25 Aug 2019 Tropical Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips

The biggest issue with this dish is: when to eat it! Dessert? Appetizer? Snack? All three work but I think the best is a quiet summer afternoon on the porch with a chilled beverage of choice.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mango (1 large or 2 small)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped kiwi (2)
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime (2-3 teaspoonfuls)
  • Salt, optional, to taste (I never add salt)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt, if desired.
  2. Serve with Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips.

Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 3 T. butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Brush one side of tortillas with melted butter then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  4. Using a pizza wheel or knife cut tortilla into 8 triangles (cut into 16 triangles if using XL tortillas)
  5. Place on baking sheet and place in preheated oven.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Serve and share!

NOTES: Salsa can be made the night before and stored covered in refrigerator. Tortilla chips can be made a few hours before serving.

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19 Aug 2019 Grandma’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Grandma’s Buttermilk Cornbread
(on my brand new cutting board, a birthday gift from my daughter!)

As a young kid, Jiffy brand cornbread was my favorite and because it was cheap, I think it was fifteen cents a box, it fit into my family’s budget.  The mix only required one egg and a ¼ cup of milk or water to make six muffins.  As I got older, I tried many cornbread recipes and I tried to get fancy by adding in corn kernels or topping with cheese or stirring in sour cream.  I never settled on a recipe until I tried the Albers cornmeal no frills, back-of-the-box recipe baked in an 8″ x 8″ square pan. I was VERY happy with that recipe, until I found this recipe. The recipe is a bit odd, not so much in the ingredients, but in the mixing method. The resulting cornbread can’t be beat though, not by Jiffy, not by Albers, and not by adding in corn, cheese, and sour cream.

Cornbread is not just for chili or soup! In one of Ruth Reichl’s books, I learned how to elevate day old cornbread and now leftover cornbread is a favorite breakfast treat.  Cut the square slice of cornbread, or the muffin, in half lengthwise—across the middle so you have a top and a bottom not a left side and right side!  Butter the cut edges.  Lay the buttered side down in a hot frying pan.  Let the cornbread sizzle until the buttered sides are slightly browned and the cornbread is warmed through. Eat. Delicious!

This recipe was posted in All Recipes in 2006 by Bethany Weathersby. I’ve rewritten the steps to make the recipe easier to follow, but I have not changed any ingredients. Don’t use a mixer for this, cornbread needs to be combined by hand.

I am not going to get into the whole southern vs northern cornbread recipe debate. This is sweet cornbread, and I like it. I live in South San Jose in Northern California, and this recipe works for me and since I am posting it, I don’t see how anyone will not like it!

Can’t wait to try it with my Ham Bone Bean Soup or Gringo Grandma’s Chili
and then I’ll skillet toast another slice for breakfast 🙂

Grandma’s Buttermilk Cornbread

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2/3 cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal (yes, I use Albers)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 g)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (add ¼ teaspoon more if using unsalted butter)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Butter an 8×8 inch square casserole dish
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet or medium saucepan
  4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in sugar
  5. Quickly add beaten eggs into butter-sugar mixture and beat until well blended
  6. Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk
  7. Add the buttermilk mixture to the butter-sugar-egg mixture in the pan
  8. Combine the flour, cornmeal and salt, whisk to evenly distribute
  9. Add the flour mixture into the pan with the butter-sugar-eggs-buttermilk mixture
  10. Stir until well blended, a few small lumps should remain
  11. Pour batter into the prepared 8×8 inch pan
  12. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  13. Let cool a few minutes
  14. Serve and share

NOTES: According to the originator of this recipe, the baked cornbread freezes well. She also states that it’s OK to sub whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour, but baking time will increase about 10 minutes. I haven’t tried this.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, what shall we make tomorrow?

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15 Aug 2019 Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

This is the cake I wanted for my birthday this year and it’s what a friend requested for her birthday a few months ago. It’s a fabulous trifecta of chocolate: semi sweet chocolate in a brownie-like cake on the bottom, a smooth and rich milk chocolate mousse for the middle layer, and a creamy white chocolate mousse for the top layer.  After that description, I’m guessing you’ll want it for your birthday, too! The torte not only tastes fantastic, it looks impressive, it slices well and it holds it’s shape after being cut. Magnifique!

The torte is a bit of effort to make, but each step, each layer, is easy and is relatively quick to accomplish.  Make the bottom layer before going to bed, let it cool on the counter while you sleep.  The next day, make the middle layer, refrigerate it, and wash the dishes. Then make the top layer and refrigerate the cake until serving time. Cake will keep 24 hours in refrigerator, but I always serve it on the day I make the second and third layers.

And look, here’s a link to a how-to video about making the torte!

The original recipe is from Cooks Illustrated. I think it was a cover recipe for one of their magazines. You can access the recipe online at Cooksillustrated.com, but it will cost you (and I hate that about Cooks Illustrated recipes).

So, after watching the video you’ll know this is not a difficult recipe. Just follow the directions. Melt the chocolate slowly. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixtures. Use an electric mixer when specified and hand whisk or a spatula when specified.  If you can read, you can make this cake. “It’s all about the recipe” is my tag line, and I truly believe it!

I use Lindt chocolate bars in each layer. You’ll need two of the large bars for the bottom layer (around 70% cacao), two large milk chocolate bars for the middle layer, and two white chocolate bars for the top layer. Throw in an extra bar of your favorite type to grate on top. That’s about $20 worth of chocolate. In a pinch, you could use chocolate chips, which would be cheaper but wouldn’t taste quite as good and you’d have a harder time melting the chocolate (chocolate chips are not made to melt).

You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan, with sides at least 3 inches high to make this torte. If you’re in town, you can borrow mine. You could also order one off of Amazon, the Fat Daddio’s brand is my favorite. TJ Maxx/HomeGoods has started carrying Fat Daddio’s pans, usually at half the price Amazon sells them for, but it’s hit-or-miss at TJMaxx, isn’t it? Sur la Table and other specialty cooking stores will definitely carry 9-inch springform pans, usually at the same price as Amazon.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

THE BOTTOM LAYER

  •  6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing pan)
  •  7 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer semi-sweet).
  •  ¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  •  1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  4 eggs (separated)
  • Pinch salt
  •  1/3 cup light brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 3 inches high and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter, chocolate and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a bowl of really hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and set aside.
  4. With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of the brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down the sides halfway through.
  5. With a hand-held whisk, whisk one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  6. Carefully transfer the batter to the prepared springform pan, gently smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
  7. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft (the center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with your finger), 13 to 18 minutes.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (The cake will collapse as it cools).
  9. Do not remove the cake from the pan!

THE MIDDLE LAYER:

  •  2 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed, Hershey’s is fine).
  •  5 tablespoons hot water
  •  7 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  •  1½ cups cold heavy cream
  •  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  •  1/8 teaspoon table salt
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over another bowl filled with very, very hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the cocoa powder mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.
  4. With an electric mixer whisk the cream, granulated sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form.
  5. With a handheld wire whisk, stir one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
  6. Spoon the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and gently tap the pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

THE TOP LAYER

  •  ¾ teaspoon powdered gelatin
  •  1 tablespoon water
  •  6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  •  1½ cups cold heavy cream (divided use)
  • Additional grated chocolate (milk or dark) or cocoa powder for decoration, optional
  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water; let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl.
  3. Bring ½ cup of the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave.
  4. Stir the gelatin mixture, into the hot cream, whisking until fully dissolved.
  5. Pour the cream-gelatin mixture over the white chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth (I usually sit the bowl of chocolate over another bowl of boiling water to help it melt).
  6. Cool mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly.
  7. With an electric mixer whisk the remaining 1 cup heavy cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted.
  8. Whisk one-third of the whipped cream, with a hand held whisk, into the white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain.
  9. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  10. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
  11. Garnish the top of cake with grated chocolate or dust with cocoa powder, if desired.
  12. Run a thin knife between the cake and side of the springform pan, then remove the side of pan. Place torte on serving plate.
  13. Cut into slices and share (for clean slices, dip a sharp knife into hot water and wipe dry between cuts).

NOTES: The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

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09 Aug 2019 Korean Chicken Wings
 |  Category: Appetizers, Poultry  | Tags: , , , , ,  | Leave a Comment

I love these! This recipe is one of my very favorite new recipes this year. I have my daughter, Abby, to thank for it. She’s been to a lot of Korean BBQ restaurants (I’ve been to none) and she fell in love with these wings. She then searched out a fabulous recipe and cooked them for me a few times, then I got addicted, which is odd since I don’t particularly like chicken or chicken wings. This recipe is based on one found in “Our Korean Kitchen” by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo. These little pieces of heaven won me over though! These wings have a little bit of everything yummy, a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit crispy, a little bit saucy and a little bit sticky and they are so very addicting. I think I had a dream about them once…

The recipe has a lot of steps, but they are all easy (and well worth it!). You’ll probably need to visit a Korean grocery store for a few items, but once there you’ll find everything and be able too cook multiple batches of these wings before needing a return trip. The wings are very easy to pull together after making them the first time. Honest, they are easy! You’ll want to make them for all your friends.

Here’s a picture of the not-so-common items you’ll need for these wings. Helpful note, Glutinous Rice Flour is also known as Sweet Rice Flour.

Korean Fried Chicken Wings

Sauce

  •  2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Gochujang (available at Korean grocery stores)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp Honey
  • ½ cup  Ketchup
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp sesame oil

Flour Coating for Wings

  • ¼ cup potato flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup glutinous rice flour (AKA Sweet Rice Flour-available at most Asian markets)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

To Cook Wings

  • 3 pounds party wings
  • Vegetable Oil for frying 

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

Make the sauce

  1. Combine first six sauce ingredients (except vegetable oil, garlic, and sesame oil) in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Place vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Once garlic is golden, add all the combined sauce ingredients to the pan, and cook until it has thickened and is glossy, approximately 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add sesame oil, mix thoroughly.
  5. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the chicken

Pour vegetable oil into a deep, medium-size pan, with at least two inches between the surface of the oil and the rim of the pot. Place pan over medium-High heat, and using a deep-fat or candy thermometer to guide you, bring oil to 325 F.

  1. Meanwhile, place the ingredients for the flour mix in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add chicken to the flour mix, coating every part evenly. (Shaking wings with flour mixture in a Ziploc works well)
  2. Shake excess flour off wings and set on a baking rack to dry slightly. If flour soaks into wing and looks a little gummy, shake in flour mixture again.
  3. When oil has reached 325F, add the chicken in batches and fry for about 7 minutes.
  4. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  5. OK to keep cooked wings warm in 250 degree oven until needed.

To Serve

  1. Once all chicken is fried, reheat sauce and toss hot wings in warm sauce.
  2. Sprinkle saucy wings with sesame seeds if using
  3. Share and enjoy!
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