Category Archives: Recipes

Apple Cake

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I definitely live in the age of Pinterest and have more recipes pinned than I could ever hope to try.  But sometimes tried and true is better than new.  This apple cake recipe has been in my family for generations.  (Perhaps someone reading this will be able to tell me where it came from.)  Either way, it’s really simple and always turns out perfectly.  I’m sure you and your family will enjoy it as much as mine has over the years.

Apple Cake

1 ½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 well beaten eggs
3 cups fresh apples – peeled and chopped (about 3 apples)
3 cups of sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix in order given.  Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake 1 hour at 350° Fahrenheit.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Recipes, Sweets

Vegetarian Red Curry Fried Rice

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I love Thai food, especially the coconut curries.  I find myself making Thai red curry once every other week.  Unfortunately, last night when I went to make a batch, I discovered I was all out of coconut milk.  So, in the interest of satisfying my curry craving and maintaining a level of creativity my weekly menus often lack, I tried to combine fried rice with the red curry ingredients I had on hand.  The results, I must say, were surprisingly delicious.

Vegetarian Red Curry Fried Rice

1 tsp salt
1 small eggplant, diced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ – ½ large red onion, chopped
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
3 kaffir lime leaves (substitute 2 bay leaves if you don’t have kaffir leaves)
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
3 cups cold rice
2 eggs
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
¼ cup chopped green onions or Thai basil leaves
Juice of ½ lime or lemon

Begin by placing eggplant in a bowl and dust with salt. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a large wok.  Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent (about 4 minutes).

Add red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves.  Fry the paste until it begins to separate from the oil and becomes fragrant (1-2 minutes).

Rinse and drain the eggplant.  Add the eggplant and the chopped garlic to the wok.  Heat until the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 minutes).

Add the bell pepper, pineapple, and tomatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes, still over medium to medium-high heat.

Add rice and stir well to coat.  Heat the rice through (about 3 minutes).

In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the pepper and soy sauce.  In the wok, push the rice to the sides creating a “volcano crater” with the metal as the bottom.  Add the egg mixture to this hole.  Allow it to cook until the tops of the eggs begin to set.  Then, stir the egg pieces into the rice.

Add oyster sauce and allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 more minutes.  During the last 30 seconds of the cooking process, stir in your choice of green onions or basil (or both if you want to get wild) as well as your lemon or lime juice.  Enjoy!

(Makes 2-3 servings)

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Filed under Mains, Recipes

Super Simple Curried Quinoa and Eggplant

Super Simple Curried Quinoa and Eggplant

The busier my schedule gets, the less I blog and the more I appreciate easily prepared lunches. Today, however, is not a busy day. We just returned from our diving vacation to the Philippines and are gearing up to start work again tomorrow.

But, Sunday laziness has set in and we didn’t want anything complicated for lunch. So I made one of my favorite new recipes for lunch. It calls for quinoa which is a rare treat for us here in Taiwan. Unless someone brings it back with them from the West, we don’t get to enjoy it. Lucky for me, I currently have two bags!

So, for those of you with access to quinoa, be sure to try this super healthy recipe for lunch sometime soon.

3-February 2014

 
Curried Quinoa and Eggplant

2 tsp olive oil
½ medium white or yellow onion (diced)
3 cloves of garlic
1 small eggplant (chopped)
1 red or yellow bell pepper (chopped)
1 cup chickpeas (pre-cooked, drained, patted dry)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp kosher salt (plus more for salting eggplant)
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup pine nuts (optional)
½ cup raisins (optional)

Begin by placing eggplant in a bowl and dust with salt. Set aside.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add diced onions and garlic. Cook until onions turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Remove from pan and place in a bowl for later use.

Rinse and drain the salted eggplant. Add to the frying pan along with 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat until eggplant begins to soften (about 8 minutes). Add chopped pepper and chickpeas and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Then, add the cooked quinoa, cook for 2 more minutes, and remove from heat.

If you choose to use pine nuts and/or raisins, add them at the very end after the other ingredients are finished cooking.

Enjoy this meal either hot or cold over lettuce. Both are equally delicious.

(Makes 2-3 servings)

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March 16, 2014 · 10:21 am

Thai Cucumber Salad

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This Thai Cucumber Salad is perfect for a warm, sunny day, which at least here in Taiwan, today happens to be. (Sorry to all you suffering through November in the US or Europe!)

This salad is tangy, spicy, and sweet all in one bite. Its flavors are based on the famous Thai green papaya salad, which I adored when we were travelling Thailand. In Taiwan and elsewhere, cucumber makes a great substitute for the elusive green papaya. This salad is super easy and quick. It also uses ingredients that are cheap here in Taiwan, making it a win win recipe.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Thai Cucumber Salad

3 cucumbers (or one of the huge ones if you live in Taiwan)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup cilantro
½ medium red onion, diced
12 cherry tomatoes, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

Peel, seed, and dice the cucumbers. Toss cucumbers with salt in a colander and place in the sink to drain for 30 minutes. After this period, rinse with cold water and pat dry.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved.

Combine the cucumber, the liquid mixture, and the remaining ingredients. Toss together to finish.

Enjoy!

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November 24, 2013 · 2:55 am

Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Drops

Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Drops

These were quite the accident. While attempting to recreate a favorite from my hometown chocolate shop, I made a wrong turn. Instead of white chocolate and cranberries, I ended up with a fudgy, chewy concoction. But, it turns out, the accidents sometimes taste better than what you were aiming for in the first place.

This recipe is super easy and can be pulled together in mere minutes.

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All you need is four ingredients, a bowl, wax paper, and a microwave.

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First, combine 2 cups of white chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon of butter, and ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds. Repeat this until the mixture is smooth.

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Stir in 1 cup dried cranberries. (If you would like you can chop the cranberries into smaller pieces.)

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Finally, drop tablespoons of the mixture onto wax paper. Let stand until set.

Enjoy!

White Chocolate Cranberry Drops

2 cups white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup dried cranberries

Combine white chocolate chips, butter, and condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the cranberries. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto wax paper. Let stand until set.

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November 19, 2013 · 4:25 am

Chickpea Tacos

Chickpea Tacos

Tex Mex is certainly one of my all-time favorite foods. Since becoming vegetarian, real meaty tacos are about the only non-rabbit food dish that I crave. For a while, I substituted TVP for meat, but I found the substance unreliable. Plus, who knows what’s in that stuff?

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this Instructable for chickpea tacos. Chickpeas are the perfect substitute for taco meat. I think I even prefer chickpea tacos to real meat tacos. As an added bonus, this dish is super quick and easy to prepare.
So, here is my version of chickpea tacos. I hope you give it a try for your next taco night.

Chickpea Tacos

1 Tbsp oil
1 14.5 oz or 433 g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 Tbsp water
1 lime
tortilla shells
salsa and cilantro for garnish

Cut onion into thin slices and mince garlic cloves. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chickpeas and onion. Cook, stirring often, until chickpeas begin to brown. Add garlic and taco seasoning. Allow this to cook, stirring very frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, deglaze the pan with the juice from half the lime and the tablespoon of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get off any seasoning stuck there. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes, and then turn off the heat. Serve this delicious mixture in heated tortilla shells. Top with salsa and fresh cilantro.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Feel free to comment with any variations or suggestions you may have.

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October 29, 2013 · 12:22 am

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning is one of those things that is difficult to find in Taiwan. True, it’s not impossible, but it is difficult.

For a while, I had my mother ship my favorite seasoning from the States. But, one day I was really craving tacos. Naturally, I was out of taco seasoning. That’s when I learned just how easy it is to make your own taco seasoning from common spice rack ingredients.

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I prefer the following combination of spices, but I have also seen recipes including onion powder, oregano, or cayenne pepper. So, experiment with different ingredients to find your favorite combination.

Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp paprika
½ Tbsp cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic pepper (You can substitute garlic powder and a little pepper.)
½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp dried pepper (You can substitute cayenne pepper or red chili flakes here)

Combine all ingredients and store in an old spice container or baby food jar. Use 1/8 cup of taco seasoning to spice one pound of meat.

Of course, you can also use this taco seasoning with my chickpea tacos recipe.

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October 28, 2013 · 10:12 am