Homemade Classic Churros

You ever have one of those weeks where you say “geez, what a week” and then realize it’s only Tuesday?!

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That’s been my week thus far. On Saturday I effectively lost all of my credit/debit cards in between frenzied shopping excursions to get tequila from the liquor store, soil from the garden shop, and toiletries  from Target. “No biggie”, I thought, “I’ll just cancel these and get some new cards delivered. Sh*t happens.”

Sunday, the eye of the storm as it turns out, was spent making churros, drinking 5 margaritas (I can hear my mom sighing from hundreds of miles away), and screaming at my television while I watched the latest Game of Thrones episode.

Monday came around and after a pretty crazy work day I decided to meet a friend for dinner (thank God for Venmo and good friends, y’all!). After dinner I walked back to where I knew I had parked…but my car was nowhere to be found. As my eyes frantically darted around the dark parking lot, they came to rest on the words “permit parking only, all others will be towed” Cool.

So Tuesday morning, here I was. No active bank cards. My car in an impound lot. Little dignity to my name but a LOT of laughs about what a giant hot mess I was being. In the end I handled it pretty seamlessly and all before 10:30 a.m, but there were a couple of hilarious hiccups along the way. First when I realized I couldn’t order an Uber to the impound lot because I had canceled all the credit cards that were linked, so I had to call every immediate family member and see if they could do it for me. The second was when my *ahem* monthly visitor showed up as I was waiting for the Uber.

I can’t make this up. I should have a sitcom, right?

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ANYWAY. Back to these Cinco de Mayo Churros, which you can bet your life I snacked on as a coping mechanism.

They’re good. Really good. In Los Angeles we lived right next door to a place called The Churro Cafe where Mark and I would sometimes order from, so I feel like despite my not being even a little latino, I have some authority on this matter. They’re also pretty easy to make, given you have a dutch oven that you can fry things in.

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Homemade Classic Churros

ingredients:

for the churros:

1 cup water

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1 tbsp white granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

oil for frying

for the sugar coating:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 tsp cinnamon

optional for serving & garnish: 

espresso

dulce de leche

nutella

directions:

Heat oil in a dutch oven to 375 F. I use a candy thermometer to tell when the oil is at the right temperature and so I can ensure it doesn’t get too hot. Although I will say, the oil got to be about 400 during the actual frying process and the churros came out beautifully browned and the perfect consistency, so you have some wiggle room!

In a large saucepan add the water, butter, sugar, and salt. Mix and heat over medium-high until it starts to boil. Add the flour to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Mix contents constantly with a rubber spatula so the dough comes together but doesn’t burn or stick. Try and get most all the clumps out at this stage.

Transfer this dough to a mixing bowl (preferably one for an electric mixer) and let it cool for about 5 minutes, more if necessary. It will remain a bit warm and that’s okay. You just don’t want it hot enough to scramble the egg.

Add the egg and vanilla to the dough and immediately turn on the mixer to incorporate it well.

Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used a round tip because my star tip was too small, and lived to tell the tale!)

Before you start frying, set up your work station. Make the sugar coating in a shallow bowl or a rimmed dish. Place a few paper towels on another plate. Get a slotted spoon ready to go.

Squeeze the churro dough out directly over the dutch oven and use clean kitchen scissors to cut the pieces off at random lengths. Fry a few churros at a time for about 3-5 minutes or until they’re golden brown on both sides and floating to the top. Use the slotted spoon to remove the churros from the oil, set them on the paper towels to remove any excess oil, and then roll them in the sugar coating. Repeat with all the dough!

Serve warm with dulce de leche or nutella. Also amazing with espresso or coffee!

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Okay, that’s it for now! Have a good week friends, hopefully yours is going a bit smoother than mine. 😉

Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Guys. I have to admit, I kind of struggle with Cinco de Mayo.

I know that it’s not even really a holiday in Mexico. I know it’s kiiind of cultural appropriation to use it as an excuse to eat tacos, drink tequila, etc. I’m reminded of this every year and I’m always wrought with guilt about saying things like “How are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo?” and “for Cinco de Mayo I’m cooking _______” (Like I did two posts back in the recipe post for queso blanca)

But…I like the idea of throwing fiesta-themed parties. And making at-home versions of popular Mexican dishes. I feel like there’s nothing wrong with that? So I guess the key is avoiding the whole “I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo” mindset and just sort of admitting that sometimes a girl just needs some tacos and margaritas. And sometimes that craving happens in May.

So…this is not a Cinco de Mayo recipe. It’s just a really good recipe that’s perfect for warm months and outdoor parties, and would pair really nicely with a strong margarita. It’s Mexican Street Corn (or, Elotes!)

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One of the only things I really liked about living in manhattan as a teenager was the summer season. There were so many hours that were free and so much happening in the city. One of my favorite things was wondering through the street fairs that would pop up, mostly because the food was GOOD and REALLY FREAKIN’ CHEAP. That’s where I was first introduced to elotes. It was love at first bite, y’all.

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If you’re unfamiliar with elotes, it’s essentially grilled corn on the cobb smothered with a salty, creamy sauce and topped with crumbled cheese, chili powder, and some cilantro. Ughhh, so good.

And hella easy to make! Again, ideal to make for big group barbecues.

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Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

6 or 8 medium sized sweet corns, husks removed

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

chili powder, to sprinkle

cotija or crumbled feta, to sprinkle

some more chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for garnish 

Grill corn over flame for 3-4 minutes, rotating so that corn evenly cooks and gets a few charr marks all over. (We don’t have a grill any more so I actually just put my corn over the stovetop burners and used tongs to rotate them lol)

Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic in a bowl.

Smother corn with cream mixture. Sprinkle cotija or feta cheese, chili powder, and a few more pieces of cilantro.

Serve with lime wedges.

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Green Chili Queso Blanca Dip

It feels so wild that this is one of the last recipes I’ll ever make in this kitchen!

Almost all of cooking tools are packed away in boxes (sobs). By the time Cinco de Mayo actually rolls around (I’m already daydreaming about different margarita recipes to make), it will all be en route to North Carolina. So I’m getting ahead of things and making this Green Chili Queso Blanca dip while I still can!

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I’m pretty excited about this stuff. It’s so good and a perfectly easy thing to make when you’re serving margs to friends or, ya know, enjoying one by yourself.

Incidentally, my love affair with white cheese dip started in North Carolina. There’s a restaurant there called La Fiesta that my sister used to take me to. We would order bowls of their cheese dip. So things are maybe coming full circle here, no?

Over the years, I’ve tried multiple times to replicate that cheese dip to no avail. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten! The green chilis are a new add-in, but they add a good flavor boost and some texture. V important!

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Green Chili Queso Blanca 

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4th yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp flour

1 cup whole milk

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped

~ 4 oz of canned green chilis

1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

Heat the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes until fragrant. Mix in the flour until a paste is formed. Slowly add the milk to the skillet and whisk well so that the paste is broken up. Let the sauce thicken just a bit, whisking constantly, and then remove from heat. Add the jalapeño, green chilis, and cheese to the sauce and whisk until will incorporated.

Top with some cilantro. Serve immediately with fresh tortilla chips.

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Thanks for reading, guys! What recipes are you making for Cinco de Mayo? I’m thinking watermelon or grapefruit margaritas need to be a thing this year. No?