Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mexican Gazpacho

With this relative heat wave we have been experiencing so early this summer, I wanted to whip up something cool and delicious for dinner. This Gazpacho has a slight Latin twist with the roasted corn and chili powder flavors. If you like tomatoes you are sure to love this cold soup. It only gets better the longer the ingredients meld in the fridge, if you are lucky enough to have leftovers that is!

Mexican Gazpacho

4 large ears of Corn On The Cob, Sweet
1 large Yellow Bell Pepper
1 large Green Bell Pepper
1 large Red Bell Pepper
1 loaf Artisan French Bread
20 oz Canned Tomatoes, Petite Diced
20 oz Canned Tomato Sauce
1 cup Button Mushrooms
1 medium Onion, Sweet
3 cloves Fresh Garlic
2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 cup Vegetable Stock (natural, Cooking)
3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
7 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Start with the Corn on the Cob:

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Husk each ear, being sure to remove all of the silk as well. Place the ears in a baking dish and coat with 2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil. season the ears with a little of the Cumin and Chili Powder and Salt and Pepper to taste.
Roast in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the ears are fork tender. Pull the ears out and let cool.

Meanwhile char the Bell Peppers. This can be done directly over a low flame of a gas stove. Keep rotating the peppers with tongs until most of their skins have blackened and the flesh is partly cooked through. When the skins are almost completely charred, remove the peppers to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to rest in the covered bowl for 10 - 15 minutes. The steam released by the charred peppers will help soften the skins.

Slice the French Break into thick slices (8 - 10) Place on a baking sheet, and drizzle with some of the Olive Oil. Toast in the hot oven after the corn has come out, up to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the bread!

Open the cans of Tomatoes and pour into a large bowl. Dice the Mushrooms, and Onions and drop into the bowl. Grate in 2 cloves of the garlic, saving on clove for the toast.

When the Corn is cool enough to touch slice off the kernels. A good trick is to place a small bowl upside down inside of a larger bowl. Use the small bowl as a platform for the cob and carefully slice off the kernels into the large bowl. Dump them into the tomato mixture in the large bowl.

When the peppers have rested remove from the bowl. The charred skin will be soft enough to remove with a kitchen towel. Just rub the skins off. Cut the flesh away from the cores, remove any seed and dice. Add the diced peppers to the tomato mixture.

Stir everything together - season with the remaining Cumin, Chili Powder, Balsamic Vinegar, and 2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil. If the mixture is to thick, thin with 1/2 - 1 cup of the vegetable stock.

To finish the toast, rub the last garlic clove over each slice of the toasted bread.

Allow the soup to chill. Serve with a slice of garlic toast and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Domestic House of Waffles

One thing I miss about not living at home, is the big Sunday breakfasts we used to have after church.

There was usually eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, potatoes, steamed onion, maybe some pancakes or french toast, fruit, and if we were lucky, cinnamon buns. Yummm. This was the kind of meal that lead to early afternoon naps before the sports began on T.V.

In that frame of mind I decided to make some waffles, from scratch of course!

Whole Wheat Waffles

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1/4 c to 1 cup Butter, melted
1 1/2 cups Milk

Preheat your waffle iron.
Whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

Blend the eggs, melted butter and milk thoroughly in another bowl. For a lighter waffle use only 4 tbsp of butter (1/2 stick). To make an extra crispy waffle go for all of the 1 cup of butter (2 sticks). For a good in between waffle stick to the 1/2 cup amount (1 stick).

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine with a few quick strokes of the whisk. Don't over mix the batter or your waffles will come out tough.

If you want to add any additions (like fruit, chocolate chips, etc) now would be the time.

To cook, pour about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of batter onto the center of the bottom plate of the iron, so that its about 2/3 covered. There's no need to grease the iron because of all of the butter in the batter.

Close up the iron and watch and wait. Let the waffle cook for about 4 minutes. The waffle will be ready when the steam stops escaping from the side of the iron. If the iron seams difficult to open, the waffle probably isn't quite ready, let it cook for a minute more and try again.

Serve warm with some maple syrup for a traditional breakfast treat.

Left overs can be frozen individually in a freezer bag and thawed later for a quick treat. I like to put the frozen waffles directly into the toaster, then slather them with peanut-butter and jelly for a breakfast sandwich on the go.