Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Post: Impossible Pie

Yay! We have another guest post from Megan. When she sent me this, it totally reminded me of something I would have had back home. If you're a fan of coconut pie, but don't like all the work, this is the perfect recipe for you! I gave it a try, too, to test my blender and couldn't believe how easy it was. Thanks for sharing this, Megan! She says, "It's so ridiculously easy and delicious (if you like coconut). I've tried making it dairy-free using coconut milk, and it tasted good but didn't look as pretty as the dairy version."

Quality late-night snacking!
Impossible Pie
4 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup grated dried coconut

Put all ingredients in blender. Put on high speed and count to ten slowly. Pour into well greased pie plate. Bake at 40 minutes in a 170C/350F oven. After it is baked you have a definite crust, a custard filling, and a rich buttery coconut topping.

Megan also noted, "I found that I had to bake mine about 5-10 minutes longer for whatever reason." My oven runs pretty hot so the 40 minutes was sufficient, but just keep an eye that your golden brown doesn't become burned brown.

Notes: If your blender is not of great quality, you might want to grate cold butter into the blender before blending to keep the blob from just spinning and not mixing. You can find dried coconut powder in the spices section of grocery stores, but most small shops also sell whole dried coconuts if you like more texture. You just have to peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler and grate it. To make quick work of it, you could also use the peeler to make coconut shavings since they will get chopped up in the blender anyway. Because the coconut is not sweetened and dried, you might also consider 1/4 cup more sugar, but I found the sweetness to be fine for my taste.

I really liked this recipe, Megan! It was amazingly easy, and the payoff was tasty. That's my kind of dessert. You can find the original recipe and lots more kitchen-spiration here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello Summer!

As I opened the window in my living room today to let in a little afternoon breeze, I began to feel that familiar warmth of summer. Our house seems to catch the summer heatwave a few weeks later than many other people so it's not yet hot indoors, but this feels like the time of year for barbecues, salads, and cool popsicles. Despite the fact that my glorious spring break will be over tomorrow morning, I will aim to share a summery recipe each week once I'm back at work. If you have a favorite you'd like to share, email me or leave a comment.

First, on the list? Popsicles. My kids think that they should have one every day that it's summer. I fondly remember my dad bringing home these banana "Banjo" pops from the town mini-mart on summer afternoons, and they were glorious. I think my mom hates them, but they were this deliciously creamy combination of fake banana and sweet cream. This comes from a person who otherwise has a general dislike for all fake banana confections. This recipe is my attempt to recreate those afternoon pops with an ingredient list I can pronounce.

Someone is already a fan of these pops.

Creamy Banana Popsicles
3-4 ripe bananas (small local ones or 1-2 big Chaquita style)
1/4 cup cream
1 cup milk
Scant 1/4 cup sugar/honey/maple syrup

Put it all in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds or small cups and freeze until firm. If using cups, add popsicle sticks or spoons when the ice cream is partially frozen then freeze further. Makes enough for a 6-8 piece popsicle mold.

Notes: To save on cream, I strain the thick stuff off our boiled milk and refrigerate it. By the end of a week, I have more than enough for a small batch of popsicles and no waste. I promise it doesn't have any weird smell and has not gone bad in that amount of time. Also, if you plan on cutting back on sweetener, make sure you add enough for the mixture to taste sweeter than you'd like. The sweetener seems to magically reduce during the freezing.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chinese Takeout: Beef with Broccoli

Chinese food is a cuisine we have found to be quite different here than at home. I am fully aware of the fact that most Chinese food in the West bears little resemblance of the real thing, but still some of those dishes are so darn tasty! Here they are usually some kind of interesting "gravy" with globs of cornstarchiness unless you can find a real "no English" kind of place.

A few months ago my husband wanted to make a vegetable side for an Asian dinner and discovered this recipe for stir-fried broccoli. Since that time we've adapted the recipe to make Beef with Broccoli, and it has become a family favorite. It comes together really quickly so you can make dinner in a flash--especially if you're quick at chopping! I think you can probably use this recipe with any combination of vegetables, too.

Beef with Broccoli

Beef with Broccoli
1 large head broccoli, chopped into 1" pieces
500g beef steaks, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chicken stock (OR 1/2 cup water+1/4 stock cube)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, salt, stock, and soy sauce. Heat oil in a wok over medium high heat. Stir fry onions and garlic, stirring continuously, for about 2 minutes. Add beef and fry until cooked through (about 2 minutes). Put onion and beef mixture into a separate bowl. Add broccoli and a few tablespoons of water. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the beef mixture back to the wok and pour the sauce over. Cook over medium low heat for 2 minutes. Stir continuously until sauce becomes thick. Serve over rice. 

Note: To make slicing the beef easier, cut it when it is still just barely frozen. Also, I use a very salty soy sauce so this amount of soy sauce is enough for us, but depending on your soy sauce brand, you might want to check for seasoning right before serving.