January 31, 2011

Scrambled Egg Enchiladas with Black Bean Sauce.

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to make. But during the week? It just doesn't happen. I look forward to Sundays, where we sleep in just a little bit and I can make and enjoy a good breakfast, without having to run out the door.

Most of my breakfast recipes are of the sweet variety, because I have found that good savory breakfasts recipes are harder to come by. So I am always on the lookout for them.

This recipe for Scrambled Egg Enchiladas with Black Bean Sauce seemed right up my alley - I love Mexican food and black beans are one of my very favorite things to eat.

The original recipe makes six (small) servings. Since there are only two of us, I adjusted things slightly, with my changes noted in parentheses in the recipe below.

Both my husband and I really liked these breakfast enchiladas. They filled us up, but I didn't feel so full after eating them (the lack of tons of cheese probably helped), like I often do when I have enchiladas. The one thing that was lacking though, was spice. The recipe calls for one chipotle pepper to be blended with the black beans to make the sauce, but I tasted zero spice in the finished dish. Next time, I will add two (or three!) chipotles, so the sauce really has a kick. But that, of course, is just personal preference, and if you have a low heat tolerance, stick with one.

Scrambled Egg Enchiladas with Black Bean Sauce
Prevention Magazine, Summer 2009

2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 small onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, with liquid
1 C water (1/2 C)
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
6 corn tortillas (5)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
7 large eggs (5)
3 oz Neufchatel cheese, cubed (cream cheese)
3/4 C shredded Mexican Chihuaha or Cheddar cheese (pre-shredded Mexican blend)
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Warm 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Scoop into blender, leaving oil. Set pan aside. Puree onion and garlic with beans, water, chipotle pepper, and 3/4 tsp salt until smooth. Season with more salt, if desired.

Lay tortillas on baking sheet. Lightly coat both sides with oil. Bake until pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove, stack, and keep warm.

Return skillet to medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil and scallions. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk eggs and 3/4 tsp salt. Add to pan and stir every few seconds until eggs barely set. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese.

Put 1/2 C sauce in a 11" x 7" (8" x 8") baking dish. Fill tortillas with eggs, roll up, and put in dish. Pour the rest of sauce over enchiladas, covering completely. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until hot, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

January 26, 2011

Basic Pizza Dough.

Pizza is one of our favorites. We have a few favorite places when we feel like going out, but we love homemade pizza, too. I have always cheated and bought the ready to top & bake dough from Trader Joe's, since it is easy, cheap, and tastes good.

My husband gave me a bread machine for Christmas and aside from making bread, I was really excited to make pizza dough. It had to be a lot easier than the time I tried to make it myself, since I could just throw everything in & let the machine do the work. 

There were a few more steps than I expected after the machine did its work (kneading & letting the dough rest, flatting it out & letting it rest), but it wasn't hard & while the dough was resting, I prepped my other ingredients.

I loved how the dough turned out after it was cooked. It was substantial, hearty, and held up well to the sauce (I tend to go heavy) & lots of toppings. Sometimes, the Trader Joe's dough gets soggy, so I was happy when mine didn't. The outside was nice & crisp and the inside was spongy & delicious. The only thing I wish I would have done differently was grease my pan before baking. I had to use a spatula, serrated knife, and lots of muscle to get the pizza off (and some crust stayed with the pan).

Basic Pizza Dough (for bread machine)

1 tsp dry yeast
3 3/8 C bread flour
1 Tbsp milk powder
1 3/4 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
1 7/16 C water

Following instructions for the bread machine, add ingredients, turn machine on, and select pizza from the menu. 

When machine is done, remove dough and knead on a lightly floured surface until it springs back when pushed. Separate into two balls. Let rest for 10 minutes. 

Roll out one (or both) balls and place on a baking sheet. Prick dough several times with a fork. Let rest 15 minutes. 

Top with desired toppings, bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

- - - - - - - - - - 
Last night, we had BBQ chicken. I boil one chicken breast, let it cool, and then shred it (one breast is always too much meat, but I save the left overs for a salad for my lunch the next day). While the chicken is boiling/cooling, I chop some fresh pineapple (an addition that I learned on a trip to Hawaii & we love!), chop fresh cilantro (I forgot last night, shoot!), and thinly slice red onion. When the dough is ready to go, I spread on BBQ sauce, lightly sprinkle mozzarella cheese, add toppings and cover with more mozzarella & goat cheese, if I have it. So yummy.

January 17, 2011

Toasted Marshmallow Shake.

I have been hearing about this amazing toasted marshmallow shake from New York City's Stand for months & months. I have had my fingers crossed that my husband gets sent to NYC for business, so that I can accompany him & taste this shake for myself. As it hasn't happened, I figured I should turn to Plan B: Make it myself. And when I found the recipe on Gourmet, I was excited to do just that.

I definitely need to make this again, mostly because I realized I didn't get the marshmallows toasty enough. The milkshake tasted like a (rich & yummy) vanilla milkshake, and not a toasted marshmallow shake, unless you happened to suck a marshmallow bit (which we LOVED!) through the straw. Only then did we taste the flavor of a smoky, toasted mallow. I wanted the toasted flavor with every sip.

I also found that 1 tablespoon of milk wasn't enough to thin out the ice cream so that it could blend well. Or maybe my dollop of yogurt was too small. I would use the recipe as a starting point and then add more liquid as you need it.

Toasted Marshmallow Shake
Gourmet Online

3 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 Tbsp whole milk
1 large dollop yogurt
5 Kraft Jumbo Jet-puffed marshmallows
whipped cream

Toast marshmallows under a broiler, or, if you're frisky, over a flame until they just start to blacken evenly (the trick is to make sure it's evenly toasted and dark, but not turned to charcoal). - I used my kitchen torch and it was very fast & easy.

Put the milk, yogurt, and then ice cream in the blender. Blend carefully, just until you get a "donut"—when you see the shake holding to the sides of the blender with a hollow core.

Add three of the toasted marshmallows to the blender, and whirl it just until they're all broken up and distributed evenly. Be careful not to overblend it, making it too melty.

Pour shake into a glass, top with a dollop of whipped cream, break the last two marshmallows on top, and serve with an extra-wide straw.

January 12, 2011

Old-fashioned Banana Cake.

My husband gave me the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, How Easy is That?, for Christmas. I have more than a handful of recipes flagged as to make & have already found a couple new favorites that will be going into our permanent rotation.

The three (ugly) bananas on my counter were screaming banana bread. But! Then I remembered that one of the recipes I wanted to make was Old Fashioned Banana Cake.

So I did.

If you like banana bread, you'll like this cake. Think the flavor of banana bread, but the consistency of cake, plus a healthy dollop of cream cheese frosting. Yeah, yum. It stays really moist from the addition of sour cream. My favorite part was the addition of orange zest; I could really taste it & it added such a nice freshness.

The cake is something that I will make again, when I have bananas that are more brown than yellow & want something more indulgent than banana bread, which is typically my go to.

Old-fashioned Banana Cake
Barefoot Contessa - How Easy Is That?

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/2 C sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 coarsely chopped walnuts*
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Walnut halves, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the bananas, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low speed add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.

Spread the frosting thickly on to of the cake and decorate with walnut halves.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 C sifted confectioners' sugar

Mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don't whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

*My husband says no thank you to nuts, so I left them out.