Roasted Pumpkin w/ Walnut & Shredded Chocolate

Ok, and a scoop of ice cream! This may not be the healthiest of things, but it's a dessert on a mission! To make me happy :)

  • 1/4 Kent pumpkin, sliced in half
  • 1-2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tbsp Butter
  • 2-3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • Walnuts, crumbled
  • Shredded chocolate (to taste)
  • 1 scoop, Vanilla ice cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). 
  2. On a cookie sheet, lay aluminum foil down (easier to clean). Score the (2) 1/8 slices of pumpkin to allow even cooking and then rub with vegetable oil until coated. Bake at 400F for 30-60 mins, or until a fork pierces through the pumpkin easily. 
  3. When done, turn the oven off, pull the cookie sheet out and rub the butter over the pumpkin with a spoon or fork (it will be hot). Sprinkle the brown sugar, walnuts, and shredded chocolate on top and put it back in the (off) oven for 5-10 mins. 
  4. Pull it out and top with a scoop of ice cream! 
You now have one amazingly delicious and easy dessert to enjoy! It's one of my favs ;)

World's Best Fish Tacos

Mahi Tacos @ OB's South Beach Bar & Grille (photo courtesy of
I attempted to re-create the best fish taco’s known to mankind, which can be found in Ocean Beach, San Diego at a local fav, South Beach Bar & Grille. I've had fish tacos across the US, Mexico, and Australia...and to this day, nothing compares to the world famous fish tacos in OB. I’ve done my research and this is almost as good! It's one of my all-time fav recipes, so enjoy :) 


Pre note: It's best to prepare and marinate some of the items in advance, so whipping up the salsa and cilantro sauce ahead of time is helpful! Also, marinate the fish for at least 1 hour...but overnight marinating would overpower the delicate white fish, so I'd recommend 1-2 hours ;)

Yields: varies

  • Mahi 
  • Cheddar cheese 
  • Purple cabbage 
  • Few Limes 
  • Flour tortillas 
  • Pineapple-Teriyaki Marinade
    • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
    • 5 oz Soy sauce (~0.63 cups)  
    • 1 cup Crushed Pineapple
  • Salsa Fresca
    • Onion, diced 
    • Tomato, diced
    • Garlic cloves, minced
    • Cilantro, chopped
  • Cilantro Sauce
    • 1 tbsp. Cilantro leaves, chopped (fresh)
    • 1 tbsp. Jalapeno pepper, chopped
    • 1 Garlic clove
    • 1/2 Lime, juice and zest
    • 2 tbsp. Plain yogurt
    • 1 tbsp. Mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp. Sour cream
  1. Prepare
    1. Marinate: Mix the brown sugar and soy sauce together and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add crushed pineapple. Marinate the mahi in the Pineapple-Teriyaki Marinade for 1-2 hours.
    2. Yogurt sauce: puree the cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and lime juice with zest. In a separate bowl, add the yogurt, mayonnaise and sour cream, and then fold the puree in. Cover and refrigerate. 
    3. Salsa fresca: quantities to your satisfaction. 
  2. Grill
    1. Fire up the bbq! Grill the mahi to your satisfaction. Note: mahi cooks through quickly, so keep an eye on it...but a little charring on the edges is a flavorful plus! 
    2. Warm the tortillis on the grill and melt some cheese on one side of the tortilla. 
    3. Assemble the goods, top with the cilantro sauce and serve with some sliced limes (to squeeze the juice over the tacos)! 
    4. ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)
Mahi Tacos @ OB's South Beach Bar (photo courtesy of

Mahi Tacos @ OB's South Beach Bar (photo courtesy of
I guess I'll have to make these so I can get my own photos...someone get hungry!
^As a follow's round one:

Keywords: fish, tacos, mexican, grilled, bbq, mahi, ob, ocean beach, south beach, grill, california, ca.

Sushi Platter

Sushi is easy and fun! It's super cheap to make it at home and even better for large groups (i.e., dinner parties)! The trick is to 1) have fresh fish, and 2) make "sushi rice," or "shari." Other than that, it's just a quick stop in the Asian aisle or Chinatown market! The beauty with sushi is that it's just like making a sandwich - you can put in whatever you like :)

The sushi essentials:
1) fresh fish
2) filling/topper ingredients
3) sushi rice
4) nori sheets
5) bamboo mat
6) condiments (wasabi, pickled ginger, soy sauce)

And if you're doing a dinner party, it's great to serve with 7) sides. Appetizer sides are generally miso soup, cucumber salad, or seaweed (wakame) salad. Other items include sake or Sapporo (or both for a sake bomb), and quail egg shooters in the drink categories....or the best desserts: mochi ice cream or frooshi (fruit sushi). Most of these things can be easily found in the international aisle in a grocery store, but we suggest stopping by a local Chinatown market (better prices and more variety). Here's what we usually go for....

Serves: however many rolls you make!

  • 1) Fresh Fish
    • Salmon, sliced (sushi/ahi-grade or very, very fresh)
    • Poke
      • Chopped up fresh tuna
      • Sesame oil
      • Soy sauce
      • Nước mắm
      • Dried shrimp
      • Hot chili oil (I get the stuff with black beans in it)
      • Freshly toasted black and white sesame seeds
      • Finely chopped scallions
      • Ginger powder
      • Wasabi powder
  • 2) Fillings/Toppers
    • Teriyaki sauce (fav recipe)
    • Dynamite sauce
      • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (low or fat-free ok) 
      • 1 tablespoon Sri Racha hot sauce
      • 1/2 teaspoon tobiko
    • Spicy Krab
      • 4-6 sticks Imitation Crab, chopped (to taste)
      • 1-2 tbsp Mayonnaise (to taste)
      • Sri Racha (to taste)
      • Optional: 1 tsp Fish Sauce (to taste)
    • Carrot, shredded or thinly sliced (thin carrot "sticks")
    • Cucumber, thinly sliced
    • Avocado, thinly sliced
    • Green onion, sliced
    • Sesame seeds, toasted
    • Tobiko (tiny, orange fish roe)
    • Cream cheese
  • 3) Sushi Rice (aka, "shari")
    • 2 cups Medium-Grain Rice
    • 1.5-2 cups water
    • 2 tbsp Salt
    • 4 tbsp Sugar (white)
    • 4 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
  • 4) Nori Sheets
    • 1-2 Packages Nori (grab the toasted kind, if available - more flavor)
  • 5) Bamboo Mat
  • 6) Condiments
    • Soy Sauce (to serve)
    • Wasabi (to serve)
    • Pickled ginger (to serve)
  • Optional: miso soup, cucumber salad, wakame salad, sake and Sapporo, quail egg shooters, mochi ice cream.
  1. Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30-60 mins prior to cooking (if you can). Rinse the rice, washing away the powder rice starches until the cloudy water is clear (note: soaking and rinsing is important in obtaining the right "sticky rice" texture). Add the soaked and rinsed rice to a pot and fill with 1.5-2 cups of water (note: the best trick to getting the right amount of water is placing your index finger on top of the evened out rice and filling with water until it reaches your first knuckle). Bring to a boil, top with a lid, then reduce the temperature to medium-low and allow to simmer until all the water is cooked off (10-15 mins). The best way to test is the taste test! Take a bite of the rice (it'll be hot, so be careful) and if the center of the grains are still a little hard, cook a little longer (and add water if the bottom of the pot is dry). When the grains are cooked through, take the pot off the heat and using a spatula, "cut" through the rice (do not stir) to "fluff" it up. Put the lid back on and allow to sit for 5 mins.
  2. In the mean time, put the salt, sugar, and rice wine in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Take it out, stir for a minute or two, and microwave again for 30 seconds and stir some more. It takes some time for the salt and sugar to dissolve, so stir when you can. When it's dissolved (~5 mins), lightly pour over the fluffed rice, "cutting" through the rice to best mix the rice...without stirring! Stirring with a spoon (for example) will smoosh the grains and you'll get a mushy, sticky mess. Now that you have a beautiful sticky rice prepared, time to prep the sushi fillings!
  3. Prepare the teriyaki sauce, dynamite sauce, and spicy krab topping. Set aside. Slice the carrot, cucumber, avocado, and green onion. Toast the sesame seeds (toasting brings out the flavor tenfold). Place your filling/topper ingredients in an assembly-line on the kitchen counter and you are ready to roll!
  4. Fill a small bowl of warm water and set next to your bamboo rolling mat. Place the nori smooth-side down (rough-side facing up) on the bamboo rolling mat. Wet your fingers and grab a handful of sushi rice and spread around to cover 3/4's of the sheet, leaving the bare nori side farthest from you, like this:
  5. Like in the above photo, lay your "filling" ingredients across the rice. You'll want to lay them down closer to you, rather than farther down the rice, as it'll be easier to roll. Now flip over the edge closest to you and begin rolling, tightening the roll by squeezing back on the bamboo mat. The technique is quite simple, as seen below:
  6. (jump to 55 seconds)
  7. With a very sharp knife, slice the rolls and lay on a serving platter. Top with preferred topping ingredients (toasted sesame seeds, tobiko, spicy krab, dynamite sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.) and serve with the condiments ready! Some basic sushi rolls are outlined at the bottom of this blog, so those are good places to start. But it's fun to get creative, so make every roll different! The varieties are endless :)
  8. Sake bomb, sake bomb, SA-KE BOMB! Kanpai =^.^=
Teriyaki rolls.

The full platter: maki rolls, temaki (hand) rolls, nigiri and sashimi!
If you're wondering:

  • Maki rolls are the popular round sliced rolls filled with rice and fish
  • Temaki rolls are the hand rolls which have generous portions of the filling rolled up like an ice cream cone in the nori.
  • Nigiri is a thick slice of fish formed on top of a ball of sushi rice, generally with a "dot" of wasabi and sometimes held together with a small strip of nori.
  • Sashimi is a thick slice of raw fish and nothing else. The mother of sushi-lovers.

First attempt at nigiri (note: that's what sushi looks like
with long-grain rice versus short-grain....not so good, lol).
Spicy krab topped sushi.
Sashimi fav!
Spicy krab, teriyaki, and tobiko topped makisushi.
Sushi Rolls:

  • California Roll: avocado, imitation crab stick, cucumber, and tobiko. Roll with sesame and rice on the outside, nori and fillings on the inside.
  • Caterpillar Roll: unagi (eel), avocado, and cucumber. Roll with avocado slices and rice on the outside, nori and 3 fillings on inside (it usually looks like a caterpillar).
  • Crunchy Roll: tempura shrimp (fried), avocado, and green onion.
  • Dynamite Roll: yellowtail (hamachi) and/or prawn tempura, bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, cucumber, chili and spicy mayonnaise.
  • Fuji Mountain Roll: tempura shrimp (fried) and avocado on the inside; tuna, salmon, yellowtail, spicy krab, teriyaki sauce, sri racha, scallion and sesame seeds on the top (it's a mountain roll after all)!
  • Godzilla Roll: tempura shrimp (fried), teriyaki sauce and sri racha sauce.
  • Philly Roll: salmon (raw or smoked), cream cheese, and avocado.
  • Rainbow Roll: avocado, imitation crab stick and cucumber topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and look like a rainbow.
  • Spicy Tuna: tuna (raw), spicy sesame oil, sri racha sauce, and spicy mayonnaise.
  • Spider Roll: tempura soft shell crab (fried), cucumber, avocado, sprouts, tobiko, and spicy mayonnaise.

Salmon Blini w/ Chives, Pico de Gallo, and Yogurt

The salmon burgers we made the previous night yielded some left overs... so, I had to do something with it. The gf was dubious. I was confident. Chive infused salmon stuffed blini resulted.

Serves 2+ (depending on your left overs)

  • Salmon mix (make the night before)
  • Grated parmesan
  • Crêpes
    • 1 large egg
    • 85g milk (3 fluid oz)
    • 56g water (1/4 cup)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tbsp melted butter
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
    • 3-4 tbsp chopped chives
  • Pico de Gallo
    • 1 small tomato, diced
    • 1/2 small onion, diced
    • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced
    • 3-4 tbsp fresh lime juice
    • 3-4 tbsp chopped cilantro
    • salt
    • pepper
  • Yogurt (or sour cream)
  • Extra chives for garnish
  • Extra butter for the pan
  1. Take all the ingredients for the crêpes and put them in a food processor (or blender if you don't have one) and pulse till nice and smooth. Place in the refrigerator for preferably at least 1 hour, but at least 20-30 minutes. This will let the bubbles settle out and the gluten come together.
  2. During this time, prepare your pico de gallo (i.e. chopping up the ingredientes and mixing them into a bowl). Place in the fridge and kick back with your coffee and morning blog of choice.
  3. Once the fixins have sat for a sufficient time, get a pan nice and hot (very hot) and put a small pat of butter on it, distributing it evenly. Ladle on just enough of the crêpe mix to barely cover the pan and then let it sit for about 15-20 seconds longer than it takes for the top to set firmly. Flip and let the other side brown for about 30-45 seconds. Remove from the pan, cover with some aluminum foil, and make the rest.
  4. Spoon some of the salmon mix (from last night) onto the center of the crêpes. Put a generous helping of the parmesan cheese on top of the mix, then fold like a burrito.
  5. Using the same pan, but this time on slightly more than medium heat, add a little butter and then place the blini with the free edge down and cover with a lid. Depending on the size of them they will take anywhere from 5-8 minutes to be fully cooked.
  6. The bottoms should be nice and crispy and sealed up with gooey cheese, so place one face up and the other face down to make them look pretty, garnish with the pico de gallo, a bit of chive, and some yogurt (or sour cream).
  7. Bon ap!

Black Sapote (Chocolate Pudding Fruit)

This is a black sapote. It doesn't look that special, but what's inside is worth gold.
Why? It tastes like chocolate pudding.

On a spur-of-the-moment trip to Byron Bay (NSW, Australia), we spotted a random "theme park" tucked away in the water-slide and roller coaster parks scattered around the Gold Coast. A giant sign on the side of the freeway read "TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD".....tropical fruit world? WTF? If this is Australia's equivalent of the USA's giant ball of twine? If so, I'm in! We ventured our way to this mysterious destination to learn it has the world's largest variety of tropical fruit (insert: hell yes), complete with tastings of the unique fruits, orchard tours, and even kangaroos and koalas. We left with a few interesting fruits such as the abiu (tastes like vanilla custard) and rollinia (tastes like lemon merengue pie)...but the black sapote was probably my favorite!

A black sapote is a type of persimmon native to Mexico and Central America. It is more commonly known as the "chocolate pudding fruit," due to the flavor, consistency, and color of the inside. The fruit is about 2-4 inches in diameter and soft when ripe. The info provided at Tropical Fruit World stated it was best eaten with ice cream. Being a chocoholic, I had my doubts...but I must confess, the claims were spot-on and the black sapote will forever be on my purchase list if/when I see it again! This decadent fruit seems to melt in your mouth and has a cocoa flavor. It's not that sweet, nor is it tart, which is why a little ice cream or vanilla agave (something sweet) goes so well with it. 

We tried the two popular versions: a black sapote smoothie and spoonfuls of black sapote with ice cream. Smoothies are wonderful, but the fruit and ice cream choice was the winner! The ice cream complemented the fruit with each bite whereas the smoothie diluted the fruits delicate flavor. 

When you find one, this is the easiest way to prepare it...

  • 1 ripe Black Sapote
  • Vanilla Bean ice cream, few scoops
  1. Slice the black sapote like an avocado - around the central "pit." Twist and separate the halves and de-seed the fruit (almond-sized seeds in the middle). 
  2. Scoop some ice cream in to a bowl and then scoop out as much of the black sapote as you can and put it in with the ice cream! Or you can scoop out some ice cream and black sapote individually...but definitely eating the ice cream and black sapote in the same bite is the winner! 
Slicing the black sapote.

Slicing around like an avocado.

Twist and pull the two halves.

Pick out the large seeds in the middle.

The seeds in the middle. If you twist and pull just right, it'll all go to one side, like above!

What the "pit" looks like...a bunch of large seeds.
Note: you can eat the fruit around the seeds!

Scoop out and eat with ice cream! (we ate it all before we could get photos, sorry)
Black sapote smoothie.
We also purchased some local macadamia nuts.
The rollinia fruit, also from Tropical Fruit World.
After searching the web, I found a few recipes showcasing the black sapote:

We'll have to find some more black sapotes and try these recipes :)

For more infoTropical Fruit World.

Keywords: tropical fruit world, australia, nsw, gold coast, black sapote, rollinia, abiu.

Salmon Burger w/ Teriyaki Glaze & Wasabi Mayo and Warm Asian Slaw

A perfect combination of flavors!

Serves 2.


  • 500 grams fresh salmon (steak or fillet)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, rough chop
  • 1 small onion, rough chop
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp good, smokey, hot chili oil (I get the stuff with black beans in it)
  • 1 tsp Maggi seasoning
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard powder
  • 4-5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp Nước mắm
  • 2 tsp plain unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2-3/4 cup panko
  • 2-3 tbsp corn starch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • Wasabi powder (to taste)
  • English muffins
  • Two old empty tuna cans, cleaned
  • Warm Asian slaw
    • 1/4 head of red cabbage, julienne
    • 2-3 large carrots, julienne
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp Asian sesame oil
    • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or grated)
    • 1-2 tsp hot chili oil
    • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Teriyaki Glaze
    • 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1-3/4 teaspoons rice vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2-3 tablespoons white sugar (to taste)
    • 2-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • black pepper (to taste)
    • optional: corn starch to thicken it to preferred glaze consistency.
  1. First take the salmon and cut it into chunks, being careful to remove the bones
  2. Then take the salmon and all ingredients down to the gelatin and add them all into a food processor. Pulse a few times until it gets a homogenous creamy consistency with some large chunks in it.
  3. Add the panko and corn starch and process again. The goal is to get it mostly creamy and smooth but leave a few good chunks of salmon in it.
  4. Set the mixture in the fridge while you prepare the teriyaki glaze, mayo, and slaw.
  5. Start with the teriyaki glaze by bringing mirin to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Season with garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and black pepper; simmer an additional 5 minutes. Set aside (Note: can store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for extended times).
  6. For the wasabi mayo, just add wasabi powder (or the paste) to the mayo mixing until it has the kick you want.
  7. For the slaw, prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, ginger, hot chili oil, peanut butter, and sugar until smooth.
  8. In a skillet on medium-high heat, add a splash of sesame oil and then toss in the carrots, cooking until slightly browned on the edges (about 2 mins). Then add in the cabbage, tossing frequently and cooking until just wilted and warmed through (about 3-4 mins). Then add in the dressing, toss a few times and set aside, covered.
  9. Take the tuna cans and cut out the bottom so you have a ring (like an egg ring but much deeper) and place them on a plate or cutting board. Scoop in the salmon mixture and compress it down to remove the big air bubbles and smooth over the top. Get a non-stick pan nice and hot with some sesame oil in it and then gently shake the molded salmon patty into the pan. Cook until golden brown and flip (approximately 3-4 minutes per side)
  10. Toast the English muffin, spread on the wasabi mayo, lay down a bed of spinach, and then place the salmon patty on top. Drizzle on some of the teriyaki glaze and complete with a side of the slaw.
  11. Bon ap!

Excellent with chilled white wine!

Pumpkin Pasties & Butterbeer

Since it's the grand finale of the Harry Potter movies, we're doing a marathon and I thought it'd be fun to add some HP snacks! The butterbeer is dairy-free and has a little more alcohol than the house-elf standards in Harry Potter ;)

The pumpkin pasties are pretty simple, but need a little prep time since the filling is pre-cooked. I tailored my favorite pumpkin pie and crust recipe to fit into a pumpkin pasty, which came out perfectly. However, finding a butterbeer recipe that fit J.K. Rowling's description was a little bit of a task, so I adjusted a few of the "best" butterbeer recipes online to make one buttery, foamy, alcoholic beverage that's served warm! The biggest complaints with the top recipes online was basically that they were too sweet and non-alcoholic. I cut back on the sugar proportions and cranked up the booze, but not enough to distort the overall butterscotch flavor :] Try it out and let me know what you think! I'll be testing another butterbeer recipe when I'm in the mood for some HP and butterbeer!

Serves 4-6 (1 dozen small pasties, 4-6 cups butterbeer)

  • Pumpkin Pasties
    • Pumpkin Filling
      • 425g cooked pumpkin, blended smooth (or 1 can of pumpkin, 15-oz size)
      • 1 (14-oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (equivalent to 395 g)
      • 2 large eggs 
      • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon 
      • 1/2-1 tsp ground ginger 
      • 1/2-1 tsp ground nutmeg  
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
    • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
      • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
      • 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons shortening 
      • 2-1/4 teaspoons white sugar 
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
      • 1/4 egg (optional, if available)
      • 2 tablespoons water
  • Hot Butterbeer
    • 1 liter vanilla cream soda (we had to use ginger beer) 
    • 2 tbsp butter 
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 (375ml) can soy cream
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract (to add the vanilla flavor to our ginger beer)
    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Butterscotch Schnapps, to taste
    • 1/4 cup spiced rum, to taste (we used Sailor Jerry's, which has an excellent vanilla flavor)
    • Salt, to taste
    • Optional: non-dairy whipped cream, if available!
  1. Preheat oven to 425F (220C). Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into casserole dish. Bake 15 minutes. 
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350F (175C) and continue baking 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from casserole dish wall comes out clean. While the pumpkin filling is baking, prepare the crust in the next step.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. When the pumpkin filling is ready, set aside to cool and take out the crust dough to prep. Separate the dough in to 12 even pieces. Roll thin and cut into circles approx 4" in diameter. Put a spoonful of the cool pumpkin mixture towards one side of the center of the circle. Fold over the crust into a half-circle and firmly crimp the edges closed with a fork. Slice three small slits in the top for venting, place on a greased cookie sheet, and bake only until crust is a light golden-brown (10-15 mins at 350F/175C). While that's baking, whip up the butterbeer in the next steps!
  5. Put the soda in a pan to boil. In a separate small pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the butter and sugar mixture into the pan of boiling cream soda (make sure the soda is boiling, or the butter and sugar will solidify). Add 2/3 of the can of soy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the butterscotch schnapps and spiced rum to your preferred strengths/flavors. Turn heat to low, just to keep warm. Don't forget to check on your pumpkin pasties - they should be done or close to done around this point. 
  6. Whip up the remaining 1/3 can of soy cream. Slowly add the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla extract until foamy. Note: it's hard to "whip" soy cream, hence a non-dairy whipped "cream" would be handy for the butterbeer foam.
  7. Ladle the warm butterbeer in to a mug and spoon the foam on top. Sprinkle with a little salt to bring out the flavors and enjoy with a pumpkin pasty!
Harry Potter marathon snacks :]

Pumpkin Pasties


Subnote: I really want to try this butterbeer recipe next (traditional British style a la Harry Potter)...but add the foamy whipped top to it. 

Fried Pumpkin w/ Vanilla Sugar Glaze

Oh heck, lets add some chocolate! This was a successful dessert that the bf surprised me with (due to the recent pumpkin obsession)...and it was perfectly fried and cooked through! I've never had fried pumpkin until now, and I must say....I might start looking like Paula Deen, but I could eat fried pumpkin for the rest of my life.

Serves 2.

  • Pumpkin, cut into approximately 3cm cubes (as close as you can get it)
  • Egg wash
  • 1 part Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 part all purpose flour
  • 1/4 part powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (always freshly grate your nutmeg!)
  • 2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 tsp ground mace
  • 2-3 tsp ground clove
  • 2-3 tsp allspice
  • 1-2 tsp ground fennel (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Prepare a large deep fryer on slightly more than medium heat.
  2. Take all the dry ingredients (everything from the Panko to the fennel, inclusive) and thoroughly mix together in a large bowl and then spread out onto a large plate.
  3. Take the pumpkin pieces (making sure they are room temperature to start) and place them in the egg wash, coating all surfaces. Dredge through the flour mixture until coated, and then place in the egg wash again, and dredge one more time (this makes for an extra crispy crust).
  4. Once the oil is hot, add the pieces in, just a few at a time (the more oil you have the more you can do at a time - they key is to make sure the oil doesn't get too cold from adding in too many pieces).
  5. Remove, letting the oil drain, and set aside on a paper towel covered plate.
  6. In a small bowl add the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated and smooth.
  7. Plate the pumpkin, adding a piece of chocolate if you like, and drizzle with the sour cream mixture.
  8. Bon ap!
The vanilla sugar glaze is a must here!

Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp w/ Brussel Sprouts

This was an easy dish that is just so tasty we had to do it. The shrimp were frozen and thawed, the pancetta sliced thin from the local (awesome!) Italian deli. The brussel sprouts offered a little greenery since we decided to make this a main since we are such fat kids :-)

Serves 2 as a main, but can be used as an excellent hors d'œuvre for your next dinner party.


  • Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 small onion, julienned
  • 18 shrimp, deveined (about 1 lb of jumbo shrimp)
  • 250 grams thinly slice pancetta (which came out to 39 slices)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Canola oil


  1. Wrap the shrimp in the pancetta, two slices per shrimp, so that the whole shrimp is completely covered and the fat/meat ratio is pretty even throughout (this is just a bit of trial and error and not critical). Retain those few extra slices of pancetta (if you have them) and julienne them. Save till later
  2. Lay them down on the flap side (i.e. the side where the pancetta has a free edge) in a medium-high preheated cast iron skillet
  3. Cook until well brown on one side and then flip, cooking until well browned on the other side (about 3ish minutes per side)
  4. Remove and drip off as much fat as you can, retaining it in the skillet, and place on a paper towel covered plate. Add some cracked black pepper right away so it sticks to the hot pancetta
  5. Add a splash of canola oil to the pan and then toss in the brussel sprouts, cut side down, until browned
  6. Then toss in the onion and julienned pancetta and toss around in the pan until the onions are just cooked through and the pancetta is a little crispy. Add some salt and pepper to taste (but be light on the salt since the pancetta is really salty stuff!)
  7. Plate, pour yourself a nice glass of red (the gf would say Cab Sauv with hints of black cherry), and serve!
  8. Bon ap!

Tofu Phở (Vietnamese Soup)

Phở may be one of my favorite soups! It's a flavor bomb of deliciousness and you can crank up the heat with as much Sri Racha as you like :) Once again, adapted from our friends over at The Food Republic, this is a "cheater Phở" - easy and quick to make!

Serves 2-4.


  • 4oz of Asian rice noodles
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion
  • 1/2 bell pepper, julienne
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • Cilantro
  • Tofu, fried crispy
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1-2 tbsp Nước mắm
  • 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • Dried shrimp
  • Sriracha
  • Hoisin Sauce
  1. Prep the rice noodles by placing them in hot (not boiling water) until soft. Then set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the broth, Nước mắm, bay leaf, and 5 spice simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf, and add in the mushrooms, and let simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Ladle into a bowl and add the rice noodles, forming a bed. Then add all the vegetables and tofu on top. Garnish with the cilantro and dried shrimp.
  5. Add Sriracha and hoisin to tase.
  6. Bon ap!

Finished! :)

Walnut Basil Pesto Pea Soup

This little concoction is what I'd like to refer to as the "Mouthgasm," which the bf invented by combining some of my favorite flavors (adapted from a recipe over at a friend's food blog, The Food Republik.) Who knew these things would blend together so smoothly and create a flavorful soup that would make Chuck Norris cry tears of happiness! This is one of my fav's that's come out of this kitchen and I highly suggest it any time of the year :)

Serves 2-4.
  • 2 large bunches of basil
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it); 1 minced, the rest whole
  • 1 medium onion, half of it diced
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 150 grams of grated (fresh!) parmesan
  • 1 bag (750g) of frozen peas (you can use fresh if you want, but these work great)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2tsp oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  1. First, take almost all of your basil and dump it into a food processor. Add all but the minced garlic, the walnuts, parmesan, the undiced half of the onion, oregano, a couple pinches of salt, some hefty grinds of pepper, and some olive oil. Process until it comes together into a homogenous but still slightly chunky mix. Add some olive oil if you think it needs it and blend until it comes to roughly the consistency of anchovy paste. Don't obliterate it though - leave a few small chunks in there.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the butter (I like to go a bit heavier than most on it, but I'll leave that up to you - at least 2-3tbsp though) and then toss in the onion and minced garlic. Sweat them over medium-low heat until soft.
  3. Add the peas and continue to sweat them until they are thoroughly warmed through. Then add the chicken broth and turn up the heat until it is just barely simmering.
  4. Then add your pesto mixture (if you have leftovers it is FABULOUS with crackers) and lemon juice, then stick blend it until smooth.
  5. Make a chiffonade of the leftover basil leaves and use with some parmesan as a garnish.
  6. Bon ap!

Seared Salmon w/ Teriyaki Glaze and Chinese red sweet potato and wasabi mash

A juicy salmon steak seared to a crisp on the edges with a sweet teriyaki can my favorite fish get any better? Ok, add some freshly fried potato chips and calamari, and top it with sauteed mushrooms and that 10 just went to an 11 IMO!

This is a great recipe if you like salmon :)

Serves 2.

  • 500 grams salmon
  • 150 grams oyster mushrooms
  • 2 larges scallion
  • 2-3 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 4 cloves of garlic (1 for the topping, 3 for the mash)
  • 2 medium Chinese red sweet potatos
  • 2-3 tsp onion powder
  • 3-4 tsp wasabi powder
  • 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
  • A few dashes of Maggi seasoning
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger (or powder will work, but use slightly less)
  • 2-3 tsp Nước mắm (Vietnamese fish sauce)
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp red chili flake (depending on how hot it is - you don't want to overpower the mash)
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • Sesame oil
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Salt
  • Teriyaki Glaze
    • 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1-3/4 teaspoons rice vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2-3 tablespoons white sugar (to taste)
    • 2-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • black pepper (to taste)
    • optional: corn starch to thicken it to preferred glaze consistency.
  1. Start with the teriyaki glaze by bringing mirin to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Season with garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and black pepper; simmer an additional 5 minutes. Set aside (Note: can store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for extended times).
  2. First, boil some water and add the Chinese red sweet potato. Reserve a few slices for frying as chips. Boil until soft
  3. Place soft potato in a food processor and add garlic, sesame oil, onion powder, wasabi powder, soy sauce, Maggi, ginger, Nước mắm, butter, chili flake, cracked black pepper, and salt to taste. Process until smooth.
  4. Prepare a deep fry to quickly cook up the pineapple cut calamari (frozen from your local Chinese market) and the sweet potato chips. Remove them and place on a paper towel and sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. For the topping: take some sesame oil and heat in a sauté pan. Add chopped oyster mushrooms, garlic, and scallions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sear on high heat till slightly browned and soft. Remove from pan and set aside.
  6. Add some more sesame oil and fry the salmon on high heat, skin side down first. Flip after skin is crisp and browned. Sear on the other side just until lightly browned.
  7. While the salmon is searing, make a bed of the sweet wasabi potato mash. Then remove the skin from the salmon (it should peel off easily if you let is sit, covered in aluminum foil for 2-3 minutes), and place on top of the mash. Drizzle on the teriyaki glaze and garnish with the reserved toppings, calamari, and sweet potato chips.
Perfectly pink salmon.

Final product - drool.
[1] Original Teriyaki Glaze - we modified this recipe to be slightly sweeter/tangy!

Mini Apple Pie

A belated “Pi Day” tribute ;) Today I’m sharing with you my 3 secrets to my perfect apple pie recipe, used for years and is a family fav.

Update: Made it again...and again (read more for updated photos).

First secret: make your own pie crust. The recipe below is the best recipe I’ve come across and the added salt/sugar is essential to the perfect crust flavor. Second secret: I use the famous "Grandmpa Ople" recipe from allrecipes. Third secret: the apples need to be tossed in some spices. If I told you the spices exactly, it wouldn’t be my secret recipe anymore ;) Make this in one pie pan or make individual pies and use ramekins (more fun)!

Chef: the gf.

Serves 2.


    Pie Crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp + 1.5 tsp sugar (white)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp shortening 
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • Apple Pie Filling
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. and 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • Spices
  1. Make the pie crust (~1 hr, 15 mins).
    1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add shortening and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of shortening. In a separate bowl, mix egg with water and then fold in the flour mixture, using a pastry cutter. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little water and blend together with a pastry cutter.
    2. Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 1 large ball, then cut this in half. Roll these two pieces in to balls. Knead the 2 dough balls just enough to form a disc shape, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
    3. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a ~6-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place into a ramekin. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the ramekin. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/4 inch of the edge of the ramekin. Do this again for the 2nd ramekin (serving two pies). Save the extra dough and roll that out to use as the pie top.
  2. Make the Pie (~1 hour).
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
    2. Optional: pie crust pre-bake (I always do this). Place the ramekins with dough in the preheated oven for 3-5 mins to crisp up the interior walls and bottom of crust. Take out and let cool for a few minutes.
    3. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. Set aside for a few minutes.
    4. Gently place the extra dough onto the top of the pie filling. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough (if any) with kitchen shears, leaving a small overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 1-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape. Optional: (I prefer this) paint an egg wash over the top pie crust for a nice shiny finish (using an egg white) and add a dash of cinnamon.
    5. Bake 7 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 20-25 minutes, until apples are soft. Set aside to cool.
    6. Serve warm in the ramekin or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the top and enjoy!
Garnish with the best secret ingredient: Charlie Sheen. Happy 3.14 day!

Sources: Grandma Ruth's Pie Crust, Grandma Ople's Apple Pie.

Updated: round 2!

Adding the Movenpick Vanilla Bean ice cream!
Ready for noms.

Apple pies...good for the <3