Sweet Potato Fries

sweetpotatofriesI’d done sweet potato fries before and although they were fine, they didn’t have a lot of pizazz. I’d traditionally just rubbed them with regular canola oil and some salt and then put the ketchup on the table.

This recipe changed everything. It made me a true believer, and now it’s a great side to a burger or hot dog Saturday kind of day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 clove garlic microplaned
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • Sriracha sauce
  • 1 large sweet potato

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.
  2. Add the spices and stir, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Peel and slice the sweet potato into fries.
  4. Place the fries in a plastic bag and pour in the butter.
  5. Massage and shake well until the fries are thoroughly covered.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  7. Place the fries onto a parchment covered cookie sheet. Keep in one layer but dont’ be overly finicky, just spread them out.
  8. Place in the oven and bake until browned and done, about 15 minutes. Stir or shake around, flipping most of them about half way through.
  9. Place the mayo in a bowl and add as much sriracha as you wish as a dip.

SERVES: 2

NOTES: you can easily change the spices to reflect say an Asian taste and also change the mayo with curry or mustard. Getting away from the ketchup is the key to making this dish soar above average.

SOURCE: The Pioneer Woman

Cajun Cabbage Stew

Cajun Cabbage Stew ServingI made this soup/stew a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out very well.

My husband thinks I could open up a soup restaurant, but truthfully soup is one easy thing to make, requiring very little measuring. You just want to get the general amounts close and then let your creativity add the rest.

Given that winter is upon some of us all ready (it’s even cold here in southern New Mexico), such dishes are welcome and hearty on cool evenings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tablespoon of bacon drippings or butter
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 stalk (rib) of celery, chopped
  • 1 poblano or Anaheim chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork or beef
  • 1/2 pound of mild andouille or other spicy smoked sausage
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 teaspoons of chicken or beef bouillon or base (like Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1  15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, halved, cored and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scraped and diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp  of fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, or to taste
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Brown your ground pork or beef (or frankly a combo would be fine) until no longer pink.
  2. Add the vegetables except for the cabbage and potato and saute until softened.
  3. Add the water, cabbage, potato, and canned tomato
  4. Bring to a light simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
  5. Add the balance of the ingredients save the sausage and cover, letting the soup sit for a couple of hours if possible.
  6. Add the sausage an reheat.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: you can use a milder sausage if you prefer and leave out the chiles, but I wouldn’t. Also I leave the sausage out until the end because I like the taste of Andouille and don’t want it all washed out by the cooking process. This freezes up well if you have leftovers!

SOURCE: Deep South Dish

Queso Fundido Mac & Cheese

fundito Fundido means molten or melted and that certain is the case here. The Internet is besieged with fundido recipes it seems, and so you should consider it molten in more than one way.

In other words, play with it and make it your own.

This plays with the concept of mac and cheese and takes it to an all-time high with chiles and chorizo and tons of cheese and crema.

It should be considered comfort food.

It should be considered in your next meal-planning session.

Trust me.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 2 large poblano pepper
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 C  extra sharp cheese, shredded or a combination of Jack, cheddar, Queso Fresco etc.
  • 1½ cups Mexican crema
  • 8 ounces small pasta shells
  • ½ cup crushed, taco chips
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Canola or olive oil spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Blacken your chiles, peel, seed and chop and set aside.
  2. Brown your chorizo and 1/2 diced onion in a skillet and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour, stir to a roux and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the milk and cream and heat until it starts to simmer and thicken. Add the mustard and nutmeg.
  5. Add the cheese, and stir until melted. Add a bit of pepper.
  6. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  7. Drain and place in an oiled or buttered 10 x 14 baking dish
  8. Add the cooked chorizo, onions, and chiles.
  9. Pour the cheese sauce over the top and spread evenly.
  10. Cover with the panko/taco chips.
  11. Bake uncovered at 375° for about 30 minutes.
  12. Set to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

SERVES: 8 generously

NOTES: as always, substitute any peppers or add more. I added one chopped Serrano to the cheese sauce. Also you could use ground pork or ground beef if you don’t like chorizo, but you will lose a lot of flavor. If you do so, add a tbsp of chile powder and a tsp of cumin to the cheese sauce.  If you leave out the pasta, make in a cast iron skillet and put under the broiler to brown and serve with chips.

SOURCE: Hispanic Kitchen

A Good Rye Bread*

rye (2)This recipe turned out a pretty darn good rye bread, which proved acceptable for sandwiches, toast, and French toast.

This photo is a bit misleading as my loaf was not as high. I plan to adjust the yeast next time, as these flours don’t have nearly the gluten of wheat, so they need a good deal more.

But the taste was excellent I thought, and like most bread recipes, they come together quickly and require little bother.

So do try if you are trying to reduce your carbohydrate intake.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c warm water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c vital wheat gluten
  • 1 c rye bread
  • 1/2 c oat bran or wheat bran
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 2 pkts sugar substitute (your preference or 2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place all the dry ingredients together in a mixer bowl with dough hook attachment
  2. Add all the liquid together and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add the liquid to the dry and mix.
  4. Continue to mix until the dough starts to pull from the sides. (adjust water or more flour as needed to reach this point, but the dough should be sticky).
  5. Shut off the mixer and cover with a towel and leave for 30 minutes.
  6. Beat on high for 5 minutes to “knead” the dough
  7. Turn into oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap and towels and keep in warm place. (if it’s cold in your neck of the woods, turn on the oven and let rise to 100° then shut off. You can then place the bowl in the oven.
  8. Let rise for an hour or more until doubled in size.
  9. Oil or grease a bread pan. Deflate dough just enough to shape and place in the bread pan. Cover again with the plastic wrap and towels and return to a warm place until dough has risen over the edges into a loaf-size.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  11. Place loaf in and bake for about 25 minutes until nicely brown and hollow sounding when tapped.
  12. Cool for about 30 minutes in the pan and then run a knife around the edges and slip out onto a rack for complete cooling.
  13. Wrap in plastic wrap, foil, and then into a plastic sealed bag for storage in the fridge. It will keep fine, and stay moist. Don’t skip on the triple wrapping.

SERVES: 1 loaf

NOTES: The molasses and vanilla serve to cut down the “gluten” taste. You might try any other flavors that you think are better.

SOURCE: The ingredients are largely come from Splendid Low-Carbing, but the methodology is mine.

Brownies For Dummies*

triple-chocolate-zucchini-brownies1I made about three low-carb brownie recipes before I found a good one.

This is a good one.

It is moist, the texture is very good, the sweetness is fine, and the taste is chocolaty. That’s about all you can ask for in a brownie recipe.

The original called for 3/4 c sugar of your choice. I changed that quite a bit, but I think it still works out just fine.

This can be adjusted to a normal sugar recipe easily enough of course.

But why would you when these taste this good?

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c Swerve or erythritol type
  •  1/3 c pureed date sweetener
  • 1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 c  whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup  Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups  and grated zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the wet ingredients together (including the sugar)
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. Mix the two.
  4. Add the zucchini, chips and walnuts.
  5. Mix well.
  6. The mixture will be fairly dry and heavy. You may add a bit of apple juice if needed to mix it. But it should still be like a heavy cookie dough.
  7. Press into a 8 x 8 greased pan.
  8. Place in a preheated 375° oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan on a rack.

SERVES: 16

NOTES: you can substitute other nuts if you wish and of course use other sugars as you desire, mindful that the date sweetener is wet and thus helps to get the moisture in. If you use other dry sugars, you might want to add some other form of wet ingredient such as sour cream perhaps. I used about 1/4 c of apple cider in mine and it worked out fine.

SOURCE: Adapted from texanerin

 

 

Mexican Crema

cremaIt occurred to me that a lot of folks (basically all who don’t live in the Southwest as I am privileged to) have never heard of crema.

Here is it available commercially, but up North you don’t have to sacrifice authenticity in your recipe because it is simple to make.

Basically it’s just sour cream thinned out with  cream.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • pinch of salt.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Stir together and store in the fridge covered.

SERVES: 2 cups

NOTE: as you can see, the ratio is 1:1 so make in any quantity you need. Frankly it’s nicer than sour cream on any of your favorites like tacos because it spreads out more evenly and thus it flavors the dish better.

SOURCE: Everybody

Date Sweetener

datesweetThis can’t get any simpler to make folks.

You ask why?

What?

It’s simple dates, turned into a paste, which makes it lovely for a lot of things.

You could drop a dollop upon a scone, for instance, or on some ice cream.

But what it really works well as is a substitute for white sugar.

It of course is laden with calories like regular sugar, but it does have some fiber and it dous not have a bunch of processing.

It freezes perfectly, so just put it into suitable amounts and use it as needed.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 container of dried dates (350 grams) is fairly standard
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place all in a glass container making sure that all the dates are in water and cover with some plastic wrap and leave on the counter over night.
  2. In the morning, place all in a food processor and whirr until nice and smooth.
  3. Spoon into containers and refrigerate or freeze for longer term use.

SERVES: 5- 1/3 C measures

NOTES: You can substitute for liquid sugary things like juice or applesauce on pretty much an equal basis. For dry sugar, you will have to diddle a bit more, perhaps by adding a bit more dry ingredient base in to keep the batter consistent. The flavor is not over powering enough I don’t think to mess up most baking recipes. Would be lovely with oatmeal I think.

SOURCE: Italian Food Forever