Monday, January 25, 2010

Pasta with Chicken, Peas and Peppers

Based on this recipe. This turns out colorful (or at least xmas colorful) and tasty. Pretty easy to prepare as well. My frozen chicken package had 3 breasts in it - which was a bit much, so next time only 1 or 2 breasts, or increase the pea-broth ratio. Recipe is adjusted below.
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 c peas, frozen
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c hot water
  • chicken bouillon cube
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T oil
  • black pepper
  • freshly grated cheese and/or parmesan
  • pasta (1/2 package...4 big servings)
  1. Cook pasta. Drain.
  2. In a blender, combine hot water, chicken cube and 1 cup of peas. Blend until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in pan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add bell pepper and chicken. Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Add pea mixture, remaining 1 cup of peas, and black pepper.
  6. Bring to boil. Let cook until peas are done and mixture thickens.
  7. Stir in cooked pasta.
  8. Optional: Serve with cheese sprinkled on top.

Mini Ginger Sweet Potato Custard

Found some ramekins on sale the other day so am going to try my hand at some custards, mini lava cakes and other individual sized souffle type things. My first go was with some more leftover sweet potato. Cut a regular recipe for 6 into a third so I could make 2 servings in the mini oven.
  • 3/5 cup milk, scant
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c sweet potato, mashed
  • 5 t sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/6 t cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of cloves
  • sprinkle of vanilla
  • 1/6" fresh ginger root
  1. Grease 2 1-cup ramekins. Place in 8x8 baking dish. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat milk in small pan until very hot, but not boiling. When it starts to steam transfer to bowl.
  3. Rinse out pot and fill with water. Heat to very, very hot.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, beat egg with fork.
  5. Add sweet potato, sugar, salt, spices, vanilla and the JUICE from the ginger root.
  6. Whisk in the hot milk.
  7. Pour hot water in 8x8 dish, halfway up the ramekins. Pour batter evenly into ramekins.
  8. Bake for 40 min or until edges are firm and center is jiggly. If overbaked, they will crack and should be plunged in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
  9. Place ramekins on wire rack to cool.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Store for up to 3 days.
Variations
  • Original recipe comes with a wine poached pear topping.
  • Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon before/after baking.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Another portion of the sweet potatoes went towards making biscuits. Most biscuit recipes don't have an egg in them, but there are a handful that do. I tried the egg-less version with a smidgen of milk.
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 T powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t sugar
  • 4-6 T butter, cold
  • 1 c sweet potatoes, mashed
  • milk
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into the bowl. Use hands to mix until butter is in pea size pieces.
  3. Add potatoes and enough milk to hold the dough together. Do not overmix!
  4. Put on lightly floured surface and spread to about half-inch thickness. Use 2"-2.5" cup to cut biscuits.
  5. Place on ungreased sheet. [Note: you can freeze them at this point, covered tightly in plastic wrap.]
  6. Bake 230C for 15-20 min or until golden brown.
  7. Let cool 15 min before eating.
Variations
  • Use brown sugar instead of white.
  • Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg for a twist.
Notes
  • Made 13 biscuits.
  • Cook in mini-oven above center.

Thai Sweet Potato Custard

We harvested sweet potatoes from the garden a few weeks ago and they've just been sitting around. I finally boiled half of them and mashed them up for some sweet potato recipes. I needed to prepare something for a group, so I decided on this Thai Sweet Potato Custard recipe. However, I should have known looking at the ingredient ratios that it would be WAY too sweet for my taste. So I'm declaring this one a disaster. I also read the recipe wrong and put in 1 1/4 c of everything...which means 1/4 c too much coconut milk.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c sweet potato, cooked and mashed
  1. Grease an 8" square pan. Preheat oven to 205C/400F.
  2. In a medium saucepan beat the eggs with a fork.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk.
  4. Mix in the sugar.
  5. Add the sweet potatoes and stir well.
  6. Cook over med heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 4 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens slightly.
  7. Pour the custard through a sieve into the greased pan (to get rid of the stringy bits).
  8. Bake for 40 min or until golden brown and puffed.
  9. Cool to room temperature.
Notes
  • This was way too sweet. The sugar overpowered the taste of the sweet potatoes and the coconut. In the future, cut it to half or less.
  • I boiled the sweet potatoes but to retain better flavor, they should be roasted.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Molasses Bread

What to do with molasses besides gingerbread? I tried some in a yeast bread in place of sugar. Based on this recipe. The dough came out quite dark and fragrant. It makes for a very large loaf. After baking, it rose even more - I would reduce the yeast and/or molasses. The bread came out too soft (maybe switch the milk and water amounts) though the molasses flavor was definitely there.
  • 4 c bread flour
  • 1 T yeast
  • 1/2 c hot water
  • 1 c milk, scant
  • 2 t salt
  • 1/3 c molasses
  • 2 T butter
  1. Throw the ingredients in the bread machine and use the dough cycle.
  2. Punch down the dough and braid. Place in greased 9x5 bread pan. Let rise until nearly doubled (about 1 hour).
  3. Bake until browned and sounds hollow.
Other Ideas
Whole Wheat Molasses Bread
Molasses Whole Wheat Raisin Bread

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Belgian Jwaffles

What makes a waffle Belgian? Well, from a brief survey of recipes out there, it's either the yeast, the beaten egg whites, or a combination of both. I tried a recipe using yeast and it is MUCH airier than the previous ones I tried with either powder or beaten egg whites. I used this one from King Arthur Flour as a basis, which was very easy to put together. I waited an hour and made a batch and then put the rest of the batter in the fridge. I'll see how tomorrow morning's goes.
  • 1.5 c milk
  • 2-5 T butter
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 T sugar
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1.5 t yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c flour
  1. Heat the milk in a small pan until very hot. Transfer to large bowl.
  2. Add butter, sugars, salt and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  3. Add the yeast and let dissolve.
  4. Stir in eggs and flour. OK to leave lumpy.
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit for one hour.
  6. Either cook right away in a jaffle iron (or a waffle iron) until steam ceases or refrigerate over night.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit or freeze for later consumption.
Variations
  • Instead of sugar, use maple syrup, honey, molasses or a combination thereof.
  • Stuff with fruit.
  • amount of butter: the less you have the more it will stick to the pan. 5 T means the jwaffles slip out easily. 2 T means you may need to pry them out a bit.

Notes
I chose the King Arthur recipe for its use of yeast, minimal flour (2 c) and number of eggs. These other recipes also looked interesting:
Creative Kitchen
- Classic Belgian (top) - 3 eggs, 3 c flour
- Good Night Waffle (bottom) - 2 eggs, 2 c flour, baking soda, overnight
All Recipes - Belgian Waffle - 3 eggs, 4 c flour

Quote
A watched jwaffle never browns.

Miscellaneous
The whole waffle in a jaffle iron thing started with the question, Will it Jaffle? I was afraid I'd ruin my boyfriend's newly purchased machine, as a search of the internet ONLY has recipes for sandwiches and sandwich like things. However, our jaffle iron seems very robust and very much like a waffle iron, albeit with a different shape. And now I've discovered another site answering the question, Will it Waffle? I think some of those recipes can be tweaked for the jaffle iron. I'm looking forward to trying!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pasta with Peas, Basil and Onion

Just whipped this up using one small pan. Simple, quick and delicious. Made in a small pot to make 2 servings.
  • pasta
  • peas, frozen
  • butter
  • leftover onion, chopped
  • pepper
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • mozzarella
  1. Boil pasta in water.
  2. In strainer, boil peas over pasta water.
  3. Lightly drain pasta and transfer to bowl.
  4. Over low heat, melt butter and lightly fry onions until softened.
  5. Add peas and some leftover liquid. Season with pepper.
  6. Add pasta back to pan.
  7. Toss in fresh basil.
  8. Grate cheese over top.
Variations
  • Sprinkle with parmesan.
  • Add red pepper flakes with onion.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Recipes to Try

A collection of recipes/dishes I have yet to make, or have not made in a while.

Chocolate Crescent Rolls
- chocolate chips, bread machine
Baked Apple Donuts
- no deep frying, apples, bread machine
Calzone
- mushrooms, cheese, sauce, garlic, bread machine
Almond Vanilla Rice Pudding
- dessert occasion
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- chicken, walnuts, cranberries
Challah
- lots of time, eggs and flour

Soft Pretzels
(in recipe box)

Pierogis
- cold weather, lots of time, potatoes

Naan

Recipes with fresh rosemary (from the garden)
- use recipe from Hanna

added March 2009

Penne with potatoes and rocket
- find rocket substitute (leafy green)

Fast and Easy Herbed Chicken and Cauliflower
- shallots, dry white wine, cornstarch

homemade Pitas

added June 2009
egg bagels, cinnamon raisin bagels
pumpkin cheesecake bars
zucchini bread
Greek-style skillet supper
cherry delight

added July 2009
Blueberry Sweet Rolls (compare to cinnamon buns recipe), Blueberry Boy Bait
Watermelon Sorbet
Light Brioche Burger Buns

Caribbean Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

graham crackers

Almond Crusted French Toast with fresh cherry sauce
raspberry buttermilk cake


Added Dec 2009
Mint chocolate pudding cakes
chocolate mint cupcakes
sweet potato buttermilk pie

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Tarka Dahl

Jan 2010
Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions - very simple
Basic Beef Stew - soup pot usage; Basic Stew Recipe

Feb 2010
Strawberry Salsa
Strawberry Dumplings and other recipes

March 2010
Granola Bars
pear ideas

Sweet Egg Bread

I prefer the Golden Egg Bread recipe over this one, which I found to be too sweet. However it turned out beautifully as a braid in a loaf pan baked in the oven, instead of the bread machine. So I would definitely use this shaping method in the future with other loaves.
  • 2 1/4 t yeast
  • 3 T warm water
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3.5 c flour
  1. Combine ingredients in bread machine. Set to dough cycle. Check on consistency and add milk or flour, 1 T at a time to adjust. (1h20)
  2. Punch down dough on lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 pieces. Gently stretch each piece into long rope.
  3. Braid bread starting from the middle. Tuck ends under. Place in greased loaf pan.
  4. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Bake at 190C 25-30 until golden brown. Lower rack or cover with foil to prevent top from burning if you are using a mini-oven.


Gingerbread - cake

Still using up the molasses, so tried another gingerbread recipe and put it in my 8x8 glass baking dish. It took a very long time to bake - so might try a bigger pan next time (9" round) to reduce the time. I got it from a newly discovered blog - which occasionally has some recipes and lots of menu ideas.
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5 c flour
  • 1.5 t soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c molasses
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1 c water
  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Combine with sugar and egg.
  3. Add flour, soda, spices and salt.
  4. Add molasses, honey and water. Use mixer to blend until mostly smooth.
  5. Pour into 8x8 pan and bake at 180C/350F for 50 min or until cooked through.
Variations
  • Add grated peel of one orange.
  • Use cold coffee instead of water.
Notes
This turned out ridiculously moist and flavorful, though a little too sweet. So next time I might reduce the honey to 1/3 c and the sugar to 1/3 c. Also try a 9" round cake pan and try to get away with cooking it for less time.

5/20/10 Only had 1/3 c molasses and 1/3 c honey left. Blended until smooth in blender - lots of air bubbles. Baked in 9" cake pan at 180C for 50 min. Rose very high and unevenly. Honey had too strong of a taste (a kind I don't like). Otherwise ok.

Carrot and Potato Soup with Cumin and Ginger

This is a very easy soup to make and quite tasty. Served with caramelized onion focaccia bread. Delicious! Inspired from original.
  • 3 T oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 t fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 large* carrots, diced
  • 4 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 6 cups stock
  • pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot on med. Saute onion, garlic and ginger for 3 minutes or until just soft.
  2. Add carrots, potatoes and cumin seeds. Cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 5-7 min.
  3. Add stock. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are just tender.
  4. Cool slightly. Reserve 2-3 cups of solids. Puree the remainder until smooth.
  5. Season with black pepper.
Variations
  • Serve with cumin toast, sour cream, coriander.
  • Add chili powder to the soup for a little kick.
Notes
  • by "large" carrot, I mean the massively large carrots that are standard in Taipei. Each carrot is probably the equivalent of 2-3 large carrots back in the US. Roughly equal amounts of carrot and potato would do - or even 40-60 either way.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Creamy Tomato Soup

This is a delicious creamy soup without any cream! How is it done? The secret is in the bread slices. It adds the texture without the dairy. This also means you can leave this soup to boil, or reheat to boiling, without worrying about spoiling the soup (as if you had used milk). It's also recommended to use canned whole tomatoes, instead of crushed or fresh, to maximize on flavor. Very easy to put together. I made a very large batch for a party of 7 and had enough leftovers for at least 4 more servings. Based on the original.
  • 6 T oil, split
  • 1.5 c onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
  • 3 cans of whole tomatoes packed in juice (28 oz cans)
  • 1.5 T brown sugar
  • 4 large slices of bread, crusts removed and cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 c stock or water
  • pepper
  1. Heat 3 T oil in soup pot over med heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent (3-5 min).
  4. Stir in teh tomatoes and their juice. Use a potato masher to break apart the tomatoes. Remove any skin still remaining. Pieces should be no larger than 2 inches.
  5. Stir in the sugar and bread pieces. Bring soup to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to med and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is saturated and starts to break down. About 5 min.
  7. Turn off heat. Transfer to blender in 3 batches, adding 1 T oil per batch. Blend until smooth and creamy - about 2 min. Transfer to a large bowl.
  8. Rinse out pot and return soup to the pot.
  9. Stir in 3 c of stock or water or until soup is desired thickness.
  10. Return soup to boil and season to taste with pepper.
Variations
  • Serve with grated parmesan, chopped basil and grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Add a bay leaf with the garlic and onion. Remove it before blending.
  • Garnish with parsley or croutons.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Plaistowe Fudge Brownies

I got some of this "Rich Dark" cooking chocolate from Australia -- and just didn't know what to do with it. It must have come from a box, because the ingredients aren't listed on the packaging. So I didn't know if I should treat it like a bitter chocolate, a dark chocolate, a semisweet chocolate, or something else altogether. So I went to the Nestle site and tried one of their recipes. Result: disgusting. Well, at least in my opinion - but others seemed to like it ok. However, I won't be making it again. I just wanted to make record of it here. I'd much rather use other recipes with a chocolate I know or just cocoa. I modified the recipe to use just the one bar of chocolate (200 g).
  • 200 g Plaistowe Rich Dark Cooking Chocolate
  • 125 g butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 75 g butter
  1. Divide chocolate. Melt 125 g chocolate with 125 g butter in a medium saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and walnuts.
  3. Spread in greased, foil-lined 8x8 baking dish.
  4. Bake at 180C for 25 min. Cool in pan.
  5. While the brownie is cooling, melt remaining 75 g chocolate with 75 g butter in a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until slightly thickened.
  7. Spread frosting over brownies. Cut into squares to serve.
Notes
I would make Cocoa Brownies or the bitter chocolate-cocoa combo Brownies instead of this.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spicy Indian Cauliflower

Made rice with dahl and had this as a side vege. Delicious.
  • 2-3 T oil
  • pinch of mustard seed
  • few dashes of cumin
  • 2 t ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • half an onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 1 head cauliflower, divided into bite size pieces
  • spicy powder (red chili, red pepper, paprika)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in pan. Add mustard seeds.
  2. When mustard begins to pop, add cumin, ginger, garlic and onion. Stir fry until onions are golden (at too high of a heat they will burn).
  3. Add turmeric and cauliflower. Stir to coat.
  4. Add 1/4 c water, chili, salt and pepper. Cover.
  5. Let cook until desired texture, stirring occasionally.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jaffle Waffles

What do you get when you combine an Australian and an American? Well, I'll give you a clue: one loves jaffle irons and the other loves waffles. Lo and behold waffles made in a jaffle iron. Best of both worlds now. Woo hoo! Comes out in single serving triangle shapes.
  • 2 c flour
  • 4 t powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1.5 c milk, warm
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla - optional
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Combine egg yolks with milk, butter and vanilla. Add to dry mixture.
  3. Beat egg whites until frothy. Gently fold into mixture.
  4. Spoon into jaffle iron. Cook until nicely browned (lots of steam will come out). It takes longer than a waffle iron but works.
  5. Serve fresh from the iron, plain, with fresh fruit, or maple syrup.
Notes
  • Made 16 jwaffles.
  • The waffle batter needs work - it tasted a little too eggy for me.
  • Never heard of a jaffle iron? Most Americans haven't - it's like a panini machine except shaped to a sandwich and cut in triangles. The machine clamps the edges shut and the pockets hold filling.
  • The vanilla makes it taste more like a fortune cookie - a bad thing in my opinion.


Jwaffles, Take II
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 t powder
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • optional: lemon peel
  • 2 c milk
  • 6 T butter, melted *
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Combine egg yolks and milk (and lemon peel).
  3. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture.
  4. Fold in butter.
  5. Beat egg whites until frothy. Fold into batter.
  6. Cook in jaffle iron.
Notes
  • 6 T was too much buter
  • lemon peel - I made 8 jwaffles without then added 1 T at the end. Nice scent - but not sure I like the flavor. Better than vanilla though.
  • Overall, this was a better recipe for texture because it came out fluffier (I truly made the whites frothy this time with an electric whisk, as opposed to using chopsticks before). However, too oily. So still needs some tweaking.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

"Pudding" in Australia means cake - and according to my local Ozzies, a steamed cake with a sweet sauce. Not sure how accurate that is as all the recipes I found for this called for baking. The caramel/butterscotch sauces are what make it "sticky". I'm not a fan of super sweet things so didn't think too highly of this dessert, but from the requester it got rated with 4 stars. I myself give it 2 stars, so taking the average this earns 3. "Golden syrup" is also an ozzie ingredient that Americans have never heard of. It's supposedly similar to molasses but not as dark, nor bitter. Lacking that, the sauce wasn't quite right.
  • 1 1/4 c water
  • 1 3/4 c pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 t soda
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 3/4 t powder
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
Sauce
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/4 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  1. In a small saucepan bring water and dates to a boil. Add butter and soda. Remove from heat. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease cake pan.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, powder and brown sugar. Break apart any sugar lumps.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into bowl and fold until just combined.
  6. Transfer to cake pan and bake for 40 min, or until center comes out clean.
  7. 10 minutes before the cake is done, prepare sauce. Bring all sauce ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 3-5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes. Flip onto serving plate. Poke holes throughout cake and pour half the sauce on top.
  9. Serve with remaining sauce and ice cream.