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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Because I Said So ROUNDUP {food 'n flix}

I had a great time hosting Food 'n Flix this month with my choice of foodie flick - the fun, fluffy, quirky chick-flick, Because I Said So!  Now, as expected, some people didn't enjoy this movie quite as much as I do.   I cherish time to sit down with a screen dripping with eye candy (love you, Gabriel Macht) and tasty food and a sappy love story.  Add in Diane Keaton acting the fool and a crazy band of sisters and I'm good to go for an hour and a half or so.  Fortunately I wasn't the only one who likes a little fluff now and then.  But whether or not they enjoyed this flick, everybody who participated in Food 'n Flix this month headed into the kitchen like a trooper and came out with some fantastically-inspired food for this round!  Let's take a look at what everybody created...

Elizabeth from The Law Student's Cookbook was inspired to make these Funfetti Cake Batter Milkshakes by not only Milly and Daphne's catering business (they make fun, funky cakes), but also by one of my favorite lines in the movie.  I love that when I breathe you in, you smell like cake batter.  Sigh.

And I was thinking along the same lines...the cakes...favorite line in the flick...and also the crazy mother-daughter dynamic throughout when I made these Cake Batter Martinis.  Come on.  Sprinkles are just fun.

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla may not have enjoyed this movie...and she may not have Milly's uncanny ability to "just know" when her souffle is done...but armed with a bit of inspiration and a timer, she makes a mean Crab & Tarragon Souffle.

Drawing inspiration from over-bearing mom Daphne, Deb from Kahakai Kitchen recognizes and appreciates that while her mom still worries over things like her health, finances, and choice of a vegan diet...she doesn't have to deal with "crazy" like Milly does.  She updated a regular menu item from her childhood and proved that daughter's can know best with her Cheezy Tomato Pasta Bake (A Vegan Hamburger Casserole).

Watching the film for her first (and second) time, Glennis of Can't Believe We Ate was (of course) inspired to make a multi-tiered Polka Dot Cake!  And then she came to her senses and decided to make something equally decadent, yet ultimately quicker, less time-consuming, and perhaps even more perfect for a girl's night in with this flick, The Pioneer Woman's Baked Fudge.

Also not convinced of the magic of this flick thanks to the "Daphne-factor", Debra from Eliot's Eats drew inspiration from another one of my favorite scenes - the popsicle or ice cream truck scene - and continued her pepper kick with these tempting Watermelon-Pepper-Margarita Pops.  I don't need any convincing - hand one over!

Tina from Squirrel Head Manor wasn't able to locate a copy of this flick locally, so she scoured the internet and watched bits and pieces of it as she found them.  She pieced it all together and went the route of pasta...inspired by Daphne and Milly's pasta meals-for-one and by Milly's Tuna Pasta Toss...with a tasty meal of Pasta Salad w/ Ranch.

And back to that perfectly dreamy scene where Milly and Johnny meet for the first time over static-cling and the ice cream man, Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney made these Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes that are perfectly inspiring in their own rite.  No green wrapper with Japanese writing on it required!

And last but definitely not least, Heather from Malice in Dunderland brings us her Mango Cheesecake (Biscocho de Queso y Mango) in honor of Milly's love for them and all things familiar and comforting.  I'm sure that after one bite, she would be hooked!

See?  I told you this was an inspired round!  I really enjoyed hearing everybody's thoughts on the film and why it inspired them to make what they made.  Thanks for joining me this month, ladies!  It's always a pleasure.

Now, when I was talking to Deb last week, she pointed out that this was the 21st round of Food 'n Flix.  Twenty-one foodie films watched and cooked or baked from already.  I can't believe it! Where does the time go?  And might I just mention that Deb has been there and posted right alongside me for ALL 21 FLIX - amazing!

But don't worry - there's are still PLENTY of foodie flix out there just waiting to be watched.  To inspire.  And there will always be new ones coming out.  Speaking of other foodie flix - next month's host, Glennis from Can't Believe We Ate has chosen The Help as our flick for August.  Head on over tomorrow to check out the details - we'd love it if you'd join us!  Hosting spots are full through the end of 2012, but if you'd like to host sometime in 2013, just drop me a line and I'll add your name to the hosting schedule!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo (Enchiladas in Chile-Garlic Sauce)

Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo
What does Sunday Supper mean to you?  That was question we were to ponder when writing our posts for this week.  For me, it means many things.  Coming together as a family.  Sitting down at the table without the distraction of the television, the computer, or the friends banging at the door asking "are you done yet!?".  It means laughter and communication, sharing and catching up.  And while, yes, it's mainly about the people who occupy the chairs and the table around you, it's also about the food itself.  Maybe it's an extensive holiday feast...perhaps an everyday family could be paper plates surrounding a communal pizza...and sometimes it's a dish that conjures up memories of distant childhoods for some while simultaneously making childhood memories for others.

To me, it's also about the process.  From a simple "this is what I want for dinner tonight" to someone taking the time to plan out a thoughtful menu.  Often times in our house, we'll draw on a memory of a dish the hubs or I loved as a kid.  I love it when the mere mention of a ingredient...or the name of a dish sparks a story out of him.  If you know me, you'll know that that doesn't take much.  He's full of animated stories that I love to take notes on (be it mentally or literally) and then turn them into a dish that takes him straight back to Mexico.
Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo
Often times, one of the kids or the hubs (or even I) will see a dish in a cookbook or on the front of a magazine that they need.  NEED!  And soon.  And that is exactly what happened when somebody emptied the mailbox and threw the stack on the kitchen table.  With my favorite magazine (Saveur) sitting proudly on top of the pile.  The Mexico Issue.  With some enchiladas on top that drew "THAT is what I want for dinner.  Tonight." from both husband and oldest son.  And so, a few hours later...that is what we had.  A new recipe that I adapted slightly using my own methods and a few altered ingredients.  We served and ate them the way we traditionally do.  Because enchiladas are one of those things we'll eat any meal of the day if the feeling strikes.

So basically, to me, it's a family effort.  From start to finish.  Planning to enjoying.  Simple to complex.  Traditional recipes and methods to new recipes and ideas.  To me, #SundaySupper means embracing old family traditions while creating new ones.

This was basically a "new to us" enchilada sauce.  That I fell in love with.  And hard.  The subtle sweetness of the piloncillo against the gentle heat of the chiles and that flavor of garlic that I love so much reminds of one of my favorite dishes in the whole wide world.  Mole.  And not just any mole (because there are many varieties), my favorite mole.  And much like that mole, I swoon over every bite.  And I didn't want to stop eating even when I was full.  But I did.  So as not to diminish my pleasure.  This will be a regular in our house from now on.  New tradition.

Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo (Enchiladas in Chile-Garlic Sauce)
Enchiladas de Chile y Ajo
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: breakfast entree chiles chicken garlic tortillas Mexican

Ingredients (serves 6-8 / ~36 enchiladas)
    Chile & Garlic Enchilada Sauce:
    • 2 oz. dried California (or Guajillo) chiles
    • 8 fat cloves garlic, unpeeled
    • 6 plum tomatoes
    • 1 jalapeno, stemmed
    • 1 medium onion, sliced into ½" thick rings
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 c. chicken stock or broth
    • 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
    • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
    • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1 slice white bread, toasted & torn into pieces
    • ⅛-¼ c. grated Piloncillo (or light brown sugar)
    • 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
    • salt
    to finish enchiladas:
    • 36 corn tortillas
    • oil, for quick-frying tortillas
    • 3 c. cooked, shredded chicken
    • ~1 lb. queso fresco, crumbled
    garnish (choose your favorites):
    • Romaine lettuce leaves
    • freshly squeezed lime juice (to sprinkle over Romaine)
    • radishes, quartered
    • thinly sliced onion
    • chopped cilantro
    • crema
    Make the enchilada sauce:
    Set a comal or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and press down, turning once or twice until chiles start to change color slightly (usually get lighter) and smell all earthy and delicious, 30 seconds or so. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with boiling water (2-3 cups or until submerged). Place a plate on top to keep them under the water. Let sit to plump and rehydrate for 20-30 minutes.

    While you're waiting, add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, and onion to the skillet and cook, turning as needed, until tender and charred in spots, 8-15 minutes total, removing veggies to a bowl as they are done. When you remove the garlic cloves, set them to the side to cool a bit. When you're able to handle them, slip the garlic from its skin and add it to the bowl of reserved veggies.

    Once your chiles are rehydrated, lift them out of the water, leaving behind the stems and the seeds (just use your fingers to pull them off). Add chiles to the blender with 1½ cups of the chile soaking liquid. Puree until smooth.

    Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the chile puree and cook, stirring regularly, until it has thickened to a paste, ~10-12 minutes.

    Return the chile paste to the blender and add the charred veggies along with the chicken stock, oregano, marjoram, black pepper, and toasted bread. You may need to do this in two batches if your blender isn't large enough to hold them all. Just divide everything will all end up back together in the end, so the amount per batch isn't crucial. Puree until as smooth as you can get it, 2 minutes or so.

    Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and set a strainer over it. Push the puree through, using a rubber scraper or wooden spoon to help you extract as much liquid as you can. You should be left with a small amount of skins and seeds in the strainer. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and allow to simmer for ~6 minutes. Stir in the piloncillo (or brown sugar), starting with the lower amount. Stir in the lime juice. Taste. Add salt and more piloncillo, if it needs it. Keep sauce warm.

    Assemble the enchiladas:
    Clear yourself a workspace - a countertop, an extra large cutting board, or a table. Prepare your garnish (whatever you'd like to use) first. In our house, we like to squeeze lime juice over whole, washed leaves of Romaine lettuce. If you're using radishes, dice them or cut them in slices or quarters. Reserve some of the queso fresco to sprinkle over the top. Have chicken warmed and shredded in a bowl in front of you. Set out a large tray or individual plates. Once you're all set, start assembling the enchiladas.

    Pour oil to about ¼-inch deep into a large skillet set over over medium-high. Once oil is hot, dip the tortillas, one at a time in the oil, and fry until they are pliable; this takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute per tortilla. Grasping with a tong, allow as much oil to drip back into the pan as possible. (You may need to replenish oil as you go along.) Dunk the tortilla into the enchilada sauce that you're keeping warm, making sure to coat the whole thing. Transfer the tortilla to your work surface. Divide the shredded chicken and queso fresco amongst the tortillas. Roll them up quickly and transfer to serving platter (or plate). Repeat until all of the enchiladas are made. Add your choice of garnish to the platter (or plates) and the top of the enchiladas.
    Serve immediatley and enjoy immensely!

    -3 cups cooked chicken comes from ~24 oz. raw chicken. I like to make sur that my chicken is extremely flavorful - this makes better enchiladas. You can used any part of the chicken you like and cooked in any manner. My go-to method is to place chicken breasts in a pot. Add onion, garlic, any herbs I have then, black peppercorns, and a bit of salt. Cover by an inch with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle bubble (poaching). Let "poach" for 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness of breast), then cover and turn off heat. I'll then allow it to finish cooking through and cooling down a bit in the pan (not removing cover so the heat stays in). When ready to use, I'll remove breasts and shred by hand or with forks. This method is great, because it also gives you a couple cups of flavorful chicken broth.

    -Giving the tortillas a quick dip in the hot oil seems time consuming, but it makes for better tasting enchiladas that hold up well to the sauce. Plus, they're perfectly pliable. Once you get the hang of the quick-fry, quick-dip,'ll develop a method, which makes it go pretty fast. I'm usually sliding one tortilla into the oil as I'm taking one out and so-on. You could also line a sheet tray with a few layers of paper towels and shingle the tortillas there after they come out of the oil. Just cover them with a kitchen towel until they're all done being fried. Once you've fried them all, you can then dip consecutively into enchilada sauce. Find your rhythm, and it can be an enjoyable task.

    these enchiladas were inspired by and adapted from a recipe in Saveur No.149
    Enchiladas in Chile-Garlic Sauce
    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Paletas de Fruta: Blueberry & Raspberry (Fruity Ice Pops)

    Sometimes I just have to pick a day...and a few sit down and make my way through some of the shows I have hangin' out in the DVR.  Depending on my mood, I'll watch a big block of all one show or I'll watch one of each of the different shows.

    I record Nigella, Jamie, Chuck (Hughes), Extra Virgin, and Mexico One Plate at a Time.  Where cooking shows are concerned.  Those are my "regulars", at least.  Occasionally I'll record something else I want to try out, but I have series recordings set for all of those.
    A couple of weeks ago I sat down to watch a "block of Rick" and Mexico One Plate at a Time.  I don't watch them in any particular order, just click play on the first one that appears.  And it just so happens that the first one I clicked on was put together just for me.  I'm sure of it.  You know why?  Because it was all about two of my favorite things: Carnitas and Paletas.  Custom made for Heather.  Thanks Rick!

    So of course I had to make Carnitas and Paletas for dinner and after-dinner that night.  Happy Days.  Oh wait, that's a Jamie reference not a Rick reference... 

    Paletas de Fruta - Fruity Ice Pops

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
    Keywords: snack dessert vegan fruit popsicles summer

    Ingredients (12-15 popsicles)
    • ¾ c. granulated or superfine sugar
    • 2 long sprigs fresh mint
    • 2 c. club soda
    • ¼-½ c. freshly squeezed lime juice (to taste)
    • ~2 c. berries or chopped fruit (any kind you like)
    Combine mint and sugar in a small food processor and pulse to combine. Scrape the mint-sugar into a large measuring cup (~4 cup capacity). Stir in club soda and lime juice until sugar dissolves.

    Fill popsicle molds about ½-⅔ of the way full with your berries and/or chopped fruit. Carefully pour in the club soda mixture, leaving at least ½-inch empty because this mixture REALLY expands in the freezer.

    Freeze for about 45 minutes or so before sliding in the popsicle sticks (otherwise they'll go all wonky). Add sticks and continue to freeze until solid.

    Use as much or as little fruit/berries as you like...experiment a bit to find the balance that you like best.
    The first time I made these, I threw caution to the wind and filled the molds all the way up with the club soda mixture. The expanded close to an inch above my molds, pushing up the lid that holds my sticks in place. Messy.

    When you first pour in the liquid, you might not see much color, but as the bubble work their way through the fruit, the color of the fruit is released. If using whole berries, you may want to bash them a bit before adding them to help draw out the juices.

    This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Mexico One Plate at a Time season 6 episode 5. Rick was in the backyard making carnitas in a turkey-fryer and Lanie was inside making paletas. I jotted down proportions as she talked. And of course didn't bother looking online for the actual recipe until just now. You can find it here.
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    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Easy Little Bread

    This bread is exactly as it souns.  Easy.  And little.  And I might lean towards adding the word 'odd' to the title, as well.  Odd as in - oddly enough, I can't stop eating it.

    It's not pretty.  But it's oddly tasty.  Odd because even when cooked through, it tastes slightly "doughy" to me.  And I know isn't going to sound very appetizing, but it almost smells like Play-Doh to me.  And I like it.

    And just FYI, I was NOT one of those kids who ate Play-Doh.  But I always loved to open up the container and smell it.  Or the smell in the room as I pressed little strands of noodles or squiggles or that slide that looked like an I-beam of my Play-Doh Fun Factory.
    Oh wait.  Now that I think about it, Play-Doh was my initial thought...but I think it's actually more like that homemade salt-type dough.  You know the kind?  You can make ornaments or molded animals or other little models that dry up and eventually crumble all over the place?

    And for the record, I actually DID want to lick that dough.  Not eat it, really.  But I couldn't resist the salt-lick factor.

    Anyhoo...easy little bread.  Sort of salty.  Sort of doughy.  Oddly good.  Odd Little Easy Bread?

    Easy Little Bread

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 10 minutes + time to rise
    Cook Time: 35 minutes
    Keywords: bake bread vegetarian oats

    Ingredients (1 easy little loaf)
    • 1¼ cups (300 ml) lukewarm water
    • 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
    • 1 Tbs. honey
    • 1 c. (4.5 oz / 125 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. (5 oz / 140 g) white whole wheat flour
    • 1 c. (3.5 oz / 100 g) rolled oats
    • 1½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
    • 1 Tbs. butter, at room temperature for pan
    Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Stir in honey. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast blooms.

    In a large bowl, combine both flours, oats, and salt. Pour wet mixture in and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. Dough will be sticky (and seem more like a quick bread batter).

    Rub the inside of a loaf tin (bottom and sides) with the softened butter. Scrape the dough into the prepared tin. Cover with plastic and set in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, or until slightly risen (it won't rise much).
    Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C) during last 20 minutes of rise time.

    Remove plastic and slide loaf onto center rack of preheated oven. Bake for ~35 minutes or until loaf has pulled away from sides of tin and is pale golden in color. Immediately turn loaf out of tin and cool on a wire rack.

    Enjoy warm or toasted with butter and/or some preserves. I like a bold preserve or jam against this bread - like a very tart cherry.

    Adapted from 101 Cookbooks & Gran's Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker
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    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur + some cocktails {product review}

    product: Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur

    producer: Heaven Hill Distilleries, Bardstown, KY

    introduced: Spring 2012

    details: The first-ever agave nectar liqueur, Mariposa features a blend of the finest agave nectar with 100% agave tequila and premium vodka, combined with the essences of rose oil and gardenia; Mariposa adds delicate layers of complex flavor and aroma to cocktail recipes, standing up to the full array of base spirits.

    ingredients: agave nectar, 100% agave tequila, premium vodka

    ABV: 30% (60 proof)

    bottle size: 750 ml

    appearance:  translucent golden hue

    nose:  rose, gardenia, with subtle hints of roasted pineapple and grapefruit zest

    taste: orange blossom honey, pomme fruit, soft minerality and subtle flutter of juniper berry

    palate: viscous yet soft, with a tip-of-the-tongue dry finish

    for more info: facebook

    my review: Though not something I would drink alone due to it's sweetness, I think this is an extremely versatile mixer.  But afterall, that's what it was intended to be... "a complex flavor and spirit base"  that will add "sophistication and uniqueness to any cocktail".   The fruity, floral notes marry perfectly with summertime cocktails - and especially tequila or mezcal based drinks.

    While you could pair this with any sweetener of your choice, I think that using agave nectar really reinforces the delicate nose of the liqueur.  The two cocktails below were adapted from the people at Mariposa.  This liqueur is a welcome addition to my bar that I hope becomes available to a more wide-spread market very soon.  I don't want to drive an hour and a half to Chicago to hunt some down when I run out!
     Mariposa Mojito
    yield: 1 large cocktail

    2 oz. Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
    2 oz. rum
    1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
    1 oz. agave nectar (or to taste)
    few sprigs of fresh mint
    soda water

    Combine all ingredients except soda water in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.  Pour into a tall glass filled with ice.  Top off with soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint and some lime wedges.

    Mariposa Mule
    yield: 1 cocktail

    .75 oz Tequila
    1.5 oz Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
    .75 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
    .5 oz. agave nectar
    ginger ale

    Combine all ingredients except ginger ale in a cocktail shake and shake until cold.  Pour into a glass with ice and top off with ginger ale.  Garnish with a twist of lime.
    *disclaimer: I received a free bottle of Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur to try and review.  I received no compensation for this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.
    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    Cake Batter Martini ...inspired by Because I Said So {food 'n flix}

    You might not know this about me, but I'm a movie buff.  It's true.  I watch a lot of movies.  Sure, a lot of people boast about how they have no time to watch movies.  They'd rather enjoy the sunshine.  They don't watch movies and tv because they rot your mind.  Well, okay.  If that's what they believe, I'm not gonna knock it.  But I don't feel that way.  I make time to watch movies.  I also enjoy the sunshine, but a couple of hours in a cool theater during a super-hot day is a welcome reprieve for me.  Besides, the majority of movies I watch happen during the hours when the sunshine isn't even in the sky.  And I don't think it rots my brain.  I think it gives it a reprieve from the madness.

    So there.

    And I'm not just a one-trick pony.  Er...ahhh...maybe that's not the right way to put it (brain rot?).  But you know what I mean, right?  I don't stick to one genre.  I like movies as a whole.  The type I watch depends on my mood.  Give me a good shoot-em-up action flick.  Or a scared-shitless horror film that makes me not want to turn off the tube for another hour, just so I can get my mind on something else (...although I could do without the "scary" movies that are all gore and boobies).  Sci-Fi?  YES!  I am a Sci-Fi geek.  Foreign films suit my fancy just fine.  I love me some Kung-Fu.  And comedy from hold-my-sides hilarious to deliciously cheesy is also  my bag.  Even family-style, feel-good films and animated films are fair game.  Mysteries, Thrillers, Musicals, Westerns, Romance, Crime,Fantasty...heck, I even enjoy a good Documentary.
    And don't even get me started on the benefits of taking the time to watch a good Chick-Flick.  They soothe my soul.  They make me laugh.  They bring tears to my eyes.  They make remember the frivolty (and the intensity) of young love and the joys of being married to a wonderful man.  Plus, you can pretty much guarantee that EYE CANDY will be involved.   Always a plus.

    Even better?  When there is FOOD involved.  I mean, food in any genre brings a movie up a notches in my book (was there ever any doubt?), but a foodie chick-flick can lighten my spirits like none other.  Some make me want to hit pause to run into the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea.  More often I want to grab a bottle of wine.  So whether I'm taking a couple hours of "me time" or breaking out the cocktails with the girls, foodie chick-flicks are essential to my being.

    That may be why, as this month's host, I choose Because I Said So as this month's Food 'n Flix pick.  Okay, it is why.  Because I Said So didn't win any Oscars.  Nor is it critically acclaimed.  But it's jam-packed with foodie chick-flick goodness.  Zany characters that resemble real life - and yet don't resemble real life at all.  What?  That doesn't make sense?   Beautiful cakes with fresh tangerines in the frosting to chocolate souffles to herbal wedding charms to Creamsicles to Lady Baltimore Cake to Tuna Pasta Toss.  Wine.  Delicious eye candy.  Relationships from mother-daughter to sisters to guy-girl.  Music that makes me sing along.  And of course a happy ending.

    Yes, it is good for my soul to watch a good chick-flick once in a while.
    I bobbled back and forth on what this flick inspired me to make.  I fought myself on the popsicle since I promised I wouldn't do another popsicle for this one.  But that scene where Milly and Johnny first meet and her wants to get her "her favorite" thing from the ice cream man almost forced me to make a homemade Creamsicle.  And then there was the thought that I should definitely make a chocolate souffle in honor of Millie's uncanny ability to "just know" when her chocolate souffles are ready.  I tossed around an idea of a simple meal for one paired with a good bottle of wine inspired by both Milly and Daphne's kitchen forays.   But cake seemed to be the deciding factor.  

    However, being so incredibly STEAMY around here this month, I nixed the cake-in-the-oven idea and when for liquid sustenance.  Still fun.  Still cake (sort of).  I think it would make a perfect round of cocktails for one of the "mom and daughters" scenes with Daphne, Milly, Maggie, and Mae.  But mostly, it was inspired by what was probably my favorite (cheesy, yet dreamy) line from the movie.

    Johnny says to Milly:  I love that when I breathe you in you smell like cake batter. And I love that you have this insane way of talking in circles that makes perfect sense.  

    Yup, it's like that.  Cake Batter Martini anyone?

    Cake Batter Martini

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
    Cook Time: n/a
    Keywords: beverage alcohol birthday

    Ingredients (1 large martini or 3 tiny ones)
      for rimming the glass:
      • Heavy Cream
      • Sprinkles
      for cocktail:
      • 3 oz. Cake Vodka
      • 3 oz. Creme de Cacao (white)
      • 2 oz. Amaretto
      • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
      • 1 oz. White Chocolate Liqueur (optional)
      • ice
      Start by rimming your martini glass: Pour a little heavy cream in a saucer. Pour some sprinkles in another saucer. Up-end your glass and dip the rim in the heavy cream. Now dip it in the sprinkles. Turn it right-side-up and shake up your cocktail.

      Add some ice to a cocktail shaker. Add all of the ingredients for the martini. Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds or until cold.

      Pour into your waiting glass and enjoy!

      I listed the White Chocolate Liqueur as optional because it's pretty expensive. If you don't already have some hanging around - or can't see yourself buying any, the cocktail will still be tasty. But if you've got it, use it!

      Although I think Cake Vodka is the best choice for getting that "cake batter" flavor, if you can't find any, you could substitute Vanilla Vodka or Whipped (Cream) Vodka.

      Multiply this recipe and mix up a big batch for a "Girl's Night" party. Keep refrigerated and pour chilled into rimmed glasses.

      To achieve the "rainbow effect" (streaks), simply make sure that when you add the cocktail to the glass, it touches the sprinkles on the rim. The longer it sits, the more the sprinkles will "melt" and streak down the inside of the glass.

      adapted from The Novice Chef, How Sweet it Is, & Grin and Bake It
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      If you want to join in the Food 'n Flix fun this month, there's still time.  Give youself a couple of hours of "me" time and sit down with Because I Said So.  Get inspired!  Then head into the kitchen and whip something up.  I am hosting this month (details HERE) and will be accepting submissions through the end of the day on Monday, January 30!

      I am also sharing this post with:
      FOTMC: Summer Beverages
      FOTM at La Cocina de Leslie Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green tasty-tuesday-larger-logo1 hearthnsoul150

      Monday, July 23, 2012

      Paletas de Crema y Cereza con Tequila (Sour Cream, Cherry, & Tequila Ice Pops) {she made, ella hace}

      When Leslie and I were tossing around ideas for she made, ella hace a couple of months back, I knew without a doubt that we HAD to go with paletas for one of our summer posts.  I mean - paletas and summer skip down the street hand-in-hand.  While whistling a happy tune.  They just go together.

      Plus...ummmm...she knows that I'm in the midst of a flurry of paleta, popsicle, and ice pop making and testing.  In the form of "my" Summer of the Popsicle.  Yeah.  I declared it.  I'm not sure that anybody paid me any mind, but I declared it anyway.  This summer, it's all about the frozen treats on a stick, baby.  So Leslie indulged me.  We're talking paletas for she made, ella hace this month. Woot!

      So, despite the fact that I have roughly half a dozen popsicle posts just hanging out in draft form, I continue to try more.  And take more photos.  And save more posts to draft.  It's a vicious cycle, and I know I'll regret not taking the time to get each one posted immediately once the end of summer bares its chilly claws.  But hey.  I'm used to myself.  I'll play catch-up.  And I'll like it.
      Okay, I'm getting off track.  Today I wanted to share some paletas that are not simply awesome just because they are paletas - they are doubley awesome because they contain my favorite fruit of all time.  Cherries.   I grew up in Michigan where cherry trees abound.  I grew up pit-spittin'.  When I see an errant cherry tree dripping with fruit on the side of a country road - I pull over.  I've been know to play human ladder in order to reach those orbs hanging just beyond reach.

      And can I just say - juicy cherries plumped in tequila.  Mmm hmm.  Can I also say - sweetened, tangy sour cream flecked with vanilla beans?  Oh yeah.  Let's put it all together now - Juicy cherries plumped in tequila and enveloped in sweet, yet tangy sourcream that is flecked with vanilla beans.  Squeeeeeeee!
      And since you're already in a popsicle kind of mood, you should head on over and check out Leslie's Paletas de Jamaica y Limón.  Because in this crazy heat, the only thing better than having a popsicle in your hand is having a popsicle in each of your hands!

      Sour Cream, Cherry, & Tequila Ice Pops (Paletas de Crema y Cereza con Tequila)

      by Heather Schmitt-González
      Prep Time: 8 hours or more (mostly unattended)
      Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
      Keywords: snack dessert vegetarian cherries sour cream vanilla beans alcohol popsicles American Mexican summer

      Ingredients (8-10 (3 oz.) Popsicles)
      • 8 oz. sweet cherries, pitted & stemmed
      • ⅓ c. confectioners' sugar
      • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
      • 2 Tbs. tequila
      • 1½ c. whole milk
      • ½ c. superfine sugar
      • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
      • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
      • 1½ c. sour cream
      Place cherries and confectioners' sugar in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mixture comes to a boil and sugar dissolves (it'll clump at first, but will melt with heat and stirring). Lower heat to a gentle bubble and stir in the lemon juice. Continue to simmer, stirring often until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency (this will just take a few minutes). Remove from heat and stir in tequila. Refrigerate until cold.

      Strain the cherry mixture (saving the syrup for another use like flavoring drinks, cocktails, or raspados).
      Combine milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the pan along with the pod. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream until smooth. Cool slightly and then refrigerate mixture until completely chilled.

      Discard vanilla bean pod and then pour about an inch of the sour cream mixture into the bottom of your popsicle molds. Freeze until it begins to set, ~30 minutes.

      Divide the cherries among the molds and then top off with the remaining sour cream mixture.

      Freeze until solid, adding popsicle sticks at the right time for your particular mold.

      This mixture will make 8-10 (3 oz.) popsicles. If your molds are smaller, I recommend increasing the amount of cherries, confectioners' sugar, and lemon juice by at least one half or even double, so that you have enough cherries to divide amongst all of your molds.

      adapted from Paletas
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      *something to try with your strained cherry syrup: Place a couple of ice cubes into a tumbler.  Add a big shot of rum and a drizzle of the cherry syrup.  Top off with lemon-lime soda. Yum.
      What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

      Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

      Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
      She Made, Ella Hace Banner- and

      I am sharing this post with:
      The Summer of the Popsicle 2012 at made with love mondays