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Dim Sum Coconut Jelly

coconut jellies

Have you been to a dim sum restaurant and tried the coconut jelly dessert from the cart? Well, if you have and you liked it …try this recipe. Who would have guessed Tyler Florence would have featured it on his TV show.

As usual the video and the recipe posted on the Food network site were not exactly the same. I chose wrong and decided to follow the written word… I have a feeling I should have gone with Tyler. In the end everything turned out fine but I had to cut the tops off all my jellies. For some unknown reason there was a layer of clear sugar water covering the top.

Recipe link
Tyler’s Ultimate

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Minny’s Chocolate Pie from “The Help”


Here is the recipe for the famous pie seen in the film “The Help” …minus the special ingredient! This was super simple to make and really delicious with just the right amount of chocolate. Make it for your Oscar party this weekend and you will be WINNING!

Recipe link
Food & Wine Mag/ Aug 2011

Coconut Macaroons


For holiday gifts this year I chose to make the 2011 Food & Wine magazine coconut macaroons because I thought it was going to be quick and easy. I was wrong. My first batch was a disaster. I tried to half the recipe because it said it made 40 and I only needed 20. What resulted was a bunch of coconut pancake-like cookies.

Round 1 = EPIC FAIL

I tried again and made the full amount because it was obvious I didn’t have enough coconut. Whoever “tested and perfected” this recipe at F&W mag didn’t do a good job.

Reason 1 – The recipe doesn’t come close to making 40 macaroons as stated, it was more like 25.
Reason 2 -Don’t bake for 25 minutes! If you don’t want badly burnt cookies watch them carefully once they hit 10 minutes in the oven …anything over 15 and you are in trouble.
Reason 3 – There was no mention that the macaroons may run during baking so if you want them to look like what you see in a store (round balls) then you will have to trim the edges.
Reason 4 – They say to stick the finished product in the fridge for about 5 minutes for the chocolate to set. It takes a good 20 min.

In the end they still tasted killer but in order to not have to doctor them up to look presentable they need either more coconut or less sweetened condensed milk.

Recipe link
Food & Wine magazine, Dec. 2011

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble


For the first time we received a few stalks of rhubarb in our CSA. I had never cooked it before so went on a search for a recipe. There was a trend to use it in a compote or baked good (pie/cake) and almost always with strawberries. I decided to go with the easiest and fastest …. a crumble.

It turned out really tasty and super sweet. Rhubarb looks like red celery and I didn’t taste it raw but it’s supposed to be tart, so to compensate the recipe used a lot of sugar. With a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream (we tried both) it makes for the perfect summer dessert.

Modifications we made: we used walnuts and added a little corn starch to the filling to keep it from getting runny per the comments others made.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | May 2010

Avocado Ice Cream


As soon as I saw Rick Bayless’s avocado ice cream on Top Chef Masters in 2009 I knew one day I would make it. When I received a box of lovely ripe avocados from the California Avocado Commission this recipe instantly popped back into my head.


I decided to cut the recipe in half and initially used two avocados but when I tried the final product it was more of a icy sorbet and the tequila was a bit over-powering. Not what I was going for so Mike suggested that I add another blended avocado to the mix. I did and the result was perfect…creamy, sweet avocado with a hint of tequila. This ice cream would be great as a “palate cleanser” during a multi course meal.


To ensure you are getting the best most nutritious avocados INSIST ON CALIFORNIA AVOCADOS!

Recipe link

Note: I received these avocados courtesy of the California Avocado Commission as part of the Foodbuzz tastemaker program.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits


Today they are celebrating Fat Tuesday in New Orleans so here is a little Big Easy flavor for you. This Shrimp and Grits recipe is super easy and fast to prepare – you’ll be done in less than 20 minutes! How can you go wrong with plump garlicky shrimp and cheesy grits? You can’t….this was wonderful.

Note: next time I will double the sauce.

Recipe link
Food Network magazine, December 2010

Heirloom Tomato and Bacon Green Beans


This recipe is actually called “Summer’s Tomato Green Bean Bounty” but as soon as I ate it I thought, “man these would be dyn-o-mite at Thanksgiving.” They tasted awesome and were even better the next day (we had a monster CSA delivery of green beans). If you are in need of a holiday side dish look no further.

Recipe Link
Epicurious / August 2001

Filet Mignons with Whisky Mushroom Sauce


The first recipe we decided to prepare from Steven Raichlen’s new BBQ cookbook was Filet Mignons with Whisky Mushroom Sauce a dish from Uraguay. It’s beef wrapped in bacon smothered in a creamy wild mushroom sauce. What’s not to like?

Recipe adapted from PLANET BARBECUE!: An Electrifying Journey Around the World’s Barbecue Trail by S. Raichlen (Workman, May 2010).

Serves 4

Ingredients

Sauce:
12 ounces wild mushrooms (porcini, chantrelle)
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp scotch whisky
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
kosher salt & ground pepper

Steaks:
4 filet mignons (each 1.5 inches thick & 6-8 ounces)
4 slices country style bacon
8 bay leaves (optional)
butcher string

Preparation

Make the sauce:  Trim/clean mushrooms and thinly slice. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and increase heat to high. Cook until tender stirring often and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until flour evenly coats the mushrooms, about 1 minute. Stir in beef stock and cream bring to boil, stirring well. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add whisky, mustard, lemon zest and stir until blended, about 2 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Sauce can be prepared up to 1 hour ahead and kept warm.

Prepare the steaks: Wrap a slice of bacon around the side of each filet, sandwiching 2 bay leaves, if using, between the bacon and beef on opposite sides. Tie bacon in place with butcher string. Season top and bottom of steaks with salt & pepper.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. To be authentic you’d grill over oak or eucalyptus embers.

When ready to cook, brush and oil grill grate. Arrange filets on the hot grate and grill to taste 4-6 minutes per side for med-rare. Don’t forget to grill the sides to brown the bacon.

Transfer steaks to plate and remove string. Spoon sauce over the top and serve at once.

See my review of the cookbook here

Buy the book here


Fajitas

I was craving Fajitas but didn’t know how to prepare the steak. I ended up using a Paula Deen recipe. The result was displeasing due to the lack of flavor. It probably wasn’t the best idea to look to the kooky southern cook for a Mexican recipe but it was called Gold Medal Fajitas. It sounded like a winner. Oh, well… at least it looked good. Anyone have a tasty Fajita recipe to share with me?

Recipe link, if interested

Lasagna-Style Baked Pennette with Meat Sauce

Mike and I hosted a get together last Friday night. Since we both had to work during the day I came up with the idea to make a lasagna because we could make it in advance. I ended up using a recipe I found in the December 07 Food & Wine Magazine. It was a variation on a lasagna and looked really yummy. It consisted of penne pasta, a hearty amount of lamb and veal, some tomatoes and a creamy cheese sauce. It turned out really good. A small amount goes a long way with this dish. It’s very rich. We easily fed 9 people and still had leftovers for two more meals.

Minor modifications for next time would include more tomatoes and maybe some garlic. This was my first Italian dish without any garlic…

Photo gallery (Click to enlarge):

You can also find the recipe in the 2008 Food & Wine Annual Cookbook

Caprese Salad

A couple times a year we have a wine & food night with friends. The evening consists of decadent food and many bottles of fantastic wine. This time Mike and I were assigned the salad course.

I attempted to make the Caprese Salad Mike and I ate at Enoteca San Marco last month. I had found an adaptation of the recipe online. I will admit I didn’t have time to make the pesto so I picked some up at Whole Foods. It was fresh and had the exact same ingredients the recipe called for but it was not as garlicky as I would have liked.

The 2 hour roasted tomatoes turned out well but didn’t have the same consistency as I remember at Enoteca. Enoteca looked and tasted more like stewed tomatoes.

Final verdict: No complaints from the foodies but I think I could do better.

You can find the original recipe in Mario’s cookbook:Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home

Cod with tarragon butter sauce

Mike whipped up this classic french fish dish the other night. He got the recipe out of the “best of Cooking Light 9″ special edition magazine. It can also be prepared using sole or flounder.

Take the cod and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat then coat with cooking spray. Add fish. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until flaky. Remove from pan, cover and keep warm. Add 3/4 cup dry white wine and chicken broth plus shallots (1/3 c) and garlic (1tbsp). Bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 5 tsp butter, 1/4tsp salt, 1 tbsp chives, and 1.5 tsp fresh tarragon. Spoon sauce over fish and serve.

cod

Lobster Risotto – The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Meal

If you ever get an invite to our house for risotto don’t pass it up! Mike is a risotto master. It doesn’t matter what kind he makes it always turns out fabulous. It is so good that I can’t order risotto in restaurants because they can never compare. For this special day he decided to make Lobster Risotto. It was his first attempt at preparing anything with lobster and he did a wonderful job. He chose this variety because he knows I am a lobster fanatic. My family lived in Massachusetts for many years so I have been eating lobster since I was young. Below are some pics of the fruits of his labor…

lobster stock phelps ovation lobster risotto

Mike started things off by making his own lobster stock which infused the rice with even more yummy lobster flavor. The final dish was silky and luscious. You can’t celebrate a special occasion at our house without a bottle of Joseph Phelps wine. This evening Mike chose a 2004 Chardonnay called Ovation which is what I gave him after I finished my 3rd helping of risotto!

Mike’s risotto cookbook of choice is by Judith Barrett and Norma Wasserman. It’s a winner. Purchase it here: Risotto

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