coconut water sorbet

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It looks and tastes like a snowball. It lacks dairy to make it creamy like a sherbet but as a summer dessert, it is cold and refreshing with a lightly sweet coconut flavor. This sorbet needs no flavor enhancer and I recommend making it with fresh young coconut water. I tried an earlier version of it with the coconut water in the UHT packaging and it just wasn’t the same. Fresh is best.

Coconut Water Sorbet

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2-2 1/2 cups fresh young coconut water
1/4 cup fresh young coconut jelly, chopped fine

Heat water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature. Add the fresh young coconut water and stir to combine. Refrigerate 8-12 hours in a measuring cup with a spout.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. If using KitchenAid ice cream maker, assemble the drive assembly, dasher and freeze bowl. Turn on machine to Setting #1. While the machine is turning, pour the coconut water mixture into the freeze bowl and freeze until the desired consistency is reached 15-20 minutes. Three to five minutes before freezing time is up, add the chopped coconut jelly and continue mixing until done.

Scrape the sorbet into an airtight container and place in the freezer at least 2 hours to harden. Before serving let sorbet stand at room temperature 15-30 minutes before scooping.

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jamaican curry chicken

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This is a light and flavorful curry, not at all heavy. It’s one of the dishes I grew up eating in Jamaica–just smelling the spices takes me home again.

Jamaican Curry Chicken 

3 medium potatoes, cubed
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 1/2 medium onions, peeled, halved then quartered
2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder (I recommend Betapac)
salt and pepper
4 chicken legs
4 chicken thighs boneless with skin on
2 chicken breasts boneless with skin on
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups water

In a large bowl, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste and 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder. Set aside.

In a large Dutch pot, put the potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until just softened. Drain potatoes and set aside.

In the now empty Dutch pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Brown the chicken pieces in the oil, skin side down. Add the vegetables and 2 1/2 cups water. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and taste. Add up to a cupful of water if you want more gravy. Add the rest of the curry powder if you want a deeper orange color to the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. The potatoes will have thickened the sauce, but if you want it thicker, add a little cornstarch to some of the gravy and mix it together. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Serve chicken curry hot over rice.

whatever pancakes

I said I would make rice flour pancakes for breakfast but instead, I came across this recipe for buttermilk pancakes on the Smitten Kitchen and changed course. It happens. I say I will make something and get inspired to do something else. I should explain that title… Not having buttermilk on hand, I substituted sour milk and this is what I got:

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The Whatever Pancakes

Pancakes

Makes 10 x 4 inch pancakes, enough for two

2 tablespoons (30 g) butter plus more for frying
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour milk* plus 2-4 tablespoons (can use buttermilk, of course)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour

*1 tablespoon vinegar in a 1 cup measure topped up with milk = 1 cup sour milk

Partially melt the butter in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave. Whisk in the sugar. It shouldn’t be too hot but if it is, let it cool slightly before adding the egg as you don’t want to cook it. Whisk in the egg into the cooled butter. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour milk and whisk to combine. Whisk in the salt and baking soda. Finally, whisk in the flour. The batter should be thickened.

Heat a griddle over medium heat until sizzling and add a pat of butter. Spoon batter onto the hot griddle and cook until it is browned on the underside. Flip and continue browning on the second side, about 1-2 minutes per side. Continue making pancakes until the batter is finished.

Deb Perelman says to let the pancakes finish in the oven for 5 minutes but I found that step wasn’t necessary. They were tall, fluffy and light straight off the griddle.

chicken and rice soup

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Being Chinese I hate to waste food. I roasted a whole chicken, and after carving it up, saved the carcass to make chicken and rice soup. They say chicken soup is good for the soul; well, it is also a good light supper with a salad on the side.

Chicken and Rice Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

For the broth:
1 carcass of whole roast chicken
1 small onion peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 tablespoon salt

For the soup:
1/2 cup carrot cut into cubes
1/2 cup diced celery, if desired
1 cup cooked rice
Scallion for garnish

Pick the meat off the bones of the carcass, cut meat into small dice, and set aside.

Put chicken carcass, onion, peppercorns, water and salt in a large Dutch pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to a simmer about 45 minutes.

Slit open coffee filters and line a large strainer with them. Place lined strainer over a large heat proof bowl. Slowly pour the broth into the strainer and discard the solids.

Pour 4 cups broth into a medium sauce pan. Add the carrots and celery, if using,  and cook 5 minutes. Add the rice. Reserve the remainder of the broth for another use.

Spoon soup into bowls. Top with diced chicken and scallion. Serve right away.

shrimp lo mein

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This is a simple one-pot supper dish that only takes 30 minutes to prepare. The taste is lightly flavored with hoisin sauce, but if you don’t like it, or if you don’t have any, you can leave it out.

Shrimp Lo Mein
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5-7 minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons rice bran oil (can use vegetable oil)
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 inch piece ginger, minced
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
1/2 medium yellow or red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, cut into 3 inch matchsticks
250 g large shrimp
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
150 g lo mein noodles (can substitute fettucine or linguine)

In a large pot, boil 4 liters of water. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Drain noodles and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil and sauté the shrimp until pink and opaque. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, cornstarch, chicken broth, and hoisin sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Lightly sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the snap peas, onions, bell peppers, and carrots. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are bright and just crisp tender, about 2-5 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook until the sauce bubbles. Add the cooked shrimp. Turn off the heat.

Toss the noodles in the warm cooking water then drain. Add noodles to the pot and toss with vegetables and shrimp. Serve at once.