Monday, May 28, 2012

Coconut Basil Mashed Potatoes with bacon

Coconut Basil Mashed Potatoes with Bacon

A fast, easy to prepare non-dairy tasty alternative to plain old mashed potatoes (Serves 4, Total prep and cooking time under 20 minutes)

  • 4-5 medium red potatoes
  • 2 green onions, trim the end and dice both the green and white portions
  • 5 slices of your favorite bacon - cooked, drained on paper towels and diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 can Polar Coconut milk - mixed well before portioning
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped purple Thai Basil
  • 3 tablespoons Butter (or margarine if going completely dairy free), room temp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Prep (10 minutes or so):

In this order:

  • Make the bacon in a skillet or frying pan.  Once browned and crispy remove from pan and drain on paper towel - dice.  You can also substitute prociutto if you want something a little saltier.  I prefer all-natural Seven Bridges Farms bacon.
  • Wash, Trim and clean the green onions and chop into small pieces, set aside
  • Wash 2-3 stalks of Thai basil and shake to remove excess liquid, remove the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves and flowers finely.  Set aside.
  • Shake then open a can of Polar Coconut Milk (other brands may work, but polare is the best.  Stir to make sure all solids are mixed in.
  • Clean and Eye the potatoes (but do not peel) and place in a bowl larger than the potatoes, with room for additional ingredients and cover. 

  • Microwave potatoes in covered bowl on high for 9-12 minutes until there is no resistance to a fork.  Remove from microwave and slice into quarters (carefully they will be hot).  Put them back in the bowl
  • With a potato masher, mash the potatoes until the skins are broken and they are in chunks, but not completely mashed.
  • Add the butter or margarine and mix well as it melts
  • While completing the mashing slowly add Coconut milk until you get the right consistency.  You can always add more in, but you can't take it out.  Depending on the size of the potatoes this may use up to 1/2 or 2/3 of the can
  • Add the green onions and the chopped bacon, mix well
  • Salt and pepper to taste - it's important that you TASTE as you do this.  I use ground sea salt and a peppercorn mix for the pepper.  Add a bit, taste, add more until you get the right amount. This will be bland without enough salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the fresh thai basil a bit at a time with the masher until you get just the amount you want - up to the full 1/4 cup. Thai basil is strongly flavored so don't over-do it.   If you have any left at the end you can sprinkle it on top of each serving for flavor, with some green onion dice
Serve hot.  You will not need or want sour creme, this has a subtle sweet coconut flavor (like Thai coconut rice).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A second published Recipe...

My first published recipe was in the Friends of the Market Cookbook, and is available here on this blog.  My second recipe - for spicy hummus dip -has been published by F. Oliver's on their website, and you can find it here. F. Olivers has some very cool flavored and gourmet olive oils, and they're right next door to Wine Sense on Park Ave - my favorite boutique wine store.

I really enjoy cooking, and my family are my guinea pigs for all my new recipes to so kudos to my wife Val and son Calvin for putting up with both my successes and my failures.  I look forward to creating and submitting more recipes for cookbooks and websites.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Boycott the Democrat and Chronicle

Recently a local FIRST Lego League team received international attention for their achievements - getting the international gracious professionalism award at the World Championships for FIRST in St. Louis.  This team - with mentors from team 340 (GRR) and sponsored to go to World Championships by Team 1511 (Penfield Robotics) received recognition in WIRED magazine for their achievement.

So you'd think - wow - international attention, international media - local middle school kids, this is what proves Rochester is an innovative, forward-thinking city.  This kind of news is something that everyone in Rochester can be proud of.  Not to mention that outside of the Michigan area we have one of the largest FIRST populations for a city our size.  And that our teams consistently win Robot awards, Engineering Inspiration and Chairman's awards outside the area, and multiple regional teams repeatedly qualify for world competitions at both the FLL and FRC levels.  Sounds worthy of some serious features in the local news right?  Perhaps a feature article on the team, and on the other teams that supported and nurtured them. Or maybe one on how the FIRST Robotics competition inspires thousands of local elementary, middle and high school students to new achievements in STEM? 

But the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, our local newspaper, continues to ignore FIRST Robotics, and other equally deserving events such as Odyssey of the Mind, ImagineRIT and Science Olympiad. They claim that such events aren't "interesting to their readers" and don't "Follow their demographics".  (Actual quotes from D&C mouthpieces).  Never mind that local television stations enthusiastically promote and feature FIRST Robotics, and they have the same demographics.  They claim they support FIRST but only do so with advertisements, not with any coverage to speak of.  Even the results of the local Regional competition weren't published in their paper (however results of chess clubs, soccer, baseball, football, and basketball are covered ad nauseum).  It's not a matter of them not knowing either - all the local teams do press releases and FIRST itself features PR to them regularly - but they continue to ignore it.

When I personally called attention to this continued ignorance - they banned my Facebook profile from commenting on articles - without an explanation. I didn't violate their terms of service (I specifically avoided situations that would get me banned) but they terminated my access to making comments on the site anyway - because when it came down to it - they had no valid explanation for why they continued to ignore FIRST Robotics.  In a similar fashion they refused to cover the RIT Innovation Festival ImagineRIT.

Recently the D&C is promoting a price raise to "allow them" to offer a digital subscription.  If you are an intellectual and thoughtful Rochester resident I strongly recommend that instead of renewing at their higher rate - you cancel your subscription.  And in doing so explain that you cannot in good conscience give them MORE money for LESS coverage of important events like FIRST Robotics in the city.  Subscribe to the NY Times for important news outside Rochester, and the Rochester Business Journal or City Magazine for important inside Rochester news.