Saturday, August 14, 2010


No, this is not a casino game, a dance step or a martial arts maneuver.  It is a cooking ingredient and you should know about it.  Why? Because Panko is so upper crust. In fact, Panko [PAHN-koh] is a large, coarsely ground, crustless bread crumb which gives foods a light, airy taste because they don't absorb as much grease. making your meal lower in fat. Also noteworthy, Panko comes Gluten Free. I'm not usually a fan of fried (tan) food but Panko has me rethinking fried for those times when I would like something with breading but prefer not to have a greasy coating on my tongue not to mention in my belly.


You can find this captivating crumb in most grocery stores in the Asian section of your local grocery store as well as in Asian markets and international food stores.  In Japanese cooking Panko is traditionally used as a coating for deep-fried foods and is a great substitute in your recipes calling for breadcrumbs. I want to share some ideas that are just as side step away from the beaten path. 

Criminal Crab Cakes (adapted from this source)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 Tbsp Smart Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup Egg Beaters (or 1 egg)
1/4 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
3 shakes Frank's Red Hot sauce or other hot sauce, or to taste
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-1/4 cups panko or be boring and use breadcrumbs
1 lb fresh lump crab meat, picked over to remove any bits of shell (can substitute packaged)
Spray Olive oil for frying
In a small frying pan, sauté onion in Smart Balance until translucent. Remove from pan to a large bowl, and let the onions cool. Then, beat in the egg, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, Old Bay, black pepper and panko. Fold in the crab meat. Form into 8 large patties, and place on a plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spray oil the bottom of a large (12-inch) frying pan, and heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the crab cakes and cook, without moving, 5 minutes or until the bottoms are brown. Then turn and cook the second side, 5 minutes or until brown. Remove from the pan and let drain on a plate covered with a paper towel, to remove excess oil. Serve hot, with tartar sauce if you like.
Pea and Potato Panko

This little vegetable pan cake or fritter, presented on a leafy salad green next to seafood, could serve as both carb and vegetable options but it's origin is snack food in India. The lovely Sala at shares this  appetizer also called aloo mutter tikki . Find the recipe here and try this simple, almost homey, with it's mashed potato and pea ingredients, that is cooked it a very shallow layer of oil. I really think you could get kids to eat this if you adjusted the seasonings by removing the cumin and red chili powder. 


Stuffed Mushrooms

These morsels are not your usual Italian stuffed shrooms. No no! They are Asian inspired with ingredients like sesame, soy sauce (mirin) and scallions  Our Panko serves to make them crispier with a lighter finish. This recipe, from the POST PUNK KITCHEN calls for baking 20 minutes in a 350 oven, but if it is super hot where you live (yes, we have international friends) I would still make this stove top in a pan with a lid over medium heat. Watch this though, cooking time may vary because the lid will hold in moisture.  When you think your shrooms are nearly done in about 15 minutes or so, remove the lid and cook off condensation. This recipe makes 22 large mushrooms, uh, yeah, feel free to cut it in half unless you're having guests over. Panko Stuffed Mushroom recipe.

Panko Wiener Schnitzel

Admittedly, I find Wiener Schnitzel, a German and Austrian dish, funny to say because of the way it gives a mouth a work out. I also thought it sounded like a hot dog dish when I first heard it. Traditionally it is a 1/2 inch (pounded evenly) thickness of veal or pork but I make it with chicken breast. Cover your choice of meat with plastic wrap to prevent spattering and pound away from you.  Prepare this as you would any pan fried schnitzel, substituting Panko crumbs for the bread crumbs. I'll share the recipe I tried from Group Recipes for Panko Wiener Schnitzel.  The lemon wedges are not just a cute picture accessorie, they really compliment the meal in this case, so include them - they matter.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Ice CreaM by SwEeTcHy This ice cream makes a stunning picture but you wouldn't want to eat it. No worries! I'm bringing you several real mouth watering delights along with some tools and tips that I hope you'll try.  Taste life, begin here:

This thick handled ice cream scooper, with action end created for precision, will make perfect rounds of ice cream, pretty as you please for about  $15 from  If you are hosting, place these lovely spheres on a lined (wax paper, parchment paper, plastic wrap) cookie sheet about 24 hours (4 is fine)  before you plan to serve. Once frozen you can stack the balls of ice cream in a bowl and use tongs to serve with no waiting for your birthday party or other guests.  While you're at it, make your own ice cream drumsticks: just scoop, plop on cone, freeze, add toppings, re-freeze like this.
It's a good idea to remove your delish ice balls 15 minutes or more before serving so they're more than pretty rocks.

Ice Cream LollipopsWatching calories? Eat same thing just much less. Using a small cookie scooper, scoop your delish ice cream, add lollipop stick or sturdy tooth pick and freeze. After freezing either size, dip the scoop of ice cream into melted confectioners chocolate, then roll or dip into bowls of toppings like thinly sliced strawberry, banana, mango... those chocolate covered pretzels, chopped nuts, malted milk powder, yogurt chips, shredded coconut, nonpareil balls, marsh mallow creme, butter scotch or peanut butter chips, crumbled brownie bits... 

Thinking Small
You've seen the small, pint sized containers of ice cream that Haagen -Daazs, Ben & Jerry and even Starbucks now puts out, right? What could be more fun than making a batch of mini ice cream sandwiches with small cookies like Nilla Wafer's or even Oreo's without the middles.  The beauty of this is that you can purchase a few varieties of ice cream and fill cookies differently.  Why? Because variety is the spice of life and don't you just want to taste what someone else is having sometimes?  You can control how much dessert you have this way, also. Ok, well, the opportunity for control is there, that's probably more honest. This little recipe (see picture) uses a slice of banana, a scoop of ice cream, here check it out~~Ice Cream Sundae Bites.  

Product ImageThinking Bigger
 I know what you're thinking, piggy, you're thinking you'd just as soon have one of those pints all to yourself.  I had thoughts like that once too, had a thing with Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey pint.  Seemed like a relationship replacement at the time. I don't recommend it but you will do as you please I'm sure so, do it with this Prepara ice cream pint sleeve, you can find them at your local Target store for about $10. I believe the lid is for transporting, to keep the product cold but we all really know that you're going to finish the pint and won't need to store any remaining iced delight. The sleeve is just to keep your hands from freezing. 

Some People Fry Everything
One of my favorite Mexican restaurants serves fried ice cream. I've tried it, of course. It was ok. Most fascinating to me was the recipe, I had to have it! You too?! Well, I rounded up a video because I wanted to see this, it's fun to watch, right? I watched several videos, basically you scoop ice cream, wrap in bread or cake, re-freeze until hardened and then fry. Some videos rolled in tempura batter before the fry.  Curiosity satisfied, now I can move on with my life.

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