Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fusion Cuisine

I do not generally like chicken salad. 

Really, I kind of cringe at the thought of it. Maybe it's because there is always some nasty, mayo-coated surprise inside that I don't like or can't identify. But when I saw this recipe for Korean Chicken Salad, I decided to give it a try.

I love the look and feel of the blog, Beyond Kimchee. I like that the author, Holly, gives step-by-step instructions with pictures. That's pure gold!

OK. So I ran into a little trouble while making this. So I had to make some changes, but it was still really good. I may try it again and try to follow the recipe as is.

The chicken poached beautifully, as Holly promised. I had to peel the cucumber because my husband will not eat the skin of any veggie or fruit. I used my grapefruit spoon to dig out the seeds.
My Grapefruit Spoon has Teeth.
I was having great fun chopping away with my new Kiwi knife that I picked up at the Wok Shop.
Kiwi Knife
Now, I had my onion, chicken and cucumber nicely chopped. And the cucumber had been salted and drained, per instructions. It looked great. (Sorry no pic. I was too excited and hungry....)

Time to make the dressing.

This is where I started to run into trouble. I know: You're supposed to follow directions, right? Well, I think my sesame seeds had seen better days (i.e. I think they were rancid.) Also, I didn't have any Korean mustard so I made a substitution with regular dry mustard. I don't really know if that made a difference. Well, my dressing was YUCKY!  I was hungry so I had to regroup... So, I went to the fridge.....

OH!  I had some left over vinaigrette* from when I made an Onion Tarte Tatin (Yes, it was delish! I should blog on that next!

I grabbed it and tossed it in. Not bad! In fact, it was pretty darn good. It was even better the next day.

We served it on beds of crisp lettuce leaves. 


Whisk together:
1/2 c. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 c. Light Brown Sugar (packed)
Salt and Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Now, I had used this to dip the onions in before placing in my onion tart, so it had a kind of onion-y flavor. I don't think it matters much since you have onions in your chicken salad. Also, you should add a little at a time until you 'dress' your salad as you like it. There may be too much. 

Chicken Salad on Day 2

Now, I have to plan a trip to the Asian grocery store to pick up some Korean mustard powder & some new sesame seeds.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Bored, so I was playing with Wordle. Apparently, I talk a lot about chocolate. haha. Imagine that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rum Raisin Cheesecake

I was thinking about Rum Raisin (Malaga) Gelato

Image Detail

and I decided it may well translate into a nice cheesecake.

So here's the test on my theory:

Image DetailThe most important step in this recipe is to soak your RAISINS. I soaked mine for 3 days. They were plump and delicious. 
Stir together & bring to a boil:
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar

Remove from heat. pour into a heat proof container with:
1 1/2 cup dark raisins
1/4 c. rum

Let cool, and then, refrigerate for 2 or 3 days. Remember, good things come to those who wait! :) 


Graham Crust:

1 3/4 c. graham crumbs
1/4 c. brown sugar
4 oz (1/2 c.) melted butter 

Whisk together cookie crumbs and sugar. Then add melted butter. Press into  10" springform pan and bake 8-10 min. at 350 degrees F.


40 oz (5 x 8oz. packages) cream cheese
1/4 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
The zest and juice of one medium orange
6 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
3 Tbsp. Rum
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Cream together cream cheese, flour, and sugars until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in sour cream, rum, vanilla, and orange juice. Finally, drain raisins, but reserve the liquid. Fold the raisins and orange zest into the batter. Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees until set (about 1 hr.). Cool slightly and add topping.

Fold in the Raisins and Zest

Out of the Oven. Topping added.  Cool completely in  pan.


Reserved juice from raisins
1 tbsp. corn starch
3 tbsp mixed raisins.

Bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened (about 1 min). Pour onto cheesecake. Chill completely before cutting. 
I suppose I could have saved some of the raisins I soaked, but this topping was an after thought. I mean, it looked naked when it came out of the oven... I needed to dress it up a bit!

I always wait until the next day to cut mine.
Cool completely before slicing!
Beautiful cross section

You may make this cheesecake ahead of time. It freezes beautifully.

I hope you enjoy it! 

Quita Cake

I love it when someone shares his/her old recipes with me. Especially recipes that have been enjoyed  for years, decades, by their families.

This is one such recipe. It was given to me by Mrs. Judith Bingham. She was a fellow teacher at the school I had the privilege to teach at the longest. I am pasting it in just as she wrote it for me (with her personal notes!) I am not exactly sure of the origin of the name, but it's a yummy cake for sure!

Quita Cake 


2c. sugar
½c. shortening (I use butter)
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. flour
3 t. cocoa
1t. soda
½ t.salt
½c. buttermilk
1c. of hot strong coffee (leftover heated in the microwave will do)

Combineall the dry ingredients except soda.  Mixthe soda in the buttermilk.  Add theshortening, vanilla, and 2 beaten eggs to the dry ingredients.  Beat the cake until smooth.  Add the buttermilk-soda mixture, beat.  Add the hot coffee and beat the batter untilsmooth.  You can slightly melt the butterif you want.  I don’t but  you can and it beats quicker. 

Pourinto a 9x13 cake pan that has been sprayed with Pam or greased with oliveoil.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30minutes or until done when tested.

Whenyou remove the cake from the oven, pour the sauce over it immediately.  While the cake is baking make the sauce.  I have a 6 cup pyrex measuring cup and I makethe sauce in it and microwave it.


1cup of sugar
1/4cup of cocoa
1/2cup of butter
1/3cup of milk (I use half and half)

Mixthis together and microwave it on high for about 5 to 6 minutes, stopping andstirring about 3 minutes into cooking. It will be on the thin side and if you want it thicker, microwave it alittle longer. You can cook it on the stove in a heavy sauce pan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring it to a boil and stir occasionally until thickened. 

I experimented when I made this for my bible study group today. I sprinkled on some toasted coconut, pecans and almonds before adding the sauce. It was very yummy.
Quita Cake

*I used dutch-process cocoa, so my cake is much darker than the one that Mrs. Bingham brought to work to share with us. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Desserts....

So apparently, I haven't been making fancy enough desserts at work....

I asked: "What do you want me to make?"
Pseudochef's answer "I don't know... something 'fancy'."
"OK... such as...?" 
He shrugs. "Something I can't get anywhere else. I can get brownies and cake at Walmart"
Black Cocoa Brownie

I flinch because my stuff doesn't really taste like it came from Walmart or a Sysco freezer truck. I know exactly what goes into it. I use the best stuff I can get my hands on (AKA the best stuff I can talk the powers that be into buying). 
That kind of hurt. I mean, I'm not a pastry diva. I know there are others out there who make better, nicer looking stuff... but my stuff wouldn't be found on the shelf of a Megamart!

I've made tartelette de fruits, several varieties of very lovely cheesecakes, and creme brulee. Just to name some things from the top of my head, but none of this is good enough. 

Fruity Cake

So I pose the question again:

"What do you want me to make?"
Pseudochef's answer "I don't know... something 'fancy'.... something French!"

Hmm... well ok... that clears it up!  Then, he decides he's going to "show me" how to make something fancy.... Dear LORD in heaven, Help me! (No, I am not using my Lord's name in vain... that was an honest prayer/cry for help)

He proceeds his lesson, I ask him "What are you making?" and he says "Mango Custard."

I must tell you there were no mangoes in the building. While he's "teaching" me, I go about my business and manage to make my Creme Brulee and 2 cakes.... He starts out with 10 "Mango Custards".... Then he places them in a  bain marie.... a very full one.... On top of the stove and starts to boil the hell out of it.... I go to clean up my station, and he's started to make meringue.... 10 egg whites, 4,5,6? cups of sugar? We don't know cuz Pseudo doesn't measure.... (Another prayer....)  I look in my mixer and see nice grainy egg whites that have been beat to hell......

"Do you know what's wrong with my meringue? Can you fix it?" Pseudo asks....

"I thought you were supposed to be teaching me?"

I decide it's time to call it quits. I'm going home before I stick someone with my chef knife.... I finish cleaning my station and his mess.... oh, and now there's only 3 "Mango Custards" boiling away on the stove....

Monday, May 7, 2012

No Such Thing As Too Much Chocolate

I've said that my whole life. I like chocolate on top of chocolate with chocolate sprinkles. Just saying, I LOVE CHOCOLATE

(I better apologize to all chocolate lovers here at the beginning, and tell you this is actually a horror story...)

Several years ago in Seattle at The Chocolate Box, I ordered a drinking chocolate, and was greeted with this cute little 4 oz. espresso-sized cup. 
European Drinking Chocolate
As it turns out, that was the perfect amount. Although, I must admit, I really wanted more. It was like drinking melted chocolate.(...Something I've always wanted to do....)

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and I was in Chocolate Heaven! My first trip to San Francisco, CA. I never knew what a chocolate lovers haven it was. Of course I had heard of Ghirardelli Square,

 but  I actually saw Chocolate Heaven!

The Chocolate Store

I ate chocolate covered confections in Chinatown:
Chocolate covered moon cakes: coconut & black bean, and Mini Lotus Moon cake. Yummy!

and many advertisements blatantly enticed me to eat more chocolate:

Important Info for Insomniacs like Myself!

It was a cool, rainy day. Munching on free chocolate samples at Ghirardelli Square, we decided to order hot chocolate from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Caffe. They have a few choices. My husband chose the **NEW** Lombard Street Hot Chocolate. They give you a cup of hot milk, and four Ghirardelli Truffle Squares to stir in yourself.

 It's interactive!

But I saw on the menu: DRINKING CHOCOLATE. Of course I ordered it. The kid behind the counter tried to talk me out of it. He explained it's much thicker and richer than any of the other hot chocolate choices. My eyes lit up.... I nearly ordered two as he explained the liquid confection. Oh and it comes with a biscotti..... Yay! 
He handed me the warm cup. It's smell intoxicating, it looked like melted chocolate. A non-chocolate biscotti? What kind of treachery is this?  Whatever, I don't really need that silly thing anyway do I? I took a first sip, and it reminded me of the European Drinking Chocolate I had had in Seattle years ago. Only this was no silly little 4 ounce cup; this was eight ounces of molten heaven....
A couple of sips and I thought, "What the heck?" I unwrapped that sad little chocolate-less biscotti and I dipped it in the cup. The cookie emerged with a coating of chocolate. 

"WOW!"  That's why they gave it to me.... I crunched into it.  My hubby made some comment about how I'd probably had enough chocolate for the day by now surely? So to be the smart-alec that I am, I reached for the cocoa powder sprinkle that was there for the coffee bunch and sprinkled some in. "There's NO SUCH THING as enough chocolate!" I declared. 

Kid in a candy store-- Literally!  A few more sips, and I could really see how thick the chocolate was. It was clinging to the cup even while hot! 

OK, this is where the story goes awry. Remember, I told you I had been eating free chocolate samples? Not only that, but I had been eating all day. I look over and hubby is done and ready to move on to the next tourist spot. No problem, that's why I have a good ol' American paper, to go cup. I'm only a little more than half way done with my liquid heaven. 

So we move along. Remember I tell you that it was a cold day? A few minutes outside and my liquid chocolate is getting cold and thicker. It becomes incredibly difficult to drink. :( 

I actually said **GULP*** (Dare I admit this?) 

"This is too much, I can't finish it." o.O

and about a quarter of this wonderment went into a trash bin near the bus stop. 

Don't worry, I recovered quite quickly. On our layover in Las Vegas I made an Ethel M. stop.