Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ukoy ~ Shrimp Fritters

So a couple times a year, I try to make a Filipino feast for my kids. They rarely get to see that side of the family, but I want them to be at least familiar with the food!

Now the Filipino side of the family is not my side of the family. So I mostly have to wing it.

While reading one filipino dish a week, I stumbled across Ukoy... Shrimp Fritters.

I knew right away that I had to make them. It took me almost a year... but I finally did!

They are sooooo good!!!!



3/4 C rice flour
1/3 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 C water

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the egg together with the water. Mix the dry and wet ingredients and until smooth. Let cool in the fridge for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

1 C shrimps
1 C leeks white part julienned
1 C carrots julienned
1 C bean sprouts
1 C snow peas julienned
1 C cabbage julienned

frying oil
4-inch square banana leaf (I used a few!)

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl. Pour enough batter just to coat. Oil one side of the banana leaf. Place banana leaf on a spider and put a little bit of the mixture on top. Fry in 300-350 degree F oil. After about 1 minute of so take the banana leaf out. Continue frying for about 1 minute. Then flip over. Serve with vinegar, garlic, and salt sauce.

He has a video on his post and I highly suggest you check it out.

Frying stuff on a banana leaf was intimidating enough, but if I hadn't been able to see how he does it, there's no way I would have even tried!

You need rice flour.

If they don't have this at your grocery store, you can get it at an Asian market.

You can get banana leaves there too. It's a gigantic package of frozen banana leaves for $1.25! I don't know how much I thought they'd be. But I didn't expect them to be that cheap!

So whisk up your batter and put it in the fridge.

Toss together all of the veggies & shrimps, until well combined.

Fast forward an hour...

Cut some banana leaf squares.
(Did ya notice I finally have REAL kitchen scissors now?!!)

Heat the oil.

Add just enough batter to coat the veggie/shrimp mixture.

Now for the really intimidating part... the frying.

I had no idea frying anything would intimidate me... but I had never tried to fry loose things that are supposed to end up together!

Grab a little handful/big pinch of veggie/shrimp stuff and put it on a banana leaf square.

Now into the oil.

I had a hard time coordinating the spider after it was in the oil and ended up kinda holding the leaf in place with tongs.

When it's kinda held together, you can let go.

Then you can slide the leaf out of the pan.

When the fritter golden, turn it over and cook until it's golden on the other side too.

You really really really need to watch his video to have a better idea of how to do this.

Drain on a rack and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I meant to try the sauce in this recipe but forgot and ended up using vinegar/soy sauce/garlic. (I can drink that stuff it's so good!!!)


Everyone LOVED these!!! I'll definitely be making them again!

My pictures don't begin to show you how yummy they are! You must try them!

Yikes! I almost forgot!!

paoix... this is for you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Turkey a la King

Turkey a la King is something I had never tried until I moved in with Jon. While wading through Thanksgiving leftovers one year, Jon suggested I make Turkey a la King. His mother used to make it with turkey leftovers. And he really didn't want to look at another turkey sandwich or turkey enchilada.

Ok then! Turkey a la King it is! (or was... I made this right after Christmas)


Turkey a la King
1 1/2 - 2 C cooked turkey, diced or shredded
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small shallot, diced
1/2 C peas
small jar pimento, diced
Other leftover veggies?
3 TBLS butter
3 TBLS flour
1 1/2 C turkey stock
1/4 C dry white wine
1/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp poultry seasoning
salt & pepper
Puff Pastry

Cut Puff Pastry into squares and cook according to directions on box.
Saute mushrooms and shallots in butter until golden.
Sprinkle in flour and cook until flour is starting to brown.
Whisk in turkey stock, wine and cream. Cook a few minutes until mixture starts to thicken.
Add turkey, poultry seasoning, peas, pimento and whatever other leftover veggies you might want to throw in.
Cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over puff pastry and top with more puff pastry.


Bake puff pastry according to directions.

Grab your leftovers.

Turkey and fresh spinach were the only leftovers I was working with this time.

Saute mushrooms & shallots in butter.

Sprinkle in flour.

Continue cooking until it just starts to brown.

Whisk in stock, wine and cream.

Add leftover turkey.

Poultry seasoning.

Handful of spinach.

Some frozen peas.

A little pimento.

Add salt and pepper to taste and that's it!

Serve over puff pastry.

You don't need to wait for the holidays to make this. It's also another fast easy meal you can make with a rotisserie chicken!

This comes together wicked fast and it's so easy and tasty!

It's perfect for a satisfying dinner on a busy week night.

Hmmm... typing this up made me want to make it again!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Seven-Onion Soup

I get regular emails from WholeLiving. It's a Martha Stewart website, and although I'm not a Martha fan... I love the Whole Living magazine and website.

Anyway... quite a while ago, a recipe showed up in my email for Seven-Onion Soup. Most recipes that land in my inbox get a quick glance at the recipe name, then I hit the delete button. But some I actually open, then I hit the delete button. This looked pretty tasty and lighter than regular French Onion Soup. So it languished in my inbox for a while, then I eventually moved it to a recipe folder in my email, where it rested, waiting for me to take another look.

Finally a couple weeks ago, when it was VERY cold, I decided it was time to give this one a try.

Jon doesn't like onions at all... neither does Bobby and Lilly wasn't at our house that weekend. So I was hoping it would be REALLY good, since it would be just Tawny and me eating it.

Seven-Onion Soup
2 TBLS extra-virgin olive oil
2 red onions, coarsely chopped
2 white onions, coarsely chopped
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
12 fresh pearl onions or 10 ounces frozen
3 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, washed and cut into 1/4-inch rings
4 medium bunches of chives, coarsely chopped
1/4 C Marsala wine
6 C Beef Stock, or low-sodium canned
2 TBLS coarsely chopped dried porcini
1 TBLS fresh thyme leaves, plus 4 sprigs of thyme

In a large soup pot, combine red, yellow and pearl onions and shallots with olive oil and saute until golden brown and soft.

Add leeks and chives and continue cooking until onions turn a deep golden brown. (about 5 minutes according to the directions)

Add the wine and cook a couple more minutes.

Next add 2 cups of stock every 15 minutes for the next 45 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves with the last addition of stock.
The soup is supposed to very deep brown.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with thyme sprigs.


Ok... so start with your Seven kinds of Onions.

It was like Onion-Warfare in my house while I was chopping these. I didn't cry too much, but the onion fumes took over the entire house. Jon and Tawny were significantly less than thrilled.

So get the red, yellow, white and pearl onions, plus shallots and olive oil into the soup pot.

I used garlic infused olive oil.


Soft... but definitely not golden...

Well... it had been quite a while and I was getting no gold... so I moved on. Perhaps that was mistake number one?

Add leeks and chives.

Now 5 minutes to deep golden brownness?

Hmmm... no deep golden brownness going on in this pot... not matter what I do.

Well... on to the next step I guess.

I couldn't find dried porcini mushrooms by themselves.

So I picked up this steak blend. I figured since porcini was the first one listed, there should be a decent amount of them in there.

I just used the whole bag. It was a little more than 2 TBLS.

Shrooms & thyme into the pot with the first addition of stock.

Followed by the remaining stock, two cups at a time, in 15 minute intervals.

Ok.... so I should have very deep brown soup right? Hmmm... not really.

But my onions never browned up. And this soup took me well over 2 hours to make.

Ok... not deep dark brown... but it's onion soup.

So I put some homemade croutons into a bowl.

A good pinch of shredded swiss cheese.

(I had a nice block of aged gruyere in the fridge someplace, but my fridge absorbed it! I have since found it!)

Now to ladle in some soup.

It would be much browner if the onions had browned.

So even though it wasn't brown it was still good, right?

Well... this soup was way too sweet for my taste.

And it didn't have that deep down comforting robust onion soup flavor. Ya know what I mean?

Tawny didn't really care for it either.

If you like a sweeter onion soup, definitely give this a try.

The croutons totally ROCKED. So I guess it wasn't a total waste!

Will I try this recipe again? Probably not. I'll look for a more traditional French Onion Soup recipe.

But the email is no longer languishing in the recipe folder of my inbox.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hotdog & Cheese Fries Omelet

So I was trying to decide what to make for breakfast yesterday.

What I really wanted was a Breakfast Burrito, but I didn't have any sausage.

So while standing looking into the freezer, waiting for something to jump out at me, I noticed half a bag of frozen french fries.

Then I remembered Bob's post over at Cooking Stuff, about using leftover fries.

I figured to a family of five, half a bag of frozen fries counts as leftovers, then tried to think of something cool to do with them.

For whatever reason, probably the lack of sausage, I thought I'd add them to hotdogs in some kind of egg thing.

Yeah... hotdogs & fries in an omelet... with cheese! Isn't everything better with cheese?


So I cooked up the fries really fast in the toaster oven.

Fried up some hotdogs and a shallot that was just sitting on the counter.

Then I poured some eggs whisked with a milk and salt and pepper into my non-stick skillet and let them start to set up.

When the eggs were mostly set... I added some sliced hotdogs, cut up french fries, fried shallots and shredded cheddar cheese.

Then fold it over...

Yeah... first one... not so pretty...

But they get better looking as I go!

By the time I got to the 5th one... they look pretty decent!

Now when I was almost done making these, it occurred to me that these would have been a million times better with chili!! For Chili Dog & Fries Omelets. But I didn't think of it in time. Maybe next time!

You might think this sounds weird or gross... but I'll tell you what... they were pretty damn good!

My picky family of five all ate them, with no adjustments... to me that counts as a crowd pleaser!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Hey long time no see!

I've been off being lazy and totally addicted to Cafe World on Facebook. Not a lot of actual cooking, no blogging, not blog reading, just playing Cafe World!

But I'm back... still addicted to Cafe World, but also finally doing some actual cooking too!

Way back before Thanksgiving I made Eggnog French Toast. Remember that? It was wicked good!

Anyway... when I made that, I bought a big loaf of Texas Toast bread, but only used about half of it.

I asked Jon if he had any suggestions on what to do with the rest. He said I should make Frisco Melts, ya know... like they have at Steak & Shake. It was really weird, because I was kinda thinking the same thing. It was weird because Frisco Melts are on regular sourdough bread... not big thick square white bread. So it was a little odd that we both had the same thought. But obviously if we both had the same thought, Frisco Melts had been destined to be in our future.

So the first thing I had to do was find a recipe for that awesome sauce on the Frisco Melts.

Online I found that there are mainly 3 variations of it. So I made all three to decide which one we liked best. However, we were split, but one was a definite NO.


Sauce #1 (top of picture)
2 parts thousand island dressing
1 part french dressing

Sauce #2 (on left)
2 parts thousand island
1 part ketchup

Sauce #3 (on right)
1/4 C mayo
1 TBLS + 1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pickle relish


I'll just tell you right now, Sauce #3 was definitely NOT it.

Tawny and I thought that Sauce #1 was right on. Jon thought Sauce #2 tasted more like the actual sauce. So, Sauce #3 got scraped into the trash and I just used both sauces. Tawny, Lilly & I had #1 and Jon had #2. Bob had no interest in a Frisco Melt and fended for himself that night. (or FFY as we call it in our house!)

These are insanely easy to make.

Frisco Melts at Home
Ground beef
Texas toast, 2 pieces per sandwich
American cheese, 2 slices per sandwich
Swiss cheese, 1 slice per sandwich
Frisco Sauce of your choice (seriously #1 is the best!)

The hardest part is making the burgers thin enough. Those are really skinny patties.

Just plain old ground beef (ok, not old)
(Yikes... sorry that's fuzzy!)

You need to make two skinny patties for each sandwich that you're making

Fry 'em up.

While those are cooking, lightly butter both side of all of the pieces of bread and toast them in a skillet.

Oh and be sure your skillet isn't too hot, you want all of the cheese to melt, without burning the bread.


When first side is toasted to golden brown turn them over.

(Pictures here change from making two sandwiches to making one, because these came out better!)

Spread the sauce of your choice on the toasted side.

Cover the sauce with a slice of American Cheese

Now place a cooked hamburger patty on one of the toasts.

Cover the hamburger patty with a slice of Swiss cheese.

Top the Swiss cheese with another hamburger patty.

Then flip the other toast on top of the last patty (cheese side in)

It's not very pretty... but it tasted perfect!

You can see that little layer of Swiss in the middle!

These were great!

I just made them again a couple days ago. I decided that I'd use sourdough bread this time, to make them even more like the original. But I have to say, the Texas toast stands up to this sandwich much better than regular sourdough.

Also Bob had a friend over, so I had him taste both sauces and he agreed that #1 tasted most like Steak & Shake!

If you love Patty Melts... you definitely need to try this!