Sysco Spring Food Show 2012

Those who have been to the Sysco spring food show know what I mean when I say that I "ate until surfeited collapse". The food show is a showcase of many different cuisines and new products. As usual, I went with an empty stomach in preparation for the food attack.... 
I was not able to take pictures of all the food but appreciated the fact that I was able to enjoy the day immersed in a sea of food-lovers like myself.
 I like the idea of having the cake placed on top of a vase filled with the different types of food reflecting the flavor of the cake. So for example, the carrot cake had fresh carrot. Chocolate cake had cocoa beans and chocolate chips, Lemon cake had lemons in the vase...etc..
 Using mirrors to accent the display...
 A new breakfast product that I like:
 piano made out of chocolate...
 assorted chocolate products
 Herbal lemonade:
Ingredients: 3 gallons Lemonade, 4 oz dill, 4 oz mint, 2 oz basil, 3-5 sprigs rosemary, edible flowers to garnish.
~ Place herbs and lemonade in container. Add water to top and stir vigorously, muddling the herbs to release flavor. Let stand for several hours if possible. Add ice and serve. If more lemonade needs to be replaced, keep the herbs in the same containers all day. Mix and muddle! Replace herbs daily.

Demo of how beef is dissected :(
Also, there were many technological products for business to attract more customers. Another cool idea was to in-print the name and logo of any company/ event onto a disposable plate.
Looking forward to the next show! :)


Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Several weeks ago, a bunch of people came over to my place for vespers and S. brought this simply delicious soup. I loved it ( similar to Trader Joe's butternut squash soup) and am glad that she shared the recipe with me. It might look complicated but it is actually very simple to make.  :)
I used cashews instead of almonds and omitted the unsalted butter.

(Kurt Beecher Dammeier's Pure Flavor cookbook. 125 fresh all-American recipes from the Pacific Northwest.) Makes 10 cups, serves 6 to 8

The intense flavor of Autumn squash is magnified when turned into a smooth, luscious soup. Adding yams provides even more depth of flavor, and Middle Eastern spices keep the sweetness in check.

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons neutral flavored cooking oil, such as canola or soybean
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 3/4 pounds fresh butternut squash (1 large squash), peeled, seeded, cubed
1 1/2 pounds yams, peeled and sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage

In a heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute.
Add the butternut squash, yams, 8 cups of water, and salt. Simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and return it to the pot after processing.
Stir in the cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, or black pepper as needed.
For the topping, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and saute until light golden brown, stirring frequently. Add the sage and continue to stir for 1 minute, or until the almonds are golden brown and the sage is fragrant. Remove the topping to a bowl to cool. To seve, garnish each bowl of soup with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the topping.

The soup will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Gently reheat over low heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.


my passing thought..

Cooking is an act of love, a gift to the person who eats it.

Food always turns out better when the heart and soul is in it. Anyone can cook a dish. A true chef cooks from the heart, personalizes it and that is what matters.

Earlier today, I cooked a dish in a hurry, without peppering it with love, and it didn't turn out right.

Love is never but a simple thing. It is so easy to forget how clearly it can be defined...
Love -is patient
Love -is kind
Love -it does not envy
Love -it does not boast
Love -it is not proud
Love -it is not rude
Love -it is not self seeking
Love -it is not easily angered
Love -keeps no record of wrongs
Love -does not delight in evil
Love -rejoices with the truth
Love -always protects
Love -always trusts
Love -always hopes
Love -always persevered
Love -never fails.
- Corinthians 13

Lord, help me to live out your definition of love.


Yard House Gardein Menu

When I heard that Yard House implemented a gardein menu at all their restaurants, I immediately thought to myself that it was an ingenious idea. I had to try it! Hence, I brought several key people at work to sample the food and all of us liked it. It tasted the same as the real deal. 
 Here is the link to their menu:  http://www.yardhouse.com/menus/gardein.aspx
gardein™ (MAC + CHEESE)2 - chicken, wild mushrooms, cheddar, parmesan, campanelle pasta & truffle oil

gardein™ THAI CHICKEN NOODLE SALAD - egg noodles, grilled chicken, broccoli-carrot-sprout-cabbage-cilantro slaw and spicy peanut vinaigrette

gardein™ CHICKEN & AVOCADO SANDWICH - swiss, lettuce, tomato & mayo on onion poppy seed bun

 gardein™ ORANGE PEEL CHICKEN- crispy chicken, baby corn & bok choy in spicy sweet orange glaze with jasmine or brown rice

gardein™ SPICY THAI CHICKEN PIZZA - firecracker sauce, mozzarella, macadamia nuts, carrots, green onion & cilantro
I really enjoy talking about food with people, disecting the dish to re-create it at home.
Thank you Lord for all your blessings! :)

Baking with the ladies

was such a pleasure and rare time for us to bond and chill. I used the Devil's food cake recipe that I got from the "Cake Making Made Easy" Chef Eric's culinary classroom class. Modified the recipe a little- added less sugar, used tofutti sour cream instead of yogurt and soy milk instead of milk. It turned out moist and delectable. It is definitely my keeper's chocolate cupcake recipe. We decided not to frost it to keep it simple and healthy.  

4 oz Bitter or semi sweet chocolate
1.5 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 c soy milk
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
6 oz butter
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter and flour the cake pans, or place paper liners of the muffin tin, if making cupcakes. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate chips in a bain marie, stirring until the chocolate is mooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool until luke warm. Sift the flour, baking powder. salt and soda into a bowl. Set aside.
Place the milk and sour cream in a bowl and whip until smooth. Set aside.
Use an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter until well smooth. Add the eggs in one at a time. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth.
Add one third of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and then one third of the milk mixture. Make sure that the ingredients are incorporated before adding the next addition. Repeat until all the dry ingredients are added. Place the batter into the cupcake holder or cup cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes and let it cool for 15 minutes.

We made different types using the same batter- heart-shaped cakes, heart-shaped muffins, and regular round ones. :)

Happy Valentine's Day! :)


Berry Tart ( Quick)

I posted a Brunch Berry Tart recipe two years ago and decided to make it again, modifying it to a semi home-made version that didn't take as much time. :)
A frozen pie crust
Filling A
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 t vanilla essence
Filling B
Frozen of fresh berries
1/4 cup sugar
2 T corn starch 
 1/2 c water

Prick the pie crust, and bake it for 2 minutes.
Using a hand-mixer, beat all the Filling A ingredients.
Add it the the pie crust and continue to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow it to cool. For For fun, you can drizzle a little caramel :)
Puree the berries and sugar with a blender.

Mix the corn starch and water in a pot and place it on the stove.
Add the berries puree into a pot with the corn starch mixture.
Heat it for several minutes, until thicken.
Cool it down. If short on time, place in a pan of cold ice or refrigerator.

Pour it over the pie crust...and decorate with berries! :)
If you have more time and want to make the crust from scratch...check out this Brunch Berry Tart recipe.
Side thought: I just came back from church and the pastor talked about attitude and choices in life. There are always two sides to everything and we need to look at the positive side to gain good results. Two men were looking out of the prison- one saw mud, and the other saw stars. We are never too old to learn and grow, and to keep trying. One day, everything will make sense but we have to start from within ourselves to make the choices that will affect out life momentarily, and eternally.

God bless :)

Banana Bread ( Clay's recipe)

Bananas ripen very easily and I'm always making banana breads. If you're like me, this is a recipe you have to try! :) This recipe was shared by Clay and I absolutely love it :)
1 c oil, 2 c sugar ( Use 1 c brown, and 1 c white), 2 eggs, 2 c mashed bananas ( about 3 large), 3 cup flour, 1 t salt, ½ t vanilla, 1 ½ c walnuts, 2t soda, 2 T hot water

Mix ingredients in order. Bake in a 350F oven. Bake 1 large loaf pan for 1 hour or 2 small loaf pans for 45 minutes. Top with quick oat meal for a healthy look.

* Variation: I added 2 1/2 cups of flour (instead of three cups), 1/4 cup flaxseeds, and 1/4 cup of chia seeds. Also, 1 Cup of dark chocolate chips made it taste even better! :)
For Chinese New Year, we went to Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Pink Coral Sand Dunes, and Upper Antelope Canyon. Breath-taking and amazing are two words I would use to describe these few places. Someone mentioned that the less time one spends in nature, the more harden they are to the word of God.
"Fiery Hair"
On our way to Zion National Park, we saw the biggest rainbow in our lives! It stretched all across the high way and touched the ground. Rainbow is a beautiful token of the Lord that reminded me of the Lord's protection and the keeping of His promises. ( This picture does not justify what we saw!)

It's late but I still have to say......Gong Xi Fa Chai! Happy Chinese New Year! :)
Disclaimer: All the recipes posted are for my personal references and/or adapted from mentioned instructors or books. They/I reserve the rights to it. Please remember to cite your sources! Thank you.