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Posts Tagged ‘kid friendly recipes’

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The Mighty Bean

We are a family of bean lovers!  I wrote my first bean cookbook almost 30 years ago and I have a new one coming out this winter – The Mighty Bean published by Countryman Press. They both are filled with recipes we love. Refried beans are right up there with the top 5 favorites even though they are not as heart healthy as we should be eating – but you really do need that bacon fat for the depth of flavor good refried beans have.  This is about as close as I come to making a traditional Mexican refried bean.  I like to make a batch and keep it on hand for making a quick burrito, enchilada or tostada.  If you keep a can of Hatch Enchilada Sauce (which I find to be excellent) and some tortillas on hand you can have a tasty Mexican-inspired dish on the table in minutes!

Refried Beans

Serves 6

1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked (see page 00)

1 cup diced onions

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves – Mexican oregano is great if you can find it

Salt and pepper

1 cup bacon fat

Place the beans in a large saucepan with cold water to cover by 2-inches.  Add the onions, cilantro, garlic and oregano and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil; then, lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer for about 2 hours or until the beans are very soft.  The beans should still be liquidy – if not, add water throughout the cooking process.  When the beans have softened, season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and drain well, reserving the liquid.  Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and, with the motor running, add the cooking liquid a bit at a time.  The beans should be a bit rough – do not puree.

Place ½ cup of the bacon fat in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the beans and cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes incorporating the fat into the beans as you stir.  Cook until the beans are a bit dry.

Remove the beans from the heat and let cool.

Then, return to the heat and, using the remaining ½ cup of bacon fat, repeat the frying process.  You may not need to use all of the fat.  

Serve as a side dish or as a topping for tostadas or as a filling for burritos and/or enchiladas.

Store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.  May be frozen.  Reheat before using.

NOTE:  When frying the beans for the first go-round, you may add finely diced onions, tomatoes and/or minced garlic to the mix.

You can also incorporate 2 cups of shredded queso blanco or Monterey jack cheese just before serving.

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Ebelskivers_7498

 

What are ebelskivers?  Not nearly as scary as the name sounds….. they are Danish treats that are sometimes called Danish pancakes or Danish puffs.  They are more puff than pancake as they are cooked into little round balls in a pan made especially for them.  My friends at ScanpanUSA (www.scanpan.com)  presented me with an ebelskiver pan some time ago and although I have used it I have infrequently made the dessert it is named for.  However, they are so easy to do and just enough work that I am willing to put my “no sweets diet” aside.  With this batch I made half with jam filling and half with bittersweet chocolate – I loved them both.  Next, I am going to try to make a savory version which I will report on once done.

I make this small recipe otherwise I’d eat too many of them, but you can easily double the recipe.  If you have children or a sweet tooth, I’d recommend doing that as these are rather like doughnut holes that you can just pop into your mouth.

 

Æbelskiversor Ebelskivers

Makes about 18

 

2 large eggs, separated

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup milk

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Raspberry or other jam of choice (you’ll need about ¼ cup)

9 bits of bittersweet chocolate or 3 bittersweet chocolate chips per ebelskiver

Butter for brushing ebelskiver cups

Cinnamon sugar or confectioners’ sugar for dusting

 

Place the egg whites in a small bowl and beat, using a hand-held electric mixer, for about 4 minutes or until stiff, but not dry.  Set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl, whisking to blend well.

Combine the milk, cream, butter and vanilla with the reserved egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk to blend.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and beat to just combine.  The mixture should be a bit lumpy.

Fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated, yet still light and airy.

Place the ebelskiver pan over medium-high heat.  Add a dab of butter to each cup and, using a pastry brush, lightly coat the entire cup with the melting butter.

When the butter bubbles, add about a tablespoon of the batter to each cup.  As the batter begins to set, place either a teaspoon of jam or the chocolate bits in the center.  When the batter is fully set, add a tablespoon of batter to cover the filling.  Carefully turn the cooked half and continue to cook until the batter has cooked through and the filling is hot and/or melted.  I use a long wooden skewer and my fingers – take care not to burn them – to turn the ball.

Remove from the pan and set on a wire rack.  Dust with sugar and serve warm.

Continue making ebelskivers until all of the batter is used.

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Avocado Toast

In the last few years we have somehow become best buddies with quite a few Australians who along with great friendship have introduced us to their favorite breakfast, avocado toast and a flat white. Avocado toast became an immediate choice for me as my most memorable childhood treat was mashed avocado on a saltine and avocado toast is about as close a relative of that simple snack as you can get. For the easiest version you toast some great bread – I like to do ciabatta or baguette on the grill pan – and then simply slice some avocado over the top, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle on some sea salt. There are other versions calling for mashed avocado seasoned with chilies or dukka (also spelled duqqa), an Egyptian spice mix comprised of ground spices, nuts, and herbs or with Mexican seasonings and chopped cilantro. Lots of New York restaurants are now featuring unusual “cheffy” versions and you can find any number of interesting takes on this simple and quite healthy breakfast on the web and in food magazines.

And should you want to do the whole Aussie breakfast, a flat white is a coffee similar to an Italian cortado, but the milk is softer and thicker and the coffee flavor more pronounced than it is in any of the milky Italian espresso beverages. I think that Starbucks now features a flat white which gives you a further sense of the Australian influence in our culture.

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Bananas_DSC_2398

It really depends upon the size of the pan you bake it in whether you end up with a banana cake or a tea bread.  For some, the cake (which I bake in a shallow bundt pan) is not as sweet as they might like, but for us it makes a tasty side for a hot cuppa “joe” or afternoon tea.   To make it a bit sweeter, drizzle on a plain or lemon-scented glaze or dust with confectioners’ sugar.  To make tea breads, just scrape the batter into either a 9-inch loaf pan or 3 of those little loaf pans.  Because the ripe bananas add so much moisture, either as a cake or bread, the baked result keeps very well.

1¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

⅔ cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Lightly coat the interior of your cake or loaf pan(s) with nonstick baking spray.  Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Mix on low to just soften.  Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium, and beat until light and creamy.  Beat in the bananas and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour mixture, beating to incorporate.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s).  Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes (for a large pan) to 30 minutes (for small pans) or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and tip out of the pan(s) onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature.   May be stored, well-wrapped and refrigerated, for up to 1 week or frozen, for up to 3 months.

 

GLAZE:  All you have to do is combine about 1½ cups of confectioners’ sugar with a tablespoon of warm milk and a tablespoon of melted unsalted butter until it is smooth and runny.  If you want lemon-scented, replace the milk with lemon juice (and, if you like, a bit of lemon zest).  Drizzle the glaze over the still-warm cake and set aside to allow it to harden slightly.

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