Come With Me!

So I am going to resume blogging, but on a different site.  Some of it will still be recipes (already one up for a shrimp curry and I’ll be posting another one later today for special ocasion chile).  So come join me at http://firststepstoforever.wordpress.com

 

I’m back, I think

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  A really long while.  Quick update: I’m in Nashville now.  Also, I’m trying really hard to be healthier.  It’s been a rough few years but I’m ready for the new me.  So most of my new recipes are based on this healthier lifestyle.  (For now), I’ve cut gluten and dairy completely and try to avoid sugar, except in fruits and occasionally raw honey.  That said, I’m still cooking excellent food and I will do my best to remember to share it with you here!

Grilled Cheese on Steroids

I know.  I haven’t posted in a long time.  And this isn’t exactly a recipe.  But it was really really good.

 

First, make macaroni and cheese.  Highly recommend making real (baked) mac & cheese.  This would not be as good with Kraft (no offense to Kraft).  Then put mac & cheese and ham on bread, with cheese and make a grilled cheese.  Be careful flipping it…

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’m back! And with soup (shocking, I know). My friend Jeanelle has been tweeting about this tortilla soup for days now, comparing it to everything from sex to a little black dress. Clearly I needed to make it. Her recipe is here. I tinkered with her recipe a bit and came up with this delicious concoction. By including the chicken, it was a hearty enough meal for Paul and I to eat for dinner and still have leftovers.

Ingredients
1 lb chicken breast
1 c lime juice
1 1/2 c vegetable oil, separated
3 T ground ancho chile pepper + more to taste
2 medium/large onion, large dice
6 corn tortillas, diced
small bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
6 c chicken stock
salt
pepper
garnishments: tortilla strips, lime, shredded cheese

Instructions
1. Marinate chicken breasts in lime juice, 1 c olive oil, ground ancho chile pepper (to taste), salt and pepper for 1-2 hours (or more). Saute chicken breasts, let cool, then shred. Put aside.

2. Heat oil in pot, add onion and caramelize slightly. Add remainder of ground ancho and allow to perfume for a few seconds. Add tortillas, allowing them to get slightly golden and crispy. (Note: mine did not get crispy, don’t worry if yours don’t either). Add cilantro and sauté for a few more seconds. Add tomatoes, sauté for a minute or two.

3. Add the stock, salt and pepper to taste (underseason at this point – you can always add more later!), bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and let simmer (covered) until it’s reduced about a quarter (10-15 minutes).

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Puree with an immersion blender (or very carefully in a standing blender).

6. Stir chicken into the soup.

7. Ladle into bowls, add garnishments and enjoy!

Cookoff Winning Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

Sorry it’s taken a few weeks, but I promise, these are worth the wait. These are my Cook-off WINNING Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits. And let me tell you, they are DELICIOUS. I don’t even know what else to say about them, so I’m just going to give you the recipe:

Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

- makes about 40 small biscuits -
Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups grated and tightly packed sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Kosher salt and Tabasco for topping

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pepper, chipotle powder, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and the 1 teaspoon of salt.

3. Add the butter and, using your hands or the back of a wooden spoon, work the butter into the dough. The mixture should look like coarse sand. Add the cheese and stir to thoroughly incorporate it into the dough.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

5. Use a tablespoon-sized scoop to scoop the dough and drop it in mounds onto the prepared baking sheets about an inch apart. Sprinkle with tabasco (one dot per biscuit) and kosher salt and bake in the center of the oven for about 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean.

6. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack. The biscuits can be served slightly warm or at room temperature (I like them slightly warm).

7. Store the biscuits in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to a couple of months.

Cupcakes!!

I’ve been a busy girl in the kitchen today! I also made Brown Sugar Pound Cake Cupcakes with Brown Butter Icing, courtesy of Martha Stewart. I’ve made them before, so even though I haven’t had one (yet) today, I can promise you, these are GOOD! They are also very easy.

Without further ado, the recipe!

Brown Sugar Pound Cake Cupcakes
Makes 24 (today I halved it to make 12, worked fine)

Ingredients
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour,m baking powder and salt (and buttermilk IF you are using the solid buttermilk like I do)
2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and beating until combined after each.
3. Divide evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 of the way full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool 10 minutes, turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
4. Ice cupcakes the day you plan on serving them. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days in airtight containers or up to 3 months in the freezer. Icing recipe below.

Brown Butter Icing
Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

Instructions<
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut brown in color, about 10 minutes. (note – this happens really quickly and goes from nut brown to burnt really quickly so watch the butter very carefully!!). Remove from heat and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
2. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 2 T milk to brown butter; stir until smooth. If necessary, add up to 2 T more milk, a little at a time, just until icing is spreadable.

Hummus Among Us

*groan at the dad-joke title*

OK, now that that’s out of the way, if you can’t tell, I made hummus today. A lot of it. And to procrastinate cleaning my kitchen, which is a complete disaster at the moment, I’m going to blog about it instead!!

I made three different flavors of hummus: “plain”, roasted garlic, and chipotle. All delicious (well, I think so. I hope my family will think so too when they eat them tonight!). It’s a little difficult to post the recipe, since I didn’t really measure anything, but here is my approximation. You’ll see that I started out by making a big batch of the “plain” in my big food processor and took out 2/3 of it before refining it and then used what I had taken out to make the other two flavors individually in my smaller food processor.

3 Flavors of Hummus
Ingredients
3 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 3-4 lemons
~6 Tablespoons olive oil
~9 Tablespoons Tahini
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole head garlic, roasted** (see end of recipe for instructions)
chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (in a can)

Instructions
1. In large food processor, combine chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, juice of 3 lemons, approx 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and three cloves minced garlic and puree until smooth. Taste and add water and/or more lemon juice if necessary to thin out. Remove 2/3 of hummus and put aside to make other flavors.

2. To continue making “plain” hummus in large food processor, add more lemon juice, salt and cumin to taste. Blend to desired consistency.

3. Make the roasted garlic flavor first unless you want to completely wash the food processor between batches (this can of course all be done with only one food processor, I just used two). Puree the entire head of roasted garlic into half of the reserved hummus. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. For a stronger garlic flavor, you can also add one additional clove of raw garlic.

4. To make the chipotle flavor, start by adding 1/2 chipotle pepper to the final 1/2 of the reserved hummus and puree. Then add some adobo sauce. Add slowly and taste along the way – this stuff gets really spicy really fast!!! I ended up adding 1 whole pepper plus about a spoonfull of sauce and ended up with a hummus with a kick that was a pretty shade of pink.

**To roast garlic: Cut the top (pointed end) off of a head of garlic. Put the garlic on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil. Put it in the oven (or toaster oven) at 325 for about 35 minutes. When it’s done, you can pretty much just squeeze the garlic out of the paper!