Friday, 19 October 2012

Apple Chimichangas

Good evening, blog readers. This one is from Thanksgiving weekend, so I'm a bit late posting it, as usual. The past couple years I've attempted to bring a unique desert to Thanksgiving dinner. Last year I brought carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing (they were SO good), and this year I was a little braver. I decided to make apple chimichangas. I hear you asking "apple-what?".. well, a chimichanga is a Mexican dish that is essentially a deep fried burrito. So you can only imagine what an apple chimichanga is like. Filled with apples, deep fried. My pal, Kirk, suggested adding a maple cream cheese inside, which I did. Thus... apple pie filling (homemade), maple syrup beat with cream cheese, deep fried in small flour tortillas, rolled in cinnamon and sugar, and then drizzled with caramel.

I found the original recipe here. I added a twist with cream cheese & maple syrup.

Apple Filling

4 apples, chopped (I used macintosh)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

8-10 small tortillas
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp sugar
oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

1 brick cream cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup

Combine the water, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 3 min, or til the mixture becomes very thick (this is key.... may want to sprinkle a bit more cornstarch in if its not very thick)

Add the chopped apples and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until apples become tender (about 10 min)... then allow to cool (also pretty crucial, could even do it the night before)

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow large dish. Spoon apple pie filling (& cream cheese mixture) onto a tortilla (the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla), then..fold the end over the mixture, fold in both sides, and roll up the rest, being careful not to let much seep out the sides.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with about 1/2 an inch of oil for frying. Once the oil is hot (test by dropping something in to simmer, such as a piece of tortilla or apple piece), start frying the pre-cooked chimichangas. Cook until golden brown (approx. 30 seconds on each side)

Once fried, remove and immediately roll the chimichanga in the sugar & cinnamon mixture. Set aside.

If serving immediately: drizzle with caramel sauce (homemade or in my case, store-bought) and ice cream :)

If serving later: re-heat in oven for about 5 minutes at 300*F.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Veggie Pot Pies

This post should have been up a week ago! But it's not too late! I've been craving a lot of vegetables lately. I wanted some sort of comfort food like veggie pot pie or some sort of veggie version of shepherds pie. I went with the pot pie option, since it's something I've never done. It's relatively simple, especially if you use puff pastry!

Here's what I did:

A good giant pot full of:
2 cups of veggie stock
Dash of cream (optional)
3 tbp flour]
1 pckg of frozen puff pastry

4 small-to-medium sized ramekins

Preheat oven to 400*F.
In a large pot, cook the leeks and onion until they become fragrant and transparent, add in the rest of the chopped veggies you selected. Cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes.  Sprinkle with the flour, and stir to coat. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the stock (and cream) and bring to a simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Roll out defrosted puff pastry and cut out little circles/squares. Fill each ramekin with veggies and seal it all in with the puff pastry dough! Bake for about 15 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Yummers.

Autumn Quinoa Salad

Man, I'm getting lazy with these posts. I've made so much but haven't documented it! Tonight I was feeling a bit ambitious and decided to rip off Bridgehead's roasted squash quinoa salad (plus I made it better). It's really good, but could use some more squash! Next time, I double the amount.

A package of cooked quinoa
Chopped & roasted butternut squash
Fried apple chunks
A good dose of dried cranberries
Feta cheese
Ribbons of basil
A shake of thyme
Handful of sunflower seeds
A bit of caramelized onion
Drizzle of olive oil

Mix all that good shit up.