Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Tamales

For every 2 cups of masa harina (meal), add ½ cup of shortening or lard, 1tsp. of salt, and 1tsp baking powder (optional: enough chili powder to make a pink dough). Add broth mixture a little at a time to masa and mix with your hands to get a smooth, spreadable consistency. If you run out of broth, you can use hot water. (Use about 1:1 ratio with masa) whip till fluffy.

Pinto bean & cheese filling:
Fill crock pot half full with rinsed beans. Add one onion, and 3 cloves of peeled garlic. Fill with chicken broth until 3-4 inches above beans. Cook on high until soft. Blend or mash until smooth.
Optional: mix in enchilada sauce
1/4 c oil
2 T flour
1/4 c chili powder
8 oz tomato sauce 
1 1/2c water
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t garlic powder 
1/4 t onion powder 
Salt to taste 

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.
  2. Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.
Cheese: small slice quest fresco

Green Chili Chicken:

2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 serranos chiles, or more to taste

1 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and the chiles serrranos in a pot and cover with water. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer at medium for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from a bright to a pale green, are cooked through and are soft but are not coming apart.

Place tomatillos, garlic and chile (you may add one chile first) and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.

Once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks. However, the heat level of the sauce will diminish as the days go by.



Place in crockpot covered in broth with onion and garlic. Cook till tender. Shred and mix with salsa verde.


Cook meat (pork or beef, or both in separate pots) in a large pot of water (or in a slow-cooker filled with water) with an onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for the day, 4 hours minimum. The more broth you can generate from the meat, the better!

After the meat is cooked (so that it falls apart and shreds easily), remove from pot, set aside to cool, and puree the onion and garlic with the broth. Season broth mixture to taste with chili powder and salt.

Shred meat finely with two forks (you can even chop it after shredding), and store covered in refrigerator separately from broth. (Use broth to make masa)

Season shredded meat with chili powder, salt, and cumin (optional) to taste. As you season the meat, add a small amount of broth to moisten meat, but it should not be runny.

Cream Cheese, bacon, jalapeño

Purée jalapeños, bacon, and cream cheese to taste

This time I did about 4 jalapeños, 8 strips of bacon, and 3 boxes of cream cheese.


Assemble the tamales: spread masa about 1/8 inch thick on corn husk with fingers, leaving about ½ inch border along the sides and 2 inch border along the top and bottom of husk. Use about 2 Tbsp. of shredded meat to fill the tamal (like a cigar). Fold sides until they just overlap, fold narrow end under, and place tamal folded side down. Grandma Salazar tears thin strips of the corn husks to tie a “little belt” around each tamal to keep it secure. Although this isn’t necessary, it does look the nicest and makes each tamal a little gift to be opened.


To cook, steam fresh tamales for 15 minutes or until masa is no longer sticky.


Store in freezer. Steam frozen tamales for 20 minutes. (This is a real treat a few days or a few weeks later. After you’ve recovered, it’s almost like someone else made them for you!).

Friday, July 11, 2014


I've always wanted to try ratatouille after seeing the movie so when it came up in my search for a healthy summer recipe I knew it was time. This was amazing! I was strapped for time making it so mine wasn't as pretty as it could of been but it was delicious. We served it with polenta and grilled chicken.

Layered Ratatouille

YIELD: Makes 4-6 servings


1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 can garlic and olive oil diced tomatoes puréed 
¼ tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant, such as Italian or Chinese
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 long red bell pepper
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, one tablespoon of the olive oil, and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. Trim the top of the red pepper and remove the core.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. Or tinfoil

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.


Recipe adapted from http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2010/08/layered-ratatouille.html

Sunday, May 18, 2014


When we were in Houston last week I remembered how delicious kolaches are! Unfortunately, there are none to be found in the middle of the desert that is centeral Utah. So I googled around to see if I could find a recipe. I found this gem of an article about an old Czech grandma and was sold.


They turned out well, my freezer is stocked, and my Texas craving is satisfied for the moment. Now if I could just get Franklin's recipe...

   3 cups warm milk 
   ¾ cup melted Oleo or butter 
   ¾ cup sugar 
   1 tablespoon salt 
   3 egg yolks 
   7 cups flour 
   3 tablespoons dry yeast 
   Place ingredients in mixer in the order listed above and blend on medium speed for 10 minutes. (The longer you beat it, the nicer the dough.) 
   Let rise for 1 hour. (If you're in a hurry, speed up the process by placing the container of dough in a container of warm water for 40 to 45 minutes.) 
   Work dough into balls and place on cooking sheet coated with cooking spray. Let dough balls rise for 15 to 20 minutes. Using fingers, press down in middle of dough to create cavity for filling. Add filling and crumb topping and allow kolaches to rise again while oven preheats (about 10 to 15 minutes). 
Bake 18-20 minutes 375-400*

You can fill or top them with whatever your heart desires. We did cottage cheese, peach jelly, ham and cheese, and sausage.

Check out the recipe link for some authentic options.

Monday, April 7, 2014

English muffins recipe

2 1/4 c. (10 oz) bread flour
1/2 T. (.25 oz) sugar
3/4 t. (.19 oz) salt
1 1/4 t. Instant yeast
1 T. (.5 oz) shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup (6-8 oz) milk or buttermilk, room temperature
Cornmeal for dusting, optional

1. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir in shortening/ butter and 3/4 cup milk until ingredients for a ball. If there is still loose flour, dribble in so me of the remaining milk. The dough should be soft, pliable, not stiff.

2. Knead dough for about 10 min, dough should be tacky but not sticky. It should pass the windowpane test. Transfer dough to a little oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 60-90 min, or until dough doubles in size.

4. Shape into a loaf if making English muffin bread. Or Divide dough into 6 pieces 3 oz each. Shape into a boule, similar to a roll. Spray a baking pan with oil. Transfer balls of dough to pan, spacing them 3 in apart. Mist lightly with oil then loosely cover with plastic wrap. If you are making these the night before for breakfast now you can place them in the fridge. Just remove a few hours before you are planning to cook them so they can warmup and rise.

5. Proof for 60-90 min until nearly doubled.

6. Heat skillet medium heat (350*F). Also, preheat oven to 350*F

7. Brush pan with oil if not using nonstick. Uncover the muffin rounds and GENTLY transfer them to the pan. Fill the pan so the pieces are 1 in apart, not touching. Cover remaining pieces.
Cook for 5-8 min or until the bottom of the dough is about to burn. The bottoms should be dark, they will brown quickly but won't burn for awhile so resist the temptation to turn early or they will fall flat. Carefully flip and cook for another 5-8 min. Transfer to sheet pan and place in oven, don't wait for others to cook. Bake for 5-8 min. Meanwhile cook remaining pieces.

8. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 30 min before serving.

**instead of cutting them open with a knife use a fork. The advantage is that by running the tines of a fork into and around the the edge of the bread, the famous nooks and crevices are created.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homemade Chef Boyardee: Beefy Macaroni Tomato Soup in a crockpot

My husband doesn't see it but this recipe has a certain Chef Boyardee nastalga for me. I started with a recipe for tomato macaroni soup but didn't have half the ingredients so I started improvising.

1 can of condensed tomato soup
1 can of water
1 can of died tomatoes
1 full size can tomato sauce
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 lb cooked ground beef 

I tossed everything in the crock-pot on high for 3.5 hrs.

Then added:
2 cups chicken stock
4 handfuls of uncooked macaroni

Let cook till macaroni is tender. Enjoy:)

This recipe received 2 thumbs up!

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day 2014

This year we had a blast with a cousin dinner for St. Patrick's Day. I think it might have been my favorite recipes so far!

I'm not sure I knew how delicious this stuff was until I started making it from scratch. I used Alton Brown's recipe again this year, but with a few tweeks.

2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons saltpeter (omitted because I couldn't find it)
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
12 whole juniper berries (
omitted because I couldn't find it)
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pounds ice
1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. (Mine was closer to 2 weeks) Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine.

After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. (I felt last year that I could use some more flavor. So this year I added some mustard seed, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves inTo the pot as well) Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours ( I cooked mine in the crock pot for 5 hrs) or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

This stuff was amazing! I realized after I mixed all my ingredients that I was using a 1/2 t. Instead of the 1/4t. I thought I was. Thus everything had been accidentally doubled! What could I do? I double the remaining ingredients and made two. It turned out so well I'm glad I had the extra! I did sub the buttermilk for some homemade yogurt and milk.

Not my favorite recipe this year. Turned out really dry :(

These were delicious! I roasted the potatoes with a head of garlic and they turned out amazingly!

I used the transitional rye bread recipe from Peter Reinhardt's, whole wheat book, very much a do again. Made amazing Ruben sliders the next day.

I just used the basic recipe in Danny's veggie book. Basically, you boil a small amount of salted water, add the cabbage wedges, then cover to steam until tender. Then, I lightly salt and pepper.

I wish I had pictures but the food was so good, it just disappeared!