Saturday, September 26, 2015

Deconstructed Spring Roll Salad

I'm a big fan of the fresh spring rolls that you can get at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. They aren't as hard to make as they look (though mine are not the works of art that the professionals make). I had some left over spring roll ingredients recently and decided to turn them into a salad to pack in my lunch.  I could hardly wait to dig into it!  
Deconstructed Spring Roll Salad 

1/3 package of bean thread noodles (I used Dynasty, comes in a 5.29 oz package), soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes, drained and chopped.
1 whole carrot, grated
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1/8 cup chopped basil
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup baby spinach (or flat leaf torn in bite-size pieces)
1/8 cup chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Toss the soaked and chopped bean threads with the grated carrot, cucumber, basil, cilantro and spinach.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.  Taste and correct seasoning.  It may need a bit more soy sauce, a drizzle of honey, some more vinegar.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. If you make in the morning by lunch time, the spinach will wilt a bit.  Makes one very generous serving.

You can play around with the ingredients--add some avocado, bean sprouts or chopped zucchini would be nice; lettuce could replace the spinach; sunflower seeds instead of peanuts; tofu or other protein would also be great!

Friday, September 18, 2015

I came out of blog retirement to make this apple kuchen with honey!

David Tanis's (New York Times) Apple Kutchen with Honey
Dearest Blog Readers (all three of you! Thanks Mom & Dad and Jarrett!),
I know it's been ages since I've posted to this blog.  Work and life got busy and the blog got put on a back burner.  I hope that this post is the start of more in the future.  I'm an ardent follower of the New York Times food page and heartily recommend their Cooking website, which is often the first place I search when looking for a recipe.  They recently added the option of commenting on the recipes and you can even link their recipes in Evernote as a way ot keep all recipes organized.

In any event, a recent recipe by David Tanis for Apple Kuchen with Honey is what drew me out of blog slacking.  We had friends from out of town and I wanted to make something that would be nice for dessert but could also fill in for breakfast, too.  This one did the trick!  It looks fancy, but isn't that difficult to make.  I will say, though, that the cooking time in the original recipe is way underestimated.  I baked this nearly twice as long as the original recipe called for.  I used some lovely and large apples McConnell's Farm and only needed two (though the original recipe calls for three).  It keeps for several days if you wrap it well!

Apple Kuchen with Honey 

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (plus a tablespoon for sprinkling on top)
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs, room temperature 
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 ounces (about 1/4 cup) chopped crystallized (candied) ginger (optional)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 large apples, peeled, cored and quartered

For the glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (this lower temperature insures that the honey won't burn).  Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan (if you have a spring form pan, that's even better!).

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and suger together until light and fluffy.  Add the honey and whip for 1 minute.  Stir in the gingers and lemon peel.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together then add to the bowl, mixing quickly.  The batter will be stiff.  Spread into the prepared pan.

With a sharp knife, make 1/8th inch slices in the apples--but don't go all the way through so that they hold their shape. Arrange the quarters on top of the batter in a nice, pleasing circle, with one quarter in the center.  If using a spring form pan, place it on a cookie sheet to catch any drips and put in the oven.  Though the recipe claims it should bake for 45 minutes, mine took about an hour and twenty minutes--but check after 45 minutes and keep checking until a knife or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  (If it looks like the cake is browning too much and still isn't done, you can tent it with aluminum foil to stop the browning.) Cool on a rack.

For the glaze:  Put the sugar, honey and lemon juice in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until it bubbles and the sugar melts--about two minutes.  Brush (or spoon) over the cooled cake. It's ready to serve after glazing, but keeps for several days if well wrapped.  The honey actually helps to preserve it!