Thai-Style Chicken with Basil served with Coconut Rice

Thai-Style Chicken with Basil served with Coconut Rice

Thai-Style Chicken with Basil and Coconut Rice

After seeing this on the weekly show, I was inspired by a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Thai-Style Chicken with Basil.  I simplified it a bit to use the items I had on hand and for my wimpy taste buds but I’m sure their version would be excellent as well.  It turned out to be wonderful, even for meat and potatoes me and Husband said it was the best thing I’d made lately so that is a pretty good reference.  Since it made quite a bit, we also used the leftover chicken wrapped burrito style in a tortilla and decided it would also be great in a lettuce wrap.  Considering how few ingredients it really has, it was extremely flavorful, not at all bland like chicken often is.  The whole meal took less than 1/2 hour and used only the food processor bowl, one pot for the rice and one pan for the chicken – a wonder since I normally I can make the kitchen look like a disaster in just a few short minutes.

Here is my version:

Ingredients

Rice:

  • 1 1/4 cup Jasmine Rice (I used Basmati because that’s what I had but it really should be Jasmine)
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chicken:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 medium garlic cloves , peeled
  • 6 Serrano chilis
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast , cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes , for serving

Instructions

First start the rice:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes.

Then start the chicken:

Basil Peppers and Garlic

  • 1. In the food processor, pulse 1 cup of the basil leaves, garlic, and chiles until finely chopped, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula half-way through.  Place in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet, preferably cast iron. No need to wash the food processor bowl.

Grinding the Chicken

  • 2. Pulse the chicken and soy sauce in the food processor until chopped,  six to eight pulses. Refrigerate while you work on the next step.

Frying vegetables

  • 3. Add the onions and oil into the basil mixture in the skillet and stir constantly while cooking over medium-low heat until the garlic and onions are golden brown.
  • 4. Add chicken, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly and breaking up chicken until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining cup basil leaves and cook, stirring constantly until the basil is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds.

Serve with the rice, garnished with an extra basil leaf or two.

Daring Baker’s Challenge – Coffee Cake – Lime Cream with Coconut and Pizza

Daring Baker’s Challenge – Coffee Cake – Lime Cream with Coconut and Pizza

Lime Cream and Toasted Coconut Coffee Cake

Pizza Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.  Since the recipe conveniently makes enough for two coffee cakes, I made a sweet (lime cream and toasted coconut) and savory (pizza of course) version.  Thanks to Ria and Jamie for a great challenge, the dough was great and I can definitely see lots of possibilities for the fillings.

Dough ingredients

Ingredients:

FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each about 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

Ingredients
For the yeast coffee cake dough:

4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼  oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons /  7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl (had I thought ahead, I would have put this in my mixer’s bowl and saved some clean up) combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

Butter milk water warmed

In a microwave save bowl, combine the milk, water and butter and heat for about 1 minute until warm and the butter is just melted.

Mixing in flour

With an electric mixer on low-speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Dough hook

Switch to the dough hook or using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.

Ready to knead

Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes (less if you give it a good mixing with the dough hook) until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Split the dough

For the pizza version I added 2 tablespoons of Italian spice to the dough as I finished up the kneading.

Pizza version dough

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I used olive oil for the pizza version and vegetable spray for the sweet) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:

Lime and Coconut

1 cup lime cream (I used 2 and it was way too much.) You could also use lemon or lime curd.

1 cup toasted coconut

Pizza version

1/2 cup pizza sauce

2 Roma tomatoes sliced thinly

6 mini or 1 regular bell pepper sliced thinly

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

1 cup shredded mozzarella

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:

In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low-speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Pizza version rolled out

Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.

With Pizza sauce

Add the pizza sauce in a thin layer with a pastry brush.

Filled

Add tomatoes, peppers and cheeses.  I didn’t use meringue on the pizza version (which contributed to me using way too much on the lime cream version)

Rolling

Now, roll up the dough jelly roll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down.   I opted to not make this one a roll and just left it log shaped.

Pizza version ready to bake

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep.  After the second rising, baste with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan.

For the Lime Cream with Toasted Coconut:

Lime Cream filled

Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Spread the lime cream filling evenly over the meringue and sprinkle with toasted coconut .

Ready to bake

Here’s where I really messed up.  I used way too much filling and all the meringue, forgetting that I had twice enough because I didn’t use any on the pizza version.  You are supposed to bring the ends of the log around and seal  together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.   I ended up with a very bloated, lime and meringue covered blop which only got more bloated as it rose a second time.  Surprisingly, once it was baked it looked a lot better and tasted great so I guess it wasn’t so bad.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Whole Pizza

German Pancakes (Dutch Baby) with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

German Pancakes (Dutch Baby) with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

German Pancake (Dutch Baby) with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

I’m trying to plan my Easter menu so I decided to test out making a Dutch Baby.  Normally I would make it with apples but since I had a big box of fresh blueberries to use I decided to go with them.   The recipe is quite simple and looks puffy and great when it comes out of the oven.  Like a souffle though, you have to serve it fast as it deflates pretty quickly.  They are not fluffy like a regular pancake, more custardy once they deflate.

Start by making the blueberry sauce:

Ingredients for fresh blueberry sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb (about 4 cups) fresh blueberries (frozen or canned works too – if you use canned in syrup, don’t add sugar)

1/2 cup sugar (I like them to stay a little tart so if you want sweet add 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon butter

grated zest from one lemon

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 cinnamon sticks

Blueberries in the pan

Wash the berries and place in a medium saucepan.

Blueberry Sauce

Add the remaining ingredients.

Blueberry Sauce

Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer to thicken while you make the pancake.

Ingredients for Pancake

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 th teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of butter

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.

Butter and Pan go in the oven

Place the 1/4 cup butter in 10″ cast iron skillet (or ovenproof skillet or two 9 inch cake pans if you don’t have a suitable skillet) and put in the oven to melt the butter and heat the skillet.

In a blender, pulse the eggs until blended.  Add the cream and blend again until well mixed.

Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed.

Butter melted

Remove the skillet from the oven.  With skillet still warm, pour in the batter to the skillet and then immediately place the skillet in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven once the top edges are brown. Remove from skillet on to a large plate.

Slice and plate with a generous amount of blueberry sauce.

Easter Egg Cake Balls

Easter Egg Cake Balls

Easter Egg Cake Balls

Although I don’t quite get it as I guess I’m just not that much of a cake fan, cake balls are very popular around here and I do have to admit these are pretty cute.  I mentioned to college Daughter that I was going to make some and her exact words were “send them here, send them all here” and I’ve made them for several friends, who all seem to love them.  I did have some cheesecake pops at a party recently and those are going to be my next batch as they were amazing.

The basic idea is simple, mush up a cake and icing, roll it and dip in chocolate.  The best site for ideas is Bakerella, she even has a cookbook out just for them.  Previously I made some simple chocolate ones for a birthday party following Bakerella’s instructions.  This time I used a cherry chip cake mix (I usually make my cakes from scratch, but Daughter had left this box of mix here from her last visit so I decided to use it) and some cream cheese icing I had leftover from a birthday cake.

Ingredients

Ingredients:

Cherry Chip Cake mix with eggs and oil (or homemade cake)

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries (added to the cake batter for a little extra flavor)

2 cups cream cheese icing (homemade or purchased)

Dipping chocolate white and dark (I prefer Ghirardelli’s candy coating because I think it has the best quality but it’s not always easy to find.  Sam’s Club carries it around the holidays so I stock up but you can also use chocolate melts which you can even get pre-colored)

Cake

First bake the cake and cool completely.

Crumbled Cake

The crumble the cake in a large bowl.

Adding the icing

Add the icing.

Cake and icing mixed up

Smash it together and form into a thick disk – a spatula works but hands work better.  Wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for about an hour to stiffen up.

Best spoon for making the balls

Making the eggs

This is a great spoon for making the balls or cookies.  It is a hard plastic with a rubber bottom so the portions are even and you can easily push the dough out.  It comes in several sizes and I’ve seen it at most kitchen stores, the grocery store and even at the dollar store.  For this, I used the Tablespoon size, rolling them into egg shapes and placing them on a cookie sheet.

Eggs rolled

As you can probably tell, I’m not into perfection, I just don’t have time or the patience.  I admire those who do and if you are one of them, you can make them really great.  Some of my eggs aren’t shaped exactly right but they still look pretty egg like and they don’t last long anyway.

Wrap and freeze

Next wrap and place them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Stand

Dipping

Tapping off the excess

Hardening

I have tried two methods of dipping, using a toothpick and putting them on a styrofoam floral stand that I got from the dollar store and just using a fork and putting them on waxed paper.  I find that the fork works better for me but they each have good and bad parts.  In order to get them to stay on the toothpick, I had to freeze them, which then caused the chocolate to crack as it hardened but they seemed to have the best shape if you can keep them on the toothpick.  Any little drips on the bottom can be trimmed with a sharp paring knife.

Fork Dipping

I switched to “warmer” balls on the fork letting them harden on a piece of waxed paper, which seemed to solve the falling off/cracking problem and seemed to be faster.  It sometimes leaves a bit of a flat base, but that is easily trimmed with a sharp paring knife or you can just leave it and serve them with that side down.  I used both white and dark chocolate, adding gel food color to the white to make a couple different colors.  Make sure you keep the chocolate warm, if it starts to thicken heat for a few seconds in the microwave to keep it easier to dip.  When it gets thick it also makes them more likely to crack (I’ve learned these things from the error part of trial and error).  The good news is that I learned the decorating can cover up the cracks pretty well!

Decorating

Here they are after the first round of decorating. Note there are cracks and not so perfect spots, but those will be fixed soon!  I used the spray on color on some of the white ones which made a sort of marbled effect that I liked.   I tried someone’s suggestion for painting corn syrup on then putting sprinkles, but I just didn’t like the way it looked and am not that much of a sprinkle fan anyway so I ended up using the colored white chocolate instead.  Plus, that worked perfectly to fill in any cracks.  I always use a small plastic squeeze bottle when decorating with chocolate, you can get them from Wilton at the craft store or pretty much anywhere and they are very inexpensive.  Just melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave.  Depending on how much you do at a time it can take from 1-2 minutes.  I start with 1 minute, then stir and do 15 second increments until it is melted, then pour it into the squeeze bottle.

Looking Better

Again, those of you who are more creative and have more patience could do a much better decorating job.

Molding and trimming the chocolate baskets

I also used a chocolate mold (from Wilton that I got at Wal-Mart) to make some little baskets.  You just melt the chocolate, put it into the bottom of the mold then put the top.  Using the same sharp paring knife I trimmed off any excess before I unmolded them as sometimes it was hard to judge just how much chocolate to put into the mold – the directions on the package just say fill “half full” but there are no markings so you just have to get a feel for it.

Eggs in Baskets

 

Here are a couple in the baskets.

Papas Rellenas (fried meat stuffed mashed potatoes)

Papas Rellenas (fried meat stuffed mashed potatoes)

Papas Rellenas de carne - stuffed and fried mashed potatoes

What could be better than fried stuffed mashed potatoes – even a picky eater like me can appreciate that.  For this month’s Daring Cook’s Challenge, Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.  Of course as I am not a seafood eater (even cooked), I just couldn’t do the Ceveche so Papas Rellenas it was.

I generally followed the recipe she provided with a few substitutions.

Ingredients

Ingredients

For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) finely diced chuck beef
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
2 bell peppers finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cups beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Procedure:

Brown the beef

First I finely diced the meat and vegetables and began by browning the meat in a couple teaspoons of oil.

Beef Browned

Brown the onions

Once the beef was browned, I removed and set it aside, adding the onions to start them first as I prefer my onions really browned.

Add garlic and bell peppers

Next add the peppers and garlic cooking for just about 1 minute.

Add broth

Add the beef broth (I use “better than broth”  or “beef base” as I never seem to have regular broth around when I need it and it is much better than the powered cubes.) Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower and simmer until the liquid evaporates.

Simmering

Ready

While the beef is simmering.  Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until easily pierced with a fork.  Remove, drain and cool, then mash or put through a ricer if you have one.

Simmering/boiling

To the mashed potatoes, add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

Forming and frying the papas:

  1. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third

Ready to fill

  1. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.  (I ended up cutting each one in half and reforming them as making only 6 made HUGE ones.)

Forming the papas

  1. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
  2. Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).
  3. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
  4. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.

Ready to serve

They were a big hit, thanks for the challenge!