Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Verdes.

I apologize for the delay in posts. But rather than making excuses, I shall make promises. I took a class last week on pickling, so posts on Leah's Adventures in Pickleland shall begin shortly. Look for a bunch of posts on peaches in the near future as well.

I love Mexican food. But I am a wimp when it comes to spicy things. Seriously. Sometimes I start sweating when I eat salsa. I've had these enchiladas booked for awhile (since May 21st, if my Delicious account is to be believed), but was a little bit scared of them because of the serrano chiles. So I just cut them out. I know, pretty wimpy. But I thought the enchiladas were perfect without them. If you aren't a wimp, feel free to add them back in.

Eat Rating: Awesome.
Difficulty: Easy to medium. Requires a food processor or blender. Also a tolerance for hot oil.

Adapted from Eating Out Loud

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (LN: You can also use breasts. These were on sale.)
6 cups water
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small onion, cut in half
1 carrot, cut into chunks (LN: omitted. I dislike carrots.)
4 serrano chiles, seeded (LN: omitted because of previously disclosed wimpiness.)
2 lbs tomatillos, husked
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil for frying (LN: I used peanut oil. Canola oil would work too.)
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

In a medium sized pot, place chicken, water, two cloves of garlic, half of the onion and carrot if using. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred it into pieces. Reserve the broth.

Bring a second pot of water to boil. Place two more garlic cloves and chiles, if using, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatillos, cook another 7 minutes, then drain.

Place the chiles, garlic and tomatillos in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the remaining half onion and cilantro. Pulse again. Add one cup of the stock, pulse one last time until combined. Pour the sauce into a saucepan (you can use that second one from before if you'd like) and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened a little. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Get out a baking dish, a large 12-14 inch one and set next to the stove. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet or cast iron pan until hot. Add the corn tortillas one at a time, cooking about 10 seconds each side. Remove from the oil, let drain for 30 seconds or so on a paper towel, then dip the tortilla in the tomatillo sauce. Fill with chicken, pour a little tomatillo sauce in the middle, then place in the baking dish. Repeat with the other tortillas, then top all of them with the remaining tomatillo sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the monterey jack cheese then cook for another 8-10 minutes until cheese has melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a helping of black beans.

Enchiladas as modern art.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Roasted Summer Squash with Feta Vinaigrette

Squash + feta = yum.

I love roasting vegetables. I think it's because I lived in the suburbs as a kid and we would spend half the summer grilling out on our deck. Sadly, our tiny apartment in the city also has a tiny yard and no space for a grill. There's a guy down the street who grills in his front yard. I've considered this, but I think our landlords would dislike it if I destroyed their nicely cultivated flower beds by placing a charcoal grill in the middle of them.

So I content myself with roasting. One day, I'll get around to buying some planks to add smoky, grilled flavor to my roasted foods. But in the mean time, I am content with the crispy, deliciousness of a plain roast.

I first saw this feta vinaigrette recipe on The Bitten Word. It's from Food and Wine magazine, one of the few food-related magazines I have yet to subscribe to. I followed their directions, but my vinaigrette came out a little too oily (You can see the olive oil pooling a little around the edges of the dish in the picture.) So I would suggest adding a little less oil and incorporating it gradually while whizzing the food processor. Mine was also not as creamy, I think because I bought some fresh aged feta at the farmer's market that was more Greek style. Look for French-style feta, the kind made from sheep's milk. Also, the recipe makes a good deal of vinaigrette, about 3/4 cup or so.

Feta vinaigrette.

Adapted from The Bitten Word, Food and Wine magazine, June 2009

2 medium-sized summer squash, any shape
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 oz. feta, crumbled
2 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil (LN: As noted above, you might need less)
Salt to taste (LN: Omitted. My feta was pretty salty already)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash the squash and chop off the ends. If you have a long thin squash, cut in half lengthwise, then chop into 1-inch half-moon pieces. If your squash is more round, cut into quarters. Toss squash with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and a little salt, then lay out flat on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning squash after 10 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, combine the feta, vinegar, water and oregano in the food processor. Pulse to combine. Through the spout on the top, gradually add the oil while the processor is whizzing until you have a dressing consistency.

Remove squash from oven after 20 minutes and let cool. Drizzle squash with feta vinaigrette and serve immediately.

With a grill: If you do have a grill, try grilling the squash instead. Wash and cut off ends, then slice the squash in half lengthwise. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes until tender, then cut into chunks and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Squash Breakfast Frittata

We've been getting a lot of summer squash and new potatoes from our CSA of late, so for a late lunch last weekend, I decided to combine the two. The recipe, which I found on the Kitchn, called for Canadian bacon. I didn't have any so I subbed in bacon. That probably wasn't the best idea. Bacon has a tendency to overwhelm all the other flavors in a dish. If you do use bacon, I suggest you just use it crumbled. Don't cook the other vegetables in the bacon grease, unless you happen to be an enormous bacon fan.

Frittata in a skillet.

Adapted from Zucchini Frittata at The Kitchn

2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut into thin half-moon slices
1 pound new potatos, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 pound canadian bacon or ham, diced
6 eggs (LN: We subbed egg substitute. You can't taste a difference)
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
3-4 tbsp olive oil

Combine the cut up summer squash and a few teaspoons of salt. Set aside.

In an ovenproof skillet (I used a cast-iron one), heat the olive oil. Sautee the potatoes, onion and garlic for about 20 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the potatoes have softened. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and place in a separate bowl.

Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil. Sautee the summer squash and meat until the squash is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and add to the bowl with the potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the potatoes, onions, squash and meat to the eggs, stirring just until combined. Add another tablespoon of oil to the bottom of the skillet. Pour the entire mixture back into the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes on the stovetop. Don't stir, so that a coating of egg forms on the bottom.

Move the skillet to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. If the frittata is still a little runny, cook an additional 5 minutes.

Cut the frittata into wedges and serve warm.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Mint Rice Pilaf

You'd think sun-dried tomato and mint is a weird combo. You'd be wrong.

When I read Mark Bittman's Food Matters, I was somewhat shocked to discover that white rice wasn't very good for you. This was perhaps a dumb assumption, but rice was in the "grains" part of the food pyramid, so I always assumed that meant it was healthy.


So I've been trying to incorporate brown rice into my diet more. Except plain brown rice is boring. The other day I didn't have time to make pilaf, so I googled a couple ingredients I had in the cupboard to see if I could find anything half-decent to add to rice to make a side dish. I found this vegetarian site that had suggestions for how to make a quick rice pilaf. Now I wouldn't normally assume that sun-dried tomato and mint go together, but they are actually a pretty amazing combination. Both savory and refreshing. Add a little bit of feta and it's really great.

Adapted from Simple Vegetarian Recipes

Eat Rating: Awesome.
Difficulty: Easy to Medium. Requires a food processor or blender.

1 cup brown rice
2 cups broth or water (LN: I used chicken broth, but you could use veggie broth or water)
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, choppped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup sundried tomatos, reconstituted
2 gloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1/4-1/3 feta cheese, crumbled

Place rice and broth/water in pressure cooker. Bring to boil and cook for 25-30 minutes. (If you don't have a pressure cooker, bring to a boil in a saucepan and cook for 45-50 minutes.)

While rice is cooking, place parsley, mint, sun-dried tomatos and garlic in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Gradually add oil, scrapping down sides of processor. The ingredients should form a thick paste.

Once rice is cooked, add the mint-tomato paste and stir to combine. Let cool, then add feta cheese crumbles. Serve warm.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's a Recession: Homemade Frozen Yogurt

No ice cream maker required.

I've recently become enamored with the frozen yogurt at Sweet Green. And so, all summer, I've been looking at recipe after recipe for homemade frozen yogurts, sorbets, sherbets, gelatos and ice creams. The thing they all have in common? All of them require an ice cream maker - an appliance I do not own and, at the moment, CCO has forbidden the acquisition of additional kitchen appliances (at least until I clean out my appliance cupboard). So I have been bereft of homemade frozen yogurt.

I had just about given up hope. But then, as I was leafing through the reicpes at the end of Mark Bittman's new book, Food Matters, I finally found it: a frozen yogurt recipe that does not require an ice cream maker. Mark Bittman, you are officially my hero.

I've tried this with black raspberries that CCO and I picked a couple weeks back. Bittman suggests trying various berries, bananas, cherries or stone fruits. I was thinking I might try apricot next.

Eat Rating: Awesome. Sweet, creamy and cold.
Difficulty: Easy. Requires a food processor or good blender.

Adapted from Food Matters, by Mark Bittman

1 1/2 cups fruit, any type cleaned and frozen
1/2 cup yogurt (to make this vegan, he suggests using 1/2 cup silken tofu)
1/4 cup sugar (LN: I actually upped this to closer to 1/2 cup)
Water as needed (LN: I didn't need any)

In a food processor, add the fruit, yogurt and sugar. Pulse several times to combine, scrapping down the edges as necessary until fully combined. If the mixture seems a little coarse, add a few teaspoons of water. Taste and, if necessary, add more sugar. Serve immediately or store in a container in the freezer.

Chocolate Cherry: Omit sugar. Add 4 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate to fruit and yogurt.