Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book 2: Mexican (Cookshelf): Chicken Tostadas

So far this blog is off to a super slow start!!  Second in my cookbook series is part of the really cute Cookshelf series, Mexican.  It's a part of a bunch of really small books.  In fact, this picture may be about actual size!  (Depending on just how big your screen is...)

I have three books in this series and I guess they are just big enough!  I made the Chicken Tostadas with Green Salsa & Chipotle.  Except for the chipotle part, I was afraid of the heat!  Honestly, I made it well over a month ago, but since this is only my second recipe from a cookbook...well, I'm not going to miss posting it just because I'm on the slow side.

Usually I don't make tostadas because they seem impractical to me.  They are meant to be eaten with your hands, but what kind of grace and precision do you need to balance all the toppings (especially if you have gone overboard!!)   without making a ruinous mess of salsa and beans everywhere.

I also feel like such recipes are not really recipes at all, but assembly instructions.  Did I really "make" them, or did I just put everything on top of the shell in the right order?  Well, I did make the chicken part--I followed the instructions of boiling, although that sounded on the gross side, as I had read a lot of suggestions on how boiling chicken is the right way to go!  The texture was fine, I probably would have put in a little more flavoring though as they were just boiled in stock and garlic.

What I think really made these tostadas superb were the black beans (with some added cumin) and the cotija cheese.  That cheese is fantastic!  Just a crumble here and there, and yum!  It's like a slightly salty version of ricotta cheese.

Here is the pre-assembly:

and after...

Making me hungry!  Need to go make me some dinner!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Book 1: Bob's Red Mill Cookbook: Blue-Ribbon Banana Bread
I chose my first recipe based on the excess of bananas in my freezer...while I have my go to Banana Bread recipe, I figured it couldn't hurt to try a new one.  I received this book from my mom...or maybe my sister...or my brother?  They have all started using more of the whole wheat recipes, and Bob's Red Mill has a great collection of whole grains.  I have been meaning to try this cookbook since I figured who would know better how to use whole grains?



A secret side effect is that this recipe makes two loaves, and then with that second extra loaf I can try their recipe for Chocolate-Rippled Banana Bread Pudding.  It's a two-fer!

My intention with this blog was to follow recipes to the letter.  Here we are on the first recipe, and already disqualified.  Apparently it's been a while since baking, so two staples I thought I always had more than enough of were sadly lacking...eggs and butter.  So I had to cut the eggs short by one (it called for 4--this is two loaves!), and I subbed a bit of coconut oil in for a small bit of the butter.  This means though that I don't have any butter left to spread on the bread, so I am hoping it has enough buttery goodness already in it.

The other missing, key ingredient...whole wheat pastry flour.  I do have whole wheat flour, so I did about two thirds of that, and one third of all purpose flour.  We will see if it ends up too heavy!

It was all I could do to avoid my standard BB spicing of cinnamon and nutmeg.  The recipe didn't call for it, and I could hardly imagine to do it without.  But I withheld, figuring if needed, we could always spread on cinnamon butter (if only we had butter).

 It came out really dark--I left it in an hour as suggested, but it seemed already overdone.


 This is probably the least appealing- looking loaf of banana bread I have made.  It really looks like the original photo, but in brick form. 

Despite the heavy whole wheat, the buttery goodness made this bread a winner.  Much heartier than my usual banana bread.  A guest said it had a hint of soy sauce.  (???)  I still liked it, and no need to add any more butter!

I prefer this stylized photo of it...