Monday, August 27, 2012

Cinnamon Almonds

We try not to have red light foods in our house.  Donuts - not in control.  So we don't buy them.  We happen to be true candy faces, which means we raised candy faces.  Not proud. 

There is this little aisle in Fresh & Easy . . . I try hard to avoid that aisle because that's where the cinnamon almonds reside.  We lie to ourselves - let's just buy these and put them away for another time.  Uh huh...

Red light food.

I saw a homemade version made in a skillet.  The first batch I made in the cast iron skillet.  The second batch I made in the wok.  You won't believe how good these are.  There's enough room on the lid of that mason jar for a label from Tiny Prints, too.

1 cup sugar
3 cups raw almonds (or any other nut)
1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water
Directions: In a large skillet combine the sugar, cinnamon and water. Add the almonds and stir constantly with a spoon over medium heat, coating the almonds with the syrupy mixture. Keep stirring until the sugar crystallizes. Remove the pan from heat and scoop the almonds onto wax or parchment paper. Let the cinnamon almonds cool before serving. These can be made a few days ahead.

Pinterest find, original recipe found here.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

birthday notes with web addresses...

Double click on the photos to see the creative team.

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Happy Birthday Papa...

Today he holds 65 letters from his children, their spouses and his grandchildren, one for every year.  Eight kids, eight letters each . . . and one from me.  It's like a dream come true for him.  Happy 65th birthday!  Love you so much...

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ceviche de Camaron: Shrimp Ceviche "Cocktail"

Have you been to Los Tacos?  No?  Run.  As fast as you can.  And this is why:
Just ask for the coctel, all shrimp.  Large.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 generous pound unpeeled smallish shrimp (I prefer the ones that are 41/50 count to a pound)
1/2 medium white onion, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup ketchup
1 to 2 tablespoons vinegary Mexican bottled hot sauce (such as Tamazula, Valentina or Búfalo, the latter being on the sweet side)
About 2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin (optional, but recommended to smooth out sharpness)
1 cup diced peeled cucumber or jícama (or 1/2 cup of each)
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
Several lime slices for garnish
Tostadas or tortilla chips, store-bought or homemade or saltine crackers for serving

1. Cooking and Marinating the Shrimp. Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Scoop in the shrimp, cover and let the water return to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat, set the lid askew and pour off all the liquid. Replace the cover and let the shrimp steam off the heat for 10 minutes. Spread out the shrimp in a large glass or stainless steel bowl to cool completely. Peel and devein the shrimp if you wish: One by one lay the shrimp on your work surface, make a shallow incision down the back and scrape out the (usually) dark intestinal tract. Toss the shrimp with the remaining 1/2 lime juice, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

2. The flavorings. In a small strainer, rinse the onion under cold water, then shake off the excess liquid. Add to the shrimp bowl along with the cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, optional olive oil, cucumber and/or jícama and avocado. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

3. Serving the ceviche. Spoon the ceviche into sundae glasses, martini glasses, or small bowls: garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lime. Serve with tostadas, tortilla chips or saltines to enjoy alongside.

And their carne asada quesadilla isn't too shabby, either.

Recipe courtesy Mexico One Plate at a Time, October 2000 by Rick Bayless

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler

I usually have a beef with a recipe like this one.  If the list of ingredients says 1 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon, well, it feels almost pretentious to me.  A little more difficult than is really necessary.  But blueberries - well, it's the season.  And a fruit dessert . . . nothing is better.

So here is the August Bon Appetit's Blueberry-Drop Biscuit Cobbler.  Serve with ice cream.  It's easier than pie.

1 1/2 cups plus 3 T. Flour
3 T. plus 1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
6 T. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 T. sour cream (or creme fraiche)
6 cups fresh blueberries (about 2 lbs)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. finely grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375.  Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 T. sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Add butter; using your fingertips incorporate until only pea-size lumps remain.  Gently mix in sour cream.  Knead in bowl until a biscuit-like dough forms, 5-7 turns. 

Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 T. flour, berries, juice and zest in large bowl.  Toss to coat.  Pour into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish or divide among six 6 oz. ramekins.  Tear biscuit topping into quarter-size crumbles; scatter over berries.

Bake cobbler until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and deep golden brown, 20-25 minutes for ramekins or 45-50 minutes for baking dish.  Let cool for at least 1 hour.

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