Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Caramelized Onion Dip



I feel like I've been talking in superlatives but this is the BEST dip ever. Like holy cow it's amazing. I've made it three times in the past month. It also was eaten so quickly I actually "had" to make it again so I could take pictures of it. The secret is in the onions. There are very few things that can compare to the deliciousness of a caramelized onion. That incredible melt it your mouth flavor is totally worth the hour it takes to make them. 

It is also officially 4 days until the end of my college career. It definitely hasn't hit me yet. Maybe it will during the 14 hour drive back to New Orleans....I also feel so unprepared. I keep forgetting I actually have to figure out how to move in to an apartment in New York. - not to mention finding an apartment in general. At least I already have roommates though...finding those would be a doozy at this point 



Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients 
*2 Vidalia (sweet) onions, chopped and caramelized
1 16 container of sour cream
1 container of nonfat greek yogurt
2 tablespoons light/low fat mayo
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

*to caramelize the onions, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet with the chopped onions and add about 1/3 cup of water. Cook over medium low heat for about 40 minutes or until the water has evaporated, string occasionally. (during this time feel free to watch TV, take a shower, fold laundry, and check on it every now and then - thats what I do). Turn the heat up a bit and turn it every few minutes or so when the bottom onions start to change color. When the onions have dramatically reduced in size and have changed to a dark golden color, remove from the heat and let read room temperature.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and boom - you're done. Try not to eat it all at once...


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ham, Cheese and Fried Egg Crepes


This is definitely one of my favorite dinners I have made. My boyfriend does not agree, although he thought they were great. He still stands by the shrimp tacos. But I seriously loved these. They would also totally work for breakfast or brunch as well, but the first time I had savory crepes like these was in Paris. Two of my friends came to visit, Courtney being one of them, and after a full day of walking around the Marais, one of my favorite arrondissements of Paris, we ate a restaurant called Breitzh Cafe. It took us over an hour to find it (because I got us lost) and we also had to wait over an hour to be seated. But it was worth it. They were authentic Brittany-style crepes, and I couldn't leave Paris without trying them t least once. That day was one of my favorites from studying abroad, so making these crepes definitely brought back those memories. 

Crepes 

Ingredients 
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of butter, melted

*Tablespoon of shopped chives for about 2/3 of the recipe, the other half of the recipe was used for dessert

good quality white american cheese
4 eggs

¼ lb thinly sliced ham 

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the eggs and milk with an electric mixer. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Sift the flour mixer over the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Mix in the butter and chives.

Over medium heat, lift the pan off of the burner and pour the batter at an angle to cover the entire pan and to prevent creating a thick awkward center. - nonstick is also an absolute MUST

Preheat the oven to 350. Place 4 finished crepes on a cookie sheet. Using good quality white-american cheese, sprinkle a little bit in the center of each crepe. Gently crack the egg on top of the cheese and place two slices of ham on either side of the egg. Fold up the sides of the crepe. Bake for 15 minutes or just until the egg looks cooked (the whites have turned white). You don't want to over cook it because these crepes are best when the yolk is still runny. Season with salt, pepper and chives and serve immediately.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Chicken Fajitas and Mexican Corn (Esquites)

So this is kind of a late post. I made these chicken fajitas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (and to also get rid of the frozen chicken thighs that I desperately needed to get rid of before I graduate). They were so delicious. I've either mastered Mexican or its just super easy and I over flatter myself. Either way, these are totally worth making and don't require a lot of attention

I also think graduation has finally hit me. I have 7 days left. Just 7 days until I'm no longer a college student. I don't want to think about it; it's so terrifying. I'm about to be a real person... Well not really a REAL person because i'll still be going to culinary school and will technically still be a student for at least the next 6-9 months.... I also need to start experimenting with more than just Mexican food, but I have plenty of time for that in school when I have a bunch of fancy ingredients at my disposal....

Also, I know these pictures kinda suck. It was too dark outside and by the time I pulled them up on my computer it was too late and we had already devoured all of our leftovers. Maybe I can updated them when I make them again soon....




Chicken Fajitas 

Ingredients 
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Half an Onion, sliced 
2 Bell Peppers (I used red and yellow)
dash of chili powder (about a teaspoon) 
about 1 teaspoon onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
juice of half a lime 
other half, sliced 
salt and pepper 

In a rectangular baking pan, combine all of the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least an hour or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the onions are translucent.


Mexican Corn (Esquites) 

Ingredients 
4 ears of corn boiled corn (2 white and 2 yellow)
about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro or parsley 
Juice of half a lime 
2 tablespoons low fat mayo 
1 cup sour cream 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Done and done. can be served warm or cold - both are dang good











Thursday, May 8, 2014

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich






I think I'm either in a rut, or have an addiction. I can't stop making breakfast and Mexican foods (and ice cream...the cookie phase has passed for the most part - I ODed during that semester long project when I brought cookies to class almost every week). Is it college? Is it my boyfriend with the huge appetite? I've always been a morning person, so that I can understand. And once you get good at something it's kinda hard to stop. 

I have a system when I make breakfast on the weekends. It has become a peaceful way of getting up after a night of partying, believe it or not. 

My foolproof system:
Wake up and preheat the oven to 350° for the bacon. Brush my teeth, watch some tube until the boyfriend wakes up etc. Line the cookie sheet with tin foil (with raised edges so the grease doesn't drip) for the bacon (preferably center cut that has been cut in half so you can fit more - honestly so brilliant I wish I thought of it first). Pop that in when the man has risen and set the timer to 15 minutes. Prepare the scrambled eggs in a bowl with the splash of milk and dashes of Tabasco. Take out the cheeses from the fridge and place the everything bagel in the toaster, but don't toast it until necessary. (In this post's case I used biscuits - but I digress). After 15 minutes of baking, check the bacon and flip using tongs (not entirely necessary but I usually do) and bake for 5 more minutes. When the bacon is almost done, start heating the pan on medium low heat. When the bacon is ready, dry on a paper towel and pour the grease into the pan for the eggs. Pour in the egg mixture, frequently stirring with a rubber spatula. Turn the toaster on and top off the almost finished eggs with sharp chedder, salt and pepper. On the toasted bagel, butter the top and line the bottom with good quality american cheese. Place eggs and bacon and place the top back on. Cut in half and serve. BOOM. Perfect breakfast sandwich. I have been told by several that this is the best breakfast sandwich they have ever had...just saying....

I personally think that the sandwich photographed above is the best sandwich I have ever had. I am allll about biscuits. And the avocado was a last minute decision that seriously nailed it. My mouth is watering just thinking about the sandwich - I just can't. Drizzled with a little good quality maple syrup....oh man 


Buttermilk Biscuits 
Ingredients 
(recipe can be doubled – yields about 10 biscuits)
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk
*2 tablespoons of butter, melted

*The dough can be made with a food processor, but mine isn’t big enough so I just use my hands.

**Also, try and bake these as late in the game as possible. They are 10x better when they are served warm and fresh out of the oven

Directions 

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined. It will be very sticky
Place the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until lightly covered in flour so it is no longer sticky – make sure not to overwork the dough so they can rise evenly

Gently pat out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick and cut biscuits out with a round biscuit or cookie cutter

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes until lightly golden on top. – A minute before baking is finished, brush melted butter on top of each biscuits (about 2 tablespoons are needed)

THIS IS THE BEST BREAKFAST SANDWICH EVER. At least to date...nothing can beat this. And I'm usually a sausage egg and cheese kind of girl, too. This bad boy has good quality white american cheese from the deli section, sliced avocado, cheesy eggs, crispy bacon and a light drizzle of good quality maple syrup on a homemade buttery biscuit. I mean could you ask for more?



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Maple Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream



At Elon we have a local ice cream placed called Smitty's that makes a killer oatmeal ice cream. So of course, immediately upon tasting it for the first time I knew I had to try and make it at home. I also happen to have developed an oatmeal addiction this year and have eaten it almost every day for breakfast since August...no idea how I haven't gotten sick of it yet, but there it is. I finally got around to making this ice cream and - i'm not exaggerating - this is hands down the BEST ice cream I have made so far. It's amazing; not too sweet, perfectly creamy and just downright dope. UGH it's just...too good. like jeez louis my mouth is watering just thinking about it. AND once again, its pretty dang easy to make too and could potentially involve ingredients that you already have lying around...apart from the heavy cream - that's a zinger. 

Also this is random, but for some reason I have never been able to make 1/3 look like ¼...why is that? It has been annoying me for YEARS. If anyone knows that the deal is with that PALEASE help a sistah out...




Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream Base 

Ingredients 

2 cups milk 
4 tsp. cornstarch 
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ tsp. and one pinch salt 
3 tablespoons cream cheese
½ cup toasted rolled oats, lightly processed 
*sweetened raisins 

Sweetened Raisins:
½ cup raisins 
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar


For the Ice Cream base: 

In one small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of milk and the cornstarch

Place the 3 tablespoons of cream cheese in a bowl and set aside.

Open plastic bag with edges folded over set over an ice bath

In a 4-quart saucepan, add the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugars, maple syrup and salt. Whisk together until somewhat incorporated

Over medium high heat, cook the mixture until it comes to a rolling boil. Then let boil for 4 minutes.

Pour in the cornstarch slurry and the oatmeal and mix well. Bring back to a boil and cook for 2 more minutes then remove from heat. Stir frequently so the oatmeal gets fully incorporated.

With your small measuring cup, scoop out about 1/4 cup or more of the hot mixture and pour into the cream cheese bowl. Mix very well and then pour it back into the main pot. Stir well until thick.


Pour the hot cream into the plastic bag over the ice bath. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or until completely cold. If you don't want to freeze right away, you can also put the plastic bag in your fridge for up to 3 days.

To prepare the sweetened raisins: 

Soak the water and raisins in the unheated saucepan for about 15 minutes. Add the sugar and cook over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning, until most of the water/syrup has been absorbed - about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain out remaining liquid and let cool. 

Freezing the ice cream:

freeze according to your ice cream makers instructions and add the raisins 2 minutes before it's finished. I had to break them apart with my hands first so they wouldn't form a big raisin clump.