Posts tagged: recipes

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

By , January 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

If you want to try an authentic Chinese recipe this is so delicious and perfect for the freezing weather we’ve been having lately.  I have to be honest and say that Dan is the one who found this recipe and he is the one who always cooks this dish, but it has become one of my new favorites.  Brings me back to my days in Taiwan when I used to order soup off the street from little vendors on my bike ride home for dinner.  Yum!

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

2-3 lbs of beef shank
Water to cover
Green onion and ginger

2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 teaspoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of Szechuan peppercorn
2-3 tablespoons of minced (or grated) ginger
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
2-3 star anise
2 tablespoons of spicy chili bean paste
1 tablespoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder (optional)

1 lb tendon (optional)
½ lb of Chinese greens (I used Shanghai bok choy hearts)
Noodles (homemade or fresh store bought)
Green onions
Slivered zha cai (Szechuan pickled vegetable) (optional)

1. Place the whole beef shank in a large pot or Dutch oven with enough water to cover. Add about 4-5 stalks of green onion (well-rinsed) and 4-5 slices of ginger. Do not salt! This will ruin the flavor of the broth; you will be adding soy/salt at the very end. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a strong simmer for about half an hour. Remove and discard green onion and ginger. Then take the shank out and carve it into largish chunks, placing these (along with any juices) back into the pot. You will want a very good serrated knife for this task, as the shank is very tough to cut.

2. Heat the oil for the seasoning paste in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved and just starting to caramelize (you will see a golden brown color appear in the bottom of the pan). Then add the rest of the seasoning paste ingredients and stir vigorously for about 90 seconds. This will smell fantastic, and you will want to eat a bowl of beef noodles right on the spot. Not so fast, my friend, you’ve still got three or four hours left to go. Throw this delicious mixture into the broth pot.

3. If using tendon in your soup, simply boil it whole in a separate pot over medium-low heat until tender (about 2½ hours). Make sure to keep topping up the water level if necessary. Chop into bite sized pieces and add it to the main soup pot. Note that tendon will dissolve if you cook it for too long, so you may want to keep this aside if your soup isn’t close to ready yet.

4. Every recipe I read claims that after two hours of simmering over very low heat, the beef will practically be falling apart. This was not the case for me. Mine took about four hours, at which point it became so lusciously tender that it practically dissolved upon contact. It was well worth the wait.

5. About 15 minutes before serving, add soy/salt to taste. I added about 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Remove the peppercorns and star anise with a Chinese spider or skimmer. If you miss a few peppercorns, don’t worry. They’re edible, just a little bitter.

6. Prepare your noodles according to the package instructions. Shanghai noodles are available at most Asian markets, and work the best here. Or you can make your own, a surprisingly simple task that I document here. You have about six hours to kill anyway. Blanch veggies in the same pot of water. In your soup bowl, place a ball of noodles, followed by veggies. Pour about two cups of beef broth over, then add a few pieces each of beef and tendon. Scatter the top with slivered zha cai and green onions and serve.

Recipe stolen from

Portobello Mushroom Pasta

By , January 2, 2011 at 1:28 am

I came across this recipe for Dan after he requested something with mushrooms (he really loves those things).  This has turned out to be a favorite dish with a little spicy kick.

Portobello Mushroom Pasta

6 ounces of portobello mushrooms medium dice (other mushrooms work too)
1 onion medium diced
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1/2 cup of white wine (or apple juice)
1 cup of chicken stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper
3 stalks of thyme
1 stalk of oregano
8 TB of butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
Your favorite pasta cooked with about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water

In a large skillet over medium add in 4 TB of the butter and once melted add in the mushrooms and onions.  Cook slowly till the mushrooms are softened (about 8-10 minutes).

Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Increase the heat till medium-high and add in the white wine and reduce by 1/2.  Once the wine has reduced add in the chicken stock, crushed red pepper, thyme, oregano and reduce to about 1/2 cup.

Add in the remaining 4 TB of the butter.  Add in the pasta and if needed the remaining 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.

Serve and enjoy with some grated parmesan cheese and diced parsley.

Ring the New

By , January 2, 2011 at 1:18 am

Happy New Year!  To ring in the new year I’ve finally posted a few recipes that have become some of my favorites over the past several months.  I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time so there are quite a few new recipes.  Maybe this year I can keep on top of posting recipes.  If you are interested in seeing what we’ve been eating click here or on the Dinner Fusion tab from the picture-slide out tab above, or just search in the “search for” bar on the right; like type in a search for recipes, main dish, chicken, dessert, etc., whatever it is you are looking for and a few recipes might come up… if you’re lucky.  Organizing that site is another thing I’d like to get done this year too.  Happy 2011!

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

By , January 2, 2011 at 12:39 am

This is a new favorite of Dan’s, but for me it has a bit too many spices.  It was the first time I’ve ever made lamb.  Not bad.  If you’re adventurous and want to cook up a fancy meal give it a try.

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

1/4 cup fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh thyme
iodized sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
4 lamb chops (3/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots (I just used onions)
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter


1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the rosemary, mint, thyme, sea salt and pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place them on a plate, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place lambs chops in the skillet, and cook for about 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare, or continue to cook to your desired doneness. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter.
3. Add shallots to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. Note: If sauce is removed from heat too soon, it will be thin. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Pour over the lamb chops and serve.

Apple Bread

By , January 2, 2011 at 12:24 am

This is seriously some of the best bread we have ever eaten.  I’ve yet to make it, but hope that when I do it will turn out just like the one a friend brought over when Douglas was born.  It tastes just like it was purchased from a cafe.  Delicious!  (We had it without the walnuts.  I’m not much of a nut fan anyhow so that is how I will make it too.)

Apple Bread

1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1½ tsp. cinnamon
3 cups diced fresh apples
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir. Add apples and walnuts. Pour into greased loaf pans and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn out of pan before cool or it will stick.

*Acquired by Cynthia

Seminary Muffins

By , January 2, 2011 at 12:20 am

These are some very tasty muffins a friend of mine shared with me and I had to get the recipe.  They only keep for a short while but on the other hand freeze really well.  Warning: this recipe is only for 12 muffins, so if you want more make sure you double it.  :)

Seminary Muffins

1 egg
1 1/3 cups mashed bananas (3 medium bananas)
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup quick cooking oats (i used old fashioned kind and it worked fine)
1/2 cup semisweet choc chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease one 12 cup muffin pan.

Mash bananas.  In a large bowl mix egg, mashed bananas, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Gently stir flour mixture and oatmeal into banana mixture. Fold in choc chips and walnuts. Pout batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 min.

*Acquired by Tricia

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

By , January 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I have had a hard time finding a pancake recipe that I like.  After trying this one, it is a winner.  I found the secret is in nuking the milk in the microwave until it is warm, or at room temperature.  Apparently warm milk mixed in butter keeps the butter from congealing (as it does when you mix butter with cold milk).  Pretty cool.

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

Recipe Yields 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm milk (or room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Adapted from:

Eggplant Marinara Bruschetta

By , January 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

If you like eggplant or have always wanted to try it, this is a very simple recipe and pretty filling believe it or not.

Eggplant Marinara Bruschetta

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant (cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds)
  • 1 loaf Italian bread (cut into 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick rounds)
  • 1/2 jar of marinara sauce (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil plus 6 whole leaves (for garnish)- optional
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle eggplant with salt and pepper. Place in skillet. Cover. Cook until tender, turning, 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate. Brush one side of each slice of bread with oil. Cook in skillet, cut side down, until golden, 1 minute.  (I find that toasting the bread really isn’t necessary, but I suppose it is suppose to prevent the sauce from soaking into the bread.  This set is optional for me, depending on how much time I have).

Place bread, toasted side up, on baking sheet. Spread spoonful of sauce on each slice.  Sprinkle with chopped basil. Top with eggplant. Mound mozzarella cheese on eggplant; spoon remaining sauce over cheese.

Bake bread until topping is hot and crust is crisp, about 12 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves.

Adapted from: Bon Appétit | October 2010

Cookie Addiction

By , October 4, 2008 at 9:24 am

I have a new favorite cookie that I am totally in love with- the Reese’s chewy chocolate cookies. While I was pregnant with David I craved cookies like every day, so I been making cookies quite regularly for the past 9 months. I finally found one that is perfectly soft and chewy and freezes really well and this is it. (I have a weird habit of freezing half of the cookies I make. This way I won’t eat as many and somehow think I can have some for later). This time they didn’t last in the freezer very long- they were so addicting. If you’d like the recipe you can find it at my new website: It’s my latest work in progress; a collection of all my favorite recipes. Basically it’s suppose to aid me in deciding what’s for dinner since I never seem to know what to make.

By the way, one of my favorite songs growing up was C is for Cookie. Maybe that’s why I love cookies so much. I never watched Sesame Street much, but always loved this song because Carolyn and cookie start with C. I’ll admit, I have a huge sweet tooth. Are the rumors true that Cookie Monster’s been replaced by some vegetable guy now?

Did You Know?

By , July 18, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I thought I’d share some information with all of you from an email my Grandma sent me a while ago. It has a bunch of really neat ideas and tips. I tried using the hair conditioner as shaving cream and it worked wonders. Bought the Andes Mints for the brownies, but have yet to make them (and now the mints are almost gone). Oh well. :) Thought the info was pretty informative. Let me know if you try any of these things. It’s amazing how much I have yet to learn…

Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to
pick the little ‘stringy things’ off of it. That’s how the primates do it.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.
If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.
It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of
spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints
in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste
of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply
chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them
in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!

Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer
for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes
with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in
a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food
moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers,
put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and for-
get about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not
get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can’t see easily.

No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket.
It will keep the mosquitoes away.

Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.

Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and … ta da! … static is gone.

Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup.. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car . When the window s fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

Reopening envelope
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It’s also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn’t like when you tried it in your hair.

Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2′ with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home,’ can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

Clothes Dryers
The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material … I’m sure you know what your dryer’s lint filter looks like.. Well … the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn’t go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that’s what burns out the heating unit. You can’t SEE the film, but it’s there. It’s what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free … that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box …. well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn’t know dryer sheets would do that. I thought I’d share!

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