Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good Tofu banh mi sandwich

Really good! Just the tofu recipe itself is very good also. I bought a fresh baguette but then didn't use it for 2 days, so it got a little stale. A fresh baguette is very important!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Banana Pudding

I have been on a sweets kick lately, and on this hot day I felt like having a cool southern dessert. So I made this banana pudding, liberally adapted from a few different recipes. It is good! I did not add the whipped cream this time but I think it will make the finished result even better. Also: a few maraschino cherries on top.


  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 large bananas, sliced, one handful reserved
  • 1/2 (12-ounce box) vanilla wafers, one handful reserved
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp sugar 

1) Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a large heavy-bottomed pan on the stove and slowly whisk in milk. 
2) Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 or 15 minutes--do not leave it unattended. The cornstarch needs to reach boiling to thicken, but then the mixture can bubble up quite a bit, so you may need to adjust the heat as it cooks. 
3) Slightly beat egg yolks and temper with about a cup of the hot custard; stir well. 
4) Add the egg mixture to custard pot and boil 1 more minute, whisking the whole time. 
5) Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Let cool. 
6) In a 9 by 9-inch clear dish (or 9 inch round clear dish), alternate pudding, bananas, and wafers, beginning with pudding and ending with pudding. Chill.
7) Whip cream with the 1 Tbsp. sugar until stiff peaks form. Top the pudding with the whip cream, and then decorate the top with reserved bananas and vanilla wafers. 
8) Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

chocolate sauce (small serving)

I have been making up David Lebovitz's chocolate sauce for a while, with great results. But lately, I will eat one serving of it and then the rest sits in the fridge and goes bad. So today I tried to scale down the version to make a single-size portion in the microwave, with OK results. I tend to eyeball amounts, that's why I've included 1/2 Tbsp measures in here (and also why my chocolate sauce was too sweet today!). But if you like to measure exactly, 1/2 Tbsp. = 1 1/2 tsp.

The best chocolate sauce
makes 1 large or 2 small servings

-- 1 1/2 Tbsp. water
-- 1 Tbsp. sugar
-- 1/2 Tbsp. light corn syrup, agave nectar, or glucose (or just add in another 1/2 Tbsp. sugar if you don't have these)
-- 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
-- approx. 10 bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips.

1. In a bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup (or agave or glucose or sugar), and cocoa powder. You can do this with a fork if you are lazy
2. Heat in microwave about 60 seconds or until very hot. Mix some more with fork.
3. Stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Buffalo Veggie Burgers

So I have been experimenting with veggie burgers for a long time. The biggest problem with many vegetarian burger recipes is that when you're eating them it can be hard to tell what part is the burger and what part is the bun. Finally I have found a veggie burger that is packed with flavor and, if you love buffalo wings like I do, simply delicious.

adapted from this veggie burger recipe. 

Makes 5 burgers


For the patties:
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 ounces mild blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
To make the burgers:
  • 5 burger buns
  • lettuce
  • tomato slices
  • red onion slices
  • generous amount of hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot)
  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. While that is happening, roughly mash the black beans with a fork leaving some whole black beans in a paste-like mixture.
  3. Mix the cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, hot pepper sauce, and egg into the black beans using your hands. If the mixture is too wet add in breadcrumbs until it gets to a moldable consistency.
  4. Form the black bean mixture into 5 equal-size portions.
  5. Now, take each burger portion and divide it into 2. You want to make 2 really thin patties the size of the final burger you want to make. I do this by putting each burger half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and carefully pressing them thin. 
  6. For each burger, take one really thin patty, sprinkle it with about 1/2 ounce of blue cheese, then lay the other thin patty on top and seal them together. You may need to re-form the patty a bit to make it look burger-like. Do this for all 5 burgers.   
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  8. Cook the patties in the hot oil until browned and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. 
  9. Lightly toast each hamburger bun. Layer: bottom bun, lettuce, onions, tomato, salt and pepper, cooked burger patty, and then liberally coat the patty with hot pepper sauce. Remember hot wings are basically dipped in red hot sauce, and that's the flavor we're going after, so don't be afraid to be generous! 
  10. Put on the top bun and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

a couple awesome recipes

What makes my default go-to recipe resource are the reviews. Whenever I want to make some dish, especially a more well-known item, I often go there, find a recipe, then sort by reviews. Anything rated four stars or above by over 100 reviewers is bound to be good. That worked out great for me today, these are the recipes I made:

Old-fashioned Vanilla Pudding

Super good and quicker than going to the store to buy instant! I used this to make a red, white, and blue trifle to celebrate the fourth of July.

Quinoa Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Good with a texture remarkably similar to meat burgers. I liked that you didn't have to pre-cook the veggies in the burger like most veggie burger recipes. The taste was a little bland, probably because I skimped on the salt, next time I would add the full amount of salt at least, maybe even more.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sai's Thai Green Curry

This is how my sister-in-law Sai made a quick green curry with the green curry paste we had made earlier. She said the vegetables used were not authentic, she just used what we have on hand here, authentically this curry would contain eggplant and a small round vegetable we don't have here.


-- vegetable oil
-- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Green curry paste
-- 1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk (can use coconut milk, or cream, or a combo of any of these)
-- 1/2 cup carrot, diced small
-- 1 cup frozen peas
-- 1/2 package firm tofu, diced
-- 1 tsp. sugar
-- 1 square frozen basil -- OR 1 handful fresh thail basil leaves would have been better


1. Heat up oil in pan
2. Add in green curry paste, fry up until fragrant
3. Add in soymilk, mix around.
4. Add in carrot, boil a bit.
5. Add in peas and tofu, boil a little more until the vegetables are done.
6. Add in sugar and basil.
7. Taste to make sure seasonings are well balanced, may need to add in more sugar or salt or even some lemon. Add more water or soymilk if you want a saucier dish.
8. Serve over rice.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sai's fried noodles with veggies and tofu

My sister in law Sai is from Thailand, and she and Mahesh's brother Yogesh are here visiting us for a while. Yesterday she said "why don't we make a simple lunch of what we have on hand." I said, "okay." And this is what we made.

Sai's fried noodles with veggies and tofu
serves 3, somewhat scantily


-- 1/2 lb rice noodles, boiled until done to your liking
-- 1/2 package firm or pressed tofu, cubed
-- 1 carrot, juilenned
-- 1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
-- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
-- handful thai basil leaves
-- handful green onion, thinly sliced on the bias
-- 1 T. soy sauce
-- 2 T. vegetarian oyster sauce (or real oyster sauce, if you are not vegetarian)
-- 1 wedge lemon
-- 2 teaspoon sugar
-- oil
-- red pepper flakes, 1/4 to 1/2 t. 


1. If you want extra-fried tofu, start frying the tofu first in a layer of oil until browned to your liking on all sides. (If not, you start with the onion and just fry the tofu a little second.)

2. Once onion is yellow, add in other vegetables, starting with the hardest first, we used carrot and asparagus first.

3. When the vegetables are nearly cooked, add in the cooked noodles and all the seasoning elements in, mix well, and taste. Adjust the seasonings if necessary to your taste.

4. When you think the taste is good add in basil and green onion, and serve.

Sai's Vegetarian Green Curry Paste

I am very lucky to have been able to spend the last two weeks with Mahesh's brother Yogesh and his wife Sai, who is from Thailand. Since Yogesh is vegetarian like Mahesh, she showed me a few vegetarian versions of Thai dishes. Here is her recipe for Green Curry Paste, which can also be used to make Red Curry Paste with a few variations.

Sai's Vegetarian Green Curry Paste (or Red Curry Paste)
this recipe makes enough for about three curries


-- approx. 8 serrano chilis (or, for red curry paste, 15 dried whole red chilis, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes -- remove seeds for less spice)
-- 5 large cloves garlic
-- 2 shallots, sliced
-- 1 stalk lemongrass, about six inches long, cut off the ends, peel the outside layer off, and then slice finely
-- 1 inch square of galangal root, sliced
-- zest of 1/2 kaffir lime, sliced, or approx 1 1/2 tablespoons kaffir lime leaves, cut small
-- 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro (do not use this if making red curry paste, up the coriander powder instead)
-- 3 Tablespoons yellow miso (or other fermented soy bean paste)
-- 1/2 t. caraway seeds
-- 1/2 t. black pepper, whole
-- 1/2 t. coriander powder (up this to 1 Tablespoon if making red curry paste)
-- 1 heaping t. of salt

-- 4 Tablespoons oil, for frying
-- 1 teaspoon sugar (only for green curry paste)


1. Toast whole spices in dry frying pan until fragrant. Cool and grind to powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

2. Blend spice mixture and all other ingredients except oil and sugar together in a blender, mini food processor, or big mortar and pestle (the Thai way) until everything is a paste.

3. Heat oil in pan, add in blended material, and cook, stirring until dark and thick, about 15-20 minutes. Add more oil if it sticks to the pan. When it is done it will be thick and stick to itself like a dough. Cool and store in fridge for up to 3 months.

-- When making a recipe for curry out of the paste, add in thai basil with green curry, and kaffir lime lives with red curry.

Here is a recipe for green curry using this paste.