Thursday, March 26, 2015

Good Bye Winter Shrimp and Beer Curry

This simple shrimp curry will warm you up on early Spring nights when it's normal for the temperatures to dip but you’d prefer it to be a few degrees hotter. 

Look for a curry blend with some cinnamon, cardamom and coriander.  These spices go well with coconut milk-based curries.  You can add a few pinches of any of these ground spices to your favorite curry powder to approximate the flavor.

This is a mild curry and slightly sweet. If you like your curry with some extra heat, add dried red chili peppers or a tablespoon of sambal.

Give this curry plenty of time to cook and thicken.  At least 15 minutes on simmer in an uncovered pot is recommended (stir frequently). 

Good Bye Winter Shrimp and Beer Curry over Rice
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2-4 tablespoons curry powder – look for a so-called Malaysian curry with cardamom and cinnamon
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup beer
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 tablespoon mango chutney or 2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red pepper (or ½ red pepper + 1 jalepeño or Serrano pepper)
1 cup steamed green beans (briefly steam ahead of time or use any leftover green vegetable)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
Garnish: ¼ cup chopped cashews, chopped peanuts or sliced almonds

  1. Prepare curry sauce by melting butter in a medium, heavy bottomed pot (2-quart pot recommended).  Add flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until flour-butter mixture is light brown.  
  2. Add curry powder and continue to stir and cook another minute to release the oils in the spice blend. If using dried hot chilies or cayenne powder, add at this stage.
  3. Continue to stir and slowly add chicken broth, a few ounces at a time to create a smooth paste.  Now stir in reamining broth, beer, applesauce, ginger, ketchup and chutney (or honey).  If using a liquid hot sauce or hot chili paste like sambal or siracha, add at this stage.  
  4. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes while preparing shrimp and vegetables.  Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté peppers and green beans over medium-low heat.  Add vegetables to curry sauce. Taste and add salt if needed.  
  5. Continue to cook sauce until vegetables are tender.  Add raw shrimp and cream.  Lower heat and cook about 4 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Taste for salt.  Serve over hot rice.  Garnish with nuts.
Tip: Use the remaining coconut milk for the 14 ounce can to make coconut rice.   For 2 cups of cooked rice, use 2 cups of liquid, leftover coconut milk plus enough water to make up the 2 cups. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

City Artichokes with Potatoes and Carrots

This old Greek recipe for Anginares Politi (politi means city) can be traced back to Constatinople.  This vegeatble mixture bridges the transition into spring using small frozen artichokes, small potatoes and sliced carrots.  Dill, parsley and lemon are the traditional flavorings. 

Here, we used simple parsley and white wine mixed with chicken broth to stew the vegetables.  Serve over a bed of white navy beans and brown rice for a hearty early spring repast or as a new side dish that compliments chicken or fish. 

We love that this can be made in one skillet for easy clean up.

Anginares Politi
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a vegetarian entrée

1 package frozen artichokes
½ pound small potatoes (about 12) or cut 2-3 larger potatoes in chunks
5 carrots, thickly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup water
2 tablespoons white wine (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh herbs including parsley, dill, tarragon

  1. Defrost artichoke hearts.  You can use a microwave on half power for this.  
  2. Place potatoes and carrots in a deep skillet.  Add chicken broth, water and wine or lemon juice.  
  3. Cover loosely and boil until vegetables are tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 8 minutes.  You may need to remove the cover during the last few minutes to ensure most of the liquid boils out.  
  4. Add olive oil, butter and artichokes to skillet and cook on medium heat until vegetables begin to brown.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve at once garnished with fresh herbs. 
Lemons would be a nice garnish.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ice Cream Sandwich Sliders

Fill these small, dark chocolate, gluten-free cookies with a tablespoon of mint or pistachio ice cream to create a little bite to get your green in for St. Patrick's Day.

It is rare that I share a recipe using a mix but now that many manufacturers offer gluten free mixes that have only a few simple ingredients, its worth storing a few boxes in the pantry for last minute baking.   The "cakey" quality of these cookies makes them perfect for ice cream sandwiches.  You can bite into them right out of the freezer. 

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookies
Yields about 60 cookies (enough for 30 ice cream sandwich sliders)

1 package gluten free chocolate cake mix (about 15 ounces)- we used Betty Crocker mix
1/3 cup vegetable shortening and/or unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.  
  2. Mix all ingredients in a medium or large mixing bowl using a fork to incorporate all ingredients well.  
  3. Divide dough in half and roll out logs in plastic wrap.  Make your rolls about 1 ½ inches in diameter.  
  4. Refrigerate ½ hour for a firm, sliceable dough.  
  5. Slice cookie dough into 1/3 inch discs.  
  6. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart, and bake at 350˚F for eight minutes.  
  7. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet 1-2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack with a spatula.

Enjoy the cookies plain or sandwich ice cream between them.  Peanut butter mixed with equal parts cream cheese is another nice cookie sandwich filling. 

Let dough rest 1/2 hour to fully moisten gluten free flour—for a great texture
It's okey to refrigerate uncooked dough 2 days or freeze for up to one month

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cod Quarter Pounders

Here’s an upscale fish’wich for Fridays.

Thanks to being baked rather than fried, these fish burgers are light but pack a full quarter pound of fish into a serving.  We flavor them with a little dill and oregano and encourage you to try the herbs you like best with cod.  Notice that the amount of extra ingredients in these fish patties is minimal including less than one tablespoon of mayonaise for a whole pound of fish.  That's the secret to a cod burger that tastes like cod.

Make the regular size for burgers or small ones to serve over salad or as an appetizer.

Cod Quarter Pounders
Yield: 4 burgers, 16 sliders or mini-cod cakes

1 pound cod, haddock, pollack (previously frozen is OK)
2 teaspoons mayonnaise (or 1 each mayonnaise and cream)
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
good pinch each of salt, pepper, dill, oregano
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
spray oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.  
  2. Chop cod into large chunks.  Place in a food processor and pulse, just a few times to break up fish.  Remove and throw away any skin pieces then pulse one or two more times.  You are looking for a chunky chopped fish rather than pureed fish texture.  
  3. Transfer chopped fish to a medium sized bowl.  
  4. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper and herbs.  Use a fork to mix these ingredients together.   
  5. Stir in most of the bread crumbs.  Fish burgers should be easily formed without sticking to your hands.  Add more bread crumbs if fish is sticking.  
  6. Form four patties and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan.  If you have extra bread crumbs you can press the onto the tops of the patties.  
  7. Spray a little more oil on top of each patty.  
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes until fish is cooked through.  Fish patties are delicate so carefully use a wide spatula to place them on toasted rolls or on top of a green salad. 

Cod burger toppers: avocado, hot sauce mixed with mayonnaise or tartar sauce, pickled jalepeños, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato slices, etc

What’s on the cod in our photo? Spicy Sambal Sauce.  To make your own, mix together 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1-2 teaspoon Sambal (or siracha) , ½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard and 1 tablespoon diced celery.

Cooked cod burgers can be kept covered and refrigerated for up to two days.  Reheat on low power in a micorwave.  Cod burgers can also be frozen.  Use within one month for best flavor.  Defrost before gently reheating.