Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Turkey is NOT from Turkey!

Around 1519, conquistador Hernando Cortez returned to Spain with a bird introduced to him by the Native Americans of Mexico. The peculiar bird confused all of Europe. The French thought it was from India and so named it dindon, from Poulites d'Inde. The Germans, Dutch, and Swedes agreed that the bird was Indian, they named it kilcon after Calcutta. By the time the trend reached England, rumor had it that the bird was from Turkey, and so that became its name. However, the Wild Turkey is native to the forests of North America, and the Ocellated Turkey is native to the forests of the Yucatan Peninsula. 

So, what better cuisine than that of Mexico to utilize your leftover turkey? In fact, I roast a turkey every year just to make these delicious enchiladas! Everyone I've ever given this recipe to makes these after Thanksgiving, every year! Serve with refried beans, leftover corn souffle (which I always have after Thanksgiving), a big green salad perked up with orange segments, sliced red onions and sliced avocados. Beer and/or sangria, chips, salsa and guacamole round out the meal. Enchiladas buena!

The Great After-Thanksgiving Turkey Enchiladas

Serves 6


For the sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1, 28-oz can enchilada sauce
5 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chiles
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the enchiladas
3 cups coarsely shredded cooked turkey
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (divided into 1 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 canola oil
12, 5-6" corn tortillas


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes and chipotles. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover; simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Mix turkey, 1 1/2 cups cheese, sour cream, 1/4 cup onions and 1/2 cup cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1/2 cup canola oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Cook 1 tortilla until pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Don't fry them!) Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in 13x9x2" baking dish. Making one at a time, spoon 1/4 cup turkey mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortilla and arrange seam side down in baking dish. When all the enchiladas are nestled in neatly, spoon 2 1/2 cups sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake enchiladas until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Rewarm remaining sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Transfer to a sauceboat. Serve enchiladas, passing sauce separately. Delicioso!

History of the turkey from Recipe from Bon Appetit.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Don't Be A Devil!

Halloween is almost here, and my kids are already embracing their inner devils! Next to Christmas, Halloween is their most anticipated holiday. Perhaps it's the chill in the air, or maybe the costumes, but I'm absolutely sure it's the treats! To turn my devils into saints, I always make these awesome cupcakes by Giada De Laurentiis. They use store-bought chocolate cake mix, enhanced with orange juice and chocolate chips, then frosted with a delicious limoncello frosting (lemon juice for my kids). These are so good, you'd be a devil not to make them!

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Limoncello Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes.


1 box chocolate cake mix
Orange juice (instead of water in cake mix)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup diced candied orange peel (optional)

2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons limoncello (or lemon juice for kids)*
2 tablespoons orange juice*
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel, for garnish (optional)


To make the cupcakes: mix the chocolate cake mix according to package instructions, substituting orange juice for the water. Toss the chocolate chips with the flour. Fold the chocolate chips and the candied orange peel into the chocolate mixture. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Fill and bake the cupcakes according to package instructions. Let the cupcakes cool for 1 hour on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting: combine all the ingredients except the candied orange peel in a medium bowl. Using a mixer, beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Using a small spatula, place about 1 tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake. Top with a small sprinkle of candied orange peel.

*I find that the frosting is a bit runny, so be careful! Start by only adding 1 tablespoon limoncello (or lemon juice) and 1 tablespoon orange juice and see how that goes.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

House of Tiles?... and What do the Swiss have to do with Enchiladas?

Casa de los Azulejos or "House of Tiles" is an 18th century palace located in the heart of Mexico City. The palace was built by the Count del Valle de Orizaba in honor of his marriage to Graciana Suarez Peredo. A later renovation added the distinctive Puebla tile to the facade, giving the palace it's name. The palace passed hands a few times, used as a private residence, a jockey club, a women's clothing store, and was occupied by the army during the Mexican Revolution. In 1917, brothers, Frank and Walter Sanborn, purchased the property to expand their drugstore and to open it's flagship restaurant, "Sanborns." In 1931, the palace was declared a national monument. Click here for an awesome look inside! (The music's fun, too!)

Sanborns is a fabulous place to visit and grab a bite to eat. In fact, this is the birthplace of their signature dish, "Enchiladas Suizas." Enchiladas Suizas literally translates to "Swiss Enchiladas." Why? Well, in 1922, Mexican President Alvaro Obregon invited fleeing Mennonites, mainly from Swiss and German roots, to settle in the northern regions of the country. In addition to cheap land and freedom from taxation for 100 years, the Mennonites agreed to supply cheese and dairy products to the region. Later that year, a whopping 20,000 Mennonites arrived and began making their cheese, known as queso menonita, which is now known as Chihuahua cheese! The current population is estimated to be about 80,000, and makes 80% of the region's cheese and 70% of its dairy products!

Enchiladas Suizas are ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! These chicken enchiladas, smothered in a green chile cream sauce and topped with melty cheese, are my absolute favorite! The name is a tribute to the Swiss cheesemakers who made it all possible!

Enchiladas Suizas

Serves 6


For the sauce
1 pound (6-8) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 medium white onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 serrano chiles or 2 jalapenos, stemmed
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Mexican crema, creme fraiche, or heavy cream
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the enchiladas
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheese, Chihuahua or Monterey Jack, halved
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup canola oil
Sliced white onion, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


For the sauce
Roast the tomatillos, sliced onion, peeled garlic, and chiles on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet, 4-inches below a hot broiler until the tomatillos are soft and blotchy black on one side, 4-5 minutes. Turn everything over and roast the other side.

Scrape the tomatillo mixture into a blender or food processor.

Process to a smooth puree. Heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a medium-large (4-5 quart) pot over medium high. When the oil is hot enough to make a drop of puree sizzle, add the puree all at once. Stir nearly constantly for several minutes until darker and thicker. Add the broth and the crema, reduce the heat to medium low, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

When done, if the sauce has thickened beyond the consistency of a light cream soup, stir in a little more broth (or water). Taste and season with the salt. Set aside.

For the enchiladas
In a large bowl, mix the chicken, onion, and 1 cup of the cheese. Season with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1/2 cup canola oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Using tongs, cook 1 tortilla until pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Don't fry them!) Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a 13x9x2" baking dish. Making one at a time, spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortilla and arrange seam side down in baking dish.

When all the enchiladas are nestled in neatly, cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake the enchiladas until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Garnish with the sliced onion and cilantro. Serve immediately. You're going to LOVE it!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Cloudy with a Chance of Roquefort

Few things in the culinary world are as ethereal as the elusive souffle. Souffles were created in the late 18th century by Antoine Beauvilliers, author of L'Art du Cuisinier (aka., The Art of French Cookery) and owner of the famous Beauvilliers, which was the most famous and elegant restaurant in Paris at that time. Souffles, as well as other egg dishes, are very popular in French cuisine. Souffles are served as a course during a meal and are positively breathtaking to look at! So, why don't more people in America make souffles? Possibly because of the rumors that they are difficult, fall without warning, or have never even tasted one!

I've made many souffles over the years, and I yet to have one collapse. The most important thing to remember is to separate your eggs very carefully. There must not be any trace of shell. When cracking eggs, always whack them on a flat surface as opposed to the side of a bowl. It produces less shell shatter. The other and most important thing is to make sure there is absolutely NO yolk in the egg whites. The fat in the yolks will not allow your egg whites to hold their loft. As long as you separate your eggs properly, you too can make a perfect souffle! 

This recipe, from French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman, for "Roquefort Souffle" is my absolute favorite cheese souffle! It's like a Roquefort cloud and in my opinion the best souffle I've ever tasted! If you love Roquefort as much as I do, you can add an extra ounce of cheese, it will still turn out perfect and even more delicious! I would recommend starting the meal with a bowl of soup, like Cream of Asparagus or the like, then serve this fabulous souffle along with a baguette, mixed green salad adorned with pear slices and toasted walnuts and dressed in a nice French vinaigrette (recipe follows), and finishing with homemade chocolate truffles and a glass of champagne! It's a classic menu and not one you'll soon forget!

Roquefort Souffle

Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as an entree.


4-cup souffle mold
Butter and all-purpose flour, for souffle mold
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (not in the original recipe)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup) (plus another ounce, or any other quality leftover cheese scraps you have, if you like)
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees with the rack set in the lowest position. Liberally butter a 4-cup souffle mold and lightly dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and water together in a small bowl. Add the 3 tablespoons flour to the yolks and blend until smooth.

Before the milk boils, stir about 1/4 cup of it into the egg yolk mixture to thin it. When the remaining milk boils, add it and stir well.

Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk rapidly over medium-high heat, whisking the bottom and sides of the pan until the mixture thickens and boils, about 30 seconds. (Turning the pan as you whisk helps you easily reach all areas of the pan.) Continue to whisk vigorously for 1 minute while the souffle base gently boils. It will become shiny and easier to stir.

Reduce the heat to medium and allow the souffle base to simmer while you stir in the mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cheese and mix well until it melts completely and the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cover.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Pour the warm souffle base into a large bowl. With a whisk, fold in one-third of the beaten egg whites to lighten it. With a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. Stop folding as soon as the mixture is blended: a little egg white may still be visible.

Pour the souffle mixture into the prepared mold, leveling the surface with your spatula. If any of the batter touches the rim of the mold, (mine didn't even come close) run your thumb around the rim to clean it off.

Bake for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. (You can test for doneness by inserting a skewer or cake tester.) The souffle should rise 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the mold and brown on the top. Serve immediately!

French Vinaigrette

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

*Additional ingredients that can be added are 1 garlic clove (halved and removed when the dressing has acquired the desired garlic flavor), chopped fresh herbs, chopped shallots, and chopped hard-cooked egg. To accompany the Roquefort souffle, I kept it simple and did not include any additional ingredients.


In a small bowl or jar, mix the first five ingredients together. Add the oil and mix until all the ingredients are well blended and smooth. Blend well again just before using. Any leftover vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for another delicately flavored green salad.

***You may also be interested in Giandua Souffles, a fabulous dessert and can be made ahead!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mexico's Crazy Corn!

When I was a kid, I remember when my Mom and Dad returned from a vacation in Veracruz, Mexico. My Mom told us that they put mayonnaise on corn on the cob, and we thought that sounded extremely gross! "Elote Asado" (Mexican Grilled Corn) is perhaps the most popular street food in Mexico. Sweet ears of corn are grilled until tender, slathered with mayonnaise, Mexican crema, or a mixture of both, then rolled in cotija cheese, dusted with chili powder, and served with a wedge of lime. I know it sounds crazy, but it is quite delicious!

I recommend starting with the freshest, sweetest corn you can find. I also recommend seeking out authentic Mexican crema, as opposed to using sour cream. In addition, I have to admit that I don't care for the squeeze of lime. I know...dumb gringo! (FYI: If you serve this to anyone with facial hair, have plenty of napkins available! It's pretty funny to watch!) Anyway, this is a fun and authentic recipe to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Try it and let me know what you think! Happy Cinco!

Elote Asado (Mexican Grilled Corn with Crema, Cheese, and Chili)

Serves 4

4 ears of corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup Mexican crema
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup grated cotija cheese
Chili powder
4 lime wedges, for garnish

Pull the husks down the corn, but leave some attached to make a handle. (I like to tear a husk or two to tie the husks together.) Grill the corn on a hot grill, turning occasionally until tender and slightly charred, approximately 8-10 minutes. Mix the mayonnaise, crema, and cilantro together in a small bowl. Spread the cotija cheese on a plate to allow easy rolling. When the corn is done, slather it liberally with the mayo/crema/cilantro mixture. Roll it in the cotija cheese. Sprinkle with chili powder, to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Mon Petit Chou

"Mon petit chou" (pronounced maw puh-tee shoo) is a French term of endearment which literally translates to "my little cabbage." At first you may think, "Gee, thanks..." However, the term chou (or choux, if plural) has a double meaning routed in the pastry world, chou referring to "chou a la creme" or cream puff! Ah, that's way better than being called a cabbage! Anyway, this brings us to "pate a choux" or choux pastry. Choux pastry is loosely regarded as being created in France by Chef Panterelli in 1540, who came with Catherine de Medici of Florence in 1533, upon her marriage to the future King Henry II of France. Over the years, the original recipe evolved, as well as it's name, from "pate a Panterelli" to "pate a Popelini," to "pate a Popelin" (which were cakes made in the Middle Ages and shaped as woman's breasts! Scandaleux!), and finally to "pate a choux." So, what is it? Basically, choux pastry is a twice cooked dough with high moisture that creates steam when baked, thus puffing up to create a crisp outer shell and hollow interior that's perfect for filling!

If you have never made choux pastry, I am about to change your life forever! This magical dough, which contains only four common ingredients (water, butter, flour, and eggs), is shockingly easy to make and takes mere minutes! It is the basis for eclairs, profiteroles (little buns that look like tiny cabbages, hence the name), stacked with caramel for "croquembouche," shaped into a ring and filled with praline cream for "Paris-Brest," the basis for "St. Honore cake," and fried to make beignets and even churros. If that's not enough, because choux pastry doesn't contain sugar, you can easily fill them with savory ingredients as well, like chicken or seafood salad, ham or prociutto and cheese, scrambled eggs and herbs, steak and bearnaise, or even mix in a little cheese before baking and you've got "gougeres!" The combinations are endless, and it all starts with this one simple dough! This recipe for "Profiteroles" will delight any "mon petit chou" and are perfect for Valentine's Day! Just don't let them know how easy it was!

Profiteroles (Choux Pastry Buns with Pastry Cream and Chocolate Ganache)

Makes about 50, depending on the size. 
*For larger shells for steak, etc., drop by large spoonfuls and bake at 400 for about 45 minutes.

For the Pate a Choux
1 cup water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup flour (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the flour, but it is optional and not traditional.)
4 eggs

For the Pastry Cream
1 recipe Creme Patissiere (Which can be made days in advance! or if you're lazy, fill with ice cream.)

For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze (Can be made days in advance!)
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

For the Pate a Choux
In a medium saucepan, boil the water and the butter.

Bring to a simmer and stir in the flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon.

The mixture will become a big ball. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Transfer the blob to the bowl of a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl. Starting with the lowest setting, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Don't add the next egg until the previous one has been incorporated. Beat until smooth and velvety.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. 

Using a pastry bag or two spoons, pipe or drop approximately 1" balls onto the sheet.

Using your finger dipped into a little milk, pat down the tips from piping, if necessary.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until medium-golden brown and dry on the outside. (You need to keep an eye on them, and can check to make sure they are fully cooked by cutting one open.) When done, remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

(Some people recommend piercing each one with a skewer or toothpick to allow steam to escape.) Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container until ready to be filled.

For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn syrup. Pour over the chocolate chips and mix until smooth. The sauce can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated, and gently reheated before using.

Final Assembly (*Assemble only as many as you plan to eat that day. Any remaining ingredients can be stored separately for a second round of indulgence!)
Using a pastry bag with a round tip, poke the tip into the side of each cream puff and pipe in enough pastry cream to fill the hollow center.

If you don't own a pastry bag, you can make a partial horizontal cut with a knife and spoon in some pastry cream. Just remember to hold the cut together when dunking into the glaze.

Holding each cream puff securely with your fingers, dunk and twist the top of each one into the chocolate ganache glaze to coat and set aside until ready to be served.


(Mon Petit Chou loves them!)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Do You Know This Beautiful Leaf?

It's Swiss chard! Next to spinach, Swiss chard is among one of the healthiest foods around. In fact, Swiss chard is recommended to treat osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease! If you've never tried it, I recommend you do! This is "red Swiss chard," but it also comes in "rainbow," how beautiful! I always think of this lovely soup when I want to balance extravagant eating, like during the holidays. This delicious soup, full of shallots, pancetta, cannellini beans, Swiss chard, and cheese tortellini, is easy and just what you need to get back on track! It's so good, you'll be surprised!

Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup

Serves 4-6


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1, 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chopped Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1, 9 ounce package cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen (recommended: Buitoni)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, shallots, carrot, and garlic and cook until the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans, Swiss chard, and broth.

Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the tortellini and cook 5 minutes for fresh, 8 minutes for frozen, or until just tender. Season with pepper and serve. A crusty baguette is just perfect on the side!

Recipe from Everyday Pasta, by Giada De Laurentiis.