Peruvian Chicken

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I love California, as a matter of fact I’d be hard pressed to name a state within this union that I’d consider leaving California for.  One of the many great things about living here, besides the diversity here, is the weather.  On a great day, the temperature ranges between 78F and 82F.  Since we live by the beach, there is seldom a day without a cool ocean breeze.  Lately however, the temperatures have been 10-20F degrees above normal, and for the last two weeks temps have settled in around 89-98F—HOT!!!!!!  So hot that the last thing I want to do is to turn on the stove.  So we’ve adapted, I’ve been marinating meat in the morning for my husband to grill in the evening when things start to cool down a bit.  This marinade is super simple, and if you’ve ever had grilled Peruvian chicken you know how yummy and it can be.  The vinegar in this really gives this chicken a yummy tang and kick.  I’ve tried this with Rice vinegar and white wine, both are yummy, but plain white distilled vinegar is just as yummy.

 

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

3 cloves of garlic grated

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar–can sub with white vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil–can sub with oil of your choice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Generously season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.  Add the cumin powder, paprika, garlic, oil, and vinegar to a pan or a bowl big enough to marinate you chicken in.

Mix well,

Then add chicken,

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Toss to coat the chicken in the marinade.

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Cover with foil, refrigerate until you’re ready to grill.  Cook chicken on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, or in an oven set on 425F  15-20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!  I served this with a delicious Avocado and cilantro crema,  I’ll post the recipe for that soon–sooo yummy!  This chicken also makes for great chicken taco’s!

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How to Make Queso Fresco Cheese

How to maker Queso Cheese

How to make Queso Fresco Cheese

This week I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen making things that I had on my “list of things I want to make”–yes I actually have a list. This cheese has been on that list for quite some time.  It’s so unbelievably easy to make that now I am left to wonder why it took me so long to try it.  It’s also a great way to use milk that would not get used otherwise. This cheese was a great addition to  my Peruvian Chicken taco’s that recipe will be on the blog tomorrow.

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 quart of whole organic milk

2 -3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice–can sub with vinegar

Sea salt to taste

Equipment:

cheesecloth

Sieve

Directions: Add the milk to a saucepan,

Heat the milk to 180F whisking to prevent the milk from scorching.

Once the milk reaches 180F remove from heat.

Add the lemon juice or vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring gently until the curds separate from the whey. This happens almost immediately.

Allow the curds to continue to separate, let the mixture sit in the pot uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

 

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From here you can decide to just strain the mixture in a cheesecloth lined sieve, add salt to taste and be done–you’ll have a perfectly soft crumble cheese.

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Or you can strain, then squeeze out excess whey, add salt, form into a ball, and press into a firmer queso,

I placed my queso into a circular cookie/biscuit cutter, which I wrapped in my cheesecloth, and then placed a sealed water-filled 4-ounce mason jar on top for 5-10 minutes to squeeze out excess whey.  I placed these items over a sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the whey.

For a firmer paneer type cheese extend the time that the cheese is pressed from 10 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate if you don’t plan on using the cheese right away.  It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

 

 

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DIY Concord Grape Soda–How to make Lacto-fermented Concord Grape Soda

Concord Grape Soda--Lacto Fermented Concord Grape Soda

Concord Grape Soda–Lacto Fermented Concord Grape Soda

We took a short break/vacation to take Page up north.  By north I mean northern California.  We live in southern California, and don’t really travel up north often enough, as a matter of fact, my husband would love nothing more than to move up north.  It’s where his roots are, where his soul speaks, and ultimately where I think he’d like us to retire.  Up north people are much more liberal–I would venture to say that the people up north are the prototype for what people in other states consider Californians.  Socially liberal, tree hugging, animal loving, free spirited Californians.  Here in the south, we are still liberal, but much more superficial–I call it the Hollywood effect.  People in the north are street friendly, meaning they stop and talk to you, and are truly interested in getting to know you.  They know their neighbors, talk to them regularly even.  Here in the south, you’d be lucky to see your neighbor once a week, and talk to them once a month.  It’s a very different atmosphere. Everything is so green in the north–in spite of the drought–there are so many farms–yes I said farms–I know the image of our state is one of sunshine and beaches, but we grow a lot of food here in California.  We visited the Muir Woods which Page LOVED! Page really enjoyed San Francisco, she was especially fond of the steep hills. We especially loved the food.  I had so many restaurants on my list of must try restaurants but we only made it to a few.   I really wanted to visit State Bird Provisions, and Bar Tartine,  time just didn’t permit it.  On the road trip up, I brought along my Bar Tartine Techniques & Recipes book.  I came across a recipe for Grape Soda and knew it would be the first thing that I was going to make when we returned home.  Luckily for me, concord grapes just so happen to be in season.  I found them on sale at Whole Foods for $2.99/lb.  Not bad for organic grapes!  Since my ginger bug was active, this was a breeze to make.  If you can find organic grape juice then it will be even more simple, If not take the time to juice the grapes like I did–so worth it!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of organic Concord grape juice

2 cups of water–filtered

1/2 cup of strained lacto soda starter–ginger bug

2-4 tablespoons of sugar–optional

 

Directions: Add the juice, water and lacto starter to a large mason jar.  Make sure the jar is large enough to allow for some head space, cover with cheese cloth and place in a dark area–out of direct sun light.

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Allow to ferment for 3-4 days or until the mixture is slightly foamy and releases bubbles when stirred.  It’s hot here so my mixture was fizzy and bubbly by day 2.

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Transfer the mixture to a flip top bottle or canning jar, making sure to leave at least 1 inch of head space–I’d say 2.5 inches just to be safe.

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Let this stand at room temperature for no more than 24 hours, to allow for pressure/carbonation to build,–my suggestion is that you allow this to carbonate inside of a dark cabinet.

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You do not want to run the risk of an explosion in an open environment–it’s dangerous!  Once carbonated, transfer to a refrigerator.  Once cool, serve over ice and enjoy!  Tip:  If using a glass flip top bottle, place the bottle in a tube sock, and then place that in a closed cabinet.  If the bottle explodes it will confine the damage.

 

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If you like this recipe,try my recipe for Lacto-fermented Strawberry Soda.

 

DIY Strawberry Soda–Lacto Fermented Strawberry Soda

DIY Strawberry Soda--Lacto Fermented Strawberry Soda

DIY Strawberry Soda–Lacto Fermented Strawberry Soda

 

So now that you know how to make a ginger bug, let’s put it to use.  I’ve been wanting to make this soda specifically for Page for a long while now.  The great thing about this soda is that it is full of beneficial bacteria, so it’s a soda that is actually good for you.  The directions I had for making this soda said to leave it out of direct sun light for 24 hours, so that it naturally carbonates and then move it to the refrigerator to chill and slow the process down.  I put the soda in a corner and left it to sit, about 15 hours later, I hear a loud explosion in my kitchen.  The bottle had exploded and my entire bottle of soda was lost.  There was glass everywhere! It made me so sad.  So the moral of the story is, don’t leave this out to carbonate more than 12 hours.  If you plan on doing that, then put this in a cabinet, close it so that the explosion is confined, and no one gets hurt.  Or place this in a plastic sterilized water bottle, that way you can clearly tell when the soda has carbonated, the bottle will expand and harden once the soda has been carbonated.  In the book The Art of Fermentation’ the author suggest placing a raisin in the bottle, once the raisin rises to the top that is a sign that the soda has been carbonated, and you can transfer it to the refrigerator. I juiced fresh strawberries in my juicer for this recipe.  There are many recipes out there that boil the berries with sugar to make a syrup, and then use the syrup as a base to make this soda.  I preferred to just use fresh juice–delicious!  Also the sugar is an optional ingredient, if the strawberries you’re using are already sweet then you don’t really need to add more sugar.

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Ingredients:

2 cups of strawberry juice

2 cups of water

1/2 cup of ginger bug

1/4 cup -1/2 cup of organic raw sugar –optional

Equipment:

Close top bottles

 

Directions: Remove the stems from the strawberries–about 3 pints and juice them.

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Strain 1/2 cup of the ginger bug.

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To a large bowl add the strawberry juice, water, ginger bug, and sugar if using,

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Stir well cover with cheesecloth and place out of direct sun light to allow the mixture to ferment over night.  If you’d like you could ferment longer–up to 3 days, but the flavor of mine was just perfect after 24 hours.  The bacteria eat the sugar, so the longer you leave it, the less sweet it becomes.  But be careful, the bacteria will convert the sugar to alcohol so you don’t want to leave it too long–unless of course you want to make this a mead–a delicious alcoholic beverage,  instead of a soda.  Transfer the mixture to an air tight bottle or mason jar to carbonate, store in a dark cabinet–or a safe area where if it explodes it will not harm you or your family members.

 

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Store for up to 12-15 hours before moving it to the refrigerator to chill.  Once chilled open the bottle over a sink–natural carbonation is a powerful thing!  Pour over ice and enjoy!

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Miso Butter–How to Make Miso Butter

How to Make Miso Butter

How to Make Miso Butter

Butter is delicious all on its own, I love adding it to sauces, slathering it on piping hot corn on the cob, or a simple piece of toast. There is not much that butter doesn’t improve.  However, miso butter is the younger, prettier, and more sophisticated sibling of butter. It’s everything butter is, but better! I was introduced to miso butter by David Chang after watching a chef series he did.  Frankly, I don’t know why I never tried making miso butter before.  I have had it several times at restaurants, and was always fascinated whenever chefs mentioned using it. I guess it just never occurred to me to try to make it at home–until it did–and now I can’t live without it.  Most chefs recommend using a 2 to 1, or 3 to 1 ratio of butter to miso.  I found my sweet spot is larger on the butter side, so my ratio is more of a 4 to 1. Tomorrow I am going to share one of my absolute favorite ways to use miso butter, until then here is how you make it.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of white organic miso

7  tablespoons of grass fed butter–cut into cubes–it makes mixing easier

Directions: To a medium size bowl add the butter,

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Then the miso.

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Using  the back of a large spoon, mix and mash together the butter and miso paste until well combined.

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You’ll know the butter is fully mixed when you no longer see streaks of brown or yellow.

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Once the butter and miso have been well combined, transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for later use.

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This butter is amazing on almost everything, from steaks to veggies and fish!  See you tomorrow;-)

If you like this recipe try my recipe for How to make Butter or How to brown butter

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before I had my own child, I spent countless hours in the kitchen with my nieces and nephews baking cookies.  It was a tradition actually. A tradition that my  now 22-year-old niece looks back on fondly.  Great considering the fact that I do not consider myself a baker.  This particular recipe is a chocolate chip recipe from Serious eats, but with my spin on it.  By spin, I mean I used the listed ingredients, mostly–and a little extra chocolate, but I did not follow the directions as written.  I sort of did things my way.  If you want to make these cookies exactly as Kenji over at Serious eats intended, then by all means follow this recipe.  In either case, this recipe is tried and true. The brown butter in this recipe lends a nice toffee flavor to these cookies.  I let the dough rest before cooking these.  My intent was to let it rest over night, but the dough smelled so good that Page insisted that we bake a few right away, so we did, after it rested for about 8 hours.  To be honest there was not really a noticeable difference between the cookies we baked early and the ones that were baked the next day.  Good cookies are just good cookies. But that could have been a result of me not following the directions word for word.  But that aside, these cookies were amazing!!!  If you were lucky enough to have one of these at a bake sale–you’d be a lucky duck indeed!

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Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

10 ounces of all purpose flour (about 2 cups)

8 ounces of cooled brown butter (2 sticks) see directions for browning butter here

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

5 ounces  of granulated sugar or 3/4  cup

5 ounces of  tightly packed brown sugar or 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (go to my Instagram account to see how to make your own)

10 ounces of chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of kosher salt–I used Pink Sea Salt

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Directions: Add  flour, salt and baking powder to a bowl, mix and set aside.  Add cooled brown butter and sugars to a bowl with the whisk attachment.  On medium speed, cream together, for about 5 minutes. Kenji’s recipe calls for using brown butter that has not fully solidified, but I am a busy woman, I put my brown butter in the refrigerator, and came back for it 3 hours later, so I decided to cream it with the sugars.

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After butter and sugar mixture has creamed, change to the paddle attachment and add in the eggs and vanilla mix on medium speed until the mixture comes together.

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Add in the flour mixture and mix on low speed until dough  is just barely combined , about 15 seconds.

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There should still be some dry flour remaining.

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Turn off mixer, add in chocolate chips, using a silicon spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the dough,

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Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate.  I rolled the dough out onto parchment and then sealed it in a Ziploc bag.  Then separated it into 3 equal sized cookie logsso that I could freeze them for later–that didn’t really happen–I gave one roll away, and we ate the rest:

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Allow the dough to rest overnight, or as long as you can–up to 3 days in the refrigerator, then cut or scoop dough out into tablespoon sized  portions on to a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet.

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Bake on 325F for 13-16 minutes.  The cookies should be brown on the edges but soft in the middle.  Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool, then enjoy!

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Mango Ice Cream

Mango Ice Cream

Mango Ice Cream

My husband loves mango’s and is especially fond of mango kulfi–an Indian ice cream.  It’s a special treat that he likes to enjoy whenever we go out to eat at an Indian restaurant. Although Kulfi is delicious, most recipes call for corn flour as a thickening agent.  I prefer the use of egg yolks to thicken my ice cream.   This ice cream is ultra creamy, not as rich as a Kulfi, but delicious none the less.

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Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups of organic mango puree

1.5 cups of organic milk

2 cups of organic heavy cream

4 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean

1/4 cup-1/2 cup of maple syrup more if you like it ultra sweet or if your mango’s are not sweet

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat together the yolks, and your sweetener of choice.

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You can beat by hand using a whisk, or use a hand mixer. Beat until thoroughly smooth and creamy. (A couple of minutes by hand.) If you’re using maple syrup, or agave, the mixture comes together quite quickly.

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Put 1 cup of the cream, and all of the milk, into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
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Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean with the tip of a small knife, and place into the pan; add the pod too. Heat the mixture until just before it starts to simmer (DO NOT LET IT SIMMER). Remove mixture from heat.Strain the hot mixture, reserving the milk and discarding thevanilla bean pod.
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Add half of the hot mixture to the egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended. Be careful when adding the hot mixture to the egg mixture, go slowly you don’t want scrambled eggs.  Stir this mixture into remaining hot mixture in the sauce pan,add the last cup of heavy cream and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, add in the mango puree,and cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

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Remove from heat.  Quickly cool the mixture by pouring the hot mixture into a bowl over an ice bath, or let it cool to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Once the cream has cooled sufficiently, freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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If you don’t have an ice cream maker, check out this Link to see how make ice cream without one.

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You could also freeze the cream in popsicle molds, or make a instant pop in a Zoku Quick Pop Maker–like I did below!

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