Friday, December 23, 2011

Guest Post Spotlight: Ponche de Creme

This week I am happy to turn over the LC to my talented and lovely friend Natasha from Healthy and Gourmet.  Natasha's food is always good and her photos are fantastic.

Drop by Healthy and Gourmet, meet Natasha, and make a new friend.  You can also find her on Facebook.


Hello everyone! I am a huge fan of Lazaro Cooks, and was thrilled when he asked me to do a guest post on his blog.

I started my own food blog about six years ago when I moved from Trinidad and Tobago to Minneapolis, Minnesota. When I first moved here, one of the things I knew I was going to miss most about island lifestyle – besides the warm climate and the glorious beaches - was the celebration around Christmas time. A Trinidadian Christmas centers on family, friends, local Christmas music called parang, and of course the food. With influences from Spanish, French, British, and Creole cuisines, food always takes center stage. Preparations can start a good two weeks in advance, and recruit the entire family. And for good reason: many dishes are elaborate, and require a sort of mini assembly line for efficiency.

Except ponche de crème - the local version of eggnog. Made with a generous amount of condensed milk, evaporate milk, eggs, and rum, blended into a frothy, creamy concoction, it takes a short time to make and - if your family enjoys a good eggnog as much as mine - an even shorter time to consume.

Admittedly, as the years have gone by, all of the nostalgia still returns around this time.  When that happens, I get my kitchen work-space ready, set up my ingredients, and blend up a batch of this recipe.  Enjoy your holidays!

Ponche de Creme
Serves 4 to 5

6 eggs*
zest of one large lime
1 tsp grated nutmeg
4 cups of evaporated milk
2 cups condensed milk
2 tbsp Angostura bitters
1 cup dark rum

1. In a blender, whisk the eggs, lime zest, and nutmeg until the eggs turn light yellow and fluffy.
2. Pour in the evaporated milk, condensed milk, bitters, and rum, quickly whisking between additions.
3. Pour over crushed ice, and serve with extra grated nutmeg.

*The eggs remain uncooked throughout the recipe, so be sure to get yours from a reputable source.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tahini Soba Noodles with Caramelized Jumbo Sea Scallops

This week I am happy to turn the LC floor over to Gwen from Simply Healthy Family.  Gwen is one of my favorite people I have met through blogging.  Active on facebook, she is fun, irreverent, unafraid and clever.

Her blog Simply Healthy Family is a collection of family friendly dishes.  Her food is eclectic and never boring and her photos are lovely.

Take the time to check her out, it is a fun read.


Greetings from the Sonoran Desert. My name is Gwen and I'm so excited to be here on one of my favorite blogs and to share one of our favorite recipes. I do hope you stop by and say hi, I love meeting new people with a love for good food.

I've been a fan of Lazaro Cooks since I started blogging a few years ago. His cooking style is what mine used  to be 3 or 4 kids ago. His take it or leave it  personality mimics mine and I love to read his blog while sipping a glass of red wine and longing for the day when I can cook amazing, grown up food with actual spices in it without having to clean it off of the walls afterwards.

In the mean time, I am still dedicated to cooking a wide variety of healthy foods without  sacrificing flavor in hopes that I can still enjoy my love for really good food without starving my 4 kids.

So thanks Laz, for giving a girl something to look forward to and for a good laugh at the end of a long, hard day.

I  love ethnic foods. Especially when it involves exotic spices and seafood. I also have a serious addiction to veggies and seafood. Even as a child I adored giant sea scallops and requested them for my birthday every single year along with Khalua cake. My mom used to put cayenne in EVERYTHING from spaghetti, mixing it into peanut butter and sprinkling it on top of cottage cheese, so I grew up being accustomed to spicy foods. I have to hold back a bit on the spices with my little ones but am trying to build up a tolerance as we speak.

The kids loved this Tahini soba noodle dish slightly sweetened with honey and which I served to them with cubed chicken and saved the spicy-sweet jumbo sea scallops for my husband and myself. Tahini is a wonderfully mild paste made from toasted sesame seeds and commonly used in hummus. I've never been a big fan of peanut butter but love tahini's unique taste. Feel free to use peanut or almond butter in this if you wish.

You Will Need:

10 oz. uncooked Buckwheat (soba) noodles
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup veggies such as Bok Choy, Bell Peppers or Broccoli2 carrots, peeled and shaved
1/2 cup tahini paste
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons Tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1-2 tablespoons Organic, Raw honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 giant sea scallops (can used cooked cubed chicken as a variation)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Optional Garnishes:
1/2 cup sliced green onions
chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or sesame seeds
crushed red pepper to taste

Cook soba noodles according to package directions, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile: Heat a large, heavy based stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Prepare scallops by rinsing quickly under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.
Shave carrot lengthwise into thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Combine broth, tahini, ginger, Tamari, honey, pepper, and garlic; stir with a whisk until smooth.

In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cayenne. Gently press each side of the scallops into the mixture one at a time. When your pan is hot, add a small pat of butter and coat. Place scallops into the pan and cook untouched for 2-3 minutes, lowering heat a bit if necessary. Using tongs, flip scallops and cook another 2 minutes. DO NOT overcook scallops!

Remove from heat and serve on top of noodles immediately.

Combine carrot and other veggies, peanut sauce, and cooked noodles in a large bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle with slivered green onions, cilantro and chopped peanuts. Top with seared scallops and serve immediately.

Please check out Gwen from Simply Healthy Family.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!