Friday, July 9, 2010

Congregate With Food—Profiteroles, Honey Soy Fish, and Sweet Potato Salad

When it comes to meeting up with family friends, food is always a big deal. Whether we eat out or just munch on sunflower seeds and fruit, a gathering is never complete without something to eat. Back in New Zealand, my family would frequently host dinner parties and I would be the one busy in the kitchen whipping up delicacies. Since we moved to the U.S. however, we haven’t managed to host anyone for a meal yet. As the school year just finished, I was excited to put down my books and put on an apron. When it comes to feeding a whole group of people, I like to prepare food that can be shared easily, such as profiteroles or salad. In fact, at almost every gathering my family hosts, there are profiteroles and salad.


Profiteroles are the perfect little pastries for guests to enjoy. They are cute, they are pretty and most importantly, they are delicious. In NZ I used to fill the choux pastry puffs with sweetened whipped cream, but now that I know better, I fill them up with JELL-O Sugar Free Pudding. It’s not much of a compromise in flavor, but it’s a dramatic decrease in calories and fat. In these profiteroles, I put in chocolate pudding, but it really doesn’t matter what flavor pudding you fill them up with. I like to drizzle melted chocolate over the top just before plating. These profiteroles look adorable on a white plate, decorated with chocolate dipped strawberries. I like to add a finishing touch by sprinkling some icing sugar over the top. TaDaaaa!!


100g butter
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
3 eggs
1 packet JELL-O Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding
2 cups milk
Dark chocolate
White chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 395 degrees F.
2. Combine butter and water in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and quickly add the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time to the saucepan, beating well with an electric beater after each addition. The mixture should be glossy. Spoon small teaspoonfuls of the pastry onto a greased oven tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until puffy and golden.
4. Lower the temperature to 250 degrees F and continue baking for about 15 minutes until dry. Cool completely.
5. Prepare the pudding as directed on the packet.
6. When the profiteroles are cooled, poke a slot into each pastry and fill with the pudding.
7. Melt some chocolate and drizzle over the top!

Honey Soy Fish

Having a whole fish right in front of you is just so much more satisfying than having pieces of meat already removed from the bone. You know how bears like to kill their prey otherwise it’s no good for them? Well, I like to have a whole fish to tear up into pieces myself. It’s simply human nature. Honestly.

I created this fish dish by uniting Asian flavors with western cooking. It’s salty, sweet, sticky goodness! It’s also VERY healthy. As my mum says: “Eat fish for brains!” So eat up!


2 lb whole tilapia
3 cloves garlic, chopped into slices
2cm piece ginger, peeled, cut into thin strips
2 stalks spring onion, chopped

3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Wash the fish thoroughly and place on an oven proof dish
3. Cut slits on the fish’s skin and stuff slices of garlic and ginger inside.
4. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the whole fish.
5. Sprinkle the spring onions on top. Cover the fish with tin foil and using a knife, cut slits all over the tin foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Sweet Potato Salad with Orange-Maple Dressing

Usually, I like to have a potato salad for parties. However, we ran out of potatoes so I had to compromise with sweet potatoes. I had never made a sweet potato salad before so I went on Google in search of a recipe. I found this recipe on The flavor in the dish is very different from a typical potato salad. I’m not sure that I like it very much but our guests sure seemed to!


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup chopped green onions
2 stalks celery, chopped into slices
3/4 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins


1. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Steam or boil the sweet potatoes until they are just tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer sweet potatoes to large bowl. Cool to room temperature.
3. Add green onions, celery, pecans, and raisins. Pour dressing over; toss gently to blend. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

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