Emerging of the Bombshell Within

An eclectic view of a girl's life

A girl who loves salchichas November 16, 2011

Filed under: food,NaBloPoMo,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 11:16 AM

In one of those deja-vu- blog feelings that I always seem to get, I thought I would have professed my love for salchichas carmelas before.  But as I searched and searched amongst the hundreds of blog entries that I have written, I realize that I just thought I had written about them but seemed never to have gotten around to it.  Or maybe my SIL blogged about them?  After all, my nephew loves them just as much, if not more, as I do.

Salchichas Carmelas bite size morsel pouch

You see, of all the things from Puerto Rico I might actually miss if my mother didn’t send me a few cans or pouches in ever care package, are salchichas carmelas.  They are a type of vienna sausages that are so much tastier and better than any such type of canned meat sausage products that I’ve ever tried.  The difference, to me, is that carmela sausages have this tastier outer skin with a plump and juicy interior.  Most vienna sausages are more like…. boiled spam in their consistency.  And while I love spam, I’m not a fan of it uncooked.

The beautiful thing of it is… and though I tried to google up an image of it, is that now carmela’s come in pouches.  Before you could only buy them in little cans where you had 7 little sausages to enjoy.  Now, aside from the bites that I pictured above, you can get a big family size pouch.  While the sausages are not the same size the pouch is the perfect size for you to make rice with them.  So, if you ever get a hold of the larger pouch then allow me to share my recipe for making a pot of rice with them

Arroz con salchicas 

serves approx. 4

  • 1 family size pouch of salchichas carmelas (or about 5 cans chopped but with the juice/caldo)
  • 1/2 5oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt to taste (be mindful that the caldo from the salchichas can be rather salty, so taste first before adding salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (I use long grain)
  1. Place medium pot over med-hi heat and pour vegetable oil while it heats.
  2. Stir in sofrito until it is fragrant.
  3. Toss in salchichas and tomato sauce.
  4. Pour in water and stir until it all comes together.  Cover and allow to come to a full boil.
  5. Pour in rice and let it come to a simmering bubble, mixing.
  6. Turn heat onto low and allow to cook for 20mins or until rice is fully cooked.

 Enjoy!

My arroz con salchicha

PS: Mom, if you are reading this… I am out of salchichas. Send more.  Please and thank you.

 

The way the bombshell does Super Bowl February 11, 2011

Filed under: food,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 1:15 PM
Tags: , , ,

For the weeks leading up to Super Bowl, the idea was tossed around that maybe the Stalker and I would throw a Super Bowl party.  But then it snowed.

A LOT!

And with all the snow went our inspiration to make outrageously junky food.  Because, when we think of football, we think of the sorts of food you eat while snacking in between innings (periods? goals?  Who’s on first?  Yeah Yeah.. I don’t know football, but I do know enough that the game has quarters and not the kind that you spend or use in a drinking game.)  I mean, we found a recipe for Snicker Bar Apple Salad to go with the theme.  However, we just never got around to buying the stuff to make an awesome in-home tailgating party which is the tradition in the bombshell home for as far back as I can remember.

Instead, the bombshell has to do what she does best… engineer delicious food with whatever one has on hand!

So I made what I call slider pocket pies, fried with rotel and avocados. That's a pomegranate martini on the side. It's also the Stalker's plate because mine was too drowned in the rotel cheese sauce to be able to distinguish the food.

It was delicious.  But once I finished making the food portion of the Super Bowl celebration, I was over the whole event.  The Stalker loved the slider pocket pies so much, however that we had to go out and get the ingredients to make them all again the very next day.  So we had these many days in a row.

I don’t remember where we first saw the recipe for these… but I believe there were large burgers.  Maybe it was Paula Deen.  However, the cream cheese center is something my family and I do to all our burgers.  It’s an extra yummy burst of creamy deliciousness to delight you with every bite.

Burger Slider Pocket Pies

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 package of pillsbury crescent roll dough
  • cream cheese
  • additional slice cheese optional
  • 1 egg
  1. Season beef as you normally would for burgers.  I use a mixture of adobo, garlic powder, pepper, italian seasoning and a steakhouse marinade.  Mix well until it’s moist but not too sticky or gooey.
  2. Separate meat into 8 equal portions.  This is approximately 2oz. per slider.  Now, each portion make into 2 circular disks.  Remember: meat tends to shrink when cooked, so the thinner and flatter the better.  Be sure each disc is about the same size.
  3. On half of the prepared discs, place about a teaspoon of cream cheese.  I tend to ball the cream cheese together a little and then flatten it into a smaller disc that the meat is.  Cover with the matching meat part and press together the seams well.  This takes some gentle rolling and needing.  Just be sure that there is no visible seam where the patties were joined and that the cream cheese is completely covered.
  4. On medium-high heat, cook each little slider for about 90 seconds on each side.  Put on a plate and set aside to cool.
  5. Turn on oven to 375F and beat an egg to have as an egg wash.
  6. Open crescent roll package.  It will be a large rectangular shape comprised of 4 rectangles, each with 2 triangles.  ONLY SEPARATE THE 4 LARGE RECTANGLES.  Flour your surface lightly and roll with a rolling pin to seal the seams of the triangles together.  With a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle down the center creating 2 squarish pieces.
  7. You will have a total of 8 squarish pieces.  With each of there, roll out into a thin square, probably about 4 inches.
  8. Place your cooked slider in the center.  You can place a small square of cheese on top.
  9. Otherwise, bring in the 4 corners of the pastry, sealing the tips by brushing with the egg wash was to hold them together.  Make sure there are no gaps.  When in doubt, use a bit more egg wash and it will glue it closed.
  10. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.  Repeat with the 7 ensuing sliders.
  11. Liberally coat with egg wash.
  12. Bake for 15-18 minutes until each pocket pie looks golden brown and delicious.
  13. Enjoy with topping of choice like you would any other burger.
 

A girl revising her gingerbread recipe January 6, 2011

Filed under: baking,Gingerbread,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 5:59 AM

Amongst my friends, I am known for my cookies.  It is a big deal to be on my Christmas cookie list.  Some people lobby for weeks and months.  Zarishi has been lobbying for me to send him cookies for years now!  This year, because funds were so limited, I only made a single batch of gingerbread cookies and some chocolate chunk cookies and only sent some to my Mr. Land.  The rest are here… not really being eaten by the skinny people I reside with.

But it just would not have been Christmas had we not made cookies!

When I was going to make them, I just took the recipe off my blog.  Doing this reminded me of the often heard complaint I receive from Luskca.  That even though she follows my recipe precisely as I list them, she knows they never taste the same as when I make them.

She isn’t wrong about this either.

Seeing my recipe listed, I knew immediately that I don’t make it as I put it there.  I make some noticeable changes according to my taste.  So, I thought in the spirit of giving, I am going to share with you a closer version of my gingerbread cookie recipe.

Note that I said closer version.

I can’t share my real version.

Not because I’m a selfish bitch baker but because so much of how I cook and bake is really by gut feeling and taste.  I want to be able to tell you how to make it precisely like mine but once I make my recipe as listed, I still add a few more dashes of this and that until it *feels* right to me.  Mr. Land calls me a food whisperer.  In a way I suppose that I am.  I do let the food tell me by feeling how it should be.  It’s like something I can hear through my fingertips.

And yes, I do know one does not hear using their fingertips.

Enjoy!

Gingerbread Cutouts

Makes one tree or approximately 8 dozen

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 generous tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • a solid splash/dash of vanilla extract
  • colored sugar, if desired for decoration

1.      In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter and corn syrup; beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg; blend well.

2.      Add half the flour and all the remaining ingredients, mix well to form smooth dough.  Taste until it seems tasty to you.  Add the rest of the flour.  More flour or less flour may be required depending on humidity; dough should just have lost its stickiness and be smooth.  Divide in thirds, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

3.      Heat oven to 350°F.  On floured surface, roll out a third of dough at a time to 1/8 thickness.  (keep remaining dough refrigerated).  Cut with floured cutters in any shape desired.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  These cookies tend to spread.  So if you have not rolled out thicker, leave a generous margin for cookie spread.  If desired, sprinkle and lightly press in colored sugar for decoration.

4.      Bake for 9-11 minutes or until set.  Immediately remove from cookie sheets.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

 

 

A girl with neverending leftovers November 29, 2010

Filed under: food,Random musings,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 2:54 PM

You know, when I made Thanksgiving dinner for two, I think I still overestimated just how much food we’d need.  I thought we had made a solid dent in the food and have been trying to get through as many of the leftovers as we could.  The problem is that I made other things before Thanksgiving and we had other leftovers that needed eating too.  I made a pear pie and I think a fourth of it is still lurking in the fridge.  The Mexican lasagna was polished off finally only yesterday when I had the last piece for lunch.

As for the things from Thanksgiving…

I was able to put in most of the turkey, all of the gravy and use up all of the mashed potatoes and sweet potato.  But then we had about half of that leftover after we had it for dinner.  Slowly we’ve eaten through it and I’m going to have the last piece for lunch today.  I’m happy to report that over the weekend we finally did eat all the turkey and creamed spinach.

Last night’s dinner, I had to get creative.

I flattened out a pair of boneless chicken breasts, seasoned them, and places a fine layer of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese before putting a stuffing muffin into each one.  I rolled them up, seared them in some olive oil before putting them into a 375F oven.  It was very tasty and I baked some fresh corn on the cob in foil packets with butter and seasoning.  I also blanched some fresh green beans and tossed them in an asian ginger dressing.  Delicious and thankfully very different than what we’ve eaten so far this week.

Plus there were NO leftovers!

I’m happy to report that tonight all I need to do is discover a way to use the last of the cranberry sauce and corn bread.  I’ve been thinking about it all day so I think I know what I’m going to do.  It will involve potatoes and boneless pork chops, I believe.  Should be tasty.

But finally polish off the leftovers!

Just in time too.

Since tomorrow I will be winding my way westward to Arkansas.  Can’t leave too much food behind.  I’m happy that I was able to calculate all the food we would need for these 10days.  Seems I’m not so bad at food estimations after all.

 

Mexican Lasagna November 24, 2010

Filed under: food,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 1:57 PM

This recipe, I will admit, came to me in a dream.

For realz.

About a month ago, I envisioned this recipe when we didn’t have too much in the pantry and the corn tortillas were rather inspiring. It is so delicious and I knew that I had to make it for my Mr. Land.  I hope you make it too.  Just remember to add a big dollop of sour cream on top.  You’ll thank me later.

Mexican Lasagna 8in. square pan

  • 15- 20 corn tortillas
  • 2lbs ground beef
  • taco sauce
  • 8oz cheddar cheese
  • small onion
  • half bell pepper
  • large tomato
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • cilantro
  • hot sauce, optional
  1. Brown beef in a deep skillet.  Season with salt, pepper, adobo and sazon.  Add diced onions, peppers and tomatoes.  Allow to cook down.  Add 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
  2. In a sauce pan, on medium heat, simmer black beans with 1/2 cup tomato sauce, cilantro, salt and a couple dashes of hot sauce.
  3. Mash the beans until a creamy paste.
  4. Oil pan liberally.  Cut 4 tortillas and place straight edges along the sides of the pan, setting a whole tortilla to fill space in the center.  I recommend a double layer on the base, but that’s optional.
  5. Layer taco sauce, 1/3 of cheese, half of meat and all the refried beans.  Place another layer of tortillas, taco sauce, rest of meat and part of the cheese.
  6. Place final layer of tortillas, taco sauce and cheese.
  7. Bake at 375F for 30mins or until top layer of tortillas are golden on the edges and inside mixture is bubbling.
  8. Allow to rest for 5-10minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

 

Crystallizing flowers August 3, 2010

Filed under: Final product,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 6:50 AM

The biggest sensation about my cake were the flowers on top.  There were long secret discussion on whether they were real or fake.  But I am here to tell you that they were very much real!

REAL I tell you!

But before anyone considers using flowers for any sort of edible arrangement, you should know the following:

  • Verify if any flower to be used is approved as something edible.  Not all flowers are.
  • NEVER use a flower that has had any pesticide or insecticide used on it.
  • If purchasing from any vendor, be sure to verify the previous.
  • And never use any flowers that have been growing near a highly transited road or highway.

Now, if all these things are all good and clear, you’re good to go.  I also recommend using smaller flowers and none that have either too thin petals or too thick.

I did the following process twice, with hibiscuses and orchids, but it’s the same thing.

All you need is superfine granulated white sugar and one egg white.

Then you do the following:

Place flowers in cold water for 15mins.

The flowers should be upside down and the water several inches deep.

Pat the flowers dry with paper towel and then paint each petal carefully with egg white. I think it's easier to do the underside of the flower first.

Spoon sugar on flower petals over a bowl.

I found it helped to put a pin into them to hold without touching the flower. I did all undersides and let them dry a bit before repeating the process with the other side.

With the large flowers, I let them dry on a large egg carton tray.

The orchids I used a wire rack covered in wax paper with pins shoved in the underside to pin the flowers on.

In the end, I liked the look of the orchids better for the proportion of the cake.  The amapolas just seemed to be huge things and would have taken up most of the top of the cake.  I wanted to use several so that the cake would really look like a basket of flowers.

I think I got the intended affect, don't you think?

 

White Velvet Butter Cake with Strawberry Mousseline Buttercream May 11, 2010

Filed under: baking,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 9:13 PM

Serving for all

(All the following recipes are from The Cake Bible but I’m posting them as I made them and not how they are listed.)

White Velvet Butter Cake (made in 2 9in round pans, greased and floured)

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In small bowl lightly combine egg whites, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.
  3. In mixer bowl, combine ALL dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the softened butter and remaining milk.  Mix on low speed until moistened and then increase speed to medium for 2 minutes.
  4. Scrape down sides and gradually add egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition; scraping sides to ensure complete incorporation.
  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and smooth surface with spatula.
  6. Bake for 25-35minutes… even though it took me closer to 45minutes to complete.
  7. Allow cakes to cool in pans on racks for 10minutes, loosen sides and invert onto greased wire racks.  Reinvert so taps are up and cool completely to prevent splitting.
  8. Wrap airtight and place in fridge overnight.

Final Review: This cake is so very lovely and delicate.  The vanilla flavor really comes through.  If it is to be consumed within the first day or two of baking, I would say there is no need to moisten with a syrup (equal parts water and sugar).  However, if you want it to keep for several days, I would suggest a liberal dousing with the syrup on either layer.  As non-selfrising cake flour is impossible to find here, I used the allpurpose flour/cornstarch substitute recommended by the book’s author.  However, if you have it available to you, just use 3 cups cake flour instead.

Strawberry Puree (makes 1 1/4 cups unsweetened)

  • 20 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar, optional

  1. Thaw the strawberries in a colander over a bowl.  When defrosted, press strawberries so they release their juice.  It should total 1 1/4 cups worth.
  2. Boil strawberry juice in a medium saucepan until it has reduced to a 1/4 cup.
  3. Put strawberries in a food processor and puree.  It should be 1 cup total.
  4. Pour in strawberry syrup and lemon juice, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Blend in sugar if you wish for it to be sweetened, which for the ensuing buttercream, it should be.  I would recommend putting the sugar in the hot strawberry syrup for the best dissolution of the crystals.

Final Review: This puree was a thick treat when sweetened and all on it’s own.  I had to keep myself from eating it all.  Because the strawberries were still kind of frosty, the resulting mixture even after all the boiled down syrup was still rather cool to the touch.  However, to use in the buttercream, I left it in the fridge overnight.

Strawberry Mousseline Buttercream (this single batch was more than enough to frost the whole cake. I would have had enough to pipe some edges, but I opted to let the family eat the leftover after coating the whole cake.)

  • 4 sticks (one pound) softened but still cool butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sweetened strawberry puree
  1. Beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Set aside in a cool place.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan heat 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.  Turn to low if using a gas stove, turn off if your stove is electric.
  3. In mixing bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar SLOWLY while still beating until firm peaks form.
  5. Increase heat on sugar syrup and bring to a boil until it reaches hard ball stage.  I measure this as the temperature where dipping a fork into the sugar and raising it allows beads to form on the tips of the tines but do not fall off.
  6. Pour sugar syrup in a steady stream into the eggs on medium speed being careful not to pour over the beater.  Allow to beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
  7. If mixture is not cool, beat at low speed until it is.  It took me about 15-min to reach this stage.  Don’t be afraid to just let it mix.  It’s very important this NOT be hot in the slightest.  If in doubt, let it beat a while longer.  I check by sticking my finger in the very center of it, all the way to the bottom of the bowl and seeing how it feels.
  8. Add butter a tablespoon at a time, beating at medium speed, ensuring butter is incorporated before next addition.  The mixture will appear to puddle for the first stick or two but by the third and forth, it should begin to form a cohesive smooth and firm buttercream.
  9. Mix in the strawberry puree until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides.  The mixture will be a soft pink with flecks of red and black from the strawberries.  If you plan to store this for several days, add a few drops of coloring to help it remain it’s lovely shade.

Final Review: OMG is this thing delicious!  At first, the butteriness sort of hits you but if you allow it to mellow together, like frosting your cake in the morning and serving it at night, the strawberry flavor really comes through.  I placed the buttercream in the fridge while I cut up the layers and then frosted my cake thoroughly.  It held up beautifully, even with the thick layer of cake on top of it.  The specks of strawberry do not allow this to fully smooth out when icing the cake but it’s part of the charm.  When in the fridge, the buttercream tends to firm up too much, so I would recommend letting the cake set out on the counter at least 15min before serving to give the buttercream a chance to soften up.  There are other versions of this buttercream in the book, some using yolks but I find the yolk takes longer to cool down and has too much margin for error on that front.  I prefer this egg white version and according to The Cake Bible it’s the most stable of buttercreams when made.  The key is in the butter temperature.  It MUST be fully soft but still COOL for it to really come together.

Enjoy!