Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Guacamole II

Guacamole literally means 'avocado sauce'. This recipe is adapted from Ben's recipe for kitchens that lack a molcajete, the lava rock mortar and pestle used traditionally to prepare Mexican sauces (moles, from Nahuatl mōlli). Boost the heat by including more jalapeño.
2 large ripe Haas avocados
2 T lime juice, divided
2 t minced garlic
1/2 to 1 jalepeño pepper, seeds and membranes removed, finely diced
2 t ground cumin
1 fistful cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/4 c red onion, finely chopped
1 medium ripe tomato, seeded, chopped and drained well
salt to taste
Halve avocados, remove pit and scoop out flesh. Place it in a bowl, immediately moisten with a tablespoon of lime juice, mash lightly with a fork, leaving big chunks, and mix. Add the cumin, jalepeño, cilantro and garlic. Season with salt and residual lime juice to taste. Stir in the onions and tomatoes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing to contact the dip, and refrigerate. Best if eaten the following day, but it can be served immediately. Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, or as a side with Mexican dishes. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Raspberry Hot Cocoa

This version of a winter-time favorite relies on pantry ingredients and was inspired by the blizzard of 2016. It combines two complementary flavors, chocolate and raspberry, in a hot beverage.
3 T raspberry syrup (available at Mediterranean markets)
1 T Dutch-process cocoa (Hershey's™ is good)
1/2 t tapioca or corn starch
pinch salt
1 T hot water
7 oz hot milk
Mix syrup, cocoa, starch, and salt in a microwavable mug. Stir in hot water. Microwave on high until just boils, and set aside. Heat the milk in the microwave or stovetop to steaming, and stir into the cocoa mixture. Serves one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Quick and Easy Filling for Cheese Blintzes

Blintzes are thin pancakes or crêpes filled with a savory or sweet mixture, folded, and then slowly fried in butter or another fat. Cheese mixtures are popular, but often call for a dry, fresh cheese called 'farmer cheese' that is often unavailable in local stores. This recipe, which takes only a few minutes to make, relies instead on the widely available product, large-curd cottage cheese.
3-1/2 oz (100 g) large-curd cottage cheese (cream style)
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 t sugar
Place a small, wire-mesh strainer over a small bowl. Add the cottage cheese, and with the back of a spoon, press the cheese through the strainer, stopping to scrape the cheese from the backside of the strainer into the bowl. Continue to press the cheese through until not much remains. Add this remainder and the seasonings to the bowl and stir until smoothly combined. Fills two pancakes. Variation: Top each serving with fresh berry sauce.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quick and Easy Crab-Spinach Crêpe

Developed January, 2016. A dish for a special brunch that comes together quickly using commercial crab, spinach, and Hollandaise. The pancakes are a snap to make and can be kept for days in the refrigerator or months in the freezer.
100 g cooked crab meat
150 g frozen creamed spinach
4 crêpes
1 T butter
1/2 t Old Bay seasoning
2 T seafood or chicken stock
4 t prepared Hollandaise sauce (Trader Joe)
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the Old Bay, and after 30 seconds, the crab and the stock. Warm through gently, and set aside in a bowl. Heat the spinach in the microwave. Place a crepe on a plate, arrange a quarter of the crab in the center, spoon on a quarter of the spinach, top with a teaspoon of Hollandaise sauce, and fold over by thirds. Present seam side down. Makes four crêpes.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Huevo Ranchero Rápidamente al Vapor (Steamed Rancher-Style Egg Pronto!)

Huevo Ranchero with Flour Tortilla
Developed Jan 4, 2016. Makes one serving in about 8 minutes cooking time.
60 g (2 oz) prepared tomato salsa (medium)
1 large egg
cooking spray
1 green onion, thinly sliced 
1 flour or corn tortilla
Prepare a steamer and bring to a boil. Treat a 250 ml (8 oz) glass bowl with cooking spray. Add the salsa, and place in steamer. After four minutes, remove the cover carefully, make a depression in the hot salsa, and crack the egg into the hollow, taking care to keep the yolk intact. Sprinkle on the onions, replace the cover, and steam for four to six minutes more, until the egg is poached. Remove and let stand loosely covered for a few minutes to cool and finish cooking. Loosen the food around the edge with a spoon and slide the serving onto to a small plate, paired with the tortilla, briefly steamed and folded. Serves one. Variation: Substitute a tablespoon of grated cheese such as queso cotija, parmesan, or sharp cheddar for the green onion.

Improvised Steamer for Plates and Shallow Bowls

Folding Steamer Basket with Handle Removed
Recorded January, 2016. Used for decades in our kitchen to prepare dim sum appetizers, fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, and even huevos rancheros. Steaming offers many advantages: Hands off cooking, no risk of drying out or burning the food, energy efficiency, retains juices and nutrients. Bowl lifters are available online for a modest sum. They make handling hot plates much safer and secure. 
10 inch sauté pan with tight-fitting cover
Stainless Steel Collapsible Steamer Basket (available online or in specialty stores)
Add water to a depth of 2 cm (3/4 inch), remove handle from basket, spread open in the pan, and cover. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Carefully place a plate or shallow bowl with food on it, and replace the cover. Lower heat to medium to maintain good steaming. Most dishes require 8 or more minutes. To safely remove a dish, lift the cover toward you so steam will vent away from the cook, and set aside. Using a spatula, tongs, or bowl lifter, carefully remove the plate or bowl and serve.