Friday, April 30, 2010

Thai Rice Cake

Don't let the sad picture fool you- this is a tasty dessert.

Our Iron Chef dinner club (as in, us and our friends Monica, Abby, and Andrew) decided to change it up this year. Normally, we would pick an ingredient and prepare a three course dinner based around it. This year we decided to explore regional cooking instead of an ingredient. It gives us a little more freedom in cooking, and lets us try our hand at a type of cooking we might not usually cook.

We were on dessert this time. I wanted to try to make something I'd never had before, but that sounded good. I found a recipe for Pandan rice cake, but in the time leading up to the dinner, I couldn't find any Pandan. It's an herb paste, but apparently isn't sold around our area.

So I made the cake without it. And it turned out great. Alex wasn't a huge fan of it, but then again, he's not a huge fan of coconut milk. But I liked it, and it went over well.

Thai Rice Cake

First layer:
1 cup glutinous rice (sweet or sticky rice)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (not light)
3/4 tsp. pandan paste/essence (optional)
2 Tbsp. white or brown sugar
pinch of salt

Second layer:
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
pinch of salt
2-3 drops pandan paste/essence
2 Tbsp. rice flour

Soak the rice in water for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Assemble a steamer. What I did was put our steamer insert in our stock pot and just made the cake in a six inch cake pan. It worked perfectly. If you're making a large cake, you'll need a larger steamer. The recipe link has a nice tutorial.

Drain the rice and stir it together with the other first layer ingredients. Mix well. If you use the pandan, your cake is going to turn green, FYI.

Pour this mixture into the cake tin and even out the surface with a spoon. Then cover and allow to steam at high heat for 20 minutes. Be sure to add more water to the wok as needed. The first layer is done when the rice has absorbed the liquid. When first layer is cooked, gently press down on it with a fork to even out the layer.

While first layer is steaming, prepare second layer. Beat the eggs with a fork for 30 seconds.Add the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and pandan paste. Lastly, sprinkle the flour over. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer until the batter is more or less smooth.

Slowly pour the second layer mixture over the first layer. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Continue steaming for another 20-30 min, or until the custard has set (an inserted fork should come out clean).

Allow cake to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crispy Kale Chips

This recipe has been around the internet. With good reason. It's delicious. It's amazing how you can take a pretty boring green like kale and turn it into a snack that tastes exactly like a potato chip.

I made these first on a whim and Alex was like "I don't buy it." Until he ate them. Then he was convinced.

I made them again for my dad's birthday dinner. Everyone, including my little sister, gobbled them up.

No joke, readers. This is an amazing recipe. In fact, I wish I had some kale right now so that I could make them.

Crispy Kale Chips
From Steamy Kitchen

4 giant handfuls of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces and tough stems removed (about 1/3 pound). I usually just buy a bunch and use that.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the kale. Dry it thoroughly. Very thoroughly.

Rip the kale into chip sized pieces. Toss with olive oil.

Bake kale for 12-20 minutes. It depends on how much oil you used and how much kale you actually have. You want the leaves to be crisp, but still bright green.

Pull the kale from the oven and sprinkle with salt.

Eat. Repeat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blood Orange Vanilla Sorbet

I love blood oranges, could you tell? It's funny, I don't really like most regular oranges usually, but I love, love, love blood oranges. I like to eat them out of hand and I really enjoy using them in food.

Which is why, when I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. And the fact that it was dairy free? Win.

One note, I made this as the recipe wanted, but if I was going to make it again, I'd definitely leave out the vanilla. I want my blood orange flavor to be pure, and the vanilla only distracted from it.

But it was still good.

Blood Orange Vanilla Sorbet
From Picky Gourmet

2 3/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup water to cook with sugar and vanilla
1/2 cup water to mix with juice
1/2 vanilla bean, split
3/4 cups sugar

First: make vanilla syrup. Place the sugar, water, and vanilla in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer on low to distribute flavor (I did this for about 15 minutes). Remove from heat, discard vanilla bean, and allow syrup to cool.

Combine citrus juice, syrup, and remaining water in your ice cream machine. Follow machine instructions for making the sorbet.

When the sorbet is finished, you can eat it soft, or scoop out and put in a container in the freezer. to harden.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Zinfandel-Braised Beef Brisket

Alex loves brisket. I like it well enough. I prefer to make it in the oven though, because I like the result better than from a slow cooker. But this requires time, so it usually limits it to weekends or days I have off.

Knowing this, I decided to make brisket the last time I had a holiday. And no worries, I didn't burn myself this time.

Zinfandel-Braised Beef Brisket
From Cooking Light
Serves 8

2 cups zinfandel or other fruity dry red wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (2 1/2-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
8 cups sliced Walla Walla or other sweet onion (about 4 medium)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices
2 celery stalks, cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, cut into quarters
1 1/2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook for 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan; cover and set aside.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, onion, sugar, and 1 teaspoon thyme to pan. Cook 20 minutes or until onions are tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, carrots, and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place beef on top of onion mixture; pour wine mixture over beef. Cover and place in oven.

Bake at 325° for 1 3/4 hours.

While beef mixture cooks, place potatoes in a large bowl. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, oil, oregano, and red pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.

Remove beef from oven; turn beef over. Place potatoes on lower rack in oven. Cover beef; return to oven. Bake potatoes and beef at 325° for 45 minutes or until beef is tender. Remove beef from oven; cover and keep warm. Increase oven temperature to 425°. Place potatoes on middle rack in oven; bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until crisp and edges are browned.

Remove beef from pan; cut across the grain into thin slices. Serve with onion mixture and potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Soba-Edamame Salad with Flank Steak

This was not good. It was okay, but we didn't really eat it. We ate the meat, which was tasty, but the noodles were odd. It has a lot to do, I'm sure, with the type of soba we bought. But really, we weren't impressed.

However, I'm sharing it with you because it's well rated. People honestly seem to like it. But not us.

Soba-Edamame Salad with Flank Steak
From Cooking Light
Serves 6

2 quarts water
12 ounces uncooked soba (buckwheat noodles)
2 cups frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans), thawed
2 cups thinly sliced grilled flank steak
1 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut red bell pepper (left this out- we don't like them raw)
1 cup shredded carrot (I guess we didn't have carrot?)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add soba; cook 4 minutes. Add edamame; cook 2 minutes or until soba is done. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Place soba mixture in a large bowl. Add flank steak, bell pepper, carrot, and onions; toss well to combine.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over soba mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork

This dish is extremely similar to one that I love to get when we go out for Chinese food. I feel like the version we made at home has more meat than we would typically get but it's delicious.

It comes together really easily, which is awesome during the week. I love to cook, and it's fun to be gourmet, but frankly, during the week, I want no fuss.

With a rice cooker, this definitely fits the bill.

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork
From Cooking Light
Serves 4

1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon peanut oil
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups hot cooked white rice

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture, beans, and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until pork loses its pink color, stirring to crumble.

Combine hoisin and next 3 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add hoisin mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blood Orange Mojito

It's not very often that I share cocktail recipes on here, but this one is definitely worth it. It was delicious! If I could make it again tonight, I totally would.

But I've been sick all week so alcohol is really the last thing on my list. But you, you should definitely make this as soon as possible if you can find the ingredients. Seriously.

Go, find them. Make it. Drink it. Enjoy.

Blood Orange Mojito
From Culinary Musings

2 1/2 ounces light rum
4 ounces San Pellegrino Limonata
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
2 blood oranges, cut in wedges
Mint leaves

In a bowl, combine blood orange wedges, mint leaves, and sugar. Muddle together until the juice is extracted and the mint leaves are bruised.

Distribute orange wedges and mint between glasses (or strain, which is what we did). Add remaining ingredients (and ice) to a glass.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Miso Chicken Piccata

This recipe was tart. Between the miso and the lemon, it definitely made the mouth pucker. But that doesn't mean it wasn't good. It was.

Good, but not great. It needed something, but I never could quite identify what exactly that was. I would definitely give it a shot, and see if you can figure out what it's missing. I plan on trying again at some point.

Miso Chicken Piccata
From Cooking Light
Serves 4

3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons yellow miso (soybean paste)
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine 1/4 cup broth and miso, stirring well with a whisk until miso dissolves. Stir in 1/2 cup broth. Set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium; stir in miso mixture and garlic. Return chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove from heat; stir in juice, capers, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mustard Crusted Lamb Chops

I like lamb. Alex doesn't. I try to respect that it's not his favorite thing and keep it off the menu, most of the time. But since I do all the menu planning, sometimes I just gotta have some lamby lamb.

Mustard Crusted Lamb Chops
From Cooking Light
Serves 2

1/4 cup stone-ground mustard
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 (4-ounce) lamb loin chops, trimmed
Cooking spray

Put all ingredients, minus the cooking spray, in a ziptop bag. Marinate lamb for at least an hour, but several hours would be better.

Preheat your grill (or your grill pan) to medium high heat.

Remove lamb from bag and discard marinade. Grill the lamb for about six minutes per side (to get medium rare) or until desired doneness and then enjoy yourself.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chocolate Olive Oil and Blood Orange Cupcakes

One of the awesome things that came out of dairy-free month was that I started following a blog call Love and Olive Oil. The posts are thoughtful, the food always looks delicious, and the recipes are honest, if that makes sense.

When I saw these (the recipe that hooked me to the blog) I knew I had to make them. They were dairy-free, which was perfect. I also happened to make them gluten-free because I originally thought no one but Alex, myself, and our friend Monica would be eating them.

Turns out that these became the only dessert at a birthday party (for Monica's boyfriend, Andrew). I made the decision to not tell people that they were "different." No one noticed. They were that good.

Chocolate Olive Oil and Blood Orange Cupcakes
From Love and Olive Oil
Makes a dozen cupcakes

1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup pure olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon blood orange zest, finely grated
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Baking Mix)
1 tablespoon almond meal (I also left this out.)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 teaspoon blood orange zest, finely grated
1-2 tablespoons soy creamer or heavy cream (as needed. Soy milk works too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and zest until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Stir until just smooth.

Pour into liners, filling each with 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chorizo Stuffed Trout

First thing, I'm going to apologize for the picture. It was dark when we ate, and it's difficult to make a picture of a full, stuffed fish look pretty.

But I won't apologize for the recipe, because it was tasty. The trout was buttery and kind of sweet and the chorizo was nice and spicy.

Plus, trout is a good fish to eat because it's sustainable.

Chorizo Stuffed Trout
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 2

Bread crumbs
1 teaspoon canola oil
1.5 oz mushrooms, diced
1 teaspoon of shallots, diced
1 garlic cloved, minced
1 oz chorizo (Mexican, not Spanish)
1 large trout or 2 small ones
2 lemon wedges

Position one oven rack in the middle of oven and another oven rack on the bottom level of oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and next 3 ingredients (through chorizo) to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and salt.

Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly inside of fish. Spoon mushroom mixture inside each fish. Place fish on 2 jelly-roll pans coated with cooking spray.

Place pans on middle and bottom oven racks. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Rotate pans on racks; bake an additional 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork or desired degree of doneness. Serve with lemon wedges.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oatmeal Honey Bread

I'm not a bread baker. I don't have the patience for it. That's why today's post is brought to you by the in-house bread maker- Alex.

I guess she also doesn't have the patience to write a post about it. Anyway, she showed me this recipe, and I decided it'd be worth a try - the idea of putting the oats in the bread made sense to me, and it sounded like it'd be slightly sweet and delicious, which it was. I diverged a little bit from the recipe on this one - I gave it two long rises instead of one short one. I also ended up using considerably more flour than called for in order to make it more easily workable - but I'd try not to do that if I did it again. Less flour and a wetter dough make a crisper crust and more open crumb, both of which would be good changes.

Oatmeal Honey Bread
From Naturally Ella

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat
1/2 cup white flour

Start by placing water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of stand mixer. Stir to dissolve yeast and honey, let sit for 5-10 minutes or until mixtures begins to foam.

Once the yeast is ready, add oil, salt, oatmeal, and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour. Begin to knead with dough hook, adding the rest of the whole wheat flour and white flour as needed until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl (dough should still be kind of soft, just not sticky.) Continue to knead for 10 minutes.

Once done kneading, spray lightly with oil and set in a warm spot and spritz with water. Let dough rise for about an hour.

Punch dough down and then let it rise again, about another hour.

Turn dough out and shape into a loaf and place in a lightly sprayed 9x5 loaf pan. (Or, you can just shape it and forget the loaf pan, which Alex prefers). Place in warm spot and let rise until dough in size, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees, spray loaf lightly with water, sprinkle oatmeal on top, and spray with water again. Bake for 45 minutes or until bread is golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool and slice.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Asian Barbecue Chicken

We started off our dairy-free month with several great recipes, and good thing, because I wasn't sure I would be able to make it. (I did, and have made changes in my eating habits as a result!) This recipe was so good that I made it a couple of times during the month, including for my dad's birthday dinner.

That's how you know a recipe is good- it gets remade. And if you present it to other people? Winner.

Asian Barbecue Chicken
From Cooking Light
Serves 4

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 (6-ounce) chicken thighs, skinned
Cooking spray
Lime wedges

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.

Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 20 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with the marinade. Garnish with lime wedges.