Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

281.  Recently, we tried several "Pintrest"recipes with a Mexican flair. 
Both recipes were easy to follow and were yummy.  My favorite were the Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps.  
So as we made the recipes, I decided to change them a bit.  Just reading the ingredients I was concerned the chicken would be too dry. 
 This is our version:

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

2 chicken breasts, bone on or boneless, boiled in salted water for an hour till falling off bone, shredded
    (or cooked shredded pork, shredded beef, ground beef)
2 green scallion onions, chopped
1/2 green pepper diced  
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
ground pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 medium size flour tortillas
Mix all together and taste for seasoning.  Lay a tortilla flat and place 1 cup chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla making it into a log shape.  Do not go all the way to the edges.  Fold over all four sizes starting on a short side tucking the edges inside. Fill all tortillas till chicken filling is used up.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil.  When oil has heated up place tortilla seam side down.  Toast each side and transfer to a serving dish.  

 Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa Puffs were good but they lacked flavor *note to self-add more flavorful seasoning next time*.  They looked beautiful but we followed the recipe too close.
 If I made them again, I would add green onion, lime, fresh tomato instead of salsa, cilantro or parsley and garlic salt.  We added a little lime to the avocado and chili powder to the cream cheese but they just needed help in the flavor department.
Next time I'd like to try the chicken filling in the puff that would be perfect!!
 We had a delicious meal with all the extras.  Finished with a game of "Spoons", coffee and yummy crumb cake from Front Street Bakery.
 "Who loves a lot, forgives a lot."
~Amadeo Nervo

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mini Strawberry, Blueberry and Bing Cherry Pies

280.  Just look at these adorable mini pies!  It is one easy way to enjoy bites of pie without all the extra work.  I took one cup of three different fruits:  blueberries, strawberries and bing cherries.  I seasoned each one:   
Strawberries with sugar and hint of lemon zest
Blueberries seasoned with sugar and cinnamon,
and Bing cherries with sugar and a couple drops of almond extract.
Mix each one and set it aside to "sweat" the fruit.  You could also macerate the fruit by crushing it at this point for more juice.  Sweating works better in small pies.
In the mean time, make your pie crust or purchase a pre-made pie crust.  Roll out into a rectangle of approximately 10x15 or so.  Cut the crust into squares or rectangles.
Gently push each piece of dough into a mini muffin cup.
Fill each cup with a spoonful of fruit and juice.
You can cut the extra dough into strips to make lattice across the tops of the mini pies. No need to be perfect.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or till the fruit is bubbling and crust is lightly browned.
"A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.  A good deed is never lost;  he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."
~Saint Basil

Dill Pickles

 279.  Dill Pickles are the subject for the day.  This summer has been perfect for gardens with hot nights, humid air and weekly rainfall.  It has been delightful to watch the cucumbers climb and grow.  Daily I've been picking cucumbers from the vine.  So much so, I've decided to make Dill Pickles.  This is the uncooked method and relies on fermentation.

I did some research and found a great recipe from Alton Brown on Food Network.  You can find his recipe here:  Alton Brown's Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles

5 1/2 oz pickling salt, approximately 1/2 cup (may use Kosher Salt)
1 gallon filtered water
3 lbs pickling cucumbers, 4 to 6 inches long
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 pinch red pepper flakes, (original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 large bunch dill

Combine the salt and water in a pitcher and stir until the salt has dissolved.
Rinse the cucumbers throughly and snip off the blossom end stem. Set aside.
Wash and rinse throughly a large crock pot for pickling.

Place the peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed and fresh dill into 1-2 gallon crock.  

Add the cucumbers to the crock on top of the aromatics.

Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers in order to completely cover.
  Pour the remaining water into a 1- gallon ziptop plastic bag and seal.  Place the bag on top of the pickles making sure that all of them are completely submerged in the brine.  (I didn't need to do this step because my crock has a shoulder that holds the pickles down and keeps them from floating up.)
Set in a cool, dry place.
Check the crock after 3 days.  Fermentation has begun if you see bubbles rising to the top of the crock. After this, check the crock daily and skim off any scum that forms.  If scum forms on the plastic bag, rinse it off and return to the top of the crock.
The fermentation is complete when the pickles taste sour and the bubbles have stopped rising; this should take approximately 6 to 7 days.  Once this happens, cover the crock loosely and place in the refrigerator for 3 days skimming daily or as needed.  Store for up to 2 months in the frig, skimming as needed.  If the pickles should become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be discarded. 
So, here is my process...
This is Day #1  Just after I poured the brine mixture over the cucumbers.
 Day #2  The smell is intoxicatingly delicious with the smell of garlic and dill.  The spices have bloomed and risen to the top.
 Day #3  The scum is beginning to form slightly on the top of the brine.  I have also started to notice tiny bubbles beginning to float to the surface.

I ran a knife across the top so you could see the white scum.

 Plastic wrap is perfect for collecting the scum.  I placed it on the surface of the brine and the scum collected onto the plastic.

Day #4 The scum has really developed and the pickles are becoming buoyant.

Day #5  The scum continues to form and the pickles are rising and falling in the brine.

Day #6  There are continual bubbles rising to the surface
At this point I am frustrated with Blogger!  

Day #7 The Bubbles have stopped rising to the top and the brine is completely still.  So, the day arrived to taste the
pickles!!  We sliced one and each took a bite.  Wow!!  They are delicious, just very spicy. I  checked the recipe and realized the red pepper flakes brought so much heat.  The directions to use 1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes is just too much, unless of course you like spicy pickles.
Delicious and ready for the fridge.
"I say grace.  I'm a big believer in grace.  I happen to believe in a God that made all the food and so I'm pretty grateful for that and I thank Him for that.  But I'm also thankful for the people that put the food on the table."
~Alton Brown


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