Monthly Archives: June 2011

Flour tortillas!

Flour tortillas

I can’t tell you how much fun I have scouring the web looking for inspirations for my blog.  A few months ago I ran across the most kick a** site – hilahcooking.com .  This gal has it going on!  She swears and often consumes adult beverages while whipping up easy and affordable dishes and cocktails!  She is an absolute riot and the creator of this adapted recipe!  Make sure you check out her site!

Anyway, I turned to her when thinking about making my own tortillas.  She has a video showing and hilariously describing how best to make these puppies!  Her recipe is super simple, so I went for it!  We don’t usually have cow’s milk here at the casa, so I have made them with coconut and goat’s milk and both worked perfectly!  I must warn you though–once you have had a taste of these awesome tortillas, you won’t have the stomach to go back to the ‘bagged in plastic, tastes like plastic’ grocery store version!

Don’t forget to use these when you make your own tortilla chips!

Flour tortillas!

Makes 10-12

  • 2 c bread or AP flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/4 t baking powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 3/4 c room temperature goat, 2 %,  or plain soy milk

Sift together the dry ingredients.  In a separate container, add the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix together.

On a clean counter top knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.  I don’t have to flour my countertop, but throw some flour down if your are afraid of the dough sticking.  Place the kneaded ball back in your bowl and cover with a cool, damp towel for 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium/medium-high.  You want it nice and hot, but not smokin!

Divide the dough into 10 small pieces. Using a circular rolling motion with the palm of your hand against the countertop, roll them into small balls.  Let the balls rest under the damp towel for 10 minutes.  Again, flour your countertop if sticking is an issue.  Flatten a ball with your hand and then use a rolling pin to flatten it to a paper-thin thickness.  Carefully lift the tortilla off of the countertop and put in your heated pan.  I take my hand and twirl the sphere to brown nice and evenly.  Flip it over after it achieves the doneness that you desire.  Once finished start another one and keep going until you have cooked them all!  Try not to gobble too many of them down before you are finished!

 

The earthquaker

The earthquaker!

This super tasty dish was inspired by my hubby, who used to eat earthquaker burritos at some locally owned restaurant in Denver years ago.  He talks of this awesome burrito so often, I thought I would make up my own version.  MY earthquaker is more like a burrito casserole than a traditional burrito, but I think he liked mine even more than the original!

I picked up some beautiful new potatoes and sweet corn (and the juiciest peaches–don’t worry they are NOT in this dish!–although I think it might be kind of good!) at Gordon’s Orchard this week to pull this dish together.  If you are ever in our neck of the woods, make sure you stop at Gordon’s!  It is just south of Osceola and always has the BEST produce–I schedule my travel to be sure I can pick up some of their goodies!  Out of our garden, I picked a couple of gorgeous red onions and jalapenos to flavor it perfectly!  I even made the flour tortillas with goat’s milk from a local farmer!  Yep, I am getting a lot more industrious with my cooking and having the best time doing it!  You certainly do not have to make the tortillas, but it is a lot of fun, pretty darn quick and soooo much better than those dry, flavorless discs you purchase in a bag!

This dish will take a little more time than most on this site, but I promise you have never had anything like it!  It might be a good idea to double the recipe so you can eat one now and pop the other in the freezer for a rainy (or very busy) day!  BTW–I am munching on the leftovers as I am writing this dish, and holy schnikes is it good!

Warning:  This is another ‘don’t forget the beano!’ dish!

The earthquaker

Servings:  10

  • At least 9 small flour tortillas or six medium/large (see my site for the home made version)
  • 1 c uncheese cheese sauce (use link for this recipe)
  • 1 bag or 1 1/2 c grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1-2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 pack of Old ElPaso burrito or enchilada dry mix
  • 2 # new potatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 2 t (or more!) chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-2 T EVOO
  • PAM cooking spray
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
  • 2 T (or more!) cumin seeds
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-10 oz can enchilada sauce, we like it hot!
  • 1-10 oz can  green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large can black beans, cooked according to my mexi-black bean recipe
  • corn from 3 cobs, about 1 1/2 c
  • green peas, about 1 1/2 c
  • 1 large lime
  • cilantro and sour cream for garnishing, as desired!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Start a pot of salted water boiling and add new potatoes.  Boil for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender.  Drain and cube into smaller, bite size pieces.  Throw into a big bowl that has a lid, add a sprinkle of salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 T cumin seeds, chipotle pepper flakes, and a large splash of EVOO.  Put the lid on your bowl and shake to coat the potatoes well.  Place in a large lasagna pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are nicely browned and a little bit crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel so you can use it for your casserole.

If you are going to make the tortillas, get them started once you get the potatoes in the boil pot!  This is also a good time to make the uncheese sauce.

When building the casserole, think about how you make a lasagna–in layers, right??  Use that approach to build this dish!

Spray the lasagna pan with a light coating of PAM.  Put a thin coating of the green chili sauce on the pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with one layer of tortillas (about 3 small).  Add  1/2 of the potatoes, pepper jack cheese, corn, peas, jalapeno, black beans, and onion.  Sprinkle with a 1/2 t cumin seeds, 1/3 of the Old ElPaso mix, and squeeze lime juice over the top.  Add another layer of tortillas and put a healthy coating of the red and green enchilada sauces on top.  Next, add the second half of the ingredients listed above.  Then add another sprinkle of cumin seeds, 1/3 of the Old ElPaso dry mix, and lime juice.  Add the last tortilla layer.  Coat with the last of the red and green enchilada sauces.  Drizzle the cheese sauce on top and sprinkle cumin seeds, Old ElPaso dry mix, and more lime juice over the sauce.

Bake for at 375 for 40-45 minutes.  I use convection bake setting on my oven, but regular bake is fine.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

While waiting for the dish to cool, slice your avocado and get the garnishes ready to go!

Serve this dish with a nice cool amber ale, margarita, or light white wine and ENJOY!!

 

 

 

 

 

Moroccan Chicken

 

Browned chicken ready for more cooking

 

I love serving this dish when I have guests coming for dinner.  It is beautiful, savory, and simple to prepare.  It does need to simmer for at least an hour, which actually makes it an even better dish for a dinner party!  You can get it started and then just leave it alone to simmer while you clean up the kitchen, set the table, prepare the arrival cocktails, and put on your party dress!  Then when you are ready to serve, you have a hot, fully flavored, and brightly colored dish to impress even the pickiest guests!  They will think you sweated away in the kitchen for hours over this one!  I told you it was perfect!

We usually eat this over a moroccan quinoa or millet, but last night I had some aging new potatoes and thought I would give them a trial run for this dish.  Oh wow, sure glad I did!  I just stuck them (whole, unpeeled) in a salted boil for about 25 minutes (this will vary depending on their size) and they were the perfect texture.  For serving I just threw them in my serving dish, and used a fork for a super quick and rough smash.  The potatoes happily soaked up the broth from the Moroccan chicken and complimented the dish beautifully!  Plus, if you want to prepare them ahead of time, you can just drain the water, cover them and they will patiently wait to get smashed until you have enjoyed the welcome cocktail with your friends.   The chicken and broth will add enough heat to make it the perfect temperature for serving.

I guess you can tell I am a big fan of this one!  Even bigger since my sweet hubby suggested we put it on regular rotation here at the casa!  Now that is some glowing feedback!

Cheers to good eating!

 

Look at those gorgeous onions softening

 

Moroccan Chicken

4 Servings

  • 1.5 # deboned chicken thighs
  • 1 can garbanzos/chick peas
  • 2 white or yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 2 T ground cumin
  • 1 T ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 T turmeric
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 T oil (I use grapeseed, but any veg or canola will do)–not EVOO on this one
  • 1/3-1/2 c lemon juice

Dry chicken pieces with a paper towel.  Combine the cumin, pepper, turmeric and salt and put on a large plate.  Press the chicken into the dry mix, coating both sides well and massage lightly into the chicken.  You may need to mix up more of the dry mix if you run short –just don’t go chintzy on the rub!  Let marinade for 15 or so minutes.

Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan (one with a well-fitting lid is best) to medium. You want the pan hot enough to brown the chicken in about 2 minutes without burning.  So cook each side for 2 minutes until nicely brown and pull from the pan and set aside.  Turn the heat in the pan down to low or medium low and add the onions.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until it starts to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the garbanzo beans (and the juice from the can) and the lemon juice and cook for about 3 minutes.  Stir well and make sure the burner is on low.  Add the chicken to the pan scoop the onion and garbanzo bean mix on top of the chicken put the lid on the pan and let cook for 20 minutes.  Flip the chicken over and scoop the onion/garbanzo mix on top of the chicken again.  Place the lid back on the pan and cook for at least another 20 minutes.  The chicken should be falling apart at this point and ready to be served.  You can continue to slow simmer the dish until it becomes more like a stew if you want–just as you like! I have cooked this dish up to about two hours before.

Serve the moroccan chicken over roughly smashed new potatoes, Mediterranean couscous, or rice.  Garnish with a couple of steamed carrots.  A nice California chardonnay works very well with this savory meal.

Bon Appetit!

 

Colorful, delicious and easy chicken

 

 

Italian delight frittata

Italian Delight served with home-made Rosemary black pepper ciabatta

I thought I better follow up my last entry with a hearty breakfast option that is also heart healthy AND a lot more respectful of the waistline.  TOFU HATERS CONTINUE TO READ, OPEN YOUR MIND, AND GIVE THIS A TRY!  IT IS MY PLAN TO BRING YOU OVER TO THE LIGHTER SIDE WITH THIS TASTY DISH!!

Sadly many of you have never had tofu done right and would rather skip breakfast (and reading this post) over trying this ridiculously delicious frittata.   I must confess that just a few short years ago I was right there with you, running for the door when tofu was mentioned.  My first experience with tofu was with a flavorless, oddly textured patty, at which point I vowed I would never go THERE again!  Thankfully, a very patient friend of mine encouraged a reintroduction and I was completely blown away…it was fantastic!  I can’t and won’t say that I eat a ton of tofu today, but I definitely enjoy it and at times really LOVE IT!  This dish is one of my many tofu loves!  There is so much great flavor in every bite and the texture is such that you will not even get that you aren’t eating eggs!  I know this dish will change your attitude about this really versatile alternative to meat, so give it a try and you are welcome!

Tofu Frittata

Servings:  4

  • 1 # extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, roughly chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 c artichokes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 t oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes or EVOO
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 t dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme (my preference)
  • big pinch of tumeric (approx 1/4-1/2 t)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 c fresh basil leaves torn into pieces

Tofu in the scrambled egg consistency

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Using your fingers, crumble the tofu until it resembles the texture of scrambled eggs.  Mix in all other ingredients well using your fingers (like making meatloaf).  Put it in a lightly greased (PAM cooking spray is works great!) casserole dish or non-stick pan.  Bake for 20 minutes then broil for 2-5 minutes, until the top browns just a little.  Serve with a side of fresh fruit and some whole grain toast.

Sweet potato hash

Sweet potato hash

This one takes me back to some really fun times with friends!  Just thinking about it makes me smile…and my tummy growl!  This is my remake of a vintage (circa 2005) Rachael Ray dish.  The original was good, but adding some smoky heat and tripling the spices makes it even better.  Pour yourself a big glass of juice and/or coffee and get ready for a hearty feast that will satisfy you until dinner!

Sweet potato hash

Servings:  4-5

  • 1 very large sweet potato, washed and sliced into very thin coins
  • 1 large red onion, roughly sliced
  • 1 # hickory smoked ground breakfast sausage
  • eggs
  • 2-3 T chili powder
  • 1-2 T freshly ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1-2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • splash of EVOO
  • freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl mix the cumin, coriander and chili powder together well and set aside.

Add a splash of EVOO to a large frying pan and warm over low heat.  Add the sausage and cook until it just starts to brown.  Add the sliced red onion and chipotle pepper flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2 of the spice mix and stir in well.  Place the sweet potatoes on top of the sausage mix and sprinkle with the remaining spices until well coated.  Place a lid over the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the lid, stir the contents well and continue to cook for 5 or so minutes.  Make a space in the middle of your frying pan and cook the eggs to your desired doneness–adding crushed black pepper and/or other spices desired for the egg.  Dish out the hash, top with the cooked eggs and serve.

Andy’s trail mix

Andy's trail mix ingredients

Tired of buying trail mixes that are overpriced and stale from sitting around at the store for too long.  Why don’t you stop the madness and make your own!  That is what we do!  This mix of nuts, fruit and dark chocolate gives my sweetie energy on our hikes and makes a great road trip snack!  I just load up on the ingredients at Sams and can throw this mix together in about 2 minutes!  Sometimes I sub hot or smoked almonds in for the dry roasted peanuts for a nice change!  We love this snack and I think you will too!

Andy’s trail mix

Equal parts craisins, dry roasted peanuts, shelled pistachios, and dark chocolate chips.  Mix together well and ENJOY!

 

 

Tropicaf Martini

Is it happy hour yet??

So it is Friday evening and you are prepping for a big night out (or dinner with the family)!  After your long, exhausting week what you really need is a coffee, but a nice cold adult beverage  sounds soooo good!

–what to do??  Quickly whip together this awesome tropicaf martini and your problem is easily solved!  Check out the ingredient list for this drink and tell me if you can think of a better way to start the weekend??  Ha!  I didn’t think so!  I have the martini glasses chillin in the freezer as I type!  5 O’Clock won’t come soon enough!!

Tropicaf Martin

Tropicaf Martini

Servings:  1 delicious drink!

  • 1 1/2-2 oz Malibu (or kahlua or Baileys, or butterscotch schnapps or a combo).  Try not to go over 2 oz of alcohol or you will lose the flavor of the drink and it may end up being a very short night regardless of the coffee!
  • 3 oz Silks’s vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/2-1 tsp instant coffee
  • chocolate syrup or dark chocolate shavings (optional garnish)
  • maraschino cherry (optional garnish)

Make sure your martini glass is frozen.  If not, place a couple of pieces of ice in your glass and add water.  Let sit while you prep the drink.  FYI–I paid for college working as a bartender and the secret to a really great martini is making sure it is SUPER COLD!  So don’t skip this step, PLEASE!

In your shaker, add the coconut milk, BOOZE, instant coffee and a 1/2 c ice.  Shake the daylights out of it.  When you are done shaking, shake some more!  Dump the water out of your martini glass, pour the contents of the shaker into the glass, and garnish!

Spicy charred bell pepper soup

Spicy charred bell pepper soup

It is unseasonably warm here in the Ozarks right now, but that hasn’t stopped me from firing up the oven to make healthful and delicious meals!  Check out this beautiful soup that I made a few nights ago.  Isn’t it pretty??  And you won’t believe how smoky and satisfying it is–at least until you try it!  Keep in mind that it is packed full of vitamins and fiber, so if you wake up the next morning with an extra kick in your step, don’t be surprised.  Ahhhh…it is so fun to eat and feel well!!

 

Spicy charred bell pepper soup

Servings:  about 6

  • 6 bell peppers–red, orange,  yellow,  cut in half and seeded
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 1/2 c heavy cream (milk or soymilk)
  • 1 1/2 c corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 small can diced green chilis
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 1-2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-2 T butter
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to low broil.  Place bell peppers on a cooking sheet skin side up and cook on the bottom rack of oven until the skin is charred.  Remove from oven and place in a zip lock bag.  Put in the freezer for 10 minute or so.  Remove the skin once it has loosened from the flesh of the pepper and discard.  Chop the pepper flesh and set aside.

While the peppers are cooking add a splash of EVOO, 1 t chipotle pepper flakes to a medium skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue cooking until the corn is nicely browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the corn and peppers are doing their thing, place the butter in a stock pot and warm over low/medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic,  1 t chipotle pepper flakes, and green chilis and cook for another 5-7 minutes.  Add the chopped bell pepper and roasted corn and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Transfer ingredients to food processor and  chop until you achieve the consistency you desire for the soup (small chunks or puree–it is up to you!).  Add this back to the stock pot, turn heat to low and and stir in the tomato paste, veg stock, cream, salt, pepper, and paprika.   Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Uncover and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Taste and adjust flavors as needed.  Serve with a sprinkle of roasted corn and/or cilantro as the garnish.

Sesame broccoli

RAW broccoli!

I love, love, love cooked broccoli!  Raw?  Not so much.  Without ranch dressing (or veg dip) it just seems like I am eating a big hunk of bamboo or something equally dry and stalky…PLUS, the gas aftermath is just brutal!  Who is with me on that?!?!  If it wasn’t for all of those stinkin  nutrients I would skip it all together!  Instead of skippin it, I am going to try to create some recipes to help me ENJOY it.

So my broccoli journey began last night.  We had my mother-in-law over for dinner and I made this very simple Asian flavored broccoli dish for my side.  My expectations were fairly low, given the simplicity of it, but I was pleasantly surprised!  Letting the broccoli marinade in the sauce for some time softens and flavors it just enough to make it quite enjoyable!  I had two broccoli lovers at the table, and they both raved over this dish. It was a hit with both lovers and haters -which means I am 1-0!!  Whats next on my journey?  I don’t know, but I will definitely be putting this one on a fairly regular rotation here at the casa.   Now if I could just solve that gas problem…

Sesame Broccoli

Servings:  5-6

  • 1 head of broccoli, cleaned and cut into pieces (retain as much of the stem as palatable)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T sesame seeds
  • 1/2 T toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 T grapeseed oil (or veg oil)
  • dash of hot pepper (optional)

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except the broccoli and mix well.  Add the broccoli, place the air tight lid on the bowl and shake well.  If you do not have a lidded bowl, just make sure you are mixing the broccoli in so that it is completely coated with the sauce.  Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes (even better if you can go longer) at room temperature before serving.  Sprinkle more sesame seeds on as a garnish as desired.