Tres Leches Flan Cake

The following recipe was prepared for my Tamales cooking class. You can read about my class and get other links to recipes HERE.

Tres Leches Flan Cake

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz.) box butter/yellow cake mix and ingredients to prepare as directed on box
1 (12 oz) can of regular Coke or Pepsi

Topping:
1 (10.9-oz.) jar cajeta (caramel topping) or caramel ice cream topping

Flan:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1.) Follow instructions to make cake, but use the can of coke instead of water.
2.) Set cake mix aside and make flan
3.) Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well
4.) Spray the bundt pan with Pam and then cover the bottom with carmel
5.) Pour cake mix into bundt pan.
6.) Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom and the cake mix will raise up a bit as the flan mixture fills the bottom of the pan.
7.) Set the bundt pan in a larger pan or tray with water. You are creating a double boiler, but you only need a couple inches of water.
8.) Put it all in the oven and it will cook for at least 45 minutes and as much as an hour.
9.) Check the cake doneness with a toothpick. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes you’ve ever made and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it is done.
10.) Let is cool and regigerate for several hours.
11.) Take it out two hours before you plan to serve. Turn the bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature.
12.) The bundt pan should then lift off to reveal a layer of flan, topped with carmel sitting atop a very moist cake.

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Meatless Meanderings

So thanks to my husband, I have been eating very little meat (pork, beef, poultry) and so I’m finding contentment in meatless meals. One classic is macaroni and cheese. We all have a recipe for it, whether it comes from a blue box, made with a roux or even picked up at the store. Ironically, on Food Network the other night, there was a Macaroni & Cheese competition!

I cracked open one of my America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks and decided to try one of their recipes out. It came out wonderfully, especially with my twist on adding french fried onions! In fact, I’m submitting this to the Thursday Night Smackdown blogging event in July. It’s a great event that encourages folks to use recipes from cookbooks and magazines, rather than those available online. Check it out and submit a recipe too! Here is the recipe for Stove top Macaroni & Cheese, from Here in America’s Test Kitchen, pages 158-160:

What We Wanted: A rich, creamy casserole with plenty of cheese flavor, properly cooked noodles, and a flawlessly smooth sauce.

What We Learned: Don’t use a flour-thickened bechamel or baked custard for this dish. For the best texture and flavor, make macaroni and cheese on the stovetop (not in the oven) and use evaporated milk in the sauce. For some crunch, sprinkle with toasted buttered breadcrumbs just before serving.
Toasted Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs)
pinch of salt
french fried onions

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
2 large eggs
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 oz sharp cheddar, American, or Monterey Jack cheeses, grated (about 3 cups)

1. FOR THE BREAD CRUMBS: Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Add bread crumbs; cooks, tossing to coat with butter, until crumbs just begin to color., about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt; set aside.

2. FOR THE MACARONI & CHEESE: Mix eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter; toss to melt.

4. Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and the cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

VARIATION: “Baked Macaroni & Cheese” – This dish is for those who prefer their macaroni and cheese served out of a baking dish. Smooth and creamy like the stove top version, this version is broiled just long enough to brown the crumb topping and french fried onions.

Follow the recipe for Stove top Macaroni & Cheese, pouring cooked macaroni and cheese into a 9 inch square gratin dish. Spread crumbs and french fried onions evenly over top. Broil until crumbs turn deep brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Let stand to set a bit, about 5 minutes, and serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

Tonight is focused on my Traditional fare menu and some desserts. Everything is set for the most part… and I approached it as if it were just one of my cooking class events where everything is prepped and ready to assemble. Here are recipes of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes on my menu.

Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

2-3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste
2 heads of garlic; roasted
1 cup evaporated milk or half & half
1 stick butter
1 cup finely shredded gruyere or parmesan cheese

Peel, rough chop and boil potatoes in water until tender.
While potatoes are cooking, add butter, seasoning, roasted garlic and parsley in stand mixer.
With paddle attachment, beat ingredients until a soft paste forms.
Drain potatoes when cooked and place in stand mixer.
With paddle attachment, beat potatoes until smooth.
Add milk until you’ve reached a slightly wet consistency.
Allow potatoes to rest for 5 minutes to thicken.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
After potatoes have rested, fold in sour cream.
Place mashed potatoes in an oven safe serving dish.
With a fork, make “swirls” over the top of mashed potatoes.
Sprinkle shredded gruyere or parmesan cheese over the top of potatoes
Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until swirls and cheese have lightly browned.

Cold Fresh Corn Soup/Gazpacho

I made this soup for my Sauvignon Blanc Wine & Dine event. It pairs nicely with this crisp wine, especially in the summer months!


Cold Fresh Corn Soup/Gazpacho

1 bag frozen corn
1 can sweet corn
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic minced

2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cups water, divided

In a large pan, melt butter and saute onions, garlic, corn, thyme and bay leaves.
Once soft, remove thyme and bay leaves.
Place 1/4 of the mixture in a blender with 1/2 cups of water.
Blend corn & water mixture until smooth.
Strain mixture into a large bowl or another saucepan.
Continue blending and straining corn until done.
Place strained corn soup in a bowl, cover and chill 4-24 hours.

Chocolate Flan Bundt Cake

Chocolate Flan Bundt Cake

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz.) box chocolate or devil’s food cake mix and ingredients to prepare as directed on box 1 (12 oz) can of regular Coke or Pepsi

Topping:
1 (10.9-oz.) jar cajeta (caramel topping) or caramel ice cream topping

Flan:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees
1.) Follow instructions to make cake, but use the can of coke instead of water.
2.) Set cake mix aside and make flan
3.) Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well
4.) Spray the bundt pan with Pam and then cover the bottom with carmel
5.) Pour cake mix into bundt pan.
6.) Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom and the cake mix will raise up a bit as the flan mixture fills the bottom of the pan.
7.) Set the bundt pan in a larger pan or tray with water. You are creating a double boiler, but you only need a couple inches of water.
8.) Put it all in the oven and it will cook for at least 45 minutes and as much as an hour.
9.) Check the cake doneness with a toothpick. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes you’ve ever made and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it is done.
10.) Let is cool and regigerate for several hours.
11.) Take it out two hours before you plan to serve. Turn the bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature.
12.) The bundt pan should then lift off to reveal a layer of flan, topped with carmel sitting atop a very moist cake.

Comfort Food on a Rainy Day

Lately we’ve been hit with a lot of rain, causing me to crave some comfort food. So tonight I decided to use the remaining chicken thighs I had to make fried chicken.

Fried chicken has a dual origin in the rural American South. The Scots, and later Scottish immigrants to many southern states had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat, unlike their English counterparts who baked or boiled chicken. As Africans were brought to work on southern plantations, the slaves who became cooks incorporated seasonings and spices that were absent in traditional Scottish cuisine, enriching the flavor. Since most slaves were allowed to keep chickens, frying chicken as a special occasion spread through their community.

Here is my recipe for ‘buttermilk’ ranch fried chicken:

1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 chicken thighs (or preferred cuts)
2 cups flour
1 packet dry ranch dressing
frying oil

In a bowl, combine chicken milk and lemon juice.
Soak chicken in milk mixture overnight.
When ready to cook, heat oil in pan.
In a small bowl, combine flour and dry ranch dressing.
Discard milk and dredge chicken in flour mixture.
Fry chicken until golden brown & juices run clear.

I served this with a creamy
broccoli cheese rice casserole.

Mediterranean Meatloaf

Mediterranean Meatloaf

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1 (10oz) pg frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 cup feta cheese
2 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 1/2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
3/4 can of evaporated milk

– Heat oven to 400 degrees.
– In large bowl, combine all ingredients and shape into a loaf.
– Bake 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
– Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.