Caucasian Curry

Caucasian Curry
Wednesday, December 23, 2009


i'm not kidding..i thought i'd never see the day that i #1 ate fruitcake let alone #2 made a fruitcake...but this one is well worth me. i wanted a challenge and the ever so popular...NOT! fruitcake was on my mind...could i possibly make a reasonably good fruitcake? better yet..WOULD i ever make a fruitcake ? then i spotted this one @ Blue Ridge Baker adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrich. Sarah the blogger (great blog by the way. stop in and check her out) reeled me in on this one not just by the craggy-cool photo of her slice, but also her simple explanation that straight out states that this fruitcake will change anyone's mind about the touted fruitcake of yore....
directly below is the original recipe from Blue Ridge Baker
below that are my adds and changes
adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup palm sugar (though next time I will use more like 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
1 cup dried fruit (I used un-sulphured apricots, cherries and figs) chopped into medium-sized pieces.
2 cups medjool dates, quartered
3 cups walnut halves
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 300. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with parchment. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and palm sugar in large bowl. Add dried fruit and nuts and toss with your hands. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla extract. Pour into large bowl, toss until all of the fruit and nuts appear well-coated. It will not look like there is enough batter to form a cake, but trust me, there is. Pour into prepared loaf pan, and smooth as well as you can. Bake for about 1 hour 15 - 1 hour 20 minutes. If it looks like it is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over it. After removing from oven, let the cake sit in the load pan for about 5 minutes, then, using the edges of the parchment, lift the loaf out and cool on rack for 45 minutes before cutting into it.
the directions are the same but i added quite a few things that i think worked reeeeeally well. i added quite a bit more fruit and nuts and the small amount of batter took to it and held it all together.
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
i used 1/2 cup slightly packed light brown sugar instead of palm sugar
added 1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups dates-quartered
3/4 cup golden California figs-diced large
2/3 c. dried cranberries
2/3 c. dried apricots-diced large
1 3/4 walnut halves
1 1/2 cups pecans
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Chicken in Red Chili Sauce w/MAIZ MORADO (purple hominy)

this recipe is super delicious and really easy once you have your red sauce made up. i really suggest you make your own red sauce. you won't settle for anything else once you've tried it. i've tried a few and came up with a fairly easy one. it just takes a little extra time and it's a bit messy(just the straining part and the fact that it can stain things)...once you have your red sauce the sky's the limit with what you might use it for. i end up putting it on or in everything.

the purple Indian corn was amazing. just like your regular hominy, but i found it a bit more...hmmm...a bit more dense?...a bit more like a bean?...maybe just a bit more fun because it was different. i found this at my favorite Mexican market, NORTHGATE in Santa Ana. find them and try them is what i say to you...


i use this recipe from Dona Martha i found while researching Chili Colorado

i didn't copy it for you because this site explains it so well and her info is there if you have questions for her. i want more recipes from Dona Martha.

my notes about the RED SAUCE...

i have used dried New Mexico Chilies, Pasilla Chilies and Guallio Chilies. depends on what i can get my hands on. i always add a few Chilies de Arbol as well.

i use an immersion blender, due to the fact i don't have a reg. blender and it works really well.

a few thing i like to add while chilies are simmering....

CUMIN...i like to add about 1/2 tsp.

GARLIC decide

BLACK PEPPER...grind some in there

DRIED OREGANO...i like to add 1/2-1 tsp...just cuz...

HONEY?...yeah...i got a little Bobby Flay with it one worked

also, it states that Dona does not strain the sauce...the 1st time i made Red Sauce i didn't strain it. it turned out great, but the 2nd time i strained it and it was soooo much better. so i suggest'll be surprised even after all the purree-ing how much chili skin will strain out. take your time and press it through the strainer slowly, because it's already kinda thick.

now....let it sit for a few hours, then get back in there and taste it. you'll find that you have created a nice thick slightly spicy sauce that can really be used on and in anything...veggies, fish, chicken, pork, beef...tamales, enchiladas, tacos......



store bought roasted chicken. shred into bite size pieces. i used almost a whole chicken depends, of course on how many you're serving and how much yummy left-overs you want. it just gets better and better.

1 large onion diced and slightly sauteed

1 can plum tomatoes cut into large pieces (drained and squeezed)

1 1/2 c. - 2 c. purple Indian corn (of course you can substitute hominy)

put all the above in a med. sauce pan.

to this i add enough red sauce to coat everything plus a bit more in case the inevitable reduction. bring this to a nice simmer...not a boil...just heat it through and let it sit. let all the flavors meld. when ready to serve bring out the fresh tortillas, cilantro, avocado and salsas etc....

well, i think that's it...i really should write these things down as i'm cooking, but one doesn't think of it at the does one...?!
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Thursday, December 17, 2009


i like to call this "THE ELVIS 2010"
maybe if Elvis was still alive in 2010 and trying to be a bit healthy he would start his day with one of these babies...
i know...i like to put bacon in alot of things, but this one is a winner. i've already made them 3 times and just today i had a friend ask if he could order a months worth. he said it was the best granola bar he'd ever had. his friend said his mouth was exploding with flavors. granola bars are easy to make and you can't help but feel a bit healthy eating them even though you know there's a little sugar and butter involved along with extras you decde to add.
i used Alton Brown's Granola Bar(2005) recipe for the base.
i don't find myself using Alton's recipes that often. he tends to get a bit too detailed for my liking, but this type of recipe is the kind you can mess with and make your i did.
below, i have copied his recipe found here or you can click on this and read the full site with the comments of others.

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
i used 1 cup slightly chopped salted virginia peanuts-no seeds, no almonds
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract-i used 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp maple
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries
i used approx 1 c. broken banana chips and 1/2 c. dried apricots
the 3rd time i added 1/2 c. peanut butter chips
and scant 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
BACON...i almost forgot about the BACON...1 package(12 oz.)center cut
crispy! crumbled into small pieces

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass*** baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down(i took this step seriously and pressed down really good and hard, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.(i left mine in untill the edges were starting to brown and the top was golden) Remove from the oven(i pressed down slightly again) and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
***the 1st time i used a 9x9 cake pan and they came out great, but just a bit thick. i did, however, like them because they were a cube of goodness. the next time i used a 9x13 cake pan or roasting pan, also metal, and they came out great as well. i just got more squares out of the deal. i think it all depends on how you like your squares and how many extras you add in. just make sure you don't go overboard because you want the whole thing to have enough "goop" to keep it all together or you'll end up with loose granola. great granola, probably the best you've ever had, but just not the bar we're shootin' for here.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ina Garten's Macaroons

i say, bring a little tropical treat to your trays...say that 3 times real fast.

Ina's Macaroons...

they're sweet, but not too sweet. chewy, but not mooshy. simple, yet delicate.

they are Ina's. nuff said...

AND, i might add (admit!) they keep well. i made these about 2 weeks ago and i just so happen to come across one in the fridge, one that got left behind. to my surprise it was fabulous. 2 weeks later!!! i'll be the first to say, there's nothing like a fresh macaroon with it's crispy edges and soft inside, but this 2 week old, left behind little tropical pile of coconut was no joke.

don't leave these off your party platters. they are so easy and a quick add to your holiday cookie line up.

to the right is an example of the macaroon cooked on parchment. i think the base was just s smidge darker and they spread ever so slightly. i couldn't really tell you which i like better, only that i could fit more on the pan with the parchment due to the fact that my silpat is so small. i actually prefer cooking with parchment just for the clean up fact...wad it up and toss (i do try to reuse when possible). for these i wanted to make sure there would be NO sticking, so i also lightly buttered the paper (don't know if that was necessary, but better safe than sorry.

here you see the results on the sipat. anyway you decide they will come out great.

i found this recipe HERE at the food network site while searching around for an easy macaroon recipe. i have copied it for you below and you can check out the comments of others there (here).
much love and thanks always for Ina and all her cooking.

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (plus extra. c-notes***)
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
***Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

***MY NOTES...i did not use an ice cream scoop...i used a fork so i could sort of fluff up the coconut. i didn't want them to be too wet. if you think it looks a bit too runny go ahead and add some more coconut. i put in a little extra in the beginning. then after each batch i added a little more and a little more. mine came out great from the first batch to the very last...and i probably got quite a few more cookies out of the deal.

ENJOY !!!...and go ahead and hide some from yourself. you'll come across them days, weeks later and be surprised at how well they hold up.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


for the next few weeks we'll call this the Italian Christmas Cookie. i believe it is better known as the Italian Wedding Cookie. i've also been informed, by an Italian, that if these don't show up at the party in some shape or form...'s just not a party. period.
weddings, baby showers, birthdays, engagements, any and every celebration has to have these.
being that this is the must have cookie i had to try it.
my friend Kim, an Italian, asked for my help with some cookies for the holidays to show off her new cooking skills to her very large Italian family. she informed me they take their cookies seriously so i googled around and found this one. i'm glad i did. these are a great addition to any cookie tray.
as i promised little chit-chat and on with the recipe...

i must say that i'm so sorry i lost the original site that i found this bad! i always like to give credit to the the right person. when i find it i will be sure to post it and give proper thanks.
These can be shaped any way you want. i chose to knot them.
Anisette Rings
1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick) softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 teaspoons anise extract, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
rainbow sprinkles

In large bowl with mixer on low speed beat margarine or butter with sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until creamy. At medium speed beat in eggs, vanilla and 1 teaspoon anise extract; constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour and baking powder occasionally scrapping bowl. Dived dough into 4 parts, wrap each ball in plastic wrap and freeze at least one hour or refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured surface divide 1 ball of dough into 9 equal pieces, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece of dough into a 7 inch long rope. Bring ends of rope together and gently twist several times. Pinch twisted ends together to seal.

Place cookies about 2 inches apart on ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake cookies 12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. With spatula, remove cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

When cookies are cool, prepare glaze. ***In small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar with 1 teaspoon anise extract and 2 tablespoons water. Brush top of cookies with glaze. Add sprinkles. Set cookies aside to allow glaze to dry. About 1 hour.
***i used this glaze recipe
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
i dipped the cookies 6 at a time then sprinkled, then dipped then sprinkled and so on and so on....
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Saturday, December 5, 2009


these might possibly at the top of the holiday cookie list.
i am soooo behind in my posting. i've been baking, cooking and shooting so many new goodies that i just haven't had the time to share it all. so for the next few posts i think i'll just get right to the point, make it short, add a few comments if needed, but just get to the important stuff... and give you the recipe...

i found this at Recipezaar. click here for full info or i have just copied it for you below.
i would love to give a ton of thanks to the creator of this fab recipe. my changes are added in italics

2 cups all purpose flour, unsifted (i substituted 1/2 c. wheat flour AND 1/4 c. almond meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (i used approx 3/4 c.)
1/2 cup blanched almond, sliced, lightly toasted (i did not pre-toast the almonds)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
white chocolate chips or bark for dipping

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease and flour a large baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla and then slowly mix in the flour and other dry ingredients.
6. With a spoon stir in the crystallized ginger, almonds and white chocolate chips until well combined.
7 . Divide dough in half and roll each portion into logs about 12 inches long.
8. Place on prepared baking sheet and flatten each log slightly with your hand and then round off the edges a bit.
9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
10. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
11. Carefully lift onto a cutting surface and slice with a serrated bread knife, using a gentle sawing motion, almost an inch thick.
12. Transfer slices back onto the baking sheet, standing them up.
13. Bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes to dry them out, not letting them get too brown.
14. Cool completely on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


i think i'm into broths right now and this one is a winner...


they're ugly, no kidding...but dangerously delicious.

these three HOCKS were beauties. i didn't realize 'till later, and a bit more ham hock experienced, that i could have just used one. besides the fact that each one of these are huge, these were smoked so well that each one packed quite a smokey punch. so use what you think is right. i'm glad i used all three because the meat it ever so tasty. many possibilities.
how about using this for your next butternut squash soup?...a white bean puree?...just this liquidy gold to cook your rice... or couscous?...geez, just blanch your veggies in it...yummm!
for this first little smokey broth soup i decided to go simple. i boiled some skinned boned chicken breasts in the broth and added the white beans and arbol chilies...that's it. it was so clean and simple tasting, but with the depth of a complex broth...complex?...nope.

here's what i did...LIQUID BACON BROTH...easy peezy

get yourself some smoked ham hocks. 1, 2 or 3 will do (freeze one for later if you want to have one ready on hand...and you will!). ask the butcher if you don't see them out front.

1 large onion cut into 4 or 6

4-7 cloves peeled crushed garlic

5-6 dried arbol chilis (optional)

place everything in a large pot with enough water to cover everything.

bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. simmer for a few hours until hocks are tender and skin and meat are just about falling off the bone. remove from pot and set aside until cool to the touch. while you're waiting, strain liquid. i like to use cheese cloth or paper towel. it really makes the broth much more clear and grabs some of the fat as well. let your broth cool on the counter for a bit, then stick it in the fridge for a few hours. the fat will rise and be easy to remove. you probably already know all this, but this is a great way to really get rid of the fat. if you're not concerned about the fat you can skip all this and save a few hours...get right to business.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009



well, i must say...this cake is a looker. the outer crust two-tone look leads one to believe the inside will be just as exciting, but..alas. as you can see in the photo above, not so much. i mean, the light had to be just right in order to get a glimps of the marbling. i was surprised to even see it in the photo, because it's hard to see with the naked the way...naked eye...???...where did that ever come from? is your eye ever not naked ??... i was under the impression there would be two distinct flavors goin' on here. don't get me wrong..the cake IS fabulous, just not quite what i expected.

what's nice about this cake is that it's dense, therefore will serve alot of people. i'll bet you could get 24 nice slices, maybe more. the outside, as i mentioned has a shell-like crust so it can take a thinner slice. the inside is pretty dense. myself ?...i prefer a dense cake over light and airy. i like a cake with a little heft.

so, on with the here for just this recipe
i found it at
Sing For Your Supper...great things here on this blog. i won't cut and paste the recipe because you should just go ahead and check out her blog...i think i'll be making the chili next.
this cake is pretty cool looking just on it's own and suits a breakfast bread this way...BUT you could definitely dress it up with a maple glaze or a butterscotch glaze or a whatever know how i feel about the drippage!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paula Dean's Brown Butter Pecan Cake

Paula has really done it with this one. WOW ! is just about all i can say...

it's big, it's beautiful, it's dense, it's smooth, yet crunchy, it's sweet and decadent, and...


well, you probably knew it had butter, but of course leave it to Paula to add that extra stick.

this was one perfect specimen of a cake. i couldn't stop taking pictures of it. i really didn't want to cut into it, but the aroma just kept calling...i think it was finally shouting at me...EAT ME !!!

just plain naked it was beautiful and would be great with just a little powdered sugar, but i'm a girl who loves her glaze. i love applying it and watching it slide down the sides.

this glaze is so easy. i've used it on my chocolate mud cakes and the quintuple chocolate cake. it always works well and stays nice and shiny the day of. this one, however, the next day did dull and get a matte finish (still looked great). another great bonus about this glaze is that it makes the cake travel well if needed. if you have to wrap it the seran won't stick. i hate it when frosting gets all over the place and messes everything up in transport.

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 tsp vanilla
heat all this in a double boiler, stirring well 'till all is dissolved.
DONE. i like to pour a warm glaze on a cooled cake because i seem to have a little more control of the drippage. if your cake is still warm, the glaze might get too thin...although nothin's stoppin' ya from double glazing...

so enough with the photos and the blabbing about the cake...on with the recipe !!!


1 1/2 c. butter, softened

2 1/2 c. dark brown sugar packed well

1/2 c. sugar

5 large eggs

3 c. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. heavy whipping cream

1 c. chopped pecans

preheat oven to 325 degrees. spray a 12-15c cup bundt fluted bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.

in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at med. speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.. add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

in a med. bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt: gradually add to butter mixture, alternating with cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. stir in pecans. pour into prepared pan. bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. or until wooden pick comes out clean. you might need to cover cake with an aluminum tent to prevent browning. let cool in pan for 10 min. remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Snickerdoodles all time favorite not to be forgotten during the holidays. with all those other fancy decorated treats, don't leave this one out. i'll bet these will be the first to disappear. no one can resist a good Snickerdoodle...and these are not only good...they are fantastic!!!...follow this recipe to the T and they come out great every time.

i don't know who Mrs. Sigg is, but she sure has a killer Snickerdoodle recipe and she deserves an award for these. you can find it at with all it's reviews here.

or i've just copied it for you below. it's straight forward and, as i mentioned, follow it exactly. my 1st batch i thought wasn't quite done at 8 minutes so i left them in for 11 mins. WRONG! although it didn't hurt them, they just weren't quite as chewy soft in the middle. the second, third and so on, at 8 mins., were perfectly chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside just like a perfect doodle should be.



1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets. immediately as possible.

trust me...don't leave these off your holiday cookie trays. i have a few left...a few i hid !!!, and i thought i would experiment with some icing, some Nutella or some butterscotch glaze etc. and dip them, slather them or just sandwich them...i could make a meal out of these babies...

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


oh yesss...
i have found a new favorite.


served as a soup or a stew, a main course or a starter, this one is a winner. the verde broth is so good it would work well with any meat. tonight i had it with some fresh Tilapia and it was delicious. this yummy verde base might be something i would make ahead and freeze (haven't tried the freezing yet) in portions. you could just throw in some rotisserie chicken or pulled pork or white fish and call it a day. a delicious day.

this Pozole is so good i just couldn't wait for the condiments. actually, i would suggest trying it this way first to get the full flavor of the stew itself. sometimes one can get carried away with all the extras that you lose sight of the original.
hominy...what a fabulous little nugget that i must have forgot about. i haven't had it in years. i wasn't expecting it to bring such a great flavor to the dish. i couldn't pin point the flavor until i realized it was kind of like someone had infused, fresh off the press, corn tortillas into ever bite. you know that aroma and taste of a warm tortilla brought home from the tortillaria when the bag is still warm?
note about the chicken...i would suggest that you not try to save time or calories by using boned skinned breasts. your broth will be better and your chicken will be more moist with bone and skin on. to skim the fat i strained the broth through paper towel and it worked quite well, making this soup on the more healthy side. all good stuff.

with many thanks to Anya Von Bremzan and Food and Wine.

7 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 cups water
4 chicken breast halves on the bone, with skin
1 pound tomatillos, husked and halved
1 small onion, quartered
2 poblano chiles—cored, seeded and quartered
2 jalapeƱos, seeded and quartered
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Three 15-ounce cans of hominy, drained
Finely shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges, for serving

In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, cover and simmer over very low heat until they’re tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred the meat; discard the bones and skin. Skim any fat from the cooking liquid and reserve.
In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos with the quartered onion, poblanos and jalapeƱos, smashed garlic, chopped cilantro and oregano. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the side. With the machine on, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Season the tomatillo puree with salt and pepper.
In a large deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 12 minutes.
Pour the green sauce into the cooking liquid in the casserole. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shredded chicken to the stew, season with salt and pepper and cook just until heated through.

Serve the pozole in deep bowls, passing the lettuce, radishes, onion, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges at the table.

this soup/stew keeps really well, and as any soup just deepens with flavors the next day. this can definitely be made ahead and enjoyed all week.
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Friday, November 6, 2009


these collards are the real deal, made with the simmering ham hocks and all. well, they're about as real as i know how being that i'm a girl who grew up in Newport Beach, CA. so now that i just admitted that, maybe they aren't so real after all, but the dish came out reeeeally tastey, and i can't wait to use those ugly ham hocks again...the rich smokey flavor is delicious and would lend itself to so many things. ya just don't get that same depth when you use just bacon. as you can see in the photo, i did use some bacon, but that was just because #1 i had some already cooked, and #2 because i thought it needed somemore meat action.

the broth...or liquor, as it's called, is a whole 'nuther story! i found myself slurpping up the last drops like a thirsty puppy. if you've ever worked with smoked ham hocks you know what i mean, but this was my first time. as a matter of fact, i just went to the market across town this morning to pick me up a few more of these babies. i can't wait to get started with them and try something new. i'm thinkin' some kind of smokey stew or thick rich soup.

the black eyed peas?...well, i did kinda cheat on those. i used canned, so the only one i cheated was myself. i think one of the main flavors of southern style beans is the slow soaking and cooking and infusing the flavor of the broth, or liquer, that they're cooked, yes i did cheat myself out of that step. i wanted my collards that night and the beans should be properly soaked over night. i couldn't wait. i know you can put the said beans in a pot, bring to a boil and remove from heat and let sit for an hour or two, but still i went for the can...i didn't miss anything, but i bet they would have been just that much better. next time.

this is what i did for these...
Southern-Style Collard GreensYields 8 servings
Collard greens are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. This recipe is reminiscent of my mother's. She seemed to let her greens simmer away for hours! I make mine with ham hocks, which help tenderize the greens and add flavor, along with a little brown sugar to take away any bitterness. A lot of Southern families serve their greens with a side of bread to dip in the cooking broth, known as pot-likker. The broth is packed with vitamins and refers to the leftover "liquor" in the pot, after your greens have cooked. It not only tastes good — it's really good for you!
4 smoked ham hocks, 1 large onion, thinly sliced, 3 bay leaves, 4 pounds collard greens, Chicken stock or broth, or water, as needed, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse the ham hocks and score the skin in several places. In a heavy 8- to 10-quart pot, combine the hocks, onion, and bay leaves with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the hocks are falling apart.
2. Remove the ham hocks from the cooking liquid and reserve the meat, discarding the bones, skin, and fat. Strain the cooking liquid, skim off the fat (i like to use cheese cloth with a strainer because it seems to grab some of the fat as well as strain thouroughly), and return it to the pot.
3. While the ham hocks are cooking, remove the stems from the collard greens and roughly chop; set aside. i rolled the leaves together and made 1 inch slices. your preference i suppose.
4. Add enough chicken stock or water to the cooking liquid to make 6 cups. Add the chopped collard greens, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and reserved ham. here is were i added the black eyed peas. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the greens are very tender. Serve immediately.

"immediately" is B's rule...i had no idea, being this was my first time with greens, how long this was going to take and i was done quite a bit early, so i ended up reheating and, of course, no harm no foul. i even think they were better and better each day they hung out in all the smokey ham hock goodness. i also added some precooked crispy bacon...for good measure. you know my rule...a little, or alot, of bacon never hurt anything....

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Thursday, November 5, 2009


with all this talk about pumpkins, sweet potatoes, roasts and slow cookers let's not forget about our beautiful fruit...while it's still here..hangin' in there..getting VERY EXPENSIVE!

just yesterday i had to buy some blueberries...$4.99...YIKES!!!! and they were rather small and flavorless, i might add. honeydew melon was over $6 bucks...even good old strawberries are 4 bucks....errrrrg

i know, i know...apples are IN !...well.....apples are ALWAYS IN!!!
don't get me wrong. i love apples..have one just about every day, but in this house everyone expects a nice little fruit salad with lunch. specifically, a fruit salad prepared by ME. all through summer these fruit salads were unbeleivable. raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, MANGO, papaya, peaches. ooooh there was sooo much to chose from, but now it's getting to be a bit hard to keep up with the expectations.

i thought all was lost 'till i sliced into this unasuming, hard to the touch, Tuscan Sweet melon this morning and thought i'd died and gone to fruit heaven. is this thing beautiful or what?!...the sweet aroma alone almost bowled me over. it was just the right crispiness. i prefere my melon on the semi crispy side, but quite often they haven't developed their flavors yet...this one was perfect. AND only about $2.50. the kiwis?..3 for a dollar...and i found raspberries on sale 2 baskets for $3.00. as i said i had to splerge on the blueberries. needless to say, fruit salads are still going strong in this house...what is everyone else doing for fruit? here in California we always have the variety, it just get soooo expensive. should i kill the fruit salad everyday ideas? i don't think that would fly.
for now i'll stick with the melons and what ever is on sale...this week i'm good and it's not bad for a fruit salad in November.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The UGLY Scary Halloween Candy GOOEY Brownie

soooo GOOD
so FUN!
what do you do with all your leftover Halloween candy? besides sit around eating it one piece at a time untill you can feel the cavities drilling holes in your teeth? OR, do you find yourself waking from a sugar coma with malt balls stuck in your hair?
well, i thought i'd get rid of mine in one fell swoop...
gather up all the "unwanteds" (of course, i kept out the Reeses and the Heath Bars) and throw them in a brownie.

better yet..

for REAL effortless quick candy disposal...grab your favorite brownie mix...mine is Ghirardelli's Triple Chocolate

mix 1/2 of it in the dough

bake for just 12-15 minutes under the correct full cooking time

remove from oven and top with the other 1/2 plus some mini marshmallows never hurt

back in the oven for approx 12-15 minutes

let cool completely before cutting.

cutting them in neat little brownie size squares is kind of a difficult task, to say the least. mine got a bit to melted because i underestimated the brownie cooking time and the topping was in just a bit too long. it's all good...just made them uglier...

and we all know ugly can be a beautiful thing.

as you might guess, the topping is quite gooey, crispy, sticky and just plain ol' hard to cut through without smashing the brownie cake. it really depends on what kind of candies your throwing in.

mine was Malted Milk Balls, Candy Corn, Hershey's Cookies and Creme and the mini marshmallows. the marshmallows were a great add because they ended up getting a little toasty like a camp-fire treat. the candy corn melted and the milk balls deflated. the cookies and creme disappeared into the chocolate abyss.

i must say...i kinda threw this together as a joke. i thought if i pagage them with the "UGLY" disclaimer i could just say "i warned you" if they didn't go over to well, but i already got 3 rave reviews..."best thing ever". and "please slip me another one of those ugly things tomorrow if you have any left" and another said "it was "PUNK ROCK BAKING at it's best"

so...the Reeses and the Heath Bars are next up on the chopping block...

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spicy Chicken Feet in a broth of liquid Gold

the chicken feet might be an acquired taste, but the broth is all worth it.
not for the faint of heart, but don't run away. a bit scary looking, but oooh sooo

finger lickin' good..? sorry, i had to say it.

ya see, chicken feet don't scare me. i remember my grandma eating them way back when they actually came with the chicken you were buying at the regular market. she would throw everything in the pot, feet, gizzards and all, but the feet were always hers when all was done (maybe because she didn't have to fight anyone for them?). does that make me sound old or what?!...back when i had to walk 10 miles in the cold rain in the early morn' just to get to school. yeah right...
needless to say...wasn't Grandma's chicken soup always THE BEST?...did ya ever think it could have been the FEET?...

anyway, you all know i love tot try the odd, the out of the ordinary, the ultimate UGLY foods, so i decided i had to find some chicken feet. not an easy task. once again i was told i would have to special order them and it would be a 5lb. min. 5lb's is a bit much for lil' ol' me. then i remembered the PIG FEET delima...same thing, BUT i found them at my favorite Mexican market, Northgate #9 in Santa Ana. a bit of drive, but well worth the trip. i always find great stuff there.

BINGO!...some nice fresh feet just waiting for me to experiment with.

this first time i thought i would just go basic, but with a little heat, of course.

or this is what i did...
if you are not used to cleaning chicken feet, it can be quite tricky and i must admit, quite strange. first, you have to rub the feet with salt to clean them. i used Kosher salt. then rinse. put them in a large pot of boiling water and scald for 5 min. let them cool enough to handle. next, cut off the claws (this is kind of weird because you feel like you're cutting the tips of fingers off) and trim off the hardend unwanted spot normally seen beneath the feet. i should have taken a pic of this, but it's like a dogs' paw-pad?. you'll see it, just clip the hard part off with some scissors. then rinse. now the chicken feet are ready to be cooked in any way you want...

i had read in quite a few articles that the broth made with chicken feet is fab, so i wanted to start out like i was making a good basic broth. let me interject here that...

aprox. 2 lbs chicken feet
water to cover about 1 inch.
the basics..onion, celery, carrot
(i used 1 or 2 1/4'd yellow onion, then added the chipolini onion later)
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
5 dried arbol chilis

these are approx. measures because my broth is a little different every time, but always similar flavors. just add pretty much whatever you want for your end result.
i was going for a more spicey Mexican flare rather than grandma's homestyle broth.
bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours untill tender...ask me how tender?...i guessed. there were quite a few feet in there so i just kept checking on them. you want the cartilidge to get tender because that's mainly what you're after. i'll bet it was about 2 hours. when done to your liking strain. i like to strain though cheese cloth, it gets all the tiny what-nots and grabs some of the fat on the way through. put everything back together and you're ready to dig in...

now...eating these, what now resemble little hands, is a whole 'nuther story...i don't think there is a proper way or even a slight instruction on how you should eat these.
just put one in your mouth and start sucking...
they are quite tedious to eat, but alot of fun. i would definitely say don't eat these with anyone you're trying to impress or anywhere in public, for that matter.
if you can't deal, all is not'll be left with some incredible, always useful, rich golden broth that can be stored away for a rainy day...and it might stir up some fabulous old memories of your sweet Grandma, or at least someone's Grandma.

ps...check this out...actual HEALTH BENEFITS....the fountain of youth found in feet!!!
taken fron an article by Robert Reames
Chicken feet. This is one whose health benefits you may be unfamiliar with. As far as joint health goes, this is probably one of the most outstanding foods that you can eat. It is loaded with readily absorbable protein, collagen, calcium and cartilage to maintain, repair and build overall joint integrity. It's absolutely incredible for your skin as well. Kung Fu martial artists have used this for centuries to enhance overall joint integrity and strength. Could this be a fountain of youth? Healthy joints give you the mental and physical energy to be at your best for a lifetime.
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Saturday, October 31, 2009


calling all chocolate lovers...
with an easy peezy chocolate glaze.
and a few spicy pecans thrown in for good measure. you know, i wonder where that saying originated from..."a little more for good measure"...measure of what exactly?...
MY SANITY?...if a few more of anything could keep me sane, then i'm all for it.

these cupcakes are great. as a matter of fact, this type of cake is my new favorite. i think it's because of the melted chocolate and butter added to the batter. it definitely adds to the moist factor. i have made a white chocolate mud cake (whole cake) a few times and LOVED it. it's so dense just a small piece will do and it makes such a good base for decorating. i even thought of making petite fours and making each one all cute and pretty, but lost the erge as soon as i had it. soon. BUT this time i though i'd try cupcakes. the texture is unlike a regular cupcake. a little less flakey-a little more crumbly. i think if i had pulled them out just a few minutes before, they would have been more like the dense white cake version i was thinking of. don't get me wrong...these are killer good.
i really recommend the glaze as well. it's so easy and it holds up so well. i was able to individually wrap each cupcake in a baggie. the glaze is so nice and smooth that it didn't stick all over the place like a normal frosting would. yet, the glaze is still soft to the bite, it doesn't harden like a shell.
300g dark chocolate
300g unsalted butter
5 eggs
125 caster sugar
115g self-rising flour
preheat oven to 160 celsius
place 14-16 paper muffin cups in tin
in a med. bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, melt the choc. and butter together, stirring well so as not to seize up on the sides. when melted remove and let cool a little as you prep.
beat the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl untill pale and thick. fold in the flour and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture untill well blended. (i used a mixer for the whole process)
spoon the mixture into the cups and bake for 15 minutes. the cupcakes should be soft and gooey in texture and appearance. i left mine in just a bit longer, being my 1st time and all, and they came out great...just a bit more puffed. maybe less gooey. remove from the oven and let cool befor glazing or frosting.
1 c. chocolate chips
1 can condensed milk (14oz.)
1 tsp vanilla
melt the choc. and con. milk together. i like the double boiler method
add the vanilla and stir well....DONE!
pour or spoon over what ever you are magnificently with BUNDTS. i used it here on this quintuple choc. cake
you can even use a few coatings if you like it thick. i did on the cupcakes...and as i said, i doesn't harden to the bite, but it does dry and make easy to handle or cover it need be.
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Friday, October 30, 2009



bundts are a beautiful thing. you really can't go wrong with a bundt. everyone loves a good bundt. i think slicing them is the most fun, actually watching someone else slice it is even more one can decide if they should cut the premarked divisions or go outside the lines and divy up the cake evenly. bundt lovers out there know what i'm talkin' about. right?
even a bad bundt can be impressive with a tasty ganache poured all over dripping down the sides. or just go for the classic, and toss a little powdered sugar on and around and let the flavor of the cake speak for itself.
i liken the good ol' bundt to a favorite pair of can dress 'em up or dress 'em down, but you're always gauranteed a good time and a sure fit.
i found this beauty at while flipping through the pages at foodgawker. this one caught my eye because of the texture, and i LOVE anything that has almond flour in it. although mine turned out looking quite a bit different texture wise...i was very pleased with the finished product. a lite cakey texture(i thought it would be more dense from the almond flour) with just a hint of lemon. actually it turned out just like a good ol' bundt should...classic, understated delicious and moist.

with many thanks to

zest of 3 lemons
3 tbs lemon juice
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour...(i used ground blanched almonds i purchase ready-ground)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan by spraying with nonstick baking spray and then sprinkling with flour.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and set aside. In another bowl, combine zest, lemon juice, sour cream, and vanilla. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping and mixing after each addition.
Reduce to low speed then add about one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream mixture, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Repeat with the remaining mixtures and continue mixing until well combined. Pour into prepared bundt pan.
Bake until top is golden brown and wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into center comes out with no crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and leave in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto wire rack and cool.

Note: You can add a lemon glaze to the pan while it is cooling by mixing 1/3 cup lemon juice with 3 tbs confectioner’s sugar and pouring it over the cake.
MY NOTE...i did not do this particular glaze, i opted for powdered sugar. i think this glaze sounds a bit too juicy/runny. it would probabaly be delicious if eaten right away, but in my experience this runny of a glaze doesn't sit well. i have made glazes like this much thicker(more powdered sugar) and it holds up well for days..almost seals it.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009


when i say easy...i mean EASY!!!
i've introduced this little fudge recipe secret before and will probably be bringing it up quite a few more times during these next few candy making months. so bear with while i try to come up with some more tasty, interesting and sometime odd flavors, shapes and sizes. BUT, for now, here's a shortcut to impresive truffles.
BIG secret?!...1 can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
3 c. chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
pinch salt
i prefer the double boiler mehtod. melt the chips and condensed milk together 'till smooth. stir alot so that the chocolate won't seize. when everything is melted
stir in the vanilla and salt. this is the time you can add anything you want. spice? heat? nut? craisins? etc...
transfer into a clean bowl/dish at refrigerate for a few hours. this is the same recipe for the easy peasy fudge i love to make, but instead of cutting into squares you just get your hands in there and roll little balls. then immediatly roll in what ever outer coating you chose. nuts are always a good choice (i like toasted almonds) or sprinkles or good ol' cocoa powder. DONE...
i'm not saying these are going to turn out like fancy delicate ganache truffles, but they are pretty darn good and definitely pass as a yummy treat.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009


TRICK ?...OR TREAT ?!...

the trick is....not to tell anyone what in the treat before the first bite...

seems like the second they hear bacon or cayenne the nose turns up. well, mine would have to untill i started experimenting with my first candy bar concoction..

yeah, yeah, might all be sick of the bacon and chocolate invasion. i know something has run it's course when they have it all over the Food Network. it seems like it's no longer an exotic strange phenomenon when everybody has seen it or heard of it.
well, sorry to say, i haven't lost the obsession for it yet. i guess i'm still on that "BACON MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER" train.
this is just one of many different little gems i came up with. how can ya go wrong with these main ingredients
bacon, bacon, more bacon...thick is always prefered
chocolate...i just used dipping chocolate (haven't really explored good chocolate yet)
caramel...homemade is prefered
peanut butter...chunky (choosy moms choose JIFF)
cayenne or arbol ground chili
how it works...
first i nuked the bacon. watch it closely if you do it this way. i like this method because the paper towels suck up all the fat and they come out in nice flat strips with less grease. sometimes i have to go the extra mile and pop them in the toaster oven to get them even crispier. crispy-crunchy is key.
next is the caramel...dipp the bacon. i cut the slices in half. let those cool and harden on a silpat or lightly buttered wax paper. 1st time i made the mistake of using plain wax paper...woops is all i can say about that.
then...dip the caramel strips in chcolate. i used th double boiler method. i think it makes it easier to keep the chocolate dippable for a longer period of time. might want to stop here. these are already quite tasty, but the second time around i wanted more and i wanted peanut buttter in the mix so i slathered one side with peanut butter and i even sprinkled extra chopped salted peanuts on top.
finally...dip, or carefully with a knife, get this whole thing covered in chocolate. it gets a bit messy and it's best not to get the peanut butter mixed into the chocolate while your working, so keep your knife clean. i must say, the addition of the salted peanuts is great.
oh..and don't forget the cayenne. i think i sprinkled that on after the caramel dipping.
the end result is a pretty ugly, but incredible candy bar. i know i will soon learn about tempering and all that goes along with candy making, but for now i'm having fun just learning as i go.
so, anyway you try this will come out delicious. you really can't go wrong with the main ingredients. as a matter of fact, i justbought another slab of bacon that i'm going to work with tomorrow. some of it might have to go into peanut brittle and the rest?...we'll see.
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