Tuesday, July 7, 2015
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I have only this year jumped on the (sandwich) wrap bandwagon. I was late to the party for lots of reasons, the main one being I couldn't fathom why anyone would want to take the filling of a standard sandwich and wrap it in a tortilla. The calorie count wouldn't change dramatically and ham and cheese in a tortilla tastes no different than when it's slapped between two pieces of bread. My mind was changed by chance, when for want of anything more interesting, I ordered a salmon wrap in a restaurant when we were at the coast. I've been hooked ever since and I'm always on the lookout for new fillings that can be used in wraps. Tonight's feature is a perfect candidate, though I must admit it's also good enough to serve as a stand alone salad if, IF, you make it with freshly cooked tuna. Because fish is so plentiful in this area, I must admit to being spoiled. I can buy steamed fish in most grocery stores, so the only work associated with the wrap is done at the fish market and I can make the salad in minutes once I'm home. If you decide to try the recipe, do be aware that when it's made with canned tuna the filling will be a huge disappointment and not worth your time. The capers are also important. If, however, you have a ready source for fresh fish and are willing to use capers, I think you'll love the salad. It's adapted from one first published on the blog, Just A Pinch. Here is how it's made.
Monday, July 6, 2015
I was airing the house yesterday morning when the doors, front and back, began to shake. It happened so quickly I never saw the movement, but my ears immediately caught the rattling, a noise unlike any our house usually makes. I assumed Miss Lola, our psychotic cat, had gotten into something, so I directed an invective her way, but, otherwise unconcerned, went about my work. I was about to close the doors when I saw a few of our neighbors gathering in the driveway. One was still in his bathrobe, so, I knew something was up and I ducked out to find out what was going on. Californians all, they were waiting for an aftershock from the 4.2 earthquake that I had heard but not seen. They couldn't understand my nonchalance and were sure I'd have been more concerned had I experienced earthquakes before. Little did they know.
In 2008, the Silver Fox and I were on a train belonging to one of China's older more provincial railroads. Our final destination was Chengdu, but our immediate goal was Xi'an and a prolonged visit with its famed Bingmayong (terracotta warriors). It was a rough ride, and we were on a train that lacked the amenities and comfort of China's more modern rail system. The train bumped and swayed as its wheels clicked, mantra fashion, over the tracks. What had been an uncomfortable ride, became more jolting when the train hit a particularly rough patch of track and began to shake violently. I do mean violently. The engineer hit the brakes and brought the train to an abrupt and screeching stop. When the porters and conductors disappeared, our guide pulled out her satellite phone and tried to find out what was going on. She was able to determine there had been a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Provence, and, as best she could gather, we were about 300 miles from its epicenter. We were in no immediate danger, but a train, running in the opposite direction on a parallel track, had derailed and aftershocks signaled the beginning of one of what seemed to be the world's longest wait. Hours after the initial shock, about 300-400 hundred soldiers swarmed the rail bed and began an inspection and repair of the tracks that allowed us to inch toward Xi'an. Once in the city, we found ourselves packed into crowds that were afraid to enter buildings, and instead of an air conditioned coach ride to our hotel, we waked the distance dragging our luggage behind us. Once the hotel was deemed safe, we were allowed to enter our rooms, though they had been changed from the top floor to ones just above street level. After quick showers and a mandatory evacuation drill, we went out for a steamy hot pot, so spicy it could make dragons breathe fire. It was a perfect meal to end a long, long day and we were secure in the knowledge that if the earthquake didn't kill us, the hot pot surely would. We never made it to Chengdu, but we got to see the outpouring of charity from ordinary Chinese citizens who, by the way, are no where near as inscrutable as you've been led to believe. We were also able to witness the first open communication of a tragedy by a government that usually hid such things. Chengdu has become my excuse for another trip to China. Of all the placed we have visited, it is one of the few to which I would return. I love the country, its people and what it taught me about earthquakes and coming together when it's needed.
Now, if you have a sense of humor, the perfect dessert in the aftermath of an earthquake is something that shimmies and shakes. My first thought was lime jello, but I know you all too well for that. You, unequivocally, deserve, something more sophisticated, and I thought Tembleque, a Puerto Rican pudding would be the perfect recipe to share with you today.
Tembleque is a famous Puerto Rican dessert that usually ends meals prepared for special occasions and celebrations. It is a rich and creamy pudding that is easily made and enjoyed by all who love sweet endings and the flavor of coconut. If you count yourself among that legion, I think this pudding, whose name actually means "wiggly", will appeal to you. I used the recipe on the Goya website as my bible, but deviated from it a bit because I thought the pudding needed more flavor than the coconut milk provided. My change was a no brainer. I simply added coconut extract to the pudding at the end of cooking. Coconut rum could also be used, and had I any in the house, I probably would have gone that route instead. Lovers of really sweet desserts will like this pudding. It is easy to make, kind on the budget and brimming with the fresh flavor of coconut. If your tastes run to barely sweet European desserts, run do not walk to the nearest exit, but if you have an insatiable sweet tooth, do give this recipe a try.
Tembleque - Coconut Pudding...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Goya Foods
2 cans (13.5 oz. each) coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1) Combine coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve cornstarch. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 5 minutes . Stir in coconut extract, if using.
2) Pour into six 6-oz. molds, or one 3-cup mold. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 3 hours, or up to 48 hours.
3) To unmold, run thin knife around edge. Invert mold (or molds) onto serving plate. Top with toasted coconut ans sprinkle with with cinnamon, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
One Year Ago Today: Two Years Ago Today:Menu for the Week of July 6, 2014 Bean Burgers
Two Effortless Holiday Treats White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Muffins
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Weekly Menu at One Perfect Bite...
My youngest daughter and her son are visiting with us this week. When my family comes home they usually have requests for dishes they'd like to have while they are here. I received the following list for this visit: Potatoes - mashed, roasted, baked; Chicken enchiladas or something similar;
Rice pilaf or some kind of rice dish; Cheesecake. We'll be exploring and sightseeing most days, so our biggest meal of the day will be taken at restaurants of opportunity or convenience. Food requests will be honored at simple evening meals. We'll return to our more standard menus next week. Here is what I've planned for this week.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Our flag still waves and while we occasionally stumble, America really is a great country. Enjoy the day. I hope you'll be able to spend it with family and special friends. May the only fireworks of your day, light up the evening sky.
Time to Celebrate - Our 4th of July Patio Picnic Menu
Amish Potato Salad
Asian Cucumber Salad
Buttermilk Cole Slaw
Sliced Tomatoes with Boiled Dressing
Chocolate Cake with Cooked Frosting
Lemon Pudding Parfaits
Homemade Ginger Ale
Spiked Pink Lemonade
Friday, July 3, 2015
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've changed our 4th of July menu. I just couldn't have the Silver Fox grilling in 95 degree weather. We just aren't use to those temperatures here in my little piece of paradise, so we may well end up having our holiday picnic on the floor of my living room. I've got a bunch of folks coming and because they are all special to me, I want to make sure they get the best my kitchen can provide. To that end, I've been up to my elbows in dough for sandwich buns. I'm using my favorite recipe for rolls that at one time were called Moomie Buns. Over time the required three changes have been made to her recipe and its name has been changed to Beautiful Burger Buns. I feel badly for Ellen, who was the creator of the recipe. She's a bit like the gal who created the Tunnel of Fudge Cake. Everybody liked their creations and while their recipes became famous, they were politely brushed aside. I still call these Moomie Buns out of respect for their creator, and if you are among the few who have never tried them, I urge you to do so. They are delicious and I know you will love them They have a bit more substance than store-bought rolls, and while I have shaped them as sandwich buns, you can let your imagination run wild and shape them in any way you please. I use a bit less sugar than is called for in the original recipe, but otherwise the recipe remains intact. Here is how these terrific rolls are made.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...If you like Snickerdoodles, I think you are going to enjoy these blondies. They are simple to make and are a perfect project for young cooks or old pros who are working in inadequate summer kitchens. The recipe comes from the blog Baked by Rachel, which you an find here, and it's my understanding that she is the creator of this recipe. These bars are a nice change from brownies and cinnamon loves will be delighted. The bars are moist and nicely and they are a perfect snack that can be enjoyed throughout the day. The bars are simple to make and if you have your butter at room temperature they take all of 10 minutes to make. If you are looking for a new but simple treat for your family, these just might fill the bill. Here is how the bars are made.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Molly Wizenberg - Delancey
Long term readers of One Perfect Bite know I think highly of Molly Wizenberg. I became familiar with her work through her blog Orangette. When her fist book, A Homemade Life, was published, I snatched it up and I've been a fan ever since. Molly's second book, Delancey, was published last year and has recently been released as a paperback. Delancey, like A Homemade Life, is part memoir and part cookbook. It details the travails of opening a new restaurant with a new husband as partner. It is beautifully written and is a must read for all who love the kitchen. Several years ago, I featured one of Molly's recipes and I'm reprising that tonight. it will give you a feel for her skill in the kitchen, but you must actually read Molly to see why her blog received the Saveur Award for best written blog in 2015.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm still working my way through an over-zealous purchase of asparagus. My family loves it, and at this time of year it floods markets at ridiculously low prices. I can't resist a bargain, so I usually end up with more of it than I need, and as a result I'm constantly on the look out for new ways in which to prepare it. This lovely recipe, from The Perfect Pantry, is not pretty to look at, but it is delicious and I know those of you who like fried-rice will love this version. It is substantial enough to be served as a light entree, but most of you will want to serve it as a side dish. It's packed with flavor and it's a terrific accompaniment to plain grilled chicken or pork. My only caution in making this, or any other fried rice for that matter, is to be sure and use day old or cold cooked rice. Freshly made rice turns gummy an makes a decidedly unpleasant stir-fry. You have to be careful with a dish like this. Everyone knows what it should taste like and they can be unforgiving if you stray too far off base. While the ingredients used here are different, they make a wonderfully flavorful dish that is interesting and will appeal to all but the most timid palates. Here is how the rice is made.