Friday, July 24, 2009

Dollhouse Cakes

A friend of our has just started a business called Dollhouse Cakes. These cakes are just darling. What a fun and cute little treat for any occasion! To get things started, Raven is having a Grand Opening Giveaway. You have to check it out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Garlicy Tuna Tostada

The nice thing about simple salads is that they have so many uses. This one works as an appetizer or you could make it a meal by paring it with a nice bowl of tomato soup.


Garlic Mayonnaise
  • 2-3 heads of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1 cup garlic mayo (recipe above)
  • 2 cans tuna, drained
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup bell pepper, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 medium size tortillas or tostada shells.

Garlic Mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the outer paper off the garlic heads, leaving the individual cloves intact. Cut about 1/4 inch off the top of each head, just exposing the inside of each clove. Place each clove on a small square of aluminum foil, cut side up. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil on each one and wrap up in the foil. Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and light brown. Squeeze the cloves out of the head and chop fine. Whisk into the mayonnaise. Chill. Makes 2 cups.


Mix all ingredients except onion and tortilla in a medium bowl. Distribute over tortillas and top with onions.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ramen Cabbage Salad

Continuing our recent theme of cool salads for summer. This one with a slightly Asian twist!

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 package ramen noodles (do not cook them!)
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and ramen seasoning packet. Toss together cabbage and noodles with dressing. Serve with chopped green onions and sunflower kernels on top.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mac Salad

A nice cool salad for those hot summer afternoons. Great for a Saturday lunch, backyard barbecue, or Hawaiian luau.

  • 1 lb macaroni noodles, well cooked in salted water
  • 8 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve chilled.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beef Stew

One of the most economical ways to cook is to use bones to make homemade stock. You can get beef soup bones from the butcher very cheaply, plus they add texture and flavor that you can't get from canned beef broth.

  • 1-2 lbs beef bones
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus extra for the bones
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsely
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Turn on the broiler. Lightly oil the bones and brown on a sheet pan under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally to evenly brown all sides. Remove from the oven and set the oven for 250 degrees.

Toss the stew meat in 2 tablespoons of the oil and half the salt. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat. Quickly brown the meat, working in batches so as to not crowd the pan. Put the meat on a clean plate and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Brown the onions, carrots, and celery with the remaining salt. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and evenly sift on the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flour is just started to brown. Slowly stir in the water and bring to a full simmer. Add the potatoes, pepper, and bay leaves. Cook in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. Remove the bones. If there is any meat or marrow on them, cut/scrape it off and stir back into the stew. Stir in the parsley, thyme, and lemon juice. Serve over rice or pasta.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Guava Cake

Now that you've had Tuesday's pork, you need a delicious Hawaiian desert to follow the meal. Guava cake is probably my favorite cake. Although it's a little fussy, it feeds a crowd and is quite tasty!

Note 1: To do the cake, frosting and glaze, you need 3 cups (2 cans) of guava concentrate, one cup in the cake, 2 tablespoons in the frosting, and the rest in the glaze.

Note 2: I actually prefer orange-mango or passion-orange-guava (POG) concentrate over straight guava for this recipe! You can use whichever fruit you like.

Note 3: Don't wait until the cake is frosted to start the glaze. It takes a long time to cool to room temperature. If you do forget to start the glaze early and it is still hot when the frosted cake is cool, you can put the saucepan in an ice water bath to chill it quickly; however, don't let it get so cold that it won't pour!

Guava Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3 oz. box instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 cup Sprite (0r other lemon-lime) soda

Grease and flour a sheet pan or jelly roll pan. Mix all ingredients and pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool.

Guava Cake Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons guava juice concentrate, thawed
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cup Cool Whip

Cream together cream cheese, guava concentrate, and powdered sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Frost cooled cake and chill in fridge.

Guava Cake Glaze

  • 15 fluid ounces (i.e. 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons for frosting) guava concentrate
  • ¼ C water
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch

Bring guava to a boil in a saucepan. Shake the water and corn starch into a slurry and whisk into boiling guava. Simmer until glaze is translucent. Cool to room temperature, pour on chilled frosted cake. Chill again and serve.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kalua Pork

A real Hawaiian favorite, this meal is ridiculously easy (and delicious)! You can tell all your friends that you dug a pit (imu) in the back yard and cooked a whole pig with hot rocks and taro leaves!

  • 5 lbs. pork shoulder (butt roast)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • liquid smoke
  • about 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Trim off any thick fat cap off the pork (don't leave it bare - a little fat is good for flavor). Lightly rub entire roast with salt, then rub in a thin layer of liquid smoke. Place pork in the slow cooker with water, then cook on low for 16-20 hours. Shred in pot with two forks, stir to evenly distribute juices. Serve with white rice. Serves 15

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jalepeno Burger Surprise

The surprise is that the jalapenos are cooked right into the hamburger patties. This makes the heat more low-level and subtle than stacking the chiles on top. Also, as long as we're mixing in jalapenos, we might as well add some other ingredients as well, just to make things extra-flavorful.

  • 24 ounces hamburger meat (I like a 50/50 mix of ground chuck and sirloin)
  • 2-4 small jalapeno chiles, roughly cut into large pieces (remove the ribs if you want less heat) - you could use more powerful chiles to your liking if you want it hotter (such as Serrano, Thai, or birds-eye)
  • 1/2 small onion, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (really!)

Put the jalapeno, onion, and garlic in the food processor. Chop in one-second pulses until a fine mince is formed (do not over-process, or it will turn to mush). In a large bowl, gently mix the jalapeno mixture with the remaining ingredients - your hands (with vinyl or latex gloves) are the best tool to mix thoroughly while avoiding over-mashed beef. Form into 6 patties and grill for 4-5 minutes, flipping once. Serve with normal burger fixings (including Monterrey Jack cheese added for ), also possibly including the recipe below!

Bonus Recipe - Chipotle Ketchup!

Place 2 cups ketchup (I like Hunts), 1 canned chipotle pepper and 1 teaspoon (up to 1 tablespoon if you like the heat!) of the adobo sauce from the can in a blender. Mix on high power for 10-20 seconds, or until smooth.