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FIP Recipe: General Tso Cauliflower

When I sat down to think of what recipe I’d paid with When We Collided, I had two things in mind;  first the light airy feel to Vivi and Verona Cove and second the first friend she made at Verona Cove.

So I picked chose to make a vegan classic  — General Tso Cauliflower.

Recipe posted below and linked at end of this post. Would love hear how it went for you folks:
Serves: 6­ to 8
Ingredients
For the General Tso’s Sauce:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 knob of ginger, grated
½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar (more to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Batter:
1 cup flour
⅔ cup cornstarch
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
water as needed (about ½ cup)
Other Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
a deep layer of oil for frying
scallions and sesame seeds for topping
Instructions
1. General Tso’s Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the ginger and
garlic and stir fry for a minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil;
simmer for another 20­30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add more sweetness, citrus, etc. to your
taste.
2. Cauliflower Batter: Whisk all the batter ingredients until a loose batter forms. The batter should be thick
enough to cling to the cauliflower and cover it but stay loose enough to easily drip off (adjust thickness with
water).
3. Cauliflower Frying: Pour oil into a heavy bottomed skillet to make it deep enough so it will cover the
cauliflower about halfway (probably ends up being a few cups). Heat the oil over medium heat. Drop a small
bit of batter in the oil to test it ­ when it rises to the top and bubbles, the oil is ready. Dip cauliflower florets
in the batter and let the excess drip off before gently setting in the oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side,then flip, repeating sides several times if necessary until you get a nice golden brown fried exterior. The
additional frying time helps make it a little crunchier, which I very much like. 🙂 Remove and set on a cooling
rack with paper towels underneath (again, rather than putting it all on a plate or bowl with paper towels,
this keeps it crispy vs. soggy).
4. Serving: Toss the fried cauliflower with the sauce (enough just to cover) and sprinkle with scallions and
sesame seeds for serving. Serve with rice.

GTC

http://pinchofyum.com/general-tsos-cauliflower

 

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FIP Recipe – English Scones

scone1

The last book we reviewed was Mirror and Goliath – the book was set up in 18th century London. I thought, what a great idea it would be to essay a recipe from that time period. So off went FIP into the digital world looking for an 18th century English recipe.  Good lord, now I know why the author chose to set her story here. What a dark time! Almost all the recipes I found involved some level of animal blood.  Check this site out for fun.  And I use “fun” very loosely.

Then an idea struck me!  One of my favorite bloggers, AAGMA keeps mentioning real scones (vs the stuff we buy at Starbucks). I have to admit, I can’t stand those scones either, but I didn’t know any better – I couldn’t tell apart an authentic scone if it slapped me in the mouth.  So I found a recipe for a British scone, proper with Brit measuring.  And my loves – they were a hit! My 7yr old had two in one sitting.  I think I can make them prettier next time. My impatience makes me a terrible baker.  But here goes.

Link: Scone Recipe

Ingredients

This quantity will make 8 scones.  The link above is in metric, I’ve converted to imperial.

1 Cup plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 caster sugar (I used more then the recipe recommended. I find powdered sugar slightly less sweet)
1/2 cup milk (slightly more, the measurement conversation say 0.634 cups of milk – do what you will)
1 medium egg

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C / gas 8 and lightly grease a baking tray.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar. Add all the milk and mix lightly into a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead briefly. Do not overwork the dough or your scones will be tough!

Roll the dough out to 1.25cm / 1/2 in thickness and cut out rounds.

Place on the greased baking tray. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 7-10 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

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FIP Recipe: Stuffed Burgers

The last book reviewed on FIP was The Opposite of Loneliness by Mareena Keegan.  She really reminded me of the all American girl next door. So its only natural that I pair her up with an all American Recipe w/ a FIP twist of course. Lets make stuffed burgers!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Ground meat (chicken/turkey/beef)
  • 1 tbsp house seasoning (usually means salt/pepper/garlic/dry herb)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 6-8 cubes of a cheese that melts well. I would recommend mozzarella or a mix of mozz and monterey jack

Directions

In a bowl mix ground meat and seasoning.  Normally, the seasoning is enough to combine the ingredients however if your meat is super lean you may want to throw in an egg.

In your palm, roll 1/4 meat mixture into a ball (like an over sized meatball), then pinch a dent in the middle and here you place your cheese. You can use shredded cheese but I like to use cubed cheese I find it easier to handle.  Now ball up the meat over the cheese and cover completely.  Once the cheese is no long visible flatten into meat patty.

These can be cooked on a BBQ grill or you can pan fry them with some cooking spray.

You can also finely chop up jalapeno peppers, green peppers, onions, parsley, bacon or mushrooms and stuff alongside the cheese.  Be as creative as you want to be.

Fix up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Pic courtesy: http://www.foodbeast.com/news/mid-atlantic-burger-chain-launches-stuffed-burgers-stuffed-beers/?sa=X&sqi=2&pjf=1&ved=0CDYQ9QEwEGoVChMIyMmHwt_zxgIVyhc-Ch2pAAoH

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Book Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Title:      Written in the Stars

Author:  Aisha Saeed

Pages:   304

Synopsis:

A story about a conservative Pak-American teenage girl named Naila.  Life is good for Naila, her parents the picture of love and compassion; doting over her, providing her with everything that one needs to live a happy full life. She’s on her way to college; her parents have even agreed to let her room with childhood BFF.  Everything is perfect, except Naila lacks the most basic of all necessities, freedom.  What will Naila’s fate be when she chooses to go against her parents’ wishes and fall in love.

FIP Review:

Boy do I have a few (or more) bones to pick.  Back story, I am Naila.   I was raised in the good old USA with immigrant parents who worked harder then possible to support my brother and I.  They had similar expectations of me, but [spoiler alert] they didn’t caste me away or disown me at the sight of the first suitor. We fought, we kicked we screamed but we worked through it, like every family does. It boils down to teenagers testing limits with parents.  Every blue blooded parent has dealt with rebellion – it is not a phenomenon relevant only to Pakistani (interchange for South Asian) people!

That was my rant on culture biases being promoted from within the culture being biased against.

Good lord – that’s like a woman saying women only get 0.70 to every dollar a man makes because she deserves it for paying equal parts attention to her family life.  *insert angry face here*

Now let us talk about the book from a slightly more literary POV.  The events almost seemed like accusations; the characters predictable and black and white. There was no grey. I feel like there was zero research done. Had this story taken place in 1980 I would have bought it. What the author very conveniently forgets to account is that a large number of immigrants are now 2nd and some 3rd generations in the USA.   The struggles aren’t the same as they were for 1st generation immigrants.  We (2nd 3rd geners) are a million times more understanding towards our children’s needs.

Let’s take it to the flipside – the ‘homeland’ Pakistan.   You really want me to believe, that in today’s Pakistan where social media is twice as popular as the USA, where the media enjoys freedom of speech greater than the USA — it was absolutely possible for a girl to be entrapped as such?  Pakistan homes daughters who’s humanitarian efforts have been noted internationally (Bilquis Edhi) who’ve won Oscars (Sharmeen Obaid)and flown fighter jets (Ayesha_Farooq)– but this one poor girl had to endure marital rape (at the hands of her mother in law no less) and entrapment.  I’m sorry I don’t buy the damsel in distress thing.  Heck – if news of her talking to guy publically traveled that fast, how fast do you think news would have traveled if she told one of her neighbors that she was being held against her will? Or a taxi driver, or one of the helpers in the house? Tell someone – anyone.

I’m saddened that the author chose to feed into the typical stereotypes placed on the Pakistani people. I’m saddened to see that a woman in her position who has the power to enlighten; chose the opposite. But I guess she wrote what sells. Who wants to read about happily ever after?

PS – Apologies if this sounds more like a rant then a review. Some things that I really needed to get off my chest. I love forward to reading Aisha Saeed’s next book and hope with all my heart that it’s a more accurate picture of Naila in 2015.

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Baked Blueberry French Toast.

I’m Cheating! I couldn’t for the life of me think of a matching recipe for attachments. Then I saw this entry… and I thought breakfast. Lincoln’s mom was always making him breakfast. I think I’m making this for my kids over the weekend. Will let you know how it goes.

Till Then Enjoy!

Last weekend I needed to find a breakfast recipe that could supply enough tastiness for at least 11 people and I discovered a gem! I should tell you the majority of it needs to be prepared the night before, but the morning of your breakfast all you’ll need to do is pop it in the oven which is a plus!

What you’ll need:

2 medium sized loaves of french bread, 4 oz cream cheese, 1 cup and 1 tablespoon milk, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup blueberries, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 5 eggs, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 maple syrup

DSC_0764(Slice the medium sized loaves of french bread into cubes)

DSC_0768(Spray a deep dish pan with baking spray and place half of the bread cubes in the pan)

DSC_0772(Mix cream cheese, 1 tb of milk, and powdered sugar together to form a thick mixture)

DSC_0774(Pour that mixture over…

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