Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Orange Applesauce

Mix cooked pureed carrots into plain applesauce in a proportion of about two or three parts applesauce to one part carrot puree. The result will taste just like applesauce but will have the added nutrients of the carrots. This works especially well if you happen to get some carrots that are sharp-tasting.

In the picture above, the carrots were mashed with a hand-held potato masher instead of pureed in the blender, so the texture is a little rougher.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Any American living in Asia ought to know how to make jambalaya. Jambalaya is all about throwing in whatever you have on hand, and as long as you get the seasonings right, it will still taste good. It can be made with as little as just onion, garlic, and seasonings (plus the rice and butter or oil of course), or it can be made with all three kinds of meat, and with whatever additional veggies (e.g. zucchini) you need to use up. Of course, the more extras you put in it, the more satisfying and nutritious it will be.

1 small onion or 2 - 3 green onions
2 – 5 garlic cloves (or subst. 1/4 t garlic powder later)
1 red or green bell pepper (or 3 – 6 cabe hijau, or any favorite pepper you have on hand)
2 – 4 T butter or margerine
1 cup uncooked rice
1 15-oz. can stewed tomatos, with the juice (or 1 - 3 small tomatos, diced; or 1 - 4 T tomato paste)
1 – 2 cups water
1 or 2 chicken boullion flavor cubes, or 1 t aginomoto (optional)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 – ¼ t bottled hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or a dash of ground red pepper (or use hotter peppers in place of the bell pepper)
1 t dry basil
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 cup cooked cubed chicken, sausage, or shrimp (optional)

Chop up the onion, garlic, and pepper, and fry in butter, in a large saucepan or in a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid, until tender but not brown.
Add the uncooked rice; mix and fry briefly.
Add the stewed tomatos, seasonings, and 1 cup water (2 cups if not using canned stewed tomatos). Stir the ingredients together, breaking up the boullion cube and cutting the stewed tomatos into bite-sized pieces with the spoon as you do so. Cover; bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, leaving the mixture covered, and simmer until the rice has cooked fully, about 20 to 25 minutes. Depending on how much water you use, the rice may resemble a porridge. You can experiment with this until you get it to a dryness you like.
When the rice is done, stir in the chicken, sausage or shrimp and heat through. You may add the chicken or shrimp along with the other ingredients before cooking, but if you do this with the sausage, the fat will pop out of the meat during the cooking process and you will not want to eat it.

Serve hot, alone or with any combination of the following garnishes: grated cheese; sour cream or plain yoghurt; hot sauce; lemon or lime juice; cilantro. Also good with corn bread, if you have it. Serves 2.

Monday, December 29, 2008

3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Cocoa!

Cheaper and less sugary than Swiss Miss, and especially convenient where Swiss Miss is not available. Because it does not contain an emulsifier (? - is that the word?), the cocoa powder will tend to sink to the bottom of the drink over time.

3 teaspoons plain powdered milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Combine dry ingredients in a mug. Add boiling water and stir until dissolved. If desired, add a shot of real milk. Yield 1 mug cocoa.

You can also combine the dry ingredients in the same proportions, but larger amounts, to make 3-2-1 Cocoa mix.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Amusing Article on Cookbooks

Check out this history of cookbooks that appeared in the Christmas edition of The Economist :

Thursday, December 25, 2008


1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg or cloves
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t rum flavoring
1 T sugar, or more to taste
a splash of whipping cream, half and half, or milk, if needed to thin

Blend in the blender. Serves 2.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Buckeyes, A Family Recipe

OK, this is not in any sense a recipe you can do in Southeast Asia. Neither is it a recipe I invented or even tweaked. But a blog is all about what you're doing from day to day, right, and we made buckeyes this last week, sooo ...
This recipe comes from my husband's family, who hail from Ohio. The finished product is supposed to look like what they call buckeyes, what I grew up calling horse chestnuts, and what the British call conkers.

1 lb butter, softened
2 lbs peanut butter (one crunchy, one smooth)
3 lbs confectioner’s sugar
2 12-oz packages chocolate chips (we like semisweet)
½ stick parafin

Cream butter and peanut butter. Using clean hands, thoroughly mix in the confectioner’s sugar. Roll into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place the balls on a cookie sheet covered in waxed paper. Chill. If you’re making it in winter, as is traditional, you can put the sheets of peanut butter balls on your back porch or in your garage.
Meanwhile, place parafin in the bottom of a large pot and cover with chocolate chips. Turn the burner on the lowest setting and allow the parafin and chocolate to slowly melt. Stir together. Leave the heat on the lowest setting.
One cookie sheet at a time, bring the chilled peanut butter balls inside. For each ball, stick it with a toothpick,
dip it in the chocolate mixture and twirl it around until it is covered in chocolate except for a bald patch at the top. Return to the cookie sheet. When each sheet is done, return it to the cool place to chill it. Chilling overnight is perfect. Once the chocolate and parafin have set up, transfer the buckeyes to a storage container and store in a cool place until it’s time to serve them. Yield: TONS of buckeyes!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now THAT'S a Recipe!

"One of the most unusual dishes I had was called Telluh Babi – sour preserved pork, aged without cooking or refridgeration in a section of a giant bamboo. It is prepared in the following way. Mix one-half small water glass of salt and one plate (three double handfuls) of fatty wild pig meat cut into 1-inch-by-2-inch-by-3-inch pieces and adjust seasoning with pepper – or chillies, if available. Add one double handful of steamed rice (cooled) and mix with a clean wooden paddle (if you touch the mixture with your hands, it will go rotten). Store in a new bamboo container, tightly sealed, for at least one month, but preferably for six months.
"… Uncooked, the mixture does have an almost overpowering odor of sour fermented rice, but the pieces of coated meat become transformed into something altogether different when laid directly on the coals for five minutes. The fat flames up until one would think the meat was burned to a cinder, but when slightly cooled it is absolutely delicious. Crispy and sweet on the outside from the carmelized, tangy, fermented rice and juicy on the inside – full of complex and unexpected flavors. Each bite brought forth a new taste sensation. What a spectrum of flavors: piquant, sour, fragrant, and sweet! When sliced across the grain, the meat reveals an iridescent shimmer similar to corned beef or pastrami."
--from Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo, by Eric Hansen

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scratch Pumpkin Pie

We are now back in the States (that’s another story) and actually spent Thanksgiving there, but before we left Indonesia I did manage to make pumpkin pie using the pumpkins sold in the markets here, labu kuning.
Above are some labu kuning on sale in the wonderful market in Jakarta. In our home city, in Central Kal, you don’t see huge stacks of labu kuning like this, usually no more than a quarter of a pumpkin sitting forlornly atop the other veggies. A quarter of a pumpkin being all that was available, I bought it hoping it would yield enough pumpkin to make the Better Homes & Gardens recipe below. I also expected that it would take a couple of hours to cook down. To my surprise, in only 45 minutes the pumpkin chunks that I boiled were soft enough to mash and drain. It yielded almost exactly 16 ounces of mashed pumpkin, and I had enough pumpkin pie filling that I had to cook the extra in a little Pyrex bowl. The hardest part was cutting the rind off the extremely hard pumpkin slices.
Below are some halved labu kuning being sold alongside beans and sweet potatos.

Seed, peel and cube about ¼ of a labu kuning. Put in a pot, cover in water, and boil 45 minutes or until soft. Drain, mash, and drain again. While the pumpkin is boiling and draining, make the crust. Then proceed with the recipe.

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup shortening (mentega putih)
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water
16 ounces stewed pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t ground ginger
½ t ground nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten
1 5-oz can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
½ cup milk
1 large square aluminum foil with the middle cut out

Preheat oven 375 F, 190 C.
For crust, put flour in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in shortening till pieces are pea-sized. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat process till all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough with a floured rolling pin from the center to the edges into a circle about 12” in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to ½ inch beyond edge of pie plate. Use the trimmed pieces to patch the pie crust as needed; fold the edge under and crimp as desired.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add eggs. Beat lightly and carefully with a fork or wire whisk just till combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and milk; mix well.
To prevent overbrowning, cover the pastry crust with the aluminum foil with the middle cut out. Crimp or fold foil over the edges of the pie plate until it stays in place. Pull out oven rack; place pastry-lined pie plate on oven rack. Carefully pour filling into pastry shell through the large hole in the middle of the foil. Carefully slide oven rack back in.
Bake in a 375 F oven for about 40 minutes. Carefully remove foil. Bake 10 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean. (I had to bake much longer than 50 minutes total before the knife came out clean!). Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate within 2 hours; cover for longer storage. Makes 8 servings.