Food Journal

Welcome to my food journal! This is officially on the net as of Oct. 24th 2011! I will try to put new entries in my journal once a week if possible – some of them may take a little longer. My journal is where I will be writing about anything going on in my culinary world. This includes recipes from my home, restaurant and event reviews, some basic culinary information that I want to share with you, and whatever else may come to mind. The food journal will always have the last ten things I put on the site in it, just not categorized. Everything will be in it’s own category on the menu bar as well. This is the best place to look if you want to see my latest post, because it will always be at the top. You can use the search tool to look for a specific subject by typing key words into the search bar. You can also go to the index on the menu bar for a list of everything on the site. If there is something you would like to know about that I haven’t posted or if you have a question, please feel free to contact me and I will try to answer as soon as possible. I love to share my food and knowledge, and  I put this site up for us!

Here are my 5 most recent entries!
If you would like to see a list of all of my recipes, lessons and reviews, please go to the index on the menu bar.
Pastelon

Fried Pickles

Alcapurrias

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Coleslaw

Chili Mac

 

 

 

 

Spiced Cranberry Sauce – Recipe

Posted by on Nov 23, 2011 in Food Journal, Holidays, Sides | 0 comments

Spiced Cranberry Sauce – Recipe

Spiced Cranberry Sauce (recipe and instructions with video tutorial follow) - Cranberry sauce is one of those things that for some reason most people don’t make at home from scratch. I’m not quite sure why though so I’ve thought it through and tried to understand. So, I think these may be some of the reasons. Reason one, you’re being bullied by relatives who like the can shaped cranberry sauce and are afraid to show up at their house with something that doesn’t hold it’s shape and also doesn’t need to be sliced.  Or reason number two, maybe you’ve just never had fresh cranberry sauce so you don’t know what you’re missing. OOOrrrr reason number three, maybe the reason for this is that you don’t realize how easy it is to make cranberry sauce from scratch. Or, reason four, maybe you have some kind of Thanksgiving contest to see who can build the most interesting cranberry sauce sculpture. Kind of like the “Gummy De Milo”.  If you’re being bullied, or haven’t had it, I think you should just go for it. If you are one of those who is afraid to attempt the cranberry sauce – don’t worry, help is here, fear not the cranberry sauce, it’s so simple. If you can sculpt something – well, that’s pretty cool and I think I want to encourage you to continue – I’ve always been a supporter of the Arts. You should save it for the center piece though and not for eating. Not to mention that when everyone shows up at Thanksgiving dinner with their homemade dish do you really want to be the one in the kitchen asking where the can opener is so you can open the cranberry sauce that you were supposed to bring? Then later, after everyone has eaten too much they all give you a hard time about what you brought. Except some of them who are in the other room talking about it behind you r back :) I think not. No, not really everyone, they won’t be talking bad about you – they’ll be too busy wishing they hadn’t eaten so much and watching “the game” right. So anyway, here we go everyone, a holiday tradition that is easy to make at home and will not be in the shape of a can sitting on a plate! Happy cooking!

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cup fresh cranberries
1 Tablespoon orange zest chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 clove


Instructions

1. Combine the  sugar and water in a sauce pot.
2. Bring them to a boil.
3. Add the cranberries and stir.
4. Add the orange zest and spices and stir.
5. Return it to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat to medium.
7. Keep it at a slow boil for 10 minutes stirring often. Make sure to scrape the bottom as you stir.
8. When the cranberry sauce is thickened remove it from the heat and place it in a dish.
9. Cover the cranberry sauce and allow it to cool.
10. Refrigerate the sauce after cooling it until you are ready to serve it.

*The cranberry sauce can be made 1 or 2 days ahead of serving so you have one less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving. It is also really great as a spread for turkey sandwiches the next day. I like to take the left over cranberry sauce (I double the recipe so there will be left over) and mix it like half and half with cream cheese in the food processor and then use that as the spread for our turkey sandwiches. It’s also great with butter on toast and muffins and stuff like that. Use your imagination, go wild ;).

yield 2 1/2 cups

Check out this “how-to” video! So simple!


Quiche Lorraine (lower fat) – Recipe

Posted by on Nov 22, 2011 in Breakfast, featured-slider-post, Food Journal | 0 comments

Quiche Lorraine (lower fat) – Recipe

Quiche Lorraine  (recipe and instructions with video tutorial follow) - OK, so today I’m going to teach you something about quiche really quick – actually, I’m going to teach you a couple of things (unless you already know all about quiche (if so, good job, move to the head of the class, if not, keep reading)). That way you can impress everyone later with your new found quiche knowledge. You may not realize this, but quiche is actually a form of custard. A custard is a liquid that is thickened by the coagulation of eggs. There are two kinds of custards, stirred, and baked. A quiche is a baked custard. This means it is not stirred during the cooking process and that it sets up firm in the oven. It seems like there is one very common question that I get when it comes to quiche. “How do I keep my quiche from getting watery”? Well, let me tel you. There is one very important rule that you have to know when making quiche. Egg protein coagulates at 185°F and the moisture separates from the thickened protein. Why do you care? Because, it is at this temperature where your quiche will get watery. This is not good. I don’t want to get technical and boring so I’ll just put it like this-pull your quiche out as soon as it sets, or it will be funky and watery. So, now you know how to fix that issue if you’ve had it in the past. Yay! OK, that’s enough of the quiche facts for now I think. One last thing though. I especially love to make this quiche recipe for special occasions like Mother’s Day and Easter. It makes a really yummy brunch. Also, it so easy to make (even though for some reason people find quiche intimidating), it’s nice to have for any day at breakfast. I’ll also confess that we’ve had it for dinner on more than one occasion. Wow, I had a lot to say. Well, now that we got that out of the way, let’s make some quiche!

 

 

Pie Crust
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk

Instructions

1. Mix the flour, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl.
2. Add the oil and stir until well combined.
3. Add the milk and stir it until they are well combined (the crust should come together into a ball).
4. Divide the crust into two 8″ pie pans and use the palm of your hand to spread them across the bottom.
5. Work the crust up the sides of the pan (try to keep it all even).
6. Once you have it all spread, dock it (that means poke some holes in the crust with a fork).
* If you are using a shiney aluminum pan, pre-bake your crust for 7 minutes at 375°F, if you’re using a glass pan, don’t worry about it.

I also added 1/4 c broccoli to this one

Quiche
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
dash white pepper
dash nutmeg
1/2 pound swiss or gruyere cheese (grated)
1/2 pound bacon (cooked crisp and chopped small)
1/4 cup green onions


Instructions

1. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk until they’re well combined.
3. Sprinkle half of the cheese, cooked bacon, and green onions into each pie shell (if you pre-baked your pie shell, let it cool first).
4. Pour half of the egg mixture into each pan.
5. Bake at 375°F for 20-30 minutes on the very bottom rack – just until set (that means the middle doesn’t jiggle when you shake it gently).

Please enjoy this “how-to” video!


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Plantain Muffins (whole wheat) – Recipe

Posted by on Nov 21, 2011 in Breakfast, Food Journal | 0 comments

Plantain Muffins (whole wheat) – Recipe

Plantain Muffins (Plantain Muffin recipe and instructions follow) – My wonderful husband Xavier has a very unusual allergy- bananas. This is one of those things that I truly feel sorry for him for because I make whole wheat banana bread all the time for the kids. So my poor baby has to be in the house and smell the delicious smell of banana bread baking. Not only that, but then he has to endure all of us sitting around the table raving about how good it is, and it is good! So the last time I made banana bread, our son made the suggestion that I make Daddy some platano (plantain) bread. What a great idea this turned out to be! These muffins are crazy good and they kind of make me feel like I’m on vacation. Or, at the very least I have some great flashbacks of our time in Puerto Rico when I eat these muffins.

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 sticks butter (I like Plugra)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup molasses

2 eggs

2 1/3 cups plantains chopped (use very ripe ones)

6 ounces yogurt


Instructions

1. Pre-heat your oven to 325°F.

2. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl.

3. Cream the butter, sugar, honey and molasses in a large bowl.

4. Add the plantains.

5. Mix in half of the flour mixture.

6. Add half of the yogurt. Mix well. Then add the remaining flour mixture.

7. Mix in the remaining yogurt.

8. Pour the batter into prepared muffin pans.

9. Bake at 325°F until a toothpick comes out clean.

yield 24 muffins

*I make 1 pan large muffins (12 large) and one pan of mini’s (24 mini’s)

** I would like to say to all of you who like to experiment in the kitchen, don’t just substitute plantains in your favorite banana bread recipe. Plantains are higher in starch and lower in sugar and do not cook the same. I would also like to say that if you experiment in the kitchen- good for you, keep doing it!


Choco-Latte Cookies (whole wheat) – Recipe

Posted by on Nov 19, 2011 in Cookies, Food Journal | 0 comments

Choco-Latte Cookies (whole wheat) – Recipe

Choco-Latte Cookies (Choco-Latte Cookie recipe and instructions with video tutorial follow)- Warning – Choco-Latte cookies are not for kids! I suppose if you want to give them to your children, that’s up to you. My three year old had one and was running in circles around the house for about an hour though. Don’t get me wrong, she had a ball and was laughing and screaming and playing the whole time. But unless you are mentally prepared for this situation, I recommend only serving these to caffeine addicted adults, which I happen to be. Also, I did not sleep at all last night thanks to several cookie taste tests while developing this recipe so you may want to enjoy them early in the day, unless you’ve got a lot to do that night. What I’m saying is they definitely have caffeine. If you are a coffee lover like me, you will love these cookies, a-latte (they will likely call to you from the kitchen though)!

 

Ingredients

2 sticks butter ( I like plugra)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablesoon + 1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/4 cup milk (or plain yogurt)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs

2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (not pastry)
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cup chocolate chips


Instructions
1. Allow your butter, eggs, and milk to come to room temperature – or at the very least, your butter.
2. Grease your pans – I use cooking spray- you can also butter and then flour them.
3. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.
4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, Kosher salt, and baking soda – stir to combine.
5. In a large bowl, cream your butter, sugars, and espresso powder (you can also add your espresso powder into the dry ingredients instead). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
6. Add in the milk and vanilla and mix to combine.
7. Add in the eggs and mix to combine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
8. Add in the dry ingredients, 1/2 at a time (scrape the bowl between additions) and mix well.
9. Continue to mix for one minute to help develop the gluten (we want these to be chewy).
10. Stir in the chips by hand with a rubber spatula.
11. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
12. Bake your cookies at 375°F for about 10 minutes.

I hope you love these cookies as much as we do! Enjoy!

Please enjoy this “how-to” video of the cookie method!


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The Cookie Method – How to Properly Mix Your Dough :D!

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Culinary 101, Food Journal | 0 comments

The Cookie Method – How to Properly Mix Your Dough :D!

What is the cookie method you may ask? Well, let me tell you. The cookie method is the fancy (or not so fancy depending on how you look at it) way that professional chefs say “how to mix your cookies right”. There are three different ways of mixing including; the one-stage method, the creaming method (this is the one we will be concentrating on the most today), and the sponge method. Here is a brief overview of each.
The One-Stage Method-This  method is not used very much because the baker has less control over the mixing than with other methods. However, when you are making a recipe where over-mixing isn’t going to be a problem, like with chewy cookies, this method can be used. The basic procedure goes like this- Measure all of your ingredients. Let them all come to room temperature. Put them in a mixer all at once and mix them until they are uniformly blended. Make sure your’e scraping the sides of the bowl now and then so you don’t end up with clumps of flour in your cookies because that’s disgusting. Mmmmm flour clumps-not! This method is simple and quick and even a child could do it. It is good for macaroons, some bars and a few other recipes. So moving on….


The Creaming Method- Although I’ve never googled this fact or anything, I think it is safe to say that this is the most commonly used method of making cookies. It is what you use when you make chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and several others. The amount you “cream” will affect your cookies texture, the leavening and how much it spreads. You should only cream a little if you want your cookies to hold their shape (you don’t want to loose the edges on those pretty Christmas Trees). If your cookie is short (chef talk for “high in fat and low in gluten development”) or if you are making one of those very delicate thin cookies, too much creaming will make your cookie crumble-literally. So here is the basic procedure;
1. measure all of your ingredients
2. let them come to room temperature
3. put the fat, sugar, salt, and spices into the mixing bowl and cream them on low speed
*note that you can also blend your spices and salt into your dry ingredients
*for lighter cookies, cream until light and fluffy, this incorporates more air for leavening
*for denser cookies, cream to a smooth paste, but do not cream until light
4. add the eggs and any liquid and blend at low speed
5. blend in your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder)
*mix just until combined, you’re making cookies, not bread
The following video is The Creaming Method, it is for small at home cookie batches. If your recipe requires more than 2 eggs, I recommend adding 2 at a time and blending a little in between additions.

If you follow these basic steps, you should come out with a pretty nice cookie in the end. If your cookies still are coming out like crappies, check out the “what’s wrong with my cookies” at the end of this article. And last but not least…
The Sponge Method-This procedure can vary considerably, depending on the ingredients you’re using. The batches should be kept small because the batter is super delicate, in other words, don’t double recipes that require this method because your cookies won’t come out. This method is generally used for meringue cookies.
1. measure your ingredients
2. let them come to room temperature (for greater volume warm your eggs a little)
3. whip your eggs and sugar together until the desired consistency
*soft peaks if you’re only whipping whites, thick and light if you’re whipping yolks or whole eggs
4. fold in the rest of the ingredients according to the recipe
*do not over-mix or deflate your eggs


AAAAAAAHHHHHHH – What’s Wrong With My Cookies
So, you’ve followed all the advice, you’ve measured and re-measured, but for some reason, you still can’t make a decent cookie. There are a few common mistakes you may be making.

If……
your cookies taste bad- I would first of all check your ingredients, make sure nothing is expired or spoiled. Also, maybe switch brands. Then ask yourself these questions – Did you forget one of the flavoring ingredients maybe? Were your pans totally clean or is there some mysterious stuff burned on them that you can’t seem to scrub off? Did you measure properly? Is there anything burned onto the bottom of your oven that’s smoking while you’re cooking?

your cookies are tough (and I don’t mean they can take a hit)-you may need to switch flours-did you use a bread flour? That is a cookie no-no. Try a more delicate flour, AP flour is good for most, but you can try a pastry flour too.

your cookies stick to the pan- you may have used too much sugar or you need to grease your pan, silly.

your cookies are crumbly-you may not have mixed them properly. This could also be a problem with the recipe such as not enough eggs, or too much sugar, shortening or too much leavening. If you’re not a professional, I don’t recommend trying to adjust the recipe because ingedients are expensive, time is precious and there are plenty of other cookie recipes in the sea.

your cookies are too brown-you are likely baking them too long or at too high of a temperature

your cookies are not browning-most likely they need to bake longer, you may need to raise the temperature, or there may not be enough sugar in them, this can happen when using a sugar substitute also

your cookies have a sugar crust-either you didn’t mix them right, or there’s too much sugar

your cookies are hard-you probably baked them too long or at too low of a temperature. The recipe could also be off. If they still taste good tell everyone you were trying a new shape for biscotti and have them dip them in milk or coffee.

your cookies are dry-you probably baked them too long or at too low of a temperature, it could also be the recipe. Again if they taste good go with the biscotti story.

your cookies spread out too much-this could be from too low of a baking temperature, not pre-heating (shame on you, you know your recipe said to pre-heat and if it didn’t, well now you know for next time), you may have over greased your pan, just calm it down a little next time and don’t get crazy with the spray, you may also be over-creaming

your cookies don’t spread (and they should)-you may have your oven temperature too high, you may need more grease on your pan, your recipe may be off

I hope that after reading this article all of your cookie dreams come true. Happy baking!

Pumpkin Pancakes – Recipe

Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 in Breakfast, Food Journal, Holidays | 0 comments

Pumpkin Pancakes – Recipe

 

The pumpkin pancake story/recipe – On Sunday mornings I always make a big breakfast for my family. This past Sunday I woke up craving pancakes. So, I got out of bed while the house was still nice and quiet (the kids were all still sleeping) and went to the kitchen to start the batter so everyone could wake up to the smell of pancakes. Well, to my dismay, when I went to the refrigerator to get the buttermilk, we were out. Dag-gone-it! Yes, I say Dag-gone-it (I got it from my Mom)! Anyway, I still wanted pancakes, and I didn’t have time to run to the store, nor did I want to, before the baby would be up. So, I started digging around my cabinets and came across a can of pumpkin. I love pumpkin! So, I decided to make pumpkin pancakes. I had no recipe so I just made it up as I went (this happens all the time in my kitchen)! I don’t want to sound conceded, but these are some of the best pancakes in the world, provided you like pumpkin of course! They will be a new regular at our breakfast table and may even show up at dinner. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Ingredients

3 c self – rising flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 eggs

2 1/2 c milk

4 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2 c sugar

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 can pumpkin (15 oz)

1 tsp orange zest chopped fine (optional)


Instructions
1. in a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and spice

2. in a separate, small bowl, beat the eggs a little and add the milk and beat a little more

3. melt the butter in the microwave

4. pour the egg mixture into the flour and beat until combined

5. add the butter and sugar and beat

6. add the pumpkin (and orange zest if you’re using it) and beat until combined

7. pour out 2 oz portions on a griddle heated to 300 or cook on the stove- it is easier if you use a 2 oz ladle – also make sure you use butter or cooking spray on your griddle/pan because these will stick – I use cooking spray

8. the pancakes are ready to flip when the edges start to look a little dry and bubbles are rising to the surface and popping

9. butter them as they come off the heat while they’re nice and hot so the butter melts

10. we used maple syrup on these but they would be good with others like orange

yield about 24 pancakes

*you can make your own pumpkin pie spice by combining equal amounts of nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice and half as much ground cloves

i.e. – 1 tsp nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice and 1/2 tsp ground cloves

**you can also roast your own sugar pumpkin instead of using canned, but most of us don’t have the time- especially in the morning!

Egg Rolls – Recipe

Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 in featured-slider-post, Food Journal, Sides | Comments Off

Egg Rolls – Recipe

The egg roll story/recipe (recipe follows)- I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but my step mother is from Thailand. I bring this up now because she is the one who taught me how to make egg rolls. It was the summer after 8th grade. I was living in Los Angeles with my mom and flew to my Dad’s for summer break. I had eaten egg rolls a number of times in the past, I am from Earth after all and was living in L.A., but this is the first time I remember having a homemade egg roll. Not the same. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some delicious egg rolls at various restaurants, but these were authentic and fresh. That summer, my Dad’s side of the family went on an egg roll binge. We had them at least once a week. My Dad even started taking them to work and selling them to his co-workers for one dollar each. I think my step mother,Van, was making over 100 a week for him to sell. This is where I came in. I,once again, got to become the helper in the kitchen. I learned how to make the filling, spicy or mild, and how to roll the perfect egg roll. I also got plenty of practice with the frying. Over the years, I have made egg rolls using her recipe over and over. About three months ago I decided to start playing with the recipe. I don’t know what took me so long, I guess I never messed with it because it was so good to begin with. I got a new CD – Asian Lounge, to inspire me in the kitchen. I firmly believe that the environment you cook in effects the flavor of the food and my egg rolls wanted to taste authentic. Anyway, I don’t want to brag or anything, but seriously, I have achieved egg roll perfection. Here is the recipe, put in some nice Asian and have some fun!

Ingredients

8 – 8 1/2 cups green cabbage, shredded
4 carrots, shredded
*quick tip – To make this recipe faster, use 10 cups of pre-shredded coleslaw mix to replace your cabbage and carrots.
1/4 cup ginger, minced or shredded
2 Tablespoons sesame oil, I use black
1/4 cup, oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons Sherry Wine
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
3 Tablespoons A.P. flour
3 Tablespoons sriracha, optional (only if you want these to be spicy)


Instructions

1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together in order except the flour and salt. Mix them well.
2. Stir the flour and salt together and then sprinkle them over your cabbage mixture. Stir well to combine.
3. Put an egg roll wrapper in front of you so that it’s like a diamond.
4. Measure about cup of the filling, squeeze out the excess liquid. Place the filling in the center of the egg roll wrapper.
5. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up to cover the filling. Then “tighten it” around the filling.
6. Fold over each side then roll upwards until the egg roll is almost all the way rolled up. Place some egg wash along the edges and continue rolling. Repeat with all the remaining filling.
7. Fill a large pan about one inch high with canola oil. Heat the oil to 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you will have to use your best judgement. You should be looking for bubbles to form when you add an egg roll into the pan. There should be a lot, but if your egg roll seems to be browning super fast, turn the heat down. If your oil starts to smoke, it’s way too hot. Turn off the heat and wait for it to cool before you do anymore egg rolls.
8. Fry the egg rolls on each side to a golden brown. You should only turn them once.
9. When they are a golden brown, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate or sheet pan lined with cloth napkins or paper towels to drain the excess oil. I always use cloth napkins for this because I have found that certain paper towel brands stick to the egg rolls.
10. Enjoy!

Yield 11-12 egg rolls


Please enjoy this “how-to” video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013

El New Yorican- Puerto Rican Restaurant – Phoenix, AZ

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in Food Journal, Restaurant Reviews | 0 comments

El New Yorican- Puerto Rican Restaurant – Phoenix, AZ

 

I recently had the pleasure of eating at El New Yorican, a local Puerto Rican restaurant here in Phoenix. Puerto Rican food is something that has become very close to my heart in the last 11 years (since I met my wonderful husband, Xavier). It is an amazing combination of Mediterranean and “island food” with some influences from Africa and yes, China. These influences stem from way back in history when trade ships from far away places would come to the island with their native food and cooking methods.

Good Puerto Rican food is hard to come by unless you can either cook it, or are part of a Puerto Rican Family. If you don’t have your own family of Puerto Ricans to turn to for some of this delicious food, El New Yorican is the next best thing. It’s like eating at Grandma’s house on the island!

 

My father- in- law, Carlos, was the person who introduced us to this wonderful restaurant. He had eaten there a few times before and couldn’t stop raving about it. Upon entering El New Yorican with him, Carlos was greeted with a hug and a hand shake from the owner, and from behind the glass kitchen wall, came a wave and a smile from the chef. We sat down and took a look at the menu. As it turns out, they serve all of our favorite dishes, making it impossible to decide. So, we went with one of every appetizer and one main dish. Everything we ate was perfectly prepared and an absolute delight to eat.

Pasteles

Part way through our lunch, the band showed up and started playing. It wasn’t long before half of the guests were up and dancing. The music is as hard to resist as the food! They were soon joined by some women in beautiful long skirts performing some of the traditional island dancing. We had such a great time!

If you are in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend stopping in at El New Yorican. It is casual, and homey, and it is down home Puerto Rican food, at its finest!

El New Yorican

2714 W. Thomas Rd.

Phoenix, AZ 85017

602-314-4330

open Thursday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Chocolate Espresso Cake (whole wheat) – Recipe

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in Desserts, Food Journal | 0 comments

Chocolate Espresso Cake (whole wheat) – Recipe

The Chocolate Espresso Cake story/recipe – Sometime last February, my son put in his request for his birthday cake (his birthday is in October). You see, he had fallen in love with coffee and wanted to “give me plenty of time to come up with something amazing”. After some research and a few kitchen experiments, this is what I came up with. My new favorite cake – chocolate espresso cake with a coffee glaze and an espresso chocolate butter-cream frosting. I think you get a cup’s worth of caffeine just saying the name. Oh, and it’s whole wheat! We celebrated his birthday last night and that cake will not stop calling me from the refrigerator. Say this next part in a high pitched, slow and dreamy voice – Alicia, come and eat me, I’m so yummy. And I’ve said back to it all day in a firm voice – be quite cake. Guess what though, at 6 ‘o clock tonight, while dinner was in the oven, the cake won and it was delicious! So, here’s the recipe. I hope you love it as much as we did!

For the Cake

Ready to Frost the First Layer After Glazing


4 ounces dark chocolate (I use Scharfenberger Chocolate – available in the “foodie shop” on my site!)
2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Splenda (or another 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar)
2 sticks butter ( I use Plugra)
5 eggs
2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla (I like Bourbon Pure Vanilla Paste – available in the “foodie shop” on my site!)
1 cup plain yogurt

For the Glaze (make this when the cake is done baking and cooling)

Place the Second Layer on the Top and Glaze


1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 Tabelspoons water

Combine all of the ingredients, stir and then microwave for 30 seconds. Remove the glaze from the microwave. Stir it until the sugar dissolves.

Instructions for the Cake

Prepare two 8″ round cake pans with butter or non-stick spray and line the bottoms with wax paper

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

1. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stir with a fork or whisk to combine.
2. Melt the chocolate (you can do this in the microwave, heat 30 seconds then stir and then heat it at 15 second intervals until it’s almost melted then stir).
3. Combine with a mixer the butter, brown sugar, splenda, eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla in a large bowl for 3 minutes (it will look a little weird with tiny butter speckles).
4. Add the melted chocolate in while mixing and then mix for one more minute.
5. Add in flour mixture and yogurt 1/3 at a time alternating them and mixing them well in between each addition. Make sure that you are also taking the time to scrape your bowl with a rubber spatula in between additions.
6. Bake your cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This wil take about 30 minutes.
7. Cool the cakes on racks for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around edges (to help loosen it) and remove it from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool.
8. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the first cake layer.
9. Frost the bottom layer and add the top layer.
10. Glaze the top layer and frost the rest of your cake.


For the Butter-cream
4 ounces dark chocolate – melted (I use Scharfenberger Chocolate – available in the “foodie shop” on my site!)
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3 Tablespoons cream
2 sticks butter – room temperature (I use Plugra)
1 teaspoon vanilla (I like Bourbon Pure Vanilla Paste – available in the “foodie shop” on my site!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions for the Butter-Cream

1. Dissolve the espresso powder into the cream.
2. Cream the butter, vanilla and salt until combined and a little fluffy- about 3 minutes.
3. While you are still mixing, add in the melted chocolate.
4. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
5. Beat in the espresso/cream mixture until you reach the desired consistency.


Chocolate Espresso Cake with Espresso Glaze and Espresso Buttercream

Hoptoberfest/Chili Cookoff

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in Food Journal, Restaurant Reviews | 0 comments

Hoptoberfest/Chili Cookoff

 

Last Saturday, my husband Xavier and I loaded up the kids and went to the Hoptoberfest and Chili Cook-off. I have to say that when we left, we were expecting a typical festival where there are lots of families and tons of people walking around. Well, when we got there, from the parking lot, it appeared to be an empty festival with lots of tents set up and a rock – and – roll cover band playing. We debated for a few minutes going somewhere else and in the end decided to at least check it out.

I’m glad we did, because first of all it wasn’t empty. It just looked that way because everyone was in the tents trying to stay out of the sun - this is Phoenix  after all. Also, under the tents is where all the food, drinks and tables were.

Secondly, we ended up meeting some really cool people.

 



I have tried beer several times in my life, but have never really developed a taste for it. I always say though that you should try everything, even if you’ve had it in the past and didn’t like it. Your taste buds grow and change all the time, plus I’m not a big baby when it comes to tasting new things. Also, it was Hoptoberfest so we headed over to the beer tent.

The girls that we’re passing out the beer were very sweet and helpful. I tried one that was full of hops, not a good choice for me, but my husband liked it. One of the girls suggested that I try the one called “orange blossom”. She described the taste as an orange creamsicle. One of my favorite childhood treats. With a small amount of reluctance, but a bit of excitement I took a sip. Wow, the first beer I’ve ever liked! I have to admit though that when I finished my 2 oz sample, I went back to my beloved water.And what would Hoptoberfest be without some silly contests? In this one you had to hold a 40 oz glass mug full of beer straight out at a right angle – no bending that elbow! The announcer said the world record is 5 minutes but I didn’t look that up so we’ll have to take his word for it.


That’s my husband, Xavier, on the left. I had to coax him, although not very hard, into entering because he was sore from the previous days’ workout. About one minute into the contest, arms started shaking spilling drops of beer and eliminating the contestants. The ones remaining dropped out one by one, each rubbing their shoulder as soon as they sat their mug down.Three seconds before the four minute mark, Xavier’s arm started shaking too and down went his mug, putting him in third place. Not bad!

And the winner at four minutes and 37 seconds “The Mad Hatter”! This of course was not the only contest. They also had a charitable “bra walk” going on for The Susan G Komen foundation. This event entailed men walking around in bras and collecting dollar bills in them. It was quite funny. I have a great picture of one of the men in a black lace bra, a mask and shorts. I decided not to post it though because even though he was agreeable there at the celebration with a few beers behind him, I didn’t know if he’d feel the same in the morning. I would like to say to all that participated in this event a great big thank you though. It was for a wonderful cause. I think the guy who collected the most was at $57 at the 1 hour mark. So again, thank you guys for sporting your woman’s bra for the day in the name of charity.
Now, the reason we were there – the chili cook-off. They had some really great chilies to choose from. Everything from mild, to white to light your mouth and lips on fire spicy. After a few samples, I have to say that my absolute favorite was the White Chicken Chili put out by The Hungry Monk restaurant in Chandler, AZ. Very tasty. I went back three times. By the way, the rock-in-roll cover band, they rocked! They played all of our old favorites from Guns & Roses to Aerosmith. All in all, we had a great time. Hope to see everyone there next year!

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