Saturday, April 28, 2012

Banana Shake

While in Ubud, Bali, Meghan, Liz and I got a little overheated as we walked around and decided to make a stop at the first restaurant we saw, Clear Cafe.  It looked promising based the large number of shoes left outside the front door... it was a good choice.  

A breezy, hippy haven of tasty organic and raw foods and beverages, we were quite happy to stumble upon it...  Meghan was particularly excited about the banana shake she ordered, which was so good that I ordered a second one and promised to try to recreate it at home.  

Below is my version of the creamy, slightly icy banana-licious drink.  I think I nailed it.

Here's how I did it:  

1. Freeze an oldish banana overnight (peel it first and stick it in a baggie!  I made the mistake of not peeling it and almost froze and/or cut my fingers off trying to cut the frozen peel off)

2. Throw it in your blender (or use your stick blender, as I did)

3. Add  3/4 to 1 cup of cold milk, a splash of vanilla extract (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 tsp?) and some honey (1 tsp? I used palm sugar syrup because I didn't have honey)

4. Blend until smooth

5. Drink

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Balinese Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce

While relaxing in Ubud, Bali (where there was less praying and loving than eating), Liz, Meghan and I took a cooking course (or "culinary experience," if you will) with the Lobong family, described in detail at my other blog.  The course was pretty awesome and I think we learned a lot, but recreating the recipes at home was a bit of a challenge, as once I looked in the recipe booklet we were sent home with, things were a little bit unclear, to say the least.  I may have to volunteer my editorial services (not like my blog is a paragon of perfect writing by any means, but this cook book is really struggling in the areas of English writing and completeness).

I decided to start with what I thought might be the simplest recipe we learned, Balinese chicken satay with peanut sauce.  In the end it's not all that time consuming, with the caveat that you've made the basic Balinese spice paste, base gede, in advance.  The spice paste is not difficult, but does involve unwrapping about a million garlic cloves and shallots, as well as peeling ginger, turmeric root, and galangal (or, in this case, lesser galangal or kencur).  Luckily I had a brand new peeler from Amy for this task (THANKS, AMY!).  The spice paste recipe makes a ton, can be frozen in ice cube trays for future use, and is used in a lot of Balinese recipes.

Once the spice paste is made, you basically just have to cut the chicken, toss it in some paste along with some keffir lime leaves, palm sugar and salt, marinate while you heat up the coals and then grill it.  The peanut sauce is pretty straightforward, too, although I couldn't get mine to thin out into a sauce- it was pretty thick and peanut-buttery despite all my best efforts.  I tried using my new big ole' mortar and pestle, but it was a little too much elbow work for my post-work arms, so I moved on to the food processor to finish off the peanut sauce.  Perhaps therein lies the problem.

Once I hear back from Lobong on the vagaries of their written recipes, I'll post the recipes here!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rosemary Gin Fizz

I bought some rosemary last week on a whim and didn't get around to using it (turns out lots of rosemary recipes involve roasting... in an oven... which I don't have.)...  rather than let the rosemary go bad while I am gallivanting around Indonesia with Liz and Meghan (yay!),  I decided to make a rosemary syrup to mix with gin for a welcome drink for them:

Rosemary gin fizz... pretty good!  The rosemary plays off the gin pretty well!

Friday, April 6, 2012

More Batik...

Here's a couple more pleat-less Sorbettos I made from some cool botanical batik I found:

And here are some pillowcases I made for our daybed.  One is made from the same piece of batik as the second top above, and one is actually made from 2 napkins I found that were just the right green for me:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rice with Pineapple and Beans

Tim and I bought a fresh pineapple last week, and after eating most of it straight, my tongue was going a little numb from the acid.  I decided I needed to cook the remaining fruit a little to tone it down, and thought I might mix it with some beans and rice.  (As an aside, I thought I was buying black beans, but somehow ended up with red kidney beans... oh well.)

  I sorta made the dish up, loosely based on some recipes I found online:

-In a small pot, saute a couple cloves of garlic (minced) and some chopped onion in a pan, add 1 cup of rice and then 1.5 cups of chicken stock- cook until rice is done
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan, saute a couple cloves of minced garlic, 2 or 3 chopped green onions, a couple minced hot peppers (I think I used 3 or 4 birds' eye chilis) and about a teaspoon each of cumin and coriander until fragrant.  
- Throw 1.5 cups of chopped pineapple (and any juices that accumulated) and a 15 ounce can of rinsed beans into the frying pan heat up and carmelize a little bit.
-  Mix the rice and bean mixture, add salt and pepper to taste
- Top with lime juice to taste and lots of coarsely chopped cilantro.
- Eat!

Pretty good!  Tangy, sweet, spicy, earthy.  You could probably make it healthier with brown rice, but that's hard to find here. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Baby Sweater: Try, try again

It seems like for every finished crafting or cooking project I put up here I have at least one, and sometimes multiple, failed attempts before I get a success.   This time it was a baby gift for Amy and Adam's impending baby boy using this blue, yellow and green yarn from Bernat.

First, I tried knitting a pullover sweater, based on this cute pattern.  The body came out great, albeit a little curly at the edges.  But it all went to hell when I tried to add the sleeves...  my knitting skillz are apparently not advanced enough to know how to troubleshoot and eliminate the hole that kept appearing in the armpit.  Sigh.

Then I tried to make a baby blanket using the same yarn.  Initially I was winging it, just doing stripes (not unlike the baby blanket Chuck made last year), but I didn't like the way it looked and felt:

Next I tried a blanket based on this "Purely Square Baby Throw" pattern from Lion Brand Yarn, but I think my yarn was too thick.  The blanket was heavy and stiff and draped awkwardly (although I liked the pattern... maybe it would be nicer in a finer yarn):

Ultimately I ended up going back to an old, reliable, fool-proof favorite...  ye olde crochet baby cardigan. 

Works every time: