I’m tired, my friends. I do have help, I do. I have to. I work from home. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to drop the kids at daycare but, at the same time, no matter how much help you have, unless you go hide in the car with a laptop, not much gets done with a one-and-a-half year old, a newborn, and a pre-teen in the house.
I mean, seriously, thank God these kids are pretty chill. Fau doesn’t read my blog so I can embarrass him freely: he is a great kid, the kind you don’t worry about. Big heart, good grades and a good big brother. The little ones? Well… they are a little insane right now, but it’s all normal stuff from what my friends (and the books) tell me. You know, D says “mama” 700 times in a row until he gets my attention or what he wants; Anna likes to party and stay up at night and sleep during the day.
Anyhow, even though I’ve been doing a little more work every day, there are days when NOTHING gets done. Thankfully, today felt more like a regular Tuesday. I had a great conference call to discuss the book tour and plan some fun events (I’ll be posting the tour schedule and events here on the blog mid-April sometime), worked on the designs for some goodies that you all will love, opened a package that contained the first copy of my third book, Casa Marcela (and nearly cried!), and all the while Isabella was busy cooking away and testing the recipes for this blog post!
So apparently there’s a big sporting event this Sunday. Kidding. Sort of. I don’t follow football, or really any sports… but if I’m going to be forced to watch them, there should, at least, be really good food being served! And so when my niece Dani asked my sister Carina if they could come eat at the house after school yesterday (remember, we Mexicans don’t have “dinner,” per se… instead, we have a heavy meal called “la comida” after school and then a lighter dinner before bed), we set out to test our Super Bowl menu by doubling my recipes so there would be enough for everybody, and we ended up with this amazing combo:
Spicy Pecan Chicken Drumettes Celery Sticks and Spicy Blue Cheese Dip Coca Cola Braised Carne Mini Tortas Stout Brownies with Chocolate Sauce
Dani said she was happy she asked to come over! Seriously though… remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally when Meg Ryan was at the restaurant? That’s the reaction my sister had to the stout brownies!
The Spicy Chicken Drumettes were published in my first book seven years ago (yikes!) and were a long lost fave that is certainly coming back. The celery sticks and blue cheese are just classic (although also inspired by the eight celery bunches I have growing in the garden that need to be eaten). The tortas were inspired by one of my all-time fave street carts in Tijuana, Tortas del Wash. I mean… just imagine: it’s this Mexican-style sandwich with Coke-marinated grilled meat, guacamole, pickled onion and tomato relish, and a ciabatta-like bun (we used traditional ciabatta) that is soaked in the meat juices before assembling the sandwich. And all of that would be insanely good on its own, but then you finish it off with a GIANT brownie topped with warm chocolate fudge. Let’s just say it was a really nice Tuesday.
Now I’m not gonna lie to you… I have no idea who’s playing. In fact, I just had to WhatsApp Philip and confirm that the game was THIS Sunday. Heck, I don’t even know who is doing the half time show! I always, at least, know that! But at the moment, I know nothing except that David finally went to sleep, Anna will be hungry again around ten, and Fau is done with homework.
And that’s how much I love you guys. Instead of sleeping, I’m blogging. Or maybe it’s just that I’m sooo excited about this menu that I wanted to give Marla a break and write the intro… but, either way, it’s good. So good. Those drumettes are sweet and spicy and crunchy with the pecans, and the brownies are addictive. Annnnnnd I’ve got about an hour and a half until the next feeding. What do you think? Should I go to sleep, watch TV, or head downstairs and eat some of the leftover brownies? If you can guess which one I chose, I grant you one million imaginary gold coins!
Enjoy these delicious recipes and buenas noches, familia… M
Pecan Sweet and Spicy Drumettes(Serves 4 to 5)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons ground ancho chile* (or chipotle powder)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds chicken drumettes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium-low heat. Stir in the honey, and cook until the mixture bubbles, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pecans, ground ancho and garlic powder. Season the marinade, to taste, with salt and pepper.
** Arrange the drumettes on a baking sheet, and brush each with the marinade. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Baste once, halfway through baking time. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.
**Cook's Note: Cover your baking sheet with tin foil for easy clean up and to prevent marinade from burning in the oven.
Celery Sticks and Spicy Blue Cheese Dip
1 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons chipotle adobo sauce
2 teaspoons tabasco sauce
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Celery sticks, for dipping
Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve in your favorite bowl finish by topping with crumbled blue cheese and dip away with your favorite veggie.
Coca Cola Braised Carne Mini Tortas(Serves 12)
1 1/2 pounds flap steak or skirt steak
2 cups of Mexican Coca Cola
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
5 avocados, mashed
5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons dry crumbled oregano
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Oil, for grilling
12 mini ciabatta rolls
In a glass baking dish add steak, Coca Cola, brown sugar and thyme. Refrigerate overnight. In a small bowl add tomatoes, onion, vinegar, lime oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until assembling the mini tortas.
On a grill pan on medium high heat. Drizzle with a little oil. When grill is heated add steak and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer meat on to a cutting board and let stand for about 5 minutes. Cut into small pieces. To assemble each torta, grab a ciabatta roll sliced in half. Soak bread in meat juices. Schmear avocado and mayonnaise on bread, add meat,tomato and onion relish on one half and then top with the other.
Stout Brownies with Chocolate Sauce
(Serves 8 to 10)
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the foil
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup stout beer
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with foil and grease with cooking spray.
Melt the semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Beat together the sugar and eggs in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until creamed, about 3 minutes. Pour in the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined well. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in 1 cup of stout beer and mix for about 2 minutes. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish.
Bake brownies until the top is shiny and set and the sides have begun to pull away slightly, about 35 minutes for fudgy brownies.
While brownies are baking, melt remaining 4 ounces of chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over simmering water. Add 1/4 cup sugar, stout, and cocoa powder and whisk until combined. Drizzle chocolate stout sauce on each brownie and enjoy.