Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crispy Toaster-Oven Frites

Developed November, 2013. The method combines tapioca starch and coarse semolina flour to produce a crispy fry in the toaster oven from scratch. Almost as good as bistro frites. Almost.
1 medium russet potato (about 6 oz), cut into 1/4 inch square strips
1 T vegetable oil
2 t tapioca starch
2 T semolina flour (coarse grind)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
Choose a long, clear russet potato. To prepare raw fries, cut off a small slice from both ends, and then trim a small slab with a chef’s knife off one side. Turn the potato onto that cut surface to steady it, and trim off the next face, and then the next two in turn. Cutting in the long direction, slice the potato into 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick slabs, and then into 1/4 inch wide strips. Rinse, drain, and thoroughly blot dry before use. Transfer the potatoes to a non-stick 8X8-inch (20x20 cm) metal baking pan, add the other ingredients and toss well to coat evenly. Preheat a toaster oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). Bake 15 minutes, turn the potatoes over, and bake another 10 minutes until cooked through and crisp. Serves one or two. Can be easily doubled. Variations: Top a hamburger sandwich with a few crispy fries to add crunch and flavor, or add to a breakfast wrap, serve as a hot appetizer with a side of spicy mayonnaise or remoulade.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Breakfast Quesadillas

Developed March 12, 2014. Ready in less than 15 minutes, a warm breakfast dish or as party appetizers. 
3 oz sweet peppers, coarsely chopped 
2 t olive or vegetable oil 
2 oz red onion, coarsely chopped 
2 oz ham, shredded 
2 oz shredded quesadilla cheese
pinch crushed red pepper 
4 6-inch flour tortillas, softened briefly in the microwave 
tomato salsa
Heat a dry non-stick skillet over medium high, and add the sweet peppers. Toast with frequent turning until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the oil and the onions. When softened, stir in the ham and hot pepper, and warm through. Set aside in a bowl. Wipe out the pan. As it reheats, spoon one-quarter of the warm filling in the center of a tortilla and top with a tablespoon of cheese. With the back of a large knife, push the filling past the midline, and fold over the tortilla. Press to compact. Bake each foldover in the dry hot skillet until toasted, turn, and finish baking. Cut into points and serve with tomato salsa on the side. Serves two.

Arroz con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

Developed March 12, 2014. Every Hispanic family has its own recipe for this basic comfort food beloved around the planet, a milk pudding thickened with rice. Here, fragrant with orange zest and cinnamon, the natural sugars of golden raisins and milk provide most of the sweetness. Makes a nourishing breakfast dish for lighter appetites, offering a sound balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. As a bonus, no eggs!
1/2 c (100 g) medium-grain (Morelos) rice  (350 cal)
9 oz (250 g) water
1/4 t salt
1 whole piece stick cinnamon
3 pieces of orange zest (cut with a vegetable peeler)
2-1/4 c (500 g) whole or 2% milk (do not use skim), (550 cal), divided
1/3 c golden raisins (165 cal)
2 T (25 g) sugar  (100 cal)
1 t vanilla extract 

ground cinnamon (garnish)
In a medium saucepan, bring the rice, water, cinnamon stick, orange zest, and salt to a slow boil. Cook, with frequent stirring, until water is almost completely absorbed. Remove  zest, and stir in milk (reserving 1/2 cup), raisins, and sugar. Return to a gentle boil, and, with frequent stirring to prevent burning, cook for about 12 minutes until the pudding is quite thick. Remove cinnamon, cover, and let cool 30 minutes off heat. Stir in the reserved milk and the vanilla extract. Serve warm, dusted with cinnamon as a garnish. Serves 8. About 150 calories for a 4-ounce serving.