Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chaco Tacos

Today I was sifting through some pictures from about a month ago and found ones I'd taken of when my friend Autumn and I made Chaco Tacos from scratch. You remember those...sort of like a Drumstick in taco form. Anyway, I found what seems to be the only from-scratch recipe on the internet, and we made them on a Sunday morning after breakfast.
They were pretty complicated to make and took a few hours to make, but the outcome was successful. I didn't like them very much because I'm super picky about ice cream, but they were definitely tasty, and Autumn enjoyed hers so much she had two.
Choco Tacos adapted from Serious Eats

For crepe taco shells:
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

For chocolate syrup:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (original recipe called for a full cup, so if yours isn't runny enough, feel free to add a half cup more)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt

Chocolate chip ice cream (vanilla, fudge swirl, or whatever favorite you have will also work)
1 cup pecans (original recipe said peanuts...ew) or shredded coconut (or both)

Optional: Magic Shell fudge sauce


1. For crepe shells: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Gradually add in the milk, vanilla, and melted butter, stirring to combine. Add the flour and salt. Beat until smooth.

2. Heat a lightly oiled, small griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan for each taco shell, tilting to make sure the liquid coats the surface evenly.

3. Cook the crepe on each side for about 2 minutes, until light brown.

4. Pick a book (actually you will need several-- as many as you have shells). Cover with a bit of parchment paper so your book doesn't get dirty or soggy. Shape the crepe around the bookbinding so it forms a taco shell mold. Freeze this contraption for no less than ten minutes-- more for maximum stiffness (I think we did about 25 minutes).

5. Continue cooking crepe shells, shaping them around books, and freezing.

6. For the chocolate syrup: Combine cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Add water. Mix until smooth. Bring to boil for one minute, then remove pan from heat. Once cooled, add vanilla.

7. After the first frozen shell is pretty sturdy, pull it out and drizzle inside with the sufficiently cooled chocolate syrup. A brush would be best, but a rubber spatula also works fine. Put coated shells back into the freezer so chocolate can firm up (here is a where a cookie sheet will come in handy). Get out your ice cream so it can soften up enough to be malleable for the next step in a few minutes.

8. Wait at least five minutes before pulling them out (I think we waited about 15 minutes). Delicately stuff them with ice cream (you will get very messy), then return them to the freezer for another ten (or 25) minutes of firming-up (on the cookie sheet).

9. Remove from freezer and cover with your choice of topping (coconut, pecans, more chocolate syrup, gummy bears, whatever) and if you decided to splurge on the Magic Shell, drizzle a bit of that over your toppings to help cement them in place and give your treat a more manufactured taste.

10. Eat immediately, because these things melt a little faster than you'd think.

Tip: If you bought your ice cream in the normal-sized cardboard carton, when it's soft enough (and if you intend to use ALL the ice cream for the recipe), cut off the cardboard or squish it out so you have a cylindrical block of ice cream. Proceed to cut it into slices just the right width of the shell and then cut in half so you have handy half-moon slices of ice cream to put in the shells without having to do all the messy stuffing. Note: we did not try this, but some people out there recommended it. If it doesn't work, don't blame me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

My good friend Adrien (who also happens to be my sister) posted a recipe for a great pumpkin soup on her blog. I'm rather picky when it comes to taste (ironic since I branch out in making new things, but am nervous about trying them sometimes), but this soup was excellent! Eat it with warm scones (the English kind, not the weird frybread kind). So tasty, and perfect for fall.
The link.
The recipe in brief:
Sautee 2 Tbsp. butter and 1 white onion (chopped) in a large saucepan and then add 1 can chicken broth. Simmer and stir for 15 minutes. After simmering, puree in blender and then return to saucepan. Add 1 (15 oz.) can pureed pumpkin, 1/2 additional can chicken broth, 8 shakes of salt, 8 shakes of black pepper, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. ginger, cloves and nutmeg to taste, a TINY shake of cayenne powder (if available), and 1/4 cup (add more to taste) of brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup heavy cream, stir. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This is Why You're Fat

It seems like just about anything can get a book deal nowadays (except for legitimately good literature). The new rave seems to be book versions of picture blogs, like LolCats or Cake Wrecks, which is all well and good, but today I discovered "This is Why You're Fat": a blog (and now a book) with pictures of the most disgusting, fatty, thrown-together "foods" people have found or (worse) made-- think doughnut burgers, Velveeta "fudge," and deep-fried chocolate-covered bacon cake.
Makes me sad to be American in a way. And you know people are going to be making even more disgusting stuff just to get on the site or in the book.
Please people, let's have a little more class, at least when it comes to what you eat.

Considering what I just said, trying new things is not a bad idea. For instance, there's a "weird" concoction I happen to really like that (I've been told) is a family invention. It involves a piece of toast with peanut butter and jelly with a fried egg and a couple slices of bacon on top. The point is to not overdo it. For instance, when I went to Idaho recently, my friends (the guys, obviously) came up with something pretty gross and thought it was the best thing since the invention of video game consoles. And it was gross, because they overdid it, and anticipated the stomach-ache to come. Why would you do that to yourself?
Their "breakfast for dinner" consisted of:
2 everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bagels, toasted
cream cheese
tobasco sauce
a few slices of bacon per bagel
a fried egg with runny yoke per bagel
a thick slice of cheddar cheese per bagel
I don't know why I just gave you the recipe. Please don't make it yourself.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I can't stand cheese cake, but this cheesecake was so good even I couldn't resist it. Here is the recipe, which I got from the food blog This Little Piggy:

Cheesecake Even I Like
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

4 x 8 oz packages Philly cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

a 9-inch springform pan
parchment paper (optional, but recommended)

Preheat oven to 325°F

Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper if you're using it. If not, no worries.

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar and melted butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan.

Make sure the cream cheese is soft (like room temperature, so get it out when you read this and not when you decide later...because microwaving is cheating). Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla until well blended.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until smooth and blended.

Pour over crust. Very gently tap it on the counter to get rid of possible air bubbles.

Bake about 50-55 minutes or until the center is vaguely gelatinous. Don't remove the cake right away, but turn off the oven and open the door so the dessert isn't surprised by a sudden change in temperature and decides to crack.

When you take it out, run a knife around the edges of the pan so when the cake pulls away from the pan as it cools, it (again) doesn't crack.

Let the cake cool completely before you remove the siding of the pan. In fact, it's probably better if you just pop it in the fridge as-is. Refrigerate no less than 3 hours. Overnight is best, if you can wait that long (oh, but it will be worth it, don't you fret).

Eat! Yum!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tools of the Trade

I by no means claim to be an expert in what tools are the best for cooking and stuff, but there are a few I have that I love-- like a spring-form pan and a good set of bread pans-- and a few I know I would love.
For instance:
A Kitchenaid stand mixer
A stainless steel frying pan with a copper bottom (for more even heat distribution), like this one here
A pizelle iron (pizelles are pretty Italian waffle cookies) sort of like this one
A French rolling pin like this one
The only thing is something about the mixer-- will I get lazy from the easiness of mixing things?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Zucchini Bread and Quiche Lorraine

Another re-post. I didn't actually say much in the original post except to give the recipes, so I'll just do that here:

Zucchini Bread
I make this all the time and can eat a whole loaf on my own probably all at once, even though I shouldn't.

3 eggs well beaten (fluffy)
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup veg. oil
2 cup sugar
3 cup flour
3 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder

1. Grease loaf pans
2. Add zucchini, eggs, oil & vanilla to mixing bowl.
3. Add sugar and mix well.
4. Add remaining ing. (flour, salt, etc) and mix well.
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour

Quiche Lorraine
I've made this several times as well and think it's a very good recipe for quiche. I even though it was better than the quiche I had at Eliane's, but that's just me.

1 1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
10 T butter, cut into chunx
1 egg

1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Add butter and mix to coat w/ fingers or pastry blender, rubbing or cutting butter into flour until you have fine particles (I find fingers are better).
2. Add egg and stir with fork (or fingers) until dough holds together (it will be very crumbly, so don't expect too much)
3. Shape dough into ball and roll out onto (very!) WELL floured board. Roll to fit a 10-inch pie pan, and put it in there. Make dough flush with top rim, folding excess dough against pan sides (inside, not out obviously) and press firmly in place.

10 slices cooked, chopped bacon (I use fakin and it's a little chewy, but pork meat generally makes me ill, so that's just my preference)
1 1/4 cups diced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (Swiss is softer and therefore easier to cut)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups whipping or light cream
1/2 cup milk

1. Scatter bacon in pastry shell; sprinkle with cheese.
2. Beat eggs to blend with cream and milk. Pour into pastry. Grate some nutmeg on the top.
3. Place on lowest rack in 350* heat oven (*=degrees) until lightly browned on top (55 minutes). Let stand 10 minutes. Serve cold or hot.

Salmon Patties Like Mom Used to Make

This is a re-post from the old blog:

What do you do when you have a can of salmon?
And just spent a long time drooling over this recipe for potatoes au gratin?
You call Mom up to ask her for the recipe to those salmon patties she made all those years ago and microwave up some Hungry Jack Au Gratin Potatoes because you're starving and have no time to lose!!!
Worth the 20 minute wait (for the potatoes-- the fish takes but a moment).
Make them.

a small (my can was 7.5 oz) can of salmon (boneless, skinless)
1/3 cp crumbs* (cracker or bread)
1 egg
1 T onion flakes
1 T parsley
1 T lemon juice (funny-- all I had was lemon extract, so I used a little of that mixed with water and it made it sort of lemony sweet, but did not detract from the overall experience even though it's totally not the same as lemon juice.)
salt and pepper to taste (I forgot to put this in and it still tasted great)

mix all ingredients in a bowl and shape into patties of desired size (I made about 4 of the size you see)

in shallow frying pan heat a bit of oil and fry patties until evenly browned on both sides

drain on paper towel

eat with lemon juice or tartar sauce (or plain like I did!)

*some people like it crunchier. If you do, put crumbs on the outside of the patty too so it’s like its breaded


Apparently I also have food-related posts with recipes I tried that produced varied results, but I did not directly give you the recipe. Here they are, if you're interested:

Black & White Cookies - successful
Cheddar Broccoli Soup - disaster
Choquettes - unsuccessful
Crisp Rosemary Flatbread - successful

Also, there were a few things that I linked to without trying, only because I thought they looked good:

Cupcakes (various)
Poached Egg


After much deliberation about what to do with the food-related posts I made on my old blog, I've decided that instead of taking the incredible amount of time it would require to transfer them all to this blog, I will only re-do the recipes, and the food reviews will be in a list right here:

J Dawgs (Provo, UT)
Mad Greek (Baker, CA)
Eliane's Boulangerie and Patisserie (Orem, UT)
Elizabeth's English Bakery and Tea Shop (Salt Lake City, UT)
Pedro's Tacos (Fallbrook, CA)
Rocky Mountain Drive-Inn (Provo, UT)
Sammy's (Provo, UT)
Yogurt Palace (Fallbrook, CA)

Also, if you would ever be interested in doing a guest post on a review of a place you've eaten (chains don't count, the idea is to spread the word about perhaps less well-known establishments), please let me know!


There are two main reasons I love to cook:
1. I love the effect food has on the senses. You know, how your mouth starts to water when you smell baking zucchini bread or see the steam rising from a bubbling pot of soup...
2. I love the look on people's faces (and yes, the compliments) when they truly enjoy eating something I made for them.
If I don't also love something I've made, I feel unaccomplished. But if someone says something is wrong with something I made them, that inspires me to try again and again until I get it right.
Such is the case with my special blend hot cocoa (sometimes affectionately dubbed "Auntie Shann's Cocoa," though this name came around before I was actually anyone's Aunt). I love to combine flavors and spices and different types of chocolate, and I usually love my combinations, but historically for others it's been hit-or-miss. And it's usually a miss. So I keep on trying. I think maybe the thing is that there are too many flavors and people just aren't looking for that in a cup of hot cocoa. So here's a super-simplified version you can make yourself (and let me know if you like it):
To a mug of hot milk add 3 tablespoons Ovaltine malted chocolate, 1/2 tablespoon (or more if you like it bitter) unsweetened cocoa powder, and nutmeg to taste (I add sort of a lot because I love the taste of nutmeg in my cocoa). If you added too much cocoa, add a pinch of sugar.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Yet Another Food Blog Out There...

Welcome to another of the random (and probably superfluous) food blogs you'll find on the internet. This one is named after this children's book and hopefully will be fun, just like the story. Stick around!
For the first thing, check this fun site out if you haven't already.