Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sofrito Garbanzo Beans With Sweet Corn Cakes

So my quest to clean out my cabinets and freezer begins. It is hard to have extra ingredients around when you have a small kitchen, well at least in my mind a small kitchen. I have only a small amount of counter space and each of my cabinets are filled till they burst. I spent 4 hours on Veteran's Day rearranging my cabinets, putting food out to donate, and rearranging my counters. I got a little more space and since I like the layout now, I work harder to keep it clean. Today I got a lemon cyprus tree for our two-top table. Lets see if it lasts with Little Kitty rolling around on the top of the table! I just wanted a little holiday cheer and a big tree is not an option (no room in condo and cats would destroy it in seconds.)

So I went through my cabinets and saw my masa (from the tamales that I never made last year), corn meal, and the 2 bags of frozen corn in my freezer. I remembered the sweet corn cakes recipe that I had seen awhile back on Photograzing, so I made them. However, on their own they were pretty bland. Then I saw a can of Sofrito cooking base, a small can of salsa, and garbanzo beans. I made the Sofrito garbanzo beans that I love, put them on top of the corn cakes, and was addicted. Next time I have people over I am making these as an appetizer.

Sweet Corn Cake
Adapted from the Knead for Speed

2 15 oz bags of frozen corn (cooked)
1 cup of masa harina
6 Tbs of cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 Tbs butter melted
3/4 cup of honey
6 Tbs of water
4 Tbs of skim milk

Turn oven to 350. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the cooked corn in a food processor and pulse until it is about 1/2 pureed (you still want whole kernels to stick out in the mix). In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix butter, honey, corn, water and milk. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Pour into pan, cover with foil, and bake 35 - 45 minutes. The resulting cake will be moist and firm.

Sofrito Garbanzo Beans
1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans
3 tablespoons of sofrito
3 tablespoons of salsa mexicana
1 packet of sazon seasoning

Combine ingredients into a saucepan. Stir and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes uncovered. Cut corn cakes into squares, top with Sofrito Garbanzo Beans

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cranberry Sauce With Crystalized Ginger

This weekend one of our friends had a Thanksgiving party. I was going to make the biscuits from Red Lobster (the only reason why people I know go there!) and this cool recipe for snickerdoodle bars with pumpkin (neither of which I could eat, oh well), but we didn't reply fast enough and people had already signed up for bread and dessert. I knew my sweet potato risotto would be a hit, and this time I made it with vegetable stock for the vegetarians, but the other thing that she said she needed was a cranberry dish. Great... I haven't cooked cranberries before. I went on a mad dash for cranberry recipes. I was going to do one of the ones from Bon Appetit with port wine and dried black mission figs (even though I didn't know where I would find the ingredients) but then I saw that smittenkitchen made them, and didn't like them, so I looked for another recipe.

I have never worked with fresh cranberries before, I don't even remember ever having handled one. I had health issues as a child that made me drink gallons of cranberry juice so I hated cranberries up until this year when I tried crasins and really liked them for their sweet/sour mix. My mom said that she made fresh ones when we were little, but I couldn't remember it. The dish turned out awesome and had a great underlying ginger flavor to mix in with the tartness (one of the people asked me at the gathering what I did to make them tart- they're cranberries!!). The sad part is that, although people enjoyed them, they were sentimental for the cranberries in the can.... So next time I am supposed to come with a few cans and be good? That is weird, fresh is always better in my opinion!

Cranberry Sauce With Crystalized Ginger

1 1/2 pounds of fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of water
1 Tbs of grated orange peel
1 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 cup of minced crystalized ginger

Mix first 6 ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to boil and stir while sugar is dissolving. Keep boiling until the cranberries pop open (you can tell when it is done visually) which takes around 5 minutes. Let cool then mix in the crystalized ginger.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Rice Pudding

So I am trying to do something to get my brother off of my mind. Right now he is in Louisville, Kentucky on a job interview. He is graduating in May as a chemical engineer and has been very industrious on trying to find a job while his friends haven't even started looking. Right now you have to take any type of job you can get starting out and luckily it is a job that he would like, but it is 5 hours away. I am having empty nest syndrome and Im his sister! We are 8 years apart and I have always been his "second mom." My family is very close and we all live in a 30 minute radius so to think of his moving 5 hours away to a new job where he doesn't know anyone is sad. He is excited about the new adventure but I am having a hard time accepting it. We don't even know if he has the job, and am hoping he does, but it will be a big change in all of our lives.

I am still on a liquids and mashed potatoes diet, but here is one of the recipes I made before my stomach revolted. I was hungry for something sweet and since I'm gluten free, and making gluten free crust isn't that easy, so I made pumpkin rice pudding with the items around my house. Using the arborio rice makes the rice pudding creamy and would have been even better if I had a milk with a higher fat content.

Pumpkin Rice Pudding
Adapted from Worth The Whisk

4 cups of milk
3/4 cup of pumpkin puree (not spiced)
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 cup of arborio rice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a sauce pan, stir together rice, milk, and sugar. Heat until about to boil and then lower and simmer for 25 minutes. Check at 25 minutes to see if it is at the texture you like. I usually take longer for softer rice. Stir continuously so it doesn't burn. In a bowl, mix pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Then when the rice is cooked turn off the heat and mix in the pumpkin mix. This works both warm and cold.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Avgolemono Soup

Day #6 on protein shake, mashed potatoes and broth diet. Its so discouraging. I feel just fine when I don't eat any solid foods and to be honest, it almost feels even better than usual. However, I miss cooking. I miss trying new foods and recipes and being adventurous. I don't know when I should try something more solid, but I keep remembering last week when a bowl of rice had me in such pain for 3 hours. I don't want to feel like that, but at some point I am going to have to try.

Today was a good day because I saw that my sweet potato risotto recipe was on my favorite food site SeriousEat yesterday. I didn't even see it till today, and was so excited. I had to post another recipe, although the pictures aren't as nice. The funny thing is that picture was rejected by and but made it on a much bigger site!

The last thing that I made before I got really sick was avgolemono soup. I have seen different recipes for this soup online and in my soup books but never got around to making it. Then my husband got sick and I wanted to do something different than the traditional chicken noodle (which, unless I found gluten free soup noodles, I couldn't eat). I only got to eat a bowl full because of the lemon and my stomach, but it tasted really good.

Avgolemono Soup

7 cups of chicken broth
1 lb of chicken (I always use boneless, skinless breasts but legs or thighs would do also)
5 eggs
Juice for 4 lemons
1/2 cup of rice
Black pepper to taste

Put the chicken and broth into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then turn to low and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or more until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and skim off the surface scum. Ladle a 1 cup of the broth into a bowl on the side.

While cooking the chicken, cook the rice and put to the side.

Use a fork to pull the chicken and put back in the broth. Bring the broth back to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Then take the pot off of the burner.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, lemon juice, and pepper. While whisking drizzle in the broth that you had put to the side while beating constantly. Then whisk the egg mixture into the pot of soup, beating constantly. Turn the heat back on to low and stir constantly for around 2 minutes until the soup thickens but do not let the mixture bubble. Add the rice, take off of heat, and it is done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spicy Quinoa Salad

I hate gastroparesis. If you have it, you know why. I have a relatively mild case, my stomach is completely paralyzed but somehow I do not have the severe symptoms and can eat whole foods. I am grateful for that. But every few months I get a flareup that is debilitating. Monday I had so much pain that I could barely stand up and have had to take the last two days off of work (which for me, a type A personality, brings a whole lot of guilt and stress). One of the worse things is I also cannot eat anything I like. Last May it wasn't too bad because I didn't feel like cooking, but right now I feel like cooking new things and instead can only make plain rice, eggs, and pasta. Maybe I can use a little soy sauce but that is it. I do have a lot of recipes that I haven't posted yet, so I am going to have to go through them and wish I could eat something with flavor.

I saw this recipe as a post on Seriouseats. I was in the middle of reading Barbara Kingsolver's local food book and The Omnivore's Dilemma so I felt a bit guilty buying tomatoes and cucumbers at the beginning of October from the grocery store, but I wanted something healthy and light. I really like Quinoa. It doesn't have a strong taste and it is a great substitute for couscous. I used to make a similar couscous salad (Moroccan Couscous Salad) from Epicurious but couscous has gluten. Oh well.

Spicy Quinoa Salad

1 cup of dry quinoa
2 medium cucumbers
2 cups of tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 Tbs of olive oil
1 small red onion, minced
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 tbs red wine vinegar
ground black pepper

Cook the quinoa according to directions on box. While cooking quinoa, mix the cucumber, tomato, olive oil and a pinch of salt together. In a separate bowl combine the onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and vinegar. Let sit while the quinoa is cooking. Combine the sauce and vegetables and toss. Then stir in the quinoa. Add more salt, oil, ground black pepper or lime juice to taste.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Long Beans with Peanuts and Korean Glazed Potatoes

It is so weird. I just noticed today (or finally thought about it) that my garden is still green and it is November... November! Usually everything is cut down, packed up, and I am starting to winterize my windows by now. However, I feel bad cutting down all my green plants. My parent's gardens were dead and I cut and bagged 350 lbs of plant material on Saturday but I don't know if I can do the same to mine. My Black Eyed Susans are at full bloom. I just don't want to wait until too late and do it in the freezing cold...

I did, however, cut my herbs this weekend. Again, fresh herbs in November is nuts. In the city we haven't even gotten a frost yet. I had tons and tons of chives along with thai basil and some oregano left at the end of this season. I worked late last night washing them then combining the chives and then the thai basil with olive oil in the food processor and made herb ice cubes. Then I made more oregano pesto that my brother, who likes very very few foods, really likes.

Earlier on in the day, I decided to cook Asian. I love this Asian market, that is around 20 miles away, because it had fun vegetables that I cant find any where else. Case in point, long beans. I really don't like green beans, but I love long beans. Does that make any sense? I don't know what the difference in the taste is. For me I feel like the long beans are dryer. I also found some more Korean corn syrup, which unlike all the clear corn syrups I find in the regular grocery store, does not contain vanilla flavoring. So, I decided to make these awesome potatoes that I experimented with on a picnic during the summer. Enjoy!

Spicy Stir Fried Long Beans With Peanuts
(Pa-O Long Beans)

  • 1 1/2 lb long beans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 small fresh Thai chiles or 1 Tbs chili paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs oil
  • 1 Tbs chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp lime juice

  • Cook the beans, untrimmed, in a pot of boiled salted water. Stir and remove when tender, around 4 minutes. Put in bowl of ice water to stop cooking then drain and pat dry. Trim the ends and cut into 3/4 inch pieces.

  • Use your food processor to grind 1/2 of the peanuts into small pieces, leaving the rest to be large.

  • Mix soy sauce, chiles or chili paste and salt together in small bowl.

  • If you have a wok (I don't, my kitchen can't fit anything more) make sure it is on high heat. Same thing for large pan. Oil the pan and add garlic until it turns pale golden. Then add the peanuts and stir fry until they are golden. Add the beans and stir fry until hot, around 2 minutes. Take off of the burner and combine in soy sauce and green onions. Add in lime juice and salt to taste.

  • Korean Glazed Potatoes (GamJa JoRim)

    2 cups of potatoes (I use small golden ones) diced in 1/2 inch cubes
    1/2 cup water
    2 Tbs oil
    2 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
    2 Tbs clear corn syrup
    1 1/2 Tbs sugar
    2 Tbs minced garlic
    1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds

    In pan on medium heat add in the oil and let heat. Then add in the potatoes. Fry the potatoes for until they are half cooked. Then add the water, soy sauce, sugar, corn syrup, and garlic. Cook for 5 more minutes on medium heat. Add salt to taste and continue to cook until the liquid is a paste (be careful, it can turn into paste quickly without you noticing it)
    Reduce the temperature and fry until the potatoes are cooked. Add sesame seeds and serve!