Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seafood Linguine

I love noodles. Noodles rank very high on my list of favorite foods. Other food type items on this list include (in no particular order): corned beef, coleslaw, streuseled anything, peanut butter, clams, cheese, cream cheese, artichokes, hollandaise sauce, poached eggs, and squash.

Whew. Now where was I going with this? Oh right, so I love noodles and I eat them regularly. At home, this is usually in the form of pasta (or my guilty pleasure, Top Ramen). But mainly pasta. Sometime though, I want something new and different. I love tomato sauce, pesto, and carbonara. I also love me some Thai green curry which is usually served over rice. Unfortunately rice, while perfectly tasty, is not my favorite starch.

Much to my surprise linguine makes a perfect match for a green curry full of seafood. I was hesitant at first, but figured what did I really have to lose? (The 140 positive reviews also helped). From what I have been told by my father and boyfriend the pasta is very tasty. I don't really know how it tasted because I accidentally made it ridiculously spicy and could barely eat it. I did manage to eat 1 bowl full, which you would think would be great for limiting calories, but no. I had inhaled a bottle of beer and two glasses of wine just so I could eat it. Lesson learned: test your jalapenos.

Its a shame pictures can't turn out when I'm starving. 

Thai Green Curry Linguine
Adapted from Gourmet
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (4-inch-long) fresh hot red chile or 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced crosswise (I would recommend serrano because you know its going to be spicy)
1 small onion thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger
2 pounds mixed shellfish (I used the frozen mixed seafood from Costco. Shrimp and scallops on their own are would be delicious though)
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (I used low fat)
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
12 oz dried thin linguine
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Berry Pie with Almond, Orange, and Ginger Streusel

Almost everyone is familiar with the Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly. Why, oh why did she swallow that fly? She should have been like the Old Lady that Swallowed a Pie. I'm sure it tasted better.

I have a love/hate relationship with berry pies. I do not like uncooked berry pies, especially strawberry. I don't understand why every recipe seems to call for jello. Cooked berry pies tend to be harder to find unless it's blueberry and even though they are amazing for you, I'm not a huge fan of blueberries. My very favorite berry pie is boysenberry, but they are really hard to find.

(Never heard of a boysenberry? It's a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry and it was invented at Knott's Berry Farm which is 10 miles from my house. Knott's Berry Farm no longer produces fruit though, and is now an amusement park)

When boysenberries are no where to be found, I make mixed berry pie. It allows me to use whatever is the best of the season, or whatever is lying around in my freezer. The pie today? It's good. It only requires rolling out 1 crust (yay!) and has a streusel topping. I love streusel!

The orange and ginger flavor in the streusel is pretty mild. There was some concern it might be too strong until I made it, and was eating it raw right out of the food processor. This topping is seriously good. I am using the flavor combo the next time I make shortbread.

Mixed Berry Pie with Orange, Ginger and Almond
Adapted from Bon Apetit 

For Crust:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Nice Cup Of Tea

Sometimes all you want is a nice cup of tea drunk out of the finest bone china of course.

Other times, a watermelon mojito might be the order of the day.

A mojito or tea are great for watching Herman do his thing.

This is Herman. He likes to eat the fish in our pond. 
Today was a day for tea.

Except it wasn't tea at all.

Because it's homemade Sweet Tea Vodka. Easy, delicious, refreshing, and to quote both my cousin and boyfriend, it is "dangerous". This is smooth and really easy to drink on the rocks, with a splash of lemonade (or limoncello if you just made it and have some lying around) its the perfect lounging around by the pool drink. Or, if you live in a state where it is illegal to drink on the beach, it might be the perfect drink to smuggle in.

Sweet Tea Vodka

1 liter vodka (I used the cheap stuff. I really don't think it makes a difference)
3 tea bags (I used 2 black teas, 1 Earl Grey)
1/2 cup simple syrup

Cut the tops off the tea bags, and pour the tea into the bottle of vodka. Shake, and let sit for 24 hours. Using a coffee filter (or cheese cloth) filter out the tea while pouring the vodka into a separate container add simple syrup to taste, starting with 1/4 cup. Rinse vodka bottle to get rid of any remaining tea leaves and pour the sweetened vodka back in. Enjoy over ice.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Harry Potter and the Butterbeer Cake

I have a confession to make. I love Harry Potter. It is quite possibly my favorite book series ever. The first two books were released in the US when I was but a wee little 6th grader. I have devoured every book since. The last of which may be sitting on my nightstand because it is being reread for the 9 billionth time. The Harry Potter franchise has made its author one of the wealthiest people in Britain, and the most highly paid author ever. If you haven't read the books and have only seen the movies, you are missing out. I know that "they aren't for everyone", but I just don't see how that could be, especially if you like food.

These books revolve around food. They talk about it all the time. All the food is tasty sounding British food, a fanciful sounding confection (licorice snap, chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans), and most importantly (now that I am past the legal drinking age) the tasty sounding alcohol Butterbeer (and Fire Whiskey). 

Today I bring you: Butterbeer Cake. This cake required a few revisions, because the only recipes I could find for Beer Cake called for either boxed cake mix or chocolate. And while I have absolutely nothing against chocolate, I didn't want it to get in the way of the other flavors I had in mind, namely beer, browned butter, and butterscotch. So I had to develop my own recipe from start to finish.

This cake is not very sweet. I wanted the nuttiness of both the beer and the browned butter to be able to shine through. The sweetness is found in the homemade butterscotch glaze. Since the first version of the cake was made, (which I brought to a party of all things) this has quickly become a very requested cake. (Which I'm fine with because its easy to make and delicious.)

This maybe the first time I use Harry Potter for inspiration, but it most definitely will not be the last.

Dossier for: Harry Potter and the ________ (I'm not picking a specific book)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Characters: Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, Ron Weasley, Dumbledore, and Voldermort
Setting: Britain, mainly Hogwarts and London

Butterbeer Cake
There is not a lot of sugar in this cake, but as mentioned before that is because the glaze is sweet. Also, this is not the time to use the crappy, light beer you have sitting in your fridge leftover from a party. If the only thing you drink is light beer, go to the store and buy a single bottle of full calorie beer. Light beer is made by reducing the carbohydrate content of the beer. In beer, the carbohydrate is maltose, a type of sugar, which is needed to sweeten the cake.
  •  2 sticks unsalted butter
  •  2.5 cups all purpose flour
  •  1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups beer (preferably Fat Tire or another amber ale)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan (or you can use cupcakes). In a small skillet, brown butter until dark and nutty smelling. (If you don't know how to brown butter, here are directions). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the beer, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Add the beer mixture to the flour and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into the prepared bundt cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (check at 15 minutes for cupcakes). Allow the cake to cool then pour slightly, warm butterscotch sauce over the top of the cake. (I used all of the butterscotch)

Recipe from
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over moderate heat. Add the sugar, cream, and salt and whisk until well blended. Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Taste the butterscotch and adjust the vanilla and salt to your liking. (I made mine a little on the saltier side and found it to be perfect with the cake.) Allow to cool until thickened but still pourable before putting on the cake.

Oh and this- I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to tell you that I'm an Amazon Affiliate. Normally not my kind of thing but I'm cooking from a book every week, some of which (next week's!) are obscure so it made sense.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ham and Cheddar Scones

My family can never seem to decide what to make for family gatherings, especially around the holidays. My grandpa loves ham but hates seafood, my grandma loves seafood but hates ham, 1 uncle is lactose intolerant, 1 uncle is on a diet, yada yada yada. Being the gracious hosts, my parents try to work around everyone's dietary preferences. This means that for Easter, we had: ham, leg of lamb, potato salad, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, horseradish sauce, prepared horseradish, etc...

This also leads to an abundance of leftovers. The leg of lamb got turned into what I called Greek Tacos, but what to do with the ham? I had already eaten it with eggs, as a sandwich, and I knew the bone was destined for soup.

 (Anemic scones- what happens when you forget to brush the top with milk)

Long story short, I made scones (at least that is what I am calling them). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, these are easy to make and a perfect choice for people who are nervous about their baking skills. They don't have to be rolled out and with some scrambled eggs would be a fantastic addition to a brunch buffet (although if you still had some hard boiled eggs leftover from Easter those work well too). They freeze well, and don't have to be rolled out. Anyways, sorry for yet another ham recipe (we're out now yay!) but after you try them I am sure you'll forgive me.

Ham and Cheddar Scones

These need to be served warm. When I ate them the next day, they got split in half, toasted and smeared with butter and dijon mustard.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 6 oz ham, cubed
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • milk for brushing the top (optional. I forgot so mine are a little anemic) 

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Obvious Choice- Green Eggs and Ham

Some days it can be hard to be inspired. Or motivated. From getting out of bed to oh my God putting on clothes, nothing seems seems like a good idea. Its those days where inspiration strikes and you feel like hitting yourself. "Why didn't I think of that sooner?". You might have the recent words of the lovely Jaden floating around your head: Do something unique. Something that makes you different.

That's when I decided I am going to post a recipe once a week (most likely on Friday) that has been inspired by a children's book. It might not be a picture book, but it will be a book found in the children's section (why? because I love kid's lit). Its fun and whimsical and full of good messages. How can I not want to reread it? And while I don't have any kids myself (gah I'm only 22), reading a book and cooking something based on it is something I used to do all the time when I babysat. It was always a big hit. I would love to promise that all of the food will be kid friendly, but at least one of the books I have in mind might not work that way (actually, I know it won't work that way... think of it as an opportunity to get them to try new foods).

Without further ado, this week's book.

Book: Green Eggs and Ham

Or in a box, or with a fox, on a boat, or with a goat!

Author: Theodor Suess Geisel
Characters: Sam-I-Am and the person (thing?) who will not eat the Green Eggs and Ham (never named)
Setting: Here, there, anywhere

Recipe: Green Eggs and Ham 
              Serves 2
Prepared pesto can be used in place of the homemade pesto. This can very easily be multiplied to serve more people. Cooking the eggs over low heat may seem unusual but I love slowly cooked scrambled eggs. If you are serving it to kids and truly want green eggs, add a few drops of food coloring to the eggs. My mom did it when I was younger and it was the coolest thing ever (at the time).  I was out of food coloring and feeding adults so I left it out.

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  •  1 clove garlic
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup toasted pinenuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 4 oz ham, diced
 In the work bowl of a food processor, combine basil, cheese, olive oil, garlic, and pinenuts. Blend until pesto forms. Taste and adjust seasoning/consistency as necessary.

Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over low heat. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, ham, milk and 1 tablespoon pesto together. Pour into the pan and scramble until soft.

To serve
Place scrambled eggs on a plate and top with 1 tablespoon (or more) of the pesto.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Morrocan Beef Meatball Tagine

Setting: My kitchen
 Time of day: Late afternoon, roughly 4:45

Me: "I think meatloaf for dinner sounds good."

Me: "No, I don't want mashed potatoes (the only starch that can be served with meatloaf)"

Me: "I could make hamburgers."

Me: "No we're out of buns. And pickles. And tomatoes. And its raining."

Me: "I could make um...."

By this point I had defrosted almost 2 pounds of ground beef, no idea what I was going to do with it, and dinner was rapidly approaching. (And yes, I talk to myself. What? It's perfectly normal) I had to make something. So I Epicurioused (same concept as "googled") ground beef.

Me: "Nooooo... yes!" (victory dance ensues)

Success. Houston, we have dinner. It was quick, easy, and we had everything on hand. Exactly what I needed in the middle of the week. I have no idea how authentic they are, (I'm not an expert like someone I could mention) but they tasted really good. And we had leftovers which are now sitting in the freezer.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tri-Color Potato Salad

I think that it is fairly safe to say that most people consider potato salad to be a summer food. After all, it's usually served cold with barbecue. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. I love potato salad though, and after a long winter (well So Cal winter) without it, I decided enough was enough.

Actually, that isn't entirely true. See, the restaurant I work at has an amazing Sirloin Steak Salad. Its steak with warm potato salad, spinach, and crispy onions. And I've become addicted to the aforementioned potato salad. I beg the cooks to sneak me bites of it. I'm usually not successful. Last Friday, there was nothing I wanted more than the potato salad. I was willing to buy it even... but it has bacon, and given it is was still Lent, I was thwarted. Until I came home and made some myself.