A Little Midwinter Reprieve–Recipe: Taco Cupcakes

As Winter barrels on, sometimes it can feel unrelenting, and…well, cold! Every now and then, it becomes necessary to bring a little summer fun to the depths of your snow-filled wilderness. This idea came to us, and it was immediately put into motion; Taco Cupcakes! Not only do the fresh veggies and sour cream bring to mind the warmer days of summer, but the new and unique delivery system was simple, and fun. While our home-grown reserves have been severely depleted by the winter, we were still able to find everything we needed from the local co-op (most of it was organic, too!).

Here’s the recipe that we used:

Taco Cupcakes

Taco Cupcakes

Makes 24 ‘cupcakes’

1 lb ground beef
1 can refried beans
12 small corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For garnishing:
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 medium tomato, diced
lettuce shreds
sour cream

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a medium skillet, thoroughly cook the ground beef. Set aside.
Grease 2 (12 muffin capacity) muffin tins.

Cut the corn tortillas into fourths (like a clock: 12 to 6, and 9 to 3). Push one triangle into the bottom of each muffin cup. This will take some scrunching; let the corners fold up the side of the cup, this will help keep some of the ingredients in after baking.

  1. Fill each cup with about a tablespoon or two of ground beef.
  2. Place another tortilla triangle over the ground beef. Then, place a tablespoon or two of refried beans.
  3. Bake these layers for 15-20 minutes. You want the edges of the tortilla to be slightly browned, and fairly crispy. This will help hold the ‘cupcake’ together.
  4. When you have achieved a pretty crispy cupcake, evenly sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of each cupcake, and place back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes. You want the cheese just melted.
  5. After removing from the oven, top with your favorite garnishes! We found that sour cream was necessary, not only to keep the garnishes on top of the cupcake, but also for the overall texture.Other garnishes could include avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro, guacamole, or salsa.

These will be a little messy. So let your mind travel back to the barbecues of summer, where napkins were necessary, and smiles were plentiful. Travel to the tastes of summer. Enjoy with a cool glass of lemonade (or maybe a margarita?) and stave off cabin fever for a few glorious moments!

Happy New Year! Recipe: Cloud Eggs

Cloud Eggs
Cloud Eggs

Cloud Eggs

Being that this is the first afternoon of the year, today’s lunch begged to be different and exciting. The only thing holding us back was the lack of different and exciting ingredients. Holiday parties had tapped out our exotic resources, and we were left with the simple and mundane.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear; a Bulgarian video that promised beautiful egg yolks suspended on clouds! The video was completely in Bulgarian, but the message got through: whip the whites, and bake the eggs together. Since eggs are one of the Finnskogen staples with our ever-expanding flock, this recipe needed to be tried. Although, “recipe” may not be the best name for what these are; “procedure” is probably better suited.

Creativity can run rampant through this procedure–with add-ins, and sides that can take your meal to a new level. Since this was our first try, we kept things simple as a control. Next time, we will definitely use add-ins on our clouds like crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese. Or served on top of a slice of hot, buttered toast. Mmmmm!

Here is the procedure we used:

4 eggs
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Lightly grease a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe vessel.
3. Separate the yolks and whites of eggs. Note: We found that one of the yolks broke as we were transferring them later on, so it may be advantageous to use separate ramekins for each yolk.
4. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in your add-ins at this point, including salt and pepper.
5. Scoop in four equal ‘clouds’ into your skillet. With the back of a spoon, push a well into the center of each cloud. This will house the yolk.
6. Place in the oven for 3 minutes.
7. Remove, and (carefully) set one egg yolk into the well of each cloud.
8. Return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes, or until your yolk is set to desired “doneness”. Don’t walk away! The whites will begin browning very quickly!

Rooster and Chickens

Rooster and Chickens

We removed the clouds with a spatula, and served with fried slices of pork ribs from the night before. We found that the clouds stayed fluffy, and the slightly crisp, browned sections were the most savory. Next time, we will probably add the salt to the whites themselves, and increase the amount slightly. This time we used around 1/2 to 1 tsp, and it was added to the chives, and folded into the whites from there.

Overall, this procedure was extremely successful, and we will definitely be adding it to our breakfast/lunchtime repertoire!