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rainforest recipes





Updated: 2018-03-06T11:28:34.318-07:00

 



Rainforest Recipes Has Moved!!

2012-06-20T05:43:58.577-06:00

Rainforest Recipes has now moved to a new location! We have been offline for awhile but expect to be back posting lots of delicious recipes at our NEW LOCATION: Project Ix-canaan: Rainforest Recipes.



CEiMB: Broccoli and Cheddar Stuffed Potato Skins w/ Avocado Cream

2010-03-20T11:06:30.880-06:00

Finally I've managed to cook and post this recipe!  I apologize to readers who came looking for this post when I was supposed to have posted it waaaay back about 3 or 4 weeks ago.  I fully intended to make this on the right day, however, my difficulties began on shopping day when the only avocados to be found were hard as rocks.  By the time I had bypassed that hurdle, Unificacion Maya 2009 was upon me, and everything else in my life ... including cooking and blogging ... was completely out of my mind. Broccoli and Cheddar Stuffed Potato Skins w/ Avocado Cream Preface:I followed this recipe pretty much exactly as written ... except that I halved the main part (I still made a full batch of the Avocado Cream ... it sounded excellent and I figured I can eat it with other foods as well.And, oh yeah, I don't use paper towels to microbake my potatoes. Ingredients: 8 small Idaho potatoes (about 2.5 pounds) scrubbed and dried4 tsp canola oil1/4 teaspoon salt8 ounces brocoli florets, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)cooking spray3 pieces Canadian bacon, finely diced (about 3 ounces)3/4 cup extra sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (about 3 ounces) Avocado Cream 2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens reserved1 medium avocado2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream2 tablespoons lime juice1/4 cup cilantro leaves1 clove garlic1/4 teaspoon saltInstructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and wrap in paper towels. Microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from microwave and cool until potatoes are easy to handle. 54 Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop all but 1/8 inch of the inside of the potato, leaving skin intact. Reserve scooped potato flesh for another use. Brush both inside and outside of potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place potatoes, skin-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until skins are crisp and edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and cook until crisp stirring often, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve. To make avocado cream, combine scallion whites, avocado, sour cream lime juice, cilantro, garlic and salt in the small bowl of a food processor and process on high until smooth. About 30 seconds. Toss the broccoli with cheese and spoon filling evenly among potatoes. Lower oven to 400 degrees F and return potatoes to oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the avocado cream on top of broccoli-filled potatoes, then top with scallion greens and 1 teaspoon crisped bacon bits. Verdict: For me, there were not enough vegies per serving, something which could be rectified by using a more long and flat potato.  Our cheese here is tasteless, and I'm sure the flavor would have been better with a good cheese.  Other than that, it was an excellent vegetable dish for a special occasion. [...]



Using Ramon at Unificacion Maya

2010-03-20T11:08:55.380-06:00


I have just finished the Unificacion Maya Ceremonies for another year.  It is pretty all-absorbing for the month of December, and I haven't been able to take even a moment for blogging.  However, it is over now, and I am determined to get back on my usual schedule.

This Pineapple-Ramon Upside Down Cake was the dessert for our second ceremony.


This cake was invented and baked by Doña Juana, the president of the Ix-canaan Women's Group.



We also had a Ramon Information Day.  After the ceremony at the Ixlu Archeological Site on Day 4, we went to the production facility for Nutri-Naturales, where they had prepared a snack of several items made from the ramon flour that they are producing.


They served a hot and a cold ramon beverage with ramon cookies, ramon sweet breads and these excellent ramon rolls (bollitos).





BB: Chicken Chili

2010-03-20T11:08:55.390-06:00

This will be recipe #2 in the Barefoot Bloggers Challenge. It was well after dark before I finished it and served it, so the photography is pretty bad. I was expecting a Chicken Chili to have beans in it, but no, this was something totally different and unexpected. Chicken Chili (2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All Rights Reserved)Preface:I halved the recipe.I added an extra clove of garlic ... mosts recipes are written to be "safe" in the garlic range, so can be upped without overdoing it.I can't buy canned tomatoes here (all for the best, I think) so I peeled a pound of tomatoes, put half of them through the blender and mashed the other half with my potato masher.For serving, I topped the chili with yogurt and mozzarella cheese Ingredients:  4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and large-diced1 teaspoon chili powder1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin onFreshly ground black pepper For Serving:Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream Instructions:Cook the onions in the oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor, fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4 inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.Verdict:I have already put this recipe on my rotating menu.  I hollowed out a mound of rice and poured a large scoop of chili down into the middle ... and it was FANTASTIC!!  I topped the chili with some grated cheese and a big dollop of yogurt (my standard sour cream substitution).  It was even better the second day.[...]



BB: French String Beans

2010-03-20T11:08:55.399-06:00

I read last week about the Barefoot Bloggers Challenge ... to cook from 1 to 5 Iva Garten recipes (all listed at the "challenge" link) and post them this week.  I checked over the recipes that had been chosen for the challenge, and they all sounded fantastic.  'Why not?' I thought, 'we have to eat'.  As usual, cooking and eating the recipes is not the difficult part ... blogging them has turned out to be the challenge!!  I have had some major uploading problems recently, but with some late night work (when our satelite dish seems to get a stronger signal), I am beginning to catch upI seldom buy green beans here ... the usual variety that are available in the market have VERY strong threads in them, and are difficult to prepare.  And no matter what you do, you end up with little strings stuck between your teeth.  Anyway, I must have been meant to make these because they featured stringless green beans in the vegetable section of the Maxi-Bodega this week, really fresh nice ones, so I bought a pound with this recipe in mind.French String Beans Preface:I have no idea if the beans were French, but for sure they were not "string" beans ... I didn't have yellow bell peppers (although I will soon ... I have a couple of plants of yellow bell peppers grown from some seeds that I took from a yellow pepper when I was visiting Mom in Canada, and there are a couple of ripening peppers already), so used only red. Ingredients:1 pound French string beansKosher salt1 red onion, large, diced1/2 red bell pepper, large diced1/2 yellow bell pepper, large dicedGood olive oilFreshly grated black pepper Instructions:Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for just 4 minutes.Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When they are cool, drain and set aside.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the onion and bell peppers together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, tossing with a spatula from time to time to be sure the vegetables roast evenly. Just before serving, reheat the string beans in a large saute pan drizzled with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange on a platter. Spoon the roasted vegetables over the string beans and serve hot or at room temperature. Verdict:  Excellent! Simple and fast to make.  Delicious!! The oven roasted vegies added an incredible burst of flavour to the crunchy green beans. This recipe has gone into the file to teach to the cook at Gringo Perdido.[...]



CEiMB: Linguini with Shrimp

2010-03-20T11:08:55.401-06:00

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was chosen by Farah of Confessions of a Novice Baker. I love shrimp.  I have been looking forward to splurging on a package of shrimp to make this dish.  And it didn't disappoint! Linguini with Shrimp Preface:instead of linguini, I used a Tri-Color Vegetable PastaI upped the garlic to 3 cloves ... I love garlicI used only 3/4 of a pound of shrimp, which I bought peeled, deveined and frozen.  I would have bought them with shells, if I could have found them, because I think that, even frozen, they retain more flavor if they are with shells.the white wine that I used was actually the last part of a bottle of cooking wine ... I can imagine that the dish would have been even better with a decent quality wine.asparagus is unheard of in Peten, however, I had just made a very tasty green bean recipe the day before, and had half of the beans left over, so decided to use them instead.I had no parsley, and don't actually like parsley all that much, so I used a mixture of half fresh chopped cilantro, and half fresh chopped basil.I had no cherry tomatoes, so I chopped up a couple of Roma tomatoes.Ingredients:3/4 pound linguini2 tablespoons olive oil2 garlic cloves, minced1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice1/2 cup white wine1 bunch asparagus stalks, trimmedSalt and freshly ground black pepper1 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley1 container cherry tomatoes, halvedInstructions:Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the linguini and cook according to the directions on the box.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minuteAdd the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.Add the lemon juice, white wine and the reserved cup of water to the skillet.  Let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.Salt and saute the asparagus.  cut into 1-inch pieces.Return the shrimp to the panand stir in the parsley.Add the drained linguini to the shrimp mixture, tossing to combine.Add asparagus and tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.Verdict:Delicious!  I never would have chosen to make a pasta with that combination of flavors.   However, I have learned that there are a lot of unlikely flavor combinations that are incredibly delicious.  This combination of garlic, lemon and wine are a perfect background for the shrimp.  The slightly crunchy (stringless) green beans were a perfect foil for the pasta, and also combined well with the lemony flavor.  I made one error in that I must have overcooked the shrimp a bit ... it turned out more chewy than I would have liked (or maybe it had been sitting frozen at Maxi-Bodega for way to long, its hard to say with shrimp here).  I made an interesting discovery when I didn't reheat the noodles before adding the sauce, and they were so cool that everything cooled right off.  E. said that he thought that it was a pasta salad (which would be okay, except that he doesn't really like salads).  I found out later, when we had it served hot, that that was not only because it was cold, but because the dressing reminded him of salad dressing.  And when I thought about it, I realized that yes, it is a dish that could quite easily be served cold with excellent results.If I am lucky enough to have some fresh shrimp, I would definitely plan to make this recipe again.[...]



CEiMB: Pumpkin Muffins

2010-03-20T11:08:55.404-06:00

Now that I have a large refrigerated container of roasted squash, it is time to begin to create.  And what better place to start than with these mouth-watering Pumpkin Muffins ... another Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe by Ellie Krieger.  This week's recipe was chosen by Oddball OvenMitt ... and a timely choice it is as pumpkin fits perfectly with the autumn season. Pumpkin Muffins 2006, Ellie KriegerMakes 12 MuffinsPreface:I cooked a giant squash instead of using canned pumpkin .. it seems that pumpkin is not popular here ... canned pumpkin does not exist in Peten.  I did find some small fresh pumpkins at the Maxi-Bodega (Walmart) but they were too expensive.  In the end, I bought the giant squash at the market, thinking that the price would be better, and later that day, found the same size of sqash at the Maxi-Bodega for half the price.  Live and Learn.There is only one type of flour here .. white flour.  However, a few years ago, when I wanted to start making and selling bran muffins to local hotels, I managed to convince a local store to carry bran ... so when I want a whole wheat flour, I mix the bran back into the white flour, using the concentration I need to create the finished product that I want.  For this recipe, I used 1 3/4 cups of white flour, and 1/4 cup of bran.The brown sugar that I use is "panela".  Panela is the direct result of boiling down sugar cane juice until it goes past the molasses stage and actually hardens.  In effect, it is molasses that has been taken one step further in the refining process.I'm pretty sure that the molasses that I used was not unsulphered.  Molasses is another ingredient that is not sold in stores here.  About 5 years ago, I looked everywhere for molasses to use to make some of Mom's famous molasses cookies, and eventually I found a rich farmer who had brought in a tanker truck FULL of molasses to sell to other farmers in the area ... I discovered that this is one of the ways of providing extra fattening nourishment for cattle, and is not eaten by humans!  I explained to him that I was looking for molasses for cooking (he had never heard of such a thing) and asked if I could buy some.  He was selling by the barrel, and didn't have any containers for smaller sales, but he poured the last of the Coke out of his 2-liter bottle, washed it out and filled it up from a spigot in the side of the huge tanker truck.  He refused to take any money for it insisting that it was so little, that it didn't matter.  So, I have had this 2-litre bottle of PURE MOLASSES lying in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator for a long long time (like years).  I could never bring myself to use it, not only because I wouldn't not be able to replace it but I also thought that it would be too strong for my recipes.  Thanks to this recipe, I have finally opened the bottle and begun using it.Several comments mentioned that the spicing was nt strong enough so I used a liberal hand when measuring ... not doubling the amounts, but rounding up the measuring spoons.I used my own home made yogurt instead of buttermilkIngredients:Cooking Spray1 cup all-purpose flour1 cup whole-grain pastry flour1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground ginger1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses1/4 cup canola oil2 large eggs1 cup canned pumpkin1 teaspoon vanilla extract3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk1/4 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seedsDirections:Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined.Add the other egg and whisk well.Whisk in the pump[...]



Cooking with Pumpkin & Squash

2010-03-20T11:08:55.407-06:00

I never cook with pumpkins or squashes.  I think this has something to do with the impenetrable nature of this vegetable.  I have never been able to figure out how to get into it.  What type of tool would one use to smash through to the meat inside?  Would an axe work?After reading through the equivalent of a large book of pumpkin recipes in the last week, I decided I wanted to try a few of them, and since canned pumpkin is unheard of here, it was now necessary to figure out how to crack through this rock-like shell to the golden meat within.I began by calling in help. I have watched the local men use their razor-sharp machetes for a huge variety of jobs ... from mowing the lawn to cutting down trees ... surely this method would work for a basic squash. Don Pablo was happy to show me how to do this job. I expected him to draw back his "cutlass" and smash it with unerring accuracy into the top of the squash, separating it immediately into two equal parts. However, I was completely wrong. I don't know why I didn't think of it myself. He DID use his machete ...but WITH a hammer!!  He placed the machete in the middle of the squash and with a few light taps of the hammer ... voila!  Now why didn't I think of that?The machete cut down through that squash as if it were butter ...leaving me with two more or less equal parts and bringing me to the next stage of squash prep ... removing the green slimy stringy mass of seeds.I scraped and cleaned the seeds out of the middle, gave half of them to Don Pablo for planting in his garden, and saved the other half to plant in my own garden.  I couldn't get any more of the green slimy strings out, but I figured that they might be easier to remove once the squash was cooked.I didn't get any photos of the last stage, but I rubbed olive oil all over the inside, and baked both halves, open side up, at about 350' for about 2 hours.  The green strings cooked into the yellow squash, so it was impossible to separate them once cooked ... however ... I discovered that it didn't matter.  I used 1 cup of the squash for my first pumpkin recipe, and it was excellent.I ended up with about 5 cups of squash ... stay tuned as we cook it up in a variety of sweet and savory dishes! [...]



BB: Cheddar Corn Chowder

2010-03-20T11:08:55.411-06:00

There is no way a photo can do justice to the superb flavor of this Cheddar Corn Chowder. This weeks Barefoot Blogger recipe was suggested by Jill of My Next Life. Being from Southern New Brunswick, I've eaten a lot of corn chowder, but this one has them all beat hands down.Cheddar Corn ChowderThe Barefoot Contessa Cookbook10 to 12 servingsI cut way back on this recipe.  There are only two of us, and it uses a lot of dairy so I didn't want to freeze it, so I made about 1/3 of this quantity.  It turned out to be 4 good servings.The bacon that I used was really good, but really fatty, so I didn't add much olive oil, and I poured about half of it off before I made the chowder.  Then I didn't add extra butter to the pan either.Instead of half and half cream, I used half home made yogurt, and half whole-milk powder with water.The closest I could get to a "sharp white cheddar cheese" is this "Taco Mix", that is not sharp, not white and just barely cheddar cheese.I made my own chicken stock from backs/necks/wings of chicken that I keep frozen for just this purpose.Ingredients:8 ounces bacon, chopped1/4 cup good olive oil6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter1/2 cup flour2 teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric12 cups chicken stock6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)2 cups half-and-half8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, gratedInstructions:In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes.Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium,add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes.Add potatoes,And chicken stockbring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.)Add the corn to the soup,then add the half-and-half And the cheddarCook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.Serve hot with a garnish of baconVerdict:This chowder was rich and creamy and full of flavor.  The smoky, salty base of bacon made a perfect background to the sweet corn.   I'm glad I used the yogurt instead of cream as it gave it a tangier cheese-like flavor that helped make up for the fact that I didn't have any sharp cheddar.  I would like to have had a few cobs of New Brunswick peaches and cream corn, but even the canned variety tasted great in this recipe ... next time I would use more.  This recipe is definitely my new main recipe for corn chowder.[...]



BB: Beatty's Chocolate Cake

2010-03-20T11:08:55.414-06:00

This cake received the highest recognition that this our home has to offer ... before I could get it frosted, several inches from one end disappeared. And met with vocal approval! This is the second time this month that the Barefoot Bloggers have chosen to bake cake. Cakes are not my forte. I've been thinking about this a lot (since I've been baking so many cakes lately!) and realizing how much of an art form it is, not only to bring together the perfect ingredients and bake them to perfection, but also to assemble all the perfectly cooked and blended parts to create a beautiful integrated whole. Thanks to Mary of Passionate Perseverance, I get to practice again this week!It has taken me a lot longer than I was anticipating to get this cake cooked and blogged. I began early enough to have it posted in time, only to discover that my chocolate powder had all gone bad. The only place to buy a new package is in Santa Elena, so it wasn't until grocery day that I was able to restock and prepare again to bake the cake.Beatty's Chocolate Cake2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights ReservedPreface:I don't have any round pans, but I figured that the rectangular ones that I have were about the same volume.The sugar we buy here is not nearly so refined and wouldn't go through the sifter. I sifted the ingredients that would go through, then just added the un-siftables to the bowl as they were.I used yogurt instead of buttermilk.I didn't think the coffee in the cake batter was strong enough, so added some extra granules of instant to the mix as well.I don't have a paddle attachment on my food processor, so I did the mixing of the cake batter by hand. I mixed the frosting in the food processor.I used semi-sweet chocolate chips in the frosting.When making the frosting, I thought that it was already very moist and didn't add more water with the instant coffee.Ingredients:Butter, for greasing the pans1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans2 cups sugar3/4 cups good cocoa powder2 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon kosher salt1 cup buttermilk, shaken1/2 cup vegetable oil2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 cup freshly brewed hot coffeeInstructions:(Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.Pour the batter into the prepared pansand bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.Cool in the pans for 30 minutes,then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completelyPlace 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.Chocolate Frosting:Ingredients:6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar1 tablespoon instant coffee powderInstructions:Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow[...]



Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

2010-03-20T11:08:55.421-06:00

Every once in a while, I come across a recipe from my early years of cooking (when I was cooking for kids) that catches my eye and makes my mouth water to remember. Such was the case when I was visiting with Mom in June. My sister-in-law and I were looking at Mom's cookbooks, which of course, hold many memories, not only because of the foods she made, but for the occasions and people that she made them*. One of the cookbooks was put together by a local community group, and had several of my own early recipes in it, notably my favorite Bacon-Spinach Salad, a recipe for Spanokopita that I remember being given by a friend in Calgary about 35 years ago and which became such a family favorite that my sons continue to make for their families for all special dinners .... and this recipe for Chicken-Broccoli Casserole. I was so excited to have those early recipes again, that my sister-in-law and I drove all the way to the Shoppers in the mall to get photocopies of those particular recipes. I had brought them home and filed them in with my "to make soon" pile (which seems to grow by the day) and then didn't get around to putting them on the menu until this last week. Beginning with this super-easy and super delicious (at least I remembered it that way) dish of baked chicken and broccoli.Chicken-Broccoli CasserolePreface:1. Since there are only two of us, I halved the recipe and it made enough for 4 good sized servings (for us it made 6 perfect servings ... I froze the extra servings for fast meals later)2. I baked a whole chicken, and used half of the meat for this recipe and saved half for another.3. I used the drippings from the chicken to make the cream of chicken soup. (As an aside, I can't help but wonder what it says about the diet of a small jungle community and the effectiveness of global advertising, that the only two types of canned soup that you can buy here are Campbell's Chicken Broth and Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup ... both used, as it seems they are all over the world, as ingredients for cooking, and not as soup)Ingredients:3 lbs. frying chicken2 fresh bunches of broccoli1 cup mayonaise2 cans cream of chicken soup1/4 tsp curry powder1 Tbsp. lemon juice1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese1/2 cup bread crumbs1 Tbsp. melted butterInstructions:1. Cook or boil chicken ... cool ... debone2. Steam broccoli until desired doneness ... drain3. Grease 11 X 7 inch casserole dish4. Place a layer of chicken on bottom of casserole dish.5. Place the broccoli in a layer over the chicken.6. Combine mayonaise, soup, curry and lemon juice.7. Pour sauce mixture over the broccoli layer.8. Combine crumbs with cheese and melted butter and sprinkle over the top. ( I took a bit of a shortcut here, and just put pats of butter on top of the crumb/cheese mixture).9. Bake at 350' F for 30 minutes.Verdict:It was just as good as I remembered it! As a matter of fact, E. loved it too and has asked that it become one of our regular meals (the highest recommendation!).Its fast and easy to prepare (even faster and easier if you go the canned soup route), freezes well and tastes even better when re-heated. Its pure homey comfort food!!* I've been noticing lately how many of my memories are based around food and how often the sight, smell or thought of food will trigger a memory of some long ago event. In fact, its hard to even think of a memory that I have that doesn't revolve in some way around food. I wonder if food is a trigger of memories for all of us?An Addendum: What are the chances that two bloggers would pick the same recipe from the past to cook/blog in the same week? I just discovered that Drew at How to Cook Like Your Grandmother, has just posted the same dish! Which I also discover is called Chicken Divan (I've heard of Chicken Divan before, but[...]



CEiMB: New York Breakfast

2010-03-20T11:08:55.424-06:00

Once again, I am late posting the Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe this week, which was for "New York Breakfast", and was chosen by Nick & Sara of imafoodblog.com. You will notice that my version is most definitely not the "New York Breakfast" that Ellie wrote the recipe for. Since smoked salmon is the basis of her sandwich, and you probably can't find a smoked salmon within thousands (well, hundreds) of miles of here, I at first thought to just skip this week. However, part of my mandate here in the jungle is not to let the lack of ingredients hold me back from creating any recipe that I want to create, so I started thinking how I could produce something along the same general lines. I wanted to retain the "seafoody" nature of Ellie's recipe, along with the cream cheese on thin crisp toast base. I still had one more can of the good tuna that I had brought back from Canada on my last visit, so decided that this was the recipe that I had been saving it for.New York BreakfastEllie Krieger, All rights reservedPreface:1. Pumpernickel bread is about as rare here as smoked salmon, so I used my own home made whole wheat bread.2. I used a good quality of canned tuna instead of the smoked salmon.3. I used normal yellow onion.4. I skipped the cucumber ... it didn't seem like it would blend or add to the modified ingredients.5. I added some strips of grilled, peeled red pepper which I think always adds to cream cheese based sandwiches.5. The only tomatoes we can buy right now are roma tomatoes that are red outside and still green (always green) inside ... I presume it is from the tons of herbicides and pesticides combined with early picking. I can hardly wait until I have some organic tomatoes from my own garden.6. Given that I was using tuna, I decided that I would prefer cilantro to the chives.7. I decided to make a dressing of mayonaise combined with some balsamic vinegar to drizzle over the top of the completed sandwichIngredients:8 pieces packaged, thin pumpernickel bread (3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches))1/4 cup whipped cream cheese8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon1/2 red onion, thinly sliced1/4 English cucumber, thinly sliced2 medium tomatoes, core, seeded and diced2 teaspoons chopped, fresh chivesSalt and pepperDirections:Toast the bread and spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of cream cheese on top of each piece.(At this point, I added the strips of grilled, peeled sweet red pepper)Put a slice of smoked salmon (or tuna, as the case may be),a couple of slices of onion, (or more if you like onion)one or 2 slices of cucumber (if you want), and about 1 tablespoon of chopped (or very thinly sliced) tomato on top of that.Sprinkle with chives (or cilantro) and season with salt and pepper.AND ... for an extra jolt of flavor, mix together a couple of tablespoons of good mayonaise with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar ...And drizzle over all ...Verdict:Delicious! The thing I really like about sandwiches like this is that there are surprise bursts of flavor with each bite ... the smoothness of the cream cheese is a perfect match for the grilled red peppers. The cilantro and tuna were meant for each other. The onion adds its own crunchy zing. And the balsamic mayonaise marries all the elements into a balanced whole.I will definitely be making them again. And if I can get my hands on some smoked salmon, I will gladly make a REAL New York Breakfast Sandwich!![...]



BB: Virgin Mango Banana Daquiris

2010-03-20T11:08:55.429-06:00

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This was a featured recipe of Barefoot Bloggers way back in August just as I was beginning with the group, and when I saw it, I knew that I would make it before mango season was over.


Mango Banana Daiquiris

Source: Ina Garten, Back to Basics on page 47
Chosen by Veronica of Supermarket Serenade
Serves 4

Preface:

I didn't use any rum in our drinks.
I used some fresh mint from the garden as garnish

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mangos, peeled and seeded)
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup* (I used 2-3 tablespoons of agave nectar)
1 1/4 cups dark rum, such as Mount Gay

Mango slices, for serving

Instructions:

Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick. Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices.

*To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.Type rest of the post here

Verdict:

Incredibly refreshing! Delicious mango flavor built upon the distinctive sweetness of banana. The big surprise was the subtle minty aroma and top note ... I would definitely keep the mint garnish when making it again, which, given the abundance of cheap mangos in season, I undoubtedly will. (I bet it would have been excellent with the rum!)



Rambutan

2010-03-20T11:08:55.438-06:00

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I love finding fruits in the market that I have never tried before. This past week, I discovered these soft-spined beauties and bought a bag of 12 (only Q5 for the bag ... which is about $ .70 ... can't beat the price!)

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I thought they might be Lychee Nuts, but the man who was selling them told me that they were called Rambutans ... and that he brought them in from Izabal ... the province that is just south of Petén. As soon as I returned home, I headed for the computer and google to find out about them.


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Rambutan in Indonesian, Filipino and Malay literally means hairy caused by the 'hair' that covers this fruit, which I discovered is related to the lychee nut, as well as Longan and Mamoncillo. It is native to Indonesia and South East Asia. The outer skin is peeled exposing the fleshy fruit inside which is then eaten. It is sweet and sour to the taste.

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We ate around the seed for the first one we tasted, then discovered that the seed has its own crunchy almondy taste/texture that really added to the flavor of the fruit itself. Later, I read that it is bitter and inedible (I'm glad I didn't read that first or I might have been influenced not to try eating them).



CEiMB: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

2010-03-20T11:08:55.451-06:00

Right off the start I will admit that I didn't go into this recipe with an open mind. I've probably mentioned before that I am not really a fan of tomato sauce-y kind of dishes ... and with chicken, even less. I actually made up the chicken mixture a day earlier than we ate it, because I just didn't feel like serving it that night. However, I've never been disappointed with an "Ellie" recipe yet ... so I threw caution to the winds and we had them for lunch today.Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches2008, Ellie Krieger, All rights reservedServes: 6 servings, serving size: 1 sandwichPreface:Ellie uses a rotisserie chicken, but they are quite a bit more expensive, so I baked my own chicken.Since there would be only two of us eating, I halved the recipe, and I halved the chicken, saving the other half for a delicious Chicken / Broccoli Casserole from my youth (I found the recipe amongst Mom's recipe books when I was home) that I will definitely be making again next week and will take photos of then.I didn't have any tomato sauce, so I finely diced one tomato instead.You can't buy regular molasses here ... all that I have been able to find is sold by the barrel from huge tanker trucks as cattle feed enhancer. I used panela instead ... which is kinda like molasses taken one step further in the process and dried into a sticky cube.I just left out the liquid smoke ... I didn't know what I could substitute, but it seemed like it would add another level of flavor.I used my own home made hamburger / sandwich buns from a recipe that I stumbled across last week and loved and haven't posted yet ... its coming real soon.I didn't bother buying lettuce because I have an incredible patch of a perennial, small leaved spinach that seems to grow faster the more I cut it. It is mild, even with its dark green color, so is excellent as a lettuce substitute.Ingredients:1 tablespoon canola oil1 large onion, chopped3 cloves garlic, minced1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce1/4 cup tomato paste1/2 cup water1/3 cup apple cider vinegar5 tablespoons molasses1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke1 whole rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded into thin strips (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)6 whole-wheat hamburger rolls6 large green lettuce leavesDirections:Heat the oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, vinegar, molasses, pepper and liquid smoke and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped chicken, return to a simmer, and cook an additional 10 minutes.Split rolls. Place a leaf of lettuce on each roll, then pile on 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto the roll.Verdict:I was pleasantly surprised. At first, I thought the chicken was a bit too sweet, but the vinegar seemed to keep it in hand. There is no way I could have eked out three sandwiches from this half of the recipe ... I think my chicken may have been a bit smaller and for sure my home made buns were larger. However, one sandwich piled with almost half of the chicken mixture and served with cole slaw (a dill pickle would have been much better!) made an excellent lunch.[...]



BB: Birthday Sheet Cake

2010-03-20T11:08:55.459-06:00

The Barefoot Bloggers selection this month, chosen by Susy of Everyday Gourmet, is Birthday Sheet Cake. We don't eat a lot of dessert-type foods, and I'm not a cake fan at the best of times, but I decided to make it just for the fun of it, and tomorrow I will share some with the kids meeting in the afternoons for a class across the road at the Ix-canaan Library. Even sharing with the kids, it seemed like a lot of cake, (and a lot of chocolate) so I halved the recipe.Birthday Sheet CakeBarefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights ReservedServes: 1 (12x18-inch) cakePreface:I didn't have a single stick of unsalted butter in the refrigerator ... as a matter of fact I didn't have a single stick of butter at all. What I did have, was a bowl of butter mixed 50/50 with olive oil, which is what I use on bread and potatoes so we get the taste of butter with the health benefits of olive oil.I had about half as much cream as I needed, so I completed filling the measure with home made yogurt.I don't have either an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, so I did all the mixing by hand.Instead of corn syrup in the frosting, I used some of my special doncella honey, figuring that the drop of lemony flavor would marry nicely with the bits of lemon zest in the cake itselfI don't own a 12" X 18" baking pan ... so I did some measuring and calculating, and discovered that two of my usual baking pans have the same basic "square footage" as half of the larger pan ... perfect.Ingredients:For the cake:18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature3 cups sugar6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract1 lemon, zested3 cups all-purpose flour1/3 cup cornstarch1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon baking sodaFor the frosting:24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips1 1/2 cups heavy cream2 tablespoons light corn syrup1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperatureChocolate candies for decorating (recommended: M&M's)Directions:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time,then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well.Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted.Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it's thickened.Spread the frosting evenly on the cake, and decorate.Verdict:The chocolate frosting was superb, and I thought as I was putting it together that it would make a great topping for ice cream. It was much better than the cake itself, which I found heavy and dry. I doubt that I would make it again ... espec[...]



CEiMB: Waldorf Chicken Wraps

2010-03-20T11:08:55.466-06:00

This weeks Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was chosen by Jessica at Johnstone's Vin Blanc. I realized as I read through the recipe that although I have heard often of Waldorf Salads, I have never actually made or eaten one! I'm not sure how that came to be ... I suppose it is not the kind of meal that I would order in a restaurant, and I seldom make meat based salads at home ... so it was a great opportunity to try something new.Waldorf Chicken Wraps2006, Ellie Krieger, All rights reservedServes: 5 servingsPreface:I used my own home made yogurt, which didn't need much draining.I can't buy Dijon mustard here, so I substituted regular mustard.I used dried thyme instead of fresh.I forgot to order grapes to be brought into my local tienda when I ordered the wraps, so I substituted raisins at the last minute.Walnuts are another food item that is difficult to find here, and outrageously expensive when you do find it .. so I substituted toasted peanuts.Romaine lettuce is sometimes available in the market, but it wasn't this week. Besides, I have that tender small-leafed spinach growing in my garden, and some fresh basil left in the refrigerator to use ... so I chopped them and mixed them together.I tried to get larger wraps, to no avail. I'm not a big fan of store-bought breads, but have never learned to make my own wraps, so I seldom eat them.Ingredients:1 cup nonfat plain yogurt or 3/4 cups nonfat Greek-style yogurt2 tablespoons mayonnaise1 tablespoon lemon juice2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard1/4 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon minced thyme1 pound cooked, skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2-inch cubes1/2 cup seedless grapes, sliced in 1/21/4 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts1 medium apple, cored and diced (about 3/4 cup)Freshly ground black pepper5 large leaves Romaine lettuce, rinsed and patted dry5 whole-wheat wraps, about 8 inches in diameterInstructions:If using regular yogurt place the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel. Put the strainer over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain and thicken for 30 minutes.In a small bowl, combine the thickened or Greek-style yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt and thyme until smooth. Fold in chicken, grapes, walnuts and apples. Season with pepper.Place 1 lettuce leaf on a wrap.Spoon about 3/4 cup of the chicken filling onto wrap ...and roll wrap around filling.Verdict:The flavor of the salad itself was excellent, although it was different than the original recipe, mostly because of the basil, which I thought was an excellent addition. I served it with avocado slices on the side ... not only is avocado great with sandwiches of any type, but we are smack in the middle of avocado season, and I am taking full advantage of its delicious inexpensive availabilityOne of the things I have grown to love about Ellie's recipes is the layering of the flavors and textures ... it seems that new exciting bursts of taste explode in my mouth at each bite. The peanuts for walnuts substitution worked perfectly ... the crunchy flavor of peanuts leaping in between the sweet apple and peppery chicken added an ideal contrast. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the grapes more than the raisins, but the raisins certainly didn't detract. I would have enjoyed it served more as a salad, mostly because I find the store-bought wraps kinda doughy and flat tasting. Also, the small sized wrap was not large enough to pile on a good amount of filling and still wrap it closed to eat in your hands. In short, I would serve it again, and I would use the same combination of greens, but I would serve it as a salad instead of a wrap.[...]



CEiMB: Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

2010-03-20T11:08:55.469-06:00

I seem to be preparing and eating a lot of dishes with peanut butter based sauces these days .... and I don't mind at all! Trends seem to go in waves in the blogging world. I was thrilled to see that our Craving Ellie in My Belly event this week, chosen by The Tortefeasor, was this fantastic sounding Chicken Sate with a Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce.Chicken Saté with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce2006 Ellie Krieger, All Rights ReservedPreface:I halved the recipe since there are only two of us to eat it.I used home made chicken stock and home made peanut butter.The coconut milk was not "lite"The soy sauce was not "low sodium"I actually had "Thai fish sauce"!! I saw it while shopping in Canada, and bought a bottle to bring back with me. Until now, when a recipe called for fish sauce, I had been using dried small fish that I had found in the market, figuring that would give the right bit of flavor.I don't have a "grilling pan", so I dug out our barbecue.Ingredients:1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock1/2 cup lite coconut milk2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce1 shallot, sliced thin1 clove garlic, minced1 1/2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (or 2 additional teaspoons low sodium soy sauce)1 tablespoon brown sugar1/2 teaspoon lime zest1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast pounded slightly and cut into 1-inch stripsSpicy Peanut Dipping Sauce:1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger2 tablespoons lime juice1 teaspoon minced garlic1/2 teaspoon chili flakes1 teaspoon red curry paste1 shallot, peeled and roughly choppedPlace all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.Sauce can be made 1 day ahead of time, and will keep 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.Instructions:8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes(I just threw them in the pila)3/4 cup Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, recipe above2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or cilantro leaves1/4 cup chopped toasted peanutsIn a medium sized bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, coconut milk, soy sauce, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and ginger.Add the chicken strips and marinate for 1 hour. (Be sure not to leave too long).Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.Spray a nonstick grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over a medium-high flame. (I used our barbecue).While pan is heating, thread chicken onto skewers.Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until meat is cooked through and has light grill marks.Serve chicken skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce, and garnish with basil or cilantro and chopped peanuts.Yield: 4 servings (2 skewers and 2 tablespoons peanut sauce per serving)Verdict:Delicious. The sauce made the dish.[...]



BB: BBD: White Pizzas with Arugula

2010-03-20T11:08:55.474-06:00

This will be my first post for Barefoot Bloggers, a twice monthly event that features recipes by Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). The recipe for this period was supposed to be posted yesterday, but a typical pounding jungle storm cut our satelite service for the day, so I'm a bit late. The recipe was chosen by Andrea of Nummy Kitchen. Not only have I never made pizza from scratch, but I am not really a big pizza fan, and I wouldn't in a million years have ever thought of making a pizza with a "greens" topping. It sounded great, though ... kinda like a salad with the croutons on the bottom ... and I have been looking forward to it all week.AND I also want to submit this to Bread Baking Day, a once monthly event that is hosted this month by Nick and Sara of I'm a Food Blog. The topic is "Something New", and although I have eaten lots of pizza over the years, the availability of great, inexpensive pizzas for ordering out, combined with a family full of cheese intolerances, and my own idea that making a pizza crust was too difficult, has kept me from making my own pizzas. So this is a "first" for me.White Pizzas with ArugulaPreface:Arugula does not exist in Petén, and I have still not grown any, so once again I turned to my garden to see what would work instead of arugula. I happily decided on some cilantro and pretty well my entire crop of Swiss Chard, and added some of the basil leaves that I had left in the refrigerator.I buy my yeast in 1 lb packages, and have no idea how much is in one of those little envelopes, so I used 1 TB.I used some of my doncella honey, figuring that its lemon-y sweetness would back up the flavors of the greens.No fresh thyme anywhere ... so I used a couple of dried bunches to flavor the oil, then removed them.Cheese here is limited in range, expensive and, for the most part, tasteless. I bought two bags of cheese blends, and for a bit of flavor, mixed a chopped roasted red pepper into a small container of cream cheese for the base. In the end, I used much less cheese than the recipe called for.I was happy to see that this recipe uses lemon ... and we are in lemon season ....Ingredients:For the dough:1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water2 packages dry yeast1 tablespoon honeyGood olive oil4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneadingKosher salt4 cloves garlic, sliced5 sprigs fresh thyme1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakesFor the topping:3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbledFor the vinaigrette:1/2 cup good olive oil1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juiceFreshly ground black pepper8 ounces baby arugula1 lemon, slicedInstructions:Mix the dough.Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed.While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.Knead by hand.When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.Let it rise.Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.Make garlic oil.Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small sa[...]



Kitchen Toys

2010-03-20T11:08:55.477-06:00

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Can anyone guess what this is?

Hint: its really old and yes, it belongs in the kitchen.


Did you guess before you looked?

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Its a hand meat grinder.

And this one is special to me because it has been handed down from my grandmother Carroll ... to my mother ... and now to me. My Mom gifted me with it when I was home visiting with her in June.

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This type of meat grinder was manufactured by James Osborne Spong, who started a small family business in 1856 in London, England to make economic household utensils. Apparently his line of grinders for coffee and meat were of excellent quality, since a quick google search shows that lots of people are still using the original ones. This one is very small .... only a few inches high ... but works perfectly.

I have wanted a good hand meat grinder for ages. The only ground meat I can buy here is ground beef ... and I would often prefer to cook with other ground meats. I hope to use it in these next days for a dish I am ready to prepare.



CEiMB: Grilled Thai Beef Salad

2010-03-20T11:08:55.479-06:00

We don't eat salads nearly often enough. Salads are not at all popular in the jungle. Soups are, surprisingly for this hot climate, almost universally served instead of salads. When salads are served here, they are usually salads that aren't based on any type of lettuce or greens ... salads like carrot salads, beet salads, cucumber salads, tomato salads ... you get the idea. Lettuces aren't generally available here to buy, and those that are, are often small, soft and wilting heads of iceberg lettuce, that even on their best day, don't inspire a salad.I love green salads. A big bowl of fresh green leaves makes such a perfect palette for a changing variety of toppings and tasty dressings. To this end, I am learning to grow green things in my garden. And fortunately, a few of those things, notably the cilantro and the "jungle spinach"* were ready to harvest. What better way to use them than in this special salad, chosen this week for the Craving Ellie in My Belly event by Jenn of Jenn B's Cooking Carveout.I left it up to the universe as to what kind of lettuce I would find in the market, and luck was with me ... I found a head of not-too-rusty, curly, loose leaf lettuce AND a big handful of fresh basil!!Grilled Thai Beef Salad2007 Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved4 servings (1 serving is about 2 1/2 cups salad)Preface:For a variety of reasons, beef here is not that great ... and the chances of anyone knowing what the Spanish equivalent of a "top-round London broil" is, is pretty slim, so I decided to substitute another meat for the beef. I had decided on chicken, but remembered that I had a pork loin in the freezer that needed to be cycled, and I thought that it would work just fine.The recipe calls for limes ... but I had a lemon just ready to fall off of the lemon tree (and I don't even have a lime tree), so I figured that it would substitute without changing the overall effect too much.I once again used panela instead of brown sugar.Red curry paste is not available here either. I checked for a recipe online and have decided to make some and keep it stored in the freezer for recipes like this ... but for today, I decided to use a few drops of Marie Sharp's Habanero Sauce to give a hint of hot.Ingredients: Meat Step:1 pound top-round London broil or flank steak, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick3 tablespoons lime juice, divided3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce3 tablespoons canola oil2 tablespoon brown sugar1 teaspoon minced garlic1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger1 1/4 teaspoons red curry paste or chili-garlic sauceIngredients: Salad Step:1/2 head red-leaf lettuce, torn (about 6 cups)3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup), divided, for garnish1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbonsInstructions:Rinse and pat the meat dry. Place in a sealable plastic bag or small glass dish. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, soy sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Pour half the mixture into the bag with the meat.Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice to the bag.Seal tightly, and marinate meat in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Reserve the rest of the mixture refrigerated, to dress the salad.Spray grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat. Grill steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. (I pan-fried the pork tenderloin)Let rest until room temperatureCombine lettuce, sliced shallot, cilantro and basil (and the spinac[...]



CEiMB: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

2010-03-20T11:08:55.482-06:00

About 30 years ago I developed a recipe for bran muffins and for carrot cake that were so great that I have not only made them unchanged ever since, but I've made them and sold them here in my little jungle community. However, I've never tried the carrot cake as muffins, and this recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes sounds like an interesting cross between my muffins and my carrot cake. Thanks to Leanne at Enjoying My Favorite Things, who was the hostess this week and chose them, I get to try them for this weeks Craving Ellie in My Belly event.Like Leanne, I too have had a bit of a problem with electricity that I hoped would have resolved itself before I had to start cooking. However, it was not to be. This all started 13 days ago when the electric company sent around a couple of workers to cut the branches around the electric wires. I realized later, after the neighborhood sprang into electronic life, that I had no power. I phoned the electric company, but all they could do was put in a report. Two reports and 5 days later, I had a call from a man from the electric company who said he would be over by 4 p.m. He never showed. He finally arrived 2 days later. I was willing to overlook his tardiness in the excitement of finally getting electricity again, when I discovered that he wasn't going to repair it ... he was just going to inspect it ... and write a report! Well, that was 6 days and another phoned-in report ago ... and still no one from the electric company has shown up to reconnect my line!Anyway, it is possible to cook without electricity ... its just not easy. It's not about doing everything by hand, its about engineering a complicated network of extension cords (hooked into the neighbor's electricity) that can be unplugged here and plugged in there, giving me off-and-on connectivity for the refrigerator, the laptop, one table lamp, the microwave, the toaster, the food processor, the mini-blender, the immersion blender ... fortunately, I have a propane stove!Carrot Cake Cupcakes (optional Cream Cheese Frosting)2005, Ellie Krieger, All rights reservedPreface:I decided to treat these as muffins ... no frosting ... not only was I unable to buy cream cheese, but I figured I could do without the added dairy products and sugar.The recipe asks for finely grated carrots ... I chopped them into cubes and tossed them into my mini-blender/chopper ... fast and perfect.Apples aren't a jungle fruit, and are usually imported and very expensive here, but by luck, I found Guatemalan Highlands cooking apples in the market this week and they made a delicious natural apple sauce.Whole wheat flour is non-existent in Peten, so I buy bran and mix it with the regular white flour.I used an extra half cup of grated carrots (they were already grated ... and I always add extra to my carrot cake with sensational results).I used grated panela (which is sugar cane molasses boiled down to hard bricks) instead of light brown sugar. I use panela for most of my baking because it is more natural than white sugar, and its purchase helps the campesino people.I didn't sift the dry ingredients because of the bran, which would have been sifted right out of the mixture.Walnuts are another rare/expensive item so I substituted crushed pepitoria (squash seeds).Serves: 10 cupcakesIngredients:3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour1/2 cup all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/4 cup canola oil3/4 cup firmly packed light br[...]



BBD: Accidental Mango Coffee Bread

2010-03-20T11:08:55.484-06:00

Bread Baking Day is hosted this week by Hefe und mehr.It has been an interesting process preparing a post for Bread Baking Day this month. After a busy month getting back into the "flow", I began the process late. Then, as I discovered later, I had been reading outdated information, and thinking that this month was for "small breads", so I went through the recipes I have been saving to find the one for Hot Dog / Hamburger Buns that I had been wanting to try. I laid out all the ingredients that were listed in the recipe, and began the preparation. I mixed together all the wet ingredients and yeast in one bowl, and as I began adding the dry ingredients, I realized that the recipe's ingredients had left out the 3 cups of whole wheat flour that was needed in the recipe. I didn't have any more white flour, and I would normally use a mixture of white flour and bran to make the required amount of whole wheat flour. I could have set everything aside and gone to the local store for a couple of pounds of flour, but then I remembered a bag of special flour that a friend, who owns a cookie baking business, had brought for me. I did note on the label that the floury mixture was made up of several different biodynamic ingredients, but since whole wheat flour seemed to be at the head of the list, I didn't put too much attention to exactly what was in it. As I reached the point where the "dough" should be forming up, it was still a "batter" ... so I tasted it. It was delicious ... and SWEET!! Very sweet! I realized immediately that this mixture was not destined to become sandwich bunsAccidental Mango Coffee BreadSo, I re-read the list of ingredients in the bag of "flour" and sat down to figure out what I could possibly do with a "sweet bread batter" ... and it came to me ... A COFFEE CAKE!! I remembered that I had 4 fresh mangoes in the refrigerator that I wanted to use up ... so I diced them up to use as a filling. I greased the pan well ... spread a layer of the "bread batter" over the bottom of the pan, put a good thick layer of diced mangoes over the batter, sprinkled a mixture of grated panela (real brown sugar in a block) and cinnamon over the diced mangoes, then added spoonfuls of batter over the top of the mixture.I decided to let it rise for about an hour (it did have yeast in it, after all) and then I baked it at 350' for about 45 minutes ...WOW ... it was really tasty! Its too bad that I could never duplicate the recipe.Meanwhile, I didn't realize yet that Bread Baking Day this month calls for "Sweet Breads" and went ahead and blogged the OTHER bread that I made after this one made its unexpected "transition" (I went out to buy more flour) ... then when I went looking for today's Bread Baking Day event, I discovered my error BUT ... I could hardly believe my good luck ... all was not lost .. I still had this incredible Mango Coffee Bread to post.As I began trying to upload the first picture I noticed that the process wasn't completing and that none of my webpages were loading ... I did a quick check and ... sure enough ... someone in our library in the morning had downloaded over the Hughesnet restrictions and our internet connection is now 90% shut down for 24 hours.So, after all, I am not going to be able to finish my post before the end of July. However, all of the pictures that you would normally be seeing in this spot will be posted tomorrow after our penalty has been lifted.(Saturday Note .... our restrictions hav[...]



Easy, Perfect Homemade Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns

2009-07-31T11:35:13.768-06:00

I wanted to participate in Bread Baking Day (BBD) this month and a week ago I checked online to find the topic and somehow I got the idea that it was "small breads" (now that I look closer, I see that "small breads" was on the menu for August 2008!). So, I made small breads. That is not necessarily a bad thing ... I have wanted to find a great bun recipe that I could use for sandwiches (or hot dogs or hamburgers, but we don't eat them often) for quite some time. One of the Craving Ellie recipes that I missed is for Lobster Roll, and I wanted to use my own home made rolls for it, so this gave me the incentive to read through a pile of recipes for the "perfect" hamburger/hot dog bun ... and try out this one that, yes, could possibly be the most perfect sandwich bun of all!I found what I consider (albeit with somewhat limited experience) to be the perfect recipe (after all, that is what the blog title said) at Baking Delights by Marye Audet.Easy, Perfect Homemade Hamburger or Hot Dog BunsIngredients:1 cup milk1/2 cup water1/4 cup unsalted butter4 1/2 cups flour (unbleached, whole wheat, or a mix)1 package instant yeast1 tablespoons honey1 1/2 teaspoons salt1 egg, room temperatureInstructions:Heat the milk, water, honey and butter until butter is melted. Check temperature. Depending on the temperature, let cool to 120F. Carefully beat in egg.Mix 2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix into the milk mixture. Stir in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition.When the dough pulls together, (it will form a soft ball) turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. This should take about 5 minutes.Divide dough into 12 -16 equal pieces. This will depend on the size you want for the finished bun. Shape into smooth balls, flatten slightly, and place on a silpat covered baking sheet.If you are making hot dog buns, the author found it easiest to roll the dough out into a large rectangle and cut into smaller rectangles. Let rise with sides touching.You can brush the tops with egg washand sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse sea salt, or whatever you like. You can add dry onion soup mix for onion rolls. These are very versatile!Let rise for 30 to 35 minutes. When buns have almost doubled bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.Makes 12-16I made 6 hamburg style sandwich buns and we almost immediately heated a couple up for sandwiches of turkey ham, tomatoes and cheese ... and they were perfect ... not heavy and hard to chew with the ingredients of the sandwich. And I made 6 hot dog buns, so I would have some to make the Lobster Roll recipe.Verdict:These were definitely the best home made hot dog and hamburg buns that I have tried so far ... so good that my search has ended and I will now be using this recipe for all my sandwich buns needs. I found them light enough to eat with heavy meat fillings. They had a fine grained texture and an excellent "background" flavor to enhance any sandwich filling.[...]



CEiMB: Oven Baked Onion Rings

2009-07-23T21:23:04.862-06:00

I began participating in the "Craving Ellie in My Belly" event so that I would be motivated to create and blog at least one new recipe each week ... and now I am making these recipes because they are so incredibly delicious! Every one I have tried so far has been a taste sensation at the table. The recipes that I've missed making for the weekly event, are lined up to try as soon as I am able. Today's choice of Oven Baked Onion Rings by Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen was another winner.I made some substitutions in the ingredients ...I used home-made yogurt instead of buttermilk.I used regular potato chips instead of "baked" potato chips.and I used regular onions instead of vidalia onions (I only wish I could get vidalia onions!!)Just as a note, I don't usually own "cooking spray" ... that is one of the additions to my larder (along with balsamic vinegar) that was made possible by the opening of a local Walmart. At the rate that I use it, this one can will last me for a few years yet.Oven Baked Onion Rings2007, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved4 side-dish servingsIngredients:Cooking spray4 cups baked potato chips1/2 teaspoon cayenne1 cup lowfat buttermilk1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper1 to 2 large Vidalia onions, peeledInstructions:Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.Spray a baking sheet slightly with oil and set aside.Place potato chips in the bowl of a food processor and process into crumbs, about 20 seconds.Transfer to a shallow bowl, add cayenne, and set aside.In another bowl, combine buttermilk (or yogurt), 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and set aside.Slice onions into 1/2-inch circles and separate into rings, keeping only large, whole rings (reserve rest of onions for other uses). You should come out with about 12 to 14 rings.Place the remaining flour in a sealable plastic bag, then add onions, and shake to coat.Dip onions 1 at a time into the buttermilk mixture, then dip into potato chip crumbs and place on baking sheet.Spray canola oil evenly over rings and bake for 20 minutes, or until coating is crisp.Season with salt, to taste, and serve immediately.Verdict:I had company here for lunch, and served the Onion Rings with Linguini w/ Cilantro Pesto and ... well ... we ate them all! They were excellent. The only thing they lacked was a good dip ... we all agreed that a ranch style dip would have finished off the flavor of the dish perfectly. In the absence of that, I served mayonaise with the Onion Rings and we were all quite satisfied with the result. I would like to experiment a bit with the coating ... I'm sold on the yogurt part of it ... it gave a fantastic flavor. But I'm thinking to TRY with bread crumbs (maybe that excellent coating that was on the fish sticks) or with cracker crumbs. I liked the bite of the cayenne.[...]