Crepes

Jun 03 2010 Published by under Food

Crepes are the original pancake but much thinner. They were largely forgotten in favor of the much thicker pancakes you enjoy today. They were reintroduced by the French with the famous Crepes Suzette. This dish is served with much flare as it usually prepared in front of dinning guest. The end of the preparation, the crepes suzette is set on fire to flame the alcohol and sugars. When this dish was invented this happened by accident.

Creamed Mushroom Crepes

Creamed Mushroom Crepes

Crepes are a very versatile dish. You can serve them with sweet or savory fillings. There are endless combination that can be made. This can make crepes the main dish, a breakfast item or a dessert. Today I am making Creamed Mushroom Crepes, and it is going to be my breakfast.

For Crepes

1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Water
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons of Butter
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Leave the batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Heat butter in non-stick pan. Pour two tablespoons of batter into the pan. Quickly rotate the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter all over the pan. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk. Cook until the bottom side is golden brown. Carefully flip the crepe with a spatula. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

You can fill the crepes with all types of fillings. Here are sum suggestions:

Strawberry Marmalade
Penut butter and Bananas
Apple Sauce
Fresh Fruits and Cottage Cheese
Chocolate
Ice Cream
Cajeta
Ham and Spinach
Ham and Cheese
Creamed Mushroom

For Creamed Mushroom Filling

1/2 Large Onion
1 Cup of Mushrooms
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup of Cream
1 Teaspoon of Tarragon
1/2 Teaspoon of Thyme

Heat the butter and the oil in a saute pan. Dice the onion. Add to the pan and cook the onion until transparent, but not browned. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cook until soft. Add the finely minced garlic, cream, tarragon and thyme and cook on low heat for 1 minute. Salt according to taste. Serve over the crepes.

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New England Clam Chowder

Jun 02 2010 Published by under Food

Every time I have this chowder, I am reminded of the ocean. Clam Chowder has silky taste of the cream blended with the potatoes that is accentuated by the salty sea flavor of the clams. When I make this chowder my whole kitchen smells like I am just blocks away from the beach.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder is probably the world’s most recognized chowder. Chowders are usually considered soups. This is because commercial chowders you buy in restaurants are thin, flavorless and laking all heartiness. I believe that chowders are much more than a soup, a chowder is a complete meal.  A homemade hearty clam chowder can be served as the main course and none of my guests will leave with an empty stomach.

For New England Clam Chowder

4 Lbs Small Cherrystone Clams
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Large Potatoes
5 Strips of Bacon
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Teaspoon of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
2 Cups of Cream
2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper
Parsley
Croutons

Wash the clams from dirt and mud. In a steamer, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the clams to the steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the clams. The water will now contain clam juice. Reserver the clam juice for later. Remove the meat from the clams, discarding any unopened clams. Dice the bacon in a 1/4 inch die. Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp and brown. Meanwhile, dice  the onion into a 1/2 inch die. Cut the celery into 1/4 inch pieces. Remove all the fat from the cooking of the bacon and butter only leaving 1 Tablespoon. Add the onions and celery with the bacon, and cook until the onions are transparent. Peel the potatoes. Dice the potatoes into a 1/2 die. Add the clam juice, potatoes, thyme and the bay leaf. Cook for 10 on boiling or until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Dice the clam meat. Add the cream and diced clam meat into the pot. Add the black pepper. Let it cool down and serve with garnish of celery and croutons.

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Soy Ginger Salmon

May 28 2010 Published by under Food

Well it is Sushi Friday again, so I have a wonderful dish filled with Japanese flavor. This time I have a soy sauce and ginger marinated salmon with a tartar sauce. You can serve this with a side order of sushi rice.

Soy Ginger Salmon

Soy Ginger Salmon

This dish is combines the delicate flavors of the salmon, with the salty of the soy and the sweetness of the ginger and mirin. It is a simple dish that can be made in short notice. The dish will surprise your guests as it appears that you spent a lot of time in the kitchen. It is sushi friday, so enjoy the start of your weekend with this dish.

For Soy Ginger Salmon

1 1/2 Lb of salmon
1 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup of mirin
1 Tablespoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of pickled ginger
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of shichimi togareshi
1 teaspoon of coarse grind pepper
1/4 Cup tartar sauce

To make the marinade, add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to a small tray. Mix all the ingredients. Cut the salmon into 4 to 6 pieces. Place salmon skin down on the marinade. Add the ginger, garlic, and shichimi togareshi over the salmon pieces. Sprinkle with the coarse grind pepper. Add a few tablespoons of marinade over the salmon. Let the salmon stand in the marinade for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Add the salmon to a baking sheet. Place one spoonful of tartar sauce over each salmon steak. Cook the salmon for 20 minutes. Let the salmon cool down before serving.

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Tortas

May 27 2010 Published by under Food

So you baked the homemade bread. Your kitchen is smelling great. Now what to do with your rustic bread loaf. Well how about some tortas. Tortas are the Mexican variant of the Hero Sandwich. You can make them in all sorts of flavors and fillings.

Torta

Ham and Cheese Torta

Traditionally, a torta is not a torta without out some chicharon. Chicharon is fried pork rinds, which taste better than  how it sounds. The best quality chicharon can be found in Mexican butcher shops. The stuff they sell next to the potato chips is made from flour, and not real chicharon, so it should be considered a poor substitute. For the fillings you can use cooked chicken, ham, bacon, or basically any kind of cold meat.  You can also top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and especially avocados. Go crazy with the cheese. This is my recipe for Ham and Cheese Tortas.

For Ham and Cheese Tortas.

1 Loaf of Homemade Bread (or store bought French Bread)
3 Pieces of chicharon
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
3 Pieces of ham
2 Slices of American cheese
2 Pieces of Lettuce

Using a serrated knife, slice the loaf of bread lengthwise to the size of torta that you want. Put the Bread sideways and slice to make two pieces. Spread the mayonnaise to the top part of the bread. Break the chicharon pieces and add to the bottom part of the bread. Layer the Ham over the chicharon. Top with the lettuce and cheese. Bring the top part of the bread to complete the sandwich.

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Homemade Bread

May 26 2010 Published by under Food

A friend asked me the other day where to find good bread. Most stores where I live sell a tasteless, textureless, substance which they want to pass on as bread. Then it gets stale and hard the following day after you buy it. This would not do, so I decided to look for a good, and simple bread recipe.

Homemade Bread

Homemade Bread

I had noticed something was wrong with the bread you buy in stores a few years ago. One day I needed to buy yeast to make a pizza dough recipe. Since I could not find it in the supermarket, I figured the next logical place to find yeast would be at the bakers. After visiting several stores, no one had yeast to sell me. I asked about how do they make the bread without yeast, and they told me they had ready mixes, and a special powders to rise the bread. That explained why the store bought bread had something wrong.

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread aroma filling the kitchen. Here is a simple recipe, to make good homemade bread.  It requires very little preparation time, although a long resting period. The most important tip for this recipe is to use high protein flour, or bread flour. That gives the bread a better taste, and a better crumb. The recipe will work also work with regular flour.

For two loafs of bread

2 Cups Bread Flour
1/2 TableSpoon Yeast
1/2 TableSpoon of Salt
1 Cups of Water

Heat the water until it is barely warm. Add yeast to the warm water and wait for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix the salt and the water. Add the yeast and the water to the bowl. Mix. The flour should be almost pulling off from the bowl. If the flour is too watery add a little more flour. Form the dough into a ball. Flour a large tray or your working table. Knead the dough by pushing it with hard with the palm of one hand, then folding over itself. Knead the dough about 10 times. it should be a smooth ball by now. Clean the mixing bowl. Put the dough in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for two hours. After two hours the dough will have doubled in size. Flour the working area again, and knead the dough five times. Cut the dough into two pieces. Form each half into a cylindric roll. Punch down the dough and form  into a roll again. The idea is to get the roll longer each time to about 1 foot long. Add cooking oil to a baking sheet. Place the two rolls separate from one another over the baking sheet. Cut 3 o 4 diagonal slices 1/2 inch into the bread. Let the rolls rise for 3 hours. The rolls will look like baguettes at this point. Preheat the oven to 425F. Bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Leave the bread a few minutes to cool down.

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Gyros

May 20 2010 Published by under Food

Gyros are a very delicious food that has meat, onions, tomatoes all topped with Tzatziki Sauce. The meat is placed on a vertical spit and it is rotated in front of a fire rack. Where I live there are not many places were you can get a good gyro, so I had to learn how to make my own. It turns out it is not that hard to do once you know how to season the meat. You can even make it in your oven, since most of you will not have a spit or a rotisserie.

Greek Gyro

Greek Gyro

My brother ate gyros yesterday, and he asked me If I had a good recipe. “Of course!”, I said. Here you have my family approved gyros recipe.

For Greek Gyros

1Lb Lean Ground Beef, Ground Pork or Ground Lamb
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 TableSpoon Oregano
1/2 TableSpoon Marjoram
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tomato
1 Cucumber
Pita Bread

Chop the half of the onion and the garlic in a food processor. Add the meat, oregano, marjoram, black pepper, and the salt and and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Form a square shape with the meat and place in a ovenproof glassware. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cook the meat in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the meat over and cook for 10 minutes more or until the meat is browned. Cut the meat into 1/4 inch thick strips. Dice the remaining half of the onion. Dice the tomato. Peel the cucumber and slice in half. Slice into thin strips one half of the cucumber. Place about 6 slices of cucumber over the pita bread. Add several strips of cooked meat. Add a several spoonful of  diced tomatoes and diced onion. Cover with two o three tablespoons of tzatziki sauce. Fold the pita bread into a roll and wrap in aluminum foil. Edit — I recently tried this recipe with ground pork, and I think it tastes better than ground beef.

For Tzatziki Sauce

1 Cup Unsweetened Plain Yougurt
1/2 Cup Dice Cucumber
2 TableSpoons Sweet Pickles Relish (optional)
1 TableSpoon Fresh Dill
1 TableSpoon Fresh Mint
1 Dash Garlic Powder

1 Dash Salt

Add the yogurt to a mixing bowl. Core the remaining half of the cucumber. Dice the cucumber and add to the bowl. Finely mince the dill and the mint. Add the relish, dill, mint, and garlic powder into the bowl. Mix all the ingredients. Salt according to taste. The sauce tastes better when you let it rest. This lets the ingredient flavors blend.

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Fire Roasted Red Tomato Hummus

May 19 2010 Published by under Food

Hummus is a very popular Middle Eastern spread made from chickpeas and tahini. It is used as a dip for pita bread or vegetables. It can be a side order or sauce to a main course. I personally use it as a spread my everyday sandwiches, instead of using mayonnaise. It is much healthier since hummus is a good source of Iron, Vitamin C, Folic Acid. It is also high in Fiber. Even though you can buy hummus in any store nowadays, the hummus they sell is not as nutritious. I prefer to make my own.

Fire Roasted Red Tomato Hummus

Fire Roasted Red Tomato Hummus

There are two way to make hummus. You can use dried chickpeas and take about a day to make the recipe, or you can use canned chickpeas and take several minutes. The longer method takes better, but for most cooks don’t have the time. I also do a variant of hummus that includes garlic and fire roasted tomatoes. I love the smoke flavor that is achieved by the fire roasted tomatoes and the bite from the garlic.

For Fire Roasted Red Tomato Hummus

1 Cup Dried Chickpeas or a 15 Oz Canned Chickpeas
2 Fresh Tomatoes or a 15 Oz Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes.
1 Minced Clove of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Tahini
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
1 Lime
Paprika
Salt

If you are using canned chickpeas you may skip ahead.  First you have to clean the dried chickpeas from dirt and rocks they might have. Wash the chickpeas several times until the water is clean. Let soak in water overnight. Be sure to change the water at least once. The chickpeas will be double in size the next day. Wash them again. Add them to a large boiling pot. Cover them with water and bring to a boil. Cook them for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are really soft. Be sure not to add salt to the water or the chickpeas will turn out hard. Drain the chickpeas but reserve the cooking water. Put the prepared or canned chickpeas into a food processor, but reserve some for the garnish. Put the fresh tomatoes into a toaster oven an toast them until the skin is dark with blacken spots. You can also use ready made fire roasted canned tomatoes. Dice the tomatoes and add to the food processor. Add the garlic, tahini, olive oil, lime and cumin to food processor.  Blend into a smooth paste. Add some of the reserve cooking water until you have the desired constancy. Some people prefer a thick dip and some prefer a softer one. Salt the dip according to taste. Place the hummus in a serving bowl. Add a dash of paprika. Place the reserved chickpeas as garnish. Server with vegetables, pita bread, or use as a sandwich spread. You can do a more traditional hummus omitting the tomatoes, garlic, and the cumin.

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Macaroni and Cheese

May 17 2010 Published by under Food

If you lookup comfort food in the dictionary you will probably see a picture of macaroni and cheese. I have never met a kid that does not like macaroni and cheese. It was a favorite dish of mine when I was young, and it is now a favorite dish of my family. Macaroni and cheese recipes are known to come from Italy since medieval times.  Ever since, they have been a common recipe in most households.

Macaroni and Cheese

Instant macaroni and cheese dishes never tastes as good as a home-made one. Even the ones that come with a ready made cheese sauce instead of cheese powder are really not that good. After searching for a better alternative, I came up with the following recipe.

For macaroni and cheese

8 Cups of Water
1 1/2 Cups Elbow Macaroni
2 Tablespoons of Butter
3/4 Cups Evaporated Milk
1 1/4 Cups Cheddar Cheese
2 Eggs
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

Add 8 Cups of water and 1 Tablespoon of salt to a medium boiling pot. Once the water reaches a boil, add the elbow macaroni to cook for 7 to 10 minutes according to your desired tenderness. Drain in a heat resistant colander. Rinse the pasta with cold water to stop it from cooking. Keep the pasta in the colander. Melt the butter under low heat in the empty boiling pot. Return the pasta to the pot. Coat pasta with the melted butter. In an mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Whisk it throughly. Add it to the pasta mixture. Continue cooking under low heat and gradually add the cheese while stirring. Turn off the heat once you have a creamy sauce. Optional — You can add bits of ham, hotdog sausage, bacon bits to give it a different flavor.

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