Navajo Fry Bread recipe

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
Oil, for frying

Put flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well, add warm water and stir until dough begins to ball up. On a lightly floured surface knead dough. Do not over-work the dough. After working dough, place in a bowl and refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Heat oil to 350 degrees in a frying pan or kettle. Lightly flour surface and pat and roll out baseball size pieces of dough. Cut hole in middle with a knife (so the dough will fry flat) to 1/4-inch thickness and place in oil and cook until golden brown and flip over and cook opposite side until same golden brown. Dough is done in about 3 minutes depending on oil temperature and thickness of dough.

After fry bread is done top with favorite topping or, chile and cheese first, then cover with lettuce and tomatoes, onions, green chile and you have an Indian Taco. You can also indulge your sweet side to make a sopapilla type taco with honey and powdered sugar.

Navajo Tacos and Nostalgia to Boot!

When we were kids, the school cafeteria was an adventure. Every single day we were presented with subpar food and meager portions of it. It was everything from lasagna to submarine sandwiches to the occasional decent meal such as grilled cheese and tomato soup. However there was always one that amazed us and made us look forward to that day. Navajo Tacos. These delicious spin on a regular taco was the day to come to school. It was a vegetarian meal that consisted of beans, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and possibly onions if you so choose but it wasn’t the toppings so much that got you going. It was the bread. Navajo tacos are made with an Indian Fry bread that surpasses any that I have tasted since. The fry bread you get at the fair every year doesn’t compete. This fry bread is dark like a nut and it is about an inch or so thick. Puffy and delicious with lots of flavor. It has been an obsession of mine to make these at home and enjoy them when I want to.
Last night I called my husband to find a decent recipe online to make the bread as we had all of the stuff to make the filling at home.
He worked dilligently and when I got home, he had his first attempt at fry bread on the cutting board for me to try. I was delighted! It was not browned enough but that is easily remedied. However the bread itself was amazing. It was just as I remember. Chewy and yet melt in your mouth. I excitedly made the rest of it that he had set out.

The result of my husbands toil was a true tribute to a wonderful childhood memory. While the memory will still remain untarnished, I now know that I can make it as well at home and can make it more grown up by adding all sorts of toppings such as guacamole, green chiles, meats etc. Thanks hubby. You are amazing.

Greek Fries

One of my favorite restaurants is My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. It is well decorated with an interesting menu but the thing that draws me to it is the greek fries. I have never been much of a sweet person so when I heard about these tangy salty versions of the common french fry, I got excited. I love tangy and salty so they seemed a good match. The result was the most amazing fry experience. French fries that are covered in feta cheese, a lemon dijon sauce and greek spices. There is no need for any other condiment. They are delicious.

I tried to make them at home a couple of times and I have finally made a very close effort. Take an ordinary bag of french fries or make them homemade if you prefer. Spritz them with lemon juice prior to baking them or after you fry them. Then sprinkle them with herbs such as oregano and garlic (again prior to bake or after you fry). After they are done to your specifications, mix about 3 tsp of lemon juice with 1/2 cup dijon mustard, garlic, pepper and whatever else you like to taste. Sprinkle feta cheese on the fries and either allow the hot grease to soften the feta or put back into the oven for about 2 minutes at 425 degrees. Put into a condiment bottle and squirt the mustard all over the fries as you would ketchup or whatever else you like. Some recipes call for a cream base to the mustard such as sour cream or mayo but I don’t, it would make it go further but I am the only one that eats it in quantity so whatever. Then just sit back and enjoy. Mmmmm

Enchilada Night

So I have made this dish for more years than I can count. My father made it for us when we were kids and we always loved it. It is the easiest thing and it tastes great. It is an enchilada casserole of a sorts and can be modified in countless ways.

You take one large can of enchilada sauce unless you are lucky enough to be able to make your own. I have never learned how nor really care to because I love Macayo’s enchilada sauce. I have lived next to a canning factory that produces the stuff for my entire life. It is a small branch of the Macayo canning factory and it puts out green chiles, enchilada sauce (green and red) and other such wonderful things. Take the enchilada sauce as well as 1 large package of corn tortillas, a large bag of cheese shredded or shred it yourself. You then layer the three starting with sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Sauce, tortilla, cheese, sauce tortilla cheese etc. You can add things like onions if you like, olives on top which I love but my husband doesn’t so I leave them out or do half the pan and not the other. You can add grilled chicken, sour cream or cream of chicken soup if you like a creamier version. You can also doctor up the sauce to make it different if you prefer. The possibilities are endless. Once you have filled your baking dish, you place it into an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees and let it cook for about 45 minutes. It is just to heat the cheese really but if you cook it uncovered, the cheese on the top takes on a wonderful crust and is really delicious. Or you can cover it and then crust up the top in the last 15 minutes of cooking. It is an easy meal that takes well to reheating. It can be frozen and reheated later or you can make it for breakfast by cooking it back up and placing a cooked egg on the top (a favorite here near Mexico). I used to serve those a lot at the restaurants that offered Mexican food. Enchiladas with eggs….strange but delicious.

Greek Salad Dressing

Not all recipes can be total success stories. Last night, as pregnant women sometimes do, I was craving some veggies and Greek salad dressing. I looked through my copious amounts of cookbooks and found one that sounded really simple and did not require the use of a blender. It contained pepperoncini juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and a bit of basil. Now already looking at this recipe I can envision that I will enjoy the tangy vinegary taste of it however, I also know that Greeks enjoy basil but prefer oregano. I mixed a few different herbs into it such as fresh herbs from the garden and looked at it. It looked like muddled pepper juice. I smelled it. The proportions for the olive oil according to this recipe seemed out of sorts. It was a half a cup of juice to a dash of oil. I am always about trying to be healthy but this is a salad dressing. To my mind, it should have been 1/2 c to 1/4 cup ratio. It also tasted like it needed red wine instead of red wine vinegar. The vinegar from the juice was plenty and flavorful to not require more vinegar. After a while of fiddling with it, I finally put it into a jar and placed it into the fridge to figure what to do with it later when I had more patience. I grabbbed a bottle of Wishbone Italian Dressing and went about my night, slightly saddened at my lost efforts. Better luck next time.

Cream of Summer Squash Blossom Soup

1 ½ lbs summer squash
¼ cup flour
1/4 stick butter
1 onion, sliced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 cups chicken broth
1cup squash blossoms
1 med onion sliced
¼ lemon sliced with seeds removed
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3-4 grinds of nutmeg or a dash of ground nutmeg
Grated anejo cheese (for garnish) (optional) I used cheddar because it melts nicely.

1. wash and trim the squash. Slice very thinly and reserve 8 slices for garnish. In a large sauce pain, melt butter. Saute the onions and lemon until softened. Sprinkle the flour on and add the chicken broth gradually as well as the squash, salt and pepper. Simmer for one hour. Add the blossoms in the last 5 min of cooking. Remove the lemons and then transfer to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add nutmeg and then put back on the heat (med). Do not let boil. Stir in cream and whisk gently. You may add the cheese if you wish at this time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Summer Squash and Summer Veggie Tart

Savory Summer Squash and Summer Veggie Tart

• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter if you prefer
• 1 lb mixed summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash and pattypan, reserving 1 yellow and 1 green for the lattice work at the end. The rest is to be diced into small chunks)
• 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced or minced as your preference
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or fresh marjoram, chopped or 1 teaspoon of dried herb
• 1/2 cup spinach
• 3 small scallions thinly sliced
• fresh ground black pepper
• 4 ounces Roquefort cheese or gorgonzola (or other good-quality blue cheese) Feta also works if you do not like Blue cheese as I don’t.
• 1 roasted yellow pepper or red pepper (freshly roasted or from a jar)
• 1 large plum tomato, sliced and seeds removed
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 large egg yolk
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take your pie crust dough and roll it out. Have either a rectangular mold or a circular mold ready for this. Fit the dough into the mold, and trim the sides flush with the top of the mold. Transfer the shell to the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.

• Remove the shell from the freezer, prick bottom with a fork, and line with parchment paper cut to fit. Fill with dried beans or metal pie weights. Bake until the crust is just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and remove beans or weights. Return the crust to the oven, and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and set aside on a wire rack.

• Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, very thinly slice 1 green zucchini and 1 yellow squash lengthwise. Place slices in a colander in a single layer, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place colander in a bowl, and set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

• Cut the remaining zucchini and squash into 1/3-inch dice. In a large skillet, melt butter over high heat. Add leeks and diced squash, and season with salt and pepper. Add all the rest of the veggies. Cook for about 8-12 minutes depending on your preference for al dente veggies or slightly softer veggies. Evenly distribute cooked vegetables in the crust. Sprinkle your cheese on top.

• Place salted squash slices between double layers of paper towels. Gently press down to remove as much liquid as possible. Alternating squash colors, weave a lattice pattern over the top of the cheese and vegetables, covering the entire surface. Trim or tuck in ends to fit.

• In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, and cream, and season with salt and pepper. Lift the edges of the lattice in several places, and pour in the egg mixture. Using a pastry brush, coat the lattice with olive oil. Bake, loosely covered with aluminum foil, until the custard is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove lattice tart from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

This recipe is a lot of effort but it looks beautiful and it seems like it is worth it.

Savory Summer Squash and Summer Veggie Tart as well as the Squash Blossom Soup

Ok so it didn’t turn out like photo for Martha Stewart but it still turned out pretty good and the result was a delicious flakey tart that resembles somewhat of a quiche and yet somewhat of a pizza. It is really really good. It has a feta cheese topping that is finished off by a lattice work of thin zucchini strips. This holds all of the goodness in. I used other fresh herbs from the garden as I am having trouble using all of the herbs from the garden. This would also explain the abundance of squash recipes that I will innundate you with.

This recipe as well as the soup recipe above took some time. The soup was the easier but had to be done last. It was good though. The soup had a very light flavor similar to cream of broccoli without the slightly flatulent smell. It was great with thick hunks of garlic bread and a small helping of cheese in the middle of the bowl. I was impressed because normally I will make something and it doesn’t turn out the way I was expecting it to. Then as I am eating it my disappointment sets in. Not so with this meal. It was good all around. Also, I felt good because despite the cheese, it was a very healthy veggie meal. All in all I give these recipes 4 stars.

Philosophy of Food and all things edible

I am a huge fan of Bizarre Foods and Man vs Food. Reason being is that my father once told me that I had to try everything and if I didn’t like it I never had to eat it again. However, if I did like it, I would be turned on to a whole food experience that I would have never otherwise known. This made sense to me even as a small child. It began with artichokes. He steamed them for what seemed like an eternity (still does). He then told me to gently pull off the leaves and then dip them into the melted butter. What I experienced was no less than a miracle because at a very young age I realized the truth of his words. I would have never eated such a weird looking thing let alone anything after that. I would have been a very picky eater indeed. Now there are very few things that I will not eat. I will not eat peas unless they are in something because canned peas actually make me gag. The smell of them is….shudder never mind.

I do not like canned tuna or canned chicken because not only do they taste similar but it ruins the taste of the meat. I love tuna and chicked prepared in other ways but hardly ever canned.

I have eaten what some might consider to be strange meats such as bear, horse, venison, rabbit freshly caught, and some strange African game meat that I cannot spell but is similar to an antelope. I love trying new foods because it is from them that I become aware of not only their properties but the possibilities. I can only hope to pass this along to my kids.

Gourmet Burger and Fresh Guacamole

I am always a sucker for a good burger. I went to the market to pick out my provisions. 80/20 ground beef, romaine lettuce, hot house tomatoes, swiss cheese, and some sesame kaiser rolls. I took my horde home and then mixed my beef with a liberal amount of Montreal Steak Seasoning. I then made the patties and set them out as I prepped the rest. My friend Victor came by with his amazing guacamole. This guacamole differs a great deal from mine as I was to find out.

Victor’s Guacamole: (in approximation. I never really measure the ingredients for my guac so please make adjustments for taste)

2-4 ripe avocados
2-6 Herdez jalapenos
2-3 tsp jalapeno juice
2-3 tsp lime juice

Garlic Salt
Reg Salt

Mash the avacados until smooth. Mince the jalapenos and mix the other ingredients together. Season with the salts to taste.

This guacamole is wonderful as either a condiment or snack. It goes great on burgers, french fries or as Victor does simply wrapped in fresh tortillas. I love to eat this with fresh duros or Mexican chips.

Duros (also known as pasta para duros, duritos, durros, pasta para durito, Mexican wagon wheels or pin wheels) are a popular Mexican crunchy snack made of puffed wheat.

When cooked, they have a light, airy consistency similar to chicharróns. Although both foods contain comparable amounts of fat, chicharróns contain more protein while duros are mainly carbohydrates.

Duros are usually sold by street vendors in Mexican American neighborhoods, parks and after Mass at some Spanish speaking Catholic churches. Duros can also be purchased in their uncooked pasta-like form at many Mexican grocery stores.

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