Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My Abuela's Table with the Novel Bakers

The Novel Bakers are celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a charming cookbook:
My Abuela's Table--an Illustrated Journey into Mexican Cooking by Daniella Germain. 

"My memories of Mexico revolve around my Abuela's table. Whether in her old house in Mexico City, or at 'La Granja' (the farm) in Alvarado, her table is a place where our large family come together, and a place that will always feel like home to me, even though our lives are worlds apart."
--Daniella Germain, author and illustrator.

The book outlines the basics--equipment, herbs, chiles, and staples. Family photographs are peppered through the chapters, giving us a glimpse into the author's loving Mexican family. All in all, it's an adorable book, with exquisite illustrations, step-by-step recipes, and an introduction to authentic Mexican cuisine.

Let's begin with Sangria Mexicana--fresh fruit, red wine, and lemonade. Mix 2 cups red wine and 2 cups lemonade. Add fruit. Steep in the refrigerator for several hours. Serve over ice.

 Next, we'll sample Huevos Rancheros. It can best be described as a breakfast pizza, but it's perfect for lunch or supper. 

I put a Southern spin on this traditional dish by adding bacon. :-) Here's my version: In a non-stick skillet, fry 4 slices of bacon. Drain bacon on paper towels. Use the drippings to sautee 1 chopped onion and chopped bell pepper. Add red pepper flakes or fresh jalapeno--as much (or little) as you desire. When the onion is translucent, add 1/2 teaspoon garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 3 T. chopped fresh cilantro. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper. 
In a separate skillet, stack 2 tortillas. Spoon homemade salsa over top. Use the back of your spoon to carve out four "nests" in the salsa. Drop a fresh egg into each nest. Sprinkle everything with shredded Mexican cheese. Salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is brown. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Garnish with crumbled bacon (or chorizo), avocados, cilantro, and caramelized cherry tomatoes, sour cream. (Note: while this bakes, prepare whole cherry tomatoes. Place them in a shallow skillet--sprinkle tomatoes with a little sugar, Kosher salt, and olive oil. Cook over a medium high flame. When the tomatoes develop a nice sear, remove from heat. You'll use these as as a garnish. Add a drop of tequila if you dare!) 

Mexican Pull-Apart Bread
1 bakery loaf
ground round, cooked, drained, and crumbled.
refried beans (if desired)
tomatoes, green onions
Mexican cheese, shredded.
Slice the bread into 1 inch cubes, taking care not to cut all the way through the crust. Between each square, add beans, beef, and cheese. Sprinkle with green onions. Wrap loaf in foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes. Remove from oven. Garnish with slices tomatoes and cilantro.

Bean Dip is hearty and comforting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, oven-proof sautee pan, cook 1 chopped onion in bacon drippings. Add 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, if desired. Spoon in 1 large can of refried beans.Blend. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh tomatoes. Season with ground cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. You can add a few sprigs of chopped cilantro if you like. Blend in 3 tablespoons cream cheese. Remove from heat. Sprinkle bean mixture with shredded Mexican cheese and shredded Pepper Jack. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly. 

Bandwidth always makes a special contribution to the Novel Bakers, and for Cinco de Mayo, he decided to make tortillas from scratch.

"For homemade tortillas, you'll need masa flour. Follow the instructions on the bag. The dough balls should be slightly moist, so be sure to cover it with damp towels. Line the press with a Zip Lock bag (cut in half). She the dough ball on the press--make sure to put it a little off center. Cover it with plastic, then press. Cook each side on a medium flame for 50 seconds (each side). To make tacos, heat 1 quart peanut oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. Using tongs, cook the tortilla. Shape it, if desired."
--Bandwidth, biochemist and cook

The book explains exactly how to make masa dough and homemade tortillas.
"A perfect tortilla is said to be one that puffs up with cooking. It is tradition to eat this perfect tortilla immediately--fresh off the pan!"
--page 39, My Abuela's Table

Season the tortillas with salt and lime juice for added flavor. They are flaky, yet they aren't brittle--and the taste is sublime.

To make fajitas, marinate* a 2 pound skirt steak for 1 hour. Grill meat on direct heat for 1 minute 30 seconds, then flip. Cook another 1 1/2 minutes. Wrap in tin foil and allow meat to rest for 15 minutes.

Bandwidth used Alton Brown's marinade:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 green onions, cut in half
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbs dark brown sugar

Mix all ingredients in a blender.

The meal ended with a deep dish tequila key lime pie. This is a super easy recipe, made with 3 egg yolks, 2 cans Eagle Brand condensed milk, 1/2 c key lime juice, key lime zest, pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons tequila for a kick. Whisk. The crust is spiffed up with 2/3 c. chopped almonds and 1 1/2 c. buttery graham cracker crumbs, 1 stick butter,  plus 1/4 c  sugar. Mix and press into pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. Add filling. Place in freezer. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and zest. Bandwidth's recipe is equally delicious.

Fabulous Cinco de Mayo celebrations continue today with the Novel Bakers!
The Novel Bakers

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Shared at:

Pin It

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Kitchen Marble Update

A week ago, Arabascato Vagli marble was installed on the perimeter counters. Bandy found the slabs at OHM in Nashville, all tucked away in the back of the warehouse. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ordinary Miracles

 After a bitter winter, spring has finally arrived. The irises bloom defiantly, as if to say, "It'll take more than sub-zero temperatures to subdue us."  I like their attitude. It's a reminder to never lose hope, that ordinary miracles can, and do, happen. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

 Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Each week, I look forward to seeing what you all have been doing in the kitchen and around the house.


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Related Posts with Thumbnails