Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate Chile Truffles

We love truffles, and I thought of making our regular chocolate truffles as a dessert selection for our Housewarming Extravaganza, until I remembered this recipe. It was intriguing with its addition of chile powder to the chocolate, and I knew it would be just perfect for our party.

I had checked the book, Mexicocina: The Spirit and Style of the Mexican Kitchen, out from the library when we were working on our house. I discovered the recipes inside as I was on my way to town to return it, and snapped some digital photos of each recipe! Lucky me.

After a fruitless search for the right chile powder, I finally had to order Ground Ancho Chile Pepper from amazon, because I definitely did not want the spice to overpower the chocolate. I ended up actually buying the wrong chocolate for the truffles, unsweetened instead of bittersweet (who knew bittersweet would be so hard to find?), so I dumped in about 1/2 cup of sugar. I could have added more sugar, and next time I will use the right chocolate.

But our guests couldn't even tell the difference! They loved the truffles, and many of them had fun guessing the ingredients. Some initially thought cinnamon, then the cayenne pepper guess came later. The heat accumulates as you eat more of these truffles, and sneaks up on you too. Deliciously fun!

The original recipe microwaves the chocolate and cream right away, but I decided that reheating the cream a bit after adding the chile powder would cut down on the need for microwaving, and I was right. I guess I just have an issue with microwaves.

Chocolate Chile Truffles
Chocolate and chile have been eaten in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times. Montezuma was said to have imbibed copious amounts of a bitter spicy beverage each day. This wonderful recipe by Lisa Gahafer combines those two flavors again, this time in chocolate truffles with the unexpected flavor of ancho chile. At first bight the chocolate reigns, but slowly the heat from the chiles begins to open on your palate, and the combination of hot, sweet, and chocolate is divine.

The are best made at least a day ahead to give the flavors time to ripen. You can double or triple the recipe and store the truffles, coated in cocoa, in the freezer for up to one month.

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsweetened cocoa

Bring cream and butter to simmer over medium heat. Stir in chile powder. Remove from heat, let steep several minutes.

Place chocolate in microwaveable bowl. Gently reheat cream mixture, pour over chocolate and let sit. Stir chocolate. If needed, microwave at 50% for 2 minutes, then stir until chocolate is all melted. If needed, continue to microwave at 50% for 30 second increments until melted and well-blended. Stir to combine, chill, covered, for 2 hours.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Housewarming Extravaganza~Virtual Roundup!

It's a good thing we made so much real food for our Housewarming Extravaganza, because although we had several virtual guests on facebook and online, only one person brought food!

Steph of a whisk & a spoon is so sweet and thoughtful, she went all out to make our party special. Her Southwestern-Style Garlic Shrimp Tapas were so delicious, a definite favorite at our party. She also brought some guacamole with spicy toasted squash seeds and oven baked tortilla chips--YUM!

Photo courtesy of steph

Thanks, Steph! We're glad you could celebrate with us!

Here is her recipe if you'd like to make some shrimp for yourself. I know I'm going to!

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Makes 16

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted margarine
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate in squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking oil, a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Spray with additional cooking oil.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in a microwave, on low temperature, checking every 25 seconds. ( I used setting 2 out of 10)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

Divide batter between two medium bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer.
Work quickly so batters don't set.With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect.

Sprinkle with nuts. (I skipped this since everyone does not like nuts.
It does make it more attractive)

Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Sweet and Savory Says it All - Chaya

Redd Ranches Famous BBQ Sauce

If you've never heard of the Redd Ranches Bull Sale, you are truly missing out. This is an annual event, I believe it was started by Number One's grandpa & grandma, Charlie & Annaley. The tradition has carried on, and the Bull Sale is now hosted by Redd Ranches (Uncle Paul & Aunt Diane's family). The sale is kicked off every year by the most delicious lunch ever, served to several hundred people.

Roast beef sandwiches with barbecue sauce, Grandma Annaley's Prairie Fire Beans, Cole Slaw, Cowboy Beans, Brownies, Lemonade. The whole family pitches in to make lunch, from Uncle Brian and crew getting the beef on the BBQ around 4AM, to all the cousins serving up the meal. The Bull Sale is known far and wide for its lunch, in addition to the quality of its bulls, and hundreds of people travel from all corners for the event.

After lunch, is the actual Bull Sale, a real live auction. It's simply a great time, and sort of like a family reunion all rolled into one day. Later, we usually stop at the old Ranch House and eat leftovers for dinner, play cards and visit with aunts, uncles and cousins.

For some pictures and more about the Bull Sale, read Left After The Cattleguard.

Here is the recipe for our favorite barbecue sauce. We are going to serve it up on BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwiches next week on branding day. I found these cool squeeze bottles, which will be handy for serving it in the corral. I bought two and told Number One he could have one squeeze bottle all to himself!

Barbecue Sauce


makes 2 quarts

3 cups brown sugar

60 oz. catsup

1 1/2 cups vinegar

9 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 TBL dry mustard

6 TBL chili powder

6 TBL celery seed

3 dashes tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper

3 dashes salt

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 TBL minced onion

Simmer 2 hours.

That's just how I got the recipe from Aunt Becky and Aunt Diane. Obviously you stir up the ingredients, simmer on low heat for those two hours, stirring occasionally. What I found out is that simmering barbecue sauce is sort of bubbly and messy, so if you have one of those wire mesh pot cover things, you might want to pull it out.

They say the sauce keeps well in jars in the fridge for several months (although it usually doesn't last that long!) You can and probably will eat it on anything, from beef to beans to bbq pizza.

Let us know how you use your BBQ sauce, and of course what you think of this one!

And now, I have a confession to make. I'm not sure exactly how this happened, but my first batch of bbq sauce was WAY TOO SPICY. I used the same measurement of chile powder, I really didn't think I used more than the recommended dashes of tabasco. The only thing that I can think of: I get my chile powder from the Mexican section of the grocery store, so it's REAL. Maybe Too Real. Number One tasted the sauce and said, "It tastes exactly the same, just spicier." Hmmm. So in an attempt to rectify this embarrassing situation (thank god I wasn't making this for the bull sale!), I bought another 30 ounces of ketchup and some more celery seed. I made another half batch as above, but I left out both the chile powder and the tabasco. I finished this mild sauce, then combined it with the spicy sauce. Now we got a lotta sauce! I'm going to wait until Number One gets home to give me his opinion, him being the Expert Sauce Taster that he is. I think it's pretty good, I'm just debating making yet ANOTHER half batch of mild sauce to tone it down even more. Too much? I guess we'll see.

That would give us 4 quarts of the stuff, in which case it may be a BBQ Thanksgiving AND guess what everyone is getting for Christmas! So. That's it. My name is Min, and I'm a spice-aholic.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Herbed Queso Fresco with Roasted Chiles

When I realized exactly how much of my day would be taken up driving H-Bomb back and forth to school, I started looking for Fast, Easy recipes in my cookbooks. I wasn't having much luck, so I broke down and ordered a few new ones. Among the gems was this: The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh.

Although I haven't perused it enough to find any family dinner favorites yet, I was lucky to find this appetizer recipe. Bon Appetit makes this dish with goat cheese, which would be great, but I decided their alternate, queso fresco, would better fit in with the Southwestern theme of our Housewarming Extravaganza. Feel free to use either goat cheese or queso fresco, and let me know which you prefer!

The herbed queso fresco was definitely a hit! One guest even declared it was her favorite. I used Mexican oregano, which was a bit strong for my taste, but most of the other guests liked it and kept coming back for more. I'm glad it was popular, since I quadrupled the recipe!

**I just realized while typing this that I completely forgot the olive oil on top! I know I would have liked it better with the olive oil. Don't forget!!**

I used a fork to crumble the cheese in a large bowl. I mixed up the cheese, roasted the chiles and sliced the garlic the day before the party, then assembled it right before the party.

Herbed Queso Fresco with Roasted Chiles
4 servings The blackened chiles add a smoky flavor to this rustic dish. Also known as California chiles, Anaheims can be found at many supermarkets and at Latin markets.

3 large fresh Anaheim chiles

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 5-ounce log soft, fresh goat cheese or 1/2 of a 12-ounce round queso fresco, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 baguette, sliced, toasted

Char chiles over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed chiles, then cut into strips.

Blanch garlic in small saucepan of simmering water 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Chop 1 garlic clove, thinly slice remaining garlic. Mix cheese, cilantro, oregano, and chopped garlic in small bowl. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble cheese mixture onto plate or platter. Top with roasted chiles and sliced garlic.

Drizzle oil over chiles and cheese. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. I refrigerated cheese separately from chiles and garlic. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Top with roasted chiles, garlic and oil before serving.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Taste & Create XXIV: Gulab Jamun

Taste & Create is my favorite food event! Started by Nicole of For the Love of Food, T&C is a fun event in which participants are paired off and asked to create a recipe from their partner's blog.

The first time I was paired with Divya of Dil Se.. for Taste & Create was last October, so being paired with her again, exactly a year later, is great! Last year, I made Divya's Mushroom-Peas-Corn Pulao.

Searching through her recipes, it did not take me long to decide what to make: Gulab Jamun. Divya says that the name basically translates into "rose berries," which really doesn't tell you what they are. These are the little round balls of doughy goodness, sort of like small donut holes, but lighter and soaked in rose-flavored water. I'd had them once, at an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet with some co-workers at an out-of-town training. None of us knew what they were or what they were called, but you can bet we all had "all we could eat!"

These are something that I've been wanting to try...

Obviously I've never made these before, so I had to figure out what kova is...Divya said I could use powdered milk. Also, although her recipe didn't call for rose water, I distinctly remember the rose essence in these little treats, so I asked and she recommended 2 to 3 tablespoons rose water.

First, in calculating the powdered milk, I just got out my kitchen scale, looked for the 1/4 kg mark, which equals roughly 8 ounces. 8 ounces of powdered milk equals about 2 cups, and I was nervous about this; it seemed like a lot.

I poured milk in gradually, and ended up using almost 1 cup (which also seemed like a lot, but it just wasn't coming together). My dough ended up sticky (too much milk, not enough kneading?) and not very smooth, but I didn't know what else to do, so I just balled it up and let it rest under a towel. It really tasted pretty much like milky dough. I hoped for the best.

I think I let the dough "rest" for too long, and I didn't realize I was supposed to form the balls before resting... So the dough was sort of dry. I formed the balls and hoped for the best. And I really wished Divya were here to guide me through this...

As I got ready to make the sugar syrup, do you think I was able to find my precious jar of rose water? Nope. Just plain old sugar syrup for my dry, misshapen jamuns. Sigh. I only used 2 cups of sugar and water, because 3 cups seemed like a lot. *Note to self: should have used 3*

I got about 30 dumplings, and they are nowhere near as smooth or beautiful as Divya's:

Divya's Beauties, picture from her blog

But thankfully, although I'm sure they're the ugly ducklings in the gulab jamun world, and I probably made every mistake possible, they fried up well, nice and golden, (maybe a bit darker than golden) and the sugar syrup worked wonders!

Ugly Ducklings, my "gulab jamun"

Although mine turned out heavier and denser and somewhat doughier than I remember, I will definitely try these again, and hopefully Divya will come to my house and teach me.

Please? =)

Gulab Jamuns

For the dumplings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour / maida
1 tablespoon Ghee/butter
1/4 kg Unsweetened kova (I used 8 ounces--about 2 1/2 cups--powdered milk)
1 pinch baking soda
Milk enough to make the dough

For the syrup

3 cups sugar
3 cups water
2 to 3 tablespoons rose water, optional
1 pinch ground cardamom

Add the ghee to the flour and rub in with fingers to form a crumbly mixture. Add the kova and baking soda. Sprinkle some milk just enough to knead into a soft smooth dough. The dough should have a very smooth texture. Roll into small golf ball-sized balls. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for some time.

Meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup. In a saucepan, add the sugar and water and bring it to a boil. Add the cardamom powder and rose water. Simmer until the syrup thickens.

In a heavy bottomed pot add oil to about 1 1/2 inches height. Keep the flame in low heat. Add the balls carefully and deep fry them in batches until they turn golden brown.This might take about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the deep fried dumplings in paper towels. Drop them in the warm sugar syrup.

Leave aside for at least half an hour for the dumplings to get soaked in the syrup.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jalapeño Bacon Cheese Ball

When I found this recipe on Fun Foods on a Budget, I knew it was a must for our Housewarming Extravaganza. I forgot about saving 3 jalapeños from our almost 200 Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños for this recipe, so I ended up using 4 (because they're small) jalapeños from our garden~spicy!

I'm so glad we had some of this cheese ball left after the party, just for us. It was delicious!

Remember to make this 24 hours in advance to give the flavors time to develop.

Jalapeño Bacon Cheese Ball
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon
2-3 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
Salt, garlic powder, chili powder to taste
Something to roll the ball in (I used chopped walnuts)

Fry the bacon until crispy. Cool, crumble and add to cream cheese. Fry jalapeños in bacon grease until tender. Add to cream cheese and bacon. Add shredded cheese and seasonings. (I would guess I used about 1 teaspoon each, but you should start with 1/2 teaspoon each) Mix together until well blended.

Form into a loose ball, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill.

Once hardened, take it out and pat it into a more perfect ball shape. Don't handle it too much or it will soften and you'll have to chill it again. Pour chopped nuts (or coating of choice) onto a plate, and roll the cheese ball in them until fully coated. Wrap with plastic wrap. Chill until ready to serve (preferably overnight so the flavors have plenty of time to blend). Serve with crackers.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese

At long last, I tracked down a copy of my mom's easy, cheesy and delicious Cream of Broccoli soup recipe! I'm sure modifications could be made to use fresh broccoli rather than frozen, and if you're some kind of cheese snob, feel free to grate your own. I haven't tried using fresh broccoli, but when I do you'll be the first to hear about it. Sorry I don't remember how many servings this makes, but it will feed a family.

For now, this soup is simple and comforting, just perfect for crisp fall days.

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese

1 medium onion, diced
1 large can chicken broth (I think mom means the really big ones, around 46 ounces?)
2 boxes frozen chopped broccoli
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups half and half

Cream Sauce: 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour

Cook onion and broccoli in broth until tender, about 20 minutes. Make Cream Sauce in separate pan--melt butter, blend in flour until smooth. Add Cream Sauce to broth and cook about 5 minutes to blend, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in cheese until blended and melted. Add half and half. Return to low heat and keep hot until serving.

Note: I haven't made this in a long time, although my mom made it at my brother's house a while back. I would probably saute the onions in some butter first until translucent, and if I was using fresh broccoli I would saute it with the onions. I'll report back next time I make this.

Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Here's another recipe from our Housewarming Extravaganza. (to see the complete menu, go here)

I made this salad a couple days in advance, and it was an excellent topping for our Artisan Bread Crostini. It was perfect for a buffet table because you serve it at room temperature.

The recipe comes from My Kitchen in Spain cookbook. The most difficult thing about this dish is seeding the peppers, other than that it's quite simple. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Ensalada de Pimientos Asados

This simple and versatile salad is a favorite at tapas bars, where it is sometimes layered on toasted triangles of bread brushed with olive oil and topped with an anchovy fillet. I also like roasted peppers as a starter or an accompaniment to grilled foods, such as tuna, chicken, or pork, and as a filling or condiment for sandwiches. This dish can be made well in advance and refrigerated, but serve at room temperature.

6 medium red bell peppers (or a combination of red and green)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roast the peppers under a broiler, turning them until charred on all sides, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover. Let stand 1 hour.

Peel off the skin from the peppers and cut out the stems and seeds and discard. Tear or cut the peppers into strips and put on a serving plate (or in a bowl). Add the garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss gently.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cocoa Chile Pecans

Originally I set out to make Sweet-and-Smoky Pecans from the Food & Wine 2009 Annual Cookbook. I bought plenty of pecans on a quick trip to Costco, and at a different store, I discovered this new (to me) spice blend: Cocoa Chile Blend from McCormick.

I was making recipes ahead of time for our Housewarming Extravaganza, and even though Food and Wine didn't say you could make this recipe ahead, I thought, why not? I made the Wine Bar Nut Mix ahead of time, this recipe wasn't much different.

I had the pecans in the bowl, ready to throw this thing together. I really thought I had ground chipotle pepper, but I couldn't find it for the life of me. (The original recipe for Sweet and Smoky Pecans calls for 1 teaspoon ground chipotle). I was about to give up and wait until another trip to the store, when I remembered my Cocoa Chile Blend. Sure enough, it is a blend of cocoa and Chipotle Peppers, among a few other ingredients. I decided to give it a try.

This recipe is SIMPLE and the results are delicious. Cousin Hailey was here, helping with the jalapeños and empanadas, and she couldn't resist sampling them almost every time she walked by! They really are that good.

The nuts kept well, I made two batches and stored them in a ziploc bag for 5 or 6 days. They just had to be separated a bit before serving.

They were a hit at the party, the flavors are subtle, a bit smoky with just a hint of heat, and people couldn't guess what the ingredients were!

Cocoa Chile Pecans

Toss 4 cups of pecans with 1/4 cup honey and 1 teaspoon each of Cocoa Chile Blend and Kosher salt in a large bowl. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes, until fragrant.

Note: If you happen to store your pecans in the freezer, as I do, be sure to let them warm up to room temperature BEFORE you add the honey. Trust me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

White Wine Sangria

I was searching for a sangria recipe (or two) when planning our Housewarming Extravaganza. I went over to my friend Catherine's house, and was perusing her cookbooks. In Williams-Sonoma Cocktails & Appetizers, I found a recipe for a traditional (red) Sangria, as well as this White Sangria.

Cath let me borrow the cookbook, and the rest is history. This White Sangria was my favorite of the two, refreshing and cinnamony, and beautiful in a clear glass container. We made a quadruple batch for our party, and very little was left. If you are looking for a simple drink with a lovely presentation that most people will like, try this.

Incidentally, this does not keep, even leaving it overnight the citrus was overpowering. Best to drink it within hours of preparation. Follow the link for several similar glass drink dispensers.

White Wine Sangria
Serves 6
This may be the best wine cooler you've ever had. Afloat not only with fresh fruit such as citrus and peaches, it is also infused with cinnamon sticks and fresh mint. Although blood oranges add a beautiful color to the white wine, regular oranges work just as well. (We used regular oranges)

1/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
handful fresh mint leaves
1 each lemon and orange
1 peach, pitted, peeled, and sliced
1/2 bottle dry white wine
soda water (we used club soda)

1. In a saucepan, combine 2/3 cup water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and half of the mint. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.

2. Slice the lemon and orange. Place lemon, orange, and peach slices in a pitcher. Add wine, sugar mixture, and remaining mint. Fill pitcher with soda water. Stir well. Pour over ice cubes in tall glasses, adding some fruit to each glass.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chunky Nuts and Cinnamon Chocolate Cookies

Cinnamon is the key.
Sweet and Savory Says it All - Chaya

It often, amazes me how adding cinnamon to almost any recipe, improves its flavor. This recipe is a stand alone without the cinnamon but with the cinnamon, it is a step above that.
Originally, this came from a Martha Stewart recipe but it has been adapted and I found different versions, in many places. I finally used Mindy's Deli recipe to base mine on. She got it here.
Yields 20 - 24 cookies
1 cup all-purpose-flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp best quality Dutch processed cocoa
3/4 cup margarine at room temperature
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I found this to be too much. Cut it to a little less than 3/4 teaspoon)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, walnuts and almonds
( I used almost none of the nuts because they are for the grandchildren who do not like nuts.)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Combine the dry ingredients.
Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the margarine and peanut butter and then blend well for about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar, mix again for about 2 minutes.
Add the egg, combine well.
Gradually add the flour mixture, mix until just combined.
Fold in chocolate chunks, chopped nuts and pure vanilla extract until well combined.
Refrigerate dough until slightly firm, 15 minutes.
Scoop dough into a teaspoon cookie scoop or make balls about one teaspoon, in size.
Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Flatten slightly.
Bake for 13 minutes
Leave on baking pan for five minutes and transfer to racks, to cool.
Eat and enjoy.

Easy Crab Dip

I know I found this recipe in one of my books, but I only wrote down the ingredient list, not the amounts or title. I had to sort of wing it with the measurements, and ended up doing it my own way. If I run across the original recipe again, it will be interesting to compare notes!

I found lump crab meat at Costco, I would not substitute canned crab meat for this dip, it just wouldn't be as tasty. Prepare this delicious dip one day ahead of time to allow the flavors to combine. (this dip is even better the day after the party!)

Crab Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
fresh chives, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
scant 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1 pound lump crab meat

Mix all ingredients except crab with a mixer until creamy. Fold in crab meat with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula (not the mixer!) until combined. Cover and store in refrigerator at least 24 hours. Stir before serving with Artisan Bread Crostini.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Southwestern Hummus

Although I love a good hummus recipe (recipes here and here), I really wanted something that would go well with tortilla chips. (Pita bread is hard to find around these parts)

Last spring, when I started planning our housewarming party, I was inspired to create this Southwestern Hummus. We shared it with a select few friends to test out the recipe. I kept the recipe under wraps until our Housewarming Extravaganza! Now, here it is. Super easy, fast and oh-so-delicious!

You can easily half or double the recipe to serve how ever many people you want.

Sorry for the blurry picture! Hummus is in the red & white bowl.

Southwestern Hummus

2 good-sized scallions (green onions), cut in 1-inch lengths
2 cloves garlic
handful of fresh flat parsley or cilantro
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls pine nuts (about 1 cup)
olive oil, about 1/4 cup, more or less, to adjust consistency
juice of 1 lime
1 can diced green chiles or jalapenos
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor and puree until smooth. Add more olive oil as needed to adjust the consistency until the puree moves smoothly in the processor and everything is well combined.

Let stand about 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips or crostini. You can also make this up to two days in advance, store, covered, in refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature (about 1 hour) and stir before serving.

Housewarming Extravaganza Menu!

What a fabulous party, lots of our close friends and relatives, amazing food, delicious sangrias and punch, and just good company. The weather was perfect, everyone loved the house, and we all had a great time. The last of the party guests didn't leave until after 9PM!

We had tons of last-minute help the day of the party from our friends Alice, Doug, Catherine and Kevin, and probably couldn't have pulled it off without them! Thank you!!!!!

Here's the menu. Keep checking back for more recipe links, I'll update the post as the recipes go up.

Southwestern Tapas Bar

Artisan Bread Crostini
Southwestern Hummus
Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Chicken Liver Pâté
Crab Dip
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños
Chorizo-Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms
Mini Beef & Cheese Empanadas
Fresh Roasted Salsa
Herbed Queso Fresco with Roasted Chiles
Smoked Salmon Spread
Jalapeño Bacon Cheese Ball
Chorizo Goat Cheese Log

Manchego Cheese
A variety of Dry-Cured Chorizos, Cheeses & Sausages

Cocoa Chile Pecans
Wine Bar Nut Mix
Olives in Brine & Herbs
Lemon-Fennel Olives

Anchovy-Stuffed Olives
Garlic-Stuffed Olives
Garlic- Jalapeño Stuffed Olives
Marinated Mushrooms
Chile Pepper Pickles
Guindillas Peppers
Cracker Assortment
Tortilla Chips

Chocolate Chile Truffles
Mexican Chocolate Spoons
Gina's Plum Cake

Red Wine Sangria

White Wine Sangria
Golden Punch

Housewarming Extravaganza!

Please join us for our
Housewarming Extravaganza
to celebrate
our fabulous new home!
The contractors finished their work weeks ago.
Number One and I have been painting and decorating
and doing the last projects
to make our new house a home.
(and my parents are here helping too!)
Spend some time on the blog,
enjoy lovely fall weather
and our menu featuring a
Southwestern Tapas Bar & homemade Sangria
(non-alcoholic punch too!)

You're all invited!

Months ago, back in January when work on our addition was just starting up again, Steph from A Whisk and A Spoon blogged about Jenny's virtual housewarming party over at All Things Edible. What a great idea, Jenny!

Our house is just about finished, and we've scheduled our Housewarming Extravaganza. We're so excited to have real, live guests at our actual party (you know who you are!), but this way we can welcome all the folks in blogland whom we WISH could be in attendance to celebrate with us!

If you'd like to join us, just make a dish for the party in your own home, your version of Southwestern Tapas, by October 23rd.

Post your recipe and pictures on your own blog, then email me your name and the link, with the subject "Housewarming" to cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com, so I can include you on the roundup on October 24th or so.

I hope you all can make it!

I'll also be posting pictures from the Housewarming, and all the fabulous recipes! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chocolate Chippers Like No Others

Chocolate Chippers Like No Others

I know that each of us has our own taste in cookies and each of us has read that someone has the best chocolate chip cookie. I have the best chocolate chip cookie for me but I have a gut feeling that others will agree.

It leaves you with this subtle taste that stays but does not irritate.These are for chewy lovers and not the crisp fans. Lots of chocolate chips here but you can determine the amount.This is from King Arthur Flour and I am the biggest fan of this site and his books. I have two of them and I have learned more from them and the website about baking.

If you are a chocolate chip cookie lover, you might want to give these a try. I plan to bake them as often as possible. This goes with my Ultimate recipes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (slightly adapted - is that like being slightly pregnant?

2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed (I used a little more brown sugar than white - take 2 tablespoons away from white and add 2 tablespoons brown sugar.)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup margarine, right from the fridge, or at room temperature

1/2 cup oil1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional (I did not use)

1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 large egg

Directions :

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine the sugars, margarine, oil, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.

Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Mix in the flour, then the chips.

Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread. (I used a smaller scoop and mine did not spread more than a little.

Try your first batch at a two inch spread but I think you will find one inch between them will work.)

Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blond.

Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they've set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Use a cool pan with new dough.****
Here is the best part. Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt atop each ball of cookie dough. This makes a difference. At least, try it on a few, if you have never done this before. Magic.

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