Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thai Massaman Curry for the Year of the Snake 新年快樂

IMG_6622eI don’t know what it is this year, holidays are sneaking up on me before I realize but between being busy with Maisie and my not seeming to be able to get my act together, they are passing by without much fanfare here in the Cook Lisa Cook house.  This year for Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake, we did…well nothing special.  Instead of going to one of the big celebrations Maisie chose to spend the day doing what she loves best, playing and doing gymnastics with one of her besties.  Since we were home, and it was a holiday, a delicious dinner was a must.  As it worked out I was contacted by Foodie Blogroll and Thai Kitchen and asked to make a dish using some of  the Thai Kitchen’s products.  If you follow this blog at all, you know that we’re huge curry lovers so that’s the direction I chose to go and thanks to the package from Thai Kitchen and my stocked pantry I had everything I needed in the house.

Though there seem to be a lot of ingredients in my Massaman Curry, it’s simple to prepare and came out creamy delicious with a nice bit of heat, a perfect Chinese New Year or any day comfort food meal.   

新年快樂 , Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái!

From Thai Kitchen:

“Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia offer a complete line of Asian ingredients and convenience items, including sauces, curry pastes, rice noodles, fish sauce, coconut milk, noodle bowls, and more. Most items are free of gluten, artificial colors/flavors and MSG – more reason to celebrate a New Year, and new you! Our ingredients and recipes offer simple solutions to spice up any celebration - and what better time to “thai” new dishes than Chinese New Year? The traditional 15-day celebration kicks off February 10, 2013, and is a perfect reason to gather a group of friends and try tasty Asian cuisine.”  Check out Thai Kitchen and explore their amazing Asian cuisine ingredients!  Follow Thai Kitchen on Twitter at @Thai_Kitchen

IMG_6634eThai Massaman Curry

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil and then the onion, ginger, garlic and chili. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes to release the fragrance.

Add the chicken stock, lemongrass, turmeric, ground cashews, coriander, cumin, white pepper, cardamom, tamarind paste, shrimp paste, fish sauce, palm sugar and bay leaves. Stir with each addition and bring to a light boil.

Add the coconut milk, potatoes & carrots. Stir and bring back up to a boil. Reduce heat until you get a good simmer.  Simmer uncovered 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes & carrots are tender. Add the chicken, red pepper and tomato during last 10-15 minutes of cooking.

Taste test the curry, adding more fish sauce for increased flavor/saltiness, more chili if you want it spicier. If too sour, add a little more sugar. If too salty or sweet add more tamarind. If too spicy, add more coconut milk.

Stir in the whole cashews.  Serve over rice and add fresh cilantro if desired..


At Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia, we’ve made your favorite Asian flavors available to enjoy anytime and anywhere. From noodles to sauces and seasonings, coconut milk to fish sauce, our premium products deliver restaurant-quality Asian cuisine in minutes. Our ingredients and recipes offer simple solutions to spice up any celebration - and what better time to “Thai” new dishes than Chinese New Year? The traditional 15-day celebration kicks off February 10, 2013, and is a perfect reason to gather a group of friends and try tasty Asian cuisine. From mild to spicy, appetizers to dessert, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia have something for every taste bud, sure to please even the most discerning palates.

The aromatic essences. The exotic flavors. The abundant texture. There’s no culinary experience that compares to Asian cuisine – whether you’re preparing a meal for the whole family or looking for a quick snack, we’re here to bring the adventure to your kitchen.


* This sponsorship is brought to you by Foodie Blogroll who we have partnered with for this promotion.  This is a compensated post but all the views and opinions expressed are my own and based upon my experiences with Thai Kitchen products.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sesame Ginger Sea Bass

IMG_6470e Back in December I was asked by Certified Steak & Seafood* to sample and review both their Prime Angus Filet Mignon and Chilean Sea Bass.  At the time it arrived I immediately used the steaks to make Steak au Poivre but I popped the Sea Bass filets into the freezer to make another day.  When the Certified Steak & Seafood Prime Angus Filet Mignon and Chilean Sea Bass steaks arrived at my door they were individually vacuum sealed, frozen and packed in a styrofoam cooler with dry ice so it was easy to just pop all the individual steaks into the freezer. 

After enjoying the wonderful filet Mignon we couldn’t wait to try the Sea Bass and it didn’t disappoint.  I chose to prepare the Sea Bass simply as I didn’t want to overpower the delicate flavor if the fish.  Maisie especially loved the fish and ate almost a full filet herself.  The Sea Bass was delicate, sweet and totally delicious.  Maisie has requested a repeat meal so we’ll be enjoying this recipe again very soon.

What Certified Steak & Seafood says about their Chilean Sea Bass

“A popular favorite in restaurants across America, the best Chilean Sea Bass now comes to your table courtesy Certified Steak and Seafood. Harvested and processed under close inspection of the National Marine Fishery Service, this soft, tender and smooth fish is a smart and healthy purchase. Impress your family or give as a memorable gift. Facts: Easy to Cook, Wild Caught, 3rd Party Certified, Product of Chile.”

IMG_6474e Sesame Ginger Sea Bass

Remove the Sea Bass steaks from the freezer and defrost overnight in the refrigerator.  Once defrosted remove from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels.  

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lay a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on a baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Place the Sea Bass filets on the foil and evenly sprinkle on the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, Mirin, salt, pepper, green onion and sesame seeds.  Close foil to make a packet and put in oven for 15-20 minutes.  The fish is done when it begins to flake.  Remove from foil and serve immediately. 


More about Certified Steak & Seafood:  “Our commitment to our customers is simple: Offer the highest quality products at the best price and back it with a 100% guarantee. We source directly with no 'middle man' making our supply chain the shortest in the industry. This allows us to maintain the highest quality standards all the way to your plate. On top of this, we sample all products at the moment of final packaging and have a world-renowned laboratory test for various types of adulteration or contamination. This ensures that the food you purchase from us is pure and safe.

Certified Steak and Seafood Company was formed by the three Frisch boys, Mark, Adam, and Steven; all of whom thought that everyone should be able to buy the highest quality steaks and seafood direct. The brothers experience comes from a three generation family owned wholesale company that is one of the largest seafood importers in America.

They have vast experience in sourcing and selling high quality seafood and meat products to the commercial trade — and bring you the same grade of products fine restaurants, resorts, hotels, and high-end retail stores demand – and at a direct price that gives you tremendous value for every purchase.”


* This sponsorship is brought to you by Certified Steak & Seafood Company who we have partnered with for this promotion. I was provided with a box of products to sample.  This is a compensated post but all the views and opinions expressed are my own and based upon my experiences with Certified Steak & Seafood products.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Three Ingredient Fudgy Nutella Brownie Bites

IMG_6654eI almost missed this month of the Improv Cooking Challenge but thankfully I scheduled a reminder on my calendar which pinged me the other day and got me on track. I’m telling you, Maisie’s schedule is keeping me busy and I’ve barely had time to cook let alone sit down at the computer to do any blogging.  I think I need to better organize my life but that’s a project and story for another day.  Enough whinging and back to the challenge.  This month our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker has challenged the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choosing using the two specified ingredients of the month.  This month, being the month of love with Valentine’s Day and all, Kristen did a little pun and had our challenge ingredients as Hearts and Flours.  We didn’t have to use hearts, we could make anything as long as it was
either heart shaped or served/photographed in a heart serving dish but it did need to contain at least one flour of some sort.  I actually did think about possibly making some lightly batter-fried chicken hearts, I mean I’ve done it with great success with chicken livers, but instead I opted for something a little less offal (yes I can play the pun game too) and a whole lot sweeter.  So for my Hearts and Flours challenge I present, Three Ingredient Fudgy Nutella Brownie Bites.

IMG_6652eI don’t know where this recipe originated but I’ve seen it all over the internet and it’s absolutely genius.  Being as easy as it is and the fact that it includes the nectar of the Gods Nutella, I’ve been wanting to make these for ages but as I’m always watching my “white” intake (flour and sugar), I just needed the right opportunity to present itself so to have an excuse to make these tasty little treats and thanks to this month’s challenge, the time came. 

So, how were they?  Well for only three ingredients (plus salt if desired), less than five minutes of work and ten minutes of cook time…they were amazingly delicious.  Shoot had they taken twice the work, ingredients and cook time I’d still be making these again and again.  I love the simplicity of this recipe and that I always have the required ingredients in my pantry so when the craving strikes I can easily whip up a batch.  One last great thing, the recipe can be halved only making 6 little bites and making them in a muffin tin, they’re portion controlled!!  I easily could have eaten the entire batch but after the one I enjoyed, I left that task to Eammon and he enjoyed each and every one.

If you make these, be sure to not to overcook them because the ooey-gooey slightly undercooked center absolutely makes the brownie bites all that much better. 

IMG_6651eFudgy Nutella Brownie Bites 

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat the Nutella until slightly warm and runny.  Stir in the eggs, flour and salt until fully combined.  Portion the batter between 12 full sized muffin tins lined with cupcake liners or use a silicon cupcake pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. (I used a heart shaped silicon cupcake pan)  Depending on your oven, bake 10-12 minutes, just until the tops of the Brownie Bites are just cooked.and dry.  Do not over cook as you want the centers to be slightly undercooked and gooey.  Allow the Brownie Bites to cool slightly in the pans, remove to a cooling rack, dust with confectioners sugar and then enjoy warm or at room temperature.


My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

January 2013  Bananas & Nutmeg:  Baked Bananas 
December 2012  Chocolate & Marshmallows:  White Chocolate Marshmallow Cranberry Cashew Bark    
November 2012  Sweet Potatoes & honey: Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp 
October 2012  Oatmeal & RaisinsS’mores Granola Bars   
September 2012  Zucchini & Brown Sugar:  Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar 
August 2012  Tomatoes & Peppers:  French Fries Hash Browns 
July 2012  Corn & Butter:  Fritos Crusted Pollock 
June 2012  Cherries & Almonds:  Dried Cherry Almond Tart 
May 2012  Strawberries & Cream:  Strawberry Soup 
April 2012  Peanut butter & Jelly:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars 
March 2012  Potato & Cheese:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
February 2012  Ginger & Carrots:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing 
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream:  Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart 
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries:  Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter 
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese:  Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
October 2011 Caramel & Apples:  Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Friday, February 8, 2013

Baked Reuben Casserole

IMG_5912eI don’t remember where I first saw a recipe for this casserole but as soon as I did, I knew that I had to make it for Eammon as he adores Reuben sandwiches so I thought this would be perfect for him.  I know that once I decided to make this Reuben Casserole I searched the internet and found numerous variations and put together this recipe.

IMG_5895eThe casserole was simple to put together and Eammon (and my Dad who also enjoyed some) said that it tasted just like a delicious Reuben sandwich.  I have never tried a Reuben sandwich as I don’t care for rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut or Thousand Island salad dressing so I’m totally taking their word on how this casserole tasted but with the amount that they both ate…well it had to be good.

IMG_5920eBaked Reuben Casserole

Preheat oven to 350F.  Coat an 8x8-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.  Cut three pieces of the bread into 1-inch cubes and line the bottom of the dish with them.  Place half of the corned beef over the cubed bread and lightly press down the layers as you go.  Spread the sauerkraut evenly over the corned beef and then top with half of the shredded cheese.  Evenly sprinkle the cheese with the caraway seeds.  Evenly spread the remaining corned beef over the previous layers and finish with the remaining cheese.  

In a small bowl whisk the eggs, milk, cream, Thousand Island dressing, mustard & ground pepper until fully mixed.  Pour the egg mixture over the casserole and allow it to sit and sink in for 10 minutes. 

Finely dice the remaining two slices of bread and spread it over the casserole.  Bake for 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the casserole is set in the middle.  Check the casserole after 45 minutes and if the bread crumbs are beginning to get too dark, lightly tent the casserole with aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  Once the casserole is fully cooked, remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Lemon Almond Biscotti

IMG_6579eIt’s Secret Recipe Club time again, one of my favorite times of the month.  I love receiving my secret cooking pal assignment, going through their blog, checking out all their recipes, choosing one to make and feature and of course reveal day is best of all as I we all post and see what everyone has made.  This month my assignment was to cook from Kate’s Food Babbles.  I have been a reader of Kate’s blog for a while as I not only participate in the Secret Recipe Club with her but we also both participate monthly in the Improv Cooking Challenge.  I also “know” Kate from the lovely and kind comments she always leaves on my challenge recipes.  Kate’s blog is filled with so many gorgeous food photos, I just wanted to make everything,  I think that this month I was craving sugar as I had a real rough time deciding on a recipe.  I narrowed it down to Kate’s peppermint patties, maple bacon caramel corn, bacon caramel tart, potato chip cookies, Mexican hot chocolate and her Lemon Biscotti. In the end the biscotti won out as I had everything in the house and I’ve also been craving lemon, but trust me, a few others from the list will be made soon. 

I’ve made biscotti in the past and both Eammon and I love them with our tea and coffee but I’ve never made them with a citrus and as I’ve been craving lemon, these biscotti were just perfect.  I changed Kate’s recipe a little, really just bumping up the lemon a bit with the addition of lemon extract and in place of her almond extract I used vanilla bean paste and then to get that bit of almond flavor back in, I chose to add toasted slivered almonds.  These biscotti were simple to make, super crunchy, the lemon flavor really shined through and the combo of the lemon, almonds and white chocolate was light and delicious.  These biscotti were a big hit here in the Cook Lisa Cook home and I’m looking forward to making more of Kate’s delicious recipes.  Hop over to Kate’s blog to check out the original recipe and all of her other wonderful treats.

IMG_6585eLemon Almond Biscotti (slightly adapted from here) 

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla bean paste, lemon extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk at medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and holds its shape.  Using a silicone spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture and then fold in the slivered almonds.

On a lightly floured surface, with damp hands, divide the dough into 2 portions and shape each into a 3-inch diameter log.  Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.  Bake for 16 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet.  Reduce oven temperature to 300F.

With a sharp slice each log into ½”-thick slices.  Arrange cookies, cut sides up, in a single layer on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake until firm, about 20 minutes, flipping midway through baking.  Cool completely. They will get crunchier as they cool.

Line a cool baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

Chop the white chocolate and place in a glass or metal bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is smooth and melted.  Dip the bottoms of the biscotti into the melted chocolate and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Allow the chocolate to set completely.

Store in an airtight container up to one week.


My previous Secret Recipe Club Recipe Posts: 

Creamy Mints 
Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken 
Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings 
Fried Green Tomatoes 
Chicken Satay Noodle Salad 
Double Chocolate Mousse Cake 
Candied Popcorn
Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad 
Broiled Sushi 
Health(ier) Peanut Brittle 
Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites 
Texas Chicken with Lime Butter 
Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens 
Thin Mint Irish Coffee 
Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies 
Welsh Cakes 
Nutella Crêpes 
Cilantro Lime Chicken 
Holy Guacamole 
Home Style Chicken Curry

Secret Recipe Club

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Loaded Buffalo Chicken Texas Toast

IMG_6620eHere in the Cook Lisa Cook home, Eammon and I are huge fans of buffalo-ed foods.  One of our favorite meals is my Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole and we can’t resist Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings, so when I saw a recipe on Mercedes’ The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife for Buffalo Chicken Texas Toast, well I was on it faster than you can say aye, aye Captain!

IMG_6611e I made a few changes to Mercedes’ recipe.  First, I didn’t have wing sauce so I made my own and then I completely mixed her Gorgonzola cheese as we don’t care for stinky or blue veined cheeses.  I also decided to add bacon because…well, I just thought it would make the recipe and for us, and it did.  These Loaded Buffalo Chicken Texas Toasts were wonderful and I will say,quite filling. 

IMG_6597eI’m not a huge bread person but I loved the thick, buttery, garlic Texas Toast and it held up well to the creamy ranch dressing and the spicy chicken and sauce.  

IMG_6613eI loved that I could make all the components of the dish and have them ready so that when it was time to serve, it only took a minute or two to assemble, heat it up and have a wonderful little meal or a delicious appetizer, and these will be especially easy and good for the guys on game day.

IMG_6616eLoaded Buffalo Chicken Texas Toast

Bake Texas Toast according to package directions, allowing them to get a bit toasted.  In a microwave safe bowl combine the hot sauce and butter and heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce.  Set the sauce aside.

In a separate bowl mix together the cheese, bacon bits and green onions and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Toss chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder and add to the skillet.  Cook quickly until the chicken is just cooked through.  Don’t over cook as you want the chicken to remain moist.  Add 1/2 cup of the buffalo wing sauce and stir to toss and coat the chicken.  Remove garlic bread from oven and switch oven to broil. Brush each slice first with ranch dressing, then with hot sauce mixture.  Next add the chicken and top with the cheese mixture.  Broil toast 2-4 minutes, watching closely and rotating the pan as needed. Once the cheese has melted, remove from the broiler and top with another drizzle of the hot sauce mixture.


Note:  This recipe is spicy and on my Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole I get a lot of questions from people saying that they don’t do hot foods and what could they substitute for the hot sauce or how to tone down the spiciness.  So to address that question on this recipe, here are some suggestions if you don’t care for spicy foods.  Feel free to use your favorite BBQ sauce in place of the hot sauce.  Another suggestion is to increase the ratio of butter to hot sauce so to cool it a bit, On my casserole recipe people have had good luck using Italian dressing as the seasoning on the chicken and still using the ranch sauce as well.  Still others have mixed a little bit of hot sauce in with a larger amount of ranch dressing just to give a little flavor of Buffalo chicken.  Use this basic recipe and tailor it to you tastes and enjoy.

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