Cambodian Spiced Eggplant

7 Mar

I like to go to dinners organized by a group called Dining for Women. It’s a deceptively simple concept: invite a bunch of women to a potluck and contribute the money you would have spent on a restaurant meal to a nonprofit that helps women and girls in a third-world country.

Well, a dozen or so women in the suburbs or Detroit aren’t going to donate more than a few hundred dollars, but when the dinners are repeated in dozens of locations all over the country, some serious moolah  can be raised. The national organization chooses the recipient nonprofit, and provides a DVD for the dinner hostess showing the work the nonprofit does.

Last month’s dinner featured an organization in Cambodia that helps street children by giving them a place to live and teaching them useful skills so they can earn a living.

I looked for a simple Cambodian vegetarian recipe and found this one. Now the problem with eggplant — I admit it! — is it’s so visually unappealing, at least to me. If that’s your impression of eggplant too, get over it! It’s a delicious vegetable, and this combination of spices is very complementary.

I couldn’t find Asian eggplants so I used a large regular eggplant. And I didn’t have the fresh herbs for sprinkling on top, but the dish was still delectable. It’s also very easy to make, and leftovers reheat nicely.

Ingredients

6 Asian eggplants (small skinny ones) or two small or one large regular eggplant
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. ground coriander
Fresh coriander and mint to serve

Directions:

Chop the eggplant into pieces about a half-inch square.

Heat the oil in a wok and add the eggplant. Fry over a medium heat for about 4 minutes.

Combine all the other ingredients except the fresh coriander and mint in a small bowl and mix well.

Add the seasonings to the frying eggplant and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.

Sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 4 – 5

Lemon (or lime) mousse

21 Feb

lemon-mousse

This is a nice, light dessert that’s good any time of year. The only thing hard about this recipe is finding kosher unflavored gelatin, if that’s important to you. The recipe was originally for “lime mousse” and it’s really delicious with lime too — but I almost always have lemon zest on hand, and rarely lime zest.  The recipe is also easy to halve if you want to make less.

Ingredients:

6 eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup lemon (or lime) juice
1½ Tbs. butter or margarine
1 Tbs. grated lemon(or lime) zest
1½ tsp. unflavored gelatin
½ tsp. vanilla

Directions:

If you use fresh lemons or limes grade the rind for zest before you squeeze for juice.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, half a cup of the juice, butter and 1½ tsp. of the zest in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat.

Soften the gelatin the remaining lemon or lime juice and dissolve over a pan of hot water. Stir in the egg yolk mixture. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Stir the vanilla into the yolk mixture, then fold in the egg whites. Pour into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining zest. Chill several hours before serving.

Serves 8

Miso chicken

7 Feb

chicken-miso

Here’s a nice and easy recipe that’s been in my “gotta try this” folder forever. I had a container of miso in my fridge forever as well, so it seemed like a good idea. I had yellow miso, not white, but I don’t think it makes a big difference. If you don’t have it, you can find it at an Asian grocery or online.

The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I used a whole cut-up chicken. (Actually, I used only half a cut-up chicken, because there are only two of us, and halved the rest of the ingredients.)

These particular chicken pieces didn’t have a lot of fat, so I had to add a little water to the pan after about 20 or 30 minutes because the miso-margarine mixture was starting to burn.

The finished dish was very tasty. The miso and honey produced a an interesting and pleasant flavor — but it wasn’t too strong, so don’t be put off by the idea.

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. margarine, softened
½ cup white miso
2 Tbs. honey
1Tbs. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
Black pepper to taste
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, approx.. 2½ to 3 lb., or a whole chicken cut in eighths

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine margarine, honey, rice vinegar and black pepper in a large bowl and mix with a spatula or spoon until well combined.

Add the chicken to the bowl and massage the miso mixture all over it.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once or twice until the skin in golden brown and crisp. (You may need to add a little water to the pan if necessary part way through.)

Serves 4

 

Chicken with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

24 Jan

chicken-ginger-sesame-glaze

I got this recipe from Cooking Light magazine last June and finally made it. I saw that the recipe called for chicken thighs, so I took a package out of the freezer. Only after I’d mixed up all the glaze ingredients did I notice that the recipe called for skinless, boneless chicken thighs. It was too late to change course, and when I cooked the chicken I discovered that it didn’t really matter. The glaze is delicious, and it would work well with any cut of chicken, with or without skin.

Because I don’t have an indoor grill pan and it was not outdoor grilling season, I oven-roasted the chicken rather than grilling it. Grilling would probably be better for skinless, boneless thighs or breasts, but oven-roasting is fine for chicken with skin.

The magazine suggested mixing up the glaze first thing in the morning so the chicken marinates in it all day. Then the cooking part is really easy. I did them one better and started marinating the chicken the night before in a large Ziploc freezer bag. They were certainly right about the dinner-making being easy after that!

Ingredients:

½ cup thinly sliced green onion
3 Tbs. dark brown sugar
2½ Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
1 Tbs. minced fresh garlic
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. sambal oelek (chile paste)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1½  lb.)
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine everything except chicken and cooking spray and stir with a whisk. But half in a shallow bowl or large Ziploc bag with the chicken and toss. (At this point, you can leave it in the fridge for several hours, or even overnight.)

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts; cook about 4 minutes on each side until done. OR preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast the chicken , basting occasionally. The amount of time this takes will depend on whether the chicken  skinless and boneless or not and how big the pieces are. The chicken should be nicely browned; if using chicken with skin, the skin should be crisp.

Transfer chicken to a platter and drizzle with the remaining soy sauce mixture.

Serves 4

 

Sorry about that!

19 Jan

IF my last post looked a little weird, that’s because it was sent by my husband, who was trying to post something on out travel blog.  I’ll be back with more yummy recipes soon.

Bobbie

19 Jan

Russian Apple Sharlotka

10 Jan

apple-sharlotkaI adapted this from a recipe printed in the Detroit Free Press, which adapted it from Food & Wine.

It’s easy to make but elegant enough to serve to company. It’s also heavy on the fruit and not too sweet.

One caveat:  plan to eat it the same day you make it, because the crust can get soggy if it sits around overnight.

Ingredients:

4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup sugar
¾ cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
½ tsp. almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and 2 Tbs. of the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer (or in a stand mixer), beat the eggs with the almond extract and remaining sugar at medium-high speed for 8 to 10 minutes until thick and pale; a ribbon should form when the beaters are lifted.

Place the prepared pan on a piece of foil (because the juicy apples may leak). Spread the apples evenly in the prepared pan and then pour the batter evenly over them, making sure the apples are completely covered. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the batter to sink in a little.

Put the pan and the foil in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, until the cake is golden and crisp on top and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack and rest for 15 minutes. Unmold and transfer to a serving platter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar by sifting about a tablespoon of sugar through a small sieve.

Ideal served warm with ice cream!

Serves 8