Sunday, March 29, 2009

Something Sweet and Simple

Snacks for a last minute planned get-together are always a dilemma. You are tired after a long day, don't have time to run to the store, but feel like more than chips and dip. I was caught in this scenario a couple days ago when hosting a last minute game night with a few friends. We were thinking about what we could make, when we discovered a crate of apples a roommate had left over.

We decided to make baked apple slices (along the lines of OhmsandFarads's apple toast). It was something super easy and quick for which we had all the ingredients laying around. We peeled, cored, and sliced 8 apples, and laid them in a baking dish with cinnamon, brown sugar, and sprinkle of nutmeg. No recipe. No precise amounts. Within minutes we had the tray in the oven at 375 degrees. We left the apples in the oven for about 30mins, and stirred up the mixture about half way through.
After letting it cool for a bit, we all dug in...and it was delicious! Disappeared in minutes!

AND we spent the evening playing Apples to Apples...for an Apple themed night!

Kiwi Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Last week, I used some cream cheese to make enchiladas. I had leftover cream cheese, and the best use for it I could think of was cream cheese frosting! Coincidentally, I walked into the breakroom earlier this week to see these:

Home-grown Santa Cruz Kiwis. I decided to try making cupcakes with the kiwis. I decided to modify a banana cupcake recipe (from Martha Stewart), because kiwis are acidic and high in water content, as bananas are. I halved the recipe, replaced the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour, and omitted the baking soda.

Makes 12 small-medium cupcakes
For the cupcakes
3/4 c white whole wheat flour
3/8 c white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 small kiwis
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting
4oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
~1 c confectioner's sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 12 small-medium muffin cups. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Coarsely chop and puree kiwis
  3. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, oil, pureed kiwis, eggs, and vanilla. At this point, Linda said to me "Now, all you need is ham!" To go with my seemingly green eggs hahaha
  4. Stir wet ingredients to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, cream the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth. While still mixing, sift in confectioner's sugar. Begin with ~1/2 cup, and taste. Keep adding sugar until you get your desired sweetness.
  7. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with as much frosting as you like! The frosting recipe made about twice as much frosting for my taste.

I noticed that the cupcakes were not green at all despite the kiwi, and so I decided to experiment with some food coloring to get green frosting. But it turned out more tourquise-ish...regardless, the cupcakes turned out reasonably tasty. The kiwi flavor wasn't very strong, but it just added a sourish, interesting taste. They definitely needed the cream cheese taste in the frosting to complete the package. The cupcakes did turn out incredibly moist and soft, despite the whole wheat flour. They were also a little dense, I think because of the high water content of the kiwis. Can't say I'd make these again, but they did go quickly when I brought them to a friend's house.

My Favorite Breakfast

Simple, pretty, tasty! Multi-grain bread, slathered in peanut butter, topped with apple slices and dusted with cinnamon. Enjoyed with a tall glass of milk. The cinnamon is from a great tip from Ben X--if you dust an apple with cinnamon, the brown of the oxidation won't be so noticeable. CLEVER.

Sunday Brunch

Special thanks to Christina for hosting a lovely Sunday brunch! We had tons of food: blueberry pancakes, belgian waffles, home fries, bacon, eggs in every shape and form. And plenty of drinks: mimosas, mojitos, smoothies, sparkling juice. Just delicious! Also, Christina's house has such huge windows, I absolutely loved the lighting for these pictures!

All these eggies went into our tummies hehehe

Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles

Thanks to Yun and James for this recipe! Originally from here. A healthy alternative to standard waffles--the whole wheat flour adds texture and doesn't detract from taste--perfect!

2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp oil
2 c milk
3 eggs
cooking spray

Combine dry ingredients and egg yolks. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into batter. Heat a waffle iron. When hot, spray with cooking spray. Ladle a few spoonfuls of batter into the waffle iron and cook as directed by the waffle iron manufacturer. Serve with fresh fruit, whipped cream, syrup, etc etc etc. Makes ~5 waffles.

Home Fries

2 Tbsp butter (I would usually use oil, but butter is so yummy and it was a special occasion :))
2 large Russett potatoes, chopped into 1/2" cubes
3 scallions, chopped into 1/4" pieces
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp oregano

Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan. Once the butter melts and begins to bubble, add the potatoes. Coat with butter. Cover and cook until potatoes are about 3/4 done, stirring occasionally (should take ~7-10 minutes). Add scallions and seasonings, continue cooking until potatoes are completely cooked. I like slightly browned homefries, so stir to prevent the potatoes from burning, but don't stir too often. Makes about 6 small servings.


Something I've never been able to do until today thanks to Christina and Yi's instructions. Instead of using the usual toast, I used a blueberry pancake instead.

1 pancake, waffle, toast, etc (a piece of carbs at least 1/4" thick)
1 egg
1 tsp butter

Heat the butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Cut a hole in the pancake (I used the rim of a glass to make a perfect circle). Just a note--if using a pancake, it's best to keep it slightly undercooked to avoid burning it during the hole-in-one process. Once the pan is heated, place pancake into pan. Break egg into the center of the hole. Allow the egg to cook a few minutes. Once the bottom of the egg has begun to congeal, use a spatula to slide the pancake around a little bit to keep the egg from sticking to the pan. After the egg is approximately half cooked, use the spatula to flip the pancake. Allow the egg to finish cooking, again sliding the pancake occasionally to keep it from sticking. Serve with anything you'd usually put on pancakes or eggs--salt, pepper, syrup, powdered sugar, fruit, etc. Yes, that's right, I ate this with all those condiments. YUMMY

Fruit Smoothies
4 kiwis, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 c sliced strawberries
2 c frozen berries (we used a combination of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), slightly defrosted
1/2 c fat free milk
6 tsp confectioner's sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree. Garnish with mint and serve. I would not recommend combining with sparkling blueberry juice, as below--even though it looks pretty, the juice curdled the milk in the smoothies giving Makes ~4-5 cups.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Lunch 1B: Shanghai Rice Cakes

I love Shanghai food. I especially love rice cakes (年糕), which are traditionally had to ring in the new year, but now can also be had whenever the craving hits. :) This is one of the most easily scalable and variable recipes ever, so adjust away.

Time: 0:30
Serves: 8

* 1 head napa cabbage
* 1 package dried rice cakes (about 1.5-2 cups)
* 3/4 cup pork strips (or ground pork)
* 1 winter bamboo (optional)
* 2 teaspoon rice cooking wine
* vegetable oil
* water
* cornstarch
* salt to taste
* black rice vinegar to dip

1. Marinate the pork with a teaspoon of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons rice wine, and a pinch of salt. I add a dash of soy sauce, my mother doesn't - up to you.
2. Taking 3-5 leaves of the napa cabbage at a time, cut them into thirds lengthwise, then turn and slice them thinly.
3. Peel off the husks of the bamboo and scrap away the fuzz on whatever remains. Julienne.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet (or saucepan if you don't have a skillet large enough). My mother would add more oil for the authentic taste. Sauté the pork on high heat until no more pink shows, constantly stirring to make sure the strips don't stick (or to make sure you get small clumps of ground pork instead of a huge patty). Set aside.
5. Pour enough water to immerse the bamboo and bring to a boil. Add the bamboo and boil until they've softened, then set aside. Reserve the leftover water.
6. Put the napa cabbage in the skillet. This part gets tricky. If you want, you can separate the napa cabbage into batches to cook. It will shrink as it cooks and the water escapes. Heat and keep flipping so that all parts of the cabbage are cooked. Add some of the water from cooking the bamboo if the pan gets too dry. Set aside when softened.
7. Put the dried rice cakes. I put some water in, my mom adds a lot of oil. Keep stirring to keep from sticking. If the water dries before the rice cakes are soft, add some more.
8. Now combine the pork, bamboo, napa cabbage, and rice cakes - this is why I said to use a large skillet. Add salt to taste. Mix 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch with some of the leftover water and add that too. Fold until everything's nicely combined, then serve with a bit of black rice vinegar for people to dip as desired.

Variations: Add a cup of shiitake mushrooms instead of the bamboo - just slice and cook with a bit of rice wine and water.
Julienne and boil/sauté two green peppers with half a cup of shelled edamame beans and add that instead of the bamboo.
Halve the recipe and keep half the ingredients for something else.
I've seen this dish cooked a different way in pretty much every restaurant I've been to that serves it.

Homemade Bertucci's Silano Pizza!

One of my favorite pizzas in the whole world is the Silano from Bertucci's, so I decided to try to make it at home the other day. For those who aren't familiar with it, the pizza is a white pizza - it doesn't have tomato sauce and instead is broccoli and chicken and mozzarella cheese in a lemon-cream white sauce.

I cheated and bought a refrigerated pizza crust, but other than that I made it from scratch. Here's what I used...
1 refrigerated pizza crust
1 medium head of broccoli, chopped and steamed until not quite tender.
8 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 lb of chicken, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup lemon juice
several tablespoonfuls of grated parmesan

I spread the pizza dough on the greased cookie sheet as directed, and then mixed together the whipping cream, lemon juice, pepper and parmesan cheese to make the white sauce. I spread half the white sauce on the pizza and then added the broccoli, chicken, mozzarella and ricotta (which I dropped in tablespoonfuls on the pizza) and then poured the rest of the white sauce over the top of the pizza. I then baked it according to the directions on the package, until the crust was golden brown. I think it took about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Here's my Silano pizza! It came out really well and tasted surprisingly like the Bertuccis version, minus the brick-oven crust of course, but that's hard to do at home.
The next time I make the recipe I'll make a few changes - first, I won't use any ricotta. I mostly used it because I had it on hand and I wanted to get rid of it (Bertuccis version doesn't have ricotta, I don't believe). It didn't really add anything to the pizza, anyway. Second, I wouldn't make as much white sauce and I definitely wouldn't use as much lemon juice (the lemon flavor was a little, um, overpowering). I would probably use 1/2 cup - 2/3 cup cream and only a couple tablespoonfuls of lemon juice. Other than that I thought it came out pretty well. And definitely use fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded tastes soooo much better!

Revised ingredient list:
1 refrigerated pizza crust
1 medium head of broccoli, chopped and steamed until not quite tender.
8 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 - 1/2 lb of chicken, cooked and chopped
1/2 - 2/3 cup whipping cream
several tablespoonfuls of lemon juice
dash of pepper
several tablespoonfuls of grated parmesean

Why its a Horse of Course!

So I am not much of a cook, even less of a baker. Usually cooking is quite a chore for me, and usually I can't say my productions are too tasty. What I do enjoy, however, is decorating food. Turning a plate of some usual item into a masterpiece. I love those really fancy restaurants, where the portions are itty bitty...simply because each plate that comes out is truly a work of art. So, over the course of this blog, I may not be a main contributor of delicious recipes, but I will try to share my more "artistic" pieces...both past and present.

And what is more fun to decorate than cakes? This past week was my friend Sadie's birthday. She was having a really rough week, including having to write a grant on her birthday, so my friend Anja and I decided to surprise her at her lab with cake. Anja was in charge of buying the goods...and comes over to my place with a boxed mix of German chocolate cake and some chocolate frosting. (Sadie is a huge chocolate fan!) So I look at it, and go...'so what did you get to decorate the cake with?' She had clearly forgot that part! No candles, no colored frosting...just brown on brown cake. At home all I had was chocolate chips...more brown.

So I think about it...what does Sadie like...well Sadie is a horeback rider! She grew up with horses, she goes riding at the equestrian center on campus every chance she gets...and lucky for me, horses can be brown! As the cake baked, I planed out my design, and ended up having a lot of fun with it. Here you can see my end result. Anja decided to take my scraps and make "horse acessories"...including a horseshoe and a pile of horse dung.

The real test of my efforts came when Sadie saw the cake...and she was able to tell it was a horse!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Multi-cultural mac & cheese

I usually fail miserably when I try to make mac & cheese from scratch, but this time it turned out pretty decently. In the past week, I made a pizza pie and enchiladas. Both times when I went to the grocery store to purchase cheese for these recipes, I noticed that the preshredded cheeses were on sale, and cheaper than the blocks of cheese. Given that I spend way more time cooking (and hence EATING) than I spend working out, I was very excited. Plus this way, I got fancy blends of cheese! Asiago, mozarella, parmesean, cheddar, jack, etc etc etc. Yummy! Anyway, I ended up with leftover "Italian Blend" cheese and "Mexican Blend" cheese.

So I decided to make macaroni and cheese, and I thought I'd try Martha's mac & cheese. Because, after all, Martha is the last word in all things domestic. When I started cooking though, I didn't feel like going through the trouble of making a casserole (mainly because my only baking dish was occupied by the whole-wheat brownies in a previous post). Plus, I had been craving real food (and by that I mean Indian food--the type of stuff I grew up with), but I was too lazy to go to the store to buy vegetables, so I spiced up the original recipe a lot (a LOT--I needed to put in twice as much pasta as I had originally planned to dilute the sauce a little, but I STILL needed to eat it with milk--not that I'm complaining!). I was surprised, though, by how easy it was to make a cheese sauce. I guess this means I'm going to be eating a lot more mac&cheese and get a lot more fat in the future hehe.

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup skim milk
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp coriander-cumin powder
1 small green chili
1 1/2 c grated cheese
6 oz dry pasta (I used mini shells)
1/2 c frozen peas (to appease my mom haha)

Heat the milk in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes (until warm). Melt the butter in a pot (big enough to hold all the cooked pasta and cheese and milk) over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in the warm milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, about 10-12 minutes. Be sure it keep stirring to keep the mixture for burning at the bottom!

Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the spices, 1 cup of the cheese, and the peas. Set aside.

While making the cheese sauce, cook pasta fully to whatever done-ness desired. Drain well. Stir pasta into the cheese sauce.

To serve, scoop individual portions onto plates or--my preferred serving dish--bowls, and top with the remaining 1/2 c cheese. Yields ~3-4 servings.

Slightly-healthier Brownies

Anyone who knows me knows I love cake/brownies/chocolate. But I feel so guilty--all that sugar and white flour :(

So I found this recipe, which uses some whole wheat flour, less sugar than normal, and no butter. Sounded promising, and I decided to modify it a little bit. Instead of a mixture of traditional American whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour, I used atta, an Indian flour that we use for flatbreads. My mom says that atta is kind of like the white whole wheat flour you'd find in an American store. I also added some brown sugar because the original recipe claims to yield a dark-chocolate level of sweetness, but I'm a milk chocolate kind of girl. Additionally, I wasn't in the mood for non-uniform brownies, so I omitted the nuts and chocolate chips. Finally, instead of plain water, I incorporated coffee to accent the chocolate flavor.

1 cup atta (white whole wheat) flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup hot coffee
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients. Now mix everything together, be careful that you don’t over mix.

Pour the brownie batter into a greased and floured 8×8 nonstick pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I ended up sifting the dry ingredients because my flour and sugar were a little lumpy, which, combined with the relatively large amount of baking powder, gave the brownies more of a cake-like texture than a typical brownie texture. Which is totally fine by me, but I think next time I'll decrease the baking powder a little bit. Also, I used cheap generic cocoa powder, so it wasn't as chocolatey as I would have liked. Next time I think I'll make it a point to add in extra chocolate chips or use much stronger coffee. Or maybe I'll try buying fancier cocoa powder.

Overall though, I was impressed that the texture of the brownies wasn't really affected by the whole wheat flour. The brownies were a little rougher than you'd usually expect, but overall still soft and tasty. Mmm!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pi(e) Day!! part 2

As per Adrienne's suggestion, a post about pi(e) day! We had a pie potluck, which yielded some very tasty pies... Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
modified from here
(yes, yes it does have a PI made from bananas)

9 graham crackers
1/4 c. melted butter (approximately)

3/4 c. sugar
8 tbsp. cocoa powder
6 tbsp. flour
2 1/4 c. milk
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 banana

For the crust, crush the graham crackers (food processor is best, blender/hands work as well...the finer the better but coarse is ok too, in my opinion) and combine with melted 1/4 cup of butter. Press into the bottom of a 6-8" pie dish.

Over a double boiler, combine all dry ingredients. Slowly add some of the milk, then gradually all the rest until smoothly blended. Keep stirring until mixture starts to boil and gets thick. Continue to cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in small bowl. Add melted butter and vanilla. Temper the eggs by pouring spoonfuls of the hot milk mixture and stirring. After combining the egg mixture with ~5 spoonfuls of milk mixture, pour all of the eggs into the milk mixture. Stir until smooth. Remove from top boiler and allow to cool.

While the pudding is cooling, slice the banana and arrange in concentric circles in the bottom of the pie dish. When the pudding has completely cooled, pour into baked pie shell. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with more banana, whipped cream, etc. Use your imagination!

Overall, this recipe gives a little too much pudding for a 6-8" pie dish, so it works out perfectly--you have leftover pudding to eat while the pie is in the fridge!


Other pies included a pizza pie (recipe modified from here)

6 mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 c. cheese (I used an "italian blend" of cheeses)
1 1/2 c. milk
3 eggs
3/4 c. Bisquick mix
1/2 c. pizza sauce (recipe below)
1 bell pepper, chopped

Heat oven to 425F. Grease 10" pie plate. Sprinkle mushrooms and 1/3c. cheese in pie plate.

In medium bowl, beat milk, eggs, and Bisquick with electric mixer until smooth. Pour over vegetable mixture in pie plate.

Bake 20 mintues. Spread pizza sauce over top. Sprinkle bell pepper and remaining cheese over pie. Bake another 15-20 min until cheese is light brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

The base of this pie turned out very very very eggy (which would have been obvious if I had paid more attention to the recipe instead of just making it haha), so next time I would probably add more Bisquick and only 1 egg.

Pizza Sauce recipe:
vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp McCormick's Italian Seasoning (I think it has basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, etc)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and sautee until translucent. Keep stirring or they'll stick! Add garlic paste, tomatoes, and remaining spices. Bring to a boil. Simmer until the sauce has become very thick. Remove from heat and pour sauce into blender; puree.


Also making appearances:

St. Patrick's Day Quiche
Chicken Pot Pie:

Beef Stir Fry Pie:
From the chef of this masterpiece:

The stir fry pie recipe was taken from here:

The version at the party involved about 3/4 cup rice, the forgot the onions, and sat in a 9'' pie pan instead of 10''

Kiwi Pie:

FOUR Apple pies:
(unfortunately I only got pictures of 3...Virginia's-delicious-lattice-brown-sugar -Lodi-apple pie was devoured before I remember to get a picture...)

needless to say, we all were STUFFED for a couple days after pi day...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pi(e) Day!

I didn't have a big Pi Day party like Roshni (who should make a post about all the pies at that party -- hint hint) but I did celebrate the day with my favorite pie, my mom's Tollhouse Cookie Pie. For those who enjoy the taste of Tollhouse Cookies, this pie is an easy alternative, since you don't have to stand over the oven for a long time and drop the cookies onto the cookie sheet. For those who are cooking for one, it also keeps much better than cookies do (unless you eat it all really fast because it's so, I definitely did).

2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 refrigerated pie shell

Beat eggs until foamy. Combine flour, brown sugar, and sugar, and add to eggs. Add butter and oil, mix well. Add chocolate chips. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Add a few chocolate chips on top, if desired. Bake at 325 degrees, for approximately an hour (check after 50 minutes). Allow to cool on the stove top for half an hour if you like your pie warm, or cool in the refrigerator for an hour if you want it cooler.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I spent the weekend in Boston and hit up some of my favorite foods from the four years I spent attending college there. The second I landed early Friday morning, I headed over to Quincy Market for clam chowder. As it turns out, tourist attractions don't open at 9AM on cold Friday mornings, so I wandered to the North End to pick up some Mike's Pastry. I was going to meet with friends on Sunday to stop by this very place, but I had an hour to kill and a stroll ending in fresh cannoli sounded perfect. Plus, I figured I could earn brownie points by bringing some to the friends I met with on Friday & Saturday who weren't participating on Sunday's North End trip.

I happily consumed a cannoli at Quincy Market while watching tourists filter through. In this manner, an hour passed quickly and I was able to obtain a bread bowl clam chowder from Boston Chowda Co. Combined with a semi-interesting book (Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman) and the mid-morning March sun, this was a very comforting brunch. I knew I was too full from the cannoli to eat the bread bowl, but the memories it brought back were too much to care. (Plus it makes for a nicer picture, don't you think?)

Having arrived on a red eye from California meant I'd only gotten four hours of spotty, restless sleep at best, so after several hours of meandering around Boston and MIT, I headed to the hotel for a much-needed shower and power nap. While I don't particularly love lobster (I prefer crabs), I also have fond memories of Quincy Market's lobster roll, so I'd gotten one to take to the hotel with me. Again, I wasn't hungry enough to eat the bread, but the lobster salad filling was so delicious that I simply couldn't bring myself to care. I also managed to confirm that a to-go lobster roll could stay for several hours, so getting one on Sunday to bring to the family in California would be doable.

Now, it's simply impossible to mention this weekend without mentioning that Saturday was Pi Day and the team had thoughtfully acquired pie for the entire tournament. No, I don't have fond memories of this particular pecan pie from Lyndell's Bakery, but I do miss the nerdiness that was such an inherent part of everyday life at MIT, and the fact that I got to celebrate another Pi Day at the Institute was indeed rather happy.

No trip to MIT is complete without some campus food. I couldn't catch the dining hall when they were open, but Anna's Taqueria never fails to deliver. Now granted, I don't care for Anna's half as much as Roshni does, but I did really like their breakfast burrito on the rare occasion I passed by the student center while they were still being served. Eggs, sausage, rice, beans & cheese, all wrapped in a flour tortilla - what more could a partly white-washed, mostly California-raised Asian ask for in a non-Asian breakfast?

As previously planned, Sunday resulted in more cannoli & clam chowder (this time not in a bread bowl). I carefully placed a box of cannolis in my purse and stuffed a (well-wrapped) jumbo lobster roll in my carry-on. The pastry of the cannoli were soft by the time my family bit into them some 13 hours later, but they still enjoyed them a lot. My Boston pit stops will probably never change from this pattern, but I really don't think I care.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mild Thai Chicken Curry

I have very little experience coooking Asian food, but lately I have really developed a taste for Thai food, particularly curries and pad thai. This is a mild Thai chicken curry that I modified from a recipe I originally found on epicurious, and it's very easy to make.

1 14-oz can of coconut milk
1/2 T of red curry paste
1/2 red pepper, sliced into 1/3 in wide strips
1/2-1 small head of broccoli, chopped
1 T brown sugar
1 T fish sauce
1/2 lb. cooked chicken, cut up into bite size pieces.
1 cup rice, prepared according to package directions (with water and butter)

Directions: Cook curry paste and coconut milk in a skillet over medium low heat for a couple of minutes. Add vegetables, brown sugar, and fish sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add (cooked) chicken, mix together and cook for a couple more minutes. Serve over rice. Makes 3-4 servings.
This recipe is very mild. I don't have much of a taste for spicy food, and even I found myself wishing it were spicier. If I made it again I would probably use an entire tablespoon of curry paste. Even as is, however, the recipe certainly has flavor. This recipe is also easy to modify - the original recipe called for onion and red pepper, but I substituted broccoli to fit my tastes. It would also be easy to cook the chicken in the skillet with the coconut milk, if it's added at the beginning. I would imagine it would also be easy to substitute a different kind of meat. The core of the recipe is of course the coconut milk and curry paste, and the brown sugar and fish sauce give it a Thai flavor. Epicurious commentators suggested adding some garlic or peanut butter, so I might try that the next time I make it.
A note on the Thai ingredients - I was able to find all of them in the International aisle of my local grocery store, but if they're not available in the general grocery store they can be found at an Asian supermarket.