Miso Soup with Quinoa, Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms and Watercress

The temperature has been frigid lately.  And in times like this, I often opt to have something warm, lighter but hearty in nutrients other than the comfort food I’ve had growing up.  Miso soup with quinoa,  tofu, Shiitake mushrooms and watercress was what I had in mind.

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This soup is pack with protein from the quinoa, miso, and tofu.  According to WebMD, watercress is said to be used for “swollen breathing” passages in the lung, coughs, bronchitis, flu and swine flu.  Perfect for my cough and sore throat.  It’s also used for constipation and parasitic worms, cancer, goiter polyps and tuberculosis.  Some people apply watercress directly to the skin for arthritis remedy as well rheumatoid arthritis, earache, eczema, warts, and other skin problems.   Shiitake mushrooms are promoted to fight the development and progression of cancer and AIDS by boosting the body’s immune system. These mushrooms are also said to help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and to help treat infections such as hepatitis by producing interferon, a group of natural proteins that stops viruses from multiplying.  So, ingesting something with healing properties and nutrients is something to feel good about.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 sheet of dry seaweed, tear in small pieces
  • 7 oz. organic firm tofu, cut in bite pieces
  • 1/2 cup organic mild sodium Miso
  • a handful of watercress
  • 1 stalk of green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup of hydrated Shiitake mushrooms

In a medium pan, add water and bring it to a simmer over low heat.   Place the miso in a medium bowl and add some of the simmering hot water.  Whisk until the broth is free of lumps.  Add to the pot with simmered hot water.  Stir to combine.  Add the Shiitake and let it simmer until the mushrooms are tender.  Then add the tofu and quinoa.  Simmer until heated through.   Add the watercress and seaweed, and green onions.   Simmer until watercress is somewhat wilted.  Serve in a small bowl and garnish with more seaweed.

VARIATION:

You can also have this with just the tofu, green onions, and seaweed.  It’s delicious either way.  Enjoy! 🙂

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2014)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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Purple Yam Pie

Just in time for Thanksgiving.

The fall crop is coming to an end, the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, most of the leaves are on the ground and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a time to be with our families and loved ones, sharing and enjoying good food and giving thanks for all that we have and to those who made difference in our lives.

This Thanksgiving, I decided to make something different other than the classic pumpkin pie. I wanted to try Asia’s famous purple yam.  This is a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving recipe collection to serve your family this Thanksgiving and the years to come, that is, if you like purple yam.  It may not be the traditional sweet potato or classic pumpkin pie, but this delectable pie is something you would not want to overlook.  A must try and this Thanksgiving would be a good excuse to do so. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of frozen grated purple yam (ube), completely thawed
  • 1 homemade or pre-made refrigerated pie crust, unbaked
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 fl. cup condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon purple yam extract (available at Asian stores)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a large plate with paper towels.  Scoop all the thawed purple yam out of the package and drain the excess liquid by putting the yam on the plate lined with paper towels.  Let stand for about 5 minutes.
  3. Place prepared pie crust into a 9-inch pie baking plate according to package directions.   Set aside.
  4. Mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a separate large bowl, scramble the eggs then add the sugar mixture and whisk until creamy and all sugar is dissolved.
  6. Add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and butter to the egg mixture.  Mix until well incorporated.
  7. Add the purple yam extract. Mix until well combined.
  8. Then, add the grated purple yam.  Mix until well combined.  Make sure your mixture is smooth and free of lumps. The mixture will be watery.  Don’t panic.  That’s how it should be.
  9. Pour the purple yam mixture into the pie shell.
  10. Cover the edge of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning.
  11. Bake for 50-55 minutes* or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes to an hour before cutting.
  12. Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Top with a dollop of Cinnamon Vanilla Cream or Vanilla-Yam Cream (recipe follows) and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.

*Note:  Due to variations in ALL ovens, cooking time may require adjustments.  This recipe was updated on February 24, 2014.

Cinnamon Vanilla Whipped Cream

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a stand mixer bowl, add all the ingredients.   Attach the paddle to the mixer ( I prefer the paddle than the whisk) and beat in medium speed for 30 seconds ( I do it this way to prevent the liquid from splattering). Gradually, increase the speed to high and whip until medium peak form about 35 seconds or so.

Vanilla-Yam Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon purple yam (ube) extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all the ingredients in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat in medium speed for 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and beat until medium peak form about 35 seconds or so.

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There you have it.  I hope you try this as an alternative to the classic pumpkin pie.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all from our family to yours.

If you like this post or my blog, don’t forget to Subscribe or Follow to get the latest recipes.  Thank you.

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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Shrimp Spring Rolls

Easy to make refreshing Spring rolls with romaine lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, shrimp, cilantro, and Thai basil leaves with Peanut dipping sauce.

I planned on making sandwiches for dinner, but I didn’t have any hoagie rolls.  So, I went to the Asian store. They were selling Vietnamese Spring rolls and they looked quite refreshing and they were calling my name. 😀  I wanted to buy some, but they were quite expensive.  I had Thai basil, cilantro, Hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and rice paper wrapper and frozen shrimp at home.  It would be a good excuse to use the herbs while they’re fresh.  The only thing missing was beans sprouts.  I bought a bag for only $0.69.  What a bargain!  I made my own as soon as I arrived home and had them for dinner instead of a sandwich.  🙂

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Prepare the ingredients.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces poached jumbo shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 Rice paper wrapper
  • 4 Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Cilantro
  • Bean sprouts
  • 1 small carrots, julienne (cut into match like pieces)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sesame oil
  • A bowl with water (large enough to fit a 22 cm  in diameter rice paper wrapper)

Here’s a close up photos of Thai basil, cilantro, and bean sprouts.

Preparation Methods:

Soften rice paper one at a time by dipping it in warm water.  Lay on clean working surface.  Quickly add (in layers) three halves of poached shrimp first then the cilantro, Thai basil, carrots, bean sprouts and…

DSC_0693top with one romaine lettuce leaf.  Fold one end of rice paper over the lettuce leaf.  Fold both sides of the rice paper wrapper and roll all the way. Lightly press down to seal the roll.

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It should look like this when it’s done.  Set aside.  Repeat with the remaining shrimp roll ingredients.

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Prepare the sauce:

Whisk peanut butter, coconut milk, and sweet chili sauce, Hoisin sauce, and  Sesame oil in a small bowl.   Transfer into a sauce bowl.  Set aside.  Arrange the shrimp spring roll in a platter.  You can either serve them whole or cut them slanted in half.  Serve with peanut sauce.

Until next time. Thank you for stopping by.

©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013-2015)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

Homemade Orange Chicken

This is the easiest orange chicken you’ll ever make at home in my opinion.  The natural sugar in the orange juice and other ingredients is enough to make this orange chicken comparable to the authentic orange chicken you buy at a Chinese restaurant or even better since it’s made with all the good stuff.  And, can you believe there isn’t that much soy sauce in this recipe?  Oh, yes!

My husband loves orange chicken.  He never gets tired of eating it.  Whenever we crave for Chinese food, he would always order the orange chicken meal.   I previously made homemade orange chicken using my very own coating recipe, but used a sauce made beforehand.   I’ve always wanted to make a homemade sauce  using the combination of fresh squeezed orange juice and orange concentrate to enhance the flavor.  So, I attempted to make it yesterday for dinner.  However, I made a slight variation to my usual coating recipe.  Well, it was a success. :)

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Prepare the ingredients.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cubed in bite pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • oil for frying

Directions:

Make the batter by mixing the flour, corn starch, orange juice, orange zest, salt, and dash of nutmeg in a large bowl.  Set aside.

ImageHeat a deep pan with oil over medium-high heat.  Coat the chicken by dipping it in the batter mixture one at a time and add in the hot oil.  Make sure the oil is hot enough, so the chicken won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Cook just until the batter turned brown or a bit crispy.  Repeat the process until all the chicken is done.

Note:  Do not cook the chicken all the way.  You are going to simmer it in the sauce later on which will cook it all the way through.  It’s tastier to let the chicken simmer.  Unlike dark meat, chicken breast can’t be overdone or you will end up with a dry, chewy chicken.  However, there are two ways to prepare this dish.  You can follow these steps or you can also cook the chicken all the way to make the coating crispier.   Reduced the sauce to 1 1/2 cup or until it’s bubbly and thick and coats the back of a spoon before adding the chicken and just stir to coat the chicken. Otherwise, keep following along.

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 Place the partially cooked chicken in a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Set aside.  Prepare the sauce.

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Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 jar Orange marmalade (12 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup orange concentrate
  • 1/4 cup Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce ( you can purchase at any Asian store or at Wal-Mart)

Mix the orange concentrate and corn starch in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Mix the orange juice, orange marmalade, hoisin sauce, orange zest, and soy sauce in a skillet and cook over high heat.

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Whisk to incorporate and let it simmer about 5-7 minutes.

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Add the cornstarch mixture and let it simmer until the sauce thickens a bit about 3 to 5 minutes.*

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Add the sweet chili sauce.  Stir to combine and let it simmer until it’s bubbly and coat the back of a spoon about 2 -5 minutes depending on the heat of your stove.   You can skip this method if you are not adding the sweet chili sauce and just let it simmer for another 2 -5 minutes or until the sauce reduced in half.*

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Turn the heat to medium-low at this time.  Add the chicken and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes or so.*

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As it cooks, the sauce caramelized and it should look like the picture below when most of the sauce is absorbed.  The chicken is done.

*Note:  The cooking process always varies. Please make the necessary adjustments.

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Serve warm with steamed white or brown rice or fried rice.  I would have made fried rice if I had the extra time.  Now, you can prepare it for your family.  :)

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If you prefer using the dry variation for coating the chicken, the recipe and instructions are provided below.

Dry coating recipe ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the buttermilk and salt in a large bowl.  
  2. Add the chicken in the bowl with the buttermilk.  Set aside. 
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, nutmeg, black pepper, and orange zest.  Whisk to incorporate. 
  4. Take one chicken at a time from the buttermilk and dip in the flour mixture.  Let the flour set.  Dip it again and add to the pan and fry until crispy. 
  5. Repeat the process until all chicken are done.  Then follow the instructions above for making the sauce. 

Here’s a picture of the orange chicken I previously made using the dry coating recipe.   I added bell peppers and onions and sauteed them with the chicken before adding the sauce.  See the difference between using wet and dry coating?  It’s delicious either way. 🙂

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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Thai Eggplant with Garlic Bean Sauce

Here I am again with an eggplant recipe.  Actually, I’ve been wanting to post this recipe before I posted the Eggplant with Tofu recipe about two weeks ago, but I kept forgetting.  This recipe was on my catering menu and it was one of the best sellers as well.

My husband and I love Thai food.  We were first introduced to Thai food when we used to reside in Hawaii.  When we relocated to the Washington D. C. area, we  searched for a good and descent Thai restaurant.  My husband wanted to try out this local Thai restaurant in downtown Manassas.   He had his usual Pad Thai while I had the Eggplant with garlic bean sauce.  They were delicious and we both enjoyed our meal.  So, we dined there again and I had the same thing, but was very disappointed.   It was watered down and it wasn’t as appetizing.  They must have had a different cook that night.  So, I made my own version and I’ve been making it ever since.  My friends are crazy about this dish and have been wanting to get the recipe from me.  So, here it is!  🙂

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Prepare the ingredients.

Image*Note:  There are three long eggplants in the picture, but I only used two because it was too much for one person to consume.

Ingredients:

  • 2 long eggplants, cut slanted about a half inch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red baby sweet bell pepper, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1/4 of large onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce mixed with 1/4 cup water.
  • 1 chicken breast, cut in tiny pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (optional)
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan over medium heat.  Fry the eggplant just until soft or light brown.  Do not overcook.  Use a toothpick to prod the center of the eggplant to check when it’s done.   Place the cooked eggplant on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.  Set aside.

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Heat a skillet with a lid over medium heat and oil when hot. Add the garlic and cook until lightly brown about 3o seconds.  Add the chicken and stir-fry for one minute.* Cover for one minute.

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Turn heat to low. Add the onions, bell peppers, sweet chili sauce (if you want it spicy), and the garlic bean sauce mixture. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens a bit about 4 minutes.*

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Add the cooked eggplant and Thai basil leaves.  Stir carefully about 30 seconds. Turn off heat.

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Serve warm over steamed white Jasmine rice.

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*Note:  Cooking may vary depending on the heat of your stove.  

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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