Chai pumpkin bread with Chai tea icing

While some wait all year for the warm tastes of nutmeg and pumpkin, I get exhausted by the pumpkin spice everything on fall everything, and everything food in fall. However, I too drank the pumpkin Kool-Aid and embraced the season I like the least–my ‘Making peace with fall’ entry explains.

This Chai pumpkin bread is my contribution to the pumpkin everything marathon 2017. It’s so good that I’ll consider baking this again…in summer. And this Chai tea icing is everything! Everything!

Pumpkin bread with Chai tea icing

Ingredients

For the bread

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup brewed chai tea (brew 2 bags on one cup of water to be concentrate)

For the icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brewed chai tea
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Start by brewing 2 bags of Chai tea on 1 cup of water. Reserve.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter/baking spray a 9X5 loaf pan.
  3. Stir together sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin, and Chai tea in that order.
  4. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients into wet mixture slowly.
  5. Place batter in the loaf pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on baking rack.

For the icing

  1. In a bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, Chai tea, and vanilla. Add some milk to smooth mix up if necessary. Drizzle the glaze over the top, slice and serve.

 

 

7UP lemon cake recipe

Baking is usually not fun for me, but when my daughter asked to bake something fun together I caved in. It was her free afternoon Friday and she wanted to bake with me. No musical.ly. No YouTube. The kid wanted mom and daughter bake time!

So, I started scrolling the baking recipe index in that corner of my brain that I don’t normally go to very often. What was that soda cake? Fanta or Coke cake? She doesn’t like Coke. Or Fanta. Wait, was it 7Up? Yeah…it was. We are making 7Up cake! Fun enough, right?

Now, I’m not a big fan of making things ‘not from scratch’ but when it comes to baking, the easier the better. This recipe is definitely easy, quick and so tasty you forget all the artificial flavors and ‘who knows what’ ingredients in a cake box, pudding box and 7Up alone. But I figured we eat pretty healthy around here so opening a box once in a while won’t kill us. We did it. It was fun and pretty delicious.

7UP lemon cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 box of yellow cake (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 box of lemon pudding 4oz
  • 3/4 cup 7UP
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the icing

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (for thicker icing use 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon 7UP
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
  2. Spray 10-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used a bundt cake pan)
  3. Combine all the cake wet ingredients thoroughly than ad cake+pudding mix.
  4. Mix by hand or at low speed with a mixer until fully combined.
  5. Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes
  6. Let it cool off completely before removing cake from the pan

Icing

  1. In a small bowl, combine sugar and 7UP. I made the icing a bit runny so it would further moist the cake. For thicker icing use an extra cup of confectioner's sugar.
  2. Add milk in little by little until you've reached desired consistency.
  3. Pour icing over cake and serve.

Roasted Brussels sprouts recipe

This is how you clean up Brussels sprouts bad reputation. Roast them with some sage infused brown butter, add chopped hazelnuts, finish with a drizzle of honey. There you have it! Crunchy, nutty, salty and sweet, full of texture and flavor!

Start by browning the butter. Melt it slowly over medium heat swirling occasionally to brown it evenly. When the butter starts to foam and turn tan throw the sage in. Let butter turn brown lightly and remove.

Dress the sprouts with the brown butter, salt, pepper, and chopped hazelnuts and they are ready to roast.

Roast at 400F for 15 minutes. Toss them around halfway. Place it on a serving plate. Drizzle with honey. Heaven!

Roasted Brussels sprouts with sage infused brown butter, hazelnuts and honey

  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Cook Time: 15m

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts slightly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 small leaves of fresh sage (the more you like sage the more you can add)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Clean and trim Brussels, then halve them. If they are small you can leave them whole. Place Brussels sprouts and chopped hazelnuts in a mixing bowl.
  2. Place butter on a fry pan and brown it+infuse with sage as per blog post.
  3. Add butter to Brussels and hazelnuts, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place Brussels on a baking sheet and roast for about 12-15 minutes minutes, tossing them halfway to roast evenly.
  5. Once Brussels are tender and lightly toasted remove from the oven, place in a serving plate/bowl and drizzle with honey. Add salt or pepper to taste.

Summer Eats: Almond Romesco Pasta Salad

If you’ve never tried a romesco sauce, you haven’t lived yet.  This smoky-garlicky-peppery sauce can be put on basically everything: toast, chicken, roasted potatoes, sandwiches, pizza and pasta!

This romesco pasta salad is one of our family favorites — a perfect summer’s eat!  It’s pretty easy to make (see recipe below) and it can be even easier if you ditch the oven heat and substitute roasted peppers for one small jar of roasted peppers. It tastes even better when eaten ‘al fresco’!

Almond Romesco Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 medium red bell peppers (roast it with 1 tbsp of olive oil for 10 minutes at 400F)
  • 1/2 cup no skin almonds (I used salted/roasted marcona almonds)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (I used Spanish sweet pimenton)
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 1 10oz package fresh baby spinach

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions but shorten 2-3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile add all remaining ingredients except the spinach to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Place spinach on a large bowl. Drain the pasta well and place it over the spinach, turning it with a drizzled of olive oil in order to wilt it.
  4. Add the romesco sauce and toss it well.
  5. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before serving. If you have any leftovers store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Pear Mint Chardonnay Sorbet

Need I say more? It’s my favorite fruit paired with wine in a dessert form. It’s delicate, refreshing and a little boozy!

It was my first time making this so I based my proportions on basic sorbet recipes. I think I could’ve used one more pear–but who knows? Maybe it’s just my pear obsession talking! I went with organic green anjou pears but any pear will do.

I kept the skin on to get the most flavor and some color out of the pears. They were so ripe that it took less than 5 minutes for them to cook.

The most labored part of this recipe was straining the ingredients. I used a super fine mesh strainer–not the best choice. It took a while and the idea of throwing it all in the blender crossed my mind. Note to self and to you: use a strainer with larger perforation.

I used a buttery and slightly citrus Chardonnay to balance the sweet–Slow Press Chardonnay 2014 found at Costco for under 12 dollars.

 When using a ice-cream maker is important to let the mixture cool down–about 45 minutes in the fridge. If you don’t have a ice-cream machine you still can make this by placing it in the freezer and steering it every so often until it’s smooth–about every 15 minutes for hours and hours and hours. You can either go get a ice-cream machine (trust me, it’s worth it!) or you can sip on the leftover wine to help you cope with the the 132 trips you’re about to make to the fridge!

Pear Mint Chardonnay Sorbet

This Pear Mint Chardonnay Sorbet is delicate enough to be a palate cleanser in between courses and also refreshingly decadent to be served as dessert. Oh also remember: For adults ONLY!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium pears-peels on
  • 1 cup water (preferably filtered or distilled bottled)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 medium mint leaves chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat water, sugar, and pears in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat to a low boil, then reduce heat to low, partially cover pan, and gently simmer until pears are very tender, 5 minutes. Mash mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or large measuring cup. Stir in wine and salt. Let cool off in the fridge for about 45 minutes. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Add mint when sorbet is forming. If you don't have a ice cream maker keep the mixture in a 4 cup measure cup in the freezer and stir every 10-15 minutes until frozen (see blog entry for details) Store sorbet in an airtight container. Enjoy it often!

Falafel Stuffed Eggplant with Yogurt Mint Sauce

I love falafel and I love eggplant. Putting them together this intimately was one of the best things it ever happen in my kitchen. No exaggeration here. And topping it all up with a creamy and tangy yogurt sauce makes this combo even better. Sounds like vegan porn to me.

Here is how you make it:

Wash and dry 2 medium eggplants. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Drizzle some olive oil and salt on the eggplant halves. Place them cut sides down, on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender.

While the eggplant halves are baking prepare the falafel mixture according to box directions–I used a whole box of Cashab Falafel Mix for this recipe and it was almost the perfect amount of stuffing. I overfilled mine halves and, if you love falafel as much as I do, you should overfilled yours too!

Remove from oven and carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. You can reserve the pulp for another use or you can shamelessly eat it right away just like it did!

  

Spoon the falafel mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 450° for 25-30 minutes or until the falafel is browned and crispy.

To make the Mint Yogurt Sauce, follow the recipe below. You can serve the sauce on the side or drizzle it all over the eggplant. Why not do both?

Since I made this recipe I keep thinking what else can I possibly stuff with falafel. I’m obsessed!


Yogurt Mint Sauce
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt. No regrets!)
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • ½ clove garlic, finely diced or grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste (Start with a little and add as much as you like, always tasting in between. I'm horrible when it comes to salting my recipes. Still learning!)
Instructions
  1. Place yogurt, mint, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It'll be best to let sit for 30 minutes but it can be served right away. Store on an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

Not feeling kneady

No Kneading Bread www.dealiciouscooking.com

There’s a lot that happened in my kitchen & table between the last post and this recipe, but I’m running short of time these days. But I had to stop and write this down because it’s too good to keep it to myself. I tried NO knead bread and it worked…it works!!!!!! I’m in absolute bread nirvana and I hope  you will be too. Here is my ‘NO knead bread’ story:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (I used Gold)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1½ cups room temperature water

No Kneading Bread www.dealiciouscooking.com

I combined flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Added water and stir gently. Allowed to sit overnight (over 12 hours) in a airtight container. This is how it looked like after sitting in my counter for 13 hours…sticky and bubbly.

No Kneading Bread www.dealiciouscooking.com

Shaped/folded into a loaf gently. I had to remind myself it’s a NO knead bread because I was still skeptical!

No Kneading Bread www.dealiciouscooking.com

I think the most important part of this process is how you bake the bread. It has to be baked in a covered dutch oven type of pot AND it has to be preheated at a high temperature for at least 20 minutes. I drizzled a bit of olive oil on the bottom after I preheated at 500F. Dusted the loaf with some whole wheat flour and dropped in the pot. Baked covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 12 minutes (still 500F) and this is how it came out.

dealiciouscooking.com

Outside…Crisp, crackly, bread with a crust that pops as it cools. Inside… tender, moist and chewy texture. I’ll be definitely making this again, and again, and again.

dealiciouscooking.com

Buffalo Chicken Balls

Buffalo Chicken Balls

You’ve probably seeing this finger food many times before, but I came across this recipe idea for the first time EVER and I had to give it a try right away. How come I have never thought of this before? Although I love the taste of Buffalo Wings I’m not a fan of the “wing” part. These chicken balls are the perfect twist to an American classic. They are so easy to make and eat–no fry (haha), no bones, no skin, no mess!!!!

Now, there are lots of recipes out there for Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, but I came up with this one inspired by Skinny Taste recipe.

Chicken Buffalo Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken (I used white meat)
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 celery stalk minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup minced carrots
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (or Panko)
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions (or green onions)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon wings sauce of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.

On a large mixing bowl, beat the egg lightly adding the hot sauce. Add all the ingredients living the chicken and breadcrumbs for last. Using your hands, mix until combined. Roll chicken mixture into firm, 2 or 3-inch round balls (get your hands lightly wet if the mix is sticking to it) and place on baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Place the chicken balls in a bowl, add approximately 1/3 of  buffalo sauce and toss to combine. Arrange the chicken balls in a plate and drizzle ranch or blue cheese dressing to finish. Serve with celery, carrot sticks and a side of dressing.

Buffalo Chicken Balls

Let’s pretend it’s fall. Coconut Mango Curry Butternut Squash Soup!

Coconut Mango Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Right now, I’m sipping hot coffee, and it’s like 90F outside. I have a tank top on and I’m about to bring the fan out of its very short retirement in the garage.

This Coconut Mango Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup (try saying that in one breath) is good all year long. However, squashes are in season and I bought a Costco size tray of precut organic butternut squash (I do not enjoy peeling and cutting those monsters.)

It doesn’t look like fall weather is upon us anytime soon. So let’s just pretend it’s fall in Southern California and make some soup!

100% good for you ingredients. Coconut oil, butternut squash, mango, and coconut milk. The mango brings even more the sweetness of the butternut squash and adds texture to the soup. I added Sriracha to my serving to save the kids from the heat, but a teaspoon or two can be added to the recipe. I also added some of the last green leaves of thai basil from my almost dead herb garden. [sigh]

Coconut Mango Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup Coconut Mango Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup Coconut Mango Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup Coconut Mango Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut Mango Curry Butternut Squash Soup!
 
Author:
Cuisine: American Thai
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1½ tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 2lb. tray of precut butternut squash (got it @ Costco) OR 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 2 cups of mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole coconut milk (can be sub. for light)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
  • 3 or 4 Thai basil leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by reserving the frozen mango (if using frozen) and letting it thaw while you work on the soup.
  2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion, and saute about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the raw butternut squash cubes, pour in the broth, and add the curry paste plus salt stirring to combine. Cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the mango to the soup. Use a handheld mixer to blend the soup directly in the pot or pour the soup into a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pot over medium heat.
  5. Before serving, remove from heat and mix in the coconut milk slowly. Mix well. Pour into bowls and top with some Sriracha sauce.
Notes
The coconut milk is added last, after the soup has been blended. That way you can control the thickness of the soup.

 

Cooking with kids plus Thai Curry recipe

Cooking with Kids

Here is the raw truth. I cook but I don’t cook well with others. Especially when they are my own children. So I’ve decided to make a great effort to face my cooking selfishness and share this skill with my kids. I do it once in a while and require a lot some wine prior to the cooking commences.

Cooking is a life skill on the verge of extinction. I want my kids to know how to cook—not to impress but just to survive…not in the wild…just in the real world. Maybe I’m just too optimistic, but if they can throw some fresh ingredients together without losing any fingers and getting burnt I’ll be happy. Apart from that, there’s always cereal and milk.

I poured a glass of wine and got cooking with my 12-year-old son. He loves Thai food. So do I. Since my 9-year-old daughter (the picky eater who hates Thai food and seafood) was out on a sleepover we decided to make Thai Shrimp/Squid Curry. It may sound fancy, but it’s easy and quick. We finished the dish before I could finish my second glass of wine. Check it out!

Thai Shrimp Curry with kids

This recipe was for two so it only required one pound of shrimp and squid combined. My son chopped the onion and sliced the bell pepper with my supervision. I sipped my wine when he was done. Big sips. He also washed the shrimp+squid and gathered the ingredients. I chopped the lemongrass, a totally optional ingredient.

The real challenge was watching him try to open the can of coconut milk. O.M.G. More wine, please. How many of you out there have taught a kid to open a can? Specifically a boy? It wasn’t going well for us so I gave up. I opened the can myself. The “how to use a can opener” lesson would have to wait.

We started by sautéing the onions, bell peppers and lemongrass in hot coconut oil for about 3 minutes. Next, we added the shrimp+squid which let out some liquid. We used the liquid as a base to dissolve the curry paste and peanut butter. Then we added coconut milk, salt, and some sugar. We tasted. Not sweet enough. More sugar, a dash of pepper flakes and some basil leaves.

Thai Shrimp Curry

We let it simmer for about 5 minutes and served immediately over jasmine rice. My son plated and garnished it and this is what we ended up with:

Thais Shrimp Curry

No finger casualties. Only happy and spicy memories (despite the can opening moment.) Cooking with kids can be fun but here is the deal: keep it simple, cook something they like to eat, and let them do most of the work (including the cleaning!)

Cooking with kids Thai Curry
 
Cuisine: Easy Thai
 
This recipe works with any protein (beef, chicken, seafood and even tofu) It's easy enough to do it with kids. Make the rice before you start the curry.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound shrimp, seafood, chicken, beef or tofu
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (can be replaced for vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 stick of lemongrass chopped (optional)
  • ½ red/purple onion, peeled and diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped or whole to garnish
  • 1 lime cut in quarters
Instructions
  1. Rinse shrimp or seafood getting it ready to cook (if you using beef/chicken/tofu just cut it in 1 inch cubes.)
  2. Heat the coconut oil on a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers, lemongrass and cook until softened.
  3. Add the shrimp or whatever protein of your choice. Cook it until ready (for seafood no longer then 4 minutes.)
  4. Add curry paste, peanut butter and a little bit of the coconut milk mixing it until all is dissolved and combined.
  5. Add the remaining coconut milk, basil, ginger, salt, sugar and pepper flakes.
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
  7. Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with more cilantro and basil, and a splash of lime juice.