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Yep, Found a Good Bagel in the City

Yep, Found a Good Bagel in the City

I was up in San Francisco last week and had a bit of time to explore so I headed to the Mission District.  My first stop was Tartine Bakery.  I order one thing religiously, the lemon cream tart.  It is by far the best lemon tart […]

She’s Baaaaack….Guest Blogger Jamie!

She’s Baaaaack….Guest Blogger Jamie!

Hello!  This is Jamie!  I know I know, it’s been a while, blame the Rice bioengineering department.  Don’t worry, I’ve missed you guys, too. I’m currently sitting in the car typing this; it is the first hour of a 12 hour drive back to Houston […]

There Are No Words

There Are No Words

A few weeks ago my friend Jane’s daughter was in a terrible car crash in Tahoe.  I was in Hawaii when I found out.  I felt helpless.  After a few days in the intensive care unit and multiple tests they let her go, but not before making the decision to donate her organs as she would have wanted them to do.

There are no words of comfort I can give to my friends that could possibly ease their pain.  I cannot fathom how they feel.  I cannot begin to imagine what they are going through.  I am heartbroken for them, for her and for all of us that were touched by this amazing ball of light, laughter and energy.  At only 25 she accomplished more than most do in a lifetime.  She loved the outdoors, loved to push herself physically and mentally.  She was an artist, athlete, rower, firefighter, EMT, ski patrol and much much more.  The ultimate team player, she pushed herself and rooted for her teammates even if she was competing against them. She brought so much joy to so many it is almost impossible to believe that she is not here.  She enjoyed life and lived every moment to its fullest.  She had the tenacity of a pitbull, the strength of an Amazon, and the spirit of a warrior.

She will be missed.

This song was for her family.  She put it on a playlist for her future niece and for them and now it has become my mantra.   I will be there for the long haul, to listen, cry, laugh, talk, to help anyway I can.

Love You Snook Family

One Call Away cover by Jason Chin

 

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Paradise Found

Paradise Found

This has been the longest period of time between posts for my fledging blog, I hope you stayed with me.  As life is prone to do, it got busy and messy.  The first few months of this year has brought joy but also great sorrow (for another […]

Hail Caesar!..Salad That Is

Hail Caesar!..Salad That Is

Is your family like mine?  Are you met with a chorus of “Yuks or Ewwws” whenever you serve a salad?  Do you have to stop yourself from saying “eat it, it’s good for you” which would only make it worse anyways. Or you return home […]

Flat & Flaky Nancy Silverton’s Biscuits

Flat & Flaky Nancy Silverton’s Biscuits

I haven’t posted in more than just a few days.  It’s not because I have been busy and have pushed my blog to the back burner, nope.  I just haven’t been all that enthused about the recipes I have tried lately.  Then I thought, I should be posting the good, the bad, and the meh.

I found a couple of recipes that fall into what I call my “Quest for the Holy Grail” list.  Dishes that I have pretty darn good recipes for already but if I find a new recipe that sounds yummylicious, I’d try it.   Such is the case for Nancy Silverton’s Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits and 2 recipes for banana bread.  One from the Violet Bakery Cookbook and another from America’s Test Kitchen Essentials Cookbook.

So about those biscuits…I came across a cool website Panna Cooking that features a lot of heavyweight chefs in videos making their favorites.  Think of it as a video food magazine.  Their Facebook page has some of their videos or you can subscribe to their site.  I watched Nancy Silverton’s video for making her biscuits and immediately ran to my kitchen to make them.  Much like croissant dough, it calls for folding the dough and rolling it seven times.   This creates the flaky layers.  Mine had layers but the biscuits weren’t as tall as the ones in her video.   The biscuits  were tasty but not quite as light as I would have liked.  I did tweet Nancy Silverton asking if she had any tips..stay tuned, hope I get a response.

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On to banana bread.  I love my recipe for banana bread, its moist, light, cake like and versatile but I have grown tired of making it.  Along comes this beautiful cookbook, the Violet Bakery Cookbook with this absolutely lovely looking banana bread.   Unlike many of the recipes for banana bread it contains double the amount of bananas.  Six bananas for 1 loaf of bread!  Zowie.  The bread came out a little heavy and gummy perhaps from insufficient baking time.  Disappointing  but I may try it again, I am thinking baker error (me, me, me) I have tasted it made by friends and it is filled with flavor and quite good.   The recipe can be found on the blog Local Milk.  Maybe you’ll have better luck.  While paging through ATK Essentials cookbook, I came across their Ultimate banana bread recipe which also called for 6 bananas but with an additional step of extracting the liquid from the bananas, reducing it, and adding the now banana syrup back to the recipe.  It also called for slices of bananas and nuts on top and sprinkling it with sugar.  The bread was definitely less gummy,  pretty dense but packed with banana flavor. The addition of the sliced bananas  and chopped pecans on top adds a nice carmelized finish.  Is it better then my original recipe?  I don’t think so.  The next time you have 12 or so very ripe bananas on your counter, give these recipes a try.  Let me know which one you like!

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Just Loafing Around (Everyday Chocolate Cake)

Just Loafing Around (Everyday Chocolate Cake)

I’m not that crazy about chocolate and yet in the last few weeks I have baked a chocolate birthday cake, brownies for Jeffrey’s hockey team and today I made a quick and easy chocolate loaf cake I found on Smitten Kitchen.  Very disconcerting since I […]

My Banana Bad (Banana Bread Again?)

My Banana Bad (Banana Bread Again?)

You know how sometimes you get wrapped up looking for something new or better than what you already have.  You get tired of making the same thing and convince yourself that somewhere out there is a version of your tried and true that is tastier and […]

Mom (Won tons)

Mom (Won tons)

My mom came down and spent the week with us recently.  She is 93 years old and still lives in San Francisco in the same house I grew up in.  Her memory has faltered and her cognitive skills have diminished but she soldiers on.   I am thankful that she is still with us and grateful for the moments we have together.  It is now our turn to take care of her, everything comes full circle.

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When she visits we talk about family.  She remembers snippets of when she was younger, she laughs at my exasperation with my kids.  She doesn’t do much cooking anymore but she does like to make won tons when she visits.  When I was in college she would make trays of won tons, freeze and pack them ready for me to take back to Berkeley after a weekend visit.  When the kids were small, during her babysitting stints, she would make won tons for them.

We head to the Asian market to shop for fresh water chestnuts (no canned stuff for her), pork (not pre-ground too mushy), mushrooms, wrappers and shrimp (raw & unpeeled).  At home she insists on making the filling as she has for so many years, chopping the pork and shrimp by hand and incorporating the seasonings at the same time.  We reserve some of the filling for mini stuffed omelettes called gai don kok (kid favorite) and then we sit, talk and fold won tons.  We fill as many trays as we have wrappers and filling and store them in the freezer for when the kids come home. These are the moments I will treasure.

My mom makes a classic pork and shrimp won ton, if you would like to make shrimp won tons as shown in the video below (mom wrapping!) I found a great recipe on  NoRecipes.  The recipe calls for soaking the shrimp in potassium carbonate which firms up the shrimp giving the won ton a nice bite.  You could probably forego this step.  I added 1 tsp Ponzu (or you could use soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon) and 1/2 tsp sesame seed oil to the minced shrimp filling for additional flavor.  Tasty!

These won tons can also be fried.  Heat oil in a large pot to 375 degrees.  You are deep frying these so you will need at least 2 inches in depth of oil in the pot.  Cook in batches of 6-8 won tons.  Fry to golden brown and remove to a paper towel lined pan to drain off excess oil.  Serve with a sweet and sour sauce or ketchup.

 

Won Tons

Ingredients

    Pork & Shrimp Filling
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined and roughly diced
  • 4-6 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks of green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • 1 T rice wine or sherry
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 T cilantro leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • For wrapping
  • 1 egg slightly beaten with 1 T water
  • 1-2 packs of medium won ton skins (wrappers) I use Hong Kong Noodle Company

Instructions

  • Start with coarsely ground pork, place shrimp and seasonings on top of pork that has been placed on a cutting board. Using a cleaver or large knife combine the ingredients by chopping and folding the ingredients together. Do not over chop ingredients. Transfer to a bowl.
  • To wrap won tons:
  • Gather bowl of egg wash, wrappers and filling and place on table in front of you.
  • Take a few wrappers out at a time, cover remaining won ton skis with a damp cloth of keep in original plastic casing.
  • Holding won ton wrapper in hand, place approximately 3/4 tsp of filling on corner closest to you.
  • fold wrapper over filling and roll towards opposite corner stopping 3/4 of the distance to corner edge.
  • Dip knife into egg wash and place a dab on the left corner, holding the right corner twist and fold towards left corner and press together. See video!
  • To cook:
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, drop won tons into boiling water, stir to keep from sticking. Cook for approximately 2 minutes. Won tons will float to the top when done. Serve with soy dipping sauce or in soup.
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Watch Mom fold wontons!