Cinco De Mayo!!

Celebrations on May 5th consist of Mexican cuisine, both main dish and dessert.  Traditional menu items are tortillas, flan and Chicken and Rice – better known as Arroz con Poyo.

RECIPES:

Orange Coconut Flan – A delightful twist on an old favorite this dish adds citrus and coconut to create a flavor sensation that is reminiscent of the tropics.  Serve for dessert at any Cinco de Mayo party.

Arroz con Poyo – Chicken and Rice, so popular in Latin American countries is quickly becoming a favorite here.  It’s ease of preparation and hearty flavors make it perfect for your party.  See how our friends at Goya prepare this popular dish!

Arroz con Poyo Goya Foods Video Clip

Add a Little Sunshine with Lemony Goodness

Lemon Raspberry PieRich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium, lemons have been used as home remedies to relieve colds and sore throats (lemon and honey).

For Spring we are more interested in the delightful and refreshing flavors lemons bring to some of our favorite foods.

The skin, or zest, is used as a flavoring in many recipes like Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake and Cherry Apple Crumble Tart. Lemon Raspberry Pie is our personal favorite cream pie yet Lemon Meringue Pie is probably the all time favorite home baked cream pie.

Don’t forget the creamy sweet-tart pudding is also used as a filling in recipes for doughnuts and our delectable Triple Layer Coconut CakeLemon Curd Filling is a sweet-tart lemon pudding.

Add a little sunshine in your life with the delightful flavors of lemons!

Biscuit Techniques

 

Basic-Biscuits-FullLight, tender and flaky biscuits are the result of a few simple techniques. For some experienced bakers a great biscuit is easy to achieve but for novice bakers it could become a challenge. It really doesn’t have to be difficult and as a matter of fact, when making homemade biscuits (a quick bread), one key element in the process is to simply not to do too much. That’s right; too much mixing and your biscuits may not be light enough. Too much kneading and they could become tough little hockey pucks. Not to worry; we have a step by step guide for the perfect biscuit. As far as which recipe to use, if you don’t have one in mind we do! Our favorites are Old Fashioned Biscuits (on the back of the Clabber Girl can for many years), Baking Powder Biscuits (a little more flavor and with more ingredients) and Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits (wonderful flavor, tender crumb).

To make your biscuits:

Assemble your ingredients: read your recipe, understand the directions and have all ingredients on hand right next to the mixing bowl. Make sure you start with fresh ingredients; check the shelf life. Remember, when measuring dry ingredients, especially baking powder, you should use only dry utensils when measuring and replace the lid immediately afterwards. Don’t sit the baking powder can next to the sink, or by moisture.

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly before cutting in shortening/fat/butter. This is to ensure that all ingredients are incorporated evenly. Remember that you shouldn’t do too much mixing after the wet ingredients are added. In order to ensure the baking powder is incorporated evenly, this is the time to mix well.

 

Cut in shortening – many bakers choose to refrigerate their fat prior to using in biscuits or pies. To cut the shortening or butter in, you can use two knives and cut crosswise to incorporate, others use a pastry blender (preferred) because it will do so more evenly in less time. The little pockets of shortening will melt in the oven, helping to make the biscuit tender.

 

Coarse crumbs are not all completely even, and depending on the amount of shortening/butter/fat you use, the result should be something like this, below:

 

Add liquid – mix just to incorporate. Remember not to mix too much, since over-mixing will break up the little shortening beads and cause the gluten in the flour to stretch, causing the biscuits to be less tender.

 

Knead the dough – at Clabber Girl we usually knead by folding over no more than four times. Place a cup or so of flour on the board, gently pat the dough on top and sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough with your fingers; fold over once, turn over and press down gently. Do this no more than four times so that you don’t over-handle the dough.

 

Pat out the dough for rolling. Dough should be rolled to about 1/2-inch in height.

 

Cut with a biscuit cutter – make cuts close together so that you don’t have to re-roll your dough very much. This hastens your prep time and also eliminates over-handling of the dough.

 

Place cut biscuits on prepared pan. Placing them close together helps each biscuit raise a teeny bit more, and also makes the sides a little softer.

Putting your biscuits farther apart on the baking pan helps make a crust on all sides. It’s all a matter of what you prefer.

 

Bake according to recipe directions. Sometimes you are asked to brush the tops with butter before baking, which helps the tops brown and adds a little more crispness as well as flavor.

 

Let’s Get Started Baking!

Getting started in the kitchen this season will be more fun once we get the family involved. Family baking can teach youngsters math, hygiene and allow for some “creative thinking”.

We have a Family Baking Plan that includes information on the functions of ingredients in a recipe; what is the function of flour, eggs, sugar and baking powder in a recipe?

Elephant Ears is the recipe used in this lesson plan, and in this recipe they are baked, not fried. That makes it kid friendly and mother approved.