Wednesday, September 23, 2009

coconut curry peanut butter cookies

Twitter is full to the brim with fun tidbits, lame tidbits, useful information, stupid information, and as is happening more and more with me, food inspiration. Last week, Mathew Rice, the pastry chef at one of St. Louis' best retaurants, Niche, posted a simple simple peanut butter cookie recipe. You know it's simple if it's less than 140 characters (that's the limit on twitter, if you didn't know). He said: "Easiest cookie ever. 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg. Stir, roll into balls, flatten, and bake until set."

Awesome! I was excited to try it, but felt I had to add. You see, A new bowling league has started, and our team name is "It Burns." The first week my friend Jen made jalepeno chocolate chip cookies, and another week I made Mexican brownies. So we have a bit of a spicy baked goods theme going. How could I spice up peanut butter cookies? I immediately thought of Thai food for it's use of peanuts and spice. So I curried my cookies! Not much curry flavor comes through... just enough to make you think "what is it about these cookies?" And as you may know from eating, say Pad Thai, coconut, curry and peanuts are pretty good pals.

Coconut Curry Peanut Butter Cookies

-1 cup peanut butter
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon curry powder
-2 Tablespoons coconut powder
-sweetened coconut for topping

Stir everything except the sweetened coconut together, roll the dough into small balls (about 1 inch diameter), flatten on a cookie sheet. Press a pinch of sweetened coconut into the top of each. Bake at 350ºF until set, about 8 minutes or so.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

skank ham pie

After a hectic day at work, I wanted to come home and make something easy yet comforting... and yes, a little bit trashy. I wanted to make a casserole. In my collection of Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks from the 60's and 70's I had my answer. Behold the Casserole Cookbook from 1968. I have used this particular cookbook before with success.

Browsing through it for something that had a touch of kitsch but did not involve velveeta or condensed cream of mushroom soup, I found "Hawaiian Ham Pie." HAM PIE?!?! yes please. Not only did this satiate my need for an easy casserole, it also is the PERFECT way to introduce you to a new web comic I've started.

Skank Ham is her name, and smokin' and partying is her game! I actually came up with Skank Ham years ago, and just recently was reminded of her and decided to give her a blog. People seem to like her. She already has more than 100 followers on Twitter :)

So, yes, Ham Pie is VERY much up Skank Ham's alley. I changed a few things (added garlic, but of course, for instance...), but I'm pretty sure this would have been a good pie either way. Yes, believe it or not something called Ham Pie is quite tasty! The "spokes" of sweet caramelized pineapple and brown sugar on top contrasted perfectly with the salty ham.

Skank Ham Pie

-1 pie crust (home made or store bought is up to you... I bought mine.... it's what Skank Ham would do)
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 medium shallot, chopped fine
-2 tsp. olive oil
-1 lb. ham, chopped up pretty fine
-1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
-1 beaten egg
-1/2 cup milk
-small handful of sliced green onion
-1 large can of crushed pineapple, drained well (1 1/2 cups)
-1/4 cup brown sugar

1. Get pie crust ready in a pie pan.

2. cook garlic and shallot in olive oil in a skillet until just starting to brown. let cool a bit.

3. Combine the ham, garlic and shallot mixture, bread crumbs, egg, milk, green onion and 1/2 cup of pineapple in a bowl and spread it into the pie crust.

4. combine the remaining pineapple with the brown sugar, and arrange the mixture in a spoke patter on top of the pie. Bake in a pre-heated 350ºF oven for 45-50 minutes until everything looks set and the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool about 10-15 minutes before serving.

I served this with green beans which, keeping with the Skank Ham theme, "corrupted" with Corruption seasoning that I got at Uncle Lou's in Memphis, TN.

So there you have it, a very proper introduction to Skank Ham. Happy Skanking and Happy Porking!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

more fun with colors....violet verde salsa

In my last post I confessed my weakness for color when shopping at the farmers' market. I am also a fan of anything salsa-related... especially tomatillos. So when I saw PURPLE tomatillos... well my insides got a bit tingly. Purple and green has long been one of my favorite color combinations, and here it was in one of my favorite foods. Gorgeous. So I made a purple and green salsa. Of course I did. I have been asked if I have salsa recipes. I must tell you... no. Salsa is something I do not use a recipe for. I also know a lot of people cook their salsa. I do not. I like my salsa fresh, a bit tart, quite spicy and garlicy. That's my end goal... recipe or no.

Last time I made salsa, I used a food processor, for the speed and ease, mainly. These purple tomatillos were too pretty to be pulsed into oblivion by those spinning blades, so I shopped everything by hand, to make a chunkier, pico de gallo-like salsa. I don't think you should need a recipe, but here is what was in this particular salsa (it was too spicy at first, which is why I added more tomatoes there at the end...luckily I found some purpleish red and greenish-yellow cherry tomatoes that enhanced my color theme):

1.5ish lbs. tomatillos, chopped
2 jalepenos, finely chopped
1 hot banana pepper, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely choppped
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
handful of cilantro, sinely chopped
salt, pepper
couple good pinches of sugar
handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

This salsa is fantastic on eggs. I also used it to make a lovely Nacho dinner one night... chips made by baking corn tortillas, shredded cheese melted onto the chips in the oven, canned black beans flavored with a bit of cilantro, Mexican oregano, and crushed red pepper, and of course, LOTS of the "violet verde salsa."