Monday, June 30, 2008

Hot Chocolate

12 oz of the best whole milk you can find (Jersey whole milk)
Handful of high quality milk chocolate
large pinch of cinnamon
small pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of good vanilla

Heat milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan until just before boiling, add chocolate and whisk until smooth and melted. Add cinnamon and cayenne and whisk again. Take off heat and add vanilla.

Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs — beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas — 5 bananas!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 9×5 loaf pan. In large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice

1 Ripe Mango, peeled
2 tbs sugar
1 cup sticky rice
2 pinches salt
1 cup coconut milk

Soak the sticky rice for 10 minutes in warm water in a bowl. Soaking the rice is very important. I have tried this method without soaking the rice first and it was disastrous. The rice was undercooked and inedible. The water level should be just above the rice, which comes out to be 1 cup of rice and a little over 1 cup of water (about 10% more). I recommend using a non-plastic container because you may melt the plastic in the microwave. Cover the bowl with a dish and cook in microwave for at full power 3 minutes. Stir the rice around to move the rice from the top to the bottom. You will notice that some of the rice is translucent or cooked and some still has white center or the uncooked portion.

Heat it up again for another 3 minutes. Check and see if it is done. When cooked, all the rice should be translucent. If it needs more cooking, I recommend heating up and checking every 3 minutes or so. How long it takes to cook really depends on your microwave.

Putting it together:
Heat the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer. Hard boiled coconut milk will curdle. Add sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over the hot sticky rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The sticky rice will absorb all the coconut milk. The rice should be a little mushy. Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice at serving time.

Chicken Korma

1 kg Chicken breast or mini breast fillets
1 heaped tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
150g thick (plain) yogurt
1 dried red chilli (used red pepper flakes instead)
2 finely chopped onions
1 tbsp ghee or veg. oil
1 tbsp ground coriander
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
75g coconut milk
salt, to taste
2 heaped tbsps ground almonds
finely chopped Coriander Leaves, to garnish
juice of 1/2 lemon

Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized chunks. Mix the chicken with the ginger, garlic and yogurt. Cover and marinade for 12 hours or in the fridge overnight.

Liquidise the chopped onion and red chillies, add a little water if you need to, blend until smooth.
Heat the ghee/oil in a pan. Add the ground coriander, ground black pepper, turmeric and garam masala and stir fry for about 1-minute over a low heat. Turn up the heat, add the onion and chilli paste and stir fry for 10-minutes.

Add the chicken and the marinade and continue to stir fry for another 10-minutes. Add the coconut milk and enough water to *just* cover the chicken and bring to the boil. Stir in the ground almonds. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender (30-40 minutes).

Remove from heat, add lemon juice and salt to taste. Mix well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Apricots and Couscous

1 1/3 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup couscous
1/2 English cucumber
4 fresh apricots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a 3-quart saucepan bring water, oil, honey, and cumin to a boil and stir in couscous. Immediately remove pan from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Seed cucumber and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Pit apricots and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Fluff couscous with a fork and stir in cucumber, apricots, mint, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or chilled.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Orange and Mint salad

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar ( used rice vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon orange-flower water( I omitted)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (I omitted)
4 large oranges
1 5-ounce package arugula (used mixed greens, Rex hates arugula)
1 cup fresh mint leaves (from about 2 bunches)
1/2 cup thinly sliced pitted oil-cured black olives
1 5-ounce piece ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta cheese), cut into 1 1/2-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick slices (used mild feta)

Whisk first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature and rewhisk before using.

Place onion in large bowl. Add 1/3 of dressing; toss. Let marinate 20 minutes.

Cut off peel and pith from oranges. Cut each orange crosswise into 8 slices.

Add greens, mint, and olives to bowl with onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Add remaining dressing; toss. Divide salad among 6 plates. Tuck orange slices and ricotta salata slices into salads.

Zucchini Gratin

1/3 cup long-grain white rice ( I used leftover saffron rice)
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced ( I used less onion)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Cook rice according to package instructions.

While rice cooks, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking pan. Toss tomatoes with 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another baking pan.

Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and tomatoes in lower third, turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, thyme, 1/4 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then top with remaining zucchini. Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake in upper third of oven until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

** I did this throughout the day and I think you could assemble this and bake it off later with no change to the flavor.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ranch Dip (London style)

  • 315 ml low-fat buttermilk
  • 180 g low-fat mayonnaise
  • 160 g low-fat sour cream
  • 3 g garlic powder
  • 2 g onion powder
  • 2 g chopped fresh chives
  • 1 g chopped fresh dill
  • 3 g chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 g salt
  • 0.5 g pepper
Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, chives, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.