Handmade Wonton Wrappers

Handmade Wonton Wrappers

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Why Make Your Own Handmade Wonton Wrappers?
Wonton wrappers are known by several names:  dim sum wrappers, dim sum skins, and dumpling skins, among the most common  Yet in the end this single basic Handmade Wonton Wrapper recipe will help you prepare yummy dim sum dumplings to eat steamed, grilled or fried.

There are other types of dough for other types of dim sum.  To make make buns you will need a dough with a leavening agent, such as yeast or baking powder.  For dumplings to boil in wonton soup, you will need a sturdier dough usually made with eggs added.  Last there i…

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Preparing Pumpkin Puree

Preparing Pumpkin Puree

How to Prepare Pumpkin Puree
Since pumpkin in cans is almost impossible to find outside of the United States, I usually prepare pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkin.

If you need to follow this step, remember to leave the cooked pumpkin in a strainer over a bowl for about 30 minutes to eliminate the excess water. But do not throw this liquid out as it is absolutely delicious to drink as is or to add it to smoothies, oatmeal, soup or any other dish.  This liquid is my autumn gold, as it is so refreshing.
Roasting vs. Boiling when Preparing Pumpkin Puree
Roasting Pumpkin
Most cookbooks recommend roa…

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Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Why is this Sweet Potato Casserole Chunky and Juicy?
Most sweet potato casseroles at Thanksgiving are overly sweet with marshmallows and candied pecans and blended into smooth puree.  My Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole leaves the sweet potato, carrots and fruit in chunks, allowing each ingredient’s true flavor to shine.  Very little sugar is added to this casserole, making it more healthy for you to eat.  A naturally light version of this traditional dish should be welcome at your Thanksgiving dinner table to help your guests enjoy their food without feeling guilty or overly stuffed.

The …

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Simple Stuffing for Thanksgiving

Simple Stuffing for Thanksgiving

Sometimes Simple Stuffing Recipes are Welcome on Thanksgiving
If you are like me on Thanksgiving Day, you somehow suddenly become a master multi-tasker.  Preparing several dishes at a time, making sure the oven is constantly filled with dishes being cooked in a pre-determined order, and decorating the table and dining room for the main event:  Thanksgiving dinner.  In all this chaotic order it’s welcoming to have some dishes that remain simple, without any extra fuss.

My Simple Stuffing recipe is exactly what is needed.  It has the all the main ingredients (bread, celery, sage, vegetable b…

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Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic

Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic

What makes this Pumpkin  Soup so Sublime?
Every autumn I make pumpkin soup so many different ways.  I prefer pumpkin soup with spices that give a little heat, such as cumin, cayenne, and turmeric.  When I make a spicier version of pumpkin soup, I usually add an apple to soften and round out the flavors.   Sometimes coconut milk serves the same purpose.

In Belgium, however, people generally prefer a creamy milder version of pumpkin soup.  They usually add a little cream, milk or butter in the last minutes to add richness.  This recipe for Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic features more flavo…

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Autumn Oatmeal Porridge

Autumn Oatmeal Porridge

How do you make Autumn Oatmeal Porridge?
Most mornings I make hot oatmeal porridge for breakfast.  I love how everyday you can make your oatmeal porridge differently through the fruit, nuts and spices that you add to it.  For some suggestions on how to make a tasty and healthy bowl of hot grains for breakfast read this post from last April.

A bowl of hot grains is an ideal way to start your day.  You’ll get a good dosage of fiber and anti-oxidants which will help reduce your cholesterol levels, enhance your immune response to infection, and stabilize blood sugar levels helping to lower you…

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Pumpkin Tomato Lentil Soup

Pumpkin Tomato Lentil Soup

What are some ways to use pumpkin?
During the autumn months I tend to buy and use a lot of pumpkin.  Although a wide range of squash is available at the grocers and the farmers markets in Belgium, muscat pumpkins are my favorite.  Muscat pumpkins are different from the pumpkins generally sold in the US.  I now prefer their texture and taste over the US variety.  They also seem to have more flesh, making them a wonderful source for many recipes.

Once I start using a pumpkin, I try to find other ways to use the rest of the pumpkin during the week.  Chopped raw pumpkin added to my morning oat…

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Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

What are Winter Salads?
Winter salads bring color, vitamins and fresh tastes to brighten up your plate and keep your palate alive.  In many ways I prefer winter salads to salads at other times of the year because the ingredients are often more crispy and full of flavor.

 
How can you create a Winter Salad?
Blend colors and tastes
The key to making an exceptional winter salad is to blend colors and tastes.  Don’t be afraid to use bitter vegetables, such as Belgian endives, radicchio and escarole, all from the chicory family. You may offset the bitter tastes by adding sweet ingredien…

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Braised Belgian Endives

Braised Belgian Endives

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Why learning how to braise Belgian Endives is so important?

Everyone in Belgium needs to learn how to braise Belgian endives, commonly known as chicons or witlof in Belgium, at some point in their life.  It should almost be a requirement for citizenship. Many people are a bit intimidated by Belgian endives because they are easy to overcook or often fall apart while cooking.  Yet, braising Belgian endives is actually fairly simple.

How to braise Belgian endives

All it takes to braise Belgian endives is a pan, some olive oil or butter, garlic, a to…

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Tomato Chickpea Soup

Tomato Chickpea Soup

How do you feed the soul along with the body?
Comfort foods somehow feed our bodies while making us feel protected and warm inside.  They feed our soul along with our body.  What is it about comfort foods that make them so satisfying at all levels?  For me it’s food that nourishes, teases my tongue and somehow reaches the child inside me, the child that wants to feel protected.

When my daughter was feeling ill with a lingering cold a few days ago, she asked me to make a soup that I had made about 6 months ago with tomatoes and chickpeas (garbanzo beans to some people).  I remembered the so…

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Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Zucchini

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Zucchini

How can you use Arugula Pesto this summer?
Summertime is ideal for creating pesto sauces since herbs and greens are at their freshest. I love experimenting with new combinations to tease my palate with a change from the more customary pesto made with basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic. For instance, recently I enjoyed a Pesto with Arugula, Basil and Fennel. Follow this link for the recipe and for more tips about making pesto sauces.

I prepared this summer pasta dish by mixing the Arugula Pesto sauce with some fettuccine pasta and sauteed green and yellow zucchini. The zucchini ca…

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Couscous Salad with Vegetables

Couscous Salad with Vegetables

What makes a Couscous Salad with Vegetables such an ideal side dish?
Tonight I grilled a pan sheet of chicken wings. It’s an easy weeknight dinner. I just cut off some of the skin from the chicken wings to reduce the amount of fat. I then line up the pan with the chicken wings and sprinkle on some dried thyme, salt and pepper. Sometimes I may add some other herbs, such as basil and oregano, and spread on a few garlic cloves diced finely. I love it when there’s lots of garlic on it.

I wanted a quick side dish made of a starch and vegetables to round out the meal. I decided to make a couscou…

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Pesto with Arugula, Basil and Fennel

Pesto with Arugula, Basil and Fennel

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How to use fresh herbs to create your own Pesto
Food always tastes better with the right condiments (pesto, rubs, and sauces) to enhance the flavors of your dish. When entertaining friends, keeping the main dish fairly simple while offering a selection of homemade condiments is a sure key to success. Everyone can choose how they want their dish. Your guests can make it as spicy, flavorful or simple as they wish.

Summertime is ideal for making pesto sauces with fresh herbs. For most people the term pesto refers only to a mixture made from pounding together basil, garlic,…

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Preparing Brown Sushi Rice

Preparing Brown Sushi Rice

Is Brown Sushi Rice Better for You?
In addition to providing greater nutritional value compared to white sushi rice, brown sushi rice has a slightly nutty flavor.  I love the extra taste of brown rice.

 
Is Brown Sushi Rice a Whole Grain?
Brown sushi rice (brown short grain rice) is a whole grain containing natural bran, which provides dietary fiber.  Meanwhile, white sushi rice does not contain dietary fiber.   For 100 grams of cooked brown short grain rice, there is about 1.8 grams of dietary fiber.

 
How Many Carbohydrates Are in Brown Sushi Rice?
There are a…

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Wasabi Paste Made in Minutes

Wasabi Paste Made in Minutes

What is wasabi?
Many think wasabi is a paste served on the side of a sushi dish, while it is in fact a rhizome, a mass of roots, like ginger and tumeric.

Wasabi Root

 
Why bother making your own Wasabi paste?
I used to think it was a waste of time to make your own wasabi paste. Tubes of wasabi paste are available in most supermarkets as well as Asian grocery shops. A common problem with tubes, however, is that they contain much more paste than you need for a single meal.  A crust therefore often forms in the tube, making the r…

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