Blackberry Crumble Bars

Blackberry Crumble Bars

From June 9, 2007:  I made these treats this morning for my hubby and son to take to a party this afternoon.  I thought they were really good, although a bit messy (crumbly). I adapted this recipe from one I found using raspberry jam and walnuts on the familyfun.com site.

Blackberry Crumble Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut up
1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup blackberry jam (preferably seedless)

Heat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9- by 9-inch baking pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the flour and salt and beat just until the dough forms clumps. Don’t overmix. Turn out the dough onto a piece of waxed paper. Lightly flour your hands and squeeze the dough into a ball (the warmth of your hands will soften the dough enough to hold it together).

Divide the dough into thirds. Crumble one third into a bowl and set it aside. Press the remaining two thirds evenly into the greased pan and bake it on the center oven rack for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the dough are lightly golden. Set the pan on a wire rack.  While the dough cools, add the oats and pecans to the reserved dough in the bowl and pinch the ingredients together so that the mixture becomes crumbly.

Spread the blackberry jam on the baked shortbread (it’s OK if the dough is still warm), then cover the jam with an even layer of the crumb topping. Bake the bars for 20 to 24 minutes, until the top crumbs are golden brown, then set the pan back on the wire cooling rack.  While the shortbread is still slightly warm, cut it into 21/4-inch squares. Once the bars cool completely (they are very fragile while warm), lift them from the pan with a spatula.


Black Bean and Potato Empanadas (or Chimichangas) with Green Chile Sauce

Black Bean and Potato Empanadas (or Chimichangas) with Green Chile Sauce

The Green Chile Sauce is absolutely amazing!  It is essential for this recipe, IMO.  The recipe is from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison.  The original recipe suggest Hatch green chiles, but I can’t get those in Virginia.  Poblanos work really well, as do Anaheim chiles, and are available year-round in most grocery stores.  This particular time, I picked up some chiles (I’m not sure what they were) at the farmers’ market.  The black bean and potato mixture is a filling I created to stuff chimichangas.  It’s one of those, a pinch of this, a pinch of that non-recipes.  Recently I ran across a package of Goya Empanada wrappers in the freezer case at a local grocery store and thought it would be fun to stuff those. I’ll definitely use those again…they rocked…I’m thinking they would be perfect for Samosas!

To prepare the Empanadas (or Chimichangas…just use a flour tortilla):  place filling in empanada wrapper (about 2 tablespoons) and fold over to encase.  Use a fork to seal the edges.  If making chimichangas, place filling in the middle of a flour tortilla and fold over two facing edges.  Roll up the chimichanga like a burrito/wrap and secure with a toothpick.  Fry the empanada or chimichanga in hot oil until hot and golden brown.  Serve with the green chile sauce.

Black Bean and Potato Filling

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 2 russet potatoes, diced small and cooked until just tender
salt
ground cumin
ground coriander
garlic powder

Gently combine the black beans and cooked potatoes.  Season with salt, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder to taste.

Note:  A chopped jalapeno or serrano and chopped fresh cilantro are also good additions to this filling.  Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese can also be added.

Green Chile Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped roasted mild green chile, preferably new Mexican or Anaheim, fresh or frozen
2 cups of vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander

In a heavy saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until well softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, then add the flour and continue cooking for another 1 or 2 minutes.  Mix in the chile.  Pour in the stock and add the seasonings.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until thickened but still very pourable.

The sauce keeps refrigerated, for about 5 days and freezes well.

From The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison.


Quick and Easy Shrimp (Curry) Laksa

Quick and Easy Shrimp (Curry) Laksa

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia.  There are a gabillion different variations of it.  Some have a curry-coconut broth while others have a sour fish broth or tamarind-based broth.  Laksa can be made with seafood, chicken, beef, and/or tofu.  It reminds me of one of my favorite soups from the Chiang Mai region of Thailand, Kao Soi.  This particular Laksa recipe is one I came up with after scanning about 20 other Laksa recipes online.  It’s not all that authenic, but it is quick, tasty, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found at most American grocery stores.  I actually ended up using sambal olek instead of the Thai sweet chilli sauce to punch up the heat level.  I also sprinkled fried shallot on my soup.

Quick and Easy Shrimp (Curry) Laksa

2 tablespoons of peanut or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion. finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, pelled and finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 tablespoon of Thai sweet chilli sauce (or sambal olek)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1 can coconut milk
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
fish sauce, to taste
fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges
chopped fresh chiles (optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and saute the onion until transparent.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.  Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sweet chilli sauce.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.

As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the shrimp and coconut milk.  Let cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Season to taste with the fish sauce (or salt).

Divide the cooked rice noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and chiles (optional).


Tortilla Crusted Cod in a Coriander Cream Sauce

Tortilla Crusted Cod in a Coriander Cream Sauce

From June 6, 2007:  I love El Milagro tortilla chips.  They are thin, crispy, and unsalted.  I discovered them in Austin, Texas and was estatic when they started selling them this year at the Super Target here in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  I save the crumbs at the bottom of the bag of tortilla chips to use for Migas, but wanted to find an additional use for them.  This was an experiment that went wonderfully right.  It was quick to put together.  I served it with a salad and a veggie medley of onions, garlic, zucchini, and golden hominy.  A great weeknight dinner.

Tortilla Crusted Cod in a Coriander Cream Sauce

cod fillets
ground coriander
salt
pepper
tortilla chips, finely crushed
2 eggs, 1 seperated
1 T. water or milk
2 T. butter
6 T. heavy cream
1 T. capers
1 tsp. lemon juice
canola oil for pan-frying

Season cod with salt, pepper, and ground coriander.  In a bowl mix 1 egg, the seperated egg white and the 1 T. of water or milk. Dip fish in egg mixture and dredge in the crushed tortilla chips.  Pan fry over medium-high heat, turning the fish once, until golden brown, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Remove fish from hot oil and drain on paper towels.  Meanwhile, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat.  Add cream, 1/4 tsp. ground coriander, and seperated egg yolk; whisking.  When heated through (do not let it boil) and starting to thicken, add capers and lemon juice.  Serve cream sauce with the tortilla crusted cod.


Colorado Cowboy Cookies

Colorado Cowboy  Cookies

I made these cookies recently and they were super yummy. I used 1/8 cup of cookie dough for each cookie instead of 1/4 cup and they were still pretty honkin’ big. I used pecans instead of walnuts (it’s a Texas thing). These cookies would be great for a bake sale or a nice lunchbox treat.

Colorado Cowboy Cookies
Source:  Olive’s Sandwich Shop in SoHo, NYC

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces)

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat until just blended. Stir in the choand walnuts. Cover dough and chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let soften slightly before continuing.)

Arrange 2 racks in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 baking sheets. Form dough into balls, using 1/4 cup dough for each. Place on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten with hand to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and firm in center, about 4 minutes longer. Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.


Blackberry Crumble

From August 4, 2005:  Last week, we met some friends at the Westmoreland Berry Farm and picked the most stunning blackberries I have ever seen.  Not only were they huge, they were also sweet and juicy…honestly, the best blackberries I have ever had.  I froze more than half of the 6 pounds I got for later use.  We ate many of the fresh berries out of hand.  With what was left, I made a blackberry crumble.

Crumbles are very easy to make.  Different fruits or a combination of fruits (what’s in season) can be used to make a variety of crumbles.  I have used apples, blueberries, and peaches.  Peaches and blueberries work well together.  If you don’t have fresh fruit, use frozen.  I like a lot of crumble topping, so sometimes I’ll double the recipe to get the ratio of topping/fruit I like.


Blackberry Crumble

Topping:
1 cup quick-cooking oats (I used 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup 9-grain cereal)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup wheat germ or oat bran
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter

At least 2 cups fresh blackberries (frozen can be used instead)
1 – 2 tablspoons sugar (I used 1 packet of Splenda)

Preheat the oven to 350  degrees.

Combine the first 6 topping ingredients in a small bowl to make the crumble topping.

Wash the fresh blackberries and toss with sugar.  Pour the fruit into a lightly oiled 9-by 9-inch baking pan or round pie plate and pat in evenly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the topping is golden and turning crisp. Allow to cool until just warm, then serve on its own or topped whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt.