Saturday, December 12, 2020
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Below is my adaptation of chef Tsai's recipe as published in Food & Wine January 2013 issue. The recipe offers a fun twist on a childhood favorite, perfect to satisfy a grown-up palette.
By the way, I finished my project of sorting through the magazines, tossing out some, but keeping most. I'm certain I will again discover many over-looked recipes gaining inspiration to share.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Sunday, July 5, 2020
I held a small dinner party this past week, finishing the evening with a sweet treat of berries and a beautiful cake from Joy Cho Pastries . Perfect together. The next day, I realized I had way too many berries leftover. I decided to combine the berries and make a summer jam. Making jam sounds like a daunting task but it is quite easy to do. And the results are fruitful and rewarding.
I used a combination of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and sweet cherries, tossing the berries together, with a few sprigs of basil. The jam tastes like summer in a jar. You can use any mix of fresh fruit, and/or herbs being optional. The basil gives a subtle back note of balance to the sweetness of the fruit and sugar. Lemon juice is the natural pectin, which also adds brightness to the jam.
Mixed Berry Jam with Basil
2 pounds of fresh ripe berries
2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 sprigs of fresh herbs, optional
Rinse the fresh fruit, patting dry with paper towels to remove the excess water. Cut the larger strawberries into pieces, removing the stems, leaving small berries whole such as blueberries or raspberries. Add the berries and sugar into a medium-sized deep pan. Stir to combine. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring a few times to bring together. Add in the sprigs of herbs and the lemon juice, stirring to combine. Maintain the mix at a steady boil for about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a candy thermometer, test the temperature of the jam, looking for the mix to be 220 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, use the cold spoon test. Place a metal spoon in the freezer to chill it. Dip the cold spoon into the jam. Using your finger, swipe a line across the back the spoon. The line should hold clear and clean with the jam staying somewhat thick in texture. Remove the pan from the heat, allowing the jam to cool slightly in the pan. Stir the jam to find the sprigs of herbs; remove and discard the herbs. Ladle the jam into jars, covering with lids to seal. Allow the jam to cool in the jars on the counter. Once cool, keep the jam in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
Friday, June 26, 2020
The marinade for this skirt steak is a modified recipe adapted from Pat LaFrieda, well renowned New York City butcher. He is author to the book simply titled Meat - Everything You Need to Know. His book is more than a recipe book. Each chapter is dedicated to the various meats, from lamb to poultry to beef. Mr. LaFrieda informs the reader on how to source the meat, explaining each cut and how to prepare it. My first favorite recipe from his book is his grandmother's Sunday Sauce, which is pasta with meat sauce. This Italian meat sauce will make you and your family very happy, using beef short ribs simmering in tomatoes and aromatics for hours. This recipe is a must make - buy the book if for no other reason than for this recipe. However, the book brings a wealth of information and shines with recipes you will enjoy and share for years.
Now, back to the quick marinade. Mr. LaFrieda offers a four ingredient, five-minute skirt steak marinade. The recipe calls for 2 cups of brown sugar for 3 pounds of steak. I usually always follow a recipe as written the first time I use it. This time, I altered at first use. I cut the sugar in half. The grilled meat resulted in a sweet-salty goodness, almost like bacon but this is beef. At first nibble, I blurted out with joy, "This is meat candy!". I will make this recipe again and again. The skirt steak can be marinated from 5 minutes, as stated in the recipe title, up to 2 hours. The steak is grilled for roughly 3 minutes per side for medium rare, letting it rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Serve this with a side dish that can soak up the sweet-salty juices from the steak and marinade, such as rice or even polenta.
Five-minute Marinated Skirt Steak
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 pounds skirt steak
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Combine the sugar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chopped garlic and rosemary leaves in a re-sealable plastic bag. Add the skirt steak, seal the bag. Place in the refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
Heat the grill or indoor grill pan to high heat. Remove the skirt steak from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip away. Dab away the excess marinade from the meat using paper towels. This will allow for a better sear on the meat. Season both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the steak onto the grill, cooking the first side for 3-5 minutes, allowing the marinade to caramelize on the meat. Turn the steak onto side 2 cooking for 2-3 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 125-130 degrees. Set the steak onto a plate to rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Click on the link for more detail on slicing against the grain. Slicing against the grain.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
Corn and Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots and Mint
2 cups fresh corn cut from the cob
4 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups roasted carrots, cut in pieces
4 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
salt & pepper to taste
Agave vinaigrette salad dressing
Combine the cut corn, cooked quinoa, roasted carrots and fresh mint into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a small pinch of black pepper over the ingredients. Spoon on 1/3 cup of vinaigrette, stirring to combine. Taste, adding more salt or dressing as desired.
Friday, May 15, 2020
*Recipe can also make a large cake using 2 8-inch round cake pans. Adjust bake time to 55-60 minutes.
Sunday, April 26, 2020
This week I tried two new recipes. One really delicious. The other, just okay. You can guess which one worked out in that I am writing about Asian-style turkey meatballs. The other was for Japanese Fried Chicken. The recipe looked great and I had all of the necessary ingredients. I should have known better not to make the fried chicken. I rarely have success with deep frying foods. I just haven't mastered this cooking skill. When I was a kid, my parents didn't deep fry food so I guess it is a hereditary thing. Deep frying food requires anywhere from 6-10 cups of oil. And then there is the question of how to dispose of all the oil. Maybe I need to consider getting an air-fryer. Hmmm. Another new toy. For now, I'll stick with roasting meatballs in the oven.
I served the meatballs as lettuce cups. They'd also be good with fluffy rice and steamed green beans for dinner. Or as an appetizer for a party.
Asian-style Turkey Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Asian Meatball Sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
Make the Meatball Sauce: Combine the hoisin and the sweet chili sauce in a small mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Set aside for use with the meatballs.
Make the Meatballs: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Working with a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients together, mixing until evenly combined. Scoop out the meat mixture into 1-ounce portions to form meatballs roughly the size of a golf ball. Place the meatballs in a single layer onto a large sheet pan with sides. Roast the meatballs in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven, brush the meatballs with half of the sauce. Continue baking until the meatballs are browned and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about another 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the remaining sauce over the meatballs. Serve hot or room temperature.
Saturday, April 18, 2020
The story here is that I have been making food for our friend who is an ER doctor. He is a bachelor and does not cook. During this time of Stay at Home, his options for ready to eat food are limited. One of his favorite sweet treats is anything made with bananas and chocolate. No shortage of those 2 ingredients in this house. I had just given him the banana muffins I wrote about recently and was pondering what to make this time. I remembered a recipe from King Arthur Flour that was actually their Recipe of the Year in 2018. Right. Humble banana bread as recipe of the year. The standout difference for this banana bread is a mix of cinnamon sugar sprinkled over the top before baking. It forms a crackling crust as it bakes and smells heavenly. The original recipe calls for walnuts, but could be easily substituted with chocolate chips. The chocolate, bananas and cinnamon are a great flavor trio. Below is their recipe with my slight change omitting the walnuts, using chocolate chips instead.
Cinnamon-Sugar Banana Bread
2 cups mashed banana, about 4-5 medium size
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
In a separate smaller bowl, add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Thoroughly combine the ingredients together.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Mix together the topping of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar topping evenly over the banana batter.
Place the pan into the preheated oven, baking the bread for 65-75 minutes. Check the loaf around 60 minutes to see if the bread getting too brown. If so, loosely cover the pan with foil. Continue to bake until a long toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.
Remove the pan from the oven, cooling it on a rack for 20-30 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and continue to cool for another 20 minutes before slicing.
Monday, April 6, 2020
I recently decided to make lemon bars, a favorite for a friend's birthday treat. I had 5 whole lemons in the fridge. I thought that would be sufficient to squeeze out 1 cup of lemon juice. Nope. I was already in the middle of baking the crust, so I had to decide what to do: run to the store or improvise. A quick search in the refrigerator bins brought discovery that I had fresh oranges. Lemon bars were now to become citrus bars.
It is always a pleasure when an improvisation brings forward something better than the original. Lemon bars are a childhood favorite that I have never stopped loving. But these citrus bars might have jumped over as my new favorite. Using a blend of orange and lemon juice brought a more balanced flavor. There is the tartness of the lemons, but a hint of sweetness from the oranges. I also used the zest from each, giving the bars little bits of orange and yellow speckled throughout. Very pretty and so delicious.
Sweet-tart Citrus Bars
For the Crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
6 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest*
1 teaspoon orange zest*
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, roughly 5-6 lemons
1/3 cup fresh orange juice, roughly 1-2 oranges
1 cup all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the crust: Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light in color and creamy in texture. Add in the flour and salt, mix until just starting to come together. The dough will be crumbly and not fully combined. Transfer the mix to a 9x13-inch baking pan. Knead the dough enough to press it into the pan creating an even crust over the bottom of the baking pan. Chill for 15 minutes. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-17 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Make the filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon & orange zest, lemon & orange juices, and the flour. Pour over the cooled crust. Bake in the oven, on the oven rack centered in the oven, for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
When cool, cut the dessert into squares or triangles, dust with powdered sugar.
* Remember to zest the citrus before cutting into the fruit. It is not impossible to zest the lemon or orange after cutting into it, but it is rather difficult.
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
I made this bread. It's gorgeous, right? And it's not one of those products that looks great and tastes like cardboard. This has great taste and texture. The reason I am being so boastful is that you too can bake this bread. The recipe comes straight from King Arthur Flour . I followed their recipe and process step by step, as so greatly illustrated on their web site. At this time of staying at home, it is a good idea to complete a task that will make you feel proud and productive, and also nourish you and your loved ones.
The recipe is titled the easiest loaf of bread youll ever bake . And it is. I have been baking bread for years. I don't do it frequently, but I am always amazed at how simple ingredients come together and rise into a loaf of bread. If you have never baked with yeast, kneading and creating bread from scratch, baking this recipe will surprise and delight you. Give it a try.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020
I ate four of these muffins in one day. Maybe I was craving the comfort of carbs, but each muffin made my taste buds very happy. They are kind of "healthy" but are so moist with great flavor of banana, chocolate and ground nuts. The original recipe inspiration is from a cookbook titled Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Ms. Boyce is a talented pastry chef with her book focusing on using whole grains in her recipes. Some of the grains featured are gluten-free, while others are ancient grains, with all recipes balanced and full of flavor. She demonstrates tips and techniques for every level of baker. It is a go-to book for me when I want to bake, but also am trying to bake something a bit less indulgent but tastes like a dream. This muffin offers a dream come true.
You may have read one of my previous posts that this household has no shortage of bananas that become too ripe for cereal eating. Bananas The frugal person I tend to be does not allow me to easily throw away the over-ripe bananas. I often freeze them or bake with them. I have frequently made Ms. Boyce's recipe for Banana Walnut Cake, which was my start for the recipe below. This time I didn't want to commit to a cake. I wanted something more snackable. Her recipe could easily be turned into cupcakes. Without icing, I am calling them muffins.
Don't be put off by the recipe calling for quinoa flour. You can easily substitute whole wheat flour or use 100% all-purpose flour. I used coconut oil in place of the butter called for in the original recipe. Banana, coconut and chocolate go together very well in this recipe. Just try to eat only one. Maybe two.
Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, or a mix of each
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup softened coconut oil or unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 ripe bananas, medium in size
1/3 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Makes 18 muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Prepare standard cupcake trays with paper cupcake liners or spray with baking spray.
Place the toasted nuts into a food processor. Pulse to grind the nuts into a fine-ground texture.
Place the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl, quinoa flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine. Add the ground nuts to the flour mixture. Set aside.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the softened coconut oil and both sugars to the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed to cream the ingredients together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the peeled bananas mixing for a minute or so until the bananas are mashed and combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time mixing until just combined. Add in the yogurt and vanilla to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the flour/nut mixture to the wet ingredients mixing on low speed just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure all ingredients have been combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a 1/4-cup spring-loaded ice cream scoop, scoop out level scoops into each cupcake liner. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Remove from the oven, allowing the muffins to cool in the trays for about 20 minutes.
The recipe can also be baked as a 9-inch single layer cake. Grease the cake pan with butter or baking spray, line the bottom of the pan with a 9-inch round parchment paper. Transfer the prepared batter into the cake pan, baking for 50-60 minutes until the cake is golden brown and fully baked in the cake center. Cool in the pan for 35 minutes.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
I mentioned this dish in a post last month new recipes post that I picked up from Kelly LeVeque's web site. Her recipe offers this with chicken, very good. I have changed the recipe adding more coconut milk for a creamier rice, a few other tweaks, and substituted chickpeas.
If you are not a fan of cauliflower rice, you can make this with regular rice. The regular rice, white or brown, will need to be fully cooked before starting this recipe. So it is a great head start when you have leftover rice from another time, even from Chinese take out.
Creamy Coconut Cauliflower Rice
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut milk
4 cups frozen uncooked cauliflower rice*
2 tablespoons butter
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Working with a large saucepan, blanch the broccoli florets. Do this by filling the pan with 3 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, add the broccoli to the pan cooking it for about 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift and remove the broccoli from the water. Place the broccoli on a towel to drain. You may need to do this is 2 batches. Set aside.
Drain the water from the large saucepan used to cook the broccoli. Place the pan back onto the stovetop over medium heat. Add in the coconut oil, swirling to melt and coat the bottom of the pan. Add in the cauliflower rice, coconut milk and a pinch of salt, stirring all to combine. Cook the rice for roughly 5 minutes to heat and cook through. Add in the butter, chickpeas and soy sauce, stirring together. Add in the still warm broccoli, stirring to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning to your palette, adding salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
*This dish can be made with regular white or brown rice, fully cooked for use in this recipe.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Below is my recipe for Apple Crisp. Like my friend, a recipe can serve as a guide, sending you in the direction of creating your own Fruit Crisp dessert. Crisps can be made with any fruit or combination of fruit. Frozen fruit can also be used, such as berries and cherries. My preference is to go heavy on the amount of oatmeal used, cutting back on the flour. I often add chopped walnuts and vary on the spices depending on what fruit is used.
Use this recipe as your starting point and then make it your own.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Early in the month I made a soup recipe that I had torn from a Cooking Light magazine from 2017. The recipe was titled Immunity Soup using ingredients that help boost the immunity system. The recipe was basically a homemade chicken soup with added ingredients to bolster the healthy factor. You could start with my chicken soup recipe, here adding in 6-8 cloves of minced garlic - a powerful antioxidant, sliced mushrooms for vitamin D, chopped kale for vitamin C, and chickpeas for protein and zinc.
I also tried a new source for recipes going to Kelly LeVeque's web site. Kelly is a social media wellness expert and nutritionist. She has a really delicious Cauliflower Rice with Creamy Coconut Chicken and Broccoli recipe on her site. I loved it. I made brown rice for my husband who will not eat cauliflower. Easy, healthy and super good. You can find the recipe at https://kellyleveque.com/ here .
I did have one failed recipe from a very trusted source in one of my cookbooks. I made baked chicken breasts with Tuscan bread crumbs. It did not work out well. Too heavy on the bread crumbs. We ate it for one meal with lots of leftover chicken that the dogs enjoyed. Lucky pups.
One of the recipes I tried was a yeast dough walnut bread. I sought out a basic recipe knowing that I wanted to add fresh rosemary. Inspiration came from a food memoir I was reading with the author referencing a walnut rosemary bread in one of the chapters. Sadly, she did not include the recipe. So I was determined to figure it out. I started with a basic recipe from King Arthur Flour web site and added my own twists. It came out lovely and delicious. The recipe makes two golden brown loaves, which I shared with my nieces and their families. Sharing was a must. The bread is so delicious I could have eaten all of it!
Walnut Rosemary Bread with Golden Raisins
1 1/2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup agave sweetener
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5-6 cups bread flour
1 1/3 cups toasted chopped walnuts
2/3 cup golden raisins
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the bread dough hook, add the warm water to the bowl. Add the yeast to the water to dissolve. Mix in 1/2 cup of flour and letting the mixture stand without mixing for 10 minutes. This will wake up the yeast to get the action started.
Stir in the agave, oil and salt. Add in the flour, one cup at a time, mixing with the dough hook running on low to medium speed for the entire time. The dough will become formed into a shaggy mess and will be a bit difficult to stir at the end of the process. At this point, turn off the mixer and turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Continue kneading by hand until a smooth satiny ball is formed.
Prepare a large bowl by drizzling a tablespoon of oil into the bowl. Using a paper towel, lightly coat the inside of the bowl with the oil. Place the ball of dough into the oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm spot so that the dough can rise until double in size. This will take roughly 1 1/2 hours.
When the dough is puffy and double in size, remove the plastic wrap. Using your hand, gently deflate the dough by pushing down in the center. Add in the chopped walnuts, golden raisins and chopped rosemary. Knead the dough to incorporate the walnuts, raisins and rosemary. Transfer the dough to the counter to continue kneading and incorporating the chopped ingredients. This will take 5 minutes or so. Divide the dough in half. Form each half into a smooth ball. Place each ball onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I used 2 sheets that fit side by side in my oven on one rack. Cover the loaves loosely with a damp towel. Place the trays in a warm spot, allowing the loaves to rise. This will take about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the towel. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of each loaf. Cut 3-4 slashes across the top of each loaf, 1-inch deep.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the loaves are golden brown. The loaves will sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Place the loaves on a rack to cool for about 20 minutes. It is very temping to cut in sooner, but be patient before cutting to enjoy. Serve with salted butter.
Saturday, January 4, 2020
For the first time since the "holidays", I can see bare shelf space in my refrigerator. I searched the vegetables drawers to see what remnants remained that I could put together for a refreshing salad this early January. I discovered several avocados buried under the parsley, carrots and other staple items. They were too unripe to use at the time of purchase and then forgotten about. I also had a few blueberries and my favorite sweet tiny cucumbers. A good start, but maybe this salad would need lettuce. Yes, I had beautiful curly frisse lettuce still in good shape.
The salad came together quite nicely. The avocado paired extremely well with the citrusy blueberries, tossed with my Dijon Agave Vinaigrette dressing. Chunky bites of crisp cucumber and a bit of curly lettuce to complete the salad, all showered with a sprinkling of flakey sea salt.
Avocado & Blueberries Winter Salad
1 large ripe avocado
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
2-3 small sweet cucumbers (sometimes called Persian)
1 cup frisse or curly endive lettuce, torn into small pieces
flakey sea salt to season as desired
Peel and cut the avocado into large pieces; cut the cucumbers into large pieces. Place the avocado, cucumber, blueberries, and torn lettuce into a small mixing bowl. Toss together with 2-3 tablespoons of Dijon Agave dressing. Sprinkle with the flakey sea salt to season well.
Dijon Agave Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave sweetener
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Add the Dijon mustard, agave, salt and pepper to a medium size bowl. Using a whisk, mix to combine. Whisk in the vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking while you drizzle to emulsify the ingredients into a creamy consistency.