Thursday, January 31, 2008

Order Some Take Out and Watch a Movie

With all the weird weather and weird planetary changes this past month we've decided it's a good day to order some take out from your favorite restaurant and watch a movie.

You get the take out and we'll provide a short funny to get your evening started.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Welcome

Cook Learn Eat Laugh



Maple Oat Bread

Learn to Make Bread

In a series coming soon, learn to make this bread and more.
If a 10 year old can make it, so can you!

Covering the just formed loaves with egg wash for a hard, shiny crust


Although just newly formed, the loaves are already rising


Scoring the bread tops with a blade so the loaf can properly bloom


Scored loaf, raised and ready for the oven


The finished loaf


Slicing the bread

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cheese Enchilada Video Recipe

Learn to Make These Cheese Enchiladas From Scratch



Follow the Easy Video Instruction
Get the Complete Printed Recipe Below


CHEESE ENCHILADAS

The Complete Recipe

The amounts may be adjusted for how many enchiladas you want to make. You can also freeze leftover enchiladas, so if you can make a whole pan of them, you’ll have dinner ready for another day. Freezing and re-heating instructions are included at the end.

This recipe uses a 9″x13″ pan and yields approximately 20-24 enchiladas, working to fit as many into the pan as possible. You will be using a conventional oven pre-heated to 350°F

INGREDIENTS

Half of one small onion, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 ½ cups* shredded, hard-style cheddar cheese or a mix of cheddar and jack cheeses (do not use any soft, processed cheeses)
*½-cup of the cheese is reserved for the top of the enchiladas before baking.

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon garlic salt

Black ground pepper to taste

Approximately 2 dozen corn tortillas

I like the ‘Food for Life’ organic sprouted corn tortillas or the '365' brand from Whole Foods Market. They’re very good, with a rich corn taste that won’t get completely lost in your enchiladas. However, any good brand such as Mission will work fine, too. If you’re inclined to make your own, all the better!

¼-½ cup olive oil
For cooking the corn tortillas

1 large (28-oz.) can enchilada sauce of your choice
This sauce is red. It can be any brand and can be mild, medium or hot depending on what you like. I like mild, and it still comes out a little spicy using the mild sauce.

Let’s Begin!

Prepping the Onions*

Gather all ingredients first. Start by mincing the onion. Heat the 2 T of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the minced onions to the heated oil.

Cook the onions until soft and glassy. This will only take a few minutes. Do not allow them to brown. Turn the heat down or temporarily remove from heat should any edges start to brown. Continue stirring until all of them are softened, glassy and heated through. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

*If you wish, you can skip the cooking of the onions and put them directly into the recipe raw. This gives a sharper onion taste with the cheese, which some prefer. The onions will still be cooked within the enchiladas during the oven phase.

Preparing the Cheese Mixture

While the onions cook and subsequently cool, combine the shredded cheese, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.

When the onions are no longer too hot to the touch, combine them with the shredded cheese, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.

Preparing the Corn Tortillas

Pour ¼ cup or so of olive oil into a large skillet or pancake pan. You don’t need an inch deep of oil, but don’t be afraid to use some oil.

Heat over medium heat until the pan and oil are hot.

Cook the tortillas very briefly to soften and heat them, but do not overcook to the point where they harden. This will be about a minute on each side. Adjust your heat if necessary.

Move the tortillas around the pan if the oil coverage is sporadic so that they pick up the oil and are nicely coated while cooking. Transfer to a covered dish so they remain warm, flexible and continue to steam. You can line the dish with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Add additional oil to the pan and wait for the oil to reheat before adding new tortillas as needed. Heating the tortillas briefly in oil gives them a better taste and also makes them pliable for rolling into enchiladas.

Making the Enchiladas

Pour half a can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your 9″x13″ pan.

Start with one tortilla and place a large spoonful of cheese mixture on the half of the tortilla that is closest to you.

Next, starting with the tortilla edge closest to you, roll the tortilla up somewhat tightly, away from you.

After rolling each enchilada, place it in the pan. Continue until pan is filled. Line the enchiladas up next to each other neatly. You can usually squeeze another one or two in once you reach the end of the pan.

Fill the pan with as many enchiladas as will fit, squeezing them in next to each other. Some may need to be turned perpendicular in order to fill the pan. Pour the remaining can and a half of enchilada sauce over the top, making sure to cover all exposed tortillas as fully as possible.

Sprinkle any remaining cheese mixture, along with the ½ cup reserved cheddar cheese, over the top.

Ready For the Oven

Preheat oven to 350°F and cover the enchiladas with foil. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Use caution when peeling back the foil, as steam will escape.

Serving

Use a spatula to remove sections of enchiladas for plating, usually 2-3 enchiladas per serving. Serve enchiladas with beans, rice or a salad.

In the event you have leftover enchiladas, these will freeze very well in freezer-safe, zipper-style plastic bags or in Tupperware-style containers.

Reheating Frozen Enchiladas

I recommend thawing frozen enchiladas first, as a large frozen batch of enchiladas will tend to over-cook and dry out on the outer edges and remain frozen in the middle. Place them in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours to defrost, depending on how large a batch you’re working with. Thawed enchiladas can be re-heated as a whole or as individual servings in the microwave, or you can re-heat the entire batch in a conventional oven.

Microwave: Remember, all microwaves are different so you’ll need to adjust the time accordingly. Once thawed, you can plate the enchiladas for individual servings and re-heat each plate for 2-3 minutes. You can also re-heat the entire batch at once.

For individual servings place enchiladas on a microwave safe serving plate, cover with a microwave safe covering and microwave for approximately 2 minutes. Test and continue to re-heat for an additional 30 seconds as needed until well heated.

To re-heat a previously frozen batch, place enchiladas in a microwave safe dish. Depending on how large a batch you’re re-heating you’ll want to start out with 4 minutes, then turn and test for cold spots. Continue to re-heat in 30-second intervals until heated thoroughly.

Conventional Oven: Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the entire batch of enchiladas in an oven-proof pan or dish and cover with foil wrap. (I don’t recommend re-heating individual servings in a conventional oven. The enchiladas will be more likely to dry out, and it will not be time or energy efficient.) Re-heat your batch for 20-30 minutes, depending on how many enchiladas you are re-heating. Check the inner enchiladas for cold spots and continue at 5-minute intervals until they reach the desired temperature.



Hungry? Check out this slide show

A video slide show of just some of the food you can learn to make.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies Video Recipe

A Video Recipe that you can make.

Russian Tea Cakes Revisited - or What The Cat Knew

It all started very early this morning, the mournful wails of the cat throughout the house. It could have been that he was still traumatized from the powdered sugar accident with the Russian Tea Cakes we had yesterday. Then again - it may have been a foreboding that only cats know. No one will really ever know for sure.

The protesting became stronger when I entered the kitchen and started to put the ingredients out for the day’s carnage. Excuse me, my holiday baking. I thought to myself, he needs to be fed. I fed him not once, but twice, to no avail; he continued to carry on. I opened the front kitchen window that had no screens due to it being winter and set him in the window sill to look out at the birds he’s so pathetically terrified of and went about my business.

I started to measure the cream when I looked over in time to see the cat teetering on the window sill edge with a horrified look on his face. Sure enough, 22 lbs, end over end — he fell out. Doubled over in laughter, I peered out to see his disgruntled face which clearly said, “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT”, which was not an uncommon site the last few days. I figured, well he’s outside and he’ll be happy with that, as long as one of the sparrows or hummingbirds doesn’t attack him.

I continued to measure the cream to be heated in a saucepan so I could make a very large batch of chocolate truffles. Things were going well. I had just whipped the chocolate into the cream and was ready to place the large bowl of fluffy molten chocolate in the fridge to cool.

My daughter informed me that the cat was still outside so I asked her to check if he was ready to come back in. He gets irritated if you leave him out three seconds longer than he cares to spend in the great outdoors.

On the way to the fridge with the bowl of chocolate in hand, my sister called. I answered the corded phone en route to the fridge. In the meantime, my daughter had let in the disgruntled cat. Apparently he had been left unattended entirely too long and someone was going to PAY.

Upon re-entry, the cat careened through the house, screaming at the top of his lungs. I began to hear this out of the ‘corner of my ear’ as I conversed with my sis while walking towards the fridge. Just as I opened the refrigerator door, the phone cord reached its tether and the cat came screaming into the kitchen. Everything started moving in slow motion. Worlds collided as the phone and bowl of chocolate sprang out of my hands and into the air.

While I was being whip lashed backwards by the over-stretched phone cord, the bowl of chocolate headed straight for the refrigerator shelves. Upon impact, half the contents of the bowl mimicked a tidal wave as chocolate surged all over the newly minted Russian Tea Cakes on the shelf below. The bowl ricocheted backwards, splashing the other half of the chocolate on me, the floor, and of course the cat who had now progressed to the precise apex of the fiasco. He was apparently determined to make the most of this disaster. If we were filming a movie, Francis Ford Coppola himself could’ve spent six days shooting and still not pull this shot off. At my house it’s a given that it’s going to be the worst case scenario every single time.

After the last blob of chocolate fell, I bathed the cat, scrubbed the kitchen down once again, showered, washed my clothes, called my sister back, and re-made the Russian Tea Cakes. With the cat in hiding and everyone else soundly asleep, I whipped up a new batch of chocolate truffles. I have no plans to make anything else this holiday season.