Triangular Gyoza

Hubby and I dined at our favorite sushi restaurant recently, and he ordered some gyoza as an appetizer. He must have liked it a lot, because upon getting home, he asked me if I can make some for him. 

Since I didn't have those circular gyoza wrappers, I used regular wonton skins. The main differences are (obviously) their shapes, and thickness - gyoza wrappers are thinner than wonton skins.

What you need:
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 can (5 oz) diced water chestnuts
  • 4 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons corn starch
  • 3 teaspoons sherry
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • wonton skins (for wrappping)
  • canola oil for frying
  • egg wash (optional)

What to do:

In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, water chestnuts, corn starch, sherry, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and sugar; mix well.

Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the mixture in the center of a wonton skin wrapper. Make a triangle by putting 2 corners together and sealing the sides with egg wash. Continue doing so until you have used all of your filling mixture.

Heat a flat-bottomed pan with about 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium heat. Deep fry the gyozas for about 3 minutes. Do not burn them! Let drip on a cooling rack and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan over medium-high heat, bring about 1/4 of the chicken broth can to a boil. Add the fried gyozas and cover tightly. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with remaining gyozas, and broth.

Place on a serving platter and enjoy!


Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. You can omit the last part (simmering the gyozas) if you like crispy dumplings. However, simmering brings out more flavor due to the addition of the broth.
2. Use finely chopped cabbage as fillers if you don't have enough ground pork.
3. For dipping sauce, we used soy sauce with lime and chili garlic.
4. Try gyoza with ground beef.


Product Review: Bahlsen Truffet

I couldn't resist this chocolate for a number of reasons: (1) It is from Bahlsen, which from our experience makes great (but underrated) products, and (2) It is Swiss chocolate. Who doesn't love Swiss chocolates? So I tried one, and I wasn't disappointed.

Bahlsen Truffets are crunchy meringue biscuits filled with nougat creme and coated with chocolate. Sounds good, eh? Wait till you taste it!

What I liked:
  • The meringue is so light. It reminded me of Nestle's Aero chocolate. 
  • The nougat creme is perfect - not too sweet and not too bland.
  • Chocolate covered. Need I say more? :-)
  • Only 160 calories per serving (4 pieces). Awesome. 40 calories a pop is NOT bad at all.
  • Genuine Swiss chocolate. Bahlsen is one of Europe's leading biscuit manufacturers.
Aero Chocolate. Photo Credit:
What I didn't like:
  • Only 12 pieces in a box. 
  • 5% saturated fat. Boo!!! Saturated fat is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol. That is why you always have to have portion control.
  • Does not come in a resealable (plastic) package.
  • Pricey - $2.70 for a box. It is cheaper to buy them online (although there is the risk of melting before the chocolate ever gets to you).

The Verdict: 

The Bahlsen Truffet is very good, I like the rich taste and the contrasting texture. However, it is not a chocolate for kids, rather it is a good after-dinner treat enjoyed with coffee or tea. The reason for this is because it is not overly sweet, and as such, kids might not like it. Imagine having tea in England, but instead of crumpets, you are having truffets. Haha. It would also be good with ice cream, as it would balance out the sweetness. Would I recommend this to a friend? Yes. Highly recommended. Would I buy it again? Absolutely.


My Dream Stove

Picture Credit:
My dream stove... the KitchenAid® Pro-Style Dual Fuel Range Plus Grill. Isn't it amazing? *sigh*  I like it because it has an oven, 4 burners, and grill all in one package. You can grill inside your house. INSIDE YOUR HOUSE!

But with the hefty price tag ($5,983.99), it would remain my DREAM stove. Donations accepted.

P.S. This is hubby's dream grill:

Photo Credit: Andrew Huff (

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Pasta with Chicken in Garlic-Asiago Sauce

Hubby brought home a big chunk of Asiago cheese one day and I decided to put it to work. Asiago tastes similar to Parmesan cheese, but this particular brand we bought had a smoky undertone to it... like a cross between Parmesan and Gruyere (which happens to be my favorite smoked cheese). 

Nope, Asiago cheese did NOT come from Asia. Haha.

What you need:
  • 200 grams Angel Hair Pasta
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half a stick)
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced roughly
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • toasted garlic, for garnish

What to do: 

Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large pan. Saute the garlic until lightly browned. Pour in the cream and bring to a simmer. Add the diced chicken and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and cheese. Stir well to avoid cheese clumps. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

Serve on top of cooked angel hair pasta and garnish with toasted garlic. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Parmesan is a good substitute for Asiago cheese.
2. If using fresh parsley, use about a tablespoon.
3. Too cheesy for you? Lessen the amount of Asiago cheese to 1/2 cup.
4. Try shrimp on this recipe if you don't like chicken.

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Creamy Chicken Macaroni Salad

I love having salads on hot days, because (1) it refreshes and (2) it fills the tummy. I made this chicken macaroni salad using penne pasta, and added pineapple chunks for a bit of tanginess. So good. Hubby thought this was an unusual combination, but now enjoys it thoroughly.

What you need:

  • 2 cups penne pasta
  • 3/4 pound chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup (or more) mayonnaise (I used Kraft Mayonnaise with Lime Juice)
  • 1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

Boil the chicken in water for about 10 minutes. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F. Remove from liquid (broth) and let cool. Shred the chicken or chop into small pieces.

Cook the penne according to package instructions, but use the chicken broth to boil the pasta for more flavor.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix gently to avoid smashing the hard boiled eggs. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Feel free to use regular mayonnaise if you can't find mayo with lime.
2. Substitute green onion with sweet onion.
3. Add or subtract ingredients according to your taste.
4. Try it with shrimp instead of chicken.


Toothy Mushroom

This mushroom seems to have teeth! :-)


Dashi Fishball Soup

Since we are in the mood for Japanese (again), I decided to make Dashi Soup. I used frozen fish balls for some "meat." The result was a very tasty soup that hubby and I enjoyed.

Dashi is the Japanese word for soup stock. It is made by soaking dried edible kelp, dried bonito flakes, and sometimes dried sardines or dried shiitake mushrooms in water. And since I can't possibly do that, I just used a ready-made dashi mix. ;-)

What you need:
  • 1 pack (10 g) dashi soup mix
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 package fish balls
  • 1/4 cup julienned carrot
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine
  • salt, to taste
  • bonito flakes for garnish

What to do:

In a small pot, boil 2 cups of water. Add the dashi mix and bring to a boil. Add the fish balls, carrots, green onion, ginger, and rice wine. Lower the heat and let cook for about 5 minutes. Salt to taste.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with bonito flakes. Enjoy hot!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Add 1/2 cup of water if the taste is too strong for you.
2. Don't like fish balls? Use finely shredded salted ham.
3. Try sake instead of rice wine.

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Spicy Udon Noodles with Ground Pork

I thought I'd make hubby happy and cook one of his favorites - Japanese noodles. We both loved it! It was oishii (delicious)!

What you need:
  • 2 bundles udon noodles
  • 4 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Vidalia onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine

What to do:

Cook the udon noodles per package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, green onion, and Vidalia onion. Cook for about a minute, then add the ground pork. Stir occasionally as the pork might stick to the bottom of your wok.

Add the soy sauce, turmeric, sugar, rice wine and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the meat is brown. Serve on top of the noodles.

Look how cute the noodle bundles are. Haha.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. After boiling the noodles, drain it in a colander and rinse with cold water to lessen the "starchiness."
2. Use finger chili pepper instead of red pepper flakes.
3. Too hot for you? Lessen the amount of red pepper flakes or turmeric.
4. Use other noodles such as buckwheat or somen.


Mini Banana Beignets

U.C.U. (Über Close Up)

No, these are not your ordinary New Orleans beignets. They aren't covered in powdered sugar (they are covered in cinnamon-sugar instead) and they look like donut holes. And they taste very, very good.

This recipe won the Food Network Magazine's banana-themed recipe contest, and was sent in by Jacqueline McComas. I just tweaked it a bit and changed some ingredients.

What you need:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 overripe banana)
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana extract

What to do:

Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a large skillet over m
edium-high heat.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl.

Super overripe banana. Count the age spots.

Whisk the egg, milk, mashed banana and 2 tablespoons canola oil in another bowl. Add the banana extract. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Whisk the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Working in batches, drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 15 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, then roll in the cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. Use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour for a lighter, fluffier pastry.
2. No cake flour? Just sift your all-purpose through a
fine strainer about 3 to 4 times.
3. Substitute evaporated milk with regular milk.


Coke Float

My Coca-Cola glass (I got it free from a Steak n' Shake promo) reminded me of a soda fountain drink so I decided to make one.

Soda + ice cream = perfect thirst quencher and heat buster. Try this simple recipe for a refreshing drink.

P.S. This is not a Coke-sponsored ad.

What you need:
  • 1/2 a can of Coca-cola
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Ice Cream

What to do:

Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a glass, and fill it with Coca-Cola. Do so carefully, as you don't want it to bubble over. Dig in with a spoon, or sip it with a straw. (But we all know that loop straws are more fun!)

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Use your favorite soda!
2. Vanilla ice cream is best, but experiment with other flavors.
3. A cherry topper would have been perfect!


Plush Gang Funnies: Basketball

Is it basketball season yet?


Okra Fritters

Fish and Chips. Okra Fritters.

This is fried okra with a twist. It reminds me of torta (ground meat and potato omelette), but at a healthier level. I was also thinking of the English fish and chips so I put it on brown paper instead of a plate. I didn't need malt vinegar though, the salt was more than enough to give the okra fritters a kick. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine (September 2010 edition).

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups frozen sliced okra, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

What to do:

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add okra and onion and toss to coat. In a separate (and smaller) bowl, whisk together t
he egg and buttermilk. Add to okra mixture and stir just until combined.

Drop batter in 2-tablespoonful mounds into oil. With a small spatula or butter knife, gently flatten each mound and fry until golden, about 4 minutes per side, flipping once (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Drain on a cooling rack. Season with kosher salt and serve warm.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. No buttermilk? Make your own! Just add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk and let stand for 5 minutes.
2. If you still want dipping sauce, try malt vinegar (ala fish and chips). The acidity of the vinegar will work well with the fried taste of the fritter.

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Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken

Fettuccine Alfredo is probably my favorite pasta dish. The creamier, the better. I might have outgrown my fondness for red sauce because I found myself eating more white sauce then red lately. This recipe is easy to make and is delicious. It's perfect for days when you need a quick meal ready (I have been having more of those, of late). ;-)

What you need:
  • 1/2 lb fettuccine, uncooked
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoon flour
  • 4 oz (1/2 of an 8oz package) Neufchatel Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

What to do:

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove from the sk
illet. Mix the broth and flour in the same skillet. Stir in the Neufchatel cheese, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and white pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Stir constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the chicken.

Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Pour chicken mixture over pasta; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and dried parsley. Serve with garlic bread. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Use shrimp instead of chicken.
2. As always, wash your hands after handling chicken.
3. Try cream cheese instead of Neufchatel cheese.
4. For dieters, use fat-free broth.

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Product Review: Godiva Coffee (Chocolate Truffle)

Hubby surprised me with a package of this Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee one evening, and I felt like the happiest woman in the world. That was, until I tasted it. The package looked so promising, the thought of silky coffee and smooth chocolate together was so inviting... but after a few sips, I had to re-evaluate. Here are my two cents worth.

What I liked:
  • Creamy coffee.
  • The price was ok. It was around $7 for a 12-ounce pack. Starbucks price range.

What I didn't like:
  • The smell was overpowering. It was delightful at first, when you kinda' get a whiff from the packet, but after one night in our cupboard, the whole cupboard just smelled like it - in a pungent kind of way. We actually had to take the jar out because we thought it might make our other coffee beans taste like chocolate truffle. NOT a good thing to happen.
  • I thought that it would be a deep, dark roast. Instead, it was lighter and sweeter than I expected.
  • Truffle was not a word that came to mind when I had it. More of a creamy undertone, not chocolatey.

The Verdict:

I would say that the Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee is more of a dessert coffee than a breakfast coffee. Or maybe I am just getting old and leaning toward the natural coffee varieties. You know... as you get old, you get boring. Hahaha. Kidding aside, some people might love this product, but it was just OK for me. Would I recommend this to a friend? Sure. For my coffee-lover friends. Would I buy it again? I will give the other flavors a try. I have read other online reviews which said that the Hazelnut Cream variety was better.


Pork Hamonado

This is a twist on a Filipino favorite - Chicken Hamonado. Since "we love the pig", I decided to use pork instead. It was really delicious. And somehow, the acidic, tangy taste of pineapple in savory dishes really appeals to my taste buds. ;-)

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork loin, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks in syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What to do:

In a bowl, marinate the pork loin in the pineapple syrup and soy sauce for at least an hour.

Remove the pork from the syrup, and set aside the marinade. Over medium heat, fry the meat until they are golden brown, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the marinade, pineapple chunks, and bay leaf. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Perfect with hot rice!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Try this recipe using chicken.
2. When marinating, overnight is better.

3. Make sure to stir the meat occasionally when frying, as they might stick to your pan.
4. Too sweet for your taste? Use pineapple juice instead of pineapple syrup.

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Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes

I got this recipe from the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine. Hubby didn't like how it looked at first, but was wowed by the taste. I had to do some tweaking and substituting of some ingredients to better suit our preferences.

September 2010 issue

What you need:
  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound smoked kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks (skins removed)
  • 1 medium-sized Vidalia onion, diced medium
  • 5 pieces red potatoes, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tablespoon dried oregano
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

What to do:

In a heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown all over, about 4 minutes. Wi
th a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to the dish with sausage.

Sausages schmausages!

Add onion, potatoes, and celery to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes. Return sausage and chicken to the pot and add 1 cup of water. Brintg to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove lid and increase heat to high; boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. Add the red wine vinegar and oregano to vegetables and sausage and stir to combine. With s
lotted spoon, transfer vegetables and sausage to platter with chicken. Serve hot.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Use better chicken parts (like breast) if available.
2. Instead of kielbasa sausage, use sweet Italian sausage.
3. If using fresh oregano leaves, put 1 tablespoon.
4. Use the celery leaves as garnish.


Tattered Hibiscus

It looked like somebody fired a machine gun at my hibiscus! LoL.

The culprit, we found out later, was this voracious little cricket!


Dinosaur Egg Pluot

This strange-looking fruit caught my eye while shopping at our local grocery store. The name was also quite interesting - dinosaur egg pluot. For some strange reasons, it reminded me of Boulderville at Enchanted Kingdom.

Pluot is a cross hybrid of a plum and an apricot (70% plum, 30% apricot). And apparently, there are other hybrids in this family - the plumcot (50% plum, 50% apricot) and the Aprium (70% apricot, 30% plum).

The dinosaur egg pluot is sweet and juicy, rich in vitamin A, C, calcium, magnesium and fiber. I like it because I can eat two great fruits - apricot and plum - at the same time. How cool is that? :-)

Yummy and juicy!


Nutty Raspberry Salad

This salad is "nutty" because I used Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette then added almond slivers to it. The honey-roasted almonds actually gave a little hint of sweetness to the tangy vinaigrette. Perfect pair.

I also like texture on my salad so I threw in some of the
croutons I made earlier. A healthy lunch for a change. ;-)

What you need:
  • 2 cups Spring blend mix
  • 2 tablespoons Raspberry-Walnut vinaigrette
  • a handful of honey-roasted almond slivers
  • a handful of crouton bits

What to do:

Assemble the greens on your plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Top with the almond slivers and croutons.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Some mandarin oranges would have been great.
2. Use your favorite vinaigrette!

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