Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fish Curry

Remember that time I went to Hawaii and ate lots of fish? I do! And now, 3 months later, I finally enacted one of my Hawaii cooking bucket list items: fish curry! Now, I'm as white as they get (way to go Ireland) but I learned from the best--my friend's mom! She showed me step by step how to make this and I took copious notes on my phone.

Now, I've been gradually accruing ingredients and equipment since I returned: rice cooker, fish sauce, curry paste, rice and coconut milk. All that was needed was the fresh stuff: fish, vegetables, and lime leaves.  I actually didn't get lime leaves, I got a lime with full intention of skinning it but ultimately I did not. 

First you cook the vegetables in the fish sauce, spices (curry, lime, sugar and maybe whatever else you're feeling, experiment!), and the coconut milk. Preferably you only add the thicker part of the coconut milk (don't shake the can) but physics is against you so I would suggest pouring it into a separate bowl first. Then you get the watery part into the bowl and can add the creamy part into the pot (things I didn't do). Cover and cook until the veggies are almost done. Fish cooks quickly so when the vegetables are nearly ready, sample the sauce to adjust your spices (again, things I should have done). Add more curry for more spice and more coconut milk if it's too hot. Add the fish to the mixture and cool until opaque. You can use a variety of fishes but white fish works best. 

This whole time, you should have your rice cooker cooking away. It takes a surprising amount of time for rice to finish cooking. 

Once the fish is cooked, serve up some rice and pour the curry over top. It's so delicious!! Now when I make this again, I'll do things differently (aka pay attention to those parentheses I wrote in above). Mine came out a little bland and watery (I told you, I'm white) so I will separate the milk and add more spices to it the next time around. It still looks pretty though!!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fourth of July!!

Happy birthday America (a few days late but celebrations were had on that day)!! I wonder what it was like celebrating Independence Day a hundred years ago. Now we have barbeques and traditional American desserts, games, and beer. And fireworks, of course fireworks. But at what point did we start making pies and Jello and making a party of it? Was it ever just a day of reflection? History buffs, go!

Well, in the meantime, we can reflect on some desserts. Growing up, we always had a barbeque and invited families over and set off fireworks. Everyone in the family was expected to get the house and food ready however I was deemed only capable of shucking corn or making jello. Not very exciting so I got creative with the jello to the point that I actually got a jello cookbook for Christmas one year. Nowadays, I have Pinterest to supplement my jello knowledge so of course made a jello pie

Such shiny jello squares
This requires a day to prep the colored jello so make sure to plan ahead. I ran a little experiment this time around. I usually have trouble getting molds out without breaking them so I sprayed one pan with nonstick cooking spray and one I left alone. Definitely spray the pan, it doesn't change the jello but makes it is infinitely easier to remove from the mild (even in a nonstick pan). This also required a spring form pan so I guess I'll just have to make cheesecake one day. 

The final product, it didn't fall apart!!
 And as my friends put it, what's more American than apple pie? So I made miniature apple pies using a cupcake pan and prepared pie crust and filling. This clearly made it easy to assemble but the point of the pin was easy potluck items so mission accomplished! I didn't have a star cookie cutter handy so I used a Darth Vader one instead--that's still pretty American after all.

Perfectly sized apple pies
I hope everyone had a great holiday and is enjoying the fact that we're in the midst of summer! Before you know it, we'll be bundling up with apple cider and scarves and pumpkin coffee. Okay, now I really want it to be fall already. And until then, contemplate this rolled out dough. It's like that cloud game where you make a shape out of something shapeless. Personally, I see a flying pig (no I didn't add an eye to make it more like a pig...). I'll have a popular blog when...pigs fly. 

See, it's got a snout on the left and a wing on top with little feet...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

I've finally done it, I've invented a dessert. Okay, a more accurate description would be I "modified" an already existing dessert to suit my current needs. Back in the fall, I went apple picking and made Joy the Baker's man bait apple crisp. I swear I do have other cookbooks, hers is just so good! Anyways, now it's spring and I had peaches and blueberries instead. Previously I've made cobbler topping with Bisquick and coconut but I've since graduated from mixes (aka I didn't have any) and decided to combine the two experiences into a delectable crisbler (that's crisp and cobbler together, so clever).
Move into the country, eat a lot of peaches
As always, I did not plan making this very well and since I was on a bit of a time crunch, I did this in stages. Sunday night I combined the dry ingredients into a bowl and put a lid on it. Then I chopped up the peaches and mixed them with blueberries in a casserole dish with sugar. The apple crisp called for sugar and cinnamon to be added to the fruit so I added some sugar for good measure. Lastly I took out a stick of butter to soften overnight. In the morning, I mixed the very soft butter with the dry ingredients and poured over the fruit. Although the recipe says to bake it for about an hour, I had halved this recipe so just kept a watchful eye on it until I could see blueberry juice bubbling up through the crust. 

Check out those colors!
I didn't have much time to let it cool so I stuck it in the fridge after helpin myself to a portion for breakfast. Clearly anything with oats qualifies as breakfast food. It was still a little hot when I carried it to work but we made it in one piece!

Ready to bake
My coworker took one bite and promptly spilled blueberry juice on his shirt-- whoops... It does seem to have helped solidify my reputation as a good baker though! And it really is delicious. It also makes me crave fall, I'm so over you, summer.
The finished and slightly chopped up final product