Monday, November 30, 2009

Cooking books

Yesterday as I got home, my neighbor was waiting for me. He wanted to know if I wanted any cooking books. His wife had just passed away and he was cleaning out her stuff. So as I was sitting in her neat living room skimming through books after books I felt that I was getting to know my neighbor. I learned that she loved Italian food and she was a song writer. She would write song and compose on her Yamaha piano and send them out to different companies. My neighbor told me that she loved to go to book stores and new books about cooking all the time. It sadden me that it had to take her dying to get to know her. What I heard was that she really enjoyed the treats that I send her: some home made Krispy Kreme style doughnut, cheesecakes, hamburgers, etc. But thanks to my neighbor I know have a larger selection of recipes to draw upon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eggplant Parmigiana

Last Wednesday, Veteran's Day I tried to make eggplant parmigiana from a recipe that my friend gave me. I had been craving it for weeks and i did not want to ask my friend to make it for me so I attempted to do it myself. This was one of my biggest disasters ever, [it looked good but was way too salty] word of advice when adding salt keep trap of how many type you added salt. I was in making dinner and writing my analysis paper for class, and for some reason i did not remember how much I added salt to the sauce. I tasted the eggplant when i was done frying it but i did not taste the marinara sauce. When the dish came out it was way to salty and nothing, not even unsalted pasta could take away the saltiness. My poor family pretended it was good and ate a little, but in the middle of the night we were not feeling good. Too much salt in your system make you feel nauseous and get a bad headache. Next time I make this wonderful dish I am going to write down the amount of salt used or just ask my friend to make the sauce herself. Hers is awesome.

Here is the recipe, keep track on the amount of salt (this reminds me of another incident when I was young, I'll write about it later on).

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 Medium eggplants, cut into 1/2 inches thick round slices
As needed All-purpose flour
15 oz. Italian breadcrumbs
6 large Eggs, beaten
2 tbsp whole milk
As needed Vegetable oil, for frying
As needed Marinara Sauce
2/3 c Grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb Grated mozzarella cheese

Marinara Sauce

3 tbsp Olive oil
8 oz onion finely diced
5 garlic cloves, firmly chopped
2(28 oz) canned tomatoes
2 fresch thyme sprigs
2 fresh sprigs of basil
to taste salt (********to taste, very vital words)
to taste ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. For eggplant:
-place flour nad breadcrumbs each individually in a container. In a bowl, wh
isk the eggs and milk together.
-Dredge an eggplant slice in flour, then dip it in the egg mixture, and finally dredge it in the breadcrumbs. Shake of any excess breading and transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet. repeat with the remaining eggplant.
-In a large skillet/fryer, pour the oil to depth of 1/2 inch. Heat th eoil over th emedium heat, until it reaches 375 F.
-Working with small batches, fry the eggplant slices, turning
once, until golden brown. Using tongs, transfer to a paper-lined baking sheet and season lightly with salt. repeat with the remaining eggplant.
3. For sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Sweat the onion, until translucent and then add the garlic, and cook for about 1 minute.
-Add the tomatoes, and herbs; bring to a boil.
-Then lower the heat to simmer, cover, for 20 minutes.
-Remove and discard the sprigs.
-Season to taste.
-Pass through the blender/food mill.
4. To assemble:
-Lightly brush a baking dish with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Scatter half of the eggplant over the sauce.
-Cover the eggplant with another 1/3 of the sauce.
-Scatter half of the parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese over the sauced eggplant.
-Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese.
-Bake until hot and bubbly. Just when its beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Ever since I had crepes for breakfast every morning in Paris,France, I have loved these treats. I make these once in a while and when I do, I am eating them throughout the day. They are so light and delicious and while you can refrigerate them and eat them later, they are best right out of the skillet. With a dab of melting butter and sprinkled sugar, it is so delicious (just thinking about it makes my mouth water). My sisters like them with Nutella spread. Here is the recipe, it is a very simple recipe as long as you are patient while cooking them.

3 eggs
1 c whole milk
2/3 c water
1 c all purpose flour
4 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp salt

1. Mix everything together with a blender until it has a creamy consistency. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to overnight (this is make sure that the butter thickens up the batter).

2. Heat up a nonstick skillet over a medium heat. Lightly grease the skillet with some butter. scoop 1/4 cup of batter starting in the center and pouring in a circular motion to the sides of the crepes, also by tilting the pan to get a thin layer of batter. After a minute or until the edges curl flip the crepe carefully fro 30 seconds.

3. Place on a plate and spread Nutella; or butter with sugar or strawberries and whipped cream or...

use you imagination. Anything can go with crepes even tuna salad or eggs. They are great on their own too.

The crepes in Paris are huge you can't see it here but these are about 3-4 feet in diameter. One is a whole meal. Small ones are nice and easy to make at home but making these huge one requires having the right tools and lots and lots of skills. And these guys make them in front of you and I never saw them mess up. (not my photograph)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey

Last year my sister was in Denmark and she wrote me to email her the recipe on how to make a Thanksgiving dinner. She wanted to show her host family a traditional dinner. Here is what I send her with some new tricks I learned last Thanksgiving. Every year I learn new ways to improve.



  • 1 turkey, approx. 15 lbs.*
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • Parsley
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme

[* Need help figuring out how big a turkey to get? Butterball has a turkey calculator that helps you figure out just how many pounds you need. In general, plan for:

12-15 lb turkey for 10-12 people
15-18 lb turkey for 14-16 people
18-22 lb turkey for 20-22 people]


1 First defrost the turkey, if it is frozen, you will need to defrost it in the refrigerator for several days first. Allow approximately 5 hours of defrosting for every pound. So, if you have a 15 pound turkey, it will take about 75 hours to defrost it in the refrigerator, or around 3 days. Then the night before, first remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Place the turkey in orange juice, coke, and rose wine, and spices (anything that the family likes).Place in the refrigerator over night.

The next day place the turkey outside and make sure it is room temperature.

*Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken - use a separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contaminating other foods. Wash you hands with soap before touching anything else in the kitchen. Use paper towels to clean up.*

2 Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

3 Drain out the turkey of the brine (orange juice and stuff). Pull out any remaining feather stubs in the turkey skin. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon and then cover the turkey with butter, making small holes on the skin so the butter is inside the skin. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.

4 In this method of cooking a turkey, we don't make the stuffing in the turkey because doing so adds too much to the cooking time. For flavor, put in inside the turkey a half a yellow onion, peeled and quartered, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. Close up the turkey cavity with either string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey's legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close.

The neck cavity can be stuffed with parsley and tied closed with thin skewers and string.

5 Rub either melted butter or olive oil all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle black pepper over the turkey.

6 Place turkey BREAST DOWN (very important to have a juicy trukey) on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking. And the resulting bird will have the most succulent turkey breast imaginable.

Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.

7 Chop up the turkey giblets (gizzard, heart, liver). Put into a small saucepan, cover with water, and add salt. Bring to simmer for an hour or so to help make stock for the stuffing

8 Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging.

-recommended cooking time of about 15 minutes for every pound.

For example for the 15 lb turkey, start the cooking at 400 F for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 225 F for the next hour to hour and a half.

If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn over the bird for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, at an oven temp of 300°F. (Oven must be at least 250°F for browning to occur.)

Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, by inserting deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, a half hour before the turkey should be done. The dark meat in the thigh should be about 175 F. The white meat in the breast should be 160 F to 165 F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, spear the breast with a knife. The turkey juices should be clear, not pink.

9 Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.



  • 1 Onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • Turkey stock (cook the gizzard and the neck in 4 cups of water with a little bit of salt, in medium heat, for 30 minutes)

For the stuffing, it there is no box for stuffing bread, then you need a day old French bread. You can cut it into small dices. Then you can cut into tiny cubes, celery, potatoes, onion and carrot. Steamed cook these vegetables, and then when the potatoes are soft, place them in with the diced bread in a small baking pan. Put enough turkey stock to cover half of the bread and vegetables. Cover, and bake for 30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F.