horchata

horchata

This HungryTexan is stubborn enough to try anything once, and this weekend I decided to try my hand at horchata – a milky latin beverage I’ve oft enjoyed at El Salvadorian restaurants. There are lots and lots of varieties of horchata made from combinations of almonds, rice, sesame seeds, barley or tigernuts. I tried an almond and rice-based varietal, and the final product was sweet and nutty with a pleasant creaminess that wasn’t overly rich. We sipped our horchata plain, but it would be a real treat frothed up in a latte or blended into a milkshake!

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Recipe slightly modified from Nosh On.It’s version:

1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1/3 cup long-grain white rice
1 cinnamon stick
5 cups of water (3 hot, 2 cold)
1/2 cup simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp vanilla)

Beware! This is a two day project and requires a good night’s soak for the flavors to really sync. Start by blanching your almonds. Dump your almonds in boiling water for one minute and then strain & run under cold water. Blanching is key to being able to super simply pinch off the almond’s skin. Grab the almond at its fat part and pinch the skin away – they fly right off (literally, we had almonds fly across the kitchen!). Now you have a cup of naked almonds.

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Give them a nice toast in a completely dry skillet until they’re lightly browned.

Next, in your grinding instrument of choice (coffee grinder, spice grinder, food processor) pulverize your rice into a fine, fine powder.

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Then, in a large jar or jug combine 3 cups of hot water, your almonds, your rice powder and your cinnamon stick. Give it a good stir and let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating. After your mixture has had an ample soak, remove the cinnamon stick and blend everything together in a blender. Blend until your almond/rice mixture is very powdery. Add the extra two cups of cold water and continue blending.

Next comes the messy part. With a very fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth, strain your mixture. It’s slow going. Be patient! Strain it twice if you need to. Get out as much sediment as you can and then stir in your simple syrup. Pour into a glass and enjoy while listening to Vampire Weekend’s, Horchata.

Cheers,
Julia

apple bundt cake

applebundt_cake

I know this recipe might have been better saved for the fall, but ever since Boston Boy and I peeled and chopped dozens and dozens and dozens of apples for applesauce at Miriam’s Kitchen I’ve been craving a sweet, cinnamon apple treat. I volunteered to bake dessert for a dinner party our esteemed Ragnar captain, LatinThunder hosted this weekend and this bundt cake is a convenient and easily-transportable (read: won’t Cake Wreck tossed into a bag and hanging from the handles of my bicycle).

Gather the following:

ingredients

Your favorite baking spray
2 cups flour
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used Fugi)
1/2 cup raisins (not pictured, these were a game time addition!)

I started by making a half batch of Liz’s yummy applesauce. The rest is a glorified dump cake. You need one bowl, a stirring utensil, and you’ll be golden delicious (couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an apple pun!). In a large bowl, melt butter in the butter melter (read: microwave). Stir in sugar.

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Add your eggs.

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Then your cinnamon.

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Then your applesauce.

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Then your fresh apples.

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Then your raisins (I might also recommend pecans or walnuts if you have any handy!).

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Then your dry ingredients.

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Mix it all up, and then pour into a well sprayed (or buttered and floured) bundt pan.

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Cook at 350 for about 40 minutes (or in my case a little over half of Denise Austin’s yoga tape – streaming on Amazon Instant thankuverrymuch!). Let your cake thoroughly cool before wiggling around the edges with a knife. DSC_0649

Say a little prayer and hope she comes out easy! Thankfully my bundt came right out. Slice & serve! The cake’s delish and makes a great simple dessert that won’t leave you sugar-rushing, side-split, buckled over lamenting whoever initiated the fairy tale that there’s “always room for dessert”, but it’d also make a great breakfast! If you’re looking for a little more presentation and want to glam this cake up a bit – I recommend (in increasing level of difficulty) either a) sifting powdered sugar on top, b) whipping up a quick powdered sugar glaze, or c) getting fancy and making a caramel/dulce de leche sauce to drizzle on top. Get creative!

You’re the apple of my eye!

Julia

king cake

king cake hero

Sharing King Cakes during Mardi Gras season is a cherished Gulf Coast tradition, but it wasn’t until college that I realized King Cake folklore isn’t universal. Jaws dropped when I explained there’s a prized baby Jesus baked inside! There are competing interpretations of what it means to eat the slice with the baby. In some circles, he or she who finds the baby is declared King or Queen for the day while in others finding the baby means bringing the King Cake next Mardi Gras. Any way you slice it, King Cakes are fun for all. Even if you don’t buy the King Cake superstitions, who can object to a giant, glorified cinnamon roll? Not us!

A homemade King Cake isn’t the easiest feat, but you should try it once! Especially if you’re nowhere near the third coast.

You’ll need:

Dough Ingredients

Dough
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk

Custard Ingredients
Cinnamon Filling
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
5 yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
purple, green and gold colored sugars for garnish
traditional King Cake baby, penny, or trinket

Start by making the dough. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer & mix for 15 whole minutes. I know this seems like a crazy long time, but alas! it works and your dough will be a silky ball after 15 whole minutes. Transplant your ball into a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave to proof for ~2 hours. Note: your dough would be much happier proofing in an environment resembling the Gulf Coast (~80 – 90 degrees) than a drafty DC kitchen, but we made do!

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While your dough is proofing, make your filling. To make your cinnamon filling, start by combining your milk & sugar in a small saucepan. Stir rigorously to dissolve all the sugar. Once the milk & sugar mixture starts to boil, lower the heat slightly. Combine your cornstarch, vanilla, and egg yolks in a measuring cup & then add some of your warm milky mixture to the egg mixture (temper your eggs). Then, add your tempered eggs to the hot milk mixture, slightly elevate your heat, and continuously whisk your mixture until it begins to boil & the mixture resembles a thick custard. Remove custard from heat, cover & place in the fridge to chill. Once chilled, stir in cinnamon. 

Custard Steps

To make your cinnamon sugar mixture, combine all ingredients!

Once your dough is proofed, you get to play with it!

Dough A

 

  1. flour your work surface
  2. flatten your ball of dough
  3. cut into two equal parts
  4. roll out each part into a rectangle
  5. spread your cinnamon filling liberally on each rectangle
  6. sprinkle your cinnamon sugar generously on each filling covered rectangle
  7. cut each rectangle in half (hot dog-style)Dough B
  8. roll each rectangle pinching the seems to form a cinnamon-filled snake
  9. braid your cinnamon-filled snakes so that you have two braids
  10. place braids on a parchment lined baking sheet & pinch ends of each braid with the other braid’s end until you have a circle

Now leave this to rise. Should rise for 90 minutes to 2 hours, although mine didn’t get greatly larger in size (it should double!).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown!

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To make your icing: cream cream cheese until soft, add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla & pinch of salt. Add powdered sugar until your icing reaches desired consistency. I went with a thin icing to drizzle over my cake through the tip of a Ziploc turned piping bag.

Once your cake cools, drizzle with icing and decorate with yellow, green, and purple colored sugars (you can make these yourself with a few tablespoons of sugar and a few drops of food coloring!). If your trinket’s plastic and could easily melt, we recommend slipping it into a seam after your cake has cooled. If you’re using something heartier like a penny, you could pop it in before your cake goes in the oven. To each her own!

laissez les bon temps rouler,

HungryTexans

 

basics: homemade applesauce

applesauce title page

Happy Hanukkah,  everyone!

I’m sure all of my fellow shiksahs in the kitchen can agree that the holidays can be a doozy.  As much as you love to cook, you’ll never shine a light to the recipe that has been passed down by tough critics.   I’ve made my fair share of high-holiday-hiccups (starting with a milchigs fork mix-up and ending with bringing a butter-laden bread pudding to Thanksgiving) but this applesauce is not one of them.  It’s the perfect way to preserve your apples and requires only two added ingredients.  And during Hanukkah, you won’t find a better topping for your potato latkes.

You’ll need: (for 2 cups applesauce)
4 apples, mixed
1 tbs honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water

ingredients

We used Red Macintosh and Pink Lady apples for this recipe.  You can use whichever are in season (the farmer’s market usually has enough apple samples out to give you a tummy ache), but I recommend a mix of apples to elevate the depth of flavors.  Start by peeling your apples roughly (a little apple skin never hurt anyone) and chopping them into cubes.  Add them to a saucepan with the water over medium heat, until they’re just simmering.

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Add the cinnamon and honey and stir.  In the past, I’ve used white sugar for the sweetness in my applesauce, but switched to honey because, well, apples and honey taste great together.

Let the whole mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  Then, using a hand potato masher (or a food processor if you’re looking for a really smooth sauce), mash the apples until they look like applesauce.

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Serve over freshly-fried latkes and or just enjoy as a sweet snack.

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xoxo,

the hungry texans