Friday, July 25, 2014

Thai Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

I found a recipe on the Panera Website.  I rarely make a recipe exactly as written, and I didn't this time.  I will give this recipe as I made it.  If you want the original, go to Panera.


Thai Chicken in Coconut Curry

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, more if you like it hot.  I don't.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 shallot halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced  or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 can coconut milk, light is okay
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil and cilantro



Mix the coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Sprinkle it over the chicken and rub it in.


Heat some oil in a large, deep fry pan.  Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. 


Remove them from the pan and place them on a plate.


Add the onions to the hot pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 


Stir in the shallot, garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. 

Add the coconut milk and then whisk in the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the red curry paste. 


Taste the sauce (clean spoon, please) and then add more red curry paste to taste.


Place the chicken back in the pan and continue cooking.  When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about `15 to 20 minutes.  Check a large chunk of chicken to make sure it is cooked through.  Add the thinly sliced basil and give it a stir.


Serve over Jasmine rice and sprinkle the cilantro over the top.

This was a hit for dinner and I was able to control the heat to my taste, yet have plenty of spice for flavor.  A definite keeper!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leaving on a Jet Plane?

I just read about another plane crash.  That's four in recent history, by my count.  Should I be rethinking that flight I had planned to visit Cornwall?

I'm not normally a timid flyer, but seriously. 

The most horrible one was the Malaysian flight MH17, of course.  Being shot down is not something most people have ever even worried about.  Any crash is awful.  I grieve for the families.  The stories in the news break my heart.

But we are planning a flight in the fall and now an Air Algerie flight has crashed.  The airlines had better get their act together or I am taking the Queen Mary II to England.

Porch Swing French Toast

My cousin Phillip and his wife Teresa came for a visit.  This was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe sent to me from my Aunt Suzy.  It won a contest for a B&B recipe and I thought it might work for me at our B&B.  I made a few changes.  Some on purpose and one by necessity...from a shopping error.  But Aunt Suzy is Phillip's aunt also, so I figured he could take the risk along with me.  Poor Lee and Teresa were only along for the ride.


Variation on Porch Swing French Toast

2 Tablespoon butter
1 loaf French bread 
1 cup fresh blueberries  This was not part of the recipe, but I had about 1 cup and decided to use it up.

4 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if you can
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 Tablespoon orange zest or 1/4 teaspoon orange extract

I must confess that I didn't add the orange zest.  I love citrus zest.  But I only bought one orange at the store and then sliced it up and put it in the Sangria I made for dinner. Oops.  So I used orange extract and hoped for the best.

Do you think I can pull out the slices and then zest them?

1/2 cup chopped pecans


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans


The night before, melt butter ( I used the microwave)  and pour it into a 9X13 baking dish.  Spread it over the bottom of the dish.  The recipe called for 1 inch slices.  I did one inch cubes.  The store didn't have a full French loaf.  I bought twin loaves and used 1 loaf and about 1/2 of the other.


Place the cubes in the buttered dish and scatter the cup of blueberries on top of the bread, if you are using them. In fact, more than one cup of blueberries would be even better.


Whisk together the eggs and cream.  Then add the sugar and whisk. Next add the vanilla, nutmeg, orange zest (PLEASE don't forget the orange for zesting.) nuts and crushed pineapple and mix well. 

I know these pictures are dark.  I made this just before bedtime.

Poor the mixture over the bread.


Combine the softened butter, corn syrup and brown sugar. 


Spread it as best you can over the bread mixture.  I dropped limps all over the top and the spread them around with the back of a spoon.


Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top, cover and refrigerate. 


Go to bed.

In the morning, heat the oven to 350°.  Remove the dish from the refrigerator and remove the plastic covering.  A VERY important step.  Let it sit on the counter to (mostly) warm up to room temperature and then bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

And now the pictures are too bright.  Some people are never satisfied.

It was really good and a hit with my guinea pigs...I mean, Phillip and Teresa.  Unless they were just being polite. 


I served it with scrambled eggs and bacon. 


The recipe said it served 6, but with the addition of eggs and bacon, I could have served 8 people easily.  In the future I will reduce the size of the baking dish to 8X8 and reduce the amount of bread to fit it.  I would keep the eggs and cream the same, as the dish was a bit dry on the edges and needed more liquid.  I will definitely make this in the future.  It was really good and the blueberries were excellent.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fuel Cells Corrections

I recently wrote about our son's work on fuel cells.   I am not an expert and made a few errors that I will attempt to correct.
It seems you CAN buy fuel cell generators for your Japan.  They have a system of delivering hydrogen that you can use for "feeding" the fuel cells.  Hydrogen is a by-product of petroleum.  You can have something that removes hydrogen from the water, etc. for your home.  But that takes energy and then you are using energy to make energy and there we are.

Travis is working on improving the energy efficiency of fuel cells for his PhD.  Every time I write about his work I can count on making some errors.  This is due to my lack of complete knowledge of fuel cells.  A lack I have no intention of correcting.  I don't want a PhD in, well, ANYTHING.

So this time I won't forward a link to Travis to correct my errors in this correction.  Chances are he won't ever see this post and we can move on to something else.   I have three recipes I am waiting to post.

On the other hand, Travis is a great chef and he may find cooking errors.  So I won't be forwarding ANY thing I write.  He is too smart and he lets me know when I am in error.  In fact, when he was working for Lockheed Martin on NASA things (Space Shuttle fuel tank, Mars lander) he had the nerve to point out that he IS a rocket scientist.
Travis and his wife Vanessa, also brilliant.

But where does he think he gets his mighty brain.  ME!  That's where.  Yeah, yeah, Lee helped.  But STILL.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blue Peach Melba Crisp

I still had some peaches from my trip to the Bryant Orchards shop in Daleville.  They are big and sweet and I wanted to make something new with them.  I had some raspberries and blueberries from our most recent guests.  Raspberries and peach make a peach melba and blueberries are Lee's favorite.  I decided to throw them all together and add a crisp topping and see what happened.


Blue Peach Melba Crisp

4 VERY large peaches or 5 or 6 regular sized peaches
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla


Crisp Topping

3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
6 Tablespoons butter


Heat the oven to 350°.  Butter an 8X8 baking dish. Set aside.


Peel and slice the peaches.  Place them in a medium bowl and stir in the lemon juice to keep them   from browning.  Mix in the sugar and vanilla.  


Gently add in the raspberries and blueberries, stir and add to the baking dish.


In a medium bowl mix the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. 


Cut in the butter until well blended.  Spread the mixture over the fruit.  Bake for 30 minutes.


This is a delicious dessert.  The raspberries dissolved completely and made a wonderful raspberry sauce surrounding the peaches.  The blueberries didn't dissolve, but became little pockets of blueberry juice that burst in my mouth. 


The crisp would have been delicious with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Sadly, I didn't have any ice cream. Don't you hate it when your resistance to temptation works when you are in the freezer aisle?  I did have some Cool Whip, though, and it added a nice touch of creamy goodness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gingered Peach Cobbler

Our fabulous local orchard is picking peaches.  I love the peaches from Bryant Orchard.  You NEVER get peaches like this in the local markets.  I was going to make some peach cobbler or a peach crisp for my guests this weekend, but they are eating low carb.  That means no peaches and no cobbler for them.

And that it one of the reasons I am not eating low carb this summer.  Fresh fruit.  Yum.

Well, darn.  That means I have to eat the peaches.  So I decided to make up a slightly different recipe than the usual peach cobbler and invited a friend.  That way, I don't have to eat the whole thing by myself.  Not that I can't, but , you know. 

Gingered Peach Cobbler

 4 or 5 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons chopped, candied ginger

1 1/2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick
1/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1Tablesppon chopped, candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon chopped, candied ginger for sprinkling


Heat the oven to 375°.  Spray a 8X8 baking dish with Pam and set aside.


Peel and slice the peaches.  Place them in a medium bowl and stir in some lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. 


Add the cornstarch, sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, candied ginger and vanilla.  Mix and set aside.


In a medium bowl place the Bisquick. milk, sugar, candied ginger, and cinnamon. 


Mix just until combined.  If you can let this sit a bit, it is a good thing.


Place the peach mixture in the prepared dish.  Drop spoonsful of the Bisquick mixture on top in mounds. 


Try to cover the top evenly , but leave spaces between each drop of Bisquick.  Sprinkle the last of the chopped candied ginger on top.


Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Let cool and serve.


Serve with ice cream.  And Cool Whip.  And good friends.

This had a mild taste of ginger and it was delicious.  I may try more of the candied ginger next time.  I like the bite of ginger and it was perfect with the sweetness of the peaches.

A Fid for Cooks

My Aunt Suzy gave me a gift. It is a flat wooden tool , beveled and rounded on one end and tapered on the other.


"What is it?"  I asked.


It looked a little like the plastic fid that I use for burnishing copper foil when I am making stained glass, the one on the right.  We also use one in the library for burnishing the edges of the wraps we put around hard cover books.  It makes the edges nice and crisp.  Only it is made from wood.

"You use it for cooking." she replied.  "You'll find lots of uses for it."

And I have.  I use it like a wooden spoon in cooking, although the beveled edge is useful for removing stuck on food where you don't want to scratch the pan.   


I use it for cooking, cleaning, prying loose.  Lots of little things, but no one thing.


The end got a little flattened over time.  So I got out some sand paper and sanded it back to an edge, washed it and kept on cooking.  It's kind of like a pencil, in that as you use it and it wears down, you remove the bad edge and you have a new tool.


You should get one for yourself.  I have no idea where she got it, although she probably told me at the time.  If you want one I'll tell Suzy.  Maybe she'll get you one, too