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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Monday, April 9, 2018

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

I made these quick delicious cookies a few weeks ago.  I had all the ingredients and really enjoyed the flavor and texture.  Make sure you plan ahead and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before baking. 

We just got back from a week-long trip to the Loire Valley in France.  We saw a ton of castles and also spent one day in Paris.  I'll have to put castle pics up later.

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, Biscoff spread, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extra and beat until smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Cover and chill the dough 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

3.  Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack.
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Monday, March 26, 2018

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salsa

I love this salsa.  I've been making something similar for years.  It's actually almost exactly the same, but I'm posting this anyway, because there are a few differences.  This is so good.  Such a fresh flavor. Add extra avocado if you want.  You can also use more black beans.  I just used one can.
Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salsa
adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 and 1/2 cups fresh, canned, or frozen (and thawed) corn kernels
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small red or sweet white onion, diced
1 cup diced tomato
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro- I use 1/2 or even a full bunch, sometimes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
pinch ground pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
optional: 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I used pickled jalapenos, chopped)

1.  Add everything to a large bowl. Stir. Taste and add more salt/pepper/cayenne as needed. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 1 day before enjoying.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

I made these for our fake Superbowl party back in February.  (Where I also made these Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups).   They were really good, and pretty easy.  The recipe uses a boxed brownie mix, but you could use your own homemade recipe.  These were super popular.  So popular I couldn't really get a decent picture of them.  Lol!
Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies
adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Brownie Base:
1 box brownie mix (9x13 version)
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box

1/2 cup butter , softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

1.  Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening. 

2.  In medium bowl, make brownie mix according to the package directions. Spread in pan. Bake according to package directions. Cool completely, about 1 hour. You can speed this up by cooling in the refrigerator.

3.  In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over brownie base.

4.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave topping ingredients uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds; stir until smooth. (I melted in a double boiler on the stove.)  Cool 10 minutes; spread over filling. 

5.  Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set.  Store covered in refrigerator or at room temp.
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Soup

This recipe was super, super easy, and very good too!  Cooking the whole chicken in the slow cooker all day makes a really flavorful broth.  I've made this twice, and the second time, I didn't have time to saute the onions, and it was just as good.  Go ahead and sautee if you have time, but don't worry if you don't.  At the end, right before serving, I like to stir in the juice of one lemon.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Soup
adapted from the Kitchn

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 medium carrots
3 medium celery stalks
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed from the cavity
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 cups cooked rice (optional)
1 fresh lemon, juiced (optional)

1.  Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes. (This part adds some flavor but is ok to skip if time is short.)  Meanwhile, peel and cut the carrots into large dice, then cut the celery into large dice. Transfer both to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the whole chicken, the water, thyme, and bay leaves. When the onion is ready, transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Add the salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bones, about 6 hours on the HIGH setting or 8 hours on the LOW setting.

2.  Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet (it's okay if it falls apart into large pieces). When cool enough to handle but still warm, use your hands or two forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces (discard the skin, cartilage, and bones). Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and add the parsley and a few large pinches of salt.  Add the lemon juice, if using.

3.  Add the rice, if using, and stir to combine. Or- add the rice to your bowl and then pour soup over it.  Leftovers are better this way too.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Paris Sights

Here are the rest of the pics from our Paris trip, almost a year ago. I shared the food pics already.  My husband I just went for a quick 2-day trip.  We did the hop-on, hop-off bus and it was great.  We were able to see so much.  The first day was sunny and beautiful.  It rained the second day, but we had already seen most of what we wanted.  We also took a Seine boat ride the first day and got some pics from that.  I didn't bring my big camera so these are just phone pics. 

 Notre Dame, above and below.

The Louvre pyramid, above.
 The Arc di Triomphe, above, and views from the top, next 2 pics.

 Musee D'Orsay, above, and paintings inside, next 2 pics.

 Under the Arc di Triomphe, above.  Laduree on the Champs Elysees, below.

Paris Opera house, above.  Inside pics, below.  (Amphitheatre/seating area was closed :( )

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