Saturday, September 27, 2014

Crunchy Indian Cucumber Salad

Cayenne pepper in a little mound, waiting for you to pour on the tadke.   Once you stir it in, it looks so pretty and colorful.   NOTE:  This salad sounds spicy but it's not. 

If you are serving Indian food and need a salad to compliment the meal, why not try this non-yogurt dish?  I've been a huge fan of Indian food since we lived in India, but I somehow burned out on traditional raita made with yogurt.  I didn't care to eat it nor did I want to make it.  A few years ago, this recipe appeared in our local paper:   "Crunchy Cucumber Salad with Crushed Peanuts".  The original posting says it's from "5 Spices, 50 Dishes' by Ruta Kahate.  

  • 2 English cucumbers, chopped into 1/4 inch dice, about 3 cups (sometimes I just use one cucumber)
  • 1 medium green serrano chile, seeded & minced (I usually use jalapeƱo)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (toasted, unsalted are best, but sometimes I use salted & add less salt later) 
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (don't skimp on this--add more if you need to)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use 1/4 tsp.)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (I use 1/2 tsp.)

Mix the cucumbers and the chile in a bowl.  Using a coffee grinder or food processor, pulse the peanuts until they are reduced to a coarse powder. (I usually just chop them up with a knife.) Add the peanuts to the cucumbers along with the lemon juice, salt and sugar and mix well.  Place the cayenne in a little pile on top of the salad but don't stir it yet. 

TADKE: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan.  When it begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or spatter screen (or paper plate).  As soon as the seeds stop sputtering, pour the oil over the cayenne. (I like to watch it sizzle.)  Stir and serve at room temperature or cold. 


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Miang Khum

An explosion of flavor in your mouth! 

This is one of my favorite appetizers to serve especially before an Asian dinner. There are many variations and differing recipes for Miang Khum, but this is how I do it. You will find that it is uniquely different and quite addicting.    

I also like serving this because it's a chance to show off this gorgeous Japanese lacquerware box my mom gave me.  You don't have to have one of these though; at a Thai restaurant we used to frequent, they just handed you a large plate with all the little piles on it for you to have at it. 


--Spinach:  One large bunch
--Peanuts:  1/2 cup
--Chilies:  1-2
--Shallots: 1
--Ginger:  small piece
--Lime: 2-3
--Dried salty shrimp: less than a bag
--Toasted coconut: a handful
--Sweet chili sauce


1.  Spinach:  It's best to buy spinach in a bunch, not in one of the salad packs, because you will need large leaves.  Carefully wash and pat dry each leaf.  (This is pretty much the most time-consuming part of this recipe.) 

2.  Peanuts:  I usually get unsalted dry-roasted peanuts and serve them as is.  You could use salted if you wish. 

3.  Chilies:  I usually use  jalapeƱos chopped into bits. Traditionally, I think Thai red chilies are used.   

4.  Shallots:  Cut into bits.  I have used red onion also.

5.  Ginger:  Peel and cut into little bits

6.  Lime:  You'll need little bits which include the rind. 

7.  Dried salty shrimp:  Buy this at the Asian market.  I often toast it in the oven or in a pan to make sure it's crispy. 

8.  Toasted coconut:  I usually use big chunks of unsweetened coconut but I'll confess I have used the sugary flaked coconut you get in the baking section of the grocery store. It tastes fine.  Whatever you use, toast it in the oven or in a pan on the stove beforehand. 

9.  Sweet chili sauce:  Traditionally, a plum sauce is to be used and I've made this before.  It's great.  However, since I'm usually in a hurry, I use Sweet Chili Sauce and it tastes divine with the different flavors.  

That's basically it!  Just put it in little bowls or arrange it on a plate however you like.  


Take a spinach leaf in your hand, put a dab of each item in the middle, then add some chili sauce.  Roll it up and pop it in your mouth all at once to enjoy! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Frozen Margarita Pie

Another spectacular Grandma Lavon creation! Here is a classic Heininge recipe that I did not find in the archives. Anybody who has tried this can tell you it is total perfection, especially after a great Mexican meal in the summer time. It's also an incredibly easy recipe, practically fool-proof. No need to bake, and you can make it the night before for extra ease.

1 cup - Butter
2 & 1/2 cups - Crushed Pretzels (about a 10 oz. package).
2 tablespoons - Sugar
3 quarts - Vanilla Ice Cream
6 oz. - Frozen limeade concentrate, or to taste. I used 12 ounces and it was great!
4 oz. - Tequila (the best you can afford)
1 oz. - Cointreau Liqueur (or Grand Marnier.  As a last resort, Triple Sec.)
2 whole limes - grated and juiced
Extra limes for garnishing/decorating
Whipped Cream (optional)

1. Melt butter on medium heat on stovetop.
2. Using a food processor, crush pretzels. I prefer a chunkier pretzel crust, but careful not to make it too chunky or it won't mix well with the butter.
3. Once butter is completely melted, stir in pretzels and sugar. Mix until combined.
4. Press pretzel mixture onto the sides and bottom of the pans.
5. In a large bowl or Kitchen-Aid mixer, combine ice cream, limeade, tequila, Cointreau, grated lime peel and juice with a whip attachment. Mix until fully combined.
6. Pile the filling into each pie pan equally. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm.
7. Serve with fresh cut limes and whipped cream.

Here is my version I made. We ate it last night after having Carnitas.


Lemon & Lavender Scones & An Introduction From Rachel

Let me just start out by saying that all of your posts in this blog have helped me develop my passion for food and cooking. I've been referring to this blog during the last couple years, and I consider it one of my major text books. I wasn't afraid to try any of them, because I knew all the recipes would come out amazing! Joseph, I have made your "Make Your Indian Co-Workers Jealous Lentils" & "Non-dairy Quinotto" countless times. Anna, I couldn't have impressed my friends out on the trail without your "Russian Teacakes" & "Channa Masala" recipe. Those are just a few examples. If I haven't attempted to create all of your recipes, please know I have studied them and have taken note of your awesomeness. Good job, fellow Heininges, and thank you.

Anyway, Mom recently added me as an author for the blog, and I am honored. I see this is the first post since 2012, and I hope this post can end our blog's long hiatus.

I decided to dedicate my first post to my Lemon & Lavender Scones. If you have yet to try one of these, I suggest you get a hold of some lavender buds and get in the kitchen. I don't mean to brag, but they are very delightful and pretty easy to make. I adapted this from a couple recipes I've found on Pinterest. They are a basic lavender flavored quick bread, but what really makes these stand out is the tangy and sweet lemon glaze that is spread over them. These are great to have for breakfast with a fresh cup of coffee.

Makes 8 medium sized scones (can be doubled for 16.)
Total Prep Time: 30-40 minutes.
Oven Temp: 400 degrees.
Kitchen-Aid mixer not recommended. 

1/3 cup - sugar
2 heaping teaspoons - lavender buds
2 cups - all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon - baking powder
1/4 teaspoon - baking soda
1/2 teaspoon - salt
1/2 cup - frozen unsalted butter
1/2 cup - Plain Greek yogurt
1 egg

1 cup - powdered sugar
3 tablespoons - melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon - vanilla
2 tablespoons - fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine sugar and lavender with your fingers until the buds have opened and split, created a sort of lavender flavored sugar. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until dry ingredients are combined.
3. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate entire stick of butter into flour mixture. Once the grating is complete, stir the butter into the flour until it resembles course meal. This shouldn't take very long at all, because grating the butter makes it easier to to get the consistency you need. 
4. In a small separate bowl, mix the greek yogurt and the egg together until fully combined. Add it to the flour & butter mixture and stir until the dough feels moist and starts to clump together, but do not overmix. Using your hands, begin shaping the dough into one ball, folding in the sides and remaining flour mix. 
5. Once your ball has formed, place it on a lightly floured surface. Flatten your dough with a roller, making about a 7-8" circle, about 3/4-1" thick. Using a knife or pizza cutter, slice your dough into 8 triangles, like a pizza. Place them on your ungreased parchment paper about 2 inches apart, and let them bake for 15 minutes. Once they are done, let them cool for about 10 minutes. 
6. To make your glaze, combine powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread over baked scones, and let them sit until the glaze has settled and hardened. 
7. Scones can be garnished with remaining lavender buds for a lovely presentation.