Collard Green Chips

Potato Chips are always something that sound good to me in theory, but the moment I pop one into my mouth I am reminded that I really don’t much care for them. Isn’t that how a lot of cravings are? You crave pickles for their crispness and they just aren’t crunchy enough. You crave chocolate for their “velvety-ness” and they aren’t velvety enough. You crave a chick-flick and you didn’t cry hard enough. Ahem, *cough cough* who’s talking about chick-flicks?! But, really potato chips aren’t what they are cracked up to be, in my taste anyway. They are too heavy and rich and I can only eat about five and then I’m done, give me something else.

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My dad was raving about kale chips that one of his buddies at work was chowing down on. After a bit of searching online collard green chips was something that my mother had stumbled upon as a alternative to kale chips and sent my way. Apparently, kale is out of season right now? So, collard green chips it was, a healthy substitute for potato chips.

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Collard Green Chips

These chips were extremely easy to make! Only three ingredients needed; collard greens, olive oil and salt. When I put my first batch in the oven and had to turn the leaves I was met with a brussel sprout smell, which really turned me off for a moment. Brussel sprouts and I have a bad past. But, when I tried the end result I was pleased. I felt they tasted oddly like bagel chips. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3-4 leaves collard greens
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt

collardgreenssteps

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash the collard greens in cool water and pat dry
  2. Cut the greens from the thick stem
  3. Double what you just cut away from the stem and cut into square-like pieces
  4. Put the leaves into a large bowl. When all your leaves are cut toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and pinch of salt
  5. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Flip the leaves and bake for another 5 minutes. Don’t let them become yellow or brown, they will yield a bitter after taste. Not yum! Bake until they are just crispy. You will have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t yellow so don’t stray too far from the oven.

Enjoy!

Apple Eclairs

Who doesn’t like apples? And who doesn’t like eclairs? Nobody, of course! From my Introduction to Philosophy classes in college I deduce that everyone must also like Apple Eclairs. Boom, your mind is blown and your mouth is watering.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Halloween is at the corner we just passed. I can’t believe what time of year it is! This past year has gone by so quickly. I was gone this past year in Ecuador and never got to meet my nephew, who was born only several weeks after I left for work. To be back and see little Judah walking has been pretty incredible. He’s a cutie and just had his birthday party yesterday.

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Somebody’s one!!!

It was a blast to watch him eat his cake. He made such a mess! His older siblings helped him blow out the candles and lick the decorations clean from off his cake -of course they were helpful for sweets!

For the birthday party I wanted to make something fall-esque so I made Apple Eclairs, something of an invention when I couldn’t make what I really wanted to make. I used a basic pate a choux. I had tried making this before in Puno, Peru but it’s at 12,000 feet above sea level so it was almost instantly a fail. So, for the first time making pate a choux at an acceptable altitude I was stoked watching them rise in the oven. I’m telling you, baking is magic.

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Apple Eclairs

Pate a Choux 
Julia Childs says that pate a choux is an easy staple that every cook ought to have in their kitchen repertoire. I agree, it is easy –once you understand the ground rules- and there’s a lot you can do with pate a choux, which makes it sure to surprise every time you serve it. I did not use her recipe exactly, but when I read it afterward I wish that I had.

Ingredients Important things you’ll need
1 cup water  1 1/2 quart pot
3 oz butter (3/4 stick)  mixing bowl
1 teaspoon sugar  parchment paper
1 pinch of salt  two cookie sheets
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour  piping bag
4 eggs    1/2 inch piping tip
1 egg beaten w/ 1/2 tsp water  pastry brush

Boil water in a 1 1/2 quart heavy bottom pan along with butter, sugar and salt. Boil until butter is melted. While that is going on measure out the flour.Remove from heat and add all the flour to the water at once and beat immediately and vigorously for several seconds until it is well blended.

Bring the pan back to the burner and place on moderately high heat and beat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture leaves the sides of the pans and does not stick to the spoon and a film appears on the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Spread out flat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, but not much longer. If you don’t you will end up cooking your eggs then and there in the dough. Once slightly cooled break in one egg and stir until well incorporated into the dough. Do this one egg at a time; however, for the last egg add it a little at a time as needed to make sure the dough doesn’t become too runny. It should resemble heavy mayonnaise.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper and set aside. Start to put the pate a choux in your piping bag and put on piping tip. If you do not have a piping bag you can make one out of parchment paper. Fill piping bag and start to pipe your eclairs onto the baking sheets. I made mine about 1 1/2 inch wide and about 6-7 inches long each. Make sure to space by about 2 or more inches as they will puff up quite a bit. Dip pastry brush in beaten egg with a bit of water and smooth over tops of the eclairs. Place the sheets side-by-side in the oven in the upper third portion of your oven. Bake for 20 minutes. They are done when they are doubled in size and are nice and golden and crusty to the touch. Remove from the oven and working quickly pierce the sides with a fork and place back in the oven and let cool with the door slightly open for 10 minutes. Cool the eclairs on cooling racks.

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Apple Filling

Ingredients Important stuff you’ll need
2-3 apples medium sauce pan
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup water

I used McIntosh apples, which I just think are great baking apples and they turn into mush so easily, which is needed for this recipe. Peel and core the apples then dice them up and throw them in the sauce pan over medium high heat. Throw in the sugar, butter and cinnamon (I’m not going to lie I didn’t measure the cinnamon I put in, I just threw in what I thought looked and smelled right, adjust as you see fit) and allow to sautee for a few minutes. Turn heat down and let the apple simmer down until they are soft enough to mash. If you like to keep a bit of chunk in your apples at this point that’s fine. Mash with a fork, then add 2 tbsp flour and 1 cup of water and allow to cook for 5 minutes until things are nice and goopy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Glaze

Ingredients Important things you’ll need
4 oz cream cheese mixer 
1 cup powdered sugar   
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter   
1/2 tsp vanilla  

Cream together cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and then stir in vanilla.

Assembling Eclairs

Once the eclairs have cooled used a bread knife to cut them lengthwise in half. I placed that all on the countertop open and spooned out the apple filling into each evenly between them all. At then end if there was left over apple filling I split it evenly between them topping them off. Place the tops back on the eclairs and frost with the cream cheese frosting. You’ll have extra frosting probably, so find some graham crackers to snack on too! You can powder the tops of the eclairs with a touch of cinnamon to finish up.

What other kinds of things can you think of to make with pate a choux? Cream puffs is an obvious choice, but what else?!

Enjoy!

African Peanut Soup – Sopa Africana de Maní

*En español después de las fotos 🙂

I know!  This is the first time I’m posting something that is not for dessert.  Before, I wasn’t the one that was preparing my own meals and so it wasn’t quite under my control to capture a portion of our meals and take pretty pictures of them.  Now, it is!  This recipe is simply delicious.  It is simple, but is enough of a unique taste that it impresses.  How do you like that idea?  You don’t have to work too hard to impress your dinner guests with this soup.  But really, I mean what soup is hard to make?  They are all generally very easy to make.

This has got to be my favorite soup right next to my mother’s chicken noodle soup, which is actually the Amish version of the winter classic.  I’ve been thinking about how I would like to do a post about that too.  It’s also delicious, and takes a bit more work as you have to make the noodles yourself.  It’s worth it.  This soup was a staple of ours when we lived in Puno.  Amanda was the one who introduced it to me.  I am forever thankful!

It has been raining a lot here in Quito, Ecuador.  This is the rainy season, and it is nearly true to the hour when it starts raining.  At one P.M. sharp.  Yesterday, I took a nap and woke up to a booming thunderstorm.  That’s my favorite thing in the world, but usually I would’ve liked to stay in bed.  It was four o’clock so I decided if I had slept anymore I wouldn’t sleep later.  I got up and opened the door and found that there was a landslide outside of my door!  I couldn’t believe it!

It’s been cleared up since.  But, all of this crazy weather has been making me long for all the soups I have in my mind-banks while I huddle up inside my cozy apartment.  This soup is sure to chase away any weather blues and remind why winter can be enjoyable.

African Peanut Soup
as from Simply Recipes

  • 2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
  • A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
  • 2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut width-wise
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

Get your chicken pieces ready and pat them dry and then salt.  Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a skillet and place chicken pieces within making sure not to crowd your skillet.  -I did, but I had no other choice and it still turned out fine-  Brown the chicken.

While chicken is browning in a large pot and sautée the onion scrapping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Sautée until onions are transparent and then throw in the garlic and ginger.  If you are confused as to how to peel ginger try this video.  1-2 minutes later add the sweet potatoes and carrots.

Add chicken and then broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well.  Bring to a boil and add salt as needed.  I added more water to mine, because I didn’t like the consistency, and then added bouillon for the amount of water I added.  You can also throw in some hot sauce like we did to spice it up.  Bring boil down to a simmer and let it go for 90 minutes.

Then take the chicken out and let it cool and then strip the bones of the meat and throw that back into the soup.  Adjust seasoning if needed and throw in as much pepper as you like.  SERVE and enjoy!

Somebody said they’d like to see some footage from Ecuador.  Here is some you can take a glimpse at.

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ESPAÑOL—————–

¡Lo sé!  Es la primera vez que estoy poniendo algo que no tiene que ver con el postre.  Antes, yo no estaba encargado de preparar mi propia comida para cenar y así que no tenía mucho control para robar una porción de la comida para sacar fotos bonitas de ella.  Pero ¡ahora sí!  Esta receta es simplemente deliciosa.  Es sencilla, pero es suficientemente única -hablando del sabor- que impresiona.  ¿Qué te parece eso?  No tienes que esforzarte demasiado para impresionar a tus invitados o familia con esta sopa.  Pero, de verdad ¿cuál sopa es un desafío hacer?  Generalmente, todas son fáciles hacer.  Esta receta específicamente me fue introducida por mi amiga.  Estoy por eso siempre agradecido!

Esta tiene que ser mi sopa favorita aparte de la sope de pollo y fideos que mi mamí hace, cual en realidad es una receta de los Amish y su versión de la clásica sopa del verano.  He estado pensando en la posibilidad de hacer una entrada de esa entrada también.  Es muy deliciosa y requiere un poco más de esfuerza porque tienes que hacer los fideos a mano, pero vale toda la pena.  Está lloviendo muchísimo aquí en Quit, Ecuador.  Es la estación de las lluvias y es por poco a la hora cada día llegando.  A la una de la tarde.  Ayer, estaba costado durante la tarde y cuando me desperté at las cuatro estaba lloviendo.  Me hubiera gustado quedar en cama, pero sí lo hice es probable que no me podría dormir más tarde.  Entonces fui a la puerta y la abrí para encontrar que ¡hubo derrumbamiento fuera de mi cuarto!  No lo podía creer.

Ha sido despejado desde entonces.  Pero, toda esta locura con el clima me procura comer toda la sopa que tengo en mis depósitos de recetas mientras que me acurruco dentro de mi departamento acogedor.  Esta sopa consta de ahuyentar la depre del clima y hacer recordar porque está estación del verano es tan especial.

Sopa Africana de Maní
inspirado por Simply Recipes

  • 1-1 1/2 kilo de pollo -piernas, y/o alas
  • 3 cucharadas aceite vegetal
  • 1 cebolla blanca o amarilla, cortada en rodajas
  • un pedazo pequeño de gengibre picado fino
  • 6-8 dientes de ajo picado ligeramente
  • 1-1 1/2 kilos camote, pelados y cuadrados
  • 4-5 zanahorias, peladas y cortadas al ancho
  • 2 tomates cuadradas
  • 2 litros de caldo de pollo
  • 1 taza de mantequilla de maní – o salsa de maní
  • 1 taza de maní
  • 1 cucharada culantro
  • 1 chucharadita cayena
  • sal y pimienta

Toma el pollo y sécalo con algún trapo y luego salarlo.  Calienta el aceite sobre fuego medi0-alto en un sartén y coloca los pedazos de pollo adentro para dorarlo.  Le receta original dice que no debes abarrotar el sartén, pero yo lo hice de todos modos y no lo afectó nada.

Mientras que el pollo dora pon en una olla grande un poco de aceite más y pon la sobre fuego medio-alto y soltar la cebolla, raspando el fondo para quitar que se pegue.  Salta la cebolla hasta que se pongan transparentes y luego agrega el ajo y gengibre.  Si estás confundido cuanto a como pelar gengibre mira este video. Uno o dos minutos después añade la camote y zanahorias.

Agrega el pollo y luego el caldo, los tomates, mantequilla de maní, maní, culantro, cayena y mezcla bien.  Hiérvala y añande sal como necesario.  Yo añadí un más agua a la mía porque no me gustaba la consistencia, y luego añadí más caldo Maggi y el agua para compensar.  También puedes agregar algo de ají para hacerla más picante.  Baja el fuego y déjala cocer a fuego lento para 90 minutos.

Luego, saca el pollo de la sopa y déjalo enfriar y luego quita de los huesos la carne y reemplazarla a la sopa.  Ajusta el sazón si es necesario y luego agrega la cantidad de pimienta que te guste.  ¡SIRVE y provecho!

Ve arriba para ver fotos de mi tiempo hasta ahora aquí en Ecuador!  Alguien dijo que quería ver un poco de acá.  🙂