Bolivian and Peruvian farmers are the top producers of the world’s biggest super-food-quinoa-which is also gluten-free and packed with protein. I can’t believe I have not discovered this sooner. The more I read about this super seed that cooks like a grain, the more I want to try all the ways one can fix it. Continue reading
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Girl gone green. These days I am looking for healthier and more exciting ways to cook traditionally heavy-laden fattening Latin American food. Now I know that along the coastal regions of the Latin Americas there are lots of freshly caught fish, just picked juicy mangoes, and garden sunset squash. Yet, the opposite is also true, there is also an abundance of cheesy saucy enchiladas, hot fried flautas, and smashingly tasty double-fried tostones.
So in search of green, vegetarian and healthy enter tonight’s feature-Chiles Rellenos with corn. Read how the traditionalists do it- stuff with cheese, meat with mild spices, raisins and sometimes nuts; coat the chiles in an egg batter and flour mixture and deep fry.
Enter the above-I stuffed dark green chiles with cheese, roasted corn, and scallions; dipped the chiles in milk and then bathed them in an egg wash and tossed the chiles into a cornmeal and bread crumb mixture- and baked them. And get this-the best part-ready? My husband a huge meat eater said of all the LA (Latin American) dishes I have made- he said it was the best one yet! What??!?!?
The recipe is from the Mexican tradition and comes from one of my LA cookbooks Healthy Latin Cooking by Steven Raichlen- He is a great resource for grilling and using this kind of cooking method in LA cooking. I’m not gonna lie- it’s messy (messier in the traditional method too) but at least you will not have to stand in front of a stove frying the things…so that helps.
Chiles Rellenos with Corn -Chiles Rellenos con elote
2 large or 3 medium ears corn, shucked
salt and pepper
8 poblano chile peppers (see tip)
1/2 cup grated queso fresco, sharp white cheddar or vegan shredded cheese as an another option
3 scallions, trimmed and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup ( I used less) finely fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons currants or raisins (optional which I used and loved the flavors of this in the relleno)
1 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup liquid egg substitute or 3 egg whites or egg replacer (vegan option), lightly beaten
3/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup stone-ground yellow or blue cornmeal (I used regular cornmeal)
Pre-heat a grill or broiler to high.
Coat the corn with non-stick spray (I just sprayed with water) and season with salt and pepper. Grill the corn or broil 4″ from the heat, turning occasionally for 2-3 minutes per side, or up to 12 minutes in all or until the kernels are well-browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the corn cobs and place in a medium bowl.
Meanwhile, roast the chile peppers over a flame, on the grill, under the broiler or stove top -turn every 3 minutes per side or until nicely charred. Transfer to a paper bag. Let cool for 15 minutes to loosen the skins. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board ad scrape off and discard the skin, using a paring knife (I did the best I could here as it was hard to scape off all of it). Wear plastic gloves when handling if you like. Set 6 of the chile peppers aside.
For the remaining 2 chile peppers, core, seed, and cut the flesh into 1/4″ pieces (wear plastic gloves when handling). Add to the corn kernels. Stir in the cheese, scallions, garlic, cilantro, or parsley and currants or raisins (if using). The mixture should be highly seasoned; taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
Carefully make a 2″ long lengthwise cut in each of the 6 reserved chile peppers, taking care not to tear the skin (wear plastic gloves when handling). Using a melon baller or spoon, scrape out the core and seeds, leaving the stem intact. Stuff each pepper with the corn mixture.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the egg substitute or egg whites or egg replacer in a second bowl, and the bread crumbs and corn meal in a third bowl (mix together the meal and crumbs with your fingertips). Dip each chile first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg, then in the crumb mixture. Place the chiles on a non-stick baking sheet. Generously coat the tops of the chiles with non-stick spray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and the filling is hot.
My additions: When this was done, I personally added more queso fresco on top and shredded cheese and topped off with Salsa and served with a side of black beans!! Perfecto!!
Cooking Tip: Poblano chile peppers are triangular-shaped; dark green chile peppers that have a definite bite. Most large supermarkets carry them in the produce section. If unavailable or if or if you prefer a milder dish, use Anaheim chile peppers or green bell peppers work well too.
Check out some other chiles rellenos recipes- click links below:
True Fact: Venezuela is number 2 in the world when it comes to eating the most pasta. No lie. Number 1 billing goes to Italy. But this an avocado post, you say. I know. I like the idea of having an avocado with pasta (my personal favorite is penne-smooth kind). For a fast meal, try this sauce with a bit of angel hair pasta for a great vegan/vegetarian meal one night. Top it off with some tomatoes and voila, you have a a great Venezuelan dish. Typically this sauce is served with grilled meats but you can just as easily use it as a dip for tortilla chips. Any way you like it, it’s going to be good.
Guasacaca-Venezuelan Avocado Sauce-Venezuela
Source: Steven Raichlen’s “Healthy Latin Cooking”
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (adjust here for more or less depending on your taste)
1 clove garlic
1 1/2-2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
In a food processor or blender, combine the avocados, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, 1 tsp salt, black pepper and water. Puree until smooth. The mixture should be highly seasoned; taste and add more vinegar and salt, if desired.