Monthly Archives: January 2013
When we first moved here to the middle of the desert, we took a class excursion out to an orchard, that’s right, they farm profusely here in Arizona. I am not a fan of tomatoes, but so my mother tells me, they grow some pretty tasty ones in Willcox. On this field trip we went for Apples, yum.
Apple Annie’s Orchard is a blast, they have all types of activities and they sell anything and everything apple that you could think of. My mother was crazy for this place, she must have spent a fortune.
One thing that she bought for me to try was apple butter syrup, never heard of that. We had it on waffles and, meh, not so much. So here I have this practically full bottle of syrup, what to do? I have a couple of chef-y friends, so I posed the question to them. Here’s what I dreamed up …
If you’re old enough or you watch late night TV, you remember The Brady Bunch and Peter Brady saying, Pork Chops and Apple Sauce. As I was making this dish, he would not get out of my head, ARGH! I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing though.
Pork Chops & Apple Butter Syrup Sauce
1 Apple, cored and sliced thick (we had golden delicious)
2-4 Pork Chops (I like to find the ole’tyme cuts with good marbling)
1/4 C. Apple Butter Syrup
1/8 tsp. ground Chipotle Pepper
1/4 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice (just a little bit goes a long way)
Season the Pork chops with S&P
Grill the chops to medium rare and the apple slices to a crisp-tender
Tent the chops on a plate with tin foil; let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes, this makes for juicer meat
In the mean time chop the apples into cubes
In a small saucepan heat the syrup; add the chipotle pepper and stir until fragrant
Add the apples and syrup mixture to a bowl and combine
Slice the pork and spoon your apple sauce over
Serve with rice pilaf and a veggie of your choice (I steamed some green beans)
Pork Chops and Apple Sauce, dang you Peter Brady!
Come back to take a peak here in the middle of the desert, it’ll be nostalgic
In 2010 DH and I took a road trip (more about that later) to New Mexico. I would say that is one reason that we moved here to begin with, we enjoy car trips as opposed to flying. Having lived in Hawaii for the majority of my life may have added to that wanderlust. Our last stop on this particular journey was Albuquerque. We like to do research on the ‘net about new places that we plan on going to, this was no exception. We do City Tours that are offered as a jumping-off point; take note of where we’d like to go back to and investigate later. At the end of this tour via ole’ time trolley car, the two guides gave out restaurant advice. Frontier was the place to go for Cinnamon Rolls the size of your head. Okay. We went back to our hotel, and I asked the gal at the front desk where she would go to eat really good Mexican Food, when in Rome… she agreed with the Frontier Restaurant. Off we went. I am corrected; it’s not Mexican food, but NEW Mexican Food in Albuquerque. In New Mexico, there seems to be a long standing banter over Red or Green Chiles. For us though, we found the Hatch Green Chiles the best, either mild or medium. Back then, I didn’t take pictures of my food, what I did do was write stuff down. When we got home, I figured out how to very closely duplicate the dish that my husband liked most, but with my own twist.
Chicken-Green Chile Enchilada
2-3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, poached & shredded
5-6 Flour Tortillas
2-3 Hatch Green Chiles, chopped (I found canned whole chiles at Costco, I just divide up the jumbo sized cans into zip-top bags and freeze them)
1 can Hatch brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
½ C. shredded Cheese of your choice (I like the ‘fiesta’ bagged cheese)
Preheat the broiler in your oven and move the rack up closest to the heat source.
Heat the tortillas (use the method you like, I wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave them for about 30 seconds)
Combine the chicken with just enough sauce in a bowl to moisten the meat; heat in the microwave until very warm.
On broiler-safe dishes, place a tortilla; spoon some of the chicken mixture down the middle, along with about a teaspoonful of chopped chiles. Roll up the tortilla like a cigar, just not too tightly. Continue this process until you have as many enchiladas on each plate per person.
Spoon as much sauce only over the top of the enchiladas; sprinkle with cheese and more chopped chiles, a lot of a little, it’s up to you.
Put the plates, now full of enchiladas, under the broiler to melt the cheese to the desired gooey-ness.
**Be VERY careful removing the plates from the oven; put a trivet on the table in front of each diner to set the plates down on, remember, it’s hot.**
This recipe will feed two hunger adults.
Make this recipe your own. Try it with leftover turkey, how about shredded roast pork or beef. If you like red chiles better, go for it!
Did we talk about Pizza yet? No? Good…
My American-Italian husband adores his pizza. Me, meh, I could take it or leave it, but then I’m Hawaiian-Portuguese-Swedish-Irish-English-French-Danish-Native American-Scots, and, shot, one more I can’t remember, oh well.
MANY moons ago, when my DH and I first started dating, he wanted homemade pizza like his grandmother would make. Yeah right buddy, like that’s gonna’ happen here in Hawaii. Well, wouldn’t ya’ know, in the newspaper that Sunday there was a two page article about making pizza. It didn’t look so hard. That was in the days before I had a KitchenAid® stand mixer or a food processor. Have you ever tried to knead a triple batch of pizza dough by hand? OY!
So here we are years later, and I’ve perfected my pizza to an art.
Sometimes I think that I could make a penny cry, “Uncle” . I can’t see paying the price in the market for horrible dough, gosh, make your own, it taste so much better, trust me! The thing that you should trust me on is that in Italy they leave the dough to rest for at least 24 hours. This step makes for a better chew, taste, texture, smell, well it’s just better.
Pizza ‘don’t buy it’ Dough
1 C. Warm Water (no warmer than 110º)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated Sugar
2 1/2 C. Bread Flour
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Table Salt
In cup, measure out the warm water and add the yeast and sugar, stir and set aside for at least 10 minutes. The yeast will proof or puff up in the cup about 1-2 inches with foam (if it doesn’t toss it and start again).
In the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cups of the flour along with the salt, turn on the machine; add the oil through the feed tube and allow to combine for a few seconds. Give the yeast slurry a mix and pour it in a steady stream into the machine; STOP! Turn off the machine. The mixture should be sloppy and lumpy, that’s okay. Now add in maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of the remaining flour and pulse the machine to incorporate. The mixture should start to come away from the sides of the bowl of the food processor and be slightly tacky. Depending upon how humid it is where you live, you may not need all of that remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Turn the machine back on and let it run for 30 seconds, hold on to it, the machine while try to run across the counter! How does it feel now? Firm, smooth but still just a little sticky? GREAT! You’ve got it. Now turn the dough out in to a large bowl that has already been coated with Olive oil and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 4-6 hours. Place into a zip top bag and refrigerate for at least a day, that’s right.
This dough will make two medium-sized pizzas.
I normally make a triple batch; I have the biggest stainless steel bowl you’ve ever seen. I will divide it all up and put them into the deep freeze.
When you’re ready to make pizza, put the refrigerated dough out on the kitchen counter, with the zip top open, for about 6 hours and frozen for the whole day.
Another Blurb …
I want to put this out into the universe…
I could NEVER, EVER and I mean not in two life times, be a Professional Cook.
My mother had not been well and was staying with DH and I for 15 days; she just went home this afternoon. My husband has been very carefully watching what he’s been eating, which meant that I was a short order cook for 15 days, three meals each day.
Oh My GAWD!!!
I just hope that I am not bringing bad karma or what we would say in Hawaii bachi on myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and adore my husband, but I AM TIRED!!!
There, I put it out there.
When I was still twenty-something, I went to a potluck Christmas party.
In Hawaii, food is a big thing. Men and women take genuine pride in the dishes that they make. It was such a blast to go to potlucks; you never knew what would be on that groaning table full of food. When I say table, I refer to what is called the Luau-sized table. They could easily be 20 feet long with plain white paper tapped to the top.
I remember this particular party because of this cake that was my dream come true. I’m not one for sweet, sticky, gooey icings or frostings. My sister loved it when we had cake as kids, because she could always have the frosting that I scraped off. I’d just eat the cake and not the icing, unless it’s German Chocolate cake, that’s a whole n’other story. I must have had three pieces of this wonderful Bundt cake. I sought out the maker and begged her to give me the recipe. She swore me to secrecy, that I could make this cake for other people, but I couldn’t share the recipe. My sister doesn’t feel as though it’s Christmas if I don’t make and/or send her this cake. Many years later, I was searching the Internet and found many recipes very similar to the one that I had been given.
I am not the best baker out there. I use to bake a lot when I was younger, but as time marches on, so do our waistlines. But Christmas is a time for indulgence. Normally, I make most of what DH and I eat from scratch, no packaged dinners and such. But this is how I learned to make this cake, and I’m sticking to it.
1 Duncan Hines Butter Recipe cake mix (any brand will do)
1 pkg Instant Vanilla Pudding
½ C Kahlua
½ C Vegetable Oil
½ C Water
In electric mixer, beat eggs; add the remaining cake ingredients beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into a well greased and floured Bundt pan and bake at 350⁰ for about 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.
1 stick (8 Tbsp) Butter
¼ C Kahlua
½ C Water
1 C Granulated Sugar
In a small saucepan melt the butter and then stir in the remaining ingredients; boil for 3 minutes.
Pour over the warm cake still in the Bundt pan.
Cool for 1 hour before removing.
This cake is best on the second day.
This cake is moist but not overly so. The booze in it isn’t so strong that it’s like jet fuel, burning your throat on the way down. This past Christmas, DH and I spent the holiday with very dear friends of ours and I took this cake, made up all fancy like. I still can’t believe that domed cake stand didn’t break along the way in our car. As we were leaving, Missus Dear Friend came running out, ‘you forgot this’. I told her what My Grandmother would say, you give it back to me when you see me again, and I’ll fill it back up for you.