This week’s recipe was inspired by an Asian guest that we were hosting for lunch at our guest house. As a novice learning to cook, I was always taught by the Sisters to really think about the person that I was cooking for: What would they like to eat? What would bless them? Subtle subtext here: it’s not about what I like to cook, or what blesses ME! So a gluten-free, colorful Thai soup came to mind — a recipe that I squirreled away awhile ago in hopes that some time I would have the opportunity to make it. I made a few adaptions which resulted in the recipe below.
As I was chopping, I noticed that all of the ingredients were vibrant shades of green, so I dubbed them the liturgical ingredients of ‘ordinary time’. We rounded this lunch off with a delicate spinach and spring mix salad topped with avocado, fresh strawberries and candied almonds, and pita crisps. The dessert was a homemade Mango and Vanilla Panna Cotta — a recipe that I hope to share in future weeks!
** This recipe was adapted from Once Upon a Chef **
Thai Chicken, Spinach and Rice Noodle Soup
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup shallot(s) thinly sliced, from 1-2 large shallots or red onion
- 1 tbsp. ginger minced, fresh, about a 1" piece, peeled
- 2 tbsp. curry paste Thai green
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz), unsweetened
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 4 packed tsp. brown sugar light or dark
- 2 tbsp. lime juice fresh, from 2 limes
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- For Serving
- 4 oz. rice noodles thin
- 2 cups chicken cooked, shredded, from a rotisserie or roast chicken
- 4 handfuls spinach baby, stems removed
- 1 handful cilantro fresh, chopped
- 3 scallion(s) thinly sliced
- Sriracha sauce
- Lime wedges
- Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat.
- Add the shallots and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the green curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.
- Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and turmeric; bring to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. If not using immediately, let them sit in a bowl of cold water.
- When ready to serve, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning.
- Gently reheat the noodles in the microwave, if necessary (remove from water first!).
- Place baby spinach in the bottom of the serving bowl, place the rice noodles and shredded chicken on top and ladle the hot broth over top and sprinkle with cilantro and scallions.
- Serve with a lime wedge for garnish.
This past weekend, I was a joy-filled member of the cooking team for our remarkable and award-winning marching band, Spirit of America. The band is embarking on a very exciting groundbreaking opportunity to travel to Dubai this January (2017) to assist in starting the first marching field band in the United Arab Emirates!
Over the past few months, they’ve had 4 rehearsals together to pull off this enormous project — creating a field show with 150 people from all over the United States! One thing we knew for sure, they needed to be fed well! My job was to cook for those with special diets. It was fun to spoil them and experiment with recipes that were gluten free, lactose free and vegan! When the weekend was over, it got me to thinking about creating more healthy recipes that we could add to our diet. This soup is high in fiber and packed with flavor, especially if you like the tastes of curry and coconut.
Vegan Curried Chickpea, Coconut and Kale Soup
- First, sauté the onion in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until softened.
- Combine all ingredients, except the lemon zest and juice, in a blender and puree until completely smooth.
- Pour soup into a medium pot and heat on medium-high. Allow soup to simmer for 10 min, stirring occasionally.
- Add the lemon zest and juice.
- Adjust seasonings to your liking and add fresh cracked pepper.
- Serve and garnish with the extra garbanzo beans and fresh kale.
It is a sunny, slightly warm day here on the Cape, but cold weather is on its way again soon. I’m not quite ready for spring, though, I am still waiting for the BIG snow of the season. We did have a couple of snow falls of a couple of inches, but I would really love a good 10 to 12 inches. Snow is also great for the garden, and we are already planning what vegetable seeds to buy, along with starting another plot for a garden, so please pray that we get the big storm!
I recently had a birthday and was given one of my favorite desserts — a coconut cream trifle. I have served this in little glasses, and called it coconut cake in a glass — and it is truly divine. This recipe is a little complicated and time consuming, but I promise it is well worth the effort for any event or family gathering.
Coconut Cake in a Glass, or Coconut Cream Trifle
Coconut Cake In A Glass, Or Coconut Cream Trifle
First make the simple syrup:
- Bring water and sugar to a boil.
- Stir in the coconut, remove from the heat and let sit for about 30 minutes.
- Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil and let cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
- Let cool.
Then the custard:
- Bring milks to a simmer over low heat in a nonreactive saucepan.
- Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
- Whisk in a small amount of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then slowly whisk in the rest until smooth.
- Return mixture to the pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened.
- Scrape mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
Now the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously butter and flour 2 (9″by 2″) cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla in a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- With mixer running at low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
- Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
- With mixer on low speed, add remaining milk mixture, increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more.
- Scrape sides of bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
- Divide batter between the 2 pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 22 to 24 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then invert onto the rack, removing the parchment. Let cool completely.
- Toast the 1 cup of coconut until golden for topping.
- Whip the 1 1/2 cups of cream, and fold 2/3 of it into the cooled custard for the filling between layers of cake, reserving the last 1/3 for the final layer of the dessert.
- Slice each cake into 2 layers, brush with the simple syrup, and then chunk up into bite size pieces.
- You can make these either individually in glasses, or for a crowd in a large glass bowl.
- Put a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of your container, then a layer of the custard mixture, continuing until your container is full, final layer being the last 1/3 of the whipped cream, and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
- This is most delicious if you refrigerate it for a couple of hours so the flavors meld.