Thursday, November 4, 2010

Awilda's Amazing Flan Recipe

Awilda is an opera singer and she makes amazing food.  Her signature dessert dish is a flan recipe that will wow you with its texture and taste.   She describes this flan as "not too eggy".  She spent a lot of time with trial and error to balance the flavor and texture created by the egg.  I think this is an amazing recipe and I will be making it next week for our dinner club.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces cream cheese 
1/3 cup Bakers sweetened Coconut

Hot water for the bain de marie (baƱo de maria)

In an 8 ounce cake pan (one of those you use to bake layer cakes pour 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water and mix well. Over medium high heat (About 10 minutes) allow the sugar to reduce and caramelize(do NOT mix once the sugar starts bubbling otherwise you will get a crystal goo). Watch it carefully once it begins to thicken, because once it starts turning golden it will do it very quickly. When it begins to turn golden, take it off the fire because since the pan is hot it will continue to caramelize until it is a rich deep brown.  Using pot holders, swirl the caramelized sugar around the sides of the pan over and over until you have used up the caramel.  (It will begin to harden as it cools)

Set the pan aside.

In the blender mix the evaporated and condensed milk, eggs, cream cheese, vanilla and coconut extracts and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar - it won't be too sweet because the cream cheese takes away some of the sweetness of the condensed milk - and puree until smooth. Pour into the caramelized cake pan.  Sprinkle the baker's coconut on the top and place in a larger pan with hot water that comes up to the pan about 1/2 - 2/3 around it.  (Have the pan with the hot water already in the oven and place the flan pan into it).  Bake at 325 for 55 - 1:00 or until the top is nicely browned.

Remove from oven and cool completely before putting in the refrigerator. Cover with tin foil and cool in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4-6 hours. 

To serve, take a knife and go around the sides completely making sure you have loosened the flan from the sides of the pan.  Put a plate on top of the pan and invert.  Gently shake loose.

Have fun.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Roasted Cashew Sauce - perfect for chicken satay

Roasted Cashew sauce.
8 oz roasted cashews
5 oz roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
12 fl oz coconut milk
3 teaspoon thick soy sauce
2 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
(recommend to add a bit more hot sauce of your liking here - Saracha is ok)
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar.

1. Preheat oven to warm 315oF.  Spread cashews and peanuts on baking tray and roast for 10 min and then cool.
2. Finely grind cumin coriander and fenugreek with mortar and pestle.  Put in a small pan and dry fry over low heat for 3 minutes. 
3. Put nuts and spices in food processor and finely chop.  Add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper until a soft chunky sauce.  If you prefer a thin sauce, add 2-3 tablespoons water.
4. Transfer to a small pan and heat gently for 5 minutes, until warm.

Lei's Cheesecake Recipe

Brenna's co-worker made the most amazing cheesecake recently so I just had to get the recipe.  It is amazing how good something that I usually don't crave can be once you have a bite... you just can't stop with this one :)

2.5 c graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
0.25c sugar
Handful of toasted nuts (optional)
Combine and press into 9inch springform pan)
1.5 Cup sugar
3lbs cream cheese
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1.5 cup sour cream

Beat Cream cheese and sugar until smooth and light. 
Beat in eggs cornstarch and vanilla just until blended.
Stir in sour cream.
Add to pan and bake @450 degrees for 10min
Reduce to 200 degrees and back for 1.5 hours
Turn oven off and open door slightly for 3 hours

This is 1.5 x the original recipe to make  taller cheesecake.  It can be scaled back.
I sift in the cornstarch so that it doesn’t clump.  I put a rack above the cheesecake and foil on the rack to keep the cake from browning
Baking time varies but just bake until it isn’t jiggly.

For the ganache I melted 10oz chocolate chips – semi sweet and added 1 cup whipping cream over a double boiler.  When this is smooth I poured it over the cheese cake and spread it around the sides.

How to plan a Sushi Party for 4 people

I enjoy putting together sushi parties with friends at my place. I have also taken a sushi class and there are some tricks and pitfalls to share. These tips and menu ideas will get you through a sushi night at home stress free. We usually have a lot of fun making sushi since our guests help out and get involved in the process. So let's get started.

What to get?

Tools: Sushi Roller (usually less than 5 dollars at your asian store)

Basic Ingredients:

Nori - Seaweed Sheets

Wasabi - (DO NOT GET THE TUBES! but the powder which is actually horseradish)

Soy Sauce (Some of the main stream brands are fine. However, you need to water them down to make them taste better 1/2 water 1/2 soy sauce. Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised.)

Ginger Pickled (I buy this ready made but some day plan to make it from the young ginger that they sell)




Salmon is my favorite

Tilapia is ok if you have some good other flavors going on

Tuna is good

Broiled Eel (unagi) is a must for us

Short grain Rice you can make into Sushi Rice.  I usually pick up Nishiki brand.

Mirin - Rice Wine Vinegar

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amazing Crab Cakes from Lauren's Mom

The lack of measurements in this recipe can be explained by the fact that it is a family one. If you find particular quantities that work out well for you please comment to share with everyone.

Use Crab from Costco in the cooler section (not frozen)

Add the following to taste

*Small amount mayonnaise (to hold cakes together once mixed)
*Lemon Zest
*Lemon Juice
*Fresh Dill and Chives
*Sea Salt and Pepper
*Cayenne Pepper
*Add 1/2 cup approximately of Panko

Chill. Roll in small balls and press into a flat cak. Coat with more panko. Place in a hot skillet using a small amount of olive oil or butter. Cook until crisy on outside.

Serve with the following or with your own concoction:
The Ojai Cook Latin or Lemon Lemonaise
Chili Sauce

Friday, April 24, 2009

Matt H's Vegetarian Thai Red Curry Recipe

Red Curry - This is a fine red curry that is completely vegetarian and doesn't use any anchovy or fish sauce

* 1 tbsp vegetable oil
* 1 block of tofu cut into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch squares
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup curry paste (recipe below)
* 1 1/2 cups sliced onion
* 1 1/2 cups sliced Chinese long beans, cut in 1 1/2 inch lengths
* 1 1/2 cups julienne bamboo shoots (1 5 oz. "tuna" can is what I used)
* 3 cups coconut milk
* 1/4 cup light soy sauce
* 1 tbsp "Better Than Boullion" vegetable base
* 6 whole kaffir lime leaves
* 1/4 cup julienne red bell peppers
* 2 springs Thai sweet basil

* Heat the 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet on high heat
* Add all of the tofu and make sure they lay flat
* After a minute or two toss them and continue until all sides are light brown
* At this point it would be wise to start up the rice in the steamer
* Heat the 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
* Add the curry paste and cook for 3-5 minutes or until fragrant
* Add in the onions, long beans, tofu and bamboo and stir to mix well with the curry paste
* Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil
* Stir in soy sauce, vegetable base and kaffir lime leaves if you have them
* Reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp tender.
* Adjust the flavor with seasonings if needed
* Transfer to serving dish and garnish with red bell peppers and Thai basil leaves.
* Serve with steamed rice

Red Curry Paste - Make this base for the Red Curry dish

* 8 large dried guajillo chilies
* 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
* 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
* 3 tbsp chopped shallots
* 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro roots/stems
* 2 tbsp chopped lemongrass, tender midsection only
* 2 tbsp chopped fresh red Thai chilies
* 2 tbsp chopped garlic
* 1 tbsp chopped galangal
* 1 tsp salt

* Stem and seed the dried guajillo chilies and soak in warm water for 15 minutes or longer
* While guajillos are soaking roast the coriander and cumin seeds in dry pan over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes or until fragrant
* Use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds into a powder
* Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend
* The ingredients will likely stick to side; use "just enough"
water added very slowly to turn into a paste

Friday, April 10, 2009

Quincy's Seedling Tips

I tried to grow an herb garden last year with mixed success. I am starting earlier this year and a new friend from work gave me the following tips on starting from seed. Quincy took a seedling starter class and I am excited to try some of these tips with my herbs this summer. Please post any tips you may find useful (especially with fighting the aphids).

1) Get the seed starting mix – not potting soil
2) Wet it down in a bucket until it becomes sticky. I think of it like wet sushi rice in its sticky wetness.
3) Put the seed starting mix into your 1” starter pots
4) Put the seeds gently on top. Maybe cover them with a TINY amount of soil or maybe make a TINY hole for them. Put 2 seeds in each 1” starter pot.
5) Keep ‘em moist – but watch out for fungus!!
6) Once you see the first leaves – LIGHT! We have ours under cheap fluorescent lights 16 hours a day (on a timer) – no need for fancy grow lights.
7) Don’t forget to harden off!

The basil under the lights is doing better than the basil on the edge of the tray that gets less light so I think light is pretty important for those seedlings.

As far as aphids go… I think ladybugs are supposed to help with those. They sell them at Home Depot in the garden section (sometimes right by the cash register) once it gets warm enough for aphids.