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Archive for the ‘Sauces, Condiments, Techniques, and Substitutions’ Category

For our retreat to Mala Duba, we decided to make a few casseroles ahead of time and cook them once in Mala Duba.  This was a yummy, comforting casserole that did great being frozen and then baked a few days later.  I combined a few different recipes to create this dish.  The ground turkey was an unexpected and delicious change from the normal ground beef, and it’s less expensive here than beef is. 

Tamale Pie with Cornbread Crust

Adapted from this and this recipe

500 g ground turkey                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 28 oz can tomatoes, chopped
1 pkg. taco seasoning, plus additional cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste                                                                                                                                                                                                    
1 can kidney beans (rinsed)
1 small can green chilis
1 can corn
2-3 cups shredded cheese
1 box jiffy corn bread mix or one recipe cornbread crust (below)

– In large pot, brown turkey with chopped onions. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. – Add all other ingredients up to cheese. Simmer for a few minutes, adjusting seasonings as needed. Meanwhile, prepare cornbread crust.  Pour meat filling into 9×13 pan. Top with shredded cheese.  Spread cornbread onto top of casserole. Bake at 375 uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until cornbread is browned and filling is bubbly, or cover with foil and freeze.  To freeze frozen casserole, defrost for 30 minutes at room temperature, bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until crust is done, about 30-45 minutes.

Cornbread Crust

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk

1 egg

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and stir to mix.

 

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YUM, YUM, YUM!!! I concocted the idea for these wraps while sitting on the beach yesterday, and couldn’t wait to try them once I had the idea in my head. And I wasn’t disappointed! They were delicious, although I couldn’t help but think while making the wraps and bbq sauce how much quicker they’d be to make if I lived in the States and could just buy the ingredients already prepared. But we were blessed to have received some Ranch dressing in a package from the States, so at least I didn’t worry about having to create my own dressing!

Wraps
Adapted from Homesick Texan’s Flour Tortillas

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp veg oil
3/4 cup warm milk

Stir together all dry ingredients. Add milk and oil and stir to combine. Knead until just mixed, adding water a teaspoon at a time as needed for a supple dough. Divide into six piece, roll each into a ball, and let rest for a few minutes. Heat up a griddle on medium-high heat, and roll each ball into as thin a wrap as possible. Cook on the griddle until just forming golden spots on each side. Keep covered until ready to use.

*I really dislike these “tortillas” in Mexican food – they taste more like a pancake than a tortilla to me. However, because they’re a little thicker and chewier than tortillas, I think they work great as wraps. They take a little effort to roll out – try to get them as thin as possible, because they will puff up a bit when being cooked.

Barbeque Sauce
from Serious Eats’ Basic Barbeque Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons molasses
1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/4 – 1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a pan and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

*A half of a tablespoon of Tabasco makes for a pretty spicy sauce. Yum!

BBQ-Ranch Chicken Wraps

1 b/s chicken breast
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Tomato, sliced into half moons
Whole lettuce leaves
Few tablespoons of chopped onion
Wraps
Ranch Dressing
BBQ Sauce

Coat chicken breast with bbq sauce, sprinkle with salt, and bake in 200C oven until done. Slice into 1/8 inch thick slices and let cool.

Spread bbq sauce on wrap. Lay down large leaf of lettuce and top with chicken, bacon, tomato, onion, and ranch dressing. Add more bbq sauce as needed, roll into wrap, and slice in half. Enjoy!

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The last time I lived in Croatia, stir-fry was one of the only meals I knew how to make. Needless to say, I ended up eating a lot of stir-fry. A lot. Like, way, way too much. Especially considering I hated the way I made it, and that I’m not a big fan of white rice. So once I returned to the States and decided to learn how to cook more than just stir-fry and plain chicken breasts, this dish fell out of my cooking repertoire, and since then I’ve never looked back.

Until now.

Last night we were getting hungry and it was getting late, and although these aren’t usually the best circumstances in which to try a new recipe, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather have than something with a peanut sauce. Weird, considering the fact that I’ve never actually eaten anything with peanut sauce. Thankfully, we had to go to the store anyways, so I was able to pick up all of the ingredients for the meal that I ended up creating. At least, I thought I had all of the ingredients.

Upon returning from the store, I threw on a pot of water to boil, chopped the chicken into small cubes and sauteed in olive oil, and set about to cut up the veggies. While those were sauteeing, I began to tackle my peanut sauce…until I looked in the fridge and realized that I had about a tablespoon of peanut butter. Peanut butter is a precious commodity in Croatia – I found out a few weeks ago that the health food store next door to my house carries a relatively yummy peanut butter for a reasonable price, but apparently I was so excited by this discovery that I ate nearly the whole jar. Oops. Thankfully, however, David had bought a huge bag of peanuts for a snack, so we quickly set to work shelling about a quarter of a cup of the peanuts. While the sauce wasn’t as creamy as it would have been with peanut butter, it still tasted delicious. The whole meal was finished in less than a half an hour, was inexpensive and filling, and most importantly, was delicious! My faith in stir-fries has been renewed, with the realization that they don’t have to contain rice (the whole wheat spaghetti was delicious and didn’t require nearly as much sauce as rice), the predominant flavor doesn’t have to be soy sauce, and the veggies don’t have to be overcooked and soggy.

Peanut Sauce
adapted from Cooking With Amy

1/4 cup natural (unsweetened) peanut butter, or shelled peanuts
2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
dash of ground ginger
1/4 cup water

Puree ingredients through water in mini food processor, gradually adding water until mixture is smooth. Add remaining water, place in a saucepan on medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until sauce is bubbling, adding up to 1/4 cup water as needed.

Stir-Fry
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 carrot, shaved into ribbons
1 zucchini, cut in to 1/2 inch thick half-moons
1/2 onion, cut into small strips
1 red pepper, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
Whole wheat spaghetti
Spicy Peanut Sauce

Cook spaghetti. On medium-high heat, cook chicken in a little olive oil until they begin to brown. Remove to a plate and saute the veggies until just softened but still al dente. Add the chicken and spaghetti to the pan, add the peanut sauce, and stir to combine all ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve!

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We wanted to serve Nachos Bel Grande for our team dinner this week, and to introduce Suzana to this food, but we can’t buy nacho cheese sauce here. So we decided to try to make it, and with help from a recipe on Allrecipes.com (and cayenne pepper I added), about thirty minutes later we were enjoying genuine nachos, complete with the hot, spicy cheese. And Suzana? She was in heaven. I think it’s her new favorite food.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
7 slices cheddar cheese “singles”
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, till thickened. Add the cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper, melt, let thicken, and serve! Makes about 4 servings.

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It’s always fun to introduce my Croatian friends to America’s favorite foods. Since I’ve never seen anything resembling Caramel Corn in Split, I decided to try to make some for Suzana and Tea when they came over the other night. They loved it, and the four of us finished a bowl of popcorn in just a few minutes. I like this recipe because it’s lighter and not quite as sickeningly-sweet as commercially produced popcorn, can be made without corn syrup (which isn’t available at stores here), and with some peanuts thrown in, makes a satisfying snack!

Kristin’s Caramel Corn

4-5 cups popped popcorn

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup raw peanuts

Preheat oven to 300 F (15o C).

Melt together sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt in a pot on medium heat. Cook until bubbling, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the popcorn and peanuts, mixing in a big bowl to coat evenly. Return to the pan and cook for about another minute, stirring.

Spread popcorn mixture onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

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