Vanilla Flan

After gobbling up a double batch of chips and guacamole followed by Sam Sifton’s Middle School Tacos, we ate this flan as our celebratory Cinco de Mayo dessert this year.

A while ago, my son read a book that mentioned flan and he really wanted to make it. We actually made it together at that time. 🙂  It really is quite simple to prepare, and he felt like he had achieved a great accomplishment when it came out well. He’s been asking to have it again ever since!

I think that it is particularly delicious served with strawberries. This recipe is a blend of multiple flan recipes- including one from my grandmother.

Yield: One 8-inch flan

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (low fat can be substituted)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • strawberries, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, occasionally swirling, until amber, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Pour into a 1 1/2 to 2 qt (8-in) ceramic baking dish or 8-in cake pan, tilting to cover the bottom surface and halfway up the sides of the dish.
  5. Place the prepared dish on a dish towel or a silicone pot holder (to prevent it from shifting) inside a roasting pan. (I used an enameled cast iron lasagna pan.)
  6. Place the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt in a Vitamix. Blend for 20 seconds. (Alternatively, mixture can be whisked in a bowl until combined.)
  7. Pour through a fine strainer into the prepared pan.
  8. Slide the oven rack out and place the roasting pan on the hot rack.
  9. Fill the outside of the pan with HOT water halfway up the sides of the flan dish.
  10. Bake for 60-70+ minutes, or until the center is wobbly.
  11. Remove from the oven; let cool to room temperature.
  12. Remove flan from the water bath. Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  13. Dip the bottom of the dish in warm water, then invert onto a rimmed platter. Serve.

One Year Ago: Cheesy Enchilada Skillet

Two Years Ago: Cinco de Mayo Chicken-Chipotle Tacos

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

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Chipotle-Rubbed Chicken Sheet-Pan Dinner with Roasted Salsa Verde & Acorn Squash

I am such a sauce person! This roasted tomatillo and garlic sauce was absolutely incredible. The acorn squash is roasted on the sheet pan with the chicken and sauce ingredients, absorbing all of the flavors too. It would be a wonderful dish to serve as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration. In fact, I might make it again on Cinco de Mayo! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used boneless, skinless thighs instead of bone-in, and adjusted the method and roasting times accordingly.

I’m bringing this delicious dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #221 this week, hosted by Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4 to 5
  • 12 oz tomatillos (about 6 medium)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • coarse salt
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs), trimmed
  • 2 T adobo sauce, from 1 can chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • ½ bunch cilantro, divided
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Start by assembling all the ingredients for the salsa: Remove husks from the tomatillos and rinse. Cut any larger ones in half and arrange on a baking sheet.
  3. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of your knife and remove skins. Add to baking sheet with tomatillos.
  4. Trim ends of scallions and discard, then cut scallions crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Add to baking sheet.
  5. Cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise, pull out stem and ribs, and place on baking sheet. Wash hands!
  6. Drizzle 2 T oil over vegetables; season with salt. Toss with hands to coat, then push vegetables to one side of baking sheet so they’re taking up about one-third of sheet; set aside.
  7. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds with spoon. Cut each half in quarters again to make 8 equal wedges.
  8. Arrange squash on baking sheet on the opposite side of the baking sheet from the tomatillos (leaving room in the center for the chicken). (I placed each slice on its side so that it could absorb more pan drippings.)
  9. Drizzle squash with 2 T oil. Season with salt and sprinkle with remaining ½ tsp cumin.
  10. Place baking sheet with tomatillo mixture and acorn squash in the preheated oven for 12 minutes while you prepare the chicken.
  11. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt.
  12. Whisk 2 T adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotles in adobo), 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp cumin, and 2 T oil in a large bowl until smooth.
  13. Add chicken to bowl and toss with tongs until coated.
  14. After the vegetables have par-baked for 12 minutes, arrange chicken, using tongs, in the center of the baking sheet.
  15. Roast until chicken thighs are browned on top and meat is cooked through (165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), tomatillos are lightly charred on top, and squash is fork-tender about 20 additional minutes.
  16. Let cool slightly. While chicken is cooling, pick about ½ cup cilantro leaves from bunch, reserving stems, and set aside for serving.
  17. Transfer chicken and squash to a platter.
  18. Tip all remaining ingredients, along with ½ cup of pan juices, into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.) Add cilantro, stems and all; season with a bit more salt. Blend, thinning with more pan juices if needed, until smooth and pourable.
  19. Spoon salsa over platter and top with reserved cilantro leaves.
  20. Serve with brown Basmati rice and lime wedges alongside.

One Year Ago: Roasted Chicken Thighs over Herbed Pea & Spinach Puree

Two Years Ago: North African Meatballs

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Skillet

Somehow, we seem to always have a conflict with a having timely Cinco de Mayo feast. This year, my son has his Swim Club Dinner Dance (at an Italian restaurant, by the way), so, we had our feast early. This way, there is also time to have a second feast. Good planning, right?

This quick and easy, crowd-pleasing dish was perfect for our early Cinco de Mayo celebration. It would be perfect for a Mexican-inspired weeknight meal any other day of the year too. We enjoyed it with chips and guacamole, of course. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com, contributed by Anna Stockwell. I reduced the oven temperature, and increased the proportions as well as the pan size. Great.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons kosher salt
  • 24 oz (1 1/2 jars) medium red salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Garlic Chipotle Salsa)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 6 corn tortillas, torn into quarters
  • 6 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 1 rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 to 2 cans (15.5-ounce each) black beans, drained, rinsed (I used 1 1/2 cans)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • cilantro, for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine salsa, sour cream, and 6 T water in a large bowl; stir to combine. Fold in tortillas, chicken, and beans until thoroughly coated.
  3. Heat oil in a 12″ ovenproof skillet over medium. (I used cast iron.)
  4. Add onion, garlic, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer onion mixture to the chicken and bean mixture; reserve hot skillet. Fold to incorporate evenly.
  6. Return mixture to reserved skillet and transfer to preheated oven until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Mixture should be bubbling on the edges.
  7. Remove skillet from the oven. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.
  8. Return skillet to oven and bake until cheese is lightly browned, melted and bubbling, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  9. Top with cilantro, if desired.

One Year Ago:

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Four Years Ago:

Shrimp in Green Mole

I am a HUGE fan of a flavorful green sauce. This one did not disappoint. I would have just gobbled up the sauce with rice, but I served it with shrimp for the rest of the family. 😉 The shrimp is cooked in the wonderful sauce, so it was also delicious!

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. I loved the contrasting texture from the crunchy, pan-toasted pumpkin seed garnish. Excellent.

Yield: Serves 4

  • ½ cup hulled untoasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile or 1/2 jalapeño (more to taste), stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, preferably the outer leaves, torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup tightly packed chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves and sprigs for garnish
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon canola or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound medium-large tail-on shrimp, shelled and deveined (I used 21-25 count per pound)
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. Heat a heavy straight-sided skillet or a saucepan over medium heat and add pumpkin seeds. Wait until you hear one seed pop, then stir constantly until they have puffed and popped and smell toasty, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let them darken beyond golden or they will taste bitter. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Remove 2 tablespoons to use as garnish and set aside.
  2. Place remaining cooled pumpkin seeds in a blender or Vitamix, and add tomatillos, chile, lettuce, onion, garlic, cilantro and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cover and blend mixture until smooth, stopping the blender to stir if necessary.
  3. Heat oil in the skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin and let it sizzle for a couple of seconds, then add puréed tomatillo mixture.
  4. Cook, stirring often, until sauce darkens and thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. It will splutter, so be careful. You can hold the lid above the pot to shield yourself and the stove, or set the lid on the pot to partly cover it.
  5. Add remaining cup of chicken stock, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is thick and creamy, 10 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Shortly before serving, bring mole sauce to a simmer and add shrimp. Simmer 5 to 8 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through but still moist.
  7. Serve over rice, garnishing each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds, diced onion, and cilantro.

Note: The sauce can be made up to three days ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to use it. Alternatively, it can be frozen, just whisk or blend to restore its consistency after thawing.

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Easy Churros

We plan our Super Bowl menu around our star appetizer, guacamole. This year, we ate our favorite Creamy Chicken and Greens with Roasted Poblano Tacos as our main dish. Of course, we needed a fitting dessert to end our meal.

I’ve wanted to try these churros since first seeing the recipe around Cinco de Mayo 2016. :/ Truth be told, they are not actually “true” churros… 😉 Yet, they are certainly a festive end to any Mexican-inspired menu. Perfect for our Super Bowl feast too.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I cut the recipe in half and froze the prepared churros one day ahead prior to baking. We ate them dipped in warm dulce de leche- melted chocolate would also be delicious.

Yield: about 20 Churros

  • 8 ounces (1/2 box) all-butter puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • warm dulce de leche or melted chocolate, for serving, as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle.
  3. Brush lightly with a beaten egg.
  4. Fold in half into a 6-by-16-inch rectangle; press out air bubbles, then cut crosswise into 1/2-by-6-inch strips.
  5. Twist into spirals, pressing ends to gently adhere.
  6. Place 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets; freeze 30 minutes. (Can be made and frozen up to 1 day ahead.)
  7. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Combine sugar and cinnamon. While still hot, toss half of churros with half of sugar. Repeat with remaining churros and sugar.
  9. Serve immediately with warm dulce de leche or melted chocolate, as desired.

I’m bringing this dessert to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #162, co-hosted by Sarah @Tales from the Kitchen Shed and Liz @Spades, Spatulas, & Spoons. Enjoy!

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Cinco de Mayo Chicken-Chipotle Tacos

Move over creamy chicken-chard-roasted poblano tacos… we have a new favorite in our house! These tacos are amazing. Thanks to the chipotle chiles, the filling tastes like it has been slow-cooked for hours. The finished full-flavored filling is loaded into a warm tortilla and smothered in toppings- incredible. Perfect.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in and substituted scallions for white onion as a garnish. It could easily be modified to use rotisserie chicken meat as well.

Perfect for your Cinco de Mayo feast… or Seis de Mayo if I’m too late. Fabulous any day! 🙂

Yield: 4 servings

Time: about 1 hour

For the Tacos:

  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 scallions, left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme branch
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 2 cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
  • ½ cup chicken broth (*use broth from simmered chicken*)
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas

For the Garnish:

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped, soaked in ice water for 10 minutes and drained (I substituted unsoaked scallions.)
  • thinly sliced serrano chile
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • sliced avocado
  • crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese
  • crème fraîche or Mexican crema
  • cilantro sprigs
  • dried oregano
  • 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.
  2. Shred chicken with your fingers. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.
  3. 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.
  4. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat.
  7. Add chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.
  8. Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable. (I placed them in a tortilla warmer, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute.)
  9. Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with a teaspoon of chopped white onion or scallion, a few slivers of serrano chile, some radish and avocado slices, a teaspoon of queso fresco or feta and a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Add a few cilantro springs and a small pinch of oregano.
  10. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Greens & Chayote Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

These wonderful, vegetarian, no-bake enchiladas claimed to be light and satisfying- a pretty accurate description! Perfect warm weather Mexican fare. Fresh and fabulous. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman.

Inspired by my food blog friends who have made their own birthday cakes, etc., I made this dish for my own birthday dinner!! I prepared the filling a day in advance (no work on the big day!) and we ate them after a relaxing day in the sunshine. My husband made my favorite Huevos Rancheros for breakfast (I am obviously a Mexican-food lover), and I was greeted with a surprise birthday cake from my girlfriend when I got home! ❤ What a great day! Maybe getting older isn’t so awful….

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I’m bringing my special dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #74 (belatedly, again…), co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking. As another surprise birthday gift, my dish from Fiesta Friday #73 was featured this week! Yay!! Check it out & Enjoy! 🙂

Yield: Serves 8

  • 1 pound Swiss or rainbow chard, or a combination
  • 2 medium-size chayote or summer squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut in small dice (4 cups diced)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapeño or 2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • ½ white onion, coarsely chopped
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 4 large peeled garlic cloves; 2 whole and 2 minced
  • 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
  • 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta

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  1. Peel and dice the chayote squash.
  2. Strip chard leaves from stems and wash in 2 changes of water. Keep leaves whole.
  3. Rinse chard stems and cut in small dice if wide, or, if thin, slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. (I cut my wide stems into thin strips and then sliced all of them crosswise 1/4 inch thick.) Set aside stems with chayote in one bowl and leaves in another.
  4. Make the salsa verde: Combine tomatillos, jalapeños and onion in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until tomatillos have gone from pale green to olive and have softened. Using a slotted spoon or a Chinese strainer, transfer tomatillos, onion and one of the jalapeños to a blender. (I used a Vitamix!) Do not drain water from pot. Let vegetables cool in the blender while you blanch greens and chayote.
  5. Add more water to the pot so it is about 2/3 full. Return to a boil, salt generously, and add the chard leaves. Blanch until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer leaves to a bowl of cold (ice) water to quickly shock, then drain and dry. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  6. Return water to a simmer and add chayote and chard stems. Simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain through a colander and again on paper towels.
  7. Add whole garlic cloves and cilantro sprigs to ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste for heat and add remaining jalapeño if desired. (I only used one jalapeño- and the salsa had quite a kick!)
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add tomatillo purée and partly cover to protect from splattering. Cook, stirring often, until it thickens and begins to stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in stock, add salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is thick and coats the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic. When fragrant, after about 30 seconds, stir in oregano, blanched and chopped leaves, stems, and chayote. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until tender, fragrant and coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup salsa verde and set aside.
  11. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and cover with warmer lid, or with plastic wrap if using a plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute. (Alternatively: Prepare the tortillas: Heat 1/3 cup canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, until oil bubbles around the edges of a tortilla when you dip it into the pan. Place a platter covered with paper towels next to pan. Using tongs, slide tortillas, one at a time, into hot oil. As soon as tortilla begins to puff, about 10 to 15 seconds, flip over and leave another 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Cover with foil to keep warm.)
  12. One by one, quickly dip tortillas into the remaining warm salsa verde, lay on serving platter, and top with about 1/4 cup filling. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down on platter. When all tortillas have been filled, pour remaining salsa verde on top, sprinkle with cilantro and queso fresco (or feta) and serve.

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