Saturday, April 9, 2011

Argentina Cake

This is the cake John requests for his birthday every year.  And, since it's delicious, and easy, and pairs perfectly with either ice cream or strawberries and whipped cream, it gets requested at a lot of other birthdays as well.

Argentina Cake (1-2-3-4-Cake)

1 pint of cream (light or heavy whipping--we've used both to good effect)
2 cups sugar
3 cups self-rising flour (or 3 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 4 tsp. baking powder)
4 eggs
1 drop of vanilla (but really, I use a tsp. of vanilla)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix cream with sugar.  Add eggs and beat well.  Sift flour (or flour + salt + baking powder) into mixture and mix gently until thoroughly combined.  Pour into 9x13 pan and bake for 1 hour.

This cake is terribly temperamental.  If you don't bake it too hot, it overinflates and then falls.  If you overbeat the cream, it overinflates and then falls.  However, even if fallen, it's still delicious.  So, never fear.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Peanut Wraps

I found this recipe at Little Birdie Secrets (of granola fame), and I love it.  It's super mild, so my kids loved it (but you could always add some sriracha or other chili sauce for a bit of a kick), and it's super fast, so I loved it, and it's super delicious, so we all loved it.  I added the changes I made in italics below.

Peanut Wraps 

1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbs cooking oil (I used canola)
4 cups broccoli slaw (I used regular cabbage coleslaw because that's all I could find at the store)
1 medium red onion (I used half of a red onion and half a package of green onions because I thought it would go over better with the girls.)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Tortillas (Whole wheat from Meijer are the BEST!)

Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but I bet chunky would be good for some extra crunch)
3 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs water
3 tbs cooking oil
1 or 2 cloves freshly pressed garlic cloves 

Season chicken strips with garlic salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil on medium-high until no pink left. Put aside and keep warm. 
In same skillet add broccoli mix, onion, and ginger. Cook until crisp but tender.  (Like 2 minutes.)

Make peanut sauce while veggies cook. In a small saucepan combine sauce ingredients, heat and stir until dissolved. 

Serve by layering the veggies, chicken, and sauce in a tortilla. Wrap it up. Eat it up. Lick your plate.
 Makes 6-8 wraps. (Makes a great salad too!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Argentine Noquis

These are John's specialty.  In fact, other than honey-mustard chicken (ingredients: honey, mustard, and chicken), this is really the only recipe John cooks.  Oh, and he sometimes bakes bread, which is actually quite a bit more delicious than mine.  Anyway, here it is.

John's Noquis

Peel 2 kg. (5 lbs) of russet potatoes, cut them into chunks, boil them in salted water, and mash them.  Add 3 eggs to the mashed potatoes and beat well.  Start adding flour 1/4 cup at a time (it ends up being between 1-2 cups, depending on the moisture of the potatoes and the size of the eggs) until it becomes more of a dough than mashed potatoes, but it will still be sticky.  Flour the counter and roll the dough into long snakes approximately 1" in diameter.  Cut the snakes into pieces 1-1/2 inches long and roll the pieces over a fork to give it the classic noqui shape.  Boil the noquis in salted and oiled water until they float, then retrieve them with a slotted spoon and boil some more.

The following portion of the recipe is word-for-word from John.  He's very particular about the sauce.

John's Noqui Sauce  
Heat 1 tbsp. finest extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet.  Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, freshly minced, and saute until fragrant.  Add 4-5 whole bay leaves and 2 [14 oz.] cans of the finest Italian-style diced tomatoes [side note:  Great Value from Wal-Mart have the best texture for this.  The others are too runny.]  and let it simmer while the rest of the ingredients are being prepared.  Then comes the spinach.  Get 1 package of fresh and tender baby spinach.  After rinsing, each stem should be removed and the leaves should be diced.  Add the diced spinach to the sauce.  It will look like a lot of spinach, but it will cook down.  Then dice 1-2 packages of lunch meat ham, only the finest will do.  [Another side note:  We use cheap, cheap, cheap thinly sliced.  Don't believe his "only the finest" garbage.]  Add it to the sauce. Drizzle 1/4 cup heavy cream into the sauce.  Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil to taste.  (The amounts of each of these will depend on what Italian tomatoes you used at the beginning.)  Serve with your noquis.

Back to Em:  Here's the thing.  John's super particular about the sauce and the ingredients when he's making it, but I think it's still delicious when I make it, and I'm not so particular.  Also, the homemade noquis are the worst part, and John's recipe is not the most clear-cut.  I'm sure you can find another recipe out there that uses the same ingredients but gives more specific quantities.  Here's the lesson we've learned, however.  If you add too much flour, the dough is really easy to work with, but the noquis are super gummy.  You don't want gummy noquis.  Oh, and I just buy frozen noquis when it's up to me.  I'm not up to all that work.  :)