February 27, 2012

Passion Fruit Pudding

A few weeks ago I attempted making a passion fruit pudding for the second time. While it was a better effort than my first time (I didn't cook the mixture long enough, so it was more of a cream than a pudding), it wasn't passion fruity enough for me. I used store bought passion fruit juice which is great for drinking, but it felt like a watered down version of passion fruit when using in a recipe. I knew instantly that I needed to use real passion fruit and extract the pulp myself in order to get that pungent tart flavor I wanted in the pudding.

Luckily as I was perusing the aisles at Whole Foods this afternoon, I saw in a small corner a basket full of Passion Fruit! I picked up half a dozen and as soon  as I got home, I made fresh juice! If you've never seen or opened a Passion fruit, its kinda creepy looking. The pulp is gooey and filled with black seeds. Similar to pomegranate, you can eat the seeds too. I first scooped out the pulp and sieved it to allow all fresh juice into a bowl. With the remaining pulp I put in the food processor with the juice of 1 lime and blended for about 30 seconds. Sieve into the bowl to extract all the seeds. Set aside.

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 6 passion fruit (see above)

In a sauce pan, heat 2 cups of the milk and bring to a boil. While the milk is warming up, in a heat proof bowl mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Make sure there are no clumps. Slowly add the remaining cup of milk to the mixture, beating constantly to ensure that you have a smoothe mixture. Add the egg into this mixture. Once the milk comes to a boil, remove from heat and slowly add into the other mixture.

You want to temper the remaining of the milk/cornstarch/egg mixture SLOWLY, so you don't end up "scrambling" the egg. Once you have it all mixed, return to the sauce pan and cook until it simmers. Add the vanilla extract and the fresh Passion Fruit Juice. Turn the heat off and continue mixing until the its got a creamy consistency. Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before consuming.

February 12, 2012

Scrambled Egg Puffs

I may have mentioned before that breakfast is one of my favorite meals, and eggs usually take a front seat whenever I make breakast during the weekends. Last weekend I found myself craving scrambled eggs, but I realized I had run out of toast. Being the middle of winter, last thing I wanted to do was head out of my cozy apartment to buy a loaf of bread. Until I remembered that I had some puff pastry in my freezer.

I removed 1 sheet from the box, and thawed it out for 30-40 minutes while I thought of a smiple breakfast to make with my "bread" replacement. I decided on using my cupcake pan to make mini puff pastry cups to fill with scrambled eggs. The prep was so easy, there really was no formal recipe involved!

1 Puff Pastry Sheet
6 Eggs
Splash of Milk
1/4 Cup Chopped Ham
3 Slices of Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Once the Puff pastry has thawed out, cut into the 2 fold seams. Roll out the dough a little to cut into thirds, and press into cupcake pan, cutting the excess dough to re-use for the remaining tins. Get your eggs cracked in a bowl, add a splash of milk and season to taste. Add chopped ham or turkey to the egg mixture (feel free to use bacon if you prefer).

 Place the puff pastry tin in the oven and cook until your scrambled eggs are done, . Remove the puff pastry cups from the oven and press in the center of each cup to fill with the scrambled eggs. Top with a small piece of cheese and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

February 11, 2012

Mediterranean Tilapia "En Papillote"

Every once in a while, I get stumped when trying to decide what to make for dinner. This usually happens when I'm exhausted from a long day at work, and feel no real motivation to get too many pots dirty. For these days I usually rely on simple seafood dishes as they only take few minutes to cook. I always have several kinds of seafood in my freezer, particularly pre-packaged fillets, such as fish fillets and shrimp.I keep them on hand for nights like these as I put them in a bowl of water to defrost for 15-20 minutes as I get myself settled in and ready to cook.

A "en papillote" or "in paper" is a simple way to cook fish in a tightly sealed package. Most of the times it includes various herbs or vegetables to add flavors to the fish itself. By placing the fish over sauteed onions and topping with lemon, tomato and other fresh herbs, then tightly wrapping the fish in wax paper or foil paper, you get a perfectly steam-cooked fish with a natural sauce from the lemon and natural juices in the fish. This is a perfect, yet simple dish to make; with a fancy name that no one would believe it only has a 10 minute prep time!


4 Tilapia fillets
1 Lemon
1 Tomato
1/2 Onion
1 tbsp capers (optional)
1 tbsp chopped olives (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large baking pan, such as a 9"x13" cover the bottom with foil paper. Make sure there is plenty of extra foil in the overhang as you will eventually wrap up the fish like a package.

Saute 1/2 sliced onion for 3-5 minutes. Until lightly translucent and place at the bottom of the pan. Season your tilapia fillets with salt and pepper and place over the onions. Top with sliced tomato and lemon. Add fresh herbs such as thyme sprigs and basil leaves. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and make sure to season the tomatoes and onions with a little salt and pepper too.

Now all you have to do is tightly close the foil so that no steam comes out from any crevice. Place in oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes, allowing the foil to slightly cool prior to opening. Serve immediately.