Monthly Archives: July 2012

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Prosciutto, Manchego and Fig Jam Sandwich

A while back I made a prosciutto, mozzarella and fig panini on ciabatta bread. I wanted to revisit those flavors because I loved the combination of smoky and savory prosciutto along with the sweet and fruity fig jam. Instead of mozzarella I went with Manchego which is a cheese that I have been using quite a bit in sandwiches lately. Manchego is a little bit sweet and a little bit tart so it worked perfectly with the other ingredients. I decided on sourdough bread instead of ciabatta just to try something a little different. The sandwich turned out really great! I loved how the flavors balanced each other really well. It’s really easy to make too since it only needs 4 ingredients! The fig jam can be sweet so I just spread it thinly over the bread. It was a great combination of sweet and savory flavors, so I will definitely be having this again!

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Korean Ramen with Kimchi and Sauteed Mushrooms

Just a disclaimer to twenty somethings: this is not your college ramen experience!  Korea has its own version of Japanese Ramen and you can eat it with all sorts of different toppings. I loaded the soup with a hard boiled egg, peas, green onions, sauteed mushrooms, cilantro and of course kimchi. Korea has had a long love affair with kimchi and I have had my own mini infatuation going on here in California for a while now. The kimchi spices mixes in with the broth and blanches a bit in the hot soup. I used the ‘Hakubaku’ brand of ramen noodles which had a really nice consistency and thickness. I wouldn’t recommend using the ‘top ramen’ noodles but it would probably do in a pinch if you can’t find the hakubaku brand in stores. I really liked how all the condiments mixed together with the noodles and broth. It was definitely the best ramen I have ever eaten!

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Achiote Black Bean Tacos with Grilled Avocado and Goat Cheese

Who knew you could grill avocados? I had no idea until I read the recipe for these tacos. I loved the idea of tangy goat cheese coupled with the avocado slices and honey lime dressing.  It sounded like the perfect quick summer meal so I knew I had to give it a try!  I thought a good spice blend of black beans seasoned with achiote seed, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika would be a great addition to these tacos.  The avocados had a slightly different flavor after grilling that was unique and hard to describe.  I guess the flavor became a little more smokey with a stronger avocado smell.  The tacos were really good! I especially liked the simple honey lime dressing to give the filling some brightness.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

It probably seems crazy to most Americans to down a hot bowl of soup right now. This soup makes more sense to me because temperatures on the central coast just haven’t risen much at all. Next time it hits lower temperatures this soup would be perfect to enjoy on a cooler day.  Better yet, you could wait until late summer or Fall when the squash actually comes into season.  If you are craving roasted butternut squash like me, there’s no time like the present for a good soup.

I chose to make this soup with a few of the great flavors from Thai cooking–coconut milk, red chili paste, and a mixture of fragrant spices. I roasted the butternut squash first in the oven and threw all the ingredients into a big soup pot to simmer. The soup had a lot of wonderful flavors. I loved the flavor of the roasted squash with the creamy coconut milk, spicy chilies, and thai spices. It was pretty simple to throw together and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out! I served it with a side of jasmine rice and ended up mixing a few tablespoons of the rice into the soup.  It turned out to be a great combination!

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Coppa and Manchego Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes

Coppa is an Italian cured meat made from thinly sliced pork shoulder. It is a perfect meat for sandwiches and goes well with melted cheese (then again what doesn’t?)  I thought the tangy, Spanish Manchego cheese would go nicely with the flavors of the coppa.  I read online that coppa is usually seasoned with white wine before curing so I marinated the tomatoes in white wine, then roasted them in the oven.  I patted down the tomatoes a bit so that any wine vapor wouldn’t make the oven catch fire! The result was a wine infused roasted tomato and a fire-free kitchen.  On top of the roasted tomatoes I added a layer of basil and grilled it all together. I really liked the sourdough bread with the slightly sour/tangy manchego.  The roasted tomatoes provided sweet acidity and the pork was flavorful and a little smoky.  All the ingredients were nicely balanced and it was an all around tasty sandwich!

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Sri Lankan Pork Curry with Yellow Rice

Sri Lankan curries are delicious because they use a number of Indian spices along with fresh ingredients like tamarind, lemongrass, and coconut milk. As for the curry, I decided to use a Sri Lankan blend of cumin, fennel, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves, curry leaves and cinnamon. I reserved 1 tsp of the curry powder for the yellow rice.  The key step in using any curry powder is to toast it beforehand. It’s a step that can be forgotten easily but it results in much more fragrant flavors. While the pork was roasting in the oven, I prepared the base for the curry which wasn’t too hard to throw together. After letting the meat rest the pork was shredded and mixed in to the curry sauce. I loved the flavors of this dish! I really enjoyed the slightly sour flavor of the tamarind and the creaminess of the coconut milk. The pork curry with the yellow rice were great together as well.

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Kaha Bath (Sri Lankan Yellow Rice)

Kaha Bath is a simple Sri Lankan rice dish made with turmeric and coconut milk.  The dish isn’t sweet, but savory with flavors of turmeric, cardamom, and cloves.  The coconut milk provides a nice creaminess to the rice and I loved how the turmeric dyed the rice bright yellow.  The great thing about this rice is that the flavors of curry aren’t overpowering and you can serve it alongside another curry dish.  It would also work as the main course if you mixed a protein like egg, chicken or tofu into the rice.

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