Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chinese Egg Drop Soup

This is great for when you're fighing off brochitis like I am. Soup is always great for when you're sick but this also has two extra great things - ginger & garlic. Seriously good medicine.

  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp medium dry sherry
  • one 2-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup dried fine egg noodles
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tsp sesame oil

Bring stock, soy sauce, sherry, ginger & garlic to a boil in a 2 quart heavy saucepan.

Remove ginger & garlic with a slotted spoon & discard. Or, finely chop the garlic and leave it in. You could also mince the ginger and leave it in.

Stir in noodles & simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 4 minutes.

Stirring soup in a circular motion, add eggs in a slow, steady stream.

Simmer, undisturbed, until strands of egg are cooked, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat & stir in scallions (to taste) & sesame oil.

Season with salt.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mom's Ham & Bean Soup

There are few things I love more than being in the kitchen with my mom. I try so hard to absorb as much information as possible so I can have my recipes turn out like hers. They never do. The beauty of this recipe is it's simplicity. She doesn't overwhelm it with all kinds of seasonings and extras (a bad habit of mine). So the lesson is, keep it simple and you'll be able to bring out the best flavors of your main ingredient. Simple. Lovely. Again, there aren't amounts on some of the ingredients because you should add an amount that you like. Make it your own!
  • 1 leftover ham bone (ours is from Easter. Apparently ham keeps longer than regular meat because it's been cured. Makes sense but I didn't know that. Did you?)
  • one 1lb bag of dried navy beans
  • celery, chopped fine
  • onion, chopped fine
  • carrots, chopped fine
  • bay leaves
  • cornbread (to go on the side with your cucumber & vinegar salad) - these are my moms direct instructions. If you're making ham & bean soup, you clearly will be making cornbread to go with the cucumber & vinegar salad.

Rinse the beans & cover with water in the pan.

Put them on the stove, bring to a boil and skim off the froth. (or you could soak them overnight).

Reduce heat & add the ham.

Let them cook until the beans get soft (at least an hour).

Add chopped celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves & maybe some celery leaves for added flavor.

Simmer until the beans are completely tender and your family can't stay away from the pot anymore. Also, as my mom suggests, consider serving with cornbread, and a salad of cucumbers and vinegar. I love my mom :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coconut Curry Chicken

Stolen from Rachel Ray...

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • one 13.5oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder (you can make this yourself)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, stir in the curry powder & cook 1 minute. Then add the coconut milk & cook until reduced by one half (about 7 minutes).

Toss together the chicken, five-spice powder, salt & pepper until well mixed.

In a large heavy skillet (I used a wok), heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until very hot. Add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through - about 6 minutes.

Stir in the coconut curry sauce

Serve over rice.

Quick Homemade Brownies

You do not need a mix. Making brownies from scratch takes practically the same amount of time. Give this a try, it's a can't-miss:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix oil & sugar until well blended.

Add eggs & vanilla, stir until just blended.

Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Stir dry ingredients in with the oil & sugar.

Pour into greased 9x9 square pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until sides just start to pull away from the pan.

Cool completely before cutting (or you'll have a mess on your hands)!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Corn Chowder

Perfect for a rainy day:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 4 cups corn kernels, fresh cooked or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cream or half & half
  • 6 more tbsp butter (optional)

Saute onions in butter until they are tender & translucent. Add the corn, potato, chicken broth & herbs. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Puree soup in blender, return to pot. To make it a little thicker, puree half or just skip this step entirely.

Before serving add the cream and additional butter.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Monday, April 13, 2009

French Vanilla Ice Cream

The difference between vanilla ice cream and french vanilla ice cream? Eggs. Which means french vanilla is a bit more custardy. Very rich and lovely. Try both. Definitely try both.

  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups very cold heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Split vanilla beans lengthwise with a paring knife & scrape out the seeds.

Put the scrapings & pods in a medium saucepan with milk.

Scald the mixture, cover & remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes if you can wait that long. I cannot.

Combine egg yolks & sugar in a separate bowl & whisk until thick.

Return milk to the stove & bring to a simmer.

Using a measuring cup or ladle, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking until blended. Keep adding milk until all has been added.

Pour all back into the saucepan & cook on low heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 3-5min). The custard should retain a line drawn on the back of the spoon with your finger.

Fill a large bowl with ice & water. Remove pan from heat & immediately stir in chilled cream to stop custard from cooking.

Pour througha sieve into a medium bowl and set in the ice bath stirring occasionally until cooled. Discard strained seeds & pods (tip: get more use out of your pods by putting them in your sugar container amd there you have vanilla sugar to bake with).

Stir vanilla extract into cooled custard. Cover bowl, then transfer to fridge until chilled (30 minutes to overnight).

Run it through the ice cream maker for 20 minutes and then freeze to make a harder ice cream.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Spring is here! You really need to buy an ice cream maker because this is good!

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups light cream
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Puree strawberries & put them in the fridge to chill.

Place all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth.

Pop it into the ice cream maker for about 20 minutes.

Freeze to solidify the final product, or enjoy it soft.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Clove Mustard Glaze (for your Easter ham)

This turns out differently every time I make it, so be prepared to add a little here and there to get a flavor you like. It's strong stuff so you may want to serve it on the side so guests can just drizzle it over their holiday ham.

  • 3oz mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tumeric or curry powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

Put dry ingredients in blender or processor and add wine. At this point I usually put it on to boil very quickly and add a bit of thickener (both flour and cornstarch have worked fine).

Serve :-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

This came out more or less like a giant biscuit. You be the judge.

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • other half of the beaten egg

In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda & salt.

Add butter. Combine buttermilk (you made need a little more) with the first 1/2 egg and add to flour til just moistened.

On a lightly floured surface, knead gently for 12 strokes.

On a greased baking sheet, shape dough into a 3-inch loaf (mine was more of a sticky blob).

Cut a 2 inch cross, 1/4 inch deep on the top

Brush with the other half of the beaten egg

Bake for 35min at 375

**try adding raisins, currants or dried cranberries**