Archive | October, 2010

Cheese Stuffed Chilis

19 Oct

I think my favorite food of all time is mexican.  There’s nothing better than eating it straight from the source.  I came up with this dish on our prior trip to Mexico.  It was so yummy that I made it again on this trip.  This time however I tried roasting the peppers 1st and the results are better.  I enjoy this served with tortilla chips and of course a glass of sangria.  Sitting out on the patio overlooking the gardens and hammocks, there is nothing better!

Cheese Stuffed Chilis

  • 6 poblano chili peppers
  • enough cheese to stuff peppers
  • 1 jar Hunts 4 cheese spaghetti sauce
  • tortilla chips

In a 350F oven roast the peppers for 15 minutes turning peppers as needed.

Cut the tops off and remove the seeds.  Save the tops but cut away the seed pod from the top.

Fill pepper with cheese to about 1/2″ from the top.

Place in pan and cover generously with the spaghetti sauce.  Cook for about 15 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Baba Ganousch

10 Oct

A friend had told me about a new international market in Charlotte because she knew I liked to try different types of food.  I’ve been in a few little markets in the area and was never impressed or inspired.  When a market is listed as a european market and the only food items available are Russian, that’s a big let down.  On my friends recommendation I went to the market on my lunch hour.  OMG is all I can say.  I felt like a kid in a massive candy store!  Impressed, yes indeed!  Inspired, absolutely!  This place had it all and then some.  We love to shop in the corner markets or the supermarkets when we travel internationally.  We buy items to bring home with us and savor every drop or bite til its gone and wish to return to get more.  I was able to find a lot of these products in this market.  For the Charlotteans, this is the Super G market on Independence Blvd.  The prices for produce are very good but I did find you need to use the produce within days.  Not a problem here.    I had already bought some tahini from the natural market and the eggplant at the Super G was lovely and cheap so I decided to try this eggplant dip. 

I prefer this dip to be served warm.  While it is very good but I felt like there was too much lemon.  Next time I will half the amount of lemon but in the recipe listed I will allow for the full portion.

Adapted from David Lebovitz, http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/07/baba-ganosh/

Baba Ganousch

makes 8 servings

  • 2 medium-sized eggplants or 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • half bunch cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prick the eggplants a few times.  Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast in oven about 30 minutes until completely soft.  Test by inserting a paring knife into the eggplants.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp. Place the pulp along with all other ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Season with additional salt  if necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve with pita bread.

Can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

9 Oct

In our quest for the 3rd cupcake for Mariya’s wedding I wanted to have something different since she has decided on red velvet and the strawberry/kiwi cupcakes she blogged on in an earlier post.  I am crazy about anything with salted caramel and chocolate so why not in a cupcake?!  Martha Stewart has a yummy chocolate salted caramel cupcake but this recipe is for mini cupcakes which seemed too tedious to cut holes in the little cupcakes and fill it with caramel.  The recipe also called for a rich dark chocolate frosting so I substituted it with a vanilla bean buttercream.  Biting into this cupcake was like eating a Hostess cupcake except for the surprise center.  I made these for a work meeting and my co-workers did not realize the caramel was in the center and when they bit in and I saw that the look on their faces it was priceless.  Anyways the cupcakes are a big hit and Mariya wants them as her third cupcake however I still have more ideas and recipes to try before we decide on adding this to the repertoire.  I didn’t do any pictures of the batter but concentrated more on pictures of the caramel.  I also did not care for the taste of the cake by itself but when you add the caramel and frosting it really brought it all together.  I also had acquired a square muffin panso I just had to try it out on these cupcakes.  With this pan you can use the regular round paper liners as it will conform to the square shape.

Cupcake and caramel recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Cupcakes makes about 24

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Salted Caramel Filling (see below)
  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting (see below)
  • sea salt, preferably fleur de sel if desired

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line muffin pan with paper liners.  In a mixing bowl whisk together the 1st 6 ingredients.  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix on low-speed until smooth and combined.

Fill lined cups about 2/3 full.  Bake, rotating pan half way through, until tester inserted in middle comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Place the muffin pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, take out the cupcakes and let cool completely.

To finish the cupcakes, use a paring knife to cut a cone shape piece out of the center of the cupcake.  Discard the pieces. 

Spoon enough of the warm caramel filling into the cupcake.  Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the filling if desired.

Fill a pastry bag with a large open star tip with frosting.  Pipe onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak.  Drizzle tops with warmed caramel sauce if desired. Cupcakes are best eaten at room temperature.

Salted Caramel Filling makes 1 cup

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stir occasionally until syrup is clear.

Stop stirring and cook until syrup comes to a boil.  Gently swirl pan occasionally until mixture is caramelized.

Remove from heat.  Slowly pour in cream, mixture will spatter.  Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Add in sea salt.   Let cool a few minutes.  If caramel hardens, reheat gently until pourable.

Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 ounces butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Cream butter until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and mix until blended.

Add vanilla bean paste and add milk a little at a time until a smooth creamy consistency.  Frost cupcakes as above or smooth frosting on top.

Tres Leches Cake

3 Oct

I came across a similar recipe in the Southern Living magazine.  It was called coconut cake but I had added other ingredients to become my Tres Leches Cake.  I like to make this in the summer because it is so refreshing and I usually have to make it for my husbands birthday, and Cinco De Mayo or if a co-worker requests this cake I just have to oblige!   I bring in a lot of food to share with my co-workers or if we do snack day etc.  Since I like to experiment with different recipes and ingredients I usually come up with some odd combinations and Sarah always loves everything I do.  She always says I come up with strange things but it always tastes good!  She came to me last week and requested my tres leches cake as she loved it when I made it for Cinco De Mayo.  Who am I to refuse?  I love all the OMG, the “to die for” and recipe requests I get and this recipe was no exception.  BTW when you get to the middle is where you will find even more of the milk soaked cake!  You will need a plate and fork for this cake.

Tres Leches Cake

  • 1 box french vanilla cake mix
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 smallest can evaporated milk
  • 1 8 oz container Cool Whip
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, optional

Make the cake mix as per box ingredients.  Bake in 13×9 sheet pan.  When cake is done remove from oven and poke holes in the cake down to the bottom.  I use the bottom of a wooden spoon to create the larger holes.

Mix the 3 milks together and immediately pour over cake.  Let sit til cake is room temperature.  Top with Cool Whip.  Keep in refrigerator overnight to let the cake soak up the milk.  If desired toast the shredded coconut in 350 oven til lightly browned about 10-15 minutes.

Since some of my family does not like the coconut I only spread over half the cake. 

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

3 Oct

Here I am again with the crockpot and my chicken!  I can find so many wonderful recipes for chicken and if it’s in the crockpot that makes it all the more better.  Since I work Sunday afternoons to throw a meal into the crock and let it cook while I do other much-needed things makes for an easier day.  I threw this one together using ingredients I had on hand and served it over jasmine rice.  My family enjoyed it and I had it for lunch a few times.  It’s all good!

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

  • 2 lbs chicken
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 chopped pepper, I used green and yellow
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups chipotle BBQ sauce

Layer all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours and then on low for 2 hours.

Remove chicken from crockpot and shred.

Return chicken to crockpot and mix all ingredients well.

Serve over rice.