Category Archives: International Food

Chinese Food No Takeout

“What are you thinking of making tonight?” is the usual question that the boyfriend asks in order to signify that Sunday night dinner preparations need to begin.

Me: I was thinking shrimp spring rolls

BF: Can you even make Chinese food at home?

This question probably sounds ridiculous to a lot of you butthe boyfriend who works at a Chinese restaurant on weekends has a strong belief that you need specialized stoves, genuine chefs(aka not me) and a certain level of skill to make asian food. I proved him wrong when I made these easy spring rolls. The hardest step is to actually find the spring roll wrappers. In my grocery store for some reason they were in the produce section! Don’t ask me.

Ingredients (makes 16 spring rolls):2-3 cups of cooked shrimp diced,4 cups of bean sprouts,2 cups cooked rice noodles, 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of oil, 16 spring roll wrappers, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, chili sweet or sweet and sour sauce for dipping

Begin by adding oil and garlic to a wok. Add the beansprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water if the beansprouts begin to get stuck to the wok.

Add the shrimps and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add the boiled noodles and soy sauce and cook for the last minute.

If you have two left hands like I do, this is going to be a little bit tricky. Add around a tablespoon (maybe a tad bit more) of filling to the wrapper. Fold the  top corner over the filling. Over this corner, fold the two side edges over each other. Roll the spring roll to close it up. Have I ever mentioned that I suck at step by step instructions?

It should look something like this.

In a fryer or on a skillet cook the spring rolls until they become golden and crispy.


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Filed under Appetizer, International Food

Bangers and Mash with Guinness Onion Gravy

Bangers=A white sausage composed of pork rear with breadcrumbs, water and spices

If you are going to making this, beware! Bangers are not that easy to find. At least it took me three grocery stores until I found these babies. If you want to save time just head to Whole Foods. I am not going to lie, I enjoy Italian sausage a lot more than bangers  but then it wouldn’t be bangers and mash, would it? I, like probably many of you, already have a favorite recipe for  mashed potatoes and so I focused mainly on the bangers.

Note: I posted little photos for there is nothing pretty in cooking bangers and gravy. Brown, brown, more brown…

Ingredients:6 Bangers, 12 oz Guinness, 1/2 onion (in my search for bangers, I completely forgot to buy an onion), 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, salt and pepper to season, oil for frying

Begin by cooking the bangers, in a small amount of oil, on a skillet on medium-high heat. In an ideal world, where I didn’t forget an onion, I would have added a diced onion to this skillet as well.

Bangers are named that for a reason; they are supposed to explode when cooked on high heat. While you don’t want them to explode, make sure that they are  FULLY browned on all sides.

Next add beer to the skillet. Meanwhile combine the flour with the butter. This prevents little clumps of flour forming under hot temperatures. When the beer comes to a boil and reduces by about half, remove the bangers (leaving the grease to be and you’re arteries to clog in the long run) and add the flour/butter mixture and the brown sugar.

Whisk together making sure that no clumps are left to float around. Let the gravy come a boil and thicken. Add a nice pile of mashed potatoes to the plate, top with bangers and drown in gravy. Follow with a bottle of Guinness and The Full Monty.


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Filed under International Food, Main Course, Meat

A Gourmet Sandwich

Recently my friend came to visit me from New York. On Sunday I decided to take him to one of my favorite brunch (and dinner) spots. Gaslight, located in the South End, is intended to resemble a traditional Parisian brasserie, which it does with traditional French dishes such as Steak Frites and Duck Confit. For brunch they offer the usual egg dishes as well as French lunch and breakfast dishes. While I did not get a Croque Monsieur while I was there, it made me think. Why do I never make Croque Monsieur for lunch at home? Croque Monsieur is a traditional French ham and cheese sandwich served with béchamel sauce and is very popular in France for lunch. Here is what I did:

Ingredients (4 sandwiches): 8 slices of white bread, 8 slices of good quality ham (I used Virginia ham), 2 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese, 1 cup of favorite cheese (I used grated mozzarella and parmesan mix), 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper to season, pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 and toast bread for no longer than 5 minutes on each side until the bread becomes crispy and golden. Take the bread out of the oven and brush with Dijon mustard. Add 2 pieces of ham on top of 4 (of the eight) slices of bread.

Add 1/2 cup of grated gruyere on top of the ham.

Close the sandwich with the other slices of bread and place on a buttered baking tray. For the sauce, heat the milk on a stove or in a microwave. To a small pot, on medium heat, add the flour and the butter.

Stir continuously until the flour and butter become one mixture. Slowly whisk in the hot milk. Let the sauce thicken while stirring occasionally and then add 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, 1/2 cup cheese of your choice (again I used parmesan and mozzarella), salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Stir the sauce together and add on top of the closed sandwiches. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Broil in the oven for 5 minutes and enjoy!

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Filed under Breakfast, International Food, Sandwich

Keftedes?Kinda,not really…

Again I have failed to update the blog three times this week. This week I have an excuse though. Not only was it 4th of July weekend, but my friend from home came to visit, I went to the Lady Gaga concert and a lot of my friends had their birthdays. I tried this recipe a while ago. It is something between Greek/Turkish keftedes and meatballs.  I love adding herbs to meat and these meatballs contain a lot of fresh and dried spices. I also made tsatsiki to go along with the meatballs. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients- Keftedes: 1 lb beef, 1/2 onion, 2 carrots, 3 fresh bunches of basil, 1 zucchini, 1 egg, fresh bunch of cilantro, 4 tablespoons bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, italian seasoning, salt and pepper to tatse

Tsatsiki: 2 cups plain yogurt, 2 cucumbers, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bunch fresh basil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to season

Begin by preheating the oven to 400. Next grate the peeled zucchini and carrots into a big bowl

Finely chop the onion, cilantro and the basil and add to the bowl

Add the meat, egg, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, salt and pepper

Mix everything together and form into balls and place on a baking sheet

Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile make the tsatsiki by grating the peeled cucumbers. Squeeze the grated cucumbers and discard any liquid. Mince the garlic and add to the cucumbers.

Add the yogurt, minced basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix together. Serve with the cooked meatballs.

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Filed under International Food, Main Course, Meat

Finally a Crepes Pan

I finally invested in a crepes pan.I have been wanting to buy it for the longest time and finally decided to commit to it. To celebrate this event I, of course, had to make crepes. I decided to recreate a recipe that I once tried at a friend’s house. A true French native picky pea in a pod directed me to her sister’s recipe and voila les crepes magnifiques.

Ingredients: 2 cups sifted flour, 2 cups milk, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, 4 eggs, butter for the pan

Crack 4 eggs into a large bowl. Add milk and whisk together.

Add vanilla extract and mix together. Next add sifted flour.

Stir the mixture into a smooth batter.

Place the crepe pan on medium heat. Melt a small piece of butter. Pour 2/3 ladle (I like my crepes really thin) of batter onto the pan and rotate the pan around until the batter spreads and covers the pan entirely.

Everyone noticed the cool new pan? Flip to other side when bottom is cooked (if it easily peels off the pan it is cooked) and cook till the other side is done.

Stack on the plate and quelle jolie. I like my crepes with just butter and powdered sugar but boyfriend says eww so today’s toppings were strawberries and cream, and Nutella. In the next few weeks I will try to make some Russian Blinis and compare notes.

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Filed under International Food, Vegetarian