Monday, January 29, 2007

Balinese Satay

It has been years since I visited Bali, and I vividly remember the soft, silky sand between my toes, the local women offering massages, trinkets, and hair-braiding right on the beach of Nusa Dua, and all those delectable local dishes. So when I chance upon a balinese satay recipe on an indonesian website, I had to try it. The difference in the meat ingredient was interesting. I like the use of ground beef and I think it absorbs the flavors of the spices like cumin and corriander in the marinade faster, especially when I cooked it immediately after mixing everything together. Wrapping it around the lemongrass and the addition of lime zest and juice also gave it an added citrusy tastiness, besides the authentic appeal of it. Because of the snow, I broiled it instead of grilling outside in the freezing cold, and it came out very well. H enjoyed it very much, and I know this recipe is a keeper.

Ground beef
dessicated coconut
minced garlic
chopped shallots
shrimp paste (substituted with fish sauce)
lime juice
chili pepper
brown sugar
orange juice
lemongrass to use as satay sticks

Wash and remove the outer stalks of each lemongrass. In food processor, mix garlic and the next 9 ingredients. Add to beef and coconut. Form around the lemongrass. Barbecue until done.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Melt-in-the-mouth Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies

In parts of Asia, the cookies that melt in your mouth is greatly appreciated along with the crunchy and crispy cookies. Recently found this recipe for peanut cookies that is usually sold for Chinese New Year, and finally got to bake some last night. The ingredients were simple, and I loved the aroma of the cookies in the oven while baking. Since it was a trail run as CNY is more than two weeks away, I halfed the recipe and tested it out. Now, a day later, the cookies are all consumed by various testers in the family. I can't wait to go to the store to get more peanuts to roast and bake more of these yummy treats! This recipe is at IK. Thanks Little Corner of Mine for insisting that I try it! The main ingredients for this recipe are freshly ground peanuts, powdered sugar, and vegetable oil.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Salmon Cakes

The kids and I love salmon, and we usually have it once a month. Had some beautiful Alaskan coho salmon filets in the freezer, and grilled them for dinner a couple of days ago. With the leftover grilled salmon in the fridge, I made these salmon cakes. I usually broil them in the oven, but this time I brown them on medium heat in a non-stick skillet with a little light olive oil, about 5 mins. on each side or until done.
2 pieces grilled salmon filet, bones and skin removed
1 c. corn flakes, crushed
1 med onion, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs mustard
1 tbs ketcup
1 tbs worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients together into cakes. Cook in broiler until brown on both sides.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mango coconut sticky rice

It is difficult to out to a Thai restaurant and save room for dessert, for me at least. However, the last time we went to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, I ordered the tom yang soup and the grilled beef salad, and saved room for one of the many desserts to share with H, the Mango sticky rice. I have also tasted the coconut sticky rice dessert from northeastern Thailand, and loved the combination of coconut milk flavored chewy glutinous rice. So I decided to combine these two desserts and came up with Mango coconut sticky rice! Not for the faint of carbs, for sure!

1 cup glutinous rice, washed and soaked overnight
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 mango, sliced or cubed

Steam glutinous rice for 15-20 mins until cooked. In a small pot, heat coconut milk with sugar and salt till warm. Do not boil or coconut milk will curdle. Add coconut milk mixture onto cooked rice and stir till blended. Dish onto individual plates with mango pieces and serve.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Crab and Asparagus Fried Rice

It's always a mind stimulating activity to decide on what to feed the little ones. Sometimes it is based on what mom is craving for that particular meal, but often it's a juggle on what's nutritious and appealing to the little palettes. According to Oceans Alive, their consumption advisories recommended on feeding children eco safe, dungeness crabmeat once a week. And since I have some dungeness crab meat in the fridge, I decide to make a quick lunch for my hungry tots.

Asian Pear and Dungeness Crab Salad

We are still in the wonderful crab season, and I made this easy salad for a light dinner and served it with some bacon muffins and a nice chilled glass of chardonnay for H. Added some thinly sliced asian pear, sliced red oniions, and grape tomatoes to the greens and topped it with goat cheese and crushed walnuts. Made a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe
1 c. raspberry vinegar
1 c. olive oil
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp. salt

Combine in food processor until blended. Store in fridge.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stir-fry Chicken Satay Dinner

On weeknights, I am always trying to speed up the process of preparing dinner. Since I had purchased some skinless, boneless chicken thighs from the store, I decided to marinade them for a couple of hours in a satay concoction recipe from williams-sonoma cookbook. Instead of threading them into individual sticks, I cooked them in a non-stick skillet until most of the liquid is gone. Hence a stir-fry chicken satay dinner! Served with peanut sauce and rice on the side. The recipe can be found here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fresh Banana Pancakes with Vv's Coconut Syrup

Every Sunday when we head into the kitchen for breakfast, I would ask the kids what they want for breakfast. This morning, there was a resounding BANANA vote. So I had one ingredient down.

After looking at the bunch of bananas on the counter and the items in the pantry, I decided it was going to be banana pancakes. The coconut sauce idea came when I looked into the fridge and decided to use up the remaining coconut milk. I had made these in the past, and the kids loved it. This morning I sat down with my honey ginger tea and watch them chow down their pancakes. One meal down for the day... :)

Kraft Foods Fresh Banana Pancakes Recipe:
1/2 c organic whole wheat flour
1/2 c organic oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
fresh ground nutmeg to taste
1 cup soy milk
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 banana mashed
Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet on medium-low heat. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients, except banana, in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in mashed bananas.
Ladle batter into hot skillet, using 1/2 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on top, then turn to brown other sides.

Coconut syrup from what's on hand:
3/4 can coconut milk
Sugar to taste
1 tsp salt
Mix in saucepan over medium heat (do not boil!) and serve over warm pancakes

Friday, January 19, 2007

Miso Chicken Bake

It is not easy to feed a family when one is not in the best of health. I remembered a friend who's a mom of three told me once that if she can get out of bed, that would be a good day. I thoroughly understand what she meant when I was struggling to get out of bed this morning! Resisting the urge to order a pizza or take out, I made an old standby for tonight's dinner. I saw it in a health magazine some time ago, and have been making it since. Recipe was created by chef Tom Berry. It's an easy chicken recipe for the weeknight, and the white miso paste can be subsituted with brown/yellow miso paste in a pinch. I usually broil it for 3 to 5 mins at the end to get a nice color on the chicken breast. The combined flavors of the miso paste, sugar, chicken broth and minced ginger gave this dish a unique taste, and I sometimes add a dash of cayenne pepper or chilli paste to give this dish an extra kick for the adults portion.

1/2 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a bowl, combine miso, sugar, broth, oil, and ginger. Add chicken; coat, cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Heat oven to 375°. Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Fold up edges of foil. Pour marinade over chicken. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

8-Layer Jello

Had been having a nasty sore throat for a couple of days, and decided to make something that's fun and easy. This recipe takes some time to assemble, so I usually make it the night before. There are several variations to this dessert, and some requiring sour cream or condensed milk. My personal preference is to use Carnation evaporated milk as the result is not too tangy nor too sweet. This recipe was adapted from, and makes a 9x13 pyrex dish, and the eighth layer almost reach the top. This is a fun dish for kids, and easy on my sore throat too!

8-Layer Jello Dessert
1 layer blackberry flavor
1 layer cherry flavor
1 layer lime flavor
1 layer lemon flavor
1 layer berry blast flavor
1 layer orange flavor
1 layer orange pineapple flavor
1 layer wild strawberry flavor

Mixture for odd numbers. 1 small box Jello, 3/4 cup hot water, 3/4 cup cold water.
Mixture for even numbers. 1 small box Jello, 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1/2 cup cold milk.

Each layer is mixed one at a time in order given. Place in a glass cake pan. Mix the first layer. Let it set. Make sure it sets level in refrigerator, about 30 mins. Mix second layer. After mixed together let stand for awhile on counter. When first layer is firmly set, carefully pour second layer on top. Return to refrigerator to set firm. Continue mixing layer by layer as numbered. The pan will be filled. After it has set, cut and serve.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Banana Crepes

The kids wanted something different for breakfast today, so I made crepes. This is an easy recipe that I have been making for sometime:
Easy crepes from Bon Appettit:
1 1/3 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Mix first 6 ingredients in blender just until smooth. Cover batter and chill at least 15 minutes and up to 1 day.
Spray 7-inch-diameter nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium heat. Pour 2 tablespoons batter into pan and swirl to coat bottom. Cook until edge of crepe is light brown, about 1 minute. Loosen edges gently with spatula. Carefully turn crepe over. Cook until bottom begins to brown in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer to plate. Cover with paper towel. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying pan with oil spray as needed and covering each crepe with paper towel. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Topping from Gourmet (original recipe for 1)
3 navel oranges3 firm-ripe finger bananas
3 tbs unsalted butter
6 tbs sugar
1 tbs Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur or Cognac (optional)
1/4 c chopped pecans, toasted

To make the topping, cut and peel, including all white pith, from orange with a sharp paring knife. Working over a bowl, cut segments free from membranes, letting segments fall into bowl, then squeeze 6 tablespoons juice from membranes into bowl (discard membranes).
Peel banana and halve lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
Melt butter in reserved skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add sugar, then pour juice from bowl into sugar mixture and cook, swirling skillet, until sugar is dissolved. Add 1 crepe to sauce and cook until crepe is coated and heated through, about 15 seconds. Fold crepe into quarters using tongs, then transfer to a heated dessert plate. Repeat with second crepe.
Add orange segments and banana to skillet and cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until fruit is heated through, about 2 minutes. Add Grand Marnier or Cognac (if using) and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Spoon fruit over crepes and sprinkle with pecans.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Turkey Cellophane noodles or Tukey Tung Hoon 火鸡綠豆麵

Cellophane noodles or tung hoon is one of my favorite noodles. It is made from mung bean starch and absorbs the flavors of the sauce nicely. Made this simple dish for lunch and served it with grilled salmon and rice pilaf. Today, I used asparagus for this dish.

In a hot pan, add a Tbs vegetable oil and saute onions and garlic till fragrant. Add ground turkey breasts and seasonings and saute till cook and no longer pink. Add veggies (shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and/or tofu) of choice and cook 5 mins. Add a mixture of cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and chicken broth to it. Stir till mixed. Add tung hoon and stir. Cover and continue stirring for 10 mins or until cellphane noodles are cooked. Serve immediately.
CD Kitchen also has a good recipe for cellophane noodles salad that I had tried in the past and the recipe is as follows:
8 oz cellophane noodles
1/2 lb cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp
green onions, julienned
carrots and cucumber for garnish
Chopped cilantro for garnish
6 teaspoons soy sauce
6 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
6 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
Soak bean threads in warm water until soft, about 15 minutes. Cut into four-inch lengths. Cook in a medium pot of boiling water for one minute. Drain, cool and pat dry. Combine the dressing ingredients and toss with the noodles to coat thoroughly. Mound noodles on individual plates or a serving platter. Garnish with shrimp; julienned green onions, carrots and cucumber; bean sprouts and chopped cilantro.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Clementine Peel Chicken

One of the many wonderful fruits available during the winter season is the versatile clementine. Clementines reminded me somewhat of tangerines as they are sweet, juicy, and have no seeds. My kids will await patiently as I peel off the skin, divide the individual segments and they will carefully inspect it for any remaining threads of peel before it disappears in their little mouths. With ample clementines around the house from a recent purchase, I decided to make a different version of orange peel chicken using clementines. Here's my recipe...

Clementine Peel Chicken
Peel of two clementines
Enough clementines for a cup of juice
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Fish Sauce
2 Tbs Sesame Oil
1 Tbs Cornstarch
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c water
4 chicken breasts halves, cut into cubes
3 cups vegetable oil
1 Tbs chili oil
1 Tbs crushed chili peppers
6 whole dried chili peppers
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
3 Tbs cider vinegar

Mix clementine juice, molasses, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch in a bowl.
Mix four, salt and baking powder in medium bowl. Whish in water to form smooth batter. Add chicken and mix well.
In a non-stick wok, heat oil till 375. Carefully add 1/4 of chicken and cook till golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Remove oil.
Reheat wok, add chilli oil, clementine peel, crushed chili peppers, dried chili peppers, garlic and ginger. Stir fry till fragrant. Add cider vinegar.
Stir cornstarch mixture into wok. When sauce thickens, add chicken and mix well. Serve with white or brown rice.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A twisty tale of 2 pies

It was cold and snowing outside, the kids were napping, and except for the furnace going, there was not a sound in the house. It was a good time to make some flaky pie crust today. I made 2 batches from a recipe in Bon Appetit. Then I had to decide on what to make for dinner, and after staring into the fridge for what seemed like eternity (it was a good thing that the door alarm was on!), I settled on making Shephard's Pie with a flaky crust twist. This is not the usual shephard's pie I made before. Kind of like chicken pot pie meets shepherd's pie, I thought! And while that was in the oven, I made a pumpkin pie with the remaining flaky pie crust. Hence the twisty tale of 2 pies!

Vv's Shepherd's Pie
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup tater tots
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey breasts
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth

Preheat oven at 400.
In a pot, bring unsalted chicken broth, onions, carrots and tater tots to a boil. Cook carrots until tender but still firm, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground turkey breasts and cook until well browned. Pour off excess liquid if any, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and unsalted chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spread the cooked ground turkey breasts in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Pour carrot mixture over it. Stir and add shredded cheese and more chicken broth if needed. Place flaky pie crust over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Tip: For a crispier crust, I have tried cutting the pie crust into squares, and baking it separately. Place on top of individual bowls of shepherd's pie before serving. Nice presentation too!

Flaky pie crust recipe from Bon Appetit:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Mix flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under. Crimp edges decoratively. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Pie recipe from Bon Appetit:
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons
(1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1
/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whipped cream
1 cup chilled whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For pie:
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk pumpkin, maple syrup, whipping cream, eggs, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in large bowl to blend well.Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake until filling is just set in center and crust is golden, about 1 hour. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cover pie and refrigerate until cold. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)For whipped cream: Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup chilled whipping cream, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in large bowl until soft peaks form.Serve pie cold or at room temperature with whipped cream.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Black Rice Pudding/Pulut Hitam/Bobo Hitam

It was a cold night, and I was craving for some sweet comfort food from my childhood. I came across a version of Black Rice Pudding on epicurious and though I liked their note, I wanted more than the minimal ingredients stated, so I kept looking, and found this wonderful version by dr ve-thru. Her version has pandan leaves and red beans which I remembered enjoying. I am not sure if black sticky rice is the same as what I have in the pantry, but I substituted with forbidden rice as I love it's nutty taste, and also added some white glutinous rice. It turned out yummy, and my little ones actually ate some with me! The coconut milk by Savoy recommended by Ching was a great accompliment to it! Thank you ladies! Used frozen pandan leaves for this recipe. Remember to soak the rice and red beans overnight before cooking. Used azuki beans as they retain their shape after cooking.
6 oz forbidden rice
2 oz white glutinous rice
4 oz red azuki beans
2 frozen pandan leaves, tied in a knot
3 cups water
1/2 c brown sugar or more to taste
1 cup canned or fresh coconut milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the rice, red beans and water in a crockpot and cook for 4 hours. Check water level and add more water if the red beans are not cooked through yet. Add pandan leaves and cook for another hour. Most of the water should be cooked off. Just before the rice finishes cooking, place the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in the sugar and salt until completely dissolved. Heat just to a boil, then reduce to the lowest heat until the rice is cooked. I prefer to add coconut milk into individual bowls like drve-thru. Add the coconut milk to the bowl of rice/bean mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note from epicurious: If you like, once the pudding has cooled (or if you have leftover pudding), transfer it to a small baking sheet or a baking pan and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Cover and place it in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to firm up. Cut into strips and serve sprinkled, if you wish, with the sesame seeds, coriander, or fried shallots, or a combination, or topped with the fruit.
Update on 2/16/07
Well, I have finally found the black glutinous rice that is the authenic ingredient for this dish at the local asian market. It is sold in a 10 lb bag by the rice section when all this while I was looking for it in a different aisle. :( Now I know, and I made this recipe again today after soaking the black glutinous rice overnight. It is definitely more chewy than the forbidden rice, and still very good. Of course, I grew up with this stuff, and have a hankering for rice puddings.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Maple Brined Pork Chops

Bought some nice, thick pork chops yesterday, and made a brine for the pork chops. It came out tender and juicy!
Brine recipe from epicurious
1 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Grade B maple syrup
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons whiskey
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
12 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
8 cups water

6 center-cut loin pork chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil for grilling

1. Mix all of the brine ingredients together in a nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir the brine to ensure that the salt, sugar, and maple syrup have dissolved. Let the brine cool, then put it in a large nonreactive container and add the pork chops. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 12 hours.

2. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry (without rinsing).

3. Prepare a grill with hot and medium cooking areas. A grill is hot when you can't hold your hand near the grill surface for longer than 2 seconds without pulling it away; it's medium when you can't hold your hand there for longer than 4 seconds.

4. Season the chops with pepper (not salt — remember, the brining solution is salty) and brush with the oil. Sear the chops directly over the hottest part of the open grill for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Then move the chops to the medium area of the grill, cover the grill, and cook to the desired doneness. Use an instant-read digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chops. A reading of 145° to 150°F will give you a pink, moist chop, 160°F is well-done. Serve immediately, accompanied by the chutney, if using.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Let it Snow Beef Curry

It had been drizzling rain/snow since noon, and finally turned to snow around 4 pm today. It's snowing outside, and the little side street is covered with fresh snow that's on top of the last snow we received a week ago. The deciduous tree in front of the house is covered with snow and frost and glittered as the wind sways it's branches. As I sit here with my lap top, I'm still in awe of winter after so many years. Can't wait to go out tomorrow to make snow queens (yes, with tiaras too!) and snow angels with the kids. But for now, everything is so quiet and utterly beautiful...

For dinner earlier this evening, I decided to make curry to spice up the taste buds after ham and turkey dinners for the holidays. Had two chuck roasts sitting in the fridge, and I used one for a regular pot roasts for the kids, and the other for a curry pot roast. Both were seasoned and browned in a dutch oven, and I added the curry paste and broth in one crockpot. Just before serving, I added the coconut milk and simmered for ten minutes. Both pot roasts were fork tender when it was time to chow, and I served them with veggies on the side. Everyone enjoyed it and it always warms my heart to see empty plates and happy faces after any meal.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back to my other hobby...

Miss me? Been MIA for a couple of weeks due to an emergence of another hobby that's not food related. Yes, I received a 55 gal aquarium and stand for Christmas, and had to decide on what to put in it. Finally found a spot for it, and then it was the question of what kind of fish. While it's been cycled, there were several ideas given by family and friends. Ideas run amok from saltwater to freshwater tanks. Then GG from SGP suggested an Oscar, and she said that when it's big enough I can cook it and display on my blog... I hope she was kidding! Uhhh, not my cup of tea, GG. Besides the bad idea of eating a pet, I also prefer going to Whole Foods for my fish selection. So, after some deliberation, I decided to have swordtails in my new aquarium. My children are enjoying the aquarium, and have named all nine fishes already! Thus my absence from blogging. I have been cooking, but now will let my blog catch up with my kitchen adventures... ;)