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

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  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!

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Buttermilk Cornbread

Thursdays are a pretty good day.  For one, it’s the day I get to come home and sleep in my own real bed after spending the night out in Ilave on a mattress on the floor.  Secondly, I get to spend time with a family that’s heart is being touched by God’s hand daily.  Seeing their growth is humbling and a reminder for why I’m here.  Thirdly, two Thursdays from now it will be… (drumroll please)… The Handicapped Kitchen’s One Year Anniversary!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I’ve started this blog.  In another year, I will be at home with my family celebrating Thanksgiving together.  That’s a lovely thought, and also something that keeps me moving forward.

I assume that what you are here for is this buttermilk cornbread.  I will admit, I had never had homemade cornbread until I came here to Peru.  Before this, it was always Jiffy cornbread mixes, which even after having homemade cornbread, retain their high-status as da-bomb.

This cornbread is what Amanda, our house-mother, makes on just about every single Sunday.  One time, she added about double the butter by accident and the result was pretty much pre-butter pieces of cornbread.  Not a bad mistake.  Amanda… how do I explain who she is.  She and Chad are our support parents.  They take care of finances and more logistical stuff as the rest of us go out to work.  You can check out her blog at http://www.arosetta.blogspot.com/  So, along side of her very busy days, Amanda makes dinner for us four times a day.  She’s the real hero in the kitchen here!  She’s in the handicapped kitchen more than I am.  Give Amanda a thanks for all her hard work!

And really, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, this is the perfect thing to shove somewhere into the oven along side the turkey, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, dinner rolls… oh dear, it seems you might have to buy a super-wide oven.  This bread is moist and still has that awesome cornbread denseness that I love.  Give this a try!  And like The Handicapped Kitchen on Facebook while you’re at it!

Here’s the recipe

Buttermilk Cornbread
from Allrecipes

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Choux à la Citrouille: Pumpkin Cream Puffs

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Oh glorious fall, how I miss you.  There is nothing quite like the smell of rotting leaves hanging on the air.  That and the many smells that spill out of kitchens nation-wide.  It’s something dear to me, but unfortunately, Peru only experiences two seasons, neither of which include fall.  So, I only get to live out fall precariously through desserts.  That’s not too bad right?

When I first embarked upon this  idea of using pâte à choux I was  planning on making éclairs, if you had seen my posts via Facebook you would´ve seen that.  I wanted to make éclairs with a pumpkin filling and cream cheese glaze.  However, I was quickly brought back to the reality of where it is that I actually live.  I live at 12,000 feet above sea level.  I was excited to start up on THK again.  It has been too long that I haven´t posted anything new, mostly because I burnt myself out.  Well, this recipe about did that in one strike.

I´m going to share with you some things about pâte à choux that I learned in my three different attempts that carried me through several stages of insanity.  I was ticked that out of all the different recipes I found only one included what I thought was key to making pâte à choux.  Only use the amount of eggs you need to get the consistency you need.  Seriously, I was so mad when I found this after two failed attempts.   Well, I gave up on the éclair idea, so I did a fall rendition of choux à la crème instead.  Though, still with paté à choux and the pumpking and cream cheese!  Even then, our elevation effected how much the dough would rise. 

 

I certainly wish that they had puffed up more, but I did what I could.  I spent unspeakable hours slaving in the kitchen today.  I started at 10 am and didn’t get done until 5 pm.  I’m not being dramatic when I say that I have near blisters on my hands from stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon today.  I do not want to scare you away from making these cream puffs though!  They were actually well worth the trouble.  Next time, I’ll know exactly what to do and I won’t have to utilize as much prayer as I did today. 

At one point of this process I really was sitting in front of my oven praying to God that He would make my PUFFS PUFF! 

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There are three parts of the recipe: dough, filling and glaze.

Dough
You know, I’m just going to refer you to the site I got the dough recipe from.  They explain it rather well, probably better than I could.  http://www.annamariavolpi.com/pate_a_choux.html  But, read on first.

I will note that it’s key you follow every step closely.  It is rather technical.  The consistency of the dough in the end should be not of mayo, like that site says, but rather between mayo and playdough.  It should hold it’s shape if you spoon it out onto a surface, but it should not be extremely stiff. 

Something else that made me want to rip out my hair was that the majority of pâte à choux recipes I found were all in METRIC.  I despise you metric.  Only because I have nothing to measure you out with. 

Filling
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove (ground)

If you’re using pumpkin pie filling, like Libby’s then you shouldn’t have to worry about the spices, you could add a little more, because you’re practically deluding it in the cream you’re creating.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in a large sauce pan.  Then mix in milk slowly as not to create lumps.  Put over heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and set aside. 

I roasted my own pumpkin, because finding canned pumpkin in Peru would cause an aneurism.  It’s no problem finding pumpkin here either.  The pumpkin in the first picture in this post is zapallo, what I used for this recipe and yields a great substitute for any recipes that call for the convention pumpkin one might find in the States. 

If you already have you pumpkin puree seasoned dump it in with the cream and stir.  If not, measure out your pumpkin puree and add the seasonings.  You may want to put this over a medium heat and add milk so the flavors set into the puree.  Then add to the cream.  Add more spices as needed. 

When the puffs are cooled and ready cut them open with a serrated knife and spoon pumpkin cream into the centers and put the tops over the cream to form sandwiches. 

Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth.  I put this over a low heat until the frosting melted and then spooned this out over the puffs.  You can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top for garnish.

Caramel Apple Dumplings

Yea, I’m stuck in fall.  I’m not going to lie.  You can see it pretty much written all over this blog.  And I’ve also a sick obsession for the apple recipes as well.  It’s just that the apple, cinnamon, pie pastry texture and tastes all remind me of home.  Being here in this country that only has two seasons really leaves me reaching out to fill those I’ve missed in Ohio!

I love etymology.  That’s why I like language so much.  And it’s extremely interesting to me when I find a connection between two words that others are not as excited as I am!  I found that nostalgia has some interesting roots.  Nosto is greek for home and algos pain.  So, in a sense nostalgia just means homesickness!  Now, you can’t tell me that is cool.  If you can’t admit to it you just need to leave.

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Really… how could you blame me for being stuck on apple deliciousness?  Are you seeing this?  I’m about to swallow my own tongue!

Caramel Apple Dumplings

6 McIntosh Apples (as this serves six people)  Do we have McIntosh apples in Peru?  No… so we had to just find something softer that would cook nicely.  This is the beaut we found.

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Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp butter

Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Caramel Sauce
You can use store bought OR you can make this
Caramel Comfort Sauce… really, which sounds more fun?

First you can get your sauce ready.  Super simple.  Are you ready?  Throw the water and sugar in the pan and start to bring it to a boil.  Put in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  When the sugar-water comes to a boil put in the butter and let melt.  Mix it up and when it’s melted completely remove from the heat and set aside.

To cut and peel your apples, cut them in half and then cut out the core.  I’ll show you some pictures, because I’m not sure how to explain with words.  Then, peel those halfs.  Don’t cut them into quarters because then you’re going to have a great time trying to hold them together when you wrap them up in dough!  That’s sarcasm by-the-way.

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Make sure you keep your apple halves with their mates… otherwise you could end up with some silly-looking dumplings.

Once you’ve got your apples ready get on your dough.  In a bowl mix together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) and then start to cut in your shortening.  If you’re like the Handicapped Kitchen and you don’t have shortening you can use butter (which I perfer anyway).  Cut in the shortening until you have what looks like fine crumbs.  Then add your milk just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle measuring about 18”X12”.  Then cut the dough into six squares.  So, that should be two horizontally and three across the length.  If you were a math major in college than you can figure out easily that that’s six equal squares!

Working one at a time, place an apple in the center of one of your perfect squares (that’s nearly impossible) of dough holding the halves together.  Pour a nice unhealthy amount of sugar into the center of the apple and shake a pretty portion of cinnamon and nutmeg over the apple and settle a pat of butter on top.  Fold up the four corners of the dough and pinch it closed.  You can also use water to help seal it better.

Place in a pre-greased baking dish.  When you’ve got all your dumplings set in the pan pour the sugar mixture we made earlier over the apples making sure to dump it over each dumpling.  Then, sprinkle with more sugar!  SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!  Kind of reminds me of Rebecca Black’s FUN FUN FUN!  Oh dear… poor girl.  Anyway, bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until you can easily poke a fork through easily.

Let cool and drizzle with caramel sauce while still warm.

TIPS:
1.) Use smaller apples so your dough will easily cover those babies.
2.) Some of my apples fell apart in the oven, but with my quick smarts I pulled some toothpicks out of my drawer and secured the apples together sticking the toothpicks through the apples in a crossing-action.

So, are you going to make these things?  Are you going to eat them in the middle of the sweltering summer?  Does it matter what time of the year you eat Apple Dumplings????  I think not.