Sunday, October 9, 2011

Woking it Satay Chicken

Satay is most commonly served as grilled skewered meat, however, I decided to try it throwing it in the hot wok and serving it "hang free" style. The perfect solution for a satay fix in those winter months when it's too cold to trek through the snow to the barby.

Satay Sauce Ingredients:

2 Cups coconut cream
2 TBSP red curry paste
1 cup roasted, unsalted, ground peanuts

1 TBSP palm sugar
2 TBSP tamarind juice
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP Kecap Manis

In a wok, heat half a cup of coconut cream, add curry paste and cook until fragrant.  Add palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, ,sweet soya, peanuts and remaining coconut cream.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Store in a sealed glass container in refridgerator.   Keeps well for 2-3 weeks.

To Assemble:

Heat 1 TBSp oil in wok on medium high heat.  Add marinated chicken/meat. Do not over crowd wok, if necessary work in batches. You don't really need to stir this much, in fact I like just letting it sit and get almost a crunchy crust on it.
Cook until meat is cooked through.Remove from heat, pour satay sauce over the top.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and fresh cilantro leaves and crispy shallots.

Satay Marinade

This marinade is suitable for 1lb chicken, pork, beef or extra large shrimp. Marinate for at least 2 hours and for best results overnight.  If marinating shrimp a shorter period is required.


1 TBSP Palm sugar
1/2 Cup coconut cream
1 TBSP commercial curry powder
4 cloves garlic
1 TBSP Fish sauce
2 TBSP finely chopped coriander root and stem.

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Marinate meat for a minimum of 2 hours, preferable overnight.

Garam Masala

I have recently begun branching out to "Indian" flavors and combinations, I love the new food network star Aarti Sequira. She has great ideas for changing up common foods with Indian enhancements. However in my branching out I discovered that my local food stores do not stock the real Indian spice mix of Garam Masala. Here is the spice blend I have taken to using. You might as well mix up a double or triple batch and store it in a labeled container.

  • 4 tbsps coriander seeds

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns

  • 1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera)

  • 1 ½ tsps dry ginger

  • ¾ tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)

  • ¾ tsp cloves

  • ¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)

  • ¾ tsp crushed bay leaves

  • Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients (leave cardamom in its pods till later) except the dry ginger, till they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside.

  • When the spices are roasted turn off the heat and allow them to cool.

  • Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them back with all the other roasted spices.

  • Grind them all together, to a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder or spice grinder

  • Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.


    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Cool Chicken Summer Wraps

    I will be honest, I am not a fan of pre-cooked/frozen food. But I saw the challenge from Tyson to create a meal with their new ready to eat grilled chicken and I thought it would be a good challenge to try to create a good tasting meal using it. My family had no idea they were eating pre-cooked chicken, and it saved me cooking, cooling and chopping my own chicken.
    This recipe is flavorful and refreshing and a quick and satisfying meal for your family.
    If you don't want to use precooked chicken go ahead and cook your own, but for me.. experiment tyson chicken strips was a success.


    3-4 cups Tyson Grilled and ready chicken breast strips
    1 small bunch cilantro chopped
    1 1/2 cups chopped sundried tomatoes
    3 stalks celery chopped
    2 Lemons/juiced
    Olive Oil to your preference
    Salt to taste
    1 Tbsp Poultry Seasoning
    1 Tbsp dried oregano
    Fresh tortillas


    Heat Chicken strips and chop to small pieces.
    Mix cilantro, tomatoes, celery, chicken  ingredients together in a large bowl.  Drizzle on olive oil and juice to desired moistness and sprinkle through seasonings.
    Chill in fridge until you are ready to serve. Keeps well for up to a week. 
    When ready to serve,warm fresh tortillas and let people just wrap up their own.
    Quick, easy, tasty and crunchy this is a great cooling summer meal or snack!

    Stiry Fry of Beef with Roasted Chili Paste and Sweet Thai Basil

    Here is the stirfry I demonstrated at my
    "Thai Essentials" class at Alive Utah's Cook and Taste Weekend.
    It is one of my favorites!
    Quick to prepare and cook which makes it a great weeknight meal.  This recipe shows that you don't need to go to a restaurant for a great Thai meal.
    Full of rich flavors it is certain to satisfy.


    6 cloves garlic
    1 lb tender beef cut into thin strips
    1 small red onion sliced
    2 tsp roasted chili paste
    1 TBS oyster sauce
    1 TBS fish sauce
    1 TBS shaved palm sugar
    1 red bell pepper cut into strips
    Half cup of thai basil (or substitute regular basil if unavailable)
    Handful of Asian greens, such as pak choy or baby bok choy
    Coriander leaves and crispy fried shallots for garnishing


    Heat 2 TBSP of vegetables oil in wok, add onions and stirfry briefly. Add garlic, stirfry briefly, add beef and cook a few minutes.

    Add red pepper, stirfry briefly. Add chili paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar. Cook until beef is tender, only a few minutes.

    Add basil, Asian greens, stirfry until greens are wilted.

    Don’t over cook your stirfry, a good stirfry is fresh and crunchy and full of texture.

    Transfer to serving plate and garnish with coriander and shallots. Serve with freshly steamed jasmine rice.

    My Favorite Asian Supermarket--so far!

    I have had many questions as to where I purchase my hard to find Asian ingredients, I recommend the Southeast Market in Salt Lake City. I hear there is a great  market in Las Vegas as well, while that is closer I just generally head up north more than I ever head down to Vegas. If I know I am going up there I go prepared with a little shopping list so I don't forget anything.
    Here are the contact details for the store.

    My Kaffir Lime Tree

    Recently I have had so much trouble locating Kaffir Lime leaves for my Thai cooking. After driving for 3 1/2 hours to Salt Lake City and still having no luck I decided it was worth the investment to purchase a tree myself.  I took the time to research before I bought, I ordered seeds directly from Thailand and as back up I also purchased a 2 year old tree.
    While kaffir lime trees do produce cute little limes, it is rare that they are used in recipes - in fact if you have a recipe for some let me know!. The leaves however are like a snippet of gold. 

    I purchased my tree from "The Tasteful Garden" which is located in Alabama. They have a great selection of other plants online as well. I was very satisfied and happy with my little tree. They take a little bit of TLC.. lots of sunlight, a little bit of soil treatment ever 2-3 months, and I spray it with water every couple of days to make it think it is in humidity. Worth it? TOTALLY. Here is the link to the website.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Hidden Veggie Crockpot Lasagna

    I have been thinking of making a crockpot adaption on my mothers lasagne recipe. I have seen many vegetarian versions that have eggplant and my kids and hubby really wouldn't enjoy eating that. So I snuck in some good carrots and Cauliflower.
    While it's not exactly a "Quick" fix meal because there is a little preparation involved, it is worth the effort because it is so delicious and satisfying. 
    The good thing is once it's in the crockpot you can just forget it for 5 hours!

    1 lb extra lean Ground Beef (beef mince)
    3 mild Italian sausages (I opted for turkey - less fat than pork)
    1 Small jar of your favorite marinara pasta sauce
    1 lb can of crushed tomatoes
    1-2 boxes lasagna pasta sheets

    For the white sauce
    Approx 4 cups thinly sliced (either by hand or mandolin) cauliflower
    1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
    1 1/2 cups plain flour
    4 cups milk
    1 1/2 tsp salt to taste
    1 1/2 cups shaved or freshly grated parmesan cheese
    1 1/2 cups grated Asiago cheese
    (if you want to top with cheese have an extra 1/2 cups shaved parmesan cheese)

    Spray your crockpot generously with non-stick spray.
    Prepare your sauces first so you can layer it up fast. If you like you can even slice your vegies and make your meat sauce the day before.
    Meat Sauce:
    Take sausage out of casing and combine it in a large heated frypan with the ground beef. You can put it in raw in the crockpot but by cooking it first you can get rid of the oils and fats. Drain the meat in a colander and replace back in pan.
    Add your pasta sauce and half the can of crushed tomatoes. Flavor with extra with dried oregano and thyme.

    White Sauce:
    Melt butter in large saucepan on medium heat. In 1/2 cup incriments add your flour (creating a roux).  Stir constantly. It will thicken up to a really thick porridge consistancy.
    Turn your heat down to low. Cup by cup whisk in your milk. It will thicken constantly as it heats. When it reaches a thick soup consistancy you are ready to add in your cheeses. sauce is complete when cheese is melted into the sauce.

    Put it all together
    (note if you get non boil pasta sheets you can put the hard shells straight in the pot.. if not make sure to blanch your pasta in hot water so it is soft enough to form in your crockpot)

    Spread some of the remaining crushed tomato on the bottom of your crock pot. Place a layer of lasagne sheets along the bottom of the pot.
    Spread a very generous amount of meat sauce on top of pasta.
    Cover with pasta, shaping it to your crockpot breaking hard shells if needed and cutting soft sheets if partially cooked.
    Spread a generous amount of white sauce over the top of the pasta (by generous I mean about 1cm (approx 1/4 inch) - don't be stingy with your sauces.. I like to know exactly what layers I am eating.

    Place a layer of cauliflower on your white sauce.

    Layer Pasta.
    Layer Meat Sauce again.
    Layer Pasta.
    Layer White sauce.
    Layer Cauliflower.
    Layer Pasta.
    Pour remaining crushed tomatoes over last sheet of pasta, it should be just barely enough to cover the pasta lightly. Then spread the white sauce over the top hiding everything underneath. Spread parmesan shavings over the top.
    Cover and allow to cook on low for 3 1/2 hours and crank it up to high for the last hour and a half.
    Remove ceramic dish from crock pot and set aside to "set-up" for 15 minutes or longer. This will give you a nice firmly layered dish.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Thai Essentials Class

    Alive Utah South has asked me to teach a Thai Essentials Cooking Class at the next Cook and Taste Weekend,   Friday May 13th, 4:00-6:00pm
    First of all .. very flattered and excited! If you haven't been to one of these weekends you really should try it, there are some great classes available, not only did I learn alot but I had a fun and relaxing time.

    This particular class I will teaching alot herbs, sauces and techniques, from appetizers to stir fries and curries, there is a little of everything to get you started. If you liked the Stuffed Coconut Shrimp that was featured at the last Cook and Taste weekend you will love the seafood noodle bundles we will make.
    Bring a friend and come prepared to chop and eat these fresh, and tasty dishes.

    ~Seafood Noodle Bundles~
    ~Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce~
    ~Stirfry of Beef with Roasted Chili Paste and Thai Basil~
    ~Green Curry of Chicken and Thai Basil~

    To sign up go to the link to the Alive website and click on Event registration in the top right hand corner.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Aussie Meat Pies

    Classic Australian food - Every Australian bakery has meat pies, there are so many variations on flavors - beef and bacon, beef and mushroom, steak and kidney -this recipe is using just the original basic plain beef pie. You can use it for mini pies, single serving pies or even for a large family size - just change your baking dishes. To serve for an Australian dinner simply roast or steam fresh vegies such as peas, potatoes and carrots, for dessert whip up my Australian Trifle recipe and whualla.. a complete Aussie meal!

    Makes approximately 8 single serving pies.
    4 Sheets Puff Pastry Mostly Defrosted
    1 lb Minced Beef (Ground Beef)
    1 white onion chopped
    1 packets brown gravy mix
    1 egg and milk for eggwash
    Pre-heat Oven to 410F
    Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray. Heat on medium and add your onion, when softened add your beef.
    When completely browned sprinkle on your gravy seasoning and then add water as directed on packet.. more if you like your pie saucey. If you find that your mixture is too runny simply add a little bit of corn starch.
    When you have a thick stew like meat and onion mixture you are ready.

    For single serving size pies use a large teflon muffin tin. (If you can find aluminium pie casings then use those.. I don't have them in my area)
    Spray muffin tray with non stick spray.
    Unfold your puff pastry, lightly dust counter with flour if it is sticky.
    Quickly roll over the pastry with a rolling pin and thin the pastry out a little bit and make sure any creases are smoothed out.
    Divide your pastry into squares to fit in the bottom and over lap over the top as well.
    One by one press into your muffin tray.

    Once you have the bottom of your pie put in scoop in your meat filling.
    Don't fill it all the way to the top or when it cooks the juices wil make the pastry top come off.

    Cut out tops to fit your pies. You want the edge to over lap so you can get a good seal on your pie. (See picture below)

    When you have completed this for all your pies get your kitchen elf to help you put on an eggwash over the top, this gives the pastry that great shiney appearance...and kitchen elves love putting on their aprons and helping.

    These were mini meat pies (mini muffin size-perfect for my kitchen elf)
    Place pies in oven and bake until they are golden and flakey - approximately 15-20 minutes.
    Your pastry should not be doey but cooked all the way through.
    Serve with Tomato sauce for a truly traditional lunch.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Stirfry Chicken with Roasted Chili Paste, Asparagus and Thai Basil.

    I was craving some zingy thai flavors this week. This stirfry was whipped together in 15 minutes. A quick chop of your key ingredients and then it's minutes for a tasty balanced meal. I love those kinds of dinners.

    6 Cloves Garlic
    500 grams (Approx 1 pound) Uncooked chicken cut into thin strips
    1 red onion (If in the U.S. use a small red onion and not the giant ones you commonly find)
    2 tsp Roasted chili paste ( This is not Sambel Olek, don't confuse the two)
    1 TBSP Fish Sauce
    1 TBSP Oyster Sauce
    1 TBSP Shaved palm sugar (you can substitute in brown sugar if you cannot access palm sugar)
    1 large handful of Sprouts
    Approx 2 cups chopped Asparagus (Small and fresh is best)
    Half Cup Thai Basil leaves
    Coriander (cilantro) leaves for garnishing.
    If you would like to garnish with egg as well lightly beat 2 eggs in a bowl, add a splash of fish sauce and mix. Heat 1 1/2 TBSP oil in wok, throw in egg tipping pan to let it spread around like you are making an omlette or crepe. Allow it to cook quickly flipping when ready to cook the other side without break it apart.

    When completely cooked remove from wok and slice into long strips.
    Heat 2 TBSP of vegetable oil in wok, add onions and stirfry briefly.
    Add Garlic and stirfry briefly. 
    Add Chicken and cook a few minutes. 
    Add your asparagus, stirfry briefly. 
    Add chili paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar.
    Cook until chicken is tender, only a few minutes.
    Add basil, sprouts, and stirfry until greens are slightly wilted.

    Transfer to serving plate, serve with Steamed jasmine rice and garnish with coriander and egg if desired.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Stuffed Coconut Shrimp and Sweet Thai Cucumber Relish Salad

    Here is the recipe Featured in the Alive Utah Appetizer Recipes.  I have previously posted the Stuffed Shrimp and Relish recipes sepereately, but here they are together in "salad form" for your convenience. Serve these to your guests hot and crispy and while they eat you can whip up your stir fry or curry.! A great way to start your thai meal.!

    20 Large green king prawns (get the largest uncooked shrimp you can find if you aren't near fresh seafood) deviened and butterflied (butterflied is to slit down the back without cutting the shrimp in half.. thats why the bigger they are the more room you have to stuff.)
    125 grams (.27 lb) chicken breast, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic
    1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) stems finely chopped
    half teaspoon white pepper
    2 slices finely chopped ginger
    1 tsp fish sauce
    2 tbsp coconut cream

    Batter Ingredients:
    2 tsp sambel olek
    1 tbsp very finely chopped lemon grass, tender part only (If you can't get your hands on lemon grass substitute for half teaspoon lemon zest)
    1 cup plain flour
    1 cup corn flour
    soda water (Enough to make a batter the consistency of pouring cream)
    1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

    Cucumber Relish Recipe to Follow.
    1. If you have a mortar use it .. if not grind up and pound as best you can the garlic, peppercorns, coriander root and ginger into a paste.

    2. Place finely chopped chicken into food processor with coconut cream and process to a paste. Add garlic coriander paste and fish sauce.

    3. Place in fridge to chill for 2 hours

    4. Fill the prawns down their butterflied backs with chicken mixture.

    To Cook

    1. Combine flours, lemon grass, sambel olek in bowl, add enough soda water to make thin batter.

     2. Carefully roll prawns in some plain flour, dip into batter, then roll in coconut.(put only half of your coconut in a bowl at a time otherwise it will get goopy and gross quickly)

    3. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in wok (or use deep fryer), deep fry prawns in batches of six until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Cut open to one to make sure they are cooked all the way through. The chicken stuffing and shrimp should be a solid white colour.

    Plate immediately and serve while shrimp is hot. On each serving dress your lettuce with cucumber relish making sure each serving has good amounts of the cool cucumber and peanuts.
    Place shrimp on top. It is a good idea to serve the relish in a bowl on the side as well so your guests can add more to their taste.

    Sweet Thai Cucumber Relish

    Ingredients:1 cup coconut vinegar (or white vinegar)
    1 cup white sugar
    1 good splash of fish sauce
    1 large cucumber
    4 small red chilis, deseeded and finely chopped
    1/2 of roasted, unsalted peanuts crushed or finely chopped. (you will probably have to buy unsalted peanuts and roast and crush them yourself)
    1/3 cup chopped coriander (cilantro), including stems
    1/2 Tsp Salt

    Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally, cook for one minute at a gentle boil. Remove from heat and cool completely to room temperature.

    While sauce is cooling. Peel and slice cucumber in half lengthways. get a small spoon and scoop out the seeds. Slice very thinly so that you get "moon shaped" cucumber slices.

    Place the cucumber, chilis, peanuts and coriander in bowl. Pour over cooled dressing and toss gently.

    Place in fridge and chill until use.
    As prepared for the Alive Utah/Artful Edibles Tasting.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Gourmet Chocolate Caramel Apples

    This is Definitely a tricky one to post. Alot of this recipe is common sense your judgment of consistancy and texture.  I will update this recipe with more details and pics of step by steps. Most times I make these I am doing it by myself and it generally takes two hands, taking pictures of the apples in action is a challenge!.

    4 Large Apples (use your favorite - I love the kick of the granny smiths with the chocolate)
    2 blocks of chocolate of your choice (milk, dark, or white)
    Drizzle chocolate or chips of your choice. I particularly love the butterscotch flavored chips with the apple and chocolate flavors
    2 bags of Caramels.
    2 TBSP shortening (more for your drizzling topping)
    2 TSP Whole  Milk (full cream milk)
    Parchment Paper
    Popsicle Sticks (paddle pop sticks). Try to get good quality ones as the cheaper ones will not be able to handle the weight of the apples when you are dipping.

    Preparation: This preparation is important. So many times I am asked the same question - "how do you get the caramel not to just slide off the apple" here are some prep tips that will almost guarantee you success.
    1. Scrub you apples with as hot water as possible and rub dry vigorously. This will remove as much of the shiney, slidey wax as possible.
    2. Chill your apples overnight. - Simply chilling them until they are cool to touch is not enough. You want the coolness to keep radiating from inside the apple so keep them chilling all night long. This will ensure your coatings set faster.(also chilling your cookie sheet/tray will also help)
    3. This is best done in a cool environment.. if you are in the middle of summer try to do this in an area with air conditioning.. when I do this in the winter I usually prop a window open. The chilled air can be your best buddy when setting caramel on apples.

    Directions For The Caramel Apple:
    Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet or tray. Spray lightly with non stick cooking spray.
    Unwrap all your caramels and place in a large microwavable bowl. Add milk and microwave 1 1/2 minutes, stir and place back in teh microwave removing every minute to stir and make sure it is not burning. When caramel is smooth runny consistancy it is ready to be used.
    Remove only the apple you are working on from the fridge at one time. That helps the other apples remain as chilled as possible.
    Place your stick firmly into top of the apple.
    Tilting the bowl of caramel slightly dip your apple in and rotate it around until it is completely coated. By not letting your apple rub along the sides of the bowl as you turn it you will have prettier more evenly coated apples.
    pull it out and rotate your apple over the bowl to let excess drip off.
    Gradually as you see the caramel stiffening on the apple start rotating it slowly so it will continue to cool with as much of the caramel on as possible. Sometimes holding your apple in by your freezer vent or by a cool breeze while turning slowly will help. Taking your time with the apples this way makes it so that you dn't have puddles of caramel form on your tray. I like to think of it as lava. Cool it down and eventually it will stop moving.
    Place it carefully on your tray . Don't squish it down just let the apple and caramel set it's own standing position.
    Repeat with all apples, making more caramel sauce as needed if you run out.
    Refridgerate over-night for completely set apples.

    Directions For the Chocolate Apple:
    As before your apples need to be completely chilled before embarking on the next step. Thankfully the chocolate cools alot faster and quicker than the caramel.
    Prepare your chocolate by heating it over a double boiler set up. boil water in a pot and place a bowl with your chocolate on top of it making sure it does not touch the water. This will ensure even heating. Add your shortening. Stir the chocolate when needed, keep a close eye on it.
    When completely smooth and runny remove from heat.
    Remove one apple at a time from the fridge.  Like with the Caramel dip the apple in until it is completely coated (without touching the sides of the bowl), letting remaining chocolate drip off. As chocolate drip slows start to rotate it slowly to help with the even spread and setting. If you want to add toppings such as crushed Oreos, toffee bits, nuts (Whatever candy bar takes your fancy really.. you just need to chop them pretty small) then now is the time to apply them. It is best if you scoop it in one hand and holding the apple in your other press it into the chocolate. If you do this too early it will all just slide off.
    When chocolate lookes stable place it on the tray to cool until it is set.
    Continue with remaining apples.

    The Final Drizzle Touch:
    If you aren't sick of your apples yet then go ahead and once the chocolate coating is firm you can put on the drizzle.  Mix either another batch of different coloured chocolate or melts. I really LOVE the butterscotch melts on my apples. The flavor combo is great. Mix and heat it with Shortening like you did the chocolate. (The shortening allows it to set fast and hard and also gets is runny)
    using a spoon or fork---PREPARE TO GET MESSY!-------
    Coat your utensil and then start flicking it over the apple. More you flick the thinner your drizzle marks will be so don't be shy or afraid of the mess, just go for it. I like to flick in one diagonal direction, and then go the opposite direction over the top to make a fun criss cross pattern.
    Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations of your choice.

    These apples are a bit of work and preparation, but they are so delicious, in the end it is all worth it!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cookies

    Here is a fun adaption on the Oreo Cookie recipe I posted. Perfect for Valentines Day or Christmas. 

    Cookie Ingredients:

    1 Pkg Red Velvet Cake Mix (if you don't have that any moist chocolate cake mix will do)
    1/2 cup crisco (translation for aussies.. shortening or a type vegtable oil)
    2 Beaten Eggs
    Filling Ingredients:
    8 0z Cream Cheese
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1 tsp Vanilla
    Heat oven to 350 F.
    Combine all the cookie ingredients in a bowl.
    Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
    Take a small piece of the dough and roll it into a ball. It should be the size of a dime - or $1.00 Aussie dollar.
    Do a test batch placing 1 or two balls on the tray. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Dough should flatten out and deflat upon removing from teh oven as well. Use this time to exactly measure how long your oven requires to cook these cookies.
    Place balls on tray and space approximately 2-3 inches apart.
    Remove from oven once cooked and allow them to sit and cool before removing from the tray.
    Allow cookies to completely cool before adding filling.
    Filling Directions:
    Soften cream cheese and butter. With an electric mixer whip the cream and butter together, add in Vanilla essence, slowly add the powdered sugar.
    Place in fridge while you wait for your cookies to cook and cool.
    To Assemble: Fill a large zip lock bag with the end cut or a piping bag and pipe cream cheese onto the top. Add sparkly sprinkles for an extra effect and crunch.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Southwestern Chicken Chili

    If you are a fan of the taco soup I posted then you will love this simple and tasty chili soup.
     All these ingredients are usually in your pantry so its quick and easy.
    I've tried many chicken chili's and this is by far my favorite. 

    Based on a recipe by Pixie Worthen

    4 - 6 chicken breasts (if using thighs calculate 2 thighs per breast)
    2 cans diced tomatoes (garlic & onion flavor - if you can't get that just plane diced tomatoes is fine)
    1 small jar salsa
    1 can kernal corn
    2 cans black beans, rinsed ( you can always mix this up.. use one black and one pinto)
    1 - 2 cans diced green chilis
    1 1/2 pkg ranch seasoning
    ½ - 1 pkg taco seasoning

    Topping options: I LOVE to top my chili with the "This Aint No Tomatillo Cafe Rio Dressing," tortilla strips and fresh cilantro.

    In a slow cooker, combine all chili ingredients and cook on low 6-8 hours.
    Shred chicken, stir back into chili and heat for another 30 minutes-1 hour.
    Serve with desired toppings.

    "This Aint No Tomatillo Cafe Rio Dressing"

    2 cups sour cream
    1 package Ranch Dip Seasoning
    2 limes
    2 Jalapenos (1 deseeded and deveined, the other whole)
    1/2 bunch cilantro(coriander)
    2 TBSP milk
    1 tsp salt
    2 shakes of pepper

    In a medium size bowl combine sour cream, ranch dip mix.
    Zest both limes, and add the zest plus juice from 1 of the limes to the bowl. mix well. (put remaining zested lime aside in case you need it later)
    Chop cilantro and jalapeno. Add it to bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree all ingredients together.
    Add milk, salt and pepper and puree more until smooth.
    Taste for correct seasoning and add more milk if you desire a runnier dressing.
    whualla... no tomatillos required!
    This Aint No Tomatillo Cafe Rio Dressing Recipe

    Pomegranate Pellegrino Mint Spritzer

    Refreshing, Fruity and Sweet this drink is a great compliment and palate cleanser to all dishes. Super easy to make, it sparkles and impresses on the table. 

    2 bottles Pellegrino   Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
    1 bottle Langers Pomegranate Cranberry Juice
    1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves 
    1/2 cup sugar (or simple syrup) to taste.

    Combine all ingredients except mint to your taste.  
    When sugar has dissolved place mint in pitcher and with a wooden mixing stick crush it on the bottom to release the flavors.  
    Serve Chilled. 

    Dark Hazelnut Chocolate and White Coconut Chocolate Mousse Duet

    Creamy Rich FLUFF.. thats all I have to say about this dessert.

    Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

    12 Oz Ritter Sport Dark Hazelnut Chocolate ( you can also use the lindt chocolate hazelnut block, it just doesn't have whole hazelnuts like the Ritter Sport)
    4 egg yolks
    1/2 white cup sugar
    1 tsp Almond Essence
    3 cups heavy whipping cream

    White Coconut Chocolate Mousse

    9 oz Lindt White chocolate coconut (1 1/2 blocks)
    2 egg yolks
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

    Make each mousse one at a time. Have your bowls ready to spoon it in. Start with your dark chocolate mousse.
    Melt the chocolate over a double boiler setup
    While the chocolate is melting, in a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat, with a hand-held mixer, until very pale and thick and have doubled in size.
    Whisk in the Almond Essence.

    When the chocolate has melted, whisk it into the egg yolk mixture. It will thicken extremely quickly .. don't panic it will work out once you work in the cream.

    In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream to medium peaks.
    Using 1/3of the cream really mix it into the chocolate egg mixture well getting out most lumps.
    Then gently fold in half of the remaining cream.
    Even more carefully fold in the last section of the cream into the chocolate mixture. until it is all incorporated
    Transfer the mousse to individual serving dishes.
    Repeat the process for the white chocolate mousse and pour on top of the dark chocolate.
    This is great because you can make it the night before.
    Cover and refrigerate for AT LEAST 2 hours.

    Apple and Ginger Glazed Fall Apart Ribs with Zesty Fresh Apple Chutney

    decided to use my technique for fall off the bone BBQ  ribs (see posted recipe) but I put a fall flavor twist to it.
    So here we have juicy succulent sweet ribs. My husband tasted  said they were the best he has had and actually prefers them to the BBQ flavored ribs.


    1-2 racks Baby Back Ribs (Costco has a great pack of baby back ribs that are excellent quality and cook to perfection each pack has 3 racks)
    1 batch of Apple Ginger Glaze (See Glaze Recipe)
    2 TBS Liquid smoke
    1 batch of Rib Rub (see rub recipe)

    Rib Rub Ingredients:

    1 TBS garlic powder
    1/2 TBS Ground Cloves
    1/8 cup brown sugar
    1/8 cup salt (Kosher is best)
    1/8 cup onion powder
    1/8 cup paprika
    1 TBS black pepper
    1 TBS chili powder
    1 TBS dry mustard
    1 TBS red pepper (Cayenne Pepper)
    Combine all the spices ina bowl until ready to use.
    Makes enough for 2 racks of rib

    Pre-Heat oven to 270F (132C)
    Remove ribs from packet. Pat dry with a paper towel.

    To prepare the ribs for maximum tenderness you need to strip the back of the clear membranes. 

    With a sharp knife (preferably one that is long and skinny) you need to try to slip it between the membrane and the flesh. If you have too much difficulty doing this (it took me 2 racks to perfect it myself) at least scour the membrane so it can split off the meat when it cooks. If you do this be carefulnot to slice too deep so as to get into the flesh.

    This takes time but I think it makes a huge difference in the end product, if you can try to slice the membrane off altogether that will produce the best result.

    Prepare a roasting pan by placing approx 1 inch water in the bottom. Add your liquid smoke to this water.

    Place the roasting rack in the pan to check the water will not be touching the meat.

    Apply rub liberally all over the racks of ribs (note if your ribs are too long for the pan you might have to cut them in half)
    Once spiced place them on the roasting rack, it is o.k. to place some on top of each other.

    Cover with tin foil. Place in oven on middle rack and cook for 7-8 hours.

    When ribs are done in the oven heat your BBQ/Grill to medium temp.

    While the ribs are laying on one side coat it with your Apple Ginger sauce.
    Coat some nonstick oil on the BBQ right before you put on your ribs .. the tender meat will stick!
    (If a thunderstorm comes roller in while you are cooking outside it is o.k. to cook these in a large skillet instead - --- just speaking from experience)

    Using long tongs or a super long spatula VERY carefully pick up ribs (1 rack at a time people). They are so tender they will slide off the bone when you try to pick them up. Place them on sauce side down. .
    Flip oh so carefully when the front side is heated through. Remember the meat is already cooked you are just basting and infusing your glaze flavor.

    Seared Scallop with Shaved Lamb and Pea Puree

    I LOVE this appetizer.
    This whole dish was simple in seasoning, but has a few seperate components when put together make it burst with flavor. The small shaving of lamb compliments all the flavors of the puree and scallop.
    I think this was my personal favorite of the luxury dinner night. If you can't afford or find lamb in your area then you could leave it out.. but if you have the chance to make it all you won't regret it.


    1 Batch of Pea Puree (see pea puree recipe post)
    6 large Scallops
    Count your Scallops - 1 per serving is plenty.. unless you know someone will like seconds do one or two more than needed- just in case!
    Salt and Pepper to Season
    Olive oil



    Pat your Scallops dry.
    Coast liberally with olive oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
    Heat a stainless steel pan on high. Add in a coating of olive oil.
    When heated add your scallops, they should hiss happily when they hit the pan.
    Let them sit approximately 1 1/2 - 2  minutes each side (they won't take long). Be careful they don't stick to the pan. You should have lovely crispy brown scallops.

    while the scallops are sizzling cook your lamb...............

    Shaved Lamb Rack of Ribs


    3 Lamb Ribs
    Salt and Pepper
    Olive Oil


    Take a rack of lamb ribs and cut off 3.
    Like with the scallops, Rinse ribs and pat dry with paper towel.
    Heat Pan with olive oil on high temp.
    Season ribs liberally with Salt and pepper on all sides.
    Place ribs in pan and let them cook and sizzle to taste. I don't like rare lamb so I cooked my a little longer. It's up to you.
    When done remove from pan onto a cutting board and slice very thinly.


    On a nice white plate scoop a dollop of pea puree. Add small shavings of hot lamb and then top with Scallops. Clean plate edges if needed and serve. Simple and beautiful.