Indonesian Corn Fritters with Tamarind Chili Sauce

Indonesian Corn Fritters

The Oscars are tomorrow night and I have to admit, I just LOVE them. The glitz, the glam–I can’t help but be swept away in the spirit of the Old Hollywood Glam.

Sure, I haven’t watched all of the top nominated films but the event is the perfect excuse for a fun
“girls night in” filled with lots of cocktails and delish little bites. A  charcuterie board and other finger foods are the perfect accompaniment to a night of gorgeous gowns while my gal pals and I catch up on latest celebrity gossip.

Indonesian Corn Fritters

For my most recent contribution to the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I wanted to make something easy to whip together while unique enough to impress your Oscar going friends. These Indonesian style Corn Fritters are the exact thing and are spiced with South East Asian flavors like Thai chilies, Kaffir lime leaves and turmeric. With just barely enough “batter” to hold the kernels together, the sweet corn definitely is the star especially when dunked into a mixture of Tamarind Chili Sauce and Sriracha.

Indonesian Corn Fritters

Since it is the Academy Awards, I’d recommend serving them with a bright, refreshing cocktail like a Paloma or Blood Orange Margarita– though a chilled glass of champagne would be fab as well.

Much thanks to our friends at Safest Choice™ and to learn more about them and their pasteurization process to eliminate salmonella, please click here.

Enjoy Oscar Night!
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Indonesian Corn Fritters with Tamarind Chili Sauce
Makes approximately 16 fritters

Ingredients:

Sauce:
3 tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon warm water
½ tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Thai bird chile, minced finely
1 teaspoon Sambal chili paste

Fritters:
2 large fresh whole corn cobs (about 3 heaping cups of corn kernels)
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 scallions, chopped (more for garnish)
2-3 Thai bird chilies, minced (depending on your heat preference)
4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves (more for garnish)
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs, beaten
¼ cup rice flour
vegetable oil
sea salt
lime wedges
Sriracha sauce

Prepare the sauce. In a bowl, whisk together all the items and refrigerate until serving.

Stand one ear of corn vertically on a cutting board or in a large bowl. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut down the sides of the corn to remove the kernels. Repeat with the remaining ear of corn.

In a large bowl, mix the first 13 ingredients together. Stir in the beaten eggs and rice flour until just combined. The batter will be minimal and just barely hold the corn and aromatics together.

Take a large cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom pan and pour in oil until it reaches about ½ – ¾ inch up the side of the pan. Allow the oil to come up to medium heat. Carefully place large spoonfuls of the corn mixture in the skillet – avoid having the fritters touch each other. Fry the fritters for about 2 minutes on each side until they reach a deep, golden color. Take caution while frying as the corn kernels may splatter a bit during the frying process. I like to place an inexpensive mesh splatter screen over the skillet while frying. Once done, remove the fritters from the oil and briefly drain on paper towel lined plates. Sprinkle each fritter with a few pinches of sea salt while they’re still warm and garnish with additional chopped scallions and cilantro.

Serve the fritters warm with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, Sriracha and tamarind chili sauce.

 

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Poblano-Avocado-Yogurt Dip >> #MadeWithChobani

Roasted Poblano Avocado Yogurt Dip

Have you heard of the #MadeByChobani challenge that’s going around the food blogisphere?

Roasted Poblano Avocado Yogurt Dip

The task is fairly simple really– come up with a healthy recipe using Chobani® yogurt. But if you’ve been to my site before, you’re fully aware that I have never claimed to write “healthy” recipes. Remember the Holy Trinity of my kitchen?

Bacon, Butter, and Booze!

But it’s a new year and even I can try something new. So……….

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Roasted Poblano Avocado Yogurt Dip

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to whip up a healthier appetizer to go along with all of those buffalo wings and pizza that will be consumed. And the recipe is incredibly easy too!

Roasted Poblano Avocado Yogurt Dip

I grabbed a poblano pepper (sometimes sold in the US as “pasilla”) and charred the exterior. Once peeled, I threw it in a food processor along with some avocados that are rich in potassium, fiber, and monounsaturated fat (“good fat”). Non-fat Plain Chobani® Greek Yogurt, cilantro, garlic and a few spices like cumin were also added to the party. The latter has been known to help with building your immunity and digestion.

Roasted Poblano Avocado Yogurt Dip

The end results?

A wonderfully creamy, beautifully rich, totally satisfying dip. Deeply flavored from the charred poblano and cumin & luscious from the yogurt and avocado.

I chose to serve this healthier dip with tortilla chips (all about balance, right?) but it would be great with sliced veggies or as a spread in sandwiches.

DEE-LISH!

But…I’ll get back to creating some kind of bourbon-bacon dip so y’all know it’s still me.

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Poblano-Avocado-Yogurt Dip
Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 large poblano pepper
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 large ripe avocados, roughly diced (about 3 cups)
5 ounces Non-fat Plain Chobani® Greek Yogurt, or other plain Greek yogurt of our choice
½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
tortilla chips or veggie sticks of your choice

On your stove top range, char the poblano pepper on all sides. This can also be done under your oven broiler. Once charred, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. This will help the skin loosen from the pepper. Once cooled, peel the skin from the pepper and discard along with the stem and seeds. Roughly chop the roasted pepper and place into the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the poblano until it becomes fairly smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and add additional kosher salt as needed. Serve with tortilla chips or veggies of your choice.

Enjoy!

 

Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus

Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus

A few years ago, he and I had a terrible fight….

Trader Joe and I–that is.

What can I say?

He broke my heart — the day he stopped carrying their Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus. Herby, a bit spicy, rich and creamy. I L-O-V-E-D it and would slather it over just about everything.

Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus

Then one day when I came in to grab a tub, it was gone. Sure, T.J. offered a three layered hummus that claimed it had my beloved Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus inside. But once you opened the container, it barely had a dollop of the green goodness in it.

What’s a girl to do?

Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus

It was then time to take matters into my own hands and make my own version so that I could have my fill of whenever I wanted.

I threw a little bit of this and A LOT of that into the food processor and within a couple of minutes, I had something amazing that I dare say, love even more than the original.

True story.

Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus

Just like the original, it’s delicious over breads, to dip all kinds of goodies in, and to use as a sauce.

So T.J., I forgive you for cutting off my hummus supply and still love you for everything else you fill my kitchen with. And let’s face it, who cannot adore that you have your staff wearing Aloha gear? :)

Side note: T.J. is now carrying a version of Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus but trust me when I say this–it’s not the same. I don’t know how they altered the recipe but it’s missing some of the old KA-POW the old hummus did.

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Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus

Ingredients:

1- 2 bunches fresh cilantro, approximately 4-5 loosely packed cups (more to garnish)
1-2 jalapeño peppers, roughly chopped (depending on your heat preference)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more to garnish)
1/3 cup tahini
4 garlic cloves
1 can garbanzo beans (15 ounces), drained with juices reserved
2-4 tablespoons juices from the garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika (more to garnish)

Add the cilantro, jalapeñopeppers, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the items have broken down.

 

Add in the garlic cloves, garbanzo beans, 2 tablespoons of the reserved garbanzo beans juices, kosher salt, black pepper, and paprika. Blend until the hummus is smooth but still thick. If needed, add in the remaining garbanzo bean juices until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and add additional kosher salt if needed.

 

Plate the hummus and garnish with a drizzle of additional olive oil, sprinkle of paprika, and chopped cilantro. Serve as a spread or as a dip.

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

I am a French Fry Monster.

Those crispy, delectable, fried potato-goodness are my vice. But oh–what a glorious vice it is!

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

But seeing how it’s probably not the best idea for me to inhale my weight in fries (though I may or may not have tried before), I’ve got to find alternatives to get my crunchy fix in.

And these Oven Baked Portabello Fries fulfill that craving quite well.

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Thick portabello mushroom strips are rolled into an egg white mixture and then coated with toasted panko breadcrumbs. After a short tanning in the oven, they come out wonderfully crunchy and not the least bit mushy on the inside. And let me tell ya, these beauties are totally crisp. By toasting the panko and then baking the fries on a rather high heat, they’re able to get that wonderful crunch I love when I go to town on traditional potato fries.

Did I mention that they get dunked into a Sriracha Mayo?

You’re welcome.

ps. They’d also be fantastic wrapped up in tortillas with some Avocado-Cabbage Slaw to make some killer veggies tacos.
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Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Sriracha Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced parsley
kosher salt
black pepper

Fries
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
2-3 dashes hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
kosher salt
cooking spray
1 large portabello mushroom cap or 2 medium sized portabellos
½ teaspoon minced parsley

Whisk the first seven ingredients for the Sriracha Mayo in a bowl. Season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.

In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil. Toast over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown. Set the toasted panko into a dish.

In another bowl or shallow dish, whisk together the egg whites, water, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, hot sauce, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Take a wire rack and place it over a baking sheet. Lightly coat the rack with cooking spray.

Slice the mushrooms into long strips approximately 1/3 – ½ inch in width. One slice at a time, dip the mushroom into the egg white mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to gently press the breadcrumbs into the mushroom slice to coat well. Lay the coated mushroom slice on the wire rack. Continue with the remaining ingredients.

Spray the tops of the mushrooms with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip the mushroom fries halfway through the baking process and spray the tops with cooking spray before returning them back into the oven. The fries are done when they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with additional kosher salt and parsley. Serve hot with the Sriracha Mayo.

Thai Fried Fish Cakes

Thai Fried Fish Cakes

Oh…Hey.

So, do you remember when my Fam Bam did a Thai themed Family Dinner? Because if you don’t, let me tell ya it was DEE-LICOUS!

Totes ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK……

And as I said before, my MVP dish of the night goes to my seester’s fried fish cakes. Although humble at first glance, these scrumptious bites are out of this world. Definitive seafood flavor punched with kaffir and something subtly rich—coconut milk.

I wish I had them right now…..like a dozen of them! These beauties poof up when you them and settle down to an even “fritter like” consistency.  And trust me, double the batch because you’ll want more!

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Thai Fried Fish Cakes
From About.com

1 lb (.454 kg) white-fleshed fish fillets
6 kaffir lime leaves, snipped into thin strips
3 tablespoon coconut milk
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste or 1 extra tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
3 green onions, sliced
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili, sliced or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili
1/3 to 1/2 cucumber (to accompany cakes)
oil for high temp. frying
To SERVE: Thai sweet chili sauce, lime wedges, handful fresh coriander

Rinse fish and pat thoroughly dry (if using frozen, the fish will be more moist so be sure to dry it as well as you can). Cut into chunks and place in food processor or large food chopped.

In a cup, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, and brown sugar. Stir with a fork to combine, then pour into the processor over the fish.

Add remaining ingredients (kaffir lime leaf strips, green onion, galangal/ginger, garlic, and chili). Pulse to create a thick fish paste.

Picking up a small amount in your hand (about the size of a golf ball) pat the paste into a small cake and set on a clean plate. Note that traditional Thai fish cakes are small (about 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 to 1 inch thick) and not too thick. Tips: If your paste is too wet to easily form into cakes, add a little flour or breadcrumbs to the mix. As you continue making the cakes, it helps to rinse your hands every so often with cool water to prevent paste from sticking.

Set plate of cakes in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, prepare your pan for frying as well as your garnishes. Cut the cucumber length-wise, then dice up into small cubes and set aside. Pour oil into a small frying pan or wok (at least 1 inch deep).

Heat oil. When hot enough (a breadcrumb should sizzle and cook immediately when dropped in), gently place cakes in oil. Allow to fry 30 seconds to 1 minute before turning, gently lifting cakes from the bottom of the pan (they may stick a little). Fry until golden-brown and drain on paper towel.

Serve fish cakes immediately with the chopped cucumber and Thai sweet chili sauce drizzled over. Top with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice just before eating. Excellent like this, or served with rice for a main course dish. ENJOY!

Make Ahead Tip: You can make the fish paste up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and set in the refrigerator, then form into cakes and fry.

(Isaan) Pork Larb Gai – Thai Minced Pork Salad

Pork Larb Gai

Larb (also often spelled as laap or laab) has been one of my favorite Thai dishes for a long time. It essentially translates to “minced meat salad” and can be made from a variety of different proteins – pork, beef, chicken, fish, duck, etc.

The word larb means “to chop up” in Thai. That’s right folks–authentic larb aficionados use a cleaver to chop/mince their proteins until they reach the perfect consistency. But truthfully, I’m a tad lazy and use pre-ground pork/chicken/turkey.

Andy Ricker, chef and author of Pok Pok does a beautiful job narrating his adventures of Thai cuisine and does an infinitely superior job of explaining the nuances of larb than I ever could. In a nutshell, there are two different schools of larb — the Northern Thai version and Northeastern Thai (Isaan) version. I gravitate towards the Isaan style that is heavily laden with citrus and toasted rice powder. The Northern style also uses various proteins and herbs but often includes pork/beef blood.

Pork Larb

I’m obsessed with Isaan-style larb because it’s truly a flavor explosion (I’m so cheesy). It’s incredibly savory with the garlic, shallots, fish sauce……bright and aromatic from the tons of citrus & fresh herbs…..and rather “earthy” from the toasted rice powder. Whether you eat it with sticky rice or as lettuce wraps, larb has multiple layers of texture, especially when you take intermittent bites of fresh cucumber slices, cabbage or fresh chiles.

My version isn’t totally authentic but it definitely is my homage to the original and can be whipped up in about 20 minutes. Not bad at all when you need a quick bite and its lightness is perfect for a warm summer meal.

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(Isaan) Pork Larb Gai – Thai Minced Pork Salad

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon warm water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
1 tablespoon minced Thai chiles, divided
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 pound ground pork
2 scallions, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon toasted rice powder*
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly torn
accoutrements: extra fresh herbs, lime wedges, cabbage, lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, steamed rice

In a bowl, create the sauce by whisking together the sugar and warm water until dissolved. Add in 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste). Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste), red chili flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high and add in the pork.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the pork around the wok/skillet while breaking it apart to a crumbled consistency. Cook the pork until it is no longer pink, approximately 3-4 minutes. Stir in the remaining fish sauce and scallions.

Remove the wok/skillet from the heat. Toss in the rice powder, remaining lime juice, red onions, mint, cilantro, and basil. Stir in a few spoonfuls of the sauce to taste. Plate the larb with extra fresh herbs, whole chiles, lime wedges, sliced cucumbers, lettuce and cabbage. Serve with either steamed rice or whole lettuce leaves for wraps. The remaining sauce can be served alongside as a dipping sauce.

*If you cannot find pre-ground toasted rice powder, you can easily make your own. Toast uncooked jasmine rice in a skillet over low heat until golden brown. Once cooled, transfer the toasted rice into a spice grinder and grind until you get a fine powder.

French Bistro inspired Family Dinner – C’est Délicieux!

January 2014 Family Dinner

Bonjour! Pour notre dîner de famille, nous avons préparé un menu français.

Yup–that’s what 4 years of French classes at Diamond Bar High School got me. Monsieur Kirkeby would’ve been so proud. Although I can’t be 100% sure that it’s grammatically correct :)

January 2014 Family Dinner

Our most recent monthly Family Dinner adventures swept us away to a French Bistro theme. They’re dishes that were meant for casual dining although I’ve also heard bistro cuisine referred to as “glamorous comfort food”. However you define it – it’s délicieux!

We like to have a plentiful selection of items to nosh on for our Sunday Family Dinners but as they were only 10 of us that night, we had to make some concessions. The biggest challenge was trying to narrow down which dishes we’d prepare…. Poulet Rôti? Steak Tartare? Salade Frisée aux Lardons? Escargots?

So much good food, so little time!

January 2014 Family Dinner

As always, we started off with some adult beverages. Although this time around, I opted not to prepare any mixed cocktails and served chilled sparkling vin from the Loire Valley in central France and a Côtes du Rhône.

While we prepped, we nibbled on an Abbaye de Belloc which is a French sheep’s milk frommage that we picked up earlier that day from Center Street Cheese Shop.

Frommage

Next, we had a hearty Soupe à l’oignon - French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup is rather nostalgic for me. The first “fancy dining” memory I have is eating French Onion Soup with my parents at a restaurant in Minnesota. I couldn’t have been more than a few years old but the fact that none of my siblings were there makes me believe that I must have crashed one of their very few “date meals”.

French Onion Soup

There was a Salade Niçoise overflowing with goodies like olive oil preserved tuna, haricot verts, olives, eggs, and grape tomatoes. My sister took the lead on this and adapted Tyler Florence’s version that can be found here. It was incredibly satisfying and could have been a meal in itself–but we’re gluttons.

Salad Niçoise

I can’t imagine a bistro themed menu without some version of mussels. Our sister prepared her Moules with lots of wine, leeks, celery and fresh herbs. She used P.E.I. mussels that were so plump and were sweet and tender. They took on a creamy texture that was out of this world.

Moules

And then our deep carnivore side took over and we threw down some serious Steak Frites. We opted to go with simply seasoned grilled steaks (ribeyes and T-bones) and then topped them with an herb butter I had made with tarragon, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

To go with the Moules and Steaks, we put our niece, Nini, to work with double frying our Frites. You first fry the potatoes at a lower heat to cook them through to a translucent stage. Then, you crank up the heat and fry them up again so that become crisp and perfectly golden.

This Potato Monster totally approves.

Steak avec Frites

As for dessert, we had an apple Tarte Tatin with ice cream and it was a FLOP!

Seriously!

So for those of you who ask if we never mess up on any dishes — you better believe it! And this Tarte Tatin was a prime example of how you can follow a recipe word for word and still have a disaster. My caramel didn’t set, the puff pastry was a soggy mess…I was SO bummed! It didn’t look terribly bad but trust me, looks can be deceiving.

But I survived and will live to make more desserts. Plus there was still lots of vin left so we commiserated with booze like all honest cooks do.

Tarte Tatin

Despite my failed dessert, it was a fantastic meal! And like I said, with so many other Bistro classics that we didn’t have the time (or enough room in our stomach) to make, there may be a Part Deux to come!

In the meanwhile, fix yourself up the delightful Salade Niçoise that our seester made. You’ll adore it–especially with some baguette and a crisp white wine.

À bientôt!

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Salade Niçoise

Ingredients:
½ tablespoon minced garlic
2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 heaping tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
½ cup quality extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
½ pound petit new potatoes, scrubbed and cleaned
1/4 pound haricots verts, trimmed
10 to 12 ounces canned or jarred Italian tuna packed in olive oil
8 ounces mesclun, washed and dried
½ pint grape tomatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise
6 ounces pitted Niçoise olives

Prepare the vinaigrette. Place the garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, tarragon and olive oil in a small jar.  Add ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper into the jar before tightly securing the lid back on. Shake the jar vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Taste and adjust for seasonings as needed. Set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Stir in a few pinches of salt before adding in the potatoes. Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters before adding them into the water. Allow the potatoes to boil for about 8-10 minutes, until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Toss the warm potatoes with 1-2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to coat lightly.

Add the haricots verts to the same pot of boiling water. Blanch the haricots verts for 1-2 minutes and then drain them into a colander. Immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Shocking the haricots verts will stop the cooking process to stock and allow them to maintain their bright color. Drain them and set aside.

Drain the olive oil from the tuna and use a fork to flake the fish into large pieces. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Arrange the mesclun on to a large platter. Arrange the dressed potatoes, haricot verts, tomatoes, eggs and olives over the top of the greens. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.