Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chilaquiles - Breakfast of Champions

From last night's leftovers springs a spectacular weekend brunch. One of my favorite dishes...Chilaquiles.

Last night Debbie and I split an order of James Special (Chile verde over rice) From Sal's. We ate almost all of it.

What I had left over:

About 2 or 3 ounces of James Special
3 fresh corn tortillas
some tortilla chips

Late this morning I chopped up the tortillas and tossed them in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

I fried the tortillas until slightly brown, then added a handfull of the leftover chips.

I then added about a half cup of Trader Joe's Enchilada Sauce ( Handy because it comes in a glass bottle, so you can use a little and keep the rest in the fridge for later). 

While the tortilla mixture simmered and thickened, I scrambled a few eggs. (A fried egg is the preferred topping but in a marriage, you have to compromise) 

I topped the chilaquiles and eggs with the leftover chile verde and rice, JalapeƱos and salsa.

I think of this meal as a reward for restraining myself at last night's dinner.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chunky Lolas

No kids in the house for a few days. Time to bake some grown-up cookies. I made the dough early this morning and baked half a batch this afternoon, then took this picture before the chocolate had time to cool.

These are Chunky Lolas. A customer favorite at Joanne Chang's Flour Bakery in Boston. They have everything that grownups like and kids hate; oatmeal, coconut, pecans and bittersweet chocolate.          
 I used the recipe in her wonderful book, Flour: A baker's collection of Spectacular Recipes. 

Here is a link to Blue Eyed Baker's version of the recipe.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Big Scramble

I scramble a lot of eggs these days. Since Debbie and I are going to the gym on a regular basis. (She >Me), scrambled eggs are an easy way to get some protein early in the day. On most days I will also do a batch of eggs for my Aunt Babe who lives a couple of blocks away. It's not unusual for me to make three different batches of scrambled eggs in a day.

There is nothing simpler than scrambled eggs. Simple does not equal easy. I'm not suggesting that scrambling an egg is complicated, but you you have to be methodical and you have to pay attention to what you are doing.

There are a number of ways to scramble an egg. For years I modeled by egg scrambling after the final seen in the 90's film Big Night.

My son, Ian recently suggested that I view Gordon Ramsey's short video on how to scramble eggs. It's a very different approach to the one depicted above. Ramsay breaks the eggs directly into a cool pan off heat, scrambling the eggs as they cook. He also blends cold butter into the eggs as he scrambles them.

The end product is still very moist when fully cooked. Which method is better? I sort of alternate between the two depending on my mood. I often combine the two techniques, scrambling in a bowl, but starting with a cold pan and working in butter and seasoning late in the cooking.

I change it up from day to day. After all, there's more than one way to scramble an egg.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Angel Biscuits

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These are buttermilk biscuits that have baking powder, baking soda and yeast! The result is a cross between a regular biscuit and a dinner roll.

I have been making these for more than 20 years starting with the version that was published in Road Food by Jane and Michael Stern back in 1978.

Since I haven't seen my copy of Road Food in a few years, I used this version from All Recipes.

The kids loved them. They went perfectly with the parmesan crusted chicken and corn on the cob we had for dinner this evening.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Biscoff Ice Cream

Lily is helping with the custard

This week's ice cream comes from What a Dish! food blog.

I love Biscoff cookies. We call them airline cookies, because the only place we used to see them was on American Airlines flights. The generic name for them is Speculoos.

A year or so ago, I stumbled upon Biscoff Cookie Spread. A peanut butter like spread which is essentially cookie crumbs suspended in fat. What wouldn't I like about that?

So, why not make them into an ice cream?

This ice cream recipe uses both the spread and the cookies.

FYI: Trader Joes sells generic Speculoos cookies and Speculoos spread.

Its' a basic cooked custard for the base. Cookie spread is mixed into vanilla base, crushed cookies are added to the finished product.

For the full recipe visit

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trader Joe's Steak Sauce

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Generic products are usually poor substitutes for the originals. Trader Joe's generic products are often exceptions to this rule. I noticed TJ steak sauce on their new product shelf a few weeks ago and thought I would give it a try. My first impression was that it was better than the alpha-numeric brand it was emulating.
     The problem was I didn't  have a bottle of the original stuff on hand, so last weekend while eating at a restaurant, I asked for a bottle of A1 for my hamburger. The original has a sharper more vinegary taste than the Trader Joe's version. The TJ version had a more complex and interesting flavor.
You may find it worth a try.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef
Mongolian Beef

This is a recipe I have been making for a few years. Debbie found it on the Pink Bites food blog.

Cooking Chinese food at home can be an exercise in frustration. They often have large ingredient lists, lots of prep and end results that are often less than satisfying.
Note the unauthorized use of red bell pepper

This version of Mongolian Beef uses a handful of ingredients, is simple to prepare and has a fairly credible restaurant quality taste. (And I live in a city a number of good Chinese restaurants)

I encourage you to wander over to Pink Bites to take a look.

By the way, Pink Bites is primarily a vegetarian food blog.  Rita, the author, has a handful of meat recipes that she prepares for her husband. 

Not bad for flying blind!

Super Lemon Ice Cream

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Super Lemon Ice Cream

     One of the first jokes I remember as a kid was from the Red Skelton Show. That's a hint about how old I am!  Red and Mickey Rooney were in a sketch. They were painters. Red Skelton reaches up to the ladder, grabs the paint bucket and starts guzzling the paint. Mickey Rooney says, "How can you drink all that paint?" Red replies, "I get it wholesale"
     I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remember that joke.
    If you're going to make ice cream at home, you had better get the cream wholesale. I like to group together four or five recipes I can make over a couple of weeks, so I can buy it at Costco by the half gallon. Otherwise it's cheaper to buy ice cream than to make it.

But not as fun or as tasty.

This recipe is from my go-to ice cream cookbook The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. It's an example of an ice cream you couldn't buy if you wanted to. 
It's called Super Lemon because it contains fresh lemon juice and grated lemon zest. There's only 1/2 cup sugar called for in a quart of ice cream.
The finished product is for lemon lovers only. Jaw clinchingly tart, but just sweet enough to be a real dessert. 
For less rabid lemon fans, this ice cream will call for some mix-ins or might make a nice filling for ice cream sandwiches.

Here's the ingredient list:

  • zest from two lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups half and half (I used heavy cream, thinned with milk)
  • pinch of salt

To make the base, grate the lemon zest into a blender or food processor, add the sugar, blend.
add the lemon juice and blend until the sugar dissolves. Add the half and half and salt, blend just for a second or two. 

Chill for at least an hour before churning.

Salted Carmel Ice Cream

Salted Carmel Ice Cream
It's the first hot (102 degrees) weekend of the Summer. 
Time for homemade ice cream. At least according to Mrs. Whitney. 
I prepared two bases last night for churning today. This one is a traditional cooked custard base. My next post will feature an uncooked, eggless base.
This Salted Carmel Ice Cream recipe is one of the highest rated recipes on the Epicurious web site.
That's impressive since this is not the easiest ice cream to make. The recipe requires you to prepare a carmel sauce prior to cooking the custard base. You then combine the two and chill for a minimum of 6 hours prior to churning. The ice cream is is curing in the freezer as I write this, so the pictures and my first taste impressions are based on the soft product right out of the ice cream maker.
 In spite of the fact that I overcooked the carmel, (Not quite burnt, but there's an edge to it), the finished product is delicious. Sweet, yes, but slightly salty as well.

I'll be making this one again. Soon

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Pastry Chef's Baking: Nutella Crunch Brownies

The Pastry Chef's Baking: Nutella Crunch Brownies: Brownies - made March 31, 2011, adapted from Bruce's Bakery Cookbook by Bruce Zipes (book #74) Thanks to my friend Hildy, I have an ...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cookie Dough Pop

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Cookie Dough Pop
I'm not sure if I invented this or not. The grandkids got home the other day and caught Debbie pulling a batch of cookie dough out of the refrigerator.
They all insisted on having some cookie dough. I grabbed some cake pop sticks and plopped scoops of cold dough on them.
They were a hit.