March 5, 2012

Posole! (Pozole)

My dear friend Chris has a serious love of Mexican food.  Throughout the years he has introduced me to the world of chilies, Mexican spices, traditional techniques and preparations, and all kinds of tasty food.  One of the amazing dishes he introduced to my palette was pozole.  This spicy, smoky, porky, fresh vegetabley Mexican stew is like the chicken soup you wished you grew up with as it is like a hug in a bowl.

Pozole

  • 1 7.5 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 or 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 4 or 5 dried guajillo chiles
  • 6 cloves garlic (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into medium chunks
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 8 cups low-sodium beef broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 3 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • 4-6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • Diced avocado, shredded cabbage, diced onion, lime wedges/juice, sliced radishes and/or fresh cilantro for topping

Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes.  Increase the heat to high.  Add the pork and sprinkle in cumin.  Stir in the beef/chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Once to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover for an hour-hour and a half.

Meanwhile, break the stems off the guajillo and ancho chiles and cut a slit on each chili side and shake out as many seeds as possible. Flatten the chiles and in a frying pan, toast each side on medium heat until slightly softened and a little blistered, about 2-3 minutes per side. (Be careful not to burn them!) Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with about 2 cups boiling water; weigh down the chiles with a plate to keep them submerged and soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer the soaked chiles, 1/2 the can of chipotles and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender or food processor. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.

At this point you may need to skim the fat. Then add oregano and chile sauce to your taste.  (I suggest starting with 1 cups of sauce and adding more later if you desire).  Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Partially cover and cook one more hour.

Stir in the hominy, chopped cilantro and lime juice and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the pork is fall apart tender, about 1 more hour. (We ended up pulling the pork out with a slotted spoon and pulling the meat apart by hand and putting it back in.  Hey, we were getting hungry!!!) Add some water, broth or any reserved chile soaking liquid if the posole is too thick.

To make tortilla strips:

In a cast iron skillet, add enough oil to come about halfway up the pan.  Heat on medium, until sprinkling a droplet of water into the oil makes the water “dance”.  Gently slide in tortilla strips and fry, cooking 2-3 minutes per side until crispy.  Drain on paper towels and season lightly with sea salt.

Now you’ve been waiting like, 6 hours to eat this stew, so go on and grab yourself a big bowl!  Ladle yourself a few spoonfuls and top that lovely soup with a healthy squeeze of lime juice, some cilantro, cabbage, avocado and tortilla strips.  Save those radishes for the side as something crunchy and refreshing for you to feast on between slurpy sips of that stew.  Now go on and enjoy your stew and give your tummeh a hug!

Makes 6-8 servings

Cook time = 3.5 hours

Prep time = 1.5 hours

Adapted from Posole Rojo

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March 5, 2012

Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheddar Grits

I am a huge fan of Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman.  I have made several of her recipes, all of which were completely tasty and delicious.  For Super Bowl Sunday she posted a recipe for Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Grits, and the title alone made my mouth water.  The following weekend, Man Friend and I set to make it!

I cannot express to you how delicious this meal is.  The super spicy tender beef on top of creamy, cooling, cheesy grits is just an unbelievable pairing.  Be prepared for spicy.  Be prepared for some time tending to this dish.  But also be prepared for nothing but AWESOME in your mouth!

Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheddar Grits

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 pounds stew meat or diced chuck roast
  • 1 can (11 oz) chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth, more if needed
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3-4 chilies, diced (any variety, hot or mild – we used a green jalapeno, red jalapeno, serrano and part of an habenero)
  • 4 cups instant grits
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add onions and chiles and cook until softened.  Turn heat to high, add the meat and cook 1-2 minutes until meat is browned.  Add chipotle peppers, cumin, garlic, chili powder and beef broth.  Stir, then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid is thick. (Watch the meat occasionally and add more beef broth as needed.)

To make the grits, heat water in a large pot on high until boiling.  Add the grits and cook one minute.  Stir, and add half and half a little at a time.  Cook on medium until grits are creamy and smooth, adding half and half as needed.  Add cheese and stir until cheese is melted.

To serve, pour yourself a generous spoonful of grits onto a plate.  Then pour yourself a generous spoonful of meat on top of those grits.  Be sure to get a little juice in there, too.  Yeah.  Go on and enjoy that meal.  Spicy. Tasty. Creamy. Meaty. Deliciousness.

 

Adapted from Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheddar Grits.

March 10, 2011

Overnight lunch delight

I am not a fan of making sammies for lunch.  First of all, unless you have some stellar ingredients to put in there, they tend to be very boring.  Second of all, they’re not usually very filling.  Furthermore, I usually can’t get more than three quarters of a way through one before my taste buds are like “Okay, we’re done here”.

As I finished the last of my black bean soup today and have no sammy fixin’s, I made a pasta salad that’s packed full of flavor, veggies and even a little protein.  (The following recipe is a half batch, which will provide 2-3 meal-sized portions.  Also goes great as a side to grillin’ food!)

Tuna pasta salad with dill

  • 1/2 package of rotini cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice (personally, I’m a fan of garlic pickles and the juice works nicely with this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into thin strips and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (or broccoli florets, chopped)
  • 1 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives
  • 1 can (or two, if you really like tuna) white chunk tuna, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion (or freshly chopped onion if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, pickle juice, relish, and spices.  Add veggies and tuna and mix until combined.  Toss with cooked pasta.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight so the flavors can develop.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from this Texas mom of 2

March 8, 2011

Spicy black bean soup with corn, tomatoes, bacon and a whole lotta other goodness

I live in a big city with big prices and a not so big salary.  Therefore, I am constantly on the hunt for recipes that not only curb my appetite, but are tasty and easy on my pocketbook.  That being said, I present to you such a dish that came out around $10, not including the spices I had on hand.  And, it will serve me at least 5 meals.  Mexican fiesta in my mouth ftw!

Spicy black bean soup

  • 7 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, with Mexican spices
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1/2 4 oz. can chopped jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3/4 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, add chopped bacon over medium heat.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add onion and cook for 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add beef broth, corn, tomatoes, beans, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper; turn heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then turn down to medium low and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

After simmering, remove 2 cups of the soup and put in a blender, pulsing a few times until almost smooth.  Pour the puree back in the pot, mix, and stir in the cilantro and lime juice.  Allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes, add more seasoning to taste.

I made cornbread and plopped that soup right on top and sprinkled a little shredded cheddar on top.  So.  Freakin’.  Good.
Adapted from Dave Lieberman’s black bean soup recipe

December 9, 2010

I’ll egg your nog

Egg nog.  Ahh, that quintessential holiday beverage.  It’s your grandma’s guilty pleasure, as she quietly sneaks back to the punch bowl to slip another ladleful into her glass, her hiccups becoming more and more prominent throughout the night.  The lactose intolerant salivate and silently damn their stomachs for hating them.  It is an awesome and disgusting libation that pops up once every 11 months.  And I have not one, but TWO recipes for you involving this most unusual liquid substance.

Egg nog tiramisu (Oh yeah, you read that right)

  • 1 2.8-3.1-ounce package chocolate mousse mix
  • 1 cup egg nog
  • 1 8-ounce package mascarpone cheese OR 1 8-ounce package 1/3 less cream cheese (nuefchatel)
  • 1 1/2 cups espresso or strong coffee (instant works well, too), cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 3-ounce packages lady fingers
  • Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder

1.  Prepare mousse mix according to package directions, subbing 1 cup egg nog for milk.

2.  Add brandy to coffee.  Line bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with lady fingers, tearing apart and filling in the gaps when necessary.

3.  Carefully and evenly drizzle half the coffee mixture over the lady fingers.  Carefully (the lady fingers tend to pull apart once moistened) spoon half the mousse mixture on top of the lady fingers.  Repeat with the remaining lady fingers and mousse.  Top with shaved chocolate or sifted cocoa powder.  Chill for at least two hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking.

Egg nog waffles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups warm egg nog
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.  Preheat waffle iron to desired setting (I will recommend a lower heat setting as these come out wonderfully fluffy and will burn on the outside before being cooked inside).

2.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Stir in the egg nog, butter and vanilla.  Pour the egg nog mixture into the flour mixture and beat with a whisk until well combined.

3.  Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and ladle the mixture onto the preheated iron.  Cook until golden and fluffy.  Make it an even noggier breakfast by pouring a little into your coffee.  NOM!

Recipe adapted from classic waffles.  (BTW, this is my go-to waffle recipe.  They come out perfect and delicious every time…just be sure to double the sugar, otherwise they have a bit of a bitter aftertaste!)

 

December 9, 2010

Curried potatoes and chickpeas

My man friend and I tend to bust our budgets with more elaborate meals on the weekends, which leaves my weekday meals rather…ho hum.  The lack of dollars in my checking account topped with getting home around 7 every night leaves me usually making something rather quick and easy, which consequently leans toward being terrible for my body and my taste buds.  (e.g. A weekly staple is macaroni and cheese and hot dogs…ugh!)  My aunt threw some cooking magazines my way this past Thanksgiving, and this recipe from Andrea Albin in Food Network Magazine promised 35 minutes’ cooking time, rather inexpensive, mostly healthy items (there is a little butter and *gasp* (and yet ooooh) fried onions!) and a punch-you-in-the-taste-buds flavor combination.  Sold.

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 2.8 ounce can fried onions
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)

1.  In a medium saucepan, add the potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover the potatoes.  Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the potatoes.

2.  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in the curry powder and cayenne; cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

3.  Add the chickpeas, 1 cup fried onions and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; cook, mashing potatoes with a spoon, until heated through.  Add more cooking water if the mixture seems a little too dry.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

4.  Mix the yogurt, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl.  Serve the potato mixture in bowls, topping with the yogurt mixture, fried onions and jalapenos.  Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Seriously…this was so damn tasty.  And filling!  I finished this meal about 3 hours ago and not only was I not overstuffed, but I still feel completely satiated.  A nice change from having to turn to post-meal snackage.  Plus, I have tasty leftovers for lunch tomorrow rather than succumbing to ye olde brown bag.  New recipe ftw!

 

December 9, 2010

Winter food: Beef burgundy with egg noodles

It’s cold here.  Really freaking cold.  When it’s cold, I want winter food.  This past weekend, I had a craving for beef noodles and expressed my desire for such a meal to my man friend.  He seemed rather confused, because he had no idea what this meal would consist of.  (Honestly, neither did I.)  I knew I wanted egg noodles topped with beef and some sort of delicious beefy sauceness.  So, I went to the interwebs to search for whatever combination of ingredients it was in my head that was literally making me salivate.  After reading many recipes similar to stroganoff, I finally found a recipe I could work with.  And work with it I did.

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1.5 pounds lean stew beef, trimmed of fat
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup dry red wine, more if desired
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 12 ounce package extra wide egg noodles, uncooked

1.  Combine flour, salt, pepper and steak seasoning in a shallow dish.  Cut stew meat into bite-size pieces.  Dredge the meat in the flour mixture until all sides are coated.  Melt one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add half the meat and cook a few minutes until the outsides are browned.  Remove the browned meat and brown the other half.  Once all the meat is browned, remove all the meat from the pot.

2.  In the same pot, add the other tablespoon butter and oil, garlic and onion; cook until onions just start to turn translucent.  Add the meat, carrots, wine, beef broth, thyme, celery salt, parsley, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook, stirring (and tasting!) occasionally, for 2.5-3.5 hours, or until meat is tender and the flavor combination is pleasing to your palette.

3.  Cook noodles according to package directions, drain.  Serve in bowls, topping the noodles with the meat mixture.  Enjoy with sourdough or crusty bread!

Serves 6-8, can easily double for a large batch with TONS of yummy leftovers!

Recipe base can be found here.

December 3, 2010

I love corn.

No really, I have a rather abnormal love of corn.  I could eat corn for every meal.  It’s the perfect vegetable and compliments nearly everything you pair it with.

That being said, a friend of mine recently passed along a *gasp* corn and potato chowder recipe.  As soon as I laid my eyes on the ingredients, I knew this one was just for me.  Since my man friend is not the lover of corn that I am, I decided to make this one on my own time.  And I have to say, corn ftw, yet again.

Corn, potato, bacon jalapeno chowder

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (and seeded if you want it less spicy…but what’s the fun in that?!)
  • 5 strips thick cut bacon, cooked to desired doneness and diced/crumbled
  • 3 medium red potatoes, cubed into 1/2” pieces
  • Freshly ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 14 oz. can vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 2 14. oz. cans no salt added sweet yellow corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (if you want a really decadent soup, sub half the milk with heavy cream)

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, red and jalapeno pepper and cook until the onions just start to get soft.  Add the potatoes, bacon, thyme, salt and pepper (I used about 16 grinds of each from their mills) and cook until the potatoes just begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes.   Add the broth, bring to a low boil and allow to simmer until the potatoes soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the corn and milk and bring back to a low boil.

Remove 1 cup of the mixture from the pot and puree in a blender (or food processor, if you’re blessed enough to have one!), and add the puree back to the pot.  Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread (I’m a huge fan of 3 cheese semolina) and top with shredded cheddar, if desired.  Deeeelish!

(Thanks poorgirleatswell for the great recipe!)

October 27, 2010

A punch of fall in your mouth

Light, moist, cake-like spicy-with-a-hint-of-pumpkin morsels topped with a dreamy clove-infused vanilla cream cheese frosting.  Yes.

Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2  teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • a few pinches of cloves
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can solid-pack pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinches of cloves to taste

 

1.  Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer (if you have a stand mixer, use the flat paddle attachment, otherwise use regular beaters or whisk attachment) on medium speed until creamy.  Beat in vanilla and eggs, scraping sides occasionally, until blended.  Reduce speed to low and mix in pumpkin  until well blended.

2.  In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture until combined. (Yes, the dough will look wet!)

3.  Refrigerate dough for 30 at least minutes; drop dough onto cookie sheets by rounded tablespoons, allowing one inch between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just a few small wet spots are showing (if using two cookie sheets at the same time, rotate sheets halfway through); pull the cookie sheets out onto the oven and allow the cookies to sit for 3-4 minutes on hot cookie sheets. Pull the parchment paper with cookies off the sheets and allow to cool completely on the counter or on a cookie rack.

4.  For frosting, beat softened cream cheese on low until creamy.  Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, beating on a low setting at first, then on high speed until well blended.  Add vanilla and a few pinches of cloves to taste, beating until blended and creamy. Top cookies with frosting and enjoy!

(Note:  I like a less sweet cream cheese frosting, so this recipe still maintains that cream cheese “tang” which I love.  Feel free to add more confectioner’s sugar as you go to your taste.  Also, I use the cloves very sparingly.  They have a tendency to overpower the other flavors, and become more dominant of a flavor if you refrigerate the frosting overnight.)

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from:  I win, Martha.
October 18, 2010

Fall + football = spinach dip

Easy. Cheap. Awesome. (Just how we like our women…)

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 package dry soup mix
  • 1 package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Black pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • A dash of dill weed

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve with your favorite chips or crackers and garnish with a field goal.