Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Salad Dressings and "The friends they hang out with"

Some of these recipes have ingredients that may have many more calories than you want or need.  I'll try to give you alternative ingredients when possible.  I'll also let you know what these dressings should be served with by offering all possibilities of Salad Greens, Fruits or Berries.
If you can think of any other Salad Ingredients, Please write to me.  I am always open to new suggestions.

Avacado Salad with peanuts


2 - Avacados (ripe)
1 - Tablesoon - Lemon Juice
2 - Tablespoons - Peanuts - (Shelled & Ground)
1/2 - teaspoon - Paprika
1/2 - teaspoon - Cinnamon
cayenne - (to taste)
Salt - (to taste)
Granulated garlic - (to taste)
Fresh chives - (as a garnish)


1) peel avacados
2) remove pit (stone)
3) cut into cubes
4) sprinkle with lemon juice
5) grind peanuts with rolling pin, food processor, or   blender.
6) mix peanuts with spices
7) sprinkle spice mixture over avacados
8) garnish with chives
9) refrigerate until serving salad

balsamic dressing


1/4 - cup - olive oil
1/4 - cup - balsamic vinegar
1/8 - cup - water
2 - tablespoons - dijon style mustard
1 1/2 - teaspoon - dried basil

1) mix all ingredients, adjust to taste.
2) store in a covered container and refrigerate. (i suggest a glass jar with a tight fitting lid)
3) you can substitute other vinegars, if you choose. reduce water amount (2 -tablespoons), as other vinegars are not as strong as balsamic vinegar.
4) shake to mix before serving.


this dressing is one of my favorites.  i created this one to be served with a mixture of crisp salad greens, red onion slices, and fresh fruit & berries. (and for those of you who like mushrooms, add those as well). you can also add homemade croutons (or store bought) if you like. garlic croutons are best.

sweet & sour dressing


1/2  - cup - honey
1/2 - cup - frozen orange juice - concentrate
1/2 - cup - balsamic vinegar
1/2 - cup - extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 - teaspoon - dry mustard
1 - teaspoon - granulated garlic


1) mix all ingredients in a glass jar with tight lid.
2) shake rapidly until combined
3) pour over salad and toss until dressing completely covers salad ingredients. (i usually pour part of the dressing on the salad, then toss. then i repeat the process)

as i stated before, you can use many combinations of salad ingredients.  the Salad greens i use with this dressing are fresh baby spinach and crisp romaine. I add red onions, sliced in thin rings, fresh ripe strawberries, mandarin oranges, garlic croutons, and a choice  of mushrooms (white, baby bellos, or shitakis). my motto is always, "go for it", when it comes to recipes.


This dressing is a bit lighter in flavors. it also can be used with fresh fruits and/or crisp salad greens.

celery seed dressing


1/2 - cup - granulated sugar (or an equivilent amount of sugar substitute)
1/4 - cup - lemon juice
1 - tablespoon - cider vinegar
1 - teaspoon - dry mustard
1/2 - cup - canola oil
1 - teaspoon - celery seed


1) mix - sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard together in a blender at high speed.
2) at a slower speed, add oil slowly until blended.
3) stir in celery seeds.
4) chill
5) serve with all types of fresh fruits.


honey garlic dressing


1 1/2 - cups - mayo
1/4 - cup - red wine vinegar
1/4 - cup - honey
2 - cloves - garlic (crushed or minced)
1 - tablespoon - worchestershire sauce
1 - tablespoon - dijon style mustard
1 - teaspoon - tabasco (or not)
salt & pepper - to taste


1) whisk all ingredients together
2) refrigerate over-night in glass jar w/tight lid.
3) use with all types of crisp salad greens.



some people prefer a lighter type of dressing for their salads, so i think that vinaigrettes are a good  choice.  here's four recipes that can be used with green salads or chicken, turkey, fruit, or pasta salads.  enjoy !!!

raspberry vinaigrette


1/2 - cup - raspberry vinegar
1 - teaspoon - granulated sugar
1 - tablespoon - fresh mint (finely chopped)


1) put vinegar in a container with a tight fitting lid.
2) add sugar & mint.
3) cover with lid and shake until mixed.
4) you may need a little more sugar to offset the vinegar taste.
5) refrigerate until serving.


raspberry vinaigrette no.2


1 1/2 - cups - fresh raspberries (or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries)
1/2 - cup - reduced sodium chicken broth
2 - tablespoons - brown sugar (packed)
2 - tablespoons - balsamic vinegar
1/4 - cup - extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 - teaspoons - dijon style mustard


1) blend first 4 ingredients in a blender on high.
2) add mustard and blend.
3) add oil on slower speed.
4) store in a glass jar with a tight lid.
5) refrigerate
6) shake before pouring over salad greens.
7) experiment with other salad ingredients, such as fresh fruit, berries, and mandarin oranges.



1/2 - cup - extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
3/4 - cup - red wine vinegar (or 1/2 cup - balsamic vinegar)
1 - teaspoon - dry mustard
3 - cloves - garlic (finely minced)
2 - teaspoons - oregano (dried)


1) whisk all ingredients together.
2) pour over salad.
3) toss


Mango dressing


1 - mango (ripe)
1/2 - cup - light cream
1/4 - cup - thousand island dressing
1 - tablespoon - fresh mint (chopped)
1 - tablespoon - mango chutney (substitute - orange marmalade)


1) combine all ingredients in a blender.
2) blend until smooth.
3) serve over sliced chicken, or turkey and basmati rice.


i will add more salad recipes at a later date. i just wanted to give you a mix of dressing to start with.  if you can think of any other combinations, just let me know. I'll be happy to come up with something or to share your recipe.

until next time........

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Slow Cooker (Crockpot) Recipes

For those of you who are leading a busy life, I thought that a few slow cooker recipes would come in handy.  These can also be done in your oven (the time will vary).  I have tried to make these recipes as healthy as I can. I will give you some alternatives so that you can substitute ingredients to make them work for you.

This recipe can be made with different meats.  It calls for pork, but you can use chicken breast as well.  It is a perfect recipe for a cold evening dinner. You can serve it with baked potatoes, boiled potatoes or brown or white basmati rice.

Pork Loin with Kraut

I buy a large pork loin roast and slice it myself.  This saves money and you can get a few meals for the one roast.  If you slice it about 1/2 inch thick, you get chops that weigh about 5 or 6 ounces, uncooked.  Trim off all fat.


4 - pork loin chops
1 - 15 ounce can of kraut (do not drain)
2 - small apples (cored, unpeeled and chopped)
1 - cup packed brown sugar (you can use a brown sugar substitute)
1/4 - cup ketchup
2 - cloves garlic (sliced thinly or chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth


1)  Place the loin chops on the bottom of your slow cooker.
2)  Add kraut
3) Add apples.
4) Add garlic.
5)  Add ketchup, salt, pepper.
6)  Add brown sugar.
7)  Add broth.

Cover slow cooker.  Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 7 to 8 hour on low.
Serves 4

If you fix this in the oven, cover your pan with foil, place ingredients in same order.  Cover with foil and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours at 375 degrees.

Be careful taking off top foil. as steam can burn.

Pork Loin with Salsa


4 - Pork Loin Chops
2 - Cloves Garlic
1- 24 ounce Jar of Salsa (I use mild salsa, use what you like)
     ( note: If your salsa of choice is less than 24 ounces, add extra chicken broth)
1 - cup Chicken Broth.


Cover 9 X 13 inch roasting pan with foil.

1)  Place Loin Chops in a single layer on the bottom of your roasting pan.
2)  Cover chops with Salsa.
3)  Sprinkle garlic evenly over salsa.
4)  Pour broth over and around chops.
5)  Cover with foil by attaching a layer of foil tightly, to the foil layering pan.

Cook in oven  for 3 to 3 1/2 hour at 375 degrees.
This dish can be served with brown or white basmati rice, or couscous.

Be careful taking the top foil off, as the steam can burn.

For a Hawaiian Flavor, substitute  crushed pineapple for the salsa, add  a sweet red pepper (sliced thin), and 3 Tablespoons ketchup, and 3 Tablespoons soy sauce.

Next time I will give you a recipe for several Chicken dishes.

Until then, enjoy !!!!!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Go for it !!!

The only rule I have about cooking is "Keep it Simple".  So, I would say, I really don't follow any rules.  I've  never met a recipe that I didn't feel I could make "better".  I'll give you approximate measurements but you might find that you like a little more of something.  Go for it !!!  Don't be afraid to experiment. 

I know that everyone doesn't find cooking, "fun".  I do.  I believe that it can be an art form.  To me the pleasure I see on the faces of the people who eat what I cook is akin to painting a picture and having it placed on the walls of a museum for all to see and enjoy.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  That's what makes it fun. 

Ok, here's the first recipe that I would like to share with you all.  I fix this dish, at least, once every two weeks.  I call it, Bok Choy Delight.

Bok Choy De-light


Cooking Spray
1 - large head      -   Bok Choy (you can also use 6 to 8 small heads of "Baby Bok Choy"
2 to 3 Tablespoons    -   Light Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons  -  Raspberry Jam
3 cloves  -  Fresh Garlic  (thinly sliced)
2 teaspoons  -  Chinese Five Spice 
1 cup -  Mushrooms (Portabello, Shitake, or Straw) If you use the dried Shitake, pour boiling water on them to re-hydrate them, let them soak for 5 or 10 minutes.  You can use the mushroom water in soups or stews.  Freeze it until you need it.

1) Cut the end off of the Bok Choy.  Put the stalks in cold water to wash it.
2) Slice Bok Choy across each stalk with a diagonal (oblique) slice.  Tear or cut the leaves to medium size pieces.
3) Slice the mushrooms.
4) Spray your large skillet or wok with cooking spray.  Heat the skillet to hot, but not too hot. 
5) Add the Bok Choy and Garlic to the skillet. Stir.
6) Add soy sauce, Jam and spices.
7) Add the mushrooms.
8) Cover the skillt and let everything cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
9) Cook to desired temperature.  Chinese food it usually cooked to "crisp tender". If you like it way, then cook a bit less time.

As this recipe stands it is a side dish.  To make it a full meal, just add chicken or pot stickers. Here's simple recipe for that purpose.

This recipe is for 2 people
Cooking Spray 
Chinese Five Spice
6 - Chicken Tenders (cut into bite-size pieces)   or
10 to 14 - Pot-stickers (5 to 7 per person) (I perfer pork or chicken pot-stickers, they are firmer and easier to work with)  
or both.....

1) Cut chicken into bite-size pieces
2) Spray small skillet.
 3) Heat skillet.
4) Add Chicken / pot-stickers (or both) in skillet.
5) Sprinkle ingredients with five spice (add to taste) approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
6) Cook until browned or done.
7) Just before your Bok Choy is done, use a spoon to move bok choy to make room to add chicken and/or pot stickers.
8) Coat chicken and/or pot stickers with soy sauce mixture.
You  can serve this with or without rice.  Use Basmati - Brown or White.

You can also use shrimp. Follow the same instructions with the chicken.

Enjoy !!!

Finally!!!! Information for all....

I have decided to offer some important information that can be used by everyone.  For about 20 years, I have said that I am going to write a cookbook to teach people how to use spices.  I wanted to show everyone that it is easy to fix different cuisines just by changing the list of spices you use.  This blog offers me a way to send this information out to the masses without having to find a publisher or self-publishing my book.  So, here goes....
I hope you can use this. I really think it will make it easier for you to change up your menu without working too hard.

First things first.......  A list of 50 or so of herbs and spices, in numerical and alphabetical order .....  Then I will show you what spices go with which cuisine....

1) Allspice
2) Annatto
3) Basil
4) Bay Leaf
5) Caraway
6) Cardamon
7) Cayenne
8) Chervil
9) Chicory
10) Chili, dried
11) Chili pepper
12) Cilantro
13) Cinnamon
14) Clove
15) Coriander seed
16) Cumin
17) Dill
18) Epazote
19) Fennel
20) Fenugreek
21) Garlic
22) Ginger
23) Horseradish
24) Italian Parsley
25) Juniper berry
26) Leek
27) Lemongrass
28) Lemon verbena
29) Lime leaves
30) Marjoram
31) Mint
32) Mustard
33) Nutmeg
34) Onion
35) Oregano
36) Paprika
37) Parsley
38) Pepper
39) Rosemary
40) Saffron
41) Sage
42) Sassafras
43) Sesame seed
44) Shallot
45) Star anise
46) Sumac
47) Tarragon
48) Thyme
49) Tumeric
50) Watercress

There are a few others used a lot less in cooking, but I will get to those later.  Some spices go very well with others to make the right combinations to make different flavors that fit the particular tastes of each region of the world. 
Now, we all know that most people won't have all of these spices in their kitchen cabinets.  But if you cook a lot then you need to diversify.  You need to NOT limit yourself to salt, pepper and garlic.  I think you will find that if you pick up a few of these spices, you will make your family very happy.  It really doesn't take much to change up the menu, all you have to do is change the spice. 
Almost everyone likes Chinese food.  You can whip up a quick stir-fry with your choice of meats, poultry, fish or tofu and your choice of vegatables by adding a mixture of these spices.  21, 22, 34, 38, 43, 44, and 45.  The amount you use depends on your tastes.  You don't need special cooking tools, just a skillet or saute pan.  Get them hot (but not too hot) before adding your ingredients.  Add the ingredients that take the longest to cook (like onions or celery) first.  Then add others until everything has been added.  Chinese food should not be over cooked.  The process is called "crisp tender".

After I finish this posting, I will start posting specific recipes from different regions.  You will see that some cuisines are easier than others, but none are so daunting that you shouldn't try them.

Next is "Soups and Stews"
Beef stew:  4, 21, 34, 37, 48
If you like tomatoes in your stew, you can substitute 48 and use 47.  If you like a Southwestern flavor, use 7, 10 or 11, 21, 34, 36, 37,  and 38.
Bouillabaisse:  3, 19, 21, 34, 37, and 47.
Chicken soup:  4, 21, 34, 37, and 48.  If you like a little "Thanksgiving touch, add a little 41.  Don't forget to add tomatoes to your soups.  Not only does it add flavor, it adds Vitamin C, in case you have the sniffles.
Chili:  10, 16, 21, 34, 35, and 38.  To give your chili an added zip, add 19, it really tastes great.
Vegatable soup:  3, 21, 34, 35, 37, and 38.  Adding tomatoes and beans gives a vegatable soup some added vitamins and protein.

Here's a few common cuisines that you might want to try.

Cajun / Creole:  4, 7, 21, 34, 35, 37, 38, 42, and 48.

French / Northern Europeon:  4, 8, 21, 23, 34, 37, 39, 40, 41, 44, 47, and 48.

 Greek / Middle Eastern:  7, 9, 12, 15, 16, 19, 21, 36, 40, 43, and 46.

Indian:  6, 7, 15, 16, 19, 20, 38, 40, and 49.

Italian:  3, 9, 10, 19, 21, 24, 30, and 35.

Mexican:  10, 11, 12, 16, 18, 21, and 35.

Spanish:  10, 11, 21, and 40.

Thai / Vietnamese:  3. 11, 12, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 31, 34, 38, 44, and 45.

You might notice that 21 (garlic) is used in almost every cuisine.  Garlic is a very important tool for good health.  Use it to your taste, but remember that not everyone shares your tastes.

Enhancing Grilled Meats and Roasts: 
Beef:  4, 21, 37, and 48.  Bay leaves (4) are not enjoyed by all.  I don't particularly like them, but to each his own.  If you do enjoy the flavor, use it.  Just remember to remove it before serving.

Lamb:  17, 21, 31, 38, 39, and 48.  You can use any combination of these.  My favorites are: 21 and 48.  The mint (31) is usually used on the side.

Poultry:  21, 30, 35, 38, 39, 41, and 48.  You can mix these together to create a "rub".  Just rub the poultry outside and inside with it and prepare to enjoy!!!

Salmon:  3, 17, 21, 31, 32, 37, 39, and 48.  You wouldn't necessarily use all these together.  I would suggest mixing two or three different ones to see what you like.  Or just try one at a time to see what flavors you prefer.  Another added touch could be a "tapanade".  These are made up of a mixture of olives or a mix of things like artichokes and garlic, or eggplant.  There are many on the market in the ethnic section of your supermarket.

Salads and Salad dressings:
Asian vinaigrette:  21, 22, and 43. 

French vinaigrette:  21, 32, and 47.

Pasta salad:  3, 21, 31, and 37.  If you have ham, brocolli or tomatoes in your pasta salad, try a bit of 47 (tarragon).  It adds a sweetness that I think you will really enjoy.

Thai noodles:  11, 12, 21, and 34. 

Additions to Vegetarian Favorites:
Black bean soup:  11, 15, 16, 21, 34, 35, and 38.

Lasagna:  3, 11, 21, 34, and 35.  With vegetarian lasagna there are an array of vegatables to use.  Some of my favorites are zuchinni, eggplant, and portabello mushrooms.  You can use one, two or more vegatables.  Just remember to go with what you enjoy most.  Then you can't go wrong.

Pasta primavera:  19, 21, 38, and 48.

Veggie stir-fry:  11, 12, 21, 22, and 43.   Remember, stir-fry should be "crisp-tender".  The way to know that you have reach the right temperature for you food is that the veggies turn their brightest color at the peak of "crisp-tender:. 

That's enough for today.  If you need a special recipe (not my chocolate chip bread recipe), email me @
edenshaw12@gmail.com, or post to my Facebook page.

Hope you enjoy the very next thing you make !!!!

Rickie (or Amah to my grand children)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Coming Events

I will add seasonal recipes for all holidays.  I will also try to create a few ethnic sections.  If you have a favorite type just let me know.

Amah's Recipes

I will be adding recipes often.  I will try to select recipes that everyone will like.  If any of you wish for me to add a specific recipe, just email me and I will find one or create one just for you.