Sunday, May 30, 2010

Make Ahead French Toast

I made Cinnamon Baked French Toast this weekend and it was amazing! And really easy. The night before I put together the bread (I used French Bread) and egg/milk mixture, as well as the topping (kept in a separate container). Both went in to the fridge to wait. In the morning, I put the topping on and baked it for an hour. YUM.

A time saver... I used softened butter in the topping and mixed it together in a ziploc using my hands to squish the bag. The butter is going to melt so I did not see a problem with larger "chunks" of butter than pea size.

Monday, May 17, 2010

May16, 2010

We met at Teresa’s house for a Thai theme. All were in attendance except Tonya. We missed you, Tonya! Teresa had little boxes of Thai candy as favors and those of us who could open their boxes (Thai wrapping is tamper proof!!) tried it and we loved it! We were all leery and Teresa even said she thought it would “taste terrible”. What a nice surprise in a little box suitable for storing small treasures.

Super cute, perfect, little, quiet, baby Ellie had on her Gourmet Gal attire. Thank you again to Tonya for creating our logo. It makes me smile every time I see it on the blog.

We started with Thai Style Spring Rolls from Janet. Janet had already made the filling and she and Carol prepared the rolls. Janet also made hot and mild dipping sauces. I went with mild and it was very good.

Next was Shrimp Pad Thai. I adjusted the recipe, using 2 tablespoons of fish sauce rather than using any of the soy sauce and anchovy paste. I also used a Thai sweet red chili sauce rather than the “tomato based chili sauce”. Both of my changes are more authentic and I think the original recipe was trying to use readily available ingredients. However, HEB had the authentic ingredients and I could not find either the anchovy paste or the tomato based chili sauce.

Carol made a chicken and mushroom soup with coconut milk. It had a delicate flavor and was very good. It also looks nice with the mushrooms floating on the top.

Teresa made Coconut Curry Beef and Vegetables. I thought I did not like curries and I was wrong! This was delicious! It was served over white rice and had a spicy kick.

Coconut Curry Beef and Vegetables

1 ½ pounds sirloin steak tips, sliced thinly against grain
Salt and pepper
4 tsps vegetable oil
1 tbs red curry paste
3 garlic cloves
2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
12 oz broccoli, florets chopped, stems peeled and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs fish sauce

Pat meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsps oil in large skillet and heat until smoking. Cook half of the meat until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining oil and meat. Remove all liquid and meat from pan.

Add curry paste and garlic to now dry pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in coconut milk, broccoli, and bell pepper and scrape up browned bits. Cook until vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro, fish sauce and browned meat with accumulated juices (only the juices on the plate with the meat, not all the juices removed to make the pan dry). Cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve over rice.

We also had two types of Thai Tea, one with condensed milk and one without. It was very yummy.

To finish our Thai feast, Mary brought a coconut cake with mango sauce and toasted coconut. It was delicious and not overly sweet. We thought pineapple would have been nice in the sauce too.

June we are meeting at Mary’s house. Dates and theme to follow!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

My mom requested Beef Stroganoff for dinner for Mother's Day. I found a recipe at and one of the comments that incorporated all the suggested changes is the recipe I went with.

My parents thought it was great though I am not sure how "authentic" it is. It was super easy since you just throw everything in to a slow cooker (except for the mushrooms).

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

2 pound cubed beef stew meat or chuck roast
2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 sliced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup low sodium beef stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz. mushrooms, sliced (8 oz. if you do not want equal amounts to meat)
1/3 cup sour cream (reduced fat works well)
2 ounces cream cheese (reduced fat works well)
Pat of butter

1. In slow cooker, combine meat, mushroom soup, sliced onions, minced garlic, Worcestershire, water, stock.
2. Cook on high setting for 5-6 hours.
3. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. During cooking time, sauté the mushrooms in butter about 4 mins.
5. Put sautéed mushrooms in slow cooker last 30 minutes of cooking time
6. Check sauce if it needs salt or extra pepper.
7. Stir in sour cream and cream cheese when ready to serve.
8. Best served over buttered egg noodles.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fried rice and coconut cream pie

I have been craving rice lately. I cooked this Ellie Krieger recipe for Chicken Fried Rice and it came out pretty tasty. I added matchstick carrots and bean sprouts and otherwise stuck with the recipe.

Spicy Chicken Fried Rice with Peanuts

Ellie Krieger--Cooking Light, March 2010

makes 5 servings

1/4 c. less-sodium soy sauce

1 T. dark brown sugar

1 t. dark sesame oil

3/4 t. crushed red pepper

2 T. canola oil

2 c. diced red bell pepper (about 2)

1 c. diced onion

1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions

2 T. minced peeled fresh ginger

2 large garlic cloves, minced

5 c. cold cooked brown rice

2 c. diced cooked chicken (about 1 lb)

1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1/3 c. chopped, unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stir well with a whisk.

2. Heat canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, diced onion, and 2 T. green onions to pan; stir-fry for 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add rice, chicken, and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring gently. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 2 minutes, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons green onions and peanuts.

I also made my friend Michelle's father's coconut cream pie. I did not top with the meringue, but with dried coconut (meringue scares me a little). My parents LOVED it. I thought it was good however I must just not be a fan for cream pies. This same filling, sans coconut, can be used to top bananas and Nilla wafers for banana pudding.

Coconut Cream Pie


6 eggs
4 cups of milk (I used skim.. next time will use a combination of skim and full fat)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
14 oz bag coconut
2 pie shells

Separate egg yolks from egg whites and set aside.

Combine milk, butter and sugar in 2 quart saucepan.

Cook over low to medium heat with continual stirring until mixture is just at the scalding point of milk. About 180 degrees or until small bubbles start forming.

Add flour and blend into mixture until dissolved. A hand mixer makes this easier or even transfer to table top mixer to blend the flour into the mixture.

Add egg yolks to mixture and blend evenly. (I tempered first - the possibility of scrambling the yolks scares me too).

Cook this mixture over low to medium heat until it thickens. Usually about the time it boils.

Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and coconut, blending it evenly into the mixture. Pour into 2 – 9.5 inch baked pie shells, cover with meringue and cook in 325 degree oven until meringue is browned, about 5 minutes.

Let cool.


Take the egg whites and add to mixing bowl and whip until mixture starts to firm up. Add 12 tablespoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and continue to whip until the meringue will stand in stiff peaks when lifted with a spatula.

Cover cooled filling with meringue. Pat the meringue with spatula and lift to form still peaks all over the surface.

Cook in 325 degree oven and cook until meringue is lightly browned. About 5 minutes.