Author Archives: Candie

Amazing Chili

Chili

Amazing Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 8

Calories per serving: 532

Fat per serving: 16g

This chili gets it uniquely rich flavor from dark beer and chocolate with a hint of coffee and brown sugar. Garnish with shredded sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound beef sirloin, cubed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
  • 4 fresh hot chile peppers, seeded and chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, ground beef and cubed sirloin in oil for 10 minutes, or until the meat is well browned and the onions are tender.
  2. Mix in the diced tomatoes with juice, dark beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth. Season with brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander and salt. Stir in 2 cans of the beans and hot chile peppers. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Stir in the 2 remaining cans of beans, and simmer for another 30 minutes.
http://www.culinarycafe.com/2015/12/01/2100/

My Must Have Kitchen Christmas Gift List

I have an over accessorized kitchen. It is hard to find a appliance or gadget that I don’t have because I collect them obsessively. I spend hours and hours in the kitchen and I love to do out of the normal type of dishes or preparations. I have put together my list of kitchen Christmas gifts at some great holiday bargain prices!

 

 Pepper Mill

If you aren’t grinding fresh pepper in your food you are missing out on the incredible flavor of freshly ground pepper. This grinder has a ceramic grinding mechanism which means it will last a long time and you can use it for both salt and pepper. Another great ideas is putting your favorite dried herbs in one of these and grinding them on demand to release more essential oils.

 Electric Pressure Cooker

I often wish I had two of these because I use mine constantly and could do double duty with two. I make fast delicious bone broth, make ham and bean soup in less than two hours from scratch or just steam sweet potatoes into fluffy, moist, deliciousness. The use for this pressure cooker is endless and you will never file it away in the cabinet.

 

 Knife Sharpener

The one thing that I cannot stand is a dull knife. It is amazing what a difference it makes using a finely honed knife versus a dull one. I know you probably have a steel but a steel only removes rough spots from the blade and does not actually sharpen the blade at all. If you haven’t had your knives sharpened in the last 6 months than you are suffering through dull knives that make everything you do more difficult.

 

 Immersion Blender

The tool that the infamous “Two Fat Ladies” dubbed this tool the kitchen vibrator is my favorite tools when making sauces and soups. Transferring hot liquid to a blender to smooth soups is a messy and dangerous adventure that can be avoided entirely with this little beauty. This also lets me use vegetables to thicken my sauces without dirtying my blender. I think everyone should have one hiding in their cabinet.

Sous Vide

This tool is a busy cook’s best friend. You put together your meal in vacuum bags and set the temperature and time on your machine and go conquer the day. All you do it maybe give your meat a finishing sear and your perfect meal is complete.

I have my eye on a Mellow when they come out because it just looks and sounds too cool.

 

 Nespresso Espresso Machine

I know you don’t directly cook with an espresso machine but you do make beverages that are necessary for me to have a fruitful day without ripping anyone’s head off. I am not always a fan of espresso but I have found that I can rely on Nespresso pods to always be delicious!

Interested in other items that I think are worth having in your kitchen? Check out my Amazon Store.

 

How to make Thanksgiving Dinner without breaking a sweat

cooked-turkey-1

I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family for almost 20 years. Not all of those dinners went smoothly. Like the year I forgot to make the mashed potatoes or the year I forgot the rolls in the oven and turned them into bricks. I have picked up so many tips and tricks over the years that now making Thanksgiving is simple and easy. With just a little prep a day or two before Thanksgiving you can actually enjoy the holiday alongside everyone else.

First thing I do every year is look at my menu for the day. Mine was based on what my family served when I was a kid and updated slightly with a deep fried turkey and my own spins on the old recipes. You don’t cook this menu more than twice (Thanksgiving & Christmas) so it is ok to have the exact same thing because your family will not get tired of it. I admit my Thanksgiving dinner is lacking in vegetables but my family gets at least one or two servings of vegetables with every normal meal so I don’t feel bad about not serving them on this special occasion.

My traditional Thanksgiving menu consists of –

Deep Fried Turkey – This is a must and this recipe can also be used on a hardwood smoked turkey for more juicy results.

Giblet Cream Gravy – I actually withhold the giblets from this recipe and use them in my dressing recipe.

Sage Turkey Dressing – This recipe is one that has been in my family for as long as I can remember and is my favorite. My dirty little after Thanksgiving treat is to take cold slices of this and make sandwiches out of it.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping – If you make this Sweet Potato Casserole for a family dinner make sure you take a couple copies of your recipe because people will ask for it.

Decadent Mashed Potatoes – These are the best mashed potatoes ever. Being part Irish they make me proud.

Lion House Rolls – These tender buttery Lion House rolls are like the combination of a croissant and the standard parker house dinner roll.

Cranberry & Mandarin Orange blend – A can of whole cranberries and a can of Mandarin oranges mixed together and chilled.

Pecan Pie – This recipe was the most sought after pecan pie recipe on the web for years.

Sour Cream Apple Pie – Some people are prejudiced against sour cream so just say its apple pie until after they have taken their first bite and then they will be in love.

Hot Mulled Cider – Family members show up and look for this first thing because it is so good.

First thing to do while planning out your meal preparation is to go down the list of ingredients you need for each dish and make sure you either have them or they get on your shopping list. Double check the items you think you have because half the time I think I have them but I really don’t because one of my kids have done away with them recently. Make sure you get extra turkey parts like wings or legs to make your turkey broth because I find you don’t get enough flavor from just a neck and giblets and once in a while those are missing from your turkey. This was a tough lesson learned one year when the turkey was missing its giblets and my local grocery stores were all either closed or out of turkey parts.

The nice thing about this menu is that you can either make ahead or have most of the preparation done the day before Thanksgiving that way you are mostly just waiting on things to cook. This lets me actually enjoy some time with my family instead of rushing around the kitchen. The first thing I do each year is get my turkey in its brine. They can set in the brine for up to 48 hours but I prefer right around 24 hours. This lets me get my giblets out of the turkey also so I can make my turkey broth. You can either use a pressure cooker to make your turkey broth or you can cook it low and slow so you can all the flavor and gelatin out of the bones. I like to brown my turkey bits before boiling them so that the flavor is richer. I also like to include a half an onion, celery, a carrot and a clove of garlic along with some herbs like thyme, sage and a tiny bit of rosemary. Don’t waste fresh herbs on this. The dry stuff will turn out just as well. Once your broth is done strain it well and save all the meat and giblets for either your gravy or your dressing. Refrigerate and remember to remove the solidified fat from the top before you use.

I will usually make my pies one or two days ahead of time that way they get proper time to cool. Make sure you hide them well because hungry children are known to steal entire pies. I also put my cans of mandarin oranges and cranberries in the refrigerator at least a day ahead of time that way I can just throw them together at the last minute without worrying about chill time.

While I am waiting on the broth I will throw my sweet potatoes in the oven on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or throw them in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Make sure you peel them right away after you take them out of the oven because they will just slide out of their skins. It will be much harder after they cool. I just throw them in the refrigerator until I am ready to put together the casserole. While I am waiting on the potatoes to bake I chop my onions, carrots and celery for my dressing.  If you are making rolls you should have your dough made and refrigerator proof it overnight. This makes it quick to get them done the next day and it also improves the flavor.

Once all that preparation is done you are ready to relax and rest up for Thanksgiving morning. Some key tips for Thanksgiving morning is to have a prep list for yourself so you don’t forget anything. Mine looks something like this.

1. Remove these items from refrigerator

  • Dough
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turkey Broth – Remove the fat right away
  • Turkey – 1 to 1 1/2 hours before you plan to cook the turkey

2. Make Sweet Potato Casserole

3. Make Dressing

4. Prep Turkey for Frying then fry – Dry well and rub with olive oil, salt and spices

5. Form Rolls and let rise

6. Make Mashed Potatoes

7. Make Gravy

8. Bake Rolls

9. Make cranberry and mandarin mix

Tips for the turkey which are true for both a roasted or fried turkey. Make sure you take your turkey out of the refrigerator early enough so that it comes up to close to room temperature before you bake it. This will help it to cook more evenly and will make it more juicy. The key to the juiciest turkey is the brine ahead of time which imparts the moisture and flavor throughout the bird and not just where you injected it. The last thing to remember is to always let your bird rest tented in foil for about 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven or fryer. This lets the moisture redistribute and will keep it from gushing out everywhere when you cut it instead of remaining in the meat. Turkeys that are brined and rested properly will be moist and juicy even as a leftover.

I hope these tips and tricks will help you to not only have a more delicious dinner but one you can enjoy from beginning to end!

 

 

CIA here I come!

Culinary Institute of America

The post from yesterday was almost a month in the making while I fixed issues with the site and dealt with life issues. I received the best news ever while I was on vacation in Japan.

I was accepted into the Culinary Institute of America! I thought it was a long shot but I was accepted so quick it left me in shock. I can’t start classes until May 2016 because I have to get my work schedule adjusted and that doesn’t happen until sometime after the next semester begins. That is fine it gives me lots of time to get everything ready for this new chapter in my life.

I have taken on a new struggle over the last few months. I am trying my hardest to lose weight but it feels like it goes against everything I live for. I love food. I love making food. I love eating food. Unfortunately I just can’t stop once I start and I cannot withstand temptation. I hate not being able to eat anything I want any time I want. I understand that realistically I can just in very small  portions and there is my fault. I am also Irish/German so I love beer and whisky. Fortunately I can stop at just one of those but when I am trying to lose weight it seems like just one is all it takes to stop me in my tracks. I am adapting and figuring out how to get the weight loss done without having forsake everything I love.

It is so hard to be calorie conscious when your thoughts are always on how you can make a food taste better. As a chef your goal is to provide the ultimate culinary experience you can so balancing flavor versus calories can be a real struggle. Adding spicy, sour and or salty flavors to a dish can up the flavor without added calories. I will be posting much more calorie mindful recipes in the future while I continue my personal struggle. So far I have lost 25 pounds and the loss is starting to be noticeable with my clothes fitting better so I am happy with my progress so far. My only fear is that when my oldest daughter leaves for Germany in a few weeks that I again revert to my not give a damn ways. Have any of you felt this same struggle? If so how do you overpower your inner food diva?

 

Balancing your life and your love

CockAsian Food TruckMy last 3 years have been a whirlwind that I could have never predicted. Trying to balance my strong urge to be an entrepreneur and passion for all things culinary and my family and their needs. I am a work horse when I am doing something I love there is almost nothing that can stop me once I start a project.

I have been self employed since shortly after college. That makes over 20 years of working for myself. This year working for somebody else with a set schedule has been a tough adjustment. I am used to being very fluid with my time and being in full creative mode all the time. My current job is enjoyable but I miss the joy of creativity. I have decided that my next endeavor will be to find a way to work my culinary interests back into my life.

My first step was encouraging my husband to start brewing his beers again. I am a back seat home brewer. I help me pick the recipes and hone the flavor qualities he wants to have in those beers. One of my greatest gifts is my ability to almost taste the flavors in my mind so he can tell me what flavors he wants to come out of his beers and I can tell him what hops, herbs, spices, and or fruits he needs to add during brewing to produce them. I must admit beyond procuring ingredients and later drinking I don’t involved in the brewing process. I love that smell of boiling wort it is such a comforting smell almost like baking bread.

We have a refrigerator dedicated to our serving beers from our pony keg (5 gallon kegs) system. It hold 3 kegs which means we can potentially have 15 gallons of beer on tap. My husband and I enjoy very different beers so I will choose a beer, he will choose a beer and then we choose one we can both enjoy. It normally takes him most of a day to brew a single 6 gallon batch of beer so he does that on Sundays while I am working. Two Sundays ago he brewed our version of Southern Tier Pumpking which used graham crackers, vanilla, lots of pumpkin, spice and will come in at about at 8% ABV. Last week he brewed his version of 3Floyds Zombie Dust. This week he is brewing one of my all-time favorite brews our imperial version of New Belgium’s Trippel. All 3 of them are outstanding brews and I would be happy to share those recipes with you if your interested.

I have decided my next goal is to go to culinary school. Here in San Antonio we have the Culinary Institute of America and I have been dreaming about attending it for a while but now I am ready to do it for real. I learned from the food truck that I need to learn to take baby steps and this is a perfect place to start my  next adventure. My current job will cover my tuition so I just need to enroll and start looking at classes! I am Super excited!

In the mean time I plan to sell my food truck and get my blog rolling again and start living the dream again!

Lion House Rolls

Lion-House

Lion House Rolls

These tender buttery Lion House rolls are like the combination of a croissant and the standard parker house dinner roll.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup nonfat instant dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 5-5 1/2 cups flour (you can use all-purpose or Biscuit flour)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus softened butter for brushing on top after the rolls are baked

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and the milk powder and stir to dissolve the milk. Add in the yeast and a tablespoon or so of the sugar and allow the yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Add in the remaining sugar, salt, butter, egg and 2 cups of the flour.
  2. Mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are wet, then mix on medium for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 2 more cups of flour, mix on low until combined, then on medium for 2 minutes. The dough will be getting stiffer at this point. Continue adding flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.
  4. Sprinkle a work surface lightly with flour. Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough into an 11x14-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half horizontally right down the center. Slice the dough into rectangles about 2x4" big. If you hold your hand out so that your hand forms an "L" shape, it can help to be your guide for sizing.
  5. Roll or flip the rectangles, buttered side in, and place on a greased baking pan with the end resting on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
  6. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375F. Uncover the rolls and bake until they are browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Brush with softened or melted butter while they are still hot.
http://www.culinarycafe.com/2014/11/21/lion-house-rolls/

Decadent Mashed Potato Recipe

Mashed Potato

Decadent Mashed Potato Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds yukon gold potatoes – washed and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • Enough water to cover the potatoes in a large stock pot
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Mortons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 roasted garlic cloves, roughly a heaping tablespoon

Instructions

  1. Put the chopped potatoes in a large stock pot. Add enough water or chicken broth to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the liquid from the potatoes. Return the cooked potatoes to the pan. Add in butter, cream cheese, yogurt, salt, pepper, and garlic. Using a potato masher, mash, mash,mash the potatoes until most of the clumps are removed. Add in milk, up to 1/2 cup, and continue mashing until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy. Add more milk if desired. If you want ultra smooth potatoes, beat them with a hand or stand mixer until the desired consistency has been reached. Do not over beat the potatoes or they will take on a undesirable texture.
http://www.culinarycafe.com/2014/11/21/decadent-mashed-potato-recipe/

Indian Recipe Collection Basics

I absolutely adore Indian food. My children actually ask for Punjab Choley, Palak Paneer, and several different curries at least once a week. I don’t even remember when I started making Indian food at home it just evolved out of my families love for curry. I know some of you are thinking to yourselves, “but Indian food it too spicy”. That is the great part of making it yourself you can adjust the spiciness to your liking. In my family we kick it up and make everything too hot for the general public. I have to be careful to hold back the heat when cooking for guests because I have caused a few too many eyes to water. Overall Indian food is simple, healthy and fun change up to your boring meal time traditions. The Indian recipe collection below are some of my favorites.

 

Samosa

Samosa

Samosa from Jeyashri’s Kitchen
Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi from Crave Cook Click
Bhatura

Bhatura

Bhatura from Sailu’s Kitchen
Paratha Bread

Paratha Bread

Paratha Bread from Food and Flavors By Shipli
Chole Paneer

Chole Paneer

Chole Paneer from Sinfully Spicy
Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha (Flatbread)

Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha

Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha (Flatbread) from Sinfully Spicy
Tiki Masala

Tiki Masala

Chicken Tiki Masala from Serious Eats
Mutton with Potatoes

Mutton with Potatoes

Aloo Gosht – Mutton with Potatoes from Sinfully Spicy
Fish Curry

Fish Curry

Fish Curry from Sinfully Spicy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Posole Verde my Second Favorite Soup

As I have stated in an earlier post, my favorite soup is Tortilla Soup. Chicken Posole Verde is now my second favorite after my husband discovered it while working in Mexico. Usually Posole soups are made with pork and pigs feet but I find that chicken is cheaper and easier to work with. This version of Chicken Posole Verde has you make your own broth which honestly is the heart and soul of this soup so it is worthwhile for you to make. You can make the broth in a pressure cooker to dramatically shorten the cooking time without losing any flavor.

Chicken Posole Verde my Second Favorite Soup

Yield: 10-12 servings

Chicken Posole Verde my Second Favorite Soup

Chicken Posole Verde is not a very labor intensive soup but it tastes like you labored over it all day.

Ingredients

    For the Broth
  • 1 - 3 lb whole Chicken
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, quartered
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • 1 rib Celery, cut into quarters
  • 2 tsp Black Peppercorns, whole
  • 8 Cloves, whole or 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 8 Allspice, whole or 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro stems, with leaves removed for garnish later
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • For the Soup
  • 1/2 lb fresh tomatillos, husked and diced or a 10 ounce can of tomatillos
  • 1/2 medium Sweet Onion
  • 4 oz can Roasted Diced Chiles
  • 3 cups Kale leaves, stems and center rib removed and chopped
  • 2 - 15 oz cans Hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 Limes, juiced
  • To Serve
  • Cilantro leaves
  • 2 Avocados, diced
  • 4 Radishes, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. To make the broth, place the chicken, breast side down, in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, cilantro stems, bay leaves and salt. Cover with 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached turn the heat down to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.
  2. Once the broth has cooked 45 minutes turn off the heat and carefully remove the chicken. Place the chicken in a large bowl so that it can cool and drain of liquid. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the skin and bones. Chop the meat into bite size portions and discard the remaining bones and skin. You should have about 4 cups of meat.
  3. While the chicken is cooling, strain the broth, discarding the vegetables. Remove as much fat as possible with a gravy separator or gently with a serving ladle. Return the broth to the pot. Bring the broth to a boil and reduce by a 1/3 to end up with roughly 6 cups.
  4. Once your broth is reduced add your chicken, tomatillos, sweet onion, chiles, Hominy and seasonings. Reserve the kale and the lime juice until your soup has simmered again for 15-20 minutes. If you add your kale too early it will turn into mush and not be enjoyable and your lime juice will lose flavor if not saved until the last minute to add.
  5. When you are almost ready to serve add the kale, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Season to taste.
  6. Garnish with Cilantro, Avocado and Radish.

Notes

In my house we serve this soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of queso blanco.

http://www.culinarycafe.com/2014/10/24/chicken-posole-verde-second-favorite-soup/

Better than your Mama’s Tortilla Soup

Since moving to Texas my families tastes have changed quite a bit. Chicken Noodle soup used to be our go to food when anyone was feeling under the weather. I used to make the stock from scratch in the pressure cooker and we always served it with buttery mashed potatoes. This made for an extremely rich and filling soup and did you know that fatty foods raise your body temperature? In southern Texas a food that makes you sweat is not ideal even when you don’t feel well. Instead we switched to Tortilla Soup which I feel is a much healthier option with lots of vegetables and dose of chiles to help you sweat off that fever. I have tried many different tortilla soups and I think this simple recipe beats them all in flavor.

Tortilla Soup

Yield: 8-10 servings

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is an extremely simple soup that is also healthy and hearty.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Chicken, boneless & skinless cut in bite sized chunks
  • 2 - 32 oz Chicken stock
  • 2 - 14.5 oz can Tomatoes, Diced - I use Red Gold petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 4 oz can Diced green chiles, add another if you like yours spicy
  • 15 oz can Corn
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, smashed a bit
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Chayote squash, diced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice, ground
  • pinch Cayenne
  • Salt to Taste, roughly 2 tbsp
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • To Serve
  • 2 Avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • Sour Cream
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Colby Jack Cheese Shredded

Instructions

  1. In a large pot add everything but the lime juice and serving items.
  2. Put on Medium heat and cover.
  3. Cook for about an hour. You want the veggies soft but not mushy.
  4. Before serving add lime juice to taste and the chopped cilantro.
  5. Serve over hearty tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream and cheese.

Notes

If you find the chicken flavor is thin at the end, stir in a tablespoon of Chicken Better than Bouillon. I would suggest doing this before the lime and cilantro are added.

http://www.culinarycafe.com/2014/10/24/tortilla-soup/

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