Friday, February 15, 2013

Crispy Tortilla fish burgers for Lent

Recently I saw a recipe for Southwestern Tuna cakes that used crushed tortilla chips instead of breadcrumbs. The original recipe looked  a bit spicy for the kids (and I didn't have any cheese). Here is my version.

5 Oz can or pouch of Tuna in Water
1 cup of crushed Tortilla corn chips (I used baked not fried)
2 T Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c diced red onion
2 T chopped Cilantro
1/4c salsa (I used a very mild one but you could use a spicier one)
2 Tbsp Canola oil

Combine all the ingredients except for the oil in a large bowl. Scoop out 1/4 cup portions of the mixture and form into patties. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to paper towel to drain any excess oil. Serve hot with rice, salad and extra salsa.

Piwi Daddy really enjoyed these.As for the Piwi's -when they thought it wasn't fish they liked it, then after full disclosure, they didn't.

I also attempted to make a vegan version with beans....

Foodie Friends Friday

Crispy Nacho bean scramble

This was my very tasty dinner tonight: Crispy Tortilla bean scramble

From now on, when ever I see a recipe for something called a scramble, I will be wondering if, they too, started out with something else in mind...

For the first Friday of Lent I made Crispy Tortilla Fish burgers for the omnivores of the family. Pleased with how these turned out I was confident I could make a vegan and Gluten free version. The outcome suggested otherwise. Still I will be making it again!

Crispy Tortilla bean scramble

1 can Kidney beans, drained, rinsed and dried.
1 cup crushed baked tortilla chips
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 nutritional yeast
2 T chopped cialantro
1 t onion powder
1 T Oil

In a large bowl mash the beans with a potato masher or fork. They do not all need to be mashed up.
Add all the other ingredient except the oil. Mix to combine.  Heat 1 teaspoon of Oil, over medium heat, in a non stick pan. Add bean mixture to the pan, keep mixture moving and brown evenly. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Getting ready for Valentines day-gifts and decs

The Piwi's have been busy getting ready for Valentines Day this week. Miss K is a natural party planner and it looks like Mini Piwi is now her apprentice.

I made these multiplication 'broken hearts to practice her times tables. She matched them up and then decided to tape them together so she could turn them into a Heart banner for Valentines day.

Mini Piwi made a basket of flowers for Miss K from the dyed coffee filters she made when we were tracing marker letters with water. She has them hidden in her 'stash' to give Big sis. Mini Piwi has taken over a cupboard and stores all her treasures there. It is known as her 'stash'. If you can't find something it is most likely there.

Mini Piwi made some paper plate valentines cards which were later used to decorate the fridge after Miss K put her copy work there.

 The kids made felt toys for Perry the cat. I had previously punch holes in the edge of Mini piwi's felt so she could use a plastic needle and yarn to stitch around her one.
 Miss K blanket stitched her one....I'm pretty sure Mr Perry will be happy with his gifts!
 Mr Perry had decided not to eat the wet food Piwi Daddy had purchased in a case of 24 last week. I was going to take it down to the local Petco and donate it. Miss K had a better idea and to wrap them up individually for the cats at the local rescue center we visit frequently. The Piwi's aren;t old enough to volunteer but they are allowed to the adoption events and hang out with the kitties. We are going to take the gifts down over the weekend and give them their valentines gift.

 Tonight we made decorated chocolates. This time it was just melted chocolate. The food processor didnt come out like last week's recipe for 'old school chocolate'. Last week's cacoa nibs are probably preferable though as this red colored chocolate was near flourescent!

They were supposed to be for Valentines dessert but this plateful disappeared pretty much as soon as I took the picture. Thankfully there are still plenty!

Mini Piwi chilled out after the chocolate with Splat the Cat new Valentine book

Happy Valentine's Day from the Piwi's!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Miss K makes Tablea (for Filipino Hot Chocolate)


During Miss K's Philippines Cacao history project we learnt about Tablea tsokalate. This is a traditional Filipino chocolate drink made by dissolving tablets made from roasted cacao beans in hot water or milk.

In the USA, chocolate manufacturers process the imported Cacao beans so we usually we only come across the byproducts of the cacao bean. Cocoa powder we use in baking and cocoa butter is in the bars of chocolate we love. Tablea is made by grounding down roasted whole beans in their entirety. Traditionally it is made by hand and produces what remains is a rich thick oily paste. The concept is similar to grinding down peanuts to make peanut butter. The product is shaped into tablets or balls and dried.

It occurred to me that if we could buy cacao beans we could try to make tablea. I wasn’t too sure our food processor would work like a grinder but it’s not the strangest thing I have tried to make in a food processor*. If it didn’t work,  it would still be a teachable moment. I could still demonstrate how hard it must be to make it by hand (if even a food processor can’t do it!).

In the US, fermented cacao beans can be purchased as nibs. The nibs are beans which have already been roasted, peeled and crushed in to smaller pieces.  I fully expected to need to have multiple attempts at this but it worked on our first try.

Here's what we did to make our own version of Tablea:
½ cup of nibs went into the food processor. We added 3 tablespoons of sugar. I hoped it would act as an abrasive and help the grinding process.

After 15 pulses the nibs had begun to break down but it was still very gritty. We let it run for another minute and noticed a layer of cocoa butter forming as the processor was warming.
Here is one of the pieces of cocoa butter we scraped out to try –it was very strong but yummy.

I scaped the edges and bottom of the bowl and let it run for a bit more until it was all sticking together and very few grainy pieces were left. 

Miss K molded the cocoa ‘dough’ into tablet and they dried hard in an hour.

They looked and tasted good but we still wanted to see if they could make tablea tskolate.

We tried it in two kinds of milk –almond for me and regular for everyone else.
The tablet dissolved (with a lot of whisking) into the milk. We added vanilla and sugar. It was really good! I can only imagine how good the really thing must be!

Apparently Cacoa nibs are full of antioxidants too! They are also totally plant based/vegan. Milk is added when they manufacture chocolate candy to make it creamier. So there we have it -a successful project and a new way for me to make my own vegan 'chocolate'!

*the strangest thing I made in a food processor was paper pulp for a High school science project. Sorry Mum for chopping up newspaper in your kitchen appliances! 

Foodie Friends Friday

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The history of the Philippines (with Chocolate)

Last week we began a unit about Chocolate. We took the road less traveled and used it as an opportunity to learn about Cacao farming and it’s place in Philippines history. For those new to our blog: you can read about our family's heritage here.

Our inspiration was a bar of Askinosie chocolate. On the front of this uniquely package chocolate is big text stating that it was sourced from Davao, Philippines. At the time I wasn’t aware that Chocolate was one of the country's exports.  After a quick web search I learnt that the Davao region grew 70-80% of the 10,000 Tons of cacao the Philippines produced last year (source).

It took a bit of research but it evolved into a  perfect opportunity for Miss K to learn about the history of the Philippines. I wrote out the key events in the Country's history, and the history of Cacao. There was also a lot of information on recent initiatives to increase production of Cacao beans and support of Davao farmers. Miss K cut out all the events and ordered them by date. What started out as a two foot long time line, end up measuring nearly 8 feet!  

We learnt a lot and Piwi Daddy was surprised at how much Miss K had absorbed about the same same subject that he had been bored by in school. To be honest I, too, would have a better grasp on world history if the subject of chocolate had been involved. 

As we were reading about the processing of cacao beans we came across tablea tsokalate. This is a traditional chocolate drink made by dissolving tablets made from ground cacao beans in water or milk. There are people all over the web raving about this rich foamy drink!
Our favorite was this virtual Experience making tablea in Palo 

Apparently Askinosie chocolate imports handmade Tablea, as a way of raising money for it's Davao charities. Now Miss K wants to try Tablea and learn more about the Farms in Davao....

Here is our attempt at grinding down cacoa beans to make our own Tablea

Books we used for this project: