Monday, June 14, 2010

Red Mill Corn Muffins

Can I tell you how excited I was to receive the Red Mill Flour Sampler Pack I got as a prize on Nazarina’s “Giddy Gastronome” blog? The pack included Corn Flour (which is what I used to make the corn muffins)Whole Wheat Bread Mix, Potato Flour and Garbanzo Bean Flour. How cool is that?

I researched the Red Mill Flour website and found a few very interesting things. But the one item that caught my interest was the gluten factor. I’ve read where more and more people are deciding to go gluten free. Why? Well, apparently gluten is the main cause of celiac disease, which impedes the digestion. That’s serious stuff; take it from someone who continued to have digestion problems even after her gall bladder was remove.

While people who have this condition should certainly stay away from gluten containing products, gluten is a necessary component in bread making. It gives bread dough that elasticity you look for after kneading in order to shape the dough. With the help of starch it helps the baked bread maintain it proper shape. On the other hand, it also contributes to bread going stale. Good or bad for you? Only you can decide that.

Reading through the Red Mill site, I learned that substituting corn flour, which is basically finely ground corn meal, would give your corn bread or muffins a denser quality. You know that texture you experience when you eat corn bread? You can taste and feel the gritty-ness of the cornmeal. I love it, but I wanted to distinguish the variations in texture for myself.

Red Mill was absolutely right. The dough was smoother and much denser making the muffins with the corn flour instead of the corn meal. It had the same taste I’m used to but my mouth certainly did notice the difference in consistency.

Next week I will be making the whole wheat bread. I demolished my bread machine, but my Kitchen Aid Mixer with dough hook is in great shape. Kneading will NOT be a probably for these arthritic fingers. Enjoy.

This is the recipe I use for Corn Bread or Corn Muffins. The only change I made was substituting the Corn Flour for the Corn Meal.

Cornmeal Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal (I used Red Mill Corn Flour)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Add cornmeal and stir to mix. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and oil. Add egg mixture at once to dry ingredients; stirring only until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup up to two-thirds full.

Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Apple Pie Turnovers

I love apple pastry. Next to chocolate, it’s my favorite tasty treat. A while back while surfing through my favorite blogs, I came across Tina’s Mommy’s Kitchen Blog .

She had written a post about this wonderful recipe on making your own apple pie filling and canning it for immediate or future use. Well I’m not much of a canner so I just filled containers and froze the filling. I’ve made a pie and two batches of apple turnovers with I puff pastry. That’s the one that I want to share with you today. I love puff pastry especially - mixed with apples.

It’s a simple process. Depending on how many turnovers you want to make (I make 4, two each for Bob and me) remove puff pastry from the box and allow to defrost for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin and roll out the puff dough to about 15 by 10 inches. Cut (I use a pizza cutter) the rolled out pastry into 5-inch squares.

Prepare egg wash by whisking 1 egg with 2 teaspoons of water. Brush some egg wash along the edges of each puff pastry square. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of apple pie filling in the center of the square. Fold over and crimp the edges together to hold.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I love that stuff!) and place prepared turnovers on the paper. Brush some of the egg wash over the turnover and sprinkle with some sanding sugar (large grain sugar). Make a couple of slits (carefully) in the top and bake for 25 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.

So easy – so satisfying. Love it. Now I think I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies.:)

Homemade Apple Pie Filling in a Jar
4 1/2 - cups sugar
1 - cup cornstarch
2 - teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 - teaspoon nutmeg
1 - teaspoon salt
3 - tablespoons lemon juice
10 - cups of water
6 pounds of tart apples, washed, peeled and thinly sliced
(I used golden delicious and a few granny smith apples)

Note: Slice apples into a solution of 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 quart of water to avoid discoloration. Drain the fruit well before packing in jars.

In a large pot, blend together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the water and lemon juice with a wire whisk. Cook and stir until bubbly and thick; remove from heat. While the filling was cooking I sliced the apples and added them into a solution of 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 quart of water to avoid discoloration. Drain the fruit well before packing in jars. Pack apples into clean, hot canning jars leaving an inch from the top of the jar. Fill with the hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch space from the top of the jar. Remove air bubbles by running a knife around the insides of each jar. Close the jars with sterile lids and rims. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 -30 minutes Use a jar tongs to remove the jars from water Place the jars on a dish towel to dry and allow the jars to cool for several hours Check the seals to make certain the lids are sealed properly (the lids should be lowered in the middle and not move up or down)

To Make Apple Pie:

Pour 1 quart jar of home canned apple pie filling into an unbaked 8-9 inch pastry shell and dot with butter. Place top crust, trim and crimp the crust around the edges and then cut slits to vent the steam. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling

Monday, May 17, 2010

Olive Garden (copycat) Breadsticks

I made some Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo for Bob and couldn’t resist this wonderful recipe I found. Delicious (copycat) Olive Garden Breadsticks. They didn’t take long to make and were absolutely yummy with the fettuccini. I didn’t take a picture of the Alfredo cause I’m sure most of you have made it at one point or another, but I’m including the recipe just in case. Big hugs to all. I’m so totally excited; my son is coming in to town today and can’t wait to see him. Have a great week everyone.

Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks


1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fine salt


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch dried oregano


Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano.

Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

Alfredo Sauce Recipe

1 pint of heavy cream
1/4 pound of butter (one stick)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 – 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Simmer this until all is melted, and mixed well. Add the Parmesan cheese and Garlic powder. Simmer this for 15 – 20 minutes on low. You may wish to season with a little salt and pepper
Cook up some fettuccini and some chicken breast and mix together with the Alfredo Sauce.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Gorditas, translated into English, mean Little Fat Ones.  Actually it's little fat girls, but I kind of take offense to that.  There really shouldn't be a translation.  Gorditas are Gorditas, Masa Pockets filled with your favorite meat, chicken or pork filling.  Some people fill them up with refried beans or even queso.  However you prepare them, they're delicious and easy to make.

I made mine with a simple picadillo recipe. 

1 pound ground meat
1 large tomato, diced,
1 large potato, diced small
1/2 a large onion, minced
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup roasted, chopped green chiles
Seasoned with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder and some ground cumin

Combine ground beef with broth.  Add potatoes, tomato, onion and green chile.  Season. Simmer on low until potatoes are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

The masa for the Gorditas is very simple to make, alot easier than that the masa for tamales.

1 3/4 cups masa harina
1 cup very warm tap water
2 tablespoons lard or shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
vegetable oil for frying

Mix the masa harina with the warm water until well combined and set aside.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to prepared masa.  Knead in the lard.  If the masa feels a little dry, add a couple more teaspoons of water.  Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.  Place each masa ball on a plate or cutting board lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Place a heavy skillet (cast iron if you have it) over medium heat.  While it's heating up, roll or flatten by hand each masa ball into an approximate 4-inch diameter circle.  Place the rounds on the hot skillet and cook for about 1 minute on each side.  Set aside to cool.  Next comes the frying.

Heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan to a temperature of about 325 degrees.  Fry 1 to 2 toasted gordita rounds in the hot oil until puffed and golden brown.
When you're done frying, carefully slice one edge of the gordita and open.  Fill with the picadillo recipe or whatever your favorite filling might be. 

Set a plateful of garnishes on the table for topping off your gorditas.  I used shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped avocados, salsa and lots and lots of cheese.

I hope you try this traditional dish in your next fiesta.  They're simple to make, tasty and quite filling.  Enjoy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Latina Woman for Mother's Day


Feliz Dia de las Madres!

There is a wonderful piece that was written sometime ago commemorating
women everywhere. I've searched throughout the internet but have never found the author of this piece. If someone knows who wrote it, please let me know.

For the past nine ten years I have posted it on the internet and have dedicated it to my mother and to all women celebrating Mother's Day.

So whether you are a mother or not, young or old, any color of the rainbow or from any city or country in the world, this goes out to you with lots of love, admiration and respect.

How to Recognize a Latina Woman
(or ANY woman)

A Latina woman is proud of herself. She respects herself and others. She is aware of who she is. She neither seeks definition from the person she is with, nor does she expect them to read her mind. She is quite capable of articulating her needs. A Latina woman is hopeful. She is strong enough to make all her dreams come true. She knows love, therefore she gives love. She recognizes that her love has great value and must be reciprocated. If her love is taken for granted, it soon disappears.

A Latina woman has a dash of inspiration and a dabble of endurance. She knows that she will, at times, have to inspire others to reach the potential God gave them. A Latina woman knows her past, understands her present and moves toward the future.

A Latina woman knows God. She knows that with God the world is her playground, but without God, she will just be played with. A Latina woman does not live in fear of the future because of her past. Instead, she understands that her life experiences are merely lessons, meant to bring her closer to self-knowledge and unconditional self-love.

(In memory of my mother)

(En recuerdo de mi Madre, Maria Luisa Cordero (1915 - 1997)