Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Caramels

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sweet and condensed milk
2 cups corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1. Scald cream and condensed milk over medium heat. Set aside.
2. In a heavy pan, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil on high. Boil covered for two minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium/medium-lowish and stir in butter.
4. Spend 3o minutes slowly adding cream mixture to sugar mixture a ladleful at a time.
5. Simmer until mixture reaches the firm ball stage Use a candy thermometer and the cold water test. On my thermometer, in high altitude, firm ball stage is about 225-230 degrees. (Traditionally, firm ball stage is 240 degrees, so it's important to do the cold water test.) To perform a cold water test, drop a spoonful of the mixture in ice water. When you remove the mixture, it should form a firm ball, one that won’t lose its shape when you take it out of the water, but remains malleable and will flatten when squeezed.
6. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Let set for several hours. Cut and wrap in wax paper.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Express-ier than Panda

I experiment a lot with Asian stir fry. My husband usually isn't that big of a fan, but it's a good way to get in some veggies. (That's probably why he complains...) But tonight, while slipping a green bean into his mouth, he let-out a mmm. I was like, "What? You don't even like green beans." His reply was: "I like anything that tastes this good." So, here's the recipe:

canola oil
salt and pepper
a handful of carrots--julienned
1/2 yellow onion--julienned
a handful of green beans (I used frozen)
1 center cut, boneless pork chop
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 garlic cloves--minced
1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
steamed rice

1. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a wok over medium heat. Add veggies and a dash of salt and pepper and stir fry for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, pound pork until it's 1/4 inch thick, then thinly slice it. Place pork pieces in a zip top bag; add flour, seasoning, and corn starch; and shake to coat.
3. Remove veggies from wok. Add another Tbsp. of oil, heat for 1 minute, and add pork. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until brown.
4. Meanwhile, make sauce by mixing soy sauce, sugar, garlic, hoisin, ginger, and red pepper.
5. Add veggies and sauce to meat. Simmer for a few minutes so the sauce can thicken and the flavors can blend.
6. Serve over steamed rice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm Back!

I know my posts haven't ever been all that regular, but I underwent a cooking hiatus for a couple of months because...well...I'll be going from newlywed to new mom in February! Back in July and August, baby hated everything, so I didn't do much cooking. But I think it's starting to warm-up to food again, as this week alone I've made three delicious home-cooked meals, the recipes for which I'd like to share.

Tuesday: San Pellegrino-Battered Fish Tacos
Sunny Anderson was making beer battered fish tacos on Food Network, and due to baby and my personal and religious beliefs, I was fresh out of beer. So I scoured the fridge for a possible substitute and found a can of San Pellegrino Aranciata (orange flavor), and thought I'd try it. It was delicious, and since I didn't have any real citrus to dress my tacos, it was the perfect touch.

2-4 cups cooking oil
2 tilapia fillets, cut into medium chunks
1/2 cup flour
corn tortillas, warmed in a frying pan.
party salsa (a version similar to others I've made and posted)
special sauce (mayo, sour cream, Chalula)

1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
1/3 cup San Pellegrino Aranciata (or Limonata, or just plain sparkling water)

Heat oil to medium. Dredge the tilapia chunks in flour. Dip them in batter and place in hot oil. Cook until golden brown. Remove, drain on paper towels, and season with kosher salt. Serve on warm tortillas with salsa and special sauce.

Wednesday: Corn Chowder
This is one of the few recipes I've made over and over again. I got it from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook back in college and have made it a lot since. I'm writing the recipe here so it won't ever be forgotten. I served it Wednesday with grilled cheese sandwiches.

2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion. diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
3 red potatoes, diced
2 cans chicken broth
3 cups frozen sweet corn
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup bacon bits
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

Cook onion and pepper in butter on med heat until soft. Add broth and potatoes and boil on high for 10 minutes. Add corn and cook another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, stir flour and milk together. Add milk to soup and cook until it bubbles and thickens. Add bacon and seasonings to taste.

Thursday: Autumn Chicken
I was going to make a boring chicken and rice meal, and this is what came out. No recipe--I just added things as I went. It was quite delicious. Mark said it tasted like Thanksgiving. I think next time I'll try making it with pork chops.

2 chicken breasts
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 onion, sliced
1 apple (Gala), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 stalk celery, diced
1 can chicken broth
2 handfuls dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
dash of dried thyme
tiny dash of cinnamon
tiny dash of nutmeg
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp butter

Cook onion, apple, and celery in oil on med heat. Add chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper) and brown on both sides. Add broth, cranberries, mustard, and seasoning and simmer on med-high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until sauce has reduced by half or so and the chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and stir sour cream and butter into sauce. Serve chicken and sauce over a bed of cooked rice.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cruncy Asian Noodle Salad

I found this recipe on Food Network, but made it my own way (of course). This is good for a pot-luck or barbecue.

1/2 lb. penne pasta
8 oz. sugar snap peas
1/2 red bell pepper--julienned
1 medium carrot--julienned
2 green onion stalks-cut at a diagonal
1/2 cup fresh parsley--chopped
3 Tbsp. sesame seeds--toasted

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. ginger
3/4 cup canola oil

1. Boil pasta according to directions. With about 2 minutes of cooking time left, add sugar snap peas to blanch. drain and rinse with cold water
2. Meanwhile, add all dressing ingredients to blender except oil. Puree, then slowly drizzle in oil.
3. In a large bowl, mix cooked noodles and peas, dressing, and other ingredients. Let sit at least an hour.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sweet & Sour Chicken Stir Fry

vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts--cubed
salt & pepper
green bell pepper--large dice
sweet onion--large dice
caned pinapple chunks--drained
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
4 tsp. cornstarch

Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir fry chicken seasoned with salt and pepper until brown, and remove from pan. Add a touch more oil and cook peppers and onions until soft. Add pineapple chunks and cook for a minute or so. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients for sauce. Add cooked chicken and sauce to wok, and cook until bubbly and thickened. Top with green onions and serve over steamed rice

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cinco de Mayo came a little early this year

Fish Tacos...Ole
2 tilapia fillets
fish marinade (recipe follows)
6 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
mango-avocado salsa (recipe follows)
zesty sour cream (recipe follows)
shredded lettuce

Marinate fish in marinade for 15-30 minutes. Heat 1-2 cups of vegetable oil in a pan or skillet with high-ish sides. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in another frying pan. Fry tortillas in the first pan, one at a time, until crispy. Bend in half right when they exit oil, and leave to drain on paper towels. In the meantime, cook tilapia in second pan until brown (3-4 minutes on each side). Remove tilapia from pan and flake. Prepare tacos in crispy shells with tilapia, salsa, sour cream, and lettuce. Serve with rice and beans.

Fish Marinade:
1 lime-juiced
dash Salt
2 cracks of pepper
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin

Mango-Avocado Salsa:
1/4 cup red onion-diced
1 ripe mango-diced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 ripe avocado-diced
1/2 lime-juiced
1 clove garlic-minced
1/2 tsp honey
salt, pepper, cumin to taste
splashes of red wine vinegar and olive oil

Zesty Sour Cream:
2 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 lime-juiced
1 tsp. cayenne pepper.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Orange Chicken

I've made this twice. The first time I followed a recipe from Food Network's Sunny Anderson. I didn't like the sauce, So I revamped it. I personally think my sauce tastes better, and it's better for you (or less bad for you, hers has butter in it). Also, I did my chicken differently (healthier) the second time. Sunny's chicken tasted like real Chinese take out, but my healthier version wasn't bad.

Orange Chicken Sauce:
1/2 cupish Soy Sauce
1/2 cupish Brown Sugar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
two glugs Worcestershire sauce
two dashes red pepper flake
1 tsp fresh ginger-grated
1 clove garlic-minced

Mix all ingredients in a shallow sauce pan. Simmer for 10 minute to reduce.

Chicken two ways: (you decide which is healthier)

2 chicken breasts-cut into bite-sized chunks
Vegetable oil for frying
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/4 cup corstarch
cayenne pepper

Heat oil in deep pan at med-high heat. In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add chicken to coat. Mix flour and cornstarch in plastic zip bag. add chicken to flour mixture. Toss to coat. Fry chicken in hot oil in batches until golden brown. Toss in sauce.

2 chicken breasts-cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp corn starch
Cayenne pepper
one egg
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400. Get out three bowls. Mix flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper in one bowl, beat eggs in another, add panko to another. Toss chicken chunks in flour to coat, then eggs, then panko. Place on baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile make sauce. Drizzle sauce over cooked nuggets.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Finally, a chewy PB cookie I can get behind!

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies:

1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp hot water water
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour

preheat oven to 350.

cream shortening and sugars and peanut butter.

dissolve baking soda in water and add to mixture.

beat in eggs and vanilla.

stir in flour and salt.

bake for 10 minutes.