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Archive for May, 2011

Creamy chicken taquitos

I generally turn my nose at recipes that call for baking something when it traditionally is fried, but these taquitos intrigued me. I tried them and absolutely loved them! I used Martha Stewart’s method for crock-pot shredded chicken, and used Central Market spicy 4th anniversary salsa and added 1 diced onion and the spices called for in the actual taquito. 6 chicken thighs, combined with the other filling ingredients, made 20 6 inch taquitos. There was even a little leftover filling. I added cayenne and some diced canned jalapenos to the mix. I used queso fresco and cheddar cheese. I served with our standard guacamole, which we added some sour cream to.

Martha Stewart’s Slow-Cooker Chili Chicken Taquitos.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup prepared tomato salsa, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (I used red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 hard corn taco shells
  • Cilantro, shredded cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, chiles, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 8 hours).
  2. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl, and shred, using two forks; moisten with cooking juices. Serve in taco shells, with toppings, if desired.
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The best frosting

I’ve made a cooked flour frosting before, and they are equally delicious. This went great with dark chocolate cupcakes, and I’m pretty sure it would be great with just about anything. The recipe is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

The Best Frosting

*This frosting is so magically delicious, it would be perfect on everything from sugar cookies to pumpkin bars to cake. Options are endless!

*Note: this frosting takes a bit of advance planning since the frosting needs time to cool so plan ahead! Also, the frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. When ready to use, let the frosting stand at room temperature until softened, about 2 hours. Beat with stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about one minute. Finally, I pipe a lot of cakes for my kids’ birthdays (think: Spiderman covered in Wilton stars) and although I haven’t tried it, I highly suspect that an hour or so of chilling time will lend this frosting nicely to being piped. When I try it, because I will, I’ll update the recipe with my notes.

*Makes about 4 cups frosting (plenty for two 9-inch cake layers)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1% with stellar results)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it starts to become difficult to easily whisk. This could take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on your stove, heat, etc. It should bubble quite a bit at the end (be careful of the splatters) and thicken considerably.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature – this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm, the frosting won’t beat up properly. I refrigerated my initial mixture overnight. If you do this, make sure to pull it out in time to let it warm back up to room temperature. If you try to proceed with the rest of the recipe and the mixture is too cold, the butter won’t absorb into the frosting like it should.

Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature (it should have no hint of warmth at all!), beat the mixture with the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds (a stand mixer will work best for this). Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and let the mixer work it’s magic. Beat the frosting for five minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour. I suspect if you chill it for an hour or so, it would be stiff enough to actually pipe with instead of frosting with a rubber spatula.

Chocolate Version: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt mixture in the first step. Once the frosting has been mixed for five minutes and is light and fluffy, mix in 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate that has been melted and completely cooled to room temperature.

*Note: I made the chocolate version a few days after I originally posted this recipe and it is delicious! The color wasn’t quite as dark as I was hoping for; it definitely made for a lighter-colored chocolate frosting but the chocolate flavor is deep and terrific. I increased the melted chocolate to 4 ounces when I made it and may even do 5 ounces next time.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country Oct/Nov 2010

Lemon fusilli

I wanted to try this dish from Ina, but I was a little skeptical. Most of the reviews say it’s amazing (but most reduced the lemon) but the occasional reviewer said it was just weird and/or bad. I made many many substitutions, and it turned out really well. I split the recipe in half, and used 1 cup of various liquids to make up the sauce. I used spinach instead of arugla, left out the broccoli, and used about 3/4 of the lemon juice and zest. I used 1/2 cup cream, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 cup chicken stock. I liked how fresh and light it tasted, but I really think it needs some zip or kick or something. I added more pepper to my plate but now I’m searching for more add ins. Some ideas – artichokes, capers, red pepper flakes, tuna, bacon, wine.

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

Ina Garten, serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 lemons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 pound dried fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Brie mushroom quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced thickly
  •  S&P
  • 3 oz brie cheese
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 3 tbsp fig jam
  • Butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475. Toss sliced mushrooms with oil, S&P, and dried thyme. Roast on sheet pan with foil for about 15 minutes, turning mushrooms halfway through the cooking time.

Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and 1/2 tsp of the dried thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Heat skillet over medium heat.

Assemble quesadillas with cheese, onions, mushrooms, and more cheese. You can either brush fig jam on the inside of the tortillas or on the side to dip. Rub butter on the skillet and brown quesadillas until crispy, warm, and delicious!