Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday Night Dinner - Salt Crusted Pork Loin and Oven Roasted Pumpkin

Our local grocery store has recently run some amazing specials on pork loin, $1/pound - unfortunately for me they only sell them in massive sizes so being that I'm intrigued by the price I went ahead and bought a monster pork loin and have been testing out various recipes for using the thirds that I cut the meat into once it came home. First go-round was a BBQ pulled pork, it wasn't bad but the pork loin didn't have enough fat to keep it moist over the long-slow cooking process. Second time around was a big hit, I adapted a recipe that I found in a Curtis Stone cookbook (my favorite Aussie chef), Roast Loin of Free-Range Pork with Roast Pumpkin....a great way to use some of that pork loin that was perfect for a chilly fall evening.

Roast Loin of Free-Range Pork with Roast Pumpkin

3 1/4 LB Loin of Pork
1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
1/8 Cup White Sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 1/4 Cups of peeled, cubed Pumpkin
1 Tbsp Fresh Majoram Leaves
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1. Preheat oven to 425. Score the loin of pork with a very sharp knife and rub with salt and sugar, then drizzle with olive oil.
2. Place on a rack in a roasting dish and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 and roast for an additional 50 minutes.
3. While pork is in the oven, preheat a separate baking dish for pumpkin.
4. Place cubed pumpkin in dish and toss with oil. Don't put too much oil in the dish or the pumpkin will become soggy, not crisp.
5. Sprinkle the pumpkin with marjoram leaves and roast int eh oven for the last 30 minutes of the pork's cooking time. Turn the pumpkin frequently to ensure even cooking.
6. Drizzle the pumpkin with maple syrup and return to oven to keep warm until serving time.
7. Once pork is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

While the pumpkin served as a delicious side, I had some potatoes that needed to be used so I made a simple family favorite, potatoes au gratin (aka cheesy potatoes).

Potatoes Au Gratin

1/2 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
1 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
5-6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, Thinly Sliced in Rounds

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking dish, then arrange first layer of potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a mix of the Swiss and Parmesan cheese over the layer. Continue layering potatoes and cheese until you have used all potatoes.
2. Whisk half and half with flour, salt, and pepper. Pour over potato and cheese mixture.
3. Put one last layer of cheese on top. Dot butter on top of the cheese and sprinkle paprika over the top.
4. Bank 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, until top is bubbly and golden brown.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flan and apologies...

So apparently every time I think I've caught up and work and life and everything else have slowed down and I feel like I can get back to things I enjoy (knitting, blogging, you know the good things :) ) I end up being wrong - very wrong! Last month was a complete bust, well not professionally, just blog-wise because I ended up working my tail off for the latter 1/2 of the month in a way that is uncommon unless it's the end of a quarter. This month is starting to escape and I feel like the ultimate blog slacker, a very sad blog slacker. Everyone has been posting up delicious seasonal recipes and I realized that while I've been cooking (sort of) it's nothing like the amazing dishes that I'm seeing online - like I said, I'm a slacker!

Alas, once more I will try to regain my blogging devotion - I present for your enjoyment a favorite recipe (probably been posted here before) with a new twist - Flan Napolitano with Fresh Blackberry Sauce. The Flan is a tried and true favorite, one I originally got from mom (see her post from 07)

Flan Napolitano
1/4 c. Sugar
4 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk~La Lechera, or Eagle Brand
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
4 oz. cream cheese (small Philadelphia cream cheese packet)

Caramelize & melt sugar in the bottom of flan pan (9 inch cake pan with high sides will be fine also but cover firmly with foil when baking), allow it to darken, set aside. Add all remaining ingredients: eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla & cream cheese, placing into a blender. Blend till this mixture is smooth, about 1 min. Then pour into Flan Pan onto caramelized sugar in bottom of pan. Place lid on flan pan & clamp down. Place flan pan in H2O (about 2-3 inches up the side of the pan in water bath) Bake 1 hr. 15 min. @ 350 or till knife comes out clean & flan is firm. Cool in pan. Can be refrigerated over night for best firmness & flavor. Place in warm water to loosen from pan & turn out onto platter or cake stand. The burnt sugar caramel makes the top of the Flan a nice golden color.

Fresh Blackberry Sauce:
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 c. fresh or frozen blackberries

Combine lemon juice and cornstarch in saucepan. Add sugar and blackberries. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick. Once it has thickened to desired consistency, pull aside and pour through a fine sieve, press as much juice as you can through the sieve. Use juice as sauce - discard what is left in sieve.

Yup I'm ok with the fact that this is really not a seasonal fruit, actually I made this back in May and have kept it stashed (ok I forgot to post it) but it is tasty no matter what!

And just because I need to show off something funny - here's a photo from our newest grocery spot - Sporuts - they had a 'cheese artist' who carved Bevo (aka the Longhorns' mascot) into a gigantic block of chipotle cheese not something you see every day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Friday Night Dinner Fancy BBQ Chicken

So we've taken to a new ritual in my family, everyone eats together on Friday nights, which is great since my sister and I both live somewhere other than home with my parents. Most of my recent posts have been about something I made for Friday night dinner but now I'm going to try and be more consistent in posting the Friday Night Dinner Specials. First on the list is one I made earlier, while it was still summer, straight from Bon Apetit (September 2009) is Art Smith's recipe for BBQ Chicken with homeade BBQ sauce and a delicious slaw.

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
Olive oil
Brown Sugar and Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Brown Sugar and Coffee Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups chopped white onions
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chile
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee or 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water

2 cups thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 medium carrots, cut into thin matchstick-size strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted, plus additional for griddle

3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
Vinegar Slaw

Special equipment: 2 cups wood chips (such as hickory, apple, or cherry), soaked in 2 cups water for 1 hour, then drained; 13x9x1-inch disposable aluminum foil baking pan preparation

For Brown Sugar and Coffee Barbecue Sauce:
1.Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2.Add onions, garlic, and jalapeño; sauté until onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
3.Add brown sugar, chili powder, molasses, cilantro, and cumin; stir until sugar dissolves.
4.Stir in crushed tomatoes with puree, broth, and coffee; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 4 cups, stirring often, about 35 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
**DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

For chicken:
1.Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Spread drained wood chips in disposable foil pan. Remove grill racks from barbecue. Place foil pan with wood chips directly atop hot coals (for charcoal barbecue) or over flames (for gas barbecue). Return grill rack to barbecue.
2.Brush chicken with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When wood chips begin to smoke, place chicken on grill rack above pan with wood chips. Cover grill and smoke chicken until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 18 minutes.
3.Transfer to large bowl and cool slightly.
4.Shred chicken into bite-size strips; place in same bowl. Mix 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce into chicken.
**DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm chicken in barbecue sauce over medium-low heat before using, adding more barbecue sauce to moisten mixture, if needed.

For slaw:
1.Toss first 4 ingredients in large bowl.
2.Whisk oil, vinegar, and sugar to blend in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3.Add dressing to vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours, tossing occasionally. Toss to blend before using.

For hoecakes:
1.Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add 1 cup water and melted butter and whisk until well blended.
2.Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle.
3.Using back of spoon, immediately spread batter for each cake into oval shape about 4x21/2 inches; cook until bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn cakes over and cook until bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
4.Place hoecakes on baking sheet and transfer to oven to keep warm while making remaining cakes.
5.Place 2 hoecakes on each of 6 plates; sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheddar cheese over each cake. Top each with warm chicken in barbecue sauce. Spoon Vinegar Slaw atop chicken and serve.

The entire dish was a big hit - especially the chicken, the smoky flavor from the wood chips was so good the family discussed making the chicken without sauce at some point!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Birthday Brunch Redux

This past week was a little light on activity for me because I was completely distracted by my birthday! That's right, my birthday was this past Wednesday, September 16. In celebration of my birthday and the birthday of a dear friend (Mickey), I hosted brunch at my house last Sunday. A week later (today) I'm finally getting a chance to post pics of the tasty treats that went with some bottomless mimosas :)

Me, Mickey and Jenn a while back - two of my close friends!

Turkey Sausage & Cheese Strata

* 1 large (20 ounce) loaf Italian or French bread, cubed
* 1 cup cooked turkey breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
* 1/2 large onion, chopped
* 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, or 1 garlic clove
* 1 cup sauteed mushrooms and red bell pepper
* 3 Tablespoons butter
* 3 1/2 cups skim fat milk
* 12 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
* 2-3 Tablespoons spicy grain prepared mustard
* 2 cups total shredded cheese; combination of gouda and smoked cheddar
* Sprinkle of Herbs de Provonce
* 1/4 c. of Panko

How To Make Strata Breakfast Casserole

1. Spray a 9" X 13" baking dish with vegetable spray. Set aside.
2. Cook sausage until done. Drain on paper towels.
3. Saute the onion and garlic together in butter.
4. Saute mushrooms and red bell peppers until just tender.
5. Place half the cubed bread in the prepared baking dish.
6. In a large mixing bowl, whisk or beat cream, half & half or milk, eggs, salt, pepper and mustard until foamy and blended well. Remove from mixer and add cheese.
7. Layer half the onions, veggies if using them and bacon or ham on top of the bread.
8. Pour half the milk and egg mixture over the bread. Repeat with another layer of bread and all the toppings, finishing off with the remaining milk and egg mixture.
9. Press the mixture down with clean hands until all the bread is soaked. Sprinkle with herbs. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top, press again, and refrigerate the strata at least 8 hours or overnight.
10. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 65 - 80 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. During the last five minutes, sprinkle the top with panko. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving. Be careful, the strata will be hot.
**Serves 8 - 10 main size portions, or 15 -20 brunch size servings.

This recipe is an old one my mother has made many holiday mornings, it's tasty with ham instead of the sausage and you could sub just about any veggie you can think of for the mushrooms and bell peppers, same for the cheese. It was a huge hit. We enjoyed the strata and our mimosas and then later had a sweet treat with these delicious chocolate coconut macaroons.

The backstory here is that earlier in the week I had met my father at Whole Foods for lunch and we got some chocolate coconut macaroons for dessert, they were so good that I became slightly obsessed with finding a comparable homemade version. I've got a few recipes I'd like to try other than this one but this was really tasty and so easy I'll definitely make it again.

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
*4 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
*3 large egg whites
*1/4 cup cocoa powder
*3/4 cup granulated white sugar
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir in the coconut and melted chocolate, making sure the coconut is well coated. If the mixture is too soft, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
4. Place small mounds (about 1 tablespoon) of the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing several inches apart.
5. Bake for about 15 or until the macaroons are shiny. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.
**Makes about 20 Macaroons

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Slightly late Labor Day Tart....

National Holiday, red white and blue tart...yup that sounds good to me. Sorry my Labor Day weekend was spent mainly watching loads of college football (which means my Labor Day post is nearly a week late!), the kick-off of one of my favorite things just happens to coincide with a three day weekend, coincidence, I think not! Before college I could've cared less about most sports, yes I was a Cowboys fan back in the day (thanks to my Mom) but really sports just didn't have much time in my world...college changed that, I drank the orange kool-aid, got brainwashed, whatever you want to say but yes I became one more of the devoted, one those folks who have two seasons each year - football season and not football season! So, to celebrate, here's my red-white-blue tart for the end of the summer holidays (oh and yes to anyone who needs to know - my Longhorns have been doing quite nicely, 2-0 for the season, yes it might be a slightly simple schedule to date but I have faith that the winning will continue!).

Raspberry - Blueberry Tart ala Mode

2 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Stick Cold Butter, Diced into Cubes
1/4 Cup Water

1 1/2 Cup Fresh Raspberries
1 1/2 Cup Fresh Blueberries
1/2 Cup Sugar
Zest of 1 Lemon

1. In a food processor, add all dough ingredients. Pulse until well combined. Remove dough from processor and knead with a small amount of flour until smooth ball forms. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
2. Heat oven to 400F. Grease and flour 9-inch tart pan.
3. Roll dough out on a well floured work board or counter-top to about 1/4 inch thickness. Roll over rolling-pin and then lay over tart pan, press into pan.
4. Gently mix berries, sugar and lemon zest.
5. Place berry mixture inside the shell. Bake 20-25 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Seven: Hatch Chilaquiles

On the tongue
one can taste
conquistador's sword
piercing hides
of a thousand tribes
where skin bruises
calloused heel of naked foot
loin cloth and brass
Bolivia unfolding
If you listen to the crackle
gunning against lustful chicharras
perched among the mesquite's
still limbs
delicate as a child's embrace
you get fallout
of acidic torrents
Tarahumara talismans
strewn in a heart of seeds
To eat Hatch
is to eat Espanola and Chimayo
monsoon downpour
of silt and filament
is to eat adobe
homo smoke tendrils
of cedar and sassafras
unfurling dusk
and the sun torn faces
of its people;
construction belts cocked waist-side
tired denim & broken boot heels
sunk in red pulp of mud
where dances a white scorpion
And lift the hood of an old pick up
to eat exhaust
bash the knuckles on failing engines
curse carburetors
and canticles of Church mad sufferings
and hail the saints
of the downtrodden
eat them too
in molcajete mash
peyote and holy waters
for broken levies in the ducts
ablutionary floods
wrecked glands in the aftermath
To eat Hatch is to eat Sandia
& Rock City, Old Mesilla
receive sacred Capsaicin
& excavate the bones of Papago
make offerings to Chiltepin
L'itoi Ko'okal
prayers of new beginnings
where birthed a woman
I call mother
desert child with thick convictions
& cancerous misshapings
in the chest cavity
a single cactus flower
flowing outward
from the scar
taste razor mesh
in the holy emerald
corrugated border walls
& boot stomped altars
in shadows of saguaro
strewn pants empty
with blood on the knees
speckled like red strewn ristras
half drunk water bottles
& love letters
left to stew
in ghosts of parched dreams
where discarded sheaths of rattlesnake
slither in the breeze
to eat Hatch is to eat exoskeleton
of trembling coyote
volcanic rubble and fossil of fern
desert clamshells that keep rainbows
that mimic the cosmogenesis unfolding
of nebulas yet to be bom
in ripe plums of midnight
a reptilian abode
deep in the red, nuclear fallout
of spent bombs
smoked honeycombs
& petrified oysters
rusted harmonicas
wailing nursery rhymes
half throated war ballads
electric duende
in the seed-Flamenco!
clutch the stem
and taste yucca
flautist blowing arias
of brilliant infernos
scribing the esophagus
with the abandon
of Lorca's pen
and I devour each verse with
wild consideration
the way an infant swine gobbles at its mother's
fleshy nipple
for that noble nectar
only to be harvested
and flared forth
in the gut of origin.
Canto for a Hatch Chile
Tim Hernandez

After running out of chile facts I stumbled across this, it's a little more literary than I tend to be on my blog but it seemed like a good way to close my Hatch Chile week posts. Today's post is an homage to one of my favorite foods, something that I didn't even know existed until the last few years (really since my parents moved to Mexico), Chilaquiles. What are Chilaquiles you ask,

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish. Typically, corn tortillas cut in quarters and fried are the basis of the dish. Green or red salsa or mole, is poured over the crispy tortilla triangles, called "totopos." The mixture is simmered until the tortilla starts softening. Eggs (scrambled or fried) and pulled chicken are sometimes added to the mix. The dish is topped with cheese (typically queso fresco) and/or sour cream (crema), and it is served with refried beans. Like many dishes, regional and familiar variation are quite common.

Usually, chilaquiles are eaten at breakfast or brunch. This makes them a popular recipe to use leftover tortillas and salsas.

To start my Chilaquiles, I needed some salsa, I make red salsa fairly often but haven't made green salsa, which seemed much more accommodating to my Hatch theme....so Salsa Verde it is!

Salsa Verde
5 Tomatillos
1/4 Large Sweet Onion
3 Whole Cloves, Peeled Garlic
3 Hatch Chiles (Seeded or not depending on your preference for heat)
1/2 Cup Cilantro
1/2 Tsp Salt
Juice of 2 Limes

1. Broil/Roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and chiles until they are charred on the outside. Turn to ensure even cooking.
2. Remove from oven once they are charred, allow them to cool.
3. Toss all veggies, salt, cilantro and lime into a blender and blend until desired consistency.

12 Slightly Stale Corn Tortillas
1/2 Tsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Salsa (Red or Green)
Creama/Sour Cream
1 12oz Can Chicken

Possible Garnish:
Chopped Red Onion

1. Heat large skillet with oil. Cut tortillas into quarters. Saute tortillas in oil until they are slightly crispy and browning.
2. Remove tortillas from skillet, place chicken and salsa in skillet and heat until warmed (a few minutes at most). Put tortillas back in skillet and mix. Serve topped with creama and whatever garnish you desire.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Six: Hatch-Hefewisen Chile

Today I'm cheating a little and re-posting an oldie but a goodie, Hatch-Hefewisen Chile! Originally I made this from some frozen Hatch Chile that I had saved from a previous Hatch Festival (ala Central Market), it was intended to showcase my favorite Texas Beer (Shiner Bock) for Texas Independence Day but instead will be used to as a platform for this weeks theme, Hatch Chile!

The origins of the Hatch Chile can of course be traced to Hatch, New Mexico! Hatch is known as the Chile Capital of the World (a self proclaimed, but well deserved title). Nearly one hundred years ago, Dr. Fabian Garcia, a horticulture professor, developed a chile pepper that was bigger, fleshier, and milder in taste and resembled a vegetable. Suggesting field-gathered seeds to be used instead of certified seed sources, farmers could then plant peppers that produced consistent and fixed heat levels, thanks to Dr. Garcia. Thus the Hatch Chile was born!

Hatch-Hefewisen Chile
1 Bottle Shiner Bock Hefewisen
3 LB Ground Sirloin
3 15.5 oz Cans Pinto Beans
2 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Roasted, Chopped and Seeded Hatch Chile (yup, I'm aware this beauty is from New Mexico but that's okay)
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 Small Chopped Onion
1 Small Can Tomato Paste (pretty sure that's a 6 oz can but can't remember)
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Adams Extract Pinto Bean Seasoning
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Salt
3 Cups Beef Broth
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Garnish)

1. Brown the ground beef in large stew pot with a small amount of olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper. Once it's brown, remove it from the pot and drain off any excess fat.
2. While the meat is draining, saute the onion and garlic until onion is tender, approximately 5 minutes.
3. Put meat back in pot with onion and garlic, add tomatoes (with juice), beans, beer, diced/seeded chili and beef broth. Season with Chili Powder, Pinto Bean Seasoning, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and Salt...I have given measurements as a baseline, taste it and season until it tastes like you like it!
4. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes. After it has simmered, remove about 1 cup of the liquid and mix in the tomato paste, then pour into pot and mix well.
5. Serve hot with cornbread and some cheddar cheese on top!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Five: Cream Cheese Hatch Enchiladas & Calabacitas

Chile peppers are the mysterious and highly addictive vegetable that may cause brows to sweat, noses to run, eyes to tear, and alas, guttural hiccups upon overdose. It’s a painfully pleasant experience we in the Southwest have become addicted to (some of us from birth, some of us have grown into it)!

The noble chile plant has been a part of New Mexico’s culture and cuisine since the early 1600s when the Spanish first planted along the fertile Rio Grande valley. Hundreds of years later, the powerfully pungent pod remains dear to New Mexicans. Although chile is now grown worldwide, New Mexicans self-assuredly declare “our pods are peerless.”

Chiles range in color from yellow to green to red to black. Some are long, slender and no thicker than a swizzle stick while others are rotund and nearly spherical (check out these crazy chiles on Donna's Blog, My Tasty Treasures). They vary in length from 1/2 inch to 12-inches, nope don't go applying that logic to the photos linked above! Some chiles are spicier, and others are hotter - usually the smaller the chile, the fiercer its bite.

Now that I've made a habit of opening this week's posts with tidbits of chile info I had to make sure to spice up this post similarly! Time to get down to business, today's Hatch recipe is Cream Cheese Enchiladas con Hatch and Calabacitas.

Cream Cheese Enchiladas con Hatch

12oz Softened Cream Cheese
5-6 (depending upon desired heat) roasted, seeded and chopped Hatch Chiles
14-18 Softened Corn Tortillas (depends on how tightly you roll and fill your enchiladas as to how many you'll need)
1 12oz Can Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, I highly recommend Hatch Brand
1 Cup Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 Lb Fajita Chicken (I cheated with mine and used the frozen pre-cooked fajitas but you could easily grill a few chicken breasts and slice them into fajitas)

1. Preheat the oven to 375, grease a large 13x9 baking pan.
2. Combined cream cheese, chopped chiles and chicken in a large bowl.
3. Place 1 tbsp chicken/cream cheese/chile mix inside (plus at least one piece of chicken) a tortilla, roll gently and place inside pan. Continue until all tortillas and mix have been used up.
4. Pour Enchilada Sauce over the pan full of enchiladas. Evenly distribute cheese over the top of the sauce.
5. Bake 30 minutes (or until browned and bubbling on top).

*Now, a few notes are necessary - I did take a short cut and use frozen chicken fajita strips (I had a ton of them in the freezer) which turned out moist and delicious, you could also substitute canned chicken (my mom has a great recipe where she does that) or you could grill and slice up chicken fresh for the recipe, just depends on how much time you have.

As to how best to soften corn tortillas, my mom always has done it where she puts a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag and places the tortillas she wants to soften inside the bag. Then reheats them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time...be careful they get steamy hot but it's a great trick!

3 Zucchini, Cut into Rounds
1/2 Cup Diced Tomato
1/2 Cup Diced Sweet Onion
2 Cobs of Corn, Cut off the Cob
1 Tsp Oregano
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
4 Seeded, Roasted, Chopped Hatch Chiles
1 Tsp Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp Olive Oil

1. Spread zucchini rounds on a large baking sheet, spray with olive oil/vegetable oil and roast at 425 for 5-10 minutes, until the start to just slightly turn brown. Remove from oven.
2. Preheat a large skillet with olive oil at medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, saute until onion is tender.
3. Add remaining vegetables and seasoning, saute until everything is cooked through.

My take on calabacitas is minus any kind of dairy product (there are many delicious recipes out there involving cheese) but it's was intentional, I decided there was plenty of cheese to be found amongst the enchiladas!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Four: Beer Braised Pork Chops and Hatch Chile Stuffing

Perfecting the spelling of 'Chile' happened in 1983. Senator Pete Dominici made it official by putting it in Congressional Record. He rose and addresses the United States Senate, declaring that even though the word was chili in the dictionary , New Mexicans refuse to spell it the way the rest of America does, and so, he said, he stood before the full Senate and with the backing of my New Mexican Constituents state unequivocally that the dictionary is wrong. Then, after extolling the virtues of New Mexico chile, he told his colleagues, Hospitable as we are to all visitors, we have chile that is mild enough to make a baby coo in delight, or hot enough to make even the strongest constitutions perspire in a sensual experience of both pleasure and pain. He ended by saying, I could go on and on about the wonders of red and green chile, but in reality, all I wanted to do was inform Congress on the correct way to spell the word. A highly interesting tidbit found on the Chile Traditions Website.

So being one who might occasionally mix-up the spelling of Chile/Chili I wanted to gather a bit of intel on how it all works and what the 'proper' way to spell Chile is! Today's chile recipe is a permutation of a food near and dear to my heart, stuffing! It's funny, as a kid I thought stuffing was reserved for holidays and really felt (yup I'm about to offend the good cooks of my family) that no matter who made it, it really was just smushy bread that was heated up a few too many times....a very scientific opinion, huh? Well that's all changed, I'm a convert, of course it has to be good stuffing, but I can assure you, this recipe is! It's a little bit of work for a week night because it requires fresh cornbread but it's so worth it, I swear.

1 8x8 Pan of Fresh Cornbread (mix or from scratch), Crumbled
2 Cups Old Bread, Crumbed
3 Pieces Raw, Chopped Bacon
1/4 Cup Sweet Onion
1/2 Tsp Roasted, Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
1 Chopped Green Apple
3/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Tsp Ground Sage
1 Tsp Ground Thyme
2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Chopped, Seeded and Rinsed Hatch Chiles

1. Heat bacon along with onion and garlic in a large skillet until bacon is beginning to crisp.
2. Add green apple and chiles to the mix, cook until apple begins to get tender (appx 5 minutes)
3. Add raisins, chicken broth, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and bread crumbs (both corn and regular).
4. Allow to cook until mixture begins to get crispy, stir so that it crisps evenly.

Now, while you've got your stuffing going (actually before you start it), you'll want to find a tasty protein to go with...although that stuffing is tasty on it's own! I choose some delicious, thick-cut bone-in pork chops that were on sale at the market. To me pork chops are so tasty with a sweet-ish side/sauce and this stuffing made the perfect combination of sweet/spicy and pork!

Shiner Bock Braised Pork Chops

1 12oz Bottle Shiner Bock Hefewisen
1 Tbsp Honey
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Essence of Emeril*
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar

1. Mix Flour with ginger, salt, pepper and Essence of Emeril. Dredge pork chops in flour mixture.
2. Heat a large skillet to medium-high (with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in it). Once skillet is hot, brown pork chops on both sides.
3. In a bowl, mix beer, cider vinegar and honey.
4. After pork chops are browned, pour beer mixture into the skillet, braise for 1 hour, turn once during the process.

*Another goodie from Foodbuzz!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Three: Hatch Chicken Stew

Hatch, New Mexico is located 37 miles north of Las Cruces via I-25. The northern most incorporated community in Doña Ana County, the Village of Hatch is home to some 1,673 residents, many of whom work in the fertile fields of the surrounding Hatch Valley. The area produces the world famous Hatch Chile and is home to the annual Hatch Chile Festival, which draws thousands to the village. Hatch is located just west of the banks of the Rio Grande. So one of those oh-so southern traditions to me is having a 'queen' of a festival...is there a Hatch Queen? If so, where do I sign up?

Enough of that, for today's Hatch Special I'm serving up a hearty, tasty Hatch Chicken Stew. I know it is a thousand degrees where I am but I still love a good hot soup sometimes, plus it's sort of fall...mind over matter, if I wish it to get cool, eat like it's cool, dress like...wait, what am I saying, I'm not wearing a sweater in 100 degree heat! You get the picture though, this is a tasty stew well worth eating year round.

Hatch Chicken Stew

2 Whole Cloves Garlic
Rib Meat and Bones from 3 Split Chicken Breasts
1/4 White Onion
1/4 Red Onion
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
3 Qt Water
1 Cup Carrot
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Chile Powder
4 Ribs Celery
4 Chopped Tomatoes
2 Cloves Crushed, Minced Garlic
3 Chopped, Seeded, Roasted and Rinsed Hatch Chiles
1 Qt Chicken Stock (see recipe below)
1 Tbsp Chile Powder
1 Lb Chopped Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbs Flour
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 Qt Chicken Broth
3 Chopped Chicken Breasts

1. In a large stock pot, bring first ten (through Celery) ingredients to a boil, allow them to simmer two hours.
2. Remove stock from heat, strain and set 2 quarts of it aside for use in the stew. Freeze additional quart for future use.
3. Heat stock pot with olive oil over medium heat. Dredge cubed chicken in flour. Place dredged chicken in stock pot, once all sides are cooked, add liquids (chicken stock and broth) to pot.
4. Add cumin, salt, chile powder, tomato, potato, garlic and hatch chilis to pot.
5. Bring to boil, allow to simmer (covered) for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.

I didn't have the energy to make cornbread the night this was served so we ate it with a crusty demi-baguette, but this would be delicious with cornbread!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Two: Hatch Mac'n Cheese

To whet your appetite today, some Chile Facts:

* One fresh medium-sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
* One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
* Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn in the body, which speeds up the metabolism.
* Teas & lozenges are made with chile peppers for the treatment of a sore throat.
* Capsaicinoids, the chemical that make chile peppers hot, are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles.
* Chile peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, all belonging to the nightshade family.
* The color extracted from very red chile pepper pods, oleoresin, is used in everything from lipstick to processed meats.
* There are 26 known species of chile pepper, five of which are domesticated.
Adapted from the New Mexico Chile Institutes’ “Chile Pepper Facts”& located on the Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce Website
The last few Friday nights I have played the lucky (and willing) hostess for dinner for my family, this past Friday featured a Hatch Chile Macaroni and Cheese, a very simple (yet tasty) cucumber and tomato salad and a Ranch Pan Fried Chicken. The Mac and Cheese was met with resounding approval, to the tone of many second helpings around the table and will definitely be making many appearance on my menus.

Hatch Mac

1 1/2 Sticks Butter
3 Cups Milk
1 Tsp Garlic
1/2 Cup Minced Onion
1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Nutmeg
2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
6 Cups Monterrey Jack Cheese
3 Roasted, Chopped, Seeded and Rinsed Hatch Chiles
1 Lb Elbow Macaroni
6 Slices Cooked Bacon, Chopped
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Tsp Olive Oil

1. Saute onion and garlic in a tsp of olive oil in a small skillet until onion is tender.
2. Heat milk over medium high in a sauce pan. While milk is heating, heat butter in a large skillet. When butter begins to bubble, add flour, garlic and onion, whisk until well incorporated.
3. Pour milk into butter, whisk until thick.
4. Remove from heat and season with black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt. Add 5 1/2 cups cheese and the chopped Hatch Chile and mix well.
5. Boil pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 375.
6. Spray 9x13 casserole pan with vegetable oil. Place drained pasta in pan then pour cheese sauce over the top.
7. Sprinkle pasta mix with bread crumbs, bacon pieces and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
8. Bake until brown and bubbling, approx. 30 minutes.

Not only did we have the delicious Hatch Mac but I got to use some very tasty gifts sent to me by Foodbuzz, a sampling of Emeril's Essence, Emeril's Chicken Seasoning, Emeril's Steak Seasoning and Emeril's 'Kicked Up Mustard.' This time I only used the chicken seasoning but it sure added a delicious 'kick' to our meal!

Ranch Pan-Fried Chicken
3 Chicken Breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 Cup Flour
1 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
2 Tbsp Emeril's Chicken Seasoning
1 Package Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

1. Mix flour, bread crumbs, Emeril's and ranch mix. Heat large skillet with oil over medium-high heat.
2. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.
3. Cook chicken in pan until golden brown on both sides.

If you've enjoyed the looks of this cheesy-hatch dish, you'll really look forward to the entries Gloria Chadwick will get for her Hatch Chile Recipe Contest!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day One: Hatch 'al Pastor'

Each day this week I will be posting a recipe featuring Hatch Chiles, the delicious tasty treat seems to be all the buzz in the blogosphere right now, as evidenced by Gloria Chadwick's newest blog Hatch Heaven and her very cool Hatch-inspired contest,the proliferation of Hatch recipes you can find on sites like Foodbuzz and of course the presence of these beautiful chiles in local stores and on menus. I'm a lucky gal, being located in Texas means that New Mexico's finest chiles are close at hand, a local grocery chain (HEB/Central Market) and even one of my favorite Tex-Mex haunts celebrate Hatch Chile Festival as if we were actually in Hatch!

Each year over Labor Day weekend the residents of Hatch, NM celebrate these delicious peppers with their annual Hatch Chile Festival. The first harvest typically begins at the end of July and farmers are able to continue to produce the peppers until the first frost, Labor Day provides a great long-weekend to celebrate the spicy of the local variety of peppers.

"Born from an extension of the Santa Fe Railroad Company in 1880, Hatch, New Mexico, began as an adobe post office and a railroad flag station. Named after General Edward Hatch, Commander of the Southwest military, the town grew until a flood in 1921 destroyed many of the adobe buildings constructed of earth and wood.
The village rebuilt, and continues to prosper as an agricultural community to this day." - Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce website
For a town that claims to only have 1,600 residents they certainly are making a name for themselves!

To kick off my week of Hatch Chile Recipes I offer Hatch 'al Pastor' - I am cheating (or being very good, depends on how you look at this) because I am repurposing the leftovers from my Pineapple-Jalapeno Pork Tenderloin as a part of this recipe. If you don't have the tenderloin leftovers that's ok, this could easily be made with some freshly cooked cubed pork tenderloin, thinly sliced and chopped boneless tenderloin or chopped pork shoulder roast.

Hatch 'al Pastor'

3 Cups Cubed Jalapeno-Pineapple Pork Tenderloin (or comparable pork that has been cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 Can Crushed Pineapple
3 Roasted, Rinsed, Seeded and Chopped Hatch Chiles
A Handful of Freshly Chopped Cilantro (for garnish)
2 Tsp Chili Powder
1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion (for garnish)
Corn Tortillas
Fennel Slaw (to serve alongside the tacos)

1. Pour juice from pineapple into a skillet, add chili powder and hatch peppers. Saute peppers for a minute, add pork.
2. Once pork is coated thoroughly with juices and seasoning, remove from heat.
3. Place in tacos (be careful as too much of the juice will cause your tortillas to break apart).

Fennel Slaw
2 Cups Thinly Sliced Fresh Fennel Bulb
1 1/2 Cups Thinly Sliced Red Onion
2 Medium Carrots Cut into Match-stick size strips
1/2 Cups Chopped Cilantro
1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar
1 Tsp Sugar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Tajin Calsico Seasoning (con limon)
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper

1. Placed sliced fennel, onion, carrot and cilantro in a large salad bowl.
2. Mix vinegar, sugar, olive oil, Tajin, cumin, salt and pepper together, pour over salad.
3. Refrigerate at least an hour, toss salad prior to serving to ensure even coverage of the dressing.

This is a pretty low-maintenance dinner but it's a tasty way to kick off the week!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Two for the price of one

I'm trying to post up a few things before I start off my week of Hatch (starting tomorrow hopefully), just some things that I have sitting around in the archives of dishes that I want to post about. The first is a pork tenderloin that was part of the September 09 bon appetit, I have to admit, the temperatures and timing for cooking made me skeptical but this was one o the tastiest, most moist pieces of tenderloin I've made in a long time, plus (big bonus) there were enough left overs to pull together into a really yummy hatch chile taco dish!


1 cup pineapple juice, divided
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped seeded red jalapeño chiles
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins
Chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat oven to 500°F. Bring 3/4 cup pineapple juice and sugar to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover; boil until syrup is deep brown, checking frequently to prevent burning, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately swirl in remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice, chiles, and allspice. When bubbling stops, whisk in lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup glaze into small bowl and reserve.
2. Line baking sheet with foil; place rack in center of sheet. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper; place on rack. Brush with glaze from saucepan. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F, brushing occasionally with glaze from saucepan, about 15 minutes. Slice pork. Drizzle with reserved glaze and sprinkle with cilantro.

I can't recommend this enough, the tenderloin was delicious, I pulled this together on a week night and just served it with some roasted Yukon gold potatoes.

My second (completely unrelated) recipe of the day is sinfully delicious, a chocolate chip-cherry cookie bar! Inspired by a chocolate-chip oatmeal cookie with dried cherries that is listed in the same issue of bon appetit (on the same page no less!) this cookie bar was amazing if I do say so myself. I had dinner for the family at my house last night and served this as dessert, today it was augmented by my new favorite ice cream, HEB's Toasted Coconut, and is as tasty as ever.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (6-oz. pkg.) Tart Cherries
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and cherries.

3. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Spread dough into pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Make a pan of these tonight and watch them disappear!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comfort in a tomato sauce

Sometimes a long and arduous day at work can be soothed by a good glass of wine, sometimes by the presence of friends and family and sometimes by the cooking (and eating) of a homemade delicious comfort food. Towards the end of a month (and more so at the end of a quarter) things kick into high-stress mode at my office, deadlines seem to be 'yesterday', everyone seems a little frayed and generally things are a little edgy. My respite is coming home and cooking, even if I have to work after hours from home having a hot meal and taking the time to prepare it seems to center me. As the end of August approaches I have started feeling that tension again, it may be a thousand degrees outside here in Austin but spaghetti and steaming hot meatballs sounded so good to me I just couldn't resist!

Turkey Meatballs & Super Veggie Sauce

1/2 Lb Ground Turkey
1/2 Lb Lean Italian Sausage (pork)
2 Tbsp Freshly Chopped Flat Parsley
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Romano Cheese
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs

3 Tsp Olive Oil
2 Cups Chopped Onion
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Large Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Small Package Mushrooms, Sliced
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1 28 oz can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, undrained, halved or quartered

1. Mix meatball ingredients together in a bowl. Wet your hand, then form mixture into appx 20 meatballs (2tbsp each), depending on size you may have a different amount.
2. Heat oven to 350 F, place meatballs in a large glass baking dish and bake until browned (appx 30-45 minutes).
3. Add oil to pan, then put onion, bell pepper, mushroom and garlic into the pan. Cook until tender, stirring often. Add wine, cook until almost completely dissolved.
4. Add tomatoes and meatballs; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
5. Pour sauce over individual servings of noodles, top with cheese.Because the meatballs cook in the oven I had time to do some work on the side but still got to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal. Now, if I can just survive through the 31st things will be good!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mom's B-Day

August 3 was my mother's birthday (yup this post is a bit belated), for the past few years I've made a point to cook whatever she requests for her because for the last twenty something years she's done the same for me. This year was no exception, actually it was quite the homecoming of sorts since it was the first time in five years that mom, dad, my sister and I have all be in the same country for her birthday.

Mom has always liked the Penne Rustica at Macaroni Grill, who can blame her, shrimp, prosciutto, cream sauce...damn what a way to serve pasta! So this year she requested that I make a pasta dish similar to Penne Rustica, so I set to work...yes there are a few short cuts in here, I didn't make my own alfredo sauce, but I did substantially improve on the store bought stuff!

Mom's Birthday Penne

1/2 Cup White Wine
2 Tbsp Butter
5 slices Pancetta
2 lbs Chicken Tenders
6 oz Mushrooms
6 oz Roasted Red Bell Pepper Strips (from jar)
8 oz Artichoke Hearts (from can)
Rosemary (for garnish)
12 oz Alfredo Sauce
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1/2 lb White Penne
1/2 lb Red Penne
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz shredded romano cheese

1. Slice pancetta into small bite-sized pieces, saute until crisp in skillet. Remove from pan and set aside
2. Cut chicken tenders into thirds, saute in oil from pancetta and season with garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Remove chicken from skillet, place in bottom of a 13 x9 casserole dish with the pancetta.
2. In the same pan, sautee mushrooms in butter, until almost tender. Add sliced red bell pepper to skillet, saute 1 minute.
3. In a large sauce pan, add alfredo sauce, add white wine, mix until well combined. Season with nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Allow to come up to a simmer.
4. While the sauce is simmering, boil pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 350 F.
5. Drain pasta, place in casserole dish with meat, mix and add vegetables so they are evenly distributed. Pour alfredo sauce over the pasta, meat and vegetable mix. Sprinkle liberally with a mix of the romano and mozzarella cheeses.
6. Bake until brown and bubbling.

Mom loved my version of the Rustica. For dessert we had vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting! Happy Belated B-day to my Mom!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

As promised...

Here is the photo from the pita making excursion (yes I will totally be doing this again) and the recipe that went alongside them...my pitas turned out a little smaller and denser than a typical pita but I liked that about them - I used them alongside food instead of as the sandwich bread that they seem to be best suited for from the grocery store. They were delicious when reheated in the toaster oven.

Skillet Chicken Souvlaki

* 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 medium)
* 1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper (about 1)
* 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 cup grated English cucumber
* 1/4 cup 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 4 (6-inch) whole-wheat soft pitas, cut in half
* 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

2. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken, garlic, and oregano; cook 30 seconds.

3. Combine cucumber and next 6 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt). Serve chicken mixture with yogurt sauce, warmed pita, and tomato slices.

Salad: Combine 5 cups torn romaine lettuce, 1/3 cup sliced red onion, and 3 sliced pepperoncini peppers. Combine 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss with salad. Top with 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese and 3 tablespoons halved kalamata olives.

*Skillet Chicken Souvlaki ala Cooking Light's August 09 Issue

It was a great accompaniment to the pitas and it made some very tasty leftovers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confessions of a Top Chef Junkie...

My name is Lauren and I'm a Top Chef Addict, no I don't just watch the new episodes, I watch the old ones in marathon, I DVR it and watch it, I even have watched Top Chef Masters religiously, if it came out on DVD I'd probably buy it, oh and yes I really want the cookbook....some people have much more harmful addictions, I'll admit, but this one is pretty bad. To the point that I go in to work the next day and have discussions with co-workers/friends who are also addicts....yes, we are a strange lot. I've been sucked into my Wednesday night TV and haven't looked back, which may not be the best thing on the planet but I figure it's not that bad, right? Or is that what I tell myself because I'm an addict?

The worst thing about all of this is that it further inspires me to whip up things I might not need and certainly didn't plan on - like last weekend's Pita Bread. While watching some DVR'd Top Chef Masters I decided I wanted Greek food, which would be ok without pita but since I had the stuff for it...pita too.

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer stick and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.
9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.
10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.
11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
12. Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

*Pictures will appear when I post the remainder of my Greek dinner...hopefully tomorrow.

Oh no, I didn't stop there, why stop baking with one item when you can whip together many more?? After the pita I dug around and found some unsweetened baking chocolate bars and pistachios, unsure of what I wanted to do with them, brownie cookies were born...

Pistachio Brownie Cookies

2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 cup) chopped pistachios
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Position an oven rack on the center rung. Heat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment (or grease and flour the pan).
2. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and baking chocolate. Stir to combine; let cool. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium high 3 to 4 min. Take the bowl off the mixer. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla; stir to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Stir the flour mixture and the nuts and chocolate chips into the batter.
3. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake the first until the cookies are puffed and cracked and the tops barely spring back when pressed, 8 to 10 min. The cracks should be moist but not wet. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

*Mine seemed to have the best flavor when stored in the fridge, they were very fudgy and dense.

I can't help but to comment on my favorite show for a minute, if you watch it at all, did you see the last episode (not this week, but last week)? Wow - some major disparities in leadership style there (the re-run of last week is on right now which is prompting me to type this). I couldn't believe what a jerk Michael Chiarello looked like....yikes, tv can be a bit revealing, can't it? Ok - no more ranting for now, Top Chef Las Vegas is about to premier, and yes it needs my full attention.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Post-Move In Pantry Clean-out

As many who read my blog know, I am a very proud dog owner, until the parent's return from Mexico I watched over my own dog (Jack) and my parents dog (Molly). Now, post-move, Jack and I are the only ones. In the absence of his 'mommy' Molly, Jack has taken on a number of new habits....most quite silly in nature. Two of Jack's new favorite locations are today's feature photos...exhibit A, Jack ala master bedroom closet:

Exhibit B, Jack in the pink chair....now please excuse any dirty look to the chair, it's been around for quite sometime but for the last year or so it has been hidden by a denim slip cover (it's currently between slip covers) that left a mild blue tint to the corners:

You'd think that a recent move would mean I am starting off with bare cupboards, but you'd be wrong....I transported lots of spices, dry goods and a handful of freezer foods that I feel the need to use lately. SO, pasta seems to be the flavor of the hour, no seriously in the last six days I've eaten pasta probably five nights (some being leftovers). That's pretty unusual for me, but it's been a nice change of pace.

Tonight, inspired by fresh herbs and a recent Panna Cotta post on the Chef Fresco's blog I pulled together a Chicken Margharita Pasta and Panna Cotta with Honey Balsamic Vinegar.

Chicken Margharita Pasta

2 Cubed Chicken Breasts
3 Chopped Tomatoes
1 Clove Sliced Garlic
3 Tbsp Chopped Basil
Angel Hair Pasta
Olive Oil
5 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2.5 Tbsp Honey

1. Crisp garlic slices in olive oil. Remove from oil, set aside.
2. Saute chicken pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper. Boil pasta while chicken cooks.
3. Once chicken is cooked, toss chopped tomato and garlic with chicken, heat until tomato is just warm.
4. In small sauce pan, reduce vinegar and honey together until syrupy (about 3-5 minutes).
5. Drain pasta. Set serving size of pasta on plate, layer chicken, tomato and garlic over the pasta. Drizzle vinegar reduction over the top then garnish with basil.

Panna Cotta
1 Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
1/4 Cup Cold Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cup Whipping Cream
2/3 Cup Half and Half
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Berries
Honey-Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (see instructions below)

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small saucepan and let stand 3 to 4 minutes; stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and gelatin are dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Whisk whipping cream, half and half and sour cream together until smooth in a small bowl; whisk in gelatin mixture. Pour mixture into 6 stemmed glasses or small bowls. Regigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours.
3. Spoon berries on top of Panna Cotta and drizzle with Honey-Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.

Honey-Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
3 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Heat honey and vinegar to boiling in small saucepan; reduce heat and simmer until thickened to a syrupy consistency (2-3 minutes). Cool and refrigerate.

My first experience with Panna Cotta was making it for my grandmother's birthday a few years back, her birthday is in October and in Texas it can be unseasonably hot then still (not unlike today when it's 105!)...so I searched for a chilled dessert that wouldn't be too heavy tasting. This is a very easy dessert and quite tasty, it reminds me almost of a yogurt in flavor but with the berries and honey-balsamic reduction it's got just the right ratio of tart to sweet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Peachy

So originally I blamed my bout of blog lameness on being in the midst/aftermath of a move, but now that I'm unpacked I don't have a good reason (or bad one), I've just been lazy...ok I've been working, I unpacked, I had family over for a BBQ and then Mom (Aug 3) and Dad (July 27) had B-days, not to mention that the first two and a half weeks of July there were varied family members visiting....so yea not really a good reason but I've been lame and not blogging. I swear I'm going to change, I promise I'll bring it back into my routine! So here I am, bringing it back :)

Earlier this summer when peach season was really really at it's best (they are still good but they were fantastic in mid-June) we had a big pile of peaches and I had to find some way to use them up...ripe peaches just can't sit around and there were too many for four of us to eat within a few days! So, with my mom's assistance (yup she did the crust), I whipped up a rustic and easy peach tart with a tasty sour cream topping.

Now I am very partial to the orange and white on the tart (and have made the same dish with apricots to continue the theme) but I'm certain that the Longhorn color scheme won't detract from the taste if you're not a Horns fan :)

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
2 tbps. butter
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Peaches, halved, enough to fill pie shell
1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 stick well-chilled Butter Flavored Crisco
3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
2 Tsp Sugar

Tasty Topping
1 Cup Light Sour Cream
1 Tsp Vanilla
3 Tbsp Powdered Sugar

Crust Directions:
1. Blend flour and sugar in medium mixing bowl.
2. Cut chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.
3.Sprinkle half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.
4. Shape dough into a ball, flatten ball into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).
5. Roll dough from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle just slightly wider than your tart/pie pan. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.
6. Shape dough into the pie plate.

Filling instructions:
1. Mix sugar, flour, and butter. Put half of mix in bottom of pie shell.
2. Fill pie shell with sliced peach halves.
3. Put rest of mix over peaches. Mix water and lemon juice and pour over pie.
4. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes then 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sour Cream Topping Instructions:
Blend vanilla, sugar and sour cream together with fork until smooth....serve over the top!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Salads to beat the Sweltering Heat!

My my my, I feel like it's been ages since I had the luxury of sitting down with my laptop and posting anything! Looking back on my last post (June 6), I realize it has been ages! At first life was just busy, looking for a new place to live, work, family coming back, then it became signing a lease, packing boxes, end of quarter madness at work, moving all my stuff into my new place, unpacking all my boxes....the pace of my life sped up to warp and is just starting to slow.

Anyway, despite the lack of posting, cooking has definitely been taking place, I'm in a new place AND (drumroll please) we're inching ever closer to the college football kickoff...September 5 rapidly on it's way! Yup I'm pretty excited right now, despite the 100+ degree weather we've had here in the Austin area for more than 31 days since May. How ridiculous is that?!? Anyway, to beat the heat I am posting a duo of salads, neither is really connected to one another by ingredients, I'm posting both more because I'm excited about them both and I haven't posted in over a month (yea I'm feeling a bit guilty).

The first is straight out of Cooking Light, it appeared in the June 2009 issue:

Strawberry-Basil Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced strawberries (1 pound)
1/2 cup vertically sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup torn fresh basil


1. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add romaine lettuce, sliced strawberries, sliced onion, and torn basil; toss gently to coat. Serve salad immediately.

Super easy and super delicious, it is quite tasty served alone or pairs well with grilled steak.

While I adore the Strawberry salad, for me it needs something to accompany it, chicken, steak, whatever you think sounds good, but the next one, well let's just say it started out as a way to use left over King Crab Legs and ended up being on my list of favorite salads!

Avocado, Corn and Crab Salad


2 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one medium-large lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tajin Calsico Seasoning (con limon)
2 cups baby spring mix greens
2 large legs cooked and chilled King Crab
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium avocado, cubed
1/8 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup sweet corn (freshly cut off the cob is best)


1. Combine olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice. Set aside to dress salad with.
2. Lay salad greens on plate. Layer onion, avocado, tomatoes, corn and finally crab over greens.
3. Sprinkle with Tajin seasoning and pour dressing over the top, serve chilled.

There is nothing that screams summer to me more than fresh sweet corn, lime, crab and avocado...not sure why but it evokes sub-tropical images, maybe an umbrella and some sand. If only I had a little umbrella to drop into my glass (I'm sure there's one in a box somewhere around here). Now, if I can only find the few missing boxes I know are somewhere between here and my parents house....anyway, I promise no more lengthy absences on my part, I'm back for good :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Faux Fried Favorites

As healthy as I try to be fried foods are still a tasty tasty thing, and fried green tomatoes scream summer time to me. I guess it's because they are all over the farmers markets (and my backyard right now) so in an attempt to make my favorite treat slightly less awful for those who enjoy it, I delved into the wacky work of 'oven' fried.

Cornmeal-Battered Oven-Fried Catfish

1 tsp Lemon Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup(s) Skim Milk
Cooking Spray
1 pound(s) Catfish Fillet(s), cut into 4 pieces
1 medium lemon(s), quartered
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a large nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. In a shallow soup bowl, combine cornmeal, paprika, cayenne, salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder and pepper. Pour milk into another shallow soup bowl.
3. Dredge fillets first in milk and then in cornmeal mixture, coating both sides and pressing cornmeal mixture gently to adhere. Place coated fillets on baking sheet and lightly spray each with cooking spray.
4. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 2 minutes before serving with asparagus and lemon wedges.

Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes
2 Cups Panko
2 Cups Parmesan Cheese
2 Egg Whites
Salt, Pepper
Vegetable Oil Spray
3 Sliced Green Tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Mix panko, salt, pepper and parmesan in a shallow bowl.
3. Place egg whites in a separate shallow bowl.
4. Dip tomato slices in egg white then in panko mix, coat both sides then set on baking pan.
5. Cook five to six minutes on each side, when they are flipped, spray with additional veggie oil.

Wish I had some of these ready (or someone who wanted to make them for me), starting at 11AM today and finishing up around 6:30PM I have been helping my parents unpack, move and work with their mountains of boxes after their return from Mexico so I am beat...any volunteers to do the faux-frying :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hot Hot Heat!

Summer in Texas is a hot affair, typically in the high 90s or low 100s during the day and you'll be lucky if you hit the low 70s at night....now, I know it's just begun and that today's 97 degree weather is nothing compared to what it's going to feel like in July but it still inspires me to think (and eat) cool.

Nothing is better for a hot summer night than a crisp, cool salad. In welcoming back the former ex-pats I've taken to some slightly more tropical cooking...like this shrimp/watermelon salad. It was a perfect blend of sweet, smoky and spicy!

Watermelon Jicama Shrimp Salad
1 Personal Watermelon, cubed or balled
½ a small Jicama, chopped
1 large Cucumber, chopped
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup Red Onion, chopped
½ a large Poblano Pepper, minced
1 ½ lb Shrimp
2 Tbsp Acadia Adobo Honey Ancho Sauce & Marinade

Juice of 2 large Limes
1 tsp Tajin Calsico Seasoning (con limon)
2 tbsp Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar
4 tbsp Grapeseed Oil

1. Marinate shrimp with Adobo sauce for up to twenty minutes. Drain off the extra marinade and saute shrimp until they are fully cooked.
2. Toss Watermelon, Jicama, Red Onion, Poblano and Cucumber together in a large salad bowl.
3. Mix Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar, Limes, Tajin Seasoning and Grapeseed oil together to create the dressing.
4. Place shrimp over salad and pour dressing over the top - serve chilled!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Ebelskievers

Fruit and veggies have been so good lately, after our first Farmer's Market forray last weekend I took a pint of the blackberries and made a blackberry sauce to drizzle over flan (recipe soon to come), the next morning however, we made a batch of my favorite mini-filled pancakes, filled with blackberry sauce!


* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 lemon, zest of
* 3 egg yolks
* 5 egg whites
* 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
* 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 2 cups jam/berry sauce
* confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. In a batter pitcher or bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks.
3. Whisk in the buttermilk and ricotta.
4. Whisk the yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the mixture will be lumpy. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the whites into the batter in two additions.
6. Put 1/2 teaspoons butter in each well of a ebelskiver pan.
7. Place over medium heat and heat until the butter begins to bubble.
8. Pour 1 Tbs. batter into each well.
9. Place 1 Tsp jam/berry sauce in the center of the batter and top with 1 Tbs batter.
10. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
11. Using 2 wooden skewers (I use chopsticks), turn the pancakes over and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes more.
12. Transfer to a plate.
13. Repeat with the remaining batter and jam/berry sauce.
14. Dust the pancakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

These make a delicious treat for a weekend breakfast, they are light and fluffy and tasty!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Farmers Market Bounty & Grilled Vegetables!

Of late I've been feeling a real need for healthy and veggie, sorry my fried zucchini and mushrooms, bye bye! Instead I have been grilling and broiling and eating vegetables in all of their bounty, yea springtime (or truthfully, nearly summertime)! Earlier this week I stopped at the store and picked up some delicious eggplant and portabella mushrooms to complement the zucchini that were already at home, envisioning the grill and all of these beautiful vegetables I pulled together a tasty summer grilled veggie salad complimented with crusted goat cheese rounds.

Grilled Vegetable Salad
1 Medium Eggplant, thinly sliced
4 Medium Zucchini, sliced length-wise
1 Small Jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes, packed in Olive Oil
2 Large Portabella Mushrooms
3 Large Hearts of Romaine Lettuce, chopped
Montreal Steak Seasoning (or a mixture of coarse ground salt, coarse ground black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder)
Olive Oil

Goat Cheese, Semi-soft
Bread Crumbs

3 Tbsp Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
3 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil

1. Slice zucchini and eggplant, place in a large baking dish, marinate by drizzling with olive oil and adding seasoning. Marinate mushrooms as well, but do not slice ahead of cooking. Allow to sit for up to thirty minutes.
2. Either grill or broil veggies until tender and showing char marks.
3. In a skillet, heat sun-dried tomatoes until warmed.
4. Slice mushrooms and tomatoes length-wise.
5. Place mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant on a bed of Romaine, garnish with dressing and goat cheese rounds.
6. To make dressing, combine equal parts dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and grapeseed oil.
7. To make goat cheese rounds slice goat cheese generously, roll in bread crumbs and place alongside salad.

After this tasty dinner earlier this week my mom and I got up early today and hit two local farmers markets (that's right, two!). We had a great time staking things out, looking for beautiful produce and talking to the vendors. Living on the outer edge of Austin (really in Round Rock), we're close to some farming land, not like the old days but people with acreage and we are near enough to some of the rural parts of Central Texas that you get ranchers selling meats as well as the great produce and plants. We came back from our excursion with quite the haul! Loads of fresh fruit and veggies, fresh baked whole-wheat bread, a few basil plants for mom and a succulent for me (I really love cacti and succulent, they are a plant I can't kill!). We also requested a bone-in leg of lamb that we'll get next Saturday morning and grill next weekend, I'd say a pretty successful expedition all-in all. Can't wait to see what we find next weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day

So it might be nearly a week later (she sheepishly grins) but for the first time in a few years my mother was in town to celebrate Mother's Day. For my sister and I this meant special breakfast was to be made and gifts to be gathered/bought/made. We opted for the homemade this year, my sister making a beautiful card and a really cute "Cute" cup (a local thing I believe but very adorable) and I for two necklaces, a matching pair of earrings and a mini-scrapbook with photos of family. Mom adored it all (or lied really well) :) so the gifts being a success I had to turn to some kind of breakfast creation. As previously posted, I made brunch two weeks ago for a few friends, that brunch included a tasty Eggs Benedict....for Mother's Day I went for a re-creation of this delightful dish but changed the pace a little with a whole wheat English Muffin.

Unfortunately it took two attempts to make these muffins! The first attempt was my fool-hearty idea to sub whole wheat flour for white in the recipe from the brunch was a bit of a problem...as in no rise and no muffins. Luckily the other recipe I found was best made fresh, so I was able to save the day with some delicious fresh baked English Muffins.

Even the cat thought she might need some Eggs Benedict!

1/4 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
cornmeal as needed


1. Sprinkle yeast over warm (about 105° F. is ideal) water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour(s) and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix milk, oil and honey. Add egg and stir until well blended. Stir in the yeast mixture.
4. Add liquid to about half of the dry ingredients and mix well, with a stand mixer or by hand. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Dough will be soft and somewhat sticky.
5. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead for several minutes. If too sticky to knead, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.
6. Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place (see TIP) until doubled in size. Rising time will depend on temperature; allow about 1 hour.
7. Turn risen dough out onto a work surface that has been liberally dusted with cornmeal and pat or roll to about 1/2" thick. Cut into approximately 3 inch rounds with a cookie cutter, tin can, or jar lid. If you wish, combine the scraps of dough into more muffins, handling as little as possible. Cover the muffins with a towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
8. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle with corn meal. Using a spatula, carefully transfer muffins to hot griddle. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, turn and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Outsides should be golden brown and crusty, insides should be soft, but not gooey. You might need to sacrifice a muffin or two as doneness tests.
9. Remove to cooling rack as they finish cooking. Cook the rest in batches.

*This recipe was found on recipietips.com

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