Traditional Tuesday – Bread Pudding

Over the weekend, I decided to clean out the bulk of my refrigerator. What I came across were the following: Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese. So it’s Sunday morning and I don’t want to waste food so I decided to create a family style portion of this comforting, hearty dish, which can also serve as a perfect potluck dish.

What is bread pudding?

Bread pudding is a dish that comprises of layering pieces of bread with a bunch of ingredients and mixing it with egg cream mixture prior to baking the concoction.

Where did bread pudding originate?

There are various version of where bread pudding originated from. The concept of this comforting dish came from the idea of utilizing leftovers while not wasting food. After reading the versions, I personally came to the conclusion that the bread pudding originated from the Egyptians. The Egyptians call their dish “Om Ali”, a dessert containing bread, milk or cream, almonds, and raisins. The Romans also created their version using stale bread, milk, fat and sweetener. In the Middle East, they create their own version called “Eish es Serny” which contains dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel. Currently, there is an Indian dish called “Shahi Tukra”, which is made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds. Of course, the real geniuses behind this comforting dessert do not get the proper recognition for creating bread pudding.

Now let’s get into on what food history has addressed the origins of bread pudding. Historians have stated that bread pudding originated in the Middle Ages with the invention of custard. By the 13th century the dish was labelled as a “poor man’s pudding” because it was made from leftover bread and was consumed by the lower classes. By the 18th century, the dish was served to people who were sick because the bread was easy to digest.

Over the last few centuries bread pudding has evolved to become a versatile dish where it can be made sweet, which popular in most high end restaurants (found in desserts) and savory.

A year ago during NYC restaurant week I had the privilege to eat the the Australian restaurant “Burke and Wills” located in the Upper West Side, which permanently closed early this year. They served an amazing dessert that was part of their three course prix fixe called “Bread and Butter Pudding” which was made with bread, toffee sauce, marscapone, and hazelnut.

Burke and Wills “Butter and Bread Pudding”

Over the weekend, I purged the refrigerator by utilizing all of the Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese to made a Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding .

The dish came out almost perfect because I used what I had leftover so this version had an unequal ratio. There was way more bread than there was mushroom and cheese. The cream of mushroom soup and thyme saved the day because the flavor of the dish was on point. In addition this dish serves six people and after consuming a third of what would be considered one slice was already filling. I had a lot of fun making this dish and would like to explore different variation of creating bread pudding. I definitely want to explore creating a different version that is gluten and dairy free.

Wine Wednesday – Beef Bourguignon COVID-19 style

Week three of COVID-19 began with a stay at home Easter meal for two which leftovers lasted for two days.

I spent hours and days reading various recipes about the French classic Beef Bourguignon. My father introduced me to this dish when I was a child and regretted not staying by his side taking mental notes on how to cook this dish.

Anyways, back to the history and origin of Beef Bourguignon. This French class dish originated from Bourgogne a regional section in Burgundy, France. Beef Bourguignon is a rich slow cooked dish made with beef braised in red wine with carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.

Beef Bourguignon was originally considered a meal for peasants during the Middle Ages. It was economically friendly, filling and perfect to feed a crowd. The meat used was the once that were not consumed by high class groups e.g. royalty. The dish initially took two days to cook as the longer the cook, the more flavorful the dish will be and the meat will be more tender.

The first recipe was published in the beginning of the 20th century. Chef Auguste Escoffier labelled as the “grandfather of classical French cuisine”. This chef presented this provincial peasant dish to a high society group. As a result this dish became a overnight success where it is now served in fine dining restaurants in Paris, London and New York. Beef Bourguignon was labelled a national dish in France and in 1961, Julia Child introduced this dish which made her famous to America.

There were some subtle differences between Chef Auguste Escoffier’s 1903 recipe and Julia Child’s 1961 recipe. First, Chef Escoffier used whole beef and it would take two days to make the dish while Chef Child’s recipe used diced or cubed beef. Chef Child also used bacon fat and dried each piece of of meat prior to searing in the pan.

Well, guess what, I combined the two recipes without mushrooms and committed the cardinal sin by cutting a rib roast into think half in slices instead of cubes.

Well to start I used healthy ingredients such as beef, garlic, onions, carrots, tomato paste, red wine and homemade beef broth using the bones of the rib roast and onions. The broth tooks 18-24 hours to make.

Working with the ingredients that available, I made a very modified version with no mushrooms.

Traditional Tuesday – Soup Dumplings

Happy Tuesday! As I was leaving the subway station I came across a Chinese restaurant in Queens that just opened up. The owner gave me the menu and after glancing the menu, the prices of the dishes appeared to be expensive. A few months after the opening, a family friend was raving about these black truffle soup dumplings ($12.75 for six), even, Eater loved them. Therefore, I have to try them.

So what are soup dumplings?

Soup dumplings were created as a street food in Nanking, China in 1875. The dish traveled to other provinces throughout China and Japan. These dumplings are usually steamed filled with gelatin based soup broth, pork and vegetables.

Are they healthy? Well, the soup broth is high is saturated fat and sodium. However, soup dumplings are usually dipped in a sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar and ginger. This concoction can be viewed as healthy because vinegar aids in digestion and lowers blood sugar while the ginger holds many health benefits as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

After completing my weekend 4-6 mile walk, I decided to reward myself with soup dumplings. The Shanghainese restaurant Shanghai Zhen Gong Fu appeared to be a small Chinese takeout spot, but inside there were a bunch of tables. One of their popular dishes were the soup dumplings, so we ordered the crab and pork soup dumplings, pork soup dumplings and the infamous black truffle soup dumplings. Well, let’s just say the wrappers of these dumplings were perfectly thin and folded very well. The crab and pork soup dumplings and the black truffle dumplings were so good. The overall soup dumplings especially the crab and pork soup ones were even better than the ones I’ve had in the past. The black truffle soup dumpling were so tasty and they even have real black truffles on top of the dumplings. One can even taste the truffle oil in the soup broth.

So if you’re in Elmhurst, stop in Shanghai Zhen Gong Fu and try those black truffle dumplings. They are the best bang for your buck for an luxury street food.

Traditional Tuesday – Dumplings

This summer I was on a dumpling phase  where I’ve eaten at various restaurants that serve various dumplings.

Historically dumplings were developed during the Han Dynasty in China by Zhang Zhongjing. Zhongjing was considered the “Medicine Saint” in his village.

One year, the people’s ears were frostbitten and he took a piece of dough skin and filled it with mutton, chili and medicinal herbs, wrapped it up and boiled it. This popular winter concoction helped promote blood flow to warm the body.

Today there are varieties of dumplings:

Korea – Mandoo

Italy – Ravioli

Poland – Pierogi

Spain, Portugal, South and Central America – Empanada

India – Samosa

Japan – Gyoza

Turkey – Manti

Tibet/Nepal – Momo

Below are images of the various dumplings I have had within the last two years. I definitely all kinds, but unfortunately no pictures were taken.

Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao $6.95

Loofah Xiao Long Bao $7.95

Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao Chocolate Dumplings

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Pork Buns $5.25

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Vegetable Dumplings $4.50

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao Shanghai Shumai $2.95

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Crabmeat and Pork Buns $6.25

Shanghai Cafe Steamed Tiny Buns $4.95

Shanghai Cafe Steamed Tiny Buns with Crabmeat $6.95

 

Korean octopus dumplings and glutinous rice dumplings

David Burke Kitchen – BBQ Chicken Dumplings

Klimat Lounge – Polish Pierogi $11

Klimat Lounge – Sauerkraut & mushroom, Spinach Mixed Polish Pierogi $11

Manor Oktoberfest – Pierogies with sour cream $8

Mrs. P’s Pierogies $2.50 (on sale any supermarket)

Agozar Cuban Restaurant – Empanaditas $9

Momos – Himalayan Yak $7

Below is a recent dumpling recipe (Thank you Tasty Japan) I made for Mother’s Day back in May that was creative and very budget friendly.

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Meatless Monday/Traditional Tuesday – Sautéed Black Eyed Peas and Spinach 

Welcome to Tablespoonsandteaspoons first Meatless Monday post of 2017. As part of this week’s game plan, we will be exploring what is considered lucky New Year’s foods that is also beneficial for one’s health.  To start the year off, we will be working on another 5-ingredient dish that consists of two lucky foods that are also healthy: Black Eyed Peas and spinach. 
Black eyed Peas – are the creamed colored bean with a black speckle on it almost resembling an eyeball. Consumption of this bean is considered good luck according to a Southern food tradition.  For New Years, eating black eyed peas symbolizes coins, which brings in good luck and prosperity for the year. 

Consumption of black eyed peas also has several health benefits including: 

  • Improving digestion and preventing constipation due to its high dietary fiber content
  • May prevent anemia due to its high folate content, which is partly responsible to producing red blood cells
  • May lower blood pressure thus potentially lower the risk of heart disease due to its high potassium, which balances blood pressure. 
  • Helps protect vision and skin due to its high vitamin A content.

Spinach – is a vegetable that are relatives with Swiss chard, kale, and collard greens.  Eating spinach or any greens on New Year’s is good luck because the green color resembles money. 

Consuming spinach has many healthy properties making it one of the best foods to consume to prevent and potentially treat illnesses. These include:

  • Cancer prevention due to its high antioxidant & anti-carcinogrnic properties, protects the cells from DNA damage and oxidative stress
  • Reduces inflammation associated with heart disease in the long run and due to its high antioxidant content.
  • Reduces cholesterol, improve circulation especially in blood vessels, and reduces blood pressure, 
  • Helps maintain a strong immune system thus reducing inflammation and protects eyes, skin and teeth. 
  • Helps protect against diabetes prior and even during diagnosis due to its protective steroid properties responsible for maintaining blood surgar levels in the body.
  • Preserve and even protect macular degeneration due to its high vitamin A and carotenoids content 
  • Maintain strong bone due to its high vitamin K content, which also helps blood clots and reduces inflammation.
  • Help prevent skin cancer 
  • Its high fiber content helps serves as a detox.
  • Protect and even reduce neurological damage 
  • Contains magnesium which help regulate and control nerves and muscular functions

Given these two lucky and yet very healthy foods, here is a recipe that would be considered lucky while promoting good health. 

Sautéed Black Eyed Peas and Spinach –

Serves at least 2

2 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 cal/tbsp.

1 tablespoons of minced garlic = 15 cal/tbsp.

1/2 red onion sliced = approx. 40 cal/100g

2 cups (32 tbsp.) spinach = 7 cal/16 tbsp. 

1 can (15 oz.) Eden Organic black eyed peas = 90 cal/8 tbsp.

1) Sauté oil, garlic and onion for approximately 5 min. 

2) Add spinach and stir until wilted (approximately 3-4 min).

3) Drain and rinse the canned black eyed peas (dried black eyed peas would be cheaper but due to time, we had to settle with the canned peas). Add them to the mixture. Stir until heated through. 

Ready to serve. 


    Flashback Friday – Dosas

    Happy Friday! Although it is National Dessert Day, I have been fascinated about the popular Indian street food – Dosa.  When I first saw this dish, I was overwhelmed by the how big it is.  It is mostly served as a meal for a good part of the day.  Personally I have consumed it as an early dinner.

    Dosas also known as Dosai is an ancient Tamil dish.  This gluten free, vegetarian street food dish is made up of rice and lentils.  Therefore, there are health benefits in its consumption.   Dosas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein that will last the whole day.  It is a lengthy process to make dosas and I don’t think that I will be making one anytime soon.  Therefore, I will be leaving this up to the pros.

    Recently, I have had the experience of consuming this vegetarian dish at two places in New York City.   One famous spot world is Saravana Bhavan.  There are two locations in New York City (Manhattan).  This restaurant does not need an introduction because it is well known throughout India; the establishment of this franchise was made a controversial person who is banned from leaving India because he was convicted of murder.  This is to show that as long the food is good it does not matter where it originated from. But if you don’t want to be traumatized,  I visited another spot, which is located in Queens called Hillside Dosa Hutt.  This neighborhood spot is in the heart of the Indian community. The cashier that served us was hospitable and knowledgeable about Dosas.  Hillside Dosa Hutt was recently listed on the Eater list of the top 60 cheap eats places in NYC. 

    Hillside Dosa Hutt – Marsala Dosa $5.50 (Top Left) and Paneer Bhurji Masala Dosa $9.00 (Bottom left) Saravana Bhavan $9.99- Marsala Dosa (Top right)  and Onion Chili Rava Dosa $10.99 (Bottom right)

    Portions of each dosa were huge. I have not been able to finish a whole dosa in one sitting.  If you want more variety then Saravan Bhavan is the place to go, but for a quick meal on a budget then Hillside Dosa Hutt will suffice. 

     

     

     

    Traditional Tuesday – Paleo Party Food – BBS: Bacon, Basil, Shrimp Finger Food.

    My friend introduced me to a three ingredient dish that was so cost-effective and easy to make.   It is a great day game day appetizer plus it is quick, healthy, low calorie and paleo-friendly.  This dish does not have its true origins, but restaurants have made it part of their appetizer, bar and/or gastropub menus.  It is called Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.  I call it:

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    As you can the total number of calories for each piece is between 33 and 45 calories depending on the type of bacon used and the size of the shrimp.

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    Turkey BBS – Turkey Bacon Basil (Wrapped Around) Shrimp

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    Oscar Mayer BBS – Oscar Mayer Bacon, Basil (Wrapped Around) Shrimp

    This three ingredient quick dish is made in five steps totaling about 15-20 min.

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Rinse shrimp, pat dry and place a piece of basil on top.
    3. Holding the shrimp with the basil, wrap the slice of bacon around each piece.
    4. Place the wrapped shrimp on a greased cookie sheet or small pan.
    5. Place it in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes until the shrimp is opaque.

    This dish is so addicting in a sense that when one piece is eaten, there are cravings for more.  Just remember everything in moderation.  Bon appettit!

     

    Traditional Tuesday – Pan Fried Noodles

    In the past week or two, I have had this craving of pan fried noodles with some type of gravy sauce.  When I was child I was considered a picky eater.  My father who is a chef would bring home a variety of dishes and even cook some too.  I was told I had expensive food tastes as my two favorites were sharkfin soup and pan fried noodles with beef.

    Even though my food palate has evolved over time and I eat everything now, I will always have a love for an order of family style pan fried noodle dish with either beef or seafood during my family outings at a Chinese restaurant.

    I went grocery shopping last week and came across a packet of “Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles”.  Immediately, I had a huge craving for this dish so I purchased a packet and searched online for the best recipes to replicate the dish in most healthy way possible with the ingredients I have at home.  As a result, this recipe is adapted from two recipes that I found made the best pan fried noodles.

    During the creation of this dish, my phone decided to not cooperate with me so unfortunately I do not have my usual photo of my ingredient layout.  In addition, there is no exact calorie count.

    Please note that leftover cooked vegetables (carrots and cabbage) were used in stir fry portion of this dish.  This dish serves 2 people.

    Chicken & Marinade adapted from RecipeTinEats:

    2 Boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced (120 calories/serving)

    1 teaspoon of reduced sodium soy sauce (3 calories)

    1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil

    1 tsp flour or cornstarch

    white pepper

    1. Slice chicken breasts into thin slices
    2. Add all ingredients and combine
    3. Let it sit in room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

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    Pan Fried Noodles adapted from Serious Eats 

    1/2 lb. of Hong Kong style pan fried noodles (300 calories/serving).

    2 tablespoons of Canola oil (120 calories/serving)

    1/4 cup of water

    1. Add 1 tbsp. of canola oil to the wok
    2. Separate noodles by hand and add them to the oil in medium high heat.
    3. Pat noodles to make it into a pancake for about 1 minute
    4. Add water to create steam so the noodles would not burn.
    5. Swirl the pan so the noodles on the periphery could get crispy.
    6. Slide the noodles unto a big plate, obtain another big plate and invert the noodles to transfer.
    7. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. of canola to the wok.
    8. Return the uncooked side noodles to the pan and repeat steps 3-5.
    9. Slide the noodles unto the big plate.

    Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry adapted from RecipeTinEats

    Sauce

    3 tbsp. of flour or cornstarch

    3 tbsp. of water

    3/4 of chicken bouillon dissolved in 3/4 cup of water

    1 tbsp. oyster sauce

    2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce (20 calories)

    1 tsp. sugar

    1.  Combine above ingredients to create this stir fry sauce.

    Stir fry

    1 tablespoon minced garlic (15 calories)

    1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)

    2 shallots, chopped

    leftover cooked cabbage and carrots.

    1. Heat olive oil and add garlic.
    2. Add marinated chicken and stir fry until golden brown
    3. Add shallots and cooked vegetables
    4. Add stir fry sauce and let it simmer for about 1 minute.
    5. Place stir fry and sauce over the noodles.

    Unfortunately I do not have the finished product as my phone died and I was hungry.  The dish was less starchy and salty compared to what I have eaten at Chinese restaurants.  The texture of the dish was pretty close.  The dish was cheaper to make than ordering it at the restaurant.   Creating this dish was an experience in itself and the techniques used to cook at home versus at a restaurant is different due to space and availability.  I definitely want to make this again using different ingredients so stay tuned!

     

    Traditional Tuesday -Sloppy Joes

    Happy Tuesday!  Today’s blog will focus on one of America’s favorite childhood and even adulthood dishes – The Sloppy Joe.

    After researching the history behind the staple dish, there appears to be a lot of debate regarding its origin and unfortunately I do not have the answers.

    What I found in this research is that this dish was established at a cafe in the Midwest in the 1930s by a man name Joe who added tomato sauce to loose meat.  Another source says that it originated as a Cuban loose meat sandwich in Florida.  The Sloppy Joe was also even called a “Manwich”.

    Well thanks to the recipe posted by Bodypotential I decided to try on the healthier version of Sloppy Joes.  This dish was healthy on a budget and serves 4 people:

    1 lb. Perdue Ground Turkey = 160 calories/serving = $2.99/lb. at Stop and Shop

    16 tablespoons of tomato paste = 80 calories

    6 tablespoons tomato sauce = 30 calories

    2 tablespoons honey = 60 calories/serving

    1 tbsp. garlic powder

    1 tbsp. paprika

    1 tbsp. cumin

    1 tbsp. chili powder

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    Since I am doing this body cleanse for the next few days, the healthy sloppy joes will last me 2-4 meals either lunch or dinner.

    Traditional Tuesday – Egg in a Hole

    Happy Tuesday! Starting off my revising diet with a recipe I have been making and consuming for several weeks and complementing with either a half avocado or a cup of strawberries.

    Egg in a Hole is a fried egg on toast.

    The original recipe was published during the late 19th century by Fannie Farmer, author of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook.  The recipe was called “Egg with a hat”.  The dish was made using a two-and-a-half-inch cookie cutter to remove the bread’s center.  It is served with a cooked egg, that becomes the “hat”.

    The dish has many names such as “Egg in a Basket,” “Egg in a Frame,” “Toad in a Hole,” “Egg in a Nest,” “Sunshine Toast,” and even “Gashouse eggs.”  Movies such as “Moon Over Miami,” “Moonstruck” and Vendetta” have made this very simple dish popular.

    The dish itself is primarily made of two ingredients: toasted bread and an egg.  It is a fun, quick and simple dish to make.

    1 extra large egg = 70 calories (recipe below I used a jumbo cage free egg = 90 calories)

    1 toast bread, I used Udi’s Gluten Free Omega Flax Fiber Bread = 75 calories/slice

    Total calories = 145 calories (using a jumbo egg = 165 calories)

    Total cost = Investment of $10 (ingredients last about 1-2 weeks)

    1.5 dozen Eggland’s Best large eggs  on sale this week for $3.99 at C-Town.

    Bread on sale this week ranging from $2.99 to $4.99 at Stop & Shop

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    Two ingredients used – toast bread and egg

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    Cut a circle in the center of the toasted bread, set it to the side, then place the “hole” bread into a non-stick pan.

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    Crack an egg into the hole and let it fry for about 2 min.

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    Flip the bread over and cook the other side.

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    Egg in a hole is cooked and ready to serve.