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Happy Birthday Giveaway!

2 Sep

I am happy to announce I made it through another adventurous year! I am even happier to see what the coming year brings to this crazy journey I call my life.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

This was by FAR the best birthday I’ve ever had – thanks in large part to the amazing friends and family I was surrounded by for countless days, dinners and parties. Of course I want to share at least a snap shot of one of those joyous occasions with you all – where the food, the company and the setting came together so wonderfully, I’ll be hard pressed to beat it in the years to come.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

It was (and continues to be) important to me that during my birthday I spend some quality time with my oldest/nearest/dearest friends who have become family to me over the years (decades really).

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

They are so supportive of my goals, ambition and pretty much any hair brained idea I come up with (and subsequently wrangle them into). So, as I reflect on the year I just had and all the possibilities to come, I want to show them how much them mean to me. One of my favorite ways to do that, obviously, is to cook for them, and spend time making new memories around the dinner table.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

After all, having family and friends (both in Seattle and scattered around the globe) is one of the biggest things to celebrate!

And, so, when it came time to plan a birthday dinner, I wanted it to be as special as those people are to me. I kept it clean and simple with a slight nod to a nautical, “Anchors Away” theme.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Again, because these people really are always up for my shenanigans, they brought their A game, inclusive of some slightly nautical attire and all the delicious wine and appetizers for our leisurely pre-dinner, fireside hang out.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

And to really top it all off, West Elm of Seattle was wonderful enough to get in on the action by supplying me with some of the most timeless, yet updated entertaining pieces.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

From their summer collection (as you can see above), they graciously gifted me the Outdoor Metal Drink Bucket, Outdoor Metal Drink Dispenser, Outdoor Metal Ice Bucket and two of the Pad Printed Serve Bowl in Ikat. These were the perfect addition to my birthday table, and the best part is they all continue to do double duty in my every day life throughout this Labor Day weekend and beyond (uh, hello Football Season anyone?!?!?!)

Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

Now, you all know how I feel about sharing: I LOVE IT!!! (except when it comes to pizza, colds and secrets) So, how excited was I when West Elm gave me an extra Outdoor Metal Drink Dispenser to giveaway on the blog?! If you want to enter the giveaway, simply follow the directions at the end of the post no later than Friday, September 6th by 11:59pm PDT.

Now then, aren’t you dying to know what I made for dinner in all those pictures above?!

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Easy Caprese Salad: Your basic trio that stands up to any table of dishes. Halved grape tomatoes, diced mozzarella and chiffonade basil with a drizzle of high quality olive oil and Balsamic jelly. Finished off with Himalayan flaked sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Watermelon Salad: This is both light and refreshing, and brings together opposing textures that is just surprising enough to make your taste buds sit up straight. Cubed watermelon, shredded mint and basil, grilled and diced Cypriot Halloumi (cheese) and a bit of zest plus the juice from half a lime.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Summer Couscous: Having a base for your main dish is a great way to both ground your central flavor palette as well as create a vehicle for all the flavor you don’t want to get lost on your plate. Couscous does this wonderfully. Sauté half a sweet onion in the bottom of a pot till translucent. Then add your chicken stock with olive oil till it boils, add the couscous plus a bit of white wine if you have it. Then stir in currants, a half cup (ha ha, sorry, I couldn’t resist) of a vinaigrette (I used a homemade one I had on hand with grapefruit and champagne vinegar), stir and refrigerate. Once chilled, stir in a half cup of finely diced Italian flat leaf parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Top Sirloin Steak: I had hoped to do Flank Steak for this dinner, but didn’t call the butcher ahead (shame on me, right?!) so I ended up with a big old cut of top sirloin (yeah, I know, what a down grade, right?!) But, I love my mom’s flank steak marinade, so I just used it anyway. Okay, well, I didn’t use it verbatim because I couldn’t find it in my binder of recipes….and I couldn’t get ahold of her on the phone, so from memory, I pulled together the following the morning of and let the steak marinate for about 5 hours, flipping once: half a bottle of red table wine, quarter cup low sodium soy sauce, quarter cup chopped scallions, quarter cup Dijon mustard, a generous splash of honey or agave nectar, a tablespoon of ginger powder, a dash of cumin and coriander, fresh ground pepper and a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s delicious.

And for dessert, I made homemade carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. But that recipe stays under lock and key….a girl has to have a couple of tricks up her sleeve that no one can replicate, right?!

Seriously, how did the room not catch on fire?

Seriously, how did the room not catch on fire?

Making a wish....

Making a wish….

Showing the cake who's boss. Yes, I blew them out in one try - even the black candle of death in the middle....

Showing the cake who’s boss. Yes, I blew them out in one try – even the black candle of death in the middle….

We sat around the fire and ate our cake, and I have honestly haven’t felt that happy in years. It was truly the best birthday I’ve ever had!

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

Copyright Siiri Sampson 2013.

So, let’s celebrate by giving away something awesome!!!!

Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

GIVEAWAY DIRECTIONS:
1. Since the Seattle summer continues on into September, we have weeks of get-togethers, games, concerts and general outdoor awesomeness ahead. Head over to the West Elm New Dining + Kitchen section of their website and find a piece you would love to add to your entertainment arsenal.
2. Come back to this post and leave me a comment with the link to the item. (who knows, maybe I won’t be able to resist it either and I’ll pick one up for myself to highlight in a future post this season!)

That’s it!

Don’t forget there’s only one entry per person, but of course you can always spread the word to your friends (I’m sure if they win, they’ll have you over for drinks!) Keep your eyes peeled next week for a winner to be announced!

 

UPDATE!

We have a winner, folks! Our Random.org selection pulled Andra Freet as the lucky winner of the Outdoor Drink Dispenser. Congratulations, Andra! I’ll get in touch with you to get you your prize!!!

Gimme Samoa Them Truffles!!! It’s the 2nd Annual Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest!

13 Feb Siiri Sampson Samoa Salted Caramel Truffles

OH. MY. YUM!

Siiri Sampson Samoa Salted Caramel Truffles

What do cheesecake, Samoa Girl Scout cookies and salted all caramel all have in common? They’re all about to be devoured by me, you and everyone we know!

Well, here are we again – February! The time of year you catch up on awards shows, paper work [taxes anyone?], laundry, or better yet, ignore all that stuff and stay clear of the rain with movies, cozy sweats and baked goods galore. Of course, the only thing better than movies and baked goods is when you don’t have to bake them yourself. And wouldn’t you know it, the adorable Girl Scouts are prepping their rain gear and smiles for their annual cookie sale starting on March 1st, and running through March 17th!

If you have been following the blog for the past year or more, you’ll recall last February I placed 3rd all around in the Girl Scouts of Western Washington 1st annual recipe contest for food bloggers [check out the awesome Girl Scouts of Western Washington site again here]. However, in true Sampson style, I’m not satisfied until I’ve fed you all and have the blue ribbon [or in this case girl scout green] to show for it. What does this mean? I’M BACK THIS YEAR, VYING FOR FIRST PLACE!

SAMOA SALTED CARAMEL TRUFFLES

Siiri Sampson Samoa Salted Caramel Truffles

This year my entry is sweet and salty: Samoa Salted Caramel Truffles!

It was really hard to decide this year if I was going to attempt another savory recipe, but in the end I decided to give the people what they want – and they want something a little sweet, a little salty and a lot satisfyingly-ooey-gooey! And so, my challenge was born – get the Samoa inside and outside the dish, and make something everyone could make at home or for a party, a shower, a game night or any old time! I have to say, making homemade caramel is actually SUPER easy, fool proof and rewarding [hello?! how could caramel NOT be rewarding, right?!].

You want to know the best part about these truffles? The filling is made of cheesecake, salted caramel and Samoas. Yum. Yum. YUM!

So, without further ado [I know you want to be able to make them at home, which I highly recommend], here’s the recipe:

SAMOA SALTED CARAMEL TRUFFLES

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Samoa Girl Scout Cookies
  • 1 Cup butter
  • 2 ¼ Cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 Can (10-14oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 8oz packages reduced fat cream cheese
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup egg substitute
  • Grey sea salt

Materials:

  • Spring form cake pan or round baking dish with high walls
  • Two cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Mini muffin liners
  • Small ice cream scooper
  • Candy thermometer
  • Saucepan (3-5 quarts)
  • Rubber spatula
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

Part 1: Truffle Batter

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F and line your cake pan with parchment paper that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Take 10-12 Samoas and put in the freezer to chill [you’ll pull them out in 15 minutes or so].
  3. With cream cheese at room temperature, mix on medium with flour, granulated [white] sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla until mixed, stopping once to scrape down your bowl and ensure all contents are mixed thoroughly.
  4. Add egg substitute and mix on medium-low until smooth.
  5. Pour all ingredients into prepared pan and bake in water bath for 45-60 minutes [until outer 2” is set when jiggled].
  6. Meanwhile, cut 3-5 Samoas into tiny, ¼” bits and store in air tight container in freezer until ready to use for center of truffle.
  7. Take to 10-12 Samoas from the freezer and process in the food processor or chop finely into crumbs for truffle coating. Put in airtight container in freezer.
  8. When cake reaches room temperature, cover and chill in fridge at least 2hrs or overnight.

Part 2: Samoa Salted Caramel Center

  1. Line a small cookie sheet or brownie pan with parchment and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a saucepan [3-5 quarts] melt ½ cup butter, 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar, 5 oz sweetened condensed milk and ½ cup light corn syrup, stirring frequently.
  3. Once melted, turn to medium-high heat and clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan, continuing to stir till the mixture boils.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, continue to boil and stir with a rubber spatula until caramel reaches hard ball stage which is about 250°F.
  5. Once caramel reaches temperature, pour onto sprayed parchment, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and stick Samoa bits into the soft caramel every ¼”.
  6. Chill the caramel in the fridge for 15-20 minutes till completely set. Once set, pull sheet out and cut into ½” squares and set aside.

Part 3: Assembling Truffles

  1. When cheesecake is set, use a small 1oz ice cream scoop to create the truffle balls. As you scoop each ball, push a caramel Samoa square into the center, then lightly roll with your palms till the square is covered and ball is round.
  2. Set on a parchment lined cookie sheet and stick batch in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.
  3. Next, roll each truffle in Samoa crumbs till completely encrusted. Place in mini muffin liners on a cookie sheet and repeat process until all truffles are rolled in crumbs.
  4. Make your second half batch of caramel, just as you did above.
  5. When caramel is ready, use a large serving spoon to drizzle caramel over all prepared truffles.
  6. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt of your choice, and chill entire batch for 15-30 minutes up to overnight.
  7. To serve, plate the truffles in the mini muffin papers as is, or add a festive party pick for easy handling. Enjoy!

+++++

Now, I won’t find out until the end of the month if I’m a finalist – but in the meantime, there is an awesome cookie locator, as well as an app, that tells you exactly where girls are or will be selling cookies in your neighborhood! They won’t be updated until closer to the sale, but are very good to keep handy! And for even more Girl Scout cookie madness, check out http://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsWW and https://twitter.com/#!/GirlScoutsWW. To promote my recipe or find other recipes on Twitter, the hash tag is: #GSCookieRecipe.

Holiday nog

2 Jan

This post is a week or so overdue, but seeing as the weather in the Northwest is really starting to get cold now, I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t continue to make this delicious drink well into January (as long as the store keeps carrying egg nog!)

This was so easy to make, I feel bad even taking credit for it….okay, no I don’t! I was happy to use up some random items I had left in the beverage department of my kitchen. :)

All I did was add a half shot of spiced rum to a half shot of Kahlua, then mix with a quarter cup of nonfat milk and a quarter cup of light egg nog (feel free to substitute coconut nog or almond milk nog if you like or have food allergies). I topped it with light whipping cream and a dash of cardamom – my official spice of the holidays.

The whole thing takes less than 3 minutes to make, and doing a batch for guests is both easy and pretty, making you seem like the hostess with the mostest!

Happy Holidays, and a very safe and prosperous New Year!

Christmas Cake: a tradition is born

31 Dec Siiri Sampson's Christmas Cake

Don’t you just love when you find or make something so incredibly wonderful that you wonder how you ever lived without it? That’s how I feel about Christmas Cake.

Siiri Sampson's Christmas Cake

It isn’t called Christmas Cake because of the recipe, but rather because I made it on Christmas Eve and it was so irresistible that half of it was gone before bedtime.

So now, every year, I’ll be making Christmas Cake on Christmas Eve as a special way to celebrate the holiday with loved ones.

This was pretty simple, a no fail non-recipe really. I used a bag mix of Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Chocolate Cake mix, only because I had it on hand and didn’t feel like going to the store or mixing it up from scratch. I added 2 eggs, 2tsp vanilla, and then 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and 1 cup nonfat milk.

Siiri Sampson's Christmas Cake

I used an electric hand mixer, and added 2Tbsp hot water to loosen the batter as the bag mix suggested. Poured into a shiny new Nordic Ware bundt pan that was greased and floured.

Baked at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool for 10min, then turned out onto a greased cooling rack for 10min as well.

The glaze was the kicker: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1tsp nutmeg and 1tsp cardamom. Then whisk in 1.5Tbsp water slowly, until it is a glaze consistency.

WP_002626

This glaze gives the cake extra moisture, locks in the crust that is reminiscent of a glazed chocolate cake doughnut, and adds a holiday flair to the aromatics as you eat it.

Better make 2, the first one won’t last more than 24 hours. :)

I’M A FINALIST!!!! Vote for “Samoa Curry Arancini” in the Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest!

17 Feb
IT’S TRUE!!!! I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AS A TOP 5 FINALIST FOR THE GIRL SCOUT COOKIE RECIPE CONTEST in Western Washington. HOORAY!
Now it’s up to the public (that’s YOU!) to help me win! There’s a few wonderful prizes, but most of all, this will be a huge chance for me to continue with my dream of sharing food creativity and education with the masses! Please go to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington Food Blogger Recipe Contest page and VOTE for my “Samoa Curry Arancini” recipe now until March 1st! (I copied the recipe below for your convenience and to make your mouth water!) :)
Now here’s my original post with the recipe, you should count on buying a box (or 10) of Samoas and making these for a party (like, say, to watch the Oscars?!)
*******
In case you’re busy doing your taxes, watching the Grammys, or living under a rock, allow me to remind you – it’s almost GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME!!!!! I know, I know, it’s exciting! :) Before I get to my super exciting recipe and contest news, let me first give you the most important details: cookies go on sale SOON – March 2nd – 18th.
Girl Scout Cookies Samoas

How could you NOT want at least one sleeve of Samoas? If you drink a cup of coffee with them, it counts as breakfast, I promise!

You can learn more about the best sale of the year by visiting the Girl Scouts of Western Washington website here. And because the Girls Scouts are hip and keeping up with the times (I mean, they are the future leaders of America after all…) there is an awesome cookie locator, as well as an app, that tells you exactly where girls are selling cookies in your neighborhood! They won’t be updated until closer to the sale, but are very good to keep handy! (and to learn about the origin of the Girl Scout Cookie, check out the full history!)

This year, as an added bonus, the Girl Scouts turned to food bloggers in Western Washington to see what we’d do when turned loose with boxes of our favorite sweets. That’s right – a contest – with food bloggers – and COOKIES. It’s dangerous kids, and I’m getting serious….seriously excited. The contest is to use the cookies in a recipe of our own making. And you know I love a challenge. Without further ado, I present to you my savory AND sweet appetizer – Samoa Curry Arancini!

Girl Scouts Samoas in Curry Arancini

A little sweet, a little salty, a LOT addictive!

What in the heck is Samoa Curry Arancini you ask? That’s a great question – to which I answer: I made it up. :)

In “old world” Italy, people would take their left over risotto the next day and roll it into balls, then deep fry it into crispy, heavenly balls of fried deliciousness. I decided to take this old Italian recipe to India, to warm it up a bit. The recipe that follows IS EASY – I PROMISE. If it looks complicated, then take a deep breath, it’s smoke and mirrors, and you can use this to your advantage the next time you have company. This is the perfect appetizer to prepare ahead, and fry up at the last minute:

Samoa Curry Arancini

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup White Rice (sticky rice like Niko Niko)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt (plus more for dusting the arancini after frying)
  • 1/2 Cup boiled then chopped chicken
  • 1 box Girl Scout Samoa Cookies
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves + a pinch of salt

Coating

  • 4-6 Samoa cookies, pulsed into crumbs in a food processor
  • 2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs – plain)

Directions

  1. First get your rice and chicken prepared, this can be done at the same time. Get a small pot of water boiling and add your chicken breast (I use a frozen one). Boil till cooked through (about 15 minutes). While that’s boiling, get another small sauce pan for the rice.
  2. Combine the coconut milk, water, curry powder, 1/2Tsp. salt and rice in sauce pan. Put on medium heat and stir constantly, THE WHOLE TIME, with a spoon, till it boils. Continue stirring constantly for 2 minutes while boiling. After 2 minutes, turn heat off, cover with lid and remove completely from heat. Set a timer for 20 minutes and do NOT remove the lid.
  3. Meanwhile, prep your coating of Samoa crumbs and bread crumbs (I like panko bread crumbs – which are Japanese, but can be bought at any old grocery store). I put this mixture in a bowl and keep it in the freezer till I’m ready to roll the arancini and fry them. This prevents the chocolate from burning in the hot oil.
  4. Take 4-5 Samoas and chop each into 4-6 chunks, set aside. You’ll stuff a chunk of Samoa into the middle of each arancini.
  5. When your rice and chicken are done, stir them together and refrigerate until chilled completely. Once chilled, use a tablespoon to create evenly sized arancini balls (“arancini” means “orange” in Italian). As you create each ball, stuff a Samoa chunk into the middle and then roll in the crumb mixture.
  6. I like to pop the whole batch in the freezer for a few minutes, to chill them down before frying (again to keep the chocolate cold).
  7. To prepare your dipping sauce, just toss the greek yogurt, basil, mint and pinch of salt into the blender. Puree it and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  8. When guests arrive, get a small sauce pan ready with 1-2 inches of canola oil hot on medium high heat (I set it around 7-8). To test your oil, drop a tiny bit of your rice mixture in and see how long it takes to form a crispy outer crust (this should be no more than 1 minute).
  9. To fry, drop the arancini (up to 3 at a time) into the oil and let fry for 1 minute max – this will create a brown, crispy crust (that’s right, it’s a SAMOA CRUST).
  10. Plate them up with a saucer full of your basil, mint yogurt sauce, and serve hot. When you bite into the arancini, you’ll get the added surprise of a warm, melted center!
Samoa Curry Arancini from Siiri Sampson at A Half Cup

Don't blink, or someone will grab up that crispy, crunchy, melty ball of perfection before you do!

As the arancini fry to a golden crisp, that Samoa chunk you stuffed into the center is liquefying into a caramely, chocolatey, coconutty surprise. The warm flavors of coconut, curry and salty chicken are wonderfully balanced by the sweetness of chocolate and mint, and refreshing basil and yogurt.  Better make a big, BIG batch, because after the first bite, you’ll want to hoard the whole batch to yourself – and so will your guests! Enjoy, and if you have any questions about the recipe, just leave me a comment!

It is such a treat to participate in a wonderful contest that will benefit the Girl Scouts of Western Washington by raising awareness not only of their fundraising activities, but also by keeping the community aware of all the great work they promote in local communities. To find out more, please visit http://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsWW and https://twitter.com/#!/GirlScoutsWW and the Twitter hash #GSCookieRecipe. DON’T FORGET TO VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! https://girlscouts.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5vfxi5D0DTx0KKE

Samoa Curry Arancini — WHAT WHAT?! It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season!

13 Feb
In case you’re busy doing your taxes, watching the Grammys, or living under a rock, allow me to remind you – it’s almost GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME!!!!! I know, I know, it’s exciting! :) Before I get to my super exciting recipe and contest news, let me first give you the most important details: cookies go on sale SOON – March 2nd – 18th.
Girl Scout Cookies Samoas

How could you NOT want at least one sleeve of Samoas? If you drink a cup of coffee with them, it counts as breakfast, I promise!

You can learn more about the best sale of the year by visiting the Girl Scouts of Western Washington website here. And because the Girls Scouts are hip and keeping up with the times (I mean, they are the future leaders of America after all…) there is an awesome cookie locator, as well as an app, that tells you exactly where girls are selling cookies in your neighborhood! They won’t be updated until closer to the sale, but are very good to keep handy! (and to learn about the origin of the Girl Scout Cookie, check out the full history!)

This year, as an added bonus, the Girl Scouts turned to food bloggers in Western Washington to see what we’d do when turned loose with boxes of our favorite sweets. That’s right – a contest – with food bloggers – and COOKIES. It’s dangerous kids, and I’m getting serious….seriously excited. The contest is to use the cookies in a recipe of our own making. And you know I love a challenge. Without further ado, I present to you my savory AND sweet appetizer – Samoa Curry Arancini!

Girl Scouts Samoas in Curry Arancini

A little sweet, a little salty, a LOT addictive!

What in the heck is Samoa Curry Arancini you ask? That’s a great question – to which I answer: I made it up. :)

In “old world” Italy, people would take their left over risotto the next day and roll it into balls, then deep fry it into crispy, heavenly balls of fried deliciousness. I decided to take this old Italian recipe to India, to warm it up a bit. The recipe that follows IS EASY – I PROMISE. If it looks complicated, then take a deep breath, it’s smoke and mirrors, and you can use this to your advantage the next time you have company. This is the perfect appetizer to prepare ahead, and fry up at the last minute:

Samoa Curry Arancini

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup White Rice (sticky rice like Niko Niko)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt (plus more for dusting the arancini after frying)
  • 1/2 Cup boiled then chopped chicken
  • 1 box Girl Scout Samoa Cookies
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves + a pinch of salt

Coating

  • 4-6 Samoa cookies, pulsed into crumbs in a food processor
  • 2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs – plain)

Directions

  1. First get your rice and chicken prepared, this can be done at the same time. Get a small pot of water boiling and add your chicken breast (I use a frozen one). Boil till cooked through (about 15 minutes). While that’s boiling, get another small sauce pan for the rice.
  2. Combine the coconut milk, water, curry powder, 1/2Tsp. salt and rice in sauce pan. Put on medium heat and stir constantly, THE WHOLE TIME, with a spoon, till it boils. Continue stirring constantly for 2 minutes while boiling. After 2 minutes, turn heat off, cover with lid and remove completely from heat. Set a timer for 20 minutes and do NOT remove the lid.
  3. Meanwhile, prep your coating of Samoa crumbs and bread crumbs (I like panko bread crumbs – which are Japanese, but can be bought at any old grocery store). I put this mixture in a bowl and keep it in the freezer till I’m ready to roll the arancini and fry them. This prevents the chocolate from burning in the hot oil.
  4. Take 4-5 Samoas and chop each into 4-6 chunks, set aside. You’ll stuff a chunk of Samoa into the middle of each arancini.
  5. When your rice and chicken are done, stir them together and refrigerate until chilled completely. Once chilled, use a tablespoon to create evenly sized arancini balls (“arancini” means “orange” in Italian). As you create each ball, stuff a Samoa chunk into the middle and then roll in the crumb mixture.
  6. I like to pop the whole batch in the freezer for a few minutes, to chill them down before frying (again to keep the chocolate cold).
  7. To prepare your dipping sauce, just toss the greek yogurt, basil, mint and pinch of salt into the blender. Puree it and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  8. When guests arrive, get a small sauce pan ready with 1-2 inches of canola oil hot on medium high heat (I set it around 7-8). To test your oil, drop a tiny bit of your rice mixture in and see how long it takes to form a crispy outer crust (this should be no more than 1 minute).
  9. To fry, drop the arancini (up to 3 at a time) into the oil and let fry for 1 minute max – this will create a brown, crispy crust (that’s right, it’s a SAMOA CRUST).
  10. Plate them up with a saucer full of your basil, mint yogurt sauce, and serve hot. When you bite into the arancini, you’ll get the added surprise of a warm, melted center!
Samoa Curry Arancini from Siiri Sampson at A Half Cup

Don't blink, or someone will grab up that crispy, crunchy, melty ball of perfection before you do!

As the arancini fry to a golden crisp, that Samoa chunk you stuffed into the center is liquefying into a caramely, chocolatey, coconutty surprise. The warm flavors of coconut, curry and salty chicken are wonderfully balanced by the sweetness of chocolate and mint, and refreshing basil and yogurt.  Better make a big, BIG batch, because after the first bite, you’ll want to hoard the whole batch to yourself – and so will your guests! Enjoy, and if you have any questions about the recipe, just leave me a comment!

It is such a treat to participate in a wonderful contest that will benefit the Girl Scouts of Western Washington by raising awareness not only of their fundraising activities, but also by keeping the community aware of all the great work they promote in local communities. To find out more, please visit http://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsWW and https://twitter.com/#!/GirlScoutsWW and the Twitter hash #GSCookieRecipe.

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