Baked Beef Taquitos with Avocado Crema

From the Williams Sonoma blog-very easy and fast to make and bake up crispy in 15 minutes! You can add whatever extra seasonings or vegetables to the meat and cheese mixture. I added a little onion and chile powder and used pepper jack cheese. I think the smaller flour tortilla would be the perfect size.
Avocado crema and taquitos
For the avocado crema:
1 avocado, halved and pitted
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) Mexican crema or sour cream
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
To make the avocado crema, scoop the flesh from the avocado into a small bowl and mash with a large fork until creamy and smooth. Stir in the crema and lime juice. Season with salt to taste, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
1 Tbs. canola oil, plus more for frying or brushing on the tortillas to bake
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. (500 g) ground beef
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (optional)
3 oz. (90 g) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
12 flour tortillas, each about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. oil. Add the garlic and sauté just until soft, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and using your spoon to break up any clumps, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, pour off most of it. Add the cumin and salt and cook for 1 minute to toast the cumin. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in the chipotle chile, if using, and then the Monterey jack
Taquito prep
To assemble, lay the tortillas on a clean work surface and fill each with 2 heaping Tbs. of the meat filling. Roll up tightly and secure each with 2 toothpicks (insert the toothpicks just far enough off the seam so you can lay the seam in the hot oil to sear it closed)
IMG_0604 (1)
For baked taquitos, lightly brush them with canola oil and bake in a 425°F (220°C) oven for about 15 minutes. Make extra taquitos and freeze them; they make a fast microwavable after-school snack.

Crack Pie

From the famed Momofuko Restaurant in NYC. It is totally addicting. From the homemade oat cookie crust to the caramel like filling, it is a huge treat! You can make it ahead and in steps, make the cookie crust one day and finish the pie the next day.
Oat Cookie Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray or butter
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided into 6T and 3T
5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided into 2 T. and 3 1/2 T
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

– 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Crack Pie
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray or lightly grease with butter. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.
Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.
– Do Ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.
– Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Hazelnut Brown Butter Torte

From the WSJ, a gluten free cake that is delicious. Very light in texture and a wonderful hazelnut flavor. The hazelnut torte is the one in the back of this photo. To brown the butter, you practically burn it, I cooked it for at least five minutes after it started bubbling. I did not have the vanilla bean so used vanilla paste that I had but you could substitute vanilla.
Hazelnut torte and others9″ springform pan
1¼ cups shelled hazelnut
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ vanilla bean or 1 t. vanilla
1⅓ cups confectioners’ sugar
⅓ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Option-serve warm Crème fraîche, or mascarpone, mixed with honey and a little salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hazelnuts over a baking tray in a single layer and roast 5 minutes. Place warm nuts between two layers of kitchen towel and rub to remove skins. Discard skins and set nuts aside to cool. *Note-Trader Joes sells skinned hazelnuts, toast them for 5-10 minutes and cool.

2. Meanwhile, make beurre noisette: Add butter to a small saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add to butter along with scraped bean. Set saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, gently swirling pan, until butter melts then turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean. Brush interior of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with a bit of the butter. I lined with parchment too.

3. Place hazelnuts and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and process to form a fine powder. Add the almond flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy, then add granulated sugar and beat to form stiff peaks. Gently fold whipped egg whites into dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Mix in remaining brown butter until fully incorporated.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 minutes.

6. Serve cake warm with a dollop of crème fraîche or honeyed mascarpone.

Pickled Red Onions

I love pickled red onions and never make them-this recipe is from a blog and is so simple. I had leftover vinegar mixture and made pickled carrots and jalapeños. Both are perfect garnishes for sandwiches or salads.

yield: ABOUT 2 CUPS

Pickled Red Onions
1 large red onion
1 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
pinch of red pepper flakes

Slice the top and bottom off the onion and then slice it in half, from top to bottom. Remove the outer peel. Lay the cut surfaces of the onion onto the cutting board, and then slice into half moons about 1/8″ thick.

In a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, bring the vinegars, sugar, and salt to a boil. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolve, then remove pan from heat and whisk in allspice and red pepper flakes. Carefully add sliced onion to the pan and gently stir to combine. Let mixture cool completely at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour into a glass container, cover tightly with a lid, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. I like to store the pickled onions in canning jars. This recipe is for refrigerator pickling only and needs to be stored in a refrigerator. Enjoy for up to one month.

Summer Berry Buckle

From the NY Times-when the berries are abundant as they are here now-make this!
Summer Berry Buckle
½ cup/114 grams (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar, more for sprinkling
¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon/5 grams finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups/156 grams all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 ½ cups summer berries (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or use any one kind)
Cinnamon, for dusting (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. I used a 9″ springform and lined the bottom with parchment and buttered and floured it.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add lemon zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder, and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until just combined.
Gently fold berries into the batter, then spread batter in pan and sprinkle lightly with more granulated sugar. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden and cake is cooked through.
Allow cake to cool, then sprinkle with cinnamon, if using, and confectioners’ sugar. I keep this in the refrigerator as there are so many berries in it, it helps to stay fresher.

Pistachio Lemon Bars

From the NY Times, a super fast and easy bar to make. The combination of lemon and pistachio is magical!

Pistachio Lemon Bars1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup shelled unsalted pistachios
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

To make crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper (if using foil, lightly butter it). Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add butter and process until well combined. Stir in chopped pistachios. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of the lined pan using the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup (if it sticks, place a piece of parchment paper on the dough before pressing). Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the filling ingredients. When the crust is baked, pour the filling into the pan and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cut into 2-inch squares.

Penne Al Fresco

This is a recipe from Cafe Giovanni/Al Fresco that were wonderful restaurants in Denver in the 1990’s. I had the opportunity to work there and remember this recipe as one of my favorites. I was thrilled when a chef friend of mine said she had just made it and I am making it right now!! I found the recipe in a friend’s cookbook called Recipe Please that is full of classic Denver restaurant recipes.Penne Al Fresco

1.5# Italian Sausage, I used sweet, and cut out of the links into bulk style
1 c. diced yellow onion
1-2 T olive oil
1 c. white wine
28 oz. whole Tomatoes, San Marzano if you can find them
1 c. sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. oregano
1 T. basil
3 c. heavy cream
1 c. Parmesan, grated
1# Penne or Ziti pasta
Fresh Basil
Penne Al Fresco
Saute sausage in 1 T. olive oil until thoroughly cooked. Drain and reserve. Add 1 T. olive oil and sauce onion until translucent. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add both of the tomatoes,spices,herbs and cooked sausage and cook 45 minutes. Add cream and Parmesan and cook until thickened. Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss pasta with sauce until coated. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

Chocolate Caramel Walnut Bars

A wonderful bar from the Food 52 blog. It is full of flavor due to the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, and caramel. It is very easy to make! I cut 16 bars out of the 8″ pan.

For the base:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
For the topping:
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I like a mix of semisweet and milk)
Chocolate Caramel Walnut Bar
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch square pan.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. until light and fluffy Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour, baking soda, graham cracker crumbs, and salt and mix until the batter just comes together.
Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts.
Press the batter into your prepared pan in an even layer.
To make the caramel, melt together the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat.
Immediately pour the caramel over the batter in the pan and smooth it to an even layer with a spatula.
Bake the bars for 20 minutes. (I baked them an extra 10 minutes until the center was firm)
Remove from the oven and while still hot, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the bars. Allow to melt for a few minutes (you can pop back into the oven for a minute), using a spatula to spread the chocolate into an evenly melted layer.
Let the bars cool fully before slicing and serving