Caramel Coconut Flan

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Serves 6

Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir the sugar continually with a wooden spoon until it begins to brown and clump together. Keep stirring until the sugar completely melts and dissolves into a golden-brown syrup. Remove the syrup from the heat as soon as it has dissolves as it can burn.

Working quickly, carefully pour the caramel into the ramekins, tilting them to coat the bottom and the sides.  Set the ramekins aside and allow the caramel coating to cool and harden.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Whisk together until everything is fully combined Evenly pour the custard mixture into the caramel-coated ramekins.

Place the ramekins in shallow 9 x 13-in  baking dish. Pour enough hot water in the dish until it reaches about halfway up the pan.sides of the ramekins. Carefully place the baking dish in the oven and bake until just set, but still jiggly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the flan from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for about 15 to 20 minute.Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Note: the flan can be made three days in advance and can be refrigerated until ready to serve.

To serve,  dip the ramekins in a saucepan of hot water.Using your index finger, gently press down on the edges of the flan until the caramel begins to run up the sides of the ramekin, which indicated that the baked custard is loosened.  You can also  slide a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen it up. Place a plate  on top of the flan, grab a hold of both the plate and the ramekin and quickly invert so that the flan is now upside down. Carefully lift off the flan pan. ramekins. Your flan should be sitting in the caramel on the plate.

Garnish with fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

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Shrimp Scampi Florentine Pasta

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The classic Florentine preparation places the main ingredient on a bed of buttery spinach, topped with sauce and cheese and browned under the broiler. We’ve replicated the basic idea, giving you all those rich and cheesy flavors, but with less effort than a full-on Florentine. We’ve even improved it, with a bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. Tip: An easier way to mince parsley? Gather them all in one hand and lay on the cutting board. Use your knife in rocking motion to cut, then turn 90 degrees and repeat until the herbs are properly minced!

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

5  ounces spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces  baby spinach, roughly chopped
¼  bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
2 teaspoons mirepoix base or vegetable
¼ cup light cream
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 3 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. While pasta boils, cook shrimp.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until oil is shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add shrimp to the skillet n and cook undisturbed until seared on one side, 1-2 minutes. Flip shrimp, and add shallot and garlic. Cook until aromatic, 30-60 seconds.

Lower heat to medium. Add the parsley and spinach to the skillet and stir occasionally until spinach is wilted. Add the shrimp and stir to cook until the shrimp is opaque and pink when it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145ºF, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cream, Parmesan, half the pasta cooking water, mirepoix base, and pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once simmering, cook until sauce is slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. If too dry, add additional pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Remove the skillet from the heat and season with salt and  crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

To serve divide, the shrimp Florentine between two plates and garnish the pasta with parsley.

 Bon appétit!

Cook’s Notes:

Many chefs consider mirepoix to be the key ingredient for adding that extra umph to a dish. It’s the secret sauce; the essential ingredient; the reason your food tastes so good. Mirepoix plays an important role in flavoring soups, stews, casseroles, braised meats, and marinades.358 (1)

You can find mirepoix soup bases in the soup aisle of your local supermarket. If that is not the case you buy it online at speciality gourmet shops. Click here for the link.

To learn how to make your own mirepoix base, just click here for the link to a great teaching video.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

 


Shaking Beef

 

Meat is precious and Buddhist traditions are strong in Vietnam, which is why dishes of beef are considered a luxury. Clever cooks cut tender, marbled cuts into small pieces so they soak up flavor, then cook them quickly and serve them hot with aromatic herbs. Here, the peppery, salty-sweet, juicy beef mingles with the light salad dressing to create a great sauce that pools on the platter, perfect for drizzling over rice. Watercress leaves warm and wilt under the Shaking Beef (so named for the back-and-forth shaking of the pan), while their stems remain crunchy.

Adapted from
Food & Wine Magazine
April 2012

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the Beer:
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 pounds boneless rib eye steak, trimmed and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces

For the Salad:
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon medium-dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups lightly packed watercress, baby arugula, or other salad greens
1 cup torn radicchio or 8 halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh mint,  Thai basil, or other herb leaves, torn
2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:
To Make the beef:Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, fish sauce, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. If a saltier finish is desired, add up to 1 1/2 teaspoons more oyster sauce. Add beef, toss well to coat, and let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.

To Make the salad: Rinse onions in a strainer under cold running water for about 10 seconds; set aside. Whisk together 2 tablespoons water, vinegar, sherry, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add onion; top with watercress, radicchio, and herbs. Do not toss.

Heat a large, cast iron skillet over high, and add oil. When oil is shimmering, carefully add beef in a single layer. Cook, shaking pan every 30 to 60 seconds, until seared on all sides and meat reaches desired degree of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from heat. Quickly toss salad, and transfer to a platter or serving dish. Pile cooked beef and juices on salad, and serve immediately.