Beignets

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

“I’d give my right arm for one of those beignets!”

I still laugh when I remember hearing those words. The request came from one of my husband’s friends. In order to save her precious limb, I immediately went into the kitchen and made a big batch of these babies. I love my husband so much that I woke up at 4:30am that next morning to fry them so they’d be super fresh. That, my friends, is true love.

If there’s one thing I learned from making these doughnuts, it’s this: don’t overwork the dough and be *very* gentle when handling before frying. You want as much puff as possible before it hits the oil. And, drop into the oil ever so gently so they don’t collapse.

Secondly, pile on the powdered sugar!!! There is not much sugar in the dough itself, so I promise it’s okay. Pair 3 of these with you morning coffee.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Yield: 24 beignets

*Dough needs to be refrigerated overnight

  • 1 package instant dry yeast (or 2-1/4 tsp) I prefer SAF Red Instant Yeast)
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water (100-115 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • vegetable or canola oil (for deep frying)
  • confectioners sugar (for dusting)
  1. Put the warm water into a large bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and a couple teaspoons of the sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Let sit (also called proofing) for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk. Gradually stir in 4 cups of the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and thoroughly blended. Beat in the shortening, then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating it in with a spoon until it becomes too stiff to stir, then working in the rest with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight in a greased bowl.
  3. Roll the dough out onto a floured board or marble pastry surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then cut it into rectangles 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches with a sharp knife.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 360 degrees F.
  5. Gently transfer the dough to the oil (don’t over crowd the pot). Fry the beignets about 3 or 4 at a time until they are puffed out and golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per batch.
  6. Turn them over in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown, since they rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff out.
  7. Drain each batch on paper towels, place on a platter lined with several layers of paper towels, and keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until all are fried.

Recipe courtesy of Food.com.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

There only a few meals I really crave. These tacos are one of those meals. If you’ve never had chipotle peppers, they are firey little guys. Full of flavor. I’m not big into spice, but these are more smokey than spicy. Chipotle peppers are actually smoked and dried jalapeños. Adobo sauce is a tangy, kind of sweet sauce. You can find chipotles in adobo sauce in specialty stores or in your local Whole Foods. The smoky pepper gives these tacos such a bold flavor that even Bobby Flay would give his stamp of approval. Chicken thighs make for the juiciest taco!! Give your tortillas a nice char and slice up an avocado. Chop up a little cilantro. Mix up a mojito (or a faux-mo) while you’re at it.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

4 servings — 1 hour total time

  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds (with skin for more flavor)
  • 3 scallions, left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme branch
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 2 cloves
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 or 3 chipotle chilles in adobo, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (use broth from simmered chicken)
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup monterey jack, shredded
  • 1-2 avocados
  • chopped cilantro
  • creme fraiche
  • lime wedges
  1. Put chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Add scallions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool. Shred chicken with your fingers, discarding chicken skin and bone. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.
  2. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened and a bit browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.
  3. Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable. I like to char tortillas over my gas burner for a few seconds on each side.
  4. Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with avocado slices, shredded Monterey jack and a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Add a few cilantro springs. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.