Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Homemade Maple Bacon Donuts

Ever since I started this blogging thing, I started saving 4-6 recipes to try out during the weekend. Not only does the weekend allow me to test, taste and remake recipes but from my experience pictures taken during the day look so much better.

I was an art minor in college and spent my time with botanical drawings and painting landscapes. I regret to this day not making the time for a photography class. So here I am, learning day by day what makes a food shot look styled and professional. Obviously my end result is to make you want to try my recipes. A couple of things I'm trying out: white plate & white tablecloth. Let me know what you think.

A more important topic on the agenda, donuts. I've been eyeballing this shortcut donut recipe for a while. I was motivated to make them as a going away present for a friend/follower. I hope she enjoys them.

Homemade Maple Bacon Donuts Adapted from Serious Eats
1 roll of biscuits (I used the Trader Joe's brand)
8 cups of vegetable oil

Maple Glaze
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

2 cooked slices of bacon crumbled

Tools: 1 dutch oven or wok, chopsticks or thongs to flip the donuts and an oil & candy thermometer

Deep frying foods has always been intimidating to do on my own. I feel most comfortable using my wok to deep fry foods but just make sure whatever you use is tall enough so that the oil doesn't spill over.

Pour 8 cups of oil into your deep frying pan, turn heat on high and prep the donut dough while the temperature of the oil rises.

Unroll the can of biscuits, I love the popping noise that the container makes when you break it open. Do your best to keep the dough in a nice circular shape. Cut out the donut holes using a cookie cutter or something similar in shape (I used my Sigg lid).

Once the oil registers 350 degrees on the candy thermometer begin to gently drop the dough into the oil. Fry about 3-4 donuts at a time depending on the size of your pan.

Fry the donut for about a minute and a half and using chopsticks or thongs flip the donut onto the other side. Cook for another minute and then transfer the cooked donuts to a paper towel lined plate.

While frying the donuts, mix the glaze in a small bowl. Stir together the powdered sugar, maple and vanilla until you have a smooth glaze.

Once the donuts are done, dip the top half of the donut into the glaze. Set aside on a plate and sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top of the donut glaze.

Eat with coffee. High consumption of donuts will motivate you to go on the longest run you've ever been on.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Taco Tuesday: Cancun Tacos

This dish is my interpretation of a dish my husband consistently orders at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It is very similar to pollo en crema (the Mexican version of a red Alfredo sauce) and on top of having chicken, it also has shrimp and crab. Next time I make it I plan on adding more mushrooms, I love the taste that they bring to this dish.

4-6 medium sized cooked shrimp
1/4 c cooked crab meat
1/4 c shredded cooked chicken
1/4 of an onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 c mushrooms chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/2 c chicken broth
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
2 tbs milk
1/3 c sour cream
1/2 c shredded monterey jack
6-8 corn tortillas

In a skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until translucent then add the mushrooms.

Stir in the chicken broth, paprika, salt and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add in the shrimp, crab meat and chicken.

Gently fold in the sour cream and milk. Once all of the ingredients have been mixed together well, sprinkle the shredded monterey jack over the dish.

Broil the dish for about 5 minutes until it comes out slightly golden end bubbly.

Spoon out into warm tortillas and enjoy.
You might have to eat these tacos with a fork.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Savory Crepes


 As a child, the crepes I had were made by my grandma and filled with berries, jams, cottage cheese, whipped cream and powdered sugar. Being picky for the first 20 years of my life, I naturally resisted these burrito style crepes.  It just didn't seem like an appetizing meal. Similar to my dislike for mustard, beans or avocados I slowly realized that I must be missing out on something that the greater population enjoyed.

These crepes are super simple to whip up and you can wrap them around any type of scramble.

4 eggs
1/2 c Bisquick
1/4 c cream (half and half or heavy whipping cream)
oil or butter for the pan

2 eggs
1/8 of an onion diced
4 asparagus stalks
2 mushrooms
1/4 bell pepper chopped
1 dollop of sour cream
salt & pepper

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and puree until there are no lumps left over. If you are doing this by hand use a whisk and whisk hard.

Coat a skillet with olive oil or butter and turn heat onto medium-low. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet and swirl around so the batter covers the entire pan.

Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until the underside looks brown and flip the crepe. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute and set aside. Repeat this process again until you've used up all of the batter.

For the filling saute the onion, asparagus, mushrooms and bell pepper until cooked thoroughly. About 5-8 minutes. Set the vegetables aside and scramble your two eggs. Once the eggs are halfway cooked add in your chopped veggies. Wrap the veggie and egg scramble into the crepe with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Taco Tuesday: Lobster Avocado Tacos


I have come to the conclusion that standing alone, crab is better than lobster . . . unless it's used as an ingredient. I had left over lobster from my father-in-laws birthday so I spent all day trying to decide what to make:

lobster pot pie
lobster bisque
lobster risotto
lobster mac & cheese
lobster chowder
lobster pizza
lobster rolls
lobster tacos

I know, I'm a genius. If you don't have leftover lobster, the langostino tails from the freezer section of Trader Joe's work perfectly.

1 cup cooked lobster meat (or langostino tails)
1 avocado diced
2 tbs mayonaise
1 lime juiced
1/8 c chopped cilantro
2 green onions chopped
1/4 of a red cabbage head, shredded
1 tbs rice vinegar
salt and pepper
6-8 corn tortillas warmed
hot sauce
Serve with a Paloma

In a bowl, combine the lobster, avocado, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl toss the shredded cabbage and rice vinegar.

Toss some red cabbage into a warm tortilla and spoon two scoops of lobster over the cabbage.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quench your thirst with a Paloma


Two days ago they predicted snow would fall in San Francisco. Snow did fall, but only on the highest point in SF. Today the sun is beaming into the house but deceivingly there is a layer of frost on the rooftops and ice anywhere water was once standing. I'm not going to complain, I'm just going to pretend it is warm by cranking up the heater and making a drink that is supposed to be made during hot and humid weather.

1 shot of tequila (2 oz)
1/4 shot of triple sec
1 can of Squirt
1/2 lime
rock salt
1 mason jar

Fill a shallow bowl with rock salt. Take your mason jar and run the rim under water. Dip the mason jar into the bowl so the entire rim is lined with salt.

Fill the mason jar with ice.

Pour one shot (2 oz) of tequila and one quarter of a shot of triple sec into the jar.

Fill the remainder of the jar with Squirt and squeeze half of a lime over the top of the drink. Stick a straw into that mason jar, pretend it's sunny, pretend you're on a beach somewhere with sand sticking to your legs because you are so sweaty from the heat and drink.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Sour Cream Pancakes


I originally found these sour cream pancakes on Smitten Kitchen's blog who got it from Ree Drummond's cookbook. I am not lying when I say that this is the ONLY pancake recipe that I have used since I originally stumbled upon Smiten Kitchen's post a year ago.

The recipe is perfectly sized for two. I get about 7 fluffy five inch pancakes out of this recipe.

7 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (I swapped some with yogurt when I realized I was short, to no ill-effect)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter or oil
Maple syrup

In a bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and the salt).

Gently mix in the sour cream.

In a separate bowl, whisk the two eggs with the vanilla extract. Add into the batter.

In a skillet on medium heat coated with oil or butter, scoop two spoonfuls of batter onto the hot skillet.

Once bubbles begin to form at the very edge of the pancake batter, it's time to gently flip them over. This should take around 1-2 minutes depending on how hot your skillet is.

Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the goo on the outside of the pancake doesn't look runny. These pancakes get puffy so make sure and pat them down with a spatula a couple of times. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy every minute of these pancakes. They go way too fast.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taco Tuesday: Ground Turkey Tacos (like the ones your mom used to make)

There is one staple that we always had in our home when I was a kid and that was tortillas. Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, burrito sized tortillas and even sun dried tortillas. On any given day, if you are ever a guest at my parent's house, look into their fridge and I bet you $100 that they have both of those items. Make it $1,000.

It has been a family joke for years but my mom is a compulsive tortilla buyer and I adopted that habit. The only difference is I only eat corn tortillas and I buy mine at Costco and stick them in the freezer.

This taco Tuesday I decided to adapt my mom's recipe: ground beef, Lawry's taco seasoning packet, cheese, hot sauce and stewed tomatoes. I'm sure you've had them before.

1/2 package of ground turkey (or 1/2 lb)
1 bell pepper chopped
1/4 onion chopped
1 jalapeno chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp  paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2/3 c tomato sauce
cilantro, shredded cabbage and shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

In a hot skillet with oil pre-cook the ground turkey breaking apart the pieces with a wooden spoon. Pour out any liquids left over from cooking.

Add in the chopped bell pepper, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Saute until the onions are transparent.

Next add all of the herbs and spices. Depending on the heat you like you can always add more cayenne pepper.

Add the tomato sauce and cook on medium heat until the meat has soaked up the spices and tomato sauce. Set aside with the shredded cheese and shredded cabbage and enjoy a really easy meal and just call me Jacqui Crocker.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Dog Cookies


According to a video made by Nova, dogs have the level of intelligence to understand a full range of words other than sit, down and roll over. Today I spent the day getting our dog Lucy to understand the words cookie, toy and clean up. By the end of the day she understood cookie and toy but we're still working on the words "clean up".

In all seriousness, all of the scares in the last couple of years with dog food laced with contaminated wheat gluten caused us to be extra cautious about the food we serve Lucy.  In addition to $50 bags of dog food every month, we feed Lucy a homemade meal once or twice a week and lately I've been baking her homemade dog cookies. Have I mentioned yet that our dog is spoiled?

Similar to the baked goods I make these dog cookies get distributed to family and neighbors. I like to add parsley to this recipe (which helps eliminate bad dog breath) and blueberries (dogs love them, did you see Fantastic Mr. Fox?).

Nico, a chiweenie and my dog niece, says that she smacks her lips after eating my dog cookies because they are that good.

1 c flour
1/2 c wheat germ
3/4 c beef or chicken broth
1 c smooth peanut butter
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 dried blueberries
1/4 c chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl combine the flour, wheat germ, chicken broth, peanut butter and minced garlic.

Fold in the parsley and dried blueberries.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface (the dough should be about 1/4" thick). Cut the dough into rectangles or use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes (or until golden brown). Let cool and serve.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Brunch: Sweet Potato Pecan Buns with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze


Since I got my espresso maker for Valentines Day I have a new morning routine. Who cares about breakfast, all I care about is coffee! Over the last week my coffee addition has gotten to the point where my body does not react to normal doses of caffeine.

This morning I decided to change the pace, committing to starting breakfast first, then I walked the dog, then I made coffee, then I cleaned the kitchen, and then I ate breakfast. If you're in a rush, start this recipe the night before. I promise I will go easy on the coffee moving forward.

Sweet Potato Butter Buns with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze
Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 c milk
3 tbs unsalted butter
3 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour (don't pour it all in at once)
1/2 c sugar
1 lg egg
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
Extra butter for greasing your pan

3-4 tbs golden brown sugar
1/2 c finely chopped pecans
1 c sweet potato butter (or apple butter or any other fruit butter you have available)

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the dough put the butter and milk in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds.

Once the butter is fully melted, combine one cup of flour, sugar, the egg, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. If you have an electric mixer use it! Stir all of the ingredients together until fully incorporated.

Add the last 2 1/2 c of flour one cup at a time. The dough should begin to ball up. If the dough is too sticky, keep adding more flour.

Knead for about 8 minutes (I forgot to mention that this recipe includes a workout).

Oil a clean bowl and coat the dough lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and a towel and store for two hours in a warm, draft free spot until the dough has doubled in size.

Just so you're prepared, butter your baking dish ahead of time. A 9x9 baking dish works perfect for these buns. (This is when you can walk the dog, run, take a shower, do what you need to do)

On a floured surface, roll your dough out with a rolling pin. If you prefer smaller buns, break the dough into four sections.

Once the dough is rolled out (about 1/4 inch thick) in the shape of a rectangle, spoon on your sweet potato butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.

Starting on the long side of the dough, roll the dough into one long log.

Cut the dough through the log. You should be able to cut about 9 circular sections more if you are making smaller buns.
Place the sections of dough into your pre-buttered baking dish. Leave a little space between each section of dough.

Set aside for another 45 minutes (or until they have doubled in size).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes and while the buns are in the oven mix up your glaze.

Combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract with a mixer. Beat until ingredients are well combined.

Take the buns out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

According to the recipe you should invert the rolls onto a rack; however I missed this step and they still turned out alright. I can see how esthetically this would make a difference.With a spoon or knife, layer the cinnamon cream cheese glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls. They should be just warm enough that the glaze melts slightly.

Eat while hot.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taco Tuesday : Masa Pockets


I managed to get this recipe out last night but before I wrote anything our internet went down. We've been hit hard with non stop rain, the water is so high on the road it creates a wave that splashes into our front yard. Last night I saw someone get hit by one of these waves. Now I'm heading out to face the rain. I can't find my rain boots, I don't have a proper rain jacket but I do have a big umbrella, wish me luck.

1 c masa harina
3 tbs flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c water (added in 1 tbs at a time)
1/2 c corn
1/2 c cooked shrimp chopped
1/4 c shredded fontina
oil for pan frying

In a bowl combine the masa harina, flour, baking soda and salt.

One tablespoon at a time, add water to the dry ingredients until a nice ball is formed. The dough should not crumble easily and it should not have a sticky texture.

 Take a golf sized piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll it out flat like a tortilla.

Spoon a teaspoon of corn a couple pieces of shrimp onto the masa dough.

Add the cheese.

Fold in half and pinch the edges together, making a half circle shape.If some of the sections are difficult, keep working the dough, it will mend together.

In a skillet on high heat add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Place the masa pockets into the pan and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

When they're done place them onto a paper towel to absorb the extra oil and eat them while they're hot!


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