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Leena Cooks: Sichuan Chili Oil for Dan Dan Noodles

By on Mar 12, 2014 in chili, Condiments, Leena Cooks | 0 comments

If my husband had his way, he would eat Asian food for every meal. Doesn’t matter what kind or region–he’s not picky. He just craves the perfect balance of all the flavors—sweet, sour, spicy and umami–that Asian cultures around the world have adapted in their own special way. And bonus points from him if whatever he is eating has noodles in it (especially hand-pulled). Save for this one amazing dumpling shop in NYC, I am a bit more reluctant to dine at Asian restaurants, mainly because because they can be hit or miss. When they hit, holy shit—it’s amazing. But when they miss, I sort of never want to give it a try again. I know, not the best attitude for a FOOD WRITER to have, but at least I’m honest. And willing to change! I have been doing a fair bit of reading lately around Chinese cuisine. Specifically, I just finished the book Fresh...

Leena Cooks and Cans: Caramelized Onion Jam…with a no-napping 2 month old

By on Aug 16, 2011 in Canning, Condiments, Jam, Leena Cooks, Recipes, Savory | 19 comments

My caramelized onion jam with hints of balsamic and rosemary. Did you just get a mouth boner? Cuz I sure did. So, I’m pretty sure I’m crazy. No sane person would ever try to can, let alone can jam, with a 2 month old. Especially one that refuses to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time and eats every hour and a half. What can I say? I like to roll dangerously close to the line of insanity for the sake of caramelized onions at my reach all year round. Making them from scratch every time is a bitch. Is the jam ridiculously delicious? Hell yeah! Was the process ridiculously hard with a baby? Fuckin’ eh. But lucky for you, I came away with a few pointers for you other psycho moms out there interested in canning with babies. It is possible! My tips and the recipe after the jump.  The highlights of my canning experience: there was a lot of crying at first, both from the...

Leena Cooks n Cans: Mango Chutney for Tigress Can Jam December

By on Dec 10, 2010 in Canning, Chutney, Condiments, Leena Cooks | 3 comments

I have to admit, this last can jam came out of nowhere for me. My pregnancy has my brain in a constant fog, and I failed to notice that recipes need to be posted no later than the tenth. Hence, my repost of this fabulous recipe from a few years back honoring this month’s topic, dried fruit: my mango chutney recipe. It’s a bit sweet, a bit spicy, and the perfect condiment to just about any meal. Or for eating straight out of the jar. Not that I’ve done that. The recipe after the jump. Recipe: Leena’s Mango Chutney Recipe note: this recipe originally had dates in it, but they compromised the acidity in this recipe, so I have removed them. Ingredients 1 large ripe but firm mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup) 2 medium apples (Granny Smith), peeled, cored and diced ¼ cup golden raisins ½ cup finely chopped onion ¼ cup cider vinegar 3/4 cup...

Leena Cooks n Cans: Spicy Sweet Chile Jam for Tigress Can Jam October

By on Oct 18, 2010 in Canning, Condiments, Jam, Leena Cooks, Savory | 3 comments

While living in Australia, I discovered a delicious food tradition in a local pub–an Asian-style sweet chili sauce. Aussies LOVE their sweet chili sauce on just about anything from chicken to burgers, but their favorite use is as a dip with sour cream and chives for potato wedges. The crispy potato gets coated in a layer of cooling sour cream followed by a light, slightly sweet, slightly spicy layer that is positively addicting. Three cities and one world-wide move later, and you will still find a bottle of Asian sweet chili sauce in my fridge, waiting for some fries or egg rolls. One of my favorite parts about knowing how to cook is learning how to create the dishes and condiments I am obsessed with, so I can have a constant supply. Needless to say, I was HELLA excited about this month’s can jam focus–chile peppers! Check out more food porn and my spicy sweet chile...

Leena Cooks n Cans: The Perfect BBQ Appetizer- Tomato Basil Jam

By on Aug 16, 2010 in Appetizers, BBQ, Canning, Condiments, Jam, Leena Cooks, Savory | 13 comments

Welcome to the August Tigress Can Jam, topic: TOMATOES!! By now, most of you know that I am participating in a year-long canning group hosted by Tigress over at Tigress in a Jam. The rules are simple. Each month, someone picks an ingredient, and everyone has a few weeks to create something with that ingredient, can it using a water bath canner, and post it on their blogs. Here’s the run down of the past seven months: January: Citrus- I made blood orange port marmalade February: Carrots- I made a gajar ki chutney with caramelized shallots March: Alliums- I made an onion, apple ale relish April: Herbs- I made a strawberry rhubarb rosemary jam May: Rhubarb- I made a spiced rhubarb jam June: Berries- I made my famous Chinese 5 spice pickled cherries July: Cucurbits- I made 5 different pickles and relishes: spicy garlic dill cucumber slices, bread and butta cucumber slices, bbq...

Leena Cooks n Cans: Cucumber and Zucchini Pickles/Relishes for July’s Tigress Can Jam!

By on Jul 19, 2010 in Canning, Condiments, Leena Cooks, Pickles, Relishes | 9 comments

Wow. When Gloria over at Laundry, ETC. named this month’s can jam project to be cucurbits, to be honest, I wasn’t excited. WTF are cucurbits, you might ask? According to Gloria, “it refers to Cucurbitaceae, a plant family commonly known as melons and gourds, including crops like cucumbers, squashes (including pumpkins), loofahs, melons and watermelons…” To me, there is nothing special about cucumbers and zucchini. At all. I was the opposite of excited. And then a bitch canned five different products. FIVE! And then a bitch remembered, oh yeah! I’m a pickle whore! and a bitch was able to stock her larder for the entire winter with pickles and relishes and experiment with a few new recipes. The bitch felt a bit like, well, a bitch. Cucurbits, you have humbled me. I am not worthy. Five recipes and food porn after the jump. So, let me be clear here—I am...