Sunday, June 28, 2015

Barbacoa Tacos

We were on vacation last week, a short week at the North Shore. This meant a lot of meals out. I knew that I needed to make a meal plan of good, homemade food for the week.

I chose this first meal because it needed a few hours to braise and Sundays are good for that- it's usually a stay-at-home and relax day around here.



The beef roast was braised in a fragrant mixture of chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, garlic, lime juice, broth, onions and a few other things. It came together easily and then I let it simmer for 3 hours. The house smelled great!


The meat is done and ready to be shredded.


And back in the sauce for a quick warmup.


I thought of my Grandma Loreto as I warmed up tortillas for dinner. I told James that one of my favorite memories is eating her fresh (flour) tortillas with mantequilla (butter). Mmmmm. He didn't believe me that it is heavenly- he needs some convincing. Challenge accepted!

Anyway, there was quite a bit of heat in this meal. I would cut the chipotle peppers from 4 to 3, maybe 2. We also talked about using "taco stand" size tortillas and doubling them up. The liquid from the beef and added lime juice squeezes made for tacos that fell apart. With the smaller tortillas there would be less guilt about eating four tortillas for two tacos? Well, it's a thought.

We are definitely making this again! It would be a great meal for guests since you're really just assembling at the last minute. We served this with fresh corn on the cob.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Barbacoa Tacos.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas Cookies 2014

I love Christmas cookies. I like that I get to be in charge of them every year (for both sides of the family) and I like making something new each year.

I asked my family for their requests. I received these: almond crack candy, Mexican wedding cakes, peanut butter blossoms with dark chocolate kisses, and chocolate peppermint crackles. Yay! The chocolate chip peppermint crackles were new to me, and I added Cinnamon Sugar cut-outs to round it out.


These didn't make it to the Christmas platters but I made gingerbread cake balls for a work holiday potluck. They were a hit!


A picture of my handy chocolate melter. I never thought it would get so much use. Melting chocolate for strawberries, for candy melts, cake balls, and now making my own body butter/creams (a later recipe?)


Back to cookies.

The Chocolate Chip Peppermint Crackle cookies were better than I expected. They had crushed peppermint candies inside the dough, tasted brownie-like, and then were topped with a piece of peppermint candy to make them pretty. I was so glad these made it on the platter!

The peanut blossoms are a pretty standard cookie but my Jimmy said these tasted better than usual. It's that love ingredient, you know! And the dark chocolate kisses were a great choice. Good job, Richie!



The Mexican Wedding Cake cookies. Can you believe that I didn't even try these? They are made with pecans. I'm okay with pecans but the peanut butter blossoms and almondy candy called my name so much more.



I really, really enjoyed making royal icing this year. I had this plan of making gnome cookies for over a month. I wanted to try an easier technique using royal icing and it worked so well! I made one huge batch of royal icing and then separated it into a few bowls for different colors. I only made one consistency of royal icing- thin enough to spread but thick enough to stay put. I used this woman's blog for her technique.

Here's Frosty the Snowman, complete with a flower on his hat! These were fun but required a lot of patience. The colors needed to be piped one color at a time, so they didn't run together. I'd wait 15-20 minutes and then go back to the cookie with another color or to add a detail on top of a color. They were worth it. I think they were darn near perfect.


One gnome as Santa!


The gnomes were the most fun. I knew my sister would love them :) I was even able to add the tiny eyeballs once I became familiar with the consistency of the royal icing. Delicate work.


The cookies dried overnight but I still took care that they wouldn't smear. I kept recalling my Thanksgiving cookie fiasco so I made sure the covered pan had plenty of room above each cookie and then I carried the tray on my lap during the car ride. They made it!


Yay for cookies!


Click here for the stolen recipe for Gingerbread Cake.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Cut-out Cookies.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies (or Snowball Cookies).

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Chip Peppermint Crunch Crackle Cookies.

There is no shared recipe for the Almond Crack Candy. Sorry!


Soft Pretzel Nuggets with Spicy Cheese Dipping Sauce

App. App. Friends coming over for NYE. I was on the hunt for a challenge. I decided to try making pretzels since I had time on my hands and they looked surprisingly easy.

I think they turned out swell!


The yeasted dough needed to rise for about an hour.


Some quick sections, rolling, slicing and then they were ready for a quick baking soda/water bath.



They really didn't look too appetizing as they went into the oven...


But I was so glad to see them golden and pretty!


The pretzels right out of the oven were the best but I knew they'd still be delicious for later in the day. They were! They were chewy and flavorful. Our guests were happy too.

A cheese dip was included in BEB's blog entry so of course I made that. It was spicy, smoky, and delicious.



We just feasted on the leftovers during the Gophers football game. Yay for a good snack! (P.S. I didn't really watch football...)


Click here for the stolen recipe for Soft Pretzel Nuggets with Spicy Cheese Dipping Sauce.