Friday, May 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge – Stacked Enchiladas

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

The required part of this challenge was to make a green sauce for enchiladas using tomatillos and roasted chiles. Fortunately for me, I had some Hatch chiles I had roasted, chopped, and frozen last summer.

AND I have tomatillos year round at my neighborhood market. Some cooks were stumped by tomatillos, so if you are not familiar, tomatillos look like green tomatoes with a sticky paper over the skin. It’s hard to describe their flavor, but they taste rather green and definitely enhance Mexican style dishes.

I just boiled my tomatillos to soften them, then pureed them in my food processor. The finished sauce was beautiful.

These enchiladas were not served Cinco de Mayo, but were a gift to my mom on Mother’s Day; hence, the to-go container. This was also more of casserole than a stack. Here’s the first layer.

Since this dish was for my mom, I used real chicken and real cheese. I bought prepared chicken breasts because I don’t remember how to cook chicken, which I shredded. (I would have used mushrooms if I had made a vegan version.) Here’s the completed casserole.

I baked it for about 25 minutes.

Sorry I don’t have a picture of the enchiladas plated. My mom said the sauce was fantastic and enjoyed her casserole very much. Here’s the recipe for the wonderful sauce. It’s naturally vegan, using veggie broth instead of chicken broth.

Green Chile Sauce for Enchiladas

1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams - roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. I used Hatch chiles, but poblanos would work well too.
7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium) 212 grams - peel, remove stems
4 cups broth (32 ounces/920 grams)
1 clove Garlic, minced
½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional

Roasting Fresh Chiles
1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.
Green Chile Sauce
1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

First things first - what is suet? It is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body.

Okay, suet is an ingredient that is just tooooo daring for me! I’m sorry, but how a person could seek out this ingredient, bake with it, and knowingly eat it is more than I can comprehend. Needless to say, Smart Balance was my healthy vegan substitute.

Another thing I don’t understand is why one would boil or steam a cake for hours when one could bake it in the oven in 20 minutes. But such was the challenge and I made a version of Spotted Dick, a boiled pudding, using chocolate chips instead of currants.

I made a single serving recipe, which may be the reason my batter was rather wet. But I was able to dust it with a little flour and roll it easily in parchment paper.

I didn’t have a traditional pudding cloth (why would I?) to wrap and boil the pudding in, so I wrapped it loosely in a double layer of foil.

I placed it in a pot of gently boiling water and let it cook for about an hour.

I unrolled it, let it cool, then cut it in two. The cake was firm with a moist crumb.

Yum, fresh strawberries to enjoy with my pudding.

Other than a slightly boiled flavor, it was a good dessert - 3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Potluck in the Park

Last weekend the Austin Food Bloggers got together for a potluck picnic. The food was all very veg-friendly, and perhaps these photos will give you some spring food inspiration.

I usually take salads to these events, but this time I made my favorite savory muffins. Everyone seemed to enjoy them.

Oatmeal Walnut Muffins from Vegan Soups for All Seasons.

Always a favorite of mine, plain ol’ raw fresh fruits and veggies.


Shredded raw Brussels sprouts with fennel. My first raw Brussels and they were fantastic!

Mango, Grapefruit, and Mint Salad – a delicious flavor combo.

Artichoke Pesto Tartlets. Put a jar of artichoke hearts in the food pro, add your favorite pesto, and spoon into filo tarts. So simple and so fabulous.

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. I wish I had taken a picture of a plated single bar because it was the most amazing shade of purple.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad – yay!

Avocado and raw tuna?

Multicolored beet slices stacked with goat cheese and topped with nuts and microgreens. Stunning presentation.


Chocolate Chip Cookies – the big flat chewy kind.

Swiss Chard with onions and garlic. This was my favorite dish. Chard fresh from the farmers market and perfectly sautéed.

Austin Food Bloggers always rock!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I DO!!!

I DO have pictures of Chase and Cat’s wedding. Last Saturday the weather was amazing, the ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was fabulous. Here’s a little recap of the perfect evening.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge – Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

It’s been awhile since I’ve made risotto, and even longer since I’ve made my own broth. I made the broth last weekend, using the Roasted Vegetable Broth from my giant Gourmet cookbook. I chose onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, and garlic to roast, and seasoned the veggies with sage and parsley.

When they were done, I added them to a pot with water, a can of tomatoes, and bay leaves.

After simmering 30 minutes or so, I was left with a rich tasting, delicious broth.

Instead of discarding the veggies, I ate them for dinner!

Today I made the risotto. I’m sure you know I wanted to make a mushroom risotto, but since I was taking it to share with my young nephews, I used only onions. I got the onions nice and golden.

Then added in the rice, and the broth, about a half cup at a time.

And done!

Creamy, oniony deliciousness for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Curried Collards and Chickpeas

I am trying to keep this blog alive while I prepare for Chase’s wedding. Please bear with me for a couple more weeks!

I have only one food pic and recipe for you today, and it was so delicious I’ve made it twice. It’s super easy to prepare and you can use any greens you have on hand. I know it’s just beans ‘n greens, but it’s really yummy.

Curried Collards and Chickpeas

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¼ cup veggie broth
1 t. your favorite curry blend
½ t. turmeric
1 bunch greens, trimmed and chopped
1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1-15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
S&P to taste

Cook the onion and garlic, then add in the broth and spices. Mix well. Add in the greens, tomatoes, and chickpeas and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.


My sister from Alabama will be here for spring break week, and she will help me pick out my dress for the wedding. The invitations are out, and aside from some occasional drama, all the plans are in place and we should have a beautiful wedding.

I apologize again for neglecting blogland. I promise to catch up as soon as I can!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge - Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

I have never eaten tiramisu. It must be because I’m not a fan of cheese, and tiramisu is all about the cream cheese. It’s also not the least bit healthy nor vegan friendly, and if you avoid soy as I do, it’s even more unfriendly. Nonetheless, I love these challenges and every month they are indeed a challenge!

Another major component of tiramisu is the ladyfinger cookies. Even though I didn’t use the vegan friendly recipe provided in my version of tiramisu, I did make these cookies. I used applesauce instead of margarine to keep them low fat, and although they were not the melt-in-your-mouth ladyfingers of my memory, they did make a tasty cookie.

My healthy tiramisu was quick and easy – half a banana cut in half, layered with almond cream, and topped with cacao nibs.

This is a delicious dessert I can enjoy and never feel guilty eating!

Here’s the recipe for ladyfingers if you’d like to try a vegan or dairyfree version.

(Source: Adapted from Recipezaar.
This recipe makes about 4 long biscuits (3" long and 3/4" wide).
(I made a half batch and got 3 cookies.)

4 tablespoons/ 55gms sugar
1 teaspoon/ 5ml vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups/ 340gms unsalted butter (I used unsweetened applesauce)
2 cups/ 250gms all purpose flour
1/2 cup/ 40gms coarsely ground almonds
powdered sugar

Blend all the ingredients well and adding the coarsely ground nuts last. Scrape the batter into a piping bag with a ¾-inch plain tip and pipe into fingers about 3 inches long at 1-inch intervals onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them in a 300 degree F (150 C) oven for 30 to 45 minutes till they start turning slightly brown at the edges.

Take them out of the oven and cool on tray for about 5 minutes and then move the biscuits to a cooling rack. When slightly cool, roll them in powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container till required.