Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.

It's time for friends and family to gather and share. Mine will be simple this year. For a change in pace, we are making "reservation"!! No dishes this year.  However I did make a dessert package for my very dear yoga teacher (Yoga with momi).  A pumpkin cheesecake based on the New York cheesecake recipe by the Frugal Gourmet. I know his reputation is tainted, however it is still a great recipe. To add a little extra spice, the crust is gingersnap cookie with pecan. I also made a simple pecan praline sauce for topping and will deliver the dessert with some Thanksgiving coffee from Coffee Of Hawaii

If you would like the recipe, please let me. I will post it. Mr Wonderful wants me to make one for him!

I am grateful for your visits and I love to know how I can do better, please leave me comments anytime.

Mahalo nui loa (Thank you very much) for your visits and supports.


Monday, November 12, 2012

A treat from my teen years : English Biscuit Cake

I found it interesting how old fashion recipe becomes an all time rave! The simple biscuit cake is now called the Prince William's groom cake.  I used to love biscuit cake when I was growing up. It was a treat at tea time. The recipe is quite simple. No baking necessary. We didn't put any glaze on it. Just store it in the fridge and I would get a piece after school! As I get older, the more I realize how fortunate I am to be raised in a few different cultures. The only regret: Sorry Grandfather, I didn't turn out to as prim and proper as you would like me to be.

English Biscuit Cake
1 8.8 oz package Digestive Biscuit (I have a large package and I used 1/2)
2 tbsp Lion's golden syrup
2/3 bag 12oz bag of chocolate chip
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp butter
1/3 bag of Chocolate chip
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cream
Line a 6 or 8" cake pan with plastic wrap with about 1.5" overhang. Set aside.
 In a large bowl, break up the biscuits into large pieces. Set aside.
In a med size saucepan, combine chocolate chip, Golden syrup and butter.
 Add cream.
Combine the mixture till the chocolate is melted with a smooth consistency.
 Remove from heat, pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit.
 Mix well
 Pour the biscuit mixture into the prepared pan. E.ven out the mix
 Fold in the overhang.
 Press the biscuit mixture down
 You can use a measuring cup to make a even surface. You will crush the biscuit, don't worry that you put too much pressure on the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for about 3 hours or overnight.
 When the cake is set, remove it from the pan
 Unwrap the cake. Keep it cold in the fridge
 In a small bowl, combine chocolate, cream and butter. Melt in the microwave for 1-2mins.
 Stir till you have a smooth glaze
 Frost the cake the glaze. Even out the glaze
 Return the cake back to the fridge till the glaze is set.
 I used the ready make frosting I was going to use for my little "acorns".

 Oh... those little acorn, I saw it on Pintesest, here is my version. Fun to make with kids!
Ritz Bit Acorn Garnish:
12 Ritz peanut butter bits
12 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped.
Ready to use chocolate icing.
Put a small amount of icing on each of the Ritz Bits.
Top it with the chocolate
 Pipe a little stem on the other side of the Ritz bits. You got acorns!
Garnish the cake.
We usually make it a loaf pan. It's easier to cut. As with pattern, I simply dragged a fork on top and side of cake in both directions.

Ready to serve
Serve 8-10 this is a very rich cake


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rustic Pumpkin and Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk

I watched  a little cartoon about factory farm last week and now I have a problem with meat, especially with pork. I am going back to only eat fish and vegetable for awhile. My sister and family went to Europe this weekend. She left me 2 beautiful pie pumpkins. This is also the perfect time to use these seasonal squashes. I wanted curry today. Pumpkin curry just seem to blend, I added lentil and also coconut milk, just a touch of Southeast Asian that I grew up with. This is a very simple dish. The most time consuming part would be peeling the pumpkin. You can use other squash if you like. To save time during the week, you can peel the squash, cut it up and store in a Ziplock bag in the fridge, or you can get prepared squash package at your grocer too.

When my mother was visiting, we made chicken curry one weekend. A few tricks I learned about making curry:
1 - Don't skimp on the curry powder, however it is a fine balance, experiment with it, your tastebuds will tell you how much you need.
2 - Use a good curry powder. When you open the jar, you should smell the fragrant of the spices.
3- Always toast the curry powder.
4 - Add coconut milk at the end of the cooking, your sauce will be creamier and will not curdle.

If you would like to make this vegan, just use olive oil instead of ghee.

Pumpkin and Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk
1 small pie pumpkin. Pulp removed, peeled and cut into 1" pieces, make about 5 cups.
1 large onion - cut into 1/2 " pieces
2 tbsp ghee or olive oil 
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp prepared minced lemon grass
2 tbsp curry powder, using Maharajah blend from Penzey's today (my favorite)
1 cup red lentil,rinsed
5 cup vegetable stock
1 can light coconut milk. (Optional): save 1/8 cup for garnish
salt and pepper
Green onion for garnish (optional)

In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 tbsp of ghee. Add ginger, garlic and onion, cook for a few mins
 over med high heat.
 Add lemon grass, cook till the onion is translucent
 Add curry powder
 Let it toast over med heat for3-4 mins. It will appear very dry.
 Stir in pumpkin. Stir well and let it cook for a few min.
 Add lentil. Combine.
Pour in stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to med low. Cover and let it simmer for 20 mins till the lentil is softened
Add coconut milk. Let it cook for addition 10 min till the pumpkin is tender.
Season with salt and pepper. Plate the curry in a bowl, drizzle each bowl with 1 tsp of coconut and finally sliced green onion for color

Make 8 hearty entrees. The curry freezes very well. Separate it into individual containers with the portion that you would use and reheat as needed. Serve with naan or rice.


A great alternative to potates - Roasted sunchokes and cauliflower with thyme, sesame oil and yuzu

I love potatoes, especially roasted potatoes. As I get older, I am finding it hard to deal with my potatoes addiction. Apparently I am alone with this issue! Here is a very simple alternative that is as satisfing.

Sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke is a funny looking vegetable, it is a root. If you slice it raw and mix it with salads. I prefer it roasted, the roasting brings the sweetness of the vegetable. you don't need to peel it, just scrub it, it's ready for use. I also enjoy it boil and smashed and mixed with a little bit of butter. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. 

You will notice I am leaving the vegetable in pretty big pieces. Sunchoke and cauliflower can overcook easily. Leaving them in larger pieces will help to avoid this issue, plus I like the presentation better. Also when buying sunchokes, try to find the tubers all in a similar size.
Sunchoke is also high in iron, it will oxidize, the acid in the yuzu will prevent the vegetable from turning brown, it also give the dish a touch of the Asian flavor.

This is a pretty big recipe, you can serve this a vegetarian entree, a side dish. I love have extra in the fridge that I can toss it in a salad, make a great lunch! 

Roasted sunchokes and cauliflower with thyme and a touch of sesame oil and yuzu.
1/2 lb of sunchokes. Scrub, trim the ends. Slice in half

1 califlower. Remove leaves and break it into floret. Soak in salt water for 5 mins, this will help get rid of any bugs.
1 red onion, cut into large piece about 1" chunks and separate the layers
5-6 sprig of thyme
3-4 table extra virgin olive oil
1 large tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp Toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp Yuzu juice

Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F
Mix all the vegetable in a large bowl. Remove the leaves from the thyme and sprinkle the herb.

 Toss the vegetable with olive oil, season with salt and pepper
 In a small bowl, mix chopped garlic with sesame oil
 Add yuzu juice
 Toss the seasoning with the vegetable
 Transfer the vegetable to a roasting pan, roast the vegetable for about an hour.
 The vegetable should be lightly golden and tender.
 Plate the vegetable, garnish with a couple sprig of them or some fresh leaves.
Serve 6 as an entree  or 12 sides.