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Monday
May252015

Coconut Vanilla Tapioca with Mango Sauce

 

Wow, has it really been a month since my last post? I apologize! It's been a busier month than expected. School is almost out and the track season is just about over, so I'll have more time to cook when it is still light enough to get some decent pictures.

It's Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This month, I was assigned to Chocolate & Chillies, written by my neighbor to the north Asiya. Asiya lives in Toronto, which is a favorite city of ours, and is only about 2 hours away from our house. Asiya is a stay at home mom to 2 boys. Her family is from India and her husband is Pakistani, so she has some amazing recipes to choose from, including Chicken Biryani, Falooda, and Muhammara Pasta just to name a few. As you can imagine, it was pretty difficult to choose just one. But, as soon as I saw Asiya's recipe for tapioca, I was sold! When it comes to dessert, pudding is usually pretty low on my list of preferences. Generally, I'll pass if given the option. However, tapioca pudding has always been a favorite of mine. While we didn't eat dessert often growing up, there was always a box of instant tapioca pudding in the cabinet ready to be made whenever the craving hit. Since I have grown up and moved out, I don't have that constant box of tapioca in the pantry, although after trying this recipe, I very well might! The coconut milk gave the pudding such a delicously rich flavor, and the flecks of vanilla bean were so pretty. The mango puree gave the pudding just the right amount of sweetness. Thank you for the delicious dessert recipe, Asiya!! I had a great time getting to know you this month!

For the Pudding:
1/3 cup Small Pearl Tapicoa
1 can Coconut Milk
3/4 cup Milk
1 Egg Yolk
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 tablespoon Vanilla Bean Paste (or 1/2 inch piece of Vanilla Bean, scraped)

Pour the milk and coconut milk into a medium saucepan and add the tapioca pearls. Soak for about 30 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla and place the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, stirring often. Pour the mixture into pudding cups and chill in the fridge overnight.

For the Mango Puree:
1 Mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 teaspoons Sugar

Place the mango and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Store in the fridge. To assemble, spoon some of the puree over the top of the pudding. Enjoy!

SOURCE: Chocolate & Chillies

Monday
Apr272015

Pineapple Jam

Pineapple jam

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day! SRC is such a great way to get to know bloggers from all over the world. Case in point, this month, I was assigned to Shirley’s blog, Enriching Your Kid. Shirley blogs from India! Even though she is half a world away form me geographically, it is so cool to be able to click a button and get to know her as if she was right next door! Shirley is a clinical psychologist turned stay at home mom of two children. I felt an instant connection when I saw that her son and my husband share a name! Shirley’s blog is filled with amazing dishes that have been passed down to her from her mom, as well as her own creations. There were several recipes that I was immediately drawn to, such as beetroot paratha, homemade paneer, and paneer burji, and I definitely will be revisiting those recipes soon to give them a try. While all of those were savory recipes, I had a hankering for something sweet this month, so I ultimately made this pineapple jam. A simple recipe of 3 ingredients makes for such a versatile jam that can be used in many ways. To me, it seemed to have the consistency of applesauce, and while I suppose you can eat it as is or use it on a sandwich as you would any other jam, I found that it makes a delicious topping for an ice cream sundae! I also stirred a bit into my morning oatmeal, along with sliced banana and mango. It was as delicious as it was easy! Shirley, thanks for such a delightful recipe! I look forward to giving many others a try, too! 

1 Pineapple, cut, cleaned, and cored
2/3 cup Sugar
3 Cardamom Pods, crushed

Chop the pineapple into small pieces and place them in a saucepan. Add the sugar and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool the mixture and pour into a blender. Puree the mixture, then pour it back into the saucepan and place back over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until it reaches the consistency of applesauce, about 10-15 minutes. Add the cardamom and remove from the heat. Allow the jam to cool before placing it in a covered container and putting it in the fridge. 

SOURCE: Enriching Your Kid

 

Sunday
Apr192015

Romesco Sauce

Romesco

With the warm weather finally arriving, I’ve been thinking a lot about sprucing up my backyard and garden. I started my vegetables from seed again this year, but learned from my mistake last year of overcrowding things in a tiny little space, and therefore planted much fewer. Hopefully this year, we will actually be able to grow our own produce. Just thinking about it is making me crave light and healthy meals, made up of mostly vegetables. However, you can only add so many spices to vegetables as you roast (or grill) them before they start to become boring. So, I’m always on the hunt for ways to bring more flavor to my roasted vegetables. Enter this sauce. This recipe was very easy to make and absolutely delicious. It reminded me of a pesto, except red. If my garden has any success this year, I could potentially end up with a lot of red peppers, so it’s always nice to have a recipe to make that will use some of them up. We tossed this sauce with roasted vegetables and served over some fresh ravioli, but it would be just as delicious as a topping for chicken or fish, or even just for topping crostini. 

2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers (either roast them yourself or use the jarred peppers)
3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
1 cup Slivered Almonds, toasted
1/2 cup Tomato Puree
1/4 cup Parsley
2 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1/2-3/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients except for the oil into the bowl of a food processor. Process until blended, then slowly add the oil through the top until the sauce has reached the desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serving suggestions: toss with pasta, vegetables, poultry, seafood, or crostini. 

SOURCE: The Vintage Mixer

 

Tuesday
Apr072015

Raspberry Swirl Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon raspberry cheekecake bars

This year, we once again hosted Easter dinner for our families, but we switched things up and went with a non-traditional menu. Instead of the traditional ham, sausage, and pierogi, this year we decided to go with a taco bar. Perfect for the crowd…all 14 of them! As for dessert, I opted for something light and fruity. I know that Easter generally conjures up memories of chocolate filled baskets, but as I have gotten older, it also has me craving lighter flavors. Flavors such as lemon. Lemon is just so fresh and clean after a long winter laden with heavy foods. Since the thought of making a regular cheesecake still intimidates me, I went with the simpler cheesecake bar. It still has all of the flavor of a cheesecake with the bite-size convenience of a bar. These were a hit, even with the little kids! Perhaps now it is time to start tackling the real deal...

For the Crust
1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
4 tablespoons Butter, melted

Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper overlapping in a crisscrossing pattern, leaving some overhang for easy lifting. In a bowl, mix the melted butter with the crumbs until moist. Pour the crumbs into the prepared dish and press until evenly distributed throughout the bottom of the dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while preparing the filling. 

For the Raspberry Puree
4 ounces Raspberries (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons Sugar

In a food processor, puree the raspberries until smooth. Press the pureed berries through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much juice as possible. Discard the solids/seeds. Add the sugar to the puree and stir to combine. Set aside.  

For the Filling
16 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Zest of a lemon
4 tablespoons Milk
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest, milk, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over crust and spread with a spatula to even it out. Spoon the raspberry mixture over the top of the mixture and swirl using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the center. Cool completely then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

SOURCE: The Baker Chick

Monday
Mar232015

French Style Rolls

French style rolls

It’s the first Secret Recipe Club reveal day of spring! This month, I was assigned to Bewitching Kitchen, written by Sally. Sally is a biochemist who was born and raised in Brazil, and has lived in Paris and California before settling in Kansas. She describes a little bit about her research in bacteria on her Science page. It sounds so interesting. I love to get a glimpse into what other people do for a living!  Because of Sally's background, she has a whole section of Brazilian recipes, which all looked so delicious! She also has a section all about sous vide cooking, which is super cool! We do not have a sous vide, but after experiencing food cooked that way at a restaurant we both love, Joel has been wanting to get one pretty badly. I will most definitely revisit that section of Sally’s blog when we finally do get one. We started out the month trying to challenge ourselves with Meatless March. Because of that, I was limited by what I could choose. Don’t get me wrong, Sally has plenty of non-meat based recipes to choose from so it was not difficult by any means, but there were so many amazing looking recipes that included meat that I could not make. Long story short, the challenge fizzled and meat was quickly back in some of the foods we ate this month. But, by that time, I had already settled on making these French-style rolls, so I didn’t stray from my plan, and I’m glad I didn’t. These rolls were amazing. While Joel is typically the bread-baker in our house, I’ve made a few recipes before that have either been too dense or too chewy, but this one had the perfect consistency; a nice crunchy crust with a fluffy interior that was great for both sopping up sauce and for making sandwiches! Thanks for letting me into your kitchen this month, Sally. I can’t wait to stop back and try some more of your recipes! 

1/2 cup Warm Water
2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (this is the same as the amount in 1 envelope)
1 cup Cold Water
4 cups Bread Flour
2 teaspoons Salt

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and set aside. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or alternately, in a food processor), add the flour and salt, mixing to combine. Add the cold water to the yeast mixture, then pour it into the bowl with the flour. Mix until the dough starts to form a ball. Adjust with additional flour if the consistency is too sticky or water if the consistency is to dry. Knead the dough (either with the dough hook or by hand) then place it into a bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover and place the bowl in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1-3 hours depending not he temperature in your kitchen. When the dough has risen, shape it into either 12 rolls or 2 loaves and place them on a baking sheet to rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Make a deep cross cut on the top of the rolls using kitchen scissors, or slash the top of the loaves with the blade of a sharp knife. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes if you are making rolls or for 40 minutes if you are making loaves. 

SOURCE: Bewitching Kitchen