Friday, September 30, 2011

Pina Colada Cake

My sister asked me to make a dessert for my brother-in-law's birthday yesterday and I was at a loss on what to make.  So I opened up the pantry doors and the first thing I saw was a can of pineapple.  Then I saw a can of coconut milk and I got an idea-- Pina Colada Cake!  I had no idea what I was going to do or how it was going to turn out.  Yes, I was setting out to make another cake experiment!   I was a little nervous. I think more than the last cake experiment because I had to serve this at a party.  The good thing is everyone knows I take pictures for this blog; so I had to do take my "glamor photos" and I got to taste a slice in advance. I really liked it, but would my family like it as well? (insert impending doom music here"Dunt, Dunt Dah, Duuuuunt")

1 box of yellow cake mix ( I used Pillsbury brand that has pudding in it)
3 eggs
1 (15oz) can of diced pineapple with  juice (see note)
1/3 cup apple sauce (substitution for the oil used in box mix)
1 cup of coconut milk (unsweetened)
some maraschino cherries (optional)

Notes:  You will use the juice from the canned pineapple to replace the water that the cake box instructions require. I got a little over 2/3 of a cup of pineapple juice from the can so I used water to make up the difference and equal 1 cup of liquid.  The pineapple juice is an important component in making the "Pina" part of this cake..

Prepare your cake batter by mixing your cake mix with the pineapple juice, apple sauce, 3 eggs.  Take your maraschino cherries and lay them along your cake pan in a pattern because this will become the top of your cake.   Then place your drained pineapple bits on top of the cherries.  If you have very large chunks you may need to break them a part.  Now spray the sides of the pan well with cooking spray so the cake won't stick. Next sprinkle about 1-2 Tbs of brown sugar over the pineapple (picture not shown). 

Pour your prepared cake batter into the pan over the brown sugar and pineapple.

Bake according to box instructions for your pan size. I baked this bundt cake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Next poke some small holes into your cake with a fork (wooden skewer, chopstick or the back of a wooden spoon.  You want to do this gently because you want the cake to stay intact.  The holes are where the coconut milk will seep into the cake.  Pour your one cup of coconut milk very slowly over the entire cake.

Allow the cake to absorb all the coconut milk and put it it the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.

Invert your cake over to a large plate. Now you can slice and enjoy.

Okay so did my family like, it?  Yes! They sure did.  Here's to another successful cake experiment.  Hooray!

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teriyaki Pork Stir Fry

Here's a quick week night dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Sorry... I didn't mean to sound like Rachael Ray. : )  I loved how this dish turned out because the Teriyaki sauce really made this dish sing.  I don't usually use Teriyaki sauce in stir fries, but I will do so from now on.  The sauce had a balance of sweet, savory and spicy.  Now that's a perfect combo in my book.

1lb of lean pork sliced into thin strips (or cubed)
1 medium onion chopped coarsely
1 green bell pepper cut into large pieces
2-3 carrots sliced thick
1 can of water chestnuts drained
1 bunch of scallions (green and white parts) chopped
2-3 cloves garlic grated
2Tbs of fresh ginger grated  (or you can use 2Tbs of my ginger-garlic-paste)
1 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)

Note: if you are eating this with rice, have your rice cooking at the same time so both will be done together.

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce ( I used Kikkoman brand)
1/2 cup of Chinese rice wine (not vinegar) or dry sherry
1 Tbs of brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs of water
1 Tbs of cornstarch
First add the cornstarch and water to a bowl and mix well.  Then add your other ingredients and mix all together.  Set sauce aside until the final step in the stir fry process.

Note:  If you cannot get Teriyaki Sauce try to use 1/2 cup of soy sauce with 1 Tbs of rice wine vinegar and 1 Tbs of brown sugar as a substitute.  Mix this with the other ingredients listed above for the sauce.

After you slice the pork, toss it well with black pepper.
Add 2 Tbs of canola oil into a wok and get it hot on high heat.  add your pork and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Then add your ginger and garlic and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Next add your vegetables and stir fry for another 3-4 minutes.  You can also add your red chili flakes here if you want it spicy.

Finally pour your prepared sauce.  Allow the stir fry to cook with the sauce for 2-3 minutes.  The sauce should begin to thicken because of the cornstarch.   Taste for seasoning and turn off the stove.

Serve with rice. Enjoy.

Note:  You can substitute Beef or Chicken for the Pork in the dish. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coconut Caramel Flan


I love easy desserts.  I think this dessert is one of the easiest desserts I've every prepared.  I literally threw everything into a blender and gave it a whirl then poured it into some custard cups and steamed it in the oven.  The hardest part was waiting the 2 hours for it to chill in the fridge so I could dig in.  Boy was it worth the wait.

For the caramel:
1/4 cup of sugar

For the custard:
4 large eggs
2 cups of coconut milk (see note)
1 tsp of vanilla
1/3 cup  of sugar or splenda
a pinch of salt
toasted sweet coconut flakes (optional)

Notes:  If your can of coconut milk is shy of the 2 cups needed, you can add some whole milk to make the two full cups. Do not use sweetened coconut milk for this dish.


For the custard, put all custard ingredients into a blender and give a whirl for 30 seconds.

For the caramel, heat 1/4 cup of sugar with in a small pan on medium heat until the sugar starts to become amber in color.
Pour the caramel into your custard cups or flan dish.  Then pour the custard mixture into the custard cups.

Next put the custard cups in a large oven pan that you can create a water bath.  Pour boiling water carefully inside the oven pan around the custard cups.  Careful not to get water into the custard cups. Let the flan steam in the oven for 55-60 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Allow to chill for 2 hours.  Then take a knife and slide it around the edge of the custard cup to loosen the custard from the cup.  Turn the custard cup over onto a plate and serve.  I toasted some sweet coconut to garnish the flan.  Enjoy.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Soft and Crunchy Tacos

My kids love crunchy tacos.  My problem with crunchy hard tacos is that they fall apart after one enthusiastic bite.  Then I have kids with broken tacos, filling falling out and a big mess on everyone's hands.  I solved this by doubling up on my taco by adding a soft tortilla on the outside.  I also gave a little bit more nutrition by "gluing" the soft and hard taco with some fiber-rich refried beans.   These tacos were perfect because they satisfied both of us.  I had mess free hands and the kids had their crunch.    So go ahead and crunch, "overfill" and bite your taco as enthusiastically as you like.  I've got you covered... with a soft taco. : )

1 box of hard corn tacos
1 package of soft flour tortillas
1 cup of your favorite salsa
1 can of fat free re-fried beans
1lb of lean ground meat
1 packet of McCormick Taco seasoning
1 tsp of red chili flakes (to taste)
1/4 tsp of granulated garlic
1/4 cup of chicken broth or water/chicken bullion equivalent
sour cream to garnish
lettuce to garnish
Mexican shredded cheese to garnish


Brown your lean ground meat.  Then add your taco seasoning, salsa and red chili flakes.  Cook for 7-9 minutes. 

Heat your refried beans with a 1/4 cup of chicken broth or water, some chili flakes and the granulated garlic. 

To assemble your soft and crunchy tacos:
First warm the flour tortilla.  Then apply a layer of refried beans to coat the flour tortilla. 

Next place your hard taco shell inside the flour tortilla.

Then fill your tortilla with the taco meat, lettuce, sour cream and shredded cheese.   Bite away... and Enjoy.

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shrimp & Singapore Noodles

If I ever go to a Chinese Restaurant Buffet I always try the Singapore noodles.  I love the flavors of curry with the vegetables and rice sticks.  I decided to conquer this dish at home and made it last night for dinner. I used extra thin egg noodles instead of rice sticks and it came out great.  The best part is I only used 2Tbs of oil for the entire wok.  Can you say the same about the restaurant noodles?   I'm a big believer of making your own take out at home-- not only does it cost a fraction of the price, but you can control the quality and nutrition too.

1 (12oz) package of extra thin egg noodles (see note)
1lb of cleaned raw shrimp (frozen is fine)
2 cloves of garlic grated
2Tbs of ginger grated
1 medium onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped (or red chilies)
1 serrano or green chili sliced
1 bunch of scallions (white and green parts)
1 cup of frozen green peas
1 tsp of red chili flakes (or to taste)
1-2 Tbs of Vietnamese Curry powder (see note)
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1-2 Tbs of of fish sauce

Notes on noodles:
Traditionally rice sticks are used for this dish.  I decided to go with an extra thin egg noodle.  You can also substitute thin spaghetti. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  Be careful not to overcook the pasta (you want it just shy of al dente).  These noodles cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes. I rinsed them with cold water after draining them to stop the cooking process.  I also did not salt the noodles because I wanted them to absorb the soy sauce and fish sauce later that salt the dish.

Notes on the curry powder:  The curry powder is the main flavoring to the dish so it is important to get a right kind.  You cannot use any Indian type curry powder because it will not flavor the dish properly.  I actually used a Vietnamese brand of curry powder because it delivered the right balance of spices. If you cannot buy Vietnamese curry powder, try Chinese. If that is not available try Madras curry powder.  I have provided a link below on how to make Vietnamese curry powder:
How to make Vietnamese Curry Powder Link

In a large wok or frying pan, heat 2Tbs of canola oil.  Add your chopped onions, scallion whites and peppers.  Stir Fry for 2-3 minutes. 

Next add your ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.  I actually used 2 Tbs of my pre-made ginger-garlic paste.  For the recipe: ginger-garlic-paste

Next add your curry powder and red chili flakes.  I suggest you start with 1Tbs of curry powder.  Once the flavors bloom, taste and see if you think you need more.  I added 2Tbs total.

Next add your shrimp and frozen peas.  Stir fry until the shrimp start to pink up and become almost cooked through.

Next add your soy sauce and fish sauce.  If you do not have fish sauce add more soy sauce.  I personally like the combination of both flavors. Now the fish and soy sauce are the "salt" in your dish.  So I suggest use season with them according to your taste.   Also add some of the scallion greens here.  Leave a few pieces for garnish.

Add your cooked noodles to the pan and toss with all the ingredients.  Toss for a few minutes. Taste for seasoning and if everything is fine, your dish is done.

Enjoy. Garnish with remaining scallions greens.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gummy Worm Halloween Cupcakes

I'm more than a month early, but I'm getting into the Halloween spirit already.  The leaves are changing color and Fall is definitely in the air.  I decided to make these fun gummy worm cupcakes with my kids and we had a lot of fun.  This is not so much a recipe than a method of decorating cupcakes for a "ghoulish" good time.

1 box yellow, white or chocolate cake mix
1 can of chocolate frosting
1 bag of gummy worms
10-12 Oreo cookies


Prepare the cupcakes per package instructions.   Allow to cool well before proceeding to the decorating steps.

In a food processor crumb your Oreo cookies well. The Oreo cookies will represent the dirt. Pour crumbs into a bowl so you can dip your cupcake.

Frost your cupcake well then dip into the bowl of "dirt" Oreo crumbs and cover the top completely.

Place a gummy work on top of each cupcake and Enjoy.

Makes about 24 cup cakes.  Enjoy.