Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thai Ground Beef

Because Dianthus' Meatballs - SE Asia Style were so darn good, I wanted to try another Thai dish. This time I made Thai ground beef. While the ground beef tasted really good, it was too much work for me to make this again. But I recommend you try it at least once.
Thai Ground Beef
Serves 4
1 T olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic (bottled minced garlic is preferred here)
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. red curry paste
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1 T Asian fish sauce
Chopped cilantro
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute for five minutes. Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Add beef and cook until lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and tomato sauce; cook until half of liquid evaporates. Add milk, sugar, lime juice and fish sauce and cook until slightly thickened. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Chocolatey Cheesecake Squares

I baked today. Most people who know me know that while I love to eat sweets, I am not very good at making them. But, I decided to give it a shot today. The reason I did it is because tomorrow is Secretary's Day and we are having a party in our office and instead of bringing in a ready-made dessert, I thought it would be fun to bring in something that I made. The secretaries in my office are good to me and I just wanted to do something special for them.

This looks good. I haven't tasted it yet though.

Maybe I'm scared...

Chocolatey Cheesecake Squares
12 squares

1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1 T butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) block 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 T all-purpose flour
1 T vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 oz. semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place crumbs in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; drizzle with butter. Toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom of pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 mins. Cook on a wire rack.

Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat with mixer at high speed until smooth. Add sugar and flour; beat well. Add vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat until well-blended. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan.

Place chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high for 90 seconds, stirring after 45 seconds. Stir until smoot. Drop melted chocolate onto cheese mixture to form 9 mounds. Swirl chocolate into batter using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 mins or until almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Burned Scallops and Tasty Tamarind Sauce

I had these grand plans to make Cumin Scented Scallops with a Spicy Tamarind Sauce, but unfortunately, I couldn’t. You want to know why? I’ll tell you why – it’s because I can’t sear anything!! The scallops turned black within a couple of minutes – it was a disaster!! Anyways, I did make the sauce (before I burned the poor scallops), which was quite yummy. You can serve the sauce with fish or chicken. The recipe is below.

Spicy Tamarind Sauce

½ T tamarind paste
3 tablespoons water
2 T chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth.
Yield: 1/2 cup (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Garam Machi

I usually will only eat fish at a restaurant. That's because I'm not very good at preparing fish at home. Either it's undercooked or overcooked, but never quite right. But I think I've finally fixed that problem. I made this dish last night for dinner and it was pretty good. I served it with Muju's zucchini.

Garam Machi
Serves 2

1 T finely chopped cilantro
1/2 T finely chopped shallots
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 6-ounce cold fillets

Combine the first 8 ingredients (cilantro through salt & pepper) in a small bowl, stirring to form a paste. Place cod fillets in a shallow baking dish and coat the top of the fish with the cilantro mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange fish on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray, and place rack in pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Meatballs and Spinach - SE Asia Style

My friend Dianthus moved to Bangkok a few months ago, and ever since she got there, she has been writing posts about all the delicious Thai food that she gets to eat. I'm so jealous.

Recently, she has been experimenting with different Asian recipes and came up with a recipe for Meatballs - SE Asia Style. These were some damn good meatballs (I made them using ground chicken). I ate them with some spinach, which of course I had to name "Spinach - SE Asia Style." The spinach recipe is below.

Spinach – SE Asia Style

1 T sesame oil

1 tsp. chili oil

6 oz. spinach

½ red bell pepper, sliced

½ tsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 T soy sauce

½ tsp. sesame seeds

In a sauté pan, heat oil, and then add ginger. Cook the ginger for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add chili oil. Add the bell pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add spinach to the pan. Allow the spinach to wilt down. Add soy sauce to the spinach and cook for another couple of minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve hot. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Grilled Eggplant with Tamarind Raita

Grilled Eggplant with Tamarind Raita
Serves 2

Eggplants are funny. Not many people like them because they really don’t know what to do with them. Of course, you can make a splendid baba ghanoush with eggplant or you can enjoy it a little spicier as baigan bhartha. Personally, I like eggplant grilled. The natural flavors of the purple veggie are brought out this way, and it really is tasty. Of course, you have to dress it a little bit, and this tamarind raita does the job.

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (I used baby eggplants b/c that's all I had)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt
¼ tsp. tamarind paste
1 T finely chopped red onion
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brush each side of the sliced eggplant rounds with the olive oil. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and pepper. Heat a grill on medium-high heat, and place the eggplant rounds on the grill. Grill each side for roughly 5 minutes. While the eggplant is grilling, add tamarind paste, red onion, lemon juice and jalapeno to the plain yogurt and mix well. Salt to taste. Serve the grilled eggplant with the raita.


Banana Bread

I had a hankering for banana bread not too long ago. This one that I made was incredibly moist and delicious. I adapted it from the Williams-Sonoma Banana-Raisin Bread recipe. I'm not big on raisins, so I omitted them from the recipe. But if you want, you can put them in.
Banana Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional: 1 1/4 cup raisins
Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and if you're using them, raisins. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the bananas, yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined and chunky. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the bread is firm and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Mirchi Corn

In India, from what I’m told, the street vendors sell grilled corn on the cob slathered with lime or lemon, salt, and cayenne pepper. Apparently, it’s an amazing, and spicy, treat. Because I haven’t yet dusted the winter cobwebs off my grill, I decided that I would make a stovetop version of this street food.

Mirchi Corn
Serves 2

1 15.5 oz. can of corn niblets, drained
2 T olive oil
2 dried red chilies
1 tsp. finely diced jalapeno
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
2 T chopped cilantro

In a medium size skillet, heat the oil, sliced garlic, and the dried red chilies. Once the garlic starts to brown slightly, add the corn, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, jalapeno, and salt. Sautee for about 5-7 minutes – just so that all the spices blend well together. Add the lime or lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

This is a great side dish. Just be sure to have something to cold to drink while you are eating it.