cuban eggs

I don’t know why this is called Cuban Eggs! I blogged about this recipe about four years ago when I was in New York City–and I was writing another blog. But I’m in Thailand now and writing my second food blog Foodie Joanie. I still don’t know why it’s called Cuban Eggs but it is worth re-blogging!
Anyway, I found this recipe in the South Beach Diet for Beginners. Beginner cooks or beginner SB dieters? However you see it,  it can be either or both. This dish is quite easy to make and takes just half an hour. I made some adaptations to the recipe as you’ll see from the notes in brackets. The sauce was quite flavorful with the tang of tomato but it overpowered the cheese. AJ enjoyed these eggs and we both pronounced this recipe “a keeper.”
Cuban Eggs
8 large hard-cooked eggs (I used large eggs; egg size wasn’t stipulated in the recipe)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used mild)
3 tablespoons non-fat half and half (5 tablespoons non-fat milk)
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce for Cuban Eggs
1/2 cup onion, chopped (I used scallion, minced)
1/2 cup sweet green pepper (for color contrast; but any color will do. I had red pepper on hand)
1 tablespoon butter (Oh, no! Use olive oil instead)
2 tins (8 oz.) non-salt tomato sauce (I used 1 salt and 1 non-salt)
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce, optional (my addition)
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (I used cilantro)

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C

Hardcook the eggs. Put eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover the pan and heat the water to boiling. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and remove shells. Split the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and put into a small bowl. But the whites in a 9-inch square baking dish.

Season the yolks. Mash the yolks with the back of a fork. Add the cheese and the milk. In fact, add just enough milk to make the yolks a thick consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill each egg white with a heaping tablespoon of the yolk mixture. Place the filled eggs in a single layer in the baking dish.

Make the sauce. In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the scallions and sweet pepper and cook until fragrant. Mix in the tomato sauce and add the Sriracha, if using. Pour over the eggs.

Bake the eggs. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with cilantro, if using.

juicy chicken breast with grilled asparagus and baby corn

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This is not a pan-seared chicken breast! The black streaks on the chicken came from the grilled veggies that tumbled on top.

1. First pound the thickest part of the chicken breast so that the thickness is even all around. Liberally salt and pepper the breast. Dredge the chicken in a little flour. If desired, sprinkle on top a little rosemary and thyme. The flour will seal in the juices.

2. Heat up a skillet on medium high heat. I have a four-foot square balcony with a two foot counter space next to a sink. I run a long extension cord outside and plug in this skillet. Once the skillet is heated, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter (I used an olive oil spread). When it sizzles, add the chicken breast and cook on one side one minute. Turn over and cover the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes. Don’t open the lid! Turn off the heat and let the chicken breast sit in the skillet for 10 more minutes. THEN open the lid. Chicken breast perfectly cooked and juicy inside.

3. Turn up the heat in the skillet. Grill the veggies in the remaining fat. Drizzle nampla or fish sauce on top. Aroy!

I got this recipe for juicy chicken breast from the Joy of Cooking (1975) cookbook. It really works too! The first time I tried it was for the  March 1, 2013 post when I made apple stuffed chicken rolls for two.

ground pork lettuce sandwiches–no recipe needed!

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I bought an induction cooker for Baht 1500 (about US$46.00). It came with a skillet and a spatula, seven settings, and instruction books in Thai and in English. I’ve only used the fry setting to make my mother-in-law’s favorite week-night Chinese meal, a deliciously light dish I call “lettuce sandwiches.” It’s made with ground meat and served on a leaf of organic cos or romaine lettuce. On the meat I drizzled some wasabi-soy-garlic sauce and sprinkled on top a few cilantro leaves and chopped scallions. It’s heady stuff that not only clears the sinuses it also adds a salty tanginess that’s very satisfying in a crunchy sort of way! To make this all you need is a pound (500g) of ground meat (beef, chicken, or pork will do) browned in a little oil, salt and pepper. Eat. So simple to make!

steak fajitas with wasabi yogurt dressing

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This is so quick and easy to make! It only takes a few ingredients and dinner is ready in half an hour! It has the tang of wasabi to add to the piquant flavor of paprika all wrapped up in a warm fajita.

Steak Fajitas with Wasabi Yogurt Dressing
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes for beef, 3 minutes for pork tenderloin

Ingredients
6 oz lean beef steak
6 oz pork tenderloin cut into medallions and pounded flat
paprika
salt and pepper

1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
3 cups chopped fresh lettuce
1/2 small red onion, sliced in slivers
1/2 cup wasabi yogurt dressing

8 flour tortillas, fajita size

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle liberally with paprika, salt and pepper. Grill in a hot pan, about 1 minute per side for the beef, and about 1 1/2 minutes per side for the pork. Serve with chopped lettuce, sliced grape tomatoes, and wasabi yogurt dressing on top of a warmed fajita wrap.

Wasabi Yogurt Dressing
1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
1 teaspoon wasabi paste, or to taste

Combine yogurt and wasabi in a small bowl. Put generous dollops on top of the steak and eat!

 

 

asian avocado salad

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Asian Avocado Salad (adapted from epicurious.com)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed romaine lettuce
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup 1/3-inch cubed, seeded Thai guava or green apple (can use jicama, also called munkaeo in Thai)
2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes (for color)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and/or scallion, optional, for garnish

salad dressing
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (kosher salt in original recipe)
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (use more if more heat is desired)

Stir sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic and light golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl to cool.

Whisk salad dressing ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add lettuce or watercress, green onions, and guava or jicama; toss to coat. Add avocados and gently toss.

Sprinkle salad with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro/scallion. Chill and serve.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover; chill.

*Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Japanese markets.

 

salmon burger with three kings

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The three kings! My fanciful name for three delicious dressings for this salmon burger: Sriracha mayo, Thai basil-cilantro sauce, and guacamole.They are a kingly taste indeed; spicy, sour, sweet, salty, and savory.

Salmon Burger (adapted from Skinnytaste)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

1 pound salmon steak, cut off the skin and bones
1/2 small red onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
2 teaspoons oil

Mince the salmon after it has been deskinned and deboned. Add the onion, garlic, bread crumbs and milk. In a small bowl, add the egg and beat lightly with a fork. Add the soy sauce and the fresh lime juice. Pour on the salmon mixture and combine. Pat gently into four patties.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry each patty for 4 minutes on one side, flip them over, and fry again for another 4 minutes. Serve on a bed of fresh arugula lettuce. The peppery leaves make a nice contrast with the salmon, which needs no spices, except for the following accompaniments:

Cilantro Mayo
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I prefer full fat for the taste; low fat is very sweet)
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (more or less, to taste)
1 scallion, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Thai Basil-Cilantro Sauce (adapted from The High Heel Gourmet)
1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed, chopped fine
1 cup cilantro, loosely packed, chopped fine
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 red chili with or without the seeds, or more to taste
1 scallion, chopped fine
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 -4 tablespoons sugar (1/4 cup in original recipe)
Water 1/4 cup
Juice of 1 lime

Boil vinegar, sugar and salt together until dissolved. Let it rest until cool.

Add the cooled syrup to the vegetables, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, water, and lime juice. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Add a little more sugar if too sour, or a little more salt or vinegar if too sweet. The taste should be tart. Refrigerate leftovers.

Guacamole
2 ripe avocados, mashed
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped, optional
Juice of 1-2 limes or to taste
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

tomato ratatouille

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This vegetable stew is hearty and filling, and it comes with the added feeling of virtuousness because it is made entirely of fresh vegetables.  There is nothing in it to feel guilty about. I used salsa to season it, but a tomato paste or puree with some wine would be wonderful.

Tomato Ratatouille (adapted from The Photo Cookbook-Quick and Easy)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion cut into thin wedges
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small eggplant, chopped
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used two tablespoons salsa for flavor and bite)
3 tablespoons water
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms (I used fresh shiitakes)
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
pepper
1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil, to serve, optional
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve, optional

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch pot. Add the onion, garlic, and eggplant and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
2. Add the bell peppers and zucchini.
3. Mix together the tomato paste and water in a small bowl and stir into the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes, with pepper to taste, and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
5. Garnish with shredded basil and serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.