Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oaxacan Black Mole

8oz dried pasilla chiles
hot water

Spice blend:
1-2 TBS seeds from the softened pasillas
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp three peppercorn blend
1/2 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
3 TBS slivered almonds
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds

3 TBS olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled & quartered
4-5 tomatillos, husked, rinsed & chopped

2 chipotle chiles in ancho sauce

2 c chicken stock + more as needed
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TBS honey
1 TBS dry red wine
salt to taste

Place dried chiles in very large non-metal bowl, cover with hot water. You may need to place a plate on top of them to keep them submerged. Stir occasionally, and let soak for at least 2 hours to rehydrate until the peppers are soft & pliable. Remove the peppers, stem & seed them saving 2 TBS of the seeds, & place in another bowl; reserve the liquid.

Now, dry roast the spice blend. Place all blend ingredients in large, dry, heavy cast iron fry pan. Roast over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep them from burning. Allow the blend to brown nicely, but do not burn. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place the roasted blend in a spice mill or coffee grinder & grind to a fine powder.

Add olive oil to the fry pan & saute the onion, garlic and tomatillos until soft & fragrant. Remove from heat.

Set large stock pot on stove, measure in 1 c of the pasilla soaking water.

Working in batches with a blender (not a food processor), puree 1/3 of the pasillas & the chipotles with a portion of the onion, garlic & tomatillo mixture, adding a little of the chicken stock as needed to form a smooth, thick puree. Pour into stock pot and repeat, in batches, until all ingredients are pureed.

Add the remaining stock, 2-4 TBS of the ground spice blend, & the cocoa powder to the puree in the stock pot, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Heat the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the honey & red wine, and add salt to taste. Simmer the mole until it is thick and flavorful, adding stock if the mole thickens too much (it should be pourable).

Tia's Tortillas

1/3 c coarse ground cornmeal
2 c water

4 c flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBS butter (or margarine) + additional

Combine corn meal & water in medium heavy saucepan, place over medium heat. Bring to rapid boil, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool to luke-warm temperature (you will be mixing this with your hands, you do not want it too hot to touch).

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in large mixing bowl, stirring gently with wooden spoon to combine. Cut in butter, mixing gently with hands until worked throughout. Spoon cornmeal evenly into flour mixture, mix quickly but gently with hands until a rough dough forms. Gather into 1 large lump and rub outside thoroughly with butter. Pinch off small amount (golfball size clumps) and roll into balls; dip lightly in flour & roll to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes, lightly covered with cloth towel.

Preheat heavy griddle over medium heat (or electric to 350). Working with one ball at a time, flatten dough ball into disc shape. Plunk onto lightly floured surface; using rolling pin, roll lightly from middle, turning dough after each roll, until desired thickness. Cook on griddle, flipping when tortilla begins to "bubble". Cook until done. Stack & wrap in cloth until cool.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Florentine Lasagna Soup

2 TBS olive oil
1.25 lbs. extra lean ground beef

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp crushed dried red pepper
salt to taste (I use 1/2 tsp, you may want more)

2 - 14 oz cans petite diced tomatoes (or 1 can crushed, 1 can diced)
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste

5 c. warm organic beef broth (or 5 c. water & good boullion)

2 c. mafalda (mini lasagna) or bow tie pasta

1 & 1/2 c fresh baby spinach, cut in 1/4 inch wide strips
1/4 c fresh basil, cut in 1/8 inch wide strips

shredded 5 cheese Italian blend

Heat oil over medium high heat in large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add meat & brown well. Add onion & garlic & cook, stirring often, until onion just begins to be translucent. Add seasonings.

Add one can of tomatoes, crushing well with a fork (or use 1 can crushed tomatoes). Add additional can of tomatoes & tomato paste, stirring well to incorporate.

Pour in warm broth & blend in well; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in pasta; cover. Continue to simmer for an additional 7 minutes, stirring often. Blend in spinach & basil, cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until pasta is al dente.

To serve, ladle into bowls & top with 1/4 c shredded cheese blend, stirring to melt. Pair with a salad & a nice crusty bread.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tres Leches Cake

CAKE
2 & 1/4 c unbleached flour
3 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup (8 TBS) unsalted butter, softened
1 & 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 & 1/4 c milk (I use 1%)

TRES LECHES
1 c whipping cream
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c milk (again, I used 1%)
2 TBS Bacardi white rum

TOPPING
Freshly whipped or canned whipped cream
Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease & flour 9x13 non-stick cake pan.

Blend together flour, baking powder, & salt in medium bowl; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter & sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla & blend until smooth.

Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients, mix until just incorporated, then 1/2 the milk, & repeat. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until lightly browned & center tests clean. Remove to wire rack to cool 15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, whisk together all Tres Leches ingredients. When cake has cooled slightly, pierce evenly with long tined fork (about 1- 1 1/2 inches apart). Pour the milk mixture slowly & evenly over top of cake, covering completely. Allow cake to cool, refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Cut cake & serve individual pieces with whipped cream to top & cinnamon to sprinkle. If all cake will be used immediately, spread with whipped cream & sprinkle cinnamon lightly over the top before cutting & serving.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thai Basil Cashew Chicken

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce
fresh juice of one lime
2 tsp honey
1 TBS corn starch

2 TBS olive oil
1.25 lb chicken breast, cubed

1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 hot pepper (jalapeno, serrano or thai), minced

1/2 c roasted, unsalted cashews

1/4 c fresh Thai basil leaves

Combine soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and corn starch in small ceramic bowl, set aside.

Heat oil in Dutch oven or wok; add chicken & saute until no longer pink and any juice has cooked off. Add onion, garlic & peppers & saute until onion becomes translucent. Stir in cashews & cook until heated through (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Pour in sauce mixture, thoroughly combine; cook until thick & bubbly. Quickly stir in Thai basil leaves, cook briefly until wilted.

Serve over Jasmine rice.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Perfect Pizza Sauce

2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS minced Sun-dried Tomatoes, dried, not packed in olive oil

1/4 cup red wine

1 - 6 ounce can of tomato paste

1 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

3 TBS fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut

Heat small (1.5 qt) heavy sauce pan over moderate heat. Add olive oil; when heated, add onion and garlic. Saute until onion begins to look transparent. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes; saute 3 minutes.

Pour in the wine, stir well to combine; simmer until reduced by half, stirring frequently.

Add tomato paste and whisk until well blended. Add 1/2 cup of water, whisking thoroughly. Continue to add the water until sauce reaches your desired thickness. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Add fresh basil & stir until incorporated. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before using, or refrigerate until later.

Makes 1 cup of sauce, enough for the entire recipe of Perfect Pizza Dough.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Whiskey Chocolate Syrup

2 1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa
1 1/2 TBS flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 c. milk
2 TBS Jameson Irish Whiskey

Place sugar, cocoa, flour & salt in a medium saucepan, stir to blend. Add 1/2 c. of the milk, and whisk until a thick paste forms. Add the remaining milk and whisk until thoroughly combined. Put saucepan on medium heat & bring the mixture just to a boil, whisking often. When sauce boils, immediately reduce heat & simmer gently for 7 minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat, whisk in Jameson Irish Whiskey until well combined. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.

Luck O' the Irish Cheesecake

Layered Irish Cream & Guinness Cheesecake with a Chocolate Shortbread Crust and Jameson Chocolate Syrup

CRUST
6 TBS butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Gocoa

FILLING
3 - 8oz packages of Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. flour
3 large eggs

1/2 c. Irish Cream Liquor

2 TBS Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa
1/4 c. Guinness Stout

JAMESON CHOCOLATE SYRUP TOPPING
2 1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa
1 1/2 TBS flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 c. milk
2 TBS Jameson Irish Whiskey

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325. Place one rack on bottom level, one in center. Lightly butter the bottom & sides of a 9-in. springform pan. Place on a double thickness square of heavy-duty foil. Securely wrap foil around bottom & sides (about 1/4 inch up) of pan.

In a small bowl, soften butter (do NOT melt); add the flour, brown sugar and cocoa; mix with fork until crumbly. Gently press onto the bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven & set to cool slightly on wire rack.

Pour water into an 8-inch metal pie pan until half full. Place on bottom rack of oven after baked crust is removed. (This will keep the cheesecake from cracking when it bakes.)

WHILE CRUST BAKES:
In a large electric mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt on medium speed until smooth & creamy. Add sugar & flour, beat until well combined & smooth. Add eggs one at a time; beating on low speed of mixer until well blended.

Remove 1 & 3/4 c. batter to a small mixing bowl; set aside.

Add Irish Cream to remaining batter & beat until even consistency.

To reserved batter, gently whisk in 2 TBS cocoa until evenly incorporated. Slowly pour in Guinness & whisk gently until evenly combined. Batter will be thinner than the Irish Cream batter.

Gently pour Irish Cream batter evenly over warm crust; do not attempt to spread. Slowly pour Guinness batter over Irish Cream layer, starting in center, allowing batter to spread evenly. Smooth very gently with the back of a spoon if necessary to make batter reach the sides.

Place cheesecake pan on center rack of oven. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears evenly dull. The top of the cheesecake should be at an even height & turning just lightly golden around the edges.

Remove cheesecake from oven & set on a wire rack to cool. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; cool 1-1/2 hours.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight until cheesecake is well chilled, allowing flavors to develop.

Make syrup while the cheesecake cools:
Place sugar, cocoa, flour & salt in a medium saucepan, stir to blend. Add 1/2 c. of the milk, and whisk until a thick paste forms. Add the remaining milk and whisk until thoroughly combined. Put saucepan on medium heat & bring the mixture just to a boil, whisking often. When sauce boils, immediately reduce heat & simmer gently for 7 minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat, whisk in Jameson Irish Whiskey until well combined. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.

Carefully remove sides of springform pan. Serve with Jameson Chocolate Syrup.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blood Orange Cheesecake with Toasted Almond Shortbread Crust

CRUST
6 TBS butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. ground toasted almonds*
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground orange peel

FILLING
3 - 8oz packages of Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
8 oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. fresh squeezed blood orange** juice
1 TBS fresh grated blood orange peel
1 tsp pure vanilla
4 large eggs

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325. Place one rack on bottom level, one in center. Lightly butter the sides only of a 9-in. springform pan. Place on a double thickness square of heavy-duty foil. Securely wrap foil around bottom & sides (about 1/4 inch up) of pan.

In a small bowl, soften butter (do NOT melt); add the flour, sugar, ground almonds, ginger & orange peel; mix with fork until crumbly. Gently press onto the bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven & set to cool slightly on wire rack.

Pour water into an 8-inch metal pie pan until half full. Place on bottom rack of oven after baked crust is removed. (This will keep the cheesecake from cracking when it bakes.)

WHILE CRUST BAKES:
In a large electric mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar, mixing until well blended. Add flour, blood orange juice, blood orange peel, and vanilla; beat until well combined & smooth. Add eggs one at a time; beating on low speed of mixer until well blended after each addition.

Gently spoon cheesecake batter over crust, spreading evenly.

Place cheesecake pan on center rack of oven. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears evenly dull. The top of the cheesecake should be at an even height or just slightly lower in the center & turning just lightly golden around the edges.

Remove cheesecake from oven & set on a wire rack to cool. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; cool on rack for 1-1/2 hours.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight until cheesecake is well chilled. Carefully remove sides of springform pan, slice & serve.

*To toast almonds, place single layer of almonds in glass pie plate & place in oven as it is preheating. Roast for 6-10 minutes. Watch closely so they do not burn. Allow to cool, grind in food processor.

**One large fresh blood orange should yield more than enough fresh grated peel & juice.