Thursday, February 24, 2011

Romanesco Fritters with Peanut Curry Dipping Sauce

This was my first attempt at cooking with or even eating the intriguing Romanesco, or "Italian Cauliflower". So why did I choose to fry it rather than enjoy it in all its simple, spiky, prehistoric-looking simplicity? Speaking of simplicity, there's no simple answer to this question. There, I said it. Everything tastes good fried, including some of the most visually pleasing veggies. I was inspired when I came across a recipe for cauliflower fritters and happened to have just picked up my first Romanesco from the farmers market, so why not, right?
As for the dipping sauce, it's a tried and truly yumtastic one that I use for my Thai enchiladas. Even though it has my stamp of approval, feel free to play around with the ingredients and remember that since I almost never measure ingredients, my recipe isn't going to be exact. I'll never forget a disclaimer I saw on a food blog telling readers exactly this, because "this is cooking, not baking" AMEN!!!!!!!


-1 head romanesco, cut into "florets". I know this isn't cauliflower but i don't know what else to call them


-1 cup Flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-dash of chili powder (optional)
-1/2 cup warm water
-Panko bread crumbs to roll fritters in optional..i guess =/
-oil for frying

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE: taste as you go for best results!
-1/2 can coconut milk
-1/4 cup Peanut butter
-1 Tbsp. soy sauce
-1 Tbsp. Sesame oil
-2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste
-Sriracha sauce or Asian chili oil to taste
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-at least 1/4 cup water. add more or less (but probably more) depending on how thick you want it.

Mix all the batter ingredients together until it's as lump-free as it's ever gonna get. Heat oil (at least 1/2 inch) until bubbles gather around a drop of batter. let the first batch of romanesco florets soak in the batter for at least a minute, while you lovingly and repeatedly spoon more batter over them. roll battered florets in Panko and fry immediately until golden on each side, flipping only once. let cool on paper towels. serve with the sauce, unless you had other plans for that sauce. It's your sauce, dude.

A fun little fact: I suspected that the particular romanesco head I bought was on the small side, and I was right. I ended up having a lot of batter left over, so I decided to fry some apples and yams! good! Breaded, fried apple slices are my new favorite thing.

"Drink your apple-a-day!"

"Fry your apple-a-day!" '

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mango Bread Pudding

A delicious pudding recipe featuring one of my all-time favorite fruits courtesy of my good friend the Internet! I've always loved bread puddings and couldn't wait to try this one when I found the recipe. Just don't ask me to explain why it took me over 2 years after I wrote it down to get around to making it....
The recipe calls for white sandwich bread....YAWN. I used sourdough because that's what I had, but I think it would be delicious with a crunchy, earthy whole grain bread. It's quite mangoey as-is, but I still don't think adding another mango would hurt anyone, except maybe the mango.

-6 slices your favorite sandwich bread, torn into little pieces
-2 mangoes, peeled, seeded, and diced. My favorite way to do this: cut the 'meat' off the seed vertically in 2 sections, cutting as close to the seed as possible. then slice a tic-tac-toe pattern into the meat, push it out from the skin side, and cut off the little cubes. Then remove the skin from the remaining seed section, cut off the meat and dice.
-1/4 cup sugar
-3 eggs, lightly beaten
-2 cups milk
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 300 and grease a 9x11 baking dish. Toss the bread and mango together and place in the dish. Wisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cardamom. Pour over bread & mango. Cube butter and sprinkle cubes over the top of the mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until it starts to look like bread pudding (puffy & golden on top)

Pictured with chocolate sauce and sliced blood oranges.