Green Curry with Shrimp and Tofu with Brown Rice

Green CurryThis curry dish is simple and delicious. I added a whole jalapeno (seeds included!) and it gave it just enough heat. This is a kind of recipe that you can change up and use chicken, salmon, scallops, ground pork – you can do anything to your liking. Enjoy and have a glass of milk ready if you can’t stand the heat!

INGREDIENTS

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp green curry paste

1 can light coconut milk

1 – 1 ½ tsp brown sugar

½ lb shrimp

4 oz extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 jalapeno, diced

½ cup chopped fresh basil

DIRECTIONS

Zest and juice lime, separate and set aside. Heat oil in a wok or a heavy skillet. Add paste and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add coconut milk, lime juice, and brown sugar, whisk until smooth. Add shrimp and tofu and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, and lime zest. Simmer an additional 4 minutes and toss in ½ of fresh basil. Serve in bowls over brown rice and top with additional fresh basil.

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Seared Scallops and Barley Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

I’ve discovered a new favorite food and it’s called barley. Barley is a wonderfully versatile cereal grain with a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing chewy, pasta-like consistency.  In addition to its robust flavor, barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese. Barley is also good for keeping you “regular”, lowering cholesterol, and protecting your intestines.

This recipes was so easy to make and quite delicious. It’s refreshing and looks like it comes off the pages of a gourmet food mag. The pecans and cranberries, along with sliced scallions and fresh tarragon create a beautiful medley of colors among the canvas of barley. The seared scallops take only 2-3 minutes per side to get that beautiful coated color. A friend on Facebook asked if I would share the recipe so that she can make it for Valentine’s Day. This meal would be perfect.

INGREDIENTS for SCALLOPS

3/4 lb scallops (I used frozen and they tasted great, you just have to thaw them overnight)

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning

2 tsp olive oil

INGREDIENTS for BARLEY

1 cup barley, cooked

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 scallions (green onions), sliced

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops (if using frozen, make sure they are thawed and dried) with salt and pepper. Brown scallops 2 – 3 minutes per side in hot oil until golden.
2. Make ahead. Cook barley according to package directions. Cool and combine with cranberries, pecans, olive oil, vinegar and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Serve salad at room temperature topped with seared scallops. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon.

Serving size – about 4 (2-3 scallops per person and 1/3 cup of pilaf)

Seared scallops

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Happy Friday! Today I brought in this delicious recipe to share with my co-workers. This bread is so easy to make and it smells divine. Trust me, you’ll enjoy the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla throughout your home. I truly love that this quick bread is moist and not overly sweet, and has the right amount of cinnamon in it. When the bread comes out of the oven there should be a cinnamon sugar crust on top. The recipe also calls for buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make it by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a “1 cup” measuring cup and fill the rest of the cup with milk. Let it sit for 10-12 minutes and you’ll see it start to curdle. Voila, there you go. Instant buttermilk. The recipe is for 1 loaf, but you can double it to make 2 loaves.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CINNAMON SUGAR

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and egg

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternating with the buttermilk

5. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar to make cinnamon sugar

6. Pour a third of the batter into a greased (use baking spray or butter generously bottom and sides) 9×5-inch loaf pan (TIP: Use a measuring cup to evenly distribute batter)

7. Sprinkle a third of the cinnamon sugar on top of batter

8. Repeat layers twice

9. Bake 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean

10. Cool in pan for 10 minutes

11. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely

 

 

Jalapeno Turkey Burgers

I came up with this idea for turkey burgers while I was driving home from work. It’s simple and easy to put together. There’s no real measurements for any of the ingredients. That’s one of the things I do love about cooking. You can play around with ingredients and add a little bit of this or a little bit of that. Just eye it and try it.The burgers came out juicy and very tasty and had a little spice to them.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 of a medium-sized red bell pepper, chopped finely

2 medium-sized jalapenos (1 seeded, 1 with seeds), chopped finely

1 egg

3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

fresh ground black pepper and sea salt for seasoning

1/4 cup shredded Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack Cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Shape into 4-5 patties.

2. Grill until done. About 8-10 minutes per side (depends on thickness of burgers and the heat of your grill)

 

Grilled Corn, Cilantro, & Black Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing

The other night I had this creative idea for turkey burgers. Instead of pairing the burgers with fries, I decided to go with a salad. I didn’t want a traditional leafy green salad, so I looked in my fridge at all the produce I bought this past weekend. I saw 4 ears of corn, Roma tomatoes, cilantro, red onions, and jalapenos. I went to my pantry and found a can of black beans. I searched around on Google for some recipes and after finding a few with these ingredients, I came up with the recipe below.

Not only is It refreshing, but very colorful and quick (less than 30 minutes). This is a great summer recipe and you can eat it warm or cold. It’d be a great side dish to bring to a picnic or BBQ.

INGREDIENTS

4 ears of corn

1 tablespoon of olive oil

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

FOR DRESSING

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat grill to high. Rub olive oil on the corn and grill, covered, for about 6-8 minutes. Continue to rotate the corn every 2 minutes for even cooking. Set aside to cool.(TIP: to get the corn cooked evenly, PRIOR to rubbing olive oil, wrap corn with damp paper towel and microwave two at a time for about 6 minutes. Let cool then rub the olive oil on the corn)

2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

3. Slice the corn off the cob and place in a bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and black beans.

4. Add dressing and gently toss. Serve warm or cold.

Crab Cakes with Aioli Dipping Sauce and Spring Mix Salad with Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette

So for the past few days I’ve been craving crab cakes with a simple salad. Perhaps it was because two weeks before I had the BEST crab cakes ever at Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant Red Rooster  in Harlem, NY. Seriously, the crab cakes were delicious and awesome. It was pure Blue Crab meat.

Well I decided I wanted crab cakes for dinner last night, so I made some. I also wanted a simple mixed green salad with a good vinaigrette and I created a Garlic Dijon vinaigrette. It went perfect with the crab cakes and added a spiciness to the salad. I also added shave carrot curls and sliced red onions to my salad. This whole meal is simple, light, and easy meal to make. All for under 30 minutes. Try it out!

CRAB CAKES

1 large egg

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce

8 oz. Claw Crab meat (or any other kind of lump crab meat)

1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (I used Panko)

EASY AIOLI DIPPING SAUCE

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons horseradish mustard (I didn’t have horseradish mustard, so I used horseradish instead – still came out very tasty)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 dash kosher salt (optional)

GARLIC DIJON VINAIGRETTE

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Gently combine all ingredients for crab cakes. Shape into 4 cakes (use 1/4 cup to measure out evenly).

2. Pan fry in 1/4 inch oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side.

3. Mix all dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl until well combined. (You can make this ahead and refrigerate, if you want to.)

4. For salad dressing, add all ingredients into a jar and shake until emulsified. Pour over salad and toss.

Ginger Carrot Cake with Pecan Filling

Oh wow, I am in love. I have met my match when it comes to cakes. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for the past year or so and this weekend I decided to try it out. And boy am I glad I did. I will admit, my arm did hurt after a while grating the damn carrots, but the result is worth it. Not only is this cake delicious, but it’s super moist and it’s got pecans and crystallized ginger in it to add extra flavor.. It smells lovely as it bakes. The pecan filling is a must. You have to make the filling for the cake or it’s a bust. The recipe called for toasted coconut to be placed around the cake, but I decided to skip that part because it was almost 9:00 pm Saturday night and the hubby and I were dying to taste it. The next time I make it, I’ll be sure to add the toasted coconut.

Thank you to Michael Recchiuti for sharing his recipe. Here is my adaptation and changes for the recipe.

CAKE INGREDIENTS

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

4 extra-large eggs

4 cups grated carrot (about 8 large)

1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

PECAN FILLING

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups pecan, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted

DIRECTIONS

Bake the Cake

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pan

2. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and sugar. Add half of the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients into four parts, adding an egg in between each addition.

4. Fold in the pecans, crystallized ginger, and carrots.

5. Pour into the prepared pans, filling the pans 1/2-2/3 of the way high. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 70 to 75 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Make the Filling

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually add the cream, stirring until blended.

2. Place the saucepan over low heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and then let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm before stirring in nuts and vanilla. Let cool completely until needed.

Make the Frosting

1. Cream the butter with cream cheese and beat until blended. Sift in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla.

2. The frosting must be firm enough to spread without running. Refrigerate to firm as needed.

Assemble the Cake

1. Loosen the cakes from pan and invert on to a plate. OPTIONS: Split each cake into two horizontal layers using a serrated knife to make a 4 layer cake, or leave the cakes alone and make a standard 2-layer cake.

2. Spread the pecan cream filling between the layers of the cakes and then cover top and sides with cream cheese frosting. Finish by pressing the toasted coconut around the side of the cake.

***Make sure to serve the cake at room temperature.

Please excuse my crappy frosting style. Despite how messy the cake looks, it was so delicious. My hubby even said it’s the best carrot cake he’s ever eaten. Yay.