Month: May 2015

Last Minute Memorial Day Entertaining Idea!

It has been a busy year at my house and now summer is almost upon us. I hadn’t really thought of putting anything together for Memorial Day, since I will be away at a wedding. However, I did get a lot of requests for something that can be thrown together quickly and still be great. I have the perfect plan!

When you think about Memorial Day most people think about the traditional beginning of the summer and thus BBQ season. This year it has been a little cooler than usual in my hood, so a barbecue doesn’t really seem appealing. How about a taco/burrito bar theme? This is great because my recipe is mostly done in the slow cooker and you can use the guacamole recipe from my Cinco de Mayo post. I like this particular recipe because it frees me up to be with my guest, not in the kitchen.

Slow Cooker Lime/Beer Shredded Chicken
Print Recipe
Chicken breasts are slow cooked in lime juice and beer with lots of herbs a garlic that gives a great flavor. This is good base for tacos, burritos, salads and all sorts of things.
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
6-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
6-8 hours
Slow Cooker Lime/Beer Shredded Chicken
Print Recipe
Chicken breasts are slow cooked in lime juice and beer with lots of herbs a garlic that gives a great flavor. This is good base for tacos, burritos, salads and all sorts of things.
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
6-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
6-8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Chop your herb(s) and wrap in cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. This step is optional. My family doesn't like to see the herbs, so I use this method.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in bottom of slow cooker.
  3. Add the chicken and pour lime juice and beer over. You may need more to cover.
  4. Throw in your garlic, salt, pepper and herbs.
  5. Cook on slow for 6-8 hours. You can cook on high for 4 hours if needed.
  6. Using two forks, shred chicken while it is still hot.
  7. Serve as a filling for tacos, burritos, salads or get creative. Enjoy!
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Mother’s Day Red Velvet Cake!

Ever since Steel Magnolias hit theaters, in 1989, the world seems to have taken notice of Red Velvet Cake.  That movie was a great Mother/Daughter story and I thought this recipe would be a great way to honor all the mothers out there for Mother’s Day. Given my interest in history, I wanted to know how this recipe came to be. The women in my family tell a story of trying to keep things appealing and flavorful during the depression. During that time, cocoa powder was scarce and expensive. The rich, dark brown chocolate cakes that were at every celebration suddenly were more gray than brown and didn’t have the full chocolate flavor most people were used to.

Necessity is the mother of invention and many women set out to make this treasured recipe work. Natural fruit and vegetable food colorings were still a novelty on the market. Many bakers experimented with beet juice, teas and even tomato juice to get a color that would appeal to the eye without changing the flavor profile, too much. Soon enough that bright red color was what you saw when you first cut into a many-layered cake.

Recently, I was heard Giada De Laurentis explain a scientific version about alkaline, acid and alkali causing a chemical reaction. My head is spinning just writing it down. It is intriguing but way too much science for me. I’ll just go with needed a better color.

The other complication that was left by using less cocoa powder was the subtler chocolate flavor. You could definitely still taste the cocoa, it just wasn’t as pronounced. To give the cake a flavor punch, the women of the day used a cream cheese frosting. The contrast, of the white frosting and multiple red layers, offered great eye appeal and who can resist a well-made cream cheese frosting?

Eventually, artificial food colorings were introduced, commercially and Red Velvet Cake was off to the races in popularity. Many hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, claimed their versions as “World Famous”. For my taste, our family recipe is the best!

IMG_3150

Be sure to not over bake the cake. It will continue to cook, a little, after it is out of the oven. The toothpick tester may not be completely clean, if you use that method. Be sure to make it your own by adding your favorite decoration or garnish. You can use beautiful fresh berries or even some red cake crumbs on the outside of the cake. Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day Red Velvet Cake!

Mother’s Day Red Velvet Cake!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    For The Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Grease and flour 3, 8″, cake pans then line the bottom of each with parchment. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat shortening until light and fluffy. Gradually add in eggs and sugar.
  3. Blend in food coloring and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt and cocoa powder.
  5. In another bowl stir together buttermilk and white vinegar, then add baking soda. This will bubble up.
  6. Alternating add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to sugar and shortening mix. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
  8. Cool completely before frosting.
    Frosting Instructions:
  1. Blend all together until smooth.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
I

 

Tu necesitas trator algo nuevo! Cinco de Mayo edition.

If you don’t speak Spanish, that is try something new! Cinco de Mayo is this week and most of us are planning some sort of celebration, especially here in California.  A quintessential ingredient for any Mexican fiesta is Guacamole.  By definition guacamole is avocado sauce, but it has been americanized over time and is more a dip than a sauce.

There are lots of really good remade guacamoles on the market.  I propose that if you have any time at all that you try something new and make it yourself.  I get constant compliments on my “homemade” guacamole and I have an excellent shortcut.  I use store bought pico de gallo!

The basic components of guacamole are avocados, lime juice and sea salt.  That’s about all my kids would want in it.  My version is a little more complex but you can totally jazz it up.  Pico de gallo (pico) is chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and cilantro.  It’s pretty easy to see where the variations and creativity start to play.

I like my guacamole on the chunky side so all I need is a fork and bowl.  You can use a molcajete, which is basically a Mexican mortar and pestle. If you like a really smooth guacamole, you can use a blender or food processor.IMG_3181

I smash my avocados but leave them somewhat chunky.  Then I add about 2 tablespoons of pico per avocado and mix it well.  I continue to add the juice of half a lime and even some reserve juice from the pico.  I add sea or kosher salt, a little at a time.  DON’T over salt.  Boom!  You’re done.

As I said earlier, there are all sorts of ways to get creative.  You can add cotija cheese or more heat.  Garlic is a nice addition too.  If you don’t like cilantro, use mexican oregano or basil.  I found a couple of ideas online that sound great, too.  Try adding sour cream for a creamier guacamole with a little tang.  I love the idea of adding toasted nuts for some crunch.  A traditional nut would be pepitas, but use your favorite.  If you want a smoky flavor, try roasting your tomato and jalapeño before chopping them.  Most importantly, make it your own and enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: