Monday, August 29, 2016

Cheese stuffed cauliflower in tomato sauce, Mexican style (Coliflor rellena de queso en caldillo)

Cheese stuffed cauliflower in tomato sauce, Mexican style (Coliflor rellena de queso en caldillo)


Even though I really like deep fried almost everything, the part of me that knows better -or at least believes that knows better-, called "a wife" stops me from doing so with some exceptions: deep fried Twinkies, deep fried Oreos,  doughnuts, deep fried Mars Bars, tempura and other foods that I can't remember. She takes care of me...oh love....

I usually don't eat cauliflower and I really don't know why as it is quite tasty (if it is next to some dressing or in a food...because raw is just disgusting) and I went back to memory land and remember that this dish is quite similar to one that the woman who claimed to be my mother use to make, without the cinnamon, the clove and stuffing the cheese the way I did. In Mexico they usually cut the cauliflower in pieces, mix it with the egg batter and deep fry them -called "tortitas de coliflor"-. So it kind of seems similar to the traditional Mexican way, but I think that this way is somehow a bit more tasty and you don't get the oil and the egg batter aftertaste. It also looks awesome. 

As we are only the two of  us, this dish lasted for two days and for a hungry wife lunch, but usually this should be plenty to feed six people. Honestly, the touch of cinnamon and clove and the way the cauliflower is presented is just super tasty. When you cut into the cauliflower and the cheese melts in the plate incorporating itself into the tomato sauce...is just a mystical experience. Try it...you will know then what separates mixing ingredients and cooking. 

Cheese stuffed cauliflower in tomato sauce, Mexican style (Coliflor rellena de queso en caldillo)


Cooking Time: 60 Minutes   Makes 6 servings
Ingredients

1 Medium size FRESH cauliflower,
separated in small trunks.

For the caldillo (runny tomato sauce)

1/2 Onion, chopped

1 Garlic clove

2 Large tomatoes

1/2 Beef broth cube (knorr os similar)

Water as needed

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Clove, ground

For the stuffing

200 g Mozzarella cheese (or Panela cheese if you can find it), sliced in 1/4 inch pieces.

2 Large eggs, room temperature

To put together the cauliflower

  • 12 Tooth picks
  • Flour
2 Cups of canola oil to fry the battered cauliflowers.

To serve
  • White rice, Mexican style


Cooking Instructions

1. Boil water in a medium size pan and once is boiling add the cauliflower trunks (in Mexico they call them cauliflower “trees”) and cook them for exactly 5 minutes -otherwise they will turn soggy-, then drain the water and reserve.


2. In a medium size pan, heat the oil and add the onion so it gets a bit translucent, then add the garlic clove (just broken by using a knife) and mix the until the garlic has browned a bit. Reserve

3. Using your blender or food processor blend the tomatoes  and then add the  onion/garlic. Blend again and reserve in the blender.

4. Using the same pan where you fried the onions, add a bit more canola oil and, once is warm, add the tomato mix, add the 1/2 beef cube, the cinamon and the clove, mix and cover. Reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. If, after the 20 minutes the mix looks a bit dense, add some water as we are looking for a more liquid mix -called “caldillo" in Mexico. Taste and correct if necessary. Reserve

5. Now, we are going to prepare the egg batter. First separate the eggs and reserve the yolks. In a medium size bowl use your hand mixer to beat the egg whites until you  get them stiff (you can turn upside down the bowl and it won’t make a mess). This should take about 3 to 4 minutes; then we are going to add one egg yolk and mix again until incorporated, then add the second egg yolk, mix until incorporated too. Reserve

6.  Now, we are going to prepare the cauliflower. First let’s divide each cauliflower piece in two and put a piece of the mozzarella cheese in the middle then put together with two tooth picks, like a sandwich where the cauliflower represents the bread and the cheese is the sandwich filling. Reserve 
7. In a deep small pan, heat the 2 cups of canola oil to frying temperature and it in that temperature.

8. Take each cheese stuffed cauliflower piece, cover with flour and cover with the egg batter, then carefully drop it in the frying oil. Once the bottom part has browned, using some tongs turn the cauliflower so the other half gets to brown. Once the whole piece is done, remove using the tongs and place each piece on a kitchen paper towel to remove the excess oil. Reserve

9. Once we have all the fried cauliflower pieces ready, we are ready to serve. In each plate put one or two pieces of the battered cauliflower and cover them with the tomato sauce, which should be a bit loose (caldillo), then on the side add some Mexican style white rice and serve.

10. Enjoy!

  


Friday, August 19, 2016

C-52 Cake (Kahlúa - Cabot Trail-Grand Marnier cake)

C-52 Cake (Kahlúa - Cabot Trail-Grand Marnier cake)

Trying to keep my creativity spurge and hiding from the Sun (it is warm today and I rather wait until I'm in Hell to suffer this kind of heat) and based on the famous B-52 classic drink, I decided to create this cake to pamper my ex-student, now friend, that came for a visit yesterday. She is not a person who likes sweets so I took this in consideration. Also as Canadian (yes, yesterday I was in my Canadian mood) I decided to give a twist to the B-52 cocktail and add the Cabot Trail Maple Cream which on its own is fantastic (and...no, they don't pay me to say this).

The cake is not hard to make, but it takes a bit longer to bake than a traditional cake because I didn't want to loose the liquors flavors due to high temperatures. The frosting is soft and delicate and creates a fantastic mix with the chocolate cake. I served it on a bed of Kahlúa and Cabot Trail and...wow...it is absolutely fantastic. It is moist, soft and creamy. I kind of think that even kids can eat it without the cocktail bed.

The evening was great and the catching up was very nice. The current wife also was there, but I am guessing that she was more for the cake than for the chat...but it is only my guess.... 

Today there is only 50% of the cake left. My prediction? It won't make it till Sunday. Honestly I can say that when the end result is so fantastic and is one's creation..it feels good. 

Please feel free to copy the recipe, just credit the site !


C-52 Cake (Kahlúa - Cabot Trail-Grand Marnier cake)

Baking Time: 60 Minutes   Makes 16 servings

Ingredients


340 g Dark chocolate, chopped into pieces 

340 g  Unsalted butter, room temperature

1 Cup milk  (lukewarm)

1/2 Cup Kahlúa

1/2 Cup Cabot Trail Maple Cream

1/2 Cup Grand Marnier

2 Tbsp instant coffee

1 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 Cups (450 g) Sugar

3 420 g All-purpose flour

1 1/2 Tsp Baking powder

1 Tsp baking soda

3/4 Tsp kosher salt
3 Large eggs, room temperature

Glaze 

1/4 Cup Kahlúa

1/4 Cup Grand Marnier

1/3 Cup Cabot Trail Maple Cream

 8 Oz (one packet) Cream cheese, room temperature

175 g confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1/4 Tsp kosher salt


Instructions

1. Preheat an oven to 300˚F and generously butter a 12-cup bundt pan all over to the very top of the pan, making sure to get every single millimeter!. Dust it with flour and place it on a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Place the chopped chocolate and the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and over low heat, melt the chocolate-butter-milk mix, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in, Kahlúa, Grand Marnier and Cabot Trail and add the instant coffee and vanilla, stir for 5 minutes then remove from heat.


3. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar 1/3 part at the time and beat to incorporate between additions, about 10 minutes, then add the flour one cup at a time, stirring on slow speed until the flour is absorbed before adding the next cup. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir on slow speed to incorporate. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed to incorporate before adding the next egg. Pour the batter  into the prepared bundt pan... it will be a wet mix, don't worry. It will fill the pan up pretty high so
make sure the pan is on a baking sheet because it will overflow (it actually overflows...but reserve the overflow bits and eat them warm....yum)

4. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes -depends on your oven- until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean (mine takes 1 hour 45 minutes). Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then invert the pan while still hot (wear heat proof oven gloves!) onto a wire rack. Remove the pan and let cool
completely (2 to 3 hours)

5. To assemble the cake, brush 1/4 cup of Kahlúa and 1/4 cup of Grand marnier over the entire cake, letting it absorb the liqueur. Place the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, the Cabot Maple Cream and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until a glaze forms. If will be a super creamy mix…don’t eat it, remember is for the cake.

Put the glaze on the cake with a silicone paddle and let the glaze
dry before serving.

Serve on a plate with a small amount of Maple Cream and Kahlúa around it. It is nothing but extraordinary!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Roasted Vanilla Amaranth Seed Cheesecake (Mexican Cheesecake)

Roasted Vanilla Amaranth Seed Cheesecake (Mexican Cheesecake)

So, the current wife invited a couple for dinner -long time friends she claims- and it just happens that one of the guests to come is celiac (for real), so the menu had to be 100% gluten free. I had some days to think about it and I decided to cook some appetizer -which I can't remember-, then Plantain stuffed chiles rellenos with Mexican rice and...I went all food designer and created my very first Mexican Cheesecake. I replaced the Graham crackers with Roasted Amaranth seeds (that are vanilla flavored and that I bought in Mexico in our last trip) for the crust and I incorporated them into the actual cheesecake. I served the cheesecake with my world famous (yeah right) Tequila drunken cherries and...success.

The couple had never tried plantain, so that was great (and if they didn't like it then they deserve an Oscar for best Guest Performance of the Night) and the dessert was the jewel on the crown. Once they had annihilated the food supply, they left. All we had left was the memory of a great dinner and good company and...my ever disappearing memory of the recipe adaptation.  As Summer is here I am overwhelmed by heat and garden duties, so just because today it is MEGA warm I am indoors and decided to write down the recipe and share. I do this while I am creating (wow...now I "create") a C-52 Cake for this incredibly smart and pleasant ex-pupil who is coming for a coffee later on today. The house smells great...if this C-52 cake works... I'll post and if it doesn't...well...tough.

So, here it is. My own recipe of a cheesecake, which I called Mexican because I relate Amaranth seeds with the Country that claims that I born in and because Alegrias are one of my favorite street treats in Mexico. If you are celiac, gluten free or just plain weird...this is for you. You will love it.

Roasted Vanilla Amaranth Seed Cheesecake (Mexican Cheesecake) 

Cooking Time: 45 Minutes   Makes 12 servings

Ingredients 

1 Cup of Vanilla Roasted Amaranth Seeds*

1/3 Cup plus 3/4 Cup Caster Sugar, separated


6 Tbsp Butter, melted

3  (225 g ea.) Packages of Cream 
Cheese, softened and room temperature

100 g Sour Cream

1 Tbsp Cornstarch 

3 Large eggs, room temperature

2 Tbsp Vanilla extract

1/4 Roasted Vanilla Amaranth Seeds




Cooking Instructions 

  1. In a medium size bowl combine the roasted vanilla amaranth seeds* with 1/3 of the granulated sugar and the melted butter until fully incorporated.

2. Cover the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper and butter the sides.

3. Pour the amaranth mix into the pan and distribute evenly only on the bottom, not the sides, and press firmly so we get a compact base for the cake. Reserve 

4. In the bottom of the oven -or the bottom rack- place a shallow baking pan with boiling water and turn on the oven to 300 ̊F. The rack for the cheese cake will be in the middle. 

5. In a mixer combine the cheese and the sour cream with the rest of the sugar until combined, then add, one by one, the eggs and keep mixing until incorporated (you will get a semi-liquid mix...don’t panic, that is what we are looking for). 

6. Add the vanilla and the cornstarch and mix a bit more until incorporated. 

7. Finally fold the 1/4 Cup of the Roasted Vanilla Amaranth Seeds and pour the mix into the prepared pan. 

8. Place the pan into the oven (middle rack), which will be a bit steamy. Allow it to cook between 20 to 30 minutes, but it might take longer (if so, verify every 5 minutes). 

9. You know that the cheesecake is ready when the outer ring is firm but the center jiggles like undone jello -you feel that is not going to happen…too liquid, but that is what we want).

10. Turn off the oven, remove the water bath and run a thin knife around the edges so when the time comes it won’t crack. Then remove the cake and allow it to cool in a semi-warm spot in the kitchen -as cooling it fast will create cracks-. This is a two hour wait. Do not unmold!!!

11. Once is cool enough, unmold and put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

12. Enjoy!

Here is the most important parts: 

-We know that the cheese cake is ready when we shake the pan -lightly- and we see the center part wobble but the sides not. It is shinny on the top. If it does not wobble...you over cooked the cake (still is good but not fantastic) and if you take it out when is not ready...you will have a mess. Keep an eye on the “wooblyness of 
the cake” 
-When ready, remove and place the cake in a cooling rack for 2 hours without opening the mold. 

* Roasted Vanilla Amaranth Seeds are available in Mexican Specialty Stores, Organic Food Stores or on the internet (Amazon). Just make sure that they are actually amaranth and no artificial additives whatsoever.