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21  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Quinoa? on: June 13, 2010 09:36:18 PM
22  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Carnitas and Tomatillo Guacamole on: June 08, 2010 09:59:01 AM
Looks good!  Being a native Texan (who is now transplanted to Missouri), I have a lot of authentic Mex dishes from friends' parents and grandparents.  I'll have to dig through some recipe files, but when I find them, I'll PM them to you   Smiley
23  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Ice noodles - a delicious Japanese dinner on: June 08, 2010 09:56:17 AM
We love it on picnics, so I can only imagine how yummy it is after a day at the beach.   I like it after long runs in the park--great for replenishing electrolytes!

Have fun at the beach--I'm totally jealous  Grin
24  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Ice noodles - a delicious Japanese dinner on: June 07, 2010 11:13:38 PM
In Japan, during warm summers, chilled noodle dishes are very popular.  I generally forget about cold noodles until I visit my mother or my little Japanese grandmother on a hot day.  When I visit either of them in the summer, I am stuffed with large amounts of my grandmother's ice noodles. 

There are many different ways to make ice noodles or chilled noodles in Japanese cuisine, although most dishes involve some sort of noodle (somen, udon, chukamen, etc.) that is cooked and then rinsed in cold water until it is cool.  My grandmother uses regular boxed spaghetti noodles, and rinses them.  I use whole wheat noodle, and do not rinse them.  I like to save as many nutrients as I can, so I let them chill in the refrigerator.  Also, by letting them cool in the refrigerator, I can make them a day in advance.

Ice noodles also generally have some sort of savory sauce.  Our family makes one that is slightly sweet and heavily flavored with soy sauce.  But other chilled noodle dishes sometimes use a sesame sauce or a dashi sauce.  Some use a splash of rice wine vinegar.  I think my grandmother's original recipe might have used sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.  But since she married a poor American, I think she kind of gave up on using these more expensive ingredients and started using just chicken broth, water, soy sauce, and sugar.

Anyway, sorry for the family history!  My favorite way to eat ice noodles is to drench them in sauce and put thin sliced cucumber, green onions, and egg on top.  Very yummy.  For more detailed instructions, you can see the recipe on my website.  But I'll warn you, this is one of those dishes that doesn't have a set recipe.  We've always just made it by eyeballing the ingredients, then tasting and smelling to see if the ratios are right.  It's a fun recipe to play around with and experiment with.  http://www.examiner.com/x-24872-St-Louis-Budget-Meals-Examiner~y2010m6d7-Dinner--Ice-noodles

The picture is a little blurry.  Sorry. 
25  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Re: Please tell me your opinions on my home made wedding bouquets! on: May 20, 2010 12:57:11 PM
They are very pretty.  And I like the idea of filling them in with greenery or the like.
26  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: It's National Barbecue Month--What's your favorite way to barbecue? on: May 15, 2010 02:14:38 AM
 Cheesy  I'm married to a Texas boy, also!  To him, barbecue means brisket!
27  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Re: Jen's budget DIY wedding thread - 8.14.10 - very pic heavy! *updated 5/14* on: May 14, 2010 02:56:15 PM
ok, I added photos of the cocktail napkin and one envelope.
28  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / It's National Barbecue Month--What's your favorite way to barbecue? on: May 14, 2010 02:28:12 PM
There are so many styles of barbecue--so many different types of sauce.  What's your favorite way to barbecue?

Personally, I like a slightly sweet and tangy bourbon barbecue sauce.  It's yummy on salmon grilled on a cedar plank!

29  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / dirty rice revised on: May 11, 2010 01:47:29 AM
DH loves all things spicy and fattening.  I'm trying to get him to eat healthier, and have introduced him to a lot of healthy vegetable-filled dishes.  But he still like Cajun and southern dishes that are traditionally made with fatback and other fatty animal parts.  I do not like hamhocks or fatback, so I usually don't cook with them.  And I'm satisfied with the flavor of less fattening foods.  But DH is not.  So when I cook for him, I have to find a way to keep the dish very flavorful for him while using lower-fat ingredients. 

My dirty rice recipe uses just a touch of olive oil for fat.  I've omitted the traditional fatback.  For flavor, I add different vegetables and a touch of vegetable broth with the seasonings.  Instead of pork sausage, I use lean smoked chicken sausage from Trader Joe's.  Also, since dirty rice looks kind of reddish brown, I swapped in brown rice for the white rice.  Aside from the slightly nutty flavor of brown rice, it's really hard to tell the difference in this dish.  It just looks the same.

I must warn you, I use a lot of Tony's seasoning since DH likes things really spicy.  If you don't like the feeling of your throat and tongue being on fire, reduce the amount of Tony's and omit the red pepper.  Reduce the black pepper by half.

Also, I use dried red beans because I like the flavor you get when you cook and season them yourself.  But if you are in a hurry and don't have the 3 hours to cook the beans, then substitute canned beans.  They work just as well.

The recipe and a slide show of the beans cooking can be found on my webpage:  http://www.examiner.com/x-24872-St-Louis-Budget-Meals-Examiner~y2010m5d10-Dinner--Dirty-rice

30  COOKING / Dessert / Re: vanilla sponge cake on: May 07, 2010 08:32:38 PM
my niece is horribly allergic to wheat, egg, dairy, and nuts.  So my mom makes special vegan cupcakes for her.  She uses a boxed gluten-free cake mix (I think it's betty crocker) and uses yeast instead of eggs.  They turn out yummy.  After she returns from Italy, I'll try to get the recipe from her and post it for you!  And, I don't know if you've ever tried it, but Alton Brown's avocado icing is divine! Last time I made it, I used orange juice and zest to flavor it.  Yummy!
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