Monthly Archives: June 2015

Asian Rolls Revisited Sushi and Summer

This post is a clearance of some rolls I threw together in June but didn’t feel like blogging about.

Sushi Rolls – (top row) asparagus, (middle 3 rows) surimi/fake crab decorated with capelin roe and (bottom row) breaded chicken cutlet

Asparagus, carrot and avocado

Fake crab, avocado and spicy mayo

Breaded chicken cutlet with carrot and sweet chili mayo

It’s been ages since I made summer rolls, let alone posted my efforts. My nephew and I always order them when we go out for Thai food. This summer, he’s not coming home to visit so I’m going to make them for myself and enjoy them while remembering. This version has the more traditional ingredients of rice vermicelli/noodles and bean sprouts but no fresh herbs. If you can get your hands on fresh mint and Thai basil, use them. You’ll enjoy the taste.

I made 8 rolls, half filled with fake crab and half with cooked and thawed shrimp. I had leftover rice vermicelli which ended up in the miso soup that you’ve seen.

For a non-seafood version: Use Chinese bbq’d pork, seasoned bbq’d pork chops or chicken

Dips: Sweet and sour sauce, sweet chili sauce, plum sauce or your favourite Vietnamese dipping sauce. I’ve posted a peanut dipping sauce in an earlier post but I find it too heavy to go with these delicately flavoured rolls so the dipping sauce is still my favourite.

ETA: Here’s a Vietnamese dipping sauce I like:

Summer Roll Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce such as Thai nam pla or Vietnamese nuoc mam*
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp chili paste like sambal oelek

Stir together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved


More Recipes with Hokkaido Milk Bread Dough


You can make a lot of different baked goods with this dough. You can split the ingredients including the tangzhong and make each one separately, as I did or make double of each one.

For a large group, make the Raisin Buns below.

Raisin Buns – makes 16 buns with a half batch of the milk bread recipe below

[Use half of the tangzhong made below and reduce all final dough ingredient amounts by half as well.] Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the dry ingredients. Add 1/2 a cup of raisins 5 minutes before the end of the kneading process. (NOTE: If I made this again, I’d add 1 cup of raisins and soak them first.)

For shaping, divide risen dough into 4 portions and then each portion into 4 for a total of 16 balls. Place them into a well buttered 8×8″ baking dish and let rise. Continue as with recipe below.

After 25 minutes of baking, cover with foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, remove from pan and continue cooling on a rack until the buns are room temperature.

Matcha Swirl Bread – for elegant sandwiches or just to spread butter over and eat.

Matcha Swirl Bread – 2 mini loaves with a half batch of the milk bread recipe below

[Use half of the tangzhong made below and reduce all final dough ingredient amounts by half as well.] After the first knead, remove half of the dough to another bowl. Add 1 tbsp matcha powder to the remaining dough and knead for another 2 or 3 minutes. Proceed with recipe.

After the first rise, divide each dough into 3 balls. Roll out into 6 rectangles, 3 of each colour. Arrange contrasting swirls (Matcha, Plain, Matcha and Plain, Matcha, Plain).

Roll up the rectangles into a ‘snake’ shape. Let rise. Brush with egg wash and bake as per recipe below.

Hokkaido Milk Bread – enough for 2 or 3 loaves


1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup liquid (all water, half milk and half water or all milk)

Method of making tangzhong:

In a small saucepan, whisk the flour into the liquid until you don’t have any lumps. Cook over medium-low to medium  (#5 or 6 on electric stove) heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking.

The mixture will thicken very quickly once the liquid gets warm enough, about 5-6 minutes in total. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon, you’re done.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the cooked mixture into a clean bowl. Cover with cling wrap, sticking the wrap onto the surface of the tangzhong to prevent it from drying up. Let cool to room temperature. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature. Just measure out the amount you need. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in the fridge up to a few days as long as it doesn’t turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more.

(Note: The chilled tangzhong should be brought to room temperature before adding into other ingredients. )

Final Dough

800 g (around 5 cups) bread or all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
50 g (1/2 cup) milk powder
1/2 cup half and half*
3/4 cup milk*
2 eggs
4 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
all of the tangzhong

*I didn’t have any half and half so I used 1 1/4 cup of 2 % milk.

NOTE: For savoury fillings reduce the sugar to half/a quarter of the amount used for the full recipe.

Combine all the dry ingredients in the large bowl of your stand mixer whisking to mix together. In a second bowl, combine all the wet ingredients including the tangzhong and the softened butter. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and mix in the wet ingredients. Turn on the stand mixer and beat for 10 or 15 minutes, until the dough is silky and smooth.

Once you’ve kneaded the dough well, remove the bowl from the stand, cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size, roughly an hour.

Divide the dough into smaller portions depending on your final product.

For 3 loaves, divide dough into 12 equal pieces and place 4 each into loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with softened butter.

Cover the pans loosely and allow to rise for half an hour, then glaze with milk or an egg wash.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while letting the loaves rise another 15-30 minutes.

Bake the loaves at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 40 minutes.  If they are browning too much, you can cover them loosely with foil.

Quick Mexican Rice

I’m sure than anyone who likes Tex-Mex food already has his/her own favourite recipe for “Mexican Rice”, but if you don’t, this isn’t a bad one to start from. My recipe varies based on what I’ve got in the house. This is the most recent version I threw together.

I served the rice with shrimp mole and refried beans. Because I wanted to give a bit of extra flavour to the rice and make it match the protein I used, I used a shrimp bouillon cube in my cooking liquid for the rice. (I DO have some seafood stock in the freezer but am saving it for something else.)

Quick Mexican Rice – serves 4

1 cup long grain rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken stock (or 2 cups water plus 1 bouillon cube)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup salsa, hot or mild
1/2 tsp salt
1 package Goya Sazon seasoning

In a large saucepan, whisk together the stock, tomato paste, salt and seasoning and bring to a boil.

Stir in the rice and salsa.

Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Take the saucepan off the heat and let steam for 10 minutes or until it’s as ‘dry’ as you like. The rice will keep absorbing any additional moisture in the saucepan as it sits.

Fluff up and serve.

Picspam: Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong

ETA: For more ideas of ways to use this dough, go HERE.


The recipe for this amazing bread is found everywhere on the net. I referred to this web page which had lots of great pictures of the process, especially of the tangzhong or flour/milk paste, which is cooked first, and then added to a fairly ordinary sweetened, butter, egg and milk-based bread dough.

The results, however, are anything BUT ordinary.

Crumb of the plain loaf

And the cheddar cheese and bacon loaf

I do NOT recommend trying to knead this dough by hand. If you have a bread machine or a strong stand mixer (use the dough hook attachment) you can make the entire recipe. However, if you have a cheap stand mixer like I do, make a half recipe. I still had to babysit the mixer cause it kept travelling across the counter and I didn’t want it to end up on the floor.

Kneading the dough – after 12 minutes

Stretch the kneaded dough … you’re looking for it to be elastic enough NOT to rip.
Poke a hole in the stretched dough and if the edges of the hole are even, it’s been kneaded enough.

Cover dough and let it rise for an hour.  After an hour, poke a hole in the dough with your finger. If it doesn’t spring back, it’s risen enough.

I had some grated old cheddar cheese and crispy bacon bits in my fridge from the Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder that I made yesterday so I used it with half of the dough I made for a savoury loaf.

Risen dough divided into 4, rolled into balls and allowed to rise for 30 minutes. Two of the balls were divided into half and rolled into ovals.

Then covered with crispy bacon bits and grated old cheddar cheese, and folded in thirds like an envelope.

The package is turned 90 degrees, and rolled out with a rolling pin until it’s as long as the loaf pan. Then the sheet is rolled up into a snake with the sealed edge at the bottom.

The 4 rolls are fitted snuggly into the baking pan, which has been sprayed with cooking spray, and allowed to rise for 30 minutes.

Then the dough is brushed with an egg wash and allowed to rise for another 15-30 minutes while the oven is preheated to 350 deg Fahrenheit. Bake, covering with a sheet of aluminum foil if the top gets too dark before the loaf is cooked through.

Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder

ETA: I had a brilliant idea for a turkey mole soup but I’m going to put it on the backburner and use the leftover mole sauce for shrimp instead. I’ve not decided yet whether to serve it over pasta or rice.

Menus evolve and change and my original plan to make migas out of the refried beans, tostadas and pulled turkey leg in my fridge changed. I flirted briefly with a baked casserole, a white chili with turkey and no beans and then finally settled on this Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder … mainly because it called for a cup of salsa verde and I had exactly that amount in a jar in my fridge. And a red pepper.

I DID have to run down to the grocery store to pick up a bag of frozen corn … but hadn’t remembered that canned green chilies were also needed. No biggie. I left them out. And, it turned out I really didn’t need them as the soup already had a lovely spicy back note which was delicious.

Southwestern Turkey and Corn Chowder – makes 8-10 cups

6-8 slices bacon, diced
1 large (1 cup) onion, small dice
2 stalks (1 cup) celery, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (8 oz) green salsa (salsa verde)
1/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup cold water
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, undrained (omitted)
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked turkey* (or chicken)
1 – 1 1/2* cups corn, frozen, canned or fresh
2 large (1 1/2 cups) carrots, small dice
2 large potatoes (1 1/2 cups), peeled and diced medium
1-2 cups additional vegetables (optional ie cauliflower, shredded cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, green beans)
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese*
Salt and pepper, to taste

Extra grated cheddar cheese for garnish

* Used

In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until it’s crisp (about 10 minutes). Remove the bacon from the pan and drain off the bacon grease, leaving 2 tbsp bacon drippings in the pan. Add the onion, celery and red pepper to the bacon drippings in the pot. Cook until tender.

Stir in the broth, cream and salsa verde. Mix flour with 1/2 cup water until no lumps remain. Stir into the saute pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the green chilies (if using), turkey or chicken, corn and carrots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the diced potatoes. (If desired you can also add 1-2 cups of other vegetables at this point.)

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Take saute pan off the heat and gradually stir in the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Stir in reserved bacon, or sprinkle on top of individual bowls of chowder as garnish.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

I tried to find a picture of my dad that I could show but ended up with few choices to pick from. And they were poor resolution pics taken from a distance so taking a picture of THAT (since I don’t have a scanner) didn’t turn out wonderfully … but it was the best I could do.

Although he’d never stand still for us to take a picture of him, my dad was always happy to show off his garden to company. Here he posed with an older couple who had come to Canada for a visit from Yugoslavia (or Romania) in 1983. Flannel work shirts were his regular dress when he was at home.

In the back of this shot you can see the rhododendron and azalea bushes that he planted at the house we lived in, out in the suburbs, before we moved back into the city.

Here are some shots of the back yard when the tulips and sweet alyssum were in bloom. My dad loved his tulips and planted them extensively in the raised flower beds he created. Picture 2 kidney shaped beds with a circular bed in the middle. At the back was a rectangular bed that extended across the back of our property and separated it from the undeveloped land at the back, where deer, pheasants and rabbits were seen.

These shots look from the front-right to the back-left of our back yard.

A slightly different angle.

This shot looks across our property from the front-left to the back-right and into our neighbour’s yard where they had a lovely swimming pool. (I envied them that pool.)

Picspam: Home Made Breakfast Sausage, Egg and English Muffins Sandwiches

So, a couple of weeks ago I was stumped because I had nothing in the fridge for work lunches. But I had some home made breakfast sausage patties in the freezer and I had a package of English muffins in the fridge. And, I always have eggs.

So, I got creative.

I dug out the same bottomless and topless tuna can that I’d used to cut out the sausage patties (I have two tucked away), and fried a couple of eggs at a time in them.

When the whites were set, I ran a butter knife around the inside of the can to free the egg, removed the can, and flipped the egg over so I could cook the second side

Then I assembled my sandwiches: bottom of the muffin, sausage patty, fried egg and half a slice of American cheese and finally, the top of the muffin.


Wrap up in food wrap and tuck away in the fridge or freezer … Now, isn’t that better than going to that ‘place’ and buying them?

What brought this to mind? Well, yesterday I ran across a post on one of the blogs I follow where someone made their own English muffins. They even used the same type of rippled biscuit cutter than **I** have in my cupboard.

Hmmm… maybe I’ll make my own English muffins next.

“Huevos Divorciados” and Turkey Mole Chilaquiles (Re-imagined)

Huevos divorciados, or “divorced eggs,” is a Mexican breakfast dish featuring two fried eggs separated by a column of chilaquiles. The eggs are each served on a different coloured sauce … red (salsa roja) and green (salsa verde).

I’ve made chilaquiles before, even if it should have been called a Tex-Mex migas in being combined with scrambled eggs. For those unfamiliar with chilaquiles, it’s a dish of hardened corn tortillas (toasted or fried) cooked in a sauce (typically salsa roja or salsa verde) to soften the tortillas and with various toppings as a garnish. Refried beans are an optional component. For meat lovers, shredded poached chicken may be added as well. I had some braised turkey leg meat in my freezer so I’m using it, for convenience.

In today’s dish, I’m using tostadas from the pantry instead of frying (you can bake them too) corn tortillas for convenience. I’m also using leftover mole sauce from my freezer since I’m using each of the 2 salsas under the fried eggs. Instead of incorporating the tostadas into the chilaquiles, I’m going to use them as a base for the eggs and sauce which will soften them.

Usually Mexican rice or fried potatoes are also found on the plate but I wasn’t hungry enough to make any and, for a change, I didn’t have any leftovers tucked away in my fridge or freezer. Surprising, I know. 🙂

The Two Components of the Dish – serves 1

1. Huevos Divorciados

2 eggs, fried sunny side up
2 tostadas
2 tbsp red salsa (salsa roja)
2 tbsp green salsa (salsa verde)

2. Chilaquiles with Turkey Mole

1/2 cup refried beans, warmed
1/4 cup shredded turkey leg
2 tbsp mole sauce

Combine the shredded turkey meat with the mole sauce and warm through.

Optional garnishes

shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, cheddar) or queso fresco (crumbled feta may be substituted)
sour cream
guacamole or diced avocados
diced tomatoes


Place the 2 tostadas on a large plate, overlapping slightly in the middle if necessary. Spoon the refried beans in a line down the middle of the plate, creating a ‘wall’ between the tostadas. Spoon the mole turkey on top of the refried beans.

Spoon 2 tbsp of salsa over each tostada. Red salsa over one and green salsa over the other. Place a fried egg on top of each tostada. The refried beans and turkey mole will prevent the two salsas from mixing and the salsa will soften the tostadas.

Garnish as desired with the optional ingredients listed or ones you may prefer.

If serving for a brunch, a glass of Mexican beer or a margarita is a great accompaniment. This is also a pretty good late night/early morning hangover dish.

Strawberry-Mango Margarita Compote

With a lovely mango ripening on the counter and about half a clamshell of ripe local strawberries in my fridge, I used the internet to look for interesting ideas of ways to use them up. The result of my search was this compote, which combines the best elements of one of my favourite Tex-Mex themed drinks, the orange liqueur margarita, with the healthy and energizing characteristics of fresh fruits.

Compote served over drained plain yogurt

Strawberry-Mango Margarita Compote – serves 4

2 cup strawberries
2 cup mangoes
2 tbsp vanilla bean sugar
1 tsp lime zest
2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp tequila
1 1/2 tbsp orange liqueur (ie. triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier)

Place strawberries, mango, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine.

Let stand for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld.

If desired, serve in margarita glasses: rub the rims with additional lime juice and dip in sugar, then spoon in compote.

You can eat this compote on its own or use it to top cake or plain vanilla or fruit flavoured ice cream.

I happened to have some plain 2% yogurt in the fridge but I was afraid the compote would water down the yogurt too much so I drained it overnight. The resulting yogurt is thick and creamy … like the richest and most decadent whipped cream.

Yogurt, before (left) and after (right) being drained overnight in the fridge

Stirred yogurt ready to be topped with fruit compote

Pork Tenderloin Kebabs … Broiler or BBQ

A few days ago I picked up a couple of packages of pork tenderloin cheaply ($2.88 a pound). I quick-prepped and froze away 3/4 of the meat for the future, but kept about 1 1/2 pounds of the loin aside. It was cleaned of silver skin and excess fat and cubed for kebabs. The marinade… that was the question.

Remember that cilantro chimichurri? Well, a half pound of the cubes ended up marinating overnight in some of that flavourful herb  mixture. I was going to barbecue the cubes on skewers, but it was Tuesday, and I wasn’t THAT ambitious that early in the week, so I grilled the skewers in the oven instead.

The other pound of pork tenderloin cubes were marinated in a commercially prepared red pepper salad dressing from Kraft. Threaded with onions and peppers, they made tasty and colourful skewers to be wrapped in pita bread or served over rice, couscous or potatoes.

I cut the pork tenderloin cubes marinated in the chimichurri (left) smaller than the ones in the red pepper dressing (right) so 1/4 of a pound of pork ended up on 2 skewers of the former, while they filled only one skewer of the latter.

Supper – Chimichurri pork tenderloin skewers with leftover baked potato and coleslaw

The other broiled skewers were frozen away once cooked