Sunday, November 23, 2014

Special Breakfast Day: Eggs Benedict with Cheese Sauce

My Eggs Benedict. 
We went to a breakfast at the Wine and Dine last weekend and they had a Eggs Benedict. The students preparing the meal were having some trouble with poaching the eggs and all I wanted to do was step in and help them. Alas, I kept quiet but I am going to give you some pointers on how to make this dish. The hubbs and I don't like the Holindase sauce that is traditional with Eggs Benedict so I made my favorite cheese sauce. I am from Wisconsin after all!  The toast was regular bread cut out with a circle form. I also added some turkey sausage to each (just to be healthy!) PS It's Sunday and we eat off paper plates. The last thing I want to do today is wash dishes!
bad Eggs Benedict on the right side of my plate. 

For the eggs:
Tip one: Add cold water to a pan with high sides. About middle way up the pan. Add two tablespoons vinegar. Let the water heat on low heat until you see small bubbles come from the bottom of the pan.

Tip two: Crack the eggs softly one at a time into a coffee cup. Move the coffee cup directly over the water and deposit the eggs. Don't place the eggs too close together. (No more than 6 eggs at a time)

Tip three: Let the eggs heat up for five minutes and you will begin to see the whites look like angel wings. Take a slotted spoon and cover the yellows like a blanket covering a baby. This only works if the whites are white and not opaque. If the whites are opaque try in a few more minutes.

Tip 4: Don't stir the water too much. This makes the water really cloudy. Remove the eggs from the heat with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to get rid of the excess water. Use a regular tablespoon to pick up the eggs and move them to your dish.

While your eggs are in the pot poaching make this cheese sauce. It will come together in about 5 minutes so have it ready before you are going to serve. If you let it sit the cheese will separate.

Cheese Sauce (I use this sauce in everything from Mac and Cheese to Cheesy fries)

2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP butter
8 oz. fat free milk
4 oz. cheddar cheese shreds
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
squirt mustard

Stir the butter and flour with a whisk until a pale beige. Add the milk and stir. Don't let the sauce come to a boil. Add the cheese and continue stiring. Lastly add the mustard, salt, and pepper. Spoon over the eggs.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shrimp Masala, Black Pepper Cumin Rice with Cashews

My oldest daughter has once again decided she wants to go semi vegetarian. She still will eat shrimp though. About a week ago I visited our local Indian market on 13th Street named Best Foods and picked up a variety of spices. The selection was amazing. I found this cooking show on our local MPTV PBS that had these two recipes featured Shrimp Masala and the Black Pepper Cumin rice. The thing about Indian cooking is the sheer amount of spices can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is have your spices ready ahead of time. Also it can be a bit more hectic when preparing two dishes at once. I purchased some ready made Basmati rice and then added the ingredients in a wok and heated it though. Also I used frozen uncooked shrimp. We don't have many fresh fish markets here. The dish still turned out great.

Shrimp Masala

1 Tbsp. oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 diced onion
1/4 cup diced roma tomatoes
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper and cumin powder
1 lb. shrimp uncooked, shells off, and deveined
1/4 cup cilantro chopped

Start in a large frying pan heating the oil and adding the cinnamon stick, turmeric,  and cumin seeds and powder.Cook on low heat until the spices are fragrant. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the onion, tomato, garlic ginger. Stir fry for a few minutes more. Add the tomato sauce, water, salt, black pepper and simmer for another few minutes. Lastly add the shrimp and cook in the sauce until light pink in color. Serve with cilantro on the top and the cashew rice on the side.

Black Pepper and Cumin Rice

2 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 TBSP canola oil
1/4  tsp. curry powder
1 dried chili pepper our you could use fresh
1 stp black mustard seeds
1 tsp. urad dal (lentils)
1/2 cup onion diced
1 tsp. black pepper and cumin powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dry roasted cashews

Add the dry spices and urad dal to the oil along with the nuts. stir fry until the mustard seeds pop and the spices become fragrant. Add the onion and stir fry for one minute. Add the rice and combine. Serve with the Masala or alone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Empanadas Round Two

The recipes you will find out there for empanadas are endless. I had a craving for pastys which are a larger version of empanadas. They contain meat and potatoes. I made two different kinds of empanadas: one with ground beef, Serrano peppers, potato and onion. The second had platanos, ground beef, onions, and queso fresco. The addition of carbonated water (I used my Soda Stream) gives the batter lightness.

The Dough (makes 20-25 small ones)

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter cut into slices
2/3 to one cup carbonated water
2-3 cups Canola oil for frying
a wok

The Filling

2lbs ground beef divided
1 onion divided and diced
1 Serrano pepper diced
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 large potato diced
1 tsp. minced garlic

Sweet filling
1 ripe blackened platanos diced
1/2 onion
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp. Cumin

In a food processor make the dough by adding the flour, butter, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add the water until the dough combines. Let set covered for 30 minutes while you make the filling.

Brown the ground beef and add all of the ingredients until browned. Let cool. For the sweet filling add the platanos at the last minute.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Turn the dough around and roll out until uniform thickness is achieved. Cut out with a small pie form. Stretch dough to cover the form Add one tablespoon of filling. Close the form and crimp.  Egg wash may be used to seal the edges. Use a fork to crimp the edges if not fully closed. Poke a few holes in the sweet ones so you can tell them apart. Fry in the rippling oil for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. These can be refridgerated and heated later in the microwave for a minute.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Better Fried Sunny Side Up Eggs

I watch a lot of food porn and came across this trick for better set whites on my sunny side up eggs. Normally you wait for the whites to stop being runny forever and then the bottom is burnt to a crisp. This simple way will save your eggs and give you the perfect runny sunny side up eggs.
1. Crack the eggs into a egg pan with some butter.

2) Cover with a lid for one minute. Remove the lid and then place it back on for another minute.

Here's how they look when you remove the lid.

Break into it and you have the prefect sunny side up egg. Cook a minute longer if you want it more set. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

I made these for dinner tonight but they would be awesome at a party or on football Sunday...Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. The recipe came to my inbox I think via tablespoon. Here is how I made them:

 Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

1 lb ground chicken
1 cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 scallions chopped
onion powder (1 tsp)
1 1/2 cup Franks hot sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing

Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Mix the chicken, spices, green onion, and bread crumbs with the egg. Roll into 20 or so meatballs. Try to make them all the same size.

Bake for 5 minutes in the oven so they firm up and place in a crock pot. Cover with the buffalo sauce
and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.

Place the blue cheese dressing in a bag and cut off the edge. Apply the sauce over the meatballs. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Disney Cruise Line's Apple Strudel

In 2011 my family and I cruised on the inaugural year of the Disney Dream. We had a rainy day on one of our sea days and they offered the "Anyone Can Cook" series featuring this Apple Strudel recipe. I have been making it ever since. Today was the lucky day! We visited Awe's Apple Orchard earlier in the week and were saddened to learn the picking season was over. I did bring home some Honey Crisp and other apples for this strudel and Taffy Apple Salad which I plan on making this week. Any tart apple like Granny Smith or Gala also work well here.

The recipe was pretty detailed so I will condense it here for you.

Apple Strudel

2 lbs. tart apples thinly sliced (about 6 apples cored and peeled)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon)

Strudel Dough

1 1/3 cup flour
1 TBSP unsalted butter softened
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 egg (I omitted the egg and it still turned out)
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup water
1/3 to 1/2 cup water

The recipe calls for you to let the apples set with the sugar, golden raisins, and cinnamon over night but I let mine set only for the 2 hours I was making the dough. In a food processor or a mixer with a dough attachment, mix all of the dough ingredients for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a
bowl that has been rubbed with olive oil. Let the dough rest for 2-3 hours covered.

Remove the dough after the two hours and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use your hands to stretch out the dough. Use a clean table to stretch the dough to measure 2 feet wide by 3 feet long. The dough may rip in some areas but it's ok. Just patch and keep stretching. Melt the butter and spread on the stretched out dough. Sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs, This helps absorb the juice from the apples. Place the apples on the lip of the short end being sure to leave room so you can roll. I didn't use a clean
dish towel but this is helpful to roll. Roll the dough until you get to the opposite end and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Make into a horseshoe or it won't fit. Rub the outside with the remaining butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let rest for 1 hour before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Let set for 30 minutes (It's very hot!) Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Review of "Let's Dish" North African Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot

Let's face it, we are all busy with work. I also have school and two kids on my plate. This stew is a great budget extender and a good way to use those fall veggies coming into season. It was 50 fricken degrees here in Wisconsin yesterday and I had this ready waiting from me. This recipe is also great because you can make it sweet with the addition of sweet potatoes or squash. The only downside was I had to drain my crock pot of liquid a few times. This recipe calls for a 6 qt crock pot, but I used a smaller one and halved the recipe.

North African Stew

6 chicken thighs or 3 boneless chicken breasts
2 carrots cut into chunks
1 eggplant cubed
2 zucchini (I used a small squash) diced
1 onion diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can garbanzos or beans of your choice
1 cup raisins
1 cup almonds
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander or chopped cilantro fresh
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
16 oz chicken broth
couscous for serving

It's as simple as fitting all of the ingredients into the crock pot. I did drain the diced tomatoes of the liquid and I added white beans instead of the garbanzo. You may have to drain the liquid out. Also you can presoak the eggplant in some milk to get rid of the bitter taste. If using chicken thighs, you will need to cook for eight hours on high. I ended up doing 3 hours on high and the rest on low. Remove the chicken and shred. Discard skin.  By the time I got home at 6, the chicken was fall apart. Serve with couscous or over rice.