Friday, September 22, 2017

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Happy Fall!  I made this two days ago and the family liked it so much that it was all gone by last night.  I've never made homemade applesauce before and it was really fun.  And so easy with the slow cooker!  Plus it made the house smell really good.  Go to the post at The Kitchn to get more tips for making this.  (Like, you can use mealy apples, and any variety.)
Slow Cooker Applesauce
adapted from The Kitchn

6 large apples, any variety (approximately 3 pounds)
1-2 cinnamon sticks, optional
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Peel and chop the apples: Peel the apples with the vegetable peeler, then cut them into quarters and slice out the cores. Roughly chop apples into 1- to 2-inch pieces, depending on how chunky you prefer your applesauce. (I peeled, then use my apple corer, then sliced those pieces up.)

2.  Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of the slow cooker, and close the lid.  Cook on high for 4 hours, stirring twice during cooking.

3.  Puree the applesauce, optional: If you like chunky applesauce, you can skip this step altogether. But if you prefer a more smooth texture, remove the cinnamon stick, then use an immersion blender to puree the applesauce until it reaches the consistency you like, or use a potato masher right in the pot.

4.  Cool and store: Cool the applesauce, then divide between several containers. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
**This post and photos are property of **

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ground Pork & Zucchini Stir-Fry

This was a quick and easy recipe that was also delicious.  The original recipe called for sambal oelek, which is similar to Sriracha sauce.  I used a sweet Thai chili-garlic sauce instead, so the kids would enjoy this more.  But feel free to use sambal oelek, or Sriracha in this.
Ground Pork & Zucchini Stir-Fry
adapted from The Kitchn

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sambal oelek, Sriracha, or Asian chili-garlic sauce (can use sweet)
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

For the stir-fry and serving:
1 pound zucchini (about 3 medium)
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 pound ground pork (NOT sausage)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

1.  Make the sauce: Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Make the stir-fry: Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons.

3.  Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water vaporizes immediately on contact. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil around the pan, add the ground pork, and season with salt and pepper. Let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds, then break the pork into small, bite-sized pieces and continue stir-frying until it's cooked through and golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plated and drain the pan of excess fat.

4.  Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, spread the zucchini out in one even layer, and let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds. Stir-fry the zucchini until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes more.

5.  Return the pork to the skillet, add the sauce, and stir-fry until the sauce is well-incorporated and the zucchini begins to look glossy, about 30 seconds more. Garnish with the scallions and serve over rice. (Serve extra chili-garlic sauce at the table.)
**This post and photos are property of **

Monday, September 18, 2017

Spaghetti with Pancetta, Peas, and Burrata Cheese

I wanted to make this dish before fall really comes, and I did it the weekend before last.  I was able to use a lot of my fresh basil and mint.  I don't use pancetta enough, and I need to change that.  There's so many brands available here, and it comes in perfect little cups for recipes, and it's cut up, etc etc. So easy to use.  After making this, I got another little package, browned it on the stove, and added it to slow cooker potato soup. (Instead of bacon.) So good!  Here in Italy, I always get pancetta that's "affumicata"- or smoked.  I don't buy "dulce"- sweet.
I love Burrata cheese- I thought I'd posted about it before, but I can't find anything.  It's like fresh mozzarella, only 10x better.  It's a ball of cheese.  It comes wrapped in fake leaves (foglia) and sitting in brine.  The outside is fresh mozzarella, and the inside is a creamy, loose, buttery cheese.  The inside of the cheese is pictured above, on the pasta.  You can eat the whole ball, but the inside is the best.  (Burro is "butter" in Italian.  This cheese is creamy and buttery).  I'll post some pics of my Burrata below this recipe.

Spaghetti with Pancetta, Peas, and Burrata Cheese
adapted from the Kitchn

10 ounces dry spaghetti
6 ounces pancetta, small dice (can use more or less)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed at room temp
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
8 ounces burrata, cut up into pieces

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the pancetta in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and most of the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes.

2.  When the water is ready, add the pasta and cook per package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.

3.  Use slotted spoon to transfer the browned pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spaghetti, reserved pasta water, peas, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine and cook the pasta water thickens and forms a sauce, about 1 minute.

4.  Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the basil, mint, and red pepper flakes, if using. Top with the burrata and serve immediately.

**This post and photos are property of **

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thai Massaman Beef Curry II

I already have a recipe on here for Massaman, which I love, but I wanted to try this new recipe- it uses a different method and a few different ingredients.  I love them both.  I was able to sear the beef in this recipe and stick everything in the crockpot for a few hours.  The beef got super tender and the delicious juices didn't evaporate (something that's happened to me using my other recipe).  I just made some rice in my rice cooker before we ate, and dinner was super easy.

This summer in the States, my son ordered Massaman at a Thai restaurant and it was the envy of the table.  Lol.  It was SO good!  So of course I had to make it at home, again.

Thai Massaman Beef Curry
adapted from Taste (Australia)

1 tablespoon oil
1 brown (yellow) onion, cut into large wedges
1/3 cup (100g) massaman curry paste
1kg (about 2 lbs) beef (a tougher cut like round steak) cut into 5cm pieces
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger or ginger paste
400ml can coconut milk
1/2 cup (125ml) beef stock
1 cinnamon stick
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons palm sugar (or sub brown sugar)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/3 cup (45g) roasted unsalted peanuts
400g potatoes, peeled, quartered (about 1 lb)
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve

1.  Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 mins. Add massaman paste and cook for 1 min or until fragrant. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 min.

***(At this point, you can add all of this to crockpot on Low.  Add the rest of ingredients to crock pot (slow cooker), minus rice, cilantro, and lime, and cook for about 6 hours or until everything is tender).***

2.  Add coconut milk, stock, cinnamon, chilli, bay leaves, palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, peanuts and potato to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender.

3.  Divide the steamed jasmine rice among serving bowls. Top with the curry and serve with coriander and lime wedges.
**This post and photos are property of **

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Buttermilk Caramel Sauce

I made this right before we left on our long summer vacation.  We ate it all in one sitting- lol.  It was SO good!  I didn't realize one could make caramel sauce from buttermilk, but it worked.  Mine had some little weird bits as you can see in the pic, but it did not affect the taste at all.  I can't wait to make this again.  I'm so glad for The Kitchn- where I'm getting so many good recipes these days. The recipe calls for unsalted butter- but I used salted, to add that extra flavor.  I also added extra sea salt at the end, to make a more salted caramel.
Buttermilk Caramel Sauce
adapted from The Kitchn

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk, divided
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Large Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Melt the butter in a deep, medium saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbling. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Whisk in 2/3 cup of the buttermilk, corn syrup, and salt, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is deep amber in color, about 10 minutes

2.  Remove from the heat, and pour in the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk and vanilla. The mixture will bubble up and release a lot of steam. Use a long-handled whisk to whisk vigorously until the bubbling subsides and the mixture is smooth.

3.  Return the pan to medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes more. Carefully taste and add more salt if desired.  The sauce will also thicken as it cools, so stop cooking when the sauce is still a bit thin for your liking. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve warm. 
**This post and photos are property of **

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Paratha- Flaky Indian Flatbread

This was my first time making this- I usually do Naan.  Paratha is different in that it uses no yeast or leavening.  You create layers with butter between them, making them flaky like this Yemeni Flatbread.   I want to try making Paratha again- mine didn't turn out as flaky as I'd like.  I think I need to roll them out thinner, or something.  But the bread was still delicious with Indian Butter Chicken.

Paratha- Flaky Indian Flatbread 
adapted from Gimme Delicious

1½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup lukewarm water
softened butter

1.  In a bowl mix the flour, salt, and oil. Add about ½ cup of water to make dough add remaining water as needed to make smooth and flexible dough. Knead the dough on a lightly greased surface. Cover the dough and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.

2.  Knead the dough again and divide into 6 equal parts.  Spread about ½ tablespoon of butter onto each piece and roll out. Now fold the parts on top of each other and let rest for about 5 minutes so that it can relax.

3.  Roll out each piece and place one by one on a hot pan. Don't grease the pan because the paratha is already greased.  Leave each paratha on medium heat for 2 minutes and flip and allow to cook for another minute, until browned spots appear.  Serve with curry.

**This post and photos are property of **

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cornbread Pancakes with Strawberry Compote

We just got back from a long vacation, and I made these before that. They were very good.  I just used a 16-oz bag of frozen sliced strawberries for this and it worked out perfectly. I put Mascarpone cheese on mine instead of butter- I really liked this with the strawberry compote.  (We had to use up the mascarpone before our trip)

I'll post about my trip later- we went to Westport, WA, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton.  I loved it!
Cornbread Pancakes with Strawberry Compote
adapted from The Kitchn
Serves 4-6

For the compote:
3 cups stemmed and quartered strawberries (or 16 oz. frozen strawberries)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the pancakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Butter or neutral oil, for cooking

1.  Make the compote: Place the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have released much of their liquid, and the liquid is syrupy and fragrant, about 15 minutes.

2.  Make the pancakes: Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl; set aside.

3.  Place the buttermilk, milk, and egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Pour over the flour mixture and stir gently just until you no longer see any dry flour; set aside.

4.  Place the egg whites in a small bowl and whisk until foamy and doubled in volume. (Can use a stand mixer for this.)  Fold the egg whites into the batter and stir until you no longer see any streaks of whites. Let the batter rest until thickened and slightly foamy, at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.

5.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil or pat of butter in a large nonstick frying pan, a griddle, or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the butter foams but doesn't brown or the oil shimmers. Using a 1/4 to 1/2-cup measure, drop the pancake batter into the skillet. The batter should spread.

6.  Watch for bubbles to start forming on the surface of the pancake. Cook until the bubbles burst, the edges of the pancake look set, and the bottom is golden-brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed if it seems like the pancakes are cooking too quickly or slowly. Flip the pancake and cook until the second side is golden-brown, about 2 1/2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with more butter and the strawberry compote.
**This post and photos are property of **