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Homemade Vanilla Extract

In desserts On May 22, 2010 14 Comments

Homemade Vanilla Extract (recipe by “Oishii!”)

My Aunt Susie, who is the most talented baker I know, taught me this method for making vanilla. If you use homemade vanilla extract in your baking, you will surely notice a difference in the flavor of your baked goods. She mentioned that you could use other white liquor such as rum, but vodka tastes the best. It took me 4 years to use up a whole bottle! You can order vanilla beans in bulk from Penzeys Spices. Choose Madagascar vanilla beans. They are considered to be the world’s finest and best for baking purposes.

Ingredients

  • 25 vanilla beans
  • 750 ml bottle of premium vodka (Stoli, Grey Goose, Svedka, etc.)

Preparation

Add vanilla beans directly into the bottle of vodka. Store in a dark cupboard for a minimum of two months. Leave the vanilla beans submerged in the bottle. There is no need to remove them. Happy baking!

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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Orecchiette With Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons

In pasta On May 20, 2010 0 Comments

Orecchiette With Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons (photo and recipe by Bon Appetit, May 2010)

I love roasted cauliflower, so I had to try this recipe. I thought the ratio of pasta to cauliflower was too high, and despite the use of anchovies, the flavor was a bit bland. If were to make it again I would add more anchovies, less pasta, and some cayenne pepper to perk it up some. That being said, I paired it with a very zesty baked catfish so it worked out quite well. It was a nice meal.

 

Baked Catfish

In seafood On May 20, 2010 2 Comments

This is a well-seasoned zesty catfish dish, adapted from a recipe I once found in the Lerner newspaper in Chicago.

Baked Catfish (recipe adapted from Lerner Newspaper)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 catfish fillets, about 2 lbs.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a heavy-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly brush oil onto parchment.

Mix the basil, oregano, garlic powder, lemon pepper, kosher salt, and parmesan in a small bowl. Place catfish fillets rounded side down onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle a generous amount of seasoning onto each fillet. Bake fish until it starts to flake. Flip fish over, sprinkle seasoning on other side, and finish baking until other side flakes.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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Korean-Style Grilled Flank Steak

In asian, favorite, Korean On May 14, 2010 0 Comments

Korean-Style Grilled Flank Steak  (photo and recipe by Gourmet, July 2007)

When I lived in Tokyo, every now and then my company would treat us to dinner at a neighborhood Korean restaurant that served yakiniku (Korean-style grilled beef). I was so happy to find this recipe  because from what my taste buds recall, it’s authentic. This has become one of my favorite dishes and a nice way to “grill out.” It goes great with rice, kimchi, and my cucumber salad.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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Michael’s Cucumber Salad

In asian, Japanese, salad, Thai, vegetarian On May 11, 2010 11 Comments

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Michael’s Cucumber Salad (recipe inspired by Ming Tsai)

Sometimes I work my way backward with a menu, from the dessert to the main dish, or from the appetizer or side dish to the entree. Today I was hungry for my cucumber salad and decided to make one of my favorite main dishes ever: Korean-Style Grilled Flank Steak. The sweet cucumber salad balances out the spiciness of the steak. I prefer to make this healthy and delicious salad with hothouse cucumbers, which have a thin skin. In order to make the dressing you will need to find an asian grocery store which stocks a few basic Japanese items.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup aji-mirin (Kikkoman brand)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (Nakano brand, unseasoned)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste, or to taste
  • 1 large hothouse cucumber (18 ounces), sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced carrots (6 ounces)
  • 1/4 large red onion (2 1/2 ounces), chopped

Preparation

To make the dressing whisk together the aji-mirin, rice vinegar, sugar, and wasabi paste in a medium size bowl. Add cucumbers, carrots, and red onion, and toss well. Let the flavors combine in the refrigerator for an hour or more.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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Banana Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

In desserts On May 4, 2010 0 Comments

Banana Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting (photo and recipe by Bon Appetit, April 2010)

Peanut butter and bananas are a beloved yet odd flavor combination. I simply had to try this recipe because we all love  peanut butter in my household—including our two Italian Greyhounds. The cupcakes seemed to take a lot longer to make than I had anticipated, and I really don’t enjoy the cake decorating part, but the end result was worth it. The frosting, which contains cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter is utterly delicious. It is similar to the frosting you would find on carrot cake, without the peanut butter of course. I wish I had a use for the leftovers other than eating it as is. I can’t imagine spreading any more frosting on the cupcakes!

 

Mango Chicken Stir-Fry with Snap Peas

In asian On April 26, 2010 6 Comments

Mangoes were on sale this week. I always think of making Ming Tsai’s spicy mango salsa,which is an ingredient in his mango chicken stir-fry with snap peas (pictured above), when they are in season. He has several other nice recipes that use this salsa, including scallion-crusted cod with mango salsa. The fresh ginger adds an unusual spicy flavor dimension to the salsa. It melds with the jalapenos and mangoes, and dances on your tongue. It’s great with chips and also in this mango chicken stir fry. The salsa flavor does get muted though when it is warmed.

 

Grilled-Chicken Tacos

In Mexican On April 23, 2010 0 Comments

Grilled-Chicken Tacos (photo and recipe by foodandwine.com)

I made these simple tacos for an informal impromptu luncheon for some friends on a beautiful spring afternoon after gardening all morning. I think there are times to let the side dish shine a little, or in this case the condiment, so I made fresh salsa verde to go with the tacos and tortilla chips, rather than use a jarred version.

It was a nice stress-free lunch, and afterward we enjoyed an even simpler dessert of fresh strawberries, angel food cake and vanilla ice-cream. I was happy that we were able to make time for friends without having to be so fancy.

 

Poblano Albondigas With Ancho Chile Soup

In Spanish On April 20, 2010 0 Comments

Poblano Albondigas With Ancho Chile Soup (photo and recipe by Bon Appetit, January 2010)

This Spanish meatball soup is a meal in itself and a great way to spice up your week. The ingredient list may be daunting for some, but other than the ancho chile powder, it was all easy to find ingredients for me in the city. I liked the way the flavors of the ancho chile powder and cumin melded with the beef broth. I think if I made it again I would use a full cup of rice and add more veggies such as fresh corn.

 

Salsa Verde

In Mexican, seasonal, vegetarian On April 12, 2010 15 Comments

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Salsa Verde (recipe by foodandwine.com)

Making tomatillo salsa is a great way to use fresh cilantro on hand, and you get to play with your kitchen toys too. Hello food processor, and finally a use for the blender other than for frozen strawberry margaritas.  I was inspired to try this yesterday when I made Zucchini, Corn, Black-Bean, and Jack-Cheese Quesadillas. I was using up a bottle of Rick Bayless’ Frontera brand gourmet mexican tomatillo salsa and thought of trying it home made. It was pretty good.  However, I’d bet that it would be even better with roasted tomatillos and serranos.

Ingredients

  • 10 tomatillos (about 1 1/4 pounds)—husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 lightly packed cup cilantro sprigs
  • 1 serrano chile, quartered
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

In a blender, combine the tomatillos, cilantro, serrano, onion and garlic and puree until smooth. In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the salsa, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Ideas

The salsa is great with tortilla chips, and spoon it over grilled pork chops. Also, check out my top 9 recipes that use fresh herbs.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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