Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mashed Cauliflower

Potatoes aren't the only vegetable that's good mashed... and a little cheese (or a lot?!) and garlic add great flavor.

1 head cauliflower
1-2 cloves garlic
½ C grated cheese
¼-½ C chicken broth, milk, cream or other liquid
salt & pepper (cayenne adds a nice kick)

The garlic can be raw or you can sautée it first. (Or in a pinch, just use garlic powder.) Just about any cheese will work - I've used cheddar, colby, jack, parmesan...but there are plenty of other flavors worth trying.

Remove the leaves and toughest core of cauliflower, cut or separate into florets. Steam or boil for about 10 minutes until tender. Mash by hand or process in blender or food processor, slowly adding broth (or other liquid) until just smooth and creamy. (Don't overwork it.) Add garlic and cheese(s) -- depending on the cheese you use, your mashed cauliflower can have a stretchy-stringy-ness to it; parmesan doesn't do this much. Reserve a little cheese for garnishing.

Leftovers? Fry them up like pancakes..!  Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pickled Peppers

Good on sandwiches and salads...

4 C peppers (or chiles)
1½ C vinegar (white or apple cider)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T black peppercorns
2 T kosher/coarse salt
4 T sugar
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp coriander seed

Slice peppers into thin rings; pack into a 1 quart jar (or 2 pint jars).
Bring vinegar, 1 cup water, and remaining ingredients to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour hot brine over pickles; seal jars.
Let cool, then refrigerate.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake

My Mom gave me this recipe (from People magazine) as a request for upcoming family birthday celebrations....with some modifications: No one in my family wants coffee or coconut. Peanut oil substitutes easily for the coconut; water will do for the coffee, though other subtle flavors could be introduced with a liquid if desired.

1½ C flour
1½ C sugar
¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ C milk
¼ C sour cream
2 Tbls canola oil
1 Tbls coconut oil
3½ tsp vanilla, divided
¾ C warm coffee
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C creamy peanut butter
9 Tbls powdered sugar (that's ½ C and 1 Tbls)
½ C heavy cream
5 C chocolate buttercream frosting

Preheat oven to 350˚. Coat 3 8" round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray; line bottoms with parchment paper and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients in bowl of a mixer. Add eggs, milk, sour cream, canola oil, coconut oil and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat at low speed until blended. Gradually add coffee; mix until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Remove parchment.

Beat cream cheese and peanut butter until creamy. Add ½ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat slowly until blended.

In a separate bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into peanut butter mixture until smooth.

Spread half peanut butter mixture between each of the layers of cake. Frost with prepared chocolate frosting.

Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 3 days.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding with Ginger-Mango Coulis

Serves approximately 30

Rice Pudding Ingredients:
12 oz jasmine rice
6 C whole milk
1 orange peel, remove in one long strip
15 oz sugar
3¾ C heavy cream, room temperature
3 C coconut milk, unsweetened
1½ Tbls vanilla
non-stick cookingspray, as needed

Rinse rice in strainer, then parboil in water 5 minutes. Drain and resesrve.

Heat milk to scalding; add orange peel, sugar, and rice. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly until rice is tender. Remove from heat, discard orange peel.

Add cream and coconut milk; continue to cook over very low heat for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

Lightly coat serving dishes with non-stick spray; ladle in pudding. Let cool until firm (6-8 hours)

Ginger-Mango Coulis Ingredients:
3 oz water
3 oz sugar
2 Tbls ginger root, finely minced
½ pint mango purée
1 tsp arrowroot powder, as needed

Place water, ginger and sugar in saucepan. Whisk until well combined. Bring mixture to full roiling boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat; combine with fruit puree. Check thickness, adjust with arrowroot slurry if needed; sauce will thicken as it cools. Cool completely.

Yield: 1 cup

Pineapple Fried Rice

1 fresh pineapple
8 Tbls vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound bay shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound ham, brunoise cut
6 oz sweet corn kernels
6 oz peas
2 Thai chilis, finely diced
4 Tbls ginger, finely diced
1½ quarts cooked jasmine rice, cooled
4 Tbls soy sauce (more if needed)
4 oz cashews, roasted, salted and roughly chopped
cilantro leaves, whole, for garnish

Preheat the oven for 350˚. Cut the pineapple in half, lengthways. Scoop the flesh out of both halves using a spoon and paring knife, leaving two shells with ½" thick flesh remaining. Cut the pineapple flesh into small cubes, discarding the core.

Wrap pineapple leaves in foil to prevent burning. Place shells on baking tray; bake for 10-15 minutes. (This seals in juice and prevents it leaking into fried rice when it's placed in shells.

Heat a small amount of oil in a walk over medium heat. Pour in egg and swirl pan to coat with egg, forming a think omelette. Cook util egg is set and slightly brown on underside, about 2 minutes. Flip to brown the other side. Remove from pan; cool slightly. Roll up and cut into thin strips.

Heat 1 Tbls oil in wok. Stir fry garlic over medium heat until light brown. Add shrimp, ham, corn, peas, chili pepper and ginger. Stir fry 2 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Add cooked rice, soy sauce, and pineapple; toss over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Gently fold in egg strips. Taste; adjust seasoning if/as needed.

Fill pineapple halves with fried rice; sprinkle with cashews and garnish with cilantro.

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 lbs chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken

Marinade Ingredients:
6 oz peanut oil
1½ stalks lemongrass, minced
1½ Tbls garlic, minced
¾ tsp crushed red pepper
1½ Tbls curry powder
1½ Tbls honey
3 oz fish sauce

Spicy Peanut Sauce Ingredients:
3 Tbls peanut oil
1½ Tbls garlic, minced
4½ oz onion, minced
¾  tsp chili peppers, crushed
1½ kaffir lime leaves
¾  tsp curry powder
1½ stalks lemongrass, sliced
3 oz coconut milk
1½ tsp tamarind paste
1½ Tbls fish sauce
1½ Tbls dark brown sugar
3 Tbls lemon juice
3 oz peanut butter
chicken stock

Remove tendons from chicken tenders, or cut chicken breasts into strips.

Combine ingredients for marinade; marinate meat for at least 2 and up to 12 hours. Pre-soak skewers in water.

Make peanut sauce: Heat oil. Add garlic, onion, chili pepper, lime leaf, curry powder and lemon grass; stir fry. Add coconut milk, milk, tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice and peanut butter; simmer 15-20 minutes. Adjust consistency with chicken stock.

Thread chicken onto skewers; grill skewers just before serving. Serve with spicy peanut sauce.