Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 4

Since rice wine vinegar tends to mellow, you may want to use cider vinegar if making the slaw a day ahead. The presence of the sugar in this recipe keeps you from having to rinse off salt from the cabbage, as is ordinarily the case.

1 lb cabbage (about ½ medium head), red or green, shredded fine (about 6 cups) I used Napa cabbage
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
½ c sliced cucumbers
½ c sugar this felt like a lot even for me, I used 1/3 c
2 t kosher salt
¼ t celery seed didn’t have any
6 T vegetable oil
¼ c rice vinegar
ground black pepper forgot

2-3 T chopped cilantro
¼ c sliced green onions

1. Toss cabbage and carrots and cucumber with sugar, salt, and celery seeds in a colander set over medium bowl. Let stand until cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. Pour draining liquid from bowl; rinse bowl and dry. Dump wilted cabbage and carrots from colander into bowl.

3. Pour oil and vinegar; toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be refrigerated 5 days.)

4. Add cilantro and green onion before serving.

Oh, and these hamburger buns with the grilled eggplant, a thin layer of mayo and this coleslaw make a great sandwich.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kirstin's Sugar Cookies

So, I have this friend, Kirstin, who makes the MOST AMAZING sugar cookies (really, I wasn't a big sugar cookie fan before having her's). And, I love her recipe--it's simple and quick to make. The dough doesn't need to refridgerate, there is only one fat addition (though a sour cream/shortening/butter combo has always sounded delicious, I have never actually made a sugar cookie recipe that asks for such complicated feats of baking), and Asher LOVES his Asher-safe version--and, unfortunately for my waistline, so do I.

Kristin's Sugar Cookies

1 cube of butter, softened 1/2 c of Smart Balance or Earth Balance
1 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg Egg Replacer

2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 c flour

Combine first four ingredients. Then add dry ingredients. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes I set the timer. Makes about 2 dozen cookies. I always at least double the recipe!!! Me, too!

I've never made the frosting, but it's delicious.
Frosting for Sugar Cookies

1 stick butter
1/2 c milk

Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 t vanilla and 1 box of powdered sugar. Mix well and add food coloring.

Herbal Chai Tea

I love me a little Chai tea, but it's really hard to find any that is herbal (that doesn't contain black or green tea). So, I was thrilled when Tracy M posted her Chai Tea recipe, even if it took me three months to make it. Now, Tracy must have more restraint than I do because I made this sweeter. Um, a lot sweeter.


A stock pot that will hold a gallon + of water
1/4 cup green cardamom seed pods, lightly crushed to break open
1/4 cup fresh ginger root, chopped, with skin
1/4 cup cinnamon bark, broken into chips
2 Tbsp whole cloves
1 Tbsp whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
3 star anise
1/2 cup honey
2/3 c simple syrup because I didn't want to waste a ton of honey to find out I ruined this tea

Fill your stock pot with one gallon of fresh water. Add everything except the honey and the black tea. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. It needs the time for the spices to release their amazing-ness- but be super careful not to scorch or burn it- a watched pot never boils, and that’s good, you don’t want this to boil. Watch it.

The house will smell amazing. Children and random strangers will follow their noses to your kitchen.

Once you are satisfied that the spices have given up their all, add the honey and loose black tea (or not). Cook for another 15 mintues. If it’s too strong for you, and it will be strong, you can add some water and bring back up to a simmer. Strain entire pot over a sieve or cheesecloth, and discard spent spices.

Serve with frothy milk or soymilk (this one instance where I love soymilk). It will keep in the refrigerator for a while- but it never lasts more than a day in our house. I usually have my chai tea with milk, but I tried the soymilk here. I didn't like our usual Costco generic soymilk with it, but this drink is pure perfection with Silk's "Very Vanilla" Soymilk, which I usually find too sweet. With this tea, though, it adds sweetness and that lovely hint of vanilla. I love this cold, for breakfast.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coconut Cake with Lime Curd

I love getting together with my feminist friends because they know I'll bring something crazy that I've never made before to a get-togethers. They're always adventurous, will try it, and compliment me on it, even when I bring a coconut cake with grainy frosting.

This is such a pretty cake for a party, and I love that it's covered in coconut because then, no one can see how bad one's frosting job might be.

Coconut Cake with Lime Curd
Gourmet Cookbook

For cake layers:
3 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs

For lime curd:
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

For frosting:
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

2 c sweetened flaked coconut I ended up using about ½ c more

Put racks in middle and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of three buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pans with rounds of wax paper or parchment paper and butter paper. Dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.

Make cake layers:
In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a glass measure stir together milk, water, and vanilla.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter on medium speed 1 minute and add sugar in a slow stream, beating. Next time, I'm going to try using my KitchenAid mixer. I'm not a fan of my handheld electric mixer. Beat mixture scraping bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 4 batches alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and scraping bowl occasionally, until batter is just combined (do not overbeat).

Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops and tapping pans on counter to allow any air bubbles to escape. Bake cake layers in middle and lower thirds of oven (arrange pans so they overlap only slightly) until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert cake layers onto racks. Remove wax paper carefully and cool cake layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped in plastic wrap, in an airtight container in a cool dry place. (Alternatively, cake layers may be made 5 days ahead and frozen wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw cake layers in refrigerator 1 day before proceeding.)

Make lime curd:
In a heavy saucepan whisk together yolks, sugar, lime juice, cream, and butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes, or until mixture just reaches a boil (do not let boil). Strain curd through a fine sieve into a bowl and stir in zest. Cool curd its surface covered with plastic wrap, and chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

Assemble cake layers and lime curd:
Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate and spread evenly with about half of lime curd. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded fresh or sweetened flaked coconut and chill 15 minutes. Repeat layering in same manner with another cake layer, remaining lime curd, and remaining 1/2 cup coconut and top with remaining cake layer. Chill cake 15 minutes.

Make frosting:
In top of a double boiler off heat or in a large metal bowl with a hand-held electric mixer beat together frosting ingredients until combined. In double boiler or in bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water beat mixture on high speed until it holds stiff glossy peaks, about 7 minutes. (Depending on mixer and weather, this may take longer.) Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and beat frosting until cool and spreadable. I thought I did all this, but my frosting was still grainy. Next time, I might try making a simple syrup with the water and sugar first.

Frost cake and coat with shaved fresh or sweetened flaked coconut.

Hamburger Buns

When my trusty Gourmet cookbook said, "Yes, homemade hamburger buns are SO worth the effort." I wasn't convinced. So, I made a batch of Asher-safe ones (without whole milk and without eggs); good, but not worth the effort.

Then, I had the real ones at a friend's house, and yes, they are worth the effort--especially since this recipe makes 20 (or 5 meals at my house). And, we don't just use them for hamburgers. They make for delicious egg salad sandwiches, black bean burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, etc.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Corn, Arugula, and Cherry Tomato Salad

This picture doesn't do this salad justice. It's very pretty and even after it's dressed, it stays quite fresh. (I had it for lunch the next day while my kids ate Dino Chicken Nuggets because they have such refined tastes.)

But, be warned, I thought this was one of the BEST recipe finds I had made for quite a while, and if I could eat it every day this summer, I would. Nate, on the other hand, wasn't that impressed.

Corn, Arugula, and Cherry Tomato Salad
Williams-Sonoma Grilling Essentials

5 slices lean bacon, cooked and chopped
6-8 large ears of corn, shucked I found 6 to be plenty
2 C cherry tomatoes
1 bunch arugula (rocket), tough stems removed
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh lime juice
salt and freshly cracked pepper

Oil grill rack. Note to self: don't spray cooking spray on the grill rack AFTER the grill is on--sigh...Grill the corn directly over the heat elements, turning occasionally, until just tender, 10-12 minutes total. The corn will char and be delicious.

Transfer the corn to a cutting board and let cool just until it can be handled. Cut off kernels. In a bowl, combine corn kernels, bacon, tomatoes, arugula, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve salad soon after.

Add crumbled goat cheese for an added treat!