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Showing posts from June, 2017

Rhubarb Cake

This cake makes me think of my grandparents, Mimi and Bumbi. Mimi and Bumbi are my father’s parents, and Bumbi is so-named because my eldest cousin had a hard time saying grampi, or so the legend goes. Mimi wrote down this recipe for her Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Cake at my request a few years ago. This, along with her Peek-a-boo Squares, are my favorite desserts that she would make. This rhubarb cake often made appearances in the spring and summer when Bumbi’s garden would be overflowing with rhubarb (and lots of other yummy vegetables- his carrots were more delicious than any I have ever eaten in my life). I decided to make this cake tonight in honor of my beloved grandpa, Bumbi. He passed a few weeks ago, and since that time, I have been making and enjoying a lot of the things we liked to eat together. I went to the local ice cream place where we used to go and ordered our favorite flavor, black raspberry. I ate fresh pineapple and thought about how he loved it but it als

Vegetable Frittata

This is a weeknight warrior dish that will feed four people easily. Just add some bread or rice for a starch to serve alongside. I like making frittatas because they are yummy, but they also give me and excuse to use my special frittata pan. This is a pan in two parts; both top and bottom are skillets, and they join together to make flipping the frittata incredibly easy and fun. As a plus, I do not need to turn on my oven at all to finish the dish. For this frittata, I chose my favorite spring vegetable: asparagus. Pair it with easy cooking peas and spinach, and you’ve got a beautiful green egg dish. I like to add provolone, but you could substitute in mozzarella if you prefer. I like a combination of parmiggiano reggiano and pecorino romano, but you could use all of one or the other. Definitely do not skip one of those hard cheeses, though; they bring the perfect nutty saltiness to this dish. Try this tonight after a hard day’s work; you’ll feel like you’ve indulged you

Rhubarb Custard Bars

I love rhubarb season. I have already roasted it, turned it into preserves, and gobbled it up as strawberry rhubarb crisp. Today, I wanted something cool and creamy; rhubarb custard bars are perfect. The smooth, creamy custard contrasts with the sharp tang of the rhubarb and sits above a decadent buttery shortbread; in other words, the best springtime bar dessert I know! This bar whips together in a snap. The shortbread crust is just a matter of mixing the ingredients into a soft dough and pressing it into the pan; no cutting in cold butter, no kneading, no resting or refrigeration. While the cookie base is cooking, the filling comes together just as easily; mix a few ingredients together, pour it into the baked crust, and let it bake. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the bars to cool before slicing into them. These are delicious served as they are, but if you want to improve their presentation as you serve them, dollop a bit of freshly whipped cream on top

Coconut Cashew Chicken Curry

I adore this coconut cashew chicken curry. It is rich, has incredible depth of flavor, lots of texture from the melt in your mouth chicken, plump raisins and crunchy cashews, and yet I comes together in a snap. If you need it to come together even faster, you can skin, debone and cut your chicken thighs into 1 inch cubes. The chicken will cook faster that way; I would reduce the chicken stock a little so that the sauce still thickens nicely. I do highly recommend using chicken thighs for this recipe since they are inexpensive and flavorful, but chicken breasts also work.  You can substitute butter and olive oil for the ghee, but do try to purchase or make some if you can. Ghee is clarified butter (butter that is melted and skimmed of milk solids, leaving only the fat) and I find that it has an almost flowery taste and smell. It adds a lovely depth of flavor to the dish. You can omit the raisins if you hate them, but please do try the dish with them at least once. The burst of

Blueberry Scones and Clotted Cream

I have a great admiration of British food ever since watching the Great British Bake Off. They have so many different cookies (or biscuits as they call them) cakes, puddings, scones, pastries and candies! The thing that makes me the most green with envy, however, is their dairy. They have double cream! In the USA, our cream maxes out a heavy cream with a milk fat content of 36 percent max. Double cream, which pours rather like yogurt, has a 48 percent milk fat content. I can only imagine how divine whipped cream made from that tastes.   From that luscious double cream, they make clotted cream. I admit, when I first heard of clotted cream, it sounded a little unappetizing, like it had been soured and the cream had clotted due to turning (but then again, Spotted Dick sounds like an adventurous savory meal but is in fact a lovely steamed cake). Clotted cream (sometimes called scalded, clouted, Devonshire or Cornish cream) is a thick, almost buttery cream, made by “indirectly hea

Chicken Tempura

I love chicken fingers from my local Chinese restaurant. However, when I order from there I end up getting the chicken fingers, the shrimp, the teriyaki chicken, the teriyaki beef, crab Rangoon, egg rolls both vegetable and pork filled, fried rice, fried wonton strips, and orange chicken. In other words, it is quite the extravagance in terms of monetary and caloric cost.  This is why I like to make these sorts of things at home. I do not pretend they are any healthier, but if I take the effort to make a whole batch of chicken tempura myself, I am less likely to wolf all of them down, and I would certainly never have the energy to whip up all of the other aforementioned goodies in a single night for a single dinner. Plus, all the effort makes them taste especially delicious. It took me a while to find the perfect batter, one that is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I also had to experiment with oil temperature, and frying time, plus the thickness of the chick

Udon Noodle Stir Fry with Chicken and Shrimp

Sometimes my recipes are a result of ingredients I discover in a store. I buy the ingredients first, then I determine how I can use them. It is not a terribly practical way to shop, but sometimes that special ingredient gives me the inspiration I need to come up with a new recipe. In this case, I found udon noodles and colossal shrimp at my grocery store this week, and knew I had to snap them up. Udon noodles are a thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine. They are often served in a simple soup with a broth called kakejiru, made from dashi, soy sauce and mirin. They can also be served in stir-fry, or even cold and plain (Hadaka udon). They are wonderfully al dente, thick, very long and easily flavored with sauce. Plus they cook up very quickly. Colossal shrimp are sometimes called 4-bite shrimp. The ones carried at my fishmongers were 8-10 a pound, and were truly huge. They almost looked like lobster tails. I love shrimp, but had never seen any so large; I had to sna

Passionfruit curd bars with fresh raspberries

I have already explained my deep sorrow in living in a place where passionfruit do not grow. I like to watch youtube baking videos, and one baker in particular lives in Australia, where lovely purple passionfruit grow on the vine, are readily accessible, and are inexpensive. As a result, this baker uses them in so many recipes, it makes me see green. Passionfruit is sour like a lemon, but also sweet and floral. I am smitten. Since I cannot reliably source fresh passionfruit around here (although my local Market Basket did carry them one lovely day, at $3.99 per fruit- which resulted in an expensive grocery cart) I buy a juice concentrate on amazon. It lacks the seeds, though- those lovely crunchy seeds add so much texture and flavor to any passionfruit dessert (plus those black beauties contrast so deliciously with the orange yellow of the juice). If you can find real passionfruit, snap them up. Otherwise, I recommend Maguary passionfruit juice concentrate. I adore raspber