two skinny jenkins


130307 – Oats ‘n Honey Apple Crisp (w/caramel sauce!)
130308, 1:06 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: , , , ,

apple cobbler2

OMG. I am never going to waste time making a crispy cobbler topping ever again.  This was the easiest cobbler I have ever made and it was the best.   The cobbler itself intentionally has (comparatively) very little sugar added, so the caramel topping goes really well with the tartness and texture of the cobbler.

[Serves 6-8]

Granola Bar Apple Cobbler

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/4 C sugar (i used about 1/8 C here)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 T unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 10-12 pieces
  • 2 C Oats ‘n Honey granola bars smashed up into pea size pieces (3 packages – just use a cooking utensil to smash them up in the bag)
  • 6-8 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 C honey

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (210 g) of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (85 g) butter
  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream

Method

  1. Make the sauce: Heat sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it turns a amber color (close to the final product above).  Once all the sugar is melted, vigorously stir in the butter to combine.  As soon as the butter is mixed in, remove the pan from heat and wait 3 seconds.  Gradually and vigorously stir in cream and keep stirring until it is all mixed in.  Transfer to a seal-able heat proof container and let the caramel cool at room temperature.
  2. Make the cobbler: Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, incorporate the butter into the mixture. Then add the granola bits.
  3. In the baking dish, toss apples and honey. Sprinkle on the topping and bake for 1 hour, or until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes, then serve with caramel sauce.
  4. Reheat the caramel in it’s container over a pot of boiling water.



130307 – Cilantro Pesto Pasta
130308, 1:05 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , , ,

pesto01

I LOVE all the cheap, fresh herbs available here!  You can get huge bunches of just about everything for a little over a dollar.  Amazing.  It’s going to be hard to go home to my pantry full of dried herbs and spices after this.

As per usual, I’ve combined a bunch of recipes into one here.  One of the nicest things about this recipe is that it doesn’t have any cheese (and you really don’t miss it).  All the white pieces in the photo are toasted bits of blanched almonds.

[Serves 4]

  • 2 C cilantro, packed
  • 1/4 C blanched almonds*
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 C evoo
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. To blanch the almonds, place them in a small saucepan.  Bring a cup of water to a boil and pout it over the almonds.  Let them sit for a minute, then drain and rinse with cold water.  Wipe the skin off the almonds.
  2. * Optional: chop the blanched almonds in the food processor, then toast over medium heat in a skillet.  This enhances the flavor and makes them prettier.
  3. Mix up the pesto: Blend the almonds and garlic in a food processor until they’re nicely chopped up/ pulverized.
  4. Add cilantro and pulse until chopped down.  Then process remaining ingredients and season to taste.  You may need to add extra olive oil or lime juice.


130306 – Easy Corn and Tomato Soup
130307, 11:34 am
Filed under: DINNER, LUNCH, SIDE | Tags: , , , , ,

corn-tomato-soupI have finally used up our roasted chicken from the other night.  I was shocked at how much meat was there was.  I shredded it and slow baked it to make a nice, crispy, lightly salted garnish for our soup.  This soup is a combination of several recipes I perused online.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely blend it more.  The only food processor i have here in Guate is this tiny thing that barely chops stuff up enough for pesto.  Otherwise, I think the flavors were really good, especially with the garnish.

[Serves 4-6]

Soup

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 6-7 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
  • 3 T evoo

Garnish

  • 3 T coarse chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 C roasted chicken

Method

  1. Husk the corn, chop off all the kernels and set them aside.  Place the cobs in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let the cobs steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.  Arrange tomatoes and garlic so they’re spaced evenly apart on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to wrinkle.
  3. Once the corn stock is finished, strain it into a medium sized pot (or large if you have another large one).  Add tomatoes, onion, halved jalapeno, garlic and the extra evoo from cooking.  Simmer for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Then add reserved corn kernels and cook another minute or two.
  4. While the veggies are simmering, turn the oven down to 350F and bake the shredded chicken on the same baking sheet that the veggies were on for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.
  5. Working in batches, transfer soup to a food processor and pulse to desired consistency.  At this point I wanted to cook off more of the liquid, but you can also make the soup ahead of time and just refrigerate till you’re ready to serve.
  6. Garnish each bowl with a quarter of the avocado, chopped, crunchy chicken and cilantro.


130305 – Curried Chicken Salad
130306, 11:05 am
Filed under: DINNER, LUNCH | Tags: , , ,
chicken salad
Making use of our leftover chicken from last night, and the remaining curry powder from making this dish a few nights ago (one of our staples that I finally know by heart).  I won’t change a thing about the recipe below when I make it again.
[Serves 4]

  • 1/2 C plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 T minced onion
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 2 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 C cooked, medium-dice roasted chicken
  • 1/2 C small-dice sweet apple, such as Fuji
  • 1/2 C toasted, unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • 3 T coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • flaky sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, and onion in a medium bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir until evenly combined.


130304 – Challa with Raisin and Date Compote
130305, 8:35 pm
Filed under: BREAD | Tags:

 

challah-08

This was so super delicious.  I was searching for a bread that I could make with the 3 cups of all purpose flour we had remaining.  Challah was my favorite sweet bread from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, and I quite enjoyed the process of braiding it.  Then I realized that we had yummy dates and raisins in some trail mix that would go well, and I found this post on Smitten Kitchen and it all came together.

I think I’ve previously failed to mention that our kitchen here in Guate has NO MEASURING TOOLS.  For most of the recipes I’ve made so far I really don’t care, but when it comes to bread, I like to be precise.  It was reassuring to see how well this loaf came out with no measure.  The crumb is nice and buttery tasting and just the right amount of sweet.

Challah

  • 2 t active dry yeast
  • 1/6 cup (85 grams) plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 t sea salt
  • 3 C all-purpose flour

Filling

  •  3/4 C mix of dried fruit such as dates and raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 t fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 C fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Few grinds black pepper

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Method

  1. Whisk the yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into 2/3 cup warm water (110 to 116 degrees), and let it stand for a few minutes, until foamy.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients with a whisk, then add the salt and flour.
  3. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Turn the mixture out onto a floured counter, and knead for about 10 minutes, until a smooth and elastic dough is formed. Let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the dried fruit, zest, 1/3 cup water, juice, salt, and a few grinds of black peper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and tender, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and let cool to lukewarm. PRocess fig mixture in a food processor until it resembles a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Set aside to cool.
  6. After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured counter and divide it in half. Roll the first half of the dough into a wide and totally imperfect rectangle (really, the shape doesn’t matter). Spread half the fig filling evenly over the dough, stopping short of the edge. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as wide as feels comfortable (I take mine to my max counter width, a pathetic three feet), and divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and fig filling.
  7. Arrange two ropes in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a tight tic-tac-toe board. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet. So, now you’ve got an eight-legged woven-headed octopus. Take the four legs that come from underneath the center and move the leg to their right — i.e., jumping it. Take the legs that were on the right and, again, jump each over the leg before, this time to the left. If you have extra length in your ropes, you can repeat these left-right jumps until you run out of rope. Tuck the corners or odd bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.
  8. Transfer the dough to a parchment-cover heavy baking sheet, or, if you’ll be using a bread stone, a baker’s peel. Beat egg until smooth, and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour, but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375°F.
  9. Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in middle of oven for 35 to 40 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed, like the one above.

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130304 – Herb Roasted Chicken
130305, 7:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

chicken dinnerFirst, this photo does not do this dinner justice.  My first whole roasted chicken was almost perfect.  I had done my research (here, here and here) and go all my ingredients at my favorite grocery store in Guate, Super Verduras.  The chicken itself was kind of fun.  I was lucky that it was a Monday, so they had just gotten in fresh chickens and had not frozen them all yet.  Unlike what you might find at Whole Foods or any other grocery store in the states, this chickie still had all it’s parts with it.  The head and neck, legs, and all the other stuff was neatly tucked in the cavity.  Anyway, my ingredients were perfect and I had the proper cooking times worked out.  There was just one little hiccup – a simple, rookie mistake – when i plopped the bird down in the preheated pan, i put her in upside-down.  So after watching Mark Bittman’s video (twice!) on the technique of getting the dark and light meat cooked properly by placing the bird breasts-up, I did the opposite.

In the end, it was delicious, but the skin on the breast meat wasn’t nearly what it could have been.  Even though I cooked it for 55 minutes, attempting to dry the breasts out a bit (we like our meat drier), it was quite juicy.  Maybe you like it like that.

The Chicken

  • 3-4 lb fresh chicken
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (cut in half)
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme
  • 1 T minced fresh rosemary
  • evoo
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lime or lemon

The Veggies

These potatoes were super crunchy and delicious.  The onions, however were hit or miss. Some of them were burned, and some were perfectly cooked.  Next time, I would use a smaller pan (i

  • 2 large russet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1 or 1.5″ cubes
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 6-8 wedges
  • 3 T evoo

Method:

  1. trim the excess fat off the chicken, rinse with hot water, rub all over with salt and pepper and refrigerate.  (This method came from Jamie Oliver – I was just doing everything that reputable cooks said would make it taste better!)
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to cook it so that it returns to room temperature.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the potatoes and lime for 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500F with a large cast iron skillet in the oven.  (I just used a large metal pan, but cast iron is best).
  5. Drain, allow potatoes to steam off excess water, and scratch them up with a fork so that they’ll be crunchier when roasted.
  6. Carefully slice the lime almost in half, so that the juice will run out a little, and stick it inside the chicken with the sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
  7. Coat the chicken with evoo, and sprinkle with minced herbs, and some more salt and fresh ground pepper.
  8. Once the oven is preheated, remove the skillet and carefully pour in the 3 T of evoo.  Toss the veggies in the hot oil, place the bird DARK MEAT SIDE DOWN in the middle of the pan and pop it back in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until juices run clear.


130226 – Baba Ganoush
130227, 11:17 am
Filed under: APPETIZER, DINNER | Tags: , ,

Baba_Ganoush2

Again!  So, whenever I make crostini, I have this problem where I can never make just one thing to go on them.  At least two toppings, with three being optimal.  If I wasn’t simultaneously making brownies, I would have liked to make some tapenade or tomato and avocado topping as well.  The avocados here are so cheap.  At our hotel in Antigua last weekend, the various courtyards had huge avocado trees in them that were heavy with ripe avocados.  It was tempting to climb up and pluck a few, but I resisted.

Anyway, I made up this Baba ganoush from memory and using the ingredients I had on hand in our little Guatemala City kitchen.

  • 1 medium eggplant, stabbed several times with a fork and halved
  • 2 T evoo, plus more for brushing the eggplant
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (should have been lemon, but whatever)
  • 3 T tahini
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t ground pepper
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Brush the flesh of the eggplant halves generously with evoo and bake, skin side up for 30 minutes.  (or until fully cooked / the skin starts to deform).
  2. After the eggplant has cooled (about 15 minutes), scrape out the eggplant flesh with a spoon and discard the skin and stems.
  3. Roughly chop the eggplant so that there are no big chunks.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, adjusting juice and seasonings to taste.



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