Saturday, July 31, 2010

Raspberry Sake Sparkler: An Easy & Elegant Simple Saturday Sipper

I have a penchant for buying many cute little bottles of sparkling sake at the Japanese market. They are fun, the perfect size for a couple of cocktails, and it gives me a chance to try out different kinds without making a commitment to a large bottle. This pretty pink one is called "Hana-Awaka" which according to the label means "Sparkling Flower." The label describes is as "Gently sweet with balanced tartness, complements sweet dishes or desserts."

It is quite delicious on its own, but sometimes a girl needs a pretty sparkling cocktail to help her relax after a crazy week. The pink bottle and some organic raspberries in my fridge made me think of the bottle of raspberry framboise sitting in my bar and thus the Raspberry Sake Sparkler was born. It is lightly sweet, bubbly and an elegant Simple Saturday Sipper.

Raspberry Sake Sparkler
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen

raspberry liqueur (I used framboise)
sparkling sake (or a sparkling wine or champagne)
fresh raspberries to garnish

In a champagne flute, place 2 Tbsp of raspberry liqueur. Top with sparkling sake and serve, garnished with fresh raspberries.

Notes/Results: Very good--bubbly, sweet, but not too sweet, and with a nice raspberry flavor. Quick and simple, this is a perfect cocktail for a warm summer's afternoon or evening. If you can't find sparkling sake, any slightly sweet sparkling wine or champagne would work. I will make this again.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $75.00 electronic gift certificate to spend on unique artisanal goods at the Novica website. Find the details here.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Get to Know Novica and Shop for Unique, Fair-Trade Artisanal Goods with a $75.00 Giveaway

What does this beautiful blue glass dessert bowl

have in common with this serene black & white Buddha painting?

One is in my glassware cabinet (actually a set of 6), the other hangs on the wall in my hallway, and they both came from Novica. Not familiar with Novica yet? Novica is a leading fair trade artisan website featuring an amazing collection of handmade art, including paintings, jewelry, glassware, pottery, home decor and furnishings, direct from more than 2,000 talented artisans from around the globe. Novica works with National Geographic to give these talented artists and craftspeople a place to show their work and provides them with access to the world market.

I first purchased from Novica a couple of years ago, attracted to the wide variety of products they carry. (Warning: you can spend hours on the site, just looking!) The website provides background information about the individual artisans, which makes you feel connected to the work you are buying. I also like the fact that Novica utilizes fair trade practices and the artists are independent, controlling their work and setting their own prices for their products. Novica has even set up a unique microfinance program where consumers can help Novica artisans expand their business through interest free loans. Besides being a great place for personal shopping, Novica is a great place for gifts--you can find eco-friendly, green gifts, fair-trade corporate gifts, or unique gifts (sorted by price, category & recipient) that you won't see in other places.

I was already a Novica fan before the company contacted me and asked if I would like to try them out again and maybe do a review, so of course I agreed. The fact that they gave me a gift certificate for a little shopping fun just sweetened the deal. Then, they generously offered to give one of my readers a gift certificate too--how cool is that?! The only downside? I am having a heck of a time making my mind up on what to get--there are so many options.

Right now the sangria pitcher is looking mighty good--it even has an ice deposit to keep things cold, but this Celadon lotus ceramic curry bowl is gorgeous, and I do make a lot of curries.... and this Buddha and the jade elephant teapot would be perfect for tea time, or these green garden ceramic plates are pretty too. Hmm...

But enough about me and my *problems*--I bet you want to know how you can win a $75.00 electronic gift certificate from Novica...


One lucky person will win a $75.00 USD electronic gift certificate to shop on Novica--to be used on anything you want from tableware to jewelry. You don't have to have a blog to win, (just be sure to leave a way I can get in touch with you if you do win). Since it is an electronic gift certificate and Novica ships to many countries around the world (here's the list of countries they ship to), this giveaway is open to most everyone. (Just note that some countries do charge import taxes that would not be covered by the gift certificate, so you may want to determine if that applies to you before you enter.)

A winner will be selected by random drawing--so enter away--there are three ways to enter so if you really want it, you have up to three chances to win.

How to Enter:
(You can enter up to three times but you MUST leave a separate comment for each entry so I can tally them without taxing my brain too much!)

Entry #1: Take a look at the Novica site and leave a comment on this post telling me what you think you might spend the $75.00 on if you win.

Entry #2: For a second entry, mention Kahakai Kitchen and the giveaway and link back to this post on your blog, and/or your Facebook page and/or if you twitter, tweet about it. Then leave a second comment on this post letting me know that you linked, Face-booked and/or tweeted it.

Entry #3: For a third entry, become a follower of Kahakai Kitchen by clicking on the "Followers" box on the side bar of my blog and leave me yet another comment letting me know that you are now following me. If you are already a loyal follower just leave a comment letting me know that you are following for your additional entry.

All entry comments must be in by midnight, (HST) Thursday, August 5th. The winner will be selected in a random drawing or by a random number generated from of all of the entry comments received, and will be announced on Friday August 6th. Good luck!

Many thanks to Novica for providing such a great prize!

Obligatory Disclosure Statement: Although Novica provided me with a gift certificate for myself, and one to give away to try out their site, no payment or compensation was received for my review and my opinions of Novica are my own, based on my experiences ordering from them.

Happy Aloha Friday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Things I Am Loving This Week (Going Loco for Local--Real Hawaiian Burger, Apple Banana Jam & Tomato Salad)

Things I Am Loving This Week, (my semi-regular Tuesday post featuring those (mostly) food-related things I am enjoying and want to share), is going loco for local today! There is a lot to love this week--and all made from a bounty of delicious Hawaii ingredients from the farmers markets.

First up, I love a good burger! Many people would define a "Hawaiian Burger" as just a burger with a piece of grilled pineapple on top, My definition of a REAL Hawaiian Burger is one that is made with all locally grown or locally produced ingredients from the state of Hawaii, like this gorgeous, delicious, giant burger. (And with no pineapple--I love it but not on my burger!) ;-)

We have:
  • grass-fed ground beef from Maui
  • grilled sweet Maui onions
  • locally grown Nalo Farms baby romaine
  • North Shore Farm's fresh sweet yellow tomato
  • guacamole made with locally grown avocado and lime
  • an olive bun baked by Ba-Le bakery (OK, the ingredients of the olive bun aren't local but it was baked here!)
  • Oils of Aloha macadamia oil for grilling, and some Hawaiian Alaea salt (red clay salt) to season.

Fresh, juicy and delicious--served with a few more North Shore Farms cherry tomatoes for a little color. The Maui beef was so perfect and moist--it just needed a touch of the red salt to season it perfectly. A taro bun would have been good here, and a bit more local but the olive buns were really fresh, soft and flavorful. A great way to indulge while supporting Hawaii farmers and producers.


I like bananas, but I love small, sweet apple bananas so I used some extra-ripe ones from the farmers market to make some Banana Jam from "Sweet and Sugarfree: An All-Natural, Fruit-Sweetened Dessert Cookbook" by Karen E. Barkie, a little book I purchased for $1 at a library sale. (Yep--love that too!) Just mashed banana and lemon juice (I added cinnamon to mine) cooked down into an thick, sweet spread. The simmering concentrates the banana flavor and the warm jam is delicious on top of toast (or in this case a bagel thin) spread with nut butter. I made one half with almond butter which was great, and the other half with peanut butter--even better. Peanut butter + mashed banana = good, peanut butter + warm banana jam = a little piece of heaven!

Barkie says, "Fruit jams are easy to make and so full of naturally concentrated fruit sweeteners that once you have tasted homemade, you will never again settle for sugar-sweetened jelly. Ripe and juicy fruits, blended to a sauce and heated over low temperature, yield rich, condensed jams and spreads. Fruits can be combined into an endless delectable jams, satiny smooth or dotted with ripe and juicy chunks of fruit."

Sweet (Apple Banana) Banana Jam
"Sweet and Sugarfree" by Karen E. Barkie
(Yields 1/3 Cup)

"A very concentrated jam"

2 cups ripe mashed banana (mash banana with a fork)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
(1 tsp ground cinnamon) optional

Blend ingredients together until smooth. Heat to a boil in a saucepan; turn to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.

Notes: Barkie recommends this with all types of fruit--from blueberries to mangoes, plums to papayas. It's a nice, quick way to make a natural fruit jam and it makes the kitchen smell incredible when it is cooking. I plan to make more.


Finally it is Raw Foods! week at I Heart Cooking Clubs, so we are making no-cook Mark Bittman recipes. You have to love that for summer. I was feeling extremely low-effort and wanted to use some more gorgeous North Shore Farms tomatoes (I went a bit tomato crazy at the market this weekend!) so I decided to make the simple Ethiopian-Style Tomato Salad from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian." This quick salad takes local ingredients to exotic Ethiopia, which just happens to be the destination for Regional Recipes this month, hosted by my good friend Joanne at Eats Well With Others. I love a good multi-tasking recipe that I can use in more than one event. ;-)

Bittman says, "If you have time to chop tomatoes, you have time to make this salad, which also works as a relish to eat with sandwiches and salads. The light, fresh-tasting, oil-free dressing features turmeric, which which turns the salad a lovely sunset color. You can use almost any spice mix you like here instead."

Tomato Salad, Ethiopian Style
"How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4 servings)
Time: 15 minutes, plus time to chill

3 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 Tbsp minced jalapeno chile, or more or less to taste
1 tsp ground turmeric
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

Put the lemon juice, onion, jalapeno, and turmeric into a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat.

Chill for up to 30 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings and serve.

Notes/Results: Excellent! This is a great, little salad--full of beautiful bright color and flavor. I used both red and yellow tomatoes which made it even more colorful, and made the recipe exactly as written. The sweet tomatoes, combined with the turmeric, lemon, red onion and the little kick from the jalapeno is complex for such few ingredients. It is perfect as a side salad and since Bittman said it was good as a kind of relish with sandwiches, I took some and topped a Maui beef patty and toasted olive bun with it for a knife & fork-style burger. OK--Yum! Healthy and delicious, I will definitely make this salad again.

There you have it--a bunch of wonderful local ingredients and delicious dishes to love this week.

The Ethiopian-Style Tomato Salad is being linked to IHCC Raw Foods! and also being sent to Joanne for Regional Recipes--Ethiopia. This entire post, full of good local, natural food is going to be linked to Two For Tuesdays Blog Hop Carnival at my pal girlichef's blog where real food is being celebrated each week.

So, what are you loving this week?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Garlic Broth for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

After a couple of weeks of cold soups I was ready for something different and warm, and chose Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Garlic Broth. Although I eat soup year-round in a generally pretty warm climate, I know some people don't like soup in summer, however I think that Asian soups and noodle bowls in particular lend themselves well to year-round eating. There is something cooling about slurping noodles and the flavors are usually fresh and light.

This recipe comes from the March 2010 issue of Natural Health magazine from an article on making over your pantry with healthy staples. Overall this soup is pretty healthy except for the sodium, (it comes in at 1561 mg--Yikes!). Although the recipe does note that this is most of your daily sodium quota and to make low sodium choices the rest of the day, I made some simple changes to bring the amount down considerably. I used my homemade chicken stock, that I cook without salt, took the salt out of the water to cook the noodles and reduced the amount of some of the salty condiments used too. I made up for any loss in flavor with extra ginger and garlic and also squeezed in the juice of a lime at the end. I was also craving a bit more protein so I added some sliced, cooked chicken breast. Easy, painless swaps that still made a soup full of flavor and by my estimate, reduced the sodium down by more than half the original recipe.

Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Garlic Broth
adapted from Natural Health Magazine, March 2010
(Serves 4)
Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (used 3 cloves)
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely minced (used a 3-inch piece)
6 cups vegetable broth (used homemade chicken stock w/o salt)
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (used 1 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 drops Tabasco Sauce (or to taste) (used 1 tsp sambal oelek)
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce (used 2 tsp)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
8 oz buckwheat soba noodles
(added about 4 oz of cooked, sliced chicken breast)
(added the juice of 1 lime)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (for garnish) (used roasted sesame seeds w/o salt)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish)

In a small pot over medium heat, heat canola oil until shimmering, then saute garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the broth, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, Tabasco and fish sauce. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a simmer and add shredded cabbage and carrots. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer while noodles cook.

Bring a large pot of salted (omitted salt) water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions, then drain and portion into four bowls. (Add chicken breast on top of noodles) Ladle broth into each bowl and garnish with peanuts (sesame seeds) and cilantro.

Per Serving: 327 calories, 8g fat, (1g saturated), 8g protein, 57g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 1561 mg sodium. (Note this is most of your daily sodium quota, so make low sodium choices the rest of the day.)

Notes/Results: Hearty but not heavy and full of good ginger & garlic flavor, this is a nourishing bowl of noodles. I put my cabbage and carrots in a bit later than the recipe specified because I like my veggies a bit crisp and wasn't "feeling" the peanuts, so I sprinkled on some roasted sesame seeds. Other veggies could be added or tofu or shrimp too, this is an easy soup to change up with whatever you have on hand. I would make this again, keeping the sodium low with my changes.

Looks like quite a crowd in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week--let's take a look:

The wonderful girlichef is continuing her tortilla soup quest and has this Sopa de Tortilla from Mark Bittman to share this week. girlichef says, "In general, I've found that so far I prefer the TS recipes that are broth-based, as opposed to the thicker tomato-based ones. This one is one of the thicker versions, BUT it actually uses half of the tortilla strips IN the soup, itself. As in, pureéd INTO the soup. Madness, I tell you. Brilliant Madness. Plus, the lime juice in the recipe is actually squeezed and stirred opposed to squeezing wedges over it as garnish. This has been my favorite thick TS to date! You can seriously taste the grounding corn taking hold of you in each bite!"

Welcome Umm from Taste of Pearl City, joining us at Souper Sundays for the first time this week from Germany. Umm has a unique Oats and Sago Kanji to share this week. She says, "Kanji is a type of porridge which we normally used to have during ramadhan after breaking our fast. In South India it's very common to have this type of kanji. Almost in every mosque they prepare this and people have it after breaking their fast. This is very light and keeps you satisfied. Normally this is prepared using rice, vegetables, lentils and meat. In this recipe I replaced rice with oats and sago, which was really good. This would be so good to have immediately after breaking fast." Welcome Umm!

Spencer from Live2EatEat2Live Blog made "Dishwater Soup" what he calls a soup made with water, vegetables and flavorings, "Very thin, light soups. These soups come in handy when we’re in a rush and haven’t had time to simmer bones and other ingredients for hours. While we were in Zhenhai, Ningbo, China, we were given a large bag of dehydrated green vegetable, cai gan (“vegetable dried”). The vegetable looks like a cross between choi sum and Shanghai cabbage. I soaked the dried shiitake mushrooms for about 30 minutes, strained the water the mushrooms soaked in, brought the water and mushrooms to a boil, added a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a splash of Shao Xing wine, and a tiny scoop of pork fat. After a second boil, I turned off the stove, added the cai gan, a splash of roasted sesame oil, and served."

Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice has a luscious White Corn Soup with Poblano Cream Sauce on the menu this week. She says, "This is a farmer’s soup recipe made with sweet white corn, poblano peppers, and not much else! Just as it should be at this point in time...with farm-fresh corn popping up everywhere. The soup is an excellent showcase for the corn as the starring attraction. It can be eaten hot, luke-warm or cold, and is one quick soup to make. Summer-time comfort food doesn’t get any better than this! The intense flavor of corn hits your mouth in an explosion of flavor; extra creamy and super sweet with a hit of earthy heat from the poblano cream that assaults your tongue at the last moment. Completely delicious."

Janet from The Taste Space made two wonderful salads this week. First up, this Orzo Salad with Pan-Fried Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon. Janet says, "This is a delicious orzo salad brimming with fresh dill and spring onions, a slight lemony tang and this is coupled with creamy, nutty roasted chickpeas. The orzo has a delicious slippery texture that complements the chickpeas well. The next time I make it, I would consider replacing the orzo with something else though. Perhaps wild rice? Or a grain like quinoa? The possibilities are endless for summer salads!"

Next this French Barley Salad with Carrots, Green Beans, Red Peppers and Almond, about which Janet says, "Over Thanksgiving, I made an incredibly delicious French Barley Salad that I Ashley posted at Eat Me, Delicious, which was adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special (which I already owned!). The food was so delicious it got a spotlight in my Thanksgiving 2008 album and also kickstarted my food photography. It is through practice and reflection that we improve, and I know my photos have improved over the past couple of years. So when I remade the salad recently, I still took its photo… of the leftovers, though, and sadly my photography skills were not at their peak. Can I blame it on my parents having prettier bowls? Nah…. One step forward and two steps back.. sounds like I am dancing backwards? Well, at least it is a tasty trip backwards."

The lovely Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) is working magic in her garden again and has two simple, fresh salads this week too, (the two upper bowls), hold a Kohlrabi Salad and a Chicory Salad. She says "Some weeks ago I served the four tex-mex side dishes in the picture, salads and sauces for grilled meat...two salads with freshly harvested vegetables from my garden. This is the first Kohlrabi I ever grow and harvested, peeled to be served raw."

Lori from Fake Food Free learned the secret to perfectly cooked salad potatoes from her Mom (you'll have to go read her post for it!) and used it to make this healthy Mustard and Chive Potato Salad with Yogurt. She says, "Since the potato preparation discovery I have been trying out different combinations of potato salad. I find I really like the flavor of spicy brown mustard and it allows you to use a lot less mayonnaise. This time around I added Greek yogurt, cut the mayo even more, and I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered my favorite one! PS. How exciting is it that every fresh ingredient in this dish came out of our garden?!"

Reshmi from A Feast to the Eyes and Stomach is back again this week with a refreshing Cucumber Salad with Mint. Reshmi says, "Salads are my favourites and the meal becomes somehow incomplete without them. If you don't have many vegetables in your fridge, then this cucumber salad would be a right choice ! Its very simple and easy to make, gives a rich aromatic flavour of the mint together with its different dressing.If you do not have orange blossom water, mix 2 or 3 drops of orange essence in 2 tablespoons of water and then use it."

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes made the most of a bounty of free salad dressing, (including photographing the bottles copious times!) and made this Apple Chicken Salad from one of the recipes included. She says, "Then, after carrying my dressings around all over the house and photographing them, I settled in on finding a recipe. The dressings came with some recipe cards and that seemed like a fine a way to start. I immediately settled on Apple Chicken Salad because I had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge. I had everything I needed to make it except for the cheddar cheese, which I just left off. Very good!!! The dressing was light and flavorful, not overly sweet, and I really like the combination of the cabbage and the salad greens."

It's so nice to have Christine from Kits Chow back with us this week and with a fun Chicken and Vermicelli Salad. Christine says, "This past week, I have been posting "A salad a day". I am back on the South Beach Diet and wanted to eat some simple, healthy, delicious salads. Today's salad has carbs but can be adapted for the SBD by omitting the noodles. For the vegan version, skip the meat. I was channel surfing on TV and found a cooking show where the host was making a salad with rice vermicelli. It looked very good and Mr. KC said he wouldn't mind having some rice noodles like that. Why not? It was easy and looked delicious."

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy & Low Calorie has a take on a classic sandwich, this Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Red Onion Jam. She says, "I read about these grilled cheese sandwiches from Kristen over at Holy Cannoli. I saw this red onion sauce and knew it would be a winner. It didn't disappoint! Have you ever had an Arby's beef and cheddar? It has an onion bun, roast beef, cheddar and a sauce. The flavor of this grilled cheese totally reminded me of a beef and cheddar sandwich. Without the roast beef of course."

Kim from Stirring the Pot loves her hummus and used it to make Chickpea Sliders this week. Kim says, "The chickpea burgers can be made in about 20 minutes and make a great, quick, and economical lunch or dinner. You'll need no more than a can of chickpeas, some spices, a little onion, some flour and an egg. That's it! The chickpea burgers were slightly crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. The flavor was a little mild so next time I will probably add in some garlic and quite possibly some curry power or cumin.I really like that this is a simple meal that can be made with the most basic pantry items."

Wow! What a great turnout of good friends both old and new this week--plenty of soups, salads and sandwiches to share. Thanks to everyone who took part. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details on how to join in.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Lassi (Peanut Butter & Yogurt): A Cool, Creamy Simple Saturday Sipper

There are weeks that I plan far ahead for my weekly Simple Saturday Sipper and other weeks when it gets to be about 4:30 on a Friday afternoon and I decide I'd better throw something together. I'll let you guess which one this week was. This Peanut Butter Lassi started because of a quest for peanut butter yogurt. I met a friend at Yogurtland the other day and got a small splat of their frozen peanut butter yogurt to try with my regular plain-tangy--Ok, Yum!. I have been thinking about it ever since and earlier this week, decided I needed a little treat and went to get some for lunch. Unfortunately there was no peanut butter on their line-up that day :-( so I had to go back to plain-tangy with fruit. Good, but I was still craving peanut butter. The next night I decided to try to make my own and mixed organic peanut butter, Greek yogurt and a bit of agave in my ice cream maker. I ended up going a bit to heavy on the peanut butter (yes, it is possible to have too much peanut butter), and ended up with a mix that was like cold PB with a little yogurt mixed in--not the flavor and texture profile I was going for.

Cut to this afternoon, when I had the brilliant idea of mixing it with more Greek yogurt, a touch of cinnamon, a little rice milk and some ice cubes to make a creamy, frothy
Peanut Butter Lassi. Traditionally a lassi is yogurt blended with water and Indian spices or sometimes sweetened with fruit and sugar, but this not-so-traditional one is quite delicious. Since I don't expect you to make up a batch of too-peanut buttery frozen yogurt to make this drink, I would suggest making it by the recipe below.

Peanut Butter Lassi
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2)

1 1/2 cups nonfat Greek Yogurt
3/4 cup milk or alternative milk of choice
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave nectar or honey, or more to taste
1 small pinch salt
5-6 ice cubes

In a blender, blend the yogurt, milk, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, agave, salt and ice until mixture becomes frothy. Taste and adjust flavors if needed. Serve in tall glasses, garnished with a little whipped cream and shaved chocolate (optional).

Notes/Results: Yum! Creamy and a much better peanut butter proportion. The kick of cinnamon was nice too. This made a good, slightly indulgent, protein-filled afternoon snack and was cooling on a warm afternoon. Perhaps, if you must be technical, it is more smoothie than lassi but since I can call it whatever I want, lassi it is. ;-) I served mine with a bit of whipped cream and some shaved dark chocolate, but it would also be good with some fresh strawberries, or even a drizzle of jam for a little PB & J action, or even a banana blended in would be nice too. I would make this again.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coconut Creamed Corn: A Sweet, Tangy, Spicy Side Dish for Summer

Fresh corn and coconut milk are a perfect pairing, especially when lime juice and chili pepper are added to the mix, as in this Coconut Creamed Corn from "Supermarket Vegan: 225 Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes for Real People in the Real World" by Donna Klein. Although the book calls for frozen corn, I used a few ears of fresh, local Kahuku corn which is very sweet and juicy. The result is lighter than a traditional creamed corn, with lots of flavor. It was the perfect side dish for a piece of fresh local fish, (in this case ono) cooked and topped with a little coconut butter (for extra coconut flavor) from Naked Cow Dairy on the North Shore of Oahu. Along with a simple salad of local lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, it was a delicious and easy dinner.

Coconut Creamed Corn
"Supermarket Vegan" by Donna Klein
(Makes 4 Servings)

2 cups frozen yellow corn (unthawed)
1 cup light coconut milk
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1/4 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 to 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pinch or more, crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine the corn, coconut milk, white parts of the scallions, chili powder, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to between medium and medium-low and simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until most of the coconut milk has evaporated, 12-15 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens, lime juice, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Serve warm.

Per Serving: Calories: 127, Protein: 5g, Total Fat: 4g, Sat Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: Omg, Carbohydrate: 21g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sodium: 165mg

Cook's Note: Klein says, "Caribbean jerk seasoning or Cajun spice can replace the chili powder, if desired."

Notes/Results: A great combination of sweet, tangy and spicy flavors--the corn doesn't get thick and creamy, just juicy and flavorful--so it makes it a nice lighter dish for summer. I used the 1/4 tsp of chili and also added 1/4 tsp of a Cajun spice mix so it had a nice little kick to it. A simple but tasty side dish that I would make again with either fresh or frozen corn.

I'm sending this Coconut Creamed Corn to my friend Reeni of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice for her monthly Side Dish Showdown event. Check out her blog after the end of the month for a round-up of all the different side dishes for July.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mark Bittman's Lamb & Bulgur Burgers with Garlicky Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

It's Potluck time again at I Heart Cooking Clubs and I was craving a burger. Since I had Mark Bittman's recipe for Lamb & Bulgur Patties tagged and waiting to be made, I decided to make them into larger patties and turn them into Middle-Eastern-style lamb burgers. Wanting a fun sauce to go with it, I chose Bittman's Simplest Yogurt Sauce recipe and made the avocado-yogurt variation. I slathered the yogurt sauce onto 100% Whole Wheat Buns (part of a "bun" package sent to me from Nature's Pride as part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program), and added local lettuce, red onion and cucumber slices for a hearty, healthy, delicious burger.

I pulled both recipes up on my "How to Cook Everything" iPhone application.

Lamb and Bulgur Patties
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

1 lb boneless lamb, preferably from the shoulder, excess fat removed (I used already ground)
1 medium onion, quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled (I used 3 cloves)
pinch cayenne (I used a large pinch)
1 tsp ground cumin (I used 1 Tbsp)
(I added the zest of 1 lemon)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups soaked bulgur, drained until dry
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I used 1/3 cup parsley & 1/3 cup mint)
2 Tbsp neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn if panfrying

Cut the lamb into large chunks and put in a food processor with the onion, a large pinch of salt, some pepper, the garlic, cayenne, cumin, and egg. Process until smooth, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary. Mix in the bulgur and parsley by hand.

To panfry: Shape the kofte into 8 small patties. (I made 3 larger, burger-sized patties and 5 small patties.) Put the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. When hot, add the patties, rotating as necessary and turning once or twice, until crisp and golden on each side, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Simplest Yogurt Sauce (Avocado-Yogurt Sauce Variation)
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes a bit over 1 cup)

1 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk (I used Greek 2%)
1 tsp minced garlic (I used 1 very large clove)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 1/2 lemon)

Combine the yogurt with the garlic, a pinch of salt, and a grinding or two of pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding some lemon juice if necessary.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a few hours; bring back to near room temperature before serving.

For the Avocado-Yogurt Sauce:Variation: Stir in (or puree in a food processor 1/2 ripe avocado or more along with a little extra lemon juice)

Notes/Results: Very tasty, with a good texture, especially the crispy-golden outside. I added a lot of extra spice to these--lots more garlic and cumin, a good pinch of cayenne and also chopped mint and lemon zest and thought they tasted great--I think they may have been a bit too mild for me the way the recipe was written. Since I bought ground lamb rather than doing it myself, I put the onion and garlic in the food processor to get it finely minced and added it to the lamb, along with the egg and spices before stirring in the bulgur and herbs. This was great as a burger but also good as just the patties with the yogurt sauce over salad the next day. The sauce was delicious--I added more garlic and lots of lemon which was perfect with the patties. I would make both of these recipes again.

Nature's Pride Buns: I received a large box the other day from Nature's Pride and the FoodBuzz Tastemaker's Program, and inside it were three packages of Nature's Pride new Premium Harvest Buns and Rolls. There were the 100% Whole Wheat Bakery Buns, the Country White Bakery Buns and the Country White Deli Rolls. Since I don't eat a lot of "white" flour breads and products, I tried one of the deli rolls and gave the rest of them and the white bakery buns to a friend who was having a barbecue, and kept the whole wheat buns for myself. Both the white rolls and wheat buns were soft, held together well and tasted good. With 4 grams of Fiber and 9 grams of protein, no trans fats or artificial colors or preservatives, they are a pretty good option for a commercial burger bun.

You can see what the other IHCC participants made for their Potluck selections by going to the site and following the links here.

BTW: Although the burgers and sauce are quite lovable, my semi-regular Tuesday feature "Things I Am Loving This Week" is taking a short break and will be back next Tuesday.