Hoisin Salmon Glaze

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sambal oelek
1 tbsp ketjap manis
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil

In a 9×13 baking dish, whisk together all ingredients.  Marinate salmon for +/-30 minutes (15 minutes on each side) prior to baking at 375°.

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2-3 cups fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process into a paste.

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Braised Fennel

image1-3 bulbs fennel
butter or olive oil
14 oz chicken stock

Slice fennel into sections and lightly brown edges in butter or olive oil; braise in chicken stock until soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup

image1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 qt chicken stock
1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream
nutmeg to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
In a sauce pan, combine butter, onions, garlic and salt; sweat over low heat. Once the onions are translucent, add cauliflower and chicken stock; bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is completely softened (about 30 minutes). Use emersion blender to blend mixture to a creamy consistency. Stir in cream, nutmeg and cayenne (just a small sprinkle of each; too much nutmeg or cayenne will overpower this soup).
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Lightly Curried Tomato Soup with Coconut Milk and Basil

image3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 lbs garden fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tsp red curry paste
1 tbsp chicken flavoring (or 1-2 sm bouillon cubes)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon grass
1/2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil paste (about 1-2 leaves)
sambal oelek (optional, to taste)

Heat oil in a large non-reactive pot (I use a ceramic lined dutch oven); add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent.  Add tomatoes and cook to soften.  Add remaining ingredients except basil and sambal oelek; heat thoroughly.  If desired, use an immersion blender to blend the soup to preferred consistency.  Stir in basil and sambal oelek.

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image1 lg can whole tomatoes
5 yellow chilies
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic salt
juice from 1/2 of a lime
pepper to taste
cumin to taste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Boil chilies for 10 minutes; remove stems, veins, and 1/2 of the seeds.  Combine all ingredients except cilantro in food processor; pulse to desired consistency.  Stir cilantro through the salsa.


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Apple Cider Caramels

Caramels1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup apple cider syrup

In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine salt, and spices; set aside.

Coat a 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the caramels out. Spray the parchment as well.

In a 4+ qt saucepan, combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter and apple cider syrup.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 248˚; remove from heat and stir in spice mixture.  Pour caramel into prepared pan; cool completely at room temperature.

Remove caramels from pan and cut into squares; wrap in parchment paper to store.

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Apple Cider Syrup

1/2 gal apple cider

In a porcelain-lined dutch oven, heat apple cider over high heat until it comes to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally, until cider is reduced to about one cup and reaches a syrupy consistency.  Refrigerate.

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Baked Beans

BakedBeans2 lg cans pork & beans, drained
2 bell peppers, diced
2 onions, diced
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 lb bacon, chopped

Cook bacon with green peppers and onions.  Combine all ingredients and bake at 350˚ for one hour or longer.

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Chicken Pasta Salad

2-4 chicken breasts; cooked, cooled, and cubed
1 pkg (12 oz) bowtie pasta, prepared and cooled
1 pkg (12 oz) tri-color rotini pasta, prepared and cooled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can (20 oz) pineapple tidbits
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups red grapes, halved
2 cups cashews
1 cup mayonnaise
1 bottle (12 oz) Kraft coleslaw dressing

Combine pasta, chicken, celery, onions, pineapple, and grapes.  Mix mayonnaise and coleslaw dressing and toss with pasta mixture; chill thoroughly.  Add cashews just prior to serving.

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Shawarma Burgers

Another family favorite, shawarma (or shoarma) burgers bring the great taste of shawarma to our backyard barbecue.  While the goat cheese brings a tangy burst of flavor to these tasty burgers, my kids prefer them stuffed with fresh mozzarella.  Next time I make these I am going to try stuffing them with feta.   The sauces (links at the end of the recipe) are an absolute necessity! 

2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp sambal oelek
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tbsp shawarma spice mix
Juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
goat cheese

Combine all ingredients except goat cheese and refrigerate for at least one hour. Form into patties and stuff with goat cheese; grill. Serve in a pita topped with shawarma sauce, garlic sauce, garden fresh tomatoes, and butter lettuce. These can also be made using ground turkey, but be sure to grease the grill grate to avoid sticking.

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Poestasaus II (Red Shawarma Sauce II)

1 onion, chopped or 1 tbsp onion powder
1 can (28 oz) plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp red curry powder
1 to 2 cloves
1 tbsp vinegar

Combine all ingredients and simmer for +/-5 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Great with shawarma burgers.

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Soy-Miso Salmon Glaze

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons miso paste

Combine ingredients; use to coat and baste salmon.

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Sweet & Sour Chicken

1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
3⁄4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 large yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2 tsp)
1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, 1⁄2 drained
2 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
2 bell peppers, sliced into 1” pieces
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp cornstarch
1⁄4 cup cold water

1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1⁄4 tsp white pepper
11⁄2 pounds chicken (and/or Pork), cut into 1” cubes
vegetable oil
3⁄4 cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 cup water

In 3-quart saucepan, heat sugar, broth, vinegar, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp salt, onion and garlic to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer.

Mix egg, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp soy sauce and the white pepper in medium bowl; stir in chicken. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Mix 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1⁄4 cup water; stir into sauce. Cook and stir until thickened (about 30 seconds). Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper and pineapple. Heat to boiling.

Heat vegetable oil in wok to 350º. Mix flour, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp salt and the baking soda in medium bowl. Stir in 3⁄4 cup water. Stir in chicken mixture; coat well. Fry about 20 pieces at a time for 4 minutes or until light brown, turning frequently; drain on paper towels. Increase oil temperature to 375º. Fry chicken all at once for 1 minute or until golden brown; drain on paper towels.

Serve with sauce poured over chicken.

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Ginger Salmon Glaze

1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp sambal oelek
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp Better Than Bullion
2 tbsp garlic
2 tbsp ginger, grated
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cool to room temperature before using to coat and baste salmon.

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Spicy Tomato Spread

TomatoSpread1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and sliced (remove seeds, if desired)
2 lbs tomatoes, skins removed, cored & chopped into chunks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 star anise pods

Combine garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and jalapeños in a food processor; process for +/-15 seconds.  Pour into non-stick sauté pan and add remaining ingredients; bring contents to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for +/-30 minutes.  The sauce is finished when a rubber spatula leaves trail in the sauce (or to desired consistency).  Pour into a jam jar; cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

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Lemon Meltaways

1 lb butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups flour
2 cups confectioners sugar
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/3 cup)
zest of 1 lemon

Cream together butter and 1 cup confectioners sugar; add cornstarch and flour and mix until combined.  Chill dough in mixing bowl 30-60 minutes.  Roll into a 1 1/2 -inch round; wrap in wax paper and chill overnight.  Slice into 1/4-inch rounds; bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes or until golden on edges.  Combine 2 cups confectioners sugar with lemon juice and stir until syrupy; add zest.  Brush glaze over cooled cookies.

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Ginger Caramel Pork Belly

Caramel Ginger Pork Belly1 lg slab pork belly
2 bunches green onion
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp ketjap manis
3 tbsp ginger, grated
6-8 cloves garlic
4-6 whole dried red chilies, unbroken

Slice green onion tops to the width of the pork belly.  Place a single even layer of green onions on foil.  Cover with the pork belly and then add another layer of green onion.  Wrap tightly in two layers of foil.  Place in a loaf pan or 9×13 and roast in the oven for 5½ hours at 200˚.  Turn off the heat and allow the pork belly to cool for 2 hours in the oven; refrigerate overnight.

Combine brown sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and ginger juice.  Cut cold pork belly into 2-inch chunks.  Brown over medium heat.  Increase heat to medium high.  Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce mixture and caramelize.  Add remaining green onions, cut into small rounds, garlic, and red chilies.  Cook until sauce thickens.  Serve over rice.

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Vanilla Extract (Single-Fold)

Vanilla Extract8 oz. Liquor (Vodka, Light Rum, or Bourbon)
5 – 6 Vanilla Beans (see note for more exact proportions)

Beginning just under the curved end of the vanilla bean pod, split the pod lengthwise leaving the curved top intact.  Place the split bean pods in the liquor; close bottle and shake.

Place the bottle in a cool, dark location.  Shake the bottle at least daily for two weeks, and then about weekly for an additional six weeks.

Note:  The United States Food and Drug Administration’s definition of single-fold vanilla extract requires that 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean pods (containing not more than 25% moisture) be used per US gallon of liquor (35% or higher alcohol content, or a minimum of 70 proof).  For double-fold extract, double the number of vanilla bean pods.  (see Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Sections 169.3 and 169.175)

The table below lists the approximate number of vanilla bean pods required based on various amounts of liquor.  These are based on approximately 50 vanilla beans per 1/2 pound:


Ounces Vanilla Bean per Liter (Per FDA) Liquor Millilitres (ml) Liquor Fluid Ounces Vanila Beans Ounces (oz.) Approximate No. of Beans
0.003526697 100 3.38 0.35 2.20
118.4 4.00 0.42 2.61
150 5.07 0.53 3.31
Beans per 1/2 lb: 200 6.76 0.71 4.41
50 236.5 8.00 0.83 5.21
250 8.45 0.88 5.51
300 10.14 1.06 6.61
375 12.68 1.32 8.27
473.1 16.00 1.67 10.43
500 16.91 1.76 11.02
750 25.36 2.65 16.53
1000 33.81 3.53 22.04
1750 59.17 6.17 38.57
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Babi Panggang

500g pork, cut into strips
1⁄4 cup ketjap manis
1 piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2 onions, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1⁄4 cup tomato purée
1⁄4 cup sherry
1 tbsp sugar
200g beef stock

Combine pork, ketjap manis, ginger, 1 clove of garlic, 1 onion, 1⁄2 of the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and marinate overnight. Heat a frying pan with some oil and fry the pork strips with the marinade. Add half a cup of water and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a baking tray and put a few minutes under the broiler until glazed. Meanwhile, prepare in the sauce; fry the remaining onion for a few minutes; add stock, sugar, tomato purée, remaining lemon juice and remaining garlic and simmer for 10 minutes; add the sherry. Serve the sauce with the pork.

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