Hawaiian Carrot Cake from the Cook Islands

Sue Carruthers' “The Flame Tree Cookbook — Pacific Recipes for the New Zealand Kitchen”, 1993, is one of my favorites. And this is one of our favorite cakes. We bake it, finish it off and then bake another one aboard ADAGIO. It keeps well in the fridge and re-heats deliciously. I have modified the recipe slightly, and bake it in a 12-cup Bundt cake pan. Try it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated coconut, perhaps lightly toasted
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, whole
  • 3/4 cup raisins, sultanas or dried cranberries

Instructions:

1 – Butter a 12-cup Bundt cake pan or two 20 cm round cake pans.
2 – Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
3 – In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. I do not bother to sift the dry ingredients.
4 – Stir together the oil, vanilla and eggs until well combined. Stir into the flour mixture with the carrots, pineapple, coconut, dried cranberries and nuts.
5 – Bake for 1 hour to 1-1/2 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
6 – Invert the cake on a cooling rack, and allow to thoroughly cool before removing the pan. Then turn it right side up into a sealed cake keeper and keep it in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

 

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How to Make Salmonella-free Mayonnaise with Near-boiled Egg Yolks

Harold McGee's book “The Curious Cook” contains instructions for how to avoid salmonella poisoning while still enjoying freshly made mayonnaise. My copy of this book was published in 1990. His book “On Food and Cooking” is into its second edition, published in 2007. Both are fascinating books which have helped satisfy my curiosity about the science of cooking, as well as kept me out of trouble.

I grew up on my mother's home made mayonnaise, made with whole, raw egg. We never became ill, but in today's world, there is a risk of salmonella poisoning. Here is the trick that Harold McGee taught me. I use clean forks for whisking the egg mixture, with good results.

“…… cooks who want to ensure the wholesomeness of a homemade mayonnaise can heat egg yolks close to the boil, thereby effectively ridding them of any salmonella, and then use them to produce a stable, reasonably thick mayonnaise. The one disadvantage of the pre-cooked yolks is that they're unable to accommodate extra virgin olive oils, which appear to contain a substance that interferes with emulsification. You can make a stable sauce with these unrefined olive oils by mixing them with other oils.

“Basic mayonnaise with near-boiled egg yolks: This recipe makes about a cup of sauce. The microwave timings are based on my experience with a 600-watt oven. I recommend that you start by experimenting with a few egg yolks to get an idea of how your oven behaves. If you have a good cooking thermometer, try to confirm that the yolk mixture is close to the boil after the second heating period. …..”Have two or three small whisks at hand to avoid recontaminating the yolk once it's been cooked. Separate 1 egg yolk. ….. Place the yolk in a small glass bowl, around 2 cups in capacity, and beat it until homogeneous. ….. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and beat again. If the egg was U.S. Large, add 1 tablespoon water; if Extra Large, 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon. ….. Beat the mixture again. Throw the whisk in the sink or clean it with hot, soapy water.

“Cover the bowl with a plate, place it in a microwave oven, and heat at high power. …. watch for the point at which the surface of the yolk mixture begins to heave. ….. or open the oven door and check every 5 seconds or so, beginning after about 15 seconds of cooking. Once the mixture is visibly agitated, count off 5 seconds, then turn off the oven, remove the bowl, and beat the mixture vigorously with a clean whisk until it's smooth. Throw the whisk in the sink; you won't have time to clean it. Quickly return the covered bowl to the oven and heat on high until the mixture begins to heave again. Count off 5 seconds, then stop the cooking, remove the bowl, and beat the mixture vigorously with a clean whisk until it's smooth. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 1 minute while you wash the whisk in hot, soapy water. Then place the bowl in a shallow pan of cold water and stir the yolk mixture occasionally until lukewarm. “

“Add a pinch of salt and whisk briefly. Measure out between 3/4 cup and 1 cup oil. Keep unrefined or olive oils to half or less of the total volume, a quarter or less of the volume if you want the sauce to last in the refrigerator for more than a day. Beat the oil into the yolk mixture a teaspoon at a time to begin with, more rapidly after you've emulsified several tablespoons. If the sauce gets very stiff, add a few drops of water. Once all the oil has been incorporated into the sauce, adjust the flavor with lemon juice or vinegar. Adding at least 1/2 tablespoon liquid will thin the mayonnaise noticeably but will also make it more stable.”

Thank you, Harold

Enjoy!

 

Roast Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic and Spicy Sausage

Adapted by Dorothy Darden From The Gourmet Cookbook, Edited by Ruth Reichl.
I first made this easy-to-prepare dish in Ile des Pins, New Caledonia, with a locally grown chicken, and garlic imported from China, which must be eaten before it sprouts green leaves. The Toulouse Sausages became our favorite in New Caledonia, but we have also used Hungarian Sausages from New Zealand. Chirozo is always a good addition to a chicken dish.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4-pound) Chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 to 4 inches of a Tasty, spicy sausage, like Chirozo (I like Toulouse Sausage), cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds, then halved.
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 fresh flat-leaf Parsley sprigs
  • 1 fresh Rosemary sprig (or 1/4 tsp dried Rosemary)
  • 1 fresh Thyme sprig (or 1/4 tsp dried Thyme)
  • 1 fresh Sage sprig (or 1/4 tsp dried Sage)
  • 40 (or more) fat Garlic cloves

Instructions:

  1. Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Sprinkle Chicken inside and out with Salt and Pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen string and fold wings under chicken.
  3. Heat Oil in a 6- to 8- quart wide heavy ovenproof pot over moderately high heat.
  4. Brown the Sausage pieces in the Oil and remove from pot.
  5. Brown the Chicken, turning it carefully until golden brown all over. Transfer Chicken to a plate.
  6. Scatter Parsley sprigs, Garlic cloves and Sausage pieces over the bottom of the pot and place the Chicken breast side up on top.
  7. Sprinkle the Chicken with Rosemary, Thyme and Sage.
  8. Cover tightly, transfer to oven, and bake until thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh registers 77 deg C (170 deg F), 30 to 40 minutes.
  9. Transfer Chicken to a cutting board or platter and let stand for 10 minutes.
  10. To serve, divide the Garlic and Sausage pieces among 4 warmed plates. Pour pan juices into a small, warm pitcher. Carve the Chicken and serve with crusty bread, to dip into the sauces and on which to spread the garlic.

Notes:

  1. When I cook this Chicken dish in my microwave/convection oven, I bake in pre-heated Convection for 10 minutes at 200 deg C; then cook on Microwave/High for 3 minutes; then Convection for 10 minutes at 200 deg C.
  2. You can substitute Bouquet Garni for the herbs.
  3. No need to peel the Garlic cloves. You can remove the cooked Garlic from the peels by pinching the clove at one end.

 

Minh Thu’s French Apple Delicacy

Minh Thu was born in Vietnam, and raised in France. She and her husband, Alan, have sailed for many years aboard their catamaran NOUVELLE VIE II. In New Zealand, they invited us aboard for a delicious Vietnamese meal. For dessert, she served this French delicacy. It is very easy and quick to make — perfect for cooking aboard a boat.

Special Equipment:

  • A pot or skillet that can be used on the stove top and in the oven
  • Pastry brush for painting the egg wash onto the top of the puff pastry

Ingredients:

  • A small package (400 gm) of frozen Flaky Puff Pastry, defrosted according to package instructions
  • 6 large cooking Apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • a pinch of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Mixed Citrus Peel
  • 1 egg, beaten with a fork

Instructions:

  1. Place the apples, brown sugar, cranberries, butter, salt and citrus peel into an oven-proof pan, on the stove top.

  2. Heat the apple mixture, tossing continually, untill the apples are mostly cooked, but not mushy.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200C (for convection oven) or 220 C for normal oven.

  4. Cut the puff pastry into four strips and roll each strip out to about 1/4 inch thick.

  5. Cut each strip in half, and lay the strips over the top of the apple mixture, creating a large “lattice” appearance.

  6. Paint the egg wash over the tops of the puff pastry strips.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove and cool.

  8. Serve warm or cold with Yoghurt, Ice cream or Cream.

Enjoy!

 

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

From: The Gourmet Cookbook, Edited by Ruth Reichl, 2004
with a few modifications by Dorothy Darden

The word biscotti comes from a verb meaning “to cook twice,” which refers to the way these cookies are made: first the dough is formed into a log and baked, then it's cut into slices and baked again until golden, crisp, and perfect for dipping into coffee or milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cups (4 ounces) dried cranberries
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) shelled natural pistachios (not dyed red)
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp water, for egg wash

Instructions:

  1. Soak cranberries in boiling water to cover in a small bowl until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, then pat with paper towels, or press into the strainer with the back of a spoon to squeeze out the liquid. (Save the soaking water and drink. It is delicious.)

  2. Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 325 F (200 C). Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.

  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat with a strong electric mixer at medium speed just until a dough forms. I use my big KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment.

  4. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix at low speed. If the dough is too stiff for the electric mixer, use your hands to knead in the pistachios and cranberries.

  5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead several times. Halve dough. Using floured hands, form each half into a slightly flattened 13-by-2-inch log on baking sheet, spacing logs about 3 inches apart. Brush logs with egg wash.

  6. Bake until golden, for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

  7. Transfer logs to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices cut sides down in one layer on baking sheet (it's fine if slices touch each other). Bake, turning once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes (or 13 minutes on each side). Transfer biscotti to racks to cool.

Tip: You can freeze or refrigerate the logs after first baking, through step 6., then slice and bake the slices when you need them, step 7. I sometimes make a double batch, and refrigerate half of the logs before step 7.

Enjoy!

 

Wet Spotter for Removing Red Wine from Carpet

I keep a small jar of this liquid on a shelf under the galley sink for that unhappy moment when someone spills red wine at the dinner table, or onto the carpet. It is a technique I found in an old book, many years ago. We have used it with amazing success for years.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part liquid dish detergent
  • 1 part Glycerine
  • 8 parts water

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients together well.
  2. Blot up as much wine as you can with dry paper towels.
  3. Wet a wad of clean paper towels with the Spotter liquid and blot the stain, using new towels and liquid until the spot is removed.
  4. Follow with clean paper towels or terry towels soaked with clean water, then blot dry.

Good luck!

 

Fabulous Figs and Blue Cheese Appetizer

While cruising in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, we were hiking ashore and came upon an ancient fig tree, laden with beautiful figs, many of which were ripe enough to pick. I filled my small backpack with 31 of the ones I could reach. Back on the boat, we treated ourselves to figs, stuffed with Blue Cheese and melted in the microwave. The following week, we harvested another 31 figs from the same tree, and served them to six of our fellow cruisers in ADAGIO's cockpit. We have found that the melting of the cheese creates a gooey appetizer. So we serve the figs cool or at room temperature, garnished with a dab of cold Blue Cheese, as follows.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh Figs per person
  • Good quality Blue Cheese

Instructions:

  1. Check each fig for serious blemishes, but no need to wash the figs.
  2. Cut off the stem, then cut each fig into 4 pieces, slicing from top to bottom.
  3. Place the 8 fig quarters on a small plate and garnish each piece of fig with a 1/2 tsp of Blue Cheese.
  4. Serve immediately as finger food.

Enjoy!

 

Brussels Sprouts Medley

Finally I have concocted a recipe for Brussels sprouts that does not leave them a mushy strong-flavored mess. The Victory Garden Cookbook, 1982, says, “Brussels sprouts 'ripen', picking up a strong flavor during storage, so it's best to use them as soon as possible after harvesting to guarantee a delicate flavor.”

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tb Olive Oil
  • 500 gm fresh Brussels sprouts, not too large
  • 3 medium-sized Carrots
  • 3 to 4 large Garlic Cloves
  • 1 medium Brown Onion
  • 1/3 cup mixed, pitted Olives (I use green olives and Kalamata olives.)
  • Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 can 400gm (14 oz) crushed Tomatoes with juices
  • 1 cube Oxo (or other) for Chicken broth, softened in 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Brussels sprouts by trimming off the ends, removing loose and yellowing leaves, and cutting them in half, top to bottom.
  2. Prepare the Carrots by peeling, cutting off the ends, then cutting each carrot in half lengthwise. Next, slice each half into 1/8″ thick half-moons.
  3. Crush, peel and roughly chop the Garlic cloves.
  4. Peel and thinly slice the Brown Onions.
  5. Soften the Chicken broth cube in 1/2 cup warm water.
  6. Place the Olive Oil and all of the ingredients, except the canned Tomatoes and Chicken broth, into a large wok, over High heat.
  7. Sauté the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, tossing with two spatulas the entire time, to soften the Garlic and Onions and thoroughly heat all of the vegetables.
  8. Pour in the canned Tomatoes and the Chicken broth. Stir well.
  9. Cover the contents of the wok with a lid, and reduce the heat to Medium-Low.
  10. After 3 minutes, remove the lid and stir.
  11. Steam the vegetables until the Brussels sprouts are tender but still crisp and green.
  12. Remove the lid after 5 minutes, and remove a sprout to taste. Cook a few minutes more if necessary.
  13. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

Easy French Pear Cake

Once in blue moon, a batch of pears fails to ripen properly. They are fine and white all the way to the core, but are still hard, even if you have left them in a sunny window for a week. They haven't become soft and sweet. The best and easiest way to preserve and enjoy these pears is to cook them up in a French Pear Cake. I have adapted this recipe from my 1972 copy of The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker. The original recipe says to use apples or peaches. I think pears are best here.

Equipment:

A deep, 8-inch pie pan, or equivalent, buttered or brushed with Canola Oil

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1 large Navel Orange
  • Zested Rind from 1 large Navel Orange
  • 3 cups peeled, cored and sliced Pears
  • 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves) or 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tb Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tb Canola Oil
  • 1/4 cup Milk

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 deg F (220 deg C).
  2. Put the Orange Juice and the Orange Zest into the pie pan.
  3. Add the Pears and Dried Cranberries, and toss to coat with the Juice and Zest.
  4. Sprinkle the 1 tsp Mixed Spice and 2 Tb Brown Sugar over the fruit .
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the Flour, 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the Eggs, Canola Oil and Milk.
  7. Pour the Egg mixture into the Flour mixture and beat together with a spatula until blended.
  8. Pour the batter over the fruit.
  9. Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Serve hot or warm, with Milk or Cream to pour over the top of each serving.

Enjoy!

 

Easy to Cook Brown Rice in the Microwave

I have been experimenting with this technique with great success. My success might be due to the particular brand of rice I am using, or to the particular microwave rice cooker that I use. However, I have tried this with good results using two different microwave rice cookers. The chief benefit of the microwave rice cooker is that rice cooks in half the time as in a pan on the stove top. Also, the results are more predictable. The instructions on the package say to rinse the rice thoroughly, but I do not rinse.

The rice I am using is made in India and imported into New Zealand, so hopefully you can buy it where you live. “India Gate Basmati Rice Brown” is the label on the package. The brown rice comes out light and fluffy when cooked by this method.

Equipment:

  • Microwave rice cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup India Gate Basmati Rice Brown
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tb Butter or Olive Oil
  • A little salt to your taste

Instructions:

  1. Pour the rice into the rice cooker.
  2. Heat 2-1/4 cups of water to warm and pour over the rice.
  3. Stir, and allow to soak for 1 hour or more.
  4. Add the Butter or Olive Oil.
  5. Microwave on High for 15 minutes.
  6. Allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Toss and serve.

Enjoy!