Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fried Bananas with Blackberry Sauce













One of my favorite desserts is a Fried Banana with Blackberry Sauce.  Fried Bananas are amazingly simple to make, look elegant on a plate, and they taste wonderful.  The blackberry sauce is made with fresh picked Oregon blackberries and has a splash of Grand Marnier.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • One small banana per person
  • One lumpia or egg roll wrapper per banana
  • canola oil for frying
  • One scoop vanilla ice cream per person
  • garnish with blackberry sauce, powdered sugar and a sprig of mint.

Let’s begin.  Put enough canola oil in a pan to cover the bananas.  Heat oil until hot.  Wrap each banana in the egg roll wrapper (roll like you would a burrito) using water to seal.  Make sure the banana is completely covered. Place the banana in the hot oil and fry until golden.  Place cooked bananas on paper towels to drain.  Meanwhile, make your blackberry sauce.  See recipe below.  Slice banana in half, arrange on plate, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle with blackberry sauce and garnish with powdered sugar and mint leaf.   Serves as many people as you have bananas…  Enjoy!  Tessa

Blackberry Sauce:  Heat together 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1 1/2 cups blackberries in a saucier on the stove for about 20 minutes.  Add 1 Tbls. Grand Marnier.  Remove from stove and let cool.  Drizzle on fried bananas, pancakes, ice cream or whatever.  The possibilities with this blackberry sauce are endless.

Raspberry Applesauce Muffins













I’m going to be brutally honest with you…  I’m not a baker.  Don’t get me wrong  for I love to bake but it is something I am simply not that experienced in.  As a child, I was not taught to bake cakes, pies or cookies.  Pies were made by some woman named “Hostess” and cookies in our home came out of a bag and they were called “Oreos”…

In light of all that, I do have several of my own recipes that I enjoy making and my family loves.  One of our favorite recipes is for my Raspberry Applesauce Muffins.  My Raspberry Applesauce Muffins are light, lemony and has tons of fresh raspberry flavor.  They are easy to make and are great to share at the office or as a hostess gift.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. baking sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh raspberries (if too large, coarsely chop)

Let’s begin. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Grab some muffin tins and grease well.  I often times use cupcake baking cups when I am making muffins to share with my coworkers at the office.  If you choose to use the baking cups, don’t grease your tins.  In a medium sized bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, eggs, oil, and lemon zest.  Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened.  Do not over mix.  Now gently fold in your raspberries. Add the mixture to the muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full.  Bake about 20 minutes or until the muffins turn a gorgeous golden brown.  Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack then remove the muffins from the tins.  Makes about 12-15 muffins depending on the size of your tins.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Indonesian Pickled Beans (Acar Buncis)













One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to hop into my little red car and visit some of the local farms and produce stands.  Often times one of my stops is at Beebe Farms.  I stop by Beebe Farms to buy their fresh locally grown peaches and corn.  This morning, they had a small basket of fresh picked green beans on the counter and I knew exactly what I was going to make with them when I go home.  I was without a doubt going to make some Indonesian Pickled Beans.













I was one of the first customers at Beebe Farms this morning.  Normally, the parking lot is full.  I think I may have been a few minutes early because they did not have all their produce out on the shelves for sale yet.  I did see that the corn was harvested just hours before and the peaches were fresh picked.  I look at it this way. If I was not one of their first customers today, somebody else would be in possession of these beautiful beans.  What a score!













My Indonesian Pickled Beans are similar to the green bean salads that you would may find at a backyard barbecue or potluck but with a distinctive Asian flavor.  They are super easy to make and makes a perfect summertime side dish.  Makes about 6 cups or 12- 1/2 cup servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. sambal oelek (or to taste)
  • garnish with crispy fried onions

Let’s begin by washing and snapping the beans into 1 inch pieces.  In a medium sized pan with a lid bring the water and 1 tsp salt to a boil.  Cook beans covered about 8 minutes or until tender crisp.  Remove from heat, using a slotted spoon add the beans to a bowl of water with some ice to stop the cooking.  Let it cool, drain and remove the ice.  Add your beans to a bowl or plastic container.  Meanwhile whisk together the brown sugar, rice vinegar, salt, garlic paste, and sambal oelek.  Pour over the beans tossing to coat.  Cover the beans and put in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight.  Before serving, toss again, place in a dish and garnish with crispy fried onions.


Mini Zucchini White Eggplant Panini

Every Thursday there is a farmer’s market about a mile away from where I work.  Yesterday I was able to sneak over and visit on my lunch hour.  I love stopping by because as the season changes there is something different every week.  Yesterday, while walking through the booths and pickup trucks heaped with fresh picked corn and baskets of zucchini in the back, I spied some gorgeous white eggplant.  I don’t why but I have never seen white eggplant before…

These eggplants were a gorgeous white color and according to the farmer that I purchased them from, they are the “crescent moon” variety.  I went ahead and bought three not knowing what I was going to make with them.  Within an hour of my purchase,  I knew what I was going to make.  I had some fresh picked zucchini and heirloom tomatoes from my own little pocket garden and all I had to do was stop by the bakery on the way home from work and snag a fresh baked baguette…

And voila!  Mini Zucchini White Eggplant Paninis.  There is no use jotting down a recipe as long as you can measure and grill.  The key to this dish is to find eggplant, bread, tomatoes and zucchini all of the same diameter.  Begin by slicing the vegetables into half inch slices.  The bread can be as thick or thin as you want it.  I brushed the bread, zucchini and eggplant with olive oil, sprinkled on some sea salt and grilled them.  I added fresh mozzarella cheese to the eggplant and let it melt.  I then assembled the mini paninis while adding a small slice of prosciutto and garnished with some fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes.

I served these paninis to my family with a side of fresh garden salad.  These mini paninis would be a great for lunch or dinner and depending on the size of your ingredients, or as a really cool appetizer to make for your next party.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients (for one Mini Zucchini White Eggplant Panini)

  • 2 slices fresh baguette
  • 1 slice zucchini
  • 1 slice white eggplant
  • 1 slice heirloom tomato
  • 1 ounce fresh mozzarella
  • 2 basil leaves
  • olive oil for brushing
  • small slice prosciutto
  • pinch sea salt
  • basil and cherry tomatoes for garnish

Panko Crusted Tofu

My guys are red-blooded American boys who had to be coaxed to eat tofu.   Seriously…  All I heard from them was that tofu was bland and that tofu tastes weird.  Tofu this and tofu that.  Really? I completely disagreed with them and I went on a mission to prove them wrong.  So one day, I prepared Panko Crusted Tofu with Sweet Chili and Indonesian Soy Sauce and as a result, they absolutely loved it!  Now this dish is a “regular” in our home.  Not to mention that tofu now is really cool and tastes good.  Shocker eh?

I read about this technique on preparing panko crusted tofu quite some time ago and so I am unable to give whoever made the original dish the credit they deserve for this brilliant idea.  The original dish did not include Indonesian soy sauce so I changed it up and made it my own.  So, if by chance you are the person who came up with the original idea, and you are reading this, you are awesome.  You without a doubt contributed to changing my family’s tofu eating ways and I can’t thank you enough!  For all others, I hope that you like the Panko Crusted Tofu drizzled with sweet chili sauce.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 14 – 16 ounce block of extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 cups panko (or more if needed)
  • about 1/8 cup canola oil for frying (or more if needed)
  • drizzle with sweet chili sauce and garnish with green onions and tomatoes

Begin by slicing your tofu into 8 slices (about 1/2 inch thick).  Place tofu on a paper towel lined plate in the refrigerator for about a half an hour to drain the water from the tofu.  Whisk together the sweet chili sauce, Indonesian soy sauce and salt.  Place half of the sauce in a large pie plate or dish and place the tofu slices on it.  Add remaining sauce to cover the other half of the tofu and don’t be afraid to use your clean fingers to cover the sauce over the tofu slices well.  Place back in the refrigerator for a half an hour or so to let the flavors marry. The key to this dish is to be gentle with the tofu…

When you are ready to cook, put the panko in a shallow dish.  Gently press the tofu slices into the panko, covering both sides.  Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick pan.  Add tofu slices and cook until golden.  Flip and repeat on other side.  Drain tofu slices on paper towel.  Arrange on a plate and drizzle with sweet chili sauce.  Garnish with green onions and chopped tomatoes.  Serves 4.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Kip Smoor

The past couple of weeks at my work has been crazy busy.  I manage a small finance department and we have been working feverishly on our year end financial statements.  To top it off,  we are also preparing for a group of auditors who will be visiting us in just a few sort weeks.  And, I am sorry to report that we are still not ready.  As a result, I am a bit frazzled.  No wait… I am really frazzled.  I look at it this way, stressful situations require some serious comfort food.  In my opinion, my family’s recipe for Kip Smoor is the perfect dish for such occasions.  Some people prefer chocolate, some  people prefer macaroni and cheese.  I prefer Kip Smoor.  Then, of course,  chocolate…

This Kip Smoor recipe has been a much loved family recipe for well over 50 years.  My Oma would make this for my sister and I when we were just little girls.  Kip Smoor is a simple braised chicken that is slow cooked with white onion, garlic, fresh grated nutmeg, cloves, Indonesian soy sauce and fresh tomatoes.  We like to serve it ladled over a scoop of fluffy white jasmine rice and with cool crisp cucumber slices on the side.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 4 pounds or about 10 pieces chicken (preferably thighs)
  • 2 Tbls. butter
  • 2 cup white onion chopped
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes (quartered)
  • 4 – 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 Tbls. Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • chicken broth (about 3 cups or enough to cover the chicken
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

Melt butter in a large pot and add the chicken.  Cook chicken until a light golden color or about 10 minutes.  Drain the oil out of the pot.  Add the onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low (uncovered) until tender and the liquid is considerably reduced.  Note:  I like to cook the chicken for well over an hour until it is ready to fall off the bone.  Serve with white rice and sliced cucumbers.

If by a remote chance that you have leftovers, be sure to pack some for your lunch tomorrow or if you want, remove the chicken from the bones and make some Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice).


Pancakes with Raspberries and Tropical Syrup

It’s a beautiful day today in Southern Oregon.  It’s early in the morning and my family is still fast asleep.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue and I have the day off.  I feel as though I am one lucky woman.  I took a personal inventory and determined that have a wonderful family, a great husband and cool friends.  I know that it does not get much better than that.  My guys don’t know it yet but as soon as they wake up they are going to get raspberry pancakes for breakfast.  I also have a little box of fresh fruit that was leftover from a fruit plate that we had with dinner last night that I am going to turn into a an easy tropical syrup.

Fast forward a couple of hours.  My guys loved them!  The pancakes were simple.  I opened a box of readymade pancake mix and followed the directions for 4 servings…  Ya, I know what you are thinking… It’s shameful for a food blogger to admit that.  Before you dish out the insults, stop and think and I’d be willing to bet that you have done that too.  I then gently folded some chopped raspberries into the batter and began to prepare the tropical syrup.

The tropical syrup was pretty simple too.  All I did was chop up the fruit that I had (there were bits of strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, and raspberries) and it came to about 3/4 cup of mixed chopped fruit.  I added the fruit to a saucier and added 3/4 cup of water and 1 cup of extra fine sugar.  I cooked the syrup on medium low for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally until the fruit cooked down.  I then removed the syrup from the stove and let cool.  It made about a cup and a half of syrup.  Meanwhile, I cooked the pancakes.

The key to great looking pancakes is to use a hot griddle, be sure to not over mix and to use a small scoop or ladle for dishing out the batter.  Enjoy!  Tessa


Peanut Sauce (Katjang Sauce)

Peanut Sauce… Those are the magic words you say when you want people to show up at your home for dinner.  Everybody loves it.  I serve this dish at nearly every backyard BBQ that we have at our home.  Peanut sauce is so versatile, easy to make and compliments all sorts of dishes.  Drizzle it on chicken satay, dip cucumbers in it, use it as a salad dressing, put it in a stir fry, or serve over a bed of fluffy white jasmine rice. When I see that nobody is looking, I will eat it plain… The uses for peanut sauce are endless.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 Tbls. sweet chili sauce
  • regular soy sauce (optional, to taste)
  • sambal oelek or red pepper flakes (optional)

Let’s begin.  Grab a medium sauce pan or saucier.  Find a whisk.  Add all ingredients to the pan and cook on low heat for 20 – 30 minutes, whisking constantly.  You want the flavors to marry and the sauce to thicken.  Taste it.  If it is too sweet for your liking, add some soy sauce.  If you want it spicier, feel free to add some sambal oelek or some red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat and let it cool.  Pour into a serving dish.  Garnish with chopped peanuts or sriracha sauce.  Makes nearly 1 1/2 cups.  When cooking for a crowd it’s a good idea to double the recipe. Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week, if it even lasts that long…

Breakfast Soft Tacos

I love lazy Saturday mornings.  I can sit for hours sipping on coffee and reading the newspaper.  This Saturday morning instead of reading the paper, I decided to make some breakfast soft tacos.  I thought to myself, who made up the rules and said that tacos are only for lunch or dinner? My breakfast soft tacos are filled with scrambled eggs, refried beans, crispy bacon, fresh picked tomatoes and cotija cheese.  I like to drizzle hot sauce on mine for a fiery kick.   These breakfast tacos are super easy to make and can be made as a quick breakfast on a busy weekday morning.

I purchase my eggs from a family in town who has dozens of chicken roaming around in their yard.   When I put in my order, I never know what I am going to get.  Mostly I get the brown eggs but sometimes if I am lucky I get the ones that are a lovely light blue or green.  There is nothing better than farm fresh organic free range eggs…


  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cotija cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 green onion sliced on the bias
  • your favorite hot sauce (optional)

Let’s begin by prepping all your ingredients.  Cook your bacon and crumble, chop your onions, heat up your beans, chop your tomatoes, crumble your cheese, and slice your onions.  Set aside.  Heat up your tortillas briefly in the microwave or in a dry frying pan.  Put on plates.  Add 1/4 cup refried beans on top of each tortilla.  Whisk together your eggs in a medium sized bowl and cook in a nonstick pan coated with cooking spray.  Divide your eggs and put on top of the refried beans.  Add your bacon, tomatoes, green onion and sprinkle on the cotija cheese.  Drizzle with hot sauce if you like.  Makes 4 tasty breakfast tacos.  Enjoy!  Tessa


Honey Ginger Salmon with a Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa

There are so many wonderful things about living here in the Pacific Northwest.  Some of the things that we enjoy are the abundance of wild caught salmon and fresh picked red raspberries .  When in season we can easily find salmon at our local stores for a reasonable price or if you are the adventurous type, you could go down to the river and catch your own.

Our family likes to eat healthy meals so I am constantly looking for tasty “good for you” dishes that I can cook easily after a long day at the office.  Salmon is easy to make and is perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have much time to prepare meals for yourself or your family.  My Asian inspired Honey Ginger Salmon with a Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa is perfect for those situations.  Just imagine a sweet and spicy glazed salmon fillet nestled on the top of some gorgeous black rice topped with a zesty fresh raspberry mango salsa.  This exotic dish tastes great and looks so beautiful that you just might forget that it was healthy for you too.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Honey Ginger Salmon Ingredients:

  • 3 – 6 oz. salmon fillets (use wild not farmed)
  • 2 Tbls. honey
  • 1 Tbls. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a big pinch of salt

Before preparing the salmon, cook 3 servings black rice according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Black rice takes a bit more time to cook than white rice so be sure to start early and figure how much time you need before preparing the Honey Ginger Salmon.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grab a medium sized baking dish and line with foil.  Spray with non stick spray.  Place salmon fillets in the baking dish.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients and brush the glaze on the salmon.  Bake for about 15 minutes uncovered or until salmon flakes with a fork.  While baking the salmon prepare the Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa.  See below.

Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes (cut into cubes)
  • 1/3 c. chopped red onion
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 – 2/3  c. fresh red raspberries
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 red jalapeno pepper minced
  • 1 tsp. sambal oelek
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Grab a small bowl and lightly mix together the above ingredients.  Taste it.  Correct the salt or heat if necessary.

To serve the Honey Ginger Salmon with Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa, place a scoop of cooked black rice on plate.  Stack your salmon fillet on the rice, and top with a about a 1/2 cup of raspberry mango salsa.  Serve with lime wedges and a cucumber salad.  Makes 3 servings.