Monday, January 15, 2018

Beet and Date Smoothie

Beets. It is my one odd pregnancy craving this time around. The quickest, and probably the most beautiful, way to enjoy these gorgeous red gems is in a smoothie. This Beet and Date smoothie, or some variation of it (I've substituted dark cherries for dates in one version) has become my go-to breakfast recently. But probably, the best unintended result of my new-found beet addiction is the fact that my toddler also got on board. He's probably attracted to the color and has no idea he's getting almost an entire serving of vegetables. But I'll take that as a win for this Mommy.

Beet and Date Smoothie 
Makes 1 serving

1 small, boiled beet
2-3 medjool dates
8 oz almond milk
1 scoop vegan protein
1 cup ice

Blend all ingredients together. Serve with berries on top.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Chicken Satay

Peninsula is the popular Malaysian restaurant in Uptown, Minneapolis that we frequented when we lived in the area, in what seems like a lifetime ago (in actuality, it has  been just over seven years.) There were two appetizers we always made a pointed of ordering: their roti canai and their chicken satay. I believe, this was the first place I had ever tasted chicken satay and have been a fan ever since.

To make them at home, chicken satay skewers require a bit of preparation, ideally the day before, but they are one of my favorite appetizers, especially for a big party. It can also be an entree, served on top of fragrant rice.  The recipe, and that of the accompany peanut sauce, calls for a litany of ingredients which, at first glance, seems intimidating but, truly, it's just a matter of combining the spices and marinating the chicken before the grilling process. Many of the ingredients here can be found at your local grocery store but I usually have to make the trip to my nearest Asian food store for fresh lemon grass, fish sauce and tamarind chutney. And, be sure to marinate these over night to get the most out of all those fragrant herbs and spices. 

Chicken Satay 
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia 
Serves about 10 as an appetizer and about 6 as an entree

bamboo skewers 
1 small onion, roughly diced 
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp ground turmeric 
2 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp chilli powder, more or less or non at all depending on taste
2 tsp fish sauce 
2 tbsp brown sugar 
2  stalks of lemon grass, chopped
6 boneless, skin-less chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour. 
2. Blend the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until smooth. Pour over the cubed chicken and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. 
3. Skewer three to four pieces of  chicken unto each bamboo skewer. Discard any remaining marinade.
4. Cook chicken skewers on a hot grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, making sure that the meat is throughly cooked. Serve with peanut sauce (see recipe below). 

Peanut Sauce
1 cup dry roster peanuts 
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 inch of ginger
1 tbsp coriander 
1 cup water 
1 tbsp soy sauce 
1  1/2 tbsp sugar 
1/8 tsp salt 
1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp tamarind chutney 

1. Coarsely chop the peanuts in a food processor and set aside. 
2. Grind the garlic, onion, ginger, and coriander. 
3. Heat the oil and fry the spice mixture until grainy and aromatic, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.  
4. Add the chopped peanuts, water, soy sauce, salt, oil and tamarind chutney. Cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until smooth. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Raspberry Cake

It is only fitting that my previous post and this current one are about raspberries. After all, my blog entires have been few and far between ever since my life became consumed by a messy-haired, rosy-cheeked, ever-happy toddler. This same toddler is also a raspberry fanatic. He had been at the time of my previous post and and still is today. So, imagine his delight when, about a week ago, we took him to a raspberry patch to pick his favorite berries to his heart's content. Decked off in his favorite green rain boots and blue hat, he quickly got the gist of how to gently pluck the berries off the branch so that the hull remained, as well as discerning those that were ready to be picked from those that were not. Truth be told, I did not expect him to be able to fill up his basket but fill he did. He also knew, instinctively, that no amount of berry picking is complete with bit of tasting as you go. But in spite of all the tasting, we ended up taking home three pints of delicious local raspberries which was more than enough to make this equally delicious cake. A cake which,  incidentally,  is toddler approved. 

Raspberry Cake
Adapted from Epicurious

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 to 2 cup fresh raspberries 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan. 
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
3. In another bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup of sugar with and electric mixer until pale an fluffy, about 2 minutes, then add the vanilla and egg. Continue to beat well. 
4. Turn the electric mixer speed to low, and mix in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with  milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 
5. Pour the batter into the cake pan, gently smoothing the top. Scatter the raspberries evenly over the top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. 
6. Bake until the  cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out unto a wire rack and cool for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mini Raspberry Muffins for my Toddler

My toddler - he has a thing for fresh fruit. Mangoes, oranges, and bananas are some his favorite but, because we live in Minnesota, fresh, tropical fruit are not always easy to come by. Luckily, he also can't get enough of raspberries. I can get him to eat almost anything if I put chucks of fresh raspberries on it. As you can imagine, meal times often include very adventurous (for a toddler at least) food combinations. Scrambled eggs with raspberries. Chicken with raspberries. Avocado, sausage and raspberries - we've done that too.

While on the less adventurous side, mini muffins are a go-to for breakfast around here. I make a different batch every two weeks and pop a few in the freezer. It about 10 seconds to warm up in the microwave. I've added raspberries to this batch but have made them in the past with blueberries. That's how we shake things up around here these days.

Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins 
Makes approx. 24 mini or 12 average-sized muffins

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffins tins and set aside.
2. Whisk the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition, then whisk in the vanilla extract.
3. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together in a separate bowl.
4. Fold in half of the flour mixture into the egg mixture, followed by half of the milk. Repeat.
5. Dust the raspberries with the remaining flour. This can be easily done by placing the raspberries and flour in a sieve and gently sifting the flour through.
6. Scoop into greased muffins tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (longer if you are making average-sized muffins) until a toothpick test comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and cool before serving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Fig and Red Wine Sauce

Some dishes are almost treasured in our house. The ones that are not prepared on a daily basis but once a year, at special occasions. They require specific preparations far in advance, such as ordering the meats from the farmers market or ritualistically making  parts of the recipe weeks or days ahead, and they help to define a season or occasion.  One of those is this rack of lamb. I make this only during the spring (usually at Easter) so understandably it's also a favorite. However, this is the first time that I have served it with this delicious (emphasis on delicious) fig and red wine sauce.  Like most special recipes, this one take a bit of time and effort but is absolutely worth it. 

For the rack of lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

For the sauce
1 shallot, minced
1 cup dried mission figs, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix the chopped herbs together; set aside.
3. Rub the rack of lamb with one tablespoon of olive oil and season evenly with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Sear the rack of lamb, beginning with the fatty side, on all sides for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish and paste with dijon mustard. (Save any leftoever oil and drippings to make the fig sauce). Then, gently coat the top of the rack with the herb mixture. Place in the oven, and roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F.
5. Let the lamb rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it into individual chops. Serve with fig and red wine sauce.

Fig and Red wine sauce:
1. Heat the leftover oil (used to sear the lamb) over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.
2. Add the chopped figs to the pot and cook an additional two minutes. Pour in the red wine, stirring well. Once the wine has stopped sizzling, add the stock, fresh herbs and honey. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the figs have softened significantly. Remove from the heat.
3. Discard the sprigs of rosemary and thyme.  Pour the sauce into a blender and carefully blend until smooth.