Sunday, March 17, 2013

Blueberry Syrup

A simple blueberry sauce good on everything from pancakes to ice cream.

1 can blueberries in light syrup
1/4 C lemon juice
zest of 1 orange
1 T sugar
1 T cornstarch
pinch salt

Mix the ingredients thoroughly, then bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust if necessary.

Stuffed French Toast

A classic breakfast dish with a bit of a twist.  Here I use orange flavored cream cheese, but you could easily mix cream cheese with preserves of some sort or another if you wanted a different flavor.  The amounts are about right for the filling, but the amount of French toast this will make will vary based on the size of the bread and how well you fill it.

Bread, sliced 3/4" thick

4 eggs
1/2 C half and half
1/2 C milk
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 T sugar

1 pack cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 orange
1 T sugar
2-3 T triple sec
pinch of salt

Mix the filling ingredients together and allow to sit for at least an hour to blend flavors.
Cut a pocket in the middle of each slice of bread and pack it with the filling (this is probably easiest done with a finger; a piping bag might work, but it's fairly thick filling).
Beat together the batter ingredients, then soak the filled bread slices, giving them about a minute a side.  While those are soaking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium.
Place the soaked slices in the skillet and brown both sides.
Serve with maple or blueberry syrup.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spicy Tuna Sauce

This is the sauce that you'd use for making a spicy tuna roll, or just perking up some sushi (which is why I'm giving it a Japanese tag, even though it's definitely an American creation), but honestly I've put it ham sandwiches for a little bit of an Asian twist.

1/3 C Mayonnaise
1 t chile oil
1 t sesame oil
chile garlic paste

Mix all of the ingredients and give it a few minutes to blend.  The amounts of chile garlic paste and sriracha are to taste, but I aim for 2:1 chile garlic paste to sriracha.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


This is a pretty variable recipe, so modify it to your personal taste.

2 ripe avocados
4-5 Jalapenos or serranos, minced or to taste
1/4 to 1/3 of a red onion or half a small sweet onion, minced
1/2 C of cilantro leaves minced, or to taste
salt to taste
2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional) *see note
lime juice to taste

Scoop out the avocado into a non-metallic bowl (metal can speed up the redox reaction that browns the avocado) and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of lime juice to prevent browning.  Add the rest of the ingredients and coarsely mash with either a fork or a potato masher.  Taste and adjust seasoning (you'll probably need more lime juice), then cover and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.  A layer of plastic wrap applied directly to the surface will help prevent browning of any leftovers.

*Note: Raw garlic can be fairly assertive; so I often will use a Mexican technique of cooking the garlic cloves, unpeeled, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the skin browns in spots on all sides.  After that you peel it and mince as usual.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


A lighter dessert custard with caramel sauce.  This can be made either in one larger pan or individual ramekins, though I think it tends to cook more quickly and evenly in individual ramekins.  This is an ideal dessert to make the day before.

3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
6 T sugar
2 1/2 C whole milk
zest of 1/2 orange
1 1/2 t vanilla

Caramel Sauce:
12 T sugar
2 T water

Heat the sugar and water mixture over medium or medium high stirring occasionally until  it reaches a rich caramel color.  Quickly pour out enough to cover the bottom of 6-8 ramekins (depending on size).  Allow to cool and harden.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and orange zest until well combined.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the custard and whisk thoroughly before dividing among the ramekins.  Place the ramekins in a large dish and fill halfway up their sides with very hot water.  Place in the oven and bake until the custard is set, but the centers still jiggle slightly (this will probably take 40-55 minutes, depending on the temperature of the water, the size of the ramekins, and the oven).  Remove, cool, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Beef and Black Bean Burritos

A Rich and earthy filling for burritos and soft tacos.  With using a lean, cheap cut of beef and a lot of beans, this recipe ends up being fairly healthy, cheap, and rich in protein.

2 lb beef (typically round steak or another tough cheap cut), trimmed of fat and cut in to 2" cubes
1-2 medium onions roughly minced
4-5 cloves garlic minced
3-4 t cumin
black pepper
1/2 of an 11oz can of chipotles in adobo (chopped), or more if you can take the heat
2-3 t ground dried new mexico chiles
2 bay leaves
1 t oregano
veggie oil
1 can diced tomatoes
several healthy dashes liquid smoke
jalepenos to taste (minced), de-seeded if you want to reduce the heat
2 cans black beans

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a moderately sized chef's pan (generally about 4 quarts), adding the jalepenos after a couple of minutes.  When translucent, add the beef, enough water or beef broth to mostly fill the pot, and all ingredients except the tomatoes, black beans, and liquid smoke.  After about an hour add the beans and tomatoes and continuing simmering until the beef is tender; expect this to take at least 3 hours in total.  Scoop the beef out leaving the liquid and veggies as much as possible.  Shred the beef using two forks, while reducing the liquid.  Return the beef to the remaining liquid with the liquid smoke; cook until enough liquid is gone for it to make a decent burrito filling, stirring frequently, keeping in mind the beef will absorb a fair amount of liquid.  You'll want to adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking, and if the beef seems to lack depth you might want to consider adding a couple of cloves of minced garlic.
Serve on tortillas with slices of montery jack cheese and either salsa verde or red enchilada sauce (recipes to come).  You might also want some crema.
Keep in mind I don't measure ingredients, so all amounts are approximate, adjust to taste and heat tolerance.

Chicken Poblano Burritos

A burrito or taco filling of braised chicken and roasted poblano peppers; serve with tortillas and sauces such as Mexican Red Sauce or Salsa VerdeCrema would also be good.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cubed
2 small onions, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 poblanos, roasted, peeled, and chopped
6 jalapenos, roasted, peeled, and chopped (or to taste), de-seeded if less heat is desired
2 T ancho chile powder
1 t cumin
1 T oregano
1-2 T lime juice
one can roasted tomatoes or two large tomatoes roasted, peeled, and chopped
Chicken stock to cover
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and garlic, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the chicken is tender and the flavors are well blended.  You'll likely need to cook down the liquid from a soupy consistency to one suitable for filling burritos, and you'll want to adjust the seasoning in the last 15 minutes of cooking (possibly by a fair amount, as these amounts are approximate).


A milder Mexican form of sour cream.

1 C heavy cream
a splash of butter milk

Combine the two ingredients and allow to sit somewhere warm for 12-24 hours until thickened and slightly sour, then refrigerate to further set.