Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thank you all 2009!

Today is the last day of 2009. I would like to thank all the people in my life this year. That include all of you who read my blog!

There are lots of things happened this year. I had many sad events this year but I also had great things this year. One of the great thing of my year was that I started this blog. I am glad that I started this blog and was able to connect with many people whom I would not have connected with otherwise. Also, I am happy that some of my family and friends love reading my blog and have a glimpse of what is going on with our life. (Mostly eating life :-) )

There are so many people whom I would like to thank but most of all, I would like to thank my husband for who he is and loving me for who I am.  I went through some tough times this year  and he also went through some tough times but we always had each other and that was blessing.

He was always by my side supporting me physically and mentally. I really really appreciate his patience and love and positive spirit. Just thinking about those things make me feel like crying because I seriously appreciate him. I hope I make him happy as much as he makes me happy.

I think our bonds got stronger this year because of all the things we went through this year. I am excited to spend new year with him and many years to come for the rest of my life.

I also would like to thank all my family and friends who have been in my life. I lost some family members and a friend this year but they are always in my heart and I appreciate them for being in my life and giving me great memories.

I have such a great family and friends. Thank you for all your support, laugh and comfort. My life is not same without you. My life is great because I have all of you in my life.

Last but not least, all my readers! I thank you for reading my blog and leaving nice comment. I will be cooking more and more next year! I am excited to share new food with you in 2010!

I really wish all of you a great 2010. Thank you for being in my life in 2009. I am very hopeful and happy for 2010!   Love you!

Monk Fish dinner

My mother-in-law made monk fish the other day. I never cooked monk fish before but it was really good and easy to make. I would like to share it with you all.

Monk Fish with Thyme in Butter sauce

Ingredients ( 4 people)
Monk Fish    2 Lb
Butter 4 Table Spoon
Thyme (fresh or dried) 1 Table Spoon
Flour   little bit
Salt and Pepper  for taste

1. Take out any dark part or thin skin layer of the Monk fish

2. Cut the Monk Fish into pieces and dry them very well.

3. Heat the butter in a pan and saute Monk Fish. Sprinkle some flour.

4. Flip the Monk Fish and saute the other side. And Sprinkle with some Thyme leaves.

5. Serve it with rice or any side dish of your choice.

This was so simple was really good. I love it. I think I will be cooking with Monk fish more from now on. If you have a chance, please try monk fish. It is very mild taste and yummy!

My parents-in-law went back to Germany last night. On Tuesday, we went to see a show in Manhattan and had nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurant, "Spice Market". It is one of the restaurant from Jean Georges and one of my favorite in Manhattan.  My parents-in-law liked both the show and the dinner. We ate so much but it was a great dinner.

I found the Asian food recipe book of Jean Georges at the restaurant. There are some recipes from the Spice Market items. I would definitely would like to get this recipe book sometime so I can recreate some of the dishes at home.

If you are interested, here is the link to Amazon for that book.

I had a great time with my parents-in-laws. It was nice great Christmas with harmony and love. I hope they also had a good time. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shopping day in Manhattan

My parents-in-laws took us to a shopping yesterday. First, we went to Manhattan and hit the 5th Ave. 

There are so many people in Manhattan but it was very warm and nice day yesterday so we just walked around and bought some clothes from some stores.

We had late lunch at this cake shop called Damel in the Plaza. It is underground level and you can not see it from the outside so it is little bit difficult to find but I was there before so we did not have any problem. We were lucky with getting a table and we had light lunch and cakes.

My mother-in-law and I had salmon wrap. This salmon wrap was so good. The smoked salmon was very moist and tender and perfect balance with arugula and mustard. It was really really good. I was so impressed with this salmon warp.

My father-in-law and my husband had chicken warp. They liked it. I tried it and like it but I think my salmon wrap was much better :-)

Then, we had cakes.

I had Black Forest cake. This was really good. I love Black Forest Cake. I tried to make it at home once was it did not cake out as I hoped for. I think it might be better for me to buy Black Forest Cake than to make it.

My mother-in-law had petit black forest cake.

My father-in-law had cheese cake.

My husband had Vanilla layers.

After late lunch and cake, we decided to head back toward home and hit the mall close to where we live.

Here we bought more stuff and were pretty happy with what we were able to get.

Then, after all the shopping is done, we went for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. This is a restaurant which I wanted try but hadn't tried yet. The restaurant has very nice atmosphere.

First we had Cheese dip appetizer.

Then, My mother-in-law and I had beef tacos.

My father-in-law had Carne Asada.

My husband had Chile Rellenos.

We ate so much and we were so full. They gave us some Churroz to take it home. It was freshly fried so it was really hot. We were full but since the Churroz was freshly made, we ate a bite each and brought rest home.

The shopping day was great. There were so many people shopping and I wonder if we are really in recession. People are buying lots of stuff! It was great and I had a great time. I hope my parents-in-law also had fun. I really appreciate their generosity.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Garlic dip and Guacamole

We had sandwiches for lunch yesterday with Chips. We used the garlic dip which we made on Christmas Eve for the pasta and we also made my favorite guacamole. Those dips are so easy to make and very useful  so I would like to share the recipe with you all.

Garlic dip

Sour Cream 1lb
Chives         1/4 cup
Garlic          1 or 2 cloves (depend on your taste preference and freshness of the garlic)
Salt and Pepper   for taste

1. Chop Chives and add them into sour cream. Grind garlic and also add it to the sour cream.

2. Mix them well

3. Add salt for taste

This is super easy and can be used for many different things. You can use this for pasta, chips or veggie sticks. Possibilities are limitless. I hope you like this simple dip!

I made guacamole also. This is something I make quite often. It is also easy and good.


Avocado    2
Rome tomato 1
Shallot          1
Cilantro        1/4 cup
Lime             1/2
Green Chile  1
Garlic           1 clove
Salt             for taste

1. Peel Avocado and take the seed out and put avocado into a bowl and add lime juice and  smash it.

2. Chop tomato, Shallot and Cilantro and add them into the avocado.

3. Grind Garlic and add it to avocado mix.

4. Take the seed of green chile. Chop it into tiny pieces and add them into avocado mix.

5. Mix them all well. Add salt for the taste.

You can eat it with Tortilla chips or you can even use this for your sandwich with Turkey breast or something. This is also great dip for many use.

I hope you enjoy these dips!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Shrimp and sour cream pasta dinner and present exchange!

Merry Christmas!

It is a Christmas time and my parents-in-laws are here. Yesterday, we went to a super market in the morning to buy all the stuff we need for a next few days. These were so many people at the super market but we were able to get whatever we need and came back home safely.

After that, we had the butternut squash soup which I made the other day. and then we went for a long walk.

There is a hotel which is build by the beach (They opened this year late summer) so we decided to walk there. It is a very nice modern hotel and my parents-in-laws liked it! We had some tea and cake by the window seats and had a nice time there.

After we came home, we relaxed a little bit and then start cooking for dinner. At my husband's home, they make this Shrimp sour cream pasta dish for Christmas so we made it here also.

It was so tasty and really good!

My mother-in-law is awesome at decoration so she made a beautiful Christmassy table decoration. Isn't it cute?

In Germany, it seems like they open Christmas Present at Christmas Eve so we decided to do it Germany way and exchange our Christmas presents.

It was so much fun and we got so many great presents.

One of the presents was Jamie Oliver's new cook book. This has lots of great recipes in it. I am excited to cook something from this book. Here is the link to Amazon if you are interested in.

Then, another favorite thing is a "Electric Kettle". We are going for a shopping together and my parents-in-laws will buy this for me. I always wanted to get this kettle ever since I saw in at their house in Germany so I am quite excited about this present also. Here is how it looks. These kettles boil the water so quickly, you will be surprised. I don't know which brand of this kind of kettle is better in the U.S. so we will go to the store together and find the best one!

This is the one I found on Amazon. I don't know how long this takes to boil water but this is how it should look.

In a next few days, we are going to Manhattan for a shopping. Our parents-in-laws told us to think about what we want before we go shopping but I will be happy just to get the electric kettle! 

They also loved what we gave and we are very happy about it! 

We had a great Christmas Eve. I hope everybody who read this blog also had a great night! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cuban lunch with our landlord

We have meal with our landlord a few times a year and we wanted to have one last get together before this year ends. So we invited over our landlord for lunch. We decided to make Cuabn food which we leanred the other day at the cooking class.

Our menu was Picadillo, Yellow rice and tostones.

Since my husband team learned how to make picadillo, we decided that he will be in charge of Picadillo and I will be in charge of Rice and Tostones.

Ground pork was sold out at the super market so we had to grind on our own.

This is the Picadillo my husband made.

It had olives, rasins, bell peppers, almond and some other vegetables and it taste so good! I like the crunch from the almond.

This is the rice I made.

This actually came out better than I thoguht and I love this rice. I will be making this more often.

And this is Tostones.

I think Toastones took longer than other dishes becuase you have to fry them once.

Then, smash them.

Then fry them again until it is crispy.

Everything came out great and our landlord liked them a lot.

We had a great time together. They are so nice and funny. Their story always make me laugh so much. I really like them and we feel very lucky to have such a wonderful landlord.

They brought very rich Chocolate cake and we had it after lunch.

We are very happy with the Cuban food we made and we will be making more of these food in the future, I think. I am glad that we learned something really good at the cooking class. It was fun to cook with my husband :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Candied Orange and lemon peel

Tomorrow, my husband's parents are coming to visit NY from Germany. Since it is a Christmas time, I wanted to learn how to make Stollen from my mother-in-law. She told me all the ingredients we need. One of the ingredients were candied orange peel and candied lemon peel.

I have been trying to find candied orange and lemon peel but I am having a very difficult time. I went to a baking supply store in Manhattan, Whole Food, Williams Sonoma and local supermarket etc but I had no luck. A lady at Williams Sonoma said to me "Well, it might be easier to make your own than trying to find them somewhere. I saw Martha Stewart making it the other day on TV."

I never thought about making my own candied orange and lemon peel but I searched for some recipe on line and I found lots of recipes with great looking pictures.

I referred to below blogs for the recipes to make candied orange peel and candied lemon peel.
 Use real butter (Candied Orange Peel) and Luna Cafe (Candied lemon peel)
Both of them are great blogs and has beautiful photos. I am glad that I came across those blogs.
Please check out their blogs for recipes. They are loads of great recipes and photos.

It was a lot of work to take the peel off oranges and lemons.

Drying on the rack.

It is drying now. I hope we can use this to make Stollen. It was quite a lot of work but I think they look beautiful.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tomato Nabe (hot pot)

In Japan, Nabe (hot pot) is very popular winter dish. There are so many different kind of Nabe and you can use many different kind of vegetables of your liking. Lately, Tomato Nabe has been quite popular in Japan so I decided to make this tomato nabe with some ingredients I have at home.

We have an electric hot pot which we can use on a table so we can eat as we cook.

I used tomato pure, chicken stock, chicken, shrimp, sausage, cabbage, carrots, shiitake mushroom.

You just saute chicken and garlic in the beginning , add tomato pure and chicken stock and keep adding whatever meat, seafood and vegetables. It is simple but all the flavor from the ingredients mixed together and taste really good.

This is a great dish for a cold winter night.

It snowed quite a lot in NY this weekend. My arms hurts from shoveling the snow. On Sunday, it started to get sunny so we went for a walk to the beach. It was quite a nice view with beach and snow.

Personally, I don't like cold weather so if you ask me, I would say we had enough snow for this winter. I can not wait for the Spring!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup recipe

I love butternut squash soup. The other day, I bought it from Trader Joe's but it was a little bit disappointing so I decided to make my own. It is getting quite cold here in NY so we need hot soup to keep ourselves warm! Here is how I made it.

Butternut Squash   1
Red onion           1/2
Yellow onion        1
Carrots                 3
Garlic                   5 cloves
Ginger                 about same amount as garlic
Thyme                 6 springs
Sage                    4 leaves
Olive Oil             2 Table Spoon
Home made Chicken Stock 4 cup
Milk                     2 cup
Heavy Cream      1/2 cup
Salt                      3 table spoon
Pepper                2 table spoon
Nutmeg              1 tea spoon

(Heat the oven for 350F (180C))
1. First, cut the butternut squash, onions, carrots into pieces. And spread on a baking sheet.

2. Add garlic cloves with the skin on. Sprinkle salt (1 table spoon) and pepper (1 table spoon) and olive oil, thyme leaves and sage leaves and mix them well to coat with oil.

3. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake till all the vegetables are soft. (About 45mins)

4. Take them out from the oven and transfer into blender. Take the skin of garlic and add to the blender. Also add raw ginger pieces here. (Since I could not do this blending process in 1 batch, I did this part in two batches)

5. Add Chicken stock, milk and heavy cream and blend well. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg for taste. If you are going to blend them in 2 batches also, please use the half amount of everything in one batch.
I used 1 table spoon of salt and 1/2 table spoon of black pepper for each batch.

6. This is a creamy thick soup but if you like it thinner, add more chicken stock or milk.

It is super sweet and great soup. My recipe is pretty thick and creamy but if you don't like it creamy, you can always use only chicken stock instead of milk and heavy cream.

Also, you can freeze them and heat them up later whenever you want!

This is very tasty and healthy (it will be healthier if you use only chicken stock). I used home made roasted chicken stock. I think this also makes a big difference. If you would like to make your own homemade roasted chicken stock, here is the recipe, click here.

I hope you enjoy butternut squash soup. It is a great winter dish for a holiday season!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turkey Sandwich with Cilantro Mayonnaise

We had a light sandwich dinner last night. Normally, we use regular mayonnaise but yesterday I added some cilantro sauce to the mayonnaise to make Cilantro mayonnaise.

I made this Cilantro sauce a day before yesterday since there were some Cilantro left in the fridge and I did not want it to go bad. I added some garlic, chili powder, olive oil, lemon, water, cumin but since it was not spinning well in the blender so I kept adding more water and ended up with very watery sauce.

It is a bit too watery to use it on its own so I added to mayonnaise for the sandwich.

It was great. When it was the sauce it self, the garlic taste was really strong but when it combined with mayonnaise, it was not too strong and subtle Cilantro and garlic taste.

It might be a bit difficult to see in the photo because the lighting was not great but the mayonnaise is a beautiful light green.

We added some Turkey breast, lettuce and cheese to it. It was delicious! If you have leftover cilantro in your fridge, I recommend making a sauce and add it to mayonnaise. I think this is also a great for dipping some vegetables or french fries.

We enjoyed our sandwich and watched two DVDs last night. We watched "Angels and Demons" and "House bunny". Both of them were pretty good. "Angles and Demons" is a suspense and "House bunny" is a comedy.

I think I actually liked "Angel and Demons" better than "The Da Vinci Code".  Maybe because there was Ewan McGregor in it?  Well, that was a plus but I also actually liked the story. Though, since I don't know much about Christianity, there are many words which I did not know so I had to stop the DVD and ask my husband what it is quite often during the movie.... (Since my husband already watched this movie before, he did not mind my stopping and asking during the movie. I was quite surprised that he knows lots of Christian terms in English. Well, it sure helped me to understand this movie). In the movie, they also talk about "antimatter". Though this is the subject of physics,  I also asked about this to my husband. He explained it to me. I think I kind of understand.... It is a difficult subject for me but it is also interesting. I researched about it more on-line and am very impressed with people who think about those things everyday. Maybe I should read more about Physics sometimes.

"House Bunny" was this silly comedy which you watch when you don't want to think too much or just laugh at silly things. It was silly but some part of it made me laugh and it was cute.

One of my favorite movie from Ewan McGregor is "Big Fish". I love this movie. It makes me cry every time I watch it. If you have a chance, please check this movie out :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chicken Curry with Cashew nuts

I was reading some Japanese blog and found this Chicken curry recipe which you make in a rice cooker. I thought it is interesting so I tried it. Luckily, I had all the spices I need for this recipe and I just bought a big package of Cashews the other day from Costco.

It was quite spicy but my husband loved it. He went for second.

The best thing about this recipe was that since it was cooked in a rice cooker, you don't have to keep checking while you cook. You just press the button and leave it and beep! It's done!

The not so great thing was that since I used rice cooker for making curry. I had to use the stove for making rice. I always make my rice in a rice cooker so I was a bit nervous about making rice in a pot. I looked up online how to make rice on pot and tried.

It came out perfectly! I was pretty pleased to see this. (Though the bottom was little bit burnt)

I probably should have sprinkle something green on top but oh well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Walnut Salad and Suqid Ink Pasta with seafood

I had this squid ink pasta in my pantry and I wanted to use this for a shilw but did not know what I should add to this pasta. I checked freezer and found some frozen seafood mix (squid, shrimp and scallop) so I made this squid ink pasta with some sauted seafood in a garlic oil.

I just fried some garlic in olive oil and took out the garlic, then add some sliced onion, add some red pepper flakes and then add seafood and sake (I think White wine is better if available. I did not have White wine so I used sake).

When the pasta is boiled, mix well with seafood and that was it.

I this it was good to add some onion because it added some sweet flavor to the dish.

Squid ink pasta does not look too good (especially in a photo) but it taste good. I think it is common in Italy and this kind of pasta or risotto are also popular in Japan. In Japan, it is much easier to find squid in a regular supermarket so I guess it is also easy for people to find squid ink in a regular super market.

It taste good but when you use real squid ink, your mouth and teeth look all black after you eat so I might not recommend this dish for your first date :-)

Nontheless, if you like seafood it is worth trying at least once if you have a chance.

I made salad on the side. This salad is something I always make. It is just simple romain lettuce, tomato, candied walnuts, carrots and corn. I use store-bought Caeser dressing for this salad. Sometimes, I add mushroom or avocado.

This salad also can be a meal itself. I love candied walnuts in this salad. You can buy it in a supermarket or you can make your own. I did not know hot to make it so I just pour maple syrup on walnuts and baked in a oven for a while and let it cool after. (The syrup might stick to the foil when it cooled so I suggest taking off the foil when it is still hot. but be careful not to burn yourself)