Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mexican Flan (Tres Leches)

For a group rotation dinner (Mexican theme), I made a wonderful dessert called Tres Leches Mexican Flan. Tres leches means three milks. 

I usually make my cream cheese flan ( but wanted something more traditional. 

This is an outstanding dessert!

Adapted from: 

Tres Leches Mexican Flan 
My notes in [ … ]

Yields: 6 servings [More like 8 servings]
Prep time: 30 min
Carmel cook time: 10 min
Flan cook time: 60 minutes

1 cup granulated sugar
Drop of lemon juice
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Zest of one orange
2 cups whole or 2% milk [I used half and half]
5 large eggs [I used extra large]
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Heavy-bottom, high-sided saucepan
8 1/2-inch rectangular loaf pan  [I used an 8 x 8 baking dish]
Large high-sided pan (to set the loaf pan in)

Prepare Caramel - Caramelized Sugar:

In the saucepan over low to medium-low heat, combine 1 cup sugar and a drop of lemon juice (the lemon juice keeps the mixture from hardening or crystalling). Keep it on a low heat and watch that the sugar doesn't burn. 

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour quickly into the pan (be very careful not to get any on you) and coat the entire bottom. Set aside. 

Prepare Flan:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. or 180 degrees C. Adjust oven rack to center position.

In a blender, combine evaporated milk, condensed milk, orange zest, whole or 2% milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt; process until smooth. Let the flan mixture sit approximately 10 to 15 minutes. After resting, remove any top foam that formed when blending the ingredients and discard. Stir the flan mixture just before pouring in your loaf baking pan.

Pour the prepared flan mixture into the loaf pan. Place the filled loaf pan into an ovenproof roasting or baking pan. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.

Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the loaf pan. For ease of carrying, first place the larger pan (containing the filled loaf pan) on the oven rack, then pour the boiling water into the large baking pan. It is so much easier than moving the pans with water in them.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes (depending on depth of your pan) or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. When the center of custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's when you can remove it from the oven (the flans will continue to set as they cool). If using a digital instant-read thermometer, inserted in the centers, it should register 180 degrees F. Begin checking temperature about 10 minutes before recommended times.

Remove from oven and remove the flan pan from the water bath. Place on your counter and let cool approximately 60 minutes.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours  [5 hours for me] or overnight.

To Unmold and Serve:

When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator at least 1 hour before unmolding.

Using a thin knife, separate the edge of the flan from the pan to make sure that the flan edges are not sticking to the sides of the pan.

Place a flat bottom plate on top of the pan and flip over. Let sit for about 15 minutes before removing the pan. The caramel will drip over the top and sides of the flan. Any leftover in the pan, just scrape on top of the flan.

Yum!! This is now one of my favorite desserts to make. Very easy to make and so delicious!! I love the hint of the orange zest.

Hawaiian Mac Salad

For one of my monthly group rotation dinners, the food theme was "Hawaii 5-0." 

I decided to make a Hawaiian macaroni salad. Anytime I order a local plate lunch in Hawaii, it comes with mac salad. Yum! There are so many versions that I wasn't sure which one I wanted to make. 

I found a recipe on youtube, which I thought the recipe sounded ono (delicious); but also Janice Morimoto was halarious!! 

I followed her recipe but made a much larger batch, so the quantities of the ingredients are mine. 

Hawaiian Style Mac Salad 
2 C cabbage, uncooked sliced very thin 
3 T onions, finely diced 
3 small potatoes, boiled peeled, cubed small 
1 Lb macaroni (I used 25 oz. cooked) 
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 can tuna, drained 
6-7 T Best (Hellman's)Mayonnaise - do not use low fat!! 

Boil potatoes with skin on. Cool, peel off the skin, and cube. 

Boil the macaroni with oil and salt in the pot. Cook until it's just beyond al dente. You want to keep the macaroni soft enough for it to soak in the dressing. 

Rinse the macaroni in cold water and drain well. 

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, onion, and tuna, breaking up the tuna. 

Add 4 T. mayonnaise and salt/pepper; mix together. 

Add the macaroni and potatoes and combine. 

Add the rest of the mayonnaise until very creamy. 

Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours. 

Check again to see if any additional mayonnaise is needed.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mike Lewis’ Texas Chili

This recipe will make a stock pot full – so if you want less, adjust accordingly.

5 lbs. ground beef
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 – 40 oz. cans of Redskin (or any type) kidney beans
6 oz. can tomato paste
2 cans beer (any kind)
2 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves minced
3 t. salt
3 t. ground black pepper
3 t. dried oregano
2 T. cumin
10 T. chili powder (medium hot) (we use Penzey’s brand)
3 t. crushed dried chili’s – seeds and all (about 6 chili’s)
2 T. sugar

Slice and chop onions.  Sauté in olive oil until soft, but do not brown.  

Add beef.  Stir occasionally until brown.  

Add all dry ingredients.  Stir and cook about 2 minutes.  

Add crushed tomatoes, paste, and beer and bring to boil.  

Cook 5 minutes on low boil.  Add beans.  Bring to boil.  

Simmer for 1 hour with lid on.  

Turn off heat – leave overnight or at least 4 hours.  Reheat to serve and eat.

Frosted Cashew Cookies

½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
½ tsp. vanilla
¾ tsp. each baking powder, baking soda and salt
1 ¾ cups salted cashew halves

Browned Butter Frosting

½ cup butter (No substitutes)
3 T. light cream
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Additional cashew halves, optional

Cream butter and brown sugar.

Beat in egg, sour cream and vanilla; mix well.

Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Mix well.

Fold in cashews.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min. until light brown. Cool.


Lightly brown butter in saucepan.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and light cream.

Beat in sugar until smooth and thick.

Frost cookies and top with cashew half.

Makes 3 doz.