Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Coconut Curry Salmon

Welcome to my new favorite salmon recipe. I love salmon so much, that I don't "dress it up" too often. My usual method is to smear it with a light pat of butter and cover in salt and pepper and throw it in the oven. But I do love red curry, and so when I saw this recipe on the amazing cooking blog Pinch of Yum (written by a fellow Minnesotan!), I knew I had to try it.

The salmon gets coated in a paste of spices and then baked at a high temp quickly - watch yours so it doesn't dry out. Dry salmon = gross. You want it flaky but tender and still with a little color. If you don't have a meat thermometer, they are pretty useful for things like this that you don't want to overcook!

But the real star here is the red coconut curry sauce. Oh my word. I could drink this. I love red curry - have you made the curry butternut soup? - and the creamy coconut milk makes this divine. Then there's lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce - those are all an added bonus that make this sauce sing! Throw in some chopped spinach at the end, and serve it over rice, and you have a wonderfully easy, fast, delicious dinner! 

(Note: I had a lot of sauce leftover, so the next night I added some raw shrimp to the sauce, and warmed it until the shrimp were cooked through. I served it over the leftover rice with a side veg. We loved it! If you wanted to make it seem like a "different" meal, you could add rice noodles and bok choy or another good stir fry vegetable!)

Coconut Curry Salmon

1 1/2 pounds salmon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil

Coconut Curry:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small knob of ginger, grated
1 Tbsp. lemongrass paste
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
zest and juice of 1-2 limes
3-4 cups fresh spinach, chopped

For the salmon:

Combine the brown sugar, curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and olive oil in a small bowl or ramekin. Stir until it makes a paste, then rub it liberally over the salmon flesh.  

Place the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 6-12 minutes at 475, placing the baking sheet in the top 6 inches of the oven. Salmon should be cooked to between 125-135 degrees. It will continue to cook after you've removed it from the oven, so don't overcook.

While the salmon bakes, make the coconut curry sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and lemongrass paste; sauté for 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and curry paste; sauté for 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, then fish sauce, lime juice, and lime zest to taste. Add spinach and stir into the sauce until wilted.

Serve salmon over rice, covered with the sauce, and additional lime juice if you like.  

Recipe Source: Pinch of Yum

Monday, May 22, 2023

Custard-Filled Cookie Cups

I was in the mood for a custardy dessert when I happened upon this recipe. And I'm so glad I did - it is delightful! And beautiful! And light and springy! 

I also like that it is portion controlled - it's the perfect size for a nice ending to a dinner - just the right amount of sweetness with a little fruit thrown in for good measure!

You start by making a simple sugar cookie batter, then scooping that into greased muffin tins. After you scoop, flatten it out a bit with your fingers (as above) 

then bake. As soon as they're baked, use a small jar (I used a small Penzey's spice jar!) to make an indentation in each, to create a cup.

While the cookies bake, you make the custard. (If you wanted to make it even simpler, you could just make a box of vanilla pudding. But this custard recipe is VERY good, so I would recommend getting all pastry-chef-ish and going all out on the homemade.) 

Then everything cools, and eventually you can assemble into these cute little individual desserts! Enjoy!

Custard-Filled Cookie Cups

Cookie cups:

  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Vanilla Custard:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

For the cookie cups:

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed and add egg and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Using a large cookie scoop (3 Tbsp), scoop dough into greased muffin tin cups, then press down to flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 10-12 mins or until lightly browned and mostly set.

Remove from oven and immediately use a small jar or container to press firmly down in the center to create a well. Cool in pans for 10 mins, then place on wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the custard: 

In a medium saucepan over high heat, cook 1 cup milk, stirring often until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk remaining 1 cup milk, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch.

While whisking vigorously, slowly pour about half of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return mixture to the remaining milk in saucepan and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and comes to a boil. 

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl, then place plastic wrap directly on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming then place in refrigerator to cool completely.

When ready to serve, whisk custard to a smooth texture and spoon into cooled cookie cups. Top with fruit and dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Liv for Cake

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Ginger Peanut Chicken


This amazing dish has so much flavor! It has become a super regular part of our dinner rotation, and every time I make it (no exaggeration) everyone in the family is exclaiming about "this good chicken!" It is a little unusual for a stir fry like this to not have a sauce, but don't worry! You won't miss it.

The saltiness of the peanuts, the savory garlic and ginger, the squeeze of lime at the end and (most importantly!) the coconut rice, all sing together so beautifully. I could wax on and on. It is so good.

The first step is to cut the chicken and get it marinating for about 20 minutes or longer if you can.  Then get the coconut rice going in your instant pot - it is amazing what a can of coconut milk can do for rice. It is life changing.  

Then cook your chicken, being careful to not stir it too soon - you want to let it get all carmelized on each side. Add in the peanuts and garlic, and get them all toasty, then finally the green onions, cilantro, lime juice and chopped spinach, or bok choy, or some other fun vegetable. I almost always use spinach because it cooks down so nicely and is a great way to amp up vegetable content in any dish!

Serve over the coconut rice and with your favorite sides - we love roasted broccoli or sauteed green beans especially! And get ready to stock up on chicken thighs and limes... then you'll be ready to make this amazing dish at a moment's notice. 

Ginger Peanut Chicken

1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
4-5 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
zest and juice of 2 -3 limes (you'll use these separately)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups chopped fresh spinach 

2  cups jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
pinch salt

In a medium bowl, combine the ginger, white parts of green onion, lime zest, brown sugar, salt, and olive oil. Add in the bite sized chicken pieces and stir to combine. Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes. 

For the rice, add the rice, water, coconut milk and salt to the Instant Pot bowl. Set on manual high pressure for 3 minutes. When it's complete, let it naturally release for 10-15 minutes. (I just leave it til I'm ready to serve the chicken. The timing works out pretty well!)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and marinade, and let it cook on this side for at least 3 minutes to carmelize. Then flip or stir and let cook another few minutes until it's done. 

Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic and peanuts. Continue to cook and stir until peanuts are golden and roasty, about 2 minutes. Add the cilantro, green onion pieces, and spinach, and stir until the spinach is wilted, then squeeze in the lime juice.

Serve over rice with or without additional vegetables! 

Recipe Source: Pinch of Yum

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