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Archive for International Foods

RECIPE: Asian Beef Skewers (Satay)

Hot dogs, burgers and steaks are traditional Memorial Day fare. But you can travel beyond America and enjoy some global cuisine on the grill.

This recipe is from Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods. There’s nothing bizarre about this recipe, though.

“Roadside eateries in Cambodia serve little skewered dishes from morning to closing time, and this simple beef and lemongrass version of mine is the type of recipe that grill freaks will turn to all year long,” says Zimmern. “I also use the same recipe for chicken parts, pork chops, etc., with equal success.”




Cambodian-style beef skewers with spicy peanut sauce. Photo courtesy Andrew Zimmern.

  • 24 ounces dry-aged boneless trimmed beef tenderloin or dry-aged beef sirloin
  • 2 peeled and minced garlic cloves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed dry-roasted peanuts for garnish
  • Preparation

    1. SLICE beef into long thin strips, 1/8 inch x 1 inch x 5 inches long.

    2. COMBINE the garlic, lemongrass, coriander, sugar and fish sauce in a mortar and pestle until mixture is a paste. Use a blender or food processor if you have to.

    3. MARINATE meat for 12 to 24 hours in this mixture.

    4. THREAD beef onto skewers, grill briefly to medium rare over high direct heat and serve with spicy peanut sauce for dipping, garnishing with the nuts.


    Another word for this dish is satay, a Southeast
    Asian dish consisting of small pieces of meat,
    poultry, fish or seafood, grilled on a skewer and
    served with spiced sauce. Photo courtesy Healthy
    In A Hurry




  • 1/4 cup roasted ground peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoon chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced


    1. HEAT the oil in a small pan and add the garlic, chili paste and tomato paste.

    2. FRY until the garlic turns light golden brown.

    3. ADD the broth, peanut butter, hoisin and sugar, and simmer for 3 minutes.

    4. COOL and add the peanuts and chilies.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Adapting A Classic, Greek Nachos

    The Greek cousin of nachos. Photo courtesy Chobani Greek Yogurt.


    Today’s tip looks at adapting popular recipes to other cultures. As an example, we’re giving Tex-Mex nachos a Greek makeover—a fresh spin on a party classic that uses feta and naan or pita crisps instead of Cheddar or Jack cheese and tortilla chips. It also adds some heartiness with ground lamb.

    This recipe, from Chobani Greek Yogurt, makes 6 servings. Enjoy it with beer, wine or iced mint tea.



    For The Yogurt Salsa

  • 1 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Sea salt to taste

    For The Nachos

  • Naan bread or pita
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or veal, beef, turkey)
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Kalamata olives
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Italian herb seasoning or oregano

    A delight for feta fans. Photo courtesy Chobani Greek Yogurt.



    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. BROWN ground lamb in olive oil over medium heat until fully cooked; then drain oil.

    3. RUB naan bread with small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, cut into triangle wedges with pizza cutter and place on baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes to desired crispness.

    5. COMBINE yogurt, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, salt, and cumin in a food processor; process to desired smoothness. Add more onion, cucumber, and/or feta cheese as desired.

    6. ASSEMBLE nachos by placing triangle wedges of naan on a plate, then fresh spinach, then ground lamb, yogurt salsa, olives, tomatoes, more feta cheese and italian herb seasoning on top as desired.

    Find more recipes at



    PRODUCT: Saffron Road Indian Cuisine

    We interrupt our presentation of Cinco de Mayo recipes to bring you something new in global cuisines: Indian, Japanese, Moroccan and Thai.

    One of the founders of Stonyfield yogurt went on to found the American Halal Company. The company has nationally launched Saffon Road, its flagship brand.

    The stylish and tasty brand is the first halal-certified product line to be sold nationally in all Whole Foods stores (it’s also in 6,000 other retail stores across the U.S.).

    Now people hankering for anything from Lamb Saag to Pad Thai can have it after only four minutes in the microwave.

    The foods are all-natural, antibiotic-free, locally sourced and Certified Humane. They are not heavily spiced, so have a broad appeal.

    Most products are Certified Gluten-Free; select products are vegan/vegetarian and Non-GMO.


    Two of the frozen entrees, ready in four minutes. Photo courtesy Saffron Road.


    The product line—hors d’oeuvre, frozen entrées, simmer sauces and savory snacks—uses premium natural ingredients. You can taste the quality.


    Wasabi Crunchy Chickpeas, one of our
    favorite new snack foods. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



    Everything is ready in minutes, with the exception of the crunchy chickpea snacks, which are ready as soon as you tear off the top of the bag:

  • Hors d’oeuvres: phyllo wraps and samosas.
  • Frozen entrées: Chicken Biryani, Chicken Pad Thai, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Saag, Lamb Vindaloo, Lemongrass Basil Chicken
  • Savory snacks made with crunchy roasted organic chickpeas in three varieties: Bombay Spice, Falafel and Wasabi (also delicious as a salad garnish)
  • Simmer Sauces: Lemongrass Basil, Moroccan Tagine, Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala< \li>

    Hungry yet? Check out the store locator at


    While Saffron Road is a fanciful name—the line is not laden with the world’s costliest spice—we thought you might like an overview of it.


    Saffron comprises the dried stigmas, called threads, of the saffron crocus, Crocus sativus. The reddish-colored stigmas are used in global cuisines from Spain to India, as a seasoning and coloring agent. The stigmas contain the carotenoid dye crocin, which imparts a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes (and in earlier times, textiles).

    Saffron is the world’s most costly spice by weight; each flower produces only three stigmas, so many are needed to produce just one gram of the spice. Fortunately, you need very little to flavor a dish.

    Saffron is native to Greece, and was first cultivated on the Greek island of Crete, as early as the Bronze Age (500 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E.). It was slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia, North Africa, North America and Oceania. The first written record dates to a 7th-century B.C.E. Assyrian botanical treatise.

    Today Iran grows 90% of the world’s saffron, although Afghanistan, Greece Italy, Iran, Kashmir (India), Morocco and Spain are also producers. Saffron from different regions has different potencies; for example, Kashmiri saffron is very strong and you may need to use less than what is called for in your recipe.

    The spice is used in dishes such as arroz con pollo and paella (Spain); bouillabaisse (France) an other Mediterranean seafood soups; chelow kabab (Iran), chicken biryanil, kashmiri lamb and saffron rice (India); lamb tagine (Morocco) and saffron bread (Sweden).

    As with many herbs and spices, it’s hard to describe the flavor (what do garlic and paprika taste like?). However, it is glorious with a heady perfume, imparting a tastes of honey, hay and earthiness.

    Too much saffron is not a good thing: It can make a dish bitter.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Soba Noodles & Soba Salad

    Soba noodles typically are served on a flat
    plate like pasta; but here, it’s swirled into a
    stylish dome. Photo © Lulu Durand | IST.


    Unless you live in an area with good Japanese restaurants, it may be difficult to find a dish of soba noodles. But if you check in a natural foods market or online, you should be able to pick some up and cook your own.

    Soba dishes are appealing party fare, from bowls of noodle soup meant to be slurped with gusto, to a mix-your-own cold soba noodle salad with four, six or more optional ingredients with which to customize one’s dish.

    Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat; the thin noodles are made from buckwheat flour. As with all pasta, soba noodles can be served warm or chilled (think cold sesame noodles and pasta salad). Here are some popular recipes:


  • Soup: A bowl of dashi broth, filled with soba, is typically topped with sliced green onion and a tempura shrimp; add a fried egg, sunnyside up, and you’ve got tsukimi tororo. You can customize the dish with mushrooms, nori strips (seaweed) and/or western ingredients such as kale or spinach.

  • Stir fry: Topped with a stir fry of baby bok choy, bell peppers, green onions, snow peas and a protein (chicken, fish/seafood, tofu).
  • Fish dishes: Seared ahi tuna with a sesame crust (recipe) or miso-poached cod are wonderful on a bed of soba. Asparagus or snow peas add complementary color and flavor.

  • Hiyashi soba: One of our favorite ways to enjoy soba is this “mix your own” concept served with dishes of optional ingredients. These mix-ins or toppings can include fresh cilantro, green onion slices (scallions), natto (fermented soybeans), nori strips, okra slices, oroshi (grated daikon radish), purée of yamaimo (Japanese yam) and a pitcher of dashi. You can add some optional heat, such as minced birds eye chile. Add a fried egg, sunnyside up, and you’ve got yakisoba.
  • Mori soba: Plain chilled soba noodles served on a flat basket or a plate.
  • Zaru soba: Mori soba topped with shredded nori seaweed.
    Soba salad, cold soba mixed with vegetables and sesame oil-soy sauce dressing is a contemporary fusion concept served outside Japan. House Foods, makers of premium tofu and organic tofu, has provided the recipe below, which uses traditional Japanese ingredients.

    But you can extend the fusion with western ingredients: hard-cooked egg, julienned ham and cheese, strips of roast pork or poultry, leeks or red onions instead of green onions, sliced red radishes…anything goes.

    In fact, one conceit for a soba noodles party is to have each guest bring a creative ingredient to mix in.



    Add optional asparagus and/or snow peas, diagonally cut, for another dimension of flavor. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. For example, we prefer more red bell pepper and green onions on the salad, and less sugar in the dressing.

    This recipe serves 6.


  • 1 block extra firm tofu (14 ounces), drained, patted dry and cut into ½ inch strips
  • 8 ounces soba noodles, uncooked
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick julienne strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
    For The Dressing

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onions (scallions), minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (how to toast seeds)

    Uncooked soba (buckwheat) noodles. Photo © Maria Lapsha | Fotolia.



    1. TOAST sesame seeds: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Immediately remove seeds from hot pan to avoid over-toasting.

    2. COOK noodles in a large pot, following package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Set aside and refrigerate.

    3. SPRAY oil on a nonstick pan and grill tofu. Set aside and refrigerate.

    4. WHISK together the dressing ingredients.

    5. TOSS together noodles, cucumber, red bell pepper and optional asparagus and/or snow peas.

    6. Add tofu strips and mix well.

    Try this recipe with conventional wheat noodles: Japanese somen noodles with dipping sauce.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Sashimi Tacos

    Sashimi tacos at Haru restaurant in New York
    City. Photo courtesy Haru.


    Given our love of fusion food, we were delighted to discover these sashimi tacos at Haru restaurant in New York City.

    You can make them full size or in miniature for appetizers and hors d’oeuvre. At Haru, the sashimi tacos are available in:

  • Salmon and/or Spicy Salmon
  • Tuna and/or Spicy Tuna
  • Yellowtail
    Of course, you can make “California roll” tacos with avocado, cucumber and crab stick or your other favorite sashimi.

    We made delicious tacos with bay scallops and seaweed salad. With a standard taco size, some “salad” helps to fill out the base. If you can’t find seaweed salad, a mix of shredded daikon and carrot is equally delicious; and shredded lettuce always works!



  • Fish or seafood of choice
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Wasabi powder
  • Soy sauce
  • Optional filling: shredded carrots and/or daikon, seaweed salad
  • Taco shells or wonton wrappers
  • Garnish: snipped chives, thin-sliced green onion (scallion), lemon or lime zest, lemon or lime zest and grated ginger mix, toasted sesame seeds, tobiko (flying fish roe) or salmon caviar
  • Lime wedges

    1. BUY sushi-quality fish and dice into 1/4″ to 1/2″ cubes.

    2. MOISTEN/TOSS with sesame oil, rice vinegar and a bit of wasabi powder. Taste and add soy sauce if the mixture needs a hit of salt.

    3. PREPARE and fill taco shells. Here’s how Guy Fieri makes shells from wonton wrappers for his tuna taco recipe.

    4. GARNISH as desired.


    Check out the different types of sashimi in our Sushi & Sashimi Glossary.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Napa Cabbage Kimchi

    We have a love for kimchi, Korean spicy preserved vegetables. We found ourselves buying many small packets of kimchi for $3.99 a pop. Then the light bulb turned on: These ingredients are very inexpensive and the finished product a long shelf life. Make it yourself! It’s easy, although time consuming; but we love making double and triple batches at a time.

    Kimchi is a very healthful food, low in calories, high in fiber and bursting with vitamins and minerals. Variously spelled kimchee, kim chee or gimchi, it is the national dish of Korea. The name has origins in Korean or Chinese words referring to vegetables soaked in salted water.

    Historians believe that kimchi was first made by Koreans living in Manchuria, to preserve the vitamins and minerals in vegetables for the long winters.

    Kimchi can be served as a condiment, a side or in recipes that vary from kimchi stew or soup to kimchi pancakes and fried rice.


    A delicious side of kimchi. Photo courtesy

    We like it on a burger, hot dog or sandwich, with scrambled eggs, as a side with grilled meats and as a low-calorie spicy/tangy snack. Kimchi is the Korean analogy to sauerkraut, another fermented cabbage dish; but it has much more complexity of flavor and texture.

    There are many different recipes for kimchi. The first step is to select the principal vegetable—typically cucumber, Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage), radish or scallion. Then, add other fruits and vegetables, including the aforementioned and Asian pear. The sauce can be adjusted to your individual preferences and access to ingredients such as Korean fish sauce, crab fish sauce and salted shrimp.

    Kimchi is a “signature dish”: Each person can add his or her favorite ingredients to create a vibrant recipe. Don’t hesitate to add “American“ vegetables, such as bell pepper and carrots. Just keep the slices thin.

    This recipe is from one by John Ryan on This recipe makes 6 servings.



  • 1 large Napa cabbage
  • 1 medium daikon radish
  • 3 scallions (spring onions), chopped
  • 1 bunch mustard leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2″ piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup red chili powder (Korean red chili is called gochugaru)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (we use just 1 tablespoon; you can also use noncaloric sweetener)
  • 2 cups sea salt (kosher salt)
  • 10 cups water
  • Large jar, ideally wide mouth, with tight cap

    Napa cabbage, also called Chinese cabbage. Photo courtesy



    In earlier times, kimchi was often fermented in jars buried underground for months. Today, a few days in a dark corner, plus a week in the fridge, does the trick.

    1. REMOVE the outer leaves of the cabbage if they are not fresh-looking. Trim the edges of the cabbage and separate the leaves. Reserve 4 leaves; chop the remainder of the cabbage into quarters, lengthwise.

    2. PLACE water and salt in a large bowl, skillet or other container, stirring to combine. Soak the cabbage leaves for 6-8 hours (we do it overnight).

    3. REMOVE the cabbage but reserve the salted water. Rinse the cabbage in cold water; shake, then wring out the excess water and move to paper towels to dry.

    4. SLICE the daikon into matchsticks and chop the mustard greens.

    5. COMBINE the ginger garlic paste and chili powder in a large bowl; make a paste by slowly adding 1/2 cup of water and whisking thoroughly.

    6. BLEND daikon, scallions and mustard greens into the paste. Wear gloves and toss with your hands. Then add the cabbage and finish blending the kimchi.

    7. PLACE one of the reserved cabbage leaves on a plate or other surface; top with a few spoonfuls of kimchi. Repeat the process for all 4 leaves, making a stack of layers.

    8. LIFT the layers into the jar and pack them tightly. Add any additional kimchi to the top.

    9. POUR the reserved salt water into the jar until it reaches the brim. Tightly cap the jar.

    10. FERMENT at room temperature for 3 days in a dark place; then place the jar in the refrigerator for 7 more days. Finally, you’re ready to enjoy the fruits (actually, vegetables) of your labors. The kimchi will continue to ferment in the jar; keep it in the fridge. Any bubbles you observe are natural fermentation.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Ramen Noodle Soup

    Homemade ramen soup Photo courtesy


    Packaged ramen soups are popular with some people because they’re inexpensive yet tasty.

    And salty. There’s much more much salt in packaged ramen soups than is good for you. One label we checked had 1434mg of sodium which is 60% of your Daily Value of salt; and if you eat the whole package (two servings), you’ve exceeded your Daily Value.*

    So here’s an easy solution: Make your own ramen soup. It’s easy, and you can make as large a batch as you like. It’s also a great catch-all for leftover pasta, meats and veggies. Just follow this recipe template:

    Choose Your Base

    Buy beef, chicken or vegetable broth or stock, preferably low sodium. If you like to make your own stock, by all means, use it. If you find yourself with pork bones, make pork stock.

    Taste your stock; if it needs a bit more salt, use low sodium soy sauce.

    Choose Your Ramen (Pasta)

    You can select any pasta width or shape, from slender angel hair to flat fettuccine to round spaghetti or spaghettini. There’s no reason why you can’t use very wide pasta, like papparadelle, or nonwheat pasta such as rice noodles or cellophane noodles. (See our Pasta Glossary for the different types of pasta).

    Even though ramen is a noodle soup, if you’re carb counting, you can leave out the pasta altogether and add more veggies.


    Choose Your Protein

    Protein is one of the standard ramen toppings, but we like to break it out from the vegetable toppings.

    As mentioned earlier, ramen soup is a great way to use leftovers: cooked ground meat; fish or seafood including sliced fish cake (kamaboko, a type of surimi, Japanese processed seafood that includes imitation crab leg); sliced beef, lamb or pork; a soft- or hard-cooked egg or tofu.

    Customize the recipe to your preferences (every recipe!). There’s no reason that you can’t use a combination of proteins.

    Choose Your Toppings

    You’re the cook and the consumer, so add whatever toppings appeal to you. Consider bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bell pepper, cabbage, corn, mushrooms, pickled ginger or plums, seaweed or spinach and thin-sliced scallions.


    Get artistic with your toppings. Photo courtesy Haru Restaurant | NYC.

    Any cooked or raw vegetable that appeals to you can become a soup topping. You’ve got leftover broccoli? Toss it in!

    Choose Your Seasonings

    We feel strongly about adding fresh herbs to every dish. For Asian soups, we particularly like basil and lemongrass, but don’t leave out the parsley that’s hanging out in the produce drawer.

    If you like heat, add thin-sliced of your favorite chile. For more depth of flavor in the broth, add a spoonful of miso paste.

    Add Some Color

    We also like a touch of color to every dish. While it isn’t traditional, try a garnish of finely-diced red bell pepper or hot red chile.

    Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish made with Chinese-style wheat noodles (as opposed to rice noodles), served in a meat- or fish-based broth. It’s a meal in a bowl, often enjoyed for lunch.

    Toppings vary widely based on local preferences. Every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, to the miso ramen of Hokkaido at the opposite end of the archipelago.

    Ramen is of Chinese origin, but there is debate over the etymology of the word. One of several theories is that ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word lamian, meaning “hand-pulled noodles.”

    *Daily Value nutrient targets, set by the government, vary by age, gender and calorie intake. For adults under 50, the Daily Value for sodium is 2300 mg/day. As long as we’re on the topic, other DVs to watch include cholesterol, 300 mg/day; fiber, 25 g/day for women, 38 g/day for men; saturated fat, 10% of total calorie intake. It is worth noting that for sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat, eating less than the DV is beneficial; for fiber, eating more is beneficial.



    RECIPES: Roasted, Spiced Cauliflower & Cauliflower Salad

    Roasted and caramelized cauliflower with
    Indian spices. Photo courtesy


    We love cauliflower, and enjoy it at least once a week. Not to go all Bubba Gump on it, but we like:

  • Aloo gobi, the popular Imdian dish of cauliflower and potatoes.
  • Cauliflower au gratin, baked with a topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese, or Mornay, a cheese sauce. On a related note, you can also dip cauliflower, raw or lightly-steamed, into cheese fondue.
  • Cauliflower crudités, with a blue cheese or nonfat yogurt dip.
  • Cauliflower purée, which can be stretched with stock to make cauliflower soup.
  • Cruciferous salad: Broccoli florets, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower florets in a Dijon dressing (recipe below).
  • Mashed cauliflower, a much better-for-you substitute for mashed potatoes (recipe).
  • Roasted cauliflower, with or without other cruciferous and root vegetables (broccoli, carrots, turnips, etc.).
    Cauliflower is a member of the anti-carcinogenic cruciferous family, Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). Its cousins include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, cress, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga and turnips. A salad made from cruciferous vegetables, like the second recipe below, is much more healthful than a lettuce salad.

    Recently we discovered a delicious South Asian recipe for roasted and caramelized cauliflower, prepared with an aromatic blend of traditional Indian spices. It was created by By Joshna Maharaj for Paper Chef, makers of culinary parchment paper. This golden spiced beauty is a lively mouthwatering delight.




  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1” (2.5 cm) slices
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    2. PLACE cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with vegetable oil. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne and stir to combine. Sprinkle the spice mixture over cauliflower and use your hands to gently toss, making sure to coat each piece with the oil and spices.


    Look for specialty cauliflower—green, orange, violet and yellow—in farmers markets. Henckels chef’s knife available at Williams-Sonoma. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.


    3. ARRANGE cauliflower in an even layer on each baking sheet and season with salt. Roast for 25-35 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and the edges are nicely browned. It’s ready to enjoy!


    You can use raw vegetables or steam them very lightly. Add color with carrots or red bell pepper. The recipe can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Serves 4.


  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1-1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • Optional: 1/2 cup shredded carrots or diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise*
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 2 slices crisp bacon, cut in small pieces
    *Mayonnaise makes a creamy dressing. You can omit the mayonnaise and make the dressing pure vinaigrette. Just replace the mayonnaise with two more tablespoons of olive oil.

    1. SLICE the onions. If the onions are too sharp to enjoy raw, shock the sliced onions in an ice water bath for 10 minutes and pat them dry. This tempers the sulfur-containing compounds that create the sharp flavor. You can substitute sweet onions, but red onions add needed color to the dish.

    2. SLICE the broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower into bite-size pieces. If you prefer, cut the broccoli and cauliflower florets into smaller florets. Combine in a bowl with the onions.

    3. WHISK together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Mix in the mayonnaise and celery seed. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss. You can prepare the salad up to this point and refrigerate for a day or two.

    4. ADD the optional bacon, toss and serve.



    RECIPE: Brie Or Goat Cheese Wontons

    If you want to whip up something special to serve with wine or cocktails, consider this French-Asian fusion treat: wontons filled with Brie or goat cheese. Crisp, crunchy wrappers filled with hot, creamy cheese, they can also be served as an appetizer.

    The recipe is from cheese importer Ile de France, which has plenty of cheese recipes on its website.



  • Wonton wrappers
  • Fresh goat cheese or Brie, cut into slices 1″ wide
  • Optional fillings (see below)
  • Dipping sauce (see below)

    Brie or goat cheese wontons. Photo courtesy Ile de France.



    1. PLACE squares of cheese in the middle of each wonton wrapper. Close the square wrapper diagonally, then seal the edges with a bit of moisture, pressing hard so it won’t come apart.

    2. FRY: Heat about two inches of oil in a medium sized pot. Use some sesame oil to give it an authentic, Asian flare that won’t interfere with the cheese’s natural flavors. Sesame oil is strong, so we used 1/3 sesame oil, 2/3 vegetable oil.

    3. PLACE the wontons in the heated oil for about 30 seconds or until they reach the desired crispiness.

    4. BAKE by arranging the wontons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400°F until they become crisp and golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

    5. SERVE with your favorite dipping sauce. Ile de France uses warmed sour cream flavored with a little Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.


    You can add extra ingredients, but be sure to use less cheese so the wonton wrappers don’t burst.

  • Add any of the following on top of the cheese before wrapping: caramelized onions, chives, chutney or scallions (green onions), drained chopped spinach. Or, if using goat cheese, you can mix them together.
  • For a sweet touch, drizzle some honey on the cheese before wrapping.
  • Serve with a dip on the side: soy sauce/ginger/scallion, sweet and sour sauce or a soy/honey mustard sauce.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Track Down Or Whip Up Some Malaysian Food

    It’s both easy and hard to describe Malaysian food. It’s a culinary adventure: a blend of Chinese, Indian and native Malay cuisines, sprinkled with Middle Eastern, Portuguese and Southeast Asian influences including Thailand, its neighbor to the north.

    The cuisine represents the peoples who populate Malaysia, and those traders who passed through, dating back to the 15th century and earlier.

    It’s an exciting cuisine: Whatever recipe you cook (or order), it’s delicious. The seasonings that make the meats, noodles, seafood and vegetables taste so special include banana leaf, bean sprouts, belacan (dried shrimp paste), coconut cream and coconut milk, curry leaf, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, laksa leaf,* lemongrass, tamarind and sesame oil. Spices include cardamom, clove, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, shallot, star anise and turmeric.


    The two parts of Malaysia—peninsula and island—are highlighted in green. Map courtesy Wikimedia.


    Unfortunately, there’s far too little Malaysian cuisine in the U.S. Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants are represented in most big cities, but Malaysian eateries remain a trend waiting to happen. Perhaps that’s because most of us couldn’t pinpoint Malaysia on a map. So here it is in the map above: the two land masses highlighted in green.

    Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy in the middle of Southeast Asia, separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia is immediately south of Thailand; the island shares borders with Indonesia and Brunei. The major cities and most of the population are on the peninsula, including the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang.

    India lies west, across the Bay of Bengal. Malacca, a port on the west coast, was the center of the 16th century spice trade, attracting British, Dutch and Portuguese traders.

    *Laksa is a fragrant herb with an intense lemony flavor and hints of eucalpytus, used in Malaysian stews.

    Highlights of Malaysian cuisine include rice- and noodle-based dishes, curries and stews, and Indian-style breads. The “national dish” is nasi lemak: a rice dish steamed with coconut milk and local herbs (ginger, lemongrass and pandus leaf) and served with with fried anchovies, peanuts, sliced cucumber, hard-cooked eggs and sambal, a spicy chile paste. A curry or a spicy meat stew (rendang—see photo below) can be added for a more substantial meal.


    Beef rendang, one of Malaysia’s most popular
    dishes. Photo courtesy Tourism Malaysia.


    But why talk about the food, when the Malaysian government has done such a good job of promoting it with photos and recipes? is a lovely website that explains the cuisine while providing lots of recipes. This week the home page features an exotic dish, ais kacang or air batu campur (literally, “red bean ice”).

    It’s a dessert: a brightly-colored dish made with different flavored syrups, jellies and dressings on a base of cubes of agar agar and cendol, grass jelly, palm seed, red beans, sweet corn, form the base. It’s a popular treat at Malaysian coffee shops and food courts.
    But don’t be spooked by the unfamiliar: Make the featured recipe of the week, beef short ribs rendang.

    If you have access to an international food market, you may be able to find all the ingredients you need to create a memorable Malaysian dinner. You can also get like-minded friends in on the action, and have everyone prepare a different dish.


    There is a scattering of Malaysian restaurants in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York City: Use this Malaysian restaurant locator to find the ones nearest to you.


    Tourism Malaysia has developed culinary tours to highlight this beautiful country and its cuisine. Check with your travel agent or the two Tourism Malaysia offices in Los Angeles and New York City:



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