Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Moles - Part 3 (The Final Comparison)

Mole Poblano version 1 (left) and version 2 (right)

So was it worth the effort to collect the ingredients and make the more complected mole? Absolutely! I love that you store it at a smaller volume and add chicken broth when you are ready to serve. I still have some in my freezer that I cannot wait to use!

The simple sauce (version 1) is a good sauce on it's own, but if you want Mole Poblano, it is worth the extra effort to make version 2.

My in-laws create enchiladas every Christmas Dinner, and this year they used the authentic mole sauce that I created and had stored in my freezer. They proclaimed that it was as good as the neighborhood Mexican Restaurant's sauce!

Christmas Enchiladas

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Moles, Part 2

I found two different mole recipes, a quick version (shown in Part 1) and a more authentic version (shown in Part 2; this post). I wanted to know it was worth collecting the multiple ingredients and steps for the authentic version.

The hardest part of making the more authentic Mole sauce was tracking down all of the the ingredients. (Which can also add up to be quite expensive.)

The Ingredients for Authentic Mole Sauce

The peppers are the most important part of a mole sauce. I am not super tolerant of spicy things, so I decided to not use whole chipotle peppers, and instead add some of the spice (1/8 tsp) to the final product. This recipe had you save the seeds from the peppers to include in the final mixture.

This whole experiment started because I had some poblano peppers, which it turns out aren't even in the sauce! I dried them in my oven to create more Ancho peppers.

I couldn't find tomatillos in my supermarket, so I used an additional tomato. Fresh (left) and after roasting (right)

I couldn't find Mexican chocolate, so I substituted bittersweet chocolate. To counteract the bitterness, I added a few tablespoons of brown sugar to the sauce before serving.

Other ingredients include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, raisins, bread (!), tortillas (!) and a number of spices.

Cooking the Sauce

The recipe has fantastic step by step photographs of the process. I also took step by step pictures, so you can see how the mole sauce is created (although slowly). I don't think I can do justice to the steps, so I am going to let the photos speak for themselves.

I pureed the sauce in batches. The recipe crated 6 cups of mole sauce, before diluting it with the broth! I'm really glad I had a deep pan with a lid for the sauteing. In the end, it took an afternoon to make the sauce, so it was really not too much effort for the amount of sauce that you have to use later!

I had to add a couple T of brown sugar to help counteract the bitterness from the chocolate. This can be done to taste.

Authentic mole poblano sauce

Next time I make this, I will not include the pepper seeds. These didn't get soft enough or blend easily in the food processor.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Moles - Part 1

My in-laws introduced me to Mole Poblano sauce, and I fell in love. Keith makes excellent enchiladas, so I wanted to find a mole sauce recipe that would complement it (since you cannot find it in supermarkets easily.)

I found two different mole recipes, a quick version (shown in Part 1) and a more authentic version (shown in Part 2). I wanted to compare the two sauces, because if the easier mole sauce tasted almost as good, then it would save a lot of preparation time.

simple mole recipe only has a few ingredients, pictured above.

The onions, peppers and tomato sauce simmering, the longest step in a non-labor intensive process.

After adding the cocoa powder the sauce turned the nice brown that I expected.

This mole sauce took almost no time to create. The simmering was the longest step. It can be easily created without much effort, especially if you decide not to puree it as I did. The sauce had a good flavor, but it didn't quite match the expectation of Mole Poblano that I had in my head.

Mole sauce version 1, after pureeing.

Stay tuned for a description of the more authentic Mole Poblano recipe in my next post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

8x-stuffed Oreo

We all know about double stuffed oreos, and how awesome the filling is. But have you ever combined two double stuffed oreos to make a 4x oreo? I present to you... an 8X-stuffed oreo! (Created by Keith.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake

I love to make Oreo Cheesecake. Over the years I have adapted my recipe until I ended up with something that is almost foolproof. I am going to share this recipe with you today!

  • 2 packages of oreos (one double stuffed, one fat free)
  • 1.5 lbs cream cheese at room temperature (I will use 1 package of regular and 2 fat free)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T butter, melted

Instructions for the Crust
  • Separate the fat free oreos and scrape out the filling (save the filling to go inside the cheese cake.)
  • Crush the cookies until you have ~1 cup crumbs, mix with melted butter and press into the bottom of the spring form pan.
  • Take double stuffed oreos and line the outside edge of the pan (these will be the sides of the cheesecake.
Instructions for the Filling
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, and add eggs, sugar, vanilla and Oreo filling that you saved from the crust.
  • Stir in sour cream and flour.
  • Add some whole oreos when you're mixing, these will get crushed and turn the cheesecake filling the color of Oreo ice cream.
  • Chop some more cookies (5-8 depending on your preference) and carefully stir into the mixture.
  • pour into springform pan. Place some double stuffed oreos on the top of the cheesecake.
  • Bake in the top rack for 75 min (at 325 degrees F)
  • When it is done baking, crack open the oven door and allow it to cool slowly.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Birthday Cocktail Parties

I love to host cocktail parties on my birthday. I find it only fitting to celebrate my half birthday by sharing pictures of highlights from past parties.

For the longest time, the only cookie cutters I owned were heart shaped. This meant that I created a lot of Valentine's Day cookies for every occasion!

The only layer cake pans I owned were also Heat Shape. Keith is the king of making layer cakes.

Can you have a fancy cocktail party without chocolate covered strawberries?

I made
chocolate covered peanut butter eyeballs last Halloween
and they were a hit. I made simple chocolate covered for the holiday party.

Sometimes store bought cookies (in this case macaroons) make it into the mix.

Peanut butter kisses, banana bread, mocha chocolate crinkle cookies and my grandmother's famous pinwheel cookies.

After I covered all of the strawberries, I used the remaining chocolate to cover some pretzels.

I've shown you the sweet, here is some savory.

I'm going to end with something that wasn't part of the cocktail party, exactly. Keith made me a chocolate souffle for my birthday while I prepped for the party!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wasabi Encrusted Salmon

Keith and I received a number of Harry and David gift baskets for Christmas. One of the sets included two pretzel dips: honey mustard and wasabi mustard. Honey mustard pecan encrusted salmon is one of my favorite dishes to make, but I decided to try a variation to take advantage of this wasabi mustard.

I will admit that I'm not the greatest wasabi fan, but I figured that the mustard would help mellow out the spiciness. I spread the mustard over the salmon, sprinkled on Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and then baked at 400 degrees F until it was cooked through.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the final product (I guess I was too hungry). I assure you that it was so delicious that I cannot wait to make it again!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate popcorn

I wanted to spice up some stovetop popped popcorn, so I sprinkled some peppermint Williams and Sonomoa hot chocolate mix and salt onto it. I shook the mixture in the (covered) pan to evenly spread the minty chocolate along the popped corn. This also helped it melt a bit. This was a delicious, although messy, snack.

Ingredients for the chocolate popcorn.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Epic Fruit Salad

I was going to a tropical themed dinner party, so what would be more appropriate to bring for dessert than a beautiful fruit salad? (Although it was a pain to bring to the destination on the subway!) I was VERY lucky that I ended up with just enough fruit to fill up the salad, and very little extra. I hope to have more excuses in the future to create other epic fruit salads.