Sunday, December 29, 2013

ChezCindy: Meatless bean & rice "burgers"

These patties look like hamburgers, but they are made with beans, rice and vegetables.  They are delicious, but I struggle to call this a hamburger.  I am not one to place meatless patties into the category of hamburgers.  There is a history to hamburgers.  And the history is rooted in ground beef.  Even the lamb-burgers and salmon-burgers are a stretch on the name.  But, that doesn't mean there isn't a place for the meatless options.  I just don't want to call them "hamburgers".

The recipe I list below is pretty straight forward, allowing for the beans and rice to be the focal point of taste.  But try switching up the spices and the vegetables for different flavor profiles.  Add chili peppers, and cumin for a Mexican dinner, served with salsa and tortillas.  Or consider adding ginger, cilantro, radishes and fish sauce for a Vietnamese-style patty.  You can also change-up the type of beans.  I used a combination of red kidney beans and black beans, as the color of these beans lend towards the appearance of hamburger meat. 

Bean and Vegetable Patties

1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans (15 ounce can)
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons oil

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, garlic and salt.  Cook until the vegetables are soft, but not brown.  About 5 minutes. 

Rinse and drain the canned cooked beans.  Place the cooked beans in a food processor; pulse to create a coarse texture.  Add the cooked rice; pulse to combine.  The mixture should not be too finely combined.  Transfer the beans and rice to a medium size bowl.  Add the grated carrot, chopped parsley, and the cooked onion-celery mixture; sprinkle in the remaining salt and pepper.  Stir thoroughly to combine. 

Form into patties, 1/2-inch thick.  Wetting your hands will make this task easier and the bean mixture less likely to stick to your hands.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the patties in batches until brown, flipping once to brown each side.  Serve with your favorite condiments. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

ChezCindy: Delgado Huevos Rancheros

Delgado Huevos Rancheros is a family recipe shared with me from my brother-in-law and sister.  What makes it so special is the "chorizo" made with ground beef, vinegar and spices.  The vinegar is the key ingredient.  It will seem like too much, but don't alter this amount.  You can modify the spices to meet your taste preference; add a little more spicy heat if you like.  The Adobo seasoning with pepper is a spice blend made by Goya found at most grocery stores. 

The Chorizo recipe makes a large amount, but it freezes well.  I make a full recipe and freeze it in small containers.

Delgado Huevos Rancheros

Make the Chorizo:
1 lb ground beef
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons Adobo Seasoning with pepper

4 flour tortillas
4 eggs
5 tablespoons butter
shredded cheddar cheese

Combine the ground beef, vinegar, chili powder, cumin and Adobo seasoning in a large skillet.  Stir to break up the ground beef so there are no clumps of meat.  Simmer for 20 minutes, until the texture is very smooth.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a large separate skillet.  Heat the tortillas until lightly browned.  Set aside on a paper towel, keep warm.

Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a separate skillet.  Fry eggs, 1-2 at a time, cooking as desired.  Repeat with additional eggs.

Assemble the huevos rancheros:  Place 1 tortilla in center of serving plate.  Place 1 fried egg on top of the tortilla.  Spoon a generous amount of the ground beef chorizo on the tortilla/egg.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Serve with salsa.

The remaining chorizo can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and served at a later time over tortilla chips and melted cheese to make nachos.  Or, freeze the remaining chorizo for up to 2 months.

Friday, December 13, 2013

ChezCindy: Easy Apple Turnovers

Impress friends and family with these easy apple turnovers. 
The apple filling in these turnovers is lightly sweetened, but then heightened with a generous sprinkling of powder sugar.  Store-bought frozen puff pastry is used for convenience.  You can also use store-bought applesauce, but cooking down a few apples with a bit of sugar is quick and easy too.  If you use store-bought applesauce, be sure to buy a low sugar brand with a chunky texture. 
Easy Apple Turnovers
2 pounds Golden Delicious apples
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 package frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farms) thawed
1 egg
flour for dusting while rolling out the pastry dough
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Peel, core and cut the apples into roughly 1-inch pieces.  Place the apples in a medium sauce pan.  Add the water, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Lower the heat; cover, simmer until the apples are very tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat; gently mash until the apples are a soft chunky consistency. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Working with the now thawed puff pastry dough, dust your surface with flour for rolling out 1 sheet of the puff pastry dough.  Roll out until the sheet measures 12 x 12 inches.  Cut into nine 4-inch squares.  Place 1 tablespoon of apple filling into the center of each square.  In a small bowl, beat the egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water, to make an "egg wash".  Lightly brush the edges of each square.  Fold each square over the filling, on a diagonal, to form a triangle.  Press and pinch the pastry edges to seal tightly.  Place the pastry triangles onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush the tops of each triangle with the egg wash.  Using a sharp knife, cut 1-2 slits into the top of each triangle - this will allow steam to escape while baking.  Sprinkle the tops with sugar.  Refrigerate this tray while you repeat the assembly process with the second sheet of puff pastry. 
Bake the turnovers for 18-20 minutes, rotating the trays half way through the baking time for even baking.  Turnovers will be puffed and golden brown.  Remove from the oven.  Allow to slightly cool.  Dust generously with powdered sugar.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Store the remaining apple filling in the refrigerator for another use.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

ChezCindy: Quiche Quest

Classic Quiche Lorraine

A few years ago at dinner on New Years Eve, the restaurant served a magnificent quiche that set me  onto a quest to recreate that same dish.  The custard was silken, with a tender flaky crust, and sweet lobster nestled into the filling.  My quest lasted for weeks.  I started out by researching different processes and recipes.  Deciding whether to use a deep dish springform pan or a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  My first attempts were experiments with a classic quiche Lorraine (bacon & leeks).  Then I moved onto adding shrimp, before using the more expensive lobster meat.  I made a lot of quiches!  My neighbors didn't mind as they became my quiche-tasters.  It was fun and a bit exasperating.  At the time, I kept notes in my handwritten journal as I worked my way through the quest.  Below is a quote I wrote from February 13, 2009 regarding the first deep dish quiche, that was not going well.  The springform pan I used did not provide a tight seal and the custard was leaking out onto the tray.  (Thankfully I had placed the pan onto a foil lined tray or the quiche experiments might have stopped that night!)  In an attempt to save the quiche, I wrapped the bottom of the springform pan with heavy aluminum foil.  In the end, it worked! 

Notes on recipe testing from that trying night....
"It's called recipe testing not only for the recipe, but for my patience and ability.  The night was a trying evening.  But I am glad I didn't give up.  Having let the quiche cool overnight, still in the springform pan, by morning I found that all had been redeemed!  The quiche had fully set up and was delicious.  I press on to make the perfect quiche.  It will be a great progression."   

My homemade lobster quiche has never come out as good as what I had at the restaurant.  But my quiche Lorraine pleases many happy eaters.  Below is my recipe. 

Classic Bacon and Leek Quiche

For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
7 tablespoons ice cold water

Working in a food processor bowl, add the flour and salt; pulse for a few seconds.  Dice the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces; add to the flour.  Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.  Add the egg yolk; pulse briefly to combine.  Beginning with 4 tablespoons of the ice water, with the motor running, add to the flour butter mixture.  Add the other 3 tablespoons as necessary until the dough comes together and is moistened.  Turn the pastry dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 2 or 3 times, just until smooth.  Divide the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic; refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Roll out one disk into a 12-inch round, to fit into a 10-inch fluted pan with a removable bottom.  Fit the dough into the pan, trimming the edges.  "Blind" bake for 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven, set at 375 degrees.  Allow to cool. 
This dough makes 2 quiches or tarts.  One disk can be frozen for a future use. 

For the Custard Filling:
1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 medium leeks
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 ounces of Gruyere cheese, grated
2 large whole eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
fresh grated nutmeg, just a pinch
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate high heat, stirring until crisp and brown.  Remove the bacon from the skillet, drain off the excess fat, leaving 1 tablespoon in the pan.  Clean the leeks, removing all bits of dirt; slice the white and light green part into thin strips.  Add the sliced leeks to the skillet, season with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Cook until the leeks are softened, but not brown.  Add the fresh thyme; cook for an additional 1 minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
Working with a blender, add the eggs and egg yolk, heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper and fresh grated nutmeg.  Mix in the blender to combine. 

Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Place the pre-baked tart shell onto a foil-lined baking tray.  Spread the now cooled bacon and leeks evenly onto the crust.  Add the grated cheese to the tart shell.  Carefully pour the custard over the bacon, leeks and cheese.  Transfer the baking tray to the oven; bake for about 30 minutes until puffed and lightly browned.  Remove the baking tray from the oven; transfer the quiche pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. 

Serve the quiche warm as an appetizer or with a small salad for a complete meal.