Friday, September 28, 2007

Homemade Oreos

I stumbled across a recipe for homemade oreos this week and I had a dream about sinking my teeth into them a couple of nights ago, so I convinced my sister Makayla who's visiting this week to make them with me.

Homemade Oreos
Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 1½ cups sugar (I only used 1 cup because I liked the contrast of a less-sweet cookie with the sweet center filling)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
¼ cup (½ stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.
2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

*A side note - I was disappointed when I tried the first one because they were a lot more firm (like an oreo) than I thought they would be. So I turned down the temperature, made them smaller, and cooked them for less time - for a softer cookie.

They'd also be delicious with ice cream centers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pastelitos - Honduran Meat-filled Pastries

We've been celebrating Honduras at our house this week (lots of deep frying). I'm ready to go on a diet, but before I do, let me just tell you how yummy these things are...crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, with a delicious cabbage salad on top . . . something that you can indulge in once . . . in a great while!

Our friend, Karen, from Honduras came to help us make "pastelitos" for the multicultural celebration this week. We made about 50 or more of these little puppies and I've still been making them every day with the left-over dough.

This recipe is taken from a cookbook my sister-in-law, Ana, sent me. We had some help making it this weekend so we'll see if the recipe makes sense.

You'll need:

2 C dough prepared with corn flour (maseca)
1/2 tsp "achiote"
1 tsp salt
1 C corn oil
1 C meat filling

Season the dough with salt and add the "achiote." Divide it in 15 portions and make the tortillas 3 inches in diameter.

Place 1 Tbsp meat filling on the bottom half of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla in the form of half-moon. Seal the edges moistening with water, pressuring with the fingers to prevent the filling from coming out.

In a small pan, heat the oil and cook the pastries at medium heat until golden on both sides. Place them over paper towel and serve warm.

Meat filling includes:

1 C ground beef
2 Tbsp corn oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped ripe tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 C water with 1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp hot chili sauce
1 large potato cut into small pieces (we used rice and it was delicious!)

In a medium pan, heat oil and cook the garlic cloves and the onion for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the meat and cook stirring constantly so it does not cluster. Cook the potato in the salt water until tender then add it to the meat with any remaining water. Add the tomato and season with pepper, salt, thyme, Worcestershire and the hot chili sauce. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and cook at medium heat until the water consumes completely. Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Top pastries with a salad of finely chopped cabbage, pico de gallo or a warm and spicy tomato sauce, and dry cheese.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chocolate Raspberry Creme Cake

We invited some friends for dinner and they surprised us with the most delicious dessert. First of all Christina is a natural at inventing things in the kitchen. Here's what she did:

She baked a regular chocolate cake mix in a bundt cake pan. Then she mixed some raspberry jello mix and when she pulled the cake from the oven and removed it from the pan, she pierced it with a fork several times and poured the unset jello mixture over the top and put it in the refrigerator to soak in and set up.

Then, she served it with a freshly whipped spoonful of whipping cream and WOW, we were in heaven! Thanks Christina!

Lindy's Chicken Enchiladas

These are the best enchiladas I've ever tried and I must give credit to my old neighbor and dear friend, Lindy. She taught me how to make them and I am so grateful.


1 small onion, chopped

vegetable oil

garlic salt

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

2-3 small cans enchilada sauce (I use 1 (or 2) red and 1 green)

1 lb. grated cheese (Monterey Jack and/or cheddar)

12-18 corn tortillas


Turn oven to 350 degrees. Chop onion and cook in an oiled frying pan until translucent.

Mix enchilada sauce in a shallow bowl and stir. Set aside.

Add shredded chicken to onions and heat through (sprinkle with a little garlic salt and add 1/2 cup or so of enchilada sauce.) Transfer chicken mixture to a plate or bowl and wash frying pan (or leave it and use a second one). Heat pan on medium high and coat with oil. Fry corn tortillas one at a time, just a few seconds on each side - softening them. You may have to add more oil after every 3 tortillas. Once the tortillas are done, assemble the enchiladas as follows:

First, dip the softened tortillas in the sauce.

Then fill with a little chicken and shredded cheese.

Roll and place seam side down in greased baking pan.

Drizzle remaining sauce over enchiladas.

Sprinkle with plenty of cheese and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until heated through.

Serve with refried [black] beans, rice, and a side salad.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Garden Fresh Chicken Tacos

My dear friend Emily had Marcela and I over for lunch last week. She's been working in her garden all summer and our lunch was filled with the delicious fruits (and veggies) of her harvest. She sent us home with the most delicious bunch of tomatoes and Italian Cucumbers (which are GIGANTIC). We had chicken tacos with fresh veggies and fresh peaches with vanilla-bean ice cream on top. Unfortunately we ate that so fast, I didn't get a picture, but I'm sure you can envision it. Here's how she did the Tacos:

Place 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast in a crockpot with taco seasoning and a little bit of water. Cook and shred.

Heat both sides of corn tortillas on skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil.

Dice the following: (most delicious if the ingredients come fresh from someone's garden!)
Green Peppers
Spinach Leaves
(I might add fresh cilantro if I had some on hand)

Top with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream and ENJOY!

Thanks Emily! I'm still enjoying all the fruits and veggies you shared with us!

I love Harvest Season!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Super-Moist Banana Bread

I like my bananas a little green . . . unless I'm making banana bread, then the darker and mushier the better. Armando has always wished I made banana bread like they do in Honduras and I had never sampled anything like that (at least I didn't think I had) until our friend Christina dropped by the other day with a warm surprise - a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. When Armando tried it, he said, "THIS is what banana bread is!" So, thanks to Christina, we've adopted a new recipe in our family. I thought I'd share.

3 or 4 ripe or overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 Cup milk + 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice-let sit for 2 minutes)

Mix all ingredients above adding the milk last, then pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour at 350 deg. (I baked mine for 70+ minutes)

Christina notes that she likes to add coconut and fresh pineapple but you can also add nuts or chocolate chips to taste. I personally like cinnamon and walnuts in mine and I think I'll try that next time.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A No Fail Fish Marinade

I apologize to all of you who check this site regularly and have found nothing for . . . too long. Life has been busy, but I think I may have time to add to this a little more often and I've also been thinking that I'd like to invite any of you who have found great recipes and tried them out to snap a picture next time you make the dish and send it along with the recipe and I'll highlight it on my blog. That way this site can be a great resource for all of us looking for new ideas. Anyway, I came across this TO DIE FOR marinade recipe on Stormy's blog and we tried it. It's one I'll refer to again and again - we LOVED it! Thanks for sharing Stormy.

Lime-Marinated Broiled Tilapia (The original recipe was Salmon)


1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 (6-ounce) skinless Tilapia fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Cooking spray
4 lime wedges


Place first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Pour into a large zip-top plastic bag. Add salmon, and seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. (I marinated it over night and it was great!)

Preheat broiler.

Remove salmon from bag, discarding marinade. Place salmon on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 8 minutes. Turn, and broil an additional 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lime wedges.


4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 1 lime wedge)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 281(42% from fat); FAT 13.1g (sat 3.1g,mono 5.7g,poly 3.2g); PROTEIN 36.8g; CHOLESTEROL 87mg; CALCIUM 25mg; SODIUM 414mg; FIBER 0.1g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 7.9g

Cooking Light, MAY 2003

Mango Salsa

Just in case you're looking for a good compliment to any fish dish - try this mango salsa.

2 mangos, cut into small cubes

½ can pineapple chunks chopped *(I prefer fresh pineapple)

½ bunch of cilantro leaves chopped

½ red onion, chopped

juice of 1 lime

olive oil to taste

salt and freshly ground pepper

A little honey to drizzle on top.

Combine all ingredients and serve with fish or chicken and a side of rice.