Saturday, November 19, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Making homemade tortillas can be time consuming and messy, but trust me-- they're "oh so worth it"-good. Have I mentioned that they're great for dipping in soup?  This recipe is used by family and friends of mine living in Chicago, and I've recently started using it in my own kitchen. Hope you enjoy using it in yours!

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- about 1 cup hot water
- additional vegetable oil for cooking

How To Make Them
1) Using hands/spoon/stand mixer: Mix the dry ingredients.
2) Make a well, and pour the oil in the middle.
3) Knead in the hot water a little at a time. Mix until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers, but isn't too breakable.
4) Thoroughly flour your counter top, and form dough into small, round patties. Roll them out as thin as possible using a rolling pin.
5) Preheat a skillet and add a little oil.
6) Cook tortillas one at a time, flipping when a bubble occurs or the first side is just starting to brown.
7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 until your dough is gone. If flour/oil accumulates and chars in the skillet, take a wet paper towel and gently wipe the excess, being very careful not to burn your fingers.
8) Serve warm, and for an extra treat brush with butter.

Spicy Corn Bisque

Cool weather soups were meant to be hearty and creamy. This one adds an extra kick (or three) to the mix with chili, ancho chili, and chipotle chili powders. Don't have that variety? Just use the same total amount of regular chili powder to replace what you don't keep on hand.

- 3-4 carrots, sliced
- 6 ribs celery, sliced
- 2 leeks (white parts), sliced
- 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and diced small
- 3 TBSP butter
- 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 4 1/2 - 5 cups corn
- 4 cups whole milk

How To Make It
1) Melt butter in a pot and sauté carrots, celery, leeks, and jalapeño for about 15 minutes, or until celery is translucent and tender.
2) Pour in the can of tomatoes in their liquid, vegetable broth, and spices. Stir.
3) Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are tender- about one hour.
4) Add milk and corn. Stir and heat the soup once more. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
5) Using a blender or an immersion blender, blend the contents of your soup pot.
6) Serve your soup garnished with cilantro and a side of homemade flour tortillas.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Making and sharing family recipes is one of my favorite things to do! Flan and I go way back too... My Nana used to make it on special occasions, and I'm currently kicking myself for not making it sooner. I remember thinking as a little girl that the caremelized sugar had a taste reminiscent of maple syrup.

The ingredients list is short and inexpensive. Eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla are pretty standard items in my kitchen. What about yours? Just add a little heat on the stove and in the oven, followed by some chill time in your 'fridge, and you'll be greeted by deliciousness when your flan evacuates the pan.

- 2 cups sugar
- 4 cups whole milk
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla

How To Make It
1) Melt one cup of the sugar over low heat in a small pan/saucepan. Don't stir, as stirring promotes the formation of sugar crystals.
2) Remove the sugar from the heat when it is just turning golden brown. Use the hot sugar (careful!!) to coat the bottom and sides of a tube or bundt pan. It will sugar will continue to cook even after you remove it from the heat, so remove sooner rather than later to avoid burning.
3) Heat your milk until the boiling point, then remove from the stove. This is known as "scalding" milk. Add the second cup of sugar and stir until both are mixed.
4) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5) Take two eggs, separate out the yolks, and toss the whites and shells.
6) Whisk the remaining for (whole) eggs with the two yolks.
7) Gradually pour the hot milk/sugar mixture into the eggs in a slow stream, whisking all the while so that the eggs don't cook.
8) Stir in the vanilla.
9) Pour the egg mixture through a fine mesh strainer for a nice silky custard base, then pour into the bundt pan to cover the sugar.
10) Put the bundt pan in a larger baking pan/casserole dish. Pour hot/boiling water into the outer dish until it is at a level that's at least halfway up the flan.
11) Bake until flan is set in the center, about 45 minutes to an hour, keeping the water level up the whole time.
12) Cool all day or overnight in the refrigerator before sliding a knife around the edges and turning upside down onto a plate or platter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mushroom Potpie

Sometimes I see a recipe in a magazine and just have to try it. I literally feel compelled to make sure I have all the ingredients on hand so that I can prepare and try it out as soon as possible. When I read over the Mushroom Potpie recipe in the November 2011 issue of Real Simple, I knew it would become a favorite.

- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (such as cremini or button), halved, or quartered if large
- 4 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 celery stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 sheet puff pastry (half of a 17.3 ounce package), thawed

How To Make It
1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
3) Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the broth and peas; bring to a boil.
4) Transfer the mushroom mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Lay the pastry on top and cut several vents in it.
5) Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden, 25-30 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.