Sioux Indian Pudding

In researching for my other blogs, this week I posted articles about the extraordinary life of Zitkala-Sa, a Sioux woman born in 1876.  In keeping with the themes of my other blogs, I thought I’d post a Sioux recipe.  Unlike most of the recipes I post, I have not yet tried this, but it sounds good, and one that I’ll try soon!  Just click on the photo to go to the recipe on allrecipes.

Sioux Indian Pudding

 

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The Cuisine of Gibraltar

I recently returned from a research trip to Gibraltar and London, and I thought I’d share a bit of Gibraltarian culture with you!  I won’t share recipes until I’ve made them myself, but here’s a link to a list of typical Gibraltarian recipes… enjoy exploring a unique culture’s cuisine!  Just click on the photo below to jump to the link.

Gibraltar - Botanical Garden, Town & Morrocco

Gibraltar from our hotel window: The Botanical Gardens, the city beyond, and Morocco’s Jebel Musa (the other “Pillar of Hercules”, along with the Rock of Gibraltar) across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Strawberry–Pretzel Delight

strawberry-pretzel dessertThe recipe last week reminded me of this dessert; this has a shock factor, as people don’t often associate pretzels with something as sweet as this concoction!  I made this for a dinner with my husband’s work team and their spouses, and it was a huge hit – the salty pretzels are a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries.  You could substitute any fruit you want, and I’m sure it would turn into a smash hit too!

Strawberry Pretzel Delight

2 C. Crushed pretzels
¾ C. Butter, melted
3 Tbs. Sugar
8 oz. (225 gr.) Mascarpone (or cream cheese), softened
¾ C. Sugar
8 oz. (225 ml.) whipped cream (sweetened [American] or unsweetened [the European way!])
6 oz. (170 gr.) strawberry Jello (or plain gelatin + 1 tsp. strawberry extract and part of the frozen strawberry juice)
2 C. Boiling water
2½ C. Strawberries (frozen and thawed, or fresh – the freezing brings out their juices when thawed)

A few fresh strawberries, prepared for a garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons white sugar; mix well and press mixture into bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake 8-10 minutes, until set; set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl cream together the Mascarpone and sugar. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread mixture onto cooled crust.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in (frozen) strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is about the consistency of raw egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.  Garnish, and serve with a smile.

Chinese Orange Chicken with Tempura Batter

Tonight I had a hankering for orange juice, and what better way to use it than with chicken?  I prepared the chicken and marinade in the afternoon, and by dinner it was ready to go!  This recipe officially serves 4, if you don’t have a hungry husband.  I do.  So consider it 2 servings, though it’s certainly easy to multiply.

Serve with Jasmine rice.  As a drink you could serve either orange juice, or a Tropical Coconut Smoothie.

Orange ChickenChinese Orange Chicken Wm

½ – 1 C. orange juice
4 Tbs. lemon juice
2½ Tbs. rice vinegar
5½ Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. grated orange zest
3 Tbs. soft brown sugar
½ tsp. minced fresh ginger root
½ tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbs. chopped spring onion
¼ tsp. red chili flakes (or sambal oelek – chili paste)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces or into thin strips

½ C. flour (optional:  Instead of this mixture, use Tempura – recipe below)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

3 Tbs. Olive oil

3 Tbs. cornflour + 2 Tbs. water, mixed to a paste

Mix the first set of ingredients into a large Ziploc bag (tip:  Set it in a bowl for easy filling, and keeping the liquids together to cover the chicken).  Prepare the chicken; add it to the bag, seal, and massage all together well.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
When you’re ready to cook:  In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag and shake to coat.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Place chicken into the pan, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and set aside.
Wipe out the pan, and add the sauce. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat.  Stir the cornflour paste into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with hot Jasmine rice, or stir-fried rice with shavings of orange peel or ginger added.

 

Tempura Batter

1 egg yolk, beaten
1 ½ C. ice water or very cold club soda
1 C. (250 ml) all – purpose flour or rice flour, plus additional for dredging

Mix together; dredge your meat and cook as directed.

HOW TO Sharpen Knives and Scissors with a Mug

This is a trick I’ve been doing for years; I have a proper honing steel, but a mug works just as well for most common knives and household scissors that need a quick perk.

HOW TO Sharpen Knives HOW TO Sharpen ScissorsTake any mug that has a rough ceramic rim around the base; in the illustrations I’ve used a local coffee mug.  In a similar technique as using a honing steel, except that you’ll run the knife on a single surface rather than alternating sides (see video here to understand what I mean).  As he points out in the video, make sure you run the knife or scissor blade from the base to the tip, to get even sharpening the entire length of the blade.

Always keep your fingers away from the sharpening surface!  Apply just a bit of pressure to get the best effect; a bit of practice will teach better than I can explain it.  It usually only takes me 10-15 passes of each blade to get a pair of scissors back in top form, and the same with a knife.

 

Chia Power Bread

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

The young woman living with us at the moment has made these twice in the last week, they’re so good!  They are filling, nutritious, and oh-so-simple to make!  The roasted nut aroma that comes out of the oven is torment until they’re done – just don’t burn your mouth for impatience.  For those of you unfamiliar with Chia seeds, click on the link to find out more (likewise below for Buckwheat, which isn’t a wheat despite its name) – they are a powerhouse of goodness.

Chia Power Bread

½ C. raw pumpkin seeds

½ C. rolled oats, ground into a flour

¼ C. raw buckwheat grains, ground into a flour (or more oat flour)

½ C. raw sunflower seedsChia Power Bread

½ C. chia seeds

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. honey

¼ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. dried thyme

¼ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. fine sea salt

1 C. water

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F) and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.  In a blender, grind the rolled oats and buckwheat grains until you have a fine flour.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well, then stir in the water until combined. The mixture will be very liquidy at first but it will thicken up fairly quickly. Scoop it into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible, then cover it with a piece of baking paper and roll it flat in the pan.  If needed, lightly moisten your hands and press it smooth to the edge.  Sprinkle the bread with fine salt before going into the oven.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. This is especially nice straight out of the oven – the nutty fragrance is amazing!

Eat within 2 or 3 days – if you keep it longer it may just get a bit gummy, though it’s still good.  Freeze it if you want it to keep longer, or store in an airtight container in the fridge.  You can slice it before freezing, and then pop it into the toaster to warm / toast it.