How to Make Sopes

Pork Sope pin-7753
I went to watch my eight year old daughter dance at Disneyland in January. It felt extravagant since she is only eight, Disneyland requires a plane ride and I didn’t go on traveling sport trips until I was in high school. Lucky for her, I am bad at following through on principle and the thought of the fun triumphed over my rational thinking.

Now that the trip is more than a month in the past, I can reminisce about all the great moments with the kids: like my three year old conquering the tower of terror and my daughter hugging her new stuffed Pluto as we flew on Dumbo. Even with the fun at Disney, the truth is that when I got home from the trip, I wasn’t day dreaming about the amusement park. All I could think about was one thing: the sopes at Mom’s Tamales in Los Angeles.

That’s my big brother and little son in front of the restaurant.

mamas

After a weekend of ice cream, popcorn, Dole Whips, corndogs and tamales, I should have been craving kale, but I could not get the sopes out of my head. I looked up the recipe on my way into the grocery store the day after my trip and it looked doable. I have made them a few times since and while no sopes making expert, I have learned a few things including that even non-experts can make a great sope product.

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A few notes on the recipe: This is not for the faint of heart. Like making your own tortilla or naan bread, you are adding steps to your cooking experience. This is not for a busy weeknight, but when you are wanting to have fun in your kitchen. It’s easier to make the sopes when you already have leftover pork carnitas and/or refried beans. You of course can make it all from scratch on the same day, it would just be a lot of time spent in your kitchen. Try using different toppings, the sope shell is a great avenue for creativity.

I’ve tried a couple different methods and the most successful was a two step process: cooking the shells first on a griddle, then frying them in oil. This makes for a chewier, tastier shell for the sopes.

To make the corn flour shell:
4 cups corn masa flour (check the bag, but most masa flour is gluten-free)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings:
pork carnitas
shredded lettuce
refried beans
queso añejo cheese
cilantro, chopped
avocado (optional)

Mix the corn flour and water together in a bowl. Knead for five minutes until the mixture is no longer sticky. Heat a griddle to medium-high heat. Divide the batter into 20 small balls. Flatten into thick tortillas, about 3 inches in diameter. Keep the discs covered with a kitchen towel while waiting to cook.

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Place as many shells as will fit on your dry griddle. Heat for one minute per side, or until the shell begin to brown. Flip and repeat on the second side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm under a towel. When all the sopes have finished cooking, shape the sopes by pinching the edges to make a border. Cover with a towel to keep the sopes warm.

Fill a skillet with oil until the oil is about 1/4 inch deep. Heat to 350º. Fry a few shells in the skillet at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. It will take about 2 minutes per side.

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When the shell is golden brown, place on a plate lined with a couple of paper towels. Have your toppings ready so that you can serve the sope hot.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats


Overnight Steel Oats PIN-7560

My daughter recently lamented, “All my friend’s moms make their kids hot breakfast.” I tried to remind her that while we don’t eat hot breakfast very often, we do almost always have hot, homemade dinner and morning is hard for me because I want to get a workout in before the day starts. She begged, “Can we please just have hot breakfast once per week?” This one hot breakfast request per week seemed reasonable and it was one of those moments, like when my eight year old daughter asked that I write her notes in her lunchbox, that I realized that I really could step up my mothering game.

I’ve been on the look out for easy, healthy recipes for my family to eat hot in the morning. Here is one that I love, and it’s hardly even a recipe. Why steel cut oats? They are lower on the glycemic index than regular oats so they keep you full longer. It warms you up and sticks to your bones.

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The night before you want to eat, bring 6 cups of water to a roaring boil. Add 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats and a pinch of salt. (You can buy the oats gluten-free if that’s an issue for your family.) Boil for one minute, stirring a couple of times and watching to make sure that the mixture doesn’t boil over onto your stove top.

Place the cover on the pot and remove from the heating element. Keep covered for 8-12 hours. Wake up in the morning and reheat the steel cut oats. Top with your favorite topping combinations.

Here are some of my favorite toppings:

Banana Bread Oatmeal
– sprinkle of brown sugar
– few slices of banana
– few sliced pecans or walnuts
– sprinkle of cinnamon sugar

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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
– few slices of apple
– sliced pecans
– sprinkle of cinnamon sugar
– a drizzle of maple syrup

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Traditional Pantry Cleaning Oatmeal
– few sliced almonds
– a handful of Craisins or Raisins
– a sprinkle of brown sugar

 

 

 

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

banana muffinPIN GF-7910

I don’t post gluten free recipes specifically on the blog, because I usually just write in the adaptation to my gluten-full recipes. But, these gluten free banana muffins turned out so delicious, that I believe the gluten-free version deserves it’s own post.

This recipe is different because the gluten-free version tasted the same as the wheat flour version. The only other time I have tasted a GF baked good equal to it’s wheat-filled counterpart was when I ate a $6 bear claw from a special bakery in San Francisco.

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If you don’t need to cook gluten-free, the wheat filled versions of these are also delicious and instructions are included. If you have to cook gluten-free, try these, today with those bananas sitting on your counter that none of your children have chosen to eat for breakfast. They will be a pleasant surprise.

Gluten free hints:

I am a believer in this Mama’s Almond Blend (that’s an affiliate link) flour. I buy it on Amazon because I don’t have it locally. You can use other flours, but I can’t promise you’ll have the same amazing results.

(For the gluten version: Just use 2 cups all purpose flour in place of the GF flour blend. Omit the xantham gum and use 1 teaspoon of vanilla)

2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xantham gum
4 overripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

6 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with liners or grease.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and xantham gum. In a small bowl mash two of your bananas with a fork so that there is still some texture left in the bananas. Place the two remaining bananas and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat the bananas and brown sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla and beat until the mixture is combined. Stir in the flour mixture until there are no white streaks. Gently fold in the smashed banana and nuts if you are lucky enough to have nut eaters at your house. Pour into prepared muffin tins, you will have enough batter for 18 or so muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with a teaspoon or so of the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

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Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence of the Food Network.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with liners or grease.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and xantham gum. In a small bowl mash two of your bananas with a fork so that there is still some texture left in the bananas. Place the two remaining bananas and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat the bananas and brown sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla and beat until the mixture is combined. Stir in the flour mixture until there are no white streaks. Gently fold in the smashed banana and nuts if you are lucky enough to have nut eaters at your house. Pour into prepared muffin tins, you will have enough batter for 18 or so muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with a teaspoon or so of the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

 

Cheddar Chowder

I started making this Cheddar Chowder more than 10 years ago when my cousin told me that she tried a recipe from the family recipe book and it won awards at a church party. Every winter since that discovery, I look forward to making this soup when the cold hits. It’s simple. I usually have the ingredients on hand so I can use it when I get to Thursday and I have run out of recipe ideas. It heats you up from the inside, just like a hot bowl of chowder should do.

Cheddar Chowder pinterest-6846

My husband can’t eat gluten, so I make this with cornstarch instead of the usual flour roux. This recipe is different since you start with boiling water and add it to the vegetables. Because of this, your vegetables must be diced small. This takes a little bit more work up front, but the soup will be much better.

Cheddar Chowder SS 6837

INGREDIENTS
Serves 4
2 cups boiling water
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup butter
2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup cubed ham

DIRECTIONS

Place the diced potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in a large pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the boiling water to the pot, cover with the lid, heat the burner to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.

In a small bowl stir the cornstarch together with 3 tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering pot and stir until the soup has thickened. Reduce heat to low.

In a separate saucepan heat the milk, cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup butter until the cheese has melted. Pour the cheese mixture into the pot with the vegetables. Add the ham. Stir until combined and warm until the soup is heated through.

Cheddar Chowder SS -6857

 

Cheddar Chowder
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS
  • Serves 4
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup cubed ham
Instructions
  1. Place the diced potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in a large pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the boiling water to the pot, cover with the lid, heat the burner to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.
  2. In a small bowl stir the cornstarch together with 3 tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering pot and stir until the soup has thickened. Reduce heat to low.
  3. In a separate saucepan heat the milk, cheddar cheese and ¼ cup butter until the cheese has melted. Pour the cheese mixture into the pot with the vegetables. Add the ham. Stir until combined and warm until the soup is heated through.