Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tom Kha Ghai

It's funny, I've never been a fan of coconut. It's probably the texture of dried coconut. We had those baby coconuts on a dessert on our honeymoon and I picked around them. However, over the last year or so, as we've had more pan-asian meals, the flavor has grown on me, in a subtle way.  I'm not sure I'll ever be a fan of Almond Joy or Mounds (sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't...) but coconut milk with other flavors is nice.

 We've made Tom Kha Ghai a couple of times. We've finally tailored it to our tastes and food restrictions.  It's nice and light and honestly I could just drink the broth and be happy.

To make 6 or so servings you need:
6 cups broth,
1 stalk lemongrass bruised and chopped into 2" pieces
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
4" ginger peeled and sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 T siracha or red curry
1 can light coconut milk
baby corn, cut into 1" pieces
water chestnuts, sliced
sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-1" pieces
broccoli, small florets
cremini mushrooms, sliced
carrots, thinly sliced
fresh lime wedges

1. In a pot simmer broth, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, and onion for 30 minutes then strain and discard the solids.
2. Add the coconut milk and chili sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. For softer vegetables, add those for the last few minutes, or pour the broth over vegetables in a bowl for firmer vegetables.
4. Serve with a squeeze of lime

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Citrus Chocolate Pear Pavlova

Honey cooked pears, drizzled with a dark chocolate and orange glaze, crunchy almonds, and slightly tangy cream all in a marshmellow-y meringue nest. While DH's birthday cake was rich and delicious, I wanted something a little more complex for my quarter-century birthday.My favorite part was the meringue but then one cookie that I loved growing was what we called "Norwegian Kisses" (according to the internet, properly called "Pikekyss") so that's really not surprising. 

I have no idea how to make this vegan. The filling can be used as a light cake topping or even on pancakes or oatmeal for a vegan dessert. Might be nice on an angel cake. We ended up eating a 1/4 of this the night I made it and then crumbled the rest up for icebox cake. I think quartering it would be an excellent non-traditional Valentine's Day dessert (add some raspberries if you really want red in there.) The cream, keeping with the rest of the pile, is not your traditional lightly sweetened whipped cream. We took a lightly sweetened cream and cut it with Greek yogurt for some tang. DH was a little skeptical but he came around. I suppose you could just stick with the lightly sweetened cream if you really don't want the yogurt.

Note, this is not a quick dessert. But you can let it cool in the oven overnight/during the day if you are planning a party. The toppings keep in the fridge so you can prepare this the night before, clean up the dishes and just let them warm up to room temp while eating dinner. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Snickerdoodle Granola

 I could have sworn I posted a granola recipe before, but I can't find it, of course. I had a craving for snickerdoodles and baked apples the other night, but being that DH and I are trying to get back on track with healthier habits (cold weather+ a lot of food holidays+ constant trade off of illness = lazy couple) that wasn't such a great idea. Instead I tossed a chopped apple in the skillet I used to make this with a little bit more cinnamon and made this recipe. A much better decision.

Like my oatmeal, this is a good basic granola. Add some cocoa powder for Mexican hot chocolate oatmeal, add more dried fruit for a trail mix granola, candied  ginger and dried carrot and pineapple for a carrot cake granola (I do have a thing for a good carrot cake.)

You Need:
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T coconut oil
1 T honey or agave
4 T brown sugar
1 flax egg (or hen's egg)
2 C rolled oats
1/2 C pecans, chopped
1 t salt
1.5 T cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a baking sheet with foil
2. Heat together the vanilla, oil, and sweeteners until the oil is melted and a syrup forms
3. While that is melting, thoroughly mix together the dry ingrediants.
4. Toss all ingrediants, minus the egg together until thoroughly coated
5. Mix in remaining egg and spread mixture on baking sheet
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the oats are crisp and toasted
7. Let cool for at least 10 minutes to allow some clumps to form. Toss in 1/2 C dried cranberries, if desired
8. Store in an airtight container, it will keep for at least two weeks.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Breakfast Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Yogurt Icing

I have a soft spot for carrot cake. Growing up I worked at my lesson barn and on Saturdays we would have a pot luck and the barn owner would make her carrot cake. At the time I didn't like pineapple or raisins but like many other things, my preferences changed (up until a year ago I hated pineapple, so another vote for taste buds changing as we age.)

I wanted a smaller snack so made this thin cake. For a more substantial cake, just double the cake ingredients and add five minutes to the bake time. We made this for church along with Oh She Glows' Banana Oat Cake and both were very well received. We simply cut each in half to make two layers each. and served them on one cake carrier.

Breakfast Cake:
1 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t all spice
1/4 salt
2 T water
2 T oil
2 T yogurt, unflavored, unsweetened
1/4 C brown sugar, or equivalent
1.5 T ground flax in 4 T lukewarm water
1 heaping C carrots, shredded (we used 2 carrots)
1/4 C walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 C golden raisin
1/4 C pineapple, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease/flour a round cake pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. Serving it as a pie would work as well
2. Beat together the yogurt, oil, water, and sugar until smooth
3. Add in the spices, powder, salt, flax egg, and flour and beat until smooth
4. Fold in the remaining ingredients and pour into the prepared pan
5. Bake for 30 minutes, until a tester in the center comes out in.
6. Cool in the pan until the pan is warm but not hot to the touch and carefully remove the cake. Serve hot or cold, but definitely top with the icing

For the Icing:
1 C yogurt
1.5 T maple syrup
1 T cinnamon
pinch ginger

Beat together until smooth, adjust to taste. I wanted it mildly sweet but you might want it sweeter.

To store: Cover tightly with cling wrap. It can sit in the fridge up to two days but it's best fresh. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Honey Siracha (Cauliflower) Wings

DH was really really excited about this recipe. It eliminates everything about chicken wings I can't handle: fried coating and the chicken itself. It doesn't help that we never found a chicken wing source here before my food restrictions increased. There was some skepticism on Facebook but these were a really big success. Aside from kind of missing the texture of chicken (we were a bone-in kind of people, not boneless wings) DH didn't have any complaints. I made it a little spicy for me but we quickly polished off a whole head of cauliflower (and quickly paid for it with stuffed bellies, I might recommend Bean-o before and peppermint tea after, and some sort of ant-acid.)

DH had them on a bed of carrot matchsticks and celery chunks. I had them on a salad with thin celery half-moons and carrot shreds. We did find a "zero calorie" ranch-like dressing but can't 100% endorse it since it didn't fulfill the burn-cutting quality you want a wing dip to have. If you have no issues with milk or milk derivatives, just buy what ever you prefer - buttermilk ranch, blue cheese, whichever. There are number of dairy-free recipes out there on the internet, if you want to try that instead. 

Note, this is not your traditional buffalo wing sauce. I'm not a fan of the flavor of vinegar-based buffalo sauce but again you can find a recipe out there if you really want or just buy Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce. I like the sweetness to cut the spice. Maple syrup would a good substitute for the honey if you so desire.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pad Thai Summer Rolls

 Summer rolls take me back to college. One of our default after church lunches was at Clay Pot, by the time we moved DH had been going there for something like 8 years. Part of the lunch special was starting with goi cuon ga with a peanut dipping sauce. I usually followed it with a chicken clay pot (I'm not a huge pho fan) but DH would get the lemongrass chicken, extra spicy.

These rolls are pretty much a full meal, maybe could fit in more vegetables but otherwise, fairly balanced. If you want to include the spread in the rolls or not is up to you, we found it less messy but we ate them right away. If you plan on waiting a little while you might want to thin it out and use it as a dipping sauce so it doesn't overly soften the wrappers.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

White Bean and Mushroom Soup

This is my take on SkinnyTaste's Tuscan White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup. Developed the flavor a bit more to fit Zoe's Kitchen's Braised Beans which I have an unhealthy love for (seriously, I need to just get a to go thing of it instead of getting those unnecessary extras like salad or veggie kabobs -which are good but not as good.)  I'm seriously considering using thermos-type tumblers to make my own to-go soups for work and at the barn (need to remember to check to see if there's a microwave in the lounge.)