Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thai Vegetable Green Curry with Jasmine Rice Cakes

Again, another vegetarian recipe I intend to make for my Dad.  All I've done is having good intentions. :)

Garnish the curry with chopped fresh herbs such as basil, mint, and/or cilantro.

2  Tbsp vegetable oil
12  ounces cauliflower florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
3  Tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
8 ounces snap peas, strings removed
2 Tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering.  Add cauliflower and curry paste and cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar and bring to simmer.

Stir in zucchini, bell pepper, and snap peas, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes.

Uncover and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Off heat, stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rice Cake
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
1 large egg
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pulse 2 cups of rice in food processor until coarsely ground, about 12 pulses; return to bowl.  Mix other 2 cups of rice.  Stir in egg, flour, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Using hands, pack rice mixture into 4 patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add rice patties and cook until crisp and browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Serve rice cakes with vegetables curry.

Asian-Style Sweet Potato Salad

I want to make this vegetarian recipe for my Dad.  Soon!  :)

2   pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cute into 3/4-inch pieces
4   ounces snow peas, string removed, sliced 1/2-inch thick on bias

1   Tbsp rice vinegar
1   Tbsp lime juice
1   Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1   Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp caynenne pepper
2    Tbsp vegetable oil
1    Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
3 scallions, sliced thin

Steam sweet potatoes for 16-20 minutes until nearly tender.
Add snow peas and steam until potatoes and snow peas are tender, 2-4 minutes more.
Drain vegetables and rinse (remember to rinse until they are completely cooled or they will break down and become mushy when tossed with the dressing) with cold water until cool.
Drain again and transfer to large bowl.

Whisk the rest of ingredients together, except peanuts and scallions.  Pour dressing over vegetables and gently toss until evenly coated.  Stir in peanuts and scallions.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Season again with salt and pepper if needed.

Vanilla Cupcakes & Frosting

I have tried several vanilla cupcake recipes, and this Perfect Vanilla Cupcake is my favorite so far.  There wasn't any butter in it, surprised, but it was moist and tender and flavorful.

I also tried the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake from The Cupcake Project, which is quite tedious.  It uses all three types of fat: oil, butter, and sour cream, a little of each, instead of just 1/2 cup of oil from the recipe below.  Yet, I still think the cupcakes below taste better.

1¼   cups (125g) cake flour
tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
1½   tsp pure vanilla extract
½   cup oil
½ cup buttermilk

Makes 17 cupcakes using the large cookie scoop for each cupcake.

Bake at 350F for 12 - 14 minutes.
I kept baking these cupcakes using convection oven at 325F (12 minutes) and the cupcakes that were closest to the fan were lopsided, yet I couldn't remember using regular oven next time.

Mix dry ingredients.
Beat eggs.  Add sugar.  Add vanilla extract.  Add oil.
Add half of flour mixture.  Add half of buttermilk.  
Add other half of flour mixture.  Add other half of buttermilk.

Batter is very runny and it's okay.  Don't top off the cupcakes.  Fill only half full.

I also like the frosting below for vanilla cupcakes.  I love cream cheese frosting, but it's usually too runny to pipe on cupcakes.  The  Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from Cook's Illustrated adds buttermilk powder to help thicken the frosting and provide the tanginess.  It's perfect for carrot cake, but still a bit heavy for vanilla cupcake.  The frosting recipe below, also from Natasha's Kitchen blog, uses whipped cream for the airiness.

1½  cups cold heavy whipping cream
8-oz package cream cheese, softened at room temp
1½  cups powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract until well mixed.
Fold whipped cream into cream cheese.

Frosts 20-25 cupcakes.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Recipe: Ground Pork and Apple Sliders

2     lbs ground pork
½    cup minced white onion
1½  cups finely diced apple
1½  Tbsp Italian seasoning
1      tsp garlic powder
1½  tsp sea salt
1      tsp black pepper

Mix the ground pork with the minced onions, diced apples, and spices.  If you prefer a milder slider, first sauté the minced onions in a little coconut oil.

Evenly separate the meat mixture into 8-10 portions and form those into patties.

Cook on a grill or in a large skillet over medium heat for 7-10 minutes per side or until the patties are done all the way through and no longer pink in the middle.  (Internal temperature of 160F).

You can serve them like burgers wrapped in lettuce, or top with a fried egg and a few dashes of hot sauce.

We had this pork sliders with lettuce and coleslaw, and I like the flavor a lot.

Coleslaw with vinegar dressing

1/2-head of cabbage
1/2 medium onion
1 to 2 carrots
1 green bell pepper
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers

Slice / grate / cut everything thinly.  Mix well.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2    Tbsp sugar
2    Tbsp oil
1/2  tsp celery seed
1     tsp salt

Mix well.  Add to slaw mixture.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.