Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Chinese New Year Cioppino Hot Pot

Gong Xi Fa Cai – Happy New Year!

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A few weeks back, Foodbuzz put out a call for proposals for another one of their "24, 24, 24" meals. Since the date would be very close to Chinese New Year this year, Annie and I submitted a proposal, focusing on a Chinese New Year theme. We were surprised and honored to have been chosen as one of the food blogs featured this month.

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Heirloom Tomato Tasting at the House of Annie

It may not have been as expansive (or expensive) as TomatoFest, but we managed to have our own heirloom tomato tasting, featuring tomatoes grown right in our backyard.  Our guests were Cooking For Engineers‘ creator Michael Chu, and his wife Tina.  What did they think of our tomatoes?

House of Annie’s Heirloom Tomato Tasting

homegrown heirloom tomatoes

Dagma's Perfection, Heart of Compassion, HumphGreen Giant, Brandy Boy, Orange Russian 117Black Giant, Indian Stripe, Carbon
Black Krim, Hugh's, Super Italian PasteGranny Cantrell, Grandfather Ashlock, Goose CreekRussian Annie, Chianti Rose, Sakherniy Zheltiy
Virginia Sweets, Beauty King, Little Lucky  

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World’s Best Lasagna

When you’re drowning in a crimson tide of homegrown, heirloom tomatoes like this:

One of the myriad things you can do with them is make sauce. The good thing about sauce is, you can freeze it for later. We usually keep them in quart-sized freezer bags and pull them out as needed.

To make the sauce, we boiled down 15 lbs of heirloom tomatoes plus chunks of bell peppers, diced onions, sugar and salt until the sauce was reduced by half. I buzzed it with the hand blender until smooth. This was the most amazing tomato sauce ever – so sweet and savory at the same time!

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Gazpacho

So I was standing there, chopping veggies to make chopped salad (see previous example here), and wondering what to do with all that reserved tomato juice I had saved from the salad plus the lomi lomi salmon. Suddenly, a word popped into my noggin: Gazpacho! Oooh, I hadn’t had *that* in a while.

I like tomato-based soups, and gazpacho is one of my favorite variations of tomato soup, with that spark of spicyness from the raw garlic. A chilled soup would go along great with the chopped salad. So I went over to Epicurious and found this recipe

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Gazpacho-239209

It’s a pretty simple recipe, but one ingredient that was new to me was smoked Spanish paprika. And what do you know, we actually happened to have a package of that, that we purchased at the Penzey’s Spices store in Houston!

This was one of the best gazpachos I’ve made. It’s not too spicy, as I held back on the pepper and the raw garlic. That smoked Spanish paprika made the dish, I thought. Our friend raved about it, saying it was better than the one he had tasted in Italy that got him hooked on gazpacho in the first place.

This recipe is a keeper. I’m gonna make it again soon (of course, using only Annie’s homegrown tomatoes)!

Aloha, Nate

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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