How to f-up the simplest recipe

Want to f-up a recipe? Simple: Add too much salt.

I managed to totally fuck up a batch of coconut sticky rice with mango yesterday, and make myself sick in the process.

I’ve made coconut sticky rice before – it is so easy and so good. But yesterday, I did it in the middle of 10 other projects. I took the first recipe Google found from The Kitchn (a great site). Which now that I’m looking for a link, I can’t find. Instead I’m finding this coconut rice pudding recipe which is way closer to the version I’ve made in the past.

Ok, had to search for Thai mango sticky rice

My coconut milk started out uniform, so I couldn’t follow the (seemingly extra-complicated) Kitchn instructions. The amount of salt seemed excessive, but my previous batches lacked the addictive saltiness of the restaurant version, I decided to throw caution to the wind.

Don’t do that.

I followed the first part of their instructions. I didn’t measure the rice since my husband was cooking a big batch, but I heated 3/4 tsp salt, the sugar and 2/3 can coconut milk and poured it over cooked rice.

I had the amount of rice I wanted and still had some coconut milk left in the saucepan, so I thought, what the hell, instead of using the (nonexistent) coconut cream from the coconut milk, I’d just add some more sugar to make the sweet coconut sauce you serve over the top.

Oh, and more salt. I wasn’t thinking. The recipe divides 1 tsp. of salt between two coconut milk preparations. I instead multiplied it. Don’t do that.

The rice itself was ok. On the salty side, but edible. I’d recommend using about 1/2 as much salt as the Kitchn recipe lists. But then I poured a bunch of the extra-salty-sweet stuff on top and chowed down. It was gross. I should have stopped eating. But I was hungry and in a hurry and mad that the perfectly ripe mango that inspired making the rice in the first place was actually not ripe at ALL. So I choked down my salty rice and suffered the consequences.

Hey, all you people with acid reflux – do yourself a fucking favor and cut back on salt, ok? The TV wants you to believe feel ill is just a mysterious thing you’ll never understand, but fortunately there’s a pill for that ill. It’s a lie. Listen to your body! good-mango



Almost Martha’s Chocolate Beet Cake Cup Cakes

Well. I got it into my head that I need to eat beets. They are supposed to be good for anemia. But I really don’t know what to do with beets. Pickled beets gross me out, and other than that, I just don’t see them cooked that often. Somehow I came across a beet cake recipe that claimed it was like zucchini bread, but with beets. This intrigued me, but then in the comments I read that the taste of beets was obvious. Which brought me to Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Beet Cake recipe. Since the beets are pureed instead of grated, and disguised further with sugar and cocoa powder, it seemed like I’d be less likely to notice them.

beets-rawI roasted the beets instead of boiling them. It only took two, so now I have a whole roasted beet to eat in a respectable, non-cake method. Fuck. I’m glad I didn’t blend it up, though – wtf does one do with extra pureed beets, Martha? Pray tell.

Here’s how I f-d up Martha Stewart’s recipe:

*Roasted instead of boiled the beets (it sounded easier, but have no proof that it was).

*Used avocado oil instead of safflower oil, because that’s what I had. Might be healthier?

*Added chocolate chips – because damn, the beets smelled really kinda gross and dirt-like when they were roasted, and I didn’t want gross dirt cake. CHOCOLATE CHIPS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER.

beet-cake-batter*Skipped the glaze. FASTER.

*Baked the cake batter as cupcakes. I don’t have a 9″ round cake pan, and even if I did, I wasn’t going to fucking cut a perfect parchment paper circle to fit the pan, then trim the cake to make it flat. Fuck that. Cupcakes bake twice as fast, too! FASTER.

The results were delicious. Basically, chocolate cake with a slight difference. Next time, I think I’ll use coffee or almond milk instead of water. And yes, I know eating cupcakes doesn’t count as eating vegetables. I’m just hoping whatever beet-ness I ingest suggests to my system to seek out more beets.

It could happen.


Massaman curry recipe hack

Last night, I wanted massaman curry and I wanted it bad. I love making Thai curries, but I do it the fast way, using curry paste. I love red curry with chicken and pineapple, or green with zucchini and tofu. My local grocery doesn’t stock massaman. My local Thai restaurant is run by great people, but I feel they don’t cook their curries long enough – crunchy potatoes or pumpkins kind of ruin the experience. Homemade is better. Especially since curries take under 30 minutes to make!

So, armed with red curry paste, Google, and blind faith, I hacked a massaman curry recipe that turned out shockingly well. The leap of faith was adding the spices listed in massaman recipes. It didn’t seem like they could be combined in a way that would taste good. Cardamom and cinnamon are for desserts, right? I associate cumin with Mexican food, although it is key to most Indian dishes. Massaman means Muslim, did you know? Massaman curry comes from Muslim people moving from India into Thailand and bringing their tastes in food with them. Turns out you can’t confine a spice to one type of cooking without missing out on some true deliciousness. America, there’s a lesson here.

The picture isn’t pretty (get used to it). But the taste was fucking awesome.

massaman-curry-homemadeMassaman Curry Made with Red Curry Paste and Extra Spices

I wrote in measurements, but really, I just eyeball amounts. Use your judgement and taste!

Thai curry basics:

Red curry paste – store bought. 1 tablespoon.

Coconut milk –  1 can. full fat, always

Broth or water (cooking the potatoes reduces the liquid, otherwise I don’t normally add extra liquid to my curries)


Additions to make the red curry taste like massuman:

Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp

Cardamom – 1/4 tsp

Tumeric – 1 tsp, or more

Cumin – 1/4 tsp


Peanut butter – 1 tablespoon. natural chunky.


The main ingredients:

1/2 sweet onion, sliced

Waxy potatoes – the smaller the pieces, the faster they cook. About a cup and a half, total.

A carrot, sliced thin

Protein of choice – I used pre-cut stew meat. 1/2 pound or so.



Finishing touches:

Lime juice – half a lime

Brown sugar – teaspoon

Fish sauce – tablespoon



Cook the curry paste, onion and additional spices over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet till the aroma is released and the onions are coated with spices. Add coconut milk a bit at a time and simmer, stirring to mix well. Add the peanut butter. When it is all stirred together, add the potatoes and a little broth or water. The potatoes should be submerged. Simmer until the potatoes are nearly cooked – 5-10 min, depending on size – and add carrot and protein. Simmer until everything is cooked through. Stir and sip some wine. Add a little brown sugar, fish sauce and a squeeze of lime. Stir.

Serve with Thai jasmine rice. YUM.