Panang Curry

      I love curry, that’s all there is to it. I can’t tell you exactly when I fell in love with this Southeast Asian dish, however I can tell you that if you love cuisine with a great balance of flavor, that is highly fragrant with fresh vegetables  in addition to being spicy, than Thai food is for you. I have a high tolerance for spicy food and it never fails for Thai dishes to meet my needs.

      Extraordinary is what happens when coconut milk meets green curry.  I hunger for this type of curry often whenever I’m in a Thai food state of mind.  This time I decided I wanted to step out of the green comfort zone and make a tradition Thai dish at home using red also known as Panang curry. Red curries have a tendency to be stronger in heat and reduced in  sweetness than yellow and green curries. You can include any protein you want, traditionally chicken is the way to go when getting Panang personally I prefer pork. This dish has a great balance of sweet to spicy ratio and its one of my favorite foods to eat. It’s simple to make and quick. The aroma that evaporates throughout my house while I’m cooking keeps me salivating and anxious to eat. I recommend you try this recipe.

Ingredients:

-1 Cup coconut milk

-1 Cup chicken stock

-1 Small yellow onion, julienne

-1 Each yellow, red, orange sweet pepper, julienne

-3 Each button mushrooms, sliced thin

-1 Cup jasmine rice

-2 Each garlic cloves, chopped

-1 Tablespoon olive oil

-1 Bunch of basil, torn

-1 Each dried chili pepper

-Chicken or pork, quantity is up to you, cut up small

-Salt, TT

-1 Tablespoon red (panang) curry

Method of Prep:

-In a large sauce pot heat olive oil and add in garlic. Sauté until light brown then add in vegetables and sauté until translucent.

-While vegetables are cooking, in a separate pot add in water and rice, cover and cook on medium heat. Bring to a boil, lower heat and continue to cook uncovered another 5 minutes stirring often making sure not to overcook rice or burn the bottom on pot.

-Once Vegetables are ready, add in red curry and stir.

-Add in Chicken stock to deglaze.

-Add in coconut milk and chili pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

-Once rice is ready, set aside and keep covered.

-Cut up Protein in small chunks and cook.

-Add in pork or chicken to curry liquid prior to serving.

-After 30 minutes pour desired amount of curry over a small bowl of rice. Garnish with basil leaves at the end.

-Enjoy!

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Overnight, refrigerator oatmeal

Recently I’ve started using Pinterest. I didn’t think I would relish on the idea of this application. I suspected it was just another useless tool people were using when they were bored to pass the time. After 1 hour of being on it and searching all the different categories I started to get addicted to the site. My favorite of course is the food section. I’ve come across a majority of easy, fun, and delicious recipes. One of them being this oatmeal recipe via www.pepperlynn.com and wwwtheyummylife.com.

If you have a love for oatmeal and  have busy mornings,  here is a recipe you will without a doubt enjoy. Overnight, no bake refrigerator oatmeal. Effortless with a few altered flavors combinations. High in protein, calcium, and fiber. Low in fat and sugar.

http://www.pepperlynn.com/2012/02/overnight-oats-two-ways/

If the above recipes aren’t appealing to your, here are a few more flavor suggestions you may enjoy:

http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/219/Mango+Almond+Refrigerator+Oatmeal

http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/220/Blueberry+Maple+Refrigerator+Oatmeal

http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/221/Apple+Cinnamon+Refrigerator+Oatmeal

Enjoy!

Anytime chili

The Year was 1998 and the Gresbach family was all gathered around the television watching Superbowl XXXII: Greenbay Packers and Denver Broncos. With my family being from Wisconsin, this was a very big game for us. Although Denver defeated the packers in a 31-24 final, it was still a great game and another wonderful evening spent with my family.

During halftime my grandpa always had chili waiting hot on the stove along with all the toppings of sour cream, shredded cheddar, and chives alined on the counter in front. I don’t know who he got the recipe from or how he makes it but it is the best chili i’ve had. I think about that chili every day and think of all the football games and gatherings my family had when chili was the entree.  Needless to say you don’t need to wait for a superbowl or cold winter weather to make a steaming hot pot of chili.

Traditional versions of chili are made using chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin. The addition of ground beef is sometimes used depending on culture. Variations on geographic or personal reasons may include beans and tomatoes as well. After years of messing around with chili recipes, I’ve put together a recipe everyone will enjoy.

What you will need:

-1 Small yellow onion, small dice

-1 Stalk celery, small dice

-4 Cloves garlic, chopped

-1 15 Oz can red kidney beans, rinsed

-1 15 Oz can black beans, rinsed

-1 4 Oz can chopped green chili’s

-1 28 Oz can tomato sauce

-1 Tablespoon Sambal

-TT Cumin

-1 Teaspoon chili powder

-1 Teaspoon Cayenne powder

-TT Salt and pepper

-1 packed smoked sausage (Omit if vegan)

Preparation:

-Turn oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat a large sauce pot with one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.

-Once hot, saute vegetables and garlic until translucent. Approximately 3 minutes.

-Add in beans, and Tomato sauce followed by seasonings and sambal until desired taste. Stir to combine and cook over low heat stirring often for 1 hour.

-While that is cooking, cut sausage on the bias and line on a sheet tray covered in foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

-When sausage is ready add it into the chili and continue cooking for one hour.

– Serve immediately with toppings of your choice.

-Enjoy!

The seasonings in this chili can be tricky. I didn’t put up specific measurements because with my taste I prefer mine spicier. If you are unsure start with 1 Tablespoon of each and adjust flavor from there. Go light on the chili powder and cayenne because flavors continue to develop throughout cooking and those two are powerful together and may cause your chili to become too spicy. If you don’t have any dry chili in your pantry you can substitute chili sauces such as Texas Pete or Franks. Lastly, I prefer to use tomato sauce because the beans soak up a lot of the liquid throughout cooking getting it to the perfect consistency.

Bacon and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Have you ever had a cookie that had bourbon and bacon included in the recipe?

From the two hotels I’ve worked in, both pastry departments had cookies made fresh from scratch daily. Every few days when the pastry chefs would swap out the old cookies for new, they would give the leftovers to the employees in the cafeteria. I would look forward to this day once a week. If i had a craving and I couldn’t wait another day I would occasionally sneak into the pastry shop and ask the chef if I could steal one. Of the 3 varieties they produced, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin, my favorite was always the oatmeal raisin.

Waking up one morning I had a craving for an oatmeal raisin cookie. The only problem was I had the day off so I wasn’t able to go to the pastry shop and steal one. I figured it’s time to make my own batch. After looking up a couple of recipes and seeing all the same repeating ingredients that I’m guessing were all taken from the Quaker oats tube, I decided to take the original recipe and make it better. Thinking to myself and talking to my boyfriend Brandon, I decided to add bacon, soak the raisins in bourbon, and toast the oats. After making the batter I did a test cookie just to make sure my extra addition of fat didn’t mess up the ratio of all other ingredients. The only thing I needed to adjust was the cooking time and add in more cinnamon. Everything else turned out correctly. The final result was a cookie with crispy edges and a soft center, the way all cookies should be.

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Ingredients:

-1 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature

-1 Cup Brown sugar, packed

-1/3 Cup Granulated sugar

-2 Each egg’s

-1 Teaspoon vanilla

-1 ½ Cup All purpose flour

-1 Teaspoon Baking soda

-1 Teaspoon Salt

-3 Tablespoons Cinnamon, ground

-3 Cups Oats, toasted

-1 Cup raisins, soaked in Bourbon (optional)

-4 Strips of smoked bacon, cooked, chopped up

Method of Prep:

1.)    Heat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

2.)    In a medium bowl, beat together butter and both sugars until creamy, about 3 minutes.

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3.)    Add in eggs while still beating.

4.)    Add in vanilla and bacon bits.

In a Separate bowl:

1.)    Mix together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

5.)    Add dry ingredients slowly into wet ingredient beating medium speed.

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6.)    Stir in oats and raisins. (Make sure raisins are drained of the soaking liquid)

7.)    Using a medium scoop, line cookies on a sheet tray about 2 inches apart and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. (The time may vary depending on your oven) check after 5 minutes and rotate the tray.

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8.)    Let cool for 5 minutes and then transport to a cooling rack.

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If you don’t like raisins you can substitute cranberries or dried cherries. This recipe also works well if you wanted to add in nuts or chocolate chips.  If you don’t have butter available you can use shortening. I prefer butter as it gives a creamier cookie.

Enjoy!

Peppermint Meringues

It’s that time of the year with Thanksgiving being a few days away and Christmas to follow shortly after that. Everyone is back into the swing of things with pulling out their favorite holiday recipes from entrees to desserts.

As most people do most of the same cooking every year I decided to try something different. I spend most of my day cooking and when I’m not cooking on my days off I like to try baking instead. I’m no pastry Chef but I do love the challenge of trying something new with recommended recipes or something I’ve come across in a magazine. This year I decided to try meringue cookies. A college room mate of mine loves the vanilla meringue cookies from Trader Joes and back in college we would always have a box waiting in the kitchen as an after class snack. I always thought about making my own except I never got around to doing it. I figured given the winter season it would be good to try making a cookie with a peppermint flavor that would pair well with another seasonal treat like hot chocolate.

Making a meringue is not hard by any means. It’s all about whipping egg whites to the right peak, but for whatever reason it took me 3 times to make before the meringue came out perfect. From my experience some recipes that you find in a magazine don’t always work out at all because you don’t know how well tested or proven they are. using my knowledge of food I was able to figure out what I was doing wrong to finally accomplish the proper texture I was looking for. If you’re a fan of mint and meringue, I encourage you to try this recipe for yourself. They are a wonderful after dinner treat and something to snack on while drinking hot chocolate. You can use a different flavor of extract if you don’t like peppermint.I added red food coloring into the meriunge before piping to give a candy cane effect.

 

Ingredients:

-3 Large egg whites

-3/4 Cup sugar

-1/8 teaspoon peppermint (or other flavor) extract

-1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Method of Prep:

-Set oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit

-On medium-high speed whisk egg whites and salt together until a foamy white color appears, approximately 1 minute.

-Add in sugar at 3 different times, within 2 minutes of each other until soft peaks form

-Add in extract and combine for 1 more minute.

-Grab a piping bag and insert round piping tip

-Fill piping back with meringue and pipe onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.

-Set in oven until dry, roughly 1.5 hours

Enjoy!

The final result