Friday, July 31, 2009

Pero Sweet Pepper Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce

I work in sales at a produce company. My company's name is Pero Vegetable Company. We grow peppers, squash, cucumbers and all sorts of other produce and we sell anything from blueberries to rain chard. If you live anywhere on the east coast of the United States, the mid-west or even in Canada chances are you have eaten at least one of our peppers before. We are most widely known for our 3 count peppers trays:

We write recipes using our products and we send these to customers and put them out in trade publications. Unfortunately, the end consumer doesn't usually get ahold of these recipes. The following recipe is using Pero mini sweet peppers. If you havent cooked with mini sweets before you must really try them-they are packed with flavor! I have sliced them on home made pizza's and stuffed them with rice, beans and cheese as appetizers.

Pero Sweet Pepper Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce

1 lb of chicken tenderloins
3 oz. of seasoned corn starch
(add a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic starch)
3 oz. of vegetable oil

1package of Pero's Mini Sweet Peppers (sliced into strips)

6 scallions (white tops only)

1/8 cup of carrot sticks

1 clove of minced garlic

1 tsp of grated ginger

5 tbsp of roasted crushed peanuts (garnish)


Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl

1 tbsp of creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp of coconut milk

2 tsp of brown sugar

1 tsp of 5 spice powder

1/2 tsp of rice wine vinegar

pinch of garlic powder and salt

Heat oil in a large saute pan (medium high heat). Dredge tenderloins in the seasoned corn starch and saute until golden brown. In the same pan add mini sweet peppers, carrots, garlic, ginger and scallions and saute lightly. Incorporate the peanut sauce and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chamorro Food

Hafa Adai! Hafa Adai (pronounced half-a-day) is Chamorro for Hello. Chamorro is the languange, food and culture of the people of Guam. Guam is an Island 3 hours south of Japan by plane. It's also a US territory. Their currency is the US dollar and everyone also speaks English. A lot of people also still speak Chamorro and Japanese. Guam was occupied for 8 years during and after WWII by the Japanese and all childern in school were forced to learn and only speak Japanese during that time. Anywhere you go signs are in three languages: English, Korean and Japanese. This is because of all of the tourists that visit from Asia.

Guam is a beautiful island, the people were warm and inviting the the food was wonderful. The key to a successful party or "fiesta" in Guam is to have a ton of people show up and they happily welcome strangers. I was there for a parade and strangers offered me some of their good! There is a lot of soy sauce, lemon juice, scallions, hot red pepper (donne) and coconut milk traditionally used in Chamorro cooking. The food is delicious and usually served at BBQ's and fiestas. The food unfortunately is not that healthy so I wouldn't recommend eating it on a regular basis. Actually a lot of native chamorros get diabetes because of their diet. There are not a lot of fruit or vegetables consumed in the Chamorro diet. When they are consumed they are soaked in salt and soy sauce or coconut milk!

When I visited I was lucky enough to stay with a family there. The husband was an ex marine from Kentucky that had been stationed there and met his wife, a native Chamorro woman there.
They cooked native dishes for me every day and they were more than happy to let me in the kitchen to watch how they prepared the food and to give me recipes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vegetarian Chamorro Meal

This meal consists of a lot of key staples of Chamorro cuisine that would be served at a fiesta. Usually these things would be served with some sort of meat, chicken or fish dish but these things are way more than enough just by themselves.

The meal consits of red rice with finadene sauce, cucumber salad and eggplant finadene.

Red Rice -All you need to make red rice is some sort of white rice (as much as you want per person and annatto/achiote powder or liquid. You can also used annatto seeds that you strain the pigment out of...this is a lot of work and annatto seeds are harder to find than the powder. I tried to make red rice for a friend years ago and had a hard time finding seeds. Today, they sell annatto powder in the regular grocery store and also in asian and spanish markets. I bought some achiote liquid online at and am I really pleased with it. If you do go the liquid route just know it does stain...I found this out the hard way.

-white rice, any variety
-achiote powder/liquid
Cook rice according to package directions, when the package instructs to add rice, add achiote seasoning and salt and pepper. The more powder or liquid that you add the more deeper in color the rice will be so the amount is really up to you. I add a tablespoon of the liquid. Also add as much or little salt or pepeper as desired according to your taste.
This is my pot of red rice before it boiled. You will notice the green flecks- I sauteed some onions and peppers and added them to the bottom of the pot before I put the rice in. I like the flavor they give to the rice. Some red rice in Guam does contain onion and some contain bacon as well.

Finadene Sauce- Finadene is served everywhere in Guam, even KFC has finadene for your meal. There are different variations of finadene but they all have the same main ingredients: scallions (green onion), red hot pepper (donne), yellow onion, and lemon juice. In some finadene's coconut milk is added, some add soy sauce and still others include a combination of soy sauce and cocunut meat. This finadene uses soy sauce. This finadene can be used as a topping for rice, a marinade for meat or chicken or just on as a sauce on top of the meat. These ingredients are sometimes used in a dish called Kelaguen. In Kelaguen meat, chicken, fish and shrimp are marinated in finadene. Sometimes it is then cooked, in the case of shrimp or fish they are not cooked because the lemon juice in the marinade "cooks" the dish. Finadene tastes great on anything-even pizza!
Some donne (hot red peppers) that I smuggled back from Guam - these little guys pack a lot of heat!

Ingredients: soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 stalk scallion, 1-2 red hot pepper(s), yellow onion
Directions: In a small bowl/container mix 4 parts soy sauce with 1 part lemon juice, slice scallion into small pieces and add to mixture, use about 1/5 of the onoin and slice into small/thin slices and add to mixture, dice up hot red pepper as much or as little as you want (i take the seeds out because then the sauce is way too hot for me!) put this mixture in the fridge to let the flavors mix until you are ready to use it. Finadene will stay for about a week in the fridge.
You may notice the lack of scallions in my finadene...I bought some at a local farms market and they were pretty slimy when I went to use them so I omitted them-tasted just as good!
Cucumber Salad-
Ingredients: 1 cucumber (sliced), soy sauce, white vinegar, salt, pepper, onions sliced
Directions: Slice 1 cucumber and half of an onion and place in a container/bowl. Pour in enough soy sauce to cover 75% of the cucumbers, cover the other 25% with vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and place in fridge until ready to eat so flavors can combine.

Salad before adding soy sauce and vinegar

This is approximately how much soy sauce should be in the dish/container before you add the vinegar.

Eggplant Finadene-

Ingredients: 1 eggplant, 1 stalk scallion, coconut milk, lemon juice, 1/2 a yellow onion sliced, 1-2 hot red pepper(s) diced


1. cut eggplant in half and place on a baking tray, lightly salt and drizzle olive oil over both sides of eggplant. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about a half hour or until the eggplant is golden.

This is what the eggplant should look like when you take it out of the oven. Be careful because the eggplant will be very hot. Give it some time to cool down. Cut eggplant into small slices on a cutting board. The skin should just peel off easily at this time. The eggplant should be so soft it almost breaks apart for you without much effort. If the eggplant it still hard on the inside then it should go back in the oven for a little while. Put slices in a dish or bowl.

2. Cover eggplant with coconunt milk. Add sliced scallions, yellow onions and hot peppers.

3. Start adding lemon juice, a few drops/squeezes at a time to taste. It should be sweet, spicy and sour all at the same time. Serve this immediately. Do not refridgorate beforehand.


Stuffed Flounder

My mother bought two flounder filets but didn't know how to cook them - I offered to cook them for her. I decided to stuff the flounder with some ingredients I had around the house.

-oive oil - to sprinkle in baking dish
-2 teaspoons of lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon of paprika
-2 filets of flounder
-half a bad of fresh spinach
-l clove of garlic chopped
-2 teaspoons of feta cheese

-preheat oven to 400 degrees
-saute spinach with some olive oil and one 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
-as spinach starts to cook add chopped garlic
-when spinach is sauteed remove from pan and divide between the two filets
-top with feta cheese
-roll up filets and secure with toothpicks
-drizzle oil oil and lemon juice in baking pan and place flounder in pan
-sprinkle with paprika and a little more lemon juice
-bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork

Zucchini Blossoms

I work in produce and occasionally people call my company asking for zucchini blossoms. I had never had them so when I saw them at a local farmers market I knew I had to try some. I was a little leery to try them so I only bought a handful....I wish I had bought more! I have some pictures to post but they are a bit blurry...I really need a need a new camera!This is what a zucchini blossom looks like....
I was a little unsure of how to cook these so I decided to do something simple...I mixed some flour with sea salt, pepper and some italian seasonings. I washed the blossoms and dredged them in the flour mixture and threw them in a pan that was preheated with a little bit of EVOO. I soon realized that a little bit of olive oil would not do it and pour quite a bit more in the pan...these things sucked up the oil pretty fast and took longer to fry then I thought they would. They were so delicious when they were done! I served them with a side of marinara but there was so much flavor in the blossom itself you didnt really need the marinara. I would definitely recommend trying some if you ever get your hands on them! This is what the finished product looked like:

Fuzzy picture I know, but nice and crunchy and oh so delicious!

Friday, July 24, 2009

So delicious it's fit for!

I have two dog's: a poodle and a pom, she will eat anything! Really, anything....I have a problem with her trying to eat litter off of the floor....but my poodle, he is much more picky. Not only is he picky but he has a very sensitive stomach and has allergies as well. He will stop eating for days at a time in protest. In the past I have tried switching his food, putting "gravy" on his food, giving him wet food, feeding him scraps...nothing really worked, he would turn his head away everytime I placed food in front of him.

Just as bad as Dylan not eating, he also had alergies to the food that would give him horrible rashes that he would then lick and the skin would get infected.

Then a friend sent me a link talking about how cooking for your dog was just as or even more nutritious than feeding them dog food. I started cooking for the dogs and they love it! I usually make enough for at least 2 meals every time I cook. They will have completely full bowls, finish them off and beg for more! So, no more problems with weight, Dylan is back up to a healthy wieght but also isn't gaining anything extra. This is because I control what he is eating now so I know everything he is eating is nutritious. He also doesn't have anymore allergy problems...there are so many additives in dog food, who knows for sure what he was allergic to but a lot of dogs are allergic to corn and there is a lot of corn meal found in dog food.

The basic formula for making your own dog food at home is: 40% meat, 30% veggies and 30% grain. The meat should chicken or lamb but occasionally I do give them steak or ground beef cause they really love it. The veggies can be anything...dylan is a big fan of yellow squash and broccoli and Callie my pom loves zucchini and green beans. Since they both like different things I usually get some frozen mixed veggies...just make sure there aren't any onions or sauce on the veggies. Remember that garlic (especially raw garlic) is very bad for dogs so try to limit their intake, many sauces have garlic in them. The grain portion can be white or brown rice or dogs love pasta but I wanted to give them something a bit healthier so they get brown rice pasta.

This is a sample of what I cooked for them last night:

I also usually add a little salt and pepper and sometimes a little bit of italian seasonings like oregano and parsley...they love a little fresh cilantro in their food!

So this meal consisted of some stir fry mixed veggies, salt, pepper, italian seasonings, corkscrew brown rice pasta and a pound of steak.

Cut up meat into bite size peices and fry in a little olive oil. Boil water and add pasta. If you are cooking brown rice pasta it might take a little bit longer to get tender than regular pasta. Chop up any veggies that may be too big to digest. If they are too big Dylan wont eat them at all and Callie will wolf them down choking the whole while. When everything is going it should look something like this...

When everything is cooked through mix togther and spoon into dishes and serve!

Everything mixed together.

I think she is saying "Mmmmm!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mongolian Beef:

I recommend Lee Kum Kee Mongolian Beef Sauce. Actually, I recommend all of the Lee Kum Kee Sauce mixes. If you don’t feel comfortable making a sauce yourself or picking ingredients to add to a dish but want some home cooked Chinese food, Lee Kum Kee is a great choice. When I first began cooking for myself in college I would pick up a bottle or sauce packet and just follow the recipe on the package. It would always come out great. They even have single serving size packets of sauce. You can find them in any asian market and now a lot of chain grocery stores are starting to carry their products in the ethic aisle. A lot of their sauces are certified kosher as well. I promise these are authentic, I actually heard about them from a Taiwanese girl and my Chinese friend loved the black bean sauce so much he took some packets home to China to cook for his parents!
For this recipe you would use the Mongolian beef sauce:

Like I said I used to just follow the recipe on the back of the packet but it only gets better the more you add to it!

Other ingredients:

-1 onion sliced into long strips
-bell pepper, red or green diced
-one bunch scallions, white part chopped and green parts sliced into long pieces
-2 cloves garlic minced
-1 teaspoon ginger minced
-1/4 of a poblano pepper diced
-strip steak (the kind used for charrassco) sliced into long strips – if you aren’t big on steak then chicken tastes just as good
- a couple of pinches of crushed red pepper (optional – go for it if you like some heat, this is a mild sauce)
-olive oil for frying

1. Fry steak and garlic in olive oil until cooked through, if using the strip steak this shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes

2. add ginger, onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper and fry until onions are translucent

3. add sauce, crushed red pepper and scallions and simmer for a 5 minutes

Eat up with some jasmine rice – yum!

Mrs. Nomura's Japanese Curry

I’m so lucky to have friends from other countries and occasionally they share their family’s recipes with me. The following is a recipe shared by my friend Togo. It's the one recipe that his mother sent him off to college with. It calls for a package curry roux. This can be found in any asian store and they are even starting to sell the milder version in Publix here in Florida. This is the kind my friend recommends :

S&B Golden Curry – I recommend the hot version as it is not very spicy and the milder versions don’t have much taste to me.


-one block curry roux (usually there are two in a box)
-carrots sliced into long, thin, bite size pieces
-one yellow onion sliced in long strips
-one or two bell peppers of any color sliced in long pieces
-one whole head of garlic peeled
-one cube of either chicken or beef stock
-meat of your choice: chicken, beef or pork will do (I love chicken so that’s what I usually use) chopped into bite sized pieces
-olive oil to fry

1. Fry meat of choice in olive oil until cooked medium (you are going to simmer this meat so it doesn’t/should be cooked all the way through)

2. Add veggies and garlic and fry for about 2 minutes

3. Fill frying pan with water – only enough to cover contents of frying pan and no more. Crush cube of chicken or beef stock into water and cover. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes.

This is what it should look like before you simmer it....mmmm....chocolate peppers, my fav!

4. After 20 minutes take off cover and look at amount of water in pan…it should have reduced to about ¾ the amount of water…if not you may want to disgard some of the water.

5. Crumble block of curry roux into water and stir well…if not you will have chunks of curry in your meal.

6. Let simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Let stand only a few minutes…Sauce will thicken as it stands.

Mmmm...finished product!

You can serve this meal with either rice or Japanese Udon noodles (I love the noodles personally, they are pretty salty though). If you were eating this dish in Japan a main dish of the curry would be placed in the center of the table and everyone would be given a bowl of rice. You would just grab what you wanted with chop sticks and add to rice as you go. I personally love the sauce and ladle it over my rice or noodles….

If you have any leftovers I recommend making curry bread…so delicious!
You can stop by they have a great recipe for curry bread.