Monday, April 25, 2011

A quick one so you know I'm still alive

Cream Filling
the Ugly Binder, from the internet

2 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 boxes (3.4 oz or 4serving size) vanilla instant pudding
12oz thawed frozen whipped topping

Mix all ingredients, one at a time, in a stand mixer, in the order listed. the filling should be pretty stiff before you add the whipped topping. You'll need to refrigerate whatever you are filling.

I made this cake for my dad's birthday. This is the piece I transported back with us so it isn't very pretty. I baked a yellow cake (actually two cakes, but that's a story for another post) and used this filling in between the layers and on top. I added sliced strawberries between the layers and strawberry halves around the edge of the top of the cake.

I enjoyed this filling enough that I definitely didn't want to miss documenting it. If you don't like instant pudding and Cool Whip, this probably won't be for you but I grew up with those things and still like them. I think the heavy cream made this a bit richer and denser which I really liked. Both my boys loved this which is what really made this a winner for me.

I have lots of recipes that I haven't told you about but life is crazy and my computer is dying a slow death, I believe. I will try to post at least one or two a week until I can get back on track again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Add that to the list

Vietnamese-Style Caramel Chicken with Broccolini
The Best Simple Recipes Copyright 2010

1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fish sauce (you can omit)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch strips
2 bunches broccolini
1 TBSP vegetable oil
3 scallions, sliced thin

1. Heat sugar and 1/4 c water in skillet over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is bubbling and very dark brown, about 8 minutes. Whisk in additional 1/4 c water, fish sauce, ginger, half of garlic, and pepper flakes. Stir in chicken and cook until sauce is thickened and sticky and chicken is tender, 10 to 15 min. It seemed like my chicken was giving off too much liquid. I had to turn up the heat and cooked it a bit longer to get it sticky but I think could have used even more time to get darker and stickier.

2. Meanwhile, bring remaining water to boil in large skillet. Add broccolini and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until bright green and tender, about 5 min. Remove lid and cook until liquid evaporates, about 30 seconds. Stir in oil and remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to platter and top with chicken. (I just cooked plain broccoli.) Sprinkle with scallions. Serve.

Up until now I have avoided fish sauce. It wasn't that I was afraid of the taste or the smell, I just get a little hesitant with Asian ingredients due to my son's peanut allergy. But, I looked a little closer and fish sauce was probably safe and probably safe is plenty good enough considering my son was not going to eat this.

Fish sauce definitely wins the 'Stinkiest Ingredient I Ever Added To My Food Award'. Did it taste bad? Not really. It was mainly salty. Very salty. But that smell, my God, that smell. I could not really get past it. It smelled like fish bait pellets. I'd just as soon make Bourbon Chicken and have a similar sweet and salty result without the fishy smell. Honestly, I just don't see the point of the fish sauce. I read that you can substitute anchovy paste and soy sauce and I've never had a problem with anchovy paste (I usually love recipes that use it) so maybe I should have just gone that route.

So I guess I can add fish sauce to the list of ingredients I'd prefer to avoid. It's not a long list. Goat cheese is definitely on that list. I don't get goat cheese either. It tastes like goat.

I've been cooking a lot but the blog posts don't seem to be coming that easily. Hopefully I'll catch up soon.