Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium-large butternut squash*
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups water (or milk)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: Toasted pumpkin seeds



*Heat oven to 350°. Halve washed squash, seed, and lightly coat cut side with olive oil. Place on jelly roll pan (use either Silpat or parchment paper) cut side down and roast for ~1 hour, or until completely soft. Remove from oven and cool just long enough to handle. Peel flesh from skin and add to soup in order listed.

Heat Dutch oven and add 1 TBS olive oil to pan. Add sliced onion and sauté until completely softened. Add ginger, sauté additional minute. Add 2 cups water (or milk), coconut milk, cayenne pepper, salt to taste, and squash. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.

Using stick blender, blend until completely smooth. If needed, thin with additional water. Stir in lime juice and serve with toasted pumpkin seed garnish.

4 servings



Broccoli and Breadcrumbs



Broccoli with Spiced Breadcrumbs


  • 1 lb broccoli cut into flowerets
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs (whole wheat)
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, drained


Steam the broccoli just until crisp-tender and immediately run under cold water. Drain and dry on paper towels.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and add the bread crumbs. Saute until golden brown. Combine the crumbs with the cardamom and salt.

To serve, put bread crumbs in one small bowl and yogurt in another. Dip broccoli in sour cream and then bread crumbs.

This is an incredible recipe and when we make our breadcrumbs, we prefer using whole wheat bread or a fresh baguette from Bread Furst.



Crispy Skillet Corn


Ai-Mei’s Crispy Skillet Corn



  • 6 ears corn, shucked
  • 1/3 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat or olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place an 8-inch cast-iron skillet in a 425-degree oven to heat up for at least 10 minutes.

Cut the kernels off the corn cobs and place them in a large bowl. Use the blunt edge of your knife to scrape the milky liquid from the cobs into the same bowl. Add the cornmeal and salt to the bowl and stir well to combine.

Place the bacon fat (or olive oil) in the scorching-hot skillet and tilt the skillet so that the fat coats the bottom and sides. Add the corn mixture and pat down in an even layer. Roast (middle rack) in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Use a round-edged knife to loosen the edges of the corn, and a flexible spatula, as needed, and carefully invert the corn onto a serving platter. Serve right away.


Ai-Mei’s Green Bean Salad


Ai-Mei’s Green Bean, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad



  • 1 lb tender green beans, stem ends removed
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 4 oz blue cheese or smoked blue cheese, crumbled


  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add green beans, and cook just until tender (about 4 minutes). Drain, and immediately run under cold water. Put on paper towels to dry.

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Just prior to serving, toss green beans with vinaigrette. Plate dressed beans, and top with walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. 4 servings.


Redd’s new shirt


Redd needs a shirt to celebrate his upcoming birthday on September 12. So, Ai-Mei is pitching in to make sure everyone who wants to join the celebration can get their own shirt. If you are interested, choose a style/size (info is in the link below) and e-mail your preferences to by July 29. Once we know the size of the order, we can provide specific pricing and payment details as well as postage required for shirts being shipped from DC. We hope to keep the price at ~$15 before postage.

Here is the front and back of Redd’s shirt which will come in Ash (pale grey).


The description of the styles and sizes of shirts are found at the Gildan Shirt Specifications.


Cold Zucchini Soup


Ai-Mei’s Cold Zucchini Soup



  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped (Optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped (Optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place zucchini, green pepper, onion and chicken stock in saucepan. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Process with stick blender until smooth. Add sour cream (or yogurt, or a combination of both), mix well and chill. Serve garnished with sour cream and dill. Makes 4 servings.


Ai-Mei’s Burmese Melon Salad


Burmese Melon Salad with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette*
Recipe created by Susan Feniger, featured in O Magazine



  • 2 TBS unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 2 TBS white sesame seeds
  • 2 TBS finely chopped fresh ginger

  • 1/4 cup peanut or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 TBS fish sauce
  • Kosher salt to taste

  • 3 cups melon (any combination of melons; we used watermelon), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts, toasted (optional)
  • 1/4 cup mixture of chopped basil, cilantro and mint (optional)

*Note: we made a few changes to this recipe. The original recipe can be found on the Oprah web site.

Heat large skillet over medium heat; add coconut and toast, stirring often, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the skillet over medium heat and add sesame seeds; toast, stirring constantly, until golden. Add to the coconut.

Add the ginger and a small amount of the oil to the pan; cook, stirring often until very fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add to the toasted coconut and sesame seeds.

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the oil, lime juice, and fish sauce. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

To serve: Combine all of the ingredients, toss well, season to taste, and serve immediately.


Ai-Mei’s Temperature Chart



Ai-Mei is always having trouble deciding when to take the fish out of the oven and when her bread is actually done. So to keep things straight, she collected all of the internal temperatures she could find and put them into her internal temperature chart. She knows she isn’t the only one who is tired of putting a wooden skewer into the zucchini bread to see if the timing was correct.




Beef Internal Core Temperature   Pork Internal Core Temperature
Extra-rare or Blue (bleu) 80-100° F (26-38° C)   Pork – Medium 140-145° F
(60-63° C)
Rare 120-125° F
(49-51° C)
  Pork – Well Done 160° F and above
(71° C plus)
Medium Rare 130-135° F
(55-57° C)
  Pork ribs 180-200° F
(82-93° C)
Medium 140-145° F
(60-63° C)
  Pork shoulders 195-200° F
(90-93° C)
Medium Well 150-155° F
(65-69° C)
  Brisket 195-200° F
(90-93° C)
Well Done 160° F and above
(71° C plus)
  Sausage 160° F and above (71° C plus)
Brisket 165-175° F
(74-79° C)
  Ham 160° F and above
(71° C plus)
Pot Roast 180° F
(82° C)
Ground Meat 160-165° F
(71-74° C)



Poultry Internal Core Temperature   Fish Internal Core Temperature
Whole Chicken or Duck 160-165° F
(71-74° C)
  Salmon 130-135° F
(55-57° C)
Breast meat 160-165° F
(71-74° C)
  Halibut, Cod, Red Snapper, Sea Bass, Tilapia 130-135° F
(55-57° C)
Thighs, Wings, and Legs 160-165° F
(71-74° C)
  Trout 130-135° F
(55-57° C)
Whole Turkey – Oven Roasted Turkey 165° F
(74° C)
  Tuna – Swordfish – Marlin 125° F
(51° C)
Deep Fried or Cajun Fried Turkey 170° F
(in the breast) (76° C)
  Ahi Tuna (Sashimi grade) 115-120° F
(46-49° C)
Ground Poultry 160-165° F
(71-74° C)
  Scallops 120° F
(49° C)
Turkey Stuffing (Cooked alone or in turkey) 165° F
(74° C)
      Shrimp 120° F
(49° C)
      Medium-size boiling 3 to 4 minutes
      Large-size boiling 5 to 7 minutes
      Jumbo-size boiling 7 to 8 minutes
      Lobster 145° F
(62° C)
      Boiled or Steamed, Whole Lobster 145° F
(62° C)
      Grilled Lobster 145° F
(62° C)
      Lobster Tail 140° F
(60° C)
      Crab Cakes, Salmon Cakes 150-155° F
(65-68° C)



Breads Internal Core Temperature   Pies Internal Core Temperature
Quick Breads (Breads, Muffins and Cornbread) 200° F
(93° C)
  Chocolate Cream Pie 165° F
(74° C)
Yeast Breads 200-210° F
(93-99° C)
  Custard Pie – Cream Pies 170-175° F
(76-79° C)
Soft Breads/Dinner Rolls 180-190° F
(82-88° C)
  Fruit Pies (Blueberry, Blackberry, etc.) 175° F
(79° C)
Scones 200° F
(93° C)
  Pecan Pie 200° F
(93° C)
Sourdough Breads 200-210° F
(93-99° C)
  Pumpkin Pie 175° F
(79° C)
Cinnamon Rolls 190-200° F
(87-93° C)
  Sweet Potato Pie 175° F
(79° C)
Water temperature to add yeast 105-115° F
(41-46° C)
  Meringue Pies 160-165° F
(71-74° C)



Cakes Internal Core Temperature   Puddings and Custards Internal Core Temperature
Cakes 205-209° F
(93-98° C)
  Bread Pudding 160° F
(71° C)
Cupcakes 205-209° F
(93-98° C)
  Creme Brulee 170-175° F
(76-79° C)
Carrot Cake 205-209° F
(93-98° C)
  Baked Custard (Old Fashion) 160° F
(71° C)
Clafouti (with fruit) 160° F
(71° C)
  Flan 170-175° F
(76-79° C)
Devil’s Food Cake – Red Velvet Cake 205° F
(93° C)
Molton Chocolate Cakes 160° F
(71° C)
Pound Cake 200-210° F
(93-99° C)
Tres Leches Cake, Three-Milk Cake 200° F
(93° C)
Upside-Down Cakes 190-200° F
(87-93° C)
Cheesecake 150°
(66° C)



Potatoes Internal Core Temperature
Baked Potato 210-212° F
(98-100° C)
Boiled Whole Potato 200° F
(93° C)




A Photo of Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki (Savory Japanese Pancakes)


Pancake Batter

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2-3 TBS all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS fennel seeds, toasted and crushed

  • 2 cups shredded or finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded or finely chopped carrots
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Slivered speck


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS Sambal Oelek

Place first five ingredients in a bowl and blend thoroughly with a stick blender. Stir cabbage, carrots and scallions into the batter by hand.

Warm oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat. For each pancake, ladle one heaping tablespoon of batter into skillet, top with some of the speck, pressing down lightly with spatula. Flip pancakes to cook the other side. Remove to paper towels when lightly browned on each side (about 3 minutes/side).

Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve pancakes with a side of the sauce.

Note: The batter can be refrigerated overnight. You also can save the cooked pancakes overnight and reheat them on parchment paper for 10 minutes at 400°

Bulgur Salad

Bulgur Salad with Asparagus, Feta and Toasted Walnuts (from


  • 1 cup coarse grind Bulgur
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup freshly toasted walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup freshly toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh Bulgarian Feta (chunk, about 1″ x 1 1/2″ x 2″), roughly crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup best olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place Bulgur in medium bowl, add boiling water and let sit, covered, until water is absorbed. This will take an hour or more, depending on the grind of the bulgur.

While the bulgur is soaking, toast the walnuts and pumpkin seeds (separately) in a heavy frying pan, watching and tossing over medium low heat, until lightly colored. Set aside to cool.

Next, cook the asparagus; steam or par-boil until just tender. Drain and cool in refrigerator on paper towel. When cool, cut into bite-size pieces.

When bulgur has absorbed all the water (check and if necessary, discard excess water), toss it lightly, then add walnuts, pumpkin seeds, asparagus, parsley and feta in a gentle mound on top of the grain.

In a liquid measuring cup, add the lemon juice to the 1/4 cup mark, then fill to the 1/2 cup mark with olive oil. Whisk briefly with a fork and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Toss everything together gently, mixing thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-6