Saturday, January 5, 2013

End of the Mexican Mania...Chile Rellenos

This kind of wrapped up the mexican week....much easier than I imagined...and much better than what you get at many restaurants...so here we go...

Fire roast poblano peppers (I do it on a grill on a wire rack over the coil). Cover with foil to let it cool and steam. Peel off the skin, make one slit on the side and slowly remove the seeds (keep the stem attached). Try not to wash the peppers with water, since that might make it difficult to coat with the batter. Stuff the peppers with cheese (I used TJ's mexican blend, but could also use queso fresco). Close the pepper and secure with a wooden toothpick.

For the batter, separate 2 eggs, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks, and fold in the yolks. Add about 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and salt and fold gently. Heat oil. Coat the stuffed peppers with the batter and fry.

For the tomato sauce, heat some oil, add tomato salsa (the one I made earlier this week), saute for a bit, add a small can of tomato sauce, salt and let the sauce cook.

I prefer not to coat the whole pepper with the sauce, but rather just a part of it. I assembled a nice place with rice, refried black beans, pico de gallo and the friend pepper with sauce on top. sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top and serve warm.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Eggs in Tomato Sauce..a quick dinner

My mexican saga continues with using some leftover ingredients from the previous meals and turning it into a quick weeknight dinner.

Heat oil in a flat pan. Add about half a diced red onion and saute for a bit. Add a couple of tablespoons of fire-roasted salsa, saute for a bit, and then add one medium sized can of diced tomatoes in juice, one small can of tomato sauce (I usually use no-salt added), a pinch of red chilli flakes, a pinch of dried oregano, and some salt. mix well, cover and simmer for about 15-20 mins till the sauce reduces and cooks. Now, slowly break about five eggs around the pot, making sure the yolks don't break. Sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper over the eggs. Cover and let it cook on gentle heat, till done (about 3-4 minutes). Sprinkle some cheese (not a lot), and cilantro and sping onion on the pot and serve with mexican rice and fried plantains.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The grand finale for 2012

It was not a sophisticated dessert....nor did it use any fancy ingredients....what it was, was a super kid-friendly dessert that will also please the kid in you...I literally resisted to make anything remotely fancy....not even a lemon pound cake...Not that it would not be good, but just that sometimes, very simple ingredients can really bring back childhood memories....cm'on it was New Year's Eve...we all deserved a little treat....

Trifle Pudding:
Cut pound cake into medium pieces (recipe to follow, or store bought is fine). In a big glass bowl start layering the following: cake pieces, raspberry jam, vanilla custard (recipe to follow), banana slices, strawberry slices, thinly sliced almonds. Repeat for two more layers. Decorate with strawberries and almonds. I didn't have heavy cream at home, but some whipped cream can be added too. The cake can also be drizzled with alcohol...but I tend to stay away from that. That's it...it's really that simple. Let it sit for about half an hour or so in the fridge and it's ready to serve. 

Plain Pound Cake:
It's an Ina Garten Recipe, which I halved (and modified slightly):
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/plain-pound-cake-recipe/index.html

Take out 1 stick of unsalted butter and 3 eggs on room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9" cake pan/loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup of milk + 2 tbsp yoghurt + 1/2 tsp white vinegar + 1/2 tsp vanilla and let it sit for a few minutes. . Cream together a stick of softened butter + 1 cup of suger (it's really important to cream it till it's light and fluffy. Add two eggs and one egg yolk, one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. On a parchment paper, mix together  1 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt. Add the flour and milk mixture alternately in parts like so: 1/3 flour mixture  + 1/2 milk mixture + 1/3 flour mixture + 1/2 milk mixture + 1/3 flour mixture. Pour the prepared batter in the baking pan and bake for about 60 minutes. Check with a toothpick. 

Custard:
Usually, trifles use pastry cream, which is thicker, but since I don't use alcohol, it's  ok to use slightly thinner custard, and let the cake soak it all up. The custard recipe comes from an interesting source: 

Chocolate by the Bald Man:
Mix. 2 egg yolks + 2 teaspoons corn starch + 3/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup cold milk. Heat 3 cups of milk, once small bubbles form around the edges, add the egg mixture and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add vanilla bean paste. 

To make hot chocolate, boil 1 cup milk, add to 6 ounces chocolate + add the custard and serve warm.