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Recipes: A new favorite and an old one

15 Nov

Baking and cooking are two favorite weekend unwinding activities after a busy week (which it seems like all weeks are lately, doesn’t it?). And since making good food is made even better by sharing it with others, I thought I’d share two favorite recipes: one that I’ve been making for dinner for years and one that I tried for the first time today.

Chicken Tikka & Coconut Rice

I got this from a friend who got it from a cookbook whose title I don’t know. But I’ve significantly adapted it over the years, so I don’t feel too bad about that!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp fresh ginger pulp
  • 1 largish clove of garlic, put through garlic press
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs tumeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 7-8 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • boneless, skinless chicken, cut into pieces (I usually cut up about 3-4 thin chicken breasts)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped into pieces

Combine everything except chicken and zucchini and mix well. Stir in chicken and let marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat broiler to medium (my broiler only has high or low settings, so I use low) and line a broiler tray with foil. Pour the chicken mixture onto tray and mix in zucchini. Baste with about 2 Tbs. vegetable oil. Broil for about 15-20 minutes until cooked, stirring/turning occasionally so it doesn’t brown too much.

I serve this with rice. If I’m feeling a little decadent, I make the rice with coconut milk instead of water.

Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Glaze

Up on the Upper West Side, there is a very wonderful, very girlie place for tea called Alice’s Tea Cup. They have the most amazing scones I have ever eaten, and the best of them all is the pumpkin scone. A couple of friends and I go there for special occasions or girl-time or when we simply cannot deny the pumpkin scone craving any longer. I’ve been trying to find a recipe to replicate them for years, and finally figured it out today!

Pumpkin Scone (adapted slightly from here–just the scone recipe, not the glaze)
Makes 24 scones

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned. Just be sure it’s not pumpkin pie mix!)
  • 2/3 cup chilled cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
Cut in the butter, either using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin puree, and cream.

Using an electric mixer, beat the wet into the dry until just combined. (Small bits of butter will be visible, but flour mixed in.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently and quickly until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each one into a 4″-round about 1″ thick. Cut each into 6 wedges and place on baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until tops look golden brown and sides flaky and dry. Cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.

Caramel Glaze (adapted slightly from here)

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs white sugar
  • 3 Tbs cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything together in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Let boil for about a minute. Stir. Mine got a little thick while I waited for the scones to cool, so I thinned it with about a Tbs of water. I wanted a good consistency to drizzle over the scones. Place scones on plate and drizzle the glaze over them using a spoon.

Alice’s always serves all of their scones with clotted cream and raspberry preserves. Which I highly recommend, if you have both available.

Enjoy!

Things I Learned in Hawaii

13 Mar

I’m still just a tad too jetlagged to write coherently about the two topics I’ve been mulling. So instead, here, in no particular order, are things I learned in Hawaii.

* Even overcast rainy-ness seems glorious at 70 degrees on a tropical island when you’ve left a foot of snow behind on a not-so-tropical island.

* Pineapples grow OUT OF THE GROUND. Out of the ground, I tell you! And here I was, thinking my whole life, that they grew from trees. They are bromeliads, which may be one of the coolest words, but strangest plants around.

* There is a delicacy called shaved ice. It is what I’d call a snow cone. Except way better. And you can get condensed milk drizzled on top, which at first sounds like it could be bad, but it is so, so good!

* It seems I’m on an unintentional SCBWI-Obama tour. The last one I did in ’08 was in Chicago, just weeks after the election. Now Honolulu, where I got to see the condo building where Obama’s grandma lived, the school he went to, and the Baskin Robbins where he worked. So I guess I need Boston and DC speaking engagements before I’ve collected all towns Obama has called home?

* I get lost in the middle of Hawaiian words. So getting around for five days sounded a little like this: “Oh, we need to go down Kala…mumblemumble to Lili’o… that L street….” Also, there are apparently no B’s in Hawaiian!

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