Sunday Morning Waffles

WafflesBreakfast is always a great time for my family, especially on the weekend. This is the time where we are never in too much of a rush and can enjoy the morning. In my kitchen, a warm breakfast is necessary on the weekends, and pretty much a given during the week days as well. Whether it is french toast, egg sandwiches with ham and cheese, omelets, or pancakes, something on this list is always being served.

I received a gift card to a local store several months ago, and my first instinct was to check out the kitchen area of the store. The card was only for thirty dollars, and in the kitchen area, that can be challenge. I was fortunate to browse without my kids, however they were definitely on my mind as I decided to purchase a waffle maker. My kids love waffles and with that said, it was my turn to take some of the money that I constantly spend on Eggo waffles, and make my own. The great thing is that you are able to freeze these if you make large batches and use them throughout the week!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of baking powder
  • 4 tbsp melted butter, unsalted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk

Feel free to double up on this dry mix to store some for the future.

WafflesWhen you are ready to make a batter, take about 4 tbsp of melted butter, along with 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk to these dry ingredients. This gets your waffle batter going. The cool thing about waffles is that they are pretty versatile and you can add a handful of ingredients to make them your own. For this particular batch, I used roughly 1/4 cup of raspberry jam.

Once you have your batter ready, heat your waffle iron, add the batter, and rotate every couple of minutes. You know when the waffles are done when they are golden brown. Keep in mind that your waffle iron will also come with automatic lights that will indicate when things are ready to go as well.

Top with your favorite fruit, syrup, powdered sugar, or heck, fried chicken! Enjoy.

Tacos al Pastor – Round One

Tacos al PastorWhy round one? Because there is going to be a round two. For the past nine years, ninety six percent of my menu selection at my local taquerías has been tacos al pastor. These tacos have been pretty much consistent among the few restaurants I frequent, and every time I am so satisfied that I am now in serious pursuit in how to make them. Please keep in mind that if you have never had the taco al pastor that you will really enjoy this recipe, and if you have had them before, you will like this one as well.

I have been experimenting over the last couple of years, making carnitas and spicing them up a bit, however my last visit to the taquería really sold me. Call me a food nerd, but I took a few extra minutes investigating the taco, picking out what I could in flavors, colors, and overall tastes. I am certain a couple of the locals were looking at me as I did make eye contact with them, however if they would only give me the recipe, I would not have to do this type of thing!

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • Pork Shoulder (3lb), cut in small cubes (keep the fat on as it will render later on)
  • 2 Oranges, quartered
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 Pasilla peppers, seeded, then boiled, then chopped
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 1/2 tbs of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs of oil
  • Cilantro
  • More onion
  • Corn tortillas (2 per taco), store bought or homemade
  • Cold beer

Begin by marinating your pork with the quartered onions and oranges. Let this mixture sit in a large ziplock bag overnight. When you are ready to begin cooking, slow cook the pork, oranges, and onions on low for roughly 8 hours. This process will render out some of the fat and begin to come together. Don’t get too excited yet, the fun is about to come.

Tacos al PastorIn a food processor, add the garlic, pasilla peppers, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Process until it forms somewhat of a paste. This paste is going to be used to cook the pork, once again, to form a crispness to the pork.

In a large pot, add the cooking oil and bring to a medium to high heat for a few minutes. add the pork, then the paste. Mix really well, and cook on medium heat for roughly 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and let cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to come together even further.

When you are ready, heat your tortillas, then place in your tortilla warmer if you have one, otherwise, get your tacos together. Take two of the tortillas, fold, scoop as much meat as you want within your taco, add diced onion, fresh cilantro, and any other topping you desire. I use tomato wedges, limes, and slices of avocado.

Trust me on this one, regardless if it is a round one, it is truly awesome. Enjoy.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon BleuFrom time to time I bring out a recipe that is not commonly thought of, and this past week was one of those times. The dish this past week was chicken cordon bleu; chicken stuffed with ham and swiss cheese, truly delicious. The recipe itself is really easy to make, a bit messy, but easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 slices of thinly sliced deli ham of your preference (virginia, honey, baked)
  • 12 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tbs thyme
  • 1 tbs of olive oil

Chicken Cordon BleuFirst start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Now get your chicken ready. Start by laying down some plastic wrap, then place your chicken breast, then another piece of plastic wrap. You do this to prevent chicken juices from flying around your kitchen. 🙂
With your meat mallet, using the flat side, pound out each breast until about 1/4 thick. Now be careful not to tear the chicken as it can easily be accomplished. The breast will probably double in size. Continue this process for each breast.

Remove each breast from the plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper. Lay two pieces of cheese on the breast, two pieces of ham on top of the cheese, then two more pieces of cheese. Roll up each breast into a roll, or log if you will, folding in whatever you can with the chicken to form somewhat of a seal.

Now you need three bowls, one for the beaten egg with water, one for the flour, and one for the panko bread crumbs seasoned with the thyme. Add some olive oil to the panko, and mix well.

Chicken Cordon BleuTake your flour and thoroughly dust each breast, then put in the egg mixture (this is where it gets messy), then carefully roll in the breadcrumbs and place in your baking dish. Repeat this process with each breast.

Bake in the oven for roughly 25-30 minutes. The outer coating should be golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool for a few minutes. Cut into large slices and serve with garlic mashed potatoes. Trust me, this one is worth it.

Siao Pao (Show Pow)

Siao Pao - Steamed BunIf you have never experienced the Siao Pao then you are missing out on a truly wonderful snack. I first experienced these steamed buns filled with meat while living in Dallas, Texas and eating Dim Sum. An order of these buns came to the table, and let me tell you, they rocked. Having been thinking about dim sum in general for some time now, I thought it would be best to give the chinese bun a run for its money.

For nearly the last eight years, I have been buying frozen siao pao from the asian market. You can buy these with chicken or pork inside, and both are really yummy. The thing about the siao pao is that it needs no sauce, and really delicious as a snack, and ultimately fills you up. What more needs to be said.

This past week gave me a good opportunity to get away from making breads and allowed me to move onto another yeast product, the siao pao. The process is not uncommon from making any kind of dough, it simply takes time to make, primarily due to the rise process.

Yields nearly 14 steamed buns.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Meat of your choice, I used a slow cooked barbecue pulled pork

Start by mixing together the yeast, the 3/4 tsp sugar, 3 tbs flour, and the 3 tbs of warm water. Let this stand for roughly 30-45 minutes. Then mix in the 1/4 cup and 2 tbs of warm water, the 1 cup and 2 tbs of flour, salt, 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar, and vegetable oil. Mix to form a dough, then take it out and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. In a large bowl, drizzle in some olive oil, and roll the dough ball in the oil. Cover and let stand until tripled in size, roughly 3 hours.

Siao Pao - Steamed BunPunch down the dough, and spread out on a large board, sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle the baking powder evenly on your surface, and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in the covered bowl. Divide each half into 6 parts and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough and roll out, much like a won ton wrapper. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture into the center and wrap the dough around the meat to form a ball. Place each ball on some wax paper, large enough to fit the ball and shaped into a square.

Let these stand covered until double, for nearly another 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil,then reduce to a medium-low heat (keeping in mind that the water should be at a low boil). Get your steamer ready and transfer the buns, as many as you can fit onto the steamer, including the wax paper, leaving a couple inches apart. Cover and let steam for roughly 20 minutes.

Remove the lid before you turn off heat and continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.

Let cool, and enjoy. Trust me, these are worth the wait.