Chocolate Cinnamon Babka French Toast

January 27, 2012

I made a great loaf of Chocolate Cinnamon Babka not too long ago. We mostly scarfed it up right away, but I did manage to squirrel away a few pieces for just this purpose. What can I say? I’m sure your imagination can run wild with this one! It was awwwwwwwesome! The orange zest really complements the chocolate in the Babka. I didn’t even need any syrup, though I couldn’t resist the butter :) If you are planning on making that Babka, do your best to save a few morsel for this treat!

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka French Toast

yield: 6 slices

Ingredients:

  • 6 thick slices of Chocolate Cinnamon Babka
  • 6 Large eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • Finely grated orange zest from one large orange
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and orange vest.

Add Babka slices to the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly.

Leave the bread in the egg mixture for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to soak up some of the liquid.

Lightly oil a griddle and heat it over medium-high heat. Remove the bread from the egg mixture and place on the hot griddle.

Cook until the babka is a golden brown, 1-2 minutes and then flip and cook the other side

Serve hot with butter and syrup if desired.

Enjoy!


Deviled Scotch Eggs

January 23, 2012

O thou! whatever title suit thee,–

Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an’ sootie,
Clos’d under hatches, 
Spairges about the brunstane cootie
To scaud poor wretches!

*Spairges:to bespatter by flinging/Brunstane cootie:BrimstoneBowl

Robert Burns “Address to the Devil”

That’s Right! Robbie Burns Night is coming up soon. Traditionally, Burns Night celebrations are held near the poet’s birthday, January 25th. It was through a post about a Robbie Burns Night last year that I first learned about Scotch Eggs. Having never encountered one before, I nearly couldn’t go on until I made them. I think I instantly fell in love. Are you kidding me, a hard-boiled egg, enrobed in sausage, rolled in Panko and deep-fried?!! Be still my heart!

So this year I decided to step it up a bit and make Deviled Scotch Eggs. (Hence I thought an excerpt from the Burns poem “Address to the Devil” appropriate – if you haven’t read this poem before, it’s pretty amusing, if you can manage to get past his Scots dialect. I provided some translations.) Basically, I made the Deep Fried Scotch Eggs that I did last year, but then I cut them in half, took out the yolks, deviled them and stuck them back in and sprinkled them with paprika. I wanted to sprinkle them with bacon bits, but I didn’t have any on hand. Oh dear Lord! What has gotten into me? These Deviled Scotch Eggs are awesome.! I will say, if you’re feeling a bit more healthy, Edible Ireland has some awesome Oven Baked Scotch Eggs, you might want to check out. If you’re interested in the history and origins of the Eggs, check out my Scotch Eggs blog from last February. This year I served them along with a salad, fresh fruit, and of course, chips.

I mean I already had the deep-fryer fired up. How could I not throw a few potatoes in? I think I might just feel my arteries clogging as I type. But really folks, sometimes you just need to let go and enjoy some awesomely bad for you comfort food and my Deviled Scotch Eggs are just what you need! (if not what the doctor ordered :) )

Deviled Scotch Eggs

yield: 12 Deviled Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. bulk sausage-we prefer “hot” but  country-style or herbed would work just fine.
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs-shells removed
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 raw eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 Cup Panko
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying

For the Deviling Process:

  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Coleman’s English Mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • paprika and crumbled bacon to garnish

Directions:

For the Scotch Eggs:

Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 365° F.

Cover counter top with large sheet of waxed paper.

Divide the sausage into six equal portions.

Flatten the sausage into thin circles.

Place an egg in the center of each round. Enclose each egg completely in the sausage.

Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw egg and then roll them in the Panko until they are entirely coated.

Fry Scotch Eggs two at a time for 10 minutes.

Transfer to paper towels and allow to cool to touch.

To Devil them:

Halve the Scotch Eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks.

Mash the yolks with a fork and then place them in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and mix until smooth.

Using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with an end snipped off, pipe the yolk mixture back into the Scotch Eggs.

Garnish with paprika and bacon crumbles.

Enjoy!


Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

January 20, 2012

I’m at it with Peter Reinhart again! I just love his Artisan Breads Every Day book and am diligently working my way through it. I’ve always wanted to make a Babka. Even since I saw that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is so desperately trying to purchase a chocolate babka for a dinner party she is about to attend. I had never experienced a Babka in person at that point, but just knew I couldn’t wait to try it out. I am happy to report that I have now successfully managed to progress from purchasing Babkas into making my own and I dare say mine was better than the last one I got from an actual bakery! (so proud, patting myself on the back as I type…quite a trick!) As with any yeast bread, there is some preparation involved. You can’t just whip one up on the spur of the moment. There are a couple different rising times of 2-3 hours or more. So you want to plan ahead. Luckily the recipe gives good tips on when you can stop, refrigerate the dough and then continue on the following day. I started early and soldiered through from start to finish. But breaking it up a bit does make sense.

Babka is a yeast bread which heavily leans towards a coffee cake. The name Babka comes from the Russian word baba, which means grandmother. And just like your granny, this bread is sweet and comforting! The bread itself is buttery and rich and then it also has the rich vein of chocolate and cinnamon swirling through it. Oh save us!!! It is completely irresistable!

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

yield: 1 loaf

Recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (0.66 oz/19 g) instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) lukewarm milk (95°F or 35°C)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz/85 g) unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz/85 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (0.25 oz/7 g) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks (3 oz/ 85 g)
  • 3 1/3 Cups (15 oz/425 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (0.25 oz/7 g) salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 egg, for egg wash (if using streusel topping)
  • 1 Tablespoon water, for egg wash (if using streusel topping)

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 Cups (9 oz/255 g) frozen semisweet dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon (0.25 oz/7 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/56.5 g) cold unsalted butter

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 Cup (2 oz/56.5 g) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup (2.25 oz/64 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup (4 oz/113 g) brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Do Ahead:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved, then set aside for about 5 minutes before mixing it into the dough.

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. If mixing by hand, use a large wooden spoon and beat vigorously for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk lightly to break up the yolks, then add the yolks to the sugar mixture in four portions, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Increase the mixer speed to medium high or continue mixing by hand for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the process.

Stop mixing and add the flour and salt, then pour in the milk mixture. Resume mixing at low-speed, or continue to stir by hand, for 2 to 3 minutes, to make a soft, supple, tacky dough. If using a mixer and the mixer begins to struggle, switch to the dough hook.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes more, adding more flour as needed to make the dough pliable. The dough should be a beautiful golden colour and feel soft and supple. Form the dough into a ball.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hours. It will rise somewhat, but won’t double in size. If it rises significantly in less time, you can move to the shaping step or place it in the refrigerator overnight to be rolled out the next day.

Filling and Baking:

Prepare the filling while the dough is rising. Grind the chocolate in a food processor until it’s nearly powdered: if you don’t have  a food processor, chop the chocolate as fine as possible. Add the cinnamon and pulse or stir a time or two to incorporate. Cut the butter into 8-10 pieces, add it to the food processor, and pulse until the butter is evenly dispersed into the chocolate mixture; or cut the butter into the chocolate mixture with a metal pastry scraper to make a streusel-like chocolate crumble.

Once the dough has risen, roll it into a 15 x 15 inch square on a lightly floured surface. It should be between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. As you roll, frequently lift the dough with a metal pastry scraper or bowl scraper and dust with more flour underneath to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture over the dough, breaking up any clumps, so the filling covers the surface of the dough evenly, leaving a 1/4 inch border.

Roll up the dough like a jelly roll and place it seam side down on the work surface. With firm but gently pressure, rock the log back and forth to extend its length until it is 18 to 24 inches long.

Grease a 5×9 inch loaf pan. Carefully twist the log from both ends without tearing it, just enough to accentuate the chocolate spiral. Coil the log into a circular snail shape, then stand the coil on its end so it’s perpendicular to the counter rather than lying flat. Press down on the coil to compress it into a loaf shape. Place it in the greased loaf pan.

Cover the loaf pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, until the babka fills the pan or has increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. At this pint, you can proceed directly to baking or refrigerate the babka overnight. If holding it overnight, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake it.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the top of the babka to eliminate possible air pockets between the layers of chocolate and dough.

While the oven preheats, make the streusel if you’d like to use it. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine, or cut the butter into small bits, then add the other ingredients and stir or mix with your hands. The texture should resemble cornmeal. If using streusel, brush the top of the babka with egg wash, then scatter the streusel over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake until the top is a rich dark brown, the sides are a rich golden brown, the loaf sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is about 185°F (85°C) in the center. The babka will begin to brown quickly because of the sugar but it won’t burn. The total baking time is 50 to 60 minutes. The sides may feel soft because of air pockets in the spirals. The babka will soften as it cools.

Cool for at least 90 minutes before serving. The babka is best served at room temperature after the chocolate has had time to set.

Enjoy!


Cheddar & Cilantro Cornbread Muffins

January 17, 2012

Yum! Cornbread Muffins! And these are made ever so much better by the addition of fresh cilantro and big chunks of cheddar cheese! This cornbread is very moist, a little sweet, but not like some of the really sweet Southern cornbread you may have come across. Delicious all on its own, but completely awesome slathered in butter with a big bowl of chili! I baked these muffins to go along with the Gringo Chili we served up a short time ago. You can also make this cornbread in a 9×9 pan, if you prefer. This recipe is highly customizable as far as ingredients go as well. Substitute any add-ins you wish. I did cheddar and cilantro, but you could add in bacon, chives, green onions etc. Let your imagination run wild! Just remember you may have to increase the baking time by 5 minutes or so with each addition. When I make corn muffins, I like the exterior of the muffin to be really crispy. A good way to achieve that texture is by oiling a cast iron pan or muffin tin as the case may be and placing it into the preheated oven. Once the oiled pan is nice and hot, you add the batter into the hot pan and pop it back into the oven to bake. You can use any old oil, but I like to use reserved bacon grease. Yup….just like Grandma, I’m saving those bacon grease drippings and using them to cook with later. Unlike Grandma, I keep my bacon grease in the fridge, not just sitting next to the stove in a jar. (Now that was a bit scary if you ask me…) The bacon grease really does give things a wonderful flavour, and who doesn’t like bacon! I know some folks might be a bit freaked out by the old bacon grease trick, but hey, don’t knock it til you try it. Those Grannies were onto something. However, if you haven’t had a chance to cook up a batch of bacon (and this would give you an excuse, if you need one. Personally I believe it’s always a good time to cook up some bacon…) you can just use whatever oil you might have on hand. You will love that crispy exterior, I guarantee it! Make up a big batch today!

Cheddar & Cilantro Cornbread Muffins

yield: 12 muffins

recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3-4 oz. cheddar cheese, chopped into 1″ chunks
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon bacon grease or oil into each well of a muffin tin.

1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2) Stir in any desired herbs, cheese, corn kernels, or other flavorings.

3) In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and egg.

4) Pour the liquid all at once into the flour mixture, stirring quickly and gently until just combined. Remember, Now when making muffins, you don’t want to beat the batter to death. Mix it just until the ingredients are combined, otherwise your muffins will turn out tough.

5) Place prepared muffin tin into preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove tin.

6) Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop batter into the hot, oiled muffin tin.

7) Return pan to oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the pan and a cake tester or paring knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

8) Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes; serve warm.


Gringo Chili

January 14, 2012

So I just can’t shake this spicy kick I’m on. Gringo Chili is my spicy offering today. Unlike my Texas Beef Chili, which shuns beans of any type, this chili is chock full of black beans. Jay and I just kind of threw this together, without any proper recipe a few years ago. But we liked it so much, I jotted the ingredients down. Every New Year’s Eve we settle down with a big pot of this chili to ring in the New Year, and it usually makes several other appearances throughout the winter. Let me say right now before we go any further, this chili is spicy! It gets the majority of its kick from the jar of Green Mountain Gringo Salsa that we add to it. (Hence its name) Generally we do add an entire jar and we usually use the “hot” variety, though I listed “medium” heat salsa in the ingredients list, since I know everyone does not share our love of spice. Green Mountain Gringo also has a “mild” heat salsa for those of you with really tender taste buds. Of course, you can substitute in your favourite salsa if you have one, but if you haven’t tried the good old Green Mountain Gringo brand, you might want to give it a whirl. This chili is wonderfully flavourful, hearty and spicy. It will definitely warm you up on a cold winter’s eve. I usually serve it with several toppings. Folks seem to love the Fritos for adding a lovely salty crunch to each bite and the guacamole/sour cream toppings for cooling things down a bit! I also make up a batch of corn muffins (Cheddar & Cilantro Cornbread Muffins to be specific – recipe to follow soon!) to go along with the meal, which are always welcome. Pop open your favourite beer and you’ll be set to dig in!

Gringo Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. hot Italian Sausage
  • 2 –  14.5 oz. cans of Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes (we use the ones with zesty jalapeños or chilis)
  • 1/2 – 1 jar of salsa of your choice – we usually use Green Mountain Gringo medium heat salsa
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 cup of lager beer
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tablespoon cornmeal (used to thicken chili)
  • Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, Fritos, guacamole, chopped cilantro

Directions:

In a large pot, brown ground beef and sausage. Drain off excess fat.

Add diced tomatoes, salsa, beans, beer, Worchesterhire sauce, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes. ( If you are not in a rush, I usually bring the chili to simmer and then reduce the heat to low and let it go for 1-2 hours).

Once you are close to getting ready to serve, place 3 tablespoons cornmeal in a small dish and add remaining lager beer, or broth from chili to cornmeal. Add enough liquid to the cornmeal that it is pourable. Mix well, making sure there are no lumps. Add cornmeal mixture to chili, stir well and increase heat for 3-5 minutes until chili has thickened.

Stir in the fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve garnished with toppings of your choice, corn muffins and plenty of beer to wash it down!

Enjoy!


TexMex Chicken & Dumplings

January 10, 2012

Chicken & Dumplings. What better example of good old down-home, country-style cooking is there? My husband loves them! I’ve made the dish for him a few times, but was very excited to come across this adaptation of that classic comfort food. I’ve already confessed our weakness for spicy food. The Chicken & Dumplings I’ve had in the past have been very tasty, but I must say, they never had any kick to them at all and for all their “stick to your ribs”-ness, they were often quite bland. So, I was so happy to find that the good folks from the Lone Star State have really made quite an improvement to an already delicious dish by adding some chorizo sausage, cumin and cilantro into the mix. And oh no, they didn’t stop there, they went on to top it off with some big, fluffy, jalapeño, cilantro and cheddar cheese filled dumplings.

Mercy! Have I gone to heaven?!! The stew part of the dish definitely had overcome the somewhat boring flavours found with its Northern cousins. It delightfully had some heat to it.  And those dumplings….Oh, those Dumplings. They were simply out of this world! No floury, doughy, bland dumplings here. These fellows could really wake you up all on their own. This hearty TexMex Chicken & Dumpling dish is the best my husband and I have ever eaten! No contest whatsoever! Want something spicy to really warm you heart and soul on a cold winter’s evening? Look no further. Enjoy a bowl tonight!

TexMex Chicken & Dumplings

slightly adapted from: Today’s Nest

serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. chorizo sausage, 1-2 links
  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken, I used boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup diced celery, 2-3 ribs
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, 3-4 medium-sized
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal

For the Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • milk enough to make up 2/3 cup liquid with the beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons diced jarred jalapeño peppers

Directions:

Put Chicken stock and water in large pot over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer.

Cook chorizo sausage in dutch oven over medium heat. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.

Place chicken breasts in pan with chicken stock for 20 minutes to poach.

Remove chicken breasts from pan and set aside to cool to touch. Once chicken and sausage have cooled, chop into 1″ pieces.

Bring sausage drippings in pan up to medium heat again and add onions, carrots and celery. Saute for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well.

Sprinkle all-purpose flour over vegetables and stir to coat. Slowly  add chicken stock, stirring until flour is combined. Add remaining chicken stock to pan.

Add in the chopped chicken breast and chorizo sausage. Stir. Add chopped cilantro. Stir again. Keep mixture at low simmer. If stew does not seem thick enough to you, place 2 tablespoons cornmeal into small bowl. Add some of the broth from the stew to the cornmeal until it is a pourable consistency. Add cornmeal mixture back to stew and stir to combine. Continue to simmer the stew and it should thicken after 4 minutes or so.

Make dumplings by sifting together cake flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in the chopped cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese.

Place egg in measuring cup. Beat egg. Add milk until total liquid measures 2/3 cup. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture. Stir until just moistened. Add melted butter and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped jalapeño pepper.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop  scoops of dough onto the top of the simmering stew. Leave room between the dumplings for expansion!

Place lid on pot and continue to cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid. (This was really hard for me…I soooo wanted to peek!)

At 15 minutes, remove lid and check for doneness.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!


Breakfast Tacos with Griddled Cotija Cheese & Chipotle Lime Salsa

January 6, 2012

I know everyone is still probably thinking about sweet Christmas goodies right about now. Recipes for cookies, fudge and candies rule right now. Don’t get me wrong now, I do truly love cookies, and the majority of those other sugar laden sweets. But I might have possibly had my fill of sweets at this point. I know, that seems strange. Cookies are definitely a weakness of mine. But my husband and I also have another weakness. We love spicy food, and by spicy I mostly mean hot, the hotter the better. (Well, one Thai restaurant did give us a run for our money as far as our spiciness tolerance is concerned…) In fact, I have a confession to make. Jay, Gimlet and I are absolutely addicted to these chorizo breakfast burritos sold by Anita’s, a “New Mexico Style” Mexican restaurant which is located entirely too close to our house. It really does take amazing restraint on our part not to go there every week, which if we did, might be a joy for a taste buds, but would become oh so burdensome for the bathroom scale. That being said, I’m always on the lookout for spicy breakfast recipes that will keep me home rather than out on the highway, headed for Anita’s. Because believe me, if we walk in that door, we don’t just place an order for one breakfast burrito for that day. We inevitably leave with a Santa Clausian style sack full of burritos for the forseeable future, chips, dips, dinners, etc. Their food is that good and we are that weak! Go out and try it at your own risk, and don’t say we didn’t warn you! Anyway…I was very happy when I spied this recipe on one of my favourite blogs, Spoon With Me. Jenny was able to recreate this recipe from a breakfast taco served by a taco truck out in her neck of the woods. And let me tell you, this breakfast taco is fantastic! The griddled Cotija cheese adds amazing saltiness and crunch to the dish and the chipotle lime salsa gives it just the right amount of spicy kick! My first question when I read her recipe though was “What is Cotija?” Well, Cotija is a Mexican hard, salty, cow’s milk cheese. It is somewhat similar to parmesan. It is sold in small rounds or  in packages already grated. I have seen it in Whole Foods and Harris Teeter grocery stores. It may take you a bit of time to find it, but it is so worth it! These tacos are very easy to assemble. You just place a bit of Cotija in a hot pan, cook it for one minute or so until it is golden brown. Flip it over and cook the other side.

Griddled Cotija

Place the Cotija disc on top of a warm corn tortilla. Place scrambled eggs on top of the Cotija. Sprinkle freshly chopped onion, avocado and cilantro over the top. Finally, drizzle liberally with the chipotle lime salsa. And although the salsa is used as a topping in this recipe, it is really an attention grabber. Fantastic adobo chili flavour with quite a spicy kick as well.

Woah! Good Morning! This taco is just bursting with fresh, spicy flavours! I’m telling you, one bite and you’ll be addicted too!

Breakfast Tacos with Griddled Cotija Cheese & Chipotle Lime Salsa

yield: 8 tacos

Recipe from Spoon With Me

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 8 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Canola oil, to fill a small frying pan to 1/2 inch
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
  • Chopped onion and cilantro for garnish
  • Chipotle Lime Salsa (see below)

Directions:

Griddle the Cotija:

Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat.  Wait until the pan is hot, then place 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija in the middle of the pan.  Spread the Cotija into a circle about 3 or 4 inches in diameter.  Cover the pan and cook for one minute, or until the Cotija is bound together, and the underside is speckled and golden.  Press it down with a spatula for 10 seconds, then flip.  Press down the other side and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  If not using immediately, the Cotija patties can be kept warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature for up to 10 minutes.

Soften the Tortillas:

Set a plate covered with paper towels beside the stove.  Heat the oil in a small frying pan until hot and shimmering.  Cook each corn tortilla until softened and just beginning to puff up in spots.  Remove from the pan and set on the paper towels to drain.  Blot any excess oil from the top with additional paper towels.

Scramble the Eggs:

Whisk the eggs, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Scramble them as per usual.

Assemble the Tacos:

On top of each tortilla, layer the griddled Cotija, scrambled eggs, salsa, avocado, chopped onions and cilantro.  Devour while hot.

Chipotle-Lime Salsa

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, from one small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 chipotle chiles, from 1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

In a food processor, puree the adobo sauce, chipotle chiles, lime juice and salt.  Add the  onion and cilantro, and pulse until everything is finely chopped.


Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Biscotti

January 3, 2012

I actually did it! I managed to make Biscotti all on my own! And not any old Biscotti, this Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Biscotti rocks! It is far and away, the best Biscotti I have ever eaten! My friend John originally turned me on to Biscotti by bringing me Whole Food’s Cranberry Pistachio version, telling me “This stuff is fantastic! You should try it.” Well, truth be told, although I was thankful he was so thoughtful, I wasn’t thrilled with idea of the biscotti. Every Biscotti I had eaten up until that point had been very dry, like chewing sawdust, with very little flavour. Furthermore, it was often so hard that I just knew it had a high probability of cracking every tooth I had it my head! So, the Whole Food Biscotti got pushed aside for a few days. But John had been so enthusiastic about them, I decided to give them a try. Armed with a cup of coffee to lessen the likely hood of a sudden trip to the dentist, I tentatively dunked and then tasted. John was right! These Biscotti were fantastic! Fast forward to about a month ago, I happened to see Giada De Laurentis making Biscotti on the Food Network. She made it look very easy, so I gave it a whirl.

The only thing I changed in her recipe is that she dipped her Cranberry, Pistachio Biscotti in melted White Chocolate and then sprinkled them with red and green sanding sugar to give them a real Holiday feel. I decided to simply add some white chocolate chips to the mix and skip the dipping. I thought that the red cranberries and green pistachios give it all the Holiday cheer it needed. (and I might be a bit lazy…) The results? These Biscotti put the Whole Foods version to shame. They are full of flavour, you can really taste the cranberries, and have an awesome texture, crunchy yet still moist.

My husband happened to pop into the kitchen just after I had taken my first bite to find me literally dancing about. Being somewhat leery of Biscotti himself, for the same reasons I had been, he was a bit hesitant to try them. But watching my happy dance, he couldn’t resist and now is a Biscotti fan himself! He loved them. He loved them so much he is asking me to make an Apricot Dark Chocolate version which I am planning to do later this week. Even our dog loves them, so much he can recognize the sound of the Biscotti container opening and will immediately run to the kitchen. (Not that we spoil our dog by giving him people food…) So, I guess I’m saying, don’t put up with that brick bat hard, tasteless, cardboardy store-bought Biscotti any longer, make some for yourself and see how delicious it can truly be!

Cranberry Pistachio and White Chocolate Biscotti

recipe from Giada De Laurentis via the Food Network

yield: about 15 biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios, cranberries and white chocolate.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Enjoy!


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