Easy Coconut Lime Sorbet

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I had most of a can of coconut milk sitting in the fridge, begging to be used up.  20 minutes later, sorbet! Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 C. full fat coconut milk, cold (stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 2 limes, or 1/4 C.
  • 1/4 C. simple syrup (I keep a batch for cocktails, it’s just equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil and cooled. Or buy a bottle in the drinks aisle)

If your can of coconut milk separates into half clear liquid and half thick, white cream, just give it a stir before measuring.  Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.  I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker.  This took about 15 minutes to freeze into a sorbet/soft serve consistency. I imagine this would also make a terrific popsicle…

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The Quickest Weeknight Chicken

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This is my quickest (15 minutes tops) weeknight chicken recipe.  I keep boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer so that with a little veggie, I can always make a healthy, fast dinner with little to no planning.  You can use a variety of liquid for this dish, white wine is my favorite, but you can also use beer, chicken or veggie stock, or even marsala or dry vermouth.  Serves 4

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C. white wine, or beer, or chicken stock…some kind of flavorful liquid
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. heavy cream
  • parsley for garnish

Split the chicken breasts horizontally so you have 4-6 thinner pieces of chicken.  If they are very thick breasts you can cut them into three slices horizontally.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a large, NOT non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat with the olive oil.  When the pan is nice and hot, place the chicken in the pan.  It should only take about two or three minutes per side to get nice and brown. Resist the urge to turn it over too soon.  If the chicken is sticking it’s not ready to flip.  When it’s nice and brown it will release itself from the pan easily.  If you want to double this recipe, you need to cook the chicken in batches.  Crowding the pan will cause the chicken to steam instead of brown, and you really need those brown bits to make a great sauce. When the chicken is browned on both sides, remove it to a plate, cover with foil, and keep it warm. Immediately add the wine or other liquid to the hot pan.  Let it bubble up for a minute while scraping the brown bits that have accumulated in the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the mustard.  Whisk it in until smooth.  Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cream.  Taste the sauce for seasoning.  Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat in the sauce.  Place the chicken on a serving plate, top with the sauce and garnish with parsley. The more you make this dish, the faster you will get.  You can experiment with different liquids and different mustards. You can also use this exact same method with a thinly sliced pork chop or steak.

 

 

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Coconut Vinaigrette

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This dressing is at once both tart and rich.  Creamy and mellow, bright and tangy, all at the same time!  I served it over butter lettuce and it was heaven.  This is a perfect salad to serve alongside an Asian or seafood meal.

Making a vegan salad dressing creamy and rich can be a challenge.  We aren’t vegan in my house, but we often host vegans and try to eat a meatless meal here and there.  The point is, it’s nice to have a recipe up your sleeve that you can serve to vegans that everyone will enjoy and doesn’t require you to obtain ingredients you are unfamiliar with or are difficult to find.

  • 1/4 C. full fat coconut milk (I prefer Thai brands because they tend to be thicker, and before you go all crazy on me about hard to find ingredients, I buy it at Safeway, so there.)
  • 1/8 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 C. olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar, cover tightly and shake until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Store in the fridge for a day or two. Shake well before using.

 

 

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Cucumber Gazpacho With Shrimp and Mint Oil

 

IMG_1670This is so creamy you would swear it’s full of dairy, but (as long as you don’t pop a shrimp on top) it’s completely vegan.  Cool, crisp and slightly sweet, this is the perfect starter to any summer meal.  Adapted from Food and Wine magazine. Makes half a pitcher.

  • 2/3 C. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 lb. cooked cocktail shrimp, tails on
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 English cucumbers (the long ones wrapped in plastic), peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 C. green grapes, halved
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 t. white wine vinegar
  • 1 C. cold water
  • pinch of salt to taste

First toss the shrimp in a t. of the olive oil, and a T. of the fresh mint, wrap and chill. Make the mint oil by heating 1/3 C. of the oil over medium heat with the rest of the mint sprigs. When the oil is hot and mint sprigs are bright green, remove from heat and allow the oil to cool to room temperature.  Strain and reserve oil for later.  Discard mint.  In a blender, blend the remaining olive oil, the cucumbers, grapes, garlic, vinegar, water, and salt into a smooth puree.  Pour into a serving pitcher and chill.  This can be done a day ahead. To serve, pour the gazpacho into chilled, frosty cups and top with one of the marinated shrimp and a drizzle of the mint infused oil. Serve ice-cold.

 

 

 

 

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Betty Draper’s Rumaki

Betty seems to love Rumaki. Last Night’s episode (705 The Runaways) marks the second time on Mad Men that she serves it to guests, this time at a progressive dinner party, where the guests have a different course at each house.  I love to watch Betty act as hostess, it’s like she finally feels like she’s doing something important, she’s almost giddy. I can sort of relate to that actually.

My all time favorite episode of Mad Men is from Season two, called A Night To Remember.  Betty hosts a dinner party for Don’s clients and The Sterlings.  She treats the guests to a “Trip Around the World” with the following menu:

  • Gazpacho from Spain
  • Rumaki From Japan
  • Irish Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly
  • German Noodles like her grandmother made
  • Bordeaux from France and Beer from Holland

The Betty Crocker Hostess Cookbook from the era has a recipe for Rumaki and introduces it as a Japanese dish.  Rumaki actually originated in California at Trader Vic’s as part of America’s love for all things Polynesian.  My version has a few modern twists.

  • 1 lb. chicken livers, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 t. canola oil
  • 1/8 C. soy sauce
  • 1/2 t. curry powder
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lb. uncured bacon
  • 1 can, sliced water chestnuts, drained

Combine the oil, soy sauce, curry powder, sugar, and ginger in a shallow dish.  Toss the livers in the mixture and marinate for at least two hours.  Put your bamboo skewers in a glass of water to soak.  This should keep them from burning, although some of mine got a little charred.  Cut the bacon into 2 inch squares.  Skewer one piece of bacon, one piece of liver, and one slice of water chestnut, followed by another piece of bacon.  Place skewers on a rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Continue skewering until all the ingredients are used up.  You should have enough for about twenty skewers.  Heat the broiler to high heat.  Broil for four minutes, then turn all the skewers over and continue broiling for three to four more minutes or until the bacon is cooked and beginning to brown.  Serve hot.

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Baked Eggs and Greens

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Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  When I was a kid I desperately wanted to make my mother breakfast in bed.  I didn’t really know how to cook, but I just really liked the idea of carrying a tray with breakfast to her and setting it on her lap.  I vaguely remember making coffee (probably very badly) and cooking eggs on a plate in the microwave.  Now that I am a grown up I would gladly make my mother a gorgeous breakfast in bed, if we lived in the same house.  So here Mom, this is what I would make for you tomorrow if we were having a sleepover.  Instead I will make it for myself, since I’m a mom now too, and truth be told, I don’t really want to eat what my children would make for me…

So, I just took a break from writing this post to eat one of these little beauties and I am SO happy with how they turned out.  The greens are perfectly tender and the cream gives them a wonderful silkiness.  Serve with toast points for dunking.

These would be a great make-ahead dish for a brunch.  Just multiply the ingredients by the number of guests and prep them up until the baking step.  Pop them in the fridge and bake before serving.  This recipe makes one.

Oh my god, I just ate another one.

  • butter for coating the ramekin
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 generous C. of chopped fresh cooking greens such as kale, chard, or spinach.
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 or 5 cherry tomatoes, halved, optional
  • 1/8 C. heavy cream
  • 1 fresh egg
  • 1 t. grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter a ramekin and place it on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Heat a skillet over medium heat with the oil.  Add the greens, garlic, and tomatoes and cook until the greens are wilted and the tomatoes have given up their juice, about three minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Spoon the greens into the ramekin.  Pour the cream over the greens and make a little shallow well in the center, so the yolk will sit in the middle.  Crack the egg on top of the greens.  Sprinkle the top of the egg gently with the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the white of the egg is set.  Let these cool for about five minutes before serving.  Placing a napkin under the ramekin keeps them from sliding around on the plate.

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Breakfast To Go: Overnight Fridge Oatmeal

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This is one of those ideas that’s been floating around Pinterest a lot lately.  I decided to give it a whirl, mainly because I tend to forget to eat breakfast, or I grab some protein bar on the way out the door if I’m lucky.  Funny thing about moms, we are always so worried about what everyone else is eating: kids need protein in the morning, are they drinking enough water? Yet, we rarely remember to think about ourselves.  My kids are eating these gorgeous protein waffles with fresh strawberries, and I’m scarfing down a Balance Bar on the way to work with my third cup of coffee.  Well, this fridge oatmeal is something I can do for me that is fast and easy, and I can just grab it on my way out the door.  I can even eat it in the car.  Just don’t forget to pack a spoon.  I make these three jars at a time, they last for three days in the fridge, then I have three super healthy weekday breakfasts ready to go.

This recipe is for one jar, so just multiply it by the number of jars you are making.  Don’t worry about measuring, just eyeball it.

  • 2/3 C. raw oats, not quick cooking
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 1/2 C. greek yogurt (I use full-fat, honey vanilla. Full fat yogurt will make you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer, hence you will snack less)
  • 1/3 C. nuts or seeds, I use walnuts, ’cause I like ‘em
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. almond milk, or any milk that you like
  • If you use plain yogurt you may want to add a little honey or other sweetener.
  • If you want to make this vegan you can leave out the yogurt, or replace it with some silken tofu and add a bit of sweetener like agave syrup.

Set out your three jars.  Add the oats, chia seeds, yogurt, cinnamon, and nuts to each jar.  Pour in the milk shake it a bit to let it settle if it seems like you can’t get all the milk in the jar.  Screw the lids on tightly and shake vigorously until well combined.  Keep the lids on, and store in the fridge overnight or up to three days.  In the morning the oats will have swelled, the chia seeds turn delightfully chewy, and the whole thing is sort of like eating a delicious, cold and creamy tapioca pudding.  The possibilities are endless.  Swap out the nuts for sunflower seeds, add some peanut butter or cocoa powder, add some blueberries, or sliced bananas.  Spend five minutes on yourself in the evening to make your morning that much better!

 

 

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