Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kettle Corn

It's summertime! To escape the heat, try curling up on the couch in the AC and catching a movie. And as with any worthwhile event, there has to be snacks! Here is a yummy compliment to any flick no matter who you are. Mmmmmm...Kettle Corn.


½ cup popcorn kernels

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbs water

¾ tsp salt

Serves 5

Kettle corn is a such a delicious treat, that its hard to believe how easy it is to make. Yes, it takes about 4 times as long as popping corn in the microwave, but really, it's worth it. Don't most good foods take a little bit of extra time? So, if you want to treat your friends and family to a gourmet movie night that is easy on the wallet, and pleasurable to the on. This recipe is yours for the taking.

To start add three tablespoons of oil to a large cooking pot, and let heat on medium for about 3 minutes, or until hot. I used an 8 quart pot, which may have been slightly too big, but its better to error on the side of caution. You don't want your popcorn exploding out of the pot do you? Add in the popcorn, and gently shake around the pan so that the kernels are covered in oil, and are in a single layer on the bottom of the pot.

Cover quickly with a lid, and once the kernels begin to pop, shake the pan around every few seconds to keep them from burning. This reminds me of jiffy pop. What a fun memory! Once the popping slows, remove from the heat and dump the popcorn into a bowl. This should only take a minute or two. Next , in a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Be sure to not ad water directly to hot oil. You will get burned! Whisk this mixture over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until all of the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is thick and bubbly.

Add in ¼ tsp of the salt, and stir well. You will use the remaining salt to sprinkle over the popcorn later. If you have any lumps in your coating, you can always pour the mixture through a strainer. Now pour the sauce over the popcorn, and quickly mix well with a large spoon.

Next, prepare a baking sheet by covering it in tin foil, and greasing it with a teaspoon of oil. Spread the popcorn out across the baking sheet, and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Put the baking sheet into a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until the popcorn is no longer sticky.

Your done! Pair with your favorite movie, and enjoy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Stir Fry the Garden

Help, I'm drowning... and in the best way possible! It's summer time in the Arthur household, and that means that we are just swimming in delicious home grown veggies and herbs from the garden. While I admit, our bounty can be intimidating at times (anyone have a recipe that calls for 6 cucumbers?), mostly the beautiful food inspires random moments of creativity. Here, I will share with you one of my latest creations, a delicious little stir fry full of beautiful summer squashes, served up with a twist of aromatic Thai basil. This is more of a method than a recipe... if you have other veggies in the garden that are screaming to be eaten up, give them a try as well!

2 large zucchinis
3 large green onions
1 crook neck squash
5 cloves of garlic
1 small handful green beans
1 small bell pepper
20-30 leaves Thai basil (regular basil can be substituted, but the flavor will be very different)
You could also use broccoli, cauliflower, white red or yellow onions - be creative. I would skip using tomato or cucumber for this recipe though.
2 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil

1/2 cup water, chicken, or vegetable stock

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar (don't pack it tightly when you measure)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce

serve with 2 cups of cooked rice

Serves 4

Coarsely chop all of your garlic and then, cut all other veggies into bite size pieces. Next get your sauce ready by mixing all ingredients together until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Set this aside. Now heat your oil in a large nonstick frying pan, or a wok over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the garlic, green onions, and bell pepper. Stir fry for about 1 minute stirring frequently. Next add in all of the other veggies and lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook everything for about 3 minutes more on high heat. Once the veggies are almost cooked through, pour your sauce over the mixture and add in the basil. Leave on the heat for another 2 minutes stirring often. Serve over jasmine or brown rice for a delicious and healthy treat! Beef, chicken, or even tofu would be a wonderful addition to this dish as well.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Creamy Tomato and Shrimp Risotto

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (Risotto Rice)
4 oz tomato paste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
5 cups quality chicken stock (homemade is best)
1/2 cup white wine
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
3-4 fresh basil leaves, whole
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Serves 4-5

This beauty of a recipe came with a little bit of inspiration from our garden. We had several cherry tomatoes that needed to be eaten, and a prolific amount of beautiful basil just calling out to be picked. My husband John was the main creator of this dish, and I am proud to admit that he is giving me a run for my money. In his own words, here is a simple summer dish that will leave your mouth watering long after your stomach gets full.

Make sure to prep all ingredients before beginning, as risotto has a tendency to stick if not stirred. In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter with the olive oil, again using medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the diced onion. Season with half of the salt and pepper and allow to cook until the onion starts to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure the rest of the ingredients are handy as the risotto will need to be stirred continuously from this point on in the recipe. It's a labor of love!

Stir in the uncooked arborio rice and season with the rest of the salt and pepper. Stir the onion/rice mixture continuously while cooking, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, half the basil chiffonade, and all of the garlic powder. Immediately begin adding the chicken stock, about 2/3 cup at a time with a ladle. As the rice soaks up each installment of chicken stock, add another 2/3 cup. Be sure to continue stirring the rice, and scrape any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan as each ladle of stock is added. Continue to do this until the rice is no longer crunchy when bitten into. Bear in mind that it may not be necessary to use all of the chicken stock. At this point, add the white wine and stir until absorbed, about 1-2 more minutes. Add the remaining basil chiffonade, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and shrimp. Continue stirring until shrimp turns pink and is cooked through, this will only take a minute or two, so be careful not to over cook the shrimp. Remove the pot from heat, plate the rice, and garnish with the whole basil leaves and a few grates of fresh Parmesan. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Scallops


1 lb of scallops

9 pieces of bacon

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

toothpicks (one per scallop)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Serves 5

This easy recipe is a treat for anyone who loves seafood. It can be made in as little as 20 minutes and is great as a passed hors d'oeuvre.

When buying scallops, you will find that they have already been stripped from their shells ( in most cases). Look for scallops that have a creamy color and firm texture, with very little aroma and almost no liquid in the packaging. You may need to remove what is known as the beard, or the connective tissue that at one point held the scallop to its shell.

To get started with this recipe, lightly cook half of the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook each piece of bacon for about 2 minutes on each side, or until just barely crisp. Be careful not to completely cook the bacon, as it will have plenty of time to finish crisping in the oven. Remove from the pan and let drain and cool on a bed of paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the bacon. This works well with both regular and turkey bacon.
Once cool, place the bacon on a cutting board and slice each piece evenly in half. Then wrap one piece around each scallop, and secure with a toothpick.

Grease a baking sheet with olive oil, and bake in a 425 degree oven until scallops are opaque and the bacon is crisp. This should take 12-14 minutes.

Remove from the baking sheet and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and one tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with extra lemon as a garnish, and enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chocolate Haupia Pie

I’m telling you, I can feel my waistline growing as I write this post…

After I graduated college, I got the chance to move out to Oahu’s North Shore. Among the swaying palm trees, crystal blue waters, and killer wave sets, I discovered a little something sweet. May I present to you the Chocolate Haupia Pie, a delicious concoction of chocolate and coconut pudding poured brilliantly into a flaky pie crust and topped with whipped cream. Hard to go wrong, isn’t it? A little place called Ted's Bakery made this dessert famous, so if you're ever visiting the North Shore don't miss this delicious destination.

Now I must admit, this is not my recipe, but it’s damn good. I wish I knew who to attribute this fine culinary creation to, so if your out there, and this recipe looks a little too familiar, reveal yourself. I would personally like to kiss you.


1 (9 inch) pie crust

1 cup of milk

1 (13.5 ounce) can of coconut milk

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

½ cup cornstarch

7/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped Cream

1 ½ cups heavy cream

¼ cup white sugar

½ tsp vanilla

Bake your pie shell according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or your own pie crust recipe. Set it aside to cool while you work on the pie filling.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, coconut milk, and 1 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a slow simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water and the corn starch, and add slowly (while stirring) to the coconut mixture on the stove. Continue stirring mixture over low heat and cook about 3 minutes, or until you have reached a thick pudding like consistency.

Next microwave chocolate chips until melted. This process should take about a minute and should be done slowly so your chocolate doesn’t burn. Divide the coconut pudding evenly into two bowls. Add the chocolate chips to one bowl and mix well. Then spread the chocolate mixture into the pie crust making sure to leave room to layer coconut pudding on top. You will probably have a little bit of leftover filling, and this can be stored in the fridge for later. Refrigerate pie for 2 hours, or until very cold and firm.

Serve with fresh whipped cream, and garnish with toasted coconut. You might even want to consider doubling this recipe because this pie is not going to last long!

To make whipped cream, combine heavy cream, vanilla extract and the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form using a whisk or a handheld mixer. If your running short of time, grab a can of whipped cream and go for it! Even a homemade gal has to take a break every once in while.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Mayo


1 pound of fresh asparagus

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

1 clove of garlic - grated

1/2 teaspoon of salt - course

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 lemon garnish

Asparagus, which is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber and vitamin B6, has only 4 calories per spear! With all that going for this delicious vegetable, it's no wonder asparagus has landed itself on menus everywhere. Start by rinsing off a pound of asparagus in a colander.

After a thorough washing, pat the spears dry with paper towels to get off any excess moisture. Now, break one stalk where it is naturally the weakest. This will separate the tender top part of the asparagus from its tough and fibrous stem. You will end up discarding about one third of the stalk.

You can now use the new shorter "broken" asparagus as a guide to cut the rest of the bunch.

Spread the spears evenly on a baking sheet. For easy clean up, you can cover the sheet with a layer of tin foil before baking.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the asparagus. Top with a few turns of freshly cracked pepper, and one half teaspoon of coarse salt.

Bake in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

While the asparagus are roasting, take a moment to make this simple and delicious dipping sauce. Just two ingredients are needed to make this sauce - garlic and mayonnaise. (The lemon is for garnishing the roasted asparagus.)

Start by peeling and grating one small clove of garlic.

Then add the garlic to 1/3 cup of your favorite mayonnaise. I used low calorie mayo and didn’t miss a thing!

Stir until well blended and transfer to a decorative serving dish.

After 10 minutes in the oven, check the asparagus to see if it’s done. Look for slightly browned and caramelized stems, and a fresh bright-green color. Don’t overcook the spears, or they will become an unattractive, dull shade of pea-green.

Next, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Garnish the sauce with a bit of lemon zest (optional). Serve as an easy and healthy appetizer or finger-friendly side dish.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Watermelon Sorbet

Happy 4th! I invite you to share some of your family's favorite traditions. How many of you will woof down a huge piece of vanilla cake with strawberries and blueberries on top? How many will eat more than their share of home style baked beans? We Americans love any occasion to gather around the table and celebrate together. So do what you do best, get out there and have yourself a safe and wonderful holiday.

I leave you with this delicious looking recipe courtesy of my ice cream machine. A fabulously fresh Watermelon Sorbet.
3 cups of seedless watermelon
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons lime juice

Mix sugar and water together in a saucepan over medium heat to create a simple syrup. Set aside to cool. In a blender, mix up all watermelon and lime juice until you have a very fine puree. The small white seeds of the melon will blend together and practically disappear. Add in your simple syrup and mix well. Chill for about 2 hours, or until very cool. Pour mixture into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer's instructions for freezing. Mine only took about 20 minutes! Serve immediately for a soft sorbet, or freeze for 2 hours to create a harder version of the dessert.
Note: You may need to add more or less sugar to the recipe depending on the sweetness of your watermelon. Just use your taste buds, and check it before freezing!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quick Japanese Style Steak Salad

6 oz leftover steak

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 bag of prepackaged Asian salad mix

Serves 2

All right, let’s face it. We are busy people. Even the most motivated cooks have nights when they just aren’t up to the challenge. And with food prices being as high as they are, I thought I would show you just one of my favorite ways to eat up leftovers. This light meal is perfect for those nights when you just don’t have the energy to spend the evening in the kitchen. You can have this whole meal ready and on the table in under 10 minutes.

Start by preparing salad as directed on the package. Don't make it too difficult, just dump everything in the bowl add the dressing, mix it up an set aside.

Next, thinly slice your steak and trim off any unwanted fat.

In a sauce pan, heat vegetable oil and sesame oils until hot. Add in the steak and sesame seeds and sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until the seeds begin to brown and the steak gets crispy.

De-glaze the pan with the soy sauce, and serve meat over the prepared salad. Enjoy!