Japanese Curry

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I met my friend Rachel when we lived in Tokyo. Actually, we met her husband Nate first. It was our first Sunday in Tokyo and it was Nate’s, too. A senior missionary couple, the Snow’s, invited us all for dinner. Rachel came awhile later. I do feel that I have gotten to know Rachel a bit better since leaving Japan. She has a blog Lafujimama.com, but mostly I see her on Instagram. She shares many Japanese recipes and I love her recipe for Japanese Curry. It is a favorite comfort food. You might be thinking why would you need a recipe, can’t you just buy the curry block at the store? My answer is usually, I can buy a brand that doesn’t have much flavor at my favorite grocery store or I can drive across town and buy the one we do like at a different store. Right now, with the Covid 19 stay home in place neither of my stores have curry blocks on their websites for curbside pick up. That doesn’t mean they don’t have it, but I am not going in to find out. Also, Ally hasn’t found them in Montreal at all. Another reason for making your own is to avoid preservatives and gluten.  This is my adaptation of Rachel’s Vegan Japanese Curry Rice. If you want to see her original recipe go here.

Ingredients-

2-3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (depends on how much meat you want)
1-2 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (See my tip on fresh ginger below)
2 to 4 tablespoons curry powder-I tried S&B this time (Start with 2-add more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (add more to taste at the end of cooking if needed)
4 carrots cut into chunks
2 large potatoes cut into chunks
1 cup green beans or frozen peas (add at the end of cooking)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons apricot or peach jam (I didn’t have either and used fig preserves instead)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (I love rice vinegar, but use white or apple cider as a sub)
2 cups chicken stock (I make mine from bouillon cubes so I can control the strength)
1-2 cups water (start with 1 and increase it until you get the consistency that you like)
1/3 cup cornstarch
Hot steamed rice for serving

Method-

Heat a large non-stick pan or wok over medium high heat and add the onions to sauté until wilted. If they start to stick add a little water. Next add the garlic and ginger and sprinkle the curry powder and salt over everything and stir.

Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, tomato paste, jam, and vinegar and stir to combine. Add the carrots, potatoes and rest of the chicken stock and the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.

Add the cooked chicken and peas or green beans. Simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked.

Put the cornstarch in a bowl and spoon some of the hot curry sauce over it. Whisk it to make a paste. Add to the pan and stir until the curry has thickened. If it is too thick add water a little at a time. Sample and add more curry powder or salt to taste. Serve over hot rice. Makes 6 servings.

Tips-
You can use any kind of vegetable you have on hand.

Ginger- Did you know that you can freeze fresh ginger? I bought a piece at the store and just popped it in a freezer bag. When a recipe calls for ginger I pull it out and grate the frozen ginger on my microplane. I don’t even peel it. The peel is not noticeable at all in whatever I am cooking. I was so glad to discover this, no more wasted fresh ginger!

Posted in Comfort Food, Main Dishes, Rice, Sauces | Leave a comment

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Makes 26

Ingredients-

1/2 pound butter, slightly softened
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cinnamon
2 3/4 cups Nestle’s Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts

Cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for two minutes.

Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with the mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl.

With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds, don’t overmix.

Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) two inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and the center is still soft.

Remove from oven and cool on a baking sheet for about one hour.

Posted in Chocolate, Comfort Food, Cookies, Desserts, Talking Food | Leave a comment

Fanny Farmer’s Raised Waffles

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Makes 8-10 waffles 8-10 waffles.

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast or 1 1/2 teaspoons
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, yeast and flour mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Heat a nonstick waffle iron. Whisk eggs and baking soda into batter. Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into waffle iron. Bake until they are golden and crisp.

Posted in Breads, Breakfast, Comfort Food | Leave a comment

Parmesan-Panko Crusted Tilapia

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This is one of the best tilapia recipes that I have found. It was on Mutt and Chops.

Ingredients-

  • 4 tilapia fillets (approximately ⅓ pounds each)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Season both sides of the tilapia fillets with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  3. Melt the butter and add the diced garlic, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.
  4. Place the seasoned tilapia files in a shallow baking pan.
  5. Spoon about ½ of the butter sauce over the fillets, making sure to coat the entire surface.
  6. Mix the panko and Parmesan cheese together, and spoon equally over each fillet.
  7. Bake until starting to turn golden grown (about 10 minutes).
  8. Randomly drizzle some of the remaining butter sauce over the fish and bake another 2 minutes or so.
  9. Remove from the oven and serve hot. You can slightly warm up any remaining butter sauce if anyone wants to add some to their fish.
Posted in Fish, Main Dishes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tilapia Florentine

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Ingredients

  • 2 tilapia filets 
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach 
  • 3 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper

Method

  • In a large skillet over medium heat add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter, red bell pepper and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes.
  • Add spinach seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper mix until the spinach wilts down.
  • Add cream cheese, milk and parmesan cheese mix well until cream cheese is melted and resembles creamed spinach.
  • Heat a separate skillet on medium high heat, add remaining oil and butter.
  • Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place on the hot pan.
  • Cook about 6 minutes on first side and flip fish over and cook other side an additional 5 minutes, until cooked through and browned.
  • Divide the spinach mixture on the bottom of each plate and top with piece of fish.
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The Best Biscuits

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I did a Google search for the best biscuits and I found this recipe on at momontimeout.com I am not convinced that they are the best, yet. They are really good. Mine did not bake up as high as her photos on the website. I will use this recipe again and see what happens. They taste really good, I’d just like them to raise a little more when they bake. Here is her recipe with my notes-

Ingredients-

3 cups flour
3 T sugar
1/2 t salt
4 t baking powder
1/2 t cream of tartar
3/4 cup cold butter
1 egg
1 cup whole milk

Method-

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Mom on Timeout says that the secret to excellent biscuits is cold butter. I actually took mine out of the freezer and grated it on the big holes of my cheese grater. This was an excellent idea minus the incredibly frozen fingers i ended up with.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Since my butter was grated i just mixed it into the dry ingredients with a large spoon and broke up larger chunks quickly with my fingers. You don’t want to mix so much that your butter gets too soft.
  5. I took the milk and egg straight from the refrigerator. Add to the dry ingredient and butter mixture and mix just until everything is well combined.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it just a few times then shape into a round.
  7. I used a floured rolling pin to roll it out to a 1 inch thickness. Then cut with a biscuit cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the top.
  9. Brush the tops with melted butter. The recipe says it makes 12, I got 9.

 

Posted in Breads, Breakfast, Comfort Food, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The BEST Sugar Cookies

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At Christmas time I decided to make several different sugar cookie recipes in a quest to find my favorite. Kristina recommended this recipe  

Sally’s Baking Addiction has a lot of great recipes you should check out. The thing I love most about this recipe is that the cookies hold their shape and do not spread too much. They are also sturdy and don’t crumble when toddler hands are frosting them. Best of all they are seriously tasty.

Posted in Comfort Food, Cookies, Nostalgia | Leave a comment

Peanut Sauce

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This peanut sauce is so delicious on Asian style salads, chicken or eaten out of the jar with a spoon. I don’t always have everything called for, but no matter what combination of ingredients I use it is always so good. I usually use fresh garlic and ginger in recipes, but by adding garlic powder and ginger powder this keeps in my refrigerator much longer.

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (or regular)
  • 2 tsp sriracha or Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 – 6 Tbsp hot water (just enough for the consistency desired)

Blend everything in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth. I store it in jar in the refrigerator until needed. Can be served cold or slightly warm.

Posted in Comfort Food, Quick and Easy, Salads, Sauces, Talking Food | Leave a comment

Cherry Pie Jello

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Ingredients-

  • 1 large 6 oz box cherry Jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1- 21 oz can cherry pie filling
  • 1- 20 oz can crushed pineapple (not drained)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding

Method-

  • Boil the water. While water is heating up, pour the large box of Jello into a 9×13 pan.
  • Pour the 2 cups of boiling water over the jello in the dish. Using a whisk, slowly mix the jello and water together until all of the Jello is dissolved. Make sure to scrape up all of the Jello off the bottom of the dish.
  • Pour the contents of the can of pineapple and the can of cherry pie filling into the pan with the Jello and water. Mix with large spoon.
  • Place pan into refrigerator. Let set up for about 2 hours. It’s usually set after 1- 1 1/2 hours.
  • Whip the cream in a large bowl until stiff, set aside.In another bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk and the box of pudding. Fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream mixture over the set-up Jello mixture in the pan. Serve immediately, or return to fridge until ready to serve.
Posted in Jello, Nostalgia, Salads, Side Dishes, Summer | Leave a comment

Texas Sheet Cake

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I thought a search for the perfect Texas sheet cake would be easy. Not so! There are a million recipes out there. I combined a few and this is what I made yesterday. I think it’s still a work in progress. I have noted some possible revisions.

2 cups (8.8 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt (PW 1/4 teaspoon)

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter

1 cup water

1/4 cup (1 ounce) * natural unsweetened cocoa powder (PW 5 tablespoons)

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (PW 1 teaspoon)

  • Preheat the oven and prep the pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or butter a half-sheet pan (13×18 inches) and line the bottom with parchment.
  • Combine the dry ingredients: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Make the batter: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter, water, and cocoa powder. Whisk until melted and smooth, and then bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from the heat. Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients until combined. Beat in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, followed by the baking soda, until combined.
  • Bake the cake: Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool briefly, about 5 to 10 minutes, while you make the frosting.

Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup buttermilk (or mix 3/4 cup milk with 2 tsp vinegar)

1/2 cup cocoa powder*

2 tsp vanilla

32 oz bag of powdered sugar (about 8 cups)

5-6 cups marshmallows

• In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, buttermilk, and cocoa powder.

• Cook, stirring frequently, just until it comes to a boil. Then remove the pan from the heat.

• Pour the mixture into a clean bowl, add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat with an     electric mixer till smooth.

• Pour in the marshmallows and mix in with a spatula.

  • Then pour the warm frosting over the cake after it has cooled 5 minutes.  It’s best to frost while the cake is warm, so the marshmallows puff up a little. Do your best to spread the frosting evenly around.

*As a slight variation, sub in 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa in both the cake and the frosting for a deeper, richer chocolate flavor.

Posted in Brownies, Cakes, Chocolate, Comfort Food | Leave a comment