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Friday, June 29, 2012

Finger Limes and Coconut Rice Pudding

I've been hearing a lot about finger limes lately, so a while back we decided to order some. Once they arrived, I realized I had no idea what to do with them! We tried eating them straight, and they were pretty good, but puckery. Finding any recipes was hard. Most are for seafood, and Kyle's not a fan.

 I decided that since they're tropical they'd probably go well with some coconut rice pudding. Well, I was definitely wrong. The two did not go well together at all. The limes are bright, tart and watery while the pudding is creamy and rich. The good news is that we loved the pudding on its own! Next time I get finger limes though, I think I'll buy fish and invite over a seafood loving friend.

Don't the insides look cool!

Bad combo, but good separate ingredients!

I've made this with different proportions of coconut milk and cow's milk and they've all turned out great. If you want to make this vegan, you can even use all coconut milk. Just make sure the total milk comes to 2 1/2 cups. Also, this easily doubles or more to feed extra mouths. And the leftovers are great cold straight out of the fridge. In fact, Kyle likes it better cold.

Coconut Rice Pudding
Serves 2

1 cup water
1/2 cup medium grain rice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Boil the water in a saucepan and add the rice and salt. Cover the pot, turn the heat down and simmer  and stir occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and stir frequently while it cooks for another 45 minutes to an hour. It's done when a spoon can stand up in the pudding. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold. Whatever you do, don't serve with finger limes! Mangoes or bananas might be a good topping though. Their creamy texture would be a better match.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chocolate Cream Pie

If you're searching for a decadent dessert for a special occasion, here it is! I found this recipe and made it for my birthday (I know friends, I'm way behind on posting). Growing up, I liked Marie Calllender's Chocolate Satin Pie for my birthday. There aren't any close to us, so I searched for a recipe to replicate it. Well, this one didn't replicate it. It completely surpassed the one I had always known! If you like smooth, creamy, and rich chocolatey-ness you should definitely try this recipe. This has become my new birthday standard!

You can find the recipe (and a much better picture) on Saveur's website. The only thing I changed was using Oreos for the crust because I couldn't find Nabisco wafers. Make sure to use high quality chocolate because that's the main flavor. We used 72% Valrhona  and unsweeted Scharffen Berger and loved it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coconut Chicken Curry

This has become another one of our go-to quick weeknight meals. When you see how simple the instructions are you'll understand why. Another thing I love is it's a little more exotic than standard weeknight fare. Throw it on some rice with some extra veggies on the side and you have dinner!

Coconut Chicken Curry
From the Kitchn

1 pound chicken breasts (halved) or tenders
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 large Granny Smith apple, cut into small chunks
toppings: Roasted cashews or peanuts, mango, toasted coconut, chopped scallions, raisins

Heat the oil in a saucepan or dutch oven. Salt the chicken and set aside. Saute the onion, garlic an ginger for a couple minutes. Add the spices and cook for another few minutes. Add the liquids and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and apples cook until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Top with desired toppings. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Farmers Market Stir-Fry

What do you do if you come home with more produce than you planned from the farmers market? Well we decided to stir fry it! For this round we used peas, carrots, broccoli and green onions, but I think it could be good with lots of different vegetables! This is my favorite kind of meal- simple and delicious. I'd highly recommend checking out the vegetable stir fry tutorial at the kitchn that I adopted this recipe from. They have some great tips for making an exceptional stir fry!

Farmers Market Stir Fry
Serves 3 to 4, depending on how many vegetables you use
Adapted from the kitchn

1 1/2 to 2 pounds assorted vegetables
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 minced jalapeƱo (optional)
8 scezchuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
3 medium cloves garlic, smashed
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Toasted sesame seeds to top (optional)
4 cups cooked rice

1. Chop the vegetables into uniform pieces, and put them in a bowl so that you can be ready to dump them in quickly. Leave the ginger and jalapeno separate.

2. Combine the broth, soy sauce and rice vinegar in a small bowl to make the sauce.

3. Heat your wok or cast iron skillet on medium with 2 tablespoons oil and the sczechuan peppercorns for about five minutes to let them infuse the oil. You can use more or less depending on your heat tolerance. I like to smash the peppercorns so that more of the flavor gets in the oil. After the oil is infused, take them out, unless you particularly like big bursts of heat in your food.

4. Turn up the heat on the burner to high and let it heat for another minute or two. When the oil starts smoking, add the ginger and jalapeno and stir vigorously, so they don't burn, for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

5. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables. Add more oil if necessary. Salt them and stir fry for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to brown (hard vegetables) or wilt (soft, leafy vegetables).

6. Add the sauce and stir fry for a couple more minutes until the vegetables are crisp tender.

7. Serve over rice and top with toasted sesame seeds. I think cashews or peanuts might be good as well. If you try them let me know!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce and Olive Relish

This was a fun experimental meal. I'd never heard of roasting whole slices of cauliflower before, but the technique was a hit! I didn't love the relish, so I'd skip that next time since it took the most work. I found out later that our sundried tomatoes weren't that good, so maybe that was the problem. If you want to give it a go, the relish might be better for you with good tomatoes. I'd probably use this cooking technique and the tomato sauce again since we really enjoyed those components. We made this as a main, but I think it would be a better side. You can find the recipe on Bon Appetit

Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

This has become one of our go to dinners. We absolutely love it! If you can't find farro, you can substitute kamut berries.

Inspired by these recipes at 101 cookbooks and at the kitchn.

Notes: Other vegetables work well too. I've added mushrooms and radicchio (add to the other vegetables about 10 minutes before done cooking) before and used butternut squash instead of cherry tomatoes. Thyme is a good substitution for the rosemary. Almonds can sub for the walnuts. If you can find farro for a decent price, I highly recommend it. 

1 pound farro or kamut berries (could substitute barley or wheat berries, but wouldn't be quite the same texture)
4 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 pound of carrots (about 6 small), chopped small
2 large red onions, chopped small
3 garlic cloves, minced
Rosemary, crushed dried (about a tablespoon dried or double that fresh)
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Cook the farro or kamut berries in boiling water (3 cups water for every cup of berries) until softer, but with some texture retained. It takes about 25 minutes for semi-pearled farro and  about 45 minutes to an hour or more for un-pearled farro or kamut berries. They should be similar to al dente pasta. Drain off any excess water.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine the vegetables, rosemary and garlic in a bowl with olive oil (2-4 tablespoons), about 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Spread them evenly on two baking sheets and roast for 20-30 minutes, until soft and the cherry tomatoes have browned to your liking. Stir the vegetables and rotate the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Once everything is cooked, combine the draind kamut berries, roasted vegetables and toasted walnuts in a large bowl. Add additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy warm, at room temperature or cold. My  favorite is warm, but it's good any way!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TWD: French Strawberry Cake

One of the major "French" components of this Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is the cake.  According to the book, "The genoise is to the French Baker what the sponge cake is to the American baker."  Have such a light and airy cake batter was new, and it was really good.  It was a little tricky figuring out when the cake batter was whipped enough.  We don't own a flour sifter, but it seemed like the cake didn't mind our lack of equipment.

Unfortunately our batch of strawberries was not the most impressive to say the least.  Adding extra sugar could only do so much to try and fix the problem.  That said it was a pretty good cake, and would be a nice alternative for a more plain strawberry shortcake. We probably wouldn't make it again, but it was good to have once. Also, it was a lot of fun to decorate!

Monday, June 4, 2012

TWD: Oasis Naan

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorrie recipe was a nice break from all the super rich desserts lately. It was some awesome naan! Besides turning the oven to 500 during a heat wave, this was wonderful. The cumin seeds weren't my favorite, so next time I'll try the sesame seeds like for the Persian Naan in the book. Overall, it was a success and I'd definitely make it again.We served it with our favorite curried lentil soup from Bon Appetit, which we always add extra carrots to because one is not enough.  You can find the naan recipe here or here.