Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some Random Updates

Now that I have basically settled in to our new home, I have finally found my recipe notebook and these old photos of recipes I need to include. So it'll be a little bit random, but bear with me. They were all created at totally different times.

Lemon Panna Cotta
4-8 servings (depending on the size of ramekin)

My sister taught me how to make Panna Cotta when I was in high school and it has always been one of my favorite desserts. And one day, she made lemon panna cotta for me when I went over to her and house I couldn't believe how much better it was (if that's possible!), so I decided for Christmas Dinner to try to make it myself. It was a lot easier to adjust than I thought. You can't get much better than lemon and cream. Perfect combination.

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 C heavy cream
1/3 C sugar
2 T cold water
1 C half and half
2 t pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon (I recommend using a microplane grater)
juice of 1 lemon

*berries or whatever fruit is in season that you think would go well. I added strawberries and blueberries tossed in sugar, lemon juice, and a little cinnamon in this picture.
  1. In a small microwavable bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water and let settle until softened. Microwave mixture until gelatin is dessolved. 5-10 seconds.
  2. In a saucepan bring the cream, half and half and sugar to a boil, constantly stirring. remove pan from heat and add gelatin, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Divide cream into 4-8 molds and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
*To un-mold, dip mold into hot water for 2-3 seconds and invert onto a plate and serve. I like to serve it in the ramekin that it's molded to so I never worry about that. But if you like fancier presentation, go ahead and un-mold it:)

Thai Coconut Curry
serves 4

I got this idea from Everday Food by Martha Stewart Living. I love Thai curry but had never made it before, so I decided to give it a try. I took a few liberties, though, and made it more authentic than her recipe seemed to be. If you don't like shrimp, I think this will help you to like it, or if you hate it that much, you can always use beef or chicken. But I really think Thai coconut curry is best with shrimp.

salt and pepper
about 2 T vegetable oil
1 lb shrimp (or chicken or beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (I used red here, but I think green would also be great), thinly sliced
2 small Japanese eggplant or 2/3 of a big eggplant, diced
1 T Thai red curry paste
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 C Thai basil leaves, torn into little pieces
1 T fresh lemon juice

Rice to serve it with
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 T oil over medium-high. Season shrimp (or chicken or beef) with salt and pepper and add to skillet until almost cooked through. (For shrimp, that is when it starts to get pink and opaque, but don't let it got cooked all the way through or it will be over cooked and rubbery later)
  2. Put Eggplant in skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add onions, bell pepper, salt and pepper and cook until crisp-tender. 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add curry pastes, cook scraping the bottom of the skillet, about 1 minute.
  4. Return shrimp to the skillet and add coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with Japanese white rice.

Chunky Banana Oat Muffins
makes 12 muffins

I got this idea from Ina Garten's cookbook. I can't remember which one. Since I've been pregnant I've been craving bananas like crazy and we always have bananas in our house. So I thought I'd try out her chunky banana bran muffin recipe, but I ended up changing it a lot because I like oat-ey muffins instead of bran-ey ones and I like a good crumb topping on them. So here is my successful experiment. And just to let you know, this is where I got the idea of the strawberry white chocolate muffins for Lisa Hall's shower. I just took this recipe and altered the add-ins.

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C rolled oats
1/4 C honey
1/4 C brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 C melted butter
1 egg
3/4 C milk
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softenend
1 mashed banana
3 bananas, cut into 1/2 in chunks

Oat Crumb topping:
1 C melted butter
2-4 T cinnamon
about 3 C brown sugar
2 C flour
about 2 1/2 C oats

  1. Combine flour, oats, sugar, bakindg powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg slightly. Stir in milk, melted butter, vanilla, and honey. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Gradually stir in flour mixture until just combined. Once batter is combined, carefully add banana chunks.
  3. Line a 12 C muffin pan with paper baking cups and divie batter among them.
  4. Generously sprinkle crumb topping on all muffins.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Japanese Cucumber Salad
Serves 2
1/2 onion, sliced very thin, soaking in water
2 T dried wakame seaweed
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced thin at a diagnal
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 T sesame seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. put the wakame in a bowl with warm water until reconstituted. Drain.
  2. Add cucumber, wakame, and onion and toss with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
  3. serve cold.

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