Friday, May 27, 2011

Queso Fundido

This recipe is not your typical mexican queso.  There's a bit of a spin on it, making it less greasy and heavy, which I hope you will find refreshing and delightful!! I would like to try and make this with all goat cheese for my dairy intolerant son, but I haven't found the right mix yet. If you have, let me know!  

Also, this recipe reflects the way I cook.... the measurements are simply a guide, I likely add less or more to my preference and you can do the same - be the artist, not the lab scientist!

The players:

1/2 container of sliced mushrooms
1 onion
1 jalepeno
6 sundried tomatoes in oil
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
1 bottle Mexican beer

8 oz Marscapone Cheese
1 cup shredded Asadero or other melting Mexican cheese
4 oz goat cheese
Tortilla Chips

Chop the mushrooms, onion, jalepeno and sundried tomatoes and garlic* into very small pieces. I like to use my food processor b/c it's fast and easy to get the small pieces I want.   

*I do like to use my garlic press for the garlic so that the pieces of garlic aren't too big!

Besides, it is one of my favorite kitchen tools!

Heat a little splash of olive oil in a 4 qt sauce pan on med/high and then add the chopped veggies and garlic. 

Saute veggies until soft and slightly browned.  While this is happening you can keep an eye on the veggies as you shred the cheese.

I know my veggies are ready when I have little brown bits on the bottom of my pan which is called "fond" (which means bottom in French). This allows me to deglaze the pan with beer, adding all that flavoring into my queso.

To deglaze your pan, open your cold beer....

...and pour in just about a 1/4 cup into your hot pan - enough to make the beer bubble and sizzle in the pan but not so much that it stops sizzling and bubbling. 

Immediately, scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon or spatula to remove all the flavor (the fond) stuck to the bottom of the pan.  

Add the remaining beer... more or less as to your preference.  

Be careful where you set your beer or you may not have more to add.....

Allow the beer to simmer and evaporate.

Once the liquid is reduced to.... very little or nothing (without letting the veggies scorch and dry out), turn heat to med/low and add cheese slowly and continue to mix as it warms and melts. 

Do not over cook! Once it is melted you are good to go!!

You can pour it into a fondue pot to keep it warm.

If you plan to take it with you somewhere, do all the steps beforehand except melt the cheese and do that once you get to your party!

Then, dip your chip and enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vegetable Curry

I think I made a curry last night but wasn’t really sure so I had to look it up!  Wikipedia to the rescue!

Curry (pronounced /ˈkʌri/) is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of spiced dishes, especially from Indian or other South Asian cuisines. Three spices found in most curry powders are turmeric, coriander, and cumin; a wide range of additional spices may be included depending on the geographic region and the foods being included (meats, fish, lentils, rice, etc.).[1] The word "curry" is analogous to "soup" or "stew" in that there is no particular ingredient that makes something "curry."

Well, that would explain my confusion – curry is a soup or stew or it’s a blend of spices including, most commonly, but not necessarily, turmeric, coriander, and/or cumin.   So, according to that indefinite definition, I did make a curry last night! 

This is a hearty vegetable stew that contains said spices, coconut milk, ginger and sweet potatoes.  It is as delicious as it is good for you!

I am all about my soups being rather thick, so if you would rather have a more liquid soup, skip the blender part of this recipe! However, I have to tell you that you would really be missing out!!  The blended soup somehow satisfies just a little more, making it just-the-right-amount-of hearty!

Vegetable Curry

¼ tsp ground cardamom
3 tsp tumeric
2 tsp red pepper flakes 
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp sea salt – or more to taste
2 TBS olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 TBS freshly grated, peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large sweet potato, ¼ inch slices and then cut in half
½ a medium head of cauliflower – bite size pieces
1 can garbanzo beans
½ can coconut milk, lite if you prefer
optional toppings
         plain greek yogurt
fresh cilantro, chopped
Combine cardamom thru salt in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the spice mix, combine the cardamom through salt into a ramekin and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Stir in onions and sauté until soft, just a couple minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic and spice mixture.  Cook another couple minutes until the spices are fragrant. 

Add about a 1/4 cup water to the dutch oven and scrape off the bits of flavor that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Then add 3 cups water, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. Stir to mix everything up.

Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Stir in the garbanzo beans and ½ the can of coconut milk and simmer 5-10 more minutes just to heat through.

Very carefully, ladle soup into a blender. I put in about ½ the soup for my favorite consistency.  The more you blend, the thicker the soup. Find the consistency that you like.  Do NOT fill the blender more than half way or once you puree it, the heat and all the soup will do it’s best to blow off the lid and fly in your face!!!  So, fill the blender ½ way and then pulse the puree button quickly while holding the lid on with your other hand.  By starting with the pulse, you should be able to figure out just how much you can give it without having burn marks on your face, while at the same time getting the soup to puree nicely. If you need to, pour the pureed blender-full into a large bowl and add more soup to the blender.  Once you have as much soup pureed as you would like, add all the pureed soup back into the dutch oven.  Keep warm until you are ready to eat. 

Ladle soup into bowls and allow people to top their soup with a dollop of yogurt (a very nice touch) and/or cilantro. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I do believe this is the best homemade granola recipe out there!  No, really, I do! It's sooo easy to make! It has only a tsp of sweetener per serving - ish I'm really just guessing but it's likely true)!! There are endless variations so you can change it up as you want! There is no one overpowering flavor that makes it difficult to throw into yogurt or over ice cream or into pancakes or whatever...

Come on... you gotta try it just once!!

It's soooo easy!!  AND did I mention... CHEAP compared to store bought granola! 


Preheat oven to 300 degrees

In a large bowl
4 cups rolled oats - I use old fashioned and not quick oats
1/2 cup flax seed
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds
1 tsp cinammon - little more  :)
1 tsp ginger 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp all spice 

Mix all these together

Then pour the next three ingredients over top

1/3 cup oil - I use sunflower
1/3 cup agave nectar  - I usually pour about a TBSP of Molasses into the measuring cup first and then fill the cup up with agave - I find it's adds a richness and depth that you wouldn't get with the agave alone.  If you want it to taste like molasses, by all means add more.  (Other ideas below)
1/3 cup water

Mix all this together and spread out on a large baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

When the granola is a nice golden brown, remove it from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet.  Once cool add...

1 cup dried fruit - in this mix I have dried cranberries and blueberries.  Throw in what ever you like! Or skip this step and add fresh fruit on top of your serving!  (It's even ok to add dark chocolate chips when you serve it over ice cream!)

Variations?!! Absolutely!!! Whatever you can think up...

Get crazy and bump up the spices with a 1/3 cup molasses (in place of the agave) and chopped up bits of candied ginger for a more gingerbread-type flavor, or try adding coconut and macadamia nuts to the original recipe.  How about pecans with maple syrup in place of the agave, or sesame seeds in place of the flax seed.  Try a mix of oats and a small flake cereal for a more muesli type granola.  

If you do get a bit crazy and discover some variation you love, share it with the rest of us so we can try it!!  I love to know what you all are up to and how you are making these recipes your own!!