Deconstructed Tamales

While watching Trisha Yearwood on Food Network, I was inspired to try this dish.

Deconstructed Tamales
Cornmeal Cakes:
   2 cups broth or water
   1/2 cup cornmeal
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
   Vegetable oil & butter
  1. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine water, cornmeal and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 to 7 minutes until thick and creamy.
  3. Add cheese.
  4. Pour into baking dish and allow to cool several hours of overnight.
  5. Frying Cakes:Use a round cutter to cut out cornmeal cakes.
  6. Meanwhile heat a thin layer or vegetable oil and an equal amount of butter in a skillet. (Either a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet is recommended.
  7. Add cakes and fry on one side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Turn and fry on the other side.
Seasoned Pork:
   About 1/2 lb. Pulled Pork (recipe options include pulled pork loin or pulled pork)
   3/4 teaspoon teaspoon chili powder
   3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
   1 teaspoon cumin
   2 to 3 tablespoons green chilies
   Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients together and heat.

Grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Pico de Gallo


To assemble:
  1. Place fried Cornmeal Cake on plate.
  2. Top with Seasoned Pork.
  3. Add a little grated cheese.
  4. Top with Pico de Gallo.
Recipe without photos . . .
Deconstructed Tamales
Cornmeal Cakes:
   2 cups broth or water
   1/2 cup cornmeal
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
   Vegetable oil & butter
  1. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine water, cornmeal and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 to 7 minutes until thick and creamy.
  3. Add cheese.
  4. Pour into baking dish and allow to cool several hours of overnight.
  5. Frying Cakes:Use a round cutter to cut out cornmeal cakes.
  6. Meanwhile heat a thin layer or vegetable oil and an equal amount of butter in a skillet. (Either a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet is recommended.
  7. Add cakes and fry on one side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Turn and fry on the other side.
Seasoned Pork:
   About 1/2 lb. Pulled Pork (recipe options include pulled pork loin or pulled pork)
   3/4 teaspoon teaspoon chili powder
   3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
   1 teaspoon cumin
   2 to 3 tablespoons green chilies
   Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients together and heat.
Grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Pico de Gallo

To assemble:
  1. Place fried Cornmeal Cake on plate.
  2. Top with Seasoned Pork.
  3. Add a little grated cheese.
  4. Top with Pico de Gallo.

Hasselback Apples for 2 — YUM!

Variations of this recipe have appeared on Facebook, blogs, websites, and in numerous videos. The recipe I used is very similar to the one that appeared on the Cooking Light website.
Just a bit of history: The name “hasselback” comes from a restaurant in Hasselbaken, Stockholm (Sweden). They first introduced a recipe for hasselback potatoes in the 1940s and since then, all forms of fruits and veggies have been prepared using their original fanning technique.

Hasselback Apples for 2
1 large firm apples, peeled, cored, and halved vertically (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp varieties recommended as they keep their shape)
Cooking spray
Scant 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Scant 1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
---
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 ¼ tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Starting at the outermost edges, cut most (but not all) of the way through each apple half at ⅛” intervals.
    To control the depth of the cuts, I set the apple halves between to wooden spoons.
  3. Place apple halves, cut sides down, in a baking pan or dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Combine scant 1 tablespoon sugar, scant 1 tablespoon melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Brush sugar-butter-cinnamon mixture evenly over apple.

  5. Cover pan with foil; bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove foil. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove pan from oven; cool 10 minutes.
  7. Combine 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, 1 ¼ tablespoon butter, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ½ tablespoons oats, 1 teaspoon flour, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  8. Spoon oat mixture evenly over apples.
  9. Bake at 400° for another 10 minutes.
  10. Turn broiler to high (leave pan in oven); broil 2 minutes.

    To serve: Add a hasselback section to a serving dish and top with a dollop of  honey yogurt.

Hasselback Apples for 2
1 large firm apples, peeled, cored, and halved vertically (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp varieties recommended as they keep their shape)
Cooking spray
Scant 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Scant 1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
---
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar 
1 ¼ tablespoons butter, melted 
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. (We use our Breville portable oven for small batches such as this.)
  2. Starting at the outermost edges, cut most (but not all) of the way through each apple half at ⅛” intervals.
  3. Place apple halves, cut sides down, in a baking pan or dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Combine scant 1 tablespoon sugar, scant 1 tablespoon melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Brush sugar-butter-cinnamon mixture evenly over apple.
  5. Cover pan with foil; bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove foil. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove pan from oven; cool 10 minutes.
  7. Combine 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, 1 ¼ tablespoon butter, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ½ tablespoons oats, 1 teaspoon flour, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  8. Spoon oat mixture evenly over apples.
  9. Bake at 400° for another 10 minutes.
  10. Turn broiler to high (leave pan in oven); broil 2 minutes.

Hasselback Apples for 2
1 large firm apple, peeled, cored, and halved vertically (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp varieties recommended as they keep their shape)
Cooking spray
Scant 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Scant 1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
---
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar 
1 ¼ tablespoons butter, melted 
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Starting at the outermost edges, cut most (but not all) of the way through each apple half at ⅛” intervals.
  3. Place apple halves, cut sides down, in a baking pan or dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Combine scant 1 tablespoon sugar, scant 1 tablespoon melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Brush sugar-butter-cinnamon mixture evenly over apple.
  5. Cover pan with foil; bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove foil. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove pan from oven; cool 10 minutes.
  7. Combine 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, 1 ¼ tablespoon butter, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ½ tablespoons oats, 1 teaspoon flour, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  8. Spoon oat mixture evenly over apples.
  9. Bake at 400° for another 10 minutes.
  10. Turn broiler to high (leave pan in oven); broil 2 minutes.

Recipe without photos . . .
Hasselback Apples for 2
1 large firm apple, peeled, cored, and halved vertically (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp varieties recommended as they keep their shape)
Cooking spray
Scant 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Scant 1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
---
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar 
1 ¼ tablespoons butter, melted 
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. (We use our Breville portable oven for small batches such as this.)
  2. Starting at the outermost edges, cut most (but not all) of the way through each apple half at ⅛” intervals.
  3. Place apple halves, cut sides down, in a baking pan or dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Combine scant 1 tablespoon sugar, scant 1 tablespoon melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Brush sugar-butter-cinnamon mixture evenly over apple.
  5. Cover pan with foil; bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove foil. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove pan from oven; cool 10 minutes.
  7. Combine 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, 1 ¼ tablespoon butter, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ½ tablespoons oats, 1 teaspoon flour, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  8. Spoon oat mixture evenly over apples.
  9. Bake at 400° for another 10 minutes.
  10. Turn broiler to high (leave pan in oven); broil 2 minutes.

Hot Cocoa by the Mug

Cocoa by the Mug . . . in one of Barry's
hand thrown mugs.
I'm the first to admit that it's not as rich as the Homemade Cocoa that starts from a cooked mixture but it is definitely a quick-fix for a cocoa craving . . . and oh, so much better than the powdered stuff mixed with water.
This is also a fun project for kids.

Hot Cocoa by the Cup     1 serving
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Measure and then mix sugar, cocoa and salt in large mug.

2.  Heat milk in a 1 ½ to 2-cup measure in the microwave on HIGH (100%) 1 1/2 minutes or until hot. (Note -- I know this adds an extra dish but when I tried to add the milk to the mug to heat, inevitably it ran over the top even when using a 10 or 12 oz. mug.)

3.  Pour hot milk into the mug and stir.
Ready to stir.


4.  Stir in vanilla.
Ready to drink—Yum!

Recipe without photos . . .
Hot Cocoa by the Cup     1 serving
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Measure and then mix sugar, cocoa and salt in large mug.
2.  Heat milk in a 1 ½ to 2-cup measure in the microwave on HIGH (100%) 1 1/2 minutes or until hot. (Note -- I know this adds an extra dish but when I tried to add the milk to the mug to heat, inevitably it ran over the top even when using a 10 or 12 oz. mug.)
3.  Pour hot milk into the mug and stir
4.  Stir in vanilla..

Granola Cups -- nutrient-dense sweet choice

I’ve been trying to quell my occasional craving for sweets with nutrient-dense choices. Chia seed chocolate pudding did not cut it, nor did the protein balls of this and that! Yes, I tried them but in my estimate they belong in the trash bin instead of on our blog (Barry agreed).  However, a recipe for Granola Cups in the latest Parade insert did catch my eye and so, with reluctance (haven’t quite got over the chia seed experiments yet) I gave them a try . . . and these I did like.
They’re good as a snack, for dessert but I plan to add them on my breakfast menu, too.
As usual, I made some adjustments as included below.  For Parade’s original recipe, click on Granola Cups.

Granola Cups    Makes 12
1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (or use quick oats)
½ cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used a combo of apricots & craisins + prunes; raisins, dates, etc. would also work)
⅓ cup flax meal (Put flax seeds into a Nutra Bullet or blender to make your own)
⅓ cup sunflower seeds
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
⅓ cup Agave
¼ cup canola oil                      
  1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients including spices.
  2. In a second bowl, lightly beat egg; stir in Agave and canola oil.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Divide among 12 muffin cups, pressing mixture up sides with wet fingers to form cups. (I used silicon so did not grease the cups; if using regular muffin tins, be sure to grease to cups. Also, I used a ¼ cup measure, covered in sprayed plastic wrap to create an indentation.)


  5. Bake 20 minutes at 350° or until edges brown and cups are set.
  6. Cool several minutes before unmolding. 
  7. Fill with flavored yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon, or yogurt and fresh fruit (or pudding, ice cream, etc.)
Recipe without photos . . .
Granola Cups    Makes 12
1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (or use quick oats)
½ cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used a combo of apricots & craisins + prunes; raisins, dates, etc. would also work)
⅓ cup flax meal (Put flax seeds into a Nutra Bullet or blender to make your own)
⅓ cup sunflower seeds
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
⅓ cup Agave
¼ cup canola oil                      
  1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients including spices.
  2. In a second bowl, lightly beat egg; stir in Agave and canola oil.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Divide among 12 muffin cups, pressing mixture up sides with wet fingers to form cups. (I used silicon so did not grease the cups; if using regular muffin tins, be sure to grease to cups. Also, I used a ¼ cup measure, covered in sprayed plastic wrap to create an indentation.)
  5. Bake 20 minutes at 350° or until edges brown and cups are set.
  6. Cool several minutes before unmolding. 
  7. Fill with flavored yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon, or yogurt and fresh fruit (or pudding, ice cream, etc.)

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts

I have roasted cauliflower before but this recipe caught my eye when Valerie Bertinelli prepared it on the Food Network. The golden raisins and toasted pine nuts were, indeed, the perfect accompaniment to delicious roasted slices of cauliflower!
I did cut down the recipe and made a few minor changes; for the original click here: Valerie Bertinelli’sRoasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
1 head cauliflower, cut vertically into ½” thick steaks (I also roasted some pieces that broke apart + saved the remaining pieces for another dish)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt & coarse black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 to 4 tablespoons golden raisins
Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Place the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes.
    This is what they looked like after flipping.
  4. Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a dry medium sauté pan and toast over medium heat until brown, about 3 minutes.
  5. Mix pine nuts and raisins.
  6. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter or plates; drizzle with a little additional olive oil. Pour the pine nut-raisin mixture over the top andgarnish with chopped parsley.
Recipe without photos . . .
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
1 head cauliflower, cut vertically into ½” thick steaks (I also roasted some pieces that broke apart + saved the remaining pieces for another dish)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt & coarse black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts 
3 to 4 tablespoons golden raisins
Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Place the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a dry medium sauté pan and toast over medium heat until brown, about 3 minutes.
  5. Mix pine nuts and raisins.
  6. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter or plates; drizzle with a little additional olive oil. Pour the pine nut-raisin mixture over the top andgarnish with chopped parsley.