Sunday, January 25, 2009

Not Plain old Black Bean Soup

One easy soup I make about once a month is Black Bean soup. My recipe is a little more detailed than the ones I see around but it tastes better at least to me! It is easy to make and you can either use it for just plain old beans or puree it for a great soup.

Always wash and pick through the beans. About half the time I find small rocks or garbage in the bean sack. Some sources allow their beans to be dried on the ground on tarps so it is not uncommon to find stuff that is not 100% bean material, and besides if you use a food processor or immersion blender, one pebble can dull your sharp expensive blade pretty quick.

I find that soaking the beans does little for them, unless they happen to be very old bean, eh Old Bean?

After you have washed and picked through set aside.
Into the bowl of your food process toss in, chopped cilantro, onion, garlic and bell pepper. Blend until you have almost a puree.
In a large stockpot add the oil heat and toss in the puree, let it cook on medium for about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and oregano, stir to distribute. Add the washed beans, two quarts of chicken stock, 3 bay leaves and a smoked ham hock. If you don't have a ham hock, get one! Otherwise, toss in two cut up pieces of smoked bacon.
Now depending on your heat tolerance I will toss in a pepper or two.
Take a Serrano or a Habanero and cut it down the center straight down, do not remove the seeds. Toss that in, you will later remove it along with the bay leaves.

Cover and let simmer for 2 to 3 hours. If too much liquid has left the room, (like Elvis) just add a cup or two of water so that you are back to the same level you started with.

Remove the ham hock, let cool, throw the sink out, pick the meat off the bone , dice and return to the beans.

At this point you can do a couple of things, first fish out the pepper and bay leaves and discard.
If you drain the water which is tasty, you can just use the beans, otherwise continue on for soup.
Remove about 1/3 of the beans less the liquid, reserve.
With an immersion blender whirl away inside the pot, until fairly smooth.
Put back the beans, and add salt. This will be to YOUR taste. I usually will add about 1/2 a teaspoon. This will depend on if the used ham hocks or bacon, and how salty the chicken stock was. If you used a dry chicken soup base, etc,etc,etc.
That's it!

When serving I usually will top it with some sour cream, crema or yogurt. To make the crema, just zest the lime and mix with the cream stick it into a squeeze bottle and make a zigzag or logo on top of the soup after you have plated it in a bowl.

Stuff you will need.

1 lb of beans, a little more is OK.
1 large white onion chopped
5 garlic cloves with skin removed
1 green bell pepper
1 cup of cilantro chopped
4 TBS olive oil or vegetable oil
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp of dried
2 tbs ground cumin
1 large smoked ham hock
1 Serrano or Habanero Chile, split down the center
2 qts of chicken stock
Salt and Pepper
3 Bay leaves

For the Crema

1 Cup sour cream, plain yogurt or crema
zest of two limes
2 TBS of very finely chopped cilantro

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ok, some Russian food , Meat Piroshki

Every culture has their dough stuffed with stuff pocket hand held food item. For Mexicans it is the Empanadas, the Chinese have their Cha Siu Baau The Polish have their pirogi, and the Russian have the Piroshki.

Guess which ones I like? Well actually I like them all, but I know how to make really great Piroshki!

Piroshki were not a daily food for me growing up , they were a special once in a while food that took my mother or grandmother seemed to take half a day to make.

It is not a difficult process but it is worth the effort. I make them when I know that someone is going to come over and visit, I have yet to find anyone that doesn't enjoy them. Sometime I just make them because I want to reward myself and why not. I can hold back on the foie gras another time.....

There are lots of varieties of them, whether they are fried or baked or stuffed with meat, potatoes, cabbage or fish and rice noodles.

This one is my normal meat one.

You will first need to make the filling, then the dough, the filling can be made up a day or two ahead thus making the assembly on the final day pretty easy.

Take a 12 inch skillet and place on the heat on medium, while adding the hamburger or ground meat, try and break it up into the smallest chunks, it will make it easier in the end. While browning the meat, add the chopped onion, egg and dill. Once it has cooked 5 to 10 minutes remove from heat and let cool a little, add the pepper and salt. If you never have had them before , taste your salt as you add it, to your comfort taste level.

Let cool, and I usually tilt the pan on something damming up the meat to one end to let the grease run off, then I dab it with a paper towel removing the most.
It is at this point you can transfer it to a plastic tub with a cover and stick it in the refrigerator until needed.

The dough

There is the "from scratch" method and the "easy". I will give you both.

From Scratch.

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, (not over 110) add sugar and enough flour to make a consistency of sour cream, maybe a tad thicker. Cover with a towel put in a warm place and let it rise until it has almost double in bulk. The when it is ready punch down and add the rest of the ingredients. and enough flour to make it soft but not sticky dough.
Cover again and let it rise in a warm place.

Once the dough is ready, lightly flour a surface and foll out the dough to 1/8 of an inch thickness.
If you are having a problem with getting it that thin, you can roll it out to 1/4 then cut it smaller and roll out the dough circle to workable thinness.
Now I like to make decent sized Piroshki. Some people like small ones, to me it is easy to make them larger, that way you make fewer ones, and eat less dough. Or at least the theory goes.
You need to find a round object to use as a cutter, I like a 6 inch coffee can, it has decently sharp edges, to use to press the dough in order to cut the circle.
You could use almost any object that will give you a impression in the dough good enough to cut through or you may have to finish it off with a sharp knife.
So now you have a lot of cut pieces of dough.
If you left the dough thicker, now would be the time you could roll it out a tad thinner, but remember to keep the dough in a circle or as round as you can. The thicker the dough is the more doughy the end product will be, because the dough will puff up during the cooking process!

Final assembly.
Take the dough disk, and in the middle of it place enough meat to fill about 1/3 of the circle. If you use a spoon to do it, you will have the meat be loose and the ratio of meat to bread will be higher.
What I like to do is take the cold meat and form it into meat "pods" the size of what I want to place into the dough. Naturally you cannot do it immediately before since your hands will be greasy and it will be a mess. You can do it in a prior step kind of like making meatballs, just form them and press them tightly together as tight as possible, then let them rest, ready to use.

So...back to the dough. Place the meat in the center of the dough and then pick up the edges of the dough and bring the two opposite side together. The dough will stretch if your did it correctly and you will also judge the amount of meat that is correct for the circle you cut. Once you have the dough together, you pinch the seam together with your fingers, keeping the meat inside and not in the seam. The end result will sort of look like a large almond, with the dough completely surrounding the meat, evenly crimp at the seam,. Once you have it all crimped you can lift it up and rest it on a piece of wax paper on a sheet, I usually will let it rest on the seam, this makes sure there is no pressure trying to pull the seam apart. Lightly press the meat pod to flatten it while it rests.
This process will take a little practice but it really is easy after you do, a couple.

Once they have rested, you can let them rise for about 10-15 minutes.
Get the oil in a fry pan ready, heat enough oil so that it will cover at least half of the Piroshki
fry until the dough is a golden brown, turning it half way to get the other side, then remove and drain on a paper towel and then eat!
Once you bite into the steaming hot piece of dough you may want to season it more with either salt, pepper or I will dash some soy sauce into it, but most often if you seasoned the meat correctly it will not need anything else.
Be sure and serve them hot they are the best that way!

The easier dough method, if you have available at your store, Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix. This comes in a box and usually I need two boxes to make a batch of Piroshki. Any excess dough can be fried up and make a great buttered bread for breakfast. ( Not a low fat product)

Stuff you will need:

1 lb of ground beef 10% fat
1 small onion chopped 1/4 dice
2 hard boiled eggs chopped as onion
3 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS flour
3 TBS chopped fresh dill or 1 TBS dried
salt and pepper to taste

2 cups lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast
1/2 sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 egg yolks
dash of salt
5-51/2 cups of flour

Once you have mastered the process you will find it quiet easy to put together. Or you can find a Russian Delicatessen and pay anywhere from about 2 to 4 dollars each, and they will not taste as good. They are usually a lot more breadier and have little meat filling!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm too tired to cook tonight nite.

Whats more trouble to go change clothes get into the car and go find somewhere to get some no frills eats or just throw something together at home.
Well at least at home I can walk around in old tattered clothes.
Well I can do that to a restaurant too, and maybe they will feel sorry for me, you think?

Here is a less than 5 minute throw together dish that will work great on an old flank steak, even better on a New York or other steaks. Or if you add one other ingredients in the recipe will do wonders for chicken.

Combine all the stuff in a food processor, pulse a couple of times so it has been mixed good, do not over process since that's not good, at least for this recipe.

Toss the steak into a zip lock bag, throw into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours,
then remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before tossing it on the grill or grill pan.

That's it!

Oh, this also make a great salsa to put on meat or fish that you didn't season before cooking, just adjust the amount of oil to your desired consistency!

And here is some totally useless information and a quote from Miguel de Cervantes, the writer of Don Quixote.

La mejor salsa del mundo es la hambre
or to translate it is, Hunger is the best sauce in the world!

Stuff you will need.

One or two portions of steak, or one large flank steak or one or two strips of skirt steak. A New York steak is pictured above.
3 cloves of garlic peeled
1/2 an white onion, chopped roughly
juice from 3 small limes or 2 lemons
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 large hand full of cilantro rough chop
1 Serrano chili, seed removed rough chop
1/2 tea fresh ground pepper
1 tea Kosher salt
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce (or for a better flavor, toss in 4 or 5 anchovy fillets)
1/2 cup apple cider ( use this only on the chicken)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Real Easy, really really easy bread

One of the things I love to do is bake bread. Almost more than spreading some butter on it after about 10 minutes when it has come out of the oven. If you have never baked bread because you felt it was to hard and pain to make this recipe is for you!

You don't need anything special, no mixer , no special pans, nada!

You can even pre make the dough , put it in to a refrigerator, take it out 12 hours later bake and eat.

Place the warm water into the pot, add the salt and flour. Then add the yeast. Take large spoon and stir in the pot to be sure everything is mixed well and there are no dry flour spots. The dough will look almost too soupy unlike a ball that you normally would knead. It will have quite a bit of moisture. That how you want it.
Cover with plastic or another pan or lid.....
Wait until it bubbles up and increases in size almost double.
Take the spoon then and punch it down, stirring once or twice, no more. Now be sure your pot is a non stick type otherwise you will have some difficulty in releasing the bread. You can also after you punch down the dough the second time transfer it to a standard non stick loaf pan or one that has been buttered. That way you will have a standard loaf size for sandwiches etc.
The you want it to rise again, it will take about 2 hours, in a nice warm area. Then
Preheat your oven to 400
When the oven is hot, stick it in , preferable in the middle rack
Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes.
The way to tell if it is ready is take it out of the oven and with your finger give it a thump
If it sounds hollow, it's done!
Take out, let cool for about 20 minutes, it will shrink down a tad, turn the pot over and the bread will fall out, cool or cut and enjoy!

Stuff you will knead.......
4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cuts warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp honey or brown sugar

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Easy Spiced Salmon #2

This one is another throw quick no fuss reciepe, but takes use of a blender, so go out and buy a blender if you don't have one! Soriana has them for about 20 bucks now that they are all made in China, just image what it really cost to make them when you consider shipping, profits etc,etc.

Take two cups of cilantro , and toss in 2 cloves of garlic with the paper removed. If you have a chance to roast some garlic, so much the better it will give a much better flavor, put in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Put in the juice of one lemon.
Start the blender,
add about 1/2 cup of olive oil, preferred if you don't have it vegetable oil will do.
Whirl away until all is smooth and green.

Rinse the salmon fillets or steaks, pat dry with a paper towel.
Let the fish swim in a shallow dish in the sea of cilantro marinade for at least one hour.

Get your cast irongrill skillet ready or if you are going to grill it, get that going.
If you are going to use the skillet, preheat your oven to 375. I also use a plain sheet pan with a cookie cooling rack place in the sheet. Spray the rack with PAM or other oil spray for a easier release.
Test doneness after about 15 minutes.
Depending on your oven, it will be ready, either check it with the touch method or cut and separate the middle of one of the fillets to see.
If you are grilling, put it on a well oilied place on a hot part of the grill, then carefully lodge a metal spatula after about 4 minutes then turn it onto the grill again and cover it with on old tin pie plate or the plate from a store bought pie that you bake in the oven.

(This is an old restaurant trick when drilling fish on a medium to hot grill, so that you don't over cook and dry the fish out)

The reason you need to do that is most of the time the fish will need more heat to surround it than the grill will provide. This way you are using a pie plate to make a mini oven.

Check it in about 4 minutes and it should be ready.
Oh, use some tongs to remove the pie plate over the salmon.

I usually service this with some pasta of some sort, linguine or fettuccine cooked then tossed with butter and some roasted garlic and a little salt.....

Stuff you will need:

One fresh bunch of Cilantro
2 to 6 salmon fillets, thick cut if possible 1" ( if thinner adjust your cooking time)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 olive oil
Juice of one lemon
2 Garlic cloves, skin removed, Roasted preferred.

Easy Spiced Salmon #1

This is a recipe that I will use when I just need to throw something together without spending a lot of time in the kitchen, which is becoming more and more.

The best way is to grill the salmon steak on the grill or parilla. But if you don't want to fire that up, use a grill pan or grill plate. Everyone show own one of those for quick and fast preparation of steak and fish. Whats a grill pan?
It a cast iron pan usually about 12 inches in diameter and instead of being perfectly smooth on the bottom, it has raised lines on it, so that when you have it hot and place meat or fish on it, the grill marks appear from the lines , it cooks the meat without touching all of it, using radiant hear AND it provide great grill mark caramelization for super flavor.

Take about 4 TBS of Achiote paste into a small bowl, to that add the juice of a lemon. About 1/4 of juice or just enough to be able to mix the paste into a free flowing sauce like consistency.You can add a little olive oil also. Make the sauce liquid enough to cover the fish not like a paste though.
Take the Salmon steaks and coat withe mix.
Let sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour.

Before you cook meat, or even seafood, let it come up to room temperature from the refrigerator so that when you place it on the grill, it doesn't have to unthaw or have a large temperature difference between the outside and inside. This will provide better cooking control for you, so that you have medium rare steaks that are hot all the way, instead of done correctly on the outside but cold on the inside. With fish it allows even cooking so that the fish is not overcooked on the outside but undercooked inside. Overcooked fish, BAD......perfectly cooked GOOD!
This also pertains to Chicken also.

Then take the Salmon and place it on the grill or grill pan, cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, carefully run a metal spatula to release the fish from the metal and carefully turn, finish cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes until touching the fish with your finger offers some resistance......(learn how to tell doneness by feel)
If you don't have a grill you can place it in to a hot preheated oven. Preheat to 375, place on either foil or grill rack. You will need to cook it for about 12-15 minutes if convection, a few more if not. If you would like to use an instant read thermometer, pull the fish at 140.

Stuff you will need:

Achiote Paste
juice from lemon
salt and pepper
Salmon Steaks

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chicken with Huitlacoche

This is a complex recipe that takes about a total of 2 hours and is not a simple throw it together dish. I make this one for special occasions because of the ingredients that are a little hard to get. The Huitlacoche is very hard to get in the US, but look for it as a canned product under the Monteblanco and Goya brand. It is available in some of the ethnic markets in a 460. g or 14 oz can. Here in Mexico you can find it seasonally in the mercados.
Huitlacoche is a fungus growth that attaches itself onto corn cobs. It is considered a delicacy and is worth the effort to do this dish. It really looks weird, sort of like spoiled or moldy corn kernels, but indeed tasty with a distinct flavor.

To prepare the stuffing.

Saute the Huitlacoche in the skillet over low heat with butter for 3 to 4 minutes or until it starts to release it's juices. Throw in the garlic and serrano chilies and simmer for 8 more minutes, if it starts to dry out, add some chicken stock or water so that is doesn't scorch.
Add the marjoram and saute for another 5 or 6 minutes or until almost dry.
Take the skillet off the heat and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile remove the kernels from one large ear of sweet corn, or if regular corn, use that but add 1 tbs of honey and dry roast in another skillet, use a wooden spoon and stir it so that it doesn't burn.
Add the red pepper , cook for a minute or two, remove from heat and set it aside.

Take the corn bread into a medium bowl and toss in the cooked huitlacoche, corn mixture, scallions, hoja santa and epazote.
Toss in the salt and pepper and add the stock and egg whites. Combine all but try not to over mix, stir only enough to coat the ingredients totally.

Stuffing the Bird.

Put the breasts on a cutting board and make an incision lengthwise through the center of each breast. With a small paring knife carefully widen the incision and try not to cut through the breast.
With a spoon or zip lock bag with the end cut off, stuff the breasts until plump. Put into the refrigerator for an hour or two before cooking.

To cook the dish

Don't cook the dish, cook the chicken in stead.
preheat the oven to 425.
Season the breasts with some salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet,until hot over medium high heat.
Place the breasts skin side down in the skillet.
Immediately reduce the heat to medium and saute until lightly browned.
Remove any excess grease from the pan and place it into the oven.
Be sure your skillet handle can withstand the heat of the oven otherwise you will melt the handle and chicken with a melted handle isn't a good thing.......
Roast the breasts in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes and test with an instant read thermometer for 135.
Remove the breasts and tent with foil.
Meanwhile......deglaze the pan with the vinegar. When you have deglazed the pan and the vinegar has been reduce by half, add the tomato salsa and sugar.

Taste the hot sauce (carefully so you don't burn your tongue) and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve
Ladle the warm sauce onto 4 warm plates that you have preheated, nap the plate and be sure it is covered , remove the breasts from the foil, and with a serrated knife cut into 4 even slices with the goodies inside and place them on top of the napped plate and serve.

I usually will serve this with whatever fresh vegetables that are in season, spinach, kale, asparagus all do complements to the chicken.

Stuff you will need

1 Cup Huitlacoche
3 cloves of roasted garlic chopped*
2 roasted serrano chiles, diced with seeds
1/2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram or 1/4 tsp dry
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup crumbled up corn bread
1/4 chopped scallions
1 tsp chopped fresh hoja santa or 1 tsp chopped terragon
1 tbs chopped fresh epazote
1 egg white
1 tbs butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup chicken stock
4 whole chicken breasts with skin on without bones
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider or wine vinegar
1 cup roasted grilled tomato salsa*
1 Tbs sugar

* Salsa recipe
8 medium sized Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 whole chopotle chile with adobo
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon

Roast tomatoes on hot oiled pan in very hot oven, or blacken them on open flame or with propane torch. You want the flavor of the caramelized tomato skin. Saute the onion in the oil until the onion starts to brown or caramelize. Throw all into a blender or a molcajete and blend or grind until smooth. Add lemon to taste. Adjust the seasoning to taste, possible add another chili if not sufficiently hot for your taste.
(Recipe from Santa Coyote in Guadalajara)

To roast garlic

Cut garlic bulb in half width wise. Coat with olive oil, place into aluminum foil and place into 350 oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, remove the roasted soft garlic from the bulb. Use this in recipes and it is great spread on bread!
Remove and cool, scoop out the roasted garlic and use on bread or recipes.

Indian Pudding

This is one of those recipes that is very cheap and once you stir it you can leave it on top of a warm oven for hours until dinner etc.

If you have fresh fruit you can use that to top it along with some fresh cream otherwise,you can add some flavors to it or just glop some vanilla ice cream on the top of it.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss the cornmeal onto almost boiling milk, (scalded) and start stirring. Be care full not to have the heat on too high since it could burn. Burnt cornmeal doesn't taste too good.
Cook until mixture starts to bubble, keep stirring for another 5 minutes or so.
Remove from the heat, (eye) put in the molasses, spices, salt and butter.

Take 2 TBS of butter and grease up a cazuela or 1 1/5 qt baking casserole.
Pour cornmeal mix into the dish and add 1/2 cup of hot milk and mix gently.
Bake for 2 to 3 hours. Serve with flavored cream or vanilla ice cream while it is still hot and melts the ice cream.

Flavored cream, would be if you take 1/2 cup whipping cream, add Kahlua or other liquors like raspberry or cherry.
You could also make some caramel and top it with that also.

Stuff you will need.

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal ( or polenta)
3 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 tsp. fresh ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp.salt
2 Tbs butter for coating the dish
2Tbs butter for the cornmeal mix
1/2 hot warmed cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tongue or Lengua

Ok, first of all some of your are going eeeeuuuuggg.
Well have you ever tried it?

If you haven't you owe it to yourself to try it first before whining about it!

It's pretty easy to make although a little time consuming it is great both served warm and cold. One of my favorite tacos is Tacos de Lengua which is tasty and loaded with tender tongue meat.....umm.

To Start:

Fill a large pot with water enough to cover the meat, add a onion some peppercorns and put on the stove over medium heat.

When it boils, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and go read a book.
Or you can even take a nap.
After about 2 hours, take a look and check it. If the water has been reduced too much go ahead and add a little more water in order to cover the meat again.

To check to see if it is done, take a serrated steak knife and jab into the thickest parts.
IF the knife goes in easy it is done, if it offers some resistance then let it cook some more.

Once cooked you can drain the pot and let the tongue cool so that you can work with it.

Take a shape knife and trim the outside skin off the whole tongue. You will see that the outside skin is extremely tough like leather. It is pretty easy to remove with a sharp knife.

After you have trimmed the outside skin off, you can slice it into serving pieces of about 1/2 inch thick.

Stuff you will need:

2 lb beef tongue
1 onion
1 tbs peppercorns
2 tbs salt.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cilantro Tartar Sauce

I love fish, usually all the fish needs is a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, maybe a little soy or salsa and that's it!
Occasionally there is just something that the fish needs or know what I mean. In that case a little fat sauce will help.
Yep you can just throw a dollop of mayonnaise on it, but why? This is a simple recipe that adds some flavor and justifies the mayo.

To Start:
Place all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender and whirl away until all is combined.
Process until all is smooth,
Pour the stuff into a squeeze bottle, you know the kind mustard comes in, and stick in the refrigerator until needed.
To use,
take the bottle out, give it a shake or two and then squeeze your favorite design all over the fish.

Stuff you will need:

1/2 cup of Mayonnaise ( Best Foods or Hellman(east of the Rockies) )
1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
1TBS finely chopped while onion
1 TBS finely chopped dill pickles
1/2 TBS finely chopped capers (drain and rinse)
1 TBS chopped fresh basil
1 TBS fresh Italian Parsley
1 to 2 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice ( To taste)
1/2 tsp salt

Friday, January 2, 2009

Green Chile Corn Bread

This is an easy throw it all in the pot and throw it in the oven recipe. You can add some sweet corn kernels to the top as decoration when finished , if you have them available, but otherwise it is pretty plain.

Preheat oven to 325.
If you have a Dutch Oven this is perfect otherwise find a 9 inch square baking pan. Generously butter the Dutch Oven or pan.

In a bowl beat the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time beating after each egg. And the chilies, corn and cheese and homogenize all. In another small bowl, mix the cornmeal, baking soda, flour and salt. Once mixed, throw that into the egg mixture and mix until all the lumps are out, well the majority of them at least.

Put in the oven, close the door, go read for about an hour.
Find yourself a wooden match or skewer, jab it in the middle of the bread, if it comes out clean then remove from the oven, let rest and enjoy. If it comes out still clinging on to some corn meal particles, give it another 10 minutes or so, until the stick comes out clean. That's it!

Stuff you will need:

4 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 TBS. Baking powder
1 1/2 cups creamed corn
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup roasted, seeded and diced green chilies ( you can use canned if you must)
1/2 cup grated Monterey or Chihuahua Cheese

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Yam Flan

This is one of my favorite twists on the flan, this adds a nice texture to the flan but keeps the caramel on the bottom of the custard, as usual.

To start, find a pan glass or ceramic to coat the caramel and put the custard in. I usually will use a 9x11 Pyrex dish, or one that has about the same surface.

To make the caramel,
Take the sugar and put in a saucepan on medium high heat.
Add the water and stir ONCE.
Then let it cook until the sugar water mixture turns a dark amber, go ahead and swirl the pan to be sure it is all mixed. Be sure and do not let the mixture turn much darker because it will burn and you will have a hard time cleaning out the burnt sugar.
Take the hot caramel and carefully put it into the glass dish, be sure and swirl it around to coat the whole dish and up on the sides a little.
Be very care full because it is very hot and will burn very bad should you get it on yourself..... ( Caramel lesson #1)

Set the pan to the side or into the refrigerator.

TO make the custard-flan.

Put cream into a medium saucepan add the vanilla extract and cinnamon sticks. Turn on the heat to a medium a and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the cinnamon soak for at least one hour. Strain out the cinnamon.

Find a pan that you can put the glass dish into and have it be surrounded with water half way up the Pyrex dish with the caramel in it. (This is called a water bath or bain marie.) This is done so that the cooking heat will be even and gentle while in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 325degrees.

Boil some water, enough to fill the bigger pan.

In a large bowl, add the now cooled cream , sugar, crushed yams allspice, cloves, eggs rum and Kahlua.
Take a whisk and combine into a homogenized mixture.
Pour into the glass dish.
Put the dish into the oven, immediately put the hot water which you boiled, so it it comes up halfway up the dish with the custard in it.

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, open the oven door and shake the inside pan a little to see if it has firmed up. If your oven runs hot, it may be done, otherwise it can take anywhere from about 15 to 30 minutes more.

When the center is kind of firm but jiggles a little, remove from the oven and let cool.

When cool, cut or scoop into serving dishes, you can top with whipped cream flavored with Kahlua or just plain whipped cream and sugar. Or not.

You can use sweet potato in place of yams if you only have Sweet Potatoes.

You also could take some canned pumpkin , the kind you buy to make pumpkin pie, and substitute it for the yams, the flan will then become a Pumpkin Flan........

Stuff you will need:

for the Caramel

2 Cups sugar
2 cups water

For the Flan

4 Cups half and
half or Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Cinnamon Sticks (whole)
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar (packed firm)
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1TBS ground allspice
1 TBS ground cloves
5 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 lb baked Yams, peeled and pureed or canned.

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