Monday, December 23, 2013

Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage with Apple and Onion

In many of the supermarket I go to here in the U.S., I see this sausage from a company called Aidells. I tried this sausage for the first time when I was still living in California. I loved their Chicken and Apple sausage so I buy this sausage sometimes and chop it and add to Pasta for an easy quick meal.

Well, the other day I was buying this sausage again. As I was paying at the check out, the lady at the cashier told me that she loves this sausage and tried a recipe from their website which was awesome. She told me the recipe and insist that I should try it.

So, I went home and check their website and found the recipe she was talking about. It was easy recipe and had all the ingredients so I decided to give it a try. Here is the recipe from Aidells website if you are interested in. 

Saute sausage and take it out.

Also, saute onion and apple.

Add wine

Add sausage back and also cream


My husband and kid loved it. (Even though, my son was only eating pasta...)

It was super easy and tasty. I would use less apple next time but this is a great quick meal!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stuffed Acorn Squash

How is everybody doing? Everyone must be busy with all the Christmas related parties and get together and preparations.

I actually just came back from Japan. I decided to go there spontaneously and stayed there for three weeks. It was a wonderful trip and my family were super super happy to have us. Our son was very happy to have many people to play with every day. He made my family laughed a lot. It was wonderful to see my family laughing and feeling happy.

I off course ate lots of good food while I was there. The weather in Tokyo was quite nice while I was there. Sunny everyday and the average temp was about 15C everyday which is about 60F.

So now, I am back to NY and experiencing this COLD COLD weather. I really don't like cold weather. Oh well, I should be thankful that I don't have to stay outside all day in this cold weather.

Today, I would like to write about the dish which I made before I went to Japan.

I see lots of pumpkins and squash in fall and I love using those vegetables when it is in season.

I saw a nice acorn squash so I made stuffed acorn squash. I actually made this dish before. I checked when I made it last time and found out that it was 2009. 4 Years ago!! Wow, time flies. If you are interested in the previous acorn post, click here.

I mentioned before also but I first ate stuffed pumpkin back when I was living in California. One night, I went to visit my friend who is French. He got hungry so he got some dinner leftover and ate it. I ate some and that was the first time I ever tried stuffed pumpkin. I thought "Wow, I never had this before. I guess this is some kind of French dish."

I believe they actually used pumpkin but since I found good acorn squash at my local supermarket, I use it. And this time, I added some rice to it also.

I didn't measure anything and I just winged it but this is how I made it.

I cut the top of acorn and took the seeds out. Then, add some brown sugar, salt and pepper and baked in the oven till it is soft.

First, I sautéed carrot, onion and celery.

Then, add ground beef with some spices. I used nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon, etc. When the meat is cooked, I added cooked rice.

When the acorn is soft, take out from the oven and stuff it with rice and meat mixture. Arrange extra mixture around it.

Put the lid back on and serve.

It was good but I made too much mixture. I should have made half of this. Also, I tasted too much All Spice. It has some room for improvement.

By the way, Christmas is approaching before you know it. It is just one week before Christmas!! I am not ready at all but we don't have big Christmas party or anything so I don't feel stressed. We might just go to Manhattan sometime to see the Christmas tree at Rockafellar Center or something like that. It will be nice to do something Christmasy with my family. Also, I would like to make Christmas cookie with my son and husband this weekend :-)

What is your Christmas plan? Hope everybody is having a great Holiday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

German Black Forest Cake

We had a visitor from Germany and we had so much fun! We did lots of shopping and enjoyed spending time. Our son LOVED having her with us so he as all over her which means I was able to relax a lot ;-)

One of the things we did while she was here was making a cake called Black Forest Cake.

I tried to make this cake before by myself but the result was not great. I bought cherry liquor from a local liquor store and used it for the cake. This liquor was so strong that the cake only tasted like the liquor.

This time, I made it with my friend whose grandma make this cake all the time. She told me that she actually never made it but I was sure she knows how it taste like and how it should look.

So We baked.

First of all, making batter was quite easy. Then, we baked. The cake came out very flat and we were not sure how it will turn out but we proceed with the rest of process.

We cut the cake then brushed with cherry preserve. Then, add whipped cream, then, canned cherry.

Then more whipped cream. In my book, there is no such a thing as too much whipped cream.

Then cover with the other half of the cake. Cover with more whipped cream then topped with canned cherry. I bought this cake decoration turn table while ago. I didn't have a chance to use it till this day but I was happy to use it. It is much easier to decorate cake with this turn table. I know I need more practice but I think this looks OK.

Then sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

So, I don't have a picture of inside but the color of cake looked little grayish. So next time, I think I will try to add more cocoa power into the batter. Despite the cake color, the taste was super good!

I didn't put too much cherry liquor this time because my husband and my son would eat also.

It was really fun making this cake with her. I like cooking with my friends. She came to visit us in California and I remember we baked brownie that time together. If we live close to each other, we will be baking together all the time.

It was great to have her and I miss her already. She is such a good friends and I feel so comfortable with her. I feel like I don't need to pretend anything. I am glad that I met her through my husband and I am happy that we became good friends!

I am curious what we will be baking when she come visit us next time :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Apple Picking and Apple Pie

I love going to Apple picking in fall. A few weeks ago, we went to NJ for apple picking. This year, it was our son's first apple picking so we prepared him by explaining what it is and how to pick an apple.

I am not sure if he understood completely but he was mimicking us how to pick an apple from a tree and put it in a basket. He also learned a letter A for an apple and he found an apple tree in a book and saying "apple picking! Apple picking!" so he was absolutely excited about it.

In the past, we went to upstate NY for apple picking but this time we tried going to NJ. We went to this orchard called Sun High Orchard and we absolutely love it there.

The orchard was not too big and was actually perfect size for us and they had homemade apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, ice cream etc.

The owner of the orchard came to talk to us and told us about the orchard and which apple is the best right now. He was very friendly and I really liked that.

They also had some animals like this.

Our son enjoyed apple picking so much! The tree was not too tall and there were many apples on the lower part of the tree so my 2 year old son could easily pick them by himself.

So we got lots of apples in different kinds.

It was also Halloween season so there were many pumpkins there. Big pumpkins were bit pricy for us so we bought 4 small ones and those were very very reasonable price. And they are so cute! We gave one to our friend.

Our son likes apple so he eats apple if I peel them but since we have a lot of them, we decided to bake apple pie. Apple pie is also one of my favorite fall thing. When I smell apple pie, it makes me feel very happy and cozy. Since I am not good with making pie crust or any kind of dough, I decided to cheat and use frozen one. It came out perfectly!

We ate hot apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It seems like our son enjoyed ice cream more than apple pie but he also ate some apple pie and was very excited that it came from the apple he actually picked himself.

I am very happy that we took him for apple picking. I didn't think he would enjoy this much!

So I can check off the apple pie from the list of what I want to make in fall. Next is pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup! Well, actually I already made pumpkin soup so it is only pumpkin pie! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Melissa D'arabian's Snapper with Fennel, Onion and Tomato

This was a great recipe which I tried for the first time. This recipe is from a Food Network star named Melissa D'arabian. I never made her recipe but I like watching her show because she has so many great little tips for house cook.

This recipe was not actually from her show but another show called "The best thing I ever made". In this show, many of the chefs and food network personnel share the recipe of the best thing they ever made on the specific topic. This particular episode was one pot wonder.

She made this using snapper but I used Cod instead since I like cod and cod was on sale at local market. This is really easy and amazing dish if you like fish. Even when you don't like fish, I think you will like this dish if you use mild fish such as cod. My husband is not a big fish fan but he LOVED this dish! My son also ate a lot so this dish is a definitely a keeper!

If you are interested in the recipe, click here to go to Food Network site for her recipe.

First, you cook Fennel and Onion in a pan.

Add tomato and saute more.

When it is soft, add white wine, lemon juice, chicken stock etc.

Add Cod (or any fish you like) and top with butter

Put it in the oven and bake till the fish is cooked

The  tricky part is that you have to use a pan which you can also put in the oven. And please be very careful when you take the pan out of the oven. Obviously, the handle is super hot but I forgot about this one time and had a bad burn on my hand so be careful!

This is a great easy meal which taste like something from a restaurant. I think you can also make this with Shrimp. Maybe I will try this with Shrimp next time.

By the way, I wrote about my son being daddy's boy the other day and that I feel like a third wheel sometimes. Lately, my son tells me that he loves me so many times. When I heard him say this it made me cry. It made me so happy. I understand that my husband spend less time with him and he really play with him when he is with our son so our son want to spend as much time as possible when my husband is at home. But it is also really nice to hear that he loves me also. Our relationship is getting better. Sometimes I think that maybe I was too strict with him. But I am very happy with how he is and very proud of how he interact with other people and hoe caring he is.

I will keep trying to be genuine and understanding mother. I am not perfect but I am trying. Every kid is different and I have to find what works best for my son. It is not easy sometimes but I am so happy that I can spend all day every day with him and influence him with our point of view and philosophy.

He is talking a lot now so it is so interesting and funny to have a conversation with him. He makes me laugh a lot and he is learning a lot every day. I thank everyday that he came into my life and I can spend time with him every day.

Lately, he started asking "Why?". Everything is "Why?" "Why?" He kept asking me why. I think it is great that he is curious but something I feel like he is doing this just to annoy me :-) But I assume that this is an important process for him to learn and I try to explain things over and over. Well, hope he is not kidding with me.

Growing up, I had my mom at home all the time. It was great to have her at home. If something happens at schools, I can tell her right away when I come home either good or bad. For me, I felt like things I wanted to tell her is not that important if time passes. The excitement or anger will go away with time. I hope I can be there for him when he is super excited or sad or angry and can listen to him when he really want to talk to me. I don't know what the future hold but I know I will always be there for him to listen. I hope he feels that I am always there to listen when he need me.... I guess it is every parent's wish :-)

Parenthood is not easy but I think you also learn a lot about yourself and my son is making me grow up also.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

In the U.S., when you have a cold, people eat Chicken Noodle Soup. Since I have a cold and I made roasted chicken the night before, I decided to make chicken noodle soup.

Some of you might know already but everytime we have whole roasted chicken, I made chicken stock from the bones of the chicken. If you are interested in how I made my chicken stock, here is the recipe.
It is super easy and freeze well and much better than store bought chicken stock!

So, in my opinion, if you have good chicken stock, you can not mess up chicken soup. You just add whatever vegetable you like, add some chicken (or not) and egg noodles.

Here is what I did,
Chopped ginger and green onion

Saute them in a pot with olive oil.

Chop other vegetables of your liking. I used carrot, zucchini, celery and red bell pepper.

Toss them in the pot.

When the vegetables are tender, add chicken stock. Bring it to boil, add egg noodle. Cook.

Then add cooked chicken, heat it through add salt and pepper for taste and done!

It is super easy and nutritious and kids love it also. It is chicken noodle soup but I sometimes omit chicken.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Michael Symon's Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde

I saw this recipe on a commercial one day. Iron Chef Michael Symon was showing this recipe. When I make salsa verde, I always think about Skirt Stake and that is what I always did so seeing him poruing salsa verde over the roasted chicken was quite a revelation to me.

Michael Symon is one of the Iron Chef on the food network show in the U.S. I always liked him but I got to meet him in person and take a photo with him last year. He was really nice and friendly so I like him even more now.

Even though I liked him,  this was actually my first time trying his recipe. It was pretty straight forward and came out really good.

The whole chicken was on sale this week so I decided to try this recipe.

Here is the link for his recipe on The Cooking Channel website. Click Here. 

The chicken came out juicy and flavorful from the lemon and herb. His recipe didn't call for the other stuff around the chicken but I tossed some potato and onion in it.

My son and my husband loved it also. What makes this chicken special is the salsa verde. My son helped me to make it and he was tasting it while we made. It is quite strong taste but he liked it.

This salsa verde has anchovies in it. I didn't tell this to my husband since he is not a big fan of fish. But he loved this sauce so I was very happy. (He might change his opinion if I tell him that there is anchovies in it though..)

The air is getting cooler and time to use oven again. Roasted Chicken is a perfect family meal which makes everyone happy. (Plus, you can make chicken broth with the leftover bones!)

By the way, my 2 year old son is definitely being 2 years old lately. He has a strong will sometimes and if he doesn't like something, he really doesn't like it even when it is a small thing.

Also, he is such an artist so he draw something and even when I think it looks great, if he doesn't like it somehow, he gets upset and cross it out. I think he is very good at drawing and I am so curious how his drawing develop over time.

He is also very much a daddy's boy. He is so attached to him and if my husband is home, he want to do everything with his daddy. Sometimes when I come over to them, he tells me to go somewhere else. I am happy that he loves his daddy but at the same time it makes me so sad that he doesn't want me around. He is not like that when he is alone with me but when his daddy is home, I am a third wheel.

Normally, I am OK with it but when he cry and screams for his daddy when I am right in front of him, I feel useless and sad.

I was talking about this to my mother the other day and my mom told me that he is like me when I was little. I was not that extreme but I was definitely daddy's girl and I didn't like it when my mom was close to my dad. She told me don't worry and don't feel bad about it. She assured me that my son loves me. So I guess my son got this from me. This kind of made me laugh.

I am glad that I talked to my mom. She always makes me feel good and make me feel like everything is going to be fine :-) She knows exactly what I need to hear. I hope I can be like my mom to my son. I want to make him feel good and happy and safe :-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Perfect Fall Soup! Butternut squash and Apple Soup

Sorry, No picture today but I just wanted to write this down before I forget. I made this amazing Butternut Squash soup yesterday and I didn't want to forget what I did.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

1 Butternut Squash
2 Green Apples
1 Vidalia Onion
2 cloves garlic
about 2 inches ginger root
2 tea spoons consomme powder
2 tea spoons curry powder
2 tea spoons cumin powder
2 tea spoons cinnamon powder
4~5 cups of water
Olive oil and butter

1. First peel and cut butter nut squash and apples and onion into bite size pieces. (take the seeds out)

2. In a Large pot, add olive oil and butter (whatever amount you feel like) then add butternut squash and cook until soft. You can do this in a few batches if it is too much in one batch. Take the squash out.

3. In a same pot, add more olive oil and add onion to cook. When it is tender, add apple, garlic and ginger and cook for a little bit.

4. When everything seems tender, add squash back to the pot. Then add all the spices, consomme and stir.

5. Add water and simmer for about 40mins.

6. With the immersion blender, blend everything. Add salt if needed.

This was it and it came out really great. My son loves it though he insist on eating it cold.

The fall is here and it makes me feel like making soup and baking pies. In Japan, we say that appetite increase in fall and I think it is true! The temperature gets cooler and you have more motivation for cooking and you see all these fresh fall products in a supermarket.

I will try to post photos later. I am thinking about baking a pie soon :-)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Potato Gratin

I learned this potato gratin long time ago from my friend in California. She told me that she saw this on Food Network once and made it for me. It was super rich and really good so I wrote down the recipe and made this a few times after that.

I always thought she told me that this is a recipe from Jamie Oliver so the other day I checked online for his potato gratin recipe but I couldn't find same recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Then, I found this recipe from Tyler Florence which was exactly same as the one I wrote down. So, it was actually Tyler Florence's recipe.

Whenever I try Tyler Florence's recipes, I love them. I think him and I have a similar taste in food :-)
So it was not surprising to find that this recipe I love was actually from him.

Anyways, this is so yummy but super rich and most likely very high in calories so you can not eat a lot at once. I think it will be good when you have some people over.

If you are interested in his recipe, here is the link to his recipe on Food Network site.

It is a bit time consuming but the flavor is well worth the time in my opinion.

First, saute bacon, cabbage, green onion, garlic, etc.

Cut potatoes and soak in heavy cream.

Layer potato and cabbage mixture oven dish.

After layering, add heavy cream and sprinkle cheese over it.

Bake in the oven.

Look at this! Isn't it tempting? It is really good. It a perfect dish for a cold winter night! I think this is also good as a side dish for some meat dish.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A trip to Germany

So, we just came back from a Germany trip. We went to see my in-laws and we had such a great time together. I was able to go have coffee and stuff all by myself. Even though I love spending time with my 2 year old son, It was quite nice to have some time alone without my baby.

My son had a wonderful time there with his grand parents. They play with him so nicely and patiently. I enjoyed watching them play with my son.

His German improved quite a lot. He has having a conversation with his grand parents in German! It is amazing how quick they learn. Their memory is so great that they remember some words just listening to it once.

We also spend some time with my son's great grand mother. She was soooo happy to see us. It was also fun to see her play with my son. In German, a word "grandmother" is "Oma" and my son calls his great grandmother "Oma Oma" which she liked a lot :-)

He even made some friends. The kids who were staying close by us for their vacation were really really nice to my son. They were 9 year old boys and they love playing soccer. They took our son and played with him so nicely. My son loved them also. It was so funny to see my son interact with them. He was really trying to act more grown up like them.

One cute thing which happened was when we went to have ice cream with those two boys. My son was sitting in between the boys and everyone was eating ice cream. My son was looking at one of the boy and he was so happy that he is eating ice cream with them. Once in a while, he would stroke the boy's face to show his affection. Then, I think he was overwhelmed with his affection to this boy, he kissed on his arm. It was cute but he had lots of ice cream around his mouth so the boy's clothe got all dirty. We cleaned it and everything was fine and we were laughing a lot. Great times!!

I ate a lot on this vacation but managed not to gain weight. Yahoo!

I learned some dishes from my mother-in-law so I will be making those sometime.

Also, I bought a Germany cooking magazine (though I can not read Germany) so I would like to try some of the dishes from this magazine also.