Saturday, April 23, 2011

How to Make Finadene - Guamanian Hot Sauce

I've mentioned before that my father is from Guam (Chamorro) and rice was a staple at our dinner table just as potatoes are for most. Along with it, my mother made various hot sauces to put on the rice for added flavor. One of them is finadene (fin-ah-den-ee).  It's spicy, a little salty, tart and is delicious on white rice. I'd been craving it lately so I thought I'd make some and share the recipe with you.  

I guarantee you that after you make this sauce you will NEVER eat plain white rice without it again!  

8 chopped green onions
2 sliced jalapeno peppers
2 sliced yellow chilies
1 medium lemon (squeezed)
1/2 cup Kikoman soy sauce
2-1/4 cups water
1 diced tomato (optional)

Chop the green onions.

Slice the peppers.  If you like things REALLY HOT, add more jalapenos.

Combine the lemon juice, soy sauce, and water in a large glass jar.  Add the peppers and green onions.  Refrigerate and allow to set for a couple of hours before serving. The longer the mixture sets, the hotter it will be because the soy sauce and onions will take in the spiciness of the jalapenos.

Using a small spoon, pour bits of the onion and sauce over your rice. Throw on some of those jalapenos too, if you're brave!  I also like to put the finadene on chicken and use it to dip sushi into as well.  

I think you're going to get hooked on this stuff because it really does add a lot of flavor to anything you put it on! 

The yellow vegetable in the dish above is pickled daikon radish. It's also a part of a sauce (condiment) that you can add to rice if you like things TART and HOT. You can find the recipe here on my blog.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Make A Chicken Salad Sandwich

One of my favorite sandwiches is chicken salad.  Every time I go to a sandwich shop, that is what I order. Ask me if I ever make it at home? Not so much. I think it's because when I make it myself it never tastes as good as when someone else does; probably because I just grab a few chunks of chicken and slather some mayonnaise on a piece of bread and that's it.  Today I decided to use the same ingredients that the sandwich shops use and lo and behold, I finally made the kind of sandwich that even I can love.  

I know this recipe is no big deal but sometimes the simple things in life are the most pleasurable! 

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups diced chicken (cooked)
5 tablespoons mayonnaise

I love raw celery, especially with a little peanut butter smeared on it.  This time though, I'm going to chop some up; 1/2 cup's worth.

Chop up the dried cranberries into small pieces. Make sure that they're smaller than the celery and walnut pieces.  You don't want the sweetness of the cranberries to overpower the other flavors in the sandwich.

Finally, in a small bowl; add the cranberries, walnuts, celery, and chicken.  Stir in the mayonnaise until the mixture is thoroughly combined.  Spread the chicken salad on a couple of slices multi-grain bread and add a few leaves of raw spinach to finish the sandwich.  Yum...enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

White Turkey Chili

I'd seen photos of white turkey chili and always thought it looked delicious and wanted to try it but have been too lazy to make it.  Since it rained yesterday and I couldn't go out and take photos I decided to try the Williams-Sonoma recipe.  I altered the recipe a bit and made quite a few substitutions because 1) I didn't have any turkey leftovers that the recipe called for, 2) I omitted the cilantro because my girlfriend doesn't care much for it (although I LOVE it) , 4) omitted the oregano because I don't care much for the flavor, and 3) because Great Northern beans were more convenient to buy so I used them instead of cannellini beans.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Salt, ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 lb mild green chilies, roasted, peeled, and diced or 3 cans (7 oz) of whole roasted mild green chilies, diced
4 to 4-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb ground turkey
3 cans (each 15 oz) Great Northern beans
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)

Shredded jack cheese, sour cream and lime wedges for serving.

Mince/dice jalapeno, garlic, and onion and set aside.

In a frying pan, cook ground turkey until done.  I added salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder as it cooked. When done, set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Add salt, pepper, and ground cumin. Stir and cook until onions are nearly translucent.

Stir in green chilies and 4 cups of chicken broth.

Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Transfer mixture to a slow cooker*.  Stir in ground turkey and beans (and cilantro, if you decide to use it). 

Put cornmeal in a small bowl and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of broth.  Stir the cornmeal mixture into the turkey mixture.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.  Thin the chili with more broth if needed.   

*If you don't have a slow cooker, transfer the mixture to a pot and cook on medium heat for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally.

Serve the chili with cheese, sour cream, and/or lime wedges.
Serves 6 to 8. 

I baked sweet cornbread (click here for the recipe) to go with the chili and what a delicious and filling meal it was!

PS.  Despite the lack of cilantro, the chili was quite flavorful and no particular ingredient overpowered the other.  It was a nice balance of all the flavors.  As a side note, if you like things really spicy, I recommend substituting hotter green chilies for the mild ones.  


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Camera

If you notice a lag in how often I post on this blog it's because I've suddenly become obsessed with my new camera. I'm a picture taking fool now.  Every opportunity that I get to use the camera; I take it and sometimes to the chagrin of those who happen to be with me at the time.

It all began with this blog.  In order to write about food it really helps if you can take great photos of it. What I didn't realize was that it's a lot was harder than it looks. Getting the right amount of lighting to get the food to look good is a real challenge.  Rather than pull my hair out trying to coax a beautiful image out of an older point and shoot camera, I opted for a Canon Rebel T2i.  A new shutterbug was born.

I won't bore you with the details of my adventures in food photography but sometimes it can be a real pain in the ass especially if you're the only one preparing the food and also taking the pictures! Timing, lighting, and persistence is everything.

My set-up for the next post on a recipe for chicken salad sandwiches.
Still, I enjoy it but am finding that I love taking pictures of everything else. Also, I'm really into macro photography.  It feels like you're capturing and creating art. I know a picture of a butterfly looks odd on a food blog but what the hell...I'm showing it anyway! I'm so proud of it! lol Butterflies don't keep still so my being able to get a clear image is a miracle!

By now you can see that I won't be posting a recipe. Instead, like a relative who holds you hostage in their living room and makes you look at vacation pics, I'm going to show off some photos that I took at the Tempe Art Festival a couple of weekends ago.  Hopefully, you'll find them interesting enough to keep looking and not nod off!  In addition to the food, I also shot pics of people's pets. You can see them and other photos on my photostream.

Chicken sticks cooking on a grill.

Yes, the food was as good as it looked!

I didn't partake of this hunk of meat but sure was tempted.

Some of us lead pampered lives. This chihuahua traveled the festival in style.

I think I'm going to buy this handmade ceramic serving dish the next time I see it at the festival.

Ok, that's it! My next post will be a recipe for chicken salad sandwiches. For @afemmeinnyc (on twitter), I also included a tiny sliver of a shot of my thumb in one of the photos lol. (She's my biggest thumb fan).

Thanks for looking!