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.