December was, as usual, THE party month of the year, with lots of food everywhere and it was the perfect time to experiment with a new one: Cheesy Chicken Alfredo dip… Yes, it was yummy! You’ve gotta try it, but only if you want your guests to clean it out ASAP!!
As I was multi-tasking during Thanksgiving, I cooked some chicken breasts in the soup base of this Colombian corn soup I wanted to try out. You could also use rotisserie chicken and chop the chicken breast up. Anything goes when you’re really busy!
This recipe is super easy and I think the hardest part was cooking/chopping the chicken, and maybe slicing the bell peppers and cucumbers. I also served crackers, but everyone liked the peppers and cucumbers best. They’re a perfect balance to the rich Alfredo dip.
Too easy not to try! You and your guest will really enjoy it!
It’s cold outside and I can’t think of anything better than soup to stay warm and cozy during Winter time.
I often make the Ginger Carrot soup for Thanksgiving, but last November I went looking for something different, that was equally good. I found two different recipes that both looked yum, yet easy to make. I choose the Crema de Mazorca, or Creamy Corn Soup, from the website of My Colombian recipes. It is one of my favorite sites and I’ve tried many dishes, some of them multiple times.
Who wouldn’t like a subtle creamy soup, enhanced by cilantro, avocado and potato sticks? The latter went surprisingly well with the soup!
I used frozen corn and added more garlic than the original recipe called for. I also used a bit more potatoes to make the soup a bit heavier. You can experiment any way you like. Hey, it’s your kitchen and your soup 🙂
Place the corn, water, chicken or vegetable bouillon, garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, potatoes and scallions in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for approximately 4 minutes or until the corn is tender.
Remove from the heat. Purée the soup in a blender and return to the pot, add the cream and heat over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour into bowls, garnish with cilantro and potato sticks.
Post 101. That means we have posted 100+ entries on this blog since I started two years and 9 months ago! It’s been a fun way of sharing food adventures and recipes, and the plan is to continue until I run out of inspiration, which will probably be: never! 🙂
So here’s something I want to share with my online family, just like we do at all family parties: Kroepoek!
While it doesn’t involve a lot of “cooking” this quick snack is worth mentioning, since not many (non-Asian) people may know what kroepoek is. This must be one of the easiest snacks in the world to serve (next to a bag of potato chips). You just buy it and fry it!
Besides various spellings of kroepoek (krupuk, kerupuk), they also come in a variety of colors and flavors. You can buy a box in most Asian grocery stores or farmer’s markets. All you have to do is fry the thin medallions in hot oil, and voila! You’ll have a yummy snack in minutes.
Of course you could make kroepoek from scratch, but I would not want to mess with it. Kroepoek is made of a paste of starch (rice or tapioca) mixed with shrimp, fish, onions or other ingredients for more flavor. The paste is rolled out, steamed, sliced and sundried to remove any moisture in it. When frying, kroepoek will expand to twice or more its initial size, almost like popcorn does when popped. To keep the crispness, you should store kroepoek in an airtight container, because it will get tough when absorbing moisture. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krupuk)
A word of caution: DO NOT walk away or turn your head when frying kroepoek! Why? Because it will get burned before you turn back! When I said a ‘quick’ snack, I really meant quick!
The oil has to be really hot before frying, and the heat turned down a bit during the frying process, to avoid burning the chips before they’re done. However, chips will absorb too much grease if the oil is not hot enough. It takes some experimenting to get this right, because stoves, pots and pans are different, but also because kroepoek fries in only few seconds. For that reason, I never fry more than 5 pieces at the same time; they would all get burned.
Here’s a little secret: it seems that you can also microwave kroepoek! I’m so used to the traditional way of frying kroepoek that I was surprised to learn that you can also microwave it!! But, if you can microwave popcorn, you could do the same with kroepoek. I had to try it out and see the difference. For one thing, it would be fat-free (or so I thought) and I like that very much. A few nights ago, I popped some in the microwave to check it out.
It took only a few seconds for the popping to start, but from the photo you can tell that the discs didn’t expand as much as in the oil. In addition the edges were still hard and almost uncooked. The center tasted good though and if you only want a few at the time, using the microwave is a good option. Just like in too hot oil, kroepoek can also burn in the microwave, so watch it!
Our family favorites are the prawn crackers, made with shrimp. They can be eaten plain or added to your plate of fried rice or rice with Javanese chicken.
Other snacks I grew up on are Rempejek and Intip, Intip being the easier and more common one of these two. Intip is a Javanese rice cake, made of leftover cooked rice that has been sundried and then fried in hot oil. Take out before it gets brown and sprinkle salt (before or) after frying. I find Intip crispier than store bought rice cakes. Rempejek is more complicated but a great savory snack. Instead of a dried cakes or chips, a thin batter is prepared with flour, rice and/or cornstarch, coconut milk, finely mashed garlic, seasoning and then deep-fried like a thin pancake or crepe, until it’s completely crisp and before it gets too dark. Rempejek can have a variety of fillings like: roasted peanuts dried mini shrimps or dried black-eye peas, added to the batter before
If you haven’t tried it yet, go for it! Surprise your friends and family at the next party or dinner. Buy a box of kroepoek, fry and enjoy!
Chicken or beef saté is a very popular Indonesian snack or appetizer, which can also be used to “dress up” a Bami or Nasi Goreng dish.
Meat chuncks are marinated in a (warm) marinade of several spices that include ground coriander and cumin seeds. I usually prepare the marinade a day ahead, and skewer the meat on the day of grilling.
Saté can be served with a hot peanut sauce (pindasambal) or hot soy sauce (sambal ketjap), but is often eaten without any because the marinade tastes good on its own.
I got the following recipe from my mom and it’s always a hit when served at parties or dinners.
4 lb skinless chicken or beef, cut in cubes
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander (ketoembar)
1/2 tsp cumin (djiera)
1/2 tsp galanga (laos) powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oil
bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Wash and cut the meat in chunks of 1 – 1.5 inches. Heat the oil, adding onion and garlic. Stir for a few minutes (don’t brown it), then add all other ingredients and cook until it bubbles. Turn off the heat, let the marinade cool for a few minutes then pour over the meat, turning it over until all pieces are covered. Immediately refrigerate, leaving overnight or just for an hour or two, before skewering. (The bamboo skewers are soaked in water to avoid burning during grilling.)
Depending on the length of the skewers, put 2 to 4 pieces of meat on and gently squeeze with one hand to make the saté look like it’s made from one piece of meat. This helps to keep the meat together as it will shrink during grilling, making it twist around when turning the skewers over during grilling.
Grill on each side for a few minutes on medium heat on a charcoal or gasgrill, or in the oven. Cover the skewer ends with foil if working with flames (gasgrill or broiler). It is more work, but you’ll get the best flavor from a charcoal grill. Just make sure the chicken (or pork) meat is fully cooked (but not dry).
The Chilean empanada recipe I posted last year generated a lot of interest on this blog which tells me that people like empanadas. I would like to share one from Argentina that I received from Mariana.
There are many varieties and the Argentinian empanada usually has olives, sweet paprika (bellpeppers) and raisins, however, since Mariana tries to please her family she leaves those ingredients out.
Dough discs can be made from scratch, but they can also be found in Latino grocery stores (time saver!). Mariana recommends Argentinian “La Salteña” frozen dough discs which can be both fried or baked. Since we prefer the healthy version, this recipe calls for baking.
1 tbsp oil
1 pound ground beef (sirloin)
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 tbsp dry oregano
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
2 roasted peppers, diced
empanada dough discs
3 eggs, hard boiled and sliced
2 tbsp Spanish sweet paprika (optional)
10 green olives, pitted (optional)
1/2 cup seedless raisins (optional)
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the ground meat and chopped onion, saute until slightly browned. Add spices (and raisins), cook until meat is thoroughly cooked. Stir in roasted peppers and let mixture cool off.
Fill empanada discs with meat mixture add one slice of egg (and one olive). Fold and seal the empanada with some water. Mariana sprinkles a little sugar on her empanadas. You could whisk an egg and brush on top prior to baking in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 300 degrees.