Sep 29, 2011

Healthy Version of Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

One of the best benefits about homemade food is that we get to enjoy our guilty pleasure with a healthier twist.

My version of Hawaiian pizza is made with organic cheese, organic flour, etc. On top of that, I used roasted and smoked turkey breast instead of ham, and the result is not any less tasty than store bought version (at least better than boxes from the frozen aisle!).

Ingredients for one pizza?

1 envelope of instant pizza crust yeast
1 2/3 cup of organic all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of organic granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
2/3 cup very warm filtered water
3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 oz of sliced honey roasted and smoked turkey breast
8 oz/1 small can of cubed pineapple
1 1/2 cup of organic shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup of organic shredded parmesan
1/4~1/3 jar of spaghetti sauce
Some olive oil


There's actually one "less successful" pizza before this recipe. Thanks to my friends who unknowingly became experimental white mouse and finished that very first pizza.

I used instant pizza crust yeast for the pizza dough. In fact, I never knew such thing exists till the other day at the grocery store. After reading the description, there's no hours of proofing the dough required, what a time saver!
If you can't find instant yeast, just use the regular kind and prepare the dough as instructed -

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheight.
Once done kneading or maybe proofing the dough, roll it out and transfer onto a baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil and let's start layering the toppings. Below are the ingredients I used starting from the bottom:

Spaghetti sauce
Half of the shredded mozzarella
Turkey breast slices
The other half of the shredded mozzarella

Remember to leave about one inch space around the outside edge of the dough. Into the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or till the top of the cheese turn slightly golden brown.

Serve with Tabasco or red pepper flakes.

The cheese helps binding all the ingredients together and Everything just turned into a mouthful of oozing goodness.

Maybe dessert pizza next time?

Sep 21, 2011

Garlicky and Lemony Shrimp Linguine

When we talk about spaghetti sauce, the immediate responses are usually tomatoey marinara and creamy alfredo. For more advanced eaters, the answers are broadened a wee bit into nutty pesto and spicy arrabiata. I found that most of the commonly known sauce are the very hearty ones and sometimes that can translate into a plate of heavy tasting meal.

With a big ambition in mind, I wanna tell these people that there are numerous light and flavorful pasta dishes out there that have long been underestimated by the public. A delicious Italian meal doesn't have to be overload with cheese nor packed with meat balls and sausages every bite. This is how I do it -

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 portion)?

30 shrimps (peeled and deveined)
1 zucchini
1 ripe tomato
1 lemon
4 to 5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/3 cup of dry white wine
Some red pepper flakes
Some linguine


Let's start with some prep work first,
Peel and mince the garlic,
Peel the zucchini and cut into small cubes,
Also dice the tomato into small cubes, save the juice for the pasta sauce,
Peel and devein the shrimps -

Bring a big pot of water into a boil then add a few pinches of sea salt to flavor the water,
Cook the linguine till almost al dente in texture, drain well and set aside,
We'll finish cooking it once mix together with the sauce.

Drizzle some olive oil in a big pan, turn to medium high heat,
Toss in chopped garlic, some red pepper flakes if desired, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper,
Cook for a short moment, before the garlic gets burned, add in the shrimps and Italian seasoning.

Give it a quick stir and sear the shrimps for about one minute, pour in some dry white wine.
Add the zucchini and tomato, season with more salt and pepper.

Usually I would cook the shrimps after the vegetables to prevent tough chewy texture from happening, but I find the shrimps to be more aromatic if I cook them first. On top of that, if the shrimps are very fresh, the texture usually remains even after simmering in heat for a while.

Bring the whole mixture to a boil then simmer for couple minutes,
Add the spaghetti along with the juice of 1 lemon,
Remember to zest the lemon first and save it for later use.

Cook the whole mixture in medium heat till the pasta reaches desired doneness,
Taste it and see if more salt is needed,
Transfer onto a plate, sprinkle some black pepper and lemon zest before serving -

Buon appetito!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Sep 14, 2011

What to Do with Kale? How about Asian Stiry-Fry Style?

Most Asians, at least the ones like me who didn't come to CA till after middle school, are not very familiar with kale.

I remember the very first time,
Its big, luscious leaf lured me to bring a big bundle home,
Man oh man, looks can be deceiving,
Unlike its bright green color and beautiful curls on the edges, this green veggie was so tough and chewy to munch on, definitely not my favorite type of vegetable.

But that pretty color kept fooling me into bringing the vegetable home over and over again,
Finally, after several trials and errors,
I found my top two ways to prepare kale:
Frying or baking kale into vegetable ships or simple Asian stir-fry.


1 bundle of kale
4 slices of smoked bacon
6 cremini mushroom
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
Some soy sauce
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper


Chop the bacon into bite sizes and toss to the pan,
Turn to high heat and drizzle some olive oil till evenly coating the bottom of the pan,
Cook for about 2 minutes or till the bacon grease happily join the olive oil inside the pan.

Add in chopped garlic along with some salt and pepper,
Don't finely chop the cloves because it'll get burned easily on a stove,
Just a few rough chops go a long way.

Cook the garlic till the color on the edges turned slightly brown but not burned,
Toss in kale that has already been chopped into large bite sizes,
Add about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce,
Cook for a few minutes, or till the leaves finally wilted down a bit,
Once done, transfer the greens onto the center of a big plate, leave the grease in the pan.

From the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and toss in chopped mushroom,
About one minute,
Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cook till the liquid has been fully absorbed by the mushroom,
Once done, pour the mushrooms onto the plate, circle the already stirred-fry kale -

Unlike simply boiling then shocking the vegetable,
My stir-fry way actually cooked the tough leaves longer, which helped in softening the texture a bit.

Using "smoked" bacon is also a key because the sweetness from the meat addes more flavor to kale,
If you tried kale before and doesn't like it, how about giving this vegetable one more chance by stir-frying it?

Cindy's Rating: 7

Sep 4, 2011

Very Tomatoey Pan Fried Chicken Steak

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Hope all of you guys are having a fantastic break at the moment,
Hanging out with family and friends, catching up some good TV shows, or sleeping through the days,
As for me, I gonna head over to Vegas and Zion National Park on Monday,
Yes, for money's sake, the vacation time has been moved a few days later,
Can you believe it!?
The plane ticket from CA to Las Vegas is only $29 one way, totally worth it to postpone my days off a wee bit later.

Before leaving for the trip, let me share my latest kitchen experiment so maybe you can give it a try over the break -

Ingredients (2 to 3 portion)?

Simplified salsa -
1 large ripe tomato
2 tablespoon of finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
1/2 lemon juice
1 teaspoon of sea salt

Tomato sauce (bed) -
1 large ripe tomato
2 tablespoon of chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning

Breading -
Some all purpose flour
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 teaspoons of water
3/4 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning

Avocado layer -
1 ripe avocado
Some lemon juice

During cooking -
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Main ingredient -
6 chicken thighs (skinned and deboned)


Salsa part is easy,
Just chop all the ingredients and mix them together -

To make the tomato sauce,
Drizzle some olive oil inside a small/medium pot,
Turn to high heat, toss in chopped onion, sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Cook till the onion turns translucent, add in chopped tomatoes and dried Italian seasoning,
Mix well and cook for about 2 minutes,
Transfer the mixture into a blender and puree it,
Once done, set aside for later use -

At first, I thought the color should be red, but it turned out to be bright orange,
What a surprise, wonder how that happened?

Now let's make an assembly line here for our chicken thighs,
Use 3 bowls or plates,
One with some flour, sea salt, black pepper,
One with the egg and water mixture,
Last one with panko and died Italian seasoning.

Coat the chicken thigh with the flour, shake it a bit to get rid of excess flour,
Drench in egg wash then lastly coat the meat with panko mixture,
Repeat the steps for all the remaining thighs -

For avocado,
Remove the tough outer layer and center pit,
Halve the fruit, slice then fan it out,
Brush with lemon juice to avoid discoloration.

Now we have all the ingredients ready, the final steps should be easy,
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter inside a big pan,
Turn to high heat, once the oil mixture gets really hot, carefully transfer the chicken thighs into the pan,
Sear about 5 minutes on each side then turn to medium low heat and cover with lid,
Let the meat finish cooking with lower temperature for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, line a paper tower on a plate,
Once the chicken is done, transfer onto the plate and let it sit for about 2 minutes,
The paper towel will help in sucking up some oil from the coating.

To service the dish,
Shake the tomato sauce first then pour it onto a plate to form a circle,
Layer with avocado slices,
Slice the pan fried chicken and add onto the avocado,
Scoop in a generous portion of fresh salsa, lastly, garnish with cilantro -

Very refreshing taste,
Even though it's pan fried chicken,  with some butter too,
The tanginess from the tomato actually balances out the oily coating,
Maybe it can be a good meal after a whole weekend of binge eating during the holidays?

Cindy's Rating: 8