Golden Poppies our State Wildflower

Sunday, April 27, 2014

TGGD Oaxaca Style Black Bean Soup RECIPE aka Sopa de Frijoles Negros

They have been called a Superfood, I just know black beans are fantastic and should feature in more recipes..a bowl of this soup contains
421 Calories
21g protein
49g Carbs
18g total fat

A point to note is that like red kidney beans, black beans should not be eaten raw/sprouted as they are poisonous in their raw state.

A complete, hearty  meal in a bowl!!

This recipe serves 6

2 1/2 cups (1 pound) black beans cooked as for TGGD until second boil.

Then continue with the Method (see below)

10 cups own made chicken/beef broth TGGD
1 pound ham hocks, washed well &  cracked (see image left)
1 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic smashed and minced
2 cups chopped onions
1tsp cracked pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 x 10 ozs can chopped tomatoes in their juice
1/2 cup dry red wine/apple juice/OR 3 tbsp lemon juice
1lemon thinly sliced
2 cups sour cream or live plain yogurt


In a 5qt saucepan bring the 10 cups stock to a boil with the beans, hocks, celery, onions,
 garlic and spices and cook on medium simmer, covered for 2 hours or until the beans easily mash. (Remove any scum that develops).
Remove the ham and set aside.
Add the wine and canned tomatoes to the soup, and in batches, blend to a smooth soup, pouring the blended soup into a clean saucepan.
Remove the skin and bones from the hocks and cut the ham meat into small pieces, add these to the soup and bring  to a gentle boil.
Serve in bowls garnished with thin slices of lemon and offer sour cream.

Add dried oregano to the boiling soup
Replace the allspice with ground cumin
replace the hocks with skinless chicken legs/thighs and cook in the soup for just 30 mins or until tender ..adding smoked paprika to taste
Ham Hocks come in many shapes and sizes..just make sure to wash well not only to clean but also to remove some of the salt

Friday, April 25, 2014

CREPES...recipes and ideas for easy meals; Curried Vegetable crepes; Spinach, greens, mushroom and or broccoli in sour cream sauce

These were very popular in Europe in the 70's and now are making a comeback..not just being served on seaside piers, but in the family home they make a great substitute for fresh pastas, stuffed with vegetables in sauces and then topped with a marinara sauce and cheese and baked like cannelloni.

Here are some useful batter recipes and lots of ideas for main course fillings, the important thing to remember is that all the ingredients are at room temp and you have a good heavy bottomed pan, traditionally French crepes are small..just 6-8inches across; today crepes can be 10-12 inches across.
Just use grape seed or peanut oil to cook them as these oils do not break down under high heat, and crepes have to be quickly cooked at high temps.
I also prefer to use vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower seed, or even grape seed) rather than butter as it produces a lighter crepe.

2  large eggs beaten
1 1/4 cups milk (I  use almond milk)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp oil (or same amount of melted, cooled butter)

This method is the same for all the recipes :

In a deep bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and salt.
beat in the flour, use a wooden spoon not a metal whisk..so that you work the gluten in the flour..this makes the crepe tender yet more adaptable.
Work until light and smooth (about 3 mins, beating)
Gently add the oil and work in.
If there are any lumps, strain them out.
Cover with a cloth and allow to stand out of fridge for 1 hour..to "bloom" allows the gluten to swell.
Check the consistency of the batter, it should just coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Oil the frying pans and allow to heat to smoking..drain off the oil and using a ladle, pour a small amount of batter into the middle of the pan and swirl around the edges
the first 2 or 3 crepes are the rejects as you are testing the pan.
Once the crepe begins to curl at the edges,and the top dried out , time to flip them over using a spatula..cook the reverse side for just 15 seconds.
Then slide out to wire racks covered with cotton towels.
As the cooked crepes pile up, cover them with clean towels..this allows the steam to escape  and remain soft and tender.

add 1/4 cup cooked minced spinach and 1/4 tsp nutmeg to basic recipe + another 1/4 cup all purpose flour.
Add the spinach and nutmeg when adding the oil

add 1/3 cup wheatgerm, raw or toasted + another 1/4 cup milk

 2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp oil

Here are some ideas for savory fillings for any of the above batters, add cooked chicken, beef or even fish to any of these ideas, recipes or just keep them vegetarian..your choice.
Perfect  for lunch or supper dishes.
The crepes can be frozen and keep for months, I roll mine in waxed paper and then foil..then defrost overnight  in the fridge and fill the next day.
Try these in  any recipe that calls for flour tortillas..these  are great with chili and cheese!

Curried vegetable  crepes (a good use for leftovers)
Saute  finely chopped vegetables (onions, garlic, celery, potatoes, carrots, peas &etc)  in hot oil or melted butter and add curry powder, turmeric, grated ginger root, ground cardamon salt & pepper.
Remove from heat and cool in a bowl.
Fill crepes with this filling and fold over (crescent shaped).
Fry in hot oil in skillet turning once.
serve with plain yogurt, chutney and chopped tomato, cilantro.

Spinach (any cooked greens) crepes with sour cream sauce
serves 4
8 -12 crepes depending on size

Sour cream sauce( recipe below)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups sour cream
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Make a roux with the butter and flour and cook for 3 mins..do not color.
Gradually beat in the milk (warmed)..stirring all the time to a thick sauce and then fold in the sour cream salt and pepper and stir until thick and smooth.
Remove from heat and set aside.
2 pounds cooked ( steamed) spinach (field spinach with 3/4 stalks), drained and minced (processed)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced parsley
6 scallions minced
salt & pepper
4 egg yolks

Heat the cooked pureed spinach in the hot butter and add the cheese,parsley and scallions, and cook for 3 mins 
Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Add egg yolks one at a time beating after each addition.


Fill each crepe and fold over/roll, and place seam side down in a well buttered ovenproof casserole.
POUR OVER THE SOUR CREAM SAUCE and bake for 20 mins or until heated through.
Remove from oven and wait 10 mis before serving to allow contents to settle.

Substitute  1 pound sliced mushrooms, and 1 cup cooked diced potato and cook in melted butter adding 1 cup  minced onions..Cook for 3-5 mins before adding the cheese and herbs.
Proceed as for spinach recipe.

Substitute  1pound cooked broccoli florets..sliced thin, for the spinach and proceed as for spinach 

add 2 tbsp brandy or whisky to any of the cream sauce recipes,before adding the cheese.


MENUDO ..Mexican Style Tripe Soup.A Classic Recipe

This fabulous soup is usually served on Saturday and Sunday mornings, in Spanish neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles.. as a "cure for hangovers".
I love this soup and it has to be accompanied with fresh limes, chopped cilantro, scallions.
And lots of fresh baked bread.

This makes 10-12 servings which can be frozen

2 1/2 pounds beef tripe, well washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 pounds beef shanks split (beef feet)
10 cups water
2tbsp dried oregano
2 cups chopped onion
15 cloves garlic smashed and minced
4tsp ground cumin
sea salt (2 tbsp)
In a very large saucepan (8-10 qts)  add the water and all above.

Bring to boil then cover and simmer 6-7 hours or until the tripe is tender.
Skim and discard the fat from surface of soup.
Carefully strain the soup into another pan.
Remove all the bones from the meat, and cut the meat into bite sized pieces.
return the tripe and beef pieces to the soup...(discard the bones and any meat fat)

Add the drained and washed hominy ( 3 x 29oz cans) and  Chile puree (recipe below).
Check seasonings and bring to boil...simmer cover for 45 mins-1hour.
This may be served as is or cooled down and chilled to be heated and served the day after (when more fat will rise and solidify for easier removal)

Chile puree (recipe follows) 

Discard the seeds and stems from 9 large, dried  New Mexican or Californian chiles  and place in a bowl and cover with 3 1/4 cups warm water..leave for 30 mins to soften.
Discard all but 1 1/4 cups of water , add 1 cup sliced onion and blend until smooth.
Strain before adding to the soup.

Garnishes for the soup: served in small bowls
lime/lemon wedges
1 cup minced scallion or onion
pickled jalapeno Chile's
crushed red pepper flakes
minced cilantro
Fresh seeded green jalepeno peppers
Good crusty bread/tortillas

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Empanadas...& Rendering Chicken Fat at home..Recipes & Tips

These are topped with cheese, you don't have to.
The pastry is special as it is made with home rendered chicken fat

Rendering Chicken Fat at home:

Basic method:

Boil any chickens for the stock, skimming off any scum.

Remove the  well cooked chicken and any vegetables, herbs etc.
Then reduce the stock by 2/3's

Cool down in pan then pour into glass jars and store overnight in the fridge.
The next day skim off the golden fat (the stock will have set due to  gelatin in bones, re-store this jellied stock for  use ins soups and sauces) and bring to boil in a pan of cold, clean water ( 2/3 water to 1/3 fat)..and cook on high simmer for 25 mins.
Allow to cool down and then pour into clean glass jars...

The next day you will have clean, golden chicken fat floating above, the water which will have absorbed all the chicken flavors.
Carefully skim off this fat and store in air tight jars in fridge..perfect for roasting, baking and pastry making, throw away the flavored water.

Wholewheat Flaky Pie Crust with chicken fat..this is for meaty-cheesy pies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1tsp sea salt
3/4 cup chicken fat
5-8 tbsp cold water (if not using wholewheat flour then add half the water)

In a food processor or by hand...mix the flours, salt and wheat germ.
Cut in the chicken fat /process on pulse
Add the water in small amounts until the pastry comes together.
Wrap in wax paper and store in fridge for 3 hours

Empanadas  makes 4 medium sized OR 8 mini

2 cups any cooked, filling (  potatoes, cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, ground turkey, ground chicken, ground beef, ground lamb, eggplants, & etc.)
1 recipe above pastry
1 large egg beaten (egg wash)
1 cup grated cheese (optional)

PREHEAT oven 400f middle oven

On a floured board, roll pastry out to 1/4 thick and using small bowls or saucers, cut circles of pastry approx. 3 inches across.

Place filling in center of circle, egg wash one side of edge of pastry and fold in half (crescent shaped)
Be very careful as this pastry is very tender...but works well being used many times.
If needed poke small holes for steam on top of the pastries.

Place on a greased cookie sheet or parchment covered.

Brush with egg wash and  sprinkle with cheese or dried herbs/seeds.
Bake one tray at a time for 25-35 mins or until golden brown and cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and cool on tray on wire rack.
Remove when cold ( great for picnics or lunch boxes) or warm.
Serve with chutney, salsas or salads.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Turkey and vegetable stuffed bell peppers.. HOW TO PHOTOS & recipe tips

Ripe orange bell peppers... halve, remove stalk and seeds,..cook for 3 mins in boiling salted water and drain well

The base for the filling, onions, garlic, carrots, onions, celery, rutabagas..process small then saute in a little olive oil adding water or stock until tender

Add the fresh ground turkey to the filling mix and allow the turkey to cook and soak up the flavors of the vegetables..adding canned chopped tomatoes (ratio: for 4 servings,1 pound ground turkey to 1 pound mixed vegetables to  1 CUP chopped tomatoes in juice)

Add herbs of choice..dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary & etc. and allow to marinade overnight

Make a  marinara* sauce (*wine optional) and add some sliced mushrooms, use this as the base for the dish, add the cooked bell pepper halves

Top with the cooked turkey and vegetable mix..pile high

Top with fresh basil leaves and cheese (optional)

to be baked, covered in a  preheated 350f oven for 30-40 mins..serve with couscous or cooked brown rice

This is a wonderful and light, gluten-free dish (if served with rice instead of couscous), and you may substitute any ground meat other than turkey, but if using chicken use dark meat for a moister finished dish.

You can also add cooked brown rice to the turkey filling and or raisins..for a more Sicilian flavor.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Turkey & vegetable meat balls with a tomato sauce; Rock Star Chicken; Stuffed peppers with tomato sauce; Photos of Prep for tomorrow

yams, Purple onion, brown onion, Jicama

This is the vegetable mix for the stuffed peppers and the meatballs..onions, leeks, garlic, rutabagas, celery, carrots..saute in oil and then cool down.

The cooked vegetable mix for the meatballs, when cooled I will add cooked brown rice, breadcrumbs, milk soaked bread, eggs, thyme, salt & pepper, cooked black beans (adds more fiber and extra protein..any cooked bean is fine) and raw ground turkey (dark meat). Then I will make walnut sized meatballs,packed together ( 30 in a baking pan) and bake them in a 350f oven for 30 mins. Cool down and drain on paper then add to the tomato-mushroom sauce and client will bake at their home tomorrow

More of the cooked vegetable mix as for the meatballs this time sauteed with ground turkey and added basil, and oregano, salt & pepper and chopped tomatoes..cook well then this will stuff the orange pepper halves and the client will bake also in tomato-mushroom sauce

The cooked turkey-vegetable stuffing for the bell peppers..I will post photos tomorrow before delivery

The baked meatballs draining on paper before being set to marinade overnight in mushroom & tomato sauce

Ready to marinade overnight. turkey, vegetable and black bean meatballs with a tomato-mushroom sauce

Fresh rosemary and onion stuffed "Rock Star"Chicken

Saturday, April 19, 2014

CHICKEN IMPERIAL STYLE..recipe for easy entertaining..stuffed and crispy skinned

Here is another, great, old fashioned recipe, the chicken pieces are stuffed with cooked ham or bacon, fresh herbs and breadcrumbs then breaded and baked in a creamy mushroom sauce.

This serves 6 - 8

4 cups soft breadcrumbs (approx 8 slices processed..leave crusts on)
1 cup finely diced cooked ham OR 8 slices of bacon cooked and chopped/crumbled
1 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup minced scallion
3 cloves garlic smashed and finely minced
1/4 cup fresh herbs minced(make it your own by using fresh local herbs: oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, basil,, tarragon & etc.)
4 ozs butter (1 stick)

4 on the bone chicken breasts
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
3 cups milk (nut milk is fine)
1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs

8 ozs fresh mushrooms minced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper 
1/2 cup minced onion
2 ozs butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
salt & pepper to taste
Hot sauce optional

1 cup heavy cream to finish (optional)
Chopped parsley to finish

In a heavy skillet..heat the butter and add the garlic and scallions and saute for 2 mins do not brown.
Add the soft bread crumbs, parsley, herbs and cooked ham, mix well and set aside to cool.
When this mixture is cold:

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces, and make pockets in each piece by carefully lifting the skin...do not remove completely.
Stuff each piece , between the skin and flesh with the crumb and herb mix, and seal if necessary with a wood cocktail stick..for the drumsticks make small incisions with a  sharp knife to push the stuffing in.

Put 1 cup milk in a shallow dish and the dry breadcrumbs in another and dip the chicken pieces in the milk, shaking off excess, then in the dry crumbs to coat each piece.

Chill in fridge while making the sauce.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed skillet and saute the mushrooms, until they release their moisture, then add the bell pepper  and onion and saute for 3 mins.
Reduce to low simmer
Add the flour and cook for 1 min then slowly add the rest of the milk, stirring all the time, increase the heat and cook to  thick sauce.
Remove from heat and season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce...allow to cool, but not cold


Place 3/4's of the mushroom sauce into a greased, deep oven proof dish and arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, in the sauce.

Carefully pour the remainder of the mushroom sauce around (NOT OVER) the chicken pieces.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour
Or until golden brown
Remove from oven and add the heavy cream and return to oven for 15 mins.

Then sprinkle with minced parsley and serve..great with any rice, pasta  and vegetables

Variations: add 1/2 cup white wine before adding the milk to the sauce, reduce the amount of milk by 1/2 cup
And/OR replace half the milk for the sauce with good chicken stock.