Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Salad w/ Asian Ginger Dressing

Yesterday I had a techie blip on my computer. Things were not working well-at all!! So I apologize for the delay in posting. Let's get caught up!!
We are making a super simple salad with homemade Asian Ginger dressing. The salad greens are a little different than the romaine that I love to use, but these are delicious and pretty. Here's what you need:

Green Salad
Endive Lettuce
Red Leaf Lettuce
Chow Mein Noodles
Green Onions
Cheese of your choice

Asian Ginger Dressing
(adapted from
3 cloves Fresh Ginger
2 tablespoons Minced Garlic
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
1/2  cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 tablespoons Honey
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
Let's make the dressing first.
Chop up the garlic and put it in the bowl.
Break off a piece of your ginger, and peel off the 
outer skin with a potato peeler.
Put the ginger and the oil into the bowl.
Add in the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, water, and sugar.
Whisk together until all combined. This dressing
is better made the day before you want to serve it.
Here is the salad all put together. I decided not to add cheese.
Pour on your dressing, and enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!
I hope you will join me again later today when I post our entree
for the week, chicken satay.
See you then, and again, I apologize for the technical
problems that prohibited me from posting yesterday.

Our Salad & Dressing Costs:
Red Leaf Lettuce-            .14
Endive Lettuce-               .14
Broccoli-                         .13
Almonds-                        .02
Chow Mein Noodles-      .02
Green Onions-                 .02
Total Cost-                      .47

Garlic-                            .05
Ginger-                           .10
Olive Oil-                        .30
Rice Vinegar-                  .32
Sugar-                             .05
Soy-                                .7
Honey-                          .22
Total Cost-                     1.76
This made about 16 ounces of dressing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Appetizer-Cream Cheese Wontons!!

I think Cream Cheese Wontons are the perfect way to start a Chinese meal. Don't you! They are creamy, crunchy, and spicy. Today we put them with sauce that is mild and a little sweet. Let's get started!!
Cream Cheese Wontons
(adapted from CD Kitchen)

2 oz Cream Cheese
1 Egg Yolk
1/4 teaspoon Curry Powder
3 oz unsweetened Pineapple Juice
1 oz White Vinegar
1.5 oz Granulated Sugar
1.5 teaspoon Ketchup
1.5 teaspoon Cornstarch
Wonton Wrappers
Start by putting your cream cheese in a bowl and smush it
down with a fork. (Easier if it is room temp)
Separate the egg white from the yolk. Keep the white if 
possible. We will use it later. Mush ( it is a technical term!!!)
the egg yolk and the cream cheese together.
Add the curry powder.
Mix everything together.
This is your filling.
Pour your unsweetened pineapple juice in a 
saucepan. Instead of buying pineapple juice, I just bought
a small can of pineapple tid bits. They are canned 
with no added preservatives and no sugar.
I poured the juice out of the can, 
and put the pineapple in the fridge for later.
Add the white vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and cornstarch.
Whisk together over medium heat until sauce starts to thicken.
Take sauce off heat once it is thick, and set aside.
Start to heat up your oil in a saucepan . I brought the
oil to 350 degrees. If you have a home fryer, use it to fry.
While your oil is heating up, make an egg wash.
Crack an egg in a small dish, add a tablespoon of 
water, and whisk with a fork.
With a pastry brush, dab egg wash all along the edges 
of the wonton wrapper. This will help the edges stick together.
Drop 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mix into the middle 
of your wonton.  I put in 1 teaspoon, 
but it truly could have used 2 teaspoons.
To fold in the wonton, start with each tip of the wonton, 
and bring it to the tip right next to it, so that it forms an angle.
Then bring the next tip up to the center to meet the other side.
The egg wash will help the side stick to one another.
This is your finished wonton ready for frying.
Carefully place your wontons in the fryer.I only fried 3 at a time
so I could keep control of them.
Let them fry until they are light brown.
 When they are done, take them out of the oil and let 
them drain on a paper towel. See that little wire basket type 
utensil I used to get them out? I bought that at an international market
store here in Las Vegas. I just love it for frying. It is great because
if you want to check on your frying food, you can pull it out of the fryer,
let it sit in the basket, and you can examine it. The cost? 69 cents!!
Here is your plated appetizer. Aren't they pretty?

Enjoy your appetizer!
They are easy to make and they don't require a lot of ingredients.

Here is our cost breakdown:
(This is for 10 cream cheese wontons)
wontons-       .37
egg-               .10
cream cheese-.50
curry powder-.02
                                                                   .99 for 10 cream cheese wontons

pineapple juice-.72
white vinegar-   .05
sugar-              .10
ketchup-          .05
cornstarch-      .02
                                                   .94 sauce for wontons

Total cost for 10 wontons and dipping sauce- $1.93
I will always try to give you the exact price I paid. There may be times when
I estimate because I have had the ingredient for a while, but if at all possible,
I will try to obtain the present price.
If you have any questions about where I bought something or any other questions,
please comment on the page, or send me an email to

Tomorrow we will be making our salad portion of our meal,
a green salad with an Asian Ginger dressing.
See you then!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's for Dinner This Week?

This week our menu is a fun one. We will learn how to skewer and grill chicken, make special happy cookies, and make an Asian vinaigrette dressing. I love making my own dressing, don't you? It's easy, doesn't take very long, and is much better for you. Here's our grocery list for this week:

Appetizer: Cream Cheese Wontons
Soup/Salad: Green Lettuce w/Asian Ginger Dressing
Entree: Chicken Satay
Side Dish: Jasmine Rice
Dessert: Happy Cookies

Cream Cheese
Curry Powder
Wonton Skins
unsweetened Pineapple Juice
White Vinegar

Rice Vinegar
Low Sodium Soy
Fresh Ginger
Fresh Garlic
Olive Oil
Red Leaf Lettuce
Endive Lettuce
Chow Mein Noodles
Green Onions
Cheese of your choice

Chicken Breast
Red Bell Pepper(1)
Green Onions
Snow Peas(1 cup)
Crushed Red Pepper
Low Sodium Soy

Side Dish
Jasmine Rice

 Baking Powder
 almond extract
 meringue powder
cream of tartar
 powdered sugar(2.25 lbs)

Looking forward to working with you this week. 
See you tomorrow. We will be making Cream Cheese Rangoons.
I can't wait! See you then.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Freshman Cook -Vocabulary and $$$

I am going to make a small change to my Saturday posts. Usually I talk about kitchen gadgets and if they are really necessary. Well, we will still be doing that, but we are also going to incorporate some culinary vocabulary words into the posts. We will discuss any other important things that come up during the week too. I also am going to be adding a new feature to my daily posts. Each post will contain a breakdown of the costs of each item and then the total cost of the item served. This is something I have done for many years in the restaurant business, and I kind of do it automatically with everything I cook anyway. It just became a habit. One of the things cooking blogs do sometimes is give recipes for dishes that require high end gourmet products. Now, don't get me wrong. When I cooked in a gourmet kitchen, the best part of the job was the fact that I got to use unusual or exotic gourmet products to prepare dishes. So, so fun!! I could let my imagination run wild. So, from now on if The Freshman Cook suggests a meal or dish that requires a product that has a high cost, we will use it up within the next week or two. That is one thing you can not have in a commercial kitchen~waste! There is no reason to have it a home either.
So, these are all minor changes, but I am working to make The Freshman Cook better and more user friendly.
If you have something you would like to see, please email me at, or leave a comment. I read them all. Thanks for reading!

The culinary word for today is SATAY! What is it? Satay is beef, or chicken, and can even be fish that is skewered on a stick and it is grilled or even broiled in your oven. Satay is usually dished up with a sauce and can be served as an appetizer, an entree, or a side dish. Sounds good doesn't it!?

Thanks for joining me today.

Tomorrow I will post next weeks menu.
See you then!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Alex's 'Nilla Wafer Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a version of a cake I have made for my son's birthday for many years. He always loved vanilla pudding with 'nilla wafers and bananas when he was little. So, one year for his birthday I decided to make his favorite dessert into what soon became, his favorite cake. The cupcake version has the bananas and the 'nilla wafers, and it even has homemade pudding in the middle. I hope you like this version of our family favorite.
Let's Make Cupcakes!
(adapted from Pillsbury)
3 cups Cake Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Butter, softened
1 1/4 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Milk
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
4 large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Banana Flavoring
Mini 'Nilla Wafers
Fresh Bananas
 Mix your cake flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda
in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add flour mix, milk, eggs, vanilla, and banana flavoring
to your sugar and butter mix. Mix together, and 
then mix for 2 minutes more. 
Put cupcake cups in your cupcake pan, and then fill about 
3/4 of the way. Place in oven and bake for approximately 
12-15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees.
Let's Make Vanilla Custard
(adapted from Perfect Party Food by Diane Phillips)
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Cornstarch
3cups Whole Milk
6 large Egg Yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In your sauce pan, pour in the sugar and cornstarch.
Add the milk.
Add your egg yolks, only. No whites!
Start to whisk, and whisk over medium high heat.
Keep whisking as the pan is heating.
Your custard should be starting to get thick now.
When it is thick, like above, take it off the heat. 
Add vanilla and stir.
Pour custard into a bowl.
Cover custard with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic
is laying on top of the custard. That way skin will not form.
Let's Make Whipped Cream!
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon banana flavoring

Pour whipping cream in bowl.
Add powdered sugar.
Add banana flavoring.
Mix well on medium speed until powdered sugar is
mixed into cream, then turn mixer to high, 
and mix until stiff peaks form.
It should look like this.
Make a circle in your cupcake. I used a Wilton tip 2D.
Push down into the cupcake. The tip will bring up 
a part of the cake in the tip. Discard that part of the cake.
 This is the tip pushed down to the bottom.
This is how it looks after you take the tip out.
Fill the hole in the cupcake with the custard.
I used a disposable Wilton bag, a coupler set, but no 
tip, just the hole in the coupler.
Fill to the top of the cupcake.
Using a Wilton tip 18, pipe the whipped cream 
onto the top of the cupcake, covering the hole 
for the custard.
Add a slice of banana and a mini nilla wafer.
Enjoy Alex's 'Nilla Wafer Cupcakes!
Thank you for joining me today.
I hope you make these cupcakes, and make wonderful
memories with them, like my family and I did.

Tomorrow we will be talking about kitchen gadgets 
and some cooking terminology.

Hope to see you then!!

We are partying at the following fun parties:
This Weeks Cravings