Friday, April 3, 2015

Chicken Sarwarma with Tomato Cucumber Relish

Serve 4   Cook 10 mins    Total time 40 mins


Chicken Shawarma:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, grated
6 pieces skinned and deboned chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch strips (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Tomato Cucumber Relish:

2 tablespoons quality olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 small red onion, minced
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tahini Sauce:

1/4 cup tahini paste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt
Four 6-inch store-bought white pita pockets
Olive oil


For the shawarma

Mix the cumin, paprika, allspice, chili powder and garlic together. Place the chicken inside a resealable plastic bag with the olive oil. Add the spice mixture and rub in until fully incorporated. Seal that bag and place it into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

After marinating, use the skewers to pierce the pieces of chicken through the center. Slide the pieces down leaving enough room for you to hold the skewer, about 3 pieces of chicken per skewer. Continue this process until chicken is all skewered. Sprinkle with salt and place on a hot oiled grill top for 4 minutes per side, or 8 minutes total.

For the relish: 

Mix the oil, vinegar, oregano, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, onion, parsley and some salt and pepper.

For the tahini sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt.

To serve, fill the pitas with the grilled chicken and serve with the cucumber relish and tahini sauce.

Adopted from Recipe of Jeff Mauro

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Korean Tofu with Tuna Pancakes

To make 30 tofu-tuna pancakes, about 8 side-dish portions


  • 1/2 block (14 oz.) extra-firm or firm tofu, crushed and squeezed of excess liquid.
  • 2 cans (7 oz. each) tuna, no added salt or low sodium in water.
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled & small diced.
  • 8 -10 Perilla Leaf, thinly sliced & chopped
  • 1/2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet pepper (any color), finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 - 1t salt and a pinch black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil 
  • Dipping sauce: soy sauce : lemon juice = 1:1


  1. Rinse tofu in cold water.  Wrap tofu in paper towel and squeeze out excess water as much as you can.
  2. Strain out the liquid from cans of tuna.
  3. Add tofu, tuna, chopped onion, carrots, Perilla Leaf, green onions, sweet pepper, salt and pepper in a bowl and combine with a fork to a crumbly mix. 
  4. Shape the mixture into small flat patties, about the size of silver dollar.
  5. Heat up a saute pan to medium heat.
  6. Coat the patties in flour and then dip into 2 beaten egg.
  7. Carefully place patties in heated pan, spooning a small amount of egg mixture onto each patty.
  8. Turn heat to medium-low and try to turn them only once.
  9. Serve hot or warm with dipping sauce of soysauce and lemon juice.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seaweed Soup with Mussels

Miyuk-guk is usually made with beef, which I introduced a few years ago, but today, I decided to make it with mussels. Traditionally miyuk-guk is given to new mothers right after giving birth because it has a lot of iodine. Iodine is good for breastfeeding and is said to help clean the blood. Furthermore, this custom also ties into the tradition that miyuk-guk is served on birthdays as a birthday soup.

4-5 servings


  • 1 ounce of dried miyuk (Korean seaweed) or 2 cups of soaked and drained miyuk 
  • 10-15 steamed mussels meat
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of Korean gukganjang (soup soy sauce) 
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • A dash of fresh black pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. Soak about 20g of the dried miyuk in water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until they are fully steeped. Cut the miyuk across about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm).
  2. In a large pot, sauté the miyeok with the sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium for 15 minutes. Add the mussels and cook for about another 5 minutes.
  3. Taste and season with gukganjang. You can additionally use fish sauce for more flavor. Add more salt if needed and add a pinch a black pepper.
  4. Serve with a bowl of rice.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sloppy Joe Slider

Serve  24 sliders    Prep: 30 min   Cook: 30 min


  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp steak seasoning blend ( I used McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning )
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 24 slider buns, split, toasted, and lightly buttered
  • 1/2 red onions, chopped
  1. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Heat the oil, add the ground turkey, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika, steak seasoning powder, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon, until browned through about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, bell peppers and onions, and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 2 Tbsp tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, cook until the sauce thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. (Add 1 or more Tbsp of tomato paste to control the consistency). 
  5. Serve on the toasted buns top with chopped red onions. 
Adapted from "Kitchen Confidence" by Kelsey Nixon. Copyright Clarkson Potter 2014. Provided courtesy of Kelsey Nixon. All rights reserved.

Asian Spicy Tuna Cakes

make 8-10 small patties
  • 3 (5 oz.) cans Tuna, drained well - I used Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna No Salt -- 5 oz
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp chili oil (optional)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • For binder: 5-10 crackers (I used Trader Joe's Multi-Grain and Flaxseed water crackers), finely crushed  or 1/4 cup or more breadcrumbs, or 2-4 Tbsp any types of flour.
  • 2 tbsp oil to cook in

  1. In a large bowl, stir together tuna, green onions, cilantro, ginger, garlic, crackers, and jalapeno. Mix gently until ingredients just hold together.
  2. Add the fish sauce to the bowl and mix everything together with a fork. (I started with 1/2 tsp of fish sauce, gave the mix a taste, then added another 1/2 tsp.)
  3. Drizzle a little chilli oil (optional) over the top and  add eggs to the tuna and mix it all well.
  4. Using a packed 1/4-cup measure of tuna mixture per patty, shape into 8 to 10 cakes. (Don’t pack the mix too hard. Instead with a loose hand, simple shape the patties till they barely stick together. You want them light and airy not dense.)
  5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Working in batches if necessary, cook cakes until golden brown and crisp on the outside, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve hot, accompanied by Thai dipping sauce, and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Dipping Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha or 1 tsp red-pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Mix all the above ingredients together and serve as a dipping sauce with the fishcakes.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Garlic sauce-Toum

Fluffy toum sauce is delicious with any type of barbecued meat, particularly chicken, beef, or lamb, and grilled vegetables. Try it spread on thick slices of crusty bread and broiled for some of the finest garlic toast around. My recipe is an adaptation from Chef Kamal. Be sure to use a food processor, spatula, and measuring cup that are completely dry—water can cause the emulsion to break. Choose garlic that is firm and fresh.
1 cup very fresh garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup lemon juice
4 cups neutral oil (like canola or soybean or grapeseed)
Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise and remove the green center sprout. Even if the sprout is barely there or mostly white, remove it, as it causes a bitter flavor.
Place the garlic and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until it is finely minced, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl between pulses.
In a very thin, slow stream, pour about ½ cup of oil into the running processor with the garlic. Then add slowly add two teaspoons of lemon juice while the processor is running. Turn off the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue in this manner, alternating oil and lemon juice in slow, steady streams and stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl. The mixture will turn fluffy and white.
Scrape into a bowl or container with an airtight lid, but don’t put the lid on yet. Cover the toum with a paper towel and refrigerate for about 12 hours, chilling the sauce completely and removing some of the moisture which would cause the toum to separate if covered immediately with the airtight lid. Then cover with the airtight lid and refrigerate for up to one month.
If your toum tastes ‘hot’ from the garlic, let it rest for a few days in the refrigerator, which will soften the flavor. Makes 4 cups of toum.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Apple Puff Pastry

Serve 6   Prep: 10 minutes   Cook: 20 minutes


  • Parchment paper, for baking
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted and ready to use 
  • 1 -2 small Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup apricot jelly
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cold unsalted butter, small diced


  1. Allow the sheet of puff pastry to thaw on the cutting board for about 10-15 minutes, then cut the sheet into desired sizes and refrigerate while preparing the apples.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line a baking sheet with with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the apples in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples as thinly as you can. Put them into a bowl, and squeeze lemon juice over. Mix well.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set a side.
  4. Place the apple slices in a straight line on top of each pastry, overlapping them as you go. Sprinkle about a 1/2 tsp of mixture of sugar and cinnamon over each pastry, then dot them with the butter.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown.  
  6. In the microwave or a small saucepan, heat the apricot jelly together with water and brush over the baked tarts completely.
  7. Loose the tarts with a metal spatula so they don't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Montreal Steak Marinade

Serve 2


  • 2 beef rib-eye steaks (about 1 inch thick and 8 to 12 oz. each)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning (McCormick's)
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  1. Mix ingredients together in a ziploc bag. Marinade steaks for about an hour.
  2. Broil steaks in oven for about 15 minutes, flipping every five minutes.