Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sapodillas or Sapotes

So I've only sort of been cooking.  Still trying to get things out of boxes and find myself.  I don't love my new kitchen.  I'm not very excited about spending much time in my kitchen.  I hope things will change over time, but I haven't been as excited about trying out new recipes here.  Still trying to figure out the shopping thing, and find my stuff.  Hopefully it will come. 

I am however, VERY excited about finding Sapotes in the grocery store.  
Okay - I guess I lied.  I went to the grocery store today with my kids for the first time to do some real shopping other than the bananas, grapes, broccoli, milk, bread, eggs, cheese type of shopping.  
The produce section was CHOCK FULL of funky stuff I'd never seen before.  We are going to go back, write down the names of the funky stuff, figure out what it is, and how to cook it, and we are going to try some new stuff.  I guess I am sort of is just taking some time.  
When we walked into the produce section, I instantly recognized one of my favorite fruits from Guatemala.  We called them sapotes.  In the Caribbean they are called sapodillas, and they are called both here in Florida.  Actually they were listed here as a mamey sapote.  My friends from Mexico who live here called it a mamey (not like mommy, but like ma'am A)
Here's a description: 
The fruit is a large ellipsoid berry, 4–8 cm in diameter, very much resembling a smooth-skinned potato and containing two to five seeds. Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. The seeds are black and resemble beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed. The fruit has a high latex content and does not ripen until picked, whereupon the fruit softens to a firmness and appearance very similar to that of a fuzzy, brown-skinned kiwifruit.

Zapota tree with fruits in Tamil Nadu,India.
The fruit has an exceptionally sweet, malty flavor. Many believe the flavor bears a striking resemblance to caramel or a pear candied with brown sugar. The unripe fruit is hard to the touch and contains high amounts of saponin, which has astringent properties similar to tannin, drying out the mouth.

I used to eat these for dinner every night - oh so delectable.  Mine is sitting on my counter ripening as we speak!  I'll spend some time and see what cool recipes we can come up with for these babies.  Can't wait. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beehive cupcakes - 24th of July recipes

Well - so much for a great photo.  I stole this one - the yellow pan on the left is the cool cupcake pan used for this recipe.  I've been able to find it at Deseret Book (online and in the stores).  The cupcakes on the right look nothing like these babies, so please disregard them.  Thanks   

I did find my camera - but I'm feeling too lazy tonight to take photos, and the lighting is all wrong.  They'd end up looking orange or green or something.  I'll try and get some pictures posted in better light tomorrow.

Happy 24th of July!!!!  (early of course)
I know, you might be wondering what that is all about, but if you are from Utah, or ever lived there, you will know that it is the state's biggest holiday.  It is the day when the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley, and their leader Brigham Young proclaimed, 'This is the place'.  The trek was over, and the Mormon pioneers (my ancestors) would be relatively safe from the mobbing and expulsions which launched their exodus from Missouri to Utah.  

In honor of the 24th of July, I am always seeking a good recipe or idea.  And while I'd like to think that I did this on purpose...I didn't.  I bought one of these beehive cupcake pans a while ago, and then someone gave me another as a thank you gift.  Now I have 2.  The more the merrier I always say.  As these were baking, my kids asked if I had baked them for the 24th of July.  While I hadn't intentionally, I now had a reason and a cause.   
The first time I made these, we LOVED the taste.  The glaze dries in a way that makes the outside of these almost like a donut (really - there's no way to describe it other than REALLY yummy).  The inside isn't as sweet as a cupcake or as cake, but it is perfect.  
So, in my first attempt, I ended up filling the cups a little too full, and got lots of burnt cupcake all over my oven racks and the bottom of my oven.  
I decided that with two pans, - I would only 1.5 my recipe and see what happens.  
However, now that I'm at a MUCH lower altitude, I'm not sure if my very fluffy cupcakes were are result of the altitude, or because they weren't over filled.  (Note I later realized it was probably because I forgot to add the baking powder - I'll post later on the finished product...maybe it doesn't need it)

Moral of the story - next time, I'll divide the batter for 1 recipe into both pans.  I think it will be perfect. 

Finally - for posterity's sake - here's the recipe: 
1 c. butter
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 T. vanilla
2.5 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk

(I hate this part - when I'm typing up the recipe and realize I forgot to add something...editor's note - I forgot to add the baking powder - maybe that's why they didn't explode on me this time!...I'll let you know how they taste) 

Preheat oven to 350*
Grease and flour the pans
Mix flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Beat in eggs, one at a time
Stir in the vanilla
Beat in flour mixture alternately with one cup of milk, mixing just until incorporated. 
Pour batter into prepared pans - take care not to fill more than 3/4ths full.
Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  (At sea level, this only took 52 minutes). 
Cool for 10 minutes
Invert pans onto cooling sheets and cool cupcakes an additional 10 minutes
Place cooking rack onto waxed paper and glaze (recipe below)

1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 t. almond extract

Combine, and slowly drizzle over cupcakes using a spoon.  Allow glaze time to dry/harden prior to serving.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shepherd Pie

SO...the food pantry challenge hasn't worked very well since we were out of town for a week, and since we packed our food storage, and then the pantry as well.
However, a lady from church brought us dinner tonight and she brought a shepherd's pie.

My husband loved it.  My kids loved it.  I loved it.  We asked her for the recipe.
I didn't take pictures and I haven't made it, but I wanted to get it down, because I'll make it in the future.
Our favorite part was the sauce...we couldn't figure out what it was.

So - Nickie's instructions are:
Brown hamburger
Mix in 1 can campbells tomato soup (not diluted)
Add a can of green beans
Top with mashed potatoes and shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 350* until heated through and cheese melts.