Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Carrot Pie

I told you I was going to make this pie! I found the recipe on Melynda's food blog, Mom's Sunday Cafe, during a recent Taste & Create event. I knew I had to try it, and now my parents are visiting, and the time is right!

This is a wonderful pie, spiced like pumpkin pie. Yum. We served ours with whipped cream. My 8-year-old boy said, "I love how smooth the pie is, just like whipped cream!" We all enjoyed it, and I will definitely be making this again!

LinkCarrot Pie
from Mom's Sunday Cafe, originally a part of the Family Circle "best of the best" series makes 1 9" pie, serves 8-10

1 pound carrots, peeled, sliced and cooked - about 2 1/2 cups
1 3/4 c milk - Melynda prefers a large can of evaporated milk and fresh milk to equal the requested amount, and that's what I did too.
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 t salt
1/2 t each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

1 9 inch pie shell - recipe follows or use your own favorite, assemble the crust while carrots cook
Cook in plain water until tender, drain well. While carrots are cooking you can make the pie crust.

1 9" Pie crust
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t sugar
6 T butter
2 ice cubes and 1/3 c water in a cup

Combine all crust ingredients except water, cutting in with a pastry blender (or 2 butter knives) until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Using a teaspoon, dribble ice water over the flour mixture and toss together with a fork. Continue dribbling water and tossing together until mixture begins clinging together, taking care not to use any more water than is necessary. Roll out, ease into your 9 inch pie pan and proceed with pie instructions.

To finish the pie, in blender cup, combine the cooked and drained carrots along with the milk, buzz to combine. This will completely cool the carrots, add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until smooth. Pour into pie shell.

Bake 450 degrees 15 minutes, reduce heat to 300 degrees, continue baking 45-50 minutes, or until done. Let cool, serve with whipped cream and a fresh dusting of nutmeg.

Taste & Create: Chinese Fried Rice

Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is FUN. If you'd like to sign up, check out How it Works or email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com by the 8th of every month!


My other Taste & Create partner this month is PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds. PJ and I have been partners before, but it's been a while. I always love being paired with her so I can try totally new things! I made her delicious Vegetable Kurma, and did some experimenting with her Meethi Paratha and Homemade Paneer recipes!

I'm so glad you're back, PJ!!

This time, it didn't take me long to decide to make PJ's Chinese Fried Rice. I happily discovered that we actually have all the ingredients, every single one! Well, except for the ginger garlic paste, but I've made that before.

The only problem, for me, is that many of the ingredients need prep. I don't mind chopping, but you have to cook the rice, boil and shell the edamame, I had to cook my sprouted lentils, make the ginger garlic paste...whew. I used the same pan/lid first for the rice, then the lentils, then the edamame (mine are frozen). But still, all that felt like it took forever.

Lucky I even had sprouted lentils in the pantry! I had found and picked up a bag of dry truRoots Organic Sprouted Bean Trio...including lentils, mung and adzuki beans. We've been cooking the beans and tossing them on salads, which I love, so I was excited to use them another way.

So after everything, this rice is worth it! It is healthy and delicious, I think my dad called it "excellent." Try this soon!!

Chinese Fried Rice

2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 onion, finely chopped (I had huge onions, so I used about 4 thin slices)
1 firm tomato, finely chopped (I used 1/2 a big tomato)
1 small green pepper, finely chopped (I used 1/2 a big green pepper)
a handful sprouted lentils (I used sprouted lentils, mung and adzuki beans)
1/4 cup boiled edamame (my family loves edamame, so I used almost 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (I used tamari)

Salt to taste
Spring onions, chopped to garnish

  1. Prepare all ingredients.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok on high heat add the ginger garlic paste.
  3. Stir once and immediately add the onion and saute.
  4. Add the tomato and pepper and stir for a couple of seconds,
  5. Add the sprouts, edamame and the soy sauce.
  6. Keep stirring continuously for a minute and add the cooked rice and lower the flame.
  7. Check for salt and add a little. The soy sauce will have some salt so check before adding.
  8. Stir and cook for a minute for the flavors to blend. Remove from flame and serve hot garnished with spring onions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ginger-Garlic Paste

A quick post for Ginger-Garlic Paste, a fairly common ingredient in some Indian dishes. I've made it before, I need it again and I don't want to lose the recipe, so here it is. I will be making some again this week, so I'll post a picture.

The original recipe is attributed to Charishma Ramchandani on

Ginger-Garlic Paste

6 cloves garlic, peeled,washed and sliced
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled,washed and chopped into thin long slices
1/8 cup water

Put everything in a blender bowl, cover and process until smooth.

Use in recipes that call for ginger-garlic paste, like this delicious Mushroom-Peas-Corn Pulao.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Taste & Create: Irish Cheese Ball

Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is FUN. If you'd like to sign up, check out How it Works or email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com by the 8th of every month!


One of my Taste & Create partners this month is Laura of Tasteful Diversions. I was happy to see all of Laura's recipes organized by category on one page! While several of her recipes look delicious, I was intrigued by the Cheese Ball with variations.

I chose the "Irish" variation, mostly because I couldn't imagine what a cheese ball with Bailey's Irish Cream in it would taste like, so I had to find out.

This is a delicious cheese ball! There is a slightly tangy flavor from the Bailey's, which adds interest without a heavy alcohol flavor. It's good! We all liked it. (Mine turned out a little flat because we couldn't wait the full three hours...)

Irish Cheese Ball

1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 – 1 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)

Blend all ingredients together in food processor until creamy. Empty contents of food processor onto large square of plastic wrap. Holding all for corners of plastic wrap, twist plastic closed. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. When firm, remove from plastic wrap and shape into sphere. Roll ball in chopped pecans.

Serve with crackers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

*The polls are open for the Chile Challenge!
Please hurry and vote for The Bad Girl's Kitchen's fabulous chile chocolate tarts. Voting will close at noon PST on 9/16!*

I was thrilled when I received an email from Kate from Marx Foods, asking me if I'd like to join in their Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge! Of course I said yes, we love chiles! And she shipped me some free samples of six different dried chiles! We received Aji Amarillo Chiles, Cascabels, Habaneros, Japones Chiles, Mulato Chiles and Puya Chiles. What a great-smelling package!

My husband and I started thinking about all the things we could make for the challenge, and ultimately decided on a dessert, which may or may not surprise you. To us, there just aren't enough spicy desserts. It took us several days to figure out the components, but the flavor descriptions on the packages, as well as sniffing them each time we walked by, were very helpful in our decision-making.

The Aji Amarillo Chiles' flavor is described as "Fruity, poblano-esque." Obviously this pushed us toward strawberries. We also considered raspberries, but didn't want to overwhelm the flavor of the chiles.

The Mulato Chiles' flavor description is "Chocolate/Licorice," well you can guess where we used those!

After chocolate and strawberries, it didn't take long to come up with the other components of the dessert. In fact, I brainstormed while taking my 8-year-old to school one morning, and made him write down notes for me:

"Straw 8erry chiLe redUction VineGar? Sugartart crUStChocoLate chiLe vaniLLacream DoLLoP"

You can see we changed it up a bit, and modified the recipes to include the chiles and created techniques for maximum chile flavor extraction, to end up with:

Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

We used a classic French Sugar Tart Crust, intensified a Dark Chocolate Truffle filling, trusted Julia's good old Crème Pâtissière, and spiced up one of Martha's Strawberry Sauces.

We hope you enjoy this fabulous dessert! The strawberry sauce has a hint of je ne sais pas, which you and I know comes from the chiles. The chocolate puts just the right touch of heat on the back of your tongue. These little beauties are a dream! We absolutely love them.

We prepared the chocolate filling and the strawberry sauce first, then the crust. The next day, right before assembly, we prepared the crème pâtissière. To assemble, gently pipe a generous layer of room-temperature chocolate into each tart crust. Top with a lovely dollop of crème pâtissière, and drizzle with strawberry sauce and balance one strawberry sliver on top, just before serving. I decorated the serving plate with a swirl of crème anglaise. Quite honestly, you can make each separate component of this dessert, except the crust, a couple days in advance, and assemble when ready.

Chile-Spiced Dark Chocolate Filling

Adapted from a recipe in Fran Bigelow's
Pure Chocolate

1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 whole dried Mulato Chile

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat cream with whole chile until almost boiling. Remove from heat and steep for 7 minutes.

Reheat cream just to boiling, remove from heat, strain and pour all but approximately 1/4 cup cream over the chopped chocolate. Make sure you catch the big chile, you'll need that in the next step.

Remove the chile stem, and place the softened, warm chile in a small food processor or stick blender bowl with processor attachment, along with the 1/4 cup reserved cream. Puree until relatively smooth. Strain the cream and chile mixture into the chocolate and cream, pressing with a spatula to extract all the spicy goodness.

Mix the chocolate, cream and spiced cream mixture with a spatula until smooth and combined. Let sit at room temperature, uncovered, for 4 hours.

Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

2 pints strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 - 2 dried Aji Amarillo Chiles

If strawberries are small, cut in half; if large, cut in quarters. Combine sugar, red wine, cinnamon stick and chiles in a skillet; cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Reheat mixture and add the strawberries, cook until berries soften slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Discard cinnamon stick and peppers before serving (but if you're storing for a day or two, leave them in until serving!)

Let sit, leaving chile and cinnamon stick in the mixture until ready to serve.

Sugar Tart Crust

From Pure Chocolate, by Fran Bigelow

*Note: I made small tarts with this dough, with a mini muffin pan. I do not have small tart pans with removable bottoms. I do not recommend you attempt this without small tart pans with removable bottoms,perhaps pans like these, or maybe this pan...

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup cake flour
all-purpose flour for dusting

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg yolk. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until pale yellow in color and completely smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add the cake flour. Mix on low speed just until blended, being careful not to overmix. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and gently pat into a ball. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Lightly butter twelve 3-inch round tart pans with removable bottoms. (I used a pan with no removable bottoms; not recommended). Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Let the dough warm on the counter for about 20 minutes, until pliable but still cool to the touch.

On a lightly floured board gently knead the dough a few times. Pat into a ball, then with the palms of your hands flatten into a 5-inch round disc. Roll the dough our into a rectangle, about 9 by 12 inches. With a 4-inch round cookie cutter cut out circles. Transfer the circles of dough to the buttered pans, pressing into the bottom and sides, keeping the sides even and thick. Trim excess dough along the edges. Pierce the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Dough scraps may be gathered, returned to the refrigerator to chill, and rerolled.

Crème Pâtissière

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups boiling milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a whisk or electric beater and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon. Beat in the flour. While beating the yolk mixture, very gradually pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets so that the yolks are slowly warmed.

Pour the mixture into a clean, heavy-bottomed enameled or stainless steel saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Stir with wire whip, reaching all over bottom of pan. As sauce comes to the boil it will get lumpy, but will smooth out as you beat it. When boil is reached, beat over moderately low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour. Be careful custard does not scorch in bottom of pan.

Remove from heat and beat in the butter, then the vanilla. If the custard is not used immediately, clean it off the sides of the pan, and dot top of custard with softened butter to prevent as skin from forming over the surface.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Taste & Create Partner List

Here is the T&C partner list. Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by September 24th, 2011!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post.

If you'd would like to sign up for NEXT month, please email me by the 8th of the month. You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin!

(this month we had an odd number, so I have two partners, that's not a typo!)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kara-Áge Tilapia and Homemade Ponzu Sauce

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, I received a free box of Kikkoman Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix. I have never heard of Kara-Áge [KAH-rah AH-geh] before, but reading the box and the letter from foodbuzz informed me that it is Japanese-style fried chicken, or fish. "One of the most popular cooking techniques in Japan...Kikkoman has made age-old traditions modern, by simplifying the recipe for today's family."

For the Kara-Áge, my husband thawed and cut up tilapia in 1-1/2" square pieces. The coating mix is very fragrant, right out of the box. It smells delicious. The method couldn't be easier: add mix to a bag, toss fish pieces, then fry in 1/4" oil for 2 to 4 minutes.

The box recommends serving the chicken or fish with Kikkoman Ponzu or Lime Ponzu. Of course I didn't have any Ponzu, and didn't have a clue what Ponzu is, or how to make it, but thank you very much google! I found a recipe in The New York Times. Then reading the Ponzu recipe, I didn't know what dried bonita flakes told me they are dried fish, which of course I didn't have, so I added a splash of fish sauce. That may be completely wrong, but I don't know any better! I used the sake and sugar in place of the mirin, and tossed in a piece of toasted seaweed instead of kelp.

Kara-Áge Tilapia and Homemade Ponzu Sauce

I had such high hopes for this Kara-Áge fish...but the aromatic mix doesn't contribute much flavor to the final product. It tastes like fried fish, which is fine, because that is indeed what it is. It is better dipped in the Ponzu sauce, but overall just not something to get excited about. The Ponzu sauce is fairly tasty, and it will be interesting to see how it is with other dishes.

Personally, the fish made my lips and mouth go a bit numb, so there must be some ingredient to which I was having a reaction. At first I really thought it was the sake in the sauce, but after the numb sensation had worn off, I ate several pieces of fish with no sauce, and surprisingly my mouth went numb again, definitely from the fish itself. I have no idea what that's about, and it's unfortunate, I'm just glad it wore off quickly!

Ponzu Sauce

Source: The New York Times

Yield 2 1/2 cups

Time 15 minutes, plus 2 hours

Homemade ponzu will keep for several days with no loss in quality.

  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup good-quality soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup sake and 1 tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 3-inch piece kelp (konbu)
  • 1/2 cup (about 1/4 ounce) dried bonito flakes
  • Pinch cayenne

  • In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight. Strain. Just before using, you might add a small squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. Covered and refrigerated, ponzu will keep for at least several days.


2 pounds chicken tenders
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 orange halved
1 teaspoon Penzey's California crushed jalapenos
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Green Jalapeño Tabasco Sauce
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup melted butter
1-1/2 chicken broth

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Juice 1/2 of orange.
  • Section other half of orange.
  • In a small sauce pan whisk together the orange juice and green Tabasco sauce.
  • Add the butter, garlic and chicken broth.
  • Simmer 10-15 minutes until well blended and slightly reduced.
  • Spray a baking pan with pure.
  • Toss together the chicken and green onions.  Arrange in baking dish. Add orange sections.
  • Pour sauce over top.
  • Bake 30 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan Potatoes and tortillas.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taste & Create: Carrot Hummus

Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is FUN. If you'd like to sign up, check out How it Works or email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com by the 8th of every month!


My partner for this month was Melynda of Mom's Sunday Cafe. I really thought I knew what I was going to make. I had (still have) a bunch of plums in the drawer in my fridge, and I was going to make Melynda's plum jam with port wine. And I still will. But time has gotten so far away from me, I don't even know where to look for it. And then I kept going back to Mom's Sunday Cafe for one more look around...and after that, I couldn't decide!

Now here it is, past the deadline, but I just ran across a couple more intriguing recipes! Have you ever heard of Carrot Pie? I haven't, but I am totally going to make one. When my parents are in town in a couple weeks, because I think my dad will really like it. So that won't do for THIS month's Taste & Create. However, I also found this recipe: Carrot Hummus. I love hummus, my boys love carrots, it sounds perfect for us. Here we go.

I realized I didn't have tahini or toasted sesame oil, which Melynda uses. I substituted roasted walnut oil instead. I also bypassed the cumin seed garnish, not because I didn't like the sound of it, but because I caught a nasty head cold yesterday and today just didn't have the energy to get it done.

I used 1 large carrot and 2 small ones, I probably could have used a couple more if I had them. Who runs out of carrots, I ask you??

I like the bright orange color of this dip, and the flavor is good too. I had some toasted pita triangles that I made the other day. I'm sure it will taste even better when my taste buds are back to normal, when I will definitely be making this again!

Let me know what you think! And isn't my little carrot spreader the cutest thing you've ever seen?!

Carrot Hummus
Makes approximately 2 cups.

2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled sliced and cooked till tender, drained well.
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained well
1 - 2 cloves garlic
1/4 t salt
2 T lemon juice
1 t toasted sesame oil (I used roasted walnut oil)
1/4 - 1/3 c olive oil

Combine all ingredients and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of processor bowl as needed. Transfer to a serving/storing container. Garnish and enjoy.

Cumin seed & salt garnish: 1 - 2 t cumin seed and 1/4 t salt.
Pan toast until fragrant, crush lightly.

Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top, add the cumin seeds, store in the refrigerator.

Serve with assorted vegetable dippers and crackers.
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