Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

I decided to throw a Thai-themed office party at work yesterday, and wanting to be the only person to contribute to said theme, I decided to whip up a traditional Thai dessert of coconut rice pudding. For those of you who have travelled the world, or know anything about the world in general, you know that American pudding is not what people in other countries consider pudding. In most countries, pudding is very, very thick  and custardy, or is more like a cake. This pudding is more like a thick custard.

Let's talk about this little piece of heaven. First of all, it's incredibly easy, but it does require you to wash two pans. Oh my God! I've just lost half of you. It also requires the use of sticky rice (what most of you know as "Chinese restaurant rice"). There goes two-thirds of the remaining half. I ended up scoring my sticky rice from a Chinese coworker because I didn't trust myself to find the right thing at the Asian market. Sue me for not knowing how to read another language. 

My mangoes... and the remnant of my coconut cream can. 
I had a bit of trouble with the coconut milk. The market I went to had lite coconut milk and coconut cream, but not coconut milk. I decided that since the recipe specifically stated that I should use thick coconut milk, I went against my aspirations of a trim waistline and went to for the cream. Now, I want you to be very careful when purchasing liquid coconut products. Cream of coconut is very different from coconut cream. Do not buy cream of coconut. You will ruin your dish. 

Fast forward to the party.... The pudding was a smashing hit! Everyone loved it and was surprised when I told them how easy it was. Many people even came back for seconds! Winning! The recipe below makes about 20 small servings. Obviously, you can cut it in half and serve it as the only dessert and get about 6 servings. 

2 cup sticky rice
2 ripe mangos, cut into slivers
1/2 cup  brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans coconut cream
water (for boiling or steaming the rice)

1. In a pan, soak the rice in 2 cups of water for about 45 minutes. Do not drain after soaking. 

2. After 45 minutes, add 1 1/2 cups of water to the rice and water. Also add 1/2 can of coconut cream. So what happens with this is what the top of the can is solid, and the bottom contains liquid. Make sure you get some of the liquid out. It doesn't have to be perfect. 

3. Add salt and 2 tbsp brown sugar. 

4. Over medium-low heat, bring the rice to a gentle boil. Put the cover on the pot, an simmer for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, and let the rice sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes longer. 

5. In the meantime, pour the rest of your coconut cream (1 1/2 cans) and the rest of your brown sugar into a saucepan. Heat the ingredients on low heat until the chunky parts have liquified and the ingredients and mingled nicely. 

6. To serve, divide the rice into serving dishes and pour the sauce over generously. Top with mangoes. 

The recipe I sort of used suggested that I serve this hot, but because I brought it to work, I served this at room temperature, and it was so, so good!! Don't worry, the sauce won't solidify once it's heated the first time. Also, I think Americans are used to eating pudding on the colder side, so don't worry! :)

I also made it two days ahead of time, and it was perfect on serving day. I also put out the leftovers today, and it was still delicious. This is an excellent make-ahead dish. You'll have to keep the sauce, rice, and mangoes in different containers, though.
This is a crappy picture because I took it at work, where there
is bad lighting. The ugly black countertop doesn't exactly
make for an appealing backdrop, either. 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Almond Flour Triple Cs

Okay, so I suppose I lied about only cooking and baking food items with ingredients that are found in an ordinary kitchen, as the cookie recipe that I will soon unveil requires the use of  almond meal. Now, almond meal isn't so uncommon, but it also isn't considered a staple in the average American household.

The other day, I had the brilliant idea to milk a bunch of almonds in order to save money on the packaged stuff at the market. As it turns out, if you make your own almond milk, you'll undoubtedly be left with a crap-ton of almond meal. As I am somewhat like a Native American in that I try to use "every part of the buffalo" I could not let the byproduct of my milk go to waste. I did some googling and realized that I could almost use the almond meal like wheat flour. No kidding, huh?

This is how the almond flour chocolate chip cookie was born. I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical, and I mean, who wouldn't be? I was basically replacing a whole grain with a nut. I've replaced flour with legumes with great success, but never with a nut. UNTIL NOW.

When these bad boys came out of the oven, I swear my downstairs neighbors must have thought that I had a special friend over because of my reaction of ecstasy! "Ohhh my Godddd! Soooo good!!!" may have slipped off my tongue a few times. You have no idea. If you like chocolate and nuts together, you are in for a real treat, my dear.

Also, because these do not contain any flour, they're gluten-free. They also have fewer carbs than traditional chocolate chip cookies, being that they're not made with real flour. It is only fair to offer you this warning, though: Almond meal does contain significantly more fat that traditional flour. But fear not, young skeptic. The fat content is mainly comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are actually good for you. They can help lower cholesterol, and when you replace empty calories with MUFA calories, you may actually lose weight. GTFO, I know! For those of you who would like it in layman's terms, it's full of good fat.

So without further ado, I present the gluten-free, super MUFA-powered chocolate chip cookie!

3 cups almond meal
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
shake of cinnamon (per usual)
chocolate chips as you see fit (chocolate chips are also a MUFA food)

1. Preheat oven to 375'.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat until nice and fluffy.

3. Mix dry ingredients. Give it a good stir and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

4. Add chocolate chips and mix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. You should get about 3 dozen.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yellow Split Pea Soup

I am addicted to soup. It's cheap, easy to make, freezes extraordinarily well, and makes great leftovers. I also work in substandard conditions and am frequently cold for one-third of my day. Therefore, consuming warm beverages and food is essential for maintaining a normal body temperature. Actually, I do not work in a poor environment, but I do sit near a window, which likely contributes to the unchanging presence of goosebumps on my arms, legs, and neck. 

Being that I do not buy meat (I'm not a vegetarian, but I live alone and am incapable of cooking in small scale, which means that meat products have a high probability of spoiling), I live off vegetables, legumes, and pasta and am always looking for new recipes that offer some variation from traditional vegetable soup. I've been wanting to make pea soup for a while now, but have always been a bit apprehensive because of a horrible pressure cooker story that I'd heard years ago. Then I remembered that I don't own a pressure cooker, so the chances of my pea soup hitting the ceiling are low. 

I had every intention of making green split pea soup because that's all I've ever known. However, when I made my weekly pilgrimage to the market, I quickly realized that the green bits were straight up sold out, with yellow being my only option. Ah, whatever... I bought them and hoped for the best. 

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
8 carrots, chopped
1 pound dried split yellow peas (about 2 1/4 cups or one standard-sized bag)
10 cups stock
salt to taste

1. First and foremost, soak your peas for a little bit. This will release some of the starch. Dump them into a bowl and cover them with water and let them sit while you chop and saute your carrots and onions. 

2. In a stock pot, saute onions in oil. Once they are translucent, add carrots and garlic. Continue sauteing for a few more minutes. 

3. Drain pea water. 

4. Add peas and all remaining ingredients to the stock pot. Let simmer for about 45 minutes, skimming foam off top every so often. 

5. So here's the deal. When I tried this as the recipe was originally written (not as written here), the soup was too thick and was almost like a thick puree. So, I decided to add more water and blend. If the soup is not too thick, cool; enjoy as written. If it's too thick, add some water and blend it. 

** You can also make this in a crock pot if you so choose!
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


As some of you may know, I have been extremely stressed and nauseous for the past... I don't know, month or so? I was getting to the point where I would vomit up nearly everything I ate, and was losing a lot of weight as a result (the benefit of having a broken heart)!  So what's a sweet girl to eat during times like this? POPOVERS. They are light and barely contain any ingredients, making them an awesome food candidate for people whose stomachs are sensitive.

Most of the popover recipes that I have found involve a two-step baking process, which requires a non-preheated oven and turning the temperature down in the middle of the baking process. The first time I made these, I wasn't in the position where I wanted to sit by the oven and wait for the timer to go off so that I could knock the temp down a few notches. Screw that, I had better things to do... like cry in bed. Ha ha.

That's when I turned to my first edition (not sure which printing, as the title page has been removed) Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook. The thing is old as fuck, but has some really great recipes. By the way, excuse my bad language, but really, if you can't handle it, don't read my blog. Anyway, this recipe involves a single step! Woot! And best of all, it has four ingredients! And to BOOT, it didn't make me want to puke up my innards! Win-win-win (as Michael Scott would say).

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 425'.

2. Combine all ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth.

3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins (do not line with papers). You should get about 10.

4. I don't really remember how long I baked them for. Check them around 30 minutes. The cookbook calls for 40-45, but had I let them bake that long, they would have been completely burnt.

5. Enjoy right away! Rip the tops off those bastards and give the halves a good smear of jam.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Accidentally Delicious Brownies

You can tell by their namesake that these brownies turned out deliciously by accident. The truth is, they are the result of several massive fuck ups, but it turns out that my inattention to detail actually had a positive ending this time. Hosannah!

I know this is a crappy picture, but what do you really
want from me at 10:30pm? You're lucky you got this!
As I wandered around my apartment in my flower-print bathrobe last night, I was overcome by a tremendous urge to experiment with a new recipe. Therefore, I whipped out a cookbook given to me ten years ago, flipped straight to the brownies section, and decided on a recipe that didn't call for a lot of butter (I didn't want to waste it on a recipe that may have failed). The recipe was simple enough: Put butter, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Melt, then add chocolate chips. Then, combine baking soda, flour, and salt in another bowl. Two strikes. Then I realized that I didn't have any vanilla left. Three strikes, and you're out. Halt! Not so fast!

I quickly worked my magic and made the necessary modifications to prevent a potential disaster from occurring. I don't like warm brownies, so I had to wait till the morning to find out that God was looking down on me when I scrambled around the kitchen that fateful evening. 

2/3 cup flour
1 scant tsp baking powder (original recipe called for 1/4 tsp baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz bag of chocolate chips (I used minis)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract (original recipe called for vanilla)
Generous sprinkle of cinnamon (this wasn't in the original recipe, but I added for good measure)
I hope I'm not forgetting anything critical

1. Preheat oven to 325'. 

2. In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, and butter. Heat over a low flame and stir continuously until the butter is melted. I accidentally added the sugar to the flour, which meant that I was heating only the butter and water. Whatever. 

3. Once your butter mixture is melted, stir in half of the chocolate chips and stir until smooth and melty. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add eggs and almond extract.

4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to your chocolate mixture. Scrape bowl with a rubber spatula.

5. Mix in remaining chocolate morsels. 

6. Pour into a prepared baking dish and level out by shaking. I believe I used an 8x8.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. My oven is a little bit ghetto, so I think it took about 30 minutes to get these suckers cooked all the way. 

8. Allow to cool completely and stuff your face with chocolatey goodness.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bodacious Beer Bread

I owe this recipe to my friend, Charlotte, who inspired me to turn my favorite beer into something edible. When she sent it to me, I was a bit skeptical because it was so easy. I mean, there were only a few ingredients, and I thought to myself, "How can something with so few ingredients be translated into something tasty?" Well, I gave her recipe a try, making only one and a half modifications, and it was sensational.

I can't speak for the original recipe since I used half whole wheat flour, but the texture is dense and grainy- but in a very good way, almost like cornbread. This would be awesome when consumed with chili or as toast. I have been eating it plain and with lentil soup. 
After approximately fifty minutes of baking

Let's talk about the taste, shall we? It does not taste like beer. In fact, it is very sweet and not at all hoppy. Perhaps that's because I don't drink very hoppy beer, but I did use something that is a combination of both smooth and bold. Redhook ESB. Boy, oh boy, was I thrilled to learn that my local packy carries this stuff because let me tell you, not many do. Thrilled. I was absolutely just thrilled beyond belief when I stumbled upon this in the cooler. 

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz. bottle of beer (The taste will vary based your beverage of choice. I would not recommend using anything that is marketed as the king of anything.)
butter for spreading and greasing

** The original recipe calls for 3 cups self rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 12 oz. beer, and butter.
See all that foam? That's beer. YUM!

1. Preheat oven to 375'.

2. Butter a loaf pan. Use real butter, not cooking spray.

3. Combine all ingredients and mix. The dough will be sticky, but worry not. It's supposed to be. 

4. Dump your concoction in your loaf pan and smooth the top a bit. 

5. Bake for 40 minutes. Spread butter all over the top. Bake for another 10 minutes. 

This shit is amazing. Make some for me?

Just before it went into the oven

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Laudable Lentil Soup

I have been living off lentils, macaroni and cheese, beer bread, and split peas for the last two weeks, so as you can imagine, it's a damn good thing that I've got an awesomely easy recipe for lentil soup! Yes, the recipe is better than the one you've been using for years. How do I know? OH... I KNOW.

So the thing about lentils is that they're extremely versatile. You can use them to make Indian cuisine, veggie burgers, soup, salad, and things that I don't even know about yet! Hell, in a few years, I bet the next big thing will be lentil milk. Gross, but I may actually be on to something. Did you hear that? It's the sound of my bank account exploding because of my brilliant money-making venture! Anyway, because soup is cheap and low in calories if you do it right, my dear, I am a soup girl. I could seriously eat soup all day, every day, for the rest of my life, provided you slip me chocolate cupcake every now and again.

So here it is: My lentil soup recipe that doesn't call for anything weird. Cross my heart.

8 cups chicken stock
2 cups uncooked lentils
1/2 tsp thyme (I didn't have thyme the second time I made it, so I used sage, and it turned out just fine)
1/2 tsp pepper
4 carrots, diced
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp oil for sauteing
4 bay leaves
salt to taste

1. In a large stock pot, saute your onions in 2 tsp oil. I don't generally do this because I prefer to keep fat out of my soup. However, sauteing the onions makes them sweet, which nicely complements the salty stock. So this time, branch out and saute those suckers until they're as transparent as a trampy top.

2. After your onions have become a bit clear, throw in everything else. Be reckless; dump everything in with no rhyme or reason. I am in no position to judge.

3. Simmer on medium for about 45 minutes or until your lentils are nice and soft.

4. Tell your husband to call his mother to tell her that your cooking is better than hers. There's no sense in keeping your talents a secret.

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Monday, January 7, 2013


Shawwwwtay! No? Okay, then forget it, you humorless lump. Go ahead and make your old boring shortbread and I'll make it my way- the fun way. Just don't call asking for advice on increasing the probability of shortbread success.

As I mentioned when I first started blogging, I enjoy making and creating recipes from ingredients that I have at home. I don't like having to go out of my way to purchase a two-pound bag of weird crap that I'll use only once. With this philosophy in mind, my quest for the ultimate shortbread recipe was not tremendously difficult, but it did prove to be a bit search-intensive due to the fact that many recipes call for rice flour or something else that I don't typically have on my shelves. I sat in agony for days, crying out loud, "Dear God, will I EVER be able to make shortbread?!"

Yes. The answer is absolutely yes! And you won't have to use anything you don't already have in your cucina. Or at least I would hope you have flour, sugar, butter, and lemon extract laying around. I mean, they ARE staples.  Ugh, now I've gone and offended you again, huh? Wah, wah, wah...

1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
splash of lemon extract
sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Mix in your lemon extract. I suppose I used a quarter of a teaspoon, but I didn't really measure. All I know is that they turned out fabulous.

3. Mix in flour. Give it a good stir, why don't you.

4. Form the dough into teaspoon-sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. In the center of each cookie, press your thumb down slightly.

5. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. I would recommend doing this. You don't want to be boring, now do you?

6. Bake for about 12 minutes.

7. Obtain a gym membership because these might cause you to gain weight should you decide to eat the whole batch (speaking from experience). Pin It

Cinna-licious Chocolate Bar Cookies

I've been on a blogging hiatus for a while, but I'm back, biotches. I don't know if you're crying tears of joy or agony, but either way, I'm glad you're expressing some sort of emotion on the subject! So with that in mind, I've been a sort of emotional wreck lately, and the only solace I can seem to find is in baking.

That's how I came to whip up this bitchin' batch of bar cookies that will certainly leave your tastebuds longing for more. It's likely that you'll also provoke me to be sad more often so that I'll deliver more tasty recipes. If this is the case, kindly remove yourself from my social circle. Otherwise, please feel free to send me lavish gifts as a token of gratitude.

So one of my favorite flavor combinations  is cinnamon and chocolate. I don't know why, but whenever these flavors share a recipe, the results are amazing. This is true 100% of the time, especially in the case of hot cocoa. I shall also tell you that these are NOT blondies. So far, I have remained anti-blondie throughout the course of my life due to the fact that I loathe butterscotch, especially in chip form. Traditional blondies are merely a cop out for people who can't bake, but would like to give off the appearance of  having spent hours in the kitchen. Here's why: All that sugar shocks your nerves and the human body doesn't know what to think. So, it says, "Oh, sugar! It must be delicious!" And before you know it, you have a band of loyal followers banging down the kitchen door of some poor schmuck who can't bake for crap. Oh, was that mean? Oh well.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips (Use Ghiradelli!)

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. Grease a square baking dish. I prefer glass.

3. Melt butter and brown sugar together over a low flame. Stir constantly. Once the sugar is melted in, wait ten minutes.

4. Beat in egg and yolk.

4. Mix in cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

5. Add flour. Once the flour is well incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips. Dip your finger in and lick the scrumptious batter off. Oh la la.

6. Pour the batter into the baking dish and pop that bad boy into the oven and let it bake for about 25 minutes.

7. Allow to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares.

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