Friday, April 27, 2012

Pad Thai and a Special Thai Dinner

                            

I can always eat Thai food. Spicy, sour, sweet. So last week when I was invited by a close friend to a 5 course wine and food Thai dinner given by students at University of Denver, well, you can imagine that I jumped at the chance to go. The dinner was part of a course they were taking where each student has the opportunity to design a meal and work with a guest chef. In this case the Chef, Saipin Chutima, who owns a well known Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, flew in to work with the students. She helped the students dish out everything from soup to salad to noodles to dessert. Many of my favorites were served and it was fun to see their “take” on them. A lot of Rieslings were served which generally are not something I tend to drink, however, I must say that the sweetness of the wine worked well with the sour in a lot of the dishes. Kudos to the students. They really seemed to enjoy what they were doing and we all enjoyed watching them. I suppose they could be our future restaurant stars in which case I would say they are off to a great start. More dinners are upcoming. If you are interested you should check out the DU website.

Which leads me to Pad Thai. I love Pad Thai when it is made fresh. The students made drunken noodles which I also love, but they left out one of Thailand’s national dishes which is Pad Thai.  There is a lot of BAD Pad Thai out there, floating in the universe. So let's make some good Pad Thai, shall we? Have you ever had Pad Thai in a Chinese restaurant? Generally, it is no good. The chief reason being that Thai food is not Chinese and most Chinese chefs are only good at- you guessed it-Chinese. The other thing that makes for a bad Pad Thai is bad noodles. Have you ever had noodles where they are soft and gooey and starchy and stuck together? Yeah. Bad noodles. Or you could go the other route where they didn’t soak the noodles enough and then you have hard to chew noodles. Yeah. Bad noodles. Of course this can also happen when the restaurant makes the dish ahead of time and lets it sit around so when it is served it tastes soft and bland and just generally lifeless.

 Pad Thai is never good when ordered for take out in my humble opinion. It has too much time to steam and take on those lifeless, limp noodle, characteristics. So if I can’t get out to my favorite Pad Thai restaurant, which is Wild Ginger on Littleton Blvd, then I resort to making my own. This is  my invention using a combo of all the Pad Thai recipes that are out there and it is pretty good. In my case I had no one to share it with, so I have leftovers. In most cases I love having leftovers, but Pad Thai is just not good reheated. Trust me, I will power through them, but Pad Thai is best eaten fresh.

Key tips: Soak your noodles as the package directs. Make sure though that they are soaked enough. There is a fine balance between soft and hard. Just don’t forget that. Avoid BAD noodles!

Tip#2: The sauce is also important. You can make it more sour, more spicy, or more sweet. It is your choice. I figure about 1 T of sauce to 1 oz of noodles. To much and you get a gloppy, yes gloppy, (it’s a combo of sloppy and gooey in a negative sense) dish. The noodles should only be lightly coated.

 And tip #3. Always go to a DU dinner if you are invited. They are worth it!

Pad Thai

1 chicken breast sliced thin
5-8 large shrimp peeled
2 large garlic cloves
3T canola oil
2 lightly beaten eggs
8oz flat wide rice noodles soaked
1/2c Green onions or Garlic chives
1 1/2c bean sprouts
Garnish with chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, green onions or chives and a lime wedge.

Heat oil and garlic in large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken and shrimp and cook until done. Do not overcook! Remove from pan. Add eggs and stirring lightly, scramble them softly. Add noodles and sauce and stir until combined Add back shrimp and chicken and then bean sprouts and green onions. Serve using all your garnishes.

Pad Thai Sauce
4T ketchup
4T fish sauce (you can find this at most groceries)
1t sriracha (chili sauce)
4t sugar
2T lime juice

Mix together and use about 1 T sauce to 1 oz noodles. Rice noodles come in a bunch of different weights so it depends on your package how much you want to use.

Once you make it you may never order it in a restaurant again!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Green Onion Garlic Chive Skillet Cornbread with Ancho Chile Butter

I’m a Northerner. I like my cornbread sweet. Even then I still like to add honey, because honey is good with anything. Cornbread to me is one of those comfort foods. It goes perfect with baked beans, fried chicken, chili, soup. Yes, it is great with spicy food because the sweetness helps keep that spice under control. So why did I bake cornbread this week? I entered a contest sponsored by Food52. They wanted recipes with green alliums. You know things like green onion, garlic, ramps, etc. Now I don’t know where half the world is going to find a lot of those things but my backyard is filled with garlic chives. And I like garlic chives. AND I like green onions. So I figured I’d go for it. And cornbread with these green things sounded really good. Plus I remembered how much I loved the cornbread from the Cherry Creek Grill here in Denver so I thought I would do a take on that. It turned out pretty, pretty good. But the pictures were really hard to take. So forgive me. And maybe if I actually win a contest I could get a new camera. But I never win anything so I’m not counting on it. And besides all you win is an entry in their cookbook. Well, I’m not counting on much, but that would be OK with me, too.

There are a zillion recipes for cornbread. This one is sweet, but balanced by the tang of the onions and garlic chives. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I made ancho chile green onion butter to go with it. Now that combo is killer. In fact I love this butter. I could just smear this on a tortilla and be perfectly content. My feezer has been filling up lately. I hope my family comes home soon. And if anyone knows where I can get a reservation for Saturday lunch and Sunday dinner for graduation weekend in Lewisburg, PA. well... Yes, I should be on the phone instead of writing this blog and entering silly contests. But I guess we all like to be winners sometimes!



Green Onion Garlic Chive Skillet Cornbread
1 c melted butter
3/4c sugar
4 eggs
1 14oz can creamed corn
1c sharp cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions chopped
1/2 c garlic chives chopped
1c flour
1c cornmeal
4t baking powder
1/4t salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 12” cast iron skillet.
Combine melted butter and sugar. Stir in eggs one by one. Add corn, cheese, grenn onions and chives. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into wet mixture. Pour into greased skillet. Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour. Serve with ancho chile butter.

Ancho Chile Green Onion Butter
1 stick soft unsalted butter
3 chopped green onions
1/3 c garlic chives chopped
4t honey
4t ancho chile powder
Combine all together. Feel free to use all green onions if you can’t find garlic chives. However garlic chives are usually found at oriental groceries. Yes, Virginia, ancho chile powder does taste different than other chile powders. Substitute at your own discretion. Feel free to add more or less or just leave it out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

                               

Cinnamon Rolls
When I grew up the only kind of yeast dough in the house was from a can. You know the rap on the counter pop ‘n fresh kind. Now granted, there was a lot of fun when it was your turn to rap that container against the counter. In fact it always made my heart skip a beat when it exploded while spilling its contents. But somehow I remember never truly loving what came out. There was something artificial in there that just didn’t make me crave the interior. I will say that the smell was intoxicating and anything hot out of the oven is fine with me-it just never quite grabbed me.

And then I went to college where I had many a night of the beer drinking kind. The kind that ended when the bars closed at some little hole in the wall that stayed open all night. The kind of night that ended eating hot, huge, gooey cinnamon rolls that were good to share between four people but better between two. The kind of cinnamon roll that soaked up all that beer so you could easily sleep until the next day. Not bad for a night, not necessarily good for that freshman 15. But that was a long time ago. And today, well, I find it’s better waking up to a cinnamon roll. I guess that way you have the entire day to work it off. It is easy to rationalize isn’t it?

In any case cinnamon rolls are a good way to make people happy. Who needs beer when you can eat a cinnamon roll? Well, I guess we could argue that. And they sure make a hangover a bit easier. But the cinnamon roll I’m talking about are those that can be made for a brunch or a special breakfast, you know the family kind. The kind where everyone loves waking up (even with a hangover) just because the house smells so good. And I’m not talking about spending hours in the kitchen. This is a quick recipe made with frozen bread dough. The hardest thing to do is to remember to thaw the damn dough. (Just write yourself a little sticky note and stick it to the freezer. THAW DOUGH! )

This is a great recipe to have on hand for those after prom mornings, graduation brunches, mother’s day, father’s day kind of events. These are also great for gifts. Teachers especially appreciate them for teacher appreciation week. (They still do that, don’t they?) People will be amazed at what came out of your oven.

If you are so inclined you can let them rise overnight in the refrigerator which means all you have to do is bake them the next morning. Be aware, there are differences in cinnamon. I am now a convert to Saigon cinnamon that I buy at the Savory Spice Shop  in Denver. I am told that it is their best selling spice. Taste it and you will see why.

 Time to  surprise someone this weekend. Make their day. Well go ahead. Make yours, too. Just remember to thaw the damn dough.

Rising Dough

Cinnamon Rolls
3 loaves frozen bread dough (I use Rhodes and thaw it overnight in the fridge.)
Dusting flour



Filling
3c dark brown sugar
Baked Rolls
3T cinnamon
1 1/2 c melted butter    
Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Using one loaf of dough at a time, roll on floured counter to a rectangle of 15x7 inches. Spread liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cinnamon mixture. (If you want to add raisins or nuts or chocolate or even pumpkin pie filling, you can do that now, too.) Starting at the long edge roll up like a jelly roll. Cut this long roll in half. Then cut each half in half. Then cut those halves in half. The idea is that you should have 8 fairly equal cinnamon rolls. Now take those slices and place them in a circle in an 8 or 9 inch  greased cake pan. (Do this 2 more times).
(If you want them to rise overnight cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise in refrigerator. Take them out 1/2 hour before you want to bake them so they will come to room temperature.) If you are baking right away they do need to rise for about an hour in a warm place.

Then brush with any extra melted butter you may have and bake them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they are pretty and gold.

Who wants two?


While they are baking make icing.

Icing
2 sticks softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 c cream cheese
2t vanilla
Mix in food processor or mixer until fluffy and light. Spread icing on rolls while they are still warm. These may be frozen after icing. Just thaw and heat gently in the microwave to warm a bit.

Best eaten while warm with or without a beer.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pantry Soup and The Sorcerer's Apprentices

Pantry Soup

Pantry Soup and The Sorcerer’s Apprentices
As a mother, a wife and in the past a supplier of daily meals, I often felt like a sorcerer. That is it was up to me to conjure something to eat from whatever might be in my refrigerator or pantry that day. Sometimes it might be something as easy as pancakes, another day we might end up with chicken curry. I was never a meal planner but I always kept my house filled with basics so that depending on my mood I could usually make something that fit what I felt like that day. Lately, I’ve been facing new challenges in that I’m home alone A LOT! I haven’t been real good about keeping my home stocked with daily supplies. For me it is hard to adjust to cooking for one. And knowing how much to buy for just moi. Plus, I don’t like going to the grocery every day. I used to go just once a week. With a family I know someone will always eat it but I get tired of the same food day after day. Oh, the challenges a sorcerer must face.

Which led me to making this soup. I worked with what I had and it came out quite good. It was even better the next day. A minestrone it isn’t because it doesn’t have zucchini or green beans or cabbage or potatoes. And it isn’t really a bean soup because I didn’t add a whole lot of beans. And I added some lean ham so I guess it isn’t a straight up vegetable soup. So I’m just going to call it pantry soup because I used what I had in the fridge and pantry. The important thing when making soup is to make it your own. You don’t want beans, well add more veggies. No ham, add bacon, smoked turkey or leave it out. You can’t make a mistake.

Which leads me to this book I just finished. The Sorcerer’s Apprentices (A season in the kitchen at Ferran Adria’s ElBulli ) written by Lisa Abend in 2011. ElBulli was rated the top restaurant in the world 5 times in a row by Restaurant magazine. It was open for 6 months each year near a little town, up a big hill, on a rocky road in Spain. Every year, every single reservation disappeared in a single day. Between 500,000 and two million people applied for this 30 course dinner. 8000 got in. I never got it. I never applied. And now it is closed. Adria will be turning El Bulli into a foundation where chefs can go to create. And create they will. Adria is the person who invented foams and spheres and smoke. The so called father of molecular gastronomy. His creativity  was without bounds when it came to food. Each year 3000 stagiaires would apply to work in the kitchen for 6 months- for free. 32 lucky ones were accepted. They never even got to taste the food they dished up! This book is their story, Adria’s story and the story of El Bulli. It is a different look at food and the world that revolves around it. Next time you go out to eat think about the background of those aspiring chefs. They work hard, long hours for usually not much moolah. What inspires them? This book gives you an insight into their world and into the creative genius of Ferran Adria. Each year he created 30 totally new dishes to shock? inspire? his clientele. Copy was not a word in his repertoire. The Sorcerer’s Apprentices is a fascinating book to read and may change your outlook on how you think about the food you eat. Then again it may make you very happy that you eat the way you do.

 And back to Pantry Soup. I have no apprentices in my kitchen. And frankly yesterday, well, I was just happy I only had to conjure up soup.


 Pantry Soup
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic
1 onion chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
 
1 stalk celery chopped
1 red pepper chopped
4 slices ham
1 c crushed tomatoes
1 can white beans drained and rinsed
2-4 c chicken broth
1 piece of parmesan rind
Bay leaf, 1/2 t smoked paprika, salt, pepper

Melt oil and butter. Add garlic and onions. Saute lightly and add carrot,celery, red pepper. Saute until softened. Stir in ham and cook lightly. Add tomatoes and seasonings. Stir in 2c chicken broth.Add cheese rind. Let simmer about 1 /2 hour. Add beans and another cup of chicken broth. Cook another 1/2hour on a very low simmer. If this gets to thick add more chicken broth. Serve with a grating of parmesan cheese and you may sprinkle with basil or cilantro.

Save your cheese rinds. They add good flavor to soup. Remember rendered bacon, pancetta or turkey will also work. Or don’t use at all and make this vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chcken.. Just make this your soup! Today, YOU are the sorcerer.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tomato Sauce


Tomato Sauce
The truth is that I hated tomatoes as a kid. My mother always kept them on the window sill in the summer and even had a few tomato plants. They  smelled so good but I just never wanted to taste a mushy ripe tomato. However I loved ketchup. I ate it on everything. I ate it on steak and chicken and turkey. I think my mother always wondered what I’d look like as an adult with ketchup on my plate. Though I still like ketchup, now I’ve grown to like tomatoes. And that leads me to this very basic of Italian sauces. Another Marcella wonder. Rich and full of tomato goodness, this is a really simple sauce that should be in every cook’s repertoire. You will be amazed at the results and overwhelmed by the taste.

I made it the other night when I had my CASA kids over to make dinner. We had that ubiquitous kid’s meal of spaghetti and meatballs, though my meatballs were made with chicken. (Quite tasty I might add.) A Caesar salad was added to the mix, garlic bread and poundcake and strawberries. It will suffice to say my CASA kids were quite content and very proud of themselves. I have to admit it tasted mighty good to me, too. But the leftovers were even better.

Try this sauce. Notice how it is completely unadulterated with herbs or garlic. This is a tomato sauce at its best. In the case of the spaghetti and meatballs I made sure that my meatballs were full of flavor, but I left the sauce alone except for a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper and a smattering of fresh basil. The sauce becomes sweet with the concentrated richness of tomato. And yes we did sprinkle on fresh parmesan reggiano. Yum...  Yum, yum, yum.


Tomato Sauce from Marcella Hazan (I used canned San Marzano and Pomi crushed tomatoes. Do a taste test and you will understand why. And I doubled the recipe below.)

2c tomatoes and their juice
1/4lb butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 peeled carrot
Salt
1 / 4 t granulated sugar

Puree tomatoes with a handheld blender while in pot. Add butter, onion, carrot, 1 1/2t salt and sugar. Cook at a slow but steady simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion and carrot. Eat or slurp with a spoon.

This is also suitable for any pasta dish or anything else you may want a tomato sauce on. Trust me with this. Really, anything is better with butter. Except of course my hips.




Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zergut Chicken or What I Found in My Fridge

Zergut Chicken


Zergut Chicken or What I Found in my Fridge
You may know that I have mentioned in the past that I am not good at cooking for myself. However because I have started a blog I feel compelled to at least try. Otherwise there really isn’t much point to this, is there?  Anyway about a week ago I raided my fridge and what you see is what I had for dinner. Not bad if I say so myself. A recent discovery of mine is Zergut Lutenica, a chunky relish. It is made in Bulgaria. I didn’t know Bulgaria made anything-but I guess they do. It is a wonderful spicy sweet, natural tomato, carrot, pepper relish. Actually, when I do impulse purchases at the grocery I always check the ingredients first. If they sound good, I figure it is a worth a try. After all, it never hurts to have a few convenience foods available. I found it at a middle eastern grocery. My guess is you might be able to find it at Trader Joe’s but we don’t have one in Denver. (Sigh)

Ignore the focus!
You could do lots of things with this. I think it would be great served with goat’s cheese and crackers. Oh, it would be a divine spread on a sandwich and yes it is good just on a spoon if you are so inclined. I decided it would make a great chicken parmesan kind of thing so this is what I did. It was quick and satisfied me and I probably will keep it in my repertoire for when my husband returns.


And speaking of husband; this is what he sent me. It seems it was American night in South Africa.  Pay particular attention to the use of the American flag. And also how they worship Coke. And please note that I think he is an even worse photographer than me. Maybe he had too much of that American Jack Daniels. And Coke.I was very happy with my Zergut Chicken. I hope he was happy with his Life

Fish, Cowboy Stew or Crumbed Chicken. Maybe he had the carved meat loaf. Or the hot dog bar. Yum. I'll just bet he wished he had Zergut Chicken. From Bulgaria, no less.




Ignore the sausage!


Zergut Chicken  (for 1)

1 Chicken Breast
Chopped garlic from a jar (I said I raided my fridge)
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Grated Parmesan
Zergut Chopped Relish
Leftover Olive Bread
Leftover Asparagus

Take the chicken and coat it well wilth the garlic from a jar. Season it with salt and pepper. Grill it until almost done.
Brush thick sliced bread with some garlic oil from jar. Grill it, too.Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Bread has a tendency to do that.
Take your leftover cooked asparagus spears and reheat them on the grill. They taste better that way anyway.
Now go back to your chicken and set it in a little tinfoil. Put a good dollop of Zergut on top and sprinkle with cheese. Shut grill and let melt.
Now take your bread and top it with the chicken. Take a bite. I know you know what is coming... IT IS SO ZERGUT!!!

The Coke Shrine. Apparently they don't like Diet Coke.
Told you!








Monday, April 9, 2012

Marshmallows and Matzoh S'mores

Marshmallows and Matzoh S'mores
                            A smiling face is half the meal. (Latvian Proverb)

Marshmallows and Matzoh S’mores

The truth is I really don’t like marshmallows. My daughter loves marshmallows. She likes those Peep things that are in the really bright colors. So I make these for her. And this year I made them pastel pink. (A little food coloring is OK, right?) Well, I guess I’m not quite telling the truth. I DO like marshmallows when I can dunk them in fudgie chocolate fondue. I DO like marshmallows when I’m sitting around a fire and I can toast them. Yum-those are so good. I like mine a little burnt around the edges just so I can smell the sugar of a perfectly toasted marshmallow. And feel the fire on my face. And well, I love s’mores. So maybe I do like marshmallows; just not by themselves- so to speak. And so this Passover, I came up with the above. My own Passover version of S’mores.

Nothing fancy here. Just a little Fool’s Toffee made with matzoh, of course. Microwave it for 10-20 seconds with a marshmallow on top and well, these are pretty damn good; if I must say so myself. Marshmallows are pretty easy to make. I’m not a candy thermometer kind of girl and you do need one for these, but I promise they are pretty simple. After all, I’m a simple girl. (Well, I’m not sure if my husband would call me simple. But when it comes to cooking I am.)

So go ahead. Amaze your family. You too, can make marshmallows. And WOW, they are so much better than jet puffed!


Marshmallows (from Martha Stewart)
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 c water
3 c sugar
1 1/4 c light corn syrup
1/4  t salt
3/4  c water
2t vanilla extract
1 1/2  c confectioner’s sugar

Oil an 11x17 baking sheet. Line sheet with aluminum foil, not the heavy kind. Lightly coat foil with more oil. (The hardest part in this recipe is after the marshmallows have sat you do need to turn the pan over after dusting with confectioner’s sugar and peel the foil off. It takes a little practice.)

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer soften the gelatin with 3/4 c water.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, 3/4 c water and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until syrup reaches 234 to 240 degrees. (I am at an altitude of 5280 so I adjust my temperature down by 10 degrees since water boils here at 202.) Note that you don’t have to stir and this doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to reach temperature.

With the wire whisk attachment on your mixer, at full speed beat the hot syrup slowly into the gelatin until mixture is very stiff, about 15 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and food coloring if you want. Pour mixture onto foil lined sheet and smooth top with an oiled spatula. Allow mixture to rest uncovered at room temperature for 10-12 hours.

Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar onto cutting board and on to marshmallow mixture. Turn out onto cutting board and peel off foil. Cut into shapes or squares. Store in an airtight container. These will keep for awhile if no one eats them.

Matzoh S'mores


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Macaroons



 


 


When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.


Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, 2009


The truth is I never used to like coconut. I never knew what all the fuss was about. Maybe it was my discovery of Thai and Vietnamese food that helped me overcome my aversion. Maybe it was the Mounds bar covered with dark chocolate that I took from my kid’s Halloween pumpkin a long time ago. (I didn’t think they’d miss it.) It was very good. Maybe it was my dislike of macaroons that came in a can.(But my husband loves those.)  Whatever. Coconut and I are now pals. I like it a lot. And I’ve been making macaroons for a lot of years now.

There are several ways to make macaroons but most incorporate egg whites and sugar. Some throw in almonds. In this family though we tend to have a coconut chocolate thing going on. I’ve tried many recipes and always seem to go back to the original. It is easy and quick and you can do lots of variations with it. I’ve seen recipes using unsweetened coconut and I’ve tried them. Frankly, I like the sticky sweetened coconut and using that saves me an extra trip to a different grocery. Some people like their coconut ground up a bit. Those remind me of what comes out of the can, but feel free, I’m not stopping you. And some people like to whip their egg whites first. No harm in that if you want an airier macaroon. Our family likes dense and chewy, kind of the same way we like our matzoh balls. We prefer the sinker variety, but don’t get me started as I really like any matzoh ball. But back to macaroons. I use the condensed milk recipe. I’ve tried many others but somehow I always come back to these. This is a good base to make any variety of macaroon you want. This recipe makes a lot so you can always scoop some into a different bowl and try a variation. A good tip is to always run your hands under cold water before you start making the coconut balls. And always use parchment paper or a Silpat liner on your cookie sheet.

Some variations:
1.  Chocolate Chips (the minis work best)
2.  Chocolate chunks (just push a piece of good chocolate into your macaroon when it comes out of the oven. It will melt.)
3.   Raspberry  Jam (or any favorite jam using the same technique as above except please use a spoon so you don’t burn your fingers)
4.  Lime Zest (stirred in to batter and maybe some cinnamon)
5.  Grated carrots, cinnamon, crushed drained pineapple (this makes carrot cake)
6.  Crushed Pineapple drained and rum extract (you know-Pina Colada)
7.  Cocoa (A couple tablespoons of this or melted dark chocolate and chocolate chips makes double chocolate macaroons)
8.   Plain
9.   You can dip the bottoms or top with melted chocolate.
10.  Easter people can add food coloring for cute little pastel macaroons.
11.  Add mini marshmallows and mini chips and have rocky road macaroons.
12.  Slivered almonds and almond extract

Well, I think you get the idea. And kids love to make these because, well, I guess because they are kids! So surprise someone. Bring them a real macaroon. You might even convert a non coconut lover. And the other thing is; well, people for some reason think these are so difficult to make. Let’s let it be our secret.


Macaroons

Makes about 48

2 large egg whites
1/4 t salt
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (yes, you can use the non fat kind)
2 t vanilla
2 14 oz bags shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy. (Maybe 2 minutes) Add condensed milk, and vanilla and blend it up well. Fold in coconut using a rubber spatula.
On lined baking sheet make little balls with your wet hands. Pack tight! Place about 1 inch apart.
Bake about 20-30 minutes until they are golden to your liking. Let cool on rack. Store in an air tight container. These keep very well because they are so moist.

DO NOT GIVE AWAY OUR SECRET!

                                                             Raspberry Jam Macaroon

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Okonomiyaki (It's what you want!)


                        Okonomiyaki  (It’s what you want.)

It was 85 degrees in Denver on Sunday. You might say it was just a bit warm for Denver on April 1st. Nature’s way of joking with us. Of course today it is snowing which is really typical for spring in the Rockies. I say, Mother Nature, bring it on! We need the moisture. In any case; Sunday found me going to the grocery and buying what I needed to do my Passover baking and to get those care packages off to my kids. I must say-I did a pretty good job and those recipes are coming. But first---what you want!

I was perusing the web in case I missed any new recipes and one site I enjoy looking at is Food 52. Check it out. You see I needed fortitude before beginning my baking and frankly, my diet has been lacking in Asian cuisine. I get withdrawals if I don’t get it enough. And that’s when I saw it. Okonomiyaki-translated in Japanese means what you like or want. Well, I was wanting and going to the grocery, so I could pick up what I needed. In actuality, I didn’t need much. Okonomiyaki is a bit like egg foo yung, only better. And easy. And quick. And adaptable. And satisfying to my tummy. Well, let’s just cut to the quick and say I ate it for lunch, dinner and breakfast and in that order!

Pretty much you are on your own to customize this as you see fit. The basic recipe is great, but I saw a zillion recipes when I did some research. You can throw in bacon, ham, ground pork, dried sausage or leftover chicken. In Japan they even make special flour for this. The next time I will definitely get some pickled ginger and bean sprouts to add. Didn't have those this time and they weren't necessary but I think they would taste great and add some extra crunch. Recipes say to add bonito dried fish flakes to the top before you serve. I had it this way in a restaurant and it looks like the pancake is moving. Cool effect but I don’t recall that it improved the taste.

So go ahead and make this. It is what you want. All my favorite flavors-salty, savory and with a little sweet chili sauce on top you get that salty sweet thing going on. Yeah. OH YEAH.

                                     Frying the not so little pancakes

Okonomiyaki
Serves about 4
Time to Make: About 30 minutes total
Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 t soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
1 t salt
1/3 c flour
2 c shredded cabbage (I bought the angel hair preshredded in a package)
1 bunch scallions chopped finely (These are really essential. Don’t skimp.)
3/4 c shrimp (I bought those teeny salad shrimp in the freezer case)
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/3c finely shredded carrot
Sesame seeds to sprinkle

Directions:
Mix eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and flour together. Stir in rest of stuff. Heat a couple tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat. Ladle large spoonfuls of egg mixture into hot skillet (like pancakes). Cook about 3 minutes on each side. (If you have bean sprouts I would add them on one side to give a nice crunch. If you wanted pickled ginger stir it into your mixture before cooking.)

Sauce (Yes, all good things come with sauce)
1/2 c mayo (light if you want)
2T soy sauce
2 t Sriracha (the good spicy stuff)

Mix all together in mixing cup with your handy dandy tiny whisk. Drizzle in stripes on your pancakes. Garnish with sesame seeds. And I added a little bit of sweet chili sauce. Yum!

That’s it. Now get started on your baking. You are well fortified and have enough salt in you that you can resist all that sugar.