Category Archives: Tasty Stuff

How To Make Vagina Cupcakes

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You probably already know that every year I perform in a charity production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, and every year I make a few dozen vagina cupcakes to sell in the lobby before the show. Because who doesn’t want to eat a vagina cupcake, amiright?

Hell, my cupcakes even appeared in the first edition of Karen Alpert’s book “I Heart My Little A-Holes.” (I say first edition, because when HarperCollins picked it up for publication, they cut my chapter, saying it was too risque. Vagina motherfuckers.)

My pussycakes are in a book!
My pussycakes are in a book!

But I can hear you out there, thinking to yourself, “If only I knew how to make these myself at home. They’d be terrific at the school band bake sale!”

So as part of my contribution to mankind, I thought it was about time I clued everyone in on how to make these at home. It’s pretty easy, you guys! Just follow these simple steps I’ve outlined below. And if you want to see how I learned, then check out Chaos Bakery’s video “How To Make a Vagina Cupcake” on YouTube.

For real, there’s videos out there about this.

Step 1 – Have a reason to make vagina cupcakes, such as you’re doing The Vagina Monologues (duh), you want to make a graphic impression at a baby shower, or you want to explain anatomy in a relatable way to a high school biology class.

Step 2 – Bake cupcakes. I did mine from a box. Because, honestly, noone really even notices the flavor when they are biting into an anatomically correct vagina cupcake. I added a little food coloring to give them a more “fleshy” appearance.

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Step 3 – Frost lightly. Again, I added a little food coloring to aid in the flesh-coloring. Add more or less to make it the flesh color you desire. We all know there are an infinite number of flesh colors out there.

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Step 4 – Make some fondant (you can do this ahead of time). Here is the recipe I used. It’s pretty easy to make your own, I would discourage buying it pre-made because it’s kind of gross.

Step 5 – Fashion the outer lips (the labia majora if scientific terms turn you on) with your fondant. I cut out circles of fondant using a glass and cut each circle in half. Then you fold up the straight side a little bit to make the lips. The frosting on the top of the cupcake holds the fondant in place.

Feed me, Seymour!
Feed me, Seymour!

Step 6 – Add a clitoris. You can use fondant, as Chaos Bakery does, or get creative. This year, I used strawberry-flavored tic-tacs and Starburst jelly beans because it’s Easter. Why not?

They look excited...
They look excited…

Step 7 – Fashion the inner lips (labia minora) with little scraps of fondant. Mine are kind of wild and crazy. Make ’em long, make ’em short, whatever. They come in all sizes.

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 Step 8 – Spread a little frosting around the outside. You will now attach the “pubic hair” to that. I used toasted coconut, chocolate sprinkles, and gold sugar and pressed it into the frosting. Shake off the excess. Or go without!

Don't get the hair stuck in your teeth.
Don’t get the hair stuck in your teeth.

Step 9 – The final step is to use a little food coloring to color the inner lips to give them dimension. I used red gel and purple gel food coloring, depending on the color of the cupcake.

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Voila! There you have it. Vagina cupcakes you can make at home. Here are some pictures of all the different kinds I made – a total of 60. So many vaginas, so little time!

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And here is the video from Chaos Bakery. Chef Bev does an excellent job walking you through all the steps.

IN VAG WE TRUST! GO FORTH AND MAKE VAGINA CUPCAKES, YOU VAGINA WARRIORS, YOU!

Adult-Flavored Halloween Rice Krispie Treats

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 10/19/14)

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No, they don’t taste like adults. They are Rice Krispie Treats that elevate my Midwestern dessert of youth to a more sophisticated level. It’s Rice Krispie Treats for those who have developed a palate but aren’t afraid of casseroles.

Hubs and I were invited to a pre-Halloween backyard screening of Beetlejuice this weekend, and these seemed like the perfect thing to nosh on while watching the Sand Worm try to eat a flannel-clad Alec Baldwin. My friends have hosted these outdoor movie nights before, and I’ve developed a personal trend of bringing themed Rice Krispie Treats. They are the perfect backyard party food: they’re homemade but don’t take tons of time, they travel well, they can be eaten with no utensils, and pretty much who doesn’t like Rice Krispie Treats? They went perfectly with the Kale Caesar Salad our lovely hosts made and the tub of Kentucky Fried Chicken that another guest brought (he won the party, by the way, with the KFC). Just the right amount of fancy flavor and trashy party food.

I winged the recipe, because, really, how do you mess up Rice Krispie Treats? But here’s a good plan to follow, in case you are cooking-impaired. You can easily double the recipe for a big party, or, you know, just wing it like I did.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

ricek2Ingredients:

  • one stick of unsalted butter (you could use less, but hey if you’re gonna go for it, go for it)
  • 8 cups mini marshmallows
  • 10 cups Rice Krispies (I used the store brand, who can tell the difference?)
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 drops red food color
  • 6 drops yellow food color
  • black and orange sprinkles and spider rings (optional, obviously)

Directions:

  • Coat a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray (I also used a 9×9 inch pan to make enough for a party).
  • Melt butter in a non-stick pot, cooking until it is slightly brown and nutty smelling.
  • Add the marshmallows, pumpkin spice, and food coloring and stir until melted.
  • Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies. Stir until well-coated.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared dishes (I used a spatula sprayed with cooking spray).
  • Sprinkle orange and black sprinkles on top.
  • Allow to cool, then turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares.

These were a big hit at the party, and hubs was sad we didn’t have any more at home. I suspect I’ll be making another batch for Halloween night, to snack on while we hand out treats and scare the crap out of the trick-or-treaters.

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Puttin’ the Fat Back in Tuesday

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 3/4/14)

I am a walking Hallmark card.  It’s true.  I totally embrace their slogan “Life is a Special Occasion”.  I’m all for busting out the good china on a Tuesday, or burning those dreamy-smelling candles bought in Paris. Tonight it was all about celebrating a holiday to which I really have no attachment.  Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday.

fattues1I have somewhat mixed feelings about the holiday in general.  It’s so much about total debauchery.  While I like debauchery in general, TOTAL debauchery is really another story.  I did spend a few days in New Orleans right after Mardi Gras in 2004.  I was on a children’s theatre tour, and myself, two others also named Amy, and the sole guy Greg toured the French Quarter one fine Friday night, flashing our boobs, collecting beads, crashing a bachelor party, getting lap dances, and…. oh, hell, well just use your imagination. The following couple of years I worked as a bartender in a Cajun restaurant, and Fat Tuesday was our biggest day of the year.  All hands were on deck, many drinks were consumed (staff included), and I didn’t finally get home until daylight.  Sounds fun in theory, but in practice…I’ve always been just slightly put off by what is revealed in the harsh light of morning.  Enough to keep me from participating in total debauchery more times than not.

fattues2Well, anyway, fast forward to 2014 and I felt the itch to have a taste of the Big Easy tonight.  My form of debauchery these days is having a few hurricanes on a weeknight and eating a meal that contains an entire stick of butter.  I prefer to take all that debauchery and spread  it out on a daily basis.  Indulge in some fun a little bit every day, instead of all at once a couple of times a month.  So, tonight seemed like the perfect night to tap into my inner bartender, craft a few cocktails for me and the hubs, don masks bought across the street at the dollar store, eat some shrimp, and then, well…go to bed.  Ha!  Yeah, staying up on Tuesday until dawn is not really appealing in any way anymore.  And the hurricanes we made at the bar were just rum and fruit punch.  Tonight I stepped it up a little:

Hurricane recipe:

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon grenadine
  • Garnish: orange slice and cherry

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

Martha Stewart is my adult muse, so I used one of her recipes to make what was my favorite meal at Oddfellows Rest, the bar where I used to work in Jersey City.  BBQ shrimp.  I can’t tell you how many times I ate BBQ shrimp over the course of the years I worked there, but I’m sure it added to that chubby chin you see above.  Here is her Mr. Jim’s Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp.

fattues3Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), rinds reserved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 11/2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 pound (about 30) medium to large shrimp, peeled, heads (optional) and tails on
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Baguette, for serving

STEP 1
Heat a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add butter, and cook until melted and foamy. Add garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice and rinds. Stir in Worcestershire and hot sauces, and bring to a simmer.

STEP 2
Season shrimp with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook until pink and firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve with baguette.

This dish and the accompanying hurricanes certainly put the Fat back in my Tuesday.  Now we’re gonna watch “Orange is the New Black” and go to bed.  That’s how we roll these days.

It’s Vag-tastic!

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 4/28/12)

For the second year, I participated in the V-Day Downtown LA 2012 production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.  What an amazing event!  V-Day is a global movement inspired by the play that works to help women and girls who are victims of violence.  Over 6000 productions a year are produced around the world with all proceeds benefiting V-Day and the local charity of your choice.  Our production helped A Window Between Worlds, a wonderful non-profit in Venice, CA, that uses art to help women and children in abusive relationships.

With this being an evening designed to raise money and awareness, we decided to hop on the cupcake trend and sell vagina cupcakes (or “pussycakes”)….

vagcup

The cupcakes were a huge hit, and elicited all kinds of interesting responses.  Some people couldn’t wait to get their mouths on one.  Others were a bit more hesitant.  Some were mildly grossed out.  Nonetheless, it certainly shines a spotlight on the vagina, which is of course the whole point of the show, so I’d say overall they were a success!

I baked both vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.  The vaginas are made out of homemade fondant .  And did you know that if you Google “how to make vagina cupcakes” you are led directly to this amazing video from Chaos Bakery?  Oh, the wonders of the internet.  Thank you, Chef Bev!

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In Vag We Trust!

The Great Pumpkin

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 1/22/12)

I made something new that is, really, just divine.  Especially on a cold winter’s night (hey, it gets cold in Los Angeles…relatively….)

pumpkin

I put a pumpkin patch in my front yard this summer.  I planted it around the end of June, hoping for pumpkins for Halloween.  At the very least by Thanksgiving.  Well, I just harvested them last week.  In January.  All the vines had died, and still the 7 pumpkins in my patch were just barely ripe.  My deaf, Korean, non-english speaking gardener pointed at my pathetic patch, telling me “March” as in “Hey, you idiot, if you want your pumpkins to ripen at the appropriate time plant them in March”.  Noted.  This year they shall be planted at the right time.
Nevertheless, I did get 7 glorious pumpkins.  I’ve twice made Weight Watchers pumpkin soup, and was searching online for something else to do with pumpkin.  I had seen a baked pumpkin in Martha Stewart before, and thought a variation of that would be fun to make.  We’re trying to go low-carb here on Lull Street, after a carb-laden holiday, so I thought quinoa would be a nice, healthy option instead of bread.  I found quite a few lovely recipes online, and decided on a “little bit of this, little bit of that”.  Here’s what I came up with.  I enjoyed it, and I think you will, too.  This recipe is easily adapted to what you have on hand.  You’ll notice there aren’t specific measurements.  I’m more of a “dash of this, dash of that, season to taste” kind of gal.  This gives you more opportunities for tasting as you go.  🙂
INGREDIENTS:
one large pumpkin
2 cups uncooked quinoa
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
one onion, diced
one apple, peeled, cored and sliced
half cup golden raisins
half cup toasted walnuts
juice and zest of 2 tangerines
2 tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff!)
cinnamon
nutmeg
ground ginger
salt & pepper
olive oil
handful shredded cheddar
shredded parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut hole in top of pumpkin and scoop out stringy flesh and seeds (I saved the seeds to plant…yes, in March Mr. Kang, I understand now).  Score inside of pumpkin, brush inside and outside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake upside down about one hour.
Meanwhile, prepare quinoa per package instructions.  I substituted chicken broth for water for a bit more flavor.  Heat olive oil in pan and saute onions.  Add onions, apple, raisins, tangerine juice and zest, walnuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper to quinoa and stir well.   Transfer quinoa mixture to pumpkin and continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Last 10 minutes add shredded cheese to top of mixture.
Serve, scooping out pumpkin as you go, and enjoy!

Garden to Plate

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 9/7/11)

After waiting patiently all spring and summer, I’m happy to say it’s finally time to harvest the corn!  As a first time gardener, you just can’t go wrong with corn.  It definitely gives the biggest bang for the buck.  It’s pretty easy to grow and it grows fast plus it’s magnificiently tall and creates a wonderful green border in front of my ugly wooden fence.  And in my particular case it was almost entirely free since I got the seeds gratis from the Sowing Millions Project.  The only real expense was time spent, which was pretty pleasant all around.

However, I really didn’t pay too close attention to exactly what kind of corn seeds I was sent, so color me surprised when I discovered that I had purple corn.

cob

Turns out I have Inca corn, with is a South American strain of corn.  Ever had it?  If you’ve ever eaten Peruvian food you probably have.  The first time I ate at  Peruvian restaurant here in LA I was taken aback by how BIG the corn was – and chewy.  The first couple of ears we pulled off we prepared on the cob – you know, like they do with sweet corn in Indiana where I’m from.  That’s pretty much the only way to eat corn there.  Well, that is not an appetizing way to eat this kind of corn.  It’s dry and chewy and most of it ends up coating your teeth like paste.  We decided that since we’re about to have about, oh, 50 ears of corn ready to eat we best come up with some new recipes for this corn.

I found this wonderful recipe online for South American tamales, or humitas.  I found it on this wonderful blog called Laylita’s Recipes.  It’s the same place where I found the recipe for Dulce de Higos after we came back from Ecuador.  Laylita’s blog is a treasure trove of South American recipes, complete with stories from growing up and preparing these dishes with her family.  Love it!  Here’s the recipe I used, with a few tweaks:

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 fresh ears of corn, with husks
  • 3 cups grated or crumbled cheese, mozzarella or a fresh farmers cheese (I used a mix of both)
  • 1 cup diced white onions, about ½ large onion
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • About 1 cup corn meal
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream (I used half and half)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

SidesAji de tomate de arbol or tree tomato hot sauce (I couldn’t find tamarillos at either the Mexican market across the street or at the Mexican chain grocer Vallarta, so I made a roasted tomatillo salsa)

Preparation:

  1. Remove the husks from the corn; try to keep each husk intact, the large ones will be used as wrappers for the humitas and the smaller ones will be broken into long strips to tie around the humitas. (I found it helpful to cut off the bottom of the corn so that the wide husks wouldn’t tear down the middle when you peel the corn)
  2. To help make the corn husks more pliable place them in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain the water and save the husks until ready to use.
  3. Remove the silky hairs from the corn and use a knife to cut the corn kernels from the cob, if you don’t have a steamer save the cobs to use as a steamer.
  4. Place the corn kernels, 1 cup of cheese, diced onions, crushed garlic, ground coriander, corn meal, cream, eggs, and salt in the food processor, mix until the corn is pureed.
  5. In large deep pot place about 2 ½ cups of water and a steamer, the water should be just below the steamer, if you don’t have a steamer arrange the cobs on the bottom of the pan instead and cover them with some of the leftover husks.
  6. To fill each humita use 2 of the large corn husks per humita, place them on top of each other, fold the left side of the husks, then fold the top half over the bottom half, this creates a semi-pocket, fill it with a spoonful of the mixture (how much mixture will depend on the size of the husks, the larger the husks the more filling you can add) and stuff some of the remaining cheese in the middle, now fold over the right side of the husk and tighten it up a little bit, use the thin strips to tie around the wrapper and keep it closed. (okay, this was really, really hard for me, and I cheated a bit and tied them with kitchen string because the husks were just too delicate for my large, clumsy hands)
  7. Place the humitas in the pot on top of the steamer, I like to keep them slightly inclined with the open end on top. Place any leftover husks on top and cover well.
  8. Place the pot on the stove over high heat until you hear the water boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes, the cooked humitas will be slightly firm to firm when they are done.
  9. Serve warm with aji de tomate de arbol or tree tomato hot sauce. (I used roasted tomatillo salsa and a I also made a yummy Peruvian green sauce which I found a recipe for here)

Adam and I decided these were super yummy and perhaps I’ll make them again so I can practice my tamale-rolling skills.  So there you have it – from garden to plate!

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I Don’t Give a Flying Fig…I Just Make Them

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 8/7/11)

The quest for fig recipes continues, and tonight I think we found a winner.
Adam is the chef of the family, and I’m the mixologist, so when I happened upon a recipe online for a Flying Fig cocktail, I knew I had to try it.  Original recipe is found here, I made just a couple of slight variations based on the ingredients I had on hand:

  • 3 fresh organic figs
  • 1/2 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 ounces lemon-flavored vodka
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 ounces simple syrup, or 2 tbsp sugar (to taste)
  • Fresh mint sprig
Muddle diced fig in the elderflower liqueur (reserve one slice for garnish). Add cracked ice, vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously. Rim chilled martini glass with one mint leaf dropped in.  Garnish with reserved fig slice. Strain cocktail into glass.
flying fig
Can you say yum?  The muddled fig gives it a most lovely pink color, like a Cosmo.  This will go excellently with the Hawaiian burgers with caramelized pineapple and bacon that Adam is making tonight, recipe courtesy of Bitchin’ Kitchen.

In a Jam

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 8/5/11)

Well, the figging continues.  Figs, figs, figs, figsfigsfigsfigs everywhere!  Another round of figs has ripened on the tree and we took in a harvest of I would guess about 10 pounds.  Yikes.  What to do with that many figs?

Well, first I made my dulce de higos, or sweet Ecuadorian figs (recipe found here).  I hope y’all are coming over to eat them because we’ll never, ever eat all of them.

Second, I made wine soaked figs, recipe found here.  We had had a little party last weekend, and I had some half-empty bottles of red wine so, well, necessity was the mother of invention here.

Third, I made my first foray into the world of jam-making and canning.  I’ll admit I was scared, but now that I made it through relatively unscathed (there was a bit of scalding-hot splatter, so not entirely unscathed) I am anxious to get to the next batch.  This time I made two:  a quick, microwave type of jam you can make in single can sizes.  It’s spicy orange fig jam and it is utterly delicious!  The second I made the old fashioned way which produced about a dozen cans.  Aptly, it is old-fashioned fig preserves.  I thought I’d start with that as the base and try different types of jam for the next batches.

The moral of the story here is that if you like fig jam, you best let me know and I’ll be sending you some.

jam

In other news, the corn I’ve planted is going gangbusters and will be ready to harvest anytime now.  This is the first time I’ve grown any kind of vegetable and I’m ecstatic by how well it’s doing!  I feel like I’m at home in Indiana.

corn

I’m also hard at work trying to make the front yard look nice.  We rent, so we don’t want to spend a ton of money on plants and things, so my thrifty self is hard at work on this project.  I just made two small beds by the front gate with plants salvaged from a restaurant in Long Beach (they were pulling them out of their planters and putting them in bags as I was walking by they gladly let me take them) and the bricks are salvaged from our backyard.  Just the beginning.

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Here Figgy, Figgy!

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 7/5/11)

We have an embarrassment of figs here at my house.

I don’t think I ever even ate a fig until I moved to LA.  Figs were something that made brief appearances in songs around Christmastime, not something I’m accustomed to having on my plate in the summer.

But now we have an enormous fig tree in our yard, with my hammock from El Salvador hanging underneath – I’m so excited to finally be using it!

tree

About two weeks ago we started getting our first ripe ones.  From what I can tell, it seems we’ll have fresh figs from now until mid-fall.  At least 100 pounds of them.  Question is – what the hell do you do with all those figs?  I certainly don’t want them to go to waste.

When Adam and I went to Ecuador last November, we stopped for some street food at an outdoor market in Otavalo.  A black, bubbling concoction served with cheese on a roll.

dulce de higos

Turns out they were figs, and they were beyond delicious.  As soon as we got home I tried to find the recipe, which I finally did online at http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/09/23/dulce-de-higos-or-figs-in-syrup/ and is reprinted below.  At the time it was hard to find figs, but now that I’m pulling about 20 a day from our tree, I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks.  It takes three days to prepare, but it is worth it!

figs from our tree

Ingredients:

  • 20 fresh ripe but firm figs, washed
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 1 ¾ lb brown sugar
  • Cinnamon sticks, cloves and other spices – optional
  • Water

Sides – Slices of cheese, bread (we found Hawaiian bread particularly tasty with this)

Preparation:

  1. Make a crosswise cut on the thin side of each fig.
  2. Place the figs in a bowl, cover them with water and let them soak for 24 hours.
  3. Rinse the figs, place them in a saucepan, and cover them with water, about 8 cups.
  4. Add the baking soda and bring the water to a boil over medium heat, cook for about 15-20 minutes or until soft.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the figs soak in the water they cooked in for another 24 hours.
  6. Drain all the water from figs and gently squeeze each fig to remove as much water as possible.
  7. Place the brown sugar and the spices in a large saucepan, cover with about 6 cups of water and cook on low heat until it is completely dissolved.
  8. Add the figs and simmer until the syrup begins to thicken, at least a couple of hours, stir occasionally.
  9. Serve either warm or cold with a slice of quesillo, fresh mozzarella, queso fresco, farmer’s cheese or the cheese of your preference.

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Layers of Tasty

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(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 5/17/11)

I believe I’ve found one of my favorite go-to recipes:  Moroccan b’stilla.

“What the hell is that” you say?  Well, I didn’t know what it was either until I was browsing through one of Adam’s dozens (okay, hundreds) of cookbooks looking for a recipe that called for filo dough.  I had never used filo and had an itch to try it out.  From the dizzying array of recipe books to choose, I hesitantly pulled out one specializing in Moroccan fare.  Now I’ve had Moroccan food before (a particularly romantic Valentine’s Day dinner comes to mind) but I’m not well-versed, or even vaguely familiar with the names of dishes, types of ingredients or characteristic flavors from this North African state.  I’ve been to North Africa (Tunisia, to be exact) but all I really remember is the couscous and getting severely dehydrated which resulted in hospitalization.  But I digress.

This particular collection of recipes contained instructions for making b’stilla, which is encased in filo dough  -so I knew I had my dish.  I informed Adam via text message my plans for dinner, to which he responded “that’s really hard to make”.  Oh – a challenge!  I was determined to make this work.

What I discovered is that although not technically difficult, it is a time-consuming recipe (about 3 hours from start to finish).  Not necessarily something you’d want to make on a weeknight (unless you are temporarily unemployed, like me, then it becomes a practical time-filler).  The smell of it cooking is intoxicating, a thick mix of sweet and spicy.  The sight of it coming out of the oven – wow.  I actually jumped up and down with excitement.  It’s a beautiful dish that’s also fun to eat.  Traditionally, the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand are “plunged through the pastry crust into the steaming filling and the size mouthful required is pulled out and quickly transferred to the mouth”.  Finger food at its finest.  Here’s the recipe, from Hilaire Walden’s “The Moroccan Collection”, if you’d like to give it a try, which I highy suggest you do.  You won’t be disappointed.

  • 1 small chicken
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • good pinch of crushed saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 9 ounces packet filo pastry
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • salt and pepper

To serve:

  • confectioner’s sugar
  • ground cinnamon (optional)

1.  put the chicken into a saucepan with the onion, ginger, saffron, cilantro, 1 tsp of the cinnamon, parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Add enough water barely to cover the bird and simmer gently, covered, for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.

2.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.  Boil the cooking juices until they are reduced to a thick, dryish sauce.

3.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and take the flesh from the bones.  Coarsely chop the flesh.

4.  Beat the eggs and butter with half of the cooking juices and cook, stirring constantly, until scrambled.

5.  Toast the almonds in a dry, heavy frying pan, stirring frrequently, until lightly browned.  Add the remaining cinnamon and sugar.

my frist time blanching almonds – so easy!

6.  Using overlapping sheets of filo pastry and brushing each sheet with oil, make a square 3 layers thick (I acutally used 5) and 18 inches across on a baking sheet.  Spread the remaining cooking juices in a 7 inch circle in the center of the pastry.  Cover with the egg mixture, then top with the chicken and the almonds.  Fold up the sides of the pastry to enclose the filling.  If necessary, patch any gaps with more pastry, brushing them with oil.

7.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

8.  To serve, sieve confectioner’s sugar ove the top and make a random or lattice pattern with ground cinnamon, if desired.

Be careful, it’s super hot!!!!

 

BEFORE

 

So pretty!  But it wasn’t long until it looked like this:

AFTER