Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Pots de Crème

This is one of my favorite dessert recipes—simple, rich, and chocolaty.  It's a great make-ahead treat,  if you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen when guests are over.  I found the original version in the now defunct Chocolatier Magazine, which I still miss very much.  I've been making this since the 1980's and it's always a hit.

All you do is take a few ingredients and stick them in a blender with hot milk, then let chill. Done.

I think it looks elegant. I’m not the best one to ask, though, because those fantastic little chocolate pots don’t last long enough around me to get a very good look at them.

I hope you enjoy them, too!

Chocolate Pots de Crème

6 ounces semisweet chocolate-chopped fine (I used about 1 cup chocolate chips)

1 large egg-room temperature

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

¾ cup milk

Whipped cream, if you want

Put chocolate, egg, sugar, vanilla and salt in the blender or food processor and blend.

In a small sauce pot, heat milk till tiny bubbles appear around the edge of the pot.

Pour the hot milk into the blender and mix 30-60 seconds, until smooth.

Divide into 4 serving dishes. Cover each with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 4

Adapted from From :

Nikia Fries Schulte, Jefferson City, Missouri

Chocolatier Magazine May 1987

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sago Pearls in Coconut Milk - dessert!

Sago Pearls in Coconut Milk...also known as thar-gu ohn nyot, which is Burmese.

Thank goodness this was really yummy, because I had a few challenges in the cooking process. Not because this was difficult to make, but mainly because I really had no idea what I was doing.

It started when I went to a local international market. I found sago while looking for boba. It looked like boba (Taiwanese tapioca balls), but was smaller--about half the size of a pea.  I had to have it.

When I got home, I Googled sago and sifted through recipes, settling on one from a site called Hsba. Hsba's recipe for Sago Pearls in Coconut Milk looked pretty simple, so I should have no problem, right? Right? Well...

Attempt #1
The first batch was going so well at first, but I did not fully understand the importance of frequently stirring the sago as it boiled. As it turns out, this is a pretty critical task when cooking tapioca balls because these tiny little suckers adhere very firmly to the bottom of the pan if you do not stir often.

Attempt #2
With the second batch, I learned another valuable lesson. It seems that there is a fine line between boiling sago and scorching the heck out of the pan and the sago, and stinking up the house for an extended period of time.  So, I guess the key is to boil sago gently, and do not use extremely high heat. 

It was at about this point that I had to make a rather hefty contribution to the family curse jar.

Attempt #3
Success! The sago was cooked, clear and beautiful!

This recipe also called for palm sugar, which I got from the international market, too. It was pretty hard, so I used a butter knife to sort of jab and cut it out of the jar.

The original recipe measurements were metric, so I converted to U.S. standards. Well, actually it's British, or Imperial...whatever, I made it so we could use cups and teaspoons.

Sago Pearls in Coconut Milk recipe

*recipe modified from www.hsaba.com web site


3 1/2 ounces sago pearls (about 1/2 cup)
4-5 cups water
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon palm sugar
3 tablespoons water
(if you don't have palm sugar, just use packed brown sugar)

3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon coconut milk (canned)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut milk, chilled (canned)
Heat 4-5 cups of water in heavy bottomed pot. Boil water and add sago. Stir often (I stirred every 5 minutes). Reduce heat to moderate and cook for a total of about 30 minutes (if using small sago about the half the size of a pea, if larger sago is used cook up to 45 minutes). Stir lots to prevent sticking to the bottom!
While the sago is cooking, heat the palm sugar and about 3 tablespoons of water over moderate heat, till dissolved. Stir occasionally. The original recipe called for straining this mixture, but I had no sediment and didn't feel like straining, and it was perfect. Let it cool.
When sago is almost transparent throughout, turn off heat. Stir again. Leave to continue cooking, and put on the lid. Let this sit 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the 30 minutes, put in colander and run cool water over it so it stops cooking. The sago should be completely transparent.
Put sago in a bowl. Pour 3 tablespoons, or so, of the coconut milk over it and sprinkle with salt. Stir. This will keep the sago from sticking to each other.
Put into serving dishes. Pour over the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and palm sugar to taste. I did not use all the coconut milk or palm sugar, and it was delicious.

*Sago does not keep well overnight. This is a make-fresh dessert!
serves 2

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Carlos and Charlie's Tuna Dip

Carlos and Charlie's Restaurants make a dip that I adore--Tuna Dip.  I used to frequent their Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica and Malibu locations to get my fix. Sadly, their restaurants closed in the Los Angeles area. They still have restaurants in Las Vegas Nevada, Austin Texas, Aruba and various locations in Florida and Mexico.  The food there is okay, but the atmosphere is terrific!  The bars are super fun. And, of course, there's the tuna dip. They make an amazing deep fried ice cream thing too.  So if you're looking for beer, tuna dip and ice cream, you need to try Carlos and Charlie's!

When they closed, I was determined to make tuna dip.  I tinkered around and eventually, I think I got something that is pretty close.  I usually make it with "light" or "no fat" sour cream and mayonnaise, and I get baked tortilla chips. I really do prefer the full fat version, but the lighter version is pretty darn yummy, too.

Carlos'n Charlie's Tuna Dip

(printable recipe)

12 oz. can tuna (drain juice and save separately)
½-1 jalapeno - seeded and diced into small pieces
7 green onions - chopped
¼ c. sour cream
¼ c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. cilantro - chopped
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp Black pepper
1/8 tsp White pepper

Tortilla chips
Cucumber spears

Mix dip ingredients & serve with chips or cukes. If you want it really creamy, add more mayo and sour cream. Sometimes I add about 1/8 cup tuna juice to help thin the consistency.