and mozzarella. Use good ole sliced bread to sandwich your ingredients before dipping the sandwich in a couple of whisked eggs with some salt and pepper and splash of liquid. In a well oiled pan, place the sandwich one eggy side down allowing to cook and become toasty/crispy like French toast before flipping and waiting for the same phenomena to take place on side B. Best to enjoy with darling friends whom you both treasure and enjoy!

Easy Berry Cobbler

Inspired by this recipe and desiring something a little sweet yet would allow me to use up some of the frozen blueberries taking up freezer space I managed a bit of tweaking and came up with an equally easy batter fruit cobbler!



4 Tbsp. Butter
1 cup Pancake Mix
1/2 cup Sugar
Sprinkle Baking Powder
Sprinkle Salt
3/4 cups Milk
1-2 cups Blueberries or other fruit (fresh, frozen, dried)


Melt butter in round cake pan or square baking dish. Mix together dry ingredients, add milk, mix until dry ingredients are incorporated. Pour batter into pan, add fruit, bake at 350 F or 200 C for 30 minutes or longer depending on oven type. Remove from oven once golden brown and no longer doughy in the center. Enjoy with homemade whip cream or ice cream on top!

Ddeok-Ramen Soup

Tonight I put on my Korean cook 'apron' and whipped up something that more closely represents Korean cuisine than what usually comes from our kitchen. It's quick, easy and quite delicious.



1 pkg. Ramen Noodles
2 lg. Deok Noodles (rice cake noodles)
2 Eggs


Bring water to boil. Add Ramen Seasoning, Ddeok Noodles and boil until all noodles are soft and edible. Whisk eggs. Add to boiling water - do not stir! Let water boil, watch as cooked bits of egg float to top (1-2 minutes) stir and serve into bowls, enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Green Chili and a Re-Make

A dear friend of mine has a winner of a green chili recipe...I've made it it is.

I cannot duplicate it in this foreign land, but I can come pretty close!


1-2 lbs. Pork Loin
8-10 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Onion, diced
2-4 Potatoes, chopped
3-6 Green Chilies, oven roasted and diced
4-5 large Tomatoes, oven roasted and pulverized
3 cups Green Tea
Chicken Granules
Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder and Cumin to taste

Cornstarch or Flour + Water to thicken


Sear pork in skillet. Throw all ingredients except flour+water into a slow-cooker. Cook for 5-6 hours on low. Last 20-30 minutes add flour/water to thicken the chili. Serve with tortillas and enjoy with good friends before a round of Rook or other enjoyable card game!


Our dear friend Jen made an amazing corn bread to enjoy with the original pot of chili. With chili leftovers and a couple leftover slices of cornbread mike and I enjoyed a 'juevos ranchero' type dinner. Cornbread, topped with green chili, topped with cheese and a runny egg - FABULOUS!

Baguette Pizza Sandwich


Nothing too fancy here - just quick, simple and delicious.

Purchase a Baguette from your favorite bakery.
Slice down the middle.
Spoon in some spaghetti sauce,
throw on some onions, spinach, etc.
Top with cheese.
Pop in the oven for 10ish minutes until heated through,
melty cheese.

Enjoy with a glass of wine at the dining room table.

Skillet Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms and Hummus


The most difficult aspect of this dish will be coming across a bit of hummus as delicious as the Pesto Hummus made by my dear friend Holly - it was nearly out of this world and turn any blue day into a sunshiny, happy day of rainbows and bunnies (seriously).


Mushrooms, sliced
Onions, diced
Garlic, minced
Spinach, washed
Hummus, 1/2cup


Begin pasta according to package directions. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil, add mushrooms. Once pasta is finished, add spinach to onion and mushroom mixture, wilt spinach, add pasta and hummus, mix gently. Stir in or top dish with Mozzarella enjoy with a glass of wine and the one(s) you love!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Open-Faced Hummus, Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich

One of my 'greatest accomplishments' since setting up shop in my teenie-tiny Asian kitchen with less counter space and plug-ins than I'm accustomed to is my growing knack at putting together tasty dinners in a quick flash!

This is a simple, throw-together sandwich style dish that could be altered in a wide variety of ways based on what is available between one's fridge and pantry.



Spread your favorite hummus on a delicious or available slice of bread. Layer on some onions, tomatoes and spinach if available followed by a healthy sprinkling of Mozzarella cheese. Pop the bugger into a preheated oven until cheese melts and starts to turn a bit golden (10 minutes in a convection oven at 200 degrees centigrade). While toasting, fry up an egg in your favorite style - remove toast from oven, top with one or two eggs, season with salt and pepper and sit down to a fabulously delicious treat!

Persimmon Freezer Jam

Stumbled upon this recipe. Had some Persimmon pulp already in the freezer - recently thawed. Missed 'canning' this fall. So - I whipped up some home-made jam because it's not that hard and it's completely worth it! (By not that hard, I mean surprisingly easy and worth the effort as it can take just as little as the amount of time it takes to go to the store and buy a jar of jam - seriously).


  • 5 cups pureed persimmons

  • 3 cups white sugar

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

  • Directions:
    In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine persimmon puree, sugar, lemon juice, orange zest and nutmeg. Boil for 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour into sterilized jars and seal (or use freezer ziplocs/jam containers). Store in the freezer.

    Enjoy any way you'd enjoy your favorite jam!

    Mozzarella-Alfredo Pasta with Fresh Veggies

    My Mozzarella-Alfredo Sauce was quite abundant so I used leftovers to throw this dish together in a jiffy.

    Refresher regarding the Sauce:

    Easy as 1) melt butter (1/4 -1/2 cup or so) in a sauce pan, 2) add 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 3) add 1-2 cups mozzarella, season with salt.

    To complete the meal just boil up some pasta - we have Penne on hand, throw into sauce pan with re-heated or first batch of Mozz-Alf Sauce heat through, season as desired, spoon into bowl, top with fresh veggies of choice or those that are on hand - we had Tomatoes and Cucumbers and it was a fabulous little dinner dish!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Baked Potatoes with Mozzarella-Alfredo Sauce

    Potatoes are a fabulous food. I'd eat them paired with eggs any day of the week. In my craving for a hearty baked potatoe and a need to use up some heavy whipped cream I put this dinner together and ended up L-O-V-I-N-G every bite!

    Baking Potatoes:

    Wash the potato. Stab with fork to prevent potato explosions. Rub down with olive oil and salt. Place in oven, bake until soft (potatoes can be baked at various temps for various lengths of time making them a fabulous side dish - for specfics about temps and time conduct a Google search).


    Home-made Mozzarella-Alfredo Sauce:

    Easy as 1) melt butter (1/4 -1/2 cup or so) in a sauce pan, 2) add 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 3) add 1-2 cups mozzarella, season with salt.

    Putting it together:

    Slice the potatoe in half. Top with those ingredients you find most suitable for a cream based sauce - we enjoyed: tomatoes, carmelized onions, black olives and fresh parsley add a decent ladel of Mozzarella-Alfredo Sauce and viola a most fabulous dinner to enjoy with dear, dear friends or one whom you dearly love (even if it be yourself).

    Tortilla Roll-Ups

    To bring in the New Year I worked out a bit of innovation and good ole tradition to put forth these tortilla wraps which I believe my mother first made famous.

    The 'original' recipe is a simple compiliation of:

    Cream Cheese
    Refried Beans

    mixed together, then spread evenly on a tortilla which is then rolled up, chilled for at least an hour before being sliced to create an adorable pinwheel shape. This is what I wanted to contribute to our New Years Eve celebration. I was missing however, 2 of the 3 ingredients.


    The 'innovation' recipe then was a compiliation of:

    Mozzarella Cheese
    Left over Chili (drained of excess liquid)

    mixed in much the same way although taking a bit more care in heating the chili, using an immersion blender to gain a more 'refried' like texture, mixing the cheese with the warm beans for a more 'cream' cheese like concept and finally adding salsa. They turned out wonderful and fulfilled my every desire to have a fabulous treat from home for the New Years.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Molasses Sugar Cookies

    On the infamous night of Cookies and Catan, I prepared this dough.

    A recipe sought and found on

    They are delicious. They should be enjoyed with friends.
    They are best on cold nights.


    Guisado - Remakes!

    I had a bit of Carne Guisado left over.
    I like leftovers allright, but I enjoy 'newness' more.

    That being said, I used this Guisado to create TWO additional dishes.

    Guisado Burritos:

    Using the meat and potatoes (a.k.a non-soupy portion) of this stew simply lay out a flour tortilla, fill with warmed potato/meat filling, fry up an egg, place on potato/meat filling, add cheese and salsa, wrap burrito, heat entire filled tortilla up in a warm skillet. Serve with corn chips and salsa and enjoy!


    Guisado-Ramen Fusion Dish:

    Using the broth and a few leftover veggies from the Guisado Stew (specifically after removing some meat and potatoes for the above mentioned burrito) simply reheat the broth on the stovetop, add a package of Ramen and any additional veggies you may have on hand, heat until broth is warm and noodles are tender. For added protein, whisk one or two eggs, add to simmering broth/noodles, let 'set, stir and serve. Easy, peasy, Fusion-wusion!

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Truffles

    Sometimes you come across a recipe idea that reeks of sheer brillance.
    And you wish it was yours.

    This was not my brilliant recipe idea.
    But it is brilliant.
    And delicious.

    Who doesn't enjoy a bit of chocolate covered cookie dough?


    2 1/2 C Flour

    1 tsp Salt
    1/4 tsp Baking Soda
    1 C (2 sticks) Butter
    3/4 C Sugar
    3/4 C Brown Sugar
    1 tsp Vanilla
    1/3 C Milk
    1 c mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (can use chopped chocolate bar)
    2 C dark chocolate chips (Again can use chopped chocolate bars)


    Cream Butter and Sugars. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until incorporated then add mini-chocolate chips. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. With chilled dough, create 1 inch cookie dough balls, set aside. Using microwave or double boiler melt 2 cups of chocolate chips and dip dough balls one at a time, set on wax paper to harden. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or scarf down with friends!

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Mulled Wine


    Mulled wine is essentially mulled cider...but without apple juice.

    Pour a bottle of red wine into a sauce pan, add a bit of brown sugar water or apple juice if you wish (but it's not necessary) throw in some sticks of cinnamon, a few whole cloves and orange slices, simmer on stovetop for 30 minutes prior to company arriving, they'll appreciate the smell and will soon appreciate the libation ^^.



    I was fortunate enough to receive an eggnog recipe from a good friend...I'm not sure if it's a secret recipe or not...fortunately not many folks read this blog ^^

    6 Egg yolks

    6 Egg whites

    ~1 C. sugar

    1/2 tsp salt

    10 C. whole milk

    3 tsp sugar

    3 tsp vanilla

    Beat ~1 C. sugar into egg yolks. Add salt; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat; stir often until mixture coats spoon. Cool.

    Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 3 tsp sugar, beating to soft peaks. Add to custard and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla. Chill 3 to 4 hours.

    I definitely did not master this recipe. I enjoyed every cup of 'eggnog' I drank, but I did not succeed in creating a custard or having a thick eggnog - however, that is due to my lack of patience and direction following capabilities. I've had our friends eggnog and it's great, mine was great - so go for it! Try making your own nog...

    B.E.P Chili

    More accurately this should be referred to as Black-Eyed Bean soup, but I hold The Black Eyed Peas close to my heart so they can have their claim on this chili. When organizing or hosting an event for numerous guests I have a tendency to prepare a soup or a chili - they are easy to do in bulk and ensure that each guest has their belly sufficiently filled regardless of what other food fare may be present. So it was on Christmas that BEP Chili served as a hearty part of the main dish, although chicken was also available so that could more accurately be described as the main dish - regardless, here is the recipe I used for Christmas 2010 in Daejeon, South Korea.


    1 Onion, chopped
    1 Carrot, chopped
    1 Red or Green Pepper, chopped
    1 Garlic clove, minced
    4 tsp. Chili Powder
    1 tsp. Ground Cumin
    4 Tomatoes + 2 Chilies, roasted and chopped
    3 cups cooked Black Eyed Beans
    3/4 cups Orange Juice
    3/4 cups Water or Broth
    Cornstarch or Flour to thicken
    Salt, Pepper and other spices to taste
    Chesse for topping


    Throw all ingredients into slow-cooker except water, cornstarch/flour and cheese. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Add flour or cornstarch (dissolved in water) 30 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy with cheese on top, mashed potatoes and chicken on the side and a group of dear friends who serve well as your family-away-from-family while living in a foreign land.
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