30 June 2009
From Denny: We all know and love the folks over at the Hershey's Chocolate kitchens! As a child I learned to bake from their simple recipes and have been loving chocolate ever since. Are you as big a fan of chocolate and coconut as I am? Usually, when coconut is in a recipe I reduce the sugar level - here I would only use 1/3 cup as opposed to what the recipe calls for: 2/3 cup. Your sweetness level is your choice; some folks like things really sweet.
Hershey's Chocolate Cookbook
(Featured in the Romancing The Chocolate Amazon store, just click on the title. Found dozens of various Hershey chocolate cookbooks. These guys have been busy over the years! I have several of their books on my shelves.)
Hot Fudge Coconut Pudding
From: “Hershey’s Chocolate Treasury: A Special Collection From America’s Chocolate Authority”
Serves: 8 to 10
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (3-1/8-oz.) pkg. vanilla pudding and pie filling mix, not the instant mix variety
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1-1/2 cups boiling water
Vanilla ice cream
1. Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl.
2. Blend in milk, oil and vanilla. Stir in nuts.
3. Spread in greased 8-inch square pan or 1-1/2-quart shallow baking dish.
4. Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, dry pudding and pie filling mix and coconut; sprinkle over batter.
5. Carefully pour boiling water over mixture; do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Heirloom Tomatoes, click on the image to take you directly to the photo to better read the names of the varieties Image via WikipediaFrom Denny: We love tomatoes at our house! They are so versatile, and, right about now for the rest of the summer, they are also affordable. Tomatoes are a healthy food, full of vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant lycopene.
Some people who find red tomatoes too strong a taste would enjoy the more mellow yellow version. Another alternative is to buy the red tomatoes before they ripen - as green tomatoes! Here in the South we have a long tradition of fried green tomatoes. All you do is slice the green unripened tomatoes into thick slices. Then dredge them in an egg wash and yellow cornmeal, seasoned with your favorite spices - we like lots of garlic powder and Cajun seasonings at our house - and saute in a bit of oil in a cast iron skillet and out comes an awesome dish! Easy!
Today I'm featuring a couple of tomato recipes: Tomato Basil Pie and Heirloom Tomato Salsa, enjoy!
Tomato Basil Pie
From: “Cooking & Gardening with Dianne” by Dianne Cage (featured in the Comfort Food From Louisiana Amazon store, just click on the title)
Makes: one (9-inch) pie
1 prepared pie crust
3 or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced fairly thick
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar (suggestion: use only 1/2 cup Cheddar plus 1/2 cup Parmesan)
1/2 - 1 cup mayonnaise (suggestion: if you are not a huge fan of mayonnaise or the calories try using only 1/2 cup as that is just enough to bind everything without excess)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Brush bottom of pie crust lightly with butter and bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Place tomato slices in bottom of crust and sprinkle chopped basil over tomatoes.
3. In separate bowl, blend cheeses, mayonnaise, red pepper and a sprinkle of black pepper. Pat on top of tomato-basil and with the back of a spoon, lightly spread over top.
4. Put back into preheated 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes and top is lightly browned. Tomatoes will just be heated through. Serve warm.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa
From: “Fresh Every Day — More Great Recipes From Foster’s Market” by Sara Foster with Carolynn Carreno (featured in the Comfort Food From Louisiana Amazon book store - just click on the title)
Makes: 3 to 4 cups.
From the author: “I make this salsa in big batches because it’s good on so many things: scrambled eggs, chicken sandwiches, in wraps with leftover meat and, of course, with chips. I make it with many kinds of heirloom tomatoes because I love all the shapes and colors together. If you can’t find heirlooms, don’t worry. The point is just to have good, garden-ripe tomatoes.”
2 pounds mixed tomatoes (4 to 5 medium), cored and diced
1 small red onion, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, cored, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño peppers, garlic, red pepper, lime zest and juice in a large bowl as you prepare them. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with the sugar, cilantro, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marry the flavors before serving the salsa. It will keep for up to 1 week; the tomatoes will release some juices, but the flavor is just delicious.
29 June 2009
From Denny: Found this little gem of a recipe over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tartlet desserts are popular for entertaining in Louisiana and this season of horse racing is no exception.
Of course, like a lot of Americans I watched all the drama of the horse races. Why? Louisiana's Jockey Calvin Borel was in all of them, a female horse won - I had to cheer for girl power since it was the first time in over 70 years a filly won anything significant - and lastly, though I did not grow up there I was born in Kentucky and some things you just can't get out of a person - like loving horses.
Image via Wikipedia
For the recipe, just remember: Louisiana has FABULOUS pecans!
I left the recipe's prelude text in its entirety from the Atlanta Journal because I find it interesting to trace how a recipe makes its rounds and it gives the reader a flavor of the food writing in that part of America:
What Can I Bring?
Make and take: Make these surprisingly simple treats ahead of time and store in an air-tight container at room temperature. They also freeze well.
Made famous by: Joan Demer of Stone Mountain, who got the recipe from her daughter in Virginia. "I've had compliments whenever I've served it, " she said.
Frozen pre-made phyllo shells make this take on pecan tassies a breeze. To toast pecans, spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven until lightly browned.
Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
45 mini phyllo shells, such as Athens brand
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate miniature morsels
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup bourbon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the shells on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the miniature morsels into the shells, dividing evenly. In a mixing bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, butter, bourbon and beaten egg; stir well. Spoon the mixture into the shells, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until set and golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Tip: If you have any leftover filling, you can cook it in the microwave and serve it over vanilla ice cream, Demer said.
Per serving: 60 calories (percent of calories from fat, 43), 1 gram protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 41 milligrams sodium.
Gazpacho Version with Cucumber Image by Marco Veringa via FlickrFrom Denny: In this triple digit summer heat wave we all could use something cooling like gazpacho - and it's so healthy! Did you know that tomatoes alkalize your blood? Did you know that cucumbers and tomatoes both cool your liver that in turn cools your body in this heat?
Varieties of gazpacho are practically endless. Here's one faster convenience food version that uses that yummy Spicy Hot V-8 juice that does most of the work for you.
From: “Culinary Secrets” by Margo Bouanchaud Hayes and Mary Ann Monsour (featured in the Comfort Food From Louisiana Amazon store, just click on the title)
Makes: 6 cups
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups Spicy Hot V-8 Juice, divided
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I've used bottled lemon juice and haven't died of embarrassment from it)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup peeled and finely chopped cucumber
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Avocado, peeled and cubed
Sour cream (I find no-fat version just as tasty)
1. Process tomatoes and garlic in bowl of food processor.
2. Gradually add half of the V-8 juice and process until smooth.
Then add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and vinegar.
3. Pour mixture into another container, and add the bell pepper and cucumber. Stir well.
4. In batches, purée about three-fourths of the mixture until smooth. (Leave the last fourth unprocessed to have the contrasting texture).
5. Mix in the remaining V-8 juice, combining with the puréed batches and the unpuréed. Season to taste.
6. Serve well chilled, garnished with avocado and sour cream.
28 June 2009
Louisiana Brand Of Molasses STEEN'S Image by scottpartee via Flickr
Southern Louisiana Molasses Cake & Cookies From Scratch:
An excerpt from the article:
"Cakes from scratch - Back to basics
Not that long ago, molasses was a common kitchen staple in the well-stocked pantry. Today, many people would not know what it is.
Molasses Spice Cookies Image by ilmungo via Flickr
Additionally, even if someone has heard of molasses -- it isn't the first ingredient most of us today would think about, if we were going to make a cake.
Therefore, if you've never heard of molasses, it is a thick syrup by-product obtained by making sugarcane or sugar beet into sugar.
Basically, there are three main types of molasses: Unsulphured, sculptured, and black strap molasses:
Unsulphured molasses is considered molasses of top quality. It has only the smallest amount of sugar has been removed. It is made from the juices of sun-ripened sugar cane that has been refined and concentrated."
By Jerilee Wei @ HubPages
From Denny: Jerilee lives in Califonia now but was born and steeped in the Louisiana culture. This thorough well-written article has several recipes, a bit of culture and three videos. Just click on the title link to take you there, enjoy!
From: Recipe courtesy Aaron Sanchez of the Food Network show Nuevos Chilies
Prep Time: 30 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
Serves: 12 servings
1 pound guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and deviened
1 pound pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, and deviened
1 pound ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and deviened
2 Spanish onions, quartered
4 tomatoes, quartered
10 tomatillos, peeled
8 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup black raisins
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup prunes
4 cups red wine
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 large cinnamon sticks
1 gallon chicken stock
2 sweet plantains
1 piece Mexican chocolate
5 corn tortillas
Serving suggestion: beef, lamb, or chicken
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Begin by placing all the dry chiles on sheet tray and toasting them in hot oven for 2 minutes until they start to let off an aroma, remove quickly and submerge them in bowl with hot water. Set aside.
Preheat the broiler.
Place the onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, and garlic on sheet tray and allow until roast and allow to char in a salamander or broiler and the vegetables have roasted for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine the prunes, apricots, and raisins with the red wine and allow to cook for 10 minutes or until the fruit has absorbed all the wine and set aside.
In hot pan, toast all the spices, turning quickly as not to burn them. As soon as you see them smoking, remove, grind in a spice grinder, and set aside.
To start assembling the mole combine the chiles, roasted vegetables, red wine-soaked dry fruit and the spices in large heavy bottom pot. And add the chicken stock and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile peel the plantains and slice into 1-inch thick slices. In a saute pan with 3 inches of oil, fry the plantains until golden and add to the pot as well as chocolate and tortillas cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree the sauce until smooth. Serve with chicken, beef, or lamb.
27 June 2009
Image via WikipediaFrom Denny: How about a simple recipe of Eggplant Parmigiana? Light foods like this are great in this summer heat, easy and faster to digest than heavy meats.
Did you know that tomatoes are cooling for your liver? Why is that important? Cool your liver; cool your body! A win-win in this summer heat!
Same goes for foods like cucumbers and vinegars. A little (like about 1/2 teaspoon per large glass of water) white or red wine vinegar in your glass of water helps your liver handle the hot weather.
From: “Savannah Collection” by Martha Giddens Nesbit
2 small eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch circles
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, squeezed through a press (if using commercial spaghetti sauce)
1/2 cup olive oil, approximately
2 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows) OR commercial meatless spaghetti sauce
10 ozs. grated mozzarella cheese
1. Salt sliced eggplant and allow it to drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In small bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese and parsley. I used commercial spaghetti sauce so I squeezed 1 clove of garlic through a garlic press into the cheese mixture for added flavor. Set aside.
3. In large, nonstick skillet, heat oil and fry eggplant until lightly browned on both sides. At first the eggplant will soak up the oil, but as it cooks, the oil will release. When browned, drain on paper towels.
4. Use a 9x13-inch shallow baking dish for making a one- layer casserole or an 8x8-inch dish for two layers. Begin by spreading the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the dish, all of it for single layer casserole or half the remaining ingredients if you’re making two layers.
Layer cooked eggplant slices over sauce then spoon cottage cheese mixture over eggplant, spreading it out as evenly as you can. Top with grated mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, beginning with tomato sauce if making a double layer and ending with mozzarella.
5. Bake in 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
From: Recipe is from “Savannah Collection”
Makes: about 4 cups of sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced (I love a lot more!)
2 (16-oz.) cans Italian plum tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cleaned and chopped parsley
1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add other ingredients.
2. Cover and cook, stirring often, for about 30 minutes. Use in eggplant dish, or freeze for later.
George Carlin: Outrageous comedian: "'Life's journey is not to
arrive at the grave safely
in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways,
totally worn out, shouting
'...holy sh*t ....what a ride!'"
By alekhouse @ HubPages
From Denny: Here's an interesting article from a new writer over at HubPages you will enjoy!
From Denny: Tyler Florence is one of my favorites over at Food Network. He works fast in the kitchen and he is able to easily teach as he is working quickly - quite the combination! He also is not judgmental and is so flexible he can work with anyone. Here is his recipe using chocolate in a savory dish from his show on Flavors of Central America.
Chicken Mole Poblano
From: Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence @ Food Network
Prep Time: 25 min
Inactive Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
2 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 dried anaheim chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican, broken in pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano peppers, stemmed and seeded
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Mexican, chopped
1 capon or large chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
For the mole: Tear the ancho, anaheim, and chipotle chiles into large pieces and toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they change color a bit, about 2 minutes. Put them into a bowl with the raisins and cover them with hot water. Soak unti softened, about 30 minutes. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the almonds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, oregano, and thyme. Toast for 2 minutes, grind in a spice grinder, and add the powder to a blender.
In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and serrano. Cook until lightly browned, then add the tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes, then add to the blender. Add the chocolate and the soaked chiles and raisins to the blender along with some of the chile soaking liquid. Puree, adding more soaking liquid as needed, to make a smooth sauce. (This makes about 4 cups sauce, the recipe uses 2 cups, the extra can be frozen).
Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and season it well with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and brown the chicken on all sides; remove the browned chicken to a plate leaving the oil in the pan. Pour 2 cups of the mole sauce into the hot skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and return the chicken pieces to the pan. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the onion and radish slices into a bowl. Add the lime juice and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt. Mix well and serve with the chicken.
Serve over cooked white rice with the onion and radish salad. Garnish everything with cilantro leaves.
26 June 2009
From Denny: Featured recently in our local newspaper was this recipe from the Weber's Grill cookbook. The heat is in triple digits across America and we could use some "brain food" as our brains feel cooked! And I sure love Portobello mushrooms - the texture is almost like a steak with a lot less calories! :) Enjoy!
And make sure you are drinking lots of water in this summer heat - even when you don't feel thirsty - if you wait until then you may suffer serious heat stroke.
From: “Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling”
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbls. finely minced shallot
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
6 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems and black gills removed
Freshly ground black pepper
6 Kaiser rolls, cut in half
2 ozs. arugula, trimmed, rinsed and dried
1. In a small bowl, combine the aïoli ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the sandwiches.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients. Place the mushroom caps, gill sides down, in a large baking pan. Brush the mushroom caps generously with the marinade and turn the caps over. Spoon the rest of the marinade over the gill side. Allow the mushrooms to marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.
4. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and reserve the marinade. Lightly season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the mushrooms, gill sides down, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they begin to soften, 4 to 6 minutes.
Brush the cap sides of the mushrooms with some of the remaining marinade from the pan. Turn the mushrooms over and then grill them until they are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes.
5. Grill the rolls, cut sides down, over direct medium heat until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds.
6. Spread aïoli on the toasted buns and top each one with some arugula and a mushroom. Serve warm.
Way to grill portobello mushrooms: Cut away the stems and any curled edges around the rims. With a spoon, gently scrape away the dark gills that might be holding dirt. Use a vinaigrette to marinate and baste the mushrooms. Finish grilling the mushrooms with the stem sides facing up so that the juices are held inside the caps.
Mole Negro Oaxaqueno: Oaxacan Black Mole
From: Food Network and Recipe excerpted from Seasons of My Heart: A Culinary Journey through Oaxaca, Mexico by Susana Trilling: Ballantine Books, 1999
Prep Time: 45 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 4 hr 0 min
Serves: 12 servings
4 large onions, chopped, plus 1 medium onion, quartered
8 ribs celery, chopped
8 carrots, chopped
2 (3 pound) chickens, cut into 12 pieces, skinned
5 chilhuacles negros, seeded and deveined; seeds reserved
5 guajillos, seeded and deveined; seeds reserved
4 pasillas Mexicanos, seeded and deveined; seeds reserved
4 anchos negros, seeded and deveined; seeds reserved
2 chipotles mecos, seeded and deveined; seeds reserved
1/2 head garlic, cloves separated
2 tablespoons whole almonds
2 tablespoons shelled and skinned raw peanuts
1 (1-inch) piece Mexican cinnamon
3 black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 1/2 tablespoons raisins
1 slice egg-dough bread (maybe Challah as a source)
1 small ripe plantain, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2-cup sesame seeds
2 pecan halves
1/2 pound chopped tomatoes
1/4 pound chopped tomatillos
1 sprig thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 sprig Oaxacan oregano, or 1/2 tsp. dried
2 tablespoons lard
4 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate
1 avocado leaf
Salt, to taste
In a 2 gallon stockpot, heat 5 quarts water and onions, celery, and carrots to a boil. Add chicken pieces and poach, covered, over low heat for about 35 to 45 minutes, until cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Remove the meat from the stock. Strain and reserve the stock.
Heat 2 quarts of water in a kettle. On a 10-inch dry comal, griddle, or in a cast-iron frying pan, toast the chiles over medium heat until blackened, but not burnt, about 10 minutes. Place the chiles in a large bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 1/2 hour. Remove the chiles from the soaking water with tongs, placing small batches in a blender with 1/4 cup of the chile soaking water to blend smooth. Put the chile puree through a strainer to remove the skins.
In the same dry comal, griddle, or frying pan, grill the onion and garlic over medium heat for 10 minutes. Set aside. Toast the almonds, peanuts, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves in a dry comal, griddle or cast-iron frying pan for about 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan.
Over the same heat, toast the chile seeds, taking care to blacken but not burn them, about 20 minutes. Try to do this outside or in a well-ventilated place because the seeds will give off very strong fumes. When the seeds are completely black, light them with a match and let them burn themselves out. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Soak the blackened seeds in 1 cup of cold water for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds and grind them in a blender for about 2 minutes. Add the blended chile seeds to the blended chile mixture.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in an 8-inch cast-iron frying pan over medium heat until smoking. Add the raisins and fry them until they are plump, approximately 1 minute. Remove from the pan. Fry the bread slice in the same oil until browned, about 5 minutes, over medium heat. Remove from pan. Fry the plantain in the same oil until it is well browned, approximately 10 minutes, over medium heat. Set aside. Fry the sesame seeds, stirring constantly over low heat, adding more oil if needed. When the sesame seeds start to brown, about 5 minutes, add the pecans and brown for 2 minutes more. Remove all from the pan, let cool, and grind finely in a spice grinder. It takes a bit of time, but this is the only way to grind the seeds and nuts finely enough.
Wipe out the frying pan and fry the tomatoes, tomatillos, thyme, and oregano over medium to high heat, allowing the juices to almost evaporate, about 15 minutes. Blend well, using 1/2 cup of reserved stock if needed to blend and set aside. Place the nuts, bread, plantains, raisins, onion, garlic and spices in the blender in small batches, and blend well, adding about 1 cup of stock to make it smooth.
In a heavy 4-quart stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of lard or oil until smoking and fry the chile paste over medium to low heat, stirring constantly so it will not burn, approximately 20 minutes. When it is ?dry?, add the tomato puree and fry until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the ground ingredients, including the sesame seed paste, to the pot. Stir constantly with a wooden soon until well-incorporated, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken stock to the mole, stir well, and allow to cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Break up the chocolate and add to the pot, stirring until it is melted and incorporated into the mixture.
Toast the avocado leaf briefly over the flame if you have a gas range or in a dry frying pan and then add it to the pot. Slowly add more stock to the mole, as it will keep thickening as it cooks. Add enough salt to bring out the flavor. Let simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so it does not stick, adding stock as needed. The mole should not be thick; just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Place the cooked chicken pieces in the leftover stock in a saucepan and heat through.
To serve, place a piece of chicken in a shallow bowl and ladle 3/4 of a cup of mole sauce over to cover it completely. Serve immediately with lots of hot corn tortillas.
Hint: Be sure to put the blended chiles through a sieve or food mill, or you will have pieces of chile skin in your mole, which needs to be silky smooth.
You can use oil instead of lard to fry the mole, but the flavor will change dramatically. In our pueblo, people traditionally use turkey instead of chicken, and sometimes add pieces of pork and beef to enhance the flavor. You can use leftover mole and chicken meat to make Enmoladas or Tamales Oazaquenos made with banana leaves.
Inspired by Maria Taboada and Paula Martinez
Image of Twitter
Photo by PinkMoose @ flickr
From Denny: If you are a blogger and are over at Twitter, try this new fun gadget to help you learn who is following your tweets. Connect with your Peeps! :)
Just plug in your user name @ Twitter:
Hello to my followers in the following countries and thank you for following, much appreciated!
Here are the countries in order of most followers first - what a surprise to find out Ecuador was right up there with the UK:
23 June 2009
Chef Emeril Lagasse at a book signing Image via Wikipedia
Emeril Lagasse’s Beer Battered Fried Trout Tacos With Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw
From Denny: Louisiana in the summer is all about quick and easy, usually seafood. Chef Emeril Lagasse came down from New England, was embraced by the New Orleans food establishment when he was a young man and taught how to really cook.
Down South folks are willing to mentor to help someone develop. Nor do they get angry when the student is ready to mentor his own, starting up his own restaurants. Emeril has previous shows and recipes stashed at Food Network and now teaches on the green network. He's one busy guy! Below is one of his recipes he developed where he really captures the essence of Louisiana food.
To make the recipe you require two other recipes first: the Cajun seasoning and the coleslaw recipe so I'll put these up first.
Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
From: “New Orleans Cooking” by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
Makes: 2/3 cup
2-1/2 tbls. paprika
2 tbls. salt
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 tbl. black pepper
1 tbl. onion powder
1 tbl. cayenne pepper
1 tbl. dried oregano
1 tbl. dried thyme
Directions: Combine all ingredients. Emeril sells this product in your grocery store too if you don't want to mix up your own.
Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw
From: Chef Emeril Lagasse
2-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
2-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
2 tbls. finely sliced green onions
1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
2 jalapeños, stem and seeds removed, minced
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbls. plus 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbls. sour cream
3 tbls. freshly grated horseradish or 1-1/2 tbls. prepared horseradish
1-1/2 tsps. Creole or coarse-grain mustard
1. Combine cabbages, carrots and green onions in large mixing bowl. In a small bowl toss the cucumbers and jalapeños with the lemon juice and add to the cabbage mixture.
2. In small mixing bowl combine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
3. In small bowl, blend mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish and mustard. Add mayonnaise mixture to coleslaw and toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Emeril Lagasse’s Beer Battered Fried Trout Tacos With Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw
Oil for frying
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbl. vegetable oil
1 cup beer
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
4 trout fillets, about 6 ozs. each
2 tbls. Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
6 large, soft flour tortillas
Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw
Hot sauce, if desired when serving
1. Heat oil in deep fryer or in a large saucepan to 375 degrees.
2. Sift 1 cup flour, the baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper together into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil, beer and hot sauce. Stir until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Set aside.
3. Season each fillet with 1 teaspoon of the Essence. Cut each fillet into diagonal 1-1/2-inch strips. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup flour with the remaining 2 teaspoons of Essence. Dredge the fish strips in the seasoned flour then shake to release any excess flour. Transfer to a plate.
4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wrap the flour tortillas in aluminum foil and place in the oven to warm or warm according to manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Dredge each piece of fish in the beer batter, making sure the fish is completely coated. Allow any excess batter to drip into the bowl, and then slowly lower the fish into the hot oil. Repeat with remaining fish, working in batches if necessary.
6. Fry until fish is puffed, golden brown and crispy (4 to 5 minutes). Remove the fish with slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper-lined plate. Place in warm oven while cooking remaining fish or until you’re ready to assemble tacos.
7. To serve: Divide the fish among the warmed flour tortillas and top with some of the Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw. Drizzle with hot sauce if desired.
From Denny: Featured recently in our local newspaper, this retro recipe was a big hit. I'd include the link to the newspaper except that it's useless as a link since they started archiving their recipes after a week and then force you to pay for them. For years the recipes were easily available and always free - long before this economic downturn.
This is a cake that would taste better the second day so the cinnamon and chocolate flavors could mellow out some. The flavor notes are brassier the first day, calming down to perfection by the second day. Try making the cake layers first and frosting on the second day (takes up less room in the fridge).
I've always had a soft spot for a chocolate cake made with sour cream as they play well together. Give this version a try! The brown sugar in the icing is a divine pairing with the chocolate cake portion. Maybe it's the molasses spun back into the processed white sugar to make the dark brown version. A small amount of molasses does not over power but rather adds a note of depth to food. (I even use dark brown sugar in my spaghetti and marinara sauces! Oops! The Secret is out...)
Enjoy this yummy cake. If you are a huge frosting fan you might want to double up on the batch for this cake as the news folks complained the frosting recipe was a bit skimpy. I'm not a fan of frosting unless it's a ganache so this recipe of a thin amount of frosting is fine with me. You decide what you like, enjoy!
Sour Cream Chocolate Spice Cake With Penuche Fudge Frosting
From: “The Country Fair Cookbook” by Alison Boteler
Makes: one (8-inch) 2-layer cake
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1-1/2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. cinnamon
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Penuche Fudge Frosting (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two (8-inch) round pans with baking parchment.
2. Combine flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla and beat at low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula and beat at high speed 2 minutes. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and beat 1 minute longer.
4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
5. Cool layers completely. Remove from pans and peel off baking parchment. Fill and frost sides and top with frosting.
Testing note: Cake is moister and mellower tasting the second day. It does not need to be stored in the refrigerator, but it does need to be covered with a cake dome or plastic wrap. I found that 35 minutes was an adequate baking time.
Penuche Fudge Frosting
From: “The Country Fair Cookbook” by Alison Boteler
Makes: enough for one (8-inch layer cake)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1. Melt butter in large saucepan. Blend in brown sugar and bring to boil, stirring constantly.
2. Simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring.
3. Stir in milk and return to boil. Remove from heat and cool until mixture is lukewarm to touch.
4. Slowly whisk in powdered sugar. Place pan in bowl of ice water and beat until frosting is of spreading consistency.
5. If frosting becomes too stiff to spread, beat in a few drops of milk.
21 June 2009
Chocolate - Better than sex
"It's a fact that women have long craved chocolate. They have made many analogies between sex and chocolate. Doctors have actually found a link between women and chocolate.
There are researchers who claim that women who eat candy chocolate actually have a better sex life than women who do not.
The research shows that chocolate eating females have higher levels of desire, higher levels of arousal and obtain more satisfaction from their sex lives. Thus, chocolate or chocolate bars have a positive physiological effect on women."
For the rest of the short article just click on the title link!
By trimar7 @ HubPages
From Denny: My kind of article, enjoy! :)
Similar idea of a meat roll, our meat roll has a biscuit crust rather than a meat crust, no photo for our recipe up on Food Network - Image by Gio JL via FlickrFrom Denny: I just got through watching this Food Network show called Guy's Big Bite and he is quite the entertainer. He also loves calorie monster food! He loves comfort food of all kinds. Though I'm not the heavy meat eater and high calorie consumer he is, I liked this recipe for a few reasons.
One, it's something simple you can easily cook up for a family or a large crowd. Two, you can break down the steps and do them over a few days if you like. It's that kind of recipe that can be interrupted and resumed and still tastes just fine. Three, this recipe is one of those you can change the ingredients from meat savory to vegetarian friendly if you desire.
In the summer heat we don't eat a lot of meat. Why? Meat is harder to digest which means your body heats up hotter and for a longer period of time than if you are eating plant proteins and cheeses. Today I'm going to work on developing a Mexican refried bean version, using the same principles in this recipe, and will get back to you as to how it went! (Sorry, no photo up on their site yet and no video up. Will check back and embed if they do put it up.) Enjoy this killer recipe!
Savory Meat Roll
From: Sarah Simington, Blue Moon Cafe, Baltimore, Maryland
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: 7 to 8 rolls plus ends
For the pesto:
1 small bunch fresh basil (about 2 cups packed)
1/2 cup cashews
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated Asiago
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
For the filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 pounds country sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cups grated Asiago
For the topping:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
10 button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Asiago
For the biscuit:
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and kneading
3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed
2 cups milk
To slather on the biscuit dough when assembling the roll:
1 stick butter, softened
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
To make the pesto: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture turns into a smooth paste. Set aside.
To make the filling: In a saute pan over medium heat, add oil and then the sausage. Saute the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it cooks through and it turns golden brown. Cool slightly and drain the fat. Set sausage aside in a bowl. Keep mozzarella and Asiago cheese on standby.
To make the topping: Heat a large saute pan with oil, add the peppers, onion, granulated garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Don't overcook the tomatoes. They should retain their shape. Set aside.
To make the biscuit dough: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and with your fingertips or with a pastry blender blend together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in milk, using a fork, until the dough comes together. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface, remove the dough from the bowl and knead several times on the floured surface. Add small amounts of flour, as needed, so that dough will be easy to roll out. Roll the dough out to roughly 15-inches in diameter.
To assemble: (Good thing I proof read these recipes as they forgot to include the obvious for you! Make sure you slather the biscuit dough with the softened butter stick before assembly! The butter will act as a barrier to keep the biscuit dough coating from becoming gooey and help hold the filling properly.)
Sprinkle the top of the dough evenly with the sausage and top with the mozzarella and Asiago. Roll the dough into a log. Cut the ends off to create even edges then cut the log into 7 or 8 pieces, depending on the length of the roll. Place slices (on their side so the spiral design shows facing up) on a baking sheet and press the tops down. Put the ends on the baking sheet and press those tops down. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until biscuits turn golden. Transfer the rolls to a serving platter. Serve topped with the sauteed vegetables and sprinkled with remaining cheese.
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.
19 June 2009
From Denny: Have you been over to the Canadian food site Joy of Baking yet? Even though the summer weather has set in with 98 degree F. days, their recipes are enough to coax me into turning on the oven even in this heat - though with this recipe it won't be required!
This is a summer-friendly recipe as it is a no-bake one. Definitely a must-try recipe AND easy - perfect for the weekend!
Here is an excerpt from their site about this cookie bar:
"Nanaimo Bars (or N.B.s for short) are one of Canada's favorite confections. The beautiful City of Nanaimo, British Columbia lays claim to these squares, telling us on their website that it all began when a Nanaimo housewife entered a recipe for chocolate squares in a magazine contest some 35 years ago.
She called her recipe 'Nanaimo Bars' and when she won the contest, not only did her dessert become popular throughout Canada, so did the town they were named after. Whether this story is true or not, we will never know, but what we do know is that these no-bake bars are delicious; a three layered square with a crumb base, followed by a layer of light custard buttercream, that is topped with a smooth layer of chocolate."
Their recipes are given in both American and metric measurements. For the continuation of their tips, history and suggestions about this recipe - worth the read - just click on the title link.
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa (I use Dutch-processed)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (65 grams) coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing) sugar
4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
Nanaimo Bars: Butter (or use a cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.
BOTTOM LAYER: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
FILLING: In your electric mixer cream the butter. Beat in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).
TOP LAYER: In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the filling and refrigerate.
TO SERVE: To prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.
Yield: Makes about 25 squares
Another version of Hummus with pine nuts Image via Wikipedia
From Denny: Folks from Lebanon moved to Louisiana a good 150 years ago, with some additions in the past few decades. Locals here love their Lebanese food as much as the Cajun cuisine and there are plenty of small family restuarants to prove it true!
Heidi Chustz, a local nutritionist recently featured in our local newspaper had this to say about the health benefits of cooking with fresh herbs:
• Mint — Soothes digestive tract and reduces the severity and length of stomach aches. The antifungal properties of mint are thought to play a role in the treatment of asthma and other allergy conditions. It may prevent some cancers such as colon, skin and lung cancer.
• Lemon grass — Studies have shown that lemon grass has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Mixed with pepper, it’s a home therapy for menstrual troubles and nausea. When drinking it as a tea, it can be an effective diuretic.
• Oregano — Known to have strong antibacterial properties.
• Parsley — Excellent source of some nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and iron, that are important in preventing many diseases.
• Basil — Oil in basil has been shown to inhibit growth of several types of bacteria, many of which have become resistant to antibiotics. It is a good source of vitamin A and magnesium.
She does caution the following for those with compromised immune systems and old age:
"Anyone who is taking cardiac medications, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure medications, psychotherapeutic medications, diabetes medications and certain over-the-counter medications to talk to their doctors, pharmacists and dietitians regarding possible drug-herb interactions."
Aside from that herbs are fabulous for your health and a tasty joy to add to your every day cooking!
Mambo Italiano Hummus
From: Rebecca Mason
2 cans cannellini beans
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbls. chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomato
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprig of fresh oregano
1. Purée beans in food processor until smooth; add lemon juice while processing beans.
2. Remove from processor and put in bowl and set aside.
3. Purée herbs and sun-dried tomato in processor. Slowly add oil until it makes a loose paste.
18 June 2009
From Denny: "Can I tell ya?" Spent hours and hours this past weekend pouring over some awesome photo blogs, amateur and professional alike, sifting through them to place the BEST on my blog roll for you! There are about 70 choices now - around there, I lost count... :)
If you enjoy looking at photos and want to see what is going on in the photo blogosphere then this is a good place to start. My blog roll list is located at my photo blog, Visual Insights.
Talk about a wonderful way to while away a few hours with beautiful and thought-provoking photos! Take a look and enjoy! Go here.
17 June 2009
The Real Meaning of Words
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."