Thursday, April 16, 2009

enough with all the baking, how about an easy dinner?

Made a soup. First you put 2 cans of chick peas, a can of coconut milk, half a can of tomatoes, a large handful of cilantro and a splash of apple juice in the blender and puree it. Put it in a pot, add 2 tsp garam masala and a 1 tsp of ground ginger, heat it through. I then added salt and some sugar. It takes garnishes well, avocado, sauted bananas, raisins, yogurt, green onions, more cilantro. Very healthy, quick, easy. What's not to like!

Monday, April 13, 2009

what is it w all the coconut?

It was Easter and I had been resisting the urge to make cupcakes for several weeks. I missed the friend's birthday window of opportunity and was waiting for an Occasion. Easter was just me, so not sure it counted as an Occasion but I had all the ingredients, a few hours, and Pandora tuned to Krishna Das with Aria as variation (why is Trance music so suited to baking?) The recipe I have been reading daily for nearly a month is from Bon Apetite. Coconut vanilla bean cupcakes.
First you have to reduce the coconut milk. This requires a high sided pot b/c the coconut milk boils up and over. The recipe said that it would and it did. Then it took nearly half an hour to reduce by half and then it had to cool, in a bowl. Unlike my sister, I'm not a clean as you go person, so I just grabbed the first clean bowl I saw on the counter to hold the reduced coconut while it cooled. After the bowl was filled and waiting in the fridge, I realized/remembered that the bowl was clean b/c I had eaten my lunch out of it and then put it on the floor for the dogs to lick clean. Hmmm. It just smelled like coconut milk, and my dogs are healthy. So I left it alone.
The cake is a butter, sugar, eggs, seeds scraped from a vanilla bean cake. Only baking powder for leavening and dry is added in 2 parts alternating w the reduced coconut milk, all mixed just until combined. Don't overfill your litttle cupcake liners.
The frosting is butter, conf sugar, more seeds scraped from another vanilla bean and the rest of the reduced cocnut milk. The consistency was wallpaper paste and the taste was insipid and sweet. I added some lemon juice to soften the consistency and brighten the flavor. I then waited 24 hours bc after all that frosting tasting, I just didn't want cupcakes any more.
Really really good. I might try sour cream or cream cheese in the frosting next time. The lemon overwhelms the coconut flavor. I also want to try it as a cake, but it is quite moist and dense, so it may be too much as a whole cake. But I want to make it for a friend's birthday, to serve with Moroccan Chicken pie. And cupcakes some how seem like a party cop out.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


In the midst of packing craziness and needing something to take my mind off the mountain of boxes that has taken over the apartment and the even more upsetting mountain of small, oddly shaped, random things that don't pack easily but rather reside in slumping piles.

Dinner tonight - skirt steak marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Cold artichokes. Leftover mashed sweet potatoes. And wine. Possibly lots.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

vegetables are good for you, right?

I've been sick a lot this winter so am turning my attention to things that putatively increase health. Fruit, kumbuchu, cruciferous (that always makes me think of a brocoli stalk splayed out on a cross) vegetables and ginger tea.

When a friend introduced me to the blog Orangette the first thing I latched onto was a recipe for Sweet Potato Pound Cake. Have your cake and eat your vegetables too. The sweet potatoes at WFs have been super good, so I baked a few and banged out the cake pretty quickly. The directions were a bit odd. It's a basic cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs one at at time, beating well after each addition kinda cake, but when you got to the part where you were alternating the dry ingredients with the milk, she only wants you to mix until just combined. I should have followed my instinct and beaten well, cuz the texture is a little odd. Not a great crumb.

If i'm feeling generous, I say it's good, but a bit sweet. Next time I'd use 1/2 c less sugar and make it all dk brown to increase the brown sugar taste. If i'm not feeling generous, I'd say that it's not really heavy enough to be a pound cake. And no matter which way I'm feeling I'll definitely have a piece after dinner. Gotta eat my vegetables.