Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lee Lee's Market

Yesterday I had one of the best days since I moved to Arizona, me and a couple of friends went to Lee Lee's market it's a chinese market but it has foods from all over the world. I walked around that store for over 3 hours looking at everything I could lay my eyes on, my friends even told me they tried to yell to me but I was in a daze! Some no most of the food I had no idea what I was looking at it was either in another language or I just could not read it.

When you walk into the store you are hit in the face with this smell of fish, veggies, curries and smell I was not familiar with. There were tons of fish meatballs, cuts of beef and actual tanks with fresh lobster, tilapia and catfish I haven't seen that since I left bean town but with 10 bucks a pound for the lobster maybe some other time. And I was this close to buying a cows tongue lol.

But I did bring back a whole roasted duck with the face on, and ton of other products I can't wait to try.

Now I thought I would get some ideas for new recipes but I was so fascinated in everything I didn't get any ideas.. oh well I guess I have to go back.

If you are in the Chandler area of Arizona and love the flavors of other cultures I highly recommend this place!


I live in Arizona where there are a mix of all cultures prodominately mexican, so starting around the holiday season I start getting knocks on my door where a man was selling fresh hot tamales, I reconized him as a neighbor of mine so I bought 12 tamales for 10 bucks. Even though I have lived here in Arizona and never tried a tamale. Suprisingly they were very good the masa was creamy and the pork filling was tender the only thing is i thought it would be a spicier than it was. The thing that ticked me off was i left them on the stove and my kids ate them up!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Greek Meatballs and Spanakopita / w Mint Yogurt Sauce

I decided one day to make something new which I never tried before and happen to have the ingredients to make this. Two days before I happen to go to one of my favorite stores ( Sunflower Market) and bought 4 bunches of fresh spinach for 67 cents a bunch! I had the phyllo, ground turkey and feta cheese because I love to sprinkle the cheese in my salads. I have to say it was a hit with me and my kids I think I love anything wrapped in phyllo dough. The meatballs were crispy on the outside tender in the middle, this time I rolled the the meatballs in flour before frying in olive oil. The mint yogurt dipping sauce really brings the whole meal together. Here are the recipes I hope you try it out!


1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lb baby spinach
1/2 lb feta, crumbled (scant 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
10 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then cook spinach, stirring, until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, about 10 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Melt remaining 1 stick butter in a small saucepan, then cool.

Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.

Take 1 phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack crosswise into 6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.

Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near 1 corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.

Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

Greek Meatballs

2 pounds of ground turkey

1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 cup of chopped red onion

1 egg

1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging

olive oil for frying

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined (do not over mix). Roll the mixture into balls measuring 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Place the flour in a shallow pan, and roll the balls in the flour to coat. Shake off any excess flour, and place the meatballs onto a plate or baking sheet, pressing to flatten slightly. This will keep them from rolling away. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, 8 or 10 at a time, and cook until nicely browned on the outside, and no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes; drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Mint Yogurt Dipping Sauce

2 cups of low fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons of fresh mint

In a food processor at ingredients and pulse until well combined.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wish List

There are so many things that I need for my kitchen but due to my disabilities (Arthritis, Lupus) I am unable to work so I am on a very fixed income. So I sat down one day and wrote all of the things I would love to have and I vow to get everything on this list by next October, I keep it on my refridgerater and will hopefully be scratching things off of my list 1 at a time. Some of these things seem silly to some but this is what I am working towards.

1. Microplain
2. Pots and pans
3. Skillets
4. Large wooden cutting board
5. Set of square plates
6. Oven mitts
7. Kitchen timer
8. Pepper grinder
9. Drinking glasses
10. Pizza cutter
11. Corning bakeware
12. 9x13 pans
13. Chef knives
14. Food processor

I will show pictures of each item as I get them wish me luck!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Conquering my nemesis

One of the foods I have always had a problem perfecting is fried chicken, me being a large black women all my friends assumed i made fried chicken collard greens etc.. well let me tell ya I can't.
When i firs moved on my own I tried it, well it was burnt on the outside completely raw on the inside or i floured it and I didn't wait till the oil to get hot enough so all of the flour would fall off and it would be super greasy or I either over or under seasoned it.

But now after 22 years of try I think I got it! I made sure the oil was hot enough I know it was seasoned perfectly. Now I only fry things maybe once every 6 weeks I am trying very hard to lose weight. So I usually bake everything, well this chicken I recently made was absolutely delicious it was crispy perfectly season and most important cooked threw, even my son who is not a great fan of chicken loved it!

Now I didn't use exact measurements but used kosher, salt cracked black pepper, garlic and onion powder, cayenne pepper and paprika. I rubbed it into the chicken let it sit for a while then I dipped it in flour and fried it in a little less than a quart of oil, then drained on a paper towel.

I know it's weird to be of proud of perfecting fried but I am.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Royal Taj

Well I went to the Royal Taj last Saturday to try Indian food for the first time. Now looking at it from the outside it didn't seem to promising, the J on the sign was broken but the parking lot was full. I stepped inside and the smell of curry and different spices just hits you in the face. With the smells and the music for a second I thought I was in India. they had a sampler plate came with chicken tikka, lamb tikka, tandoori chicken, seehk kabob, vegetable curry, rice, naan and a dessert.

Like I said before I'm not a fan of really hot food so to my surprise she asked me if I wanted mild or spicy, I said " Great I won't have to burn my mouth" so of course I said mild. While I waited for my food I partook in the design of the restaurant beautiful statues and objects from India.

While i was waiting for my food a beautiful Indian waitress gave me something to munch on, it was a thin crispy bread thinner than a cracker and 2 dipping sauces a mint dip and a sweet mango jam, the bread had a wonderful spice taste to it and a slight char to it that gave it that smokey flavor.

Then one by one the the food came out first the naan a delicious flat bread that had a wonderful garlic smokey flavor from being cooked in a tandoor.

The rice and the curry vegetables was next.

And finally the chicken tandoori and the lamb and chicken tikka.

I took one bite of the vegetable curry and i was like "WOW" it was very very spicy but very good I had to eat the naan to try to sooth my tongue . The chicken tandoori was surprisingly sweet but the tikkas were spicy with the taste of curry, cinnamon and lemon. Beads of sweat started to form on my forehead and I can feel my face starting to turn red, I think the waitress was noticing my reaction because she kept coming by refilling my glass with ice water. I looked around and I noticed that the Americans were using forks and the Indians were using their hands maybe I will to next time (yes I'm going back) I will try using my hands. The rice was very good I'm not a rice expert but I'm pretty sure it was jasmine rice.

To finish off my dinner I ordered the rice pudding, it was a little runnier that i'm use to but still tasty, I was informed later by my daughter " That's how their rice pudding is"

Well i couldn't eat anymore and I took the rest home in a to go container, the waitress said next time she will help me order the not so spicy dinner and urged me to please come back for the lunch buffet, I live next door so i told her I definitely will. As I was leaving the waitress slipped me a extra piece of hot naan wrapped in tin foil, that was very nice of her. By the front door was a bowl if spices I asked her what it was she said "To freshen your breath", so I a spoon full and popped it in my mouth but I failed to asked do i swallow it or spit it out. It had a wonderful licorice taste to it, when I arrived home my son gladly accepted the left overs because in our house Saturday is get your own dinner day.

Out of 5 silver spoons I give restaurant this 3 silver spoons

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What a shame!

I am a die hard foodie who really hasn't experienced really good food. I have always loved food ( if you took a look at me you would know it was true which i am working to get rid of lol) So I have vowed that i will try a new ethnic restaurant every month. there is so much I want to try like beef tongue, escargot, kobe beef etc. So Saturday i will be going to a indian restaurant called the Royal Taj. I'm excited and nervous because I'm not a fan if really spicy food but i have to try it! Luckily Phoenix is so full of ethnic foods I'm so excited about trying it So my schedule goes-

September- Indian
November- Greek
December- Mediterranean

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


One of my 2 favorite desserts is baklava, it's buttery, sweet, nutty and expensive! Three dollars for one triangle! Are you kidding me? So I decided how hard can it be to make? I had everything but the phyllo dough, well let me tell you it was a little time consuming but well worth it and a whole lot cheaper. I froze half of it ( It mad 15 whole squares!) They were just as good or maybe even better. The only hard parts was trying not to tear the phyllo dough and cutting it . Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped nuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla, lemon zest and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.