Flour Tortillas with bacon fat

Flour tortillas 1

Sunday dinner.  Warm, fresh tortillas. Life is good.

Yes, that’s right.  BACON FAT.  So good, you will wonder why you haven’t done it before.  In Mexico pork is featured in so many ways, all good.  (Ever had carnitas??). Well, these tortillas are so darn good Stella told me that I needed to get them on the blog right away, as this is the 2nd time (in her 6 L O N G years) that she has been instrumental in the whole rolling/cooking process and if a 6 year old can do this – so can you!  Effort vs reward is huge.  Stella gets the rolling going and Sloan (at 9) is in charge of the stove and cooking them.  They both know just when to turn the tortillas with the right amount of bubbling and browning going on.

SO EASY!

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat (cold)\
  • 1 cup warm water

Stir flour and salt together, then work in the cold bacon fat with your fingers.  Slowly add the water and work until a cohesive dough forms.  Not sticking together?  Add a bit more water.  Too sticky?  Add a bit more flour …. You get it.  Knead until you have a soft but firm dough – cover and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes.  (or as long as you need it to)

Divide this into 12-14 pieces and roll into balls.  Let sit for a few minutes to allow the dough to rest – this makes it much easier to roll.  (keep covered)

Roll until super thin – and cook on a dry hot skillet.  Every stovetop is different and you may sacrifice the first couple to the frypan, but thats okay, once you realize your perfect temperature you are good to go.

Cook for approximately 1 minute on the first side and you will see bubbles form.  Only flip when you peek underneath and see brown spots appearing.  Flip it over and continue cooking until you get more of those lovely brown spots.  On my stovetop (flat ceramic) I can’t cook it higher than 5 (or medium) otherwise things burn before cooking through but experiment with your own surface.

Keep warm in a covered container as the steaming also helps with the cooking process.

This recipe serves 6.  If you aren’t feeding 6, then just keep the dough in the fridge and pinch off enough to make yourself a couple tortillas a day!

Flour tortillas 3

Stella is 6 and she’s already done this a couple of times, at her insistence this recipe is going on the blog so we all remember it.  Big sister Sloan is making the guacamole in the background before stepping over to the stove to keep the cooking going.

Flour tortillas 4

Just look at those bubbles forming – we all get excited!  (yes, I know, kitchen geeks)

Flour tortillas 2

This is exactly what you are looking for.  Heaven in a wrap.

Tonight we served carne asada with these tortillas, and it was amazing.

Honestly …. you really don’t like pork?  (sorry Meg & Amy). Use store bought lard or shortening.

Ceviche

Step 1

In a 1 1/2-quart glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. Use enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float freely; too little juice means unevenly “cooked” fish. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, until a cube of fish no longer looks raw when broken open. Drain in a colander.

Step 2

In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, olives and optional olive oil. Stir in the fish and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Add the orange juice or sugar. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado.

Make Ahead

Working ahead: The fish may be marinated a day in advance; after about 4 hours, when the fish is “cooked,” drain it so that it won’t become too tangy. For the freshest flavor, add the flavorings to the fish no more than a couple of hours before serving.
This recipe came courtesy of my Food and Wine Magazine – another superb recipe from Rick Bayless.

Mexican Pickled Vegetables (Escabeche)

Escabeche 1

Today’s version included potato slices, onions, carrots, cauliflower and zucchini.

Have you ever noticed those bowls of pickled vegetables at every taco stand you’ve been to in Mexico?  They are easy to make at home, fantastic to have in the fridge and add a flavourful zip to any side dish (or pizza!).  This recipe is perfect, feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand ….. I’d skip broccoli though as I have found that it doesn’t keep either it’s bright colour or crunch.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 jalapenos
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (use Mexican if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 8-10 cracked peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  • Give the jalapenos a rinse and then cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Peel the carrots and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • Peel and quarter the onion, chopping into thin slices
  • Peel and roughly chop the garlic
  • Heat a dollop of oil in a medium sized sauce pan on medium-high heat
  • Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes
  • Add the jalapenos, carrots and the spices: ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 8-10 black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf.
  • Briefly saute and then add 1.5 cups white vinegar, 1 cup water, and 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the jalapenos turn army green
  • Fill each jar with the veggies and top with the brine
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge
  • The jalapenos and carrots will have most of their flavor after a few hours of resting in the brine

I’ve tried a few recipes now from a blog …. “Mexican please”, and they are all great!  This is no exception.  I don’t use quite that many jalapeños (usually 2-3 large ones) and I also put in whatever vegetables I have on hand, cauliflower, zucchini, radish etc.  Just make sure to not overcook the more delicate vegetables.  For items like cauliflower and zucchini I only add them to the cooking liquid for a couple of minutes.  Be mindful of the amount of liquid you have and make sure you have enough to cover the vegetables once you get them into your pickling jars.  It is okay to top up with a bit more vinegar or water if need be.

Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze

Need a quick dessert?  Not tired of pumpkin yet?  Here you go – ready for the oven in about 10 minutes, and the glaze just takes minutes.  Not only will the house smell amazing, dessert will be awesome!

Pumpkin donuts 1

Spend a few dollars and buy yourself a silicone donut mold, I’ve had so much fun with it!

Doughnuts:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  1. For the doughnuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the pumpkin puree, sugar, vegetable oil, butter, vanilla and eggs and together in another large bowl until smooth.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat until just combined.
  5. Fill three 6-cup nonstick doughnut pans with the batter so that each mold is almost full. Smooth the tops with a moistened finger.  (I always put my batter into a ziplock bag and pipe it into the molds, so much easier, and way less messy)
  6. Bake the doughnuts until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Invert the doughnuts onto a cooling rack.

(I never seem to have pumpkin pie spice, so you can easily mix up 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp each of cloves and freshly ground nutmeg to equal the 2 tsp)

pumpkin donuts 3

Dry ingredients whisked, and the wet stuff in my stand mixer, but you could easily do it all by hand, it only takes a few minutes to come together.

pumpkin donuts 2

pumpkin donuts 4

Once you get it all together, don’t overtax!  Just enough to bring it all together.

 

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar (this is important – gets rid of lumps!)
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Heat butter and maple syrup in small sauce pan, just until butter is melted.  Quickly whisk in the sifted confectioners’ (icing) sugar until smooth.

It is best if you make this before the donuts as that allows the glaze to thicken slightly.

Dip the slightly cooled donuts in the glaze and allow to cool.  Best served that day, but no one is going to complain about a day old donut!  This makes enough to generously DOUBLE DIP about 12 donuts.  Seriously, go for the double dip, that maple glaze is killer good and courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction – check out her blog, all her recipes are great.

The donuts however, come from Valerie Bertinelli’s show and I’ve never had a fail on one of her recipes – they are so good and usually pretty quick to make.

Lemony Greek Chicken Thighs

Greek chicken 4

So delicious – olives, caper berries, sweet onions and tender chicken thighs …… you will be licking the pan, at least Leah did!

This is one of those “guideline” recipes.  I’m going to go ahead and give some amounts, but feel free to adjust to whatever you have on hand, or whatever your taste buds are asking for!

  • vegetable or peanut oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 large lemon, halved, then sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed lightly then halved
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives (I used kalamata, stuffed green & caper berries)
  • 2 tbsp of sliced sun dried tomatoes
  • generous handful of minced herbs (today I used parsley, oregano & thyme)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of good dry white wine

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Bring cast iron skillet up to a moderate temperature, add just enough neutral oil to generously coat the pan.  As soon as it starts to shimmer, add chicken thighs. Try not to overcrowd the pan as you want to get a nice sear on the chicken pieces.

Turn once they release easily from the skillet.  Once the second side has seared, remove from the heat.

To the same pan, add a splash of white wine and the onions, garlic, lemon & sun dried tomatoes.  Saute until the onion is translucent and just starting to soften.  Add the herbs and nestle the chicken back into the skillet.  Scatter olive mixture in amongst the chicken and put the whole skillet into an oven at 375 for 30 minutes.  Watch carefully and if you think the chicken is browning too quickly – cover with tinfoil so it cooks through.

Remove from heat, if desired finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a splash of your best olive oil.

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Soup

On a cool night, this creamy soup is just perfect.

Chicken Mushroom Soup 5

I forgot to add the chicken tonight, and it was still delicious.  It could be completely vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • slivered green onions
  • cooked and crumbled bacon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken thighs, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in half and half until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, rosemary, green onions and bacoN, if desired.

Chicken Mushroom soup 2

Chicken Mushroom soup 1

I used crimini and white white mushrooms tonight, but you could use any mushroom.

Chicken Mushroom Soup 3

Chicken Mushroom soup 4

I love the way soups are taken over the top with the garnishes.

 

Raspberry Macaroons

Raspberry macaroons

So pretty, these raspberry macaroons are absolutely delicious.

  • 1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 packed cups unsweetened shredded or fine flake coconut (7 ½ ounces/212g)
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 Ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tsp. coconut oil
  • PREHEAT oven to 325˚F.
  • LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • PLACE 1/4 cup sugar to a medium bowl.
  • ADD 1 package raspberries.
  • MASH mixture with a fork or muddler until berries are broken down.
  • SET ASIDE raspberry mixture to macerate, about 2 minutes.
  • PLACE remaining 1 cup sugar into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
  • ADD 4 eggs whites.
  • WHISK mixture on high speed until foamy.
  • ADD raspberry mixture, 4 cups coconut, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • WHISK until well combined.
  • ADD more coconut as needed to make sure all liquid is absorbed into mixture.

    Raspberry macaroons 4

    Depending on how juicy your raspberries are, it may take up to a cup of additional coconut in order to get the right texture.

  • SCOOP 2-tablespoon-sized macaroons onto prepared baking sheets.
  • PRESS and PAT surface of macaroons with fingertips to ensure they look tidy and don’t crack while baking.
    Raspberry Macaroons 5
  • BAKE for about 30 minutes or until the tops are dry and lightly golden brown and ROTATEsheets halfway through bake.
  • PLACE baking sheets onto cooling racks.

    Raspberry macaroons 2

    Bake until just lightly golden.

  • ALLOW macaroons to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • PLACE 6 ounces dark chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
  • ADD 1 teaspoon coconut oil.
  • HEAT chocolate mixture in microwave for 15 seconds.
  • STIR chocolate mixture.
  • CONTINUE heating and stirring chocolate in microwave in brief intervals until completely melted.
  • DIP bottoms of macaroons into melted chocolate.
  • DRIZZLE tops of macaroons with remaining melted chocolate as desired.
    Raspberry Macaroons 1
  • CHILL macaroons in refrigerator until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.
  • ALLOW macaroons to come to room temperature before serving.Raspberry macaroons 3

I watched a video on Instagram from feedfeed, and they made these macaroons with blackberries – they looked so delicious, and I had everything already in the house, as long as I worked with raspberries instead of blackberries – the recipe came from Driscoll’s Berry website.