September 14th, 2010

Apple Butter

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

I come from a family of canners, but I have never actually canned anything.  My mom and sisters have all made jams and fruits and I never seem to be around when they are doing it.  I had thought this year would be the year that I finally made some jam, but it just didn’t happen, so I was really quite happy to hear about this months challenge.

Unfortunately for me I don’t really have the cupboard space in my little kitchen to store anything that is canned so I decided to go the route of making the apple butter and freezing it in some ziplock containers.  I also made a half recipe because I figured there was no way my husband and I could eat an entire recipe of apple butter.

When cutting the recipe in half I wasn’t paying attention when it came to the sugar and put the full amount of sugar in.  I was worried that it would be way too sweet, but surprisingly it was not sweet at all.  The process was really quite easy and after only a few hours I already had warm apple butter to put onto some toast.

All in all it was a successful challenge for me this month and it makes me want to try my hand at actually canning next summer.

Apple Butter

6 apples, cored peeled and cut into eights

1/2 cup apple cider or water

1/4 cup sugar or honey

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

Wash apples well and remove stems. Cut apples into quarters or eighths and remove cores.   Note: I ended up peeling the apple at this step.  Combine unpeeled apples and cider in 8-quart (about 7 ½ litre) saucepan. Cook slowly and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until apples are very soft (falling apart). 

Mash apples in the pan and add sugar.  Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently.  Leave the lid ajar during this step to allow for evaporation.

To test for doneness, spoon a small quantity onto a clean plate; when the butter mounds on the plate without liquid separating around the edge of the butter, it is ready for processing. Another way to test for doneness is to remove a spoonful of the cooked butter on a spoon and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon.

Pour contents into desired storage container or multiple containers. I stored my apple butter in 1-cup (250ml) plastic containers with screw on tops. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks, freeze up to a year, and home canning is good for a year.

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August 27th, 2010

Mint Chocolate Petit Fours

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I had all the intention in the world to do this challenge at the beginning of the month, even possibly doing both challenges.  But as usual time got away from me and here I am the day the challenge is due finally finishing it and posting my results.  Better late than never.

I was really happy with this challenge, even if my petit fours didn’t quite turn out like I had planned.  I started by making mint ice cream, which is one of the most refreshing ice creams I have ever made.  You know it is real mint ice cream when 1. it isn’t a fake green colour and 2. when it actually tastes like a bowl of fresh mint.  Mint and chocolate go great together so I knew it would complement the chocolate glaze

Like I said above I had planed to do this challenge weeks ago so the ice cream was made 2 weeks ago and my husband and I have been slowly eating the ice cream since then, thankfully there was still some left when it came time to make the brown butter pound cake.

Oh my goodness, how have I never made browned butter pound cake before?  It was absolutely amazing.  I knew when the butter was browning that it was going to be great, the smell alone just made you want to eat the dough.  I was surprised just how easy it was to make, within 30 minutes I had freshly baked brown butter mini cupcakes cooling.

Since neither my husband I need to eat the quantity of petit fours this recipe would have created I made a half batch and just baked 12 mini cupcakes that I planned to cut in half and put a layer of ice cream in between.  My plan worked out pretty good, even if the ice cream layer was a bit thin.

The chocolate glaze came together even faster than the brown butter cupcakes, within 5 minutes I already had my glaze cooling.  Since the glaze turned out quite thick I decided just to throw the petit fours in it and get them covered in chocolate and fish them out with a fork.  They were left with a nice thick layer of chocolate glaze.

What a great recipe and a great challenge.  I look forward to doing part two of the challenge, baked alaska, another time.

Mint Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk

pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup mint leaves

2 cup heavy cream

5 large egg yoks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Add mint leaves.  Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for 2-3 hours. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, add mint leaves then let steep for 2-3 hours.)

Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to directions.

Brown Butter Mini Cupcakes

19 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a mini cupcake pan.

Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.  Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the greased and floured mini cupcake pan. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze

9 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

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August 14th, 2010

Indian Inspired Pierogi

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Who ever know that making pierogie by hand could be so easy.  It is yet another food that sounds too difficult to tackle and turns out to be a relatively quick and easy meal to make.  Especially if you make lots and then you can freeze them and heat at a later time.

When first looking at this challenge I knew that I wanted to do something interesting, what that was I still hadn’t decided.  So for the next two weeks I thought about it and decided that an indian inspired pierogi would be delicious, especially if you dipped it in a cucumber raita.

The dough was very easy to work with and surprisingly easy to roll out.  My experience with rolling out dough has been with pastries and let me just say that I have had very little luck rolling out pastry dough.  My husband can attest to my difficulty with this task as he is usually the one dealing with me frustrated in the kitchen.  So needless to say I was very happy when it rolled out nice and easy.

Since I didn’t really have a recipe to work from I decided to look for a indian potato dish and take the spices from that to come up with an adapted potato pierogi.  Now these spices were great in theory but when added to the mashed potatoes I didn’t quite end up with what I had been envisioning.  Now a bit part of that is my fault because I added WAY too much chili powder to the spice mix making it so spicy it burned your mouth.

Thankfully I had also made some more filling which was just mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese which ended up being best of the two, partly because of the melty cheddar cheese.

I don’t have a pierogi press so I opted to use cup to cut the circles out and then a fork to seal them and it worked great.  After a quick egg wash they were ready for the oven, which I figured was a little healthier than deep frying and more texture than boiling them.

Although the flavours weren’t quite what I had wanted the pierogis were still quite delicious.

Dough

2 to 2 1/2 cups flour

1 large egg

1 teaspoon salt

about 1 cup lukewarm water

Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass. Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together with a fork. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

Place pierogis on baking sheet and bake until golden brown in 350 degree oven.

Filling

3 large potatoes cooked and mashed

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon coriander, tumeric and chili powder

2 cardamom pods ground

1/4 teaspoon cloves and garam masala

Combine all ingredients for the filling and set aside until ready.

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August 8th, 2010

What do you do when the weather is hot and it makes your bananas go bad in 2 days flat.  Well you make banana muffins of course.  I didn’t want to just make ordinary banana muffins so I decided to mix it up a bit with some bran and blueberries.

I have always been a fan of bran muffins, they just make you feel healthy after you eat them.  Sure these muffins have a cup of butter and cup of brown sugar, but it gives you the illusion that you are eating something really healthy.

These muffins definitely did not disappoint, they had all the goodness of a bran muffin with a little sweet from the blueberries and banana.

Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins

Adapted from Andrea Meyers

2 1/8 cups flour

2 1/4 cups wheat bran

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana

1 cup and 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat bran, baking soda, and kosher salt.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the mashed banana and the softened butter until mixed. It may look lumpy, but that’s ok. Add the eggs and brown sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.  Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture, just until combined. Don’t overmix. Then fold in the blueberries.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups. Take care not to overwork the batter. The batter will be mounded over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 23 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The muffin tops should be medium brown.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

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Tags: , , | Posted in Baking |
July 28th, 2010

On an exceptionally warm day a few weeks ago Sean suggested doing something cool for dinner that had avocados and jalepenos.  I immediately thought of a great salsa I made back in October for Chicken Tostadas and thought, why not toss with some rotini pasta.

Every night when we sit down to dinner I ask Sean what he thinks of the meal since I know he is going to be completely honest with me.  I like to get his opinion because he usually comes up with ways that the dish could be better or in some cases agrees that the dish should not be repeated.  Secretyly though I ask him so that I can hear a compliment when the dish is good, it really makes me feel good about my cooking skills.

When dishes don’t go well I chalk it up to the recipe and make a mental note to either make some major changes or just not make it again.  This dish was different because I had come up with it all by myself.  Sure I got the recipe for the original salsa from someone but the idea of adding a few things and tossing it with pasta was mine so I was anxiously awaiting what Sean thought of it. 

Well he didn’t disappoint and proclaimed, because it really felt like a proclamation to me, that this was one of the best dishes I have made.  I was high as a kite after he said that, who would have thought something as simple as some salsa and pasta would be such a hit.  I completely agree with him though because it really was the perfect meal for a hot day.  It is light and refreshing while still substantial with the pasta.  This is definitely a repeat recipe.

Here’s to taking a chance and finding a new favourite recipe.

Mango Avocado Salsa

1/2 cup diced peeled mango

1/2 cup diced peeled avocado

1/2 cup chopped tomato

1/3 cup chopped onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I used 1/4 of a cup)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper

2 cups uncooked rotini pasta

Toss everything with pasta and serve cold.

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Tags: , , , , | Posted in Chicken, Pasta |
July 27th, 2010

Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

It seems as if with all of these challenges I wait until the absolute last possible moment to actually do them.  In this case the challenge is due tonight and I just started on the ice cream last night and the swiss roll and hot fudge when I got home from work tonight.  Is is all going to come together, but not with the same care and attention that I would like for these challenges.

Although it seems as if I am always busy, I have found that if I don’t complete the challenge on a weekend when I am actually home it leads to last minute scrambling to get it done.  But in an effort to be better about this blog I am pushing through this recipe and getting it done in time for the deadline, even if it is just barely under the wire.

Even though I was not wild about the swiss roll part of the challenge, I knew that I would enjoy the ice cream and hot fudge.  I would typically make the ice cream in my ice cream maker, but since the bowl has to freeze between each flavour I didn’t have the time to do that (due to the fact I started last night).  I tried out the method of putting the ice cream base together freezing it and then taking it out to whip it in the mixer a few times to reach the right consistency.  It seemed to work quite well, although in the end I think the ice cream would have been just a bit better with the actually ice cream maker.

Having never made swiss rolls before I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are pretty easy to assemble.  I was always curious why people would roll it up using a towel but I see now that it helps for when you roll it with the filling.  It was fun to try something new and different so although I was reluctant on this challenge I was happy I went through with it.

I was kidding myself though to think that I could assemble and eat this dish in one night.  With all the different layers of ice cream and fudge and the time between each layer it needs in the freezer I am not going to be able to post a final picture tonight.  But I will leave you with a picture of the Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake in the bowl and update the post tomorrow night once I have had a chance to cut into it.

**Update:  The finished product didn’t look anything like the sample pictures, but it was still yummy.

Swiss Rolls

3 medium eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 1/5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon boiling water

Filling

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with grease proof baking paper.

In a large mixing bowel, add the eggs and sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Add the flour/cocoa mixture in 3 batches by folding in gently with a spatula.  Fold in the water.  Spread the mixture out evenly into the corner of the pan.  Place pan in preheated centre rack of the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the centre is springy to the touch.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle with sugar.  Turn the cake onto the towel and peel away the baking paper.  Trim away any crisp edges.  Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

For the filling:  In a large bowl, add the cream vanilla and sugar and beat till very thick.  Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).  Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a mixing bowl, add the cream, vanilla and sugar and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together.  Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups whipping cream

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.  Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.  Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

Hot Fudge

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 and ½ cups water

1 tablespoons  butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.  Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Assembly of Dessert

Cut the Swiss rolls into equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).  Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).

Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)

Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)

Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.

Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

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July 15th, 2010

As I have mentioned before on this blog I am a huge fan of mexican food.  So whenever I come across a recipe that has a mexican flair to it the recipe immediately goes on my meal list.  Mexican restaurants and few and far between here in Vancouver so I try and slip it in a good mexican recipe as often as possible.

The recipe that I was working from had a good base but I felt there was a few things I could do to make it even just a little bit more to my tastes.  Since I made chicken dishes almost every night I thought I would go ahead and put ground beef instead.  I also had to substitute cheddar for the queso fresco in the sauce and added some taco seasoning to give it that mexican taste.

Mac and cheese is not the same if it doesn’t have a crunchy topping so I sprinkled panko on the top before popping it in the oven.  When it was ready to serve I put a healthy dash of tabasco to give it the kick it was missing and some slices of avocado.

The end result of this dish was lacking in one major area, the lack of sauce after baking.  I typically go for mac and cheese because of the creamy sauce so I was disappointed that it wasn’t creamier.  That is such a quick and easy fix that I will definitely make this dish again but with double the sauce.

This recipe will be added to my list of rotating mexican dishes since the only convenient mexican found here in Vancouver is the stuff I make at home.

Taco Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from Naturally Ella’s Fajita Mac and Cheese

1 medium onion

1 green pepper

1 fresno pepper

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter*

2 tablespoons flour*

1 cup milk*

1 tablespoon taco seasoning*

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese*

8 ounces macaroni pasta

1 avocado for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare pasta according to packaging.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add peppers and onions.  Once they begin to soften add ground beef and cook until brown.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat.  Whisk in flour, salt and pepper and taco seasoning to create a paste.  Whisk in milk and continue to whisk until sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Mix the meat, noodles and sauce together in the dish and sprinkle with cheese and panko and place in the oven to bake until cheese melts.  Garnish with avocado and a dash of tabasco.

* Double these ingredients for a creamier dish

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July 14th, 2010

Nut Butter

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe.

Who ever realized that making your own nut butter could be so easy.  For my first challenge in quite a few months I was happy to see that it was for something that I could see myself making on a normal day.  Although I do like the challenge of trying things that are completely new and foreign to me for these challenges, sometimes it is nice to make something that is similar to my non-Daring Cooks meals.

The dish I chose to make with my almond butter instantly sounded to me like the butter chicken recipe that continues to elude me.  You see, for close to a year I have been making butter chicken whenever I come across a new recipe and it always lacks something.  As the ingredients were simmering away I could tell this was going to definitely be a repeat recipe.

I never would have thought to use a nut butter to give the sauce that thick consistence the many other recipes had been lacking.  But once the almond butter went into the sauce I was delighted to see that the sauce was nice and thick.  So thick in fact that the recipe calls for the use of water or chicken broth to thin it out.  I was scared to thin it out too much for fear it would resemble my runny butter chickens of the past so I used the liquid sparingly.

When making this dish again I would change a few things like thinning out the sauce a bit more and add some spice with either some green chillies or chili powder.  This recipe was beyond yummy and with those few tweaks next time I am sure to have the perfect chicken dish.

Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1.5 tablespoons garam masala

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

1/3 cup almond butter

1/3 cup milk

1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth or water

Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce.  Add chicken breast to sauce and return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer.

Serve over rice.

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July 14th, 2010

This blog has been badly neglected over the last 6 months.  I went from posting multiple times a week to once every few months.  I found that I was just not inspired by the things I was cooking and that I was becoming lazy with taking pictures.  Also since starting a blog to chronical my pregnancy I have been so focused on that I just didn’t have the energy to update here.  But that is changing, I am going to jump back in the saddle and start this blog back up. 

The funny thing is that I am still trying new and different recipes almost every night for dinner, so it isn’t like I don’t have an abundance of opportunites to get some pictures taken.  So I am going to go through the archive of pictures that have been taken off and on since starting this blog and write up the ones that were forgotten.  So be prepared for some long overdue posts that so deserved to be mentioned here, which includes a food blog photography class I got for Christmas but never wrote up.

So without further adieu there is a new post going up later for the Daring Cooks July challenge, which I will be cooking tonight.  Just a little sneak peak…it involves homemade almond butter and a yummy indian inspired dish.

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Posted in Daring Cooks |
May 14th, 2010

Stacked Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas

The May Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found onwww.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

I was so excited to make this recipe.  For those of you who know me in the real world you know that I could eat mexican food pretty much every day and not get sick of it.  Since moving to Canada my choices of mexican food have been severely limited.  Basically there is one restaurant that I know of that is about 20 minutes from our house, and we don’t live in the middle of nowhere, so you can imagine my dilemma.  I have resorted to making mexican food as often as possible, usually enchiladas.

What I like about this month challenge was not just that we were making mexican but that we had to make our own green chili sauce.  I have made red enchilada sauce quite a few times but since it doesn’t call for fresh chilies it was never much of a challenge.  The challenge sauce wasn’t difficult by any means but it was fun to start from scratch and use ingredients that I don’t always use, tomatillos.

So after charring them both black, which I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of, I combined them with the other sauce ingredients and let it simmer while making the rest of the dish.

As I mentioned before mexican food is hard to come by here thankfully the grocery store has a decent mexican section to find the staples.  Unfortunately my store doesn’t seem to carry corn tortillas, oh don’t worry there are about 10 varieties and sizes of flour tortillas but for some reason I have never been able to find corn.  If I hadn’t been in a rush to get this recipe done last night I would have gone to the local mexican grocery store which has everything a person could need.  So I settled for flour tortillas.

There are a few things that I changed about this challenge in the spirit of being a little bit healthier.  Although I am normally all about cheese and fried things, especially french fries, I am trying to each healthy during my pregnancy and there fore I used about half the amount of cheese and did not fry the tortillas.

Once the chicken was cooked I set out to stack everything up and bake it in the oven until the cheese was melted.  From start to finish it really didn’t take that long especially considering making your own sauce.  In the end this recipe was great.  I was a little worried when I tasted the chili sauce because it was really spicy but once it was added to the whole dish it was toned down a bit.  I look forward to trying this again and added a bit more personalization to it.

Here’s to a successful challenge which for some reason has eluded me the last few challenges with both Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers.  I am happy to be back into the groove of cooking and look forward to blogging more.

Green Chili Sauce

4 fresh anaheim chilies

4 tomatillos

2 cups chicken broth

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon yellow onion

1/2 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.

Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.  As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.

Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.  DO NOT RINSE!

Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.

Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.  Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacks

2 chicken breasts, grilled or baked

6 corn tortillas

cheese

In a baking dish large enough to hold two separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.  Lay two tortillas in the dish and ladle sauce over the tortillas.  Add chicken, cheese and then more sauce.  Continue stacking until you have used all ingredients.

Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.  To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.

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