Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

Kelly of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch chose this week's recipe and will be posting it on her blog.

These aren't pretty, but they are delicious.

I loved these cookies! They have a shortbread texture with just a hint of coconut and lime. When I make these again (and I will), I will double the lime zest.

These remind me of the World Peace Cookies, which has been my favorite TWD recipe so far. I might try the method used this week with the World Peace Cookies next time; it was much easier than slicing the rolls of frozen dough.

Do any long-time members think I have missed a recipe I'd love that is similar to the World Peace Cookies and these? (I have only been with the group since January.)

Tim's Rating: 9.5/10 ("I don't taste coconut or lime. Oh I taste a little lime. These taste like butter. These are really good.")
Liz's Rating: 9.5/10

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mango and Sticky Rice (Khao Neeo Mamuang)

The Amazing Race's pit stop in Thailand

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 3 mangos, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. While the rice cooks, mix together 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil; remove from heat and set aside. Stir the cooked rice into the coconut milk mixture; cover. Allow to cool for 1 hour.
  3. Make a sauce by mixing together 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the tapioca starch in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
  4. Place the sticky rice on a serving dish. Arrange the mangos on top of the rice. Pour the sauce over the mangos and rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Notes: This is a dish I have enjoyed at many restaurants but never made at home. Now that I know I can make it, I think I need to have a a Thai dinner party! I used arborio rice, but next time I will try sushi or sticky rice. I substituted cornstarch for the tapioca starch, and it worked fine.

Liz's Rating: 9.5/10
Tim's Rating: 10/10

Next week on The Amazing Race: Thailand (again!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tim Raves: Hennepin Beer from the Ommegang Brewery

Tim is obsessed with this beer. He was very very excited to see it at a new local restaurant, and last weekend I found it at our local liquor store just in time for March Madness.

He told me that "this is so good, you should put it on the blog!"

We're off to Vegas for the weekend! I hope everyone is enjoying March Madness and the spring weather.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sihan of Befuddlement chose this week's recipe!

I thought it was tasty and not too much of a production. It is definitely a step up from the Betty Crocker Blueberry Streusel Muffins I have so enjoyed over the years. :)

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Next week on TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Puffed Rice Crunch

The Amazing Race's pit stop in India
Food & Wine

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups unsweetened puffed rice

  1. Set a 12-by-18-inch sheet of parchment on a large baking sheet and oil the paper. Have a kitchen towel ready.
  2. In a medium saucepan, cook the brown sugar with the lemon juice over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until richly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Working quickly, stir in the puffed rice until coated, then immediately scrape the mixture onto 1 end of the baking sheet.
  3. Fold the paper over the rice, cover with the kitchen towel and roll into a tight 3-inch log. Unwrap and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Using a serrated knife, gently slice the log crosswise 1/2 inch thick and serve.

Recipe Notes: In India, the chicki wallah (sweets vendor) knows to set up shop near a school: Children find this crunch irresistible.

Click here for a photo of a chicki wallah!

Notes: I had a slight (actually big) problem trying to roll it into a log. I used a silpat instead of parchment paper, which could have been my problem. Taking photos of these wasn't easy either. I'll post a bad photo below this. I am glad I tried this-- many of the recipes I found were more Indian-American recipes, and I wanted to find something that people in India actually eat.
Tim's Rating: 7.5/10
Liz's Rating: 7/10

Next week on The Amazing Race: Thailand!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pesto alla Anna

A Lidia Bastianich recipe, adapted and printed in GQ

  • handful of almonds, lightly toasted
  • bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (for the non-vegans)

  1. Boil water for the pasta, and cook when ready.
  2. Place the almonds, a handful of the basil, the garlic, and red-pepper flakes in a food processor. Process while drizzling in about a half cup of olive oil, until pureed but still chunky.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes. Process until incorporated. The sauce should look like bolognese--thick and hearty, a yellowish orange. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Just before pasta is done, scoop out about a cup of cooking water. Drain pasta.
  5. Place sauce in a large serving bowl. Add some of the water (start with just a little) and stir until the sauce is smooth.
  6. Add pasta to the bowl and toss until coated. Let cool a bit, then toss with lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano (if desired).
  7. Taste. Season. Serve. Devour.

Recipe Notes: A bright, bracing alternative to traditional pesto genovese. And as easy a recipe as you'll find, provided you own a food processor.

My Notes: Super easy and flavorful. A nice bright bunch of flavors as spring arrives but the winter produce still fills the grocery store.

Liz's Rating: 8.5/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bourbon Beef Noodle Bowl

Cuisine at Home

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 boneless beef sirloin steak, sliced into thin bite-sized strips
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced onion
  • 14 oz low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cubed sweet potato (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 cup dry egg noodles
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions

  1. Combine bourbon, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add beef, mixing to coat. Cover and marinate beef 15 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Drain beef through a sieve over a bowl, reserving marinade.
  2. Heat 1 T oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until browned, about 3 minutes, remove from pan; set aside.
  3. Add remaining 1 T oil and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Stir in reserved marinade, broth, and water. Add sweet potato and bring to a boil. Add noodles; cook until sweet potatoes are tender and noodles are done, about 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in beef and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Garnish each serving with scallions.

Nutritional Information for 1/2 recipe: 622 calories; 23 g total fat (5 g saturated); 77 mg cholesterol; 7 g carb; 1070 mg sodium; 6 g fiber; 29 g protein.

Recipe Notes: Bourbon Beef Noodle Bowl is hard to categorize. It's not Asian, it's not European, and it's not traditional American. It slips into its own box: plain good eatin'. This soup provides a whole meal in one bowl...The beef soup is curiously addictive, with flavors that intrigue your taste buds with every bite. With the first spoonful, the flavors of maple syrup and sweet potatoes seem to predominate, but their sweetness is quickly offset by the savory beef, garlic, and spinach.

My Notes: This recipe FAILED. We couldn't even finish it. The bourbon flavor was so strong, it was incredible (incredibly bad). Cuisine at Home needs a better test kitchen.

I am still posting it for a few reasons:
  1. One thing I don't like about blogging is that it may seem as if I never have a problem with recipes (yeah right). Recipes fail. It happens to everyone, and that is ok.
  2. I think this recipe would be good with just a few modifications: (1) marinate the beef for only 15 minutes (2) discard the marinade instead of adding it with the broth (3) double the amount of beef broth (since the marinade isn't added).

I liked all of the flavors together.. it's unfortunate that the bourbon overpowered all of the other ingredients.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas

Cooking Light

I love quesadillas. I make them a lot, especially when I don't feel like cooking or have leftover ingredients sitting in my fridge.

I found this recipe and had all of the ingredients on hand. It was a nice, quick lunch that I could enjoy while my non-goat-cheese-loving husband was working on a weekend afternoon.

I substituted canola oil for the cooking spray and used frozen corn kernels since we don't have fresh available this time of year. I would not suggest using flour tortillas (too gummy); corn tortillas are best for any non-burrito recipe!

Liz's Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD: Lemon French Yogurt Cake

Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction chose this week's recipe and will be posting it on her blog.

I skipped the optional marmalade glaze because I didn't want it to be too sticky. It was a simple, delicious bread, sort of like a lemon pound cake. It would be a nice thing to take to a friend's home or to serve to overnight guests.

This was easy to make. I used a dark metal pan, and my loaf didn't seem to rise as much as others. It was also done earlier than the recipe described.

I am a little late posting this because... I am lazy. I baked this on Sunday but didn't get the photo uploaded in time. Whoops!

Tim's Rating: 8.5/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Next week on TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake (!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Siberian Spicy Garlic Cheese (Pikantny Syr)

The Amazing Race's second Russian pit stop
this recipe from grouprecipes.com

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) medium-sharp white cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) Emmentaler cheese, (Gruyere)finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup pure sour cream (containing no additives)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise
  • 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, put through a garlic press
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or hot paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Toss the shredded cheeses by hand in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, pressed garlic, hot pepper (optional), and salt in a small bowl, then add to the cheese, stirring to mix well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (and preferably overnight) to let the flavors meld.
  4. Let the cheese mixture come to room temperature before serving. Use as a stuffing for small firm ripe tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, as a topping for baked potatoes, or as a spread for dark bread.

Recipe Notes:
Called pikantny syr (spicy cheese) in Russian, this is a popular appetizer in Siberia and the Russian Far East. In restaurants it is usually served as a stuffing for ripe red tomatoes, or as a spread for chewy-textured Russian bread. The combination of cheeses used in this recipe approximates the taste of the cheese used in Asian Russia. Plenty of garlic provides the kick; you can also add some cayenne pepper to make the cheese even hotter. Russians make this dish by putting all the ingredients through a meat grinder--but you can shred the cheese by hand or even use a food processor.

My Notes: I only used 4 cloves of garlic, and it is still very garlicky! I liked this spread on toast points. (We were out of crackers.) It would also be delicious melted on top of chicken breast... which I may try with the leftovers!

Tim's Rating: 8/10 ("Too garlicky for me.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spiced Lentil Tacos

SELF Magazine

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 package (2.25 oz) taco seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped (use half for less heat)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 8 taco shells
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat (2 percent) cheddar

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Mix sour cream, chile and adobo sauce in a bowl. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula. Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with 2 heaping tsp sour cream mixture, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

Note: I only use full-fat dairy, so I substituted in regular sour cream and cheese. I left the recipe as-is to reflect the nutritional info below.

Nutritional Info:
249 calories per 2 tacos, 7.1 g fat (1.9 g saturated), 37.1 g carbs, 9.7 g fiber, 11.5 g protein

Liz's Rating: 8.5/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("Not as good as beef tacos, still good.")

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ham and Egg Fried Rice

Cooking Light

  • 4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup thinly horizontally sliced green beans
  • 3/4 cup diced ham (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1-inch) slices green onions

  1. Break up rice with hands to remove large clumps, if necessary.

  2. Heat a 14-inch wok over high heat. Add canola oil to wok, swirling to coat. Add 1 1/2 cups onion and garlic to wok; stir-fry 1 minute or until onion begins to brown. Add beans and ham; stir-fry 2 minutes or until ham begins to brown.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add cold rice to wok; stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper. Push rice mixture up sides of wok. Pour eggs in open space in center of wok; cook 30 seconds or until set, stirring to scramble. Gently stir scrambled eggs into rice mixture. Sprinkle with green onions.

Notes: I made this for us to take to work; it made four portions.

Vegetarian option: Replace ham with broccoli and/or mushrooms

Nutritional Information

Calories: 397 (29% from fat)
Fat: 12.8g (sat 2.3g,mono 5.4g,poly 3.2g)
Protein: 14.5g
Carbohydrate: 54.5g
Fiber: 2.8g
Cholesterol: 121mg
Iron: 3.3mg
Sodium: 868mg
Calcium: 57mg

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Product Rave: Coriander Chutney

Please get yourself to an Indian grocery and find this. If you love cilantro, you will LOVE this coriander chutney. It's got some heat to it and is wonderful spread on naan!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TWD: Lemon Curd Custard

Bridget, one of my favorite food bloggers, chose this week's recipe. She will post the recipe on her blog today.

I halved the recipe and filled three ramekins. I added one clove to the milk along with the lemon zest, which gave it a nice flavor.

The texture of this custard is like flan. I am not a huge fan of flan. If you are, I highly suggest you try this recipe!

Tim's Rating: 6/10 ("It has nothing to do with you. I didn't like the consistency.")
Liz's Rating: 6.5/10 (due to flan-like texture)

Monday, March 9, 2009


When I saw these on Lindsay's blog, I knew I had to try them. Then Tim and I went to her home, and he had some. "You made these?" He was shocked and impressed, which made Lindsay and I laugh a little. Lindsay gave him a bag to take home, and he ate all of them by the time we got home. So, I made him some more today.
Recipe adapted from Bread Baker's Apprentice

  • 1.5 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • one egg white, lightly beaten with 1t water
  • coarse salt
  • spices (I used dill, cumin, caraway, and rosemary)

  1. Stir the flour, salt yeast, honey and oil together.
  2. While continuing to stir, slowly add the water into the dry ingredients. Stir until the dough gathers into a ball.
  3. Lightly flour the counter top and knead the dough for 10 minutes. You will know the dough is ready when it stretches thin without breaking. (Do the windowpane test.)
  4. Spray a bowl with oil and swirl the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes -- the dough should double in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Lightly oil the counter top. Place dough on the oiled surface and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough out until its paper thin. It should be at least 12" x 15".
  7. Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Using a pastry brush, thinly coat the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle coarse salt and any spices you would like onto the dough.
  9. If you would like pre-cut crackers, use a pizza cutter and cut the desired shapes - the crackers will break even once removed from the oven.
  10. Bake the crackers for 15-20 minutes, when the crackers are evenly browned.
Notes: I didn't roll the dough as thinly as I should have. I still like the result, but Tim prefers Lindsay's crunchy crackers. She used whole wheat flour, which I will try next time. (I am currently out.)

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Russian Ground Chicken Cutlets (Kotlety Pozharskie)

The Amazing Race's pit stop in Russia

  • 1/4 c milk
  • 2 lb chicken breasts, boned & skinned
  • 5 ea white bread slices
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter
  • 3/4 ts salt
  • 1/2 ts white pepper
  • 2 c dried bread crumbs
  • 10 tb unsalted butter

  1. Put 5 bread slices in a bowl and pour in the milk. Soak the bread for 15 minutes. Squeeze the bread dry being careful not to tear it up.
  2. Grind the chicken fine then combine with the bread slices. Gradually beat in the 1/4 lb of butter that you have softened, along with the salt & pepper, until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Make 6 patties from this mixture. Roll them in the bread crumbs coating them completely.
  4. Take the 10 tablespoons of butter and clarify them in large skillet over a low heat. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 3 minutes so the whey will settle out. Spoon off the clear butter, dump the whey, and return 6 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Place over a medium- high heat and when hot fry the patties
    for approx. 5-6 minutes per side or until done to suit your taste.
  5. Serve at once, pour remaining butter over the patties. Very good with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream on each patty.

Notes: Wow. I was not expecting to love this recipe as much as I did. I used one pound of local ground chicken breast from my co-op, made my own breadcrumbs from white bread, and otherwise followed the (halved) recipe. I will definitely be making this again! I think it would be wonderful in a Chicken Parmigiana-type meal.

Liz's Rati
ng: 9.5/10
Tim's Rating: 9.5/10

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TWD: Mini Chocolate Armagnac Cakes

Lyb of And Then I Do The Dishes chose the Chocolate Armagnac Cake and will be posting the recipe.

After discussing this recipe with Bridget, I decided to only prepare one third of the recipe and fill as many ramekins as necessary... which ended up being two. I decided not to glaze them, but I would do so if I were making the cake for a group. I enjoyed making this recipe-- it was definitely different than any chocolate cakes I have made before! I loved the moist texture.

The recipe had a few different options; I went with the ground walnuts, prunes, and brandy.

Tim's Rating: 8.5/10
Liz's Rating : 8.5/10

Next week on TWD: Lemon Cup Custard

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blood Orange Sorbet

A suggestion from my friend Lindsay
A recipe from David Lebovitz

  • 2 cups blood orange juice (8 oranges for me)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  1. Put the sugar in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Add just enough juice to saturate it very well. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Stir the sugar back into the reserved blood orange juice.
  3. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker.

Notes: Awesome. Fresh. Gorgeous. Tasty.

Tim's Rating: 9.5/10
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Romanian Bean Soup with Bacon and Chard (Ciorba de Fasole)

The Amazing Race's third pit stop: Romania
and this recipe for Ciorba de Fasole.

  • 1/2 pound dry haricot, pinto or butter beans
  • 6 pieces of bacon, sliced into 1-inch widths
  • 2 litres water
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 T vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • small bunch dill
  • crusty bread, for serving

  1. Soak the beans in cold water for 3-4 hours.

  2. At the end of the soaking time, cube the bacon. Drain the beans and put them in the saucepan with the bacon. (Make sure there will be plenty of room for the beans to expand.) Pour the water over. Bring to the boil, skim, and turn the heat down. Simmer the beans for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until soft. More time may be needed...keep checking the beans.

  3. Shred the lettuce or other greenery and stir into the soup when the beans are soft. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

  4. Mash the beans a little to thicken the soup. Mix egg yolks, cream and vinegar together, and stir into the hot soup. Season. Chop the dill finely and scatter it over the soup.

  5. Serve with bread.

Notes: When I started to make this, I thought, oh it's just another bean and bacon soup. But I knew I was wrong as soon as I stirred in the sour cream, egg yolk, and vinegar. I really enjoyed the chard with the other flavors. It's an interesting recipe, and I am glad I tried it.

Vegetarian Option: Omit the bacon.

Liz's Rating: 8/10
Tim's Rating: TBD

Italian Dinner Party

A successful gathering last night! Here's what we served:

Venetian Spritz (made by Tim)

Antipasti Platter:
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Chunks of Ricotta Salata
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • No-Knead Bread

Chicken Saltimbocca
Lemon Spaghetti
Roasted Asparagus
Red Wine
Sparkling Water

Tiramisu Ice Cream
Dorie's Chocolate Almond Biscotti (pictured)
Blood Orange Sorbet
Candied Orange Peels