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chile, cheese, and chorizo

If there was one food, dish, or recipe that you could eat for the rest of your life; as much as you want, as often as you like, from now until eternity – without gaining an ounce – what would it be?

ice cream

If you would have asked me that question a few weeks ago, I would have said, “Ice Cream!”

Ice cream is my go to answer to any question that begins with “What food would you…”

I love ice cream; the coldness, the smoothness, the creaminess, the richness, the pure happiness that ice cream brings. And that is why we rarely have ice cream in our house!

But ask me that question today – my new answer is, “Chile, Cheese, and Chorizo Bread Pudding.”

going going gone

I developed this recipe for my classes at Les Gourmettes and I could not love it more! I am quite certain it is as calorie and fat laden as ice cream, if not more so. It’s full of bread, cheese, chorizo, more cheese, eggs, and milk. And it is SO GOOD!

Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is just perfect, in every possible way. It is amazing! Well, except for the calorie/fat count – on that front – it sucks!

I made it twice last week. First for the class and then again for a dinner party the evening before Thanksgiving that we had with our family and Marissa’s boyfriend, Jeff’s family. One of the guests was vegetarian, so for the dinner party, instead of using a 9×13-inch pan, I made two 8×8-inch pans. One with the chorizo and one without.

The recipe is for the larger pan but the images are of the two smaller pans … just to clarify … so you aren’t confounded by the instructions vs. the photos.

Oh, and if you don’t have time to make the red pepper sauce, it’s still delicious with out it. Just saying!

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December 4, 2013   4 Comments

Thanksgiving leftover trio – part one

If you watched the live Food Network Thanksgiving show last week, you might have seen the round-table discussion at the end of the show. I didn’t see it live, but caught a bit of it online.

Thanksgiving eggs benedict

Some of the leftover ideas the chefs tossed around sounded fabulous – Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict” w/Gravy, Sweet Potato-Cranberry Shortcake, and Turkey Gumbo. Since this was a rapid-fire sort of affair – as in “everyone was talking over everyone else” – there were no recipes given.

Those were the three dishes that caught my fancy, so I thought I’d use their suggestions and create the recipes myself.

Today, the “Benedict” breakfast.
Tomorrow, the gumbo.
The shortcake on Sunday.

Get those leftovers out and make these recipes along with me…

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November 29, 2013   No Comments

Migas for the crew

Before I get into today’s post – I want to take a moment to wish my mother-in-law, Patricia Hopkins, a very happy birthday! I love you. xoxo

I made brunch for the fabulous crew from Forevergreen Landscape Designs, Inc., the great group of guys who’ve been redoing our front yard and patio area for the past month.

brunch on the patio

The project was supposed to wrap up last Friday, but because of a mistake by the rock delivery dude, who delivered the wrong color rocks, the project is ongoing… it should be done by the end of this week with a reveal sometime next week.

screen

Long before the nasty gray cement-like rock was delivered, I’d promised to make the guys breakfast or lunch on what was to be their last day… we settled on brunch. And since the majority of men on the job are Hispanic, I decided to make Migas.

As you can see, I was very stealth and snapped a couple photos through the screened windows of them enjoying their meal.

peak

Mexican or Tex-Mex Migas is a traditional breakfast dish consisting of scrambled eggs mixed with strips of corn tortilla, diced onions, chile peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, and cheese.

chips and such

My version uses crushed tortilla chips, minced serrano, and Parmesan.

Chip Custer is the owner of Forevergreen Landscape Designs. He is the very talented landscape designer who did our backyard. If you go to his website HERE, you can check out photos 2, 3, 8, 10, and 12. Those are a few of the before and after pictures of the backyard project we did with Chip five years ago.

Now you see why I happily cook for these guys!

onion tomato serrano

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November 13, 2013   4 Comments

south of the border muffins

chocolate banana bread muffins on scale

I’m calling these “Mexican-Chocolate” because of the cinnamon and chocolate combination. If you’ve ever eaten or cooked with the Ibarra brand of Mexican chocolate, you understand.

On a totally unrelated subject – I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I keep waking up before the sun – but that turned out to be a blessing yesterday.

I got out of bed at about 4:30 and decided to make these muffins since I needed to take something to our neighborhood Bunco later that evening.

muffin on pedestal

The day was a whirlwind, I wasn’t home for more than 15 minutes all day. If I hadn’t made the muffins early in the morning … I would have never had time to make a thing and would have had to resort to bringing a bottle of wine.

As you might imagine, that doesn’t fly when you have a cooking blog and teach people to cook!

mexican chocolate banana bread muffin

Sometimes sleep deprivation actually pays off.

Now, I know that for some, 4:30 or 5:00 is a normal and routine time to begin their day. I’ve had that schedule before, so I get it. But back then, I fell asleep before midnight or 1 AM too.

Let’s face it – sleep deprivation totally sucks! Conversely, these muffins do not.

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September 20, 2013   4 Comments

Father’s Day breakfast

ricotta pancakes

Yesterday morning, Connor pitched in to help me make a simple Father’s Day breakfast for his dad.

I was already working on an early afternoon dinner for 8, so I didn’t want it to be some big elaborate morning meal. These pancakes are about as light and fluffy as it gets.

Plus, with the two of us working together, it was a breeze to get on the table in less than 20 minutes.

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June 17, 2013   3 Comments

mother’s day breakfast

My Mother’s Day menu was featured in yesterday’s Food & Drink section of the Arizona Republic.

food&drinkcover

Here are photos and links to the recipes.

azcentralcake

Layered Lemon-Berry Angel Cake

azcentralparfait

Mixed Berry Parfait

parfait

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May 9, 2013   1 Comment

photo shoot

mother's day breakfast recipes

Later this morning, a photographer from the Arizona Republic is coming out to do a photo and video shoot that will be featured in an upcoming article in the Food section and on AZCentral.com.

I’m prepping four recipes that dad and the kids can make for an indulgent Mother’s Day Breakfast.

The article will run, May 8th, the Wednesday before Mother’s Day.

From the ingredients on the counter, can you guess what four things I’m making?

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April 24, 2013   5 Comments

Herb Crêpes Eggs Benedict Florentine

crepe eggs benedict florentine

I admit it, this recipe looks VERY intimidating. It is long. There are many components. It looks complicated. But I PROMISE it is not hard to do. In fact, it is a wonderful special occasion entertaining dish. For a crowd, no less!

How is that possible, you ask?

It is because none of the components are difficult and all but one can be done 1 or 2 days in advance. So in reality, it comes together quickly and seamlessly at the end.

Even the final, last minute component, the Hollandaise sauce, is foolproof. I know, you may be ready to quit reading right now… Hollandaise Sauce – Absolutely Not!

But really it is foolproof! No stove is involved! All you need is a blender. You’re still skeptical? This sauce comes from Chef Tyler Florence. It works perfectly and is easy as can be, I may never make traditional Hollandaise sauce again!

too small

As I was beginning to make the crêpes in my usual crêpe-pan, I decided that they were too small, so I switched to a larger skillet. This was a personal choice, if you don’t have a medium size skillet (about 10-inches across the top) a smaller regular crêpe-pan is fine. Above you can see the two pans I’m talking about, and below the difference in the crêpe sizes.

difference

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April 3, 2013   1 Comment

muffin “almost there”

Here is a quote from yesterday’s post:

“So back to the drawing board. I hope to have it down by tomorrow and post the recipe and my success.”

craftsman and wolves sign

What I hoped to have down was the recipe for “The Rebel Within” from Craftsman & Wolves, a restaurant in San Francisco.  “The Rebel Within” is a buttery, cheesy, sausage flecked muffin with a soft-cooked egg in the center. The egg yolk in the muffin should be soft and runny with the oozing yolk dripping like liquid gold onto the plate.

oozing

The muffin is named after a Hank Williams III song. Williams is the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams and the son of Hank Williams, Jr.

So, the big question is… did I get it right? Was I successful? Was the liquid gold running onto my plate?  No. No. and No!

I really wanted to name this post “Muffin Extraordinaire” but it’s honestly only “Muffin Almost There.”

blueprint

I developed the recipe by using the blueprint of the muffin that I found on the restaurant’s website. It’s a tongue-in-cheek blueprint with a hint of what ingredients to use, but it has no real portions. At least it gave me a starting point.

First, I tried soft poaching the eggs for 3 minutes in simmering water and then shocking the cooked eggs in ice water, as with THIS method. But once the muffins were baked, the yolks were firm, not even close to runny.

The second go-round, I tried only poaching three of the eggs for one minute and shocking them in the ice water. I cracked the remaining three eggs directly into the bottom layer of batter in the muffin tin.

I imagined that the 1-minute poached eggs would work and that the raw eggs would run all over the place and make a mess.

Once the muffins were baked, I anxiously cut into one of each type of muffin. The result? Exactly the same as the first time around. The yolks were cooked firm. The raw eggs did not run and make a mess, as I anticipated, they were firm right in the center of the muffin, just as the poached eggs were.

Even though the yolks didn’t turn out as I had hoped, I am going to share the recipe I developed while trying to get it right, because even without runny yolks, the muffin is AMAZING! Wonderfully scrumptious. Somehow the muffin is dense, yet still fluffy and fabulously flavorful.

Instead of naming my version “The Rebel Within” I shall name mine “The Easter Egg Within.”

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January 31, 2013   9 Comments

dinner party main course

1 serving

This is the final recipe from our dinner party with Karen and Bob. As with the other recipes, I found this in a food magazine, this time from the February issue of Food & Wine.

The changes I made; two large onions seemed like too much, I decreased it to one. The recipe was called Ratatouille Toasts with Fried Eggs, it is now Ratatouille Toasts with Poached Eggs. Poached eggs are easier and able to be done ahead, a huge bonus when entertaining.

To do so; poach your eggs as normal, but under-cook them slightly. About 30 seconds off of your normal cooking time should do the trick. Just make sure the whites are nearly set. Lift the eggs directly out of the simmering water and into an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Then place them into the refrigerator until you need them.

egg ice bath

When you’re ready to serve, bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer and give your eggs a final 45 seconds of poaching. Because the whites are already set, you can heat several eggs at once without worrying that they will stick together. This takes much less time than poaching all the eggs at the last minute.

I usually poach the eggs the night before or the morning of a dinner or brunch. In the recipe below, I have instructions as if you are going to serve the eggs immediately, just in case that is how you would prefer to do it. Use the instructions above for making ahead.

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January 25, 2013   1 Comment