Batter Licker

June 27, 2012

plantain and coconut fritters with sriracha yogurt sauce

About that Sriracha Yogurt Sauce in the title: it’s super easy and fast to make, and the perfect balance of spicy, tangy and creamy. But I have no evidence that it exists.

A smarter, more patient person would have snapped a photo of Sriracha Yogurt Dipping Sauce. But I dipped and noshed first, littering the spicy and tangy yet creamy sauce with unsightly crumbs. Soooo not photogenic.

But I didn’t really think about that until now, as I’m trying to invent excuses. Forgive me. I must have been famished. I plowed through the whole bowl of sauce.

On top of that brilliant mishap, I’m told it’s barbecue season. Summer; heat; sunny outdoors. Clearly a great time to grill.

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So, instead, I thought I’d send something golden and fried your way. You know, in case you want to surmise an alternative to the traditional burger accompaniment: The Almighty French Fry. Because plantains will still satisfy that starch craving, but combined with some coconut flakes, they’re so much tastier, and sound much more sophisticated. Possibly healthier too, but I didn’t verify that. (more…)

May 2, 2012

marinated asparagus and lime-coconut milk hollandaise

Every few months or so, my friends Bill and Rebecca host a “Top Chef” dinner competition that’s actually more in line with “Iron Chef.” A secret ingredient is unveiled, and two teams of friends brainstorm to devise a menu featuring that ingredient in each dish before venturing out to the local grocery store.

Upon return, kitchen chaos ensues. Each team scrambles to grab the kitchen tools they require or, as often is the case, improvising when those tools – or stove burners or even counter space – are already in use.

Most recently, the teams tackled coconut. Although plantain and coconut crusted fish wowed its way to the top of the judges’ list, I walked away obsessed with marinated grilled asparagus (Bill’s genius) dipped in a lime-coconut hollandaise (I made it, but have no idea who on my team came up with the idea). (more…)

December 14, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 13 (jay’s secret chocolate cake)

It’s taken me awhile, but this is the second-to-last post in my Project Wedding Dessert Bar Series. Did I mention this recipe is for a surprise cake? For THE cake-to-end-all-cakes (at least in Jay’s book)?

Jay loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, as it was present at all his childhood birthdays and celebrations. Somehow I baked, chilled, frosted, hid, and transported it without Jay finding out, even though he tried to ruin the surprise – TWICE.

First, after driving back from a morning client meeting, he came up to our apartment to check in on me and my dessert bar baking shenanigans instead of dropping the car in the garage and going straight to work like he usually does.

Photo by Dana Hargitay of enLuce Photography

Then, when my mom and sister Cassie helped me transport the desserts to the venue a day before the wedding, he took an early lunch break – without giving me advance notice – and walked over the venue to help us unload everything. Thank goodness the cake was on a covered stand and Cassie had a jacket to throw over the top of it. While we unloaded everything else, we hid the cake on the passenger side floor of the car. When we dropped everything off in the venue director’s office, I awkwardly hesitated to leave, even though she had another bride and groom in her office. The look on my face must have indicated I was on the verge of a meltdown (I wasn’t; worst case, the surprise would be ruined, which would not be the end of the world but hopefully would be avoided); she immediately came up and gave me a concerned look and a hug. I whispered that there was one more load coming up, then ran down the hall to catch up before Jay noticed. But how would my mom and Cassie get the cake upstairs without Jay noticing?? (more…)

November 22, 2011

butternut squash cupcakes with maple-sage goat cheese frosting

My butternut squash bonanza continues! Think of this as a play on pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Except way better.

Honestly, I thought these up a year ago and never got around to making them. But they haunted me through spring and summer, and now that we’re back to peak butternut squash season, I had to make it happen.

So when last weekend’s Friendsgiving dinner got scheduled, it was a no-brainer. I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

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That’s the beauty of Friendsgiving. My friends and I officially launched the make-whatever-you-want concept last year, after decades of being told by our families that, no, we could not make butternut squash soup as an appetizer instead of Bopop’s bowl full of grapefruit tradition, and no, we could not make a cornbread, sausage and peppers stuffing instead of the rustic bread, sausage, apple and onion standard. (more…)

November 17, 2011

roasted butternut squash, caramelized onion and goat cheese tart

Hi, my name is Kristen, and I’m a butternut squashaholic. When those beautiful, light orange gourds start showing up at the market, I can’t help myself. I pile them into my shopping bag, week after week. And when Trader Joe’s offers up pre-cut squash, I stock up, knowing that makings for a quick, satisfying soup will be waiting in my fridge.

Sometimes, I just roast cubes of squash and pop them into my mouth straight out of the oven. Other times, I turn them into soup, lasagna, pizza, and gnocchi. I’ve even taken to converting my pumpkin curry to a squash curry. As if that weren’t enough, for this coming weekend’s Friendsgiving dinner, I’ll be bringing not one but two squash dishes: a poblano pepper and butternut squash soup, and butternut squash cupcakes with goat cheese frosting.

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But what I really want to share right now is a tart so good that I actually made it twice last week. The tart made its debut at girls’ night last Thursday. Although it emerged a success, I had admittedly rigged the game by serving it to two goat cheese- and caramelized onion-loving friends. (more…)

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