Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lemongrass Soup

This recipe comes from my Aunt Katie, which means it's pretty much guaranteed to be awesome. Lately, I've been thinking about adding a can of coconut milk to it but I already know it's so good without the coconut milk. When I lived in Boston, I was determined to find a recipe to make that slightly sweet coconut lemongrass soup that one could get at pretty much any Thai food restruant. I tried 5 different recipes before giving up. This is a great substitute; it's spicy instead of sweet.

It's also delicious as a side dish with pad thai.

Lemongrass Soup

3-4 stalks of lemongrass
8 cups chicken broth
1 tomato, diced
1 can straw mushrooms
1 small can bamboo shoots (I added this)
1/2 pound shelled shrimp or tofu diced
2 T instant sour shrimp paste (Tom Yum)
1/2 lime
fish sauce Aunt Katie suggests a few shakes; I think I did about 1/2 t
green onions, sliced thinly
fresh cilantro
basil (I happened to have some Thai basil)

Trim ends of lemongrass, using meaty portion only. Pound lemongrass with mallet. Add lemongrass to chicken broth in sauce pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lemongrass from broth using a strainer.

To broth, stir in shrimp and cook until pink (only takes a few minutes). Drain liquid from mushrooms and bamboo and add to broth and shrimp. In a serving bowl, combine Tom Yum paste, juice from 1/2 lime and a few shakes of fish sauce. Stir until blended. Stir hot broth into mixture.

Garnish with diced tomato, green onion, cilantro, and basil.
Serves 8

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

My only regret about this recipe is that I found it at the end of pumpkin season last year (courtesy of this awesome blog).

I can't wait to make it a few times this year. As a side note, I found it easier to serve and eat as a main course rather than an appetizer.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good from Epicurious

Massaged Kale and Craisin Salad with Feta Cheese

I'm always trying to get my family (and me) to eat kale. I love kale chips, but no one else does. I like them in a soup, but I don't have a recipe for a good soup that uses kale. So, I was excited to find this recipe. It's quick, it's easy, and my kids totally ate it.

Massaged Kale and Craisin Salad with Feta Cheese from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad

I've had this recipe in my pile of "to try" recipes since 2007 (August 29, 2007 to be exact). Every time I went to clean out my folder, I would almost throw this recipe away because well, it'd been so long and I still hadn't made it.

I think the problem is that it needs 10 minutes to 1 hour to marinate. I was worried that longer might make the cucumbers mushy, and well, my vegetable dish of a meal never requires marinating time, so I just couldn't wrap my mind around how to do that, which in retrospect makes me look pretty rigid in my dinner-making routine (totally true).

Anyway, I'm so glad I did get around to making this this summer. The sesame oil adds a nuttiness not usually found in a cucumber salad, and the cucumbers don't get mushy and are perfectly delightful for lunch the next day if they make it that long.

Spice Asian Cucumber Salad
Cooks Country

Serves 4
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T minced fresh ginger
1 hot red child (minced 1 1/2 T) we left this out
1 T toasted sesame oil mine wasn't toasted
3 cucumbers, peeled seeded and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices I used an hothouse English cucumber to cut out those steps
4 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin
1/4 c packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

Bring vinegar and sugar to boil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture reduces by half, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

Whisk in lime juice, ginger, chile, and sesame oil. Toss in cucumbers, scallions, and basil; season with salt and pepper, and let sit for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Serve

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vegan Salad

Usually, I have a few things to say about a recipe. All I can say here is, "Make it. Make it now." It's simply delicious...

Vegan Refried Beans (THE Refried Beans)

Do you know how many years I've been looking for THE refried beans? I've tried them on the stove, in the crockpot, with bacon or garlic or cumin, or something to make my kids not say, "I just want the red lady beans."

So, I could hardly contain myself when my brother-in-law and his wife made these delicious vegan refried beans. My kids love these, and I learned this week that they'll eat more if I don't mash them.

These beans plus Sour Cream Enchiladas makes a meal where no one missed the meat.

El Cucui's Awesome Refried Beans
Christian and Sarah Schumann-Curtis

1 pound dry beans (pinto or black) or 4 14-15oz cans of cooks beans makes this dish so much easier)
1/2 cup oil we used canola, Christian and Sarah use olive
6-7 garlic cloves
1 T water
1/2 c veggie broth we use chicken broth
1 t salt
1 t coriander (heaping)
1 t cumin (heaping)
1-2 T lemon or lime juice
1 tomato I used 1 can of diced tomatoes and drain them

If using dry beans, rinse beans and soak overnight. Rinse again and with fresh beans, bring to boil, then simmer until beans are soft, even falling apart (about 1 hour).

If using cooked beans, open cans, drain, and rinse.

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel garlic and put cloves in the oil in a cast-iron skillet. Place in oven while getting the rest of the ingredients together.

Put beans, tomato, cumin, coriander, broth, and salt in a large pot. Then, add garlic and oil (I take the garlic out of the oil and mince it before adding it to the beans) to the pot. Bring to a boil. (I then simmer the beans, with the pot lid on, while I make the rest of dinner. Sometimes, I mash with a fork a bit, but my family seems to like this recipe better with whole beans.) When you're ready to serve, stir in the citrus juice (I like lemon for pinto, lime for black beans) and add a chopped banana for a Cuban flair.

THE Chocolate Cake

Now, if only I could find THE chocolate frosting!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/4 c boiling water
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 t instant coffee
10 T (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 c sour cream, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, then dust with cocoa powder and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the boiling water, chocolate, cocoa powder, and instant coffee together until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until incorporated.

Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, and remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

Give batter a final stir with rubber spatula to make sure it si thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 15-20 minutes, rotating and switching the pans halfway through baking.

Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of cakes, then flip out onto wire racks. Peel off parchment paper, flip cakes right side up, and let cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.

Pecorino and Bean Salad

I got this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis' most recent cookbook and I've enjoyed it all summer as a vegetarian main dish.

12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)--I did 1 pound green beans
3 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 t finely chopped rosemary leaves (or oregano for the Greek version)
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or Garbanzo beans)
8 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (1 cup)(or feta cheese)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
+2-3 T fresh lemon juice

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes, or until vibrant green but still crisp. Drain and set aside.

In a small nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not brown, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rosemary and let cool slightly.

Combine the green beans, cannellini beans, Pecorino Romano cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a serving bowl. Add the garlic-rosemary oil and toss well, until all the ingredients are coated.

After making this a couple times, I switched it up a little making a pseudo-Greek style version of this dish by doing the following: switch rosemary for oregano, cannellini beans with garbanzo beans, Pecorino Romano with feta cheese, and I added about 2-3 T of fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Crock Pot Tepary Beans

My mother-in-law first introduced me to tepary beans, a small bean native to Arizona and last year, I got a few 1 lb bags of them at a gardening demonstration. I kept meaning to cook them, but I never remember to soak my beans overnight and tend to rely on canned beans because of this.

One night, I remembered and decided to try them. For some reason, I thought they were sweet--maybe I was thinking of mesquite beans. They're not. They taste a lot like pinto beans, but because they're so small, they cook really well in a crock pot (whenever I try to cook pinto beans in the crock pot, they still taste raw to me).

These were delicious with a little rice mixed in to make them look more "refried." I get mine at the Town and Country Farmers' Market.

Crock Pot Tepary Beans
I modified the recipe I got from the gardening fair and added the cumin, chili powder and salt.

1 lb tepary benas
1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t salt

Clean, sort, and soak beans overnight.

Place soaked beans in a crock pot along with bacon, onion, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 1 inch. Cook on high for about 8 hours. I removed as much liquid as I could and then, added 1/2 cup of leftover cooked rice about an hour before serving to absorb the excess liquid. This helped the beans to look more like the refried beans my kids prefer.

Delicious with some homemade corn taco shells.

Cook's Illustrated Classic Brownies

Since Emmeline has been born, I've had some extra calories to spare, so I've been looking for a favorite brownie recipe. I think I've found one, but I ruined a whole batch trying to use egg replacer so Asher could eat them. Sigh, eggs are necessary.

Chocolately with just the right consistency and that delicious crunchy, chewy edge of the pan. I'm not quite sure if this is my THE brownie recipe. I'm afraid more recipes will have to be attempted to know for sure.

Classic Brownies
Cook's Illustrated

1 c (4 oz) pecans or walnuts, chopped I didn't use these
1 1/4 c (5 oz) cake flour
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 6 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 c (15 3/4 oz) sugar
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Line 9x13 pan with tin foil (make sure there's extra over the lip of the pan) and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Toast nuts if using.

Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. When chocolate mixtureis completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle nuts evenly over better and bake until toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil.

Keeps in airtight container at room temperature for 3 days, but I've never had them around for 3 days to know if this is true.

Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

I've had a pile of recipes that I've been wanting to post, but whew! 3 kids is a little tricky.

This is delicious and vegetarian (and low in Weight Watcher points--around 5 points per serving). I keep the heat pretty low around here, so I substituted 3 of the Anahaim chiles with sweet red and yellow bell peppers. If Asher wasn't allergic to eggs, we'd have this almost every week.

Smitten Kitchen's Shakshuka

Monday, April 11, 2011

Savory Compound Butters

I was watching Food Network the other day and watched a woman whip up a Cobb Salad butter, which sounds gross. I think Savory Compound Butter sounds better. I've always loved orange butter and honey butter, but never thought to do this. Best of all, I just watched her whip it up, and then, made my own with approximations. This is delicious on baked potatoes! I think it would also be good on French bread.
4 strips of bacon, fried, cooled and chopped
handful of chives (I probably ended up with about 1/4 c once these were minced)
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
1 stick of softened butter

Mash all ingredients together with a fork.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Southwest Pasta Salad

Um... I'm in love with a salad. This one comes from Our Best Bites: If your trying to lose some extra weight and need calorie count here it is: I halved the dressing because it was more than enough. 8 servings. 1 serving=246. And that is why I had 2 servings at dinner tonight:)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sour Cream Enchiladas

With refried beans on the side, this is a delicious and easy vegetarian meal.

My only additions were to add 1 t of cumin and 1 t of chili powder instead of the 1/4 t's that PW recommends.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Classic Bread Pudding

This recipe was torn out of a Martha Stewart magazine before I had children, but for some reason, I never made it before. It's delicious and made in individual ramekins, looks like a far fancier dessert than it is.

Classic Bread Pudding
Serves 8

2 T unsalted butter, softened for baking dish
12 ounces brioche or challah, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups milk trust me, whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 c sugar I think this dish could benefit from an additional flavor, so I'm thinking of trying maple syrup in place of the sugar next time--what say ye, natural sweet expert, Kendahl? Would that work?
1/2 t salt
1 T pure vanilla extract
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 c raisins um, I used chocolate chips because I don't like raisins, but I'm thinking maybe next time craisins with some orange zest
1 c boiling water

Butter a 9 by 12 inch baking dish or 8 individual ramekins and set asid. Put bread in a large bowl; set aside. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan over med-high heat until just about to simmer; remove from heat.

Whisk eggs, yok, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a med bowl. Whisking constantly, pour cream mixture in a slow steady stream into egg mixture. Pour over bread; fold to combine. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing and pressing occasionally to submerge bread.

Meanwhile, soak raisins in 1 c boiling water for 30 minutes. I skipped this.

Drain; stire raisins into bread mixture. Preheat oven to 350. With a slotted spoon, transfer bread to buttered dish; pour liquid in bowl over top. Using spoon, turn top layer of bread crust side up.

Set dish in a roasting pan; transfer to oven. Pour boiling water into pan to reach about halfway up sides of dish. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let dish cool on a rack 10 to 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Classic Pot Roast

I'm always looking for THE pot roast recipe, and I think I may have found it.

3 T vegetable oil
1 boneless chuck roast, trimmed and seasoned with salt and pepper (3-4 lb)
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c dry white wine I used red
1 1/2 c low-sodium beef broth
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 c sliced onions I used one big onion
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces I used 2 handfuls of baby carrots
3 large celery ribs, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme I used 1 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves

1. Heat oil in a saute pan over med-high. Sear roast on all sides, 10 minutes total. Transfer roast to 4 to 6 qt slow cooker.

2. Stir flour into saute pan; cook 1 minute.

3. Add tomatoe paste and cook 1 minutes more.

4. deglaze pan with wine, cooking until liquid evaporates and a paste has formed. Stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce; bring mixture to a simmer, scraping up brown bits.

5. Transfer broth mixture to the slow cooker and add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.

6. Cover and cook meat until fork-tender on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours. I did 6 hours on high.

7. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves before serving.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coconut Chicken Fingers

This was delicious and it seems to be pretty healthy. And I would think they would be kid friendly...but I don't have any kids yet to try them out on. We tried it with the salad. I liked the vinaigrette, but it had a very strong onion taste, so I would probably use about half of what it suggests, or just leave it out. Thanks to Rachel for posting about Our Best Bites. I have several recipes that I want to try from their website.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

A new year= a new diet... at least for me it does. I found this gem at Our Best Bites.
I omitted the water chestnuts & mushrooms (in an effort to make it more attractive to my children... which didn't work CURSE picky eaters) and the flavor was still great.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello Dollys

These cookie bars have a million names: magic cookie bars, 7-layer bars, etc. For some reason, my family calls them Hello Dollys. I told my sister to check this blog to get the recipe and then, got a text from her saying it wasn't on here...

...probably because I have it memorized because it's easy and delicious!

Hello Dollys

1 stick of butter
14 graham cracker sheets (you know, 4 little crackers still stuck together), crushed
1 cup coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

(Other people add butterscotch chips and pecans--1 cup of each)

Melt butter, mix with crushed graham crackers and form the crust in the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Spread evenly coconut and chocolate chips. Pour milk over the top.

Bake at 350 until golden--I think this takes about 20 minutes.