For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Shirley from Enriching Your Kid, who is a clinical psychologist-slash-homemaker that chronicles her family recipes and cooking experiences through her blog. There were a few recipes I was thinking about making, especially Mint Chutney, Dal Lentils, and Chole Chana Masala. I had been itching to bake something so I zoomed in on pineapple jam. I was thinking about all the ways I could use the pineapple jam: pineapple cookies, swirled into banana bread, plain on toast, and pineapple cakes.
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was in the month of October so I already had Asian sweets on my mind. Pineapple cakes (sometimes called pineapple tarts) are all over Asia and each region has its own special format. The Taiwanese version is named s Fènglísū (鳳梨酥).
I really enjoy eating pineapple cakes, but the store-bought kind tend to be dry and the filling lacking in flavor. making your own pineapple filling allows you to control the texture, spices, and sweetness. I switched out the cardamom in the recipe for ginger and cut down the sugar, cooking it down until it was nice and thick.
The dough for these tarts comes together quickly and is ridiculously easy. There are only 3 ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, flour, and egg yolk. I busted out my wooden mooncake molds that I picked up in Chicago’s Chinatown years ago and brushed them with an egg wash mixture before filling.
Freshly baked cakes
Eaten warm, the dough is thick, buttery with a nice tender crumb. The filling is the perfect consistency that doesn’t ooze out when you bite into it but is soft enough to mix with the dough in each bite.
I’ve been wanting to make this pasta ever since I saw it appear on Woks of Life in May. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) a pair of doves made a nest in our Thai basil plants so we couldn’t kick them out and harvest it. When I was able to get to the Asian supermarket in the suburbs, I went ahead and doubled the pesto recipe. Stored it in a jar, I’ve been using it in sandwiches, chicken salad, and even pizza.
Do yourself a favor and make this Thai Basil Pesto pasta, stat! If you can’t find Thai basil you can sub in regular basil or even cilantro.
Dove & Basil
Pesto & Pea Chicken Salad
Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich
This chili is one of my favorite uses for rotisserie chicken whenever the local store is having a sale on it.Even though it has a lot of ingredients, it comes together very quickly once you have everything measured out.
It’s warm, spicy, and incredibly healthy. It tastes even better the next day after all of the spices have soaked into to the beans and chicken, intensifying. You could halve this recipe to yield a smaller amount, but this can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. I like to top mine with some cheese, chia seeds, or non-fat yogurt as well as the cilantro, but you can dress it up with anything!
White Chicken Chili
Due to a sick cat, we’ve been under house arrest for the past week. One good thing to come from that is more meals made at home. We couldn’t go out for an ice cream cone or milkshake so we made this frozen yogurt in 45 seconds. You can eat it right away (it will be very soft), or freeze it in a container for later snacking like we did.
This is simple, fast, healthy, and really hits the spot. You can also replace the frozen strawberries with any other fruit or put this frozen yogurt on top of cookies or drizzle with chocolate.
Banana pudding holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first things I made with my husband when we were dating. It’s incredibly easy to make and there is almost no way to make it not taste delicious.
That’s why when I was assigned Wendy from “A Day in the Life on the Farm” for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, my decision was easy. Wendy and her husband Frank are retired police officers that escaped the city and live on a 12-acre farm. She made this pudding for brunch after Christmas which reminded me that it’s a great crowd pleaser. It fit the bill perfectly for my brother-in-law’s girlfriend that was visiting from out of town for a dinner party at our place.
It’s impossible not to like banana pudding! It’s absolutely delicious. To elevate it a little bit more I drizzled some salted caramel sauce on top. I served these in highball glasses as dessert. I can also attest to the fact that they are good in the morning because I ate all the leftovers for breakfast the next day — Wendy was smart serving this at brunch!