Monday, June 5, 2017

Panang Curry with Halibut

#easyweeknightdinners @ mellelovesfood

Panang Curry with Halibut
Ingredients: 
  • about 4-5 oz of halibut, cut into small pieces (no bigger than 1")
  • 2-3 tbsp of Panang Curry Paste (I use Mae Ploy but there's also Mae Anong and Maesri)
  • 1 can (13.5oz) of coconut milk (I use Chaokoh, just make sure its not the fat free kind, does not come out the same!) 
  •  1 bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups of green beans, cut to about 1-2 inch pieces 
  • 1 (8oz) bag of spinach 
  • 2-3 tbsp of thai basil (regular sweet basil works too but so much better with Thai basil, especially fresh)  *** if you want to grow your own, next time you go to a Vietnamese restaurant and order Pho, when they give you the herbs, pluck off all the leaves, take the stem home and literally stick it in dirt. In about 2-3 weeks, it will root and BAM, home grown Thai Basil!***
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp of sugar
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • optional to add*: pumpkin puree, eggplant, potatoes. I try to limit 2-3 type of veggies so it doesn't become overbearing but its all up to preference. 
Procedures: 
  1. In a mixing bowl or Pyrex measuring cup: mix 1/2 can of the coconut milk and curry paste together until well combined, set aside. 
  2. For quicker cooking: microwave green beans for 2 minutes. Set aside. I do this for any vegetables that usually take longer to cook (i.e green beans, potatoes, etc) to precook it so it finishes faster.
  3. In a medium sized sauce pan, over medium high heat, heat up some olive oil and toss in garlic and bell peppers. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the peppers start to tenderize. Add in precooked green beans and bag of spinach. Cook until spinach is cooked down. Season with salt and pepper. Add in about 1 tbsp of basil and saute with the rest of the veggies for about a minute.
  4. Pour in curry coconut milk mixture and stir until just about to boil then add in the rest of the coconut milk. Stir in halibut pieces and basil. Cover for a few minutes until its about to boil and then give it another good stir. Add in sugar one tbsp at a time, mix, and taste in between to make sure its not too sweet. You don't want to add too much sugar. 
  5. Turn off heat and cover. The halibut should be done cooking, if not it will finish with residue heat. Let it sit for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Serve curry with rice!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lazy Garlic Knots/Pizza Dough!

Presenting the ultimate lazy, (somewhat) mess-free garlic knots/pizza dough recipe! 90% of the work is done via zip lock bag! I've been meaning to post this for a while but time has just slipped away especially since I've rejoined the working force (yay income!) but to those who have been waiting for this post, thank you for your patience, it is here!

Most of the credit for this one goes to the caveman. We usually buy raw pre-made pizza dough from places like Trader Joe's or Safeway, well one night we wanted pizza but too lazy to go to the store... 'Duh!' why don't we just make our own?! What a concept right? We've tried to make everything else and yet making our own pizza dough was such a foreign concept! Inspired by a video of making Challah bread from a zip lock bag, we applied the same concept here. Somewhere in the process I had an epiphany and practically yelled "OMG! I want to use this dough to make garlic knots too!!" It was magical, the knots came out better than I envisioned...or *ahem* I meant to do that...

I am obsessed with this recipe. I've already made more batches than I can count. It's so easy, I'm never going to buy store bought pizza dough again! What's even more awesome is that because you make this in a zip lock bag, its already in a perfect storage container to be stowed away in the freezer if you don't feel like using it yet. **Note: it will continue to rise even if you put it in the fridge. If you want to store it in the fridge overnight, I'd suggest leaving an air gap in the zip lock so it doesn't explode otherwise, freezer is your best bet. 

Lazy Garlic Knots/Pizza Dough! 
adopted from King Arthur's Pizza Crust Recipe
Recipe makes 16 large garlic knots or 2 ten-twelve inch pizza dough (or a mix)!
Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp yeast (or 1 packet is okay which is a little over 2 tsp)
  • 2 shot glasses of hot water (~ 1/8 of cup)
  • 1 tsp sugar (or a couple of large pinches)
  • 1 cup of warm to hot water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large zip lock bag (freezer 1 gallon)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour +/- for dusting
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil (to brush the knots before baking)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 tbsp butter (or a mix of olive oil + butter)
  • 3-4 tbsp parsley, chopped or dried
  • salt/ground black pepper for taste
  • 3-4 tbsp of Parmesan cheese   
Procedures:
  1. Proof the yeast: place yeast, sugar, shot glasses of water into zip lock bag. Make sure its all mixed, should be water-y. Close bag, let it set for 15 minutes. Should see some bubbling action when you return.
  2. Make the dough + rise: once the yeasts are ready for action, mix salt into 1 cup of water, pour into the zip lock bag with yeast mixture, add oil, and then flour. Close bag. Mash the contents of the bag until everything seems to be well mixed but try to keep everything towards the bottom of the bag. Once the inside of the bag is a gooey mess, its good. Let out any extra air from in the bag. Place the bag in a warm water bath for 1 hour, flipping it over every 30 minutes. This will help the dough rise. 
  3. After an hour remove bag from water bath, wipe off excess water. Mash the bag a couple of times to work the dough a little and let out any extra air. Let the bag sit on the counter for 40 more minutes, flipping it over at the halfway point. If the bag gets extra poofy, let some of the air out.
  4. To remove the dough from the bag, open the bag and toss in about 1/4 cup of flour. Slowly try to coat the wet dough with the fresh flour until you can slide the dough out of the bag. Place onto a flour dusted counter top or large cutting board. 
  5. Knead dough with about 1/4 cup of additional flour for about 2-3 minutes just until its no longer super sticky. Smooth out the dough by rounding the sides and tucking the edges underneath towards the center until the dough is in a round shape. 
  6. Flatten dough slightly and cut dough in half. You may use this as a pizza dough at this point and flatten it or continue by cutting the half into half again. Then slightly roll the dough out to about 6 inches long and cut into 4 pieces. Do this for the other half of the dough. You should have 16 pieces. 
  7. Take one of the 16 pieces and roll it out until its about 12 inches long. Then take one end and bring it up to meet the other end and pinch together but still keeping the 2 strands separate then start twisting until it coils in on itself and produced a knot. Pinch the ends together so the knot doesn't come apart. Repeat. 
  8. Place knots on a greased baking sheet. Brush a light layer of olive oil on top of the knots then bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes or until the knots turn golden brown
  9.  To make garlic butter: place chopped garlic, parsley, butter/oil, and some salt & pepper in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 20 secs, remove, stir and return to microwave for an additional 20 secs. Stir in Parmesan and set aside.
  10. Once knots are baked and removed from the oven, immediately top knots with garlic butter or toss knots + garlic butter together in a large mixing bowl until they become coated. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ultimate Salted Caramel Brownies!

It's April! Spring is here (or I guess it's been here for a couple of weeks now to be more specific). I'm so excited because this year the caveman and I have decided to grow a herb and veggie garden! For the longest time, I'm like gardening is for when people retire and need something to do. Why would you ever want to garden?? Uh because its awesome! It's like having a farmer's market in your own backyard whenever you want! I started a mini herb collection last year towards the end of summer and it was surprisingly fulfilling seeing those little green guys grow and it was ever so delicious when I got to use them in dishes. Fresh is the best! So this year since I have a bit more free time on my hands, I decided to venture out. We got a few plants from friends and some we started from seeds, those were like our little pride and joy because to be honest, didn't think they would come up but they did! We just transferred some of the plants into bigger planters so we'll see how they'll do when the time comes. So far we have a variety of heirloom tomatoes, pepper plants, herbs and little Yukon gold potatoes. Yup potatoes....because we had a few that were starting to root on us so why not throw some dirt on it and make more?! Of course only downside to this whole gardening thing is the wait... but I think the end products will totally be worth it!
 
Now onto a different note, brownies! Soft gooey, chocolatey, rich, warm brownies... now I bet you want some too. No worries, I've got you covered, here's a nice and quick pain free recipe. Throw everything into a mixing bowl, mix and bake. Sounds just like the box brownie mix method doesn't it? I thought so too when I realized everything eventually ended up together. I was somewhat fooled with the multi-steps in the recipe I adopted this from so my end result was a couple more dishes to wash. Oh well. 

I had to up the game a little by adding in chips, coffee, caramel and what not but feel free to skip all that if you want and you'll still get some pretty amazing brownies. Good bye to lazy box brownies and hello to 'gourmet' homemade brownies that are just as lazy. Win!


Ultimate Salted Caramel Brownies
adapted from Best Brownies @ All Recipes.com
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp instant espresso/coffee syrup
  • 1/4 cup of salted caramel sauce or Torani Caramel Sauce if you're feeling lazy
  • salted caramel candy pieces (optional: sooo bad but sooo good)
Procedures:
  1. Melt butter over stove in a stainless steel pot (about 4-6 quart because this will be your mixing bowl). Remove from heat, whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well mixed.  
  2. Stir in cocoa powder, flour, salt, instant espresso, and baking soda until you get a smooth batter, add in chocolate chips. 
  3. Pour 1/2  the batter into a sprayed or oiled baking dish. Drizzle half the caramel sauce into the batter (toss in caramel candies) and pour the remaining brownie batter on top, drizzle with rest of the caramel sauce. 
  4. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let brownies set a little, then enjoy!