Tag-Archive for ◊ tortillas ◊

02 Aug 2013 Beans!

beans01

I am so excited about this recipe!  It’s a paradigm shift recipe!  It’s not a recipe in the true sense of the word, it’s more of a road map to a particular destination.   A road map allows for more flexibility than a recipe, a road map allows the cook to make adjustments based upon personal preferences, taste, time, and what’s in the pantry.  I think most people have a road map for a few good dishes.  I have a road map for spaghetti sauce, chicken soup, stir-fry and hamburgers.  You might have a road map for meatloaf, burritos and rice bowls.  Most people have road maps for sandwiches and salads. A road map means there are guidelines, easy ones, usually ones that can be memorized, and that can always be adapted as the situation requires.

So here it is, a guideline for a pot of beans, in the crockpot no less!  Crockpot cooking is great for summer, the kitchen doesn’t get heated up, and a pot of beans pairs well with almost everything that can be BBQ’d.  In the winter months, a bowl of beans with some cornbread or tortillas is almost the definition of comfort food. Another plus, crockpot cooking is fuss free, so toss everything in the pot and then go sit in the sun or shovel snow.

Many thanks to Mark Bittman of the New York Times for this road map. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

BTW…, for years I have been looking for a good baked beans recipe, so that’s what I make with this recipe:  meaty, slightly sweet Boston-style beans.  YUM! They go with everything and I have  a serious love for leftover beans on toast (I’m English).  My son mastered this recipe in one take and he makes killer spicy teriyaki beans with chicken.  I can see others going for more of a Mexican style bean. What sort of beans do you like? Make them!

The House Special Beans

  • 1 lb of dried beans, any kind, I like small white and pinquitos but black, pintos, garbanzos, kidney, or a combination of different kinds of beans can also be used.  Don’t have a full pound of beans?  Add in some split peas or lentils to make up the difference.  Remember these are dried beans (about $1.25 for a pound bag) we are not using canned beans here (and there is no need to soak the beans first).
  • 4 cups of liquid, any kind.  Find a mixture that appeals to you. I start with a bottle of beer, then I add in about 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a squirt of mustard, using molasses instead of maple syrup and brown sugar would be good too. If my Dad were here I’d stir in 1/4 cup of bourbon. Then I add water, broth (any kind), or cold coffee to make the 4 cups (too much coffee will make the beans a bit bitter, so stick to less than 1 cup of cold coffee).  My son adds BBQ sauce, sriracha, honey, teriyaki or soy sauce along with beer and coffee.  Don’t like beer?  Use some leftover wine. Don’t drink at all, stick to broth and water.   Health nut?  Stir in carrot juice and some of that green liquid you’re so fond of !
  • Seasonings, any kind.  Start with a healthy amount of salt and pepper, then add in what appeals to you.  I add in 2 t. salt, 1 t. black pepper, 1 t. cumin, 2 t. chili powder, minced garlic, and 2 bay leaves.  Other options include oregano, basil, coriander, red pepper, curry powder, ginger, paprika, liquid smoke, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…
  • 1 lb meat, any kind, a bit more or a bit less is fine.  I like beef, and I buy something on sale, beef shanks, top sirloin, stew meat, steak, anything.  Throw in a pork chop or two, or some ground meat (brown it first and drain off the fat), chicken (with or without the bones, but boneless chicken does tend to get a bit overcooked), sausage, ham, cooked bacon…, or go for a combo.  Sausage and chicken? Beef and bacon? Or leave out the meat all together if  you’d rather.
  • 2 lbs finely minced or grated veggies, any kind.  I always add diced onion, grated carrots, and minced celery.  Then I might add some shredded zucchini, turnip, cabbage, spinach or kale, whatever I have on hand. Throw in some potatoes. Lots of folk like bell peppers, dice some up and throw them in.  Leeks are yummy. A few diced jalapenos would spice things up. Even canned pumpkin works. The only veggie I don’t add is tomatoes. I heard once that tomatoes interfere with the cooking process of dried beans, so I leave them out (I also don’t use tomato juice as a liquid, but I do stir in a bit of ketchup, and have had no problem with that).

Directions:

  1. Put the dried beans in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  2. Get out a 4-cup measure.  Combine your liquids.  When you have 4 cups, pour it over the beans in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  3. On top of the beans and liquid, add the meat.  I add the meat as is, then remove the fat and bones, and shred the meat after cooking.  You can do the same, or you can add cubes of boneless, skinless meat.
  4. Sprinkle desired seasonings on top of the meat.  (If you add bay leaves, count them so you know how many to remove before serving!)
  5. Finely mince, dice, or shred the veggies.  Add the veggies on top of the meat. (The liquid will not cover the veggies, yet).
  6. With a spatula or a spoon, press on the ingredients to lightly pack.
  7. Put the lid on the slow cooker, plug it in, turn on high, and go out and play! If you are around, check the beans after a few hours.  If the beans look dry add a bit more water, stock, beer, or wine (don’t stir, just pour it on top).
  8. Let beans cook for 6-8 hours.  Turn off.
  9. After the beans have cooled for a bit, taste them.  Needs more salt?  More maple syrup? More heat? Add it now.  If you added large hunks of meat with bones, remove bones and shred the meat. Remove the bay leaves, if you used them.
  10. If you want to add in extras, do it now.  You could stir in some diced tomatoes now, if you’d like, they won’t do any harm at this point (let cook for an additional 30 minutes or so).  Sometimes I stir cooked bacon at this point.  You could stir in frozen corn, if you’d like. Adding chopped parsley, cilantro, or green onion makes the beans look pretty and brightens them up a bit for a pretty presentation.
  11. Remember, beans seem to taste better the day after they are made, so don’t be afraid of letting them rest in the refrigerator for a bit.

Soooo, do you have the road map memorized?  1 lb beans, 1 lb meat, 2 lbs veggies, 1 qt (4 cups) liquid. Seasonings. Crock-pot. High. 6-8 hours, while you go out and play 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Go ahead now, make some beans! Let me know what you used and how they turn out 🙂 I can’t stop my son from making these beans! We’re drowning in beans…, but we’re not broke! Beans we can afford 🙂

30 Mar 2012 Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weather has just taken another cold turn. YES!  One last chance for a warming and comforting  soup!  Bring on the wind and the rain. We can enjoy Spring later  I have nothing against tulips and sproinging (yes, that’s a real word, and I love it, it is what lambs do), but with one last winter storm I am sure I will appreciate it that much more.

This soup is delicious, (would I post it if it wasn’t?  Rhetorical question: of course not!)  I am also posting this recipe because most everyone I know enjoys tortilla soup, but not many of us have a tried and true recipe in our repotoire.   My friend Adele made this soup  for an Ina Garden (AKA The Barefoot Contessa) themed cookbook club.  Two of us immediately re-made the soup for our families, and both to rave reviews.  I think Adele found a winner! Yay, Adele (and Ina)!

I had to twiddle with the original recipe a bit (I just can’t help myself). I added corn and black beans, plus I pureed part of the soup to make a thicker broth, which I enjoy, but you can totally skip the pureeing part if  you want fewer steps, less mess, and still have a tasty, hearty soup.

So, without any further ado, here’s my version of Adele’s version of Ina’s Garten’s “Mexican Chicken Soup” (from Ina Garten’s 2006 book, “Barefoot Contessa at Home“).

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 cups cooked chicken,shredded or chopped (baked, grilled, or poached chicken breast &/or thighs, or shredded  meat from a roasted chicken)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (brown or red, or a combo, 1 or 2)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2-3 stalks)
  • 2 -4  jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1  or 2 15-oz. cans black or pinquito beans (one of each is nice, too)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (about 4)
  • approx. 2  1/2 quarts chicken broth (10 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • approx. 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 small corn tortillas (approx. 6 inch diameter)
  • for toppings (be SURE to include these!): lime wedges, chopped cilantro, grated jack and/or cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and crushed corn chips (optional)
  1. If cooking the chicken specifically for this recipe, sprinkle chicken thighs or breasts (or combo) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, turn chicken over and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.  (cooking time determined by how large the chicken pieces are and whether or not the chicken pieces have bones).  Remove chicken from oven and when cool enough to handle, dice or shred and set aside. Discard  bones and skin.
  2. Heat approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet.
  3. Add onions to hot oil in skillet.  Saute onions until translucent, 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add celery and desired quantity of chopped jalapenos  to onions and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic cloves and saute for another 30 seconds or so.  Do not let the garlic brown.
  6. Remove approx one third of the onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture and place in blender. Leave the remaining 2/3 in the pan.
  7. Add 1/3 of each can of beans to the blender (you can add one can of beans or two, depends on how you like your soup and how much fiber you want), along with enough of the crushed tomatoes to make a puree-able mixture (1/3 – 1/2 of the can).  Whirl on high until mixture is pureed.
  8. In large stockpot heat the chicken broth, add the pureed mixture, the reserved onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture, the chopped carrots, the drained and rinsed can(s) of bean(s),and the spices (cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper).
  9. Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Add shredded chicken and corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  11. Cut tortillas into noodle-like strips. (Cut tortillas in half and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips.)
  12. Stir cut tortillas and chopped cilantro into soup and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
  13. Serve the soup hot, topped with lime wedges, chopped avocado, grated cheese, and crushed tortilla chips (if desired, and everyone I served this soup to, desired everything, including the crushed tortilla chips! The t-shirt people–my running addicted friends–added the most chips!!!  LOL)
Note:  If you are just going to eat half the soup, divide the soup and add half the tortilla strips.  When you eat the remaining half of the soup, add the remaining tortilla strips. The soup keeps well, but the tortilla strips, when sitting in a liquid, don’t)
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It took me so long to type, edit and insert a picture into this post that the weather has turned warm again.  Shoot!

 

 

08 Oct 2011 Quesadilla Pie

Looking for something new for lunch? I have the perfect thing!  This lunch has to be baked, so it’s a great fall-winter recipe.  I found it at Simply Recipes awhile back .  Finding this recipe was a paradigm shift in lunches around here.

For me now it’s not so much a recipe, but a method.  I did make some changes to the recipe though,  mainly around baking time.  I don’t know why they cook their pie so long, the pie would be cracker crispy if baked for as long as they specify. Still, it would be good to go to the site, there are some good layering photos posted.

The only two ingredients needed for this pie are cheese and flour tortillas.  Everything else is up to you, what you like, and what you have on hand! (see the ingredient suggestion list).  Do you see the paradigm shift potential here?  It’s kind of like learning to make an omelet, or a sandwich, and realizing there are no limits to what you can do, every omelet could be different, every sandwich could be different, just every Quesadilla Pie can be different.

Yes. every time I make Quesadilla pie, it’s different, and every time I make it, it’s good. Sometimes it has three layers, other times five layers. Some times it’s all veggie-most of the time actually, and sometimes it’s a carnivore’s delight. The pie I have pictured here has a layer of spinach and cheese, a layer of fresh tomatoes (juiced, seeded, and chopped) and cheese, a layer of fresh spinach (no need to precook) and cheese, a layer of sauteed onions and zucchini and cheese, and a layer of corn and cheese. That’s five layers, and six tortillas.

Quesadilla Pie

  • 4 or 5 or 6 plate sized flour tortillas (9-10 inches diameter), depending on how many layers you want your pie to have!
  • A bit of butter (not optional)
  • Approx. 1/2 pound grated cheese-one kind, or a mixture based on what you have on hand, (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Mozzarella are really good.  I usually blend a variety of cheeses-whatever I have in the refrigerator, and always add some Mozzarella (I like it’s “stringy” qualities!).  A bit of cheddar is OK when mixed in with other cheeses, but I find a lot cheddar results in an oily, soggy dish.  A pre-packaged, pre-shredded “Mexican Blend”  could be used, too.)
  • Choice of filling ingredients: (Each layer should have cheese plus one, maybe two, filling    ingredients. Don’t make each layer the same!)
  • fresh  spinach leaves; tomatoes, juiced, seeded and chopped (otherwise they make the tortilla soggy); sliced olives; sautéed/cooked zucchini; any leftover cooked veggie, diced (I’ve added broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato…); chopped and sautéed/cooked onions (yellow or red onions); chopped green onions; cooked mushrooms (if not sautéed first, they make the tortilla soggy); leftover cooked and cubed or shredded chicken, beef/steak, pork, sausage, bacon; cooked or canned green chiles; canned or cooked beans (black beans, pinto beans, pinquitos); fresh or frozen corn
  • Cumin and/or chili powder for extra heat, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a pie plate or quiche dish, (pie plate or quiche dish should be approximately the same size as your tortillas). Do not skip the butter.
  3. Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla. Use a generous portion of cheese. Add your chosen filling ingredient to this layer. If you want, sprinkle some cumin or chili powder on top for a spicier pie (probably  not necessary if you are using Pepper Jack and/or chilies).
  4. Repeat: tortilla, generous sprinkling of cheese, a chosen filling ingredient, and a sprinkle of optional cumin or chili powder. Make three or four layers, all stacked on top of each other.
  5. Butter the top of the final tortilla and place on top of your “pie”, buttered side up.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  7. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and increase the heat to 375°F. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the top tortilla is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Cut into slices.  This pie is finger food (once it cools off a bit!).  It’s actually a bit difficult to eat with just a fork.
  11. Serves 2, 3, or 4 persons–depending on appetites and possible side dishes. We just eat, as-is, for lunch.
  12. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or avocado, if desired.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope  you and this recipe for Quesadilla Pie enjoy many happy years together!


13 Jun 2010 South Texas Flour Tortillas
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I saw this post at Om-Nom-Nomnivore, laughed out loud, and took up the challenge. Thirty minutes later I am sitting here with soft and warm flour tortillas bathed in melted butter. YUM! There’s only 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in the whole batch of one dozen tortillas, so I’m not feeling too badly about the melted butter on top…

I need some practice, no doubt about it. I have no idea how to roll a 2 oz. ball of dough into an even 6 inch circle, but what the heck. These tasted good. They were easy. They’d be great for the kids or company to make while you pulled together the meat, fish, beans, veggies, guacamole, salsa…, whatever, to wrap in the tortilla for taco night or burrito night.

I read these keep for 5 days wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Not sure mine will last that long. Think I will try some cinnamon and sugar on top of this melted butter now-(always been a favorite of mine) and maybe when Abby comes home she’ll spread a bit of peanut butter on hers…, and we do have a lot of leftover BBQ chicken in the refrigerator.

I think I’ll show my 19 year olds how to make these, college students do run out of money from time to time. It would be good for them to know how to make these, just in case.

I’m just going to copy the post from the Om-Nom-Nomnivore site…, maybe it will inspire you to crank out your first batch, too!

South Texas Flour Tortillas

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (NOT bread flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup hot milk

1. Light up the stove or griddle. Get a large non-stick surface hot and ready to go. I like these to cook fast, so fire that baby on up. Set out a heavy plate (that will hold heat) and a spatula to handle the hot bread.

2. Put a smidgen over 3/4 cup of milk into the micro and set on high for 60 seconds and leave it. We’ll cover why it’s just over 3/4 cup shortly…

3. Measure out all of the dry ingredients into the mixer of your Kitchen Aid or a large bowl that you can mix in by hand.

4. Add in 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Yes, vegetable oil. No, I don’t mean butter. It works, trust me. Now mix those items together just a bit.

5. Slowly mix the hot milk in until the dough ball comes away cleanly. You may need to add a little more or less and you may need to adjust with additional flour.

6. Mix the dough for 3-4 minutes then turn out on a floured surface and knead once or twice to shape it some. (Note: To this point you should have taken no more than 5 minutes tops! Yes, the clock is running, come’on! Didn’t you read the post title?)

7. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, if you are measuring with scales each ball will be somewhere around 2 oz in size.

8. Here’s the fun part! You may want some help with the first couple of times. Roll each ball into a 6″ circle on a lightly floured surface and cook them on the skillet/griddle. Each one will take about 30 seconds per side to cook so you can put one on and roll out a second tortilla. Once the second one is ready you can flip the first one and place the second one on the surface. By the time the third one is ready the first will come off and the second will be ready to flip. Lather, rinse, repeat until done.

9. Be standing at the door, when your SO walks in, with one of these lathered up in butter and waiting for him/her. Don’t ever send him/her to the store again for something that’s so easy for you to whip out. Seriously, that’s just mean 🙂

02 May 2010 Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce

Mmmm…, must have been the thought of Cinco de Mayo… but I’ve finally found a great green sauce for enchiladas.  Not spicy (although it would be easy to up the heat) but tasty and tangy, which it should be, having being made with 2 lbs of fresh tomatillos. I liked the flavor of the chicken poached in cilantro and mint, but I think that delicate flavor got lost when the sauce, cheese, and tortillas were added.  So you might just want to make your own enchilada filling and use this sauce. Delicioso!

Don’t assemble the enchiladas until 10 minutes before you want to eat (but the the sauce, the chicken, and the filling can be made a day or more in advance). I made the mistake once of assembling the enchiladas in the morning and refrigerating until ready to cook.  The sauce soaked into the tortillas and by the time I had removed the casserole dish from the oven I knew that I had one horribly dry dish on my hands.  So dry, that all the sour cream in the carton couldn’t help…

Green Sauce (Salsa Verde)

2 lbs tomatillos (about 15), husks removed and washed
2-3 Serrano chilies or 1 Jalapeno (I’m a wimp, I used 1 Anaheim)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small while onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 1/2 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
1 cup chicken broth (saved from poaching the chicken)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Char the tomatillo and chilies. Do this over an open flame on your stove top, on the grill, in the frying pan, or in a hot oven.  I grill over the gas burner on my stove.  You are looking for the tomatillos to soften slightly and have a few charred spots.  Remove tomatillos to a large bowl or platter to cool.  Put the charred chili in a brown bag to cool.  When cool, remove all the charred skin.  Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a frying pan.  When hot add onion and saute onion until soft, add the garlic, and saute about 2 more minutes.  Put the tomatillos, peeled chili, onion and garlic in a blender and process until smooth.  Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan.  Add in sauce from blender and cook for about a minute. Stir in salt (to taste), chicken broth, cumin, and cilantro. Simmer for about 4 minutes and set aside.

For Chicken

1 small chicken, cut into 3 parts (or all thighs, or all breasts, or combo…about 2 lbs meat total)
8 cups water
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped (skin still on)
6 garlic cloves
2 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided use
8 springs cilantro
3 large sprigs fresh mint
1/2 tsp. black pepper
salt, to taste

Place chicken in pan with water, yellow onion, garlic, 2 tsp. salt, cilantro, and mint.  Poach chicken until done, 20-45 minutes depending on cuts of chicken and thickness of meat.  Let chicken cool in broth. Remove chicken from broth and shred.  Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken bones back into broth and simmer for an additional 30-60 minutes to make a richer broth. Strain 1 cup of broth from pan and add to the green sauce above.

For the enchiladas

shredded chicken from above
2 cups monterey jack cheese (or mexican blend cheese), divided use
1 can sliced black olives, optional
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup salsa verde
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
Queso Fresco, crumbled (or additional shredded cheese)
Sour cream or Mexican Crema
1/2 red onion, finely chopped, optional

Combine shredded chicken, 1 cup shredded cheese, optional olives and onion along with 1/2 cup salsa verde.  Stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Just before it’s time to eat…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat vegetable oil over high heat.  Lightly fry tortilla in oil for about 5 seconds on each side or until soft. Drain on a paper towel.  Repeat until all 12 tortillas are cooked.  Dip tortilla into salsa verde, add in a scant 1/4 cup of chicken mixture, and roll.  Place into baking dish, seam side down.  Repeat until all tortillas and chicken are used.  Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas in pan. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Finish off in a hot broiler for 2-3 minutes if you want nicely browned cheese.  Garnish enchiladas with crumbled Queso Fresco and sour cream or Mexican Crema.  Servir y disfrutar.

Ooops.  Almost forgot to tell you where I found this recipe. It was in the San Jose Mercury News last month (don’t have the date on the clipping)  and it’s attributed to Agustin Gaytan.

Thanks for visiting!