Sunday, November 20, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Beef and Apple Goulash with Czech Bread Dumplings


It is the end of an era folks. Today is the last reveal day for group C during Secret Recipe Club. I've been blogging with the group for a little over two years and it has really made me step up my blogging game. It has made me keep up with posting recipes and keep track of things I do. Usually, it's somewhere along the lines of "hey, that banana bread recipe was really great but I can't really remember which of 10 banana bread recipes it was or how I changed it..."

This has been a wonderful group and I will miss it so much. If anyone knows of any other similarly fun blogging challenges that you're part of, please let me know. I'll have some time to fill.

For my last secret recipe club post, I'm so happy I was able to explore Where's My Spoon by Adina. She lives in Germany and has a really fabulous selection of recipes. I was super interested in her black bean brownies (which I made tonight and which were delicious, but didn't seem special enough for a final post since lots of people have been posting black bean brownies recently). I was also interested in her Arab Almond Cake and German Cheesecake, which I will absolutely make in the near future.

I opted to make her Beef and Apple Goulash, which was delicious and complex. It had just the right amount of sweet and tart flavors from the apples and it went perfectly with another recipe for Czech Bread Dumplings. I made these with fried cabbage, which was so delicious I wish I had recorded what I put in it. Next time, I suppose

Thanks Adina. This recipe was perfect and I know I'll make it again.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed of larger pieces of fat and cut into bite sized pieces
  • vegetable oil
  • flour
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 12 oz carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
  • honey as needed
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Dust beef with flour and cook in oil in a dutch oven until well browned on all sides. Do this in batches and remove beef from pan
  2. Add onion, celery and garlic to pan, scraping up the fond. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and beef stock after vegetables are tender.
  3. Add beef. Cover and cook for 1 hour
  4. Add carrots and cook for 15 minutes. Then add diced apple and cook another 15 minutes
  5. Add dairy and stir in until well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  6. Serve immediately over noodles, bread dumplings etc with fresh parsley and cabbage


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Stuffing Bread (Perfect for Sandwiches!)


These rolls were are from the always amazing Cheeseboard Bakery Recipe Book. This particular bread was something they only served in their bakery once a year.  They called it "Stuffing Bread" because it had all the flavors of Thanksgiving and could be dried and used to make stuffing, or be used to make turkey sandwiches with your delicious Thanksgiving leftovers.

I made it recently as a trial run before Thanksgiving. I made rolls as well as a loaf and decided that this was not what I wanted to serve with my meal this year. I did, however, have it with a roast chicken for dinner and it absolutely makes the best sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced sage
  • 1/2 cup buttermik
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, minced
Directions
  1. Mix yeast and 1/4 cup of water to dissolve.
  2. Mix 4 1/2 cups flour, salt and sage in a large bowl. Add yeast mix, water, butter and buttermilk and mix in a stand mixer until everything is well combined, soft and only a little sticky (10 minutes or so)
  3. Add onion and celery and more flour as necessary, kneading until dough is soft and shiny.
  4. Form dough into a ball and let rise about an hour until doubled in size. Divide into two pieces, form into loaves and place in loaf pans. Let rise another hour until bread rises just above the loaf pan.
  5. Bake loaves for a total of 50 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool completely before slicing.
One year ago: Masala Chai Tea
Two years ago: Peach Sorbet
Five years ago: English Muffins

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sous Vide Asparagus


Asparagus is one of my all time favorite vegetables. It goes with just about everything and is very easy to do, so long as you don't get distracted by other things. It is super easy to overcook normal steamed asparagus, but this sous vide asparagus recipe from Anova is foolproof. It takes a long time for the circulator to heat your water as high as it needs to go (185 degrees) so if you're pressed for time, I would still stick with steaming.

I made asparagus this way because I hadn't put away my anova yet after making my amazing sous vide maple rosemary pork loin for dinner with friends.They loved it and we had plenty of leftovers, so we got to love us some leftover pork with cornbread stuffing and asparagus (and really, waffled stuffing is he best way to reheat stuffing)

Give it a try sometime. It's not necessary, but fun, and the butter poached asparagus is really delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody stalks trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • large pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • fresh herbs (I used tarragon because that is what I had, but mint is what is called for, and would also be delicious)
  • touch of lemon zest
Directions
  1. Heat a water bath to 185 degrees with your Immersion Circulator. Meanwhile, trim asparagus bottoms.
  2. Place asparagus in a single row in a vacuum seal bag with butter, cut into small pieces, salt and pepper. Seal bag on dry setting and set aside
  3. When water is hot, place bag in the water. It may have a large air bubble due to the high heat, but try and find a way to weigh it down. Let cook for about 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness
  4. Remove asparagus from bag onto plates. Spoon a little of the butter from the bag over the asparagus and garnish with herbs and lemon.



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Rosemary Chicken Chowder


This Secret Recipe Club reveal week!

This week we have a special theme reveal. There are 5 Mondays this month and this week's theme is Fall recipes.

You all already know all about Secret Recipe Club. Every month, a group of bloggers make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and reveal on a particular day. I usually participate in group C, the 3rd Monday of the month, but this week everyone is participating together to make some delicious fall recipes.

Usually, theme reveal day is pretty easy. There's usually only 10 or so recipes that fit that theme and you pick your favorite one. It might be difficult because you can't find anything you want to make, never the other way around.

This month, I had a hard time with Amy's Cooking Adventures because there were just too many delicious recipes. I had about 20 tabs open when I was letting my husband pick what I should make. Amy has tons of recipes involving pumpkin and fall flavors and more soups than I can count. When I think fall, I always think soup first.

The man picked her Rosemary Chicken Chowder for me to make. I really wanted to make these awesome Pumpkin Pie Bars, but he vetoed that one (not sure why...he usually has a sweet tooth). Doesn't matter because I'm sure happy he told me to make this chowder. It was absolutely delicious with chicken, bacon, corn (I kind of mixed to recipes) and just the right amount of rosemary. Thank you so much Army! I will 100% make this recipe (and so many of your other recipes) again.

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of bacon, cut into half inch pieces
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
  • `1 bay leaf
  • 12 oz potatoes, diced into bit sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained
  • 1 bunch kale, removed from stalks and chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn.
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Cook bacon in a heavy bottom pot and render the fat. Remove bacon and set aside.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and brown well on all sides. Remove from pot and dice into small pieces
  3. Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook until aromatic.Add hers, chicken, potatoes and chicken stock. Cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through
  4. In a separate pot, melt butter and stir in flour until it smells nutty. Whisk in milk to form a bechamel sauce and set aside. 
  5. When potatoes are almost cooked through, add milk mixture to the pot, stirring constantly. Add beans, corn and kale and let thicken slightly.
  6. Add cream cheese at the very end, stirring until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh parsley and the reserved bacon. 



Saturday, October 29, 2016

Carrot Cake Oatmeal


Oatmeal is always such a great, simple breakfast but it can get very boring after a while. Even so, it is still extremely versatile. This oatmeal is one of my favorites because it tastes like dessert and it's full of vegetables and not too much sugar. You can dress it up as much or as little as you want. I top mine with a big dollop of greek yogurt mixed with maple syrup. The richness of the dairy really adds something special. You could also top it with cream cheese frosting, I suppose, if you have it on hand.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • dried cranberries or raisins
  • nuts
  • preferred sweetener to taste
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, etc
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a pan and brown the oats lightly.
  2. Add water, milk, spices and 3/4 of the carrots to the pot and simmer until thickened. Add more milk if necessary
  3. Season oatmeal to taste with honey, maple syrup, agave or brown sugar. Spoon into bowls and top with reserved carrots, cranberries and nuts. Serve with yogurt or cream cheese if desired.
4 years ago: Easy Coffee Cake

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - French Dip Sandwich


Sadly, it is the second to last Secret Recipe Club reveal day. I've loved Secret Recipe Club since I joined over two years ago. It has kept me diligently blogging and making new, delicious recipes on a regular basis. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to stay motivated to keep up this blog now that it's gone, but if any of you know of other good food blog challenges, please let me know!

Secret Recipe Club is a great collection of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and write about it on a given reveal day. This week is group C's reveal day and I think I picked an excellent choice for my reveal.

I was assigned Lynsey Lou by Lynsey, a wife and food blogger. Her blog is full of delicious looking recipes (especially desserts). She had a great number of recipes I wanted to make, including Sour Cream Doughnut and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies. However, I knew we needed a main dish option this week so I ended up making her French Dip Sandwiches.

Man, this was a delicious sandwich. The store was out of brisket, so we ended up using a cheaper chuck roast instead (which I honestly always prefer for braises). This meal came together so quickly, easily and perfectly. It was a perfect Monday night dinner that smelled amazing after coming home from a long day at work. Best of all, this meal served us for multiple nights, including rice bowls and a great, re-purposed beef ragu  with red wine fettuccine (recipe for that to come later).

This meat was super tender and perfectly savory. This will certainly make it into our regular meal rotation and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs a new, delicious slow cooker recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 3lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat (or 3 slices bacon)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 gloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • Hoggie rolls
  • Fresh parsley for serving
Directions
  1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear in the rendered bacon fat until well browned on all sides.
  2. Place onion, garlic, mushrooms, bay leaf, Worcestershire, honey, thyme, and broth in the crockpot. Place beef on top and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Toast the bread in a little butter. Place cheese on the bread and place hot shredded beef on top. 
  4. Serve sandwich with leftover broth for dipping and enjoy


Five years ago Bagels 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

West African Chicken and Peanut Soup



One of my favorite blogs has always been Taras Multicultural Table. I discovered it as part of Secret Recipe Club and I always wanted to have her blog as my partner. Sadly, that never happened (but I did add a "By Region" section in my recipes because of her).

I'm always trying to make different ethnic foods. This is a wonderful recipe that has easy ingredients you can get anywhere. This West African chicken stew with peanuts, greens and yams is super hearty and delicious. I like this recipe because it doesn't have a too much peanut butter like some of the recipes I found. Some of them call for a full cup or even 2, which just sounded so fatty and too strong. This one was just right (though it could have used a little more heat. Adjust to taste as you desire).

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 6 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, sliced into thick strips
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, plus extra for garnish.
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Directions
  1. Sautee onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.
  2. Add peanuts, chicken stock, yams, tomatoes and collards and cook until potatoes are tender. Sir in peanut butter and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve with right and a few extra peanuts for garnish.
Five years ago: Chicken Kiev

Friday, October 7, 2016

Creamed Spinach: A Steakhouse Classic


My husband and I rarely go out to steakhouses (I'm usually to the biggest fan of that much meat) but when we do, we basically order the same thing every time. Why mess with the classics?

We start with clams casino or something of that nature. Follow it up with a wedge or caesar salad. Main dish is usually a Porterhouse for two with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Key lime pie for dessert.

It's the same thing, but why mess with the classics. I love clams casino (mmm need to make that sometime) and I love creamed spinach. The steak is ok too, I suppose.

I make a "lighter" creamed spinach than you'll find in a steakhouse, but its still pretty rich. If you want something delicious and rich feeling, try this as a side dish with your next steak


Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches of spinach (about a pound and a half)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • a splash of cream
  • 1 heaping spoonfull of greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
Directions
  1. Blanche spinach in well salted water until tender. Remove from water, shock in ice, drain and chop into small pieces
  2. In a large sautee pan, melt butter and stir in flour to form a blonde roux. Slowly add milk while whisking so no lumps form
  3. Stir in parmesean cheese and a large spoonfull of yogurt. If mixture begins to break, add a little cream to bring it all together. 
  4. Add spinach and simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Two years ago Watermelon Sorbet
Four years ago Easy Coffee Cake
Five years ago Chicken Kiev

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Savory carrot and corn oats with dashi


Yesterday was a good day. We went for tailgating and drank a lot of bud light in the bright afternoon sun. Cal football won a beautiful game against Utah, we took a nap and then we met a few friends for drinks/eats for their engagement party. We drank champagne and large punch bowls of far too sweet liquor and fell into bed exhausted at 1am. It was a good day.

Needless to say, this morning was not the best day.

I wasn't feeling terrible, but I wasn't feeling my best. I was certainly not up for yoga this morning. I only wanted miso soup or ochazuke, which is what I normally have on mornings like this. Unfortunately, I am out of both rice and miso paste (today is grocery shopping day) so I decided to experiment. I've never been a fan of savory oatmeal, but this may change my mind. It is perfectly savory and without too much liquid, the oats are more like a great grain than a porridge. I think that's why I never liked savory oatmeal before... I always added too much liquid.

These oats were cooked with chicken stock and dashi though they could very easily be made vegetarian with veg stock and a mushroom dashi. . They tasted a little like ramen, but was still a delightful breakfast that's hearty and full of fiber. Highly recommended the next time you want something different for breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup dashi (fish or mushroom)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • a little frozen corn
  • kale leaves,sauteed
  • 1 fried egg
  • Whatever other items you desire
Directions
  1. Toast the oats in a little browned butter in a pan. Add carrots, stock, dashi and corn. Cook until oats are tender and liquid is fully absorbed. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, as needed
  2. Spoon into a bowl. Top with sauteed kale, fried egg, kimchi and whatever else sounds good.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Vietnamese inspired turkey meatballs


Ground turkey is one of those things I never purchase unless it's on sale. It's always pricey but when its on sale, I stock up. I'm always looking for new things to make with turkey that aren't chili or burgers, but these meatballs were a great change. They include all the great flavors that you love from Vietnamese food and keep well through the next day. They make a great salad and they would be just as great in soup.

Summer may be ending, but I always love one of these hearty salads every day of the year. Give it a try when you need something delicious and different.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 piece lemongrass, tender center part minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 bunch scallions
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • corn starch, as needed
  • lettuce, rice noodles, cucumbers, tomato, carrot, herbs and nouc cham for serving
Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients together except the items for serving. Cook a small amount in a pan and adjust seasoning to taste.
  2. Form into meatballs and brown on all sides in a pan. Move to a tray and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes or until cooked through

One year ago: Potato Perogies
Two years ago: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Four years ago: Easy Coffee Cake
five years ago: Coconut Milk Agar Agar

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Blackberry Jam Swirl Cookies



Hello readers! It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again. For those of you who don't know, SRC is a group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and blog about it on a given reveal day. It's the third Monday (in Pacific time zone, Sunday night ) of the month, which means it's reveal day for Group C. I love SRC because it makes me blog on a consistent basis, I get to learn some new recipes AND I get to discover some of my favorite old recipes as well.

This month, I had Helen's blog Casa Costello. Helen is a mother of 3 living in the UK and has a amazing assortment of recipes. She has a section on her blog called "Bake of the Week" so I knew I should really do some sort of baked good. I had a potluck to attend a couple weeks ago and cookies seemed like an easy but popular thing to bring. I opted for these delightful looking swirl cookies (she did orange raspberry whereas I did lemon blackberry fig, simply because that is what I had available)

These cookies were delightful and very easy. They even kept well for few days after and were delightful with a cup of tea in the morning. I know this will make its way into my regular cookie rotation.

Thanks for this amazing recipe Helen!

Ingredients
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, at room temp
  • pinch of salt
  • 110 grams sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons (and juice of half)
  • 250 grams flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • blackberry jam


Directions

  1. Cream together butter, salt and sugar until well combined and fluffy. Add lemon zest, juice and egg and mix thoroughly. 
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Add that to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
  3. Remove dough to plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll out dough to a little less than 1/4 inch thickness in a large rectangle.
  4. Spread jam over the entire surface, up the swirl, then wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze until firm enough to slice
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. and slice cookies to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a light golden brown. Let cool completely on the tray before attempting to remove (because that hot jam is like napalm on your skin)


Two years ago Slow Cooker Pea Soup
Four years ago Easy Coffee Cake
Five years ago: Coconut Milk Agar Agar


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bananas Foster Ice Cream


Homemade ice cream is one of the things I've always enjoyed making. I love all the strange flavors you can't get in the store. The texture and flavor is just so much better than anything else you can find and you always know exactly what's in it.

This ice cream recipe came from the Bi Rite Creamery recipe book, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones. Bi Rite Creamery is an amazing ice cream shop in San Francisco and their banana ice cream was always one of my favorites. The line may be out the door, but it moves quickly and their flavors are so interesting and delicious. If you are in their area, I highly recommend checking them out.

Ingredients

  • 2 brown bananas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp dark rum
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
Directions:
  1. Place bananas with brown sugar and cinnamon in a large pan. Heat until sugar dissolves and bananas start to bubble. Mash well with a fork
  2. Add rum and flambe quickly until the alcohol has burned off. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl, mix egg yolks and vanilla bean scrapings until the yolk comes up in ribbons. 
  4. In a small saucepan, mix together cream, salt, vanilla pod and milk. Heat until barely scalded.
  5. Temper egg yolks with the cream and add back to the pan. Heat until mixture coats the back of a spatula. Strain and remove from the heat. 
  6. Add banana mixture and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Churn mixture according to ice cream maker directions.
One year ago Bengal Style Daal
Two years ago Vanilla Ice Cream
Four years ago Easy Coffee Cake
Five years ago Fruit Gummies

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jambalaya



All of you know by now how much I love cajun/creole food. I never had much exposure to it before moving to Virginia and meeting people from Louisianna, but now it's become a favorite that I cannot live without. From jambalaya to gumbo to fantastic beignets, I can't get enough of cajun food.

This is a very easy recipe that comes together with plenty of leftovers.

Ingredients
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb andouille sausage, cut into thin coins
  • 2 lbs white shrimp, belled and de-veined
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 2 tomatoes or approx one can diced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp cajun seasoninng
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
Ingredients
  1. In a large dutch oven, brown coins of andouille sausage in a little oil until well browned. Drain off excess oil and remove sausage.
  2. Brown onion, garlic, peppers, celery in pot, scraping up stuff on the bottom. Add sausage back to the pot with tomatoes, rice, thyme, and cajun seasoning. Stir well and add chicken stock
  3. Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add raw shrimp, stir into rice and let stand another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with okra or greens.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Mint Rosemary Leg of Lamb



It's finally Secret Recipe Club time of the month again and I am FINALLY settled enough to really begin cooking again.

As you may know, my husband and I moved to Los Angeles about 1 month ago. It has been several hectic weeks of starting jobs, starting school, getting settled, catching up with old friends and making our new apartment really feel like home. We're still not quite there yet. We're still looking for a dining table and have been eating most of our emails on the couch/coffee table while we find one, but it feels like home now.

I must admit, I waited until the last minute for this recipe. I knew I wanted to make this lamb recipe, but with so many other groceries to by and so much pantry to restock, I knew this might need to wait. But after an extremely long week of school and work and so many other things happening, I thought we both deserved a treat. The best part: This lamb can be cooked in the crockpot. I threw it in Friday morning and all I had to do when I got home was roast some potatoes and brussel sprouts.

This month, I was assigned "My Whole Food Family" by Susan, an Aussie mom of 3 kids. Her blog features a bunch of not fussy recipes with real ingredients that even kids will eat. As you know, I opted to make her Slow cooked Leg of Lamb, which she had previously made for Australia day. It was so juicy and flavorful. I've made slow cooked lamb before that was dry, but this was wonderful. It looks and tastes impressive without being any effort and it's enough to feed a crowd with leftovers for days.

Thank you Susan. I will absolutely include this recipe in our regular rotation of special occasion meals.

Ingredients;

  • 1 leg of lamb, bone in (about 5 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 heaping tsp dry oregano
  • 2 heaping tsp dry basil
  • 1 heaping tsp dry rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
Directions
  1. In a food processor, combine water, garlic, serrano pepper, paprika, oregano, basil, rosemary, mint, lemon and kosher salt. Pulse until well combined
  2. Rub mixture over all sides of the lamb and place in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight
  3. The next morning, place lamb in the slow cooker with 1/2 cup chicken broth. Slice 1 onion thinly and add to the crockpot on top of the lamb.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours. Slice lamb and serve with the onion and a little extra chiffonade of fresh mint


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo


Hello again. Long time no see.

I love how busy life has been since moving to LA. Every week, we have an event going on. Every day I'm at work (love it, busy and hell and not stressed). Every day I have lots of chores to do while my husband is in school. I have lots of food to make now that I no longer work in hospitality and no longer have a chef to make me delicious food. I don't cook as much as I would like anymore because I'm so busy, but I'm more challenged and happier than I've been in a while. I wish I saw my husband more, but it's okay. Life is good.

One of the things I miss most about Virginia is the chef at my old work. He made the most excellent cajun and creole food. I loved the gumbo and jambalaya and shrimp etouffe that I can get here, but not as easily (no as cheaply). I made this at home and it was honestly one of the best things I've ever made. I highly recommend it. Best of all, all my coworkers were jealous of my lunch all week long.;

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb andouille or smoked hot sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 clubs beef stock
  • Worcestershire sauce (8 dashes or so)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups okra, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped curly parsley
Directions
  1. Place oil in a large dutch oven. Season chicken with salt and pepper and sear in the oil until well browned. Remove.
  2. Add butter and flour to the oil and cook, stirring consistently, until a very dark roux forms.
  3. Add celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic to the roux and cook a few minutes until tender. Add cajun seasoning, rosemary, bay leaves, stock and worcestershire, stirring until well combined. Cover and cook for 1 hour
  4. Add tomatoes, parsley and okra. Cover halfway and cook another 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice and extra fresh parsley.
One year ago: Chicken Pho
Four years ago: Rye Hot Dog Buns
Five years ago: Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Morning Glory Muffin


Moving has been going well. The house is mostly unpacked at this point and my new job is going well. Our kitchen is still a little lacking (I don't remember what we were missing until I go to start making something and it's not there). Grocery shopping takes more time than I would like (not yet knowing the lay of he land) coming home from work takes more time than I thought (with the traffic) and we are much much busier than we thought.

It's still growing on me. I now work different hours than before and breakfast/dinner are both more complicated than they were before. Steve will also be at school a lot in the future, so it's going to take us a while to get back in the swing of cooking. I'm still not even there yet, and I enjoy cooking.

Now that I don't have lunch provided for me at work daily, I'm going to need to start packing my lunch on a regular basis. I also need to start making breakfast too. Really, it's just getting into my new routine.

Below is a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins that are great when frozen. They are a perfect breakfast on the go.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups peeled grated carrots
  • 1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in bourbon and hot water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
Directions
  1. Soak raisins in bourbon and hot water until plump. Discard excess water. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt. Add carrots, apple, coconut and nuts
  3. In a separate bowl, mixed together mashed banana, oil, vanilla egg and juice. Add to flour mixture and mix until just evenly moistened. Fold in raisins
  4. Pour into prepared muffin pan and bake about 25 minutes or until done. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

We live here now

It's been a month since I was able to make a post to this blog. We moved cross country a week and a half ago and life has been absolutely crazed. With finding jobs, buying furniture, moving, getting settled in our new apartment and (thankfully) getting the rest of our stuff in 3 days, life has been insane. Things are finally getting a sense of normalcy now. I finally made dinner in our house for the first time since arriving. It wasn't anything impressive...just pork chops with asparagus and brown rice. It was the best I could do with one pan, one knife, a cutting board and a rice cooker. No baking dishes, no pots... just the bare bones until the rest of our stuff.

Life in LA is....different. I'm from California but LA is its own beast. Traffic sucks, the weather is beautiful, the people are no more beautiful than normal people and "preventative botox" is a thing (botox before you get wrinkles). I think I hate it and then there are things that I love about it. It makes me wonder how the next two years are going to go, but I know we'll be able to come out okay in the end.

I mean, I get to play here...



And here....




Most importantly, I get to eat here...




And this was all just week 1. Wish me luck on the rest of my exploration!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - Cocoa Spiced Almonds


It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again. This month has been absolutely insane for me. In just two weeks (after this post) I'll be moving from Virginia to California. As I write this, we've already packed 14 boxes of books and other things. Our dressers are gone and hopefully some random craigslist folks will get our bookshelves and table soon. I won't be posting much in July (and I'm taking a break from SRC for that month also). It's an exciting wonderful adventure and I'm looking forward to posting some new recipes from Los Angeles. I'm glad to be moving back to California (not so glad that it's to LA, but I'm sure things will get better). It's scary and wonderful and I know things are going to be a great adventure. The only part that sucks is that my husband is going back to school, so we will be poor....very very poor...

This month, my blog was The Heritage Cook by Jane. I decided to make her Spicy Cocoa Pecans which I opted to substitute for almonds instead (you know, moving and using your non-perishable goods and all). I knew I wanted to make one of her "Chocolate Mondays" recipes (it is Monday after all) and these sounded not too sweet. These almonds really were wonderful. They were the perfect combination of salty and sweet. They satisfy every craving and are a great snack. 

I made a 1/3 recipe because I only had 2 pounds of almonds, but 6 lbs wouldn't be too many, especially for a family. These are that addictive.

Jane, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I will surely make it again and again

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs almonds
  • 10 oz sugar
  • 1/4 oz cocoa powder
  • .75 oz salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 oz egg white
  • .5 oz water


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix almonds with all other ingredients and pour onto a silpat mat
  2. Cook almonds for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or as needed until sugar has hardened. Let cool completely before separating and packing in airtight container.


One year ago: Almond Biscotti
Two years ago: Tofu Chocolate Pudding
Three years ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four years ago: Mushroom Risotto


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cuban Sandwiches


Life has been utterly insane these past few weeks. I apologize for my lack of posts on this blog. My husband and I are moving to California in the very near future and all of our free time has been spent seeing friends, packing boxes, eating the food in our freezer and worrying about where we will live and what job I will have.

It will be a wonderful, scary experience. My last day of work is coming up in one week (I can't believe it) and then it's time to go into panic mode.

At least this recipe used up a pork shoulder and the rest of a jar of pickles. Slow and steady!

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dry oregano
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 arbol chilies 
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • Cuban or Vietnamese sandwich rolls
  • ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • dill pickles
  • yellow mustard
  • butter for toasting
Directions
  1. Season pork well with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in a large, heavy bottomed pot. 
  2. Place pork in crockpot with cumin, oregano, garlic, chilies, onion, chicken stock, orange uice, lime juice and bay leaves. Cook on low for 8 hours or until pork can be pulled apart
  3. Slice open your sandwich bread and spread both sides with yellow mustard. Add thin sliced deli ham, swiss cheese, thinly sliced dill pickles and your roast pork to the sandwich.
  4. Butter your panini press and grill sandwich until crunchy on the outside. Slice on a bias and serve.
Three years ago Japanese Potato Salad
Four years ago Sourdough Danishes

Monday, June 6, 2016

Strawberry Red Bean Mochi


These are some sweets that I remember from my childhood. My aunt used to make these great strawberry and red bean mochi (or sometimes peanut butter mochi) for special occasions. There was also a bakery near my house that would make excellent versions of these sweets too.

These are easy to make a very impressive looking. They're not for everyone, but if you like mochi you will surely like these. 

Ingredients
  • 8 oz sweet rice flour (like Mochiko)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • red bean paste
  • small strawberries
  • kinako flour or cornstarch
Directions
  1. Mix sugar, rice flour and water together in a heatproof glass bowl that will fit in your steamer. This should be liquid.
  2. Place bowl in steamer and steam until entire mixture is translucent and sticky. Stir every 5 minutes or so until done.
  3. Remove bowl from steamer and pour mixture out onto a cutting board or butcher paper dusted with cornstarch. Let cool a few minutes
  4. While mochi is cooling (or before), flatten some sweet read bean paste and wrap around strawberries.
  5. Cut small pieces of the mochi, flatten sightly with well dusted hands and wrap around strawberry and red bean paste. Let cool completely before eating.



One year ago: Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes
Two years ago: Pita Bread
Three years ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four years ago: Sourdough Danishes
Five years ago: Almond Rochers

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again. Ya'll know what Secret Recipe Club is and how it works. All the members make another blogger's recipe (in secret) and reveal on a particular day. Normally we split into 3 groups, but sometimes we do special weeks where you can get matched with folks from other groups. This month has 5 Mondays so we get to have an extra fun themed reveal day. Since today is Memorial Day, we were all charged with making something you could bring to a picnic or BBQ.

This week, I had the pleasure of browsing Adventures in All Things Food by Andrea. She has a great blog with plenty of recipes and crafts that fit in with her wonderful farm life. I wanted to go with something a little different for this week so I opted to make her Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. I absolutely love rhubarb and I saw it at the store for the first time this season. As much as I like traditional bbq or grilled items, this sounded far more delicious and something totally different to bring to my friend's potluck.

Thanks Andrea for this wonderful recipe!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 5 cups fresh chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of one orange
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
Directions
  1. Mix together strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and cornstarch in a large bowl. Place into a large baking dish
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Quickly cut in butter and spread topping over fruit
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until lightly browned and bubbly. Enjoy plain or with ice cream or really, any way you'd like. 


One Year Ago Dutch Baby
Two Years Ago Orange Olive Oil Cake
Three Years Ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four Years Ago: Kaleidoscope Cookies



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Jian Dui (Red Bean Stuffed Sesame Balls)


One of my husband's favorite things whenever we go to dim sum is the sesame balls that end the meal. I always preferred the egg tarts to end the meal, bu this is his favorite. That's one of the things I miss most about California...the dim sum (and the Mexican food). Ever since I moved to the East Coast, I miss little things from back home like this. We tried getting dim sum here one time and we arrived at 11:30am on Sunday and the restaurant wasn't even half full. That's how we knew it wasn't going to be good. If you don't have to arrive by 1030 to wait half an hour for your table (and you're so hungry that you go to the Russian bakery across the street) then it isn't a real legit Sunday morning. At least, this is how we always did it when we went to dim sum. I used this Recipe and it was absolutely fantastic. Just how I remembered

I'm going to miss Virginia when we leave in about a month, but we're also in for our next great adventure. I can't wait to be close to our families, close to a place that really feels like home, close to our Cal Bears and close to all the foods I've missed. It will be good to get home.

Until then, you can all make some Sesame Red Bean Balls.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet glutinous rice flour
  • 70 grams sugar
  • 100 mL water (more as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • red bean paste
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • oil for frying
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 large Tbsp of the rice flour with 10 mL of your water to form a smooth, stiff dough. Drop dough in boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, moving as needed. Remove to a bowl of cold water to cool
  2. In a different bowl, mix together remaining rice flour, sugar, baking powder and water. Break up the pre-cooked dough into small pieces and mix that in as well, kneading until everything comes together in a smooth mass. You can add more flour or water as needed.
  3. Divide dough into 20 pieces. Fill each piece with 1 tsp red bean paste, roll into balls and set aside.
  4. Dip each ball in fresh water and roll in sesame seeds. 
  5. Heat oil to 300 degrees Fahrenheit in a small deep pot. Deep fry sesame balls until well browned on all sides. Remove and let drain on paper towels.
One year ago: Dutch Baby
Two Years Ago Orange Olive Oil Cake
Three Years ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four Years ago: Kaleidoscope Cookies

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Swedish meatballs



I've always loved Swedish meatballs as a great main dish with potatoes (as seen here) or as a fun party appetizer. I never liked spaghetti and meatballs when i was growing up, but perhaps that's just because I only had bad quality meatballs that were always dry and spongy.

These meatballs aren't dry at all. They are very moist, delicate and easy to make. They're better than the ones at IKEA (although I do love the IKEA meatballs for how cheap they are... and the cinnamon rolls too). They are perfect with a little veloute and some lingonberry jam (though if you can't find lingonberry, a tart cranberry sauce or cherry sauce will work too).

This recipe was adapted from Serious Eats, because when I have very little reference on how to make something, I feel like they are an amazing jumping off point. That's how I always got a great recipe for ultra crispy roast potatoes, but I will save that for another post.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork shoulder
  • 3 slices soft wheat bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion, minced (half raw and half sauteed)
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper, nutmeg and allspices
  • 3 Tbps unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • a few drops of fish sauce
  • roasted potatoes and lingonberry jam for serving
Directions
  1. Mix bread with milk and allow to sit for 10 minutes until bread is well soaked
  2. Sautee half a minced onion in a little butter until soft. Leave the other half raw.
  3. Add onion, bread, eggs, meat, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice to a bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Cook a small amount of the meat to adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Shape meatballs and fly until well browned on all sides. Finish in the oven if needed.
  5. In a large skillet, melt butter and cook flour in it until it smells nutty. While whisking, add chicken stock and simmer until chickened. Add a splash of fish sauce and vinegar just to add depth.
  6. Toss meatballs in sauce and serve with jam and potatoes.
One year ago: Kiwi Sorbet
Three Years ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four Years ago: Whole Wheat Spinach Bread

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - Chicken and Pumpkin Chili



It's Secret Recipe time of the month again. Secret Recipe Club is always my favorite time of the month. As you all know, Secret Recipe Club is a great group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret) and reveal it on the same day. This week its group C's turn. We also have a bunch of wonderful new people in Group C since group D is on temporary hiatus. I had the pleasure to read the blog of one of our new Group C members.

You all know April over at Angels Homestead. If I remember correctly, she used to be the leader of SRC. She lives with her husband on a three acre homestead in Indiana. It sounds so beautiful and pastoral and oh so different than life as I know it. I would love a week to walk in her shoes and see a different side of things. I love my city life, but sometimes I feel the pull of a country life begin to grow.

April has a bunch of great recipes on her blog, including allergy friendly ones. I was in love with her vanilla wafer recipe for homemade banana pudding and I was 100% sure that I would make the Pan Fried Hominy and pair it with pork chops and okra. I was sure it would happen...and then it rained for 2 weeks straight. Two weeks at 50 degrees with not even a ray of sunlight. After one week of rain, I knew I needed something else and I thought her Turkey Pumpkin Chili would certainly do the trick.

This was delicious and totally different. The pumpkin was understated and it was the perfect spice level. Just top it with a little sour cream or pepperjack cheese and it's absolutely perfect. Normally, I make chili from dry beans, but the use of canned beans makes this a wonderful weeknight meal that comes together in less than an hour. I changed things up a little by using chicken breast instead of turkey (because it was on sale) and fresh roasted chilis instead of canned, but the spirit is the same.

Thanks again April for this wonderful recipe!

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 lb fresh anaheim chilis, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cans navy beans, rinsed
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • sour cream and cheese for serving
Directions
  1. Poach chicken breasts in chicken stock until cooked through. Remove, pull chicken and set aside. Roast chilis over a fire, peel, deseed and chop. Set aside.
  2. Sautee onion and garlic in a little oil with spices until fragrant and soft. Add pumpkin, chicken stock, beans and chilis. Simmer for 20 minutes to bring flavors together. Add chicken and simmer 15 more minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve chili with sour cream and cheese.
Two Years Ago: Sparkling Lemon Limeade
Three Years Ago: One Pan Chocolate Cake
Four Years Ago: Shrimp Scampi

Monday, May 9, 2016

Blackened Tilapia Tacos




Fish tacos have got to be one of my favorite "Mexican" foods even though baja fish tacos (or especially the cajun blackened fish tacos) are about as tex-mex as you get. But these are super delicious and make a pretty light dinner. They don't feel heavy like Mexican food normally feels, most likely due to the lack of cheese and the presence of a great vinegar based coleslaw. If you make the cajun spice mix well in advance (this makes almost a whole cup of spice mix, so you'll have it for a while) you can throw this recipe together in a pinch. The spice mix is also great for a bunch of other more traditional cajun/creole recipes like gumbo or jambalaya. 

Since we'll be moving back to California at the end of the summer, I've been trying to expand my repertoire of southern dishes so I can bring them home with me. It's taken me a while, but I've learned to love collard greens and (never thought I'd say this) grits while I've lived in Virginia. Damn, I am certainly going to miss good shrimp, grits, greens and bbq when I move back. I even like okra now. I never thought I'd see the day when that would happen.

I'm not normally a fan of Emeril and his recipes, but I must admit, this amended version of his bayou blast is really on the best spice mixes out there.

Ingredients for Cajun Spice Mix
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dry thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • dried lemon or orange zest (or add a little fresh to whatever you are using it on)
Ingredients for Fish Tacos
  • Tilapia or other firm what fish 
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Any vinegar based coleslaw
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • mayonnaise
  • Cajun spice mix
Directions
  1. Generously rub the fish fillets with cajun spice mix.
  2. Cook with neutral oil in a pan until well blackened on both sides, finishing in the oven if necessary for thicker fillets
  3. Meanwhile, chop one chipotle chili and mix with 1/4 -1/2 cup mayonnaise (depending on your spice preference). 
  4. Build fish tacos with tortillas, chipotle mayonnaise, fish and coleslaw. Serve with rice and beans if desired


One Year Ago Rocky Road Brownies
Two Years Ago Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Three Years Ago Japanese Potato Salad
Four Years Ago Shrimp Scampi

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Barbacoa Beef Tamales


Happy Cinco de Mayo all. Lets try to celebrate with something a little more authentic than queso and chips, but just as tasty. These tamales are absolutely fantastic. Tamales are always a lot of work, so it's best to make them 30 or 40 at a time. They freeze really well and reheat in 2 minutes in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel.

The filling of these tamales can be any juicy braised meat. I used a barbacoa braised beef in the style of everyone's favorite e coli inducing restaurant chain. It's great to make this beef one night, have it for tacos or burritos and then make the leftovers into tamales. I'm normally not a fan of Mexican style tamales because they tend to be dry (I enjoy El Salvadorian style tamales much more...I will post a recipe for that at a later time). I used the Rick Bayless recipe for tamal dough and it is wonderful.


Crockpot Barbacoa Beef Recipe
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped small.
  • 1 Tbsp of the adobo sauce
Directions
  1. Sear the meat on all sides in a large pan with a little oil and set aide.
  2. Transfer all ingredients to crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with forks, mix with sauce and serve. 
  • 3 1/2 cups masa flour
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups meat filling
  • corn husks (at least 30 that are 6 inches wide. double up if they are smaller)
Directions for Tamal Dough
  1. Soak corn husks in hot water for at least half an hour until soft and pliable.
  2. Reconstitute masa flour with water. In a large bowl, mix shortening with salt and slowly add the reconstituted masa while mixing. 
  3. Add one cup of broth while mixing and continue to mix until it's light and fluffy. If you drop a dollop of dough in water it should float.
  4. Add more broth as necessary until mixture is the texture of light cake batter (but not runny). Refrigerate for one hour and re-beat again until same light texture is reached
  5. Lay out a corn husk and spread a few tablespoons of dough on the husk in a 4 inch square. Spread a little meat in the middle and bring the long sides of the wrapper together to encase the meat in the dough. Fold up the bottom of the husk and tie with a string to keep everything together. 
  6. Steam upright in a closed pot for about an hour to an hour and a half until the husk pulls away from the dough. Serve with slaw and salsa and hotsauce and all sorts of delicious things. 



Three Years Ago: One Pan Chocolate Cake
Four Years Ago: Shrimp Scampi

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Roasted Fennel and Pea Risotto


This is yet another simple, delicious risotto recipe. It's perfect with fish or pork for any time of year. Make it, enjoy it, savor it.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped and roasted until tender.
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. In a saucepan, simmer chicken stock in low heat with saffron
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a different saucepan. Add onion and sautee until softened
  3. Add lemon zest and cook until fragrant. Add rice and stir until each grain in coated with oil and semi translucent
  4. Add white wine and stir until fully absorbed.
  5. Add stock a ladle-full a at a time, stirring frequently. Add the next ladle after most has been absorbed but the rice is never fully dry.
  6. When the rice is tender but firm and looks creamy, quickly stir in a reserved 1/4 cup stock and the tablespoon of butter. Gently fold in fennel and peas. Season to taste, garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately.
One Year Ago: Pozole Rojo
Three Years Ago: One Pan Chocolate Cake
Four Years Ago: Pomme De Terre Macaire

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Healthier Cocoa Swirl Banana Bread


I always love a good banana bread on the weekends for breakfast. Any breakfast bread is an unhealthy treat, so I wanted to find something that was a little more healthy that would have the same moisture, earthiness and great flavor of one of my more cake-like banana breads.

This bread was very tasty on a lazy Saturday morning. It has a lot of bananas, more than most usual recipes. It does have butter instead of apple sauce like so many healthy banana bread recipes have, but the treatment of the fat and sugar as you would treat a regular cake makes this bread very fluffy. It's wonderful for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee.

Ingredients

  • 5 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • cocoa powder
Directions
  1. Mix together mashed bananas and greek yogurt in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well blended.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly and add all of the liquid ingredients. Then finish with the other half of the dry ingredients
  5. Remove 1/3 of your batter into a separate bowl and mix in desired amount of cocoa powder (2 or 3 Tbsp? I didn't really measure). Fold in nuts to the remaining batter
  6. Spoon the batters in alternating patterns into a greased loaf ban. Run a knife through it if you want to create a swirled patter. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until done.
One Year Ago: Pozole Rojo
Three Years Ago: Tomatillo Salsa
Four Years Ago: Pomme de Terre Macaire
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