Showing posts from 2010

For New Year's Eve: A Favorite Cocktail

The holidays are a great time to break the work routine, slow down the daily tempo, and hang out with friends and family.

Cold weather makes the outdoors less hospitable. A warm kitchen invites like no other room in the house.  Pulling together appetizers, a salad, main dish, and a couple of desserts, is a lot of work but also great fun. 
With New Year's Eve fast approaching, the search is on to plan a festive meal. What better way to begin the celebration than with a drink that evokes the sweetness of the tropics.
Because there are edible pieces of fruit at the bottom, include a spoon so the cocktail can be enjoyed as a drink and an appetizer all in one.
Tropical Rum Cocktail
Yield: 4
Time: 10 minutes
1 cup white rum 2 Fuyu persimmons, ripe, slightly soft, finely chopped 1 cup fresh orange juice, sweet 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 4 tablespoons powdered sugar 16 ice cubes
Pour the white rum into a pitcher, add the powdered sugar, and stir well to dissolve. Add the fin…

Tempura Vegetables and Shrimp Congee

Congee is rice served "wet" in a broth with vegetables, tofu, meat, seafood, or poultry.

Congee is the Asian equivalent of Jewish chicken soup, perfect when the weather is cold and damp or you're fighting off a cold.  Served in a variety of ways, depending on the country of origin or what's in season, the basic dish is made with cooked rice, a liquid, and flavorings.
You'll find dozens of authentic, regional recipes in cookbooks and online, but in our kitchen "congee" is another way of saying repurposed deliciousness.

Whatever we don't eat at a Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai restaurant we bring home. Invariably, a container of rice is included along with the kung pao chicken, tempera shrimp and vegetables, stir fried beef with broccoli, or sweet and sour pork that we couldn't finish. 
Reheating these dishes at home is one option, but transforming them into congee is better.  For example, converting vegetable and shrimp tempura into an arom…

Easy-to-Make Custards, Perfect for the Holidays

When the weather turns cold and my family needs a good dose of comfort food, I turn to a reliable, easy-to-make desserts, a custard with sautéed apples and golden raisins and one with crystalized ginger.

I posted the recipes on Zesterdaily.

Keep Them Simple, Keep Them Coming: Thanksgiving Appetizers, Side Dishes, and Salads

While turkey is the centerpiece on Thanksgiving, the appetizers, side dishes, salads and desserts reign supreme. Cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing with sausages and dried apricots, mushroom and giblets gravy, green salads, beet salad, homemade pickles, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, string beans, squash...and the desserts: cakes, pies, custards, fresh fruit, cheese... 
The easier the recipes, the more you'll make. If Thanksgiving is nothing else, it is a celebration of variety and plenty, so here are some easy-to-make recipes we'll be making on Thursday.
Blackened Peppers with Capers, Parsley, and Garlic
The peppers should be made a day or two ahead.  To start, simply grill the peppers on top of a gas range, remove the blackened skin, discard the seeds, and put them in a sealed jar where they'll keep a week in the refrigerator or for months in the freezer.
Overnight the peppers will miraculously create their own "oil."
Use a mix of peppers so the result is that …

Why I Love Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was my mother's favorite holiday. She loved the chance to have her family and friends seated around the table, catching up, telling stories,and eating favorite treats.
Most of the time I do the cooking since I work at home and because we have a kitchen the size of a New York closet. Thanksgiving is my wife's day and I happily step to the side, working as a sous chef, assisting her in executing a meal that usually serves between 15-20.
Even though Thanksgiving is a lot of work, the key is organization. Writing up a menu is the first step, then a shopping list, and finally a time-line for the day before Thanksgiving and the day of the meal.
Along with those first steps, we cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil so clean up after the meal is easier. Cleaning out the refrigerator makes room for the turkey after we pick it up from the grocery store and so there's space for all those delicious left-overs after the meal.
Besides shopping at the grocery store we …

Earth, Sun, Water and Art on the Southern Tip of Baja California

Recently I was on assignment for Peter Greenberg to Cabo San Lucas to test drive the 2011 Mitzubishi Outlander Family and Sports models. That road trip was only one part of an action packed, long weekend that included a lot of eating and a trip to nearby San Jose del Cabo.
With summer a fond memory and colder weather approaching, now is a good time to think about a trip to warmer climes. While some might happily settle for the familiarity of Hawaii, Florida or Puerto Rico, Mexico is a great destination with its vast, natural beauty, rich cultural history, amazing archaeological sites and wonderfully flavorful cuisine.
Mexico's well-publicized difficulties with crime have caused travelers to steer clear of the DMZ border regions. Tragically, it was those regions that were once the perfect places to experience the melding of two great cultures and peoples. 
Luckily there are safe places to visit in Mexico far from the border, a fact that Peter has chronicled in many posts. A recent …