Friday, June 7, 2013

Doughnut Days

Happy National Do(ugh)nut Day! No matter how you choose to spell doughnut/donut you most likely will agree that they are a delicious-and less than nutritious-treat. It's a bit mind boggling to think that we approve a sugar dough that has been fried and then dipped in more sugar is targeted as a breakfast item. When I realized that today, June 7, was National Donut Day, I knew it would be a great post (and also a great way to use up that last egg in the fridge). There is just one problem that doughnuts propose: They are deep fat fried. While I do not mind in the least bit pan frying a component of a meal, there is only one time of year I ever deep fat fry and that is at Thanksgiving. I give in and make homemade fried onion rings to top off my green bean casserole, because for goodness sakes it's Thanksgiving and all the rules are thrown out the window.
But donut? I don't want to go through the hassle of frying. I don't want the temptation of fried dough balls sitting on my counter all day. Fried food does not last very long anyway so I would just be encouraged to eat them all. I knew there had to be a better way, and there is.
BAKING. Hello, you've got a magical heat box right in your kitchen just waiting to be used. Yep, these doughnut are baked and you won't even miss the grease.

Bonus: This recipe can be completed in under 20 Minutes!

Baked & Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
1 cup of Flour
1/3 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of Cocoa powder
1/4 cup of grated chocolate or mini chocolate chips (optional-I didn't use any this time around)
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
6 Tbs (that 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs) of Sour Cream
1 egg
2 tsp of Vanilla
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of vegetable oil (I used a mix of grapeseed and coconut oil)

Preheat oven to 375F

Making the Dough
Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
Place the wet ingredients in a stand mixer (or mix by hand) until it is one homogenous mixture. Next add the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Wet Ingredients
Dry ingredients

Making the Doughnuts
Now you could go out and buy a doughnut pan, but that would be a waste of money. It's an overpriced unitasker which are not allowed in the kitchen. You might say "Well I'll use it a lot to justify my purchase." If you make doughnuts often enough to justify dropping $20 dollars on a shaped pan, than you need to hold back on how many doughnuts you are making and eating.

What I did was put the dough in a ziptop baggie, snip the corner and piped out the doughnuts into ring shapes. Place the doughnuts on a parchment paper or a nonstick sheet for easy removal.
Bake at 375F for 8 mins for medium sized doughnuts or 6 mins for small doughnuts. You will know they are done when they bounce back from light pressure.

Making the Glaze
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup of milk
2 Tbs of melted butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Stir all of the ingredients together until smooth. It should have some body but still be very much a liquid.
After the doughnuts come out of the oven, before they are finished cooling place the doughnut "face-down" into the glaze and swirl to coat. Allow the glaze to set by placing the doughnuts on parchment paper or on a cooling rack.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Many Faces of Soup III

If you are so lucky to be graced with the honor of being a resident of the state of Missouri, than you have been enjoying some of the ugliest summer weather that I would never wish for. It has been eerie, gloomy, cold and wet. Not exactly swimming weather. All of this the weather's unstable emotions has had a negative impact on my "allergies." Not that I really have allergies, but I don't really know what to call it the cold like nastiness congregated in my sinuses at the moment. All I really know is soup always comforting in a time of need. So here we go.

Soup: Round 3

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
serve with corn salsa


  • 2 Tbs of oil (like Coconut oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1-24 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, diced

    OR-Do it yourself! Place 3 red bell peppers under the broiler. Make sure they are within a few inches of the burner. We want to char the skin. It will be black, blistery and will pull away from the flesh when it is done. Somewhere around 10 minutes. Just keep your eye on it. Next, let it cool before trying to pull off that skin. You may want to place it in an ice back to hurry up the process. Rub your hands pepper and the skin should come off. Next remove the stem, the seeds and get rid of that nasty white membrane on the inside.

  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 cup of sour cream OR heavy cream (optional)

Stirring in the sour cream
In a medium to large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and potato (Seasoned with S&P of course) for 10 mins or until the potatoes and onions begin to soften. Add the bell peppers, cumin, and oregano continuing to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the pan, reduce the heat to med low-just enough heat to allow the soup to simmer- and cover the pot. Allow to simmer away for at least 20 minutes. After the flavor awakening from the bubbling is complete, now is time for the blending. You could use a blender, food processor or an immersion blender. In this case I used my food processor and it turned out nicely. Just make sure to not over fill the food processor or blender. We want the soup to end up in our mouths, not the floor. No explosions are need. After the soup is nice and creamy, you may add the sour cream or heavy cream to give the puree a more velvety texture, but the decision is totally yours. Serve with corn salsa and enjoy!

Corn Salsa

This is so easy, it's ridiculous.

1 1/2 cups of corn kernel (fresh blanched corn is best)
1/3 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Tbs of minced onion
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 lime (just using the juice here)
2 Tbs of finely mined cilantro
1 Tbs of sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together and (if possible) cover and cool for at least 30 minutes. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Slap in the Face

     Have you ever been slapped in the face by your meal? Maybe not slapped across your face, but I would venture to say most have at some point been given a kick to a certain region of the head. The tongue. And this kick and slap I speak of is heat not of temperature but of spice.
 Some enjoy the adventure of the sensation of having your mouth on fire while others tend to enjoy the calm and soothing waters of gentler and milder flavors. If you are cooking for varied needs as I do, (I adore spicy food; I can't get enough of it. One the other hand my mother likes blah plain-ness. She can barely handle the 'kick' of oregano) There is hope. There can be a compromise. 
     As the days get hotter so does my food. Not hotter in temperature, but hotter in the context of spice. Well, I do mean hotter in temperature for the days, because it looks like we are going to be graced with another of Missouri's hot and humid summers. Although the days have been getting hotter in a "spicy" way as well. Recently everyone seems to be on edge. Everyone seems to have lost their chill pills. Maybe they need something to cool off with? I think the lime slaw and the chipotle cream may help. (While the cooling element of this dish may help cool off the dish their ability to cool off fiery people is debatable.)
Oh yes I have become side tracked and you are probably hungry and just wanting to know what it is exactly I'm making tonight. Well that's the first problem. This meal is the exact opposite of exact. It's a little bit of this and that, that wraps its way up into something that could be called a taco or a tostada, but it doesn't quite fit either definitions. More of a spicy kick and creamy cool in an palate-pleasing brawl. This meal is more of a brawl in a bite.
And now we cook...

Brawling Tostacos 


-Grilled Tortillas

-Marinated and grilled (or roasted) Chicken 

-Roasted vegetables 

-Creamy Cool Red Slaw

-Refried Beans

-Tomatillo Salsa

-Chipotle Cream


Sorry for the poor quality pictures, but trust me, these are to die for. Ok maybe not dying, but maybe falling down the stairs and messing up your hair kind of good.

Grilled Chipotle Chicken

This works great for tacos, for enchiladas, for just eating along side rice and refried beans. Also it is used in my recipe for Brawling Tostacos.

This can be adjusted for any amount of meat.

Two Chicken breasts cut in half
In this case I used 1 lb of Boneless skinless chicken breast but Thighs work great as well. Which ever meat you use you want to make sure you butterfly it, or slice into small pieces creating a high surface area to volume ratio. This way there is more chicken exposed to the marinade and it will cook faster. The marinade in question for the chicken is the Chipotle in Adobo Base. Use just enough to completely coat the chicken.

You want enough marinade
to cover the chicken
Just like how a girl that is getting ready should never be rushed, neither should the chicken. Let it hang out and absorb all the flavors. (If you must rush then it's not the end of the world, but it will be lacking in some development of flavor)

Fire up the grill and get cooking.

After the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F, remove from the grill and allow to rest for AT LEAST 10 minutes. Place the chicken on a plate and cover with foil to the chicken does not become cold, but do not even think of cutting into that meat. You don't want all your hard work to go to waste by cutting into the chicken and the juices spilling all over the place. After the resting period youo are allowed to dig in. 

The Finished Product

Roasted Veggies with a Spicy Coat

Sweet Potato, diced
This is a great filling for enchiladas, a great addition to nachos and also great in Brawling Tostadas.

Medium Dice on a Red Onion
Roasted vegetables 

  • 1 med/large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small Red, yellow or orange bell peppers (The color is your call, although my favorite is orange)
  • 1 med red onion
  • 1/4 cup of grapeseed, coconut or olive oil, plus 1 Tbs
  • 3 Tbs of Chipotle in Adobo base
  • Juice of 1 Lime 
Even though the picture doesn't show this
very well, make sure to remove all of the
white from the inside of the pepper.
It is bitter and has a nasty texture. 

  • 2 Tbs of Cilantro, chopped

I roast each of my vegetables separate because I find  that it is too difficult to try and figure out how big to cut each vegetable to insure they will all be done at the same time. The sweet potatoes will definitely take the longest. About 20-30 minutes at 400 F. 
The onions, depending on how charred you like them take around 20 (At 400 F). The peppers will take around 10 minutes if you like them al dente like I do (Again at 400 F)

Toss each chopped vegetable in 1 Tbs of oil (2 Tbs for the sweet potatoes). Season with S&P and toss to coat. 

After all of the Vegetables are done, toss with the remaining 1 Tbs of EVOO, the Chipotle in Adobo mix, the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Creamy Cool Red Slaw

Cool, crisp and refreshing.

1 small head of red cabbage, rinsed and julienned
1/2 cup of greek yogurt
2 tbs of honey
Juice of 1 lime

 Whisk the yogurt, honey and lime juice together to create a "dressing". Add the cabbage. Depending on how big the head of lettuce you bought was, you may need to reserve some of the lettuce or make more of the dressing. After coating the cabbage, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 min-1hr (or up to 3-4 hours).

Tomatillo Salsa

2-3 cups of tomatillos-skinned, rinsed and quartered
2 Tbs of diced onion 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno
2 Tbs of EVOO
1 Tbs of honey
2 Tbs of cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs of blended Adobo mixture

Toss the tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeno with 1 Tbs of EVOO and S&P. Roast in a 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes. Depending on the size of the tomatillos this could take longer. They are done when the skin peels away from the flesh and the onions begin to become translucent in color. 
After the roasting is done, place the tomatillo mixture in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Next add the other Tbs of EVOO, the honey, cilantro and Adobo mix. Blend again. Taste and adjust as needed. 

Chipotle Cream

This is so easy it's a bit lame. This creamy sauce can take the place of sour cream but warning although it is cool and creamy it does have a bit of a punch.

1/2 cup of non fat plain greek yogurt
1 Tbs of Lime juice
1 tsp of honey

Mix all of the ingredients together. Serve immediately or chill to allow the flavors to blend. 

Chipotle in Adobo Base

I use this as a bade for so many things. Refried beans, salsa, marinades, the list goes on and on. It is so easy and really packs a punch. For something that is so multipurpose in use and packs this much of a punch and it this easy to prepare there is no reason not to make this. 
This is my personal favorite brand of Chipotle peppers
in Adobo. San Marcos has a unique blend of spices
that I adore and in my experience tends to have a lot less
 seeds from the peppers than other brands.

1-7oz can of Chipotle peppers in Adobo
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbs of Olive oil
2 Tbs of Honey
1 teaspoon of Salt
1/4 teaspoon of Pepper

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. That's all folks. It really is that easy. 


Guacamole has to be one of my favorite additions to add to any meal. So creamy and refreshing.
Now before we jump into how to make the guacamole, first we need to talk about finding a good Avocado, because if your avocado is bad there is no hope for the guac.
Now at your average store your going to be buying a Hass avocado which is perfect for making guacamole due to its high oil content. When selecting an avocado for purchase pick one that is dark, no green spots. It should be about the color of avocado #5 in the picture below.

 Also there should be no bulges. If there are vein like bulges on the skin then that means it is over ripe. Those are the nasty brown stringy bits that interfere with the whole goal of creamy and refreshing. When holding a dark, smooth avocado when gently pressing on the skin with your thumb it should lightly give. It should not be be hard nor should it be mush. It should gently yield to pressure but still be somewhat firm.
Perfectly ripened Avocado
Over ripe Avocado

Now that the basis of a good avocado have been covered lets make Guac

-2 ripe Avocados
-Juice of 1 lime (if it ends up being a drier lime than use 2)
-1/2 bundle of Cilantro, chopped (about 3 Tbs)
-1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
-2-3 Tbs of onion, minced (I like using red onion. Also I don't enjoy the taste of raw onion so I finely dice and sauté the onion on the stove for a few minutes, allowing it to cool before adding it to the guac mixture. If sautéing the onions I would also suggest sautéing the garlic with the onions as well)
-1 clove of garlic
-1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
-S&P (to taste)
-1/2 tsp of dried oregano (optional-I really enjoy oregano with any mexican based food, but if you don't have it or don't like oregano, it's not the end of the world) 
-1/4 tsp of cumin (optional; I generally do not add the cumin)
-1/4 tsp of cayenne (again the spices are totally optional but should not be quickly bypassed due to their enhancement of flavor) 
(Also if you have some of the pureed adobo mixture you can add 1-2 teaspoon of that for added heat as well)

To remove the avocado quickly and to help the mashing process along, after removing the pit of the avocado chop the avocado while still in the skin. Then you can take a spoon to scoop out the pieces from the skin.
After you have the avocado at your desired consistency add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Also as always, taste and adjust as needed!