Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thai Iced Tea

Lately we've been obsessed with having iced tea ready to go and this sweet treat is going to be an occasional go to for us; it has tons of sugar in it and we don't like having too much of that around here.  I adapted a recipe that I found on this blog, White on Rice.  I knew I would NEVER buy the pre-made stuff with those additives and yellow dye but appreciated their attempt at mimicking a Thai restaurant splurge.  Here it goes.....

Thai Tea Mix
2 tsp loose black tea (I use Davidson's Ceylon OP loose black tea that I got from Amazon) or 2 black tea bags
2 tsp loose rooibos tea (I use Davidson's loose rooibos tea that I got from Amazon) or 2 rooibos tea bags
2 disposable paper filter tea bags (I just put the bags filled with the tea into the composter when I'm done)
4 c water
1/2 c sugar
1/2 Tbsp (1 1/2 tsp) of vanilla bean paste (I use Nielsen Massey that I got from Amazon)

Bring the water to a boil and add the teas, sugar, and vanilla bean paste.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 min; remove from heat and steep for at least 30 min (I steeped for 1 hour but only because I was busy making dinner and kind of forgot about it).

Thai Tea Assembly
Pre-made tea mix
Half and half (I use organic)
Glasses filled with ice

Pour the tea mix into the glasses and fill almost to the top.  Splash some half and half into it, stir it around, and enjoy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ryan's Sangria

My husband is a genius with computers but his talents also reveal themselves in the kitchen.  I present you with the BEST Sangria recipe on the planet.  Sorry, no pic.

1 bottle of red wine
1 lemon juiced
1 orange juiced
1 lime juiced
2 Tbsp sugar
splash of OJ
2 shots Gin
2 shots Peach Brandy
1 c sliced strawberries
1 can diced pineapples
1/3 c coconut milk
2 Tbsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean sliced in half
1 (2 liter)  bottle ginger ale ( I buy Fever Tree but buy enough to make 2 liters)

Mix all alcohol, juices, and fruit slices together. Place in the sun in a closed jar for 3 to 5 days. Strain liquid from solids.  Discard solids.  Add coconut milk and ginger ale. Serve over ice.

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled if you'd like.  It's really amazing what fermentation does to this drink.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Homemade Cajeta

All good things must come to an end, and thus I say farewell to Vegan town.  Although I visit regularly for culinary inspiration,  you won't be the only town I visit.  With that said, here's a recipe for some delicious cajeta, a delicious goat milk Latin caramel candy.  Use it in coffee, over ice cream, in ice pops; really the sky is the limit.  It is SUPER sweet so please proceed with caution when using.

I am super lucky to get my hands on 2 gallons of raw goat's milk every month.  I have homemade feta in the fridge right now, and needless to say, it is awesome.  If you live in the Central Valley of CA I highly recommend that you contact Meg Dickey and sign up for their herd share program.  The milk those goats make is beyond delicious.  If you can't get your hands on goats milk, you could use whole milk just make sure it is not ultra-pasteurized or it just won't work.  Without any further delay....

Modified from a recipe in Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking soda
12 c whole raw goat's milk
3 c sugar
1 vanilla bean split down the center
1 small piece of canela (cinnamon stick)

I added the vanilla and cinnamon myself.  I just love the flavor of dulce de leche so much I thought it would make a nice addition.  Don't feel as if you have to add, omit the last two ingredients if you are just not that into them.

Add 1 cup of the milk into your stock pan along with the cornstarch and baking soda.  Using a whisk, incorporate the starch and soda until no lumps are visible.  Add the rest of the milk.  Over med-high heat, bring to boil, stirring occasionally.  Once it boils, remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean if using and stir constantly until you get a caramel consistency.  I usually make sure that the sauce coats the back of my wooden spoon.

Pour into clean jars, cover with a clean dish towel, and allow to it to come to room temp.

Once this happens place the lids on top and store in the fridge up to a month.  If you plan on using it over ice cream, heat it in microwave or place jar in a bath of hot water for a bit.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Korean Fried Tofu in a Sweet-Soy Garlic sauce

This is one delicious meal!  I made it as part of our Soup Sunday fare and it was a huge hit.  I wouldn't recommend using this batter technique unless you plan on tossing the tofu in some sort of sauce.  I have made mole tofu this way and it was out of this world!  I hope you make this for your family and tell me what you think.

Korean Fried Tofu
 America's Test Kitchen

3 quarts vege oil ( I use a fry-daddy so I use much less)
1 1/2 c cornstarch; place 1 c in a bowl and 1/2 c in another 
1 x 16oz block of extra firm organic tofu ( no gmo's would be ideal), drained and cut into strips; see below
1 c water ( add to the bowl with 1 c cornstarch in it and mix to combine)
2 scallions, sliced thin and the bias; garnish
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves minced; garnish

This is my high tech way of  removing the excess liquid from the tofu.  I place a kitchen towel down and then place my tofu onto it.  I cover with another kitchen towel and place a brick over the top towel and directly on top of the tofu.  I let it sit for at least 1/2 hour.

While this is draining I make the sauce........

Sweet-Soy Garlic Sauce
America's Test Kitchen

*Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan as it will need to go into one anyway ; no need to dirty up any extra dishes*

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c tamari
1/4 c water
3 medium garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sriracha ( I use 2 tsp)

Heat over medium heat until syrupy, about 5 min.  Let cool to room temperature.

Now that the tofu is drained and the sauce is made it's time to fry it up.  Place the oil in a dutch oven with a candy / fry thermometer attached.  Wait until the oil reaches 350 degrees.  Or in my case heat the oil in a fry-daddy or deep fryer or your choice.

You'll need to dredge the tofu strips in the 1/2 c of cornstarch first and then place them in the water / cornstarch mixture you made earlier.  Fry them in batches until they are golden brown.  I remove excess oil by placing the tofu onto paper grocery bags then place into a bowl.

Once the tofu has been completely fried you top with the sauce and gently stir to combine.

And there you have it.  Place this delicious tofu over some rice and top with the garnishes and you'll have a delicious meatless meal.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hibiscus Martini

This month I am hosting my book club and wanted to serve martinis.  I will be serving a pear, cardamom, clove, and orange peel martini as well as this red beauty.  This hibiscus martini is perfectly balanced with alcohol, sweet, and sour (fresh lime juice).  The hardest part of this drink is making the hibiscus syrup but once it's made you'll have syrupy goodness for a while.

Hibiscus Martini (a Casa Clark original recipe)

2 oz hibiscus syrup (recipe follows)
2 oz vodka
1 oz fresh lime juice ( read this article and it'll illustrate what I mean by fresh juice; thanks E for sharing this)
hibiscus flower in syrup for garnish (optional)

Place all your ingredients except for garnish into a shaker and shake until the outside of shaker is cold.  Place your garnish at the bottom of the martini glass and pour cold drink over the garnish.  Enjoy.

Hibiscus Syrup
I actually found this recipe online.  It calls for fresh hibiscus flowers but I used dried Jamaican flowers that I purchased at the Latin market (RN) for about $3.  If you have seen this syrup at Amazon be prepared to pay $11 for a bottle of 8.8 oz.  You not only save money but have enough ingredients to make it over and over again.  The flowers are super pretty  in flutes topped with champagne (I'll post a pic once the girls come over on Saturday).

20 dried whole hibiscus flowers
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
2 c water
2 c sugar

Place your flowers and lemon juice in a microwave proof bowl and nuke for 2 min. on high.

Add the water, sugar, and hibiscus flowers in lemon juice to a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced by 1/3.  Allow the syrup to come to room temperature.  Use a slotted wooden spoon to retrieve the flowers or strain flowers from syrup into a clean bowl.

Gently place the flowers into a clean mason jar and top with the syrup so that they are completely covered ( I prefer to use a wide mouth version because it's easier to get the flowers out when you want to use them).  Add the surplus syrup into a clean mason jar and cover both jars.  Place in refrigerator and store for up to one year.  You can also make hibiscus vodka with it. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let them eat vegan Pho

Casa Clark has gone vegan.  It's been coming for a while and it's been a good thing especially for me.  R and C aren't too convinced yet  and occasionally ask for eggs, cheese, and milk (although C has been drinking lots of my almond milk lately).  It's been a challenging culinary adventure but I'm not one to shy away from a fight.

One of my most favorite things in the world is the wonderful Vietnamese rice noodle soup Pho.  The only problem is that as a recent vegan I know there is fish sauce lurking in the savory depths and was bummed that I couldn't have it especially since it's gotten a bit chilly out there.  I was looking at my p.v. (pre- vegan) cookbooks and found a Pho recipe in my Cook's Illustrated The Best International Recipe cookbook and liked some and changed some.  You'll die at the depth of flavor in the broth and have a healthy dinner to boot.  The secret to this broth is time, so start it the night before or before you head out to work.  Trust me, it's worth the wait.

Vegan Pho Broth (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
You'll need a dutch oven and crock pot for this one.

4 tsp vege oil ( I didn't actually measure the oil and just added enough to cover the bottom of my dutch oven)
4 medium onions sliced
8 medium garlic cloves, pressed
2 lemon stalk with tough outer edges removed and sliced thin; only use the bottom 5" of it
20 c water
4 Tbsp tamari
4 Tbsp sugar
8 star anise pods
8 whole cloves
a handful of dried shiitake mushrooms
a piece of Kombu for dashi cut in half
mushroom soy sauce or tamari to taste
1 piece of lemon grass with outer skin removed and mashed a bit with the back of a knife ( to add to crock pot)

Add the oil to your dutch oven and warm up; add the onions and cook until caramelized.  This is a very important step because it will add color and flavor to the broth.

Add the garlic and lemon grass and cook until fragrant.  Add the water, tamari, sugar, dried mushrooms, and kombu.  Now you can add the star anise and cloves but I place 4 star anise and 4 cloves into a tea pouch ( so you'll make 2 pouches) and then add.  It makes it easier to get them out later.  It'll make sense.

Place the lid on your dutch oven and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat a bit and allow to simmer for 10 min.  Now here is where the magic happens.

Before you strain your broth into the crock pot be sure to dig out one of your spice pouches and the kombu; set aside.  Strain the rest of your broth into the crock pot and add the reserved spice pouch, kombu, and the macerated lemon grass.   Cook it on low for at least 8 hours.  Season to taste with more tamari or mushroom soy sauce as needed.

As far as the garnishes go, the sky's the limit.  I personally like to use bean sprouts, chopped tofu, carrots, green onions, sliced bok choy, sliced jalapenos, sliced cabbage, cilantro leaves, rice noodles, and Thai basil of course.  You place your garnishes into your bowl and then top with the hot broth.  Add some Sriracha and you're in business.  This is super healthy and delicious comfort food that you'll crave throughout the winter.