January 31, 2009

Bryan's Buffalo Wings

Another Ode to Super Bowl.  This recipe is from Bryan Pelton, our old manager at REI, now the store manager at REI Marina.  He used to make these in the break room in crock pots.  Magic.  Apparently the recipe's from Pyramid Brewery.  Mary Ann and Lauren are making them tomorrow for the big football event. (I'm all about the food, forget football).

Again, this is from Bryan's head, so you may need to adjust for quantities and taste.

What's in it:
Frozen buffalo wings (technically referred to as 'drummettes'), preferably the jumbo bag from Costco
Hot Sauce:
1/2 bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce (apparently this is key), not their buffalo sauce, though
1 Tbl Chipotle BBQ sauce (or any you have on hand)
1/2 stick melted butter
Spoon full of brown sugar
Splash of OJ
Tangy Sauce:
1/2 stick melted butter
Spoon full of brown sugar
Splash of OJ
1 Tbl soy sauce
lots of lime juice
shot or so of Tequilla

How it's made:
Thaw chicken overnight in fridge or by running hot water over them in a large bowl, or in a crock pot on low.
Preheat oven to 350 (or as directed on chicken packaging). 
Combine ingredients for either hot sauce or tangy sauce, or both.  You can make two separate batches for each flavor.  Use a baking pan lined with foil, add chicken and cover with sauce.  Bake as directed, or for about 15-20 minutes until done.  Baste often and turn 3-4 times.

Dennis' *Famous* Baked Beans

In the spirit of Super Bowl Sunday...these are a must.

Dennis (my step dad) has spent years perfecting this recipe, and as in all good ones, they are up in his head. Here's an attempt at transcribing it. To note - this recipe is ALWAYS requested by my cousins at family gatherings. We even have them on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 Dennis' Famous Baked Beans
What's in it:
2 cans baked beans (van kamps - short and fat)
5 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 onion minced
1 Tbl mustard
3 Tbl catsup
3 capfulls liquid smoke
3 Tbl molasses
1/2 C brown sugar

How it's made:
Preheat oven to 325.
Saute bacon and onions until onions are clear and bacon is cooked. Mix this in with all the other ingredients. Bake in a large casserole dish (or so) for one hour. Let it cool a bit before serving.

January 25, 2009

Chunky Peanut, Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies

another try

These cookies were easy to make and very yummy. A good spin on our old favorites. Plus, I love cinnamon. We made these for Andy's housewarming party. It's originally from Martha Stewart's Cookies.

What's in it:
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C smooth peanut butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C semi sweet chocolate chips
2/3 C roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

How's it's made:
Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Put butter and peanut butter in a large bowl and cream together (you may need to soften butter more). Mix on medium until creamed. Add sugars and cream. Mix in eggs. Gradually add dry mixture, mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, peanuts and vanilla. Refrigerate dough until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. (I forgot to do this and was fine).

Roll dough into balls and space on cookie sheet. Press each ball to flatten slightly. Bake until just golden, about 13 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool on wire racks.

January 21, 2009

Enchiladas Suizas (Verdes)

Living in Mexico, this was easily one of my top five dishes to order, and as far as I'm concerned, enchiladas suizas are without a doubt the best enchiladas out there. Creamy, cheesy chicken and green chile sauce? Yes, please. And just so you know, it would be nearly sacrilegious to make enchiladas with flour tortillas. (In fact, corn is always best, in my not-so-humble opinion.)

This recipe is a variation on one I found about five years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle Food Section. The woman who wrote it got the recipe from the family running the bed and breakfast where she stayed. The original version calls for making the salsa verde from scratch, but I didn't want to spend all day on this and just used canned green enchilada sauce. Some brands are better than others, and while I've yet to do a brand by brand taste test, I know that El Pato, Las Palmas and La Victoria are decent.

(If you are wondering, the word suiza, surprisingly enough, means Swiss. Apparently Swiss immigrants in Mexico often ended up making cheeses and other dairy products, like the crema Mexicana in this dish.)

The Chicken
  • 2 chicken breasts (It called for bone and skin, but we used boneless/skinless.)
  • 1/4 of a white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  1. Rinse chicken and put in a 4 quart pot with the onion quarter and garlic. Add broth. If the chicken is not completely covered, add water until covered. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let chicken cool in broth for 20 minutes. Remove chicken from broth and when cool, shred it.
  3. Save the broth for use in any recipe calling for chicken broth. (We used it to make tortilla soup.)
The Enchiladas

  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 10 large corn tortillas
  • 4 cups (or more) green chile enchilada sauce (spicy, if you like!)
  • Shredded chicken from above
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion (optional)
  • 3 cups grated manchego or Monterey Jack Cheese (We used cheddar and it was fine.)
  • 3/4 cup crema Mexicana (We had to substitute sour cream; it's definitely not as good as the real stuff.)
  1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet and fry the tortillas (1-2 at a time) to soften them, turning once--about 20 seconds on each side. Stack them as you finish. Add more oil to the pan as needed.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Use 1 teaspoon oil (I used a spray instead) to coat a 12x9 inch (or so) baking dish. Spread 1 cup of green sauce over the bottom of the dish.
  4. Moisten the shredded chicken with 3/4 cup of the green sauce.
  5. For each enchilada, spoon some of the chicken, some chopped onions and some shredded cheese down the middle of a tortilla. Roll it up and place seam side down in the dish.
  6. When all of the enchiladas are in the dish, spread 1 tablespoon of crema over each one. Pour 2 cups (or more as desired) of the green sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinke more grated cheese all over the top.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until heated through and bubbly. Pass the remaining salsa verde at the table.

January 15, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup, but I'd never attempted to make it. I figured that it's so delicious that it must be really complicated, right? Well, I have seen a number of versions ranging from the ridiculously complex and time consuming (from my Dona Tomas cookbook) to the surely too simple to be authentic. Here's my variation on one from Simply Recipes (and before that from a Muir Glen can of tomatoes) that struck me as better than most, yet still remarkably easy.

Even after I started making this recipe, I wasn't sure it would turn out like I wanted it to, but in the in end it was pretty spot on. I'm sure the intense, all day version from Dona Tomas is much more authentic and probably tastier, but this was super quick and ended up just like I imagined it should. Comfort food at its finest.
Tortilla Soup
~Print Recipe~

Tortilla Strips
  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (for frying)
  1. In a small skillet with high sides, heat canola oil over medium high heat. 
  2. Cut tortillas in half. Then cut the halves into 1/4" to 1/2" strips--cut strips that are 3" or shorter--i.e. cut the strips width-wise rather than lengthwise).
  3. Once it it hot (350 degrees), add tortilla strips and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until they are golden and crispy.
  4. Use a couple of extra tortillas to fry tortilla chips (for snacking--believe me, you'll want some), when fry the strips(for the soup. Let drain on a paper towel.
    The Soup
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeƱo chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped (We put one Anaheim and two jalapeƱos--nice and spicy!)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced fire-roasted tomatoes, un-drained (I found Safeway brand.)
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
    • 1 ripe medium avocado, cut into cubes
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (we used cheddar, but whatever you like)
    • Chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges (I have lime juicer, one of my favorite gadgets! Get one.)
    1. Heat a little of the remaining oil (from frying strips) in a saucepan on medium-high. Saute your onion for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and chilies, cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
    2. Stir in the chicken broth, the whole can of tomatoes and the salt. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
    3. Add the cooked chicken. Let it simmer until the chicken is hot.
    4. Divide half of the tortilla strips among the bowls you'll be eating from. Ladle soup on top of the tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, remaining tortilla strips, cilantro and avocado. Drizzle with lime juice.

    January 13, 2009

    Welsh Pasties

    Last week or so Andy and I made pasties (pah-stees) for the first time in ages, and when I posted it on facebook I recieved tons of inquiries about what these pasty things were. Well, here it is: The DL on Pasties.

    Pasties are a traditional pocket pie that were eaten for lunch by welsh miners in the Sierra Nevada. My Grandma Barbara Reid is welsh and grew up in the Sierra Nevada gold country. Her father, uncle and brother worked the mines in the Sierra, particularly in Nevada City. Grandma learned how to make pasties growing up, and so of course we would have them on special family gatherings when I was growing up. The most magical part about pasties are how simple they are, yet so incredibly delicious. (The pasty actually originated in Cornwall, but that history is much less personal).

    What's in it:
    Enough pie crust for four rolled circles, about 9" in diameter (you can make from scratch, use a box mix, or buy the flat, frozen crusts from Trader Joes)
    1-1.5 lbs tri tip or other steak, cubed small
    3-4 medium potatoes, in 1/4" cubes
    1 onion chopped small
    1/2 C parsley chopped
    salt and pepper
    some butter (optional)

    How it's made:
    Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

    Mix in a bowl the filling ingredients: steak, potatoes, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Roll out the pie crusts into four circles, each about 9" in diameter. Place a quarter of the filling on each pie crust, add a little slice of butter, then fold the crusts over in half and pinch to seal. Brush crusts with water or egg wash to seal, and then place the pasties on a cookie sheet.

    Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.

    Let cool, then enjoy! This recipe can easily be adjusted for serving sizes. I always end up with extra filling, so I cook it up with scrambled eggs later, etc.

    January 12, 2009

    Jam Thumbprint Cookies

    Originally from the Food Network, but tweaked a tiny bit.

    For some reason, when I tried to make the recipe as posted on the site, it came out very crumbly and dry. It couldn't have been my fault, since I bake perfectly. It may have been that I used a hand electric mixer instead of a real one with the paddle attachment. So, I tweaked it a bit, and if your dough comes out too dry, just add some more butter. I had to add another half stick to mine. These guys were absolutely incredible! I've been obsessed with thumbprint cookies these days, and since I don't eat jam with my toast, I can always justify a few batches with the fancy jam still sitting in my fridge. This time, I had some extra coconut flakes which lead me to this wonderful creation:

    1.5 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 egg yolk
    1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
    3.5 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
    Raspberry and/or apricot jam

    Yields 16 cookies.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

    Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

    January 9, 2009

    Rich Chocolate Truffles (vegan)

    naked truffles small small truffle pic
    This is from a co-worker's vegan cookbook called "Eat, Drink & Be Vegan". Apparently these are unbelievably rich, but I won't know until Sunday afternoon when Michelle and I make them (before having to count our store's inventory till midnight).

    What's in it
    3/4C regular coconut milk (not light)
    10-10.5 oz good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (about 2C)
    1/2 tsp almond extract (or 1/2- 1 tsp other extract of choice)
    1 Tbsp liquor (e.g. brandy, Grand Marnier, Kahlua)
    2-3 Tbsp Dutch-processed or regular cocoa powder or ground nuts

    How it's made
    In a small pot on medium heat, heat coconut milk, stirring until very hot but not boiling. Place chocolate in a glass bowl. Pour hot milk over chocolate and use a heat-proof spatula to stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is well combined. (If chocolate needs more melting, place bowl on top of a pot of boiling water and stir continually until melted). Stir in extract and liquor.

    Refrigerate for one hour or more, until completely cooled and firm. Scoop using a melon baller or small spoon, then lightly roll into balls using your hands. (You will need to rinse your hands a few times). Place truffles on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place cocoa or nuts on a plate and lightly roll truffles on to coat. Serve as is, or refrigerate until serving.

    January 8, 2009

    Tahini-Lemon Sauce

    The abundance of Lebanese restaurants in Portland naturally fuels a lively debate over which one is the best. There are many theories, from Ya Hala to Al-Amir, but it is the first Lebanese restaurant I was introduced to that remains my favorite. Nicholas, the hole in the wall off Grand, vastly out-ranks the others--for only one reason: the tahini. It's ridiculously divine and I am simply incapable of describing it well enough to do it justice.

    Every time I go, I order the vegan mezze platter--which last for at least two meals. It includes falafel and hummus, all you can eat pita, a garbanzo dish, tabouleh and more. It's all delicious, but I'm really just looking for that huge puddle of tahini. One dip with a chunk of fresh, hot pita and I'm completely, utterly satisfied. The long wait for a table? Worth it for that one bite.

    Here is a recipe I decided to try, since I can't afford to eat out much any more. It's from my trusty original Moosewood Cookbook--copyright 1977. This turned out very well--and far outshined the falafels (from a mix--next time from scratch!) we also attempted. I'm fairly certain it's as close as I'm going to get without the secret recipe from Nicholas' kitchen.

    • 1 1/2 cups tahini (sesame seed paste--found near the peanut butter in the supermarket)
    • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
    • 1 medium clove crushed garlic (I love my jar from Trader Joe's!)
    • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (around 3 lemons)
    • 1/4 cup chopped (or finely-minced if mixing by hand) scallions (I used regular onions.)
    • 1/4 cup chopped (or finely-minced if mixing by hand) parsley
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 or 2 dashes cayenne
    • 1 or 2 dashes paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (or more, to taste--I'm a huge fan of this spice...)
    • 1 or 2 dashes of tamari
    1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy and smooth. (You can also use a wisk or an electric mixer.) Sample the mixture and add ingredients to suit your taste.

    January 3, 2009


    I remember very clearly the first time I had chilaquiles, a staple in Mexico not frequently found at Mexican restaurants in the U.S. I was 18 and living in Mexico City on my first stint studying abroad. A group of other students and I had reservations at the Hotel Majestic for brunch, purely for the direct view of the Zocalo--historic Mexico City's expansive main square. We were able to watch Ruben Blades perform (part of a series of free summer concerts) from above the fray of thousands--while enjoying breakfast. The music was good, but the chilaquiles ended up stealing the show.

    Chilaquiles come in many forms: red sauce or green sauce, with eggs without eggs, with chicken or other meat or vegetarian. But my favorite remains the way I originally experienced them: with green sauce, chicken and no eggs. Traveling throughout Mexico, I'd always order them when I found the right combo. The other versions are not bad by any means, but with the green sauce they're transcendent.

    Awhile ago, Mark and I made a version of chilaquiles with shrimp roughly adapted from my Dona Tomas cookbook. We used homemade totopos, tortilla chips, from the same. It may have been the best version I've ever had--and that's saying something. (NOTE: There are delicious chilaquiles offered at La Bamba on SE 49th and Division in Portland.)

    For the chilaquiles:
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 3 cups (or so) chile verde enchilada sauce
    • 10 ounces corn tortilla chips
    • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack is recommended, but we used cheddar)
    • 1/4 thinly sliced white onions
    • 1/3 cup crumbed Cotija cheese (worth getting for authenticity's sake)
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1/4 cup crema or sour cream
    1. Add the oil to a skillet over high heat.
    2. Add about 2 cups of green sauce. Bring to a boil, then add tortilla chips. Saute the chips in the sauce for about 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until the chips absorb the sauce.
    3. Continue to add sauce until all the chips are well coated but not soupy. You may not need all of the sauce.
    4. Add the grated cheese and stir once or twice util barely melted. Transfer to a serving plate or individual plates.
    5. Sprinkle with onion, Cotija and cilantro. Drizzle with crema. Top with shrimp or chicken. Die of happiness.
    For the shrimp:

    • 1/2 white onion, sliced
    • 1 pound frozen shrimp
    • Salt
    • 2 tablespoons unslated butter
    • 1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    • Lime
    1. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the oil and onion--quickly stir 2-3 times. Add the shrimp and a few dashes of salt. Saute for a minute.
    2. Add the butter, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for a minute, until butter melts and the garlic releases it's aroma and shrimp are done.
    3. Serve on top of your chilaquiles.

    January 1, 2009

    Vegan Nut Roast

    Here it is... That tasty dish I served on Thanksgiving. Super easy and simple.


    The roast:

    two tablespoons oil or margarine
    2 large onions, chopped fine
    5 cloves (or an entire bulb) garlic, minced
    3 cups raw cashews
    1 1/2 cups bread
    1 cup soup stock (or water)
    salt and pepper
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    The "stuffing":

    3 cups bread cubes, toasted
    two tablespoons margarine, melted but not hot
    1/2 to 3/4 cup finely-chopped onion
    1 cup chopped celery
    1/2 teaspoon thyme
    1/2 teaspoon marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon sage
    3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
    salt to taste


    (From the first list:) Cook the onion and garlic in the oil or margarine until tender, and remove from the heat.
    Chop the cashews by hand or in a food processor; cut up the bread as well. Add the cashews and bread to the onion, then add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Put half of this mixture into a small, non-stick loaf pan (or line a regular loaf pan with parchment paper if a non-stick pan is unavailable).
    Mix together all the ingredients from the second list. Put the mixture on top of the stuff in the loaf pan, and add the rest of the first mixture so that there are three layers of food in the pan.
    Place the pan on a baking sheet or in a larger loaf pan (in case it overflows while cooking), and bake at 400 degrees F for half an hour. The top should be browned.
    Let the roast cool for a few minutes, then turn the pan over and serve the roast on a plate (or simply serve it out of the pan). Serve with gravy if desired, keeping in mind that it is a very rich dish.

    The roast will take about an hour to prepare.
    The stuffing works well on its own -- and I often make extra!
    The roast refrigerates well and can be frozen for a few months and microwaved back to life.
    As shown, recipe makes roughly six servings.
    Vegetable stock is often available in concentrate or as bouillon cubes, in health-food stores and in general grocery stores. If you really can't find it, use water.