Caucasian Curry

Caucasian Curry
Sunday, June 30, 2013

White Chocolate Mud Cake with White Chocolate Glaze




looking for a good "party cake"? 
this one does the trick
feeds a crowd
make the day before so no game-day worries
slices beautifully with no mess and crumbles
throw on some berries and offer ice cream...done deal for at least 16 people.

the cake is only a 9 inch-er, but it seems like a HUGE cake.  the cake alone weighed in at 3 lbs 14 oz!  i know you can get 16 very nice servings...maybe even 18-20 after a big dinner if you stretched it with a load of beautiful fresh berries, extra glaze or a fun sauce and some ice cream.

the flavor?... it's like the best buttery soft sugar cookie ever.

it's rich and dense like a mud cake should be, but yet it doesn't seem too too heavy.  the white chocolate base is an open canvas for other flavors.  i thought it would be nice to offer a raspberry coulis, dark chocolate sauce, caramel?...lemon curd would be delicious.

forget the glaze and throw a few slices on a hot skillet for a sear and serve it for brunch.  i wonder if it would be good on the grill?...

180g white chocolate, chopped...i used Guittard discs
350g unsalted butter
2 2/3 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups plain flour
2/3 cups self rising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, slightly beaten

preheat oven...original suggests 160C or 140C "fan-forced".  i chose to go with 300F convection.
grease a deep 22 cm round cake pan.  line the base and sides and lightly grease the parchment

combine the chocolate, butter, sugar and milk in a large sauce pan.  stir over medium heat until smooth. note...chop your chocolate fine so you won't have any lumps and it will take less time.  pour mixture into large bowl and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.  (mine took over 1/2 hour to cool enough to handle the addition of eggs)
sift the flours together in a bowl.  mix the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl.  whisk into the chocolate mixture the sifted flours and egg/vanilla in three batches...alternating.  i used a stand mixer for the job.  do not over whisk, but combine well so there are no lumps.

pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes...mine took 1 hour 55 minutes
let cool completely in the pan.  turn the pan out and then top side up.
cut the top off to even the cake out and flip it over to serve bottom side up.  this creates a nice uniform looking cake with a flat top.

NOTE...the part that you cut off IS DELICIOUS !!!.  do not throw this aside.  you will find yourself nibbling on this all day while dipping into the white chocolate glaze that drips from the cake.


8 oz white chocolate.  use good white chocolate...something you would eat plain.
2/3 cups heavy cream

chop white chocolate and set aside in a heat proof glass bowl.  heat cream to just boiling.  pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for a minute...then start GENTLY stir from the middle.  the mixture should come together.  you do not want ANY lumps and you do not want any bubbles.  mine took a while to fully melt.
set cake over a cooling rack with something to catch the glaze over flow underneath.
NOTE...i intended this to be a more solid "ganache" smooth covering as i have done with dark chocolate.  white chocolate is a tricky bugger.  this ratio did not set up firm, BUT it works well because it is not too thick, therefore does not make the cake cloyingly sweet.  the cake remains tacky, but this is fine when serving for a party.  it's just a little harder to store.  you will have left over glaze so you can serve this in a mini pitcher for guests to pour over their slice. OR dunk those nibbles you saved from slicing off the crunchy top...he he

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Agua de Jamaica


crisp, TART, refreshing

a few quarts for less than .50 cents
whip up a batch of this for your next BBQ throw-down instead of spending all that $$$ on sugary store bought "contains 10% fruit juice" cranberry drink.

HEALTH BENEFITS?!...known to lower cholesterol, regulate high blood pressure, contains vitamin C and A, aids water retention...blah blah blah...
it's pretty...

you can find bags of the Jamaica (dried Hibiscus flowers) for about 3 dollars or buy it out of the bins at any Mexican super market.  i always keep an apothecary jar filled on the looks pretty and it's an easy beverage to whip up.  i boil some water before bed and throw in a handful of blossoms with a cinnamon stick and a bag of ginger tea or a few cardamom pods, let steep over night, strain through cheesecloth and chill the next day.

SIDE NOTE...if you don't sweeten it too much and leave out the cinnamon, this could possibly be a good alternative to red wine for the non-drinker/designated driver.


8 cups filtered water
 1 to 1 1/2 oz dried hibiscus flowers (a big handful)
1 cinnamon stick (optional, see side note above)
a few slices of ginger (optional)
or...a bag of Yogi Ginger Tea
sugar or sweetener to taste 
no need to use exact measurements. this is the way i throw it together.  after the first batch you will make it to suit your taste.

bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add hibiscus and cinnamon stick.  let steep for 20 minutes or let come to room temp.  strain and squeeze blossoms through a few layers of cheesecloth or a paper towel and sweeten to taste.  stir until sugar is dissolved.  i prefer this drink a little tart.
refrigerate and serve chilled as is...
if it is too strong add water or serve over ice.
blend with some sparkling water, fresh juice...pineapple, orange, apple or Trader Joe's Pomegranate Blueberry Ice Tea?...
i like to add a splash to Sobe Lifewater with a squeeze of lime.

or...MY NEW FAVORITE MIXER...Homemade Probiotic Fermented Lemonade

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mom's Banana Cream Pie


homemade crust...always,

BUT the filling comes in a BOX
and the whipped topping comes in a CAN

no need to slave over "made-from-scratch" filling and fresh whipped cream..the pie will be gone before anyone is stupid enough to question your recipe,

simple, understated, always a favorite and it's pure comfort food.


one 9" inch pie crust...pre baked
homemade is best, but store bought will do in a pinch. i a pinch!
1 large box vanilla pudding mix (8 serv. box).  NOT the instant mix
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas...more or less for decoration
whipped cream for topping

mom is the pie crust chef around here.  she has never written down the actual recipe, but she uses a blend of unsalted butter with a little butter flavored Crisco as opposed to one OR the other or lard.  she uses the food processor to make the dough, wraps it in saran and stores it in the freezer for an impromptu pie bake.
to pre bake the shell we used Alton Brown's method...(click on the link for his full pie crust recipe.)      

when your dough is ready...form the dough in the pie plate and crimp the edges as you would for an apple pie.  cut a piece of parchment a bit bigger than the pie and place that on the uncooked shell.  fill with beans.  put the whole thing in the freezer for about 10 minutes just before you are going to bake.  then bake at 400F convection (425F regular oven) for 10 minutes.  remove the parchment and beans and cook 10-15 minutes longer or until golden brown.  let cool completely.

make pudding according to box, BUT only use 1 3/4 cups whole milk and add a 1 tsp of vanilla.  let this cool just a little bit.
cut banana circles and place them to cover the bottom of cooled pie shell.  pour pudding  evenly over bananas.  give it a "shimmy shimmy" to even it out.  cover with saran wrap touching the pudding and put in fridge to set.
you might choose to decorate the top with more bananas, but it is harder to get a "clean cut"...maybe just around the edge is best.  it is best to put extra bananas on just before serving or they will turn brown.  serve with whipped cream.
go a can and keep it in the back of the fridge.

they's all about the crust.  that's why store bought doesn't cut it in this house.  luckily i have an expert to call on when a good pie is necessary.  take the time to make a few "dough-discs" and throw them in the freezer.  pull one out the night before and thaw in the fridge should be ready to roll the next day.

sometimes imperfections are the best sign of "homemade"

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Sea Tangle Noodle Slaw with Vietnamese Dressing

crunchy, tart, crisp, slippery, sweet, savory, tangy and spicy

this is my new favorite salad.  i've had it every day for a week.   by it's self, a great light snack or lunch, but topped with shrimp, shredded chicken, BBQ'd salmon?..a delicious, filling, low fat, low calorie meal.  fresh and easy when you have some made up in the fridge.   it saves well and gets even better as it sits.  

 i came across these strange Sea Tangle noodles at one of my Asian markets.  i always have to try the weird thing that i've never seen before.  

what a find!...these things are good!
the texture is soooo unexpected.  they are crunchy right out of the bag...i mean CRUNCHY!  they do soften a bit when the dressing is applied or after it sits.
the flavor?...there is none, so the noodles make for a great blank canvas.
great for filling up...they only have 6 calories per large handful.  perfect for watching the swimsuit waistline.

they DO come in a big "tangle"...easy to separate and the wad in the bag grows into a HUGE pile o'glassy noodles.

if the crunch is too weird for you, put them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes with a few squeezes of lemon juice.  them strain them and dry as well as you can before putting them in salad. 
they are also good warm.  i haven't come up with any recipes yet, but i did try this dressing on the warm soft noodles and i think it would make a great side for something...anything.

hey...they're only 6 calories !
eat them with everything.


about 2 cups Sea Tangle Noodles, rinsed and dried as well as poss.
1 1/2-2 cups savoy cabbage, sliced very thin
10 snap peas, sliced diagonal
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1 celery stalk, slice thin on the diagonal
 4 large basil...chiffonade
quite a few mint leaves depending on size...(i used about 10.  mine were very small)  torn or chiffonade
scallion or chives..i like just the green of the scallion.
toasted sesame seeds optional, but delicious add.


2 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
 1 to 2 tsp fresh ginger put through garlic press to extract juice and a little minced ginger.
pinch of red pepper flakes.

mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.  TASTE TEST...i might have added a little squeeze more lime.  put it in a glass jar.  i usually double the recipe so it's ready in the fridge..  give the jar a good shake before using.
NOTE...use sparingly so as not to over dress your salad.  the salad will save better and sesame oil flavor goes a loooonnnng way.   this was very good the next day for a packed lunch.

this is a bag to look for.  look carefully among the konjac and shirataki noodles.  it took me 5 or 10 minutes to locate another bag in the market.  i found this large bag at H Mart in irvine.  i have recently seen a few bags at Mother's Market, so i bet your local health food store might carry them.
by the way...this is "THE" fish sauce commonly used in Vietnamese cooking.  my friend Cathy gave me this big bottle of fish sauce that her Mom uses at her PHO restaurant in Little Saigon.  she says this is "the" one to use.  it is far better than the commercial one i bought at my local market.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lavender Lemonade

wake up the taste buds and calm the nerves.


super easy...just an extra step that makes plain ol' lemonade a little more exciting.


6-8 lavender buds
or 2 heaping Tbsp dried lavender
juice from 4-5 large lemons
4 cups boiling water
4 cups cool filtered water
sweetener of choice...i use Truvia packets

NOTE...everybody likes their lemonade different, sweet, tart, more water, less this is just an approximate ratio of lemons to water.  add more or less as you please.  same with the sweetener...i like it tart.
bring 4 cups water to a boil.  take off heat and add lavender.  let steep for about 10 minutes...longer might produce a bitter taste.  strain water through cheesecloth or paper towel, add lemon juice and 4 cups cool water.  add sweetener to your liking.  i only used 3 or 4 Truvia packets.   refrigerate until cool.
NOTE...i used fresh lavender from the garden with blooming buds (as shown) to get the nice light purple tint.  i have not tried store bought dried lavender yet...sometimes it has lost it's color and aroma, but i will try it when the fresh lavender has sadly gone.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Spicy Pickled Pig Feet


these are nothing like you would expect.

YES...they are quite a bit to handle, 

all this talk about nose to tail and sustainability...

now you need to

ease into it with a few tostadas...a popular Mexican street food.
REALLY...i'm not kidding.  these little puppies are delicious.
i always see everyone on the cooking shows talking about adding a little acidity to give things a balanced flavor.  pickled this and pickled that, a little balsamic here and a little vinaigrette there...

pickled trotter's could be the answer.... a perfect addition.
just think "PICKLES"
add them to a salad...a burger?...a sandwich?

these trotter's are mildly acidic with a few flavorful spices.  they do have an unusual texture that i can only liken to...well...pickled pig products...hummmph...
if you cook them long enough and are able to de-bone them properly the texture can be soft. pliable and porky.  when chopped into a relish or a topping for salad i bet the consumer would never know.  not to say you should rely on trickery, but not many people will jump at the chance to try a pickle pig product if asked.  i promise, this is not like that horrid looking dusty jar you see on the top shelf at the market...

these are done with a little extra CARE and a little EXTRA FLARE.

had i know they would be this good, i would have filled the jar !


2-3  trotters split in half
2 cups apple cider vinegar
5-6 cardamom pods, crushed open
4 dried chili de arbol
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
10 peppercorns
1/2 tsp red chili flakes...a little more s good
a few baby carrots and cloves of garlic

first...put the trotters into a large stock pot filled with water.  bring to a boil for about 5-10 minutes.  pull out trotters and discard water.  this helps remove any contaminants and just makes for clean feet.  clean the pot and fill again with water and put the trotters in.  you're basically just cooking the feet in a good broth...however you do it is fine, but this is what i did...add 1 quartered onion, a few smashed garlic cloves, a couple of bay leaves, a large pinch of Mexican oregano and a splash of apple cider.  bring to a boil, then to a simmer for about 2 to 3 hours or until trotters are very fork tender,(but not totally mush) and bones can easily be removed.
remove from broth and cool to the touch so you can remove as many bones as possible.   try not to mangle the feet.  try to keep the pieces whole or at least large.  this batch was cooked just right so i was able to get every bone and still leave the feet in good shape.
strain and save the broth for something else. keep the bay leaves and chilis for the finished jar.  the broth might not have too much meaty flavor, but it is full of collagen and very very viscous.  i keep it for the next round of pig braising or use it in cold terrines. a medium sauce pan add the cider vinegar, cardamom pods, dried chilies, salt, sugar, peppercorns and red chili flakes.  bring to boil, then a simmer.  add de-boned trotters in and simmer on LOW for 10 to 15  minutes.
remove from heat.  remove feet and put in jar(or jars) of choice.  strain broth/cider mixture and keep the goodies like the cardamom, peppercorns, bay leaves etc to put in the jar.  pour the cider over the trotters and put all your saved goodies in and around the trotters.
let come to room temp and refrigerate.  let sit in fridge for at least a few days and up to 4 weeks (maybe even a little longer...if the seal is not broken).  if you dig in to them, try and use with in 10 days.  NOTE...i am not the food police and i don't know for sure how long these keep...but they are "pickled" and that's how long i have kept them.

serve them along with your charcuterie platter, on Mexican Street Tostados, slice on top a savory pulled pork slider...heck, you could use them as the pickle effect on a juicy big burger.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vietnamese Coffee Jelly Dessert...easy

super easy, clean and tasty cool dessert for a summer party.

OR...just kick start your day,
maybe brighten a June gloom afternoon...

coffee jelly, or JELLO as we call it, is a popular dessert in Asia.  in Japan they serve it black, slightly sweetened in a cup...or sometimes offer it with ice cream or in milkshakes.  it's even served with student lunches in public schools.  this cute little easy dessert is Vietnamese inspired simply because it is a strong brewed coffee paired with a healthy spoonful of sweetened condensed milk.  my friend Cathy gave me some delicious coffee from her Mother's Pho restaurant (best Pho in Little Saigon) i thought i'd use that for this treat.  her preferred brand is Cafe La LLave.

Vietnamese coffee is usually very strong, brewed in a Phin Filter or can be made in a French press for larger quantity.  use a bold flavor...Cafe du Monde is popular with it's chicory flavor, but a nice French or Italian roast will do.  see my post on Vietnamese coffee HERE.

sweetened condensed milk...the most preferred Vietnamese brand would be the Longevity Gold Brand, but good old American Eagle Brand will be just fine.

NOTE about "jelly"...  quite often you will see jellys made with "agar agar", but i prefer the texture of good ol' jello.



1/2 cup cold strong coffee
1 1/4 cup very hot STRONG coffee
2 packet plain gelatin
sweeten or flavor coffee to your liking
put the gelatin into the 1/2 cup cold coffee, wait 5 minutes for gelatin to "bloom".  heat 1 1/4 cups strong coffee to almost boil and pour into cold mixture.  stir to completely dissolve/combine.  lightly, i say lightly spray a square or rectangle vessel of choice.  choose a vessel that will make it easy to cube.  refrigerate until firm and set....a few hours.
NOTE...these measurements (1 3/4 cups liquid) make a wiggly jello texture, but DOES cut into cubes.  i thought this ratio was a perfect texture for this particular dessert, but if you want it just a bit more firm, cut the liquid to 1 1/2 cups total.

cut the jello into 1/2 inch cubes, set aside 
1-2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of cup
put cubes in cup with the condensed milk
whipped cream of choice for topping
cocoa powder for sprinkle
chocolate covered espresso beans to garnish the morning i like my "jelly treat" a little less sugary.  try a thick vanilla or chocolate protein shake with the coffee jelly cubes.  it's definitely not "Vietnamese" style...BUT it IS a quick fun protein  pick-me-up.

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