Archives for category: Recipe

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Mexican Chocolate Cake

2 tablespoons butter, for two 9” round pans
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the cake pans and line bottoms with parchment, butter again and dust with cocoa.

Sift the following ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts and vinegar. With the mixer on low slowly pour into dry ingredients until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter into the pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 45 minutes.

Let the cakes cool completely before removing from the pans and frosting.

Mexican Chocolate Frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy

Beat the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with a paddle on medium speed until smooth. Sift together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt and add to the mixer. On slow speed add the extracts, brandy and chocolate slowly. Finally add the sour cream and mix until combined.

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My grandmother in the backyard of the house in Hayward in the 40’s and on her last trip to her birthplace Lihue, Kauai mid 90’s.

 

My great-grandparents were born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. They left the island in 1899 as part of only 5000 documented immigrants to work on the island of Kauai in the sugarcane fields after two devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico. They settled in Lihue, just a mile away from where the airport is today. My great-grandparents had 13 children there before bringing them to California and settling in the East Bay during the early 30’s.

They bought a house in Hayward and moved it across town to a small lot where my grandmother grew up as a teenager and would eventually pass away in. I would spend as much time as I could in the kitchen with her. When we sat and looked through old photo albums the images of celebrations from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s reminded me of what a special place this was.

My grandmother didn’t have a written recipe for this dish and things were never labeled on the pantry shelf – most of the time ingredient portions were measured with “just a little bit of that.”

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Arroz con Pollo

1/4 cup achiote oil
6 chicken thighs,
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Sofrito, recipe follows
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, cut in half
2 cups long-grain rice
3 1/4 chicken stock
1 can gandules

Achiote oil:
1 cup lard
2 tablespoons annatto seeds

Sofrito:
2 yellow onions, cut into large chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch cilantro, washed
1 red bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Soak the rice in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse until the water runs clear.

Heat the achiote oil in a wide, shallow pan (that has a lid). Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry on both sides until brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the sofrito, cooking until most of the moisture is gone.

Stir in the rice and coat with the sofrito and achiote oil. Stir in the olives, gandules and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Arrange the chicken pieces into the rice and let the dish come back up to a boil. Lower the heat and let some of the liquid evaporate before covering with the lid. Cook on medium-low heat for about 40 minutes.

Achiote oil:
Heat the lard and annatto seeds in a small pan over medium heat until the lard turns a deep orange color. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Sofrito:
Place the onion, garlic, cilantro, peppers and vinegar in a food processor and puree until smooth. Any extra can be frozen or refrigerated.

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Pistachio Shortbread with Orange Blossom Glaze

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pistachios

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer combine the butter, sugar and salt mixing until smooth. Add flour and mix until dough forms. Mix in chopped pistachios. Shape the shortbread dough into logs and wrap tightly in plastic. Place in freezer until firm.

Preheat oven to 350*

Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake about 12 minutes until cookies are just done. Slide the parchment paper onto wire racks and cool.

 

Orange Blossom Glaze

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Zest of one orange

Juice of 1 ½  oranges

½ teaspoon orange blossom water

1 teaspoon orange liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Dip half the cookie in the glaze and place on wire racks and let set.

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Seared Shrimp and Garbanzo Bead Salad

Dozen shrimp, cleaned and shelled

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1 small clove garlic, minced

Pinch chili flakes

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on high and add the shrimp searing on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes and zest and lemon juice. Remove the shrimp from pan and save remaining juices for the vinaigrette.

15 ounce can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup Olive oil

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

1/4 red onion, sliced thin

Radishes, sliced thin

1 stalk celery, sliced thin + celery leaves

1 small cucumber, sliced

Handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Watercress

In a bowl combine the red wine vinegar and onions with some salt to macerate for 10 minutes. Prep your vegetables and place in a large bowl. Transfer onions to bowl and make the vinaigrette, whisking the olive oil into the vinegar. Add the juices from the shrimp pan. Mix the vinaigrette, shrimp and salad vegetables together and taste for salt. Serve over watercress.

Serves 4

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I’ve been inspired by San Francisco’s Real Foodie’s Compost campaign to share more about composting. If you live in SF you can order a free compost pail from Recology  HERE! I’m all about meeting the SF Zero Waste goal by 2020. I get pissed when I open the green bin in my apartment building and see that other tenants have dumped the wrong things in it!

 This is what I had left over from this recipe to add to my pail.

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I used to make a variation of these bars when I lived in New York – we called them Gramamore’s. I’ve updated them a bit and they are just as delicious as ever.

Rosemary Cashew Caramel Bars

Shortbread
1 stick butter plus 3 tablespoons, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
Zest from one lemon
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Rosemary caramel & cashew topping
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups salted roasted cashews
Flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350*. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

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In a food processor combine the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest, rosemary and flour until crumbly. Press the mixture evenly into a the pan. Bake until golden brown about 25 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Place sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Start stirring when you see the sugar begin to melt and it starts to turn light brown. Once it is a golden caramel color pour in the heavy cream, being careful of it splattering. Stir constantly until it is smooth about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Take mixture off heat and stir in cashews. Pour cashew mixture on top of the shortbread and bake for 15 minutes.

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Sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of finished bars.

Let cool for a few hours to completely set. Refrigerate for an hour and then cut into squares.

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During summer my mom would make Calabacitas Guisadas (Stewed Zucchini). It was one of my favorite vegetable dishes growing up. I still make it every season – but this time I decided I would try it as a gratin. Oaxaca cheese is great for melting and similar to Monterey Jack, it’s texture reminds me of string cheese and can be found in most Mexican markets.

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Zucchini and Tomato Gratin with Oaxaca Cheese

1 white onion, sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Serrano chili, finely chopped
8 medium tomatoes, sliced
10 green or yellow zucchini, sliced
8 ounces Oaxaca cheese, grated
Cilantro, chopped

Slice the onion thin and sauté in some olive oil on medium-low heat until lightly browned. Add the garlic, Serrano chili, salt and pepper and cook a few more minutes.

Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch gratin dish. Make rows of alternating zucchini and tomatoes and season each of them with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Press down on the vegetables and bake uncovered, for about 1 hour at 375*, until it starts to brown. During baking you can baste the gratin with the bubbling juices. Top the gratin with the grated cheese and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Place under the broiler on high heat until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown.

Serves 6

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Harissa Shrimp with Chermoula & Preserved Lemon

1 pound shrimp (about 20)
Skewers

For the harissa
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1/4 cup coriander seeds
4 small dried chile peppers
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Salt
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

In a heavy, dry skillet over medium heat, stir seeds until fragrant and a shade or two darker, 3 to 5 minutes.

Pound seeds in a mortar to a rough powder. Add chile peppers and pound until flaky. Stir in garlic and salt to taste. Gradually add olive oil until a runny paste is formed. Store in an airtight container; keep refrigerated until ready to use.

For the chermoula
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 jalapeño, seeded, deveined and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 lemons juiced
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 preserved lemon, rind only

Place all ingredients in the jar of a blender along with 1/3 cup water. Blend until smooth.

Marinate shrimp in the harissa for up to 5 hours in advance.

Heat grill pan to medium high. Brush grates with oil. Place 2 shrimp onto each skewer. Grill shrimp for about  three minutes on each side until opaque. Serve with the chermoula dipping sauce.

Image / Aubrie Pick for San Francisco Magazine