June 17, 2011

Mango Tea with Tapioca Pearls

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milky mango flavored black tea with mango and tapioca pearls

mango "noodles"

Food Friday

Mango and sago pairing has become a summer favorite, this time in a refreshing iced mango tea drink with whole milk, golden raw sugar, and crushed iced. I scraped the mango into "noodles" using a melon scraper and boiled regular size tapioca pearls because I love to chew on those. For a large 12-ounce glass I used 2 mango flavored black tea bags, ½ mango, ½ cup cold whole milk, 2 tablespoons raw sugar, 2 tablespoons cooked sago, and crushed ice. I love it. Next time I'll add the pair to pandan tea and mint.

June 15, 2011

Daring Cooks: Healthy Potato Salads

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Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

I prepared 3 kinds of potato salad, and I think they could be considered healthy because I don't load them with a lot of dressing or salt.

Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad

Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad

24 ounces fingerling potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1 inch-thick pieces
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 ounces diced pancetta
3 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or white balsamic
3 tablespoons apricot jam
sea salt to taste
2 fresh apricot, unpeeled and diced
fresh snow pea shoots, watercress, or baby spinach
  • In a large bowl, toss potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic clove, and salt. Roast in a 400°F oven until lightly browned, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove garlic after 20 minutes.
  • While potatoes are roasting, cook pancetta in a skillet until brownish; transfer into a small bowl and set aside; remove all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat in the skillet. Stir fry the shallots in the same skillet until soft. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Whisk together the vinegar, half a teaspoon of sea salt, and jam. Remove peel and mash the garlic and add to the vinegar mixture together with the shallots.
  • Toss the still warm potatoes and pancetta in the vinegar dressing, taste, and adjust seasoning. Leave for 30 minutes at room temperature or 2 hours in the refrigerator if preferred chilled.
  • Gently toss in diced apricot and pea shoots just before serving.

Potato Salad with Miso Dressing

Potato Salad With Miso Dressing

1 pound small potatoes, unpeeled and sliced thin
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
water to cover potatoes
a bowl of ice water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon light olive oil
2 tablespoons light- colored miso paste
½ cup chopped nori (dried seaweed)
1 tablespoon chopped scallions (white part only)
  • Place water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium pan. Add the potatoes, let come to a boil and cook potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Using a wire scoop or sieve, scoop out the potatoes and plunge into the ice water; leave in ice water to cool completely for 1 minute. Drain well.
  • Mix lemon juice, oil, miso, nori, and scallions. Add potatoes and gently toss. Serve immediately or chill for 1 hour, if preferred.

Potato Salad with Boiled Egg

Potato Salad With Boiled Egg

4 medium size Yukon gold potatoes, about 1½ pounds
¼ cup Champagne wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup Kraft® mayonnaise with olive oil
1 hard boiled egg
slivers of hard boiled egg white and crumbled boiled egg yolk for garnish
  • Boil unpeeled potatoes until tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool slightly then peel off the skin. Cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices. Place in a shallow container. Drizzle all over with vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Toss gently and leave for a few minutes to cool to room temperature.
  • Separate the yolk from the white. Finely chop the egg white and add to the cooled potatoes. Mash the egg yolk with a fork and blend with the mayonnaise and mustard.
  • Gently mix dressing and potato mixture. Chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately topped with slivers of egg white and crumbled egg yolk.

June 12, 2011

Zucchini Blossoms Crêpes

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Zucchini Blossom Crepes
savory crêpes filled with zucchini blossoms, baby vegetables, and cheese

Zucchini Blossoms
fiori di zucca (zucchini blossoms)

I grew up eating plenty of vegetables and one of my favorites was steamed squash blossoms. We never had them stuffed nor deep-fried; we cooked them by putting on top of freshly cooked rice and left to wilt and soften for a few minutes. They were simply served with sea salt and lemon juice (calamansi).

I planted a few seeds of fiori di zucca bought from an online seed company, the catalog promises the plants will yield mostly flowers and few tiny/baby fruits. Indeed the plants have lots and lots of bright orange blossoms and one or two tender tasty sweet fruits. I chopped the fruits and sauteed them with the blossoms, shallots, and baby Swiss chards and used it to fill savory crêpes for a light but delicious and satisfying summer lunch dish. I love the Parmesan cheese crust and the crispy edges but tender on the inside pancakes. The mild flavors of the vegetables and Provolone go perfectly well with the small amount of Parmesan cheese.

Zucchini Blossom Crepes

Fiori di Zucca Crêpes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1¼ cups water
¼ cup light olive oil
  • Blend ingredients in a blender and let rest on the kitchen counter or refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat; brush lightly with light olive oil. Stir batter and pour about 2½ tablespoons, swirling to coat the skillet evenly. Cook until edges come off the skillet, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a plate and continue with the rest of the batter.
filling for 8 crêpes
20 pieces zucchini blossoms
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1 cup coarsely chopped baby zucchini
1 cup chopped baby Swiss chard, optional
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup grated Provolone cheese
  • Reserve 4 blossoms cut in half lengthwise for garnish; cut remaining blossoms into 4 pieces; set aside. Heat butter in a skillet and saute shallots until soft, about 2 minutes. Add baby zucchini and saute for 2 minutes; add blossoms and Swiss chard, if using, and saute for 2 minutes. Turn heat off and mix in ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Fill crêpes: Place 2 tablespoons of grated Provolone on one half of each crepe, top with 2 tablespoons of sauteed vegetables, fold over in half and fold one more time. Repeat with the rest of ingredients. Place filled crêpes on an oven-proof dish, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle top of each with half a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and press one blossom half on top. Place under the broiler until Parmesan is golden brown and edges of crêpes are crispy.

June 9, 2011

Ensaimada Loaf

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Food Friday

After shaping 2 large ensaimadas filled with ube jam, I realized I had to attend to a lot of stuff around the house, make tons of phone calls, and do errands. To save time I formed the rest of the dough into eight 2½-ounce rounds and placed them in a 9 x 4 x 4-inch loaf pan a la Brioche Nanterre. The baked ensaimada loaf is just as pillowy soft as regular ensaimada. I made the slices extra thick; so good with lots of butter, sugar, and grated cheese, and of course ube jam.

The recipe for ensaimada is here.

*It's nice to be back cooking, baking, and blogging after a brief break*;-)

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