Monday, October 27, 2014

Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup



Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup

Hello dear readers! I am starting today's blog post with a confession. What is that saying...never admit you made a mistake in the kitchen? Well, I am afraid that I will have to fess up because the evidence is staring at you in the face, or rather, the lack of evidence is staring at you in the face. What I mean is I forgot to use an ingredient in the batch of soup you see here. It wasn't until I started to post the pictures for this recipe that realized I forgot to make the fried shallot garnish! It's supposed to be sitting on top of the soup. Booo hooo...I really wanted you to see them!!

I love the slight nuttiness and sweetness the shallots impart. They take practically no time to make. All it takes is a couple of thinly sliced shallots. Toss them in some hot oil and BAM! you got yourself a tasty little topper. Please don't forget to make them like I did if you decide to try this soup.



Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup

I have made the stock using two different methods: by adding embellishments to canned chicken broth and by making from-scratch using pork bones and shrimp shells. Both are equally delicious but slightly different. The former is quicker to make while the latter takes longer. I find that canned broths vary in clarity and can be muddied in color. For this soup, I prefer a clear broth. The stock in theses pictures, as you can see, is clear and therefore is the homemade version. It requires a little bit of TLC, cooking at a gentle simmer...undisturbed. The surface needs to be skimmed to rid of impurities, and the finished stock requires straining. But the result is a delicate, tasty, and clear stock. It is worth the effort if you want to put in the time as it allows you to customize the flavor to complement the stuffed wontons, and all of the ingredients used are fresh. I have provided instructions for making both versions below.



Pork and Shrimp Wonton SoupIn parting, I hope you all have a great week! If you celebrate Halloween, then Happy Halloween week to you! If you don't observe the holiday, then I wish you a happy Friday in advance! Good luck avoiding all of the Elsas, minions, princesses, witches, and Spidermen out there. I will probably see all of them as I get around 300 visitors every Halloween! See you next time...



Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup




Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup:

For Canned Stock Option:
2 (48 oz.) cans lower sodium chicken broth
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in half
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup chopped scallion

For Homemade Stock Option:
12 cups water
2 lbs. pork bones (I use fresh tail bones)
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in half
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup chopped scallion

For the Pork and Shrimp Wontons:
1 lb. shell-on shrimp
3/4 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup chopped scallion (greens only) 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 egg
1 (12 oz.) package wonton wraps
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. water for egg wash
Water for boiling wontons

Fried Shallot Garnish:
2 shallots sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 cup canola or vegetable oil


Peel and devein shrimp. If making homemade stock, keep shells. Discard shells if using canned chicken broth. 

To make stock from cans: Place all ingredients (except scallion) in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove ginger. Reduce heat to warm.

To make stock from scratch: Place all ingredients (except scallion) into a large stock pot. Add shrimp shells. Bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for at least one hour. Be sure to keep stock at a gentle simmer. Do not stir. Skim off foam and residue from the top of the broth using a large spoon 3 to 4 times during this period. Strain broth through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Discard solids. Return the clear broth to the stock pot and keep warm.

To Make Fried Shallots:
Preheat oil on between medium-medium high in a small skillet. Add shallots and cook until it become golden brown. Transfer to paper towel line plate. Set aside.

To make wontons: Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil then turn off heat and cover while the filling is being made. Grind up shrimp using a food processor. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add pork, scallion, garlic, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, and one whole egg. Use hands to mix until well incorporated. Lay 8 wontons on a flat work surface. Brush egg wash around the edge of each wonton. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each wonton. Do not overstuff wonton to prevent them from opening up during cooking. Fold one corner of the wonton the opposite corner to form a triangle. Press edges firmly together to seal, squeezing out any air pockets during the process. Place on a greased, flat surface. Continue wrapping up the remaining 7 wontons. Repeat the entire process until all of the wontons are filled. 

To cook wontons: Bring the stock back to heat but not to a boil. Bring the water back to a boil. Divide wontons into three batches. Place the first batch of wontons into water. Boil about 6 minutes. You may need to reduce heat to a medium to prevent the stock from coming to a hard boil. It will cause the wontons to open up. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer the cooked wontons into the stock. Don't let the stock boil. Cook the remaining two batches of wontons. Add 1/3 cup chopped scallion. Serve with fried shallot garnish. Additional garnish suggestions: bean sprouts, chili peppers, Thai basil. Makes 6 servings.



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In Good Flavor likes to keep in good company and parties at Full Plate Thursday, The Country Cook, Lady Behind the Curtain and these other places. Please check them out!



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Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvest Guacamole


Sometimes when I come up with recipes, I go about it a little backwards. What do I mean? Well, there are occasions where the name of the dish comes to me before the recipe. In this instance, I wanted to make a dip called Harvest Guacamole many months ago, but it wasn’t until last week that I decided to work on the recipe. It didn’t take long to obtain the result I wanted. In keeping with the harvest theme, I added pumpkin seeds, pecans, and corn to my guacamole dip. It is a really good combination of flavor and texture, not to mention that it makes a great presentation when served with blue corn chips. 

Harvest Guacamole



Please keep in mind, the proportion given is a guideline, so feel free to adjust the quantity to suit your taste. If you need a little more tang, add a little lime. Not a fan of heat, reduce the amount of  jalapeño. Love heat? Add more of the hot stuff. If you like more crunch, add more pecans or pumpkin seeds. Have fun tailoring the guacamole to your liking!

Harvest Guacamole



Harvest Guacamole:

3 ripe avocados
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup cooked corn
1/4 cup chopped pecan
3 rounded tbsp. shelled, roasted & salted pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeño pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 rounded tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper


Slice avocados in half and remove seeds. Using a large spoon, scoop out the pulp of 4 of the avocado halves and place in a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 of the lime juice. Using a fork, mash avocado. Peel the skin off the the remaining two avocado halves and slice pulp into small chunks. Add avocado, the remaining lime juice, and the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and fold gently to incorporate. For best flavor, refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings.




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In Good Flavor likes to keep in good company and parties at Full Plate Thursday, The Country Cook, Lady Behind the Curtain and these other places. Please check them out!



Also Found On In Good Flavor


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Chocolate Crepe Cake with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cream Filling



Chocolate Crepe Cake with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cream Filling

October marks this blog's second birthday! Yeah!!! I made this crepe cake just for the special occasion. This creation is not only a thing of beauty but also tastes heavenly. It is my kind of cake—sweet but not too sweet, creamy and delicate. But be warned, if you make it, eat at your own risk as it tastes so light and creamy that you will have devoured half of it without realizing. Just saying...

I love the texture and feel of this cake, and the components work so well together. The crepe layers are chocolaty and provides body and a soft chew; the creamy mascarpone cheese layer is lightly flavored with pumpkin and spice; the chocolate glaze provides drama; and the candied pecan imparts nuttiness, crunch, and textural contrast. It's perfect. Ask me and I'll tell you!!!

Chocolate Crepe Cake with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cream Filling


Bring this cake to our next gathering. It is sure to get some attention at the dessert table! If you don't think you have time to make it, you do. What's great about this recipe is it allows you to prep the various components at your own convenience. If time does not allow you to start and finish the cake within one stretch, break it down. Make the crepes a couple days ahead, and the same goes for the candied pecans. Whip up the mascarpone filling the day before. On the day of, assemble the cake and make the chocolate glaze. This recipe is very doable. Most of it takes minutes to prepare. The crepes are the only item that requires a little bit of time, but they are worth it!





Before I leave you, I would like to thank all of you for visiting this site—the loyal followers, the occasional visitors, and the new viewers. I love having you all here! I truly enjoy sharing my recipes with you and hope that you like my posts!! As always, I love to hear your comments so feel free to stop by and drop a line. 

Join me in wishing a  happy birthday to my virtual baby! It's been a fun 2 years!!

Chocolate Crepe Cake with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cream Filling



Chocolate Crepe Cake with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cream Filling:

For the Crepe Layer:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp.butter for cooking crepes

For the Filling:
1 (16 oz.) container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
orange food coloring (optional)*
15  pieces parchment paper (cut approx. into 6" squares) for separating crepes

For the Candied Pecans:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans

For the Chocolate Glaze:
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. whipping cream


Note: The crepes are cooked in a 6-inch skillet and produces 16 crepes. Larger skillets may be used but will produce fewer number of crepes resulting in a wider but shorter cake. 

To make the crepes: Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Add milk, butter, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until smooth. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, prep the filling and candied pecans. 

To make the filling: Place mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, powdered sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium mixing bowl. Starting on low and quickly increasing to high, beat until the mixture thickens and forms soft peaks when the beater is removed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add pumpkin and food coloring (optional). Mixture will become slightly loose again. Beat for a minute or so until it thickens.

For the candied pecan, preheat a small skillet on medium heat. Add butter and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add pecans, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes. Spread on parchment lined tray. Allow to cool.

To cook the crepes: Preheat a 6-inch skillet on medium high. Smear some butter on skillet. Add about 3 tbsp. of batter and swirl skillet to spread batter evenly on the bottom. Cook until the bottom sets and tiny bubbles form on batter (about 1 minute). Flip crepe over using a spatula. Cook the second side until set, about 30 seconds. If crepes browns too quickly, reduce heat. Place on a flat surface. Continue making crepes until all the  batter is used up. Place the newly made crepes on top of the previous one, separated by a piece of parchment paper. 

To assemble cake: Place a small dollop of filling in the middle of the cake dish and spread evenly. This is to prevent the crepe from sliding on dish. Cover with a crepe. Spread a rounded 1/4 cup of filling on top, coming within 1/4 inch of the rim. Repeat layering crepe and filling. Do not place filling over the last crepe. Make the chocolate glaze. Place whipping cream and chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. If mixture is not smooth, microwave for 15 seconds and stir. Allow to cool for a minute then gently pour glaze over cake. Use a spatula to spread it evenly allowing chocolate to cascade over the sides. Cover the top with a layer of candy pecans. Store refrigerated. Makes 6 servings.

*If you have orange food coloring, add a little at a time until you get the desired shade. I don't have orange, so I use a mixture of red and yellow. Start with a rounded 1/4 tsp. of each which should produce a pale orange. To get a more intense shade, add more food coloring. If the color is a bit pink, add more yellow. If it is sallow, add a little more red. 

Tip: To prevent the cake from tilting, especially while traveling, insert 2 to 3 evenly spaced wooden skewers into the cake, clipping them about an inch above the top. Remove before serving.



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Monday, October 6, 2014

Slow Roasted BBQ Pork


Slow Roasted BBQ Pork

Have you ever had bizarre or eerie incidences happen to you? Well, I have had a few. The most recent one occurred last week.  Please bear with me while I share a story then check out this awesome pork roast recipe!

A toddler in my daycare arrived one particular morning wearing a little 3-piece ensemble—navy leggings, a navy baby doll style top with white poker dots, and a short navy skirt. The busy morning went by with activities, feeding, and multiple diapering. Later, as the children played, I realized that the toddler was missing her skirt. She must have pulled it off without me noticing. So, I searched and searched with no success. Then I started to think that perhaps I was losing my mind, and maybe the little girl had a skirt on earlier in the week and that I had my days mixed up. As the day passed, no skirt appeared so I began to believe that she had not worn one that day.

At pickup time, Mom arrived and asked about the skirt! Dang it all!! I told her the story and assured her and that I would find it. That night, for almost 2 hours, I spent looking for that darn skirt! I checked, double checked, triple checked every corner and crevice in the house to no avail. Mind you, the children are restricted to only certain areas of the house, so the possibility of the skirt being placed elsewhere by any of them was next to zero. When I say I checked everywhere, I meant EVERYWHERE—behind a 200 pound wooden toy box that was flushed against the wall, the underside of the dining room table and chairs, underneath the table cover, under base boards, in every opening and hole of every toy, you name it. I even dawned on gloves and went through the garbage…twice! I even checked underneath and behind a couch ten feet from the 13-month old's playpen where she napped in case there was a remote possibility that she might have hurled her skirt across the room to be stopped only by a wall where it slid down beneath the couch. Needless to say, I was desperate and thinking irrationally at that point. I had even backtracked to every area I was in during that day…still nothing! My husband, also baffled by the situation, had joined in on the search.

Slow Roasted BBQ Pork



Throughout the process I thought, OMG!! Where could that thing be? This is so bizarre! How could it disappear without a trace? In my mind, there was only one explanation—something supernatural was happening. Some THING took it!!! Shudder!!!! I felt as if I was living in the Twilight Zone. My husband, I suspected, felt the same way.

To wrap this up, I contacted the girl's mother that night to inform her of my failed attempt to find the skirt. To much relief, she called the next morning to announce that the mystery was solved! The toddler’s father had undressed the little girl the previous night and did not notice any skirt. Despite that, the mom searched the hamper in the morning and found the skirt hiked up inside the toddler's shirt! It must have ridden up so high up her chest that it was no longer visible and it blended so well that no one realized it was there!! 

Whew! The mystery was solved! I don't have to sleep with one eye open after all!! For a while, it felt quite surreal and freaky. I’m glad it ended with a clear cut explanation…unlike the other bizarre experiences I have had that still remain mysteries today. That’s another story for another time…

Slow Roasted BBQ Pork



Let’s talk food. The last time I went grocery shopping, I picked up a small pork butt with a plan to slow roast it in a dry rub. Days went by and I had not cooked it. Since there were no other meat options to use that day, I decided I had to cook the pork. I ruled out doing a dry rub as I like to let it sit overnight for all the flavors to seep through. Then I thought about doing a marinade with pineapple and molasses as the main flavoring. Well, the canned pineapple and molasses I thought I had no longer existed. It was on to plan C. I checked the pantry, dumped out several jarred sauces that had expired and decided to use bottled barbecue sauce as the marinade. After adding some soy sauce, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, and beef broth, I was good to go! To accelerate the marinating process, I punctured numerous slits in the pork to allow the sauce to penetrate quickly. After a few hours in the fridge, the pork was slow roasted till fork tender. It was a success, Everyone loved it!

Slow Roasted BBQ Pork



The pork cooks at a low temperature of 275 degrees F˚ for about 4 hours for a 4 pound roast, but it is really worth the wait. The long cooking time allows the meat to break down and become fork tender. Of course the slow cooker is always an option, but I prefer the result of an oven baked roast. I like this recipe because the pork could be prepped and cooked the same day. Marinade it as long as you can—I try to get at least 4 hours in. Overnight is optimal, but work within the time frame that you have. It will come out just fine. One tip I would like to give is to massage the marinade into the meat prior to chilling (you will have punctured it with numerous holes) to work it into the pork. I like to bake it in a covered dutch oven but a foil covered roasting pan is another great option.

Slow Roasted BBQ Pork




Slow Roasted BBQ Pork:

18 oz. bottle Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 lb. pork butt
1 jumbo size zip lock plastic bag

Combine all of the wet ingredients into a medium bowl. Add garlic, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Whisk well and set aside.

Using a small sharp knife, puncture 1” deep holes that are 2” apart throughout the pork. Place in the plastic bag. Pour in the marinade. Seal bag tight and massage the pork, working the marinade into the slits you have made. Refrigerate pork for 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 275 F˚. Place pork (discard marinade) in a prepared Dutch oven or roasting pan and bake, covered, for about 4 hours or until meat is falling apart. As a guide, bake 1 hour for every 1 pound of meat. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 15 minutes. Remove pork and use forks or a tong to break pork into chunks.  Skim the fat off the top of the juices in the pan and drizzle over pork. Makes 6 servings.

Serving ideas:  Serve with roasted, mashed or baked potatoes, and a side of veggies, or shred and serve as a sandwich.



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In Good Flavor likes to keep in good company and parties at Full Plate Thursday, The Country Cook, Lady Behind the Curtain and these other places. Please check them out!



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Monday, September 29, 2014

Swordfish with Blue Pesto


Swordfish with Blue Pesto

I wanted to share a fish recipe with you this week, but I was also obsessed with the idea of using blue cheese pesto. Now, there are many people who believe that fish and cheese don't go together, but there are those who think otherwise. I belong in the "otherwise" group. My challenge was how to marry the two. With the bold flavor of blue cheese, I had to use a fish that was meaty and firm enough so that its flavor would not be overwhelmed by it. Swordfish was a perfect choice.

Swordfish with Blue Pesto



In terms of the pesto, I also deviated from using the traditional pine nuts and substituted them with pumpkin seeds. Visually and from the taste perspective, the two are perfectly interchangeable in my opinion. I also added a squeeze of lemon juice. It is a perfect addition as lemon pairs well with seafood and really perks up the flavor of the pesto.

I assure you, the swordfish and pesto taste as good as they look. So if you are one who thinks cheese and seafood do not go together, try this one out. I’d love to know what you think!

Swordfish with Blue Pesto




Swordfish with Blue Pesto:

For the Blue Cheese Pesto:
3 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup shelled, roasted & salted pumpkin seeds
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

For the Swordfish:
4 pieces (approx. 10 oz. each) swordfish steaks
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. butter


Note: The cook time is for the swordfish steaks about 1 1/4" thick. If using thinner or thicker cuts, adjust cooking time a minute or so per side.

Make the pesto: Place first five ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Drizzle in olive oil and process until mixture is pureed. Drizzle lemon juice through the feed tube and continue to process for another 10 seconds. Remove the bowl from the base and take out the blade. Add blue cheese to the bowl, breaking up any large chunks. Gently stir to incorporate.

To cook the fish: Preheat a large non-stick skillet on medium high. Pat swordfish dry with paper towels. Season one side with half of the kosher salt and pepper. Add olive oil to the skillet. Place swordfish, seasoned side down, on skillet. Season the top side with the remaining kosher salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the bottom of the swordfish is crusted and browned. Turn swordfish over and cook the second side for 2 to 3 minutes. About 30 seconds before you want to remove the fish (fish is done when the interior is opaque throughout), add butter and swirl it around. Turn fish over and cook the other side in butter for 10 seconds. Remove fish. Do not overcook as it will dry out. Spread pesto over fish and serve. Makes 4 servings.



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In Good Flavor likes to keep in good company and parties at Full Plate Thursday, The Country Cook, Lady Behind the Curtain and these other places. Please check them out!