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Cuban Bread

Impending snow storm approaching.  Great day to bake bread.  I got this recipe from a bread machine cookbook that I acquired a few years back, The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever Ethnic Breads.  Now, I don’t use a bread machine so I really cannot attest to the accuracy of the title.  However, I do like Cuban Bread.  I did not follow the recipe exactly (I usually don’t),  So here is my version.  Turned out great!

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • water, just shy of a cup

In mixing bowl, add about 3/4 c water, yeast and sugar.  When the yeast gets creamy (about 5-10 minutes), add the flours, salt, oil.  As you are mixing, you may need to add additional water a TB at a time until the dough comes together smoothly. The amount of water really depends on the humidity in your environment.

Let rise until doubled in size. Punch down.  Divide in half and form 2 loaves.

Place the loaves on a oiled baking sheet.  Do NOT let it rise.  Place the loaves in a cold oven and set the temperature at 375 degrees F.  Bake about 30 minutes.  The bread is done if it sounds hollow when tapped.

We like tacos in my house.  I have tried all sorts, from authentic to unique.  But when it comes down to a quick meal, you always head to the spice cabinet for one of those little packages of “taco seasoning mix”.  I don’t know about you, but have you read the labels?  I checked three different brands – 370 mg sodium, 430 mg sodium and again 430 mg sodium!  Yikes!  Can you hear your blood pressure rising and your body retaining water???

This is my go to recipe for the basic tacos that most Americans know.  This mix is wonderful because it is salt free, meaning you control the sodium!  Plus, you know the ingredients that went into it and that is always a good thing!

  • 6 tsp chile or chili powder
  • 5 tsp paprika (skip the hot paprika because you have the chile powder)
  • 4 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all together and store in an airtight jar.  You will get about something equal to about 3 of those store bought packages.  Use 7 tsp of your mix for a pound of ground meat.

I usually brown the ground meat with diced onions, drain fat (if there is any), add 7 tsp of the seasoning and 1/2 c water.  Stir to combine and simmer until desired consistency or most of the liquid has evaporated.

Not much of a recipe, I know.  I picked it up a few years ago browsing the internet.  I cannot even tell you where I found it.  I can tell you that I keep the piece of paper with this recipe rubber-banded to my storage jar so I can always make more when I run out!  Just thought I would share this little tip!

Gotta go, I have tacos to make!

So it is Valentine’s Day and really, I have never been much into it.  It reminds me of the Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Bloody, death, ick!   Besides, my wedding anniversary is just before February 14 so we don’t put much effort into the actual Valentine thing.  No need to duplicate  efforts in so short of time.  So tonight, something simple and easy, but, delicious!

Gotta love chicken thighs – they have so much flavor!

  • 4 bone in chicken thighs, skinless
  • your favorite chicken seasoning (I used a Greek style with oregano, lemon and garlic)
  • 1 bread crumbs with 1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese tossed in

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread crumb mixture in a bowl. Prepare a baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

Season the chicken thighs with your favorite seasoning.  I like to add a little fresh ground black pepper, just for kicks!

Quickly spray the chicken with a little baking spray, just to make the bread crumb mixture stick.  Dip the top sides of the chicken thighs in the bread crumbs.  Place on baking pan with top side up.  I like to sprinkle a little more bread crumbs on top. Then spray with olive oil.

Bake in pre-heated oven about 35-40  minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is crispy and lightly browned.  Alternately, if you have boneless skinless chicken thighs, it only takes about 20 minutes.  Granted, the bones do add some cooking time but, I believe that the bones add flavor!

Let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes before serving.  I just served it up with a pasta and veggie salad!  Hope all the lovers out there are enjoying the eve (and their food!). We are just about to eat because we are hungry!

First, sorry for the delay.  I would absolutely like to thank Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls for the Versatile Blogger Award.  I am extremely flattered because, as you all know, I am pretty new at this.  I am still getting the hang of food blogging, especially the photo part (not the  best yet…).  I don’t have a lot of natural light and I think that is reflected in my photos.  I really cannot wait until Spring so I can get outside and get in the sunshine!


There are literally hundreds of versions of green chile stew.  As a tribute to Ann, I am sharing my version of Green Chile Stew.   That is because, had it not been for Ann, I would probably never have tasted this exceptional type of dish – chock full roasted green chiles, garlic, onions and potatoes.  Yes, these are some of my favorite things!  I dug through my freezer until I found the last of my fresh frozen roasted green chiles.  That being the case, I am hoping for a very good chile pepper gardening year this summer.  Either Mother Nature cooperates with my garden this year, or, I will have to get to New Mexico (of course there is always mail order…)!

I understand that I am to nominate five other bloggers when I receive this honor.   I, again, remind you that I still pretty new at this and I am still discovering new blogs.  So, picking five blogs is kind of difficult for me.  Therefore, I am nominating bloggers who I have found interesting in their prose, topics, recipes or photos.  Again, Ann, thank you very much for your tips and support.  And thank you to everyone who has visited my blog.

1.  adelaidefood

2.  drizzleanddip

3. savorymomentsblog

4. digginfood

5. gardenofeatingblog

On with the stew…

  • 1 lb ground venison (or beef, pork, chicken, turkey, whatever you like)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 c potatoes, diced (about4 medium, I like to leave the skin on ~ I used red skin potatoes)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 c green chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
  •  black pepper
  • salt
  • 5 c water (approximate)
  • 3 TB canola oil

Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Add 1 TB oil.  Crumble ground meat into oil, season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  When meat is browned, remove to a bowl and reserve.

Add remaining 2 TB oil to the same pot.  Add chopped onions and diced potatoes.  Season with 1 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent and the the vegetables are just starting to brown a little.  Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add green chiles and another 1 tsp black pepper.  Stir well.  Return browned meat to the pot.  Cover the vegetables and meat with water.  Mine took 5 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Simmer until the potatoes are just starting to fall apart.

At this point, feel free to serve up the stew with fresh warmed flour tortillas.   I actually served mine with quesadillas filled with sharp cheddar cheese and fresh chopped cilantro.

 

The stew is even better the next day!  As an added bonus, the stew is a wonderful gravy for breakfast burritos ~ wheat flour tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs and cheese.  Oh so good!

Pesto Salmon

5:30 am. Can’t sleep.  Get up hon, lets go to town.  By the time we actually got out of the house and on the road, it was about 7:00 which was a good thing because the fish market opened at 8:00 and they had fresh salmon.  Hon says, “let’s have salmon for dinner”. I like salmon.  It is fast and healthy.  There is a salmon dish that I make in the summer with puff pastry, fresh tomatoes and pesto (thank you Giada de Laurentiis!) which I absolutely love ~ so fresh and delicious!  I had a jar of pesto (I prefer to make my own, but my basil plant did not make the transfer in doors last autumn).

This is so simple, dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes!

  • 1 lb fresh salmon filet (wild if it is in season), pin bones removed.  Leave the skin on for the cooking process.
  • pesto
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut the salmon filet into about 1 1/2 to 2 inch wide portions.  Spread 1 TB of pesto on the raw filets.

You need a skillet that is oven-safe (no plastic handles).  Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Place filets skin side down in the skillet.  Cook until the salmon is cooked about 1/4 inch up from the bottom.  Place the skillet in the pre-heated oven.  Set the timer for 10 minutes.  That’s it!  So fast!

So, from the response I have received, everyone loves Mexican food, hates the canned sauces, and wants a recipe that they can make at home! I am with you on that aspect!  Here is the sauce you have been waiting for!

This one has a bit of hidden fiber, but your family will never be the wiser.  It looks about the same as the canned stuff but has added goodness of spinach!  Sneaky!  Anyway, I think this is a lovely sauce.  I do hope you enjoy this!


Seriously, I love the green sauce.  Still, so simple but so delicious!  I ran this by the hubby before posting it and he assured me that you could not taste the spinach.

  • 2 lb tomatillos (fresh or frozen)
  • 10 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 2 TB canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 c green chiles (roasted, peeled and seeds removed) or 1 TB green chile powder
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded and minced)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1  to 2 c water

Heat oil in deep heavy sauucepan.  Add onion and chiles and spices and saute` until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and cook for about a minute.

Add spinach and liquid.   Simmer 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.

Pour into blender.  Puree` until smooth.

Return to heat in sauce pan and add additional liquid (water or chicken sock) until desired consistency.

Mine was more like a thick salsa but by adding a  little water or stock, you can get the consistency you need for burritos or enchiladas.   A little sugar kind of accents the chiles, tomatillos and garlic.   Really, this is so much better than the canned sauces and you can be certain that you family will be getting some hidden veggies!

It is my understanding that orecchiette means “little ears”, which is kind of funny when you think about it.  “What did you have for dinner last night?  Ears.”  Hm.

Anyway, in digging through the refrigerator today, I found some bell peppers, smoked sausage and green onions.  I was thinking about a shape of pasta that would hold up to the heartiness of the sausage. I found a box of orecchiette in my pantry.  This little pasta is great for sauces because the little “ears” hold on to the sauce.  I figured if I diced the sausage and veggies, it would go well.  So here we go ~ an adventure in cooking, no recipe needed! (Ok, I did write down what I used for your convenience).  Enjoy!

  • 4 oz lean smoked sausage, diced
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 c sweet bell peppers, diced (I used red, yellow and orange)
  • 1 c green onions, cut into about a 1/2 inch slice
  • 1 c small fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c blanched kale, chopped
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 4 oz orechiette pasta

Cook pasta according to instructions on the box in salted water.  Drain and reserve pasta water.

In heavy skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add red pepper and cook for a minute to release the heat from the pepper.  Sear sausage in the skillet until lightly browned.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add peppers and mushrooms to the same skillet and saute` for a few minutes. Add onions and garlic, saute` another minute or two. Remove veggies to the same bowl the sausage is reserved in.

Add white wine to the skillet along with 1/2 c reserved pasta water.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape any crunchies from the bottom of the skillet.  Let the liquid reduce by about half.  Add the kale and heat through.

Return the sausage and veggies to the skillet.  Add the pasta and toss well.  Cook just long enough to heat through.

On a side note, I really like mustard seeds in my smoked sausage.  I love when I bite into a little mustard seed, feel the pop in my mouth and the release of the yummy spiciness of the mustard!  The sausage I used did not have any mustard seeds in it.  So, I pickled some mustard seeds and tossed them in.  If you want to add these little gems of spiciness to your dish, just do the following:

  • 2 TB mustard seeds
  • 2 TB malt vinegar
  • 1/3 c chicken or beef broth

Mix all in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove the seeds and discard the liquid.  And, there you go!


This dish actually turned out really delicious.  Very colorful too.  The kale was actually an afterthought to give the dish a shot of fiber, but it worked!  There were a lot of textures with the pasta, sausage, crispy veggies and the kale has a texture all its own.  Some people think kale is just for garnish but it is chock full of fiber and vitamins and so good for you!