Friday, August 28, 2009

Not enough butter in your diet? We have the answer

Buttercream Frosting! I was feeling like the blood through my arteries was moving much to fast so I decided to make honest to goodness buttercream frosting. This is a Cook's Country recipe and it's pretty easy though I'm sure very high in cholesterol. This recipe makes enough for a small cake or about 24 cupcakes. I cut it in half for 15 and I still had a bit left. What ever to do with a 1/4 cup of frosting?

Buttercream Frosting
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch table salt
1 pound unsalted butter, softened and each stick cut into eights

Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer, place bowl over pan of simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until thin and foamy and registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer.

Beat egg mixture on medium-high speed with whisk attachment until light, airy, and cooled to room temperature, about five minutes. (I put an ice pack around the outside of the bowl because it was pretty hot in my kitchen.) Reduce speed to medium and add butter, one piece at a time. (After adding half the butter, buttercream may look curdled; it will smooth with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, increase speed to high and beat 1 minute until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days.) Do let it warm up and restir to make it fluffy and spreadable again.

I frosted the cupcakes and sprinkled some toasted sugared slice almonds. Just perfect. I kept them refrigerated until a few minutes before serving because that butter sets up solid when cold, just like it does in your arteries.

Monday, August 24, 2009

a new find.............goat cheese

Not a new find to me but to my dear husband. While checking out the local farmers market Mr Doodles found the goat cheese vendor. My word you would have thought he had found the hope diamond but he did find some killer goat cheese.

What Mr liked was the creaminess of the cheese with the additions of dried cranberries. Then there was a variety with the cheese in a jar with lemon juice,good olive oil, a sprig of fresh rosemary and some black peppercorns. Another variety was plain cheese rolled in a variety of items, one was cilantro very finely chopped. So because Mr was enthralled with the cheese he had to have a very long chat with the fellow who was also the owner,he and his wife are the owners actually, wife happened to be at another farmers market.

We went to lunch later and I was telling Mr about 'lil bird', my sweet niece, wanting to have a few goats and make some cheese. Well he laughed hysterically and said if only we were younger we would do that. We had one goat once upon a time, Doone was a very sweet goat. Mr reminded me a a cute photo of sweet niece feeding Doone but Doone decided he liked niece's dress she was wearing and started chewing on the hem. As I remember it was Easter and 'lil bird' was dressed in all her Easter finery. I think I'm gonna look for that photo.

Anyway back to the goat cheese,
one of the cheeses I purchased was the creamy goat cheese rolled in some wonderfully sweet and moist dried cranberries.

Gonna go look for some recipes that uses goat cheese............stay tuna'd.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reprise of an old favorite: part two, the guacamole

You can hardly call this guacamole since there is so little avocado in it but that's what they call it at Cielito Lindo's. You can call it damn delicioso and put it on anything, well maybe not dessert.

Let's get this finished. I had so many pix for the first installment and my camera decided to be uncooperative for the second so we are gonna proceed photoless.

Take the approximately 3 cups of the Salsa Verde you made from the previous post and add one half a medium sized ripe avocado. Yes, that is correct, one half, 1/2, or medio; however you say it–it's just a tiny bit of the whole sauce.

Liquefy in the blender until smooth and bring to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Simmer for about five minutes. This cooks out the "raw" taste of the avocado. Not a bad taste but somehow different once you cook it.

Now thin with a bit of what's called in the restaurant biz, "profit". That would be water to us folks. This sauce is very thin, like a heavy tomato juice. Adjust the salt and let this cool; refrigerate and serve cold over the taquitos. It is also good on tacos and I love it mixed in with frijoles.

I hope this helps the readers who can't make it to downtown Los Angeles for their taquito fix and maybe spur someone else to try this classic Olvera Street favorite.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reprise of an old favorite: part one, salsa verde

Editors note: Lots of photos on a blog site, not my thing but sometimes you need to show the process so if you have a slower computer, I sincerely apologize, there are many photos with this posting.

We've received a number of questions about the Guacamole Sauce used at a famous taquito stand in Los Angeles. Ok, two is a number, right? I posted about recreating the recipe and came pretty close. If you've been to Cielito Lindo's you know what the big fuss is about. Recently, we've had a few other questions and I thought it time to do a thorough post, with pix, to help everyone out. Since this can be a complicated recipe and would be too long for any sane person to read, I'll serialize it.

First you need to make the Salsa Verde. I rarely make it from scratch because I live near an ethnic Mexican market that makes it fresh but if you can't find this make this recipe or find canned, Herdez Salsa Verde. It works in a pinch. Do stay away from any canned Salsa Verde that has sugar, yuck. Once in a while I find canned tomatillos just packed in brine. This will work too but you have to cook the other veggies so why not do it all.

1 lb of Tomatillos, husked removed
Note: These look like green tomatoes with a papery skin. Peel off the skin and wash the tomatillos thoroughly. They are sticky, very sticky; they should make glue from tomatillos.

3 whole jalapeño peppers
Note: I use Fresno Hots because I grow them in the summer. These are hot mamma jammas and need to be treated, as all hot peppers, with respect. Seriously wear gloves and wash before you touch any skin, yours our someone else's. I also used one of my Anaheim Green chillies, they have such great flavor but you can make it with just jalapeños.

7 or 9 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium white onion, quartered
(I know the photo shows a brown onion)
1 can of 14.5 oz. chicken broth

a small bunch of cilantro with stems, about a cup roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Cut the tomatillos in quarters. See why? You can't tell from the outside if it's got a bad spot.
Cut the peppers in quarters and if they are really hot remove the seeds.
Cut onions in quarters and peel the garlic.

Everything, including chicken broth goes into a pot. Don't worry if the broth does not cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid on for about 20 minutes or until everything is soft.
Because you can never be sure how hot your chillies are you can, in a separate pan, boil a few chopped and seeded chillies.

This will smell wonderful. I believe this is what heaven smells like.

I took this snap before I added the cilantro stems but don't bother chopping them everything will go into the blender when cooked. Give it a taste and if it isn't hot enough for you add a few of the extra cooked chillies. If it's too hot, I have no idea, it's never been too hot for us. It needs to have some heat. Adjust the salt.

Here it is finished cooking. Now, didn't that all go together nice? Yes, it did.Let this cool before you process it, please. I have had Salsa Verde colored kitchen walls before. You could use the salsa, to cook pork or chicken or a sauce for enchiladas. It is very versatile.
For our Guacamole recipe whir in a blender until completely liquefied. Strain the salsa through a fine mesh strainer while you push it through with the back of a spoon. I strain it this way because the tomatillo has those pesky little white seeds. You do what you want but the resulting sauce should be quite smooth. You should have somewhere near 3 cups.
You are halfway there. Stay tuned for the second installment of the recipe; making the guacamole. It is totally different from guacamole you eat with your chips in a Mexican restaurant. It is for dipping taquitos and licking the plate after.

Use one quart of the Salsa Verde in my version of Chilaquiles.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's cantaloupe time

I don't know about you but I am quite fond of cantaloupe, especially now since I discovered this brand of melon. Did I tell you about this last year, well even if I have, it is well worth repeating.

Rocky Ford is an area in south east Colorado. If by chance you should run into a cantaloupe that has this sticker on it grab it, take it home and you will be thanking me forever. Now if you cannot find Rocky Ford cantaloupe, well I am so very sorry, wish I could send y'all some cause these melons are perfect just what a cantaloupe should taste like.

And yes I have made my infamous (in my own mind) cantaloupe salad and will be making it again for a friendly gathering.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ridiculously short Shortbread Cookie

They do not travel well; you can hardly get them to your mouth in one piece.
Forget about putting them in a cookie jar, you have only crumbs.
Do not dip them in coffee; they disintegrate.
The better the butter, the better. (I love that sentence, read it again)
They must be beaten for 10 minutes; no more, no less and baked immediately.

Ok, that all the bad things about these cookies, here is the one reason you will run right out and make them: These are the lightest cookies you will ever put in your mouth. Do I have to say more?

Shortbread Cookies (this recipe can be cut in half very easily)

1 lb unsalted butter, softened but not too soft.
4 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt

Beat for 10 minutes with a stand mixer. Pip from a pastry bag with a large tip onto parchment.
Bake 350 for 15-17 minutes. Just brown on the edges. Let cool about a minute on cookie sheet and remove to a rack to cool.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Who needs a recipe?

For Lemonade, well, honestly–I do. If I just throw in sugar, water and lemon juice I'm futzing around adding more juice or sugar, oops, now it's too strong and I need more water so I adhere to a recipe.

Since I have a beautiful lemon tree right outside my door I don't have to buy lemons and usually by this time of the summer we are begging visitors to take bags home. Unfortunately the drought has hit close to home in more ways than one and my lemon tree seems to be suffering a bit. The lemons are smaller and not as plentiful but I did have a few dozen to make up a batches of concentrate to freeze for a later use.

This recipe is so simple I never change it.

1 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 lemon sliced

I make a simple syrup from 1 cup of water and the sugar then add the water, lemon slices and juice. I have no idea how long it last because it's usually gone that day.

For the concentrate: combine sugar and lemon juice is a small container; mix until sugar is dissolved. Freeze. Defrost slightly and add the water and sliced lemon.

A tall glass with lots of ice is the fav here and on occasion, a shot of Raspberry Rum. Yum.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I have never met a biscuit I didn't like

But when I saw that Dutch Girl found a copycat recipe for the Red Lobster cheese biscuits I quickly went to print out her recipe. The photo of the gems were perfect and brought back some wonderful memories.

When I lived in South Florida and my Momma lived about a hundred or so miles north I ventured up the interstate quite often. We would go to a movie and then have a late lunch early dinner. One of Momma's favorite spots for lunch was to go to Red Lobster for lunch. Always ordered the very same thing a large bowl of clam chowder, a small Caesar salad and an iced tea. With any meal you receive a basket of these biscuits................dang they are good!!!

So if you like those biscuits then you are gonna love this recipe. Don't thank me thank Kay for bringing them to our attention.

Now for the recipe for Faux Red Lobster Biscuits
ingredients 2 cups Bisquick 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp garlic salt 1/2 tsp onion powder 1 1/2 cups grated cheese 2/3 cup buttermilk 3 tbs butter 2 tsp oregano Optional: 4 sun-dried tomatoes Use a large mixing bowl to combine the bisquick, garlic & onion powder, grated cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the buttermilk and mix til the dough is firm. Drop spoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with baking powder. Melt 2 oz butter and mix in 1 tsp garlic salt and 2 tsp dried oregano. Brush half of the mix on top of the biscuit. Bake the biscuits at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush the remaining butter mix on top.

My notes for these biscuits..................I did not use sun-dried tomatoes since I had none on hand, next time maybe, also I would use fresh chives and I did not use oregano.

Kay I must say thanks bunches for the recipe my hips aren't pleased but my taste buds are. And thanks Kay for sending me the email and attaching the copycat cookbook.