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Thursday, May 6, 2010


Happy Cinco de Mayo! In this post I'm going to throw in lots of half-correct (half-wrong) Spanish phrases and see how much I can make my mom cringe.

Any excuse for a party at our house. This week we decided to do la comida mexicana. We went with Mexican Chicken Soup and a Mexican Chocolate Cake. They are Mexican dishes because of the addition of *chili powder* to regular dishes. I never promised authenticity.

Laney le encanta cocinar, um, cakes. So she was excited. We did this first. I didn't have a cake mix but I had a full pantry so I decided we would make this cake from scratch. And then I made up a recipe. I think you're not supposed to do this for baking, but I am awesome so it worked.

Here's the recipe--

oven at 350, cake pan buttered and floured

1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (it's unsweetened)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp or maybe more chili powder
1 stick butter (room temp)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk with 1/2 a lemon squeezed in it (I wanted buttermilk but didn't have any)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

I mixed things in that order. I think you're supposed to do dry, and then wet yada yada. I didn't. This batter seemed SO WET so I was scared. I based the proportions off a basic cake recipe and I was pretty sure the water was a mistake. It wasn't. The cake baked for about half an hour (do the toothpick test) and then remained moist and yummy for 4 days until it was gone. Instead of frosting Laney tapped powdered sugar on it. Delicioso!

To the soup. Soup is a great thing to make when home with young kids because nothing is time sensitive. I really just added chili powder to regular soup.

Just a note on chicken broth. It's best to make your own (I mean it.) Anytime I make any poultry with bones I throw the bones in a Zip Loc in the freezer. I also freeze vegetable scraps. When I have time, I simmer the stuff in water with salt and pepper and any loose herbs I have (always with a bay leaf) and then I cool/freeze. This is free. A second option is buying some sort of powdered/dried/concentrated bouillon situation. This is cheap but usually salty. I do this a lot; Trader Joe's is the best. Of course you can buy the cartons and cans at the market. That stuff is good but way expensive and soup is supposed to be a frugal choice. Que economico.

Sopa Mexicana

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
1 giant onion
1 bell pepper
1 jalepeno pepper (don't touch your eyes)
1.5 lbs chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1-2 cups water
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder

Chop everything (up to the can of tomatoes). Saute the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, peppers. Add chicken and brown. Add all other stuff and let it simmer for 20 minutes to 3 hours.

Serve with triangled corn tortillas sprayed with PAM/baked in oven and guacamole. Aye Carumba!

I don't actually know what aye carumba means but it seemed right.

Happy eating!

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