Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lemon Bars





1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 C lemon juice, freshly squeezed
(t tsp lemon zest.. optional)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green food coloring to give a very pale green. After both pans have cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checker board fashion.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup (tortilla's optoinal)

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Chile pequins, other dried hot peppers, or cayenne pepper to taste*
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups unsalted chicken stock (homemade is best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups cooked chicken
Optional:
6 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for deep-frying (I just use corn chips)
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and , stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
Add cumin and crushed peppers or cayenne and sauté for another minute.
Add pumpkin, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour. (or even better for 4+ hours in crock pot)
(or make life easier by using premade tortilla chips... although this does taste better)
While the soup is simmering, cut the  6 tortillas in half and then into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips to towels to drain.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.