Saturday, May 19, 2018

Brazilian Cheese Bread- Pao De Queijo

I had heard of these little guys for years (from food blogs), but I never made them until a few months ago. I had an older non-stick mini muffin pan back then, and these stuck badly to it, even though I greased it well.  I got a brand new one and tried it again, and they came out perfectly and also got really tall (above).  The pic below is of my old pan- they spread out and not up in that one, for some reason.  Both ways tasted good, though.

Brazilian Cheese Bread- Pao De Queijo 
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 large egg
1/4 cup sunflower, vegetable or olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour (fluff the flour before measuring), about 6.25 ounces/180 grams- no subs!!
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed shredded cheese, like Parmesan or an aged Asiago

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin (this makes about 16-24 little breads so if you don’t have a muffin tin large enough, you can just make separate batches after the first ones come out).

2.  In a blender, combine the egg, oil, milk, flour and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender once or twice. Add the cheese and process for just a short bit, 5-10 seconds or a few short pulses, until the cheese is in small bits all throughout the batter.
Give the batter a good stir to get any solids off the bottom and pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tin filling the cups nearly to the top.

3.  Bake the pao de queijo until very lightly golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Don’t let them get too brown on the bottom or they will be too crusty and not as chewy.

4.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool for just a minute or two. They are best eaten warm! Don’t worry if they fall a bit in the middle – that’s completely normal.
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Monday, May 7, 2018

Vichyssoise - Leek and Potato Soup

I've never had Vichyssoise before, but wanted to try it after our trip to France.  (I always thought this was a French soup, but after a few seconds of online research I guess that's questionable.)  This is a soup that is traditionally eaten cold, but the thought of eating cold potato soup grosses me out, so we had it warm.  It was good.  And the ingredients are super simple and easy to get. 

Vichyssoise - Leek and Potato Soup
adapted from Azoresgal

3 leeks
3 medium potatoes
1 medium onion (if using)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter

1.  Wash the leeks very carefully making sure to remove all soil.   Slice only the white part of the leeks into thin pieces.

2.  Dice the potatoes and slice onion.  Sauté leeks, in butter about 10 minutes, add in the potatoes. Add chicken stock and cook over medium heat until all vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

3.  When the vegetables are tender, purée the vegetables (using an immersion blender) and stock and add the cream.  Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.  Serve warm, or cold, if you want.
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Monday, April 30, 2018

Thai-Style Cucumber Salad

This is a great easy salad I made a few times to go with the Panang Curry.  It went perfectly together, I could make this salad a few hours ahead of time, and it's pretty healthy as well.  For gluten free, make sure your sweet chili sauce is gluten free.  (Sweet chili sauce is also used for lumpia dipping.  It looks like this, (pic below), there are a few different brands.)

Thai-Style Cucumber Salad
adapted from King Arthur Flour
I cut this in half, using one English cuke

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sweetened chili garlic paste
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups (1 Euro or English-style) cucumber, unpeeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup sliced sweet or red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
all of the marinade

fresh mint or cilantro leaves
chopped peanuts

1.  For the marinade: Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili sauce and salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed, or let cool on the stove.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion, and pepper. Add the marinade to the vegetables, stir, and chill for 1 hour before serving. (Can chill longer; leftovers are also good.) Garnish with fresh mint or cilantro and chopped peanuts if desired.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Bacon Ranch Chicken Sliders

I made these a few times when we needed a quick dinner.  They're so easy and tasty.  For the dry ranch mix, I use Penzey's buttermilk ranch dry mix.  It's just herbs and spices and contains no MSG.  I love it.  Instead of all mayo, I use half mayo and half Greek yogurt.  I use rotisserie chicken for this recipe, making it super easy.  You won't need the whole chicken, so I save the rest of the meat for other recipes.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Sliders
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 package (12 rolls) Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 Greek yogurt or light sour cream
1 teaspoon dry Ranch mix
1 cup shredded cheese
3/4 cup cooked, diced or shredded chicken
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2.  Without separating rolls, cut entire "loaf" in half like giant sandwich and open-side up on baking sheet.

3.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt and ranch mix. Spread mixture on both sides of rolls. Sprinkle half the cheese on the bottom half of the rolls, top with chicken, and then bacon, and then remaining cheese. Place top half of rolls on, sandwiching them together. Cover rolls with foil and place in oven for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted throughout.

4.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cutting board and slicing individual rolls. 
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Friday, April 20, 2018

Greek-Style Lemon Chicken & Orzo Bake

A friend posted this on Facebook and I knew I had to make it right away- I love lemon, greek flavors, orzo, and simple combo meals like this (pasta + chicken bakes together).  The chicken is coated in a spice mixture of ground coriander and black pepper (hence the coloring of it).  The whole family loved this, and I made it a few times.  We had this with Turkish Garden Salad and it was perfect.

Greek-Style Lemon Chicken & Orzo Bake
adapted from Food Network

3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or fresh)
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups orzo

2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4-6 small to medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2.  For the orzo: Whisk together the stock, butter, salt, cornstarch, oregano, lemon zest and juice and garlic in a bowl. Mix in the orzo.

3.  For the chicken: In a separate bowl, mix together the coriander, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken all over with the seasoning. (If using 6 chicken breasts, you won't have enough spice to coat both sides, so just do one.)

4.  Pour the stock/orzo mixture into a lightly greased glass 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken breasts, laying them at an angle so all but the tops of the breasts are submerged. Shingle the lemon slices in between the chicken breasts.

5.  Bake, uncovered, until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 35 to 40 minutes (check to make sure it's not drying out). Let rest for 5 minutes. Top with the chopped parsley before serving.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Panang Beef Curry

My family and I LOVED this Thai curry.  I've made it every week for 3 weeks now.  Lol.  My 6-year old doesn't eat much, but he had three servings of this the first time I made it.  This is a Thai curry I hadn't tried until recently.  My Thai friend sent me some packets of the curry paste and I'm so grateful to her, lol.  I found it on Amazon so I'm ordering a tub, since the packets will be all gone come tomorrow.  Panang Curry is thick and sweet.  I made a Thai-inspired cucumber salad to go with this the last time I made it, and the combo was great together.  I'll post that recipe later.

This is great made on the stovetop, but last week, I was going to be gone all afternoon/early evening, so I cooked the meat, curry paste and some coconut milk together, then stuck everything in the crockpot for 5-6 hours.  It worked wonderfully!!  The beef was so tender.  I loved coming home to it.  If using the crockpot, it's ok to use a cheaper, tough cut of beef.  Just slice thin.

For the coconut milk, the amount doesn't have to be exact.  I can get smaller containers of coconut milk from my international store, and I used a regular can plus the smaller container last time.  I think I'll just try using two regular cans of coconut milk next time and see how that works.

Panang Beef Curry
adapted from Splendid Table

50 grams (about 2 Tablespoons) Panang curry paste
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) coconut milk*
2 lbs (900 g) lean beef, thinly sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves, dried or fresh
2 red or green chilies, minced (optional), plus extra for garnish (I leave out for the kids)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons Thai palm sugar or brown sugar
20 fresh Thai (or regular) basil leaves, plus extra for garnish

1. Scoop 1 cup (250 ml) of the coconut cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the curry paste and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook until the mixture is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the beef to the saucepan and stir until well mixed. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) coconut cream. **Cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the meat loses its pink color. Add the kaffir lime leaves, chilies (if using), fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until well combined. Stir in the fresh basil leaves.  Serve hot over rice.

*Doesn't have to be exact amount of coconut milk. Can use a little more or less- add more or less fish sauce and sugar at the end, to taste.  I'm going to just try two regular cans next time.

**At this point, you can transfer everything (except last 3 ingredients) to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  When ready to serve, stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, and fresh basil. You can also add the fish sauce and sugar an hour or two before serving, but stir in the fresh basil right before serving.  
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Greek Salad (With Lettuce)

I have a few versions of Greek Salad on here, but none of them contain lettuce.  I read awhile ago that a "real" Greek salad doesn't contain lettuce, but this recipe looked too good not to try.  (And I'm not sure the lettuce thing is true anyway.)  I used a crunchy Romaine lettuce and loved this salad.  So flavorful and fresh. 

Greek Salad 
adapted from Jessica Gavin

1/2 cup red onion, (58g) sliced thin
7 tablespoons red wine vinegar, (105ml) divided
8 cups romaine lettuce, (234g, 8 ounces) chopped (estimate amount)
3/4 cup red or yellow bell pepper, (88g) 3/4 inch dice
1 cup english cucumber, (143g) sliced thin
1 cup cherry tomatoes, (160g) halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, (64g)
4 ounces feta cheese, (114g) 1/4 inch cubes
1 tablespoon lemon juice, (15ml)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, (5ml)
1 teaspoon honey, (5ml) optional
2 teaspoons minced garlic, (7g)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, (120ml)

1.  Add sliced red onions and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar to a small bowl. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad.

2.  In a large bowl, add the lettuce. Evenly arrange bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, drained red onions, kalamata olives and feta cheese on top of the salad.

3.  In a medium-sized bowl combine 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey if using, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.

4.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil into the dressing mixture, vigorously whisking until a thickened dressing is achieved. Season with salt and pepper as desired. If not serving dressing right away, whisk again right before adding to salad as it may separate over time.

5.  Serve salad with dressing on the side, or toss to combine before serving.
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