Sunday, October 21, 2012

Elephant Ears (Fried Dough)


 3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tblsp sugar
3 Tblsp melted butter
1 Tblsp active dry yeast

Let yeast proof (get foamy). 
Mix in: 

2 cups all purpose flour

Knead until smooth, cover in bowl and let rise 30 minutes.
Knead lightly, divide into 8 small balls.
Flatten and roll balls into "ears". 
Roll them thin, as they will fluff and blister when fried.
Fry in 350 degree vegetable oil, turning once to lightly brown each side.
Keep warm in oven until done frying all 8.
Brush both sides of each piece with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gluten-free spicy beef wraps

I made these for lunch yesterday. Meli asked for another, and probably would have had a third had I not put everything away.  All ingredients from Whole Foods, of course, and designated by brand because ymmv with other brands.

For each wrap:

  • Rudi's gluten-free fiesta tortilla
  • A few smears of Whole Foods hand-dipped spring onion/jalapeño spread over the tortilla
  • 2 slices applegate farms roast beef
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • Handful of organic girl super-greens
  • Roll it up, cut roll in half, enjoy!

Chicken with Prosciutto, Sage and Fontina

Meli and I were at a loss the other day.  Sometimes dealing with gluten-free and Kiddo's pickiness can be exhausting.  So I used the "what do we have on hand" method, googled a few recipes and did some melding and modification to produce this, which was fantastic over gluten-free pasta.

I started with this:

But instead of flour, used Masa. Also I added cheese and used all whole sage leaves and finished in the oven and used Masala instead of white wine...and the preparation was like this.


  • 1/4 cup masa
  • Course salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Two skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 2oz prosciutto, sliced thinly
  • 2oz fontina cheese, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup masala wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • Gluten-free pasta, prepared according to package directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine the masa, salt and pepper in a dredging pan.
  3. Slice the chicken lengthwise with a thin knife into 2-3 slices per breast, depending on the thickness of the breast
  4. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
  5. Melt half a stick of unsalted butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add 8-10 fresh sage leaves, fry briefly until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  7. Add the chicken and fry on one side until lightly browned, then turn over.
  8. Brown the other side of the chicken.
  9. Top each slice with a slice of prosciutto and a slice of cheese. Fontina was great, mozzarella would be less salty, also good.  Add wine and broth to the pan, put it in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
  10. Serve over gluten-free linguine, and add the fried sage leaves as garnish.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Cotija Cheese and Jalapeño Tamales

I love tamales, so I thought I'd give making them a shot. They were a lot of effort, but they were well worth it!

The tamale dough was made by mixing together:

2 cups of masa flour (finely ground nixtamal, which is corn treated with lime)
1.5 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

They were filled with:

3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
4 medium jalapeños, seeded and finely diced

They were rolled in:

Fresh corn husks from 4 large ears of corn.

Mix tamale dough thoroughly and spread on corn husks. Rather than purchasing dried husks and soaking them, I bought some fresh ears of sweet corn (which will be used in another dish), cut off both ends and unrolled the green husks.  I discarded the outer tough leaves and anything too small to use. I put the useful ones in a bowl of warm water to keep them from drying out.  Four large ears of corn gave me enough husks for this recipe. I spread the tamale dough from one the closest long edge, leaving about a one inch gap on the far edge and at each end. Sprinkle diced jalapeño and crumbled Cotija on the closer side of tamale dough and roll up. Fold the ends and put in steamer tray. Once you've wrapped all your tamales and packed them into the steamer tray, steam them for 1.5 hours.

Once they are done, unroll and enjoy!

Guest blogger,

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Fatayer / M.R. 4

There's a restaurant in the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Heights called Tommy's, that has the most amazing sandwich called the M.R. 4 -- they would take a fatayer (spinach pie) from Aladdin's Bakery and doctor it up with falafel and banana and tahini sauce.  It was this gorgeous mix of savory, sweet doughy deliciousness.

I haven't lived in Cleveland Heights for nearly 20 years, but I still miss this dish.  So I decided to try to recreate it tonight. 

Start with a pizza-like dough recipe -- I used this one from Dede's Mediterannean blog, which was great but could have used a longer second rising than I had time for. While the dough is rising the first time (and the second time, after dividing into 8 portions) make the filling.

  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 oz baby greens
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 slightly green banana
  • 1 tsp tahini
  1. Saute the mushrooms and onions in the butter until the mushrooms start to express their juices
  2. Add the greens, stir and put a lid on and steam for 5-8 minutes.
  3. Put the mixture into a colander to cool and drain.
  4. When it has drained, put the mixture into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
I watched the video of Dede making fatayer to learn how to fill the pies -- it's worth a watch.

I baked the pies at 400 F for 8 minutes, brushed with olive oil, then baked for another 10 minutes.

I will definitely do this again!  I think the kids would even love them without the cayenne pepper.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Salt-baked potatoes

There used to be a restaurant within walking distance that I loved.  It was a good steakhouse, but what I really craved were the salt-baked potatoes.  I've searched for years for a method to produce those potatoes...slightly crusty on the outside, salty but not over-salted, fluffy and creamy on the inside...I finally hit upon it tonight.

For 2 medium-to-large Idaho potatoes, scrub them and then bury them in rock salt in a large metal loaf pan.  It takes about 2 cups of rock salt.  Bake them at 350 for at least 90 minutes.  Remove the potatoes and brush off all the rock salt.  You can re-use the salt, so keep it for the next time.

Simple perfection.  I may never eat potatoes another way again.  We roasted them at the same time we were roasting some beef, and frankly we much preferred the potatoes to the beef.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Orange Pork Stir-fry

Cooking for my family is tricky.

  • B (8) would subsist on dessert, if he could.  He eats like a bird, and always, ALWAYS leaves at least one bite on the plate.  The trick is to give him small portions so there isn't so much wasted.  He's underweight and pretty small, and only somewhat physically active.  He does like spicy food, though.
  • Kiddo (8) would subsist on carbs and cheese if he could.  And ketchup.  He cannot stand even the hint of spiciness.  He's a little overweight but very physically active and never seems to stop growing.
  • E (12) toys with vegetarianism, is growing like a weed, and worries overmuch about food safety.  She's prefers simple spices.
  • Meli is tall and thin and could stand to gain some muscle weight.  He seems to be able to eat anything and not gain weight -- 7 donuts in a sitting?  Check.  Double cheeseburger and fries?  How about two?  An entire large pizza?  Why not?  His cholesterol could be better, though.  He's currently cutting out most carbs.  I'm not entirely sure why.  He's a great cook, but it tends to be heavily fatty and saucy comfort food.
  • I've gained 15 pounds since I met Meli, yikes!  I love to cook and get bored with the kid's preferred foods.  I work out about 4 days out of 7, if not more, and count calories, but hey, I'm over 40 and it's hard to get that weight off and keep it off.  My cholesterol could also be better.  Meli and I both love spicy foods from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds.

So I was thrilled when what I made last night pleased EVERYBODY.  I kept the veggies and the meat separate and didn't put any sauce on them, and served the sauce separately.  I didn't measure or write it down while cooking, sadly, but here's the gist.
  • 1-2 cups rice
  • 2 thick boneless pork chops
  • 1 navel orange
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs mirin
  • salt
  • 1 bell pepper, red or orange or yellow
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds
  • 1 container shitake mushrooms
  • Sesame oil and peanut oil
  1. Start the rice cooking
  2. Put the chops in a glass dish
  3. Zest and juice the orange into the dish
  4. Mince the garlic and ginger, add to the dish
  5. Add the soy sauce and mirin and a pinch of salt per pork chop
  6. Set the pork aside to marinate while you're preparing the rest
  7. Heat a wok
  8. Slice up the bell pepper into thin rounds
  9. Break up the broccoli into flowers
  10. Chop the mushrooms
  11. When all the ingredients are prepped, add a splash of sesame oil and enough peanut oil to the wok for stir-frying...about 2-3 Tbs?
  12. Add the bell pepper to the wok, stir-fry for about a minute
  13. Add the broccoli, stir-fry for about 2 minutes
  14. Add the snow peas and the sesame seeds, continue stir-frying until all the vegetables are crisp-tender
  15. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and keep warm.
  16. Add the mushrooms to the wok but keep them to the sides of the pan
  17. While they sweat, remove the pork from the marinade and slice it somewhat thinly...about 1/2 inch slices.  Save the marinade in the dish.
  18. Add the pork to the wok and stir-fry with the mushrooms until it's done, it should spring back when pressed.  About 5 minutes?
  19. When it's done, put it into a serving dish
  20. Pour the marinade into the wok and boil it for a minute, then transfer to a sauceboat.
Serve everything separate -- the carb-lovers get lots of rice, the kids who can't stand spice get fairly plain veggies that taste great because of the sesame oil and seeds, the sauce is amazingly good for those who can stand a little spice, everyone loves the pork which is juicy and tender and only very slightly flavored by the orange sauce, and since it's all cut up small not much went to waste.