Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peach Bellini

It's sunny and I am in my room sick. Doing nothing, bored, and I am homesick.I lived in Los Angeles half of my life. And now I am in cold Michigan.
And today is a perfect sunny day and I'm in bed.
Missing my friends and remembering the fun times at the beach.

photo of coast @ discover los angeles
Today reminded me of one of those times.
It was a nice sunny day in California,
I met up with girlfriends for lunch at Coast,
I must tell you, Coast is a perfect beachfront restaurant.
The food is great, the view is spectacular, and the people around you are beautiful.
While ordering lunch, a waiter walked by carrying this gorgeous cocktail.
I do drink occassionally. And I love to try pretty drinks. Yes Pretty drinks!!!
I had to stop him and asked. A Peach Bellini he said.
It was a perfect, perfect, perfect cocktail for brunch, lunch, or an afternoon in the sun.
And what more?
It was August, peaches are in season.

What is a Bellini? A Bellini is a long-drink cocktail that originated in Venice, Italy. It is a mixture of a sparkling wine (traditionally, Prosecco) and puréed white peaches. Often served at celebrations (and brunches), this is one of Italy's (and America's) most popular cocktails.
The Bellini was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. Because of its lovely pale pink hue, which was said to remind Cipriani of the color of the toga of a saint in a painting by 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini, he named the drink after the painter.

So when in Venice, Italy stop by at Harry's Bar and enjoy a glass of Bellini.


2 ounces white peach pureé
6 ounces of Prosecco sparkling wine

When making a Bellini, everything (the glasses, Prosecco and white peach puree) should be as cold as possible.
So chill the champagne flutes, and Prosecco ahead of time.
The general rule is to use one part white peach puree to three parts Prosecco.
Use fresh frozen white peach puree when you can, but when
making your own puree, never use a food processor because it
aerates the fruit.

A Food mill is the best tool to use to puree, if you don't have a food mill.
Add a bit of sugar or some simple syrup if the puree is too tart or a tad sour.

One may find frozen white peach purée in specialty markets. But when white peaches are abundant during the summer, make the purée using fresh  fruit. And freeze for future use.

And absolutely never use yellow peaches to make a Bellini.
Ever had a Bellini that just tasted terrible?
The bartender probably used peach schnapps.
So before you order, don't hesitate to ask if they use puree or artificial flavor.

Friday, April 27, 2012



I had this drink when we had dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse. I love, love, love the taste. I opted for a Mango Strawberry Caipirinha since I love mangoes. This drink is a brazilian version of a mojito. 
Mojito has tequila and Caipirinha has cachaça.

Mango Strawberry Caipirinha

1 large lime
2 tablespoons of superfine sugar or 1 ounce of simple syrup
2 strawberries, thinly sliced (divide)
1 tbsp mango puree
2 oz Cachaça

Thinly slice large lime. 1 Lime will make 2 servings. Place 1/2 of the lime slices in rocks glass. Feel free to experiment with your favorite fruits. Just add the fruit to the recipe and cut the amount of limes in half.

Add 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar or 1 ounce of simple syrup. Using other types of sugars or sweeteners will work well. You can even use a sugar substitute for a lower calorie Caipirinha.

Thinly slice one strawberry, add.

Mash lime, strawberries, and sugar into a juicy slurry with a muddler for 15 seconds. Muddling well is the key to releasing all of the fruit’s flavor and fully mixing the sugar with the fruit.

And add1 Tbsp Mango Puree (put mango in blender and puree).Or you can use 1/4 cup mango juice

Fill the rocks glass with ice. For best results, use crushed ice. Crushed ice will slightly melt in the mixing process which helps to blend all the flavor.

Add 2 ounces of Cachaça.

Place a shaker securely over rocks glass. Shake well for 5 to 10 seconds. Shaking with the shaker on the bottom ensures the liquid stays in the container. Stirring is an alternative method of mixing.

Pour all the contents of the shaker into a rocks glass. Add ice as needed. Add a few slices of strawberries and Garnish with a fresh lime.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fresh Spring Roll with Peanut Sauce

There are days that I just want to eat light. And here's something I crave for on those kind of days besides green salad.
This is a very easy Roll to make. If you have peanut allergies, you can always dip this on a chinese sweet chili sauce or hoisin sauce.
In some recipes they sometimes add steamed pork, but I prefer just shrimps. For my vegan friends, you can just add bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers and avocados instead of shrimps.


8-10 medium-sized cook shrimp, deveined and cut in half
2-3 carrots, matchsticks
8 lettuce leaves of your choice, I prefer butter or red lettuce
handful of Thai basil & mint leaves
4 stalks of scallions, cut 3 inches long
8 rice wrappers
handful of rice vermicelli
Sprouts (optional)

Peanut Sauce:
2 teaspoons peanut or any cooking oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons peanut butter


Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip wrapper one at a time into the water for 1-2 seconds to soften. Lay the wrapper over a tea towel on a chopping board or a dinner plate. The wrapper should become pliable within seconds.
In a row across the centre, put 3 basil leaves, 3 mint leaves, 3 shrimps, some vermicelli, carrots and bean sprouts. Leaving about an inch on each side.
Fold the sides inward, then start to roll tightly and firmly from the end that is near to you into a cylinder, enclosing the filling completely. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

For the dipping sauce, Heat the oil in a small saucepan and, when hot, add the garlic and ginger, and cook until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add the water, sugar, peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, and hoisin sauce and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before serving. Serve in small bowls, garnished with the chopped peanuts.

May be served warm or at room temperature.
Serve spring rolls with dipping sauce.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I scoured the web for the best recipes for this dish, experimented, taste tested, and this is the recipe that I came up with. If you don't like pork, you can substitute it with chicken or turkey.

An embutido is a generic term for
sausages found in Spain, Portugal, the Philippines, and Central and South America.
It generally contains hashed
meat, generally pork, seasoned with aromatic herbs or spices (black pepper, red pepper, paprika, garlic, rosemary, thyme, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, or others) that is served wrapped in the skin of the pig's intestines.
Mass-produced sausages of these types are often wrapped in a type of artificial, sometimes edible, skin.
Although the
Filipino longaniza is roughly equivalent to the traditional embutido,
there is another Filipino dish that shares the same name, but is better described as a kind of steamed
meatloaf and lacks a casing.


2 lbs ground pork ( can substitute with ground chicken or ground turkey)
2 cups bread crumbs

1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
2 eggs
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup red bell pepper, minced
1 cup green bell pepper, minced
1 cup carrots, minced
1 cup onion, minced

1 1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste
12 pcs vienna sausage (optional)
6-8 pcs hard boiled eggs or 16 pcs. quail eggs

aluminum foil


- Add all ingredients except hard boiled eggs and vienna sausage. Mix well.
- Place mixture on foil and flatten it.
- Put the vienna sausage and boiled eggs on the middle of the flat meat mixture
- roll tightly
- steam for 1 hr.

I made about 4 - 6 inch embutidos with this recipe so you probably need about 8 boiled eggs. You can cut the hard boiled egg in 4 sections and the vienna sausage for easy rolling.

I like to use Quail eggs for the taste and it's easy to work with when rolling.
Great with Banana Ketchup.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is my most favorite dish. I can eat it everyday.
I would rather go to my favorite Thai restaurant and order, but for years I have this desire of really learning how to make it.
The recipe is intimidating, it looks like a lot of work.
But hey, why not try!

Going through different Pad Thai recipes I have read that a common mistake in a Pad Thai recipe is to season while cooking in the wok, since you will be cooking in a super heated wok.
If you follow those recipes that have you measure a tablespoon of fish sauce and one of tamarind and yet another of palm sugar into the hot wok during the cooking, you are doomed to failure.
That only works for professional chefs or for cooks who have been cooking dishes from a wok.
By the time you’re done adding all ingredients, your noodle turns gooey, your protein will be rubbery, and your perfectly innocent Pad Thai becomes a sticky mushy mess!!! 
Something you would not want to eat.
So prepare the sauce, noodles and protein beforehand.

4 ounces dried rice stick noodles
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
1 ½ cups thinly sliced chicken, shrimp
1/2 cup Extra firm Tofu
1 egg
1 cup carrots, match sticks
1 cup Chinese Chives or green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tbsp toasted peanuts chopped (optional, some have peanut allergies)
Lime wedge
Pad Thai Sauce:
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup tamarind juice concentrate
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground dried Thai chili pepper

Prepare all the other ingredients and have them ready for easy cooking.
For the Noodles - Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Dunk in your rice noodles. Allow noodles to soak while you prepare the other ingredients, about 4-5 minutes. You will be frying the noodles later, so you don't want to over-soften them now. Noodles are ready to be drained when they are soft enough to be eaten, but are still firm and a little "crunchy". NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT that you Drain and rinse with cold water, to keep noodles from sticking together. Set aside.
For the Sauce - Heat a small pan on medium low and add fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind concentrate, and garlic. Add 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper. 
Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolve. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and adjust the flavor balance until it suits you (be careful, the sauce will be hot). Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container.
For the chicken/shrimp - Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan on high. Add minced garlic and cook raw chicken, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken/tofu/seafood into a small bowl.
Now you're ready to put everything together!
  • Make sure you have a very hot wok. Add the remaining oil and then add garlic and minced shallots to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add 3-4 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce.
  • Add cooked chicken/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add carrots, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together.
  • Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tablespoon of sauce and fry another half minute. 
  • Remove from heat and serve.
  • Garnish with remaining sprouts, carrots, cilantro, a wedge of lime and peanuts (omit if you have peanut allergies).
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