Thursday, January 31, 2013

roundup: The Hunger Games {food 'n flix meets cook the books}

At the beginning of this month, I announced that I would be hosting my two favorite foodie clubs, Cook the Books and Food 'n Flix, this month in a special double-feature of The Hunger Games.  We read the book.  We watched the film adaptation of the book.  We headed into the kitchen to cook/bake up something inspired by the story.  I always look forward to seeing everybody's interpretations and what it was that inspired their chosen dish - and this month was no exception.

We hunted, we foraged, we borrowed, and we bought our ingredients to bring together a feast of comfort food - from the humble food of the Districts to the richer, fancier food of the Capitol - every last dish is beautifully inspired.  Please join me in this virtual feast.

We begin with this Warm Katniss Salad and Roasted Pork Tenderloin from Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  Armed with her son's bow and arrow, she envisioned that roasted pig on the gamemaker's table - complete with apple (but in the end decided to forgo the whole pig and go for just the loin, instead).  Add a nice side of "katniss" salad with goat cheese, that could have been made by Prim, and you have Camilla's contribution this month.

Speaking of goat cheese, next up is Alicia of Foodycat's Goat Cheese and Persimmon Toast , inspired by Peeta.  The life of a baker (and family) may seem ideal, but in actuality often consists of living on stale bread.  What better meal to make of that bread than toast with something delicious slathered on top?

I do not think that any Hunger Games-inspired feast would be complete without the contribution of Katniss's favorite dish, Lamb Stew with Dried Plums .  No need to worry though, because Sarah at WELLDINED brought a pot full, with some goat cheese rolled in herbs and rustic seed bread on the side.

Drawing inspiration from the hunting and foraging prowess of Gale and Katniss, Claudia at Honey From Rock made a local meal using foraged dandelion greens, cassava root and lemons from her own land, and duck resulting from a trade with a friend to make a meal of Roast Duck with Cassava and Dandelion Greens .

Reading, watching, and cooking along with both Cook the Books and Food 'n Flix for the first time, Caroline from Caroline Makes decided to recreate the first meal which Katniss and Cinna share when they meet in the Capitol, Chicken in Orange Sauce & a pudding the colour of honey. Rolls shaped like flowers, chicken and chunks of oranges in a creamy sauce, and tempting pudding... need I say more?

Overwhelmed with all of the mouthwatering descriptions of food in the book and what it actually meant to the starving people of the districts, Tina from Squirrel Head Manor made not only this Rabbit Stew w/ a K to mark Katniss's first catch in a snare, but a line-up of other inspired dishes like Sauteed Rabbit, Gale's Marrow Bone Beefy Soup, and an Apple Tart.

Also joining us for the first time is Anne Marie from This Mama Cooks!  Inspired by a dish mentioned a few times, usually when Katniss was under a bit of stress (wait, wasn't that pretty much the whole story!?), "hot grain smothered in beef stew", this Slow Cooker Meat Stew w/ Brown Rice is packed with veggies and served over brown rice (plus it's gluten free).  Comfort, indeed.

With many of her favorite foodie moments coming from Greasy Sae, it's no surprise that Danielle of The Growing Foodie was inspired to make a dish of Wild Dog Soup (Beef Udon Noodle Soup) after dining out with a friend and being served from a huge pot with Udon Noodle soup being ladled out into waiting bowls. I can almost close my eyes and picture the black market!

Peeta's Gift of Bread (Hearty Bread filled w/ Raisins & Nuts) to Katniss on that rainy day when she was weak from starvation is our contribution from Debra at Eliot's Eats.  She was inspired by food from District 12 - "simple food, comfort food, food of love".

From the beginning, my CTB co-host, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen knew that she wanted to make something "comforting, simple and nourishing - a warm bowl of soup".  Drawing inspiration from Katniss's freshly caught fish and foraged greens, as well as the meal that Katniss made for Peeta by foraging and using little bits of leftover groosling, she brings us this beautiful bowl of Locavore Fish & Greens Soup (and some dark bread slathered with goat cheese on the side).

Inspired by a scene in which Katniss pulls bits of pine bark from the trees to chew on the pith beneath, one of my other co-hosts, Rachel of The Crispy Cook came up with these lovely Pignoli Cookies.  With the combination of two deliciously "piney" ingredients, pine nuts and rosemary, I cannot get the thought of these cookies from my mind.

Ana from Sweet Almond Tree also had a tough time deciding on just one dish to make for The Hunger Games.  But lucky us, because she devised a feast for Katniss, which included Whole Wheat Raisin & Walnut Bread (spread w/ plum jam & goat cheese), Lamb Stew w/ Dried Plums, and an Apple & Goat Cheese Tart.

I will close out this virtual feast with my (Heather at girlichef) frothy, Mexican Hot Chocolate w/ Brötchen for dipping inspired by the passage in the book in which Katniss tries hot chocolate for the first time in her life.  Taking a cue from Peeta and dipping pieces ripped from a freshly baked roll, Katniss gets lost in this bit of comfort and decadence.
Pretty amazing assortment of dishes, ay?  What about you - have you read The Hunger Games?  Or watched the movie?  If you're a foodie and have not read the book, I highly recommend it (the food aspect of the books doesn't really get carried over into the movie very much)!  Have you made anything inspired by The Hunger Games?  If so, feel free to leave a link in the comments, I'd love to check it out.  Or let me know what you would make...or want to make after reading (or seeing) it.

(There is another version of this roundup at Cook The Books - our selections are rounded up on the actual site there, whereas Food 'n Flix is rounded up at the individual hosting site.)

I hope you'll join us while we cook up tasty food from our next selections at Cook the Books (The Shape of Water) which will be hosted by one of my CTB fellow hostesses, Rachel and Food 'n Flix (Today's Special) hosted by another of my fellow CTB hostesses, Deb!

Food‘nFlix cookthebooks


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hot Chocolate & Brötchen ...inspired by The Hunger Games {cook the books + food 'n flix}

It's hard for me to describe the precise pull that The Hunger Games has on me.  The fact that is is so far-fetched that I can't (or hope not to) ever see our world resembling it, or the fact that it's actually not so hard to imagine our world falling into a state of dystopia.  Something grabbed a hold of me when I started reading this book.

But let's back track a few years.  My son was probably around 11 or 12 when he read The Hunger Games.  I remember his face buried in the book on the way to a doctor's appointment, on a road trip, or cozied up in bed.  He described to me this post-apocalyptic world where children between the ages of 12 and 18 were forced to fight to the death for the survival of their families and their district.  The crazy costume-like dress of the people from the Capitol.  The poverty and near-starving state of the outlying districts.  This child who was left standing earns a "life of ease" once they get back home.  Grain, oil, and delicacies like sugar will be bestowed upon their district.  This is all punishment for an uprising of the districts against the Capitol in the past.

Over the next couple of years, the second and third books in the series passed through our house, as well.  My son kept me updated.  I mentally filed the books on my ever-growing bookshelf entitled "one day".  Fast forward to the movie based on the book.  I knew as soon as I heard it was being adapted that I would be taking my son to see it.  Now, if you know me, you know that I did NOT hurry to read the book before I saw the movie.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - if I read the book first, the movie is ruined for me... I will not enjoy it.  I will be comparing it to the book in my head the whole time.  I try to look at the two as separate entities, but I rarely succeed.

So, we saw the movie on opening weekend.  Maybe even opening day, I can't remember.  Well, that was all she wrote.  I was smitten.  I immediately went home and read all three books.  Ummm...even further invested.  And while I think the actors chosen for the movie were pretty much spot-on (with an exception or two, but they were still good)...and that the story stayed pretty true to the book (there's always a few diversions), the one thing that the movie sorely lacked was the focus on food!
If you've only seen the film, you won't realize what a foodie-book The Hunger Games actually is.  In the first half alone, you can barely go ten pages without the mention of food.  Be it Prim's fresh goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves alongside a freshly baked loaf of bread or the hunted and foraged bounty of fish, greens, and wild strawberries that Katniss and Gale are so adept at finding from years of practice.  Maybe even a bubbling pot of Wild Dog Soup from bubbling away in the black market.  Or a loaf of good, hearty bread from the Mellark's bakery filled with raisins and nuts.  Katniss root and dandelions.

Move on a little further and you'll find descriptions of the rich, lavish food of the Capitol... "Mushroom soup, bitter greens with tomatoes the size of peas, rare roast beef sliced as thin as paper, noodles in a green sauce, cheese that melts on your tongue served with sweet blue grapes."  Stew made with tender chunks of lamb and dried plums on a bed of wild rice.  Cream and rose-petal soup.  Thick carrot soup with green salad, lamb chops and mashed potatoes, cheese and fruit, a chocolate cake.

And really, that's just a hint of the food woven throughout this book.

I'm not going to talk about the story.  I'm not going to go into the nitty-gritty.  My guess is that you've heard it before.  I'm just going to highlight another food passage in the book.  Or two.  I'll admit that when I was trying to decide what to make that was inspired by the book and the film, I had visions of roast, suckling pig dancing in my head.  Or bowls filled to the brim with dandelion greens.  Maybe even chunks of chicken in an orange sauce.  But for me, it kept coming back around to the bread.

Though it may be understated, bread plays a large role in the book.  The name of the capitol city, Panem, even translates to "Bread".  Peeta's family owns a bakery and he gives the gift of life-sustaining bread.  The districts each have their own representative bread in the Capitol.   Bread is a life-force that not only feeds our bodies, it also feeds our souls and our minds.  Okay, I've crossed over from the book to real life.   No apologies.
There was a moment when Katniss and Peeta were on the train, speeding towards the Capitol, when Katniss enters the dining car.  Effie is drinking black coffee and muttering obscenities.  Haymitch is red-faced and puffy from drinking the night before.  Peeta is holding a roll and dipping it in something that Katniss is unfamiliar with...

"The moment I slide into my chair I'm served an enormous platter of food.  Eggs, ham, piles of fried potatoes.  A tureen of fruit sits in ice to keep it chilled.  The basket of rolls they set before me would keep my family going for a week.  There's an elegant glass of range juice.  At least, I think it's orange juice.  I've only even tasted an orange once, at New Year's when my father bought one as a special treat.  A cup of coffee.  My mother adores coffee, which we could almost never afford, but it only tastes bitter and thin to me.  A rich brown cup of something I've never seen.

"They call it hot chocolate," says Peeta.  "It's good."

I take a sip of the hot, sweet, creamy liquid and a shudder runs through me.  Even though the rest of the meal beckons, I ignore it until I've drained my cup.... Peeta is still eating, breaking off bits of roll and dipping them in hot chocolate... "

Hot chocolate comes back up later in the book, and Katniss mimics what she saw Peeta doing - ripping off bits of roll and dipping it.  This was such a simple gesture.  It was a natural reaction.  But one that I've never forgotten.

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Mexicano)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: beverage breakfast dessert soy-free vegetarian milk Mexican Chocolate Christmas Day of the Dead Dia de los Muertos Mexican winter fall

Ingredients (serves 2-4 (3 c.))
  • 2½ c. whole milk
  • 5 oz. Mexican Chocolate, chopped roughly
Instructions
Combine milk and chocolate in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming and chocolate has melted.

Traditionally, Mexican Hot Chocolate is made by pouring the steaming mixture into an Olla Para Chocolate (Mexican chocolate pot) and whipped using a wooden Molinillo. If you have those, use them. If not, use an immersion blender to whip the hot chocolate until very frothy.

Immediately pour into mugs and serve. As Rick Bayless would say, "frothy Mexican hot chocolate waits for no one".

And for a little slice of bliss, try dipping freshly baked, crusty Brötchen in your hot chocolate.
note:
Okay, so you say that you don't have a molinillo OR an immersion blender? Go ahead and pour the whole thing into a blender jar and carefully (hold lid tight w/ a towel) blend until frothy.

ever-so-slightly adapted from Rick Bayless
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Perhaps one of those luxury items that District 12 receives will be chocolate, or even cacao beans so that the people can grind and make their own.  And then they can enjoy Peeta's freshly baked rolls dipped in a rich, frothy cup whenever the mood strikes.
If it wasn't obvious, I chose The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for the round of Cook the Books, and the movie adaptation for this round of Food 'n Flix (both of which I just happened to be hosting at the same time - so really, I couldn't resist combining the two).  
Food‘nFlix cookthebooks



This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Brown Butter-Blueberry-Bacon Pancakes + Homemade Instant Pancake Mix {National Blueberry Pancake Day}

I know.  Really, I do.  You're shaking your head and murmuring about how there is no such thing as a national day celebrating blueberry pancakes.  But I'm just throwing back a shrug and a half-grin and saying gently how there actually is a national day celebrating blueberry pancakes.  And that today is that day.

Now, you could probably type "national" and "day" and any date into a search box and come up with a random food holiday.  As a matter of fact, I'm sure of it.  Because I've tried it.  But I like pulling out something fun to celebrate made-up holidays.  It makes me happy.
You know what else makes me happy?  Breakfast.  At any hour of the day.  And some hours of the night.  Also, pancakes.  Pancakes make me happy.  Especially when they are studded with fat, juicy blueberries.  And just for fun, I decided I was going to go a bit "nutty" {wink wink.  nutty.  brown butter.} and brown my butter before mixing in.  And to document my true insanity genius, I went ahead and put my bacon slices right into my pancakes, as well.  I mean, who needs that pesky task of lifting a side of meat to your mouth separately?  This way...pancake - blueberry - bacon -maple syrup...all stabbed and lifted in one sweeping motion to my hungry mouth.

Wash it down with coffee and I've kicked off National Blueberry Pancake Day in style.  Hmmmm, I'm thinking that I should have figured out a way to get my coffee into the pancake, too.  
Maybe next time.

Homemade Pancake Mix + Brown Butter Blueberry Bacon Pancakes

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: breakfast blueberries bacon butter American

Ingredients (mix = 6 cups / pancakes = varies)
    Homemade "Instant" Pancake Mix (yield: ~6 c.):
    • 6 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1½ tsp. baking soda
    • 3 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
    • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
    Pancakes (yield: 12):
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 c. buttermilk
    • 2 oz. (4 Tbs. / ½ stick) melted butter (brown butter for this recipe), cooled slightly
    • 2 c. Homemade "Instant" Pancake Mix
    extras:
    • butter, as needed for greasing the pan
    • 2 c. fresh blueberries, optional
    • ~1 lb. bacon, cooked & broken into halves or thirds
    Instructions
    Making the Homemade "Instant" Pancake Mix:
    Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container or a thick, gallon-size ziploc baggie. Shake or whisk to mix. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

    Making the Pancakes:
    Set a griddle or cast-iron skillet over a medium flame. Turn oven on to the "warm" (or lowest) setting, if you wish, to keep pancakes warm.

    In a large, glass measuring cup (~4 cup capacity), whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and slightly cooled and melted butter (or brown butter), until thoroughly combined.

    Measure the pancake mix into a large bowl and pour the wet mixture over, whisking until just combined; it will be slightly lumpy.

    Lightly butter or grease your hot skillet (or, if it's a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, don't worry about it). Ladle batter (~¼ cup per pancake) onto the pan/griddle and immediately plop a small handful of berries and a couple of bacon pieces onto it. Once the batter bubbles up and begins to pop and the edges start to look dry, flip and continue to cook another minute or two until the pancake is set.

    Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet (cover with another towel) set in the warm oven until all of your pancakes are made.
    notes:
    To make Brown Butter Blueberry Pancakes, melt the butter gently in a small pan on the stove until the milk solids begin to turn light brown and smell insanely and deliciously nutty. Remove from heat. Use brown butter in place of regular melted butter. Use blueberries in recipe.

    You could also add strips of cooked bacon (whole or crumbled) to the pancake batter - either stirred in or sprinkled/set on once ladled on to griddle. Yum. Also, try substituting other berries or cut up fruit for the blueberries. Cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage and shredded cheddar cheese is another great combo.

    inspired by and adapted from Alton Brown
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    In the interest of full disclosure, I did not type anything into any search boxes to find a foodie holiday that coincided with today's date - the fine people at Driscoll's Berries told me about it and asked me if I'd be interested in celebrating.  Pssshhhh...me...celebrate a foodie holiday?  I also received a full-value coupon redeemable for Driscoll's Berries. All opinions stated in this post are my own.


    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Creamy Lemon-Chicken w/ Artichokes {#SundaySupper #SautéExpress}

    You (probably) know that I basically live in my kitchen.  It's my room.  It's my comfort.  It's where I create.  On an average day, I spend the majority of my hours in said kitchen.  So yes, I enjoy it.

    That is not to say that there are days that I don't even want to turn that knob with the faded numbers on my stove.  Days when I don't care to watch over a pot.  Days when whisking until my forearm aches just doesn't appeal to me.  Or just days when everyday things snatch my time out from under me and dart through the crowd like a determined purse-snatcher... that I am not able to catch up with.

    It's times like that when I do one of a few things.
    a) complain until tell my beg my ask my husband sweetly to make dinner
    b) order pizza
    c) hope that there is something hanging around that can be made quickly.  Like, in the matter of minutes.

    Okay, there's way more things that I do than that, but those are probably the three most likely scenarios.

    Since "option c" can be completed in the least amount of time of those scenarios (you guessed it, "option a" takes the longest), I was looking forward to giving Land O Lakes® new product, Sauté Express® Sauté Starter, a go!  There are four flavors to choose from - Garlic & Herb, Italian Herb, Savory Butter & Olive Oil and Lemon Pepper.
    Basically, they are little squares (well, technically rectangular prisms) of flavor... butter, olive oil, herbs and/or spices.  Throw them into a pan and add fish, seafood, chicken, or pork, and you are minutes away from a quick, well-seasoned meal.  I've tried all four flavors.  I've made pork chops.  I've made shrimp.  I've got a little Tilapia all set up for a date with Garlic & Herb tomorrow.  But so far, the best thing that I've made with the Sauté Express® Sauté Starter?  It's this one.

    Go ahead and say it.  I know you're thinking it.  That is it!?  Five ingredients in the whole recipe?  How can that possibly yield a meal that is both quick and packed with the tongue-tickling combination of lemon, artichoke, and cream-bathed chicken at the same time?  Were you thinking that?   I don't know how.  Magic?  Innovation?  I simply know that it's true.  And that you'll probably want to run to the market and grab a few boxes of this Sauté Express® Sauté Starter to keep in your fridge.

    You know.  For "those" days.  When you want a good meal on the table in approximately 30 minutes.  Or less.

    Creamy Lemon-Chicken w/ Artichokes

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Keywords: saute entree nut-free soy-free chicken artichokes American

    Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    • 3 squares (3 oz.) Land O Lakes® Lemon-Pepper Sauté Express® Sauté Starter
    • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1 small onion, peeled & thinly sliced
    • 1 (15 oz.) can artichokes hearts, drained & quartered
    • ~½ c. heavy cream (or whole milk)
    to serve (optional):
    • 2-3 c. cooked, warm rice (brown, white, wild, or mixed)
    • OR
    • 1 lb. pasta, cooked & drained
    Instructions
    Place a large, non-stick (like a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or wok or hard-anodized surface) sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the Sauté Express® Sauté Starter. When it has just about melted completely, add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring, until the onions just begin to soften, ~2 minutes.

    Add chicken, and continue to cook, stirring until chicken has browned in spots and cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Add quartered artichoke hearts and cream (or milk), and stir. Cook until sauce just begins to thicken a bit, ~3-5 minutes longer.

    Serve hot, over warm rice or noodles, if you wish.

    note:
    Using whole milk will make the sauce slightly less thick and creamy, but it will taste every bit as delicious.
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    The Sunday Supper Team is super excited to try this product and can’t wait to share their meal ideas with you during our #SundaySupper chat on Twitter at 7 p.m. Eastern tonight.

    Not only that, Sauté Express® Sauté Starter is perfect for easy #WeekdaySupper meals. We hope to inspire you to make mealtime sizzle with quick & easy meals in 30 minutes.

    Sauté Express® Chicken Recipes:
    Sauté Express® Fish and Seafood Recipes:
    Sauté Express® Ham and Pork Recipes:
    Sunday Supper MovementI'd love to hear about some of your favorite Quick Meals!  Feel free to leave links and/or recipes in the comments.  Also, feel free to join us for our live twitter chat tonight at 7pm (Eastern) using the#SundaySupper & #SauteExpress hashtags, and check out the Sunday Supper board on Pinterest
    Giveaway
    I've been given one extra coupon (for 1 free pack) to giveaway to one of my readers - if you'd like to try Land O Lakes® Sauté Express® Sauté Starter, simply leave me a comment letting me know which flavor you'd most like to try or what you might like to make with it, should you try it.  You can always earn more entries by sharing this post (twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc.).  Should you share, simply leave a separate comment for each time you've done so (w/ links to share, if possible).

    Residents of the USA only, please.  Recipient will be chosen by random draw.  All submissions due by Thursday, January 31st at 11:59 pm (EST).

    for more on Land O Lakes®: Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

    Disclosure: The author received a full-value coupon redeemable for Sauté Express® Sauté Starter for recipe development and review purposes. All opinions are my own.
    ________________________________________________________
    *update 2/1/13: The giveaway has ended. The winner of the coupon is...



    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    Sopa de Jitomate y Rajas / Roasted Tomato Soup with Poblanos {she made, ella hace}

    When Leslie and I were trying to decide what we wanted to make for she made, ella hace this month, my brain could only muster "soup".  All I could picture were hands cupping a bowl with steam rising from the top.

    You'd get a good idea why if you took a gander out my window today.  White as far as the eye can see.  Small plants drooping heavy with the weight of the snow.  Not much movement, aside from the eerily large crows flying past the barren branches set against a grey sky.

    And if by chance you were brave stepping outside, you would probably turn tail before you could get your second foot out the door.  With the temperature sitting at a balmy 3 (wind chill making it feel like -15), well... Even the schools didn't open their doors today.

    What better way to spend the day than sitting indoors, looking out at the beautiful snow, slurping a bowl of soup.  And if by chance you were to be slurping on THIS soup, you would probably even start stripping off some layers.  Perhaps don your tank tops and bermuda shorts.
    Not only is it warm... it's spicy!  A thin film of sweat on your forehead.  Small beads across your upper lip.  You'll forget all about that ill-guided attempt to venture outdoors.

    In case you hadn't guessed, Leslie and are bringing steaming bowls of Tomato Soup to the table for she made, ella hace today.  My version is not the one that normally comes to mind when you think tomato soup.  Instead of being thick and rich and creamy, it is brothy and earthy and very spicy - with noodles of roasted poblanos lacing every spoonful.  It is unexpected, but entirely welcome.  Don't forget the cubes of fresh, slightly salty cheese and a few tortilla chips for little variety in texture.  This will change the way you look at tomato soup.

    But what I'd really love is to have a double-feature in front of me.  One small bowl of this, and one small bowl of Leslie's beautiful Homemade Tomato Soup.  Slip me a grilled cheese and I might think I was in heaven.

    Roasted Tomato Soup w/ Poblanos (Sopa de Jitomate y Rajas)

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 25-30 minutes
    Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
    Keywords: simmer roast soup/stew chiles tomatoes Mexican

    Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    • 2½ lbs. Roma tomatoes
    • 1 lb. Poblanos
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 small onions, sliced ¼" thick
    • 4 fat cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
    • 6 c. beef stock or good beef broth
    • salt
    • queso fresco, storebought or homemade, cubed
    • tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips
    Instructions
    Set the tomatoes on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and place 4-inches below a very hot broiler. Roast until the skins are blackened on one side, and then flip and repeat; it should take ~6 minutes per side. Set aside and allow to cool. Peel the skins off the tomatoes and place the tomatoes and their juices in the jar of a blender or food processor, and process to a coarse puree.

    Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame, or below a broiler until blackened on all sides, 5-10 minutes total. Cover the roasted chiles with a clean kitchen towel and allow to stand and steam for at least 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stem and seeds. Rinse briefly to remove little bits of skin and seeds. Slice the roasted chiles into strips that are ~¼-inch wide.
    Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add onion and cook, stirring often, until slightly browned, ~5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook for another minute. Add roasted poblano strips, stir, and heat through.

    Add the tomato puree to the pot and cook, stirring often, until thick and reduced, ~7 minutes. Stir in the broth, partially cover, and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt, if needed.

    Serve the soup with cubes of queso fresco and some tortilla chips/strips. Enjoy!

    adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
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    What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

    Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

    Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
    She Made, Ella Hace Banner- girlichef.com and lacocinadeleslie.com

    I am sharing this post with:
    FOTMC: Soups
    FOTM at La Cocina de Leslie Souper_Sundays2


    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Fantan Rolls: Orange Marmalade + Cinnamon-Sugar. It's official, I'm a Babe.

    Yup, it's true.  I am a Babe.  For a couple of years now, I have been baking alongside the Babes as a Buddy.  But this month, I have officially been welcomed into the racy* circle of lovely ladies and given the title of "Babe".  I'm honored!

    And to kick off my very first month as an official babe, I made our bread of the month (chosen and hosted by Babe Elle), Fantan Rolls.  Fantans are basically a mini... or individually portioned... little pull-apart breads like this one.  It just so happens that that is one of THE most requested types of bread in my house - especially by my littlest man.

    If you check out Elle's original recipe, you'll see that she used orange marmalade in hers.  It looked so sunny and jewel-like that I had to use marmalade myself.  But since I know the fam's favorite filling in this style of bread is cinnamon-sugar, I made half of the Fantans that way.
    I really loved the lightly sweetened dough that is speckled with hints of whole wheat and nutmeg.  Plus, once drizzled with a little icing, these rolls would make the perfect addition to any breakfast or brunch table!  I am aching to make a savory version, though...maybe half using smooshed, roasted garlic and brie, and half using salty olive tapenade.

    I did two things slightly different when making and forming the dough than the original method stated. Number one, I used my trusty bread machine to do all of the mixing and kneading (it was a busy weekend - that half hour with free hands really helped).  And number two, I found that cutting the dough into all squares before stacking (as opposed to stacking the long strips and then cutting) really made for a much easier time assembling the dough.

    So what do you think?  Would you go sweet or savory?  And what would you fill your fantan rolls with?

    Fantan Rolls

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 2½ hrs. + overnight (largely
    Cook Time: ~20 minutes
    Keywords: bake bread breakfast

    Ingredients (12-18 rolls)
      starter:
      • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
      • ½ c. warm water
      • ½ c. bread flour
      dough:
      • ~3 c. bread flour + more as needed
      • 1 c. whole wheat flour
      • 1 tsp. fine salt
      • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
      • 1 c. non-fat evaporated milk
      • ¼ c. (½ stick) butter
      • ¼ c. pure maple syrup
      • 1 egg, lightly beaten
      • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
      filling:
      • ~2 oz. (½ stick / 4 Tbs.) melted butter
      • ⅔-1 c. jam or marmalade, warmed for 30 seconds in microwave
      Instructions
      starter:
      Combine yeast, warm water, and flour in a bowl. Let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight; it should be a bubbly.

      dough:
      Combine the evaporated milk, butter, and maple syrup in a small saucepan and heat slowly until butter is just about melted. Turn off heat and swirl to finish melting butter. Let cool to 110° F if not at that temperature already.

      Place the flours, salt, and nutmeg into a large bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture; start stirring. Add milk mixture and continue to stir until fully incorporated, switching to your hands when too stiff for spoon.

      Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and silky; should be just tacky to the touch, but not sticky. If needed, add a bit of additional flour while kneading.

      Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, ~1 hour.
      finishing:
      Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Punch it down, then divide it in half (to make 12 really large rolls) or in thirds (to make 18 medium-large rolls). Wrap unused portion in the plastic wrap and set aside while working with other dough.

      One at a time, roll the dough portion into a 12"×12" square (or square-ish shape). Brush dough with half (or a third) of the melted butter.

      Spread the surface of the dough with about ½ (or a third) the warmed filling. Cut into 6 equal strips. Cut again the opposite way to make 6 equal squares per row (you should wind up with 36 squares). Pile the squares into stacks of 6, turning the top square on each stack filling side down.
      Place each stack into a greased/buttered muffin tin, standing up so the layers are visible. Gently fan them open. Each will have six dough pieces with filling in between. Repeat with the remaining dough and the rest of the filling for the other six cups of the muffin tin (or use an extra half of a muffin tin if making 18).

      Cover with a plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let the rolls rise in a draft free spot at warm room temperature until doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

      Place the rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 375° F during last 15-20 minutes of rise time.

      Remove plastic or towel. Slice rolls into preheated oven and bake until golden brown, ~20 minutes. Let the fantans cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and allow to cool for about another 20 minutes before serving. (It is important to turn them out after 10 minutes, especially if you used a jam/marmalade filling, as it can start to stick as it cools.)
      notes:
      You could also use cinnamon-sugar in place of jam or marmalade - or do half and half. You could also add finely chopped nuts or dried fruit.

      Try making a savory version by leaving out the nutmeg and maple syrup, and using a savory filling (like pesto, tapenade, etc.).

      If you like, you can whisk together 1 teaspoon milk with enough confectioners' sugar to make a thick glaze. Drizzle over the rolls and let icing harden a bit before serving.

      If you don't have any evaporated milk, you can stir together ⅔ cup non-fat powdered milk with ¾ cup warm water until dissolved; this should yield 1 cup.

      These rising times were what worked in my kitchen. Depending on the temperature of yours, it's possible it could take a bit longer. Just keep an eye on the dough.

      Also, I'll admit that I like to use my bread machine to mix up the dough when I'm busy and want to use the mixing and kneading time to get something else done. Simply place all of the ingredients into the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer (with the overnight starter added last), and let run through mixing and kneading cycles. Remove and place dough in oiled bowl for first rise and continue as directed. I did this and it worked beautifully. I was also too lazy to mix the powdered milk and water that I used in place of evaporated milk, so I added the water with the wet ingredients and the powdered milk with the dry - didn't make a difference.
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      *rac·y  /ˈrāsē/Adjective
      1. Lively, entertaining, and sexually titillating.
      2. (of a wine, flavor, etc.) Having a characteristic quality in a high degree.
      Synonyms: spicy

      The Bread Baking Babes
      Bake My Day - Karen
      blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth
      girlichef  - Heather
      Life's a Feast - Jamie
      Provecho Peru - Gretchen
      Babe Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms is the Bread Baking Babes host kitchen this month.  If you'd like to be a buddy this month, bake your fantans and send the link over to Elle by the 29th!


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