As you think about soups for fall, put this one at the top of your list. It is a mellow, creamy comforting kind of soup. Continue reading
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
Disclaimer: For those that receive this in your email. Pop over to my blog to get a better idea of what’s been going on there- lot’s of good stuff you may have been missing out on and you can read this post there too. https://aroundtheworldin365.wordpress.com/
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.
Okra is in high season and showing off her glorious colors- puprle or green. Whatever the color, now is the time to get them and make something simple. I made a recipe from the cookbook The Latin America Kitchen by Elisabeth Luard. You may find that you have these ingredients in your kitchen. You can also substitute zucchini (which is also in season) for the okra.
Okra in tomato and chilli sauce (from The Latin American Kitchen)
“Okra, a member of the hibiscus family, is a pod-vegetable high in protein and well-endowed with vitamin C. Cultivated by the Ancient Egyptians and on the menu in Africa, throughout the Middle East and India ever since, it was imported to the Caribbean and Brazil as part of the slave-culture. The plant itself is tree-like annual with pretty yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, and the family includes the cotton-plant and the roselle, the raw material of sorrel, a refreshment popular in the West Indies at Christmas. The gloopy – mucilagenous – juices are liked by some and not by others others.”
Serves 6 as a starter or side-dish
700g (1 1/2 lb) fresh okra pods
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 malagueta pepper, de-seeded and chopped (I used any kind of chili pepper)
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
Prepare the okra by trimming the stalks close to the pod. If you don’t enjoy their glueiness – and lots of people do – don’t hull, just trim off the stems, toss the pods with salt and a little vinegar and leave in a colander for an hour or two, when they will have yielded up their gloop, then rinse well before using.
Warm the oil in a heavy pan or casserole and gently fry the onion and garlic till soft – down let it brown. Add the tomato and chilli and bubble up, squashing with a wooden spoon to encourage a rich little sauce. Stir in the okra, add a glass of water, and bubble up. Turn down the heat, lid loosely and simmer for 30-40 minutes, till the pods are perfectly tender and the sauce deliciously rich and sticky. Or bake in the oven at 300F/160C/Gas2. Serve at room temperature, with quartered limes and malagueta-pepper sauce on the side.
Check out the related link for more okra information.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! and thank you for following me this last year. I am looking ahead to French cooking and Latin American cooking but here is my year in review!! Check it out and start following me in 2014 for updates on technique and menu items for the year. There is a follow button on my blog if you want to get updates on my cooking and what’s going on in the Baker world.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.
Chorizo is fresh pork meat seasoned with paprika and other spices and left alone to marinate. You can find it in any local Latin market and even in many of your local grocery stores. Mix it in with your scrambled eggs or mix some with your taco meat to add a little more umph to it.
I found this recipe in a December issue of Cooking light -8 years ago!! It has taken me this long to get to it. Chorizo is really popular now, but in 2005, I think people had no clue- at least the non-Latino folks.
Creamy Corn and Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms
6 ozs. Mexican Chorizo Sausage
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (11-oz) can extrasweet whole kernel corn, drained ( I used regular)
2 ozs. 1/3 less-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream ( I used light)
1/2 tsp salt ( I did not add due to corn having sodium and meat too)
2 slices white bread ( I used a piece of multigrain bread)
24 stuffer mushroom caps (or large mushrooms with stems removed)
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare stuffing, remove casings from chorizo. Cook chorizo, onion and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, for 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain chorizo mixture, pat dry with paper towels.
Combine chorizo mixture and corn in a bowl. Combine cream cheese and sour cream in a small bowl, stir with a whisk until smooth. Add cheese mixture and salt to chorizo mixture.
Place bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times or until fine crumbs measure 1 cup.
Fill each mushroom cap (I avoided this step and went to topping it instead) with breadcrumbs. Stuff each mushroom with about 2 tsp corn mixture; top with remaining breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat each mushroom with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until tops are browned.
- Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeno Popper (deliciousdessertsrecipes.com)
“Paring”-the nouveau term for culinary or wine enthusiasts. Here’s a popular one-paring a nice wine with your meal. Some others like – wine and cheese, chocolate and coffee, wine and chocolate. How about chocolate and turkey??!
I’ll get to that turkey/chocolate paring in a second, but here’s the scoop on food paring. It’s the idea that foods work well together when they share key flavor ingredients-like bacon and pretty much everything these days. Now to the turkey story. Chocolate is an ingredient used in some nice Mexican dishes-called mole- (not pronounced like “there’s a mole on your face” but sounds more like mo-lay). Here is a pairing I found most intriguing and quite the legend in Mexico:
“The most common version of the legend takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla sometime early in the colonial period. Upon hearing that the archbishop was going to visit, the convent nuns went into a panic because they were poor and had almost nothing to prepare. The nuns prayed and brought together the little bits of what they did have chili peppers, spices, day-old bread, nuts, and a little chocolate and more. They killed an old turkey they had, cooked it and put the sauce on top; the archbishop loved it.”(Wikipedia)
I am not saying cooking a turkey breast and melting chocolate on top will make a nice mole. Mole is quite complex and uses LOTS of ingredients. But here’s something a bit simpler that I have chewed on the last few days and weeks as I look into the world of buying/selling chocolate and chocolate pairings.
So these days here’s whats hot: chocolate and sea salt, chocolate and raspberries, chocolate and mint. How about some newer fusions – chocolate and mango, chocolate and ginger, chocolate and banana, or chocolate and cayenne.
One of the chocolates that is selling right now at Baker & Co is the new Antidote Chocolate Bar. An Ecuadorian chocolate paired with banana, or gooseberry, or lemon or ginger. The whole idea behind this concept is to have a treat with health benefits. Most chocolates at the grocery stores main filler is sugar and surprisingly little cocoa. With Antidote chocolates, it is a bean to bar concept; a nurturing as well as nourishing treat. I think this kind of pairing is worth trying. If you love a nice chocolate and really want to make it count, come by and see some of the chocolates in Graham at Bonnie Blue’s on Main.
But if you want turkey and chocolate…you might have to wait until Thanksgiving.
Have your chocolate and eat it too-
-with peanut butter
-with nothing at all.
Until next time, sweet wishes to you.