Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hurry Curry

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I had great plans for tonight's dinner, but an overly scheduled day caused me to lose yet another race with the clock. It was ticking toward 6 o'clock and I hadn't started the lengthy preparations needed for the meal I had planned to make. I'm not a quitter, but I know when strategic retreat should be the order of the day. In the process, I've also become adept at the spontaneous creation of meals the likes of which you have never seen or heard. Tonight's feature is a transmogrified chicken dish that's been moved from Spain to India. I thawed chicken thighs this morning and I was loathe to let them sit for another night in the refrigerator. That lead to the creation of the quick chicken braise I'm featuring tonight. It's a very mild curry that I think you will enjoy, both for its taste and the ease with which it comes together. I suspect you always have the ingredients needed to make it on hand, and the recipe is quite easy to follow. So, if ever you find yourself pressed for time, you might want to give this pantry recipe a try. Here is how this simple chicken curry is made.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Miniature Scottish Scones with Lemon, Candied Ginger and White Chocolate

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This recipe, sans the white chocolate chips, first appeared in Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life. It's had a great run on the internet, but for one reason, I never actually made the scones. Several weeks ago, I saw a version of it on Pinterest and I decided it was time to make, rather than drool over them. I have a weakness for all types of scones and I assume the world shares my passion. I usually tote them to morning meetings, and because I make them so often, I've become a self-proclaimed expert at their construction. These, with the addition of white chocolate, sounded unbearably delicious. I had one small problem, however. While I can buy squares or wafers, but I've never seen white chocolate in chip, much less miniature chip, form. I solved the problem by taking my chef's knife to a couple of squares of what was available and fashioned small chips of my own. And while I was creating miniatures, I also decided to make petite scones. For the past several years, I've seen the calorie conscious cut single pastries into smaller portions for their plates, so I decided to eliminate the middle man and help them by making my scones pint sized to begin with. I know you will like these. The combination of lemon and candied ginger is one of those matches made in heaven. It is further enhanced by the addition of white chocolate to the mix. The scones have a lovely crumb and when they are served still warm, paradise comes suddenly near. Here is how they are made. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Asian-Style Pasta with Peas, Peanuts and Cucumbers

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'll be on my own for dinner much of this week, so I'm going to try making dishes that will feed one person without having leftovers to deal with. I'll be able to do that for most of the week, but I had to make an exception tonight. I had a quantity of snow peas that simply had to be used before they became fodder for the compost heap. I didn't want to waste them and couldn't bear the thought of another stir-fry, so I did a quick search for recipes where they might be used. I finally settled on this one for peanut noodles. It appears everywhere, but I think it was originally developed for Food and Wine magazine, and they should be the ones credited for its creation. While I have several excellent recipes for noodles of this type, they don't use snow peas and would not easily adapt to their addition. Because this recipe was an ideal solution to my "pea" problem I've ended up adding yet another recipe for peanut noodles to my repertoire. I can honestly report that this dish is fast, easy and delicious. I will make it again, although it presents some problems. Unlike most dishes of this sort, these noodles are served hot. The vegetables are added just before serving to keep them crisp-tender. Herein lies the problem. When the dish is reheated it becomes goopy and the vegetables become limp. That means leftovers will leave much to be desired. As written, the recipe makes four very generous servings. Try to manipulate ingredients so you have no leftovers to deal with. Barring that, have an impromptu pot luck and invite the neighbors to eat with you. Despite problems with re-heating,  those of you who make this dish will be pleased with the results. Here's the recipe.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chinese-Style Chicken with Dried Mushrooms

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is another great recipe to add to your collection of quick and easy meals. While the mushrooms have to soak, once they are softened you can have the dish on the table in 10 minutes. The mushrooms are what give this dish its flavor. Chinese dried mushrooms (also called black mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms) have a meaty taste that enhances the flavor of any dish to which they are added. I use them often, and buy a large bag at a warehouse store so I always have them on hand. Most preparations that use dried mushrooms, also use their soaking liquid to add additional flavor. To maximize the flavor of dried mushrooms, it is important to soak them properly. Submerge them in hot water and make sure they soak long enough to really soften. I let mine sit for 30 to 45 minutes. If you plan to use the soaking liquid, remove any impurities by pouring it through a fine sieve, and, if you wish a still stronger stock, it can be boiled to reduce and concentrate its flavor. The rest of this recipe is child's play and you'll have no trouble making a great meal for your family. Here is how this Chinese-style chicken and mushroom dish is made.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

An Old-Fashioned Southern Cornmeal Pound Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I think I've been cooking too long. I was at the meat counter this morning and found myself wishing for a new kind of meat. I'm tired of beef and pork and my patience with poultry is starting to fray, so I'd really like to expand my horizons. I'm perfectly willing to go where no man has gone before, at least in my kitchen, but I've found that's easier said than done. There aren't a lot of new recipes out there. There are, to be sure, scads of recipes to which new descriptors have been added. You know the kind I mean - Bacon Wrapped, Egg-Stuffed, Herbed Meatloaf with Tomato Fondue and Cumin-Flavored Goat Cheese. The thing is, no matter what they do to it, it's still meatloaf. Things in the dessert world aren't any better. I was looking for new cake recipes and found the only way I'd find them was to move back in time rather than forward. I had the good fortune to stumble on an old recipe in Eat Drink Film in an article that was written by Dianne Boate. She found a recipe for cornmeal pound cake in a regional cookbook called Vittles. As it happens, this old, but new to me, cake would make a perfect base for local berries that are appearing in our farm markets. I decided to give it a try, and I was pleased enough with the results that I am comfortable passing the recipe on to you. The cake has a unique texture and it makes a gutsy berry base. Here is how this old-time favorite is made.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

Emeril's Asparagus Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The asparagus crop here in the Pacific Northwest appears not to have been hurt by our strange spring weather. I have so much of it that I've had to research ways in which to use it. I came across an asparagus soup recipe develop by Emeril Lagasse that sounded good enough to eat. It turned out to be that and more. The soup is decidedly understated and could be elegant if served in small cups or terrines. I opted to serve bowls of it as part of a salad supper. This is a creamy soup that achieves its smoothness without the addition of large quantities of milk or cream. No part of the asparagus is wasted in its preparation. Even the woody stalks are simmered to make the both in which the other vegetables are cooked. I will make this soup again during asparagus season. It would be prohibitively expensive at other times of year. The recipe can be halved or doubled depending on your needs. This soup would also be delicious with the addition of a good curry powder. Here's the recipe as it was originally developed.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chocolate Cinnamon Cracks

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's been a while since I featured a recipe for cookies. The chocolate and cinnamon gems I'm featuring tonight are the result of trying to replicate cookies one we had on Whidbey Island last weekend. While I have to do more testing before I get it exactly right - or, alternatively, request the recipe from the innkeeper - my first effort produced a very nice, very chocolate cookie that's good enough to share with you. These crinkly topped cookies are delicious and I know all chocolate lovers will appreciate the chocolate and cinnamon combination. The cookies are simple to make, though the dough must be refrigerated before they can be formed and baked, so chill time must be factored into your baking plans. Couples and small families will especially like this recipe because the dough can be shaped and frozen in sensible quantities that can be baked at a later date. Here is how they are made.

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