Cocunut Curry Thai Chicken

Wow, I've been off the blog-wagon for a while now. There are a few reasons for my lapse, not the least of which is that my oven can't get above 350 degrees and my landlord doesn't understand why that's a problem. Anyway, I've had a few people indicate that they missed my blog lately, and dinner tonight was so delicious and pretty, that, well, here I am!
Like many of you, I have been watching "The Next Food Network Star." I have mixed feelings about the program. While I think it's interesting to see how they make a cooking show (it looks so hard!), I wish there was more about the actual cooking they're doing. Anyway, last night one of the contestants made this recipe: Coconut Curry Thai Chicken and I thought it sounded appealing, so I tried it tonight. Of course, I made a few changes, mostly so that I could avoid a trip to the grocery store. I used fresh red peppers because I had them, and I omitted the water chestnuts because I don't care for them. I also added a couple of tablespoons of yogurt to the sauce to thicken it, and served it over egg noodles instead of whole wheat linguine since that's what I had in the pantry. It was such a hit that my husband said, "You should really post this on your blog." So here it is! Posted by Hello


IMBB #14: Orange You Hungry?

This month, Foodgoat's hosting IMBB and came up with the clever idea of an orange theme. What fun! I'd had my eye on a simple carrot soup recipe anyway, and today turned out to be the perfect day for it. I spent the afternoon at a "Chocolate Fantasy Buffet" for work (I know, poor me, working on Sunday eating free chocolate. . .) so I wanted a very light and healthy dinner. This was just right - the beans and milk gave it a thick and creamy feel without being too heavy. The color was lovely too!

Creamy Carrot Soup
based on a recipe from Epicurious

1.5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3.5 cups chicken broth
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bayleaf
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup drained canned cannellini beans
1 cup milk
salt to taste

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender, approx. 15 mins. Remove bay leaf.
2. Add beans to the pot and puree using stick blender (or use countertop blender if necessary). Add milk to pureed soup, stirring thoroughly.  Posted by Hello


Raspberry Toffee Muffins

After the deluge of IMBB muffin recipes flooded the foodblogs, there were so many that I wanted to make. The funny thing is, I only very loosely based this recipe on one I saw for Muffins a la Framboise at everyone's favorite foodblog. I hope you don't mind my sharing another muffin recipe. This one is very sweet and pretty, and nicely suited to an afternoon snack with tea -- more so than for breakfast, I'd say!
Raspberry Toffee Muffins

4 tbsp butter
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 400 and prepare muffin tin by greasing or lining.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

Combine the dry ingredients in one mixing bowl and whisk the wet ingredients together in another bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined. Mixture should be lumpy.

Gently fold in toffee bits and raspberries.

Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes before removing from tins. These muffins are especially delicious when served warm.


Loco for Coconut Sorbet

Belated though this may be, I thought I'd give a quick description of the dessert I served at our Easter dinner. Unfortunately this post is sans picture because we ate everything before I remembered my camera. I'm sure you can picture this for yourself: a perfect round scoop of creamy white coconut sorbet atop a sweet yellow pineapple ring. Can you see it? Good.

Coconut Sorbet
1 can cream of coconut
1 cup milk (or half and half)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
4 tablespoons of unsweetened dried coconut flakes(optional)

1. Whisk liquid ingredients together and prepare in your ice cream maker.
2. When the mixture is nearly finished churning, add the coconut flakes if desired.

There isn't an easier ice cream in the world! No cooking and cooling or blending or anything at all, and the result is creamy and delicious for spring. I like mine with pineapple or dark chocolate sauce. If you toasted some coconut flakes I'm sure they'd make a great topping too.


Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins

I whipped up these Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins after a torturous afternoon at work; the chef at the tea room beneath my cubicle (literally!)was baking something delightful all afternoon, and I left work dying for my own fresh baked goodies. Luckily, Maki at i was just really very hungry also happened to be hosting an IMBB cupcake/muffin event today, so I can participate (albeit at the last minute) and satisfy my craving for something warm from the oven all at once!
I chose a basic low-fat muffin recipe as my base and decided to forgo the blueberries it called for (as I had no blueberries to use) and added my own mini chocolate chips and orange twist. Eating one fresh out of the oven, I must say I had a good impression. I might add another teaspoon of vegetable oil just for a touch more moisture next time, but with a cold glass of milk these were just right as a late night snack.

Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins
(based on a recipe from "Cooking Light")

2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
freshly grated zest of one small orange
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz. vanilla yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line muffin tin.
2.Combine dry ingredients (except chips) in large bowl.
3.Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4.Make well in dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and mix gently just until moistened.
5.Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yield: 12 small muffins.  Posted by Hello


Sugar High Friday: Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Topping

My husband's birthday was last week, so of course I wanted to make him a special treat. While I would normally choose chocolate for such occasions, I also knew the kind ladies at his job were surprising him with a chocolate cake from a talented local baker. So I started thinking about fruit desserts, and settled on apples because, well, he likes them and there are so many recipes to choose from! There isn't any better combination than apples and caramel, as far as I'm concerned, so I knew this would become my Sugar High Friday entry as well.
I wasn't nervous about baking the cake, and I must say it turned out well. I used this recipe from Epicurious, except I added a pinch of nutmeg and substituted 1/2 cup of applesauce for part of the oil. The diced apples looked very pretty in the sliced cake.
You'll notice that that recipe includes a caramel topping. I didn't want to make that one because of all the butter. Mostly I wanted the challenge of working with sugar -- I say challenge because the last time I made a candy recipe it turned into a grainy disaster despite my careful attempts not to disturb the boiling contents. I was a bit worried, but there was no reason to be because this recipe for caramel sauce worked on my very first try! It's just a simple caramel sauce that dressed up the cake nicely, calling to mind the caramel apples I usually enjoy in the fall. The sauce was also great the next day over a bowl of ice cream.
Overall, this birthday dessert was a great success. There were so many textures, from the creamy ice cream to the soft cake to the caramel, which was soft on the cake and a bit chewy on the ice cream. I'm sure it will return to my table on many other special occasions.  Posted by Hello


Chocolate Yogurt Loaf

I've really been enjoying Words to Eat By recently, and I just made Debbie's recipe for low-fat chocolate yogurt loaf. What a great treat! It is very chocolatey and even rich for a low-fat treat. A little slice of it with tea was the perfect afternoon pick me up at work. It whips up in a snap too. At first I thought the batter seemed too thick and it looked like an awfully scrawny amount in my loaf pan, but it puffed up beautifully in the oven. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Posted by Hello