Chinese Fortune Cookies



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A  few Thursdays ago,  I hosted an Asian Cooking Class for a fun group of women. Not only did we have a lot of fun, but we also learned to make many yummy recipes. Our menu consisted of Pot Stickers, Teriyaki Chicken, Sesame Infused Broccoli, Coconut Rice and Fortune Cookies. Yes, we made fortune cookies;-)

Did you know however not all Chinese restaurants offer Chinese Fortune cookies?!?! Yes. it is true. I learned the night of the cooking class that  Fortune Cookies were An American tradition. Yep, it is true!!

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According to Wikepedia, “Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and some other countries, but are absent in China. The exact origin of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being “introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately … consumed by Americans.

As far back as the 19th century, a cookie very similar in appearance to the modern fortune cookie was made in Kyoto, Japan, and there is a Japanese temple tradition of random fortunes, called o-mikuji. The Japanese version of the cookie differs in several ways: they are a little bit larger; are made of darker dough; and their batter contains sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter. They contain a fortune; however, the small slip of paper was wedged into the bend of the cookie rather than placed inside the hollow portion. This kind of cookie is called tsujiura senbei (辻占煎餅?) and are still sold in some regions of Japan, especially in Kanazawa, Ishikawa as the lucky items to start Happy New Year.Some said that it’s sold in the neighborhood of Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine in Kyoto.

Most of the people who claim to have introduced the cookie to the United States are Japanese, so the theory is that these bakers were modifying a cookie design which they were aware of from their days in Japan.

Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is reported to have been the first person in the USA to have served the modern version of the cookie when he did so at the tea garden in the 1890s or early 1900s. The fortune cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.[4][5][6]

David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, has made a competing claim that he invented the cookie in 1918.San Francisco’s mock Court of Historical Review attempted to settle the dispute in 1983. During the proceedings, a fortune cookie was introduced as a key piece of evidence with a message reading, “S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. Not Very Smart Cookie”. A federal judge of the Court of Historical Review determined that the cookie originated with Hagiwara and the court ruled in favor of San Francisco. Subsequently, the city of Los Angeles condemned the decision.[7]

Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, also claims to have invented the cookie.[8] Kito claims to have gotten the idea of putting a message in a cookie from Omikuji (fortune slip) which are sold at temples and shrines in Japan. According to his story, he sold his cookies to Chinese restaurants where they were greeted with much enthusiasm in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. Thus Kito’s main claim is that he is responsible for the cookie being so strongly associated with Chinese restaurants.”

I felt a bit silly for proposing to make them, but we had much fun making them nonetheless;-)

Well, for fun, you certainly can make them too. They are much more yummy than the real ones served at Chinese restaurants.

Ingredients for about 16 biscuits:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons water
  1. Turn the oven to 375.
  2. Place a medium silpat onto a medium perforated sheet and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil.
  4. Add the water and mix well again.
  5. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients ( flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar).
  6. Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.photo 1
  7. Using 1 tablespoon drop the batter onto the silpat, that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet,  and with the back of the spoon, spread the batter into an even 2 1/2 inch wide circle. photo 2Only make 3 to 4 cookies at a time because they will cool too quickly, and you will not be able to shape them if you make too many at a times.
  8. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (between 8 and 10 minutes).
  9. Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. photo 3Continue with the rest of the cookies.
  10. Repeat step 7-9 until you have used all the batter. Yum!!! The cookies will keep for a week in an airtight container. photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chinese Fortune Cookies

  • Servings: 3 to 4 persons
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for about 16 biscuits:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons water
  1. Turn the oven to 375.
  2. Place a medium silpat onto a medium perforated sheet and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil.
  4. Add the water and mix well again.
  5. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients ( flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar).
  6. Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.
  7. Using 1 tablespoon drop the batter onto the silpat, and with the back of the spoon, spread the batter into an even 2 1/2 inch wide circle. Only make 3 to 4 cookies at a time because they will cool too and you will not be able to shape them if you make too many.
  8. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (between 8 and 10 minutes).
  9. Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie.
  10. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. Continue with the rest of the cookies.
    Repeat step 7-9 until you have used all the batter. Yum!!! The cookies will keep for a week in an airtight container.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Croque Madame


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If you are a friend of mine of Facebook, you knew that I went home for Christmas. It is very rare that I will make the trip home for the holidays because we spend Christmas Eve here with family and then leave for France on Christmas day which always makes for a very short trip. Moreover, the airfare can be very expensive at this time of the year so we tend to not do that too often. This year, however, we chose to take the trip for several reasons:

1. we had sky miles that help us pay for our airfares.

2. having lost my grandmother this summer, I needed to spend time with my “surrogate” mother, my aunt and showed her how much she meant to us.

3. It had been more than a year since I had gone home.

So we went home. My daughter brought her boyfriend along so obviously we toured Paris as if we had never done so. 

It was all so beautiful!!!!IMG_0494

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Since we were staying at my aunt’s, we didn’t get to dine out often because my aunt wanted to spoil us with yummy French homemade meals and because we were just as happy staying home in company of our loved ones.

The only time we ate out was to stop for a coffee at a cafe, dessert and tea at a Tea salon, or for lunch.

One day as we were walking around the Galeries Lafayette, everyone was getting hungry so we decided to stop for a bite at the famous Cafe de La paix.

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If you have never been, it is worth the stop. It is on the pricey side, but the food and the service is so upscale that  you will not be disappointed with going there.

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The menu is so selective, that we could have ordered Caviar, foie gras, Oysters on the shelf, but we were so hungry and cold that everyone of us ordered the same thing: Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame.

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I have long been familiar with Croque Madame and Croque Monsieur, but the one I had at that restaurant was so outstanding that the minute I got home, I made some the recreate those flavor I had eaten.

Why Do I share this recipe only now?? because that way my sweet daughter can follow my recipe and make it herself if she decides to;-)

Ingredients for 4 Croque Madame:

  • 8 slices of honey wheat or white bread
  • butter
  • 8 slices of good quality ham ( not to thin)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2-3 tbsp of flour
  • 5 cups of gruyere grated
  • hot mustard ( French Dijon preferably)
  1. Turn the oven to 400. Slather some butter on each side of bread, and lay the bread flat on a large silpat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet.
  2. Place the bread in the oven to toast for 5-8 minutes or until the bread is a light brown color.
  3. While the bread is toasting, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a medium sized saucepan and when the butter has melted, add 2 tbsp of flour. Stir the flour to make a roux.
  4. Warm up the milk in the microwave for 2 minutes and pour it over the roux. Continue stirring until the milk thickens and make a thick white sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and add 1 cup of grated gruyere. Stir well.
  5. To assemble the croque monsieur, place a toast down. Spread some mustard, sprinkle some grated cheese ( about 1/4 cup), then place the slice of ham, IMG_0930sprinkle another 1/4 cup of cheese.IMG_0928
  6. Place another toast on top. IMG_0931
  7. Spread about 1/4 cup of white sauce on the top of the bread. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of cheese.IMG_0932
  8. Repeat the same process for the rest of the toasts.
  9. Place the toasts back onto the large silpat and toast them for another 10 minutes at 400,  or until the cheese is melted and golden.IMG_0933
  10. Meanwhile, warm up a small frying pan over medium high heat. Melt 1 tbsp of butter and when the butter is sizzling, crack an egg. and sizzle it.
  11. To serve, place the egg over the cheese toast, and eat the sandwich with a green salad in a mustard vinaigrette.IMG_0935Easy, Yummy and Conforting!!! Perfect for those winter months;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

You like what you just read, please share;-) Merci Beaucoup!!!

Croque Madame

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for 4 Croque Madame:

  • 8 slices of honey wheat or white bread
  • butter
  • 8 slices of good quality ham ( not to thin)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2-3 tbsp of flour
  • 5 cups of gruyere grated
  • hot mustard ( French Dijon preferably)
  1. Turn the oven to 400. Slather some butter on each side of bread, and lay the bread flat on a large silpat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet.
  2. Place the bread in the oven to toast for 5-8 minutes or until the bread is a light brown color.
  3. While the bread is toasting, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a medium sized saucepan and when the butter has melted, add  2 tbsp of flour. Stir the flour to make a roux.
  4. Warm up the milk in the microwave for 2 minutes and pour it over the roux. Continue stirring until the milk thickens and make a thick white sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and add 1 cup of grated gruyere. Stir well.
  5. To assemble the croque monsieur, place a toast down. Spread some mustard, sprinkle some grated cheese ( about 1/4 cup), then place the slice of ham, sprinkle another 1/4 cup of cheese. Place another toast on top. Spread about 1/4 cup of white sauce on the top of the bread. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of cheese.
  6. Repeat the same process for the rest of the toasts.
  7. Place the toasts back onto the large silpat and toast them for another 10 minutes at 400 or until the cheese is melted and golden.
  8. Meanwhile, warm up a small frying pan over medium high heat. Melt 1 tbsp of butter and when the butter is sizzling, crack an egg. and sizzle it.
  9. To serve, place the egg over the cheese toast, and eat the sandwich with a green salad in a mustard vinaigrette. Easy, Yummy and Conforting!!! Perfect for those winter months;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Lady Fingers or Biscuits Cuilleres


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When you live in Europe or France, and you need an ingredient for a recipe, you can go to any supermarket and just get it because they would have the item that the recipe demands. Unfortunately, most American supermarkets does not carry all the ingredients that i was accustomed to work with, or play with in Europe which can make your cooking experience a bit of a challenge or a scavenger hunt. Over the years that I have been in the USA, I have learned to either bring those coveted items back with me, or find internet sites that either sell them, or explain how I can make them myself.

So this is how, I learned to make pistachio paste, Pralin, Chestnut Puree.

This weekend I wanted to make a Buche de Noel ( Yule Log) and the recipe called for Boudoirs, or Lady Fingers… But I could not find them in any store so I had to make them.

So here is the recipe. It is one of the easiest thing to make, it is fast and you make lots of cookies at once that keep really well in an airtight container.

Ingredients for about 50 individual cookies:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 63 grams of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract ( I am using the vanilla bean Paste from Nielsen Massey found at the Fresh Market)
  • 32 gr. of flour
  • 32 gr. of corn starch or even potato starch
  • powdered sugar
  1. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites into a mixer. Beat the egg whites into hard peaks.
  2. When you have reached this texture, add the egg yolks and blend them in.
  3. Then sift the corn starch and the flour and add it gently to the egg whites.
  4. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  5. Fill a pastry bag and draw small sticks of about 1/2 inch by 2 inches on  large silpat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet.
  6. Dust some powdered sugar all over the “cookies”.
  7. Bake the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes  at 338 or until they become a very pale yellow.
  8. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down at room temperature. Keep in an airtight container so that they will stay hard ( can keep for several weeks).

And with those wonderful cookies, I was able to make my Vanilla and Chocolate Buche de Noel. Yum….

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Lady Fingers or Biscuits Cuilleres

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for about 50 individual cookies:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 63 grams of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract ( i am using the vanilla bean)
  • 32 gr. of flour
  • 32 gr. of corn starch or even potato starch
  • powdered sugar
  1. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites into a mixer. Beat the egg whites into hard peaks.
  2. When you have reached this texture, add the egg yolks and blend them in.
  3. Then sift the corn starch and the flour and add it gently to the egg whites.
  4. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  5. Fill a pastry bag, and draw small sticks of about 1/2 inch by 2 inches on large perforated sheet that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet.
  6. Dust some powdered sugar all over the “cookies”.
  7. Bake the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes at 338 or until they become a very pale yellow.
  8. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down at room temperature. Keep in a airtight container so that they will stay hard ( can keep for several weeks).

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Please share this post if you like it and post your comments. Merci Beaucoup!!!

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Sesame Seeds


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Asparagus are one of those vegetables that can be seasoned so many ways to accomodate your entree. Since I was serving an Asian flavored dinner, I thought to flavor my aspargus with toasted sesame seed oil, and sesame seeds. Yum, and fast!

Ingredients for 4:

  • 12-16 asparagus
  • 1 tsp  of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 picnh of pepper
  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds
  1. Trim the aspargus by breaking the ends.
  2. Then place then into a bowl. Drizzle the oil over the asparagus, and with your fingers, turn the asparagus inside the bowl so as to coat them well.
  3. Place the asparagus onto a small silpat that you would have placed onto a small perforated sheet.photo 1
  4. Cook them into the oven for 3 minutes if very tiny, 5 minutes if normal size, and 7-8 minutes if larger than your thumb. Serve with your entree. Yummy!!! Crunchy! Un vrai delice.photo 4

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Croquembouche


 

photo 4Last week was Mother’s day and as such, it called for a fabulous dessert. But what to do??? Having seen eclairs, profiteroles at every corner of cooking magazines and facebook profiles, I could not help but making my own the night prior to Mother’s Day. So at 10 o’clock in the evening, this is what I was doing in my kitchen.

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Ingredients for 16-20 small cream puffs or croquembouches:

  • 80 ml  or 2 oz of milk
  • 80 ml or about 2 oz of water
  • 70 gr, or about 5 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10 gr. or 2 tsp of sugar
  • 100 gr. or about 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. of flour
  • 2 eggs

Creme Patissiere, or Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 330 gr. or 11 oz. of milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 yolks
  • 70 gr. or 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of sugar
  • 12 gr.  or about 1 tbsp of flour
  • 12 gr, or about 1 tbsp of corn starch

Caramel:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • patience 
  1. In a saucepan, heat up the milk, water, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add the butter cut up in pieces.
  3. When the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to boil.photo 1
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well.photo 4
  5. Place the pan back on the stove ( it must be turned off, but will still be warm), and stir and stir with a heat-resistant spatula until the dough starts becoming a ball and will no longer stick to the rims of the pan.
  6. Remove the pan from the stove, empty the dough into a cold bowl and add the eggs to the dough one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
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  8. Place the dough in a pastry bag, with the large circular tips make large rounds of about  1 1/2 inches wide  on a large silpat that you would have previously lay on a large perforated sheet.photo 3
  9. Place the perforated sheet in a warm oven of 350 and cook the cream puffs for 20 minutes. The dough should be brown and dry on all sides. If the dough is a little bit soft, continue cooking the puffs for 1-3 more minutes. Take them out to cool. photo 5Set them aside to prepare the pastry cream or creme patissiere.
  10. In large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  11. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  12. Open the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out of the bean and put them into the milk.
  13. Warm up the milk over the stove, or in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  14. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir. Place the milk/ egg mixture back onto the stove and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is becoming really thick. Remove the pastry cream from the stove, and place it into a bowl. Set aside.
  15. Pour the pastry cream in a round mold..
  16. Cover the pastry cream with some plastic wrap and place it into the fridge to cool.
  17. When the cream is completely cool, make a small indentation to fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream and lay them upside down for easier access when you are going to fill them up.
  18. Fill the pastry bag with the vanilla cream and fill each cream puffs.photo 1
  19. Place the puffs back onto the silpat, and prepare the caramel.
  20. Empty the cup of sugar into  a medium-sized saucepan and place the saucepan onto the stove at a medium high temperature. DO NOT STIR!!!
  21. Only start stirring once the sugar is turning an amber color on the outside rim of the saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has turned that amber color. Reduce the heat to low, and leave the  pan on it so that the caramel will not harden.
  22. Dip the head of each cream puff into the caramel and place them back onto the silpat until the caramel has hardened, and has cooled.photo 2

Eat when they are cool. I dare you to only eat one, or two. They are so good, you will want to eat them all at once!!!photo 5Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Maple Syrup Flavored Brussells Sprouts



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My mom was a great person, and a great cook. What I hated about her, however, is that she believed we needed to eat a little bit of everything on the premises that all food brought various vitamins and nutrients. That is the reason why she served us many vegetables, and other food such as  liver  because it was good for us. For example, liver and spinach were good for iron, oranges for their vitamin B.  etc cetera…

I will tell you that even though she was a fabulous cook, I did not always like her cooking. One of the thing I really disliked as a child in fact was Brussels sprouts. They were bitter, smelled awful , and they were not gentle to my stomach.
It took me many years to cook them when I got married. I cannot remember exactly why I cooked them again. I think my husband liked them (in fact it is one of the very few vegetables he likes and will eat).
My children never liked them, but to follow the tradition, they had to eat them because  eating vegetables is good for you.

However it did not matter how often, or how different I served them. Both my children hated them, making faces with every bite they took.

What happened one day really came as a surprise. Lisa and I were grocery shopping one day, and I picked up a bag of Brussel Sprouts. I surely thought that if she was going to comment on my choice, she was going to scream why I would choose to pick them. But she did not. Instead of a statement of disgust, she actually inquired to see if they were for us, and when I told us that they were not, she gave a sigh, looked pitiful and said: Mom , can you get some for us. Really???? Had I heard right? really ??? I was shocked!!!
All I can say is that you she probably likes them because i am using bacon and maple to flavor them, and I am using my demarle mold to steam them which makes them so much better, and so much tastier!

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Ingredients for 4-6 people:

  • a bag of brussel sprouts ( about 12oz)
  • 2 tbsp of bacon bits from costco
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  1. Place the brussels sprouts in the sink filled with water and a tbsp of white vinegar.
  2. Cut the stem of the Brussel sprout, and peel the first and maybe the second leaf of the sprout. Repeat with each sprout.
  3. Cut each Brussel sprout in half, and place them into the round mold.
  4. Add the bacon bits. Place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold to cover the round mold and place it in the microwave to cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile turn the oven to 425.image
  5. When the Brussels sprouts are cooked. Pour the maple syrup and the olive oil over the Brussel sprouts and stir.image
  6. Place a large silpat over a large perforated sheet and spread the Brussels sprouts over the silpat.image
  7. Place them into the oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until they are getting a golden color.
  8. Enjoy!!! I know my sweet daughter does. I hope that your family and children will enjoy them 🙂image

Bon appetit and happy cooking!!!!

Pizza Rolls


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Looking for an easy thing to make for lunch?? You can make those cute pizza rolls for lunch. They are easy, yummy and a breeze to make. If you are making too many which is the case with this recipe, you can freeze them and use them as you need them. Much cheaper and a hundred time much healthier than hot pockets;-)

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This recipe was adapted from Appetizers from Taste of Home.

Ingredients for 15-18 Pizza Rolls :

  • 3 cups of italian cheese ( Mixed Italian Cheese, or any other)
  •  8 oz. or 1/2 italian sausage cooked from Jimmy Dean 
  • 1 whole package of pepperoni diced very thinly from Hormel.
  • 1 red pepper diced very thinly as well.
  • 1 medium onion diced very thinly as well.
  • 12 oz. or about 1 /2 jar of tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs ( optional)
  • 2 packs of large wontons
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.photo 3
  2. photo 4Place the rectangular roulpat over the counter for easy filling and cleaning.
  3. Place the wontons flat onto the roulpat.photo 5
  4. With a pastry brush, brush the outer rim of each wonton with water.
  5. Place 1/4 cup of the mixture in the middle of each wonton, and only 1 tsp for the small wonton.photo 1
  6. Roll the wonton over the mixture, and fold the wonton over to roll into a sausage. Fold the sides in to close the “pizza tube”.photo 1
  7. For smaller wontons, you can do the same, or you can press the sides together to make little purses.photo 2
  8. Place it on the large silpat that you would have placed onto a large perforated sheet.
  9. Repeat the steps until you have used all the mixture.
  10. With the same pastry brush, brush some olive oil over each wonton.
  11. Cook the pizza rolls in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 400. photo 2Serve with more tomato sauce. My son actually likes to eat them with ranch dressing. The combination is quite good, as the sauce counteracts against the spiciness of the pizza. Try it . It is very good!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Tuxedo Chocolate Covered Strawberries


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If you have been following me, you should know that my love is cooking. You will find me in my kitchen pretty much anytime I am home. Though Cooking is truly my passion, it is not my  profession just yet;-). I teach French to elementary children during the day. It is much fun and I really enjoy it! It is quite neat to hear them say :”Bonjour Madame Wagner” when they come into my classroom.

Anyway, our school hosted a luncheon for the board members of our district today to thank them for their service. Of course they were served cafeteria food, but for desserts, my principal had asked that I make some bite-size treats so this is what i decided to serve them:

  •  Vanilla cheesecakes,
  • Lemon pies,
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes and
  • Tuxedo Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

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I was teaching when the board came in, and ate their lunch.  When I went back to get my trays,  all my treats were gone;-)

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A good sign, right??? I understand that all went well . Even my assistant principal thanked me for all the “Ahhs” she heard and all the comments they made when eating my treats.

Great!!!

Today I thought I would share my tuxedo Chocolate Covered Strawberries. They are quick, easy to make and… they make for a great treat for the Upcoming Valentine’s Day.

Ingredients for 20 strawberries:

  • 20 beautiful strawberries
  • 1 cup of good quality chocolate
  • 1 square of vanilla chocolate bark.
  1. Rinse the strawberries under running water.
  2. With a paper towel, pat them dry.
  3. Place the chocolate into a bowl and cook it in the microwave for 90 seconds. If the chocolate is not completely fluid, keep cooking in the microwave for 10 seconds until the chocolate is free of lumps and liquid like water.
  4. Hold the strawberries by its green and dip into the chocolate to 3/4 .
  5. Set the strawberry over a silpat that you would have placed onto a perforated sheet.photo 5
  6. Continue until you have used all the strawberries.
  7. Place the strawberries into the fridge until they are set. Meanwhile, place the square of vanilla bark into a bowl and microwave for 60 seconds or until it is completely soft.
  8. Pour the chocolate into a small ziploc bag. With a good pair of scissors, cut the tip of the bag.
  9. Decorate as you wish. I did tuxedo collar and buttons.photo 2
  10. Place the strawberries in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.
  11. Place the strawberries out at least 30 minutes before consummation. Et voila;-)photo 3

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pork Pot Stickers


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I cook many things at home because I am very curious.  And if something appeals to me I want to try it. But because my husband does not stray much from his favorite ( potato, pasta and German food), it is difficult to cook new things for him. So when there is something out there, different that he likes, I will jump on it and make it;-)

I love Asian Food, I love sushi and Thai. Since he will not eat sushi, we occasionally eat thai food though we have to really twist his arms and help him turn left to the Thai Place, and not to the right to his favorite German restaurant Gerhard’s:-)

There he will order two things, Pork Pot stickers and Beef Pasta stir fry.

I have not tried to fix the latter because the pasta are quite different and I am not sure that i could duplicate that, but since Pot Stickers are well liked at our house, I decided one day that I would try my hands at it. And I will say that they are so easy to make, yummy, really cheap and and and…………they can be frozen to be used at a later time;-)

If you try to make them, give your self some times because they will make a large bunch and it takes a bit of times to make the “ravioli”.

photo 1

Ingredients for about 80:

  • 1 bag of brocoli slaw
  • 12 oz or 1 pack of ground chicken, turkey or pork(today I used pork).
  • 3 tbsp of fresh ginger grated
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper
  • 1 pack of wontons

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tsbp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil
  1. Steam the brocoli slaw according to directions, (or place it into the large round mold, place the octogonal silpat on top of that and cook it for 5 minutes.) Let it cool.
  2. When the brocoli is cold, chop it.
  3. Place it into  a large bowl, add the meat, all the other ingredients and mix well.photo 1
  4. Place the rectangular roulpat on your counter and lay as many wonton on it as you can. Place about a teaspoon  of the meat mixture in the middle of each wonton.photo 2
  5. With a silicone brush, wet the sides of each wonton with water and close the wontons to make a triangle.photo 4photo 3
  6. If you do decide to freeze them, place them flat on a large silpat that you would place on a large perforated sheet. Make sure that they are not touching or they will stick to one another and it will be impossible to separate them as they are very fragile.  Freeze them as such and when they are frozen, place them in a ziploc bag to keep for later use. 
  7. Place a large frying pan on the stove, melt one tbsp of butter and when the butter is sizzling, place as many wontons as you can in the pan.
  8. Sear them for a minute and then turn them.photo 5
  9. Throw 1/4 cup of water over the pot stickers and place the lid over them. Cook them for 5 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile prepare the sauce that goes with it.photo
  11. Eat while they are warm. photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Spanakopita


photo 2

I have always loved spanakopitas. They are so yummy. Yet I will tell you that I never tried to make them because they look so difficult to make. Well, over the holidays I bought a large bag of fresh spinach for my morning smoothies, not really thinking that the bag I purchased would be so much. And since we were going  away for a week I decided I would make some for appetizers for the holidays. I used the recipe from a Costco Cookbook that I adapted to use what i had on hand.

It was really good, and guess what??? It was really not that hard to make. Just needed to be patient.

Ohh and you can fix them in advance and freeze them for later use.

Ingredients for about 30:

  • 15 oz of frozen spinach thawed out, or fresh one that will weigh to 15 oz cooked.
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups of feta cheese or 2 cups of feta and 1 cup of ricotta ( will make the spanakopita more
  • 4 scallions chopped very thinly
  • 2 tbsp of the dill/ lemon demarle herb blend
  • 1 clove of garlic pressed
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1 pack of phillo pastry
  1.  Mix all the ingredients together and set them aside.
  2. Open the filo dough and cut the filo dough into 3 strips. Take one strip out, and roll the other ones back into the plastic so they will stay moist.
  3. Pull apart 2 layers from the stack, keep the other one under a moist paper towel. Either brush some melted butter, or olive oil, or if you have spray some Pam.
  4. Spoon 1 tbsp of the spinach mixture and place it in the corner of the large triangle. Fold the corner where you placed the spinach onto itself  so that it will form a triangle. Continue folding until the filo has been used and the end result looks like a triangle.
  5. repeat all those steps until you have used all the spinach mixture.
  6. Spray the spanakopitas with some butter and cook them into a warm oven for 8-12 minutes at 400. Eat warm.

photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!