Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Asian-themed supper club - dessert?

My husband & I go to a supper club that meets at a different host's home every month. We've have been really lucky to meet so many great friends through the club. The host usually makes the main dish and the guests bring the rest. January's hosts chose an asian theme and made pad thai. The others brought lots of great food - gyozas, coconut chicken, spring rolls and lumpia. I could fill up on just the appetizers! Everything was delicious!

I thought that we might be missing dessert so I thought I'd make a dish that my husband always loved at a Thai restaurant in Hattiesburg, MS. I remember how excited we were to hear that Hattiesburg had gotten its first Thai place, Suwanna's. One night soon after, we ventured out to see if it would have all our favorite dishes. They had most of them and everything we ate was very good. My husband decided to try their dessert, coconut rice with mango. Since we moved, we've gone to lots of Thai places and he always looks for that dessert. He has never found THE ONE that matches Suwanna's.

I thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to try to recreate the recipe. I found one on the internet that sounds similar. Here are the results:

I made a few changes and I thought it matched the Suwanna's dessert pretty well, although not exactly. Maybe it always tastes better the first time.

1 1/4 cups raw sticky rice (sweet or glutinous rice). Use Thai sticky rice if possible. (I used sticky rice like that you'd use for sushi.)
3/4 cup very thick coconut milk for mixing with rice (do not shake the coconut milk can before opening. Spoon out only the thick part that's usually on top)
1/4 cup sugar

For topping:
3/4 cup very thick coconut milk for topping the rice (freeze the rest of the coconut milk for other use later)
1/8 tsp salt for the topping
2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tbsp salt for mixing with rice
6 medium mangoes -- peeled and sliced


Wash and rinse the sticky rice well. Add enough water to the rice so until the water is about 1/4" above the rice surface. Cook rice in an automatic rice cooker or in a bowl in a steamer. Do not open the rice until fully cooked (about 20-25 mins).
Heat, on low, 3/4 cup of coconut milk in a small saucepan. Add sugar and 1/2 tbsp salt to the coconut milk and cook until dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into cooked rice. Stir to mix well and set aside to let stand for about 15 mins.

Sauce for topping
Heat the rest of coconut milk and add salt.
Stir until the salt is dissolved.
This makes the topping sauce.

To serve, place sliced mangoes on a side of a serving disk. Spoon some seasoned sticky rice on the other side. Top the rice with 1 or 2 tsp of coconut sauce and serve.
Makes about 6 servings.

I made three times as much for the club and I didn't find any problems in adapting the recipe to the group. I think most people liked it. I find it a heavy dessert that is best served with a lighter main dish.

Recipe Credit:

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I have been wanting to try my hand at two things that I generally avoid in the kitchen: dough and the fryer. I have had too many instances where I tried to make pie crust, bread or really dough of any kind, which have resulted in disaster. I've resorted to buying pie crusts ready-made for fear of repeating past mistakes. The other is the deep fryer. I'm convinced that I will either burn myself, dinner or the entire house. So, when my neighbor told me that she'd found a fool-proof fryer, easy to use and clean and that I could borrow it if I wanted to see for myself, I decided to be brave and try it.

My friend was having a birthday party with a Spanish theme. Lots of small plates. She said that we were welcomed to bring a little something, if we were interested. I decided to try making empanadas. This would force me to face two of my fears in the kitchen and it wasn't so bad after all. In fact, it was fun and the results were really yummy!

I got the recipe from Here is the link. As far as I can tell, the recipe is Argentinian, but I'm not sure. I left out the hard-boiled eggs because I don't really like them..with beef. This recipe makes a lot. I think that I made 45 empanadas! You should definitely try it!


Use a lot of flour on your rolling pin and surface so the dough doesn't stick.
Get a pair of metal tongs to use to flip your empanadas after 1-2 minutes in the fryer.
I don't think that the recipe mentions it but you may want to close your empanadas by pressing the edges with a fork.
My neighbor's deep fryer is a GE Deep Fryer Model # 169168. Very easy to use and clean!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

it's not over, 'til the....

last bite is eaten?

This month's daring baker challenge was to make an Opera Cake. The challenge (other than having to put together this complicated cake) was to make it with light flavorings, invoking thoughts of summer and dedicated to Barbara of Winos and foodies dot com and her sponsorship of A Taste of Yellow a way of celebrating LIVEStrong Day.

An Opera Cake consists of layers of syrup-soaked joconde (almond sponge cake), separated by buttercream and covered by a thin glaze (generally chocolate). I understand that a ganache can be involved as well but I did not make ganache, mainly because I am running late in the completion of the challenge.

I wish that I had given the flavorings more thought because I made everything almond flavored. It is a bit overpowering. I loved reading of everyone else's flavor concoctions. If I made it again, I might make lemon & raspberry or peanut butter and jelly (weird, but it could be cool, right?) They all sounded yummy! To see the other Daring Bakers Opera cakes, see the Daring Baker blogroll.

I wasn't pleased with the way my cake rose. Otherwise, it was pretty easy. I lined my jellyroll pans with parchment paper sprayed with Baker's Joy spray, so that they wouldn't stick. It was pretty, but next time I'll get extra chocolate to make shapes to decorate the cake. That would have been the icing on the cake!

If you would like the recipe, check the blogroll or send me a comment and I'll be happy to send it to you. It is rather long, so be prepared! Don't worry. It isn't too difficult!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Eat Down!

We are on an "eat down", as my mother-in-law calls it. An eat down is when you start looking through your pantry and freezer and find uses for the strange (or ordinary) ingredients that ended up there. I am not sure when my mother-in-law initiates an "eat down" but I generally start one when I notice an accumulation of things that I will never use unless I sit down and plan menus around them.

Like 4 boxes of Cheez-its?
Or 8 cans of peas?
Tamarind paste?
tart cherries?
countless boxes of JELL-O pudding and gelatin?

So, my eat down is all about finding creative ways to use these ingredients (not all together) in recipes. We'll start with the Cheez-its....

My husband thinks that we need Cheez-its every time that we go to the grocery store, hence the 4 boxes in my pantry. His favorite thing to do with them is to dip them in cream cheese and pepper jelly. Unfortunately, I am out of both and the main objective of the "eat down" is to use ingredients that you already have in the kitchen.

#1) Cheez-it trail mix
2 cups Cheez-it
1 cup chocolate chips or peanut butter chips
1 cup raisins

I brought this to my sister's house for a party. I thought it would be good beer-snacking food. She laughed at me.

#2) Cheez-it chicken
5-6 chicken breasts
1 stick butter
1 egg white mixed with water.
2-3 cups Cheez-its (Tabasco-flavored), crushed
1 tsp. hot sauce

Put each chicken breast through the water-egg white mixture then coat with cracker crumbs. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray like Pam. Do this with each of the chicken breasts. Melt butter, add hot sauce and drizzle over the chicken. Bake 40-45 minutes at 375° F.

This one was met with good reviews from the husband. Sorry, no pictures. It was that good!

Next, 8 cans of peas....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers- April: Cheesecake Pops

I've missed the last few Daring Bakers challenges. They have been some interesting ones, too. I definitely want to try to make french bread on my own and homemade white cake with buttercream frosting, but ran into too many obstacles these last few months. Mainly, I've been having trouble with my oven temperature. I finally got an oven thermometer and calibrated it properly, so I'm back in the kitchen!

The April recipe is for Cheesecake pops from “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” by Jill O’Connor, and the recipe was picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I was really excited to make these pops. The recipe was surprising easy. I thought of the endless possibilities in decorating them. Unfortunately, I did not have much time to put into decorating. I just went with a love theme and sprinkled them with multi-colored hearts. One of them ended up looking like a heart, so I picked that one for the picture. I tried the sanding sugars, but they just melted in with the chocolate. I probably should have used more. I think that they would be great rolled in any kind of nuts (walnuts, almonds, salted peanuts), but my husband doesn't really like nuts so I didn't try it. Maybe I'll try it for supper club sometime. These would be a good finger food for a cocktail party. They were a great treat after a long day outside at Jazz Fest!

I didn't have any lollipop sticks so I used toothpicks and made the pops with a small ice cream scooper. I've noticed that other Daring Bakers used cocktail stirrers, which I thought was very cute and creative.

Here is the recipe:

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional
Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Monday, January 28, 2008

2008 Resolutions - Late!

I'm sorry that I haven't posted lately. I do intend to post more and get through more of my mom's recipes in the new year. Run more and read more. Learn to play at least one song on the mandolin.

Since Mardi Gras is so early this year (Feb. 5th), it will be difficult to get started on any resolutions before Fat Tuesday.

More posts following Mardi Gras. I might even work in a king cake!

Lemony Bliss!

I love lemon meringue pie! What's not to love - lemon curd, pie crust and fluffy clouds of meringue. Lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts, but I've never made one on my own. I was delighted to see it listed as the January Daring Bakers challenge.

I was a little apprehensive about this challenge, though. I've never made a successful pie crust. They are either too crumbly to form anything resembling a crust or so sticky that I can't get it from the counter to the pie pan. I was pleasantly surprised about this pie crust. It was easy. Not just easy - simple! I used the food processor method and had no problems at all.

So far, it looks great! I'm saving it for tomorrow when my dear husband returns home. I did sneak a taste of the lemon curd bowl and it was wonderful! I'll update the post tomorrow with the DHR (Dear Husband Rating).

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

I made one pie and 4 little tartlets! I wish that I would have had time to make them this weekend while my in-laws were here. I think that they would have enjoyed it, too.

Thank you, Daring Bakers!

DHR: Very tasty!
He loved the pie! It almost made him forget that he is sick with bronchitis.

Note: I had problems with weeping meringue. My mom says it is because I did not let the sugar dissolve. More tips for weeping meringues here.