Mom de Cuisine


Mexi-Monday: Spicy Orange Churros
September 12, 2011, 11:51 am
Filed under: Dessert, Snacks | Tags: , , ,

So, let me start off this Monday with a BIG thank you to Stephanie at  Eat. Drink. Love. !  When I saw that she gave me the award, The Versitile Blogger,  it totally made my day!  I’ve been at this a short time, so needless to say, I was very happy!  Along with the award, you must give seven facts about yourself, pass the award on to fifteen other deserving bloggers, and thank the person who gave you the award .   Thanks again, Stephanie!

First things, first….My seven random facts:

1.  When I was pregnant with both of my kids I was obsessed with crime/jail shows.  I would stay up late and watch Lock Up: Raw or Dateline NBC.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on Oz!

2.  One of my favorite memories as a child is using my Grandmother’s fire-engine-red Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  When my husband and I bought our first home the first thing I got was my own sage-green Kitchen Aid.  I think no kitchen would feel like home without it.

3.  I love Mexican food.  Well maybe that’s not random, but I love it so much that when I knew my husband was really the one when he knew how I liked my Chipotle burritos (extra, extra rice;  a little black beans; steak;  extra, extra cheese; and hot salsa on the side.  Oh and chips too.)

4.  Growing up, I always wanted to live in another country.  Now my family and I have been living almost 6,000 miles away from home.  I didn’t know what to expect, but so far it’s been a great experience.

5.  I HATE mayonaise!  If you make something for me with mayo in it, don’t tell me because I won’t eat it.  But chances are, you won’t be able to trick me, I can always taste it in foods. 

6.  I’m such a restaurant geek that every time I’m planning on going out to eat at a new restaurant, I’ll go online and look up the menu to try to decide what I’ll order. Yet, when I get to the restaurant, I still look at the menu and usually choose something different.

7.  I first started a blog to keep family updated with pictures of the kids while we were away.  Then I thought I’d start a second blog to organize recipes and remember what I’ve cooked.  I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I have.  Being away from friends and family can be rough, but I feel like sometimes this blog has kept me from going insane. 

Whew!  Now on to the seven blogs…

1. Postres de la Cipota.  She makes some amazing desserts!

2. Bromography  Great and funny posts about food and life.

3. T and Tea Cake.  Check out the Mexican Chocolate Tart!

4. Just One Cookbook.  Japanese recipes with great photography.

5.  Curry and Comfort.  So many great recipes with ingredients I’m not used to cooking with, but can’t wait to try!

6.  That’s So Michelle.  Crave worthy food.  If someone can dress up a hot dog the way she does, just imagine how great the rest of her recipes are!

7. Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts.  Another mom blogger who has great family food!

8.  Scarletta  Bakes.  Anyone who comes up with avocado and lime pop tarts is already a winner in my book.

9.  Chef and Steward.  Wonderful pictures, and bloggers in the same part of the world as me 🙂

10. Buttercream Blondi.  She had me at disco dust.

11.  Real Fun Food.  She makes me want to take a trip to England!

12.  Comowater.  I’m as carnivorous  as they come, but her vegetarian and vegan recipes are great!

13.  The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen.  Simple, delicious  recipes.

14. Eat, Drink and Be Merry.  Great recipes, gorgeous photos!

15.  Fifteen Spatulas.  Her Wordless Wednesdays show the beauty of food.

And now, about those churros….I got the recipe from the first cook book I bought myself in college.  It’s pretty simple, and even in my first crappy apartment I was able to make these tasty treats.   I decided to add some chili powder to the dough for an extra kick, and because “M” likes spicy (I did leave a little unspicey, as “C” does not.)

 

Spicy Orange Churros

*adapted from The Great American Cookbook by Joy Skipper

 

Ingredients:

1 cup water

7 tablespoons butter, or shortening, diced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Finely grated rind of 1 small orange

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups flour, sifted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting

Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like extra spicy)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

vegetable oil for frying

superfine sugar, for dusting

Preparation:

Heat water, butter, sugar, orange rind, and salt in a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat until the butter has melted.

Add the flour, cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla extract, then remove the pan from the heat and beat rapidly until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan

Let cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a wide star tip.

Heat the oil to 350.  Pipe 5 inch lengths into the oil, being careful not to over crowd it.  Fry for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove churros with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.  Dust the churros with sugar and cinnamon. Serve  hot or at room temperature. 

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Cream and Strawberry Sauce
September 1, 2011, 11:29 am
Filed under: Dessert, Snacks | Tags: , , ,

This afternoon I was getting ready to make lunch for the kiddies.  I wanted to get them involved, but I also wanted to clear the fridge of some left overs for the weekend.  My first thought went to pizzas.  But we usually do pizzas and I wanted to do something different.  That’s when I remembered my husband had brought home some little smokey’s from the store last week because, “I thought the kids would love these!” That’s his code for, “I want to eat these, but I won’t admit it.”   Luckily I also had some puff pastry left over from my Fig Pop Tarts, so I thought I’d let the kids stuff their own Pigs in a Blanket.  I set out some cheese (cheddar and parmesan) spinach, mustard, and fig compote.  “C” wasn’t interested, but “M” happily sat down next to me at the dining room and we rolled up various flavors of piggies. 

However, as we were rolling, a little “mom guilt” began to set in.  Lil’ Smokeys are far from healthy.  Sure, I would serve some sliced fruit and veggies on the side, but this still wasn’t the healthiest of lunch choices.  But I quickly got over my guilt when I decided today was the perfect afternoon to whip up a batch of the Vegan Mousse I saw in my latest copy of Everyday with Rachael Ray.  I had seen recipes before using silken tofu to make mousse-like desserts, but just never got around to trying it.

Rach’s version looked great, it was topped with fresh raspberries and pistachios.  Fresh raspberries are outrageously expensive here and if I bought  pistachios, no way they would have lasted for me to get around to making this mousse.  In keeping with the dairy free idea of using tofu, I decided to whip coconut cream to top these and the last of some whole frozen strawberries.  My little Sous Chefs loved it.  They thought they had really hit the jackpot.  Smokey’s for lunch, then a big bowl of chocolate mousse for dessert, but a mom’s gotta have her secrets, right?!?!

Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Cream and Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 12 oz. package soft, silken tofu

1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 8 oz. can coconut milk

2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons coconut milk powder

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1-2 tablespoons water

zest and juice of half a lemon

1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preparation:

To make the strawberry sauce: combine strawberries, lemon juice, zest, sugar, and water in a small sauce pan.  Boil until reduced and thick.  Remove from the heat and cool.

To make the coconut cream:  Chill coconut milk 1-2 hours, preferably overnight.  Whisk milk, sugar, and coconut powder with an electric beater until combined and slightly thickened.  Chill at least 30 minutes.

To make the Mousse:  Chill tofu 1-2 hours, preferably overnight.  Melt chocolate in a double broiler and cool.  Using a blender, combine chocolate, tofu, and vanilla extract. 

To assemble the Mousse:  Pour 1 cup tofu mixture into an ice cream bowl.  Top with a dollop each, coconut cream, strawberry sauce.



Homemade Fig Pop Tarts with Walnut Glaze
August 28, 2011, 10:01 am
Filed under: Breakfast, Dessert, Snacks | Tags: , ,

My husband and my kids love Pop Tarts.  I feel like as a good mom, I should object to the sugary breakfast full of preservatives.  Afterall, my kids eat enough junk as it is, so at least in my mind, I would like them to start the day with something healthy.  But, no matter how much I object, Pop Tarts seems to always find their way into my pantry and into everyone’s breakfasts.  So sometimes, you have to know when to throw in the towel, when to choose your battles; and unfortunately this is one battle that I am always out numbered on.  If I can’t beat ’em, then I suppose I have to choice but to join ’em.  While my version still isn’t the healthy, high fiber, low-fat, sugar-free, delicious breakfast I would like my family to eat, I think I still may have one-upped Kellogg’s with this one.

I’ve had my mind made up for a while that I was going to make my own toasty, fruity, breakfast pastry; I just couldn’t decide what kind to make.  The traditional Strawberry or Cherry just didn’t seem like much fun.  But lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes using figs and walnuts.  Fig and walnut pizza, or salads, or tarts.  Then I bought the latest copy of Food Network Magazine, and not only did they have a home-made Pop Tart recipe, they also had a spread on new and grown-up twists on PB&J.  Is it possible to have a serendipitous moment with food?  Well if it is, then I had one. 

And furthermore, it was just my luck that when I went to the market yesterday, they had a special on Figs.  I think I snatched up every good-looking one on the stand (sorry to the other patrons.)  I planned on using walnut butter to make the glaze, but I couldn’t find it.  But again, lucky for me, I am living in a country where nuts are a staple of most people’s diets and every market has a nut purveyor that will scoop you out as little or as many nuts as you care to have (and pay for 🙂 ) 

I did cheat and use puff pastry.  Quite frankly, I knew that making the compote, and assembling these bad boys with two preschoolers running around was going to be enough work (and I was right!)  The result from using the puff pastry was that it was more like a Toaster Strudel than a Pop Tart, but still good, none the less.

I split the glaze between two squirt bottles, and let my little Sous Chefs have fun decorating their own.  I can’t wait to make these again, now I just need to decide what flavor……

Homemade Fig Pop Tarts with Walnut Glaze

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh figs, stems removed

2 tablespoons sugar (more if figs are not very sweet)

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (my package had 18 precut sheets)

1 egg

1 cup whole walnuts

2/3 cup powder sugar

4 teaspoons water

Preparation:

To make the fig compote:  Quarter the trimmed figs, and add them to a nonreactive sauce pot.  Add lemon juice, zest, and sugar.  Pour enough water in the pot to cover the figs.  Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes.  Heat the fig mixture to boiling, and continue to boil until the water reduces by almost half and the figs break down about 30 minutes.  Be careful to stir as the mixture reduces to prevent burning. 

 Once the mixture reduces, puree with emulsion blender until desired consistency is reached.  Cool in a glass jar, then refrigerate.

To assemble the Tarts:  Preheat oven to 400.  If not pre cut, cut the pastry into squares .  Whisk egg and a tablespoon of water for egg wash.  Brush the outside of a pastry square with egg wash.  Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the fig compote on the square, leaving about a half-inch around each side.  Take another pastry square and brush the edges with egg wash.  Seal the two squares, making sure to keep the fig filling in the center.  Use a fork to seal the edges again.  Brush egg wash over the top of the sealed pastry.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. 

While the Tarts bake, make the walnut glaze.  Toast whole nuts 3-5 minutes in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant.  Pulse nuts in a food processor into fine crumbs or powder.  Whisk water and powdered sugar until combined.  Whisk in walnut powder.  Allow tarts to cool, then glaze with walnut mixture. 



Orange and Carrot Mini Cakes with Dried Cherries
August 25, 2011, 10:06 am
Filed under: Breakfast, Dessert | Tags: , , , ,

So I’ve mentioned before that my family recently moved to a new country.  And of course being a foodie (or at least a wanna be) many of my favorite things about our host country are food-related.  Walking around the market in a new country is one of the best experiences!  Sometimes it can be frustrating if you are looking for a particular ingredient or food and you can’t find it, or the labels aren’t in English.  But sometimes, I find something new that makes me wonder how I’ve spent almost 30 years of my life without knowing it existed.  This time, the “it” I am referring to is Orange and Carrot juice.  I was intrigued, so I bought it.  Man, am I glad I did.  Both my husband and I were surprised how good it was!  It wasn’t like the V-8 juices that cover up the taste of the veggies with the fruit juice.  The flavor of the carrot was just as pronounced at the orange, yet in still, it was light, crisp and sweet.  To date this is one of my favorite local finds. 

So my family likes something sweet in the morning for breakfast, and when I was looking through the fridge to see what I had on hand to decide what to make, I saw the bag of oranges I had just bought, and a bag of carrots.  Light bulb!  I would make orange and carrot muffins.  I then thought of one of my hubby’s favorite kinds of cake: carrot cake.  I didn’t have any raisins, on hand, but I did have a bag of dried cherries.  I think the addition made for a nice unexpected  chewiness with a tart bite.  I love this recipe, and I think this one will stay in the regular rotation in our house.  The only changes I think I will make next time are to add maybe one or two more tablespoons orange zest so the orange flavor is more pronounced; and I will also see if I can find some vanilla beans for a little added flavor. 

I forgot to buy muffin liners the last time I was shopping, so while “M” was helping me scoop the batter into the mini-bunt pans, she said, “Ohhh Mommy, I can’t wait to eat these mini-cakes!” So Orange and Carrot Mini Cakes with dried Cherries, they are!

Orange and Carrot Mini Cakes with Dried Cherries

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk (I used 2%

2 tablespoons fresh orange  juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated orange peel

2 large eggs

1/4 cup dried cherries

1 large carrot, shredded
Preparation

 Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease muffin pan or mini bunt cake pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and baking soda in medium bowl. Whisk milk and orange juice in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and orange peel in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl (“M” liked helping with this part!) Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk mixture in 2 additions. Mix just until blended.

Fold in carrot and dried cherries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans and cool on rack.



Mixed Berry and Yogurt Pops
August 21, 2011, 6:38 am
Filed under: Dessert, Snacks | Tags: , , ,

It’s hot here.  Like really hot.  Like 105 degrees at 8am hot.  So what better way to beat the heat than a homemade popsicle (although it’s too hot to eat them outside.)  I came across this recipe on the  Sophistimom  blog for fruit and yogurt pops.  I made a few changes, like plain non-fat greek yogurt vice the vanilla flavored yogurt she used.  I also didn’t have fresh strawberries, so I used thawed frozen strawberries.  My little Sous Chefs loved them!  They were able to take turns and help fill the molds.  “M” spooned the berry mixture and “C” spooned the yogurt.  Yesterday, they begged for candy all day, or as they call it, “special treats,” and this was the perfect compromise.  They thought they  got a whole popsicle, but I knew that they were eating fruit and yogurt.  We will definitely be doing these again, and probably trying some new flavors. 

 

Mixed Berry and Yogurt Pops

Ingredients:

7 oz. Plain Non Fat Greek Yogurt

2-3 Tablespoons Pure Honey

1/2 Cup Thawed Frozen Strawberries (or any preferred berry)

1/2 Cup Mixed Berry Juice (mine was strawberry, black berry, raspberry juice)

 

Preparation:

Puree thawed strawberries until smooth.  Mix with Berry juice and set aside.

Add desired amount of honey to greek yogurt.  Keep in mind, frozen foods are less sweet, so add a little more than you think you would like. 

Add 1 tablespoon of yogurt mixture to pop molds.  Add 1 tablespoon berry mixture to mold, and continue to alternate until molds are full.  Refrigerate several hours, preferably overnight.  Remove pops according to mold directions.