January 2019


Brussels Sprouts with Bacon,

Garlic and Shallots

January 31: Eat Brussels Sprouts Day

Just a month into the new year, Islander continues her resolution to try new recipes and eat more greens. She dislikes Brussels sprouts when Highlander would steam them plain. They are just too bitter for her tastes and avoided eating the mini-looking cabbages—until she tried a soup recipe shared by her college roommate. Then she tasted other Brussels sprouts dishes at a restaurant and potluck parties and wanted to discover other ways to cook them (to the delight of Highlander who loves to eat Brussels sprouts). Of course, Islander believes anything tastes better with bacon so she sautéed it with the vegetable and flavored them with garlic and shallots. Discover how delicious and easy this side dish is to make—cook Brussels sprouts and eat them today!

Recipe

(Adapted from MyRecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1½ pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 slices center cut bacon, chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup chicken broth (we used fat free and lower sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Directions

Wash and dry the Brussels sprouts. Cut off the stem and slice in half. Set aside. Peel the garlic cloves and slice thinly. Peel the shallots and slice thinly.

Chop the bacon. Sauté the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1-2 tablespoons of bacon drippings. Use this to sauté the shallots.

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Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté around 5 minutes, allowing some of the leaves to become tender and brown. Stir in the garlic and mix for another 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and heat on high for 2 minutes until evaporated. Remove the pan from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot in a bowl as a side dish.

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Notes

  • Raw Brussels sprouts are a healthy vegetable full of vitamins B, C and K. With essential minerals and dietary fiber, they also have anti-cancer properties.
  • We resolve to cook more Brussels sprouts and share the recipes in future blog posts.

Massaman Chicken Curry

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

We tend to be creatures of habit, ordering the same old foods whenever we go out to our favorite restaurants. Highlander almost always orders massaman chicken curry at Thai eateries. He loves different kinds of chicken curry that we have several recipe versions posted on our blog for National Curried Chicken Day.

Massaman curry, in particular, is derived from an archaic word “mussulman” for Muslim, which influenced Thailand’s cooking style for this curry during the early centuries of trading between the Middle East and South Asia. Curry paste is first mixed with coconut milk or cream, making this dish slightly sweeter than other curries. A 2011 CNNGo reader’s survey even ranked massaman curry #10 in its list of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods”.

Following the Thai way, cook massaman chicken curry for National Curried Chicken Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Maesri)

Ingredients

  • 1 – ½ cups of chicken breast
  • 1 can (4 ounces) massaman curry paste
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) of coconut milk, divided use
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup baby carrots (optional)
  • cilantro, fresh chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot, stir one can of coconut milk with the curry paste. Simmer over medium heat for about five minutes.

Add the chicken and the other can of coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes.

Stir in the onions and baby carrots. Cover and heat until the chicken is cooked through (around 30 minutes). Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

Notes

  • Substitute the chicken for lamb, beef or other favorite meat/protein. Muslims do not cook pork in massaman curry.
  • Search our blog for other curried chicken recipes for National Curried Chicken Day.

Kona Coffee Shortbread

January 6: National Shortbread Day

Shortbread is of Scottish origin but the cookie is very popular in Hawaii as fundraising items, souvenirs and local snacks. Some Scots settled in the islands in the 18th century and have left their culinary and cultural impact. In fact, Hawaii’s last princess, Ka’iulani, was half Scottish on her father’s side (her Anglo name is Princess Victoria Cleghorn).

Several companies in Hawaii produce shortbread in a variety of traditional and tropical flavors and shapes. Kauai Kookie (the factory is a mandatory stop when we visit the island) and Maui CookKwees make round, stacked discs. Honolulu Cookie Company has its signature miniature pineapple shapes. There are other companies that do drop/scoop/mound shapes as well. We tried to copy Big Island Candies and the Cookie Corner with their simple rectangular-shaped flavored cookies dipped diagonally in chocolate.

This Kona coffee shortbread recipe fits in with our Highlander and Islander (HI) Cookery blog (a Scot married a local girl) and is appropriate for observing National Shortbread Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Panera Bread)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant Kona coffee (or regular coffee), ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 ounces chocolate, melted

Directions

Cream the butter with the sugars. Finely grind the coffee granules to a powder then add to the butter mixture. Mix in the salt.

Gradually add the flour. Mix until a sticky but smooth dough comes together. Refrigerate for half and hour. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness between sheets of waxed paper. Refrigerate again to firm up the dough. Slice into rectangles (around 2 ½ by 1 1 ½ inches).

Place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet about two inches apart to allow for a little spreading. Refrigerate or freeze the baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl according to the package directions. Use a spatula to spread chocolate diagonally across the cookie, dipping the bottom and sides as necessary. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue dipping the rest of the cookies in chocolate. Refrigerate to firm up the chocolate. Serve at room temperature. When storing the cookies, place between sheets of small waxed paper to prevent the chocolate from sticking to other cookies.

Notes

  • We halved the recipe to share with another couple friend (also expatriates from Hawaii) when they visited us in Texas. The cookie dough is soft and needs to be kept cold when handling and rolling out. To minimize spreading, we freeze the cut cookies before placing them in the oven. Feel free to add finely chopped macadamia nuts in the recipe.
  • Learn more about Princess Ka’iulani from the Kaiulani Project website. 
  • Read highlights about the Scots in Hawaii from Coffee Times
  • Islander has attended the Hawaiian Scottish Festival and Highland Games to support Highlander’s clan. 
  • See a similar recipe for coffee and nut cookies on National Coffee Day on September 29. 
  • Search our blog for more shortbread recipes.