Vegetable Tempura

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vegetable Tempura

If you're a fan of Japanese food, then you've probably tried tempura, but did you know tempura was introduced in Japan by the Portuguese? Tempura, comes from the Latin word tempora which means time period. Spanish and Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century referred Lent, Fridays and holy days as tempora. The Portuguese still eat a dish similar to tempura called peixinhos do horta or garden fishies. In one way or another, tempura has taken the world by storm and has been the inspiration for a myriad of culinary creations including mozzarella sticks, fried ice cream and oden.

Sweet & Spicy Poached Pears

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Poached Pears

In addition to grilled fruit, I've recently unearthed poached fruit. Let me rectify that sentence, I'm afraid the way it's worded is slightly hyperbolic. I mean: I have only poached one type of fruit so far.

Aioli, My Love

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hello, my name is Anyonita and I am a mayonnaise lover.
If sauce & woman could wed, mayonnaise would be my groom.

You think I'm kidding. Such is my love for mayonnaise that I have never ventured to try it in any of the random ways it can be eaten. I've never mixed it with ketchup and dunked fries into the pink puddle the ensues. I've never had it with chillies thrown in, I've never had it with garlic ... until last night. I also had never made mayonnaise until last night.
Watching the first installment of Celebrity Masterchef the day before piqued my interest in garlic mayo or aioli. The contestants had to make tempura vegetables with garlic mayo dipping sauce. Knowing that there were two packs of prawns in my freezer and trying to come up with a use for them, I thought to make prawns and French fries with peas for dinner. Basically, a different kind of fish and chips. But prawns on their own, although I sprinkled paprika over them, would not have been very exciting. The solution? Garlic mayonnaise.

Fiery Grilled Peaches (Recipe Review)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


A few days ago, I came across an interesting-sounding recipe on FoodBuzz for Grilled Glazed Peaches.Now recently, I have become intrigued by the idea of grilling fruit, I love what it does to fruit, how it sears the flavor in and creates an almost meatier texture. Since I'm a fan of peaches (although, there's nothing like a good Georgia peach) and since we're full-swing into summer, I thought, okay, why not? Now, I'm just asking ... why?

The recipe comes from the cookbook License to Grill, in case any one was interested. The ingredients are simple enough: peaches, molasses (I substituted with honey because I do not like molasses), balsamic vinegar and peppercorns.

The recipe says you should let a cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of honey and two tablespoons of cracked peppercorns reduce. Wowza! The red flag should have gone up when I read the quantity of the peppercorns! While doing so, I halved and pitted my peaches and grilled them flesh-side down for 4 minutes. Once the mixture had reduced, I brushed it over the flesh of the peaches and regrilled them skin-side down for an additional 4 minutes. After taking them out of the grill, I reglazed them and served.

So You Said to Yourself You Wanna be a Foodie

Monday, July 19, 2010

When I haphazardly (no, that's probably a lie) decided I wanted to be more of a foodie,
foodie: n. syn. epicure. a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment. (especially good food & drink)
and consider going back to school to train as a chef, I failed to realize that waistlines
would reflect my efforts.

Charity Fundraiser: Blogging for the Pachyderms

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hi all!
I wanted to take this opportunity to promote a charity fundraising event I'll be participating in at the end of this month: a 24-hour charity blogging scheme called ODAHQ. You have have heard of this in the past, a blogger chooses a charity to raise money for and commits to blogging twice an hour every hour for an entire day.

This year, I'll be raising money for Elephant Family, a charity who seeks to reverse the impending extinction of the Asian Elephant. What can you do? You can pledge & sponsor me! For more information please go to my charity blog: www.24hourelephant.blogspot.com and say you'll make a pledge!

:)

Pork Parcels Stuffed with Star Anise Apricots and Cashews

Monday, July 12, 2010


Do you ever get the feeling that you have a sixth sense about food? Or that ... your palate talks to you? I get that feeling sometime. It normally happens when I'm in the kitchen, rummaging through cupboards, trying to plan out my menu and I see something and a spark ... er, sparks, in my brain & suddenly I'm bombarded with a thousand different combinations of ingredients that I could whip up to make a dish.

This is what happened while eating some dried apricots yesterday. Mmm, I thought, these will be good with pork. Mind you, this isn't a radical combination. After some research I realize that pork and apricots have been paired together in countless dishes. But what is radical is that this was only the second time I had ever had them. For me to instinctively know what they could be paired with is a bit ... weird but cool.

To make a long story short, I kept gnawing (metaphorically) on this idea of pork & apricots. Mmm, maybe with some star anise, I said to myself, thinking the complimentary colors would look good on a plate. Suddenly, a dish was born: Pork Parcels Stuffed with Star Anise Apricots and Cashews.

Today was D-day, as it were & I made the pork parcels using pork fillets. After pulsing the cashews in a blender (which was a mistake, I think, because they tended to lose some of their flavor) I brushed each fillet with olive oil, sprinkled some of the cashew crumbles on the pork and then topped with the dried apricots.

Tip: when cooking with dried food, remember to allow to soak in nearly-boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also soak them in wine or liquer. To bring in that smoky, licorice flavor, I dropped a few pieces of star anise in and allowed it to fuse with the water. 
To bind the parcels, I simply pierced with a skewer and dusted with brown (demerera) sugar. Placed them on a lightly greased baking tray and poured the water over them and allowed to bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350 F). While that was happening, I whipped up rice with mushrooms and a steamed broccoli, green bean and carrot mix.

When the parcels had finished cooking, I moved them onto a plate to rest, deglazed the pan and poured the contents into a saucepan. I simmered the mixture until nearly boiling, removed from the heat and stirred in two ounces of ruby port. Finally, I added a few sprinkles of all-purpose/plain flour to thicken and served.

I think the best thing about this dish is the combination of flavors. You have that unmistakable earthy pork with the sweetness of the brown sugar married with the plump fruity apricots and the subtle nutty cashew coming through. The port works well to balance them all and to bring out those earthy pork flavors as port tends to have that distinctive bite, a little stronger than wine but no more assuming on taste. 
Next time I make this, I'll be sure to soak the apricots in port instead of water to really bring out the flavor of the port throughout the entire dish and to keep the cashews whole or halved at the very least so they don't forfeit any of their flavor. I might consider substituting the cashews for another nut. Perhaps an almond.

Beacon Hill Cookies

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beacon Hill Cookies
Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, home to such notable Americans as Louisa May Alcott, authoress of Little Women, the poets Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath and politicians John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and the actress Uma Thurman. For decades, Beacon Hill has showered greatness in the world in the form of dynamic individuals. Not to be ignored, however, is a little-known dessert hailing from that metropolis of culture and history, a tiny beacon that packs a delectable punch, the Beacon Hill Cookie.

Unlike most other cookies, the BHC cooks in just 10 minutes, which, in the cookie-world is instant gratification. Even better it is whipped up from ingredients that already occupy our kitchens. All you need is chocolate, egg whites, sugar, cocoa powder and nuts (if you're so obliged). The meringue-based center of this cookie makes it super rich and chewy, a naughty treat in the middle of so much chocolate! The basic flavors in this cookie mean that you can make however many substitutes needed to created your perfect beacon.