Sunday, March 16, 2014

Red Curry Chicken

On a weeknight, something easy is the way to go for me. I rely on curries a lot because they're super easy to make and, served alongside rice, they're super filling! I can't make my own curry sauces so I like to buy the Golden Curry cubes and Thai Kitchen's red curry sauce. I grew up on Golden Curry cubes, but red curry is new to me and I love it. Coconut milk is so delicious in this curry -- I really could eat this all the time.

Red Curry Chicken

I used different vegetables than what the original recipe used, so you can put in whatever you like. Instead of bok choy, snow peas, and sweet potatoes, I used regular potatoes, sweet onions, and carrots. Brown rice might be better for you, but white rice is a must for me when it comes to a dish with a wonderful sauce.

Once it's a good time to get fresh mussels, I will have to post a recipe for Red Curry Steamed Mussels. It is amazing and the leftover sauce is good to just eat with rice once all the mussels are in your belly.

Always keep this red curry paste in stock. You'll find yourself making this often.

Red Curry Chicken
From Eat, Live, Run 

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp coconut oil [I used vegetable oil]
3 cups coconut milk, light or regular [Definitely go regular!]
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp red curry paste
2 baby bok choy, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1″ knob ginger, grated
1 cup chopped snow peas
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt

Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. When hot, add the ginger and saute until fragrant — 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and sear until not quite cooked through. Then, add the curry paste. Mix the ginger, chicken and curry paste together and continue to saute over high heat for another two minutes.

Pour in the coconut milk and water, then add in the vegetables. Bring curry to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Stir in the fish sauce, salt, lime juice and sugar. Continue simmering over medium/low heat until veggies are soft. This will take about 10 minutes.

Serve curry over rice or quinoa!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Cream cheese in cookies is totally normal. Cheddar cheese in the crust of apple pies is not unheard of. Any more cheeses we can add to sweet things?

Yes! Ricotta Cookies are actually pretty common, but I had not heard of them. I associate ricotta only with pasta dishes so it took me a while simply to get used to the idea of ricotta in the cookies. I'm so glad I finally decided to make them. First off, I can't resist anything lemon so I knew I would like these somewhat. Since it is not an overwhelming cheese anyway, the cookies have only a very slight taste of ricotta. Second, the texture is the best part. The ricotta makes them oh-so cake-y and, boy, are they hard to resist. Third, did I mention the lemon?

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

The cookies themselves are not sweet, so I would not skip out on the glaze. Next time, I might double the lemon zest added to the cookie batter as it wasn't enough for me. The only problem I had is storage. They are great the day of and taste great days after as well, but a day after storing them in an airtight container, they were very moist. Anyone who have made these cookies before have a solution? Just wondering, but really, at least the taste is not affected.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
From Picky Cook

For the cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 large lemons, zested

For the glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 large lemons, zested

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle the glaze onto the cookies. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Brownie Truffles

I share a recipe today that is great for this weekend's special holiday, Valentine's Day. This weekend was great because I got Thursday and Friday off school thanks to the snowstorm, but I'm sure many people are not happy with the snow. Did the snow put a delay on your flower deliveries? Did the snow stop you from leaving the house, therefore ruining your dinner plans? Use this weekend to make it up to your lady friend and surprise her with these. She'll love you for it (even though her hips might not).

Brownie Truffles

These are really easy to make so it's okay if these truffles disappear in 2 seconds since you didn't slave over them all day (okay -- maybe okay not for your waistlines). They are really addictive and easy to grab three or four pieces before realizing how many you've downed! But they just melt in your mouth no matter what temperature you leave them in. I've tried them warm and the truffle melts the second you close your mouth. I've tried them cold and after a few bites, they too have melted. Mine did not cut very cleanly but my stomach surely doesn't care about that... ;)

Brownie Truffles
From Gourmet Persuasion

3.5 oz Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72% Cacao bar, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole milk
3 oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp (10g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat up milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and bring to a slow boil. Turn off the heat.

Dissolve dark chocolate in the saucepan by stirring constantly. Stir in butter until melted. Add egg, sea salt, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture and stir. Add flour and stir until all the flour is gone and the final mixture is visually smooth and even.

Pour the mixture into a 5″ x 9″ buttered baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

When done baking, let the brownie truffle cool down and refrigerate it overnight.

Cut the truffle into small squares (0.5″ x 0.5″) and coat them with cocoa powder. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies

Back in December, when I got really obsessed with sewing, I decided to make oven mitts for my carpool buddies. But just an oven mitt seemed meh to me, so I thought a jar of cookie mix would be a good addition. A use for the new oven mitt!

Homemade Oven Mitt

I didn't get a chance to make the cookies before gifting them as I ran out of weekends so I finally gave it a try two weekends ago. But they ended up like this:

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies

They may not look bad but I was disappointed with the way they turned out. They tasted alright, but they didn't stay together very well. I even tried chilling the dough and it didn't help much. I also thought there was too much white chocolate (not a fan anyway) and not enough blueberries or oatmeal. So this past weekend, I made them again but the right way -- creaming the butter and the sugar first, then adding the eggs, then the dry ingredients. Since everything was mixed together in the jar, those important steps could not have been followed the right way leading to not so great cookies. I wish I had made these before gifting and realized the fault in this cookie mix in a jar but at least they still tasted okay. With the changes though, they are fantastic or "bangin'" as one of my students exclaimed. It's basically a twist on an old classic, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Doesn't this batch look much better??

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies

I know they sell dried fruit of every kind but I just never thought of anything outside of raisins or cranberries. So when I saw that my WalMart had dried blueberries, I knew I had to try them. They may be delicious little morsels, but unfortunately, they are actually a little pricey. With two packages in one batch, I probably won't be making these cookies that often but maybe as a special treat once in a while.

Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies
Forgot to bookmark the source -- will when found again!

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Add in eggs one at a time, combining well after each. Add vanilla extract and combine. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix! Fold in the oatmeal, white chocolate chips, and dried blueberries until just combined.

On a lined baking sheet, drop dough by tablespoons 2 inches apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet until set, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Happy New Year! It was a crazy end to 2013 and it's an even crazier start to 2014. I spent a majority of my winter break in New Jersey with my family and then spent a weekend in Maryland for a little reunion with some of my college housemates! My hands were itching to get back into my little apartment kitchen though because I got a bread machine for Christmas! Finally I can pronounce all the ingredients in my bread and count on my fingers the number of ingredients. It's exciting stuff.

I eat sandwiches every day for lunch so I used to buy a lot of bread but now I'm on Week 2 of homemade bread and it's been amazing. I've made only Honey Whole Wheat Bread so far but I'm certainly going to venture out soon and try to make something with oatmeal and such. I can't imagine how good regular ol' white bread would be either. Mmm!

I sent pictures of my homemade bread to my mom and she wished she could taste it. Then I thought, why not send some to my mom? If my grandma in Korea can send my mom homemade red pepper paste to the US, then I could certainly send my mom something when I'm only a few states away. My mom's birthday is coming up soon so I made her something I knew she'd love: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread. It wasn't made in the machine but still homemade so I don't think she's mind. I'll just make her bread machine bread another time.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

If you have a stand mixer, this bread takes no effort or your time. Let the machine do its work, let the dough rest, roll it out, then roll with sweet cinnamon goodness inside. It's a wonder why I don't make this bread more often instead of buying it. A lot of times, store-bought breads are too sweet for my family's tastes so I think this bread is perfect. Just a touch of sweetness from the cinnamon sugar swirls and raisin bites.  Make someone's day with this delicious bread. It's a guarantee that they'll enjoy it. Who can reisst unrolling the bread and eating it one twist at a time?

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

I found it hard to get back to work after a nice relaxing break. But maybe Mother Nature was listening and wanted to ease us into work because in just one week we had two delayed days and a day off because it was too cold. That's a first for me. It's a normal week now though so I'll have to get used to the routine again. Hope you all are not having too much difficulty adjusting back to work!

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread [Makes 2 loaves]
1 cup (6 oz) raisins
1 cup (8 oz) warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup (8 oz) milk, whole, 2%, or skim
1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp salt
5 1/2 - 6 cups (1 lb 11.5 oz - 1 lb 14 oz) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 2 tsp warm water

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the raisins plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Pour a cup of water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. (You can use the water from soaking the raisins for some extra-awesome flavor in your loaves, but just make sure the water has cooled to room temperature.) Give it a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.

Stir the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add 5 1/2 cups of the flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead in your mixer on low speed with a dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. Check the dough halfway through; if it's very sticky (think: bubble gum), add a little more flour. The dough is ready when it forms a ball without sagging and quickly springs back when poked.

Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any residual moisture from when they were plumped. With the mixer on gradually add them to the bowl and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed.

If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto your work surface and pat it into an oval. Sprinkled about half the raisins over the top and fold the dough like a letter. Pat it into an oval again, sprinkle the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes to distribute the raisins through the dough. (Alternatively, you can reserve the raisins and sprinkle them over the dough along with the cinnamon-sugar.)

Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and beat together the egg and water in a second bowl.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. It should be slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it. The thinner the dough, the more layers of crazy-good cinnamon swirl you'll end up with. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for a few minutes and then try again.
Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the seam closed. Transfer the loaf to your loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Let the loaves rise until mounded over the top of the pan and pillowy, 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. If desired, sprinkle some of your remaining cinnamon-sugar over the tops of the loaves as well. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing. Baked loaves can also be frozen for up to three months.