Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strawberry and Feta Salad

It's another sunny day in Okinawa - yay! - and while I've recovered from a nasty bout of bronchitis, I still feel like I need some extra fresh, healthy options to keep my energy and immunity up.  This salad (from AllRecipes) is perfect! It's also incredibly simple to throw together so it's a great salad recipe when you're trying to come up with a quick dinner or side.

Prepped and ready in: 15 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 1 C slivered almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 C raspberry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn (*For the sake of time, I use bagged salad.)
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 C crumbled feta cheese
Directions:
  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with dressing mixture and toss to serve. 
Et voila!

(Forgive my lack of lovely serveware. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect everyday salad bowl and tongs.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sesame Noodles

It's another sunny day in Okinawa (hooray!) and I just returned from a nice, quiet walk with Banks. He, naturally, wore himself out. (Sniffing, rubbing himself in the bushes, and rolling around in the cool grass are some of his favorite things to do!)

Now that it's almost lunch time, I'm ready for a light, preferably chilled lunch and this recipe (from Rachael Ray) came to mind.

Cook time: 8 minutes
Serves: 1


Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • t tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/3 lb thin spaghetti, cooked to al dente, drained and cooled
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 scallion, chopped
Directions:
  1. Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, cayenne, oil and sesame oil in small bowl.
  2. Add cooked noodles and toss to coat.
  3. Sprinkle noodles with sesame seeds and scallion to garnish.
Et voila!

Or, perhaps this dish is too light for your growling belly. Try topping it with stir-fried veggies. 
Short on time? Nuke a frozen bag of 'em and then add to the noodles.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Pumpkin-Toffee Cheesecake

Being away from the blog while on vacation only made me miss it more. Here's another attempt at giving you some of the recipes long-ago promised! (This one comes from AllRecipes.)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ready in: 4 hours, 45 minutes


Ingredients for Crust:

  • 1 3/4 C shortbread cookies, crushed (*I use graham cracker crumbles.)
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
Ingredients for Cheesecake:
  • 3 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 1 - 15 oz. can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin 
  • 2/3 C Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 C crushed toffee candies (Read: Heath bar!)
Ingredients for Topping:
  • 1 - 8 oz. container sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For crust: Combine cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom and 1" up side of 9" springform pan. 
  3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  4. For cheesecake: Beat cream cheese and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, cornstarch and cinnamon; beat well. Pour into crust. 
  5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Remove from oven; top with toffee candy pieces.


  6. For topping: Combine sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl; mix well. Spread over warm cheesecake.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan. Drizzle with caramel topping before serving. 

Creamy Lamb Korma with Fiery Hot Yogurt and Chilli Sauce

I'm back from my misadventure in Hawaii/Guam. As my adventurer-in-crime Kara would agree, we never got leiied, we only got screwed. (There's a whole, long, unbelievably ridiculous story behind it but I'm not even sure where I would begin!) Anywho, I'm back and sickly. I've been diseased by airplane air, I'm sure. The pressure from taking off/landing has left me with some hearing loss on top of the coughing I can't seem to control.

What better to loosen up phlegm (eww) than a hot, spicy Indian dish? Creamy Lamb Korma with Fiery Hot Yogurt and Chilli Sauce (from India's 500 Best Recipes) does the trick. Add a side of "Loev Aaj Kal" and you have yourself a recuperative little night in!

Creamy Lamb Korma (served over basmati rice)
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients for Korma:
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp white poppy seeds
  • 1/2 C blanched almonds
  • 2 fresh green chilies, seeded
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2" piece fresh root ginger, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2" piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 lb lean lamb, boned and cubed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 C double cream mixed with 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • salt
  • roasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Directions for Korma:
  1. Preheat a karahi, wok or large pan over medium heat without any fat, and add the first seven ingredients. Stir until they begin to change color. They should go just a shade darker.


  2. Leave the mixture to cool, then grind to a fine paste using a pestle and mortar or in a food processor. Heat the ghee or oil in the pan over a low heat.
  3. Fry the cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves until the cloves swell. Add the lamb, ground cumin and coriander and the prepared paste, and season with salt to taste. Increase the heat to medium and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pan and cook until the lamb is almost done.
  4. Remove from the heat, leave to cool a little and gradually fold in the cream, reserving 1 tsp to garnish.
  5. When ready to serve, gently reheat the lamb, uncovered. Spoon into a dish and garnish with the sesame seeds and the reserved cream.


Fiery Hot Yogurt and Chilli Sauce (*Note: The book has this listed as a soup but it was so thick and creamy that we used it as a sauce instead!)
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients for Sauce:
  • scant 2 C plain low-fat yogurt, beaten
  • 4 tbsp gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 whole dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 or 4 curry leaves (*I substitute with ground curry.)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2" piece fresh root ginger, crushed
  • salt
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped, to garnish
Directions for Sauce:
  1. Mix the yogurt, gram flour, chilli powder, turmeric and salt to taste in a bowl. Press the mixture through a strainer into a pan.


  2. Add the green chillies and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy pan and fry the remaining spices, crushed garlic and fresh ginger until the dried chillies turn black. 
  4. Pour the oil and the spices over the yogurt sauce, cover the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes off the heat. Mix well and gently reheat for a further 5 minutes.


  5. Ladle over korma. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Aloha from Hawaii!

Just wanted to send my love from the little island of Oahu.

The beaches are hot, the drinks are cold and while this mini girlcation has turned out completely different than I had planned, I am still loving every minute of it.

Hoping to get to Guam tonight... will keep you posted on what's cooking.

Mahalo!