Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Milk Conversions

We usually keep 1% milk in our fridge, but every so often I want to make a recipe that calls for whole milk. Since I often have heavy cream in the refrigerator as well, it's easy enough to make whole milk without taking a trip to the store. For one cup of whole milk, I just add 1 teaspoon of cream to 1 cup of 1% milk. Isn't that simple?

I also have powdered milk in the pantry. Here's the table for turning that into different formulations of milk. To make one cup of milk or cream, just combine the following. (Put the cream in a measuring glass and fill to the one cup line with skim milk.)

1.5 teaspoons heavy cream = 1% milk
1 Tablespoon heavy cream = 2% milk
2 Tablespoons heavy cream = whole milk
5 1/3 Tablespoons heavy cream = half & half (1/3 cup cream and 2/3 cup milk)
8 Tablespoons heavy cream = light cream (1/2 cup of each)

Note: to turn 1% milk to half and half, use 1/4 cup cream and 3/4 cup milk.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ahi Tuna

And here's the other recipe we're trying for our special Friday-at-home dinner. It turned out to be quite delicious. (The first one was Thai Shrimp Soup.)

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Soy-Ginger-Lime Sauce
Pickled Cucumbers-
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes dried
  • 2 6-inch Japanese cucumbers (I just used a regular one, but I did de-seed it.)
Soy Ginger Lime Sauce-
  • 2 teaspoons ginger minced
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice about 2 limes
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce plus 2 more teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes dried
  • 20 ounces ahi tuna (four 5-oz pieces) about 1 inch thick
  • 8 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or vegetable oil

Pickled Cucumbers-
  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and chili flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat. Add cucumber slices and stir. Let rest 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Soy Ginger Lime Sauce-
  1. Whisk together all soy ginger lime sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.
  1. Place sesame seeds on a plate. Pat dry tuna steaks with a paper towel to remove excess water. Dredge and press tuna in sesame seeds, coating the tuna evenly. Sprinkle with more seeds as needed.
  2. In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until just smoking. Frying two portions at a time, arrange the tuna steaks in the pan (do not overcrowd) and cook until the sesame seeds start to turn golden underneath, about 1 minute. Turn the tuna over and cook for 1 minute. Sear the edges of the tuna for 15 seconds on each edge. Transfer the tuna to a plate with a paper towel, patting to soak gently up any excess oil. Repeat with remaining tuna portions. Transfer tuna to a cutting board and cut ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange tuna on individual serving plates or bowls. Serve with pickled cucumbers and soy ginger lime sauce.

The leftovers were great as a main-dish salad!

Thai Shrimp Soup

This is on the menu for tonight, and I'm looking forward to it. Here's the original recipe, but I'm going to cut everything in half and omit the cilantro. I'm also going to substitute an orange bell pepper for the red one since that's what I have on hand, use salted butter for the same reason and chicken broth instead of vegetable stock. Is that enough changes to make it my own recipe? If this is posted with the picture later, that means we liked it! (We did like it, and will definitely have it again. Yummy!)

Easy Thai Shrimp Soup 


  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a large saucepan of 1 1 /2 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add shrimp, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  3. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper to the stockpot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in curry paste until well combined, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in coconut milk and vegetable stock, and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Stir in rice, shrimp, lime juice and cilantro.
  7. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Toffee Brownie Bars

These make a lot, so it takes some time for just two people to eat them if you're trying to excercise moderation. However, we decided that we actually like them better after the flavors of the individual layers have had a chance to meld together. 

As is often the case when trying new recipes, we did have to make a last-minute trip to the store for a single ingredient. Surprisingly, this time it was for the proper size pan! We actually measured our jelly roll pans and discovered we had the 13x18" size. That explains the mystery of why I often had trouble making batter spread far enough when making other bar cookies. 

Toffee Brownie Bars

3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 pkg. chewy fudge brownie mix (about 18 oz.)
1 egg
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips, melted
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch pan.

For crust, combine butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in flour. Spread in pan. Bake 12 minutes.

For filling, combine brownie mix, egg, water and oil. Spread on hot crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

For topping, spread melted chocolate on brownie layer and garnish with pecans. Cool completely.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shrimp Enchiladas

Sometimes it takes me a while to reconcile my saved recipes with the pictures I took when trying them, so I'm not positive these go together, but I'm pretty sure. I was intrigued with the idea of Shrimp Enchiladas and they turned out well. And we've used the Green Enchilada Sauce since then as well, so it's definitely a keeper.

Quick Shrimp Enchiladas - Basically combine shrimp, corn, refried beans, Mexican cheese and some green enchilada sauce; roll up in tortillas (either corn or flour, but we prefer flour), top with more sauce and cheese and bake until heated through.

Green Enchilada Sauce

A year ago, I also tried a shrimp enchilada recipe, or at least I wanted to. So, when I feel like doing this again in the future, here's another option.

Black Bean Salsa

10 oz fresh tomatillos, husked
4 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
4 oz can diced green chiles
1 jalapeno chile, halved, seeded, and minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
1/4 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup cooked corn kernels

Combine everything but beans and corn in food processor and coarsely chop. Stir in beans and corn. Refrigerate for up to three days.

Shrimp Enchiladas

2/3 cup Black Bean Salsa
12 oz cooked bay shrimp
1 tablespoon lemon zest
12 teaspoon ground pepper
12 8" corn tortillas
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Combine salsa, shrimp, lemon zest and pepper. Heat the tortillas for about 20 seconds per side in a dry large frying pan (iron works great). Divide the shrimp mixture among the tortillas and roll up. Place in a greased baking pan and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an addition 7-10 minutes. Garnish with remaining salsa, plain non-fat yogurt and cilantro sprigs if desired. Serves 6.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Spinach Balls

#1 - Gather ingredients.

#2 - Follow directions.
#3 - Enjoy the result.