Archive for recipe

Khmer Dessert for a Very Special Birthday Wish

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 11, 2010 by Donna Arriaga

Today is Beth Kanter’s Birthday! Beth is a passionate, inspirational leader in nonprofit tech.  Her blog inspires thousands of people working in nonprofits to use technology in a way that helps them achieve their missions.

Beth turns 53 this year, and she has a very special birthday wish: Raise funds to send Cambodian children to school.

In celebration of Beth’s birthday and in honor of her special birthday wish, I prepared a Khmer Dessert.

Fried Banana Nuggets (Num Chet Chien)
Fried Banana Nuggets (Num Chet Chien)

These banana nuggets were amazing enough on their own. But they’re even better when garnished with coconut ice cream, a tiny dollop of pineapple preserves, and a drizzling of caramel sauce. Mmmm.

Fried Banana Nuggets (Num Chet Chien)

  • 2 Large Bananas
  • 2 Teaspoons of Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 12 Sheets small-size Spring Roll Shells
  • 1 Cup cooking oil for deep-frying

Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Cut each banana into 12 pieces. In a small bowl, mix the bananas with sugar and vanilla.  Cut the spring roll shells in half. Wrap each banana piece in a spring roll shell.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan.  When oil is hot, drop in the banana pieces. Fry until golden brown. Remove pieces and drain them on a paper towel.

Serve with coconut ice cream, caramel sauce and dollop of pineapple preserves.

Enjoy!

And a very happy birthday to Beth Kanter!!!

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Escape from Abhorrent Arborio Prices

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2010 by Donna Arriaga

Arborio for $8.89Home cooked risotto was on the menu last night.  So earlier that afternoon, I decided to jaunt on over to the local grocery store with a quest for arborio.

But what I found left me flabbergasted.

$8.89 for a little over two pounds of rice!!! Now, I knew arborio sold for a pretty penny, but I didn’t think I’d have to shell out eight hundred and eighty nine of them.

Despite how badly I wanted risotto, $8.89 was a price point that I just couldn’t justify for rice. After a scan of the rice selection, I quickly found short grain rice (aka pearl rice) at $2.39 for two pounds and decided to use it a substitute for the overpriced arborio.

Here’s why I knew it would be okay to use short grain white rice as a substitute for arborio:

  • Arborio is a short grain rice.  It’s an Italian short grain variety with a crazy-high starch content.  This starch content is what makes risotto so creamy. (btw… Never, ever rinse your arborio. You’ll wash away some of that great starch.)
  • Pearl rice, or short grain white rice, also has a pretty impressive starch content. It too can absorb massive amounts of liquid without becoming soggy.

Differences that lead me to proceed with caution:

  • While pearl rice does have a high starch content and it absorbs massive amounts of liquid, it does neither quite as supremely as arborio.  So, I knew I’d have to scale back my liquid – slightly.  And, I would have to push these little rice grains to their liquid holding capacity, without causing them to become soggy.

And the result? Absolutely fabulous!

Our Mushroom Risotto was velvety smooth, rich and creamy.  The pearl rice held up wonderfully well… one cup of rice absorbed about four cups of broth and the integrity and texture of individual grains were perfect (no soggy rice here).

Braised Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

The recipes…

Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/3 lb shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup short grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 3 – 4 cups chicken broth, simmering (Mis en place: Keep a pot of hot chicken broth and a ladle on your back burner)
  • Season w/ salt & pepper

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add thyme and mushrooms.  When mushrooms are cooked through, add port and reduce till pan is nearly dry. Add rice and sauté.

Now, the painstaking dedication comes in. Finish the risotto in the traditional, arm-numbing way: Add one ladle of hot broth to the rice; stir till absorbed; repeat until rice is cooked.

Braised Chicken with Figs

  • 2 chicken breast, boneless & skinless
  • 3/4 cup Port
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • 12 Mission Figs
  • Additional olive oil for braising

Combine all ingredients together in a zip lock bag. Marinate for 2 – 4 hours.

Heat heavy pan (preferrably cast iron) on high heat. Pat chicken breasts dry. Add olive oil to pan. Add chicken and sear both sides. Add marinateing liquid (including figs). Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until internal temp on chicken is 165 degrees.

Remove chicken from pan and set aside to keep warm. Thicken remaining juices in pan with cornstarch slurry. Serve sauce and figs over chicken.

Please Boil 1 – 12oz. Can 7-Up

Posted in Portland with tags , on April 8, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

Ever been pressed to come up with a salad recipe for a last-minute potluck invitation? No problemo! …so long as you have a trusty little box of J-E-L-L-O on hand.

Just rummage through your pantry and/or fridge and grab the first 2 – 5 items you see. Set these delectable ingredients to the side. Then, boil 3/4 to 1 cup of any – yes, any – consumable liquid you have on hand. Combine all ingredients, stir and refrigerate to set.

This handy-dandy little tip is brought to you after an intensive survey of some very fine salad recipes. The most creative of which, was…

Jello-Ice Cream Salad (creative use of punctuation, ehe?)

  • 3 (3 oz.) pkg. lime Jello
  • 2 (12 oz.) cans 7-Up
  • 1/2 gal. vanilla ice cream

Boil 7-Up and add Jello to dissolve. Then Add ice cream; blend well. Refrigerate to set.

Ah, but my favorite part of this recipe was the tag line: “Try it–you will like it.

green eggs and ham

For the life of me, all I could think about was Green Eggs and Ham

“You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.”

As for myself, I still have not tried Jello-Ice Cream Salad. Just can’t get past the boiled 7-Up. Oh yeah, and there’s the whole part about intentionally melting your ice cream.

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Hungry for Fishes and Sunshine of Hawaii

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , on March 10, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

With a teasing of sunshine this morning, I almost most convinced myself that the umbrella could remain stashed away. Yes, I realize this is a near-delusional idea — at least until oh, July rolls around. I could have spent another 20-or-so minutes in front of my goLite (a necessary crutch to get through the Pacific Northwest rains), but I needed to stimulate more than just my visual perception.

I cracked open my pantry in search of flavors to stimulate thoughts of summer, and there I spotted it. A bottle of my Macadamia Nut Chili Oil that I had purchased months ago from the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

Macadamia Nut Oil infused w/ Chilies

After a trek to the Beaverton Uwajimaya and a scanning of their amazing fish counter, I came across a luscious cut of Opah. Tonight’s dinner…

Sesame Encrusted Opah with a Sauce of Sweet Soy and Ginger

Opah

  1. lightly seasoned Opah with salt and pepper, then encrusted the sides of the Opah steak in a mixture of black and toasted sesame seeds
  2. lightly drizzled Macadamia Nut Chili Oil on both sides of the steak
  3. broiled the fish for a few minutes — just long enough to gain some great coloring

Sauce of Sweet Soy and Ginger

  1. Sauteed garlic and ginger in Macadamia Nut Chili Oil and Toasted Sesame Oil
  2. Added sweet soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a bit of mirin
  3. thickened the sauce with cornstarch slurry

Mmmm. What a way to lift the spirits!