Ceviche de Camarones y Mango

Ceviche Shrimp y Mango

May 5: Cinco de Mayo

San Antonio, Texas, is famous for its fiestas. When we lived there for six super happy years, we celebrated by eating many Mexican dishes with our familia and friends, including ceviche, a dish that contains raw seafood “cooked” in citrus, usually limes or lemons, and tossed with tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers and cilantro. Since Islander is not too fond of fish, she found a ceviche recipe that contains shrimp cocktail. Mango is added to the mix for a vibrant color and a slightly sweet surprise. Ceviche de camarones y mango reminds us of the confetti inside the cascarones (eggs that we liked to smash especially on unsuspecting people’s heads!). This appetizer can be eaten alone or served with tortilla chips. On Cinco de Mayo, serve ceviche with shrimp and mango for a fun and flavorful fiesta.

Recipe

(Adapted from Whole Foods)

Ingredients

  • 25-30 medium-sized shrimp, raw, thawed, deveined and shelled (we used cooked cocktail shrimp; see Notes)
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1 ½ cups tomato, diced
  • 1 semi-ripe firm mango, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3-4 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels and discard the tails. Cut into ½ inch pieces, reserving a few shrimp to garnish (optional). Chop the onion. Dice the tomatoes. Chop the mango (one cup) and jalapeño pepper.

Ceviche Shrimp y Mango

Place the chopped ingredients in a big bowl. Pour the lime juice over the mixture and combine well. Sprinkle with cilantro and salt and mix again. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to allow the flavors to develop and the citrus from the lime juice acid to “cook” the shrimp. Serve chilled in a margarita glass, garnished with shrimp. Or place in a small dish/bowl surrounded with tortilla chips.

Ceviche Shrimp y Mango

Notes

  • If raw seafood is a concern, replace with ready-to-eat cocktail shrimp.
  • Further the fiesta fun and serve ceviche de camarones y mango on National Shrimp Day on May 10.
  • Search our blog for other Mexican recipes. ¡Viva Fiesta!

HI Cookery is 6!

We are now in our sixth year of blogging and are taking our time to “cook our way through the calendar”. At first, we wanted to finish fast and fill in all the food holidays on the list. But then we would not have enjoyed the experience as much if we were rushing. Eventually, we will complete our goal while, in the meantime, following the philosophy of Greg Anderson, founder of the Cancer Recovery Foundation International charity organization, who is quoted as saying:

Focus on the journey, not the destination.

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.

AN ENRICHING EXPERIENCE

We did not start this blog to get rich and famous through ads and publicity. Over the years, we have been approached by different groups inviting us to participate in monetizing our blog through affiliate marketing programs or publications asking us to be interviewed about a holiday recipe. We are flattered with the attention that HI Cookery has been getting. And maybe we will miss out on a lot of potential opportunities. But we have always wanted to keep things simple—cook a familiar or new dish to celebrate every day of the year, photograph the process and share the recipe with our memories with family, friends and followers. Life is busy and complicated enough. To us, the cooking-and-sharing ritual is what has made our food blogging an enriching experience. And that’s simply the reward in itself.

BIGGER WATERMARK

Within the past year, a few keen-eyed readers brought to our attention that some of our food photos have been used without our permission to promote someone else’s home baking business (which is a misrepresentation as well as a violation of copyrights). Other readers offered their support and ideas (such as making our watermark bigger on the newer photos) when we were plagiarized. We realize that others still use our images on Pinterest or other blogs, with or without links back to our blog. The bigger watermark still will not prevent people from using our photos anyway but it will identify better HI Cookery as the original source. We truly appreciate our readers and subscribers, many of whom we have not met personally, for looking out for us in cases like these.

CAKE LOVE

Islander won a cake competition this past Valentine’s Day—her first! Fellow members of the local cake club were asked to bring in a 6-inch cake (real or dummy) to the February meeting to match the month’s “love” theme. For her presentation, Islander patiently hand cut silhouettes of couples during different stages of their love lives—from engagement and marriage to pregnancy/family and the golden years. Her cake told “A Little Love Story” which won her $25 to a cake supply shop. She is happy and encouraged to learn more about cake decorating and will share her techniques in a future blog post.

We hope you continue on our food blogging journey with us as HI Cookery heads into Year 6 with more recipes to come…and, as always…

Tapadh leat! Mahalo! Thanks!

Highlander and Islander

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

(with Streusel Topping)

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

April 7: National Coffee Cake Day

When Islander attended a ladies’ luncheon with a spring theme, she brought over a luscious lemon almond coffee cake with a streusel topping to share with her new acquaintances. Her offering was well received at the potluck and many ladies asked for the recipe. Islander shyly said she would put the recipe and photo tutorial on her food blog, and they were more impressed that she was a blogger (what a subtle way to get more traffic to HI Cookery!). So ladies (and gentlemen)—new friends, as promised, here is the recipe with the photo tutorial for lemon almond coffee cake with streusel topping. The recipe is appropriate to take to springtime potlucks and luncheons as well as to make in observance of National Coffee Cake Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

For the streusel topping

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold, cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 2 lemons, grated zest
  • ¾ cup almonds, sliced (we used blanched slivered almonds)
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and brown sugar. Cut in the butter and mix until it resembles small peas and coarse crumbs. Add the lemon zest, almonds and extract. Chill in the refrigerator while making the almond coffee cake.

For the lemon almond coffee cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup lemon curd
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2-3 lemons, grated zest
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the butter with sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the lemon curd.

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

Mix in the sour cream, zest and almond extract. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until well blended (do not over mix).

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

Pour the thick batter into a buttered 9-inch springform pan and spread out evenly. Top with the streusel. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, testing the cake for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

For the lemon glaze

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Let set. Slice and serve with coffee (or tea).

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

Notes

  • Love lemons? Search our blog for more recipes containing lemons as an ingredient.
  • A new season (spring) is a great time to make new friends! Thanks to all our new blog visitors and subscribers for following HI Cookery (our blog-o-versary is just a few days away on April 11).

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

We have seen the rivers in downtown Chicago and San Antonio being dyed green while we attended St. Patrick’s Day festivities (we used to live near those cities). In our beloved San Antonio, where Islander’s brother still resides, the river is drained annually for cleaning and maintenance. When the river is refilled back to its resplendence, a Mud Festival takes place to mark the occasion, complete with a Mud Pie Ball and the coronation of a Mud King and Queen (the winners raise the most money to help fund river projects).

Our bodies need cleaning and maintenance, too, to drain some of that “mud-crud” in our systems. So drink something green, like this healthy peanut butter smoothie made with dark leafy greens, on the Feast Day St. Patrick, the Emerald Isle’s patron saint. Sláinte (Irish cheers literally translated “to your health!”).

Recipe

(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of kale/spinach/swiss chard medley
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup nut milk, cold (we use unsweetened almond or cashew milk)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (sometimes we also use almond butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a blender, place the vegetables, banana, almond milk, peanut butter and ground cinnamon.

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Seal the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into two small glasses and serve immediately.

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Notes

  • We use a Nutribullet extractor instead of a blender to make this green peanut butter smoothie. Islander has been drinking the full recipe as a meal replacement (breakfast or lunch) on Lent Fridays.
  • Search our blog for other Irish-inspired recipes for the Feast Day of St. Patrick.

No-Churn Mint

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

February 19: National Chocolate Mint Day

We admire our friends Pat and Phyllis S. who have “green” thumbs. Their garden is filled with flowers, fruits and vegetables and they can survive off the land. Our new townhome does not have much “green” space (just mostly a small paved walkway) and we don’t have to maintain any plants. But we are required to pay outrageous Home Owners Association (HOA) fees to take care of the common areas for curbside appeal!

Thankfully, our friends share some of the natural bounty from their backyard. In exchange, we share recipes for homemade no-churn ice cream (since we are wary of listeria from the local creamery). Ironically, when they brought us fresh mint from their garden to make mint chocolate chip ice cream, the recipe did not contain the herb as an ingredient (we used a store-bought mint extract instead). But the mint leaves made for a pretty garnish.

Eventually, in addition to making no-churn mint chocolate chip ice cream, we made mint extract with the extra leaves from the bunch that Pat and Phyllis gave us. The bonus recipe is below.

Try making a homemade no-churn mint chocolate ice cream with homemade mint extract for National Chocolate Mint Day!

Recipe

(Inspired by Nigella)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (cold)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon mint extract (see Bonus Recipe below or use store-bought)
  • a few drops of green food coloring
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (recommend mini size)
  • fresh mint leaves to garnish (optional)

Directions

Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, mix the condensed milk with the mint extract. Fold the whipped cream into this mixture until smooth, being careful not to whip more air into it. Add a few drops of green food coloring and stir well until the desired color of light mint green is achieved.

MInt Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Fold in the chocolate chips and mix until distributed well. Place the mixture into a loaf pan. Cover and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Let stand for a few minutes and scoop into cones or dessert dishes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves (optional).

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Bonus Recipe: Homemade Mint Extract

Ingredients

  • ½ cup individual mint leaves
  • 1 – 1 ½ cup vodka

Directions

Rinse and pat dry the mint leaves. Crush them with your fingers to help release its natural oils. Place in a jar and pour vodka to cover the leaves. Seal the jar and let steep in a dark, cool place for at least a month or until it reaches the desired minty flavor. Use the liquid as you normally would in recipes (like in the above no-churn mint chocolate ice cream) that call for mint extract.

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

Notes

  • Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much in Hawaiian) to Pat and Phyllis S. for giving us a bunch of fresh mint leaves from their garden.
  • Try substituting the chocolate chips with Andes brand crème de menthe chocolate mint baking chips for an even more minty flavor in this no-churn ice cream recipe.
  • Try substituting the ½ teaspoon mint extract for 1-2 tablespoons crème de menthe liqueur.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing chocolate and mint combination.

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with

Shiitake Mushrooms and Tofu

Bok Choy, Shiitake and Tofu

February 17: National Cabbage Day

During Lent, we prefer a good stir-fry over a fish fry. Stir-fried baby bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and tofu is one of our favorite meatless Friday dishes to eat with a simple bowl of steamed rice. This healthy and hearty dish features a popular variety of Chinese cabbage (bok choy)—a green vegetable option that is considered auspicious especially in the lunar new year—as well as “meaty” mushrooms and protein-packed tofu in a tasty sauce. Savor this simple stir-fried dish during Lent Fridays, lunar new year celebrations and National Cabbage Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Vegetarian Times)

For the mixture

  • 1 pound baby bok choy
  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 package (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into small cubes (may substitute for fried bean curd puff squares, room temperature)

For the stir-fry sauce (slurry)

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon water (or liquid from the soaked shiitake mushrooms)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided use

Directions

Wash and dry the baby bok choy. Chop off an inch from the bottom stem (reserve “rosettes” for optional garnish). Slice leaves into 2-inch pieces. In a shallow bowl, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes or until softened. Squeeze out excess water. Slice into strips. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil in medium-high heat and gently stir-fry the tofu until lightly browned (do not fry the bean curd puffs if using). Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Bok Choy, Shiitake and Tofu

In the same skillet, add another tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the mushrooms for 2 minutes or until softened. Transfer to the tofu plate. Add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet and stir-fry the baby bok choy for a minute. Return the tofu and mushrooms to the skillet and mix with the baby bok choy.

Bok Choy, Shiitake and Tofu

In a small bowl or measuring cup, make a slurry with the cornstarch, water (or mushroom liquid), soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic and sesame oil. Pour it into the skillet and mix well until slightly thickened, coating the tofu, mushrooms and baby bok choy well. Transfer to a serving platter immediately and garnish with the baby bok choy “rosettes”. Serve hot.

Bok Choy, Shiitake and Tofu

Notes

  • We prefer rehydrated shiitake mushrooms over the fresh ones as the dried shiitake have a stronger flavor.

Stained Glass Heart Cookies

stained glass heart cookies

February 14: Feast Day of St. Valentine

Islander recently joined a culinary club at the local library where she could meet like-minded people who LOVE to cook and exchange recipes that they have tried from cookbooks, the Internet or family and friends.

In honor of the month of LOVE, members were asked to share foods that fit this month’s heart-shaped” theme. This gave Islander the opportunity to use her heart-shaped nested cookie cutters to make “stained glass” heart cookies. The middle is melted hard candy, which when cool becomes transparent and cracks like glass when bitten into the cookie. With the extra heart cutouts, she simply decorated them with fondant flowers so there is no waste in the cookie dough.

This is a pretty project for the Feast Day of St. Valentine. So show some LOVE to culinary club members, co-workers, family, friends and your sweetheart by baking stained glass heart cookies. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Recipe

For the stained-glass heart cookies

  • 3 cups flour (all purpose white)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons strawberry or cherry extract
  • red hard candy (Jolly Rogers or Life Savers brands), crushed (we used red lollipops)
  • red and pink fondant
  • gold and silver non-pareil beads
  • tube frosting (to attach the beads)
  • powdered sugar (to dust the surface)
  • clear piping gel or water

For the fondant heart cookies

  • Fondant flowers (see tutorial here or here)
  • Fondant
  • Round non-pareils (we used white and gold)

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, milk, vanilla and strawberry or cherry extracts. Gradually the flour mixture into the other ingredients and blend well to form a dough.

stained glass heart cookies

Divide dough in thirds and roll into a ball. Then flatten each ball into a disc and place between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Roll out to about ¼-inch thick (we used ¼-inch thick acrylic sticks as guides). Stack them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about 30-45 minutes). They may also be frozen for 15-20 minutes. Take one stack of flattened dough out of the refrigerator or freezer. Peel away both front and back to loosen, leaving the dough on one sheet of the waxed or parchment paper.

stained glass heart cookies

Cut out the larger heart shapes. Place on foil-lined greased cookie pan about 1 ½ – 2 inches apart. Cut out the smaller heart shape in the middle and remove the dough. Refrigerate the cookie pan. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut more shapes, refrigerating if the dough gets too soft. The dough needs to be cold and firm in order to retain its shape. Crush the red hard candies by placing them a zipper top plastic bag and pressing a rolling pin over them (or hammer the heck out of them). Sprinkle onto the cutout center of the cookies, being careful not to overfill or they will overflow (see our Food Flops).

stained glass heart cookies

Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until the sides are very lightly browned and the hard candy centers are melted. Remove from the oven when done and let sit on the pan until the candy centers harden (at least 15 minutes). Transfer each cookie on a wire rack to cool completely. Bake the center heart cutout cookies. Cool then decorate with fondant hearts using the same size cookie cutter.

stained glass heart cookies

Brush water or piping gel on the cookie. Position the fondant on top of the small heart cookie and smooth out the edges with warm fingers. Repeat for all cookies. Set aside to dry. Make fondant flowers. Attach to the top middle of the heart cookies with tube frosting. Position a gold or white non-pareil bead in the center of the fondant flower by “gluing” it with tube frosting. Let all cookies dry. Store in an airtight container. Arrange on a platter and serve.

stained glass heart cookies

Notes

  • Cut different cookie shapes and use different colored hard candies for unique occasions.
  • See previous posts on how to cover cookies with fondant and how to make fondant flowers here or here.
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