July 27, 2013

Chips with plenty of salsas

Taco night is always a favored night but to put a little more fun and make it even more flavorful -- you can make it a chips and salsa night with plenty of salsas.

Who doesn't like to dip chips into something.... especially if you make
little bowls with the "scoops" corn chips.

With having several salsas --- you can have so many different combinations
that every single bite can be different from the last as well!

FUN and EASY salsas with chips!

Trays that are divided like this orange one are great to have on hand for many different things!

This super easy guacamole was made from taking a ripe avocado and dicing it up
into very small pieces while adding some chopped basil and 2 thin slices of diced tomato.

The mango salsa is great because it has that sweet flavor and if you chill it in a separate
bowl in the refrigerator until you are eat/serve it... it's even better! The mango salsa has 
one whole ripe mango diced into small pieces with a little bit of cilantro (more for garnish), 
and red bell peppers chopped very, very fine. 

I usually like to have a mild simple tomato salsa as well.  This again, super easy salsa was 
just one medium sized ripe tomato diced up with the other half of a red onion 
and a handful of diced cilantro. I also squeezed half a lime into the tomato salsa. 
(while saving and using the other half of the lime for the chips)

This ground beef was made with half a pound of 85/15 cut of ground beef. 
I used the other half of the red onion from the tomato salsa. 
I also grated in one large garlic clove, a teaspoon of A-1 sauce,
a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, salt, pepper to taste, a sprinkle of cumin, 
a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

Lastly, the 'scoop' chips were used to make SOOOO many combinations of chips and salsa.  
I always like to squeeze a fresh lime on the chips to give that tart and limey flavor!

Oh, and of course a huge dollop of sour cream is always needed as well!

It was a yummy night!

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

In Home Cooking Class Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class

Most popular In-Home Cooking Class menu....

After doing cooking classes with over 300  different people just in the
past 5 months... the most popular menu choice has been the Thai menu.

It's officially called the 'Bangkok to Seoul' menu because it ties in the favored
Pad Thai noodles,  chicken satays with pineapple salsa and with the fusion
of kimchi in the tofu kimchi dumplings along with the delicious home-made Thai tea.

All cooking classes - classroom setting ones through Main Line School night and
through Mt. Airy Learning Tree have been wonderful. Korean BBQ,
Hand-made Noodles, Dumplings and more dumplings, Apps and Starters,
Best of Asian Fusion 1 , 2 and 3 - all have been so much fun!
I remember the first classroom cooking class years and years ago...
as if it was just yesterday.

The In-Home cooking classes have been a blast as well.
From walking down the sidewalks of south Philly in the freezing cold with my sous chef and
forgetting where we parked the car once or twice to driving to Jersey for some classes
along with people who live in shared apartments to people who are moving- to people who
have just moved to participating in silent auctions to online auctions to charity dinners to
personal chef dinners to bridal showers to wedding gift certificates to kids birthday parties.....
it has all been such a blast! Meeting different people is always cool but to meet them in
their homes for the fist time and then to cook with them is clearly something different
that most people will never get to experience.

I truly love cooking and showing someone how to do something more efficiently
so teaching how to cook food is something I truly enjoy.

The most popular menu choices have been these top 5.... out of the 20+ menus
that we have that you can choose from along with a custom option as well!

Bangkok to Seoul (Thai) menu,  Sushi menu, Wrap It Up menu,
Dumplings and more dumplings menu, Korean BBQ and Vietnamese menu (Pho).

Other menus we have can be seen by clicking this link ---->  menus

Here are just some of the people I have met recently....

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

July 8, 2013

No wasabi...

Many nutritionists will say to read, read, read the label in your food.
Reading the labels is not just for nutritionists but for all of us especially because 
there are so many chemicals and things in foods that are surprising these days.

The 2 worst things I have ever seen in pre-packaged food have been....
shredded and soaked newspaper inside frozen dumplings.
YES! I said shredded PAPER!   It should be cabbage.

The other thing I have experienced is small pieces of plastic inside frozen
chicken tenders.  I never really liked frozen food to begin with--
but with so much mystery behind it... I simply prefer fresh over canned or frozen foods.

I talk about soy sauce and info about what's inside soy sauce often in my cooking classes
but in this post- I just wanted to share some sad news about wasabi.

I am often in the supermarket taking pictures of labels and it doesn't even phase me anymore
that people are staring and wondering what in the world am I taking a picture of.

Almost ALL wasabi/ wasabi sauces made in America are NOT wasabi.
It's powered horseradish with green food dye/coloring.

Real wasabi looks like this----

It grows in wet, swampy areas.... in Japan.  The root part is where the wasabi paste 
comes from- the part we use in eating sushi.  The leafy part on top (that has been cut)
has that spicy kick to it as well, just not as much as the paste of the root.
It root part is grated to make a pasty like texture.

There is nothing wrong with horseradish but I do feel if it's advertised as wasabi--
it should have at least SOME wasabi in it.  The main reason that horseradish is used
is simply because to import it in from Japan- it spoils very quickly.
Here are a few pictures from my wasbi search at the supermarket. 

I probably read over a dozen types of wasabi, powder, paste, mixed, refrigerated, dry,
etc... and NOT one had any wasabi in it.... just horseradish powder and green food coloring.

Last little tip about wasabi in restaurants.  Only true Japanese sushi restaurants use real
wasabi and the spicier it is... the fresher it is. Wasabi looses it's spicy, nasal clearing
component as hours and days go by. If you find yourself adding more and more
wasabi to your soy sauce for your sushi- it's simply because it's not real wasabi or
because it was grated/made fresh earlier in the week for the weekend..?...

Oh, and by the way... horseradish root looks like this.

I could go on on about random products but I'll just share the wasbi / horseradish today.
It's always an intersting reaction during the cooking classes when we let people
know what's inside certain foods that they never thought would be in it.

So, bottom line.... read the labels to see what your eating.!....

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

In Home Cooking Class Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class
In Home Cooking Class Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class
In Home Cooking Class Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class