Pad Thai

Ingredients:
1 egg lightly beaten
1 TBS sliced shallot
1 TBS chopped salted radish
1 handful rice stick noodle
1/4 c plus 2 TBS water
1 c fresh bean sprouts
1/4 c fresh chives, cut into one inch long pieces
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS chopped roasted peanut
vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Rinse the radish several times under cold water, gently squeezing off the water. Chop it and add a little bit of sugar to sweeten, mix well.
2. Soak the rice stick noodle in warm water for about 15 minutes, leave in water until you are ready to use.
3. Heat 1 TBS of oil in a wok at medium-high heat. Add egg and cook it quickly, scrambling into small pieces. Remove, set aside.
4. Add 1 TBS oil to the wok. Add shallot, radish and tofu fry until aromatic. Increase the heat of your wok. Add a handful of soaked noodles followed with water. Stir-fry this mixture for about 5-6 minutes. The noodles will start to get soft. Add 1/4 c of pad thai sauce and mix well. Add sugar, cooked egg, bean sprout, and chive. Stir well for another 1-2 minutes until everything blends together. Turn off heat, transfer to serving plate with sliced fresh lime, roasted peanuts, and more bean sprout on the side. Now dazzle your friends with the fact that your pad thai looks and tastes just as good as any restaurant.
5. You may add Thai chili powder, sugar, and crushed peanuts at the table on the side.

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yields: 24 bars

Crust:
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c sweet ground chocolate and cocoa
1/2 c butter, melted
2 TBS sugar

Topping:
16 oz. cream cheese
1 c sugar
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
3 TBS flour
4 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 bar (2 oz.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1″ pieces
1/2 tsp vegetable shortening

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust:
1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground chocolate, butter, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
2. Press the mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
3. Bake 8 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Topping:
1. In large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, peanut butter, and flour until well blended.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixture well after each addition.
3. Blend in the milk and the vanilla extract.
4. Pour the topping into the crust and bake 40 minutes.
5. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.
6. Melt the chocolate pieces and vegetable shortening in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water.
7. Stir occasionally until smooth.
8. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cooled bars.
9. Chill approximately 10 minutes, just until the chocolate layer is partially set.
10. Score the chocolate layer with a sharp knife, forming squares, and return the pan to the refrigerator.
11. Chill 30 minutes, or until firm. Ct through the bars and serve. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/4 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
2 bars (8 0z.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1/4″ pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 9″x5″ pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla extract until blended.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually, stirring until moistened.
6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate pieces.
7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
8. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
9. Cool the bread in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
10. To store, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze.

Pecan and Caramel Chocolate Clusters

(Yield: 24 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 c pecan halves
1 c sugar
1 c dark corn syrup
1 c butter
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 bars (6 oz.) milk chocolate baking bars, melted

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
2. Cut the pecans in half lengthwise and arrange to form small circles (about 1 1/2″ in diameter).
3. Cook the sugar, dark corn syrup, butter and 1/2 c of cream in a saucepan.
4. Stir occasionally over low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.
5. Increase heat to medium and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
6. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining cream.
7. Heat again and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 245 degrees F.
8. Pour the caramel mixture into a 9″ pan lined with foil and let it cool approximately 2 minutes.
9. Spoon caramel mixture over each pecan circle.
10. Melt chocolate according to melting instructions.
11. Spread melted chocolate over each cluster.
12. Chill 10 minutes, then let stand at room temperature until the chocolate is firm.
13. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Chicken Hekka

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c soy sauce
3/4 c mirin (japanese sweet wine)
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
3 carrots, julienned
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 (14 oz.) can shredded bamboo, drained
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c trimmed and coarsely chopped watercress
1 (8 oz.) package rice noodles, soaked and cut into 2″ pieces

Directions:
1. Cut chicken meat into bit size pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, and mirin wine. Mix well, and set aside.
2. In a skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Squeeze juice from grated ginger into wok, add grated ginger, and stir fry until brown. Discard ginger fibers. Increase heat to high, and stir in chicken. Season with soy sauce mixture, and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. One at a time, add the carrots, onions, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and watercress. Stir after each addition. Add rice noodles; cook, stirring, for about 3 more minutes, or until done.

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Ingredients:
1 TBS butter
3/2 c almonds, blanched and slivered
1 lb spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 c dried cranberries
2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1 TBS poppy seeds
1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c vegetable oil

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:
2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bit-size pieces
4 c sliced strawberries
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
2 TBS sesame seeds
1 TBS poppy seeds

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Ingredients:
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 TBS all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter and slightly flour four 6 oz. ramekins. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, with the egg yolks, sugar, and salt at a high speed until thickened and pale.
3. Whisk the chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Serve immediately.

Pear Galette

Ingredients:
2 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 C buttermilk
2 TBS apricot preserves
2 large Bartlett pears, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
2 TBS turbinado sugar

Directions:
1. To make the dough, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a processor (if using); pulse 2 – 3 times to combine.
2. Add butter and pulse 4 – 5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. With the processor running, slowing pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball.
4. Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, then wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper.
5. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before rolling out.
6. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper.
8. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15 inch wide circle.
9. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet.
10. Brush the bottom of the dough with the apricot preserves.
11. Arrange sliced pears in a spoke pattern on the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
12. Fold the border over the pears, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
13. Lightly brush the edge of the dough with the egg and sprinkle crust and pears with turbinado sugar.
14. Bake the galette for 45 – 50 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown.
15. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pecan Pie

Filling:
1 C sugar
1 1/2 C corn syrup (can use 1/2 dark and 1/2 light)
4 eggs
1/4 C butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C pecans, coarsely broken

Ingredients:
1. In a saucepan boil sugar and corn syrup together for 2 to 3 minutes; set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs lightly and very slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
3. At this point, strain the mixture to make sure it’s smooth and lump free.
4. Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans and pour into crust.
5. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 45 to 60 minutes or until set.
6. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Refrigerating overnight works best.