Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Almost Churro

I can still remember my first encounter with the beloved churro, it was one of my family's vacations to Disneyland and I still remember instantly loving every bite of it. I had many other encounters with the churro once in Spain where they were dipped into chocolate and then on several occasions I made them somewhat successfully for fiestas in my Spanish classes back in high school. In case you were wondering a churro is a Spanish doughnut, which is usually in the form of a cylinder type shape that has ridges. The dough is fried and then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.Sometimes I find myself wanting something churro like, but I am in no way up for making the dough and then wasting all that oil to fry them. Lets not forget to reiterate here the oil and frying part that is not super healthy and occasionally eating the full on real churro or anything fried is okay, but I really can't do that every time I'm craving the cinnamony goodness of a churro.

For this exact reason I invented the "lighter" much easier to make version of the churro. All it requires is some simple flour tortillas, cinnamon, sugar, a little time in the oven and viola you get the crispiness that you'd find in the fried version without the excess fat calories. And the inside is filled with the warm cinnamon sugar that becomes slightly melted and tastes oh so good in every bite. Mmm.

Lighter Churro

Flour tortillas (I use 6 inch tortillas)
Cinnamon (amount depends on size of tortilla)
Sugar (amount depends)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon onto the tortilla taking the back of a spoon to incorporate them together
3. Roll up the tortilla and place into a baking dish/cookie sheet with the flap side down to prevent it from unrolling
4. Bake until slightly crisp on ends and lightly browned
5. Let stand for 2 minutes and enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Where to begin about Chicken Pot Pie...well to start with who doesn't love a pot pie with its warm tender flaky crust that gives way to the delicious pie filling composed of tender chicken and a rainbow of vegetables all amongst a cream sauce of the perfect consistency. Just writing that makes my mouth water.I used to eat the frozen variety back in my early college days and quickly learned that although the microwave cooked the pie faster it was often soggy and so the oven, though more time intensive, was the best option. Fast forward a couple years when I haven't had a frozen pot pie in maybe 2 almost 3 years and I find myself constantly wanting the perfect pot pie. Lucky for me I now feel more confident in my cooking skills and have braved the task of making it myself, but not so fast there was one tiny problem with all of this...
I have actually been looking off and on for a chicken pot pie recipe for months, but couldn't find the right one that had everything I was looking for. So what is a girl to do? Why make up her very own chicken pot pie recipe of course. I am now a master of whipping up a cream sauce and even went the unconventional pie route by placing my pot pie into a rectangular baking dish. I did however debate on if I should use a bottom crust because I feared it coming out soggy, which I did not want, hence my aversion to cooking frozen pot pies in the microwave. This time I only used a top crust and maybe next time I'll go out on a limb and make it a true pie, which might mean I should actually cook it in a pie dish.
Since, this was a first time recipe and didn't even follow an actual recipe I only tested it on myself, so if it was an utter failure I'd be the only one who knew about it, plus I am still wary of subjecting people to food if I haven't already tested it in some way. Though, now that this was a complete success I'm ready to cook it for people and excited to get to eat it again myself. I have a friend who loves a good chicken pot pie and I think she would be in complete bliss if I made this for her one day.

Chicken Pot Pie

Pie Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cold water

1. Combine flour and salt
2. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form
3. Stir in water 1 tbs at a time, until dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour
4. Roll out to desired size and use

1 whole chicken breast
1/3 onion
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup peas (frozen)
3 tbs unsalted butter
3 tbs flour
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Italian seasoning to taste

1. Cook chicken as you normally would in the oven.
2. Saute onion and then add celery and carrots cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Add frozen peas and chicken and heat through
3. In another pot melt butter and then add flour to it to make a roux. Add in chicken broth and milk. Stir vigorously to prevent lumps from forming bring just to a boil and allow to thicken.
4. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
5. Mix in chicken and vegetable mixture then pour into a baking dish
6. Roll out pie crust and fit over mixture, cut off excess. Make sure to cut a couple of slits into the top of the crust.
7. Optional: Brush pie crust with egg wash to promote browning
8. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and flakey

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Belated New Year

I know that I have been MIA for awhile, but things have been hectic. The good news is that I think I am finally getting back to a semi-normal schedule. I hope that everyone had a good holiday season and is ready for the new year. I was lucky enough to get to travel back to California to spend the holidays with my family.

While I was home I did plenty of baking, except one small problem I didn't write down any of these recipes to bring back here and write about and worse yet I took absolutely no pictures of any of the food. However, I can provide a list of a few of the things that I made during my weeks back home. These delicious treats included sugar cookies, gingerbread, pumpkin scones, mini cupcakes, and cranberry orange bread. I also whipped up some chocolate chip cookies (not my healthier version) and cranberry white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. This list doesn't include the things all the delicious things my mom made for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Years.

I also received some very cool gifts to use in the kitchen. I now have an adorable mini spatula with a pointed end to get into all the hard to reach places, as well as some bottle stoppers that actually work. From a friend I got a calendar that features a different comfort food every month and will make you very hungry anytime you look at it. I am also the proud owner of a mini heart shaped cake pan. I have lots of plans for this, which include not only cakes but making heart shaped cookies (like chocolate chip ones) and brownies.

I promise within the next week to have a real post up on here and I actually do have a couple of restaurant reviews that I need to write too.