Sunday, February 28, 2010
Corn Tortillas (makes 15 tortillas)
1 pound fresh masa for tortillas, store bought or homemade (let me know if you want this recipe too) OR 1 3/4 cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot tap water
1) The dough. If using masa harina, mix it with the hot water, then knead until smooth, adding more water or more masa harina to achieve a very soft (but not sticky) consistency; cover with plastic and let rest 30 mins.
When you are ready to bake the tortillas, readjust the consistency of the fresh or reconstituted masa (you want dough to be softer than short bread or play-doh, reconstituted masa harina should be as soft as possible, while still having enough body to be unmolded; it should feel a little softer than perfectly adjusted fresh masa. It is necessary to add water from time to time; tortillas made from dry dough won't puff much, and wil become heafy and crubly). Then divide into 15 balls and cover with plastic.
2) Heating griddle. Heat large, ungreased, heavy griddle or 2 heavy skillets: one end of the griddle (or one skillet) over med-low, the other end (or other skillet) over medium to medium high.
3) Pressing. Cut 2 squares of heavy plastic to fit the plates of your tortilla press. With the press open, place a square of plastic over the bottom plate, set a ball of dough in the center, cover with the second square of plastic, and gently flatten the dough between. close the top plate and press down gently but firmly with the handle. Open, turn the tortilla 180 degrees, close and gently press again, to an even 1/16 inch thickness.
4) Unmolding. Open the press and peel off the top sheet of plastic. Flip the tortilla onto one hand, dough-side down, then, starting at one corner, gently peel off the remaining sheet of plastic.
5) Griddle-baking. Lay the tortilla onto the cooler end of the griddle (or cooler skillet). In about 20 seconds, when the tortilla loosens itself from them griddle (but the edges have not yet dried or curled), flip it over onto the hotter end of the griddle (or onto the hotter skillet). When lightly browned in spots underneath, 20 to 30 seconds more, flip a second time, back onto the side that was originally down. If the fire is properly hot, the tortilla will balloon up like pita bread. When lightly browned, another 20 to 30 seconds, remove from the griddle (it will completely deflate) and wrap in a towel.
Press, unmold and bake the rest of the remaining balls of masa, placing each hot tortilla on top of the last keeping the stack well wrapped.
6) Resting. Let wrapped stack of tortillas rest for about 15 mins to finish the cooking, soften, and become pliable.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Although I didn't get the burrata cheese, we did come home with a stash of cheeses. We bought a lot, but the cheese took up a significant portion of the final total. Cheese is pricey! The jar is actually not cheese, but double cream. I don't know what I need double cream for, but I'm certain that I need it. In the upper left, we have Oaxaca cheese. I was introduced to this cheese when I was in Mexico my senior year of high school. I have been searching for it for 10 years -- a whole decade, y'all! In the upper right, we have Stinking Bishop cheese, so named because it smells like dirty socks. Yuuuum. I like a stinky cheese. This may cross the line, but I had to try it.
Lemon grass for my Thai cooking. (I gave up the boy, not the food.)
This thing is called Romanesco, and it's in the cauliflower/broccoli family. It was a dollar, so we bought it. We're trying it tonight. With cheese.
Pork belly! Those top chef people use it, and so will we.
And finally the piece de resistance:
Pork hearts! We wanted to try something totally out there. I was deciding between beef tripe & pork hearts, but went with the hearts. At $3 for four hearts, I think it's worth the gamble. We'll let you know the outcome! (They also had pig snouts, cow's feet, and duck heads, among other things.)
This recipe is from Jamie Oliver's cookbook, Jamie's Food Revolution, a cookbook which my mother gives 2 spoons up or 5 forks, or whatever food-related scale you prefer. Jamie also has a special rice-cooking method:
snacks and sides | serves 4 - 6
This is my basic recipe for getting perfect rice every time. Have a go at mastering it – you’ll be amazed at the light and fluffy results.
Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can have a go at flavouring it - any flavouring you boil with the rice will infuse it with wonderful fragrances and flavours. So try boiling things like fresh herbs, a cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods, a strip of lemon zest or even a green tea bag in the water with the rice.
Doubling the amounts in the recipe will give you enough rice to serve 8-12 people.
• Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil
• Rinse the rice in a colander under running water for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear (this will stop the grains sticking together later)
• Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start dancing around
• From that point, boil for 5 minutes
• Drain the rice in a colander
• Pour 2.5cm of water into the pan, put it back on the heat and bring it to the boil again, then turn down to a simmer
• Cover the rice in the colander with foil or a lid
• Place the colander on top of the pan of simmering water and let the rice steam over it for 8 to 10 minutes
• Remove from the heat and if you’re ready, serve immediately
• If not, leave the foil or lid on and put aside until ready to serve – it should stay warm for about 20 minutes
I have placed my picture of it down here, because it really doesn't do it justice. It looks so colorless, which I suppose it is, but that colorless indicates starches, cream, and butter. I think we can all get behind that. (Skinny people who only like skinny people food need not apply.) I stuffed myself beyond what is natural. I looked like I was pregnant with a rice & cream baby.
My mommy is visiting me this week, and we have plans to make lots of food. We didn't feel like going to the grocery store on Sunday, so my mom poked around my fairly bare fridge and looked on the interwebs for some appropriate recipes. Dinner was simple, but quite delicious. The carrots were really good -- my mom was skeptical that they would be, but she was converted once we started eating.
Chicken recipe from Reluctant Gourmet:
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1-1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- Salt and ground pepper
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of dry white wine
- 1 cup of homemade chicken stock
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.
Pre-heat your saute pan (frying pan) until drops of water quickly evaporate. This means the pan is at least 212° F.
Heat butter and oil in a heavy bottomed pan over high heat until butter stops foaming and just starts to turn a light brown.
Sauté the breasts until they are lightly browned on one side, approx. 3 minutes.
Turn breasts over and sauté for another 3 minutes, again until lightly browned. (At this point the meat should be firm to the touch.)
Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in the oven or toaster oven set at low.
Remove the pan from the head source, and add half of the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring to dissolve the flavorful brown particles stuck to the pan.
Return pan to the stove and add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. (It makes the dish bitter if it does)
Add the remaining wine and reduce (boil) until only a trace of wine is left in the pan.
Add the chicken stock and reduce to half the original amount, approx. 6-7 minutes.
Add the cream, and again reduce until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon.
Spoon sauce over cutlets and serve.
Carrots from We Heart Food:
**Note: Oregano was used in lieu of marjoram
Sauteed Carrots with Lemon and Marjoram
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 bunch carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
2 tbsp lemon juice
In a medium nonstick frying pan, heat 1/2 the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic, carrots, sugar, 1/2 the salt, the pepper, and the dried marjoram. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan. Raise the heat to moderate and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are very tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the remaining oil and the lemon juice.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Rach, Elizabeth, and I visited Asheville last winter and we took a food tour where we got to visit lots of stores and restaurants and eat our way through downtown Asheville (http://www.ashevillefoodtours.com/). It was so much fun and we got a ton of food! My kind of tour.
One of the restaurants we visited did a demo where he showed us all the ingredients and how he cooked everything. So this was my attempt at recreating the best dish on the tour. I definitely don't have it down. Everything tasted good except for the radicchio which I thought was too bitter and I can't figure out what I did differently. Maybe Rach has a better memory and has some suggestions for how to fix it :) Also, on the tour they gave us this really amazing burrata mozzarella cheese but I can't find it here. I did however find an Italian market (ironically located right next to my gym) and they had really amazing fresh mozzarella. Here is my imprecise and made up recipe. I think next time I try it I might cook the radicchio longer because it is supposed to be less bitter when you cook it.
1 pear - sliced
1/3 head of radicchio- cut into strips
Prosciutto- chopped into small pieces
Reduce the balsamic to make a balsamic reduction. Just put it in a pan and simmer it over med heat. I added a little sugar (b/c I was cheap and bought the off brand balsamic). It takes a while to reduce it (like 20-40 mins) and you have to stir it almost constantly, otherwise it will burn on the bottom of the pan. I reduced mine about halfway and then let it cool and put it back in the balsamic bottle so I can use it on other things.
Heat Olive Oil in skillet over med-high heat
Add the radicchio and cook for about 2-3 mins
Then add prosciutto and pears. I just cooked for a while until it looked done.
When I plated it, I put a little more olive oil on it, and the balsamic vinegar.
Below is the picture we took from the food tour. As you can see, they are practically identical.
This is in our Gracewood cookbook but I don't think I ever made it before. It is from the Joy of Cooking. It took me a while to find chard in the grocery store but everything else I had in my fridge/pantry. It was very good and easy to make! I'll post the recipe, but my roomies can easily access it in the very fancy gracewood recipes cookbook :)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped OR 1 cup chopped, drained canned tomatoes
1 pound chard, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat & cook onion, garlic, & red pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until soft & golden.
Add tomatoes & cook for about 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir occasionally.
Add chard & cook until chard has wilted, about 2 minutes.
Add cream & salt & pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta. When cooked, drain pasta, retaining a couple tbs of pasta water. Put pasta in completed sauce with some of the pasta water. Toss until well coated.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This is my second thematic post. I have just finished reading Stonewall. When I made the first theme food for the book, I went through several options. One was to cook Greek food in honor of Sappho. I nixed that one, because the vast majority of Stonewall's patrons were men. Once I read further, though, I learned that one of the flashpoints for the riots was a butch lesbian who was getting roughed up by the police. I asked my Greek former roommate for a masculine Greek meal. She suggested Moussaka.
**I would cook the eggplant on lower heat or make thicker cuts...a lot of mine got burnt.
The use of cinnamon and allspice with beef was super tasty. I had leftover beef, so I made just the meat sauce later & put it over pasta. Yum. (The directions don't say to drain the meat, but you'd definitely want to do that.)
- 2 large eggplants (about 2 3/4 pounds), unpeeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- MEAT SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes (with puree), roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- CUSTARD SAUCE
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano
Bake the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with the oil and lay on 2 small or 1 large foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake until the eggplant is soft, about 25 minutes. Set aside covered.
Make the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beef, oregano, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon. Break the meat up into small pieces and season with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until just cooked but still slightly pink inside, about 1 minute more. Add the tomato and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook until the sauce is thickened and fragrant, about 20 minutes.
Make the custard sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk, salt, and nutmeg. Return to the heat and while whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir to cool. When the sauce is cool, whisk in the egg and yolks.
Assemble the moussaka. Lower the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a 9 x 13 x 2-inch casserole dish with the oil. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the bottom of the pan. Lay half of the eggplant in the pan, overlapping the slices if needed. Cover with half of the meat sauce and smooth with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and meat sauce. Pour the custard sauce over the layered mixture and smooth with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with the Pecorino Romano and bake, uncovered, until lightly browned and the custard is set, about 1 hour.
Remove the moussaka from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to serve.
I'll leave you with a quotation in the book by Franklin Kameny who wrote it in 1968:
"Gay is good. I say that it is time to open the closet door and let in the fresh air and the sunshine; it is time to doff and discard the secrecy . . . to live your homosexuality fully, joyously, openly, and proudly, assured that morally, socially, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and in every other way: Gay is good. It is."
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I thought they were really good- I like buckwheat pancakes! I would definitely make them again (after I eat all the leftover ones in my freezer). I put more apples and cinnamon in them.
3/4 cup of buckwheat flour
3/4 cup of quick oats
1/1/4 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
about 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups soy or rice milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 grated apple (I used fuji, they’re naturally pretty sweet)
Combine with a whisk the flour, oats, baking soda and powder, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the top of flour mix- milk, egg white, honey, oil and grated apple. Whisk until just incorporated.
Heat a griddle on low to medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup or so of batter on griddle. Let cook until bubbly on top and golden brown on the underside. Flip and repeat. Makes about 6-8 small to medium sized pancakes.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I tried out the apple squash soup and it was so so so good. I was a little concerned I wouldn't like apple mixed with squash and potatoes, and Brandon was very concerned. He kept asking, "Now what is in this soup?"-- suggesting without outright declaring it a questionable combination. However, my little concerns and Brandon's big concerns were a waste! The flavors blended so well together. I couldn't pick out individual flavors but instead got to enjoy a real melody of flavors. I actually used the word melody as I was eating it.
The biggest pain when making the soup is peeling and chopping the squash. It took so long and my tiny little wrists hurt when I was finished. As I finished chopping the last of the squash I suddenly remembered a squash cutting tip I read and used when I made the similar squash soup recipe about a year ago. If you cook the squash in boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes it will peel and cut very easily. You want to be careful and only cook it enough to help the cutting and don't end up with soggy squash. I googled this technique and saw you can also nuke it in the microwave for about a minute. If I remember correctly from last year, briefly cooking the squash was a very smart choice.
I substituted the prosciutto with regular bacon and it was a lot cheaper and very good. I like this soup better than the other squash soup because of the mix of cheese. The other one is healthier, so if you want to check it out click on the picture.
If I could change one thing it would be to add another potato and keep it chunky. When I pureed it with my amazing immersion blender, I purposefully kept it a bit chunky because I remembered thinking the other squash soup needed some texture. Even doing that, I think having 1 potato that is barely pureed would be even better.
I would probably add more squash next time as well because I had a lot left over, and I noticed the winter squash recipe calls for about 3 cups more than this recipe did.
Great soup Stephie!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
There is little I love more than football food. For this year's Super Bowl I wanted to try out some dips. This was a fun tasty little dip to compliment the last football game of the season. My next recipe will need to be some chocolate that I can eat as I console myself for the 7 month football drought I am starting to embark.
Ingredients 2 c tomato sauce
1 c (ish) ricotta cheese
chopped mozzarella cheese
1. Simmer tomato sauce in oven proof skillet until warm
2. Add dollops of ricotta cheese and heat until warm
3. Add chopped basil and mozzarella
4. Bake in oven at 350 until mozzarella is bubbly. (The recipe also called for pepperoni but I didn't include it because I don't like it)
Serve with mini toast or bread sticks and keep sauce in the skillet.
Alternative serving suggestion:
The next day I reheated it in the microwave and then Brandon and I scooped it out onto the mini garlic toast and heated again for another 30 seconds or a minute. This softened the mini toasts and was really good. I think I liked it better this way.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I made homemade guacamole to go with the tortilla stack. I also made it last night for the super bowl with a few substitutions, and both times it was good.
The main thing I learned is I need to get more avocados than I required because I don't know how to pick out a good avocado. When I made it last week, one of the avocados was so hard I could not smooth it out. I thought it seemed nice and soft at the store, but I was mistaken. When I made it yesterday all my avocados were soft but not brown on the inside, which made a smoother dip.
I didn't use the same proportions or all the same ingredients when I made it yesterday, so I think a recipe may be a bit of overkill. However, because I like following rules, I must provide you with a recipe.
2 ripe avocados (I used 3 yesterday)
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 a cup)
1 - 2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed to lessen the heat. I would start with about 1/2 a pepper to make sure it is not too hot. (The second time I made it I used a can of diced chiles because I was out of the fresh)
1 T fresh cilantro, minced
1 T lime or lemon juice
1/2 t course salt (I used regular and more than 1/2)
A dash of freshly ground pepper
1/2 ripe tomato chopped (I used salsa the second time around)
1. Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out and put in mixing bowl.
2. Mash avocados.
3. Add everything but the tomatoes (and hold off on some of the peppers until you taste it).
4. Mix everything together.
5. Add the tomato right before serving.
6. Store in an airtight container. I used foil the first time, and it went from mint green to brown green in an hour. I used tupperware yesterday, and it stayed mint green.
Comer con gusto!
It's the Monday after the superbowl, and I just finished teaching. Instead of jumping right into work, I thought I could post my chicken tortilla stack I made last Sunday. (Actually, by jumping right into work I mean I didn't want to jump right back into work after surfing the web for 20 minutes).
My mom makes this for me when I come home to visit. So as I made it, it brought fun feelings of board games, movie nights, and neglecting "real life" for a few days. Of all the things I posted, I think chicken tortilla stack is one of my favorite. I just love it... I am thinking of home right now, and how fun it is to cook at my parent's house because there is no constant threat of dog hair ending up as a secret ingredient.
1 can bean dip (I use re-fried beans)
2 T sour cream (I use a lot more)
1 T taco seasoning (I use 3 or 4)
2 cups chicken
1 med red bell pepper (I used some green pepper because I didn't have a whole red pepper)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 8)
3/4 cup olives (I don't use)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (my mom never uses this part, but I did because I heart cilantro)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese ( I use more)
5 (10 inch tortillas)
2 med plum tomatoes (My mom doesn't use, but I used about 1/2 a tomato on sprinkled on the top)
1. Cook chicken in pot of water (The water should just cover the chiken and then cook about 20 - 30 minutes)
2. Shred chicken with fork,
3. Sprinkle with 1 or 2 T of Taco seasoning
4. Combine bean dip ( I use about 3/4 can of beans) with 2 T sour cream (I use more) and 1 T taco seasoning (I didn't measure the seasoning)
5. Chop pepper, green onions, and some of the cilantro and then mix with chicken
6. Layer tortilla , beans, chicken then cover generously with cheese.
7. Repeat until you run out of stuff. (I like to make 3 layers, which is 4 tortillas) and then make another one. They are too tall if you make it 4 layers high.)
8. Spray the top tortilla with Pam.
9. Bake in an 375 oven for 25 min or until hot all the way through.
10. After baking, I lightly topped it with a sour cream bean mixture and then added cilantro and tomatoes.
You can notice the homemade guacamole in the picture as well. I will post that soon.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
This is a Molecular Gastronomy set. It had to do with cooking and it is nerdy so obviously I want it. I really think I have to make some cola pearls or some of that other crazy stuff they make on Top Chef.
This one is for Rach. It is a candle that is made out of bacon drippings so you can use it on food when you light it. I am still undecided on this one :)
Friday, February 5, 2010
My gourmet dinners for this week:
Monday - left over tortilla stack from Sunday. The highlight by far.
Tuesday - french fries from McDonalds and nuggets and chili from Wendys. (Two different fast food restaurants- keeping it classy).
Wednesday - chocolate covered mini donuts and a frozen pizza. (Hey, it was Digiornos.)
Thursday - chocolate covered mini donuts and left over frozen pizza. (Still Digiornos)
Result- No blog worthy meals, but what a kitchen!