Occasionally, I’ll be posting a set of recipes which I’d be remiss not to share yet don’t really justify having their own separate posts. These dishes are based on old recipes in the archives and help demonstrate how one basic recipe can be built upon to create several other things. Remixes. Spin-offs. Mashups. Maybe all of the above.
Raspberry Soufflé Cake in the above photograph, for example, is made by taking the Lemon Pudding Cake recipe and replacing the lemon juice with the same amount of puréed raspberries (with seeds strained out). Fresh raspberries are best, but if you use frozen raspberries, make sure that they’re completely thawed and drained very, very well. Any excess moisture will only dilute the raspberry flavor in the cake. If you use in-season raspberries which are sweeter, you may want to add one tablespoon of lime or lemon juice to it to increase the acidity. But this is completely optional. I do that, because I like the tang.
Grandma’s Yellow Chicken Stew, which has become a family favorite for several of you, can be made with pork belly instead of bone-in chicken thighs. Not exactly, uh, low in calories, but very good.
Looking back over this past spring, I am amazed at how many times I ate roasted asparagus with Mom’s Thai Peanut Sauce. Fresh asparagus spears are lightly anointed with olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper, then roasted at high heat until moderately charred. There’s something about roasted asparagus and peanut sauce that go together so well. Grilled asparagus would work too.
The recipe for Pretzel hamburger and hot dog rolls makes either 8 hamburger buns or 8 hot dog buns. But you can easily make smaller buns by dividing the dough into 20 rolls and follow the recipe. These rolls, split in half and lightly toasted, are a perfect foil for breakfast sausage patties. A fried egg, a slice of cheese, and a slice of fresh tomato are optional for this pretzel breakfast sandwich.
Fresh pineapple and mussels may sound like a mismatch. But this unlikely duo represents one of the classic, much-loved combinations.
Follow the recipe for Panaeng Curry with Pork and Kabocha Squash, substituting one half of a pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch dice, and 1.5 pounds of mussels for the pork and squash and adjusting the cooking time accordingly. No long simmering is needed as both the pineapple and the mussels don’t need to be cooked for a long time.
The mussels can be kept on the half shells for presentation or not; it’s up to you. You can even cheat, as did I, by using Italian basil instead of Thai purple basil — or you can even leave the basil out — and it will turn out great. One thing you definitely don’t want to do, though, is use canned pineapple. (shudder) Also, pineapple and mussel are normally put in red curry as opposed to green curry. The curry paste you should be using is either red curry paste or “kua” curry paste (namprik gaeng kua).
Chicken tenderloins can be dipped in the same batter used to make these Thai-Style Thai Fried Sweet Potatoes and fried until golden brown and crispy. Serve the chicken tenders with Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce.
Pesto is not just for pasta; it also serves as a great dressing for roasted or blanched firm vegetables. Simple boiled new or fingerling potatoes are very good tossed with this Celery Almond Pesto.
When warm fruit sauce and ice cream meet, good things happen. Most of the time, I use this simple blueberry compote to top my morning yogurt. But lately, when blueberries are at their peak, this warm blueberry compote has shown up in many more places. Sometimes, I make my Blood Orange Upside-Down Semolina Olive Oil Cake plain without the blood orange topping, and top the plain cake with this blueberry compote instead. I also love the compote with vanilla ice cream. I love even more warm blueberry compote with my aunt’s Thai-Style Coconut Milk Gelato.
And — you know what else? — this blueberry compote is absolutely delicious on top of warm Cheese-Filled Vareniki by my friend, Valya.
The Celery Almond Pesto, mentioned above, is also great with raw crunchy vegetables. I love a simple salad of fresh radishes, sliced very thinly, and radish sprouts (radish seeds are sprouted the same way I sprout French Puy lentils). The crunch and clean flavor of the radish go very well with the celery, almonds, and olive oil in the pesto. For an almost-100% raw vegan version, leave out the cheese.
I’ve recently discovered a new favorite snack/appetizer — goat cheese-covered grapes. If you haven’t tried these, you really should. This idea came from Bobby Chinn‘s Wild, Wild, East.
Red or black grapes are covered with Homemade fresh chèvre, after 1-2 days of aging in the refrigerator when the flavor has developed and the texture is still moist, and rolled in finely-chopped roasted almonds. The cheese shouldn’t be either too thick or too thin; you want just enough goat cheese to cover each grape in its entirety but not so much that all you taste is the cheese. The almond-crusted, goat cheese-covered grapes are chilled until serving time. They can be made in advanced for up to 24 hours, but they shouldn’t be frozen.
Sometimes, when there’s nothing but a piece of fish in the freezer, this is what I do. Simple grilled salmon, or any type of firm-flesh fish, is served on a bed of lightly-steamed or blanched leafy vegetable (napa cabbage, in this case) and with a dollop of Mom’s Thai Peanut Sauce on top.
You good French people, please don’t throw your shoes at me.
One day, in a fit of whim, I used Nancy Silverton’s brioche dough to make fougasse – a flat bread which normally isn’t made with brioche dough. After the second rise, I flattened out the dough and formed it into a large leaf. I made a few cuts and widened the gaps with my fingers to create a leaf-like flat bread. The fougasse was then studded with well-drained and halved spiced pickled cherries, brushed with some egg wash, and sprinkled with pearl sugar — the same kind I sprinkle on top of my Chocolate Chip Chouquettes.