Thursday, March 31, 2011

My First Award, Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

This week has been crazy and it's only halfway through...  I just came back from a FABULOUS trip to NY filled with fun, laughs, food, shopping and good times with my partner in crime, A!  I'll have to do a post of all the cool places we ate at soon... Then the day after I got back, someone broke into my apartment complex garage and broke into my car and my neighbors car too.  All they got from my car was an empty coin purse that at most had $1.50!  After dealing with the police, the broken glass, my insurance and the glass repair dude- imagine the nice surprise I got from Nami from Just One Cookbook, giving me the "Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award"!  Please check out her website for awesome quick and easy Japanese dishes.  I've already bookmarked several of her recipes, I'm sure you will too!

So with this award we are supposed to tell you 7 things you may not know about me as well as nominate 15 other bloggers we want to share the love with!  

Here are 7 things you may not know about me...
1.  I hate "loose meat"...  Ground meat, sausage, anything that is a crumble texture- it freaks me out for some unknown reason.
2.  I will watch any dance or sport themed movie, no matter how bad it might look.
3.  One of my goals is to travel all of South America.  
4.  I did not enjoy really enjoy raw fish till my last year of living in Hawaii.  (Really bad timing on my part)
5.  I love things that sparkle.  I have not met a rhinestone, stud or sequin that was too big...
6.  I'm a huge USC Trojan fan.  Go Trojans!!
7.  I love Acai Bowls, I don't know why they aren't huge in LA yet.  It's on my list to do a post on them....

Thanks to joining Foodbuzz, I've met a lot of really great bloggers and been exposed to many that I didn't know of before!  Here are a few of my new favorites that I learned of since I started blogging:
Sorry ladies if I didn't have a chance to message you and let you know! Trying to do this and start baking the 100 cookies I promised for the Bake Sale for Japan! I'm making some Green Tea Mac Nut Shortbread and Chi Chi Dango!  Thanks again Nami!! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cheesey Caramelized Onion Quinoa

This is sooo yummy!  The caramelized onions make this A-mazing!!  Seriously you won't even realize that you are eating healthy.   

Quinoa is a grain, that is closely related to the leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard.  In the past it was referred to as the "gold of the Incas", due to it's ability to increase stamina and provide the Incas with all the necessary nutrients and protein.  Quinoa is unique since it is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids!!  The list of benefits go on and on, and it is often found to help those with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  It's benefits go on and on for more information you can find info here and here

Cheesey Caramelized Onion Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1.  Cook quinoa according to directions on the package/box. *Cook in chicken broth for extra flavor!*  Drain quinoa, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. 

2.  Heat half of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and caramelized the sliced onion.  This will take 10-20 minutes so start it the same time as the quinoa.  Set aside when complete.  *Or use 1/2 cup of your crockpot caramelized onions!*

3.  Add more olive oil to pan and stir in the garlic and shallots and cook until both soften and the aroma mellows, about 2 minutes.  Toss in mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender.  *Create layers of flavor*

4. Add spinach to the pan and cook till leaves are wilted.  Once completed gently fold in mixture with quinoa.

5.  Grate Parmesan cheese over the quinoa and season more if necessary.  
I've made this several times and it's one of my favorite dishes.  It even gets better as it sits in the fridge, the flavors just get more saturated!  It's cheesey, savory and healthy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crockpot Caramelized Onions

I love caramelized onions, but I don't always want to stand over the stove and lovingly caramelize them to ultimately go into another dish that I am making.  I had a hankering for a couple dishes that I thought could use these lovely onions so I set out to make a bunch in my crockpot.

What's great about caramelized onions?  They pack a huge punch of flavor and this crockpot recipe uses a lot less butter and olive oil than other recipes I've seen. 

Crockpot Caramelized Onions
adapted from island vittles

4 large (or 6 medium) sized sweet onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter

1.  Spray crockpot with cooking spray (so you have less of a mess later).  Peel and cut onions into 1/4 inch slices; should yield around 6 cups. 

2.  Place them in the crockpot and drizzle with olive oil.  Place pats of butter on top of the onions and season well with salt and pepper. 

3.  Place lid on the cooker and cook on high for 8-10 hours.  Stir several times to ensure even cooking. 

Note: Onions can keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to a month. 

Need ideas for what to use these babies with?  Try them in your next sandwich, on a pizza or in my Caramelized Onion and Parmesan Mushroom Quinoa!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Egg Muffins to go!

Cooking egg whites in the morning, is especially hard on Monday mornings when you are already running late.  While I am a fan of cooking egg whites in the microwave in a mug, sometimes you don't even have time to do that (or you dont want to leave that dirty egg cup in your car all day).  Enter Spinach Egg Muffins!  These are super easy to whip up and you can double this recipe to last you for the whole week!

This recipe became super popular during the low carb/South Beach diet craze, but I love it cause it's delish and one of those recipes that once you make it, you can alter it on the fly and never need the recipe again.  I don't even remember the original recipe that I had tried the first time.  It's an excellent fridge cleaning recipe to use up your odds and ends left over from the previous week! 

Spinach and Canadian Bacon Egg Muffins

2 whole eggs
1 cup egg whites (approximately 6 egg whites)
1/3 cup cheese
1/3 cup Canadian Bacon, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups spinach
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 2 whole eggs, egg whites, cheese and salt and pepper.

2.  Heat pan and sautee onion, garlic and Canadian Bacon till onions are translucent.  *You can use any combo of ingredients here.  Frozen spinach, mushrooms, tomatos, deli turkey, etc- use whatever you have in your fridge!*

3.  Slightly wilt spinach and mix in with onion mixture. 

4.  Spray muffin tins/silicon liners with cooking spray.  At this point you can either mix all ingredients together and pour in egg mixture.  Or if you are worried about even distribution of ingredients, evenly divy up your spinach, onion, Canadian Bacon mixture and pour egg mix over. 

5.  Bake for 30 minutes or until eggs are set.  *Tops should be slightly brown*

Makes 8 muffins

Serve with salsa, on sandwich between a wheat english muffin and a slice of tomato or avocado.  Great breakfast for those of us on the go!  These can last in your fridge for a week.  Simply heat up in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute when you are ready to eat.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thinking of Japan, awesome ways to give back!

It's been over a week since disaster has struck Japan and daily we are inundated with news on the impact of the earthquake/tsunami and the on going nuclear crisis.  Yet it saddens me that donations to Japan severely lack behind the aid given to Haiti and Katrina.  It seems that a week after those events, twice as much money had been collected for those other causes.  (To read more click here.)  For whatever reasons, Americans just aren't donating as much cash donations to Japan. 

Well like my dad always taught me, there is always more than one way to get the job done!  Here are some fundraisers where you can support fundraising efforts in Japan AND get some cool/delicious stuff for yourself.  Word!

Over at TomatoTart, they have gotten a round up of bloggers and they will have a silent auction/bakesale for yummy treats on March 30th!  FYI- There are no calories for baked goods that benefit a good cause!

Over at Bento4Japan they have a variety of raffles, ebay auctions, and lots of great info.  If you have been looking to cut calories by bringing in home lunch, these bento sets and accessories will totally motivate you!

On April 2nd, there will be a Bake Sale for Japan that I plan on particpating in!  Please check the linked website for a list of cities and locations, there will be tons of great baked goods, art pieces and oragami crane folding at all locations. 

If you are looking for some great handmade art pieces, Handmade for Japan is having an ebay auction from March 24-27th!  Click here to see the great stuff lined up. 

Giant Robot is hosting a raffle where your donations to UNICEF (in 5-10 dollar increments) will put you in the race to win some cool stuff.  Even if you don't win, Giant Robot is sending everyone who participates a discount coupon to use later online or at one of their stores!

Also be sure to check your local newspapers for great info of restaurants donating a portion of their profits towards Japan!  Here in Los Angeles - LA Weekly has started a great list, Takami is even giving 100% of their profits to the Red Cross Relief Funds.  Sounds like a great excuse to go get some great sushi and their lychee martini is to die for! 

There are tons of great events that already happened this weekend and I'm sure more will be announced in the coming days.  Hopefully we will see an increase in donations in the coming week, as we see more news coverage of the nuclear crisis and how so many workers have selfishly and tirelessly worked in order to save their countrymen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chocolate Mochi

Mmm Chocolate Mochi, the last recipe from our Japanese Feast meal.  This is like the combination of a brownie and mochi...  It's so good warm out of the oven, I even like it cold out of the fridge.  Any excuse to eat it is actually good...

On another note, Lindselicious is now on Facebook!  Be sure to click on the icon on the right so you can "become a fan". 

Chocolate Mochi
recipe from LT's mom

2 cups mochiko
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp baking soda
1.5 cup melted butter (we just used 3/4 cup)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 beaten eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Sift mochiko, baking soda and sugar in a bowl.
2.  In a medium saucepan melt butter, chocolate chips and combine with evaporated milk, vanilla extract and slowly mix in the beaten eggs.

Sorry took the picture mixing on the stove, didn't actually heat the bowl!
3.  Mix and stir into dry ingredients till smooth.
4.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.  *Test for cake like texture and bake until the knife comes out smoothly*.  Cut with a plastic knife and serve. 

Thanks LT!  You are welcome to come over and cook anytime!  :)  Actually next time I'll probably have to cook up a good meal for him and the Brazilian...  Perhaps next we'll do an Argentinean feast or sushi!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tomato Ginger Salad

This yummy salad was part of the Hamburg Steak, Japanese Feast I had with my friend LT the other day.  The salad is so fresh, easy and simple.  I was dubious at first when LT told me the ingredients, but it was amazing!  I'm already craving it again, maybe with some soft tofu mixed in with it and over some nice spicy greens!

Tomato Ginger Salad

2 chilled tomatoes
1/2 inch ginger
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 pinches salt
shiso leaves

1.  Cut the chilled tomatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.  Peel the ginger and cut into slivers.

2.  In a small bowl add in the honey, rice wine vinegar and 2 pinches of salt.  Pour over tomatoes and gently toss the salad.  Serve over shiso leaves or cut the shiso leaves into thin ribbons and sprinkle over the salad.

This dish is so good when served ice cold.  It's so refreshing, I have a feeling this will be a favorite next summer.  Again, here are some easy ways to help out those in Japan:  Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone, OR text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation from your cell phone through the Salvation Army.  It's great to see many local businesses, artists and organizations getting together and putting together promotions or events where a portion of the proceeds go to those in Japan.  Check out what is going on in your neighborhood, who knows your hairdresser, favorite Japanese restaurant or yoga studio might be having great events. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hamburg Steak, a Japanese Feast!

My heart goes out to everyones family and friends in Japan that were impacted by the Earthquake this past week.  Things like this really make you appreciate the small things in life, as well as our friends and family!  One thing that I love about Japanese culture is their never ending fighting spirit and their strength to get through whatever life hands them.  These concepts are called chikara (inner strength) and gamman suru (to endure).  Our friends in Japan have a long road ahead of them, and while I'm certain that their fighting spirit will help them get through the tough days ahead, there are so many ways that we can help as well.  Global Giving, the Red Cross and countless other organizations are providing easy ways for us to reach out a friendly hand.  On that note, what better than a Japanese Feast to inspire us to help out our friends in Japan, and remind us how fortunate we are in our daily lives.

In Japanese cuisine they have many "Western" dishes, known as yoshoku.  Over the years these dishes have become classic comfort foods in many Japanese homes and restaurants.  Often referred to as Hamburg or Hambagaa, this dish is a Japanese spin on the classic Salisbury Steak/meatloaf with gravy.  There are many variations and sauces that are popular in Japan.  My friend LT came over and we made one with onion gravy and some grated daikon and ponzu!  
Hello Kitty loves this meal!
Hamburg Steak
adapted from my friend LT

1 lb ground beef (or mixture of beef and pork)
1/2 cup panko (japanese bread crumbs)
4 Tbsp milk
1 egg
1 small onion, diced
olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg

Onion Gravy
1/3rd of the cooked onion (from above)
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sayce
1 Tbsp mirin
1 clove garlic, grated
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup water

1.  Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan on high heat.  Add in minced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, reduce to medium and cook for another 5-6 minutes.  Once the onions are slightly brown, set aside and remove from heat.  *It is important to let the onions cool, if you combine with the meat while they are still hot it will change the texture of the patty*

2.  Knead meat with salt, pepper and nutmeg until it reaches a sticky texture.  In a separate bowl add milk and panko together.  Once combined add in panko mixture, 2/3 of the cooked onion mixture and the egg. 

3.  Divide meat into 4-5 sections and rub olive oil on your hands.  Shape meat into a ball, tossing from hand to hand to remove air from mixture.  Shape the ball into an oval and indent the center before placing into a hot pan with olive oil.  *This allows for a faster cooking time and ensures that the meat cooks evenly*

4.  Fry till golden on both sides and add 1/2 cup water to pan.  Cover the pan and allow the mixture to steam and cook until majority of the water is evaporated.  *If your lid doesn't have a hole for the steam to escape, leave the lid slightly ajar or use a piece of foil over the pan. *  Remove hamburg from pan.

Making the Gravy

1.  Using the pan that you just cooked the hamburg in, add water, soy sauce, mirin and already cooked onion.  Cook until the gravy comes to a slight boil.  Add in butter and grated garlic.  Cook until butter is completely melted, stirring occasionally. 

2.  Spoon gravy over the hamburg steak.

This great as is and goes well with hot steamed rice and some steamed veggies.  Other additional toppings to your hamburg steak are grated daikon and ponzu sauce (Japanese citrus based sauce). Personally I love it with the ponzu and grated daikon!

LT and I ate this with some steamed rice (brown and white mixture), spinach and a yummy tomato ginger salad.  Then to top off our Japanese feast we also had some yummy chocolate mochi that we baked up as well.  I'll post the tomato ginger salad and the chocolate mochi recipes later this week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pork Kim Chee Shirataki Noodles!

If you've been on a low carb diet or Weight Watchers, you've most likely heard of Shirataki Noodles.  Known as the "miracle noodle" these babies have 0-3 grams of carbs, 0-20 calories, no cholesterol, sugar free, gluten and dairy free! These noodles are made of konnyaku (a member of the yam family) a water soluable high fiber substance.  My favorite is the Tofu Shirataki Noodle, since I like the texture a lot more than just the konnyaku noodle. 

These noodles are great in soups and stir frys, but to be honest I don't love them as Italian pasta dishes.  But, if you want to try them, Hungry Girl's website has a ton of recipes.  I have also been trying to eat a lot more veggies, so these noodles are a great way to incorporate them into a meal.

Pork Kim Chee Shirataki Noodles

1 pkg Tofu Shirataki Noodles
0.5 lbs pork, sliced paper thin
2 cup baby bok choy
1.5 cups bean sprouts
0.5 cups sliced mushrooms
0.5 cups water
1 cup kim chee
2 Tbsp Kim Chee base
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
5 stalks mira (or green onions)

Prep:  Rinse Shirataki Noodles well several times (there will be a stinky smell- so don't skip this step!).  Microwave the noodles for one minute and blot with a paper towel.  *This will help get rid of the weird odor you will smell when you open the bag*

1.  Heat large skillet or wok on medium to high heat.  Add in bok choy, bean sprouts and mushrooms to pan and pour 1/2 cup of water into pan and cook vegetables.  Cook and let water start to evaporate from pan.

2.   Push veggies to perimiter of the pan and add 1 Tbsp of Kim Chee base, 1 tsp sesame seed oil and 1 Tbsp soy sauce to the middle of the pan.  Add in thinly sliced pork.  *If you don't use paper thin pork, cook pork beforehand in a seperate pan.*  Mix sauce, veggies and pork until pork is completely cooked.

3.  Add in chopped kim chee, Shirataki noodles and other Tbsp of Kim Chee base.  Mix until noodles are heated through and evenly coated with sauce. 

Makes 2-3 servings

Not only is this super low cal, but it is also super filling!  Some people do not like the "different" texture of the Shirtaki Noodles but with all the different veggies textures I don't even notice!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pretty Delicious, Blueberry Oat Muffins

Have you ever read a cookbook from cover to cover?  I had read a blurb about Candice Kumai's cookbook, Pretty Delicious a couple of weeks before it came out and headed over to her blog to check her out.  Nicknamed the Stiletto Chef, this former Top Chef contestant has the cutest style and has a quality about her that makes her so likable.  Her cookbook offers practical tips to cut calories and fat, great recipes and is jam packed with great information.

Trained at Le Cordon Blue, Candice puts her years of experience as a chef and a former fashion model together and presents food that is delicious, appealing and good for you!  The best thing about her book is she believes in good for you natural ingredients, some thing she called Food With Benefits (FWB).  Her recipes are kept lean without sugar substitutes, or crazy ingredients that you have to go to a speciality store for all made with a handful of ingredients (not a huge laundry list of stuff you'll only use once).  I wanted to try out one of her recipes ASAP (I leafed through the book every couple of days trying to decide which one), and if you like this one she has a couple more on her website too!!

Blueberry Oat Muffins
adapted from Pretty Delicious

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup frozen blueberries (or raspberries)

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners, or coat with baking spray. 

2.  Mix flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt together in a large bowl.  In another bowl mix eggs, applesauce and honey. 

3.  Stir the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture until incorporated. 
4.  Gently mix in berries.

5.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating half way through, cooking until the muffins are golden brown.  Let cool for 20 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

Best of all her book comes with nutritional info!  These babies only have 180 calories per muffin, compare that to the lowfat options at Starbucks (380-420 calories).  I took them to work and everyone loved how moist and juicy they were, no one even knew that they were "healthy".  Most people were surprised that there was no butter or oil in the muffins as well.  I can't wait to try more of her recipes, on the list are Portobello Fries, Sesame-Ginger Chicken Strips, and one of her many Quinoa recipes! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chi Chi Dango for Hinamatsuri

Girl's Day, or Hinamatsuri is a Japanese Doll Festival held on March 3rd.  Growing up in Hawaii, Girl's Day was a fun time in which the boys were super nice to us!  In grade school, teachers often asked the boys to pick up our lunch, pull out our chairs before we sat down and other cute gestures like that.  Best of all, on Girl's Day we often had Mochi treats, rice crackers that looked like kokeshi dolls and if you were lucky you might even get a Japanese doll!  My mom would often send me to school with a tray of pink and white colored chi chi dango to share with my classmates. 

Chi Chi Dango
recipe from my mom

1 box mochiko (3.5c)
2 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 can coconut milk
2 c water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp food coloring

1.  Combine mochiko, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.
2.  Blend Coconut milk, water, vanilla and food coloring in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to mochiko mixture.
3.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Pour into pan and cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
4.  Let cool and cut with plastic knife (or cut out with cute cookie cutter shapes) and roll in mochiko or kinako.
This is a super easy recipe if you are just starting out with mochi!  There are tons of variations varying from butter mochi, blueberry, chocolate or pumpkin mochi and mochi stuffed with truffles, peanut butter, or an (bean paste).  Even if you aren't Japanese, this is a super cute way to celebrate being a girl with your daughter, sister or girl friends!