Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coconut Syrup

COCONUT SYRUP
Original recipe can be found from Shef Chanan

Servings: 1+ cup
Total Time to Complete Recipe: 20 to 30 min
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Do NOT try to be healthy and use Lite Coconut Milk. 
This recipe uses the coconut meat (thick cream) found on top of the milk in the can of coconut milk.  Lite coconut milk does not have this cream.  And since that's the only portion you use for this recipe, it will absolutely positively not work.

INGREDIENTS 
    1 can Coconut Milk (not Lite)

    1 c. Water
    1 c. Sugar
    1 tsp. Vanilla
    Pinch of Salt

DIRECTIONS
  • Using a mesh strainer, separate thick coconut cream/meat from coconut milk and set aside.
  • Add water and sugar to small sauce pan.  Make simple syrup by cooking over medium to medium-high heat, stirring often, until reduced to about half and is somewhat thickened.
  • Reduce heat and stir coconut cream into simple syrup and whisk together until smooth.  Continue to simmer until thickened (sticks to spoon with desired consistency).
  • Stir in vanilla and salt. Serve over favorite waffle, pancake, bowl of fruit (peaches - yumm!) - you name it!

Oh my!  This is to die for.
 When we vacation in Maui, eating at "The Gazebo" is a MUST. I've been craving the amazing banana pancakes they serve. Although it's not the same, we try to duplicate this at home. We add a little bit of cut up and sliced banana, and shredded coconut to the pancake batter.  Cook pancakes as normal.  Once we have them in a nice big stack,  we add crushed macadamia nuts, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, sliced bananas, coconut syrup, and whip cream to the top of the pancakes.

Strawberry Sauce

Strawberry Sauce

Original recipe from Our Best Bites found HERE
1 pint strawberries
1/3 c. white sugar
1 tsp. almond extract

Wash strawberries and remove stems.

Combine berries, sugar, and extract in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Cook for five minutes, stirring/breaking strawberries up with a wooden spoon (I used a potato masher and skipped the steps below) constantly. After five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (if you have a glass blender jar) and a lot (if you have a plastic blender jar).

When cool enough, transfer mixture to blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

When ever we eat out for breakfast (which is very rare) I always like to get a Belgian waffle with strawberry fruit topping and whip cream.  I never realized how easy it was to duplicate this and home. (Not to mention even BETTER tasting too!)

Beef With Barley Soup

Beef With Barley Soup


Original recipe can be found @ Tasty Kitchen found HERE

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Beef Cubes (for Stew) (I also added leftover pot roast meat, YUM! It shredded beautifully)
1 whole Large Onion, Medium Diced
2 cloves Minced Garlic
2 whole Carrots, Smaller Ends Cut Into Rounds, Larger Ends Diced
2 whole Potatoes, Large Dice
1-½ teaspoon Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon Sea Salt (or To Taste)
Ground Black Pepper To Taste
6 cups Beef Stock (Didn't have any on hand, so I added 6 cups of water and 6 tsp. better then bullion, beef flavoring)
2 cups Water Or As Needed
½ cups Pearl Barley (I added 3 cups cooked pearl barley)
½ teaspoons Thyme
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Diced Tomatoes

Preparation Instructions:
Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the beef cubes for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking. Add everything except the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth. Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.

This soup was amazing.  It seemed so simple to taste this good. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

30 Minute Crusty French Baguettes

Quick & Crusty French Baguettes
2 cups very warm water
1 packet yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes. Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky. Knead the dough until elastic.
Cut the dough into four even pieces. Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes. Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf. Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf. Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry) or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.
Now for the SECRET: Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice. Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.
Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping.
Do exactly as this recipe says (including the ice in the oven trick) and you'll have PERFECTLY DELICIOUS crusty on the outside and soft on the inside French Baguette bread.
You won't be dissapointed!

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