Monthly Archives: January 2011

chipotle chilaquiles

chilaquiles

We concluded our week of Rick Bayless recipes with the recipe that first introduced us to the genius of Rick Bayless: chipotle chilaquiles.  I didn’t even know what chilaquiles were until we went to dinner with our friends, Christina and Adam, about a year ago.  They made served us this spectacular green stuff unlike anything that I had ever had before that I just loved: chilaquiles.  I begged for the recipe and Christina replied that it was ridiculously easy.  You basically take a jar of salsa (they had used salsa verde) and cook it with some tortilla chips.  It couldn’t be any easier and it was so tasty!

chipotle peppers, tomatos, garlic, onions

I googled chilaquiles when we got home and we decided that we could try making the sauce ourselves.  We were already aware of and really liked Rick Bayless from Top Chef Masters and when I saw his recipe on foodandwine.com, I figured, hey why not?  Little did I know the impact it would have.  We loved it so much that we began to make it nearly weekly.  Then we bought his cookbook, Everyday Mexican, and began cooking our way through it.

tortilla chips

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creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

The next recipe in the lineup from our week-long celebration of Rick Bayless is a wonderful, creamy corn soup.  In the recipe, Bayless says that you can use either chicken or ham and ham just seemed like an obvious choice to me.  Of course chicken would work wonderfully, but I really liked the idea of some yummy, well-seasoned ham with the mellower corn flavor.

fire roasted poblano

My favorite part of this soup, however, is not the ham, it’s the poblano chile.  It gives the soup a lovely mild spice that hits at the back of your tongue.  You roast the chile first, giving it a smoky kick. Spice-phobes need not be afraid – it has a very mild kick.

cubed ham

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smoky chipotle salsa with pan-roasted tomatillos

chipotle salsa

I LOVE this salsa.  It’s amazing how 4 little ingredients make something so good.  The chipotle chiles give it a smokiness, the tomatillo lends it some tang, and then the roasted garlic…well, it’s roasted garlic!!  Fantastic.  I poured it all over my red chile chicken and rice with black beans, it would be great over eggs, with chips, in a burrito, really, with just about anything.

tomatillos

sliced tomatillo

Not only is it delicious, but it’s really easy to make.  Just husk the tomatillos, cut them in half and throw them in a skillet with the garlic to brown on both sides.  You don’t even need to mince the garlic!  Then you just throw it all in a blender with a couple chipotle peppers, whirl it around, toss in some salt, pour it in a bowl and you’re good to go! Continue reading


red chile chicken and rice with black beans

For as long as I can remember, black beans and rice has been one of my favorite dishes.  I went to this awesome bilingual daycare in DC when I was really little and every Friday we got black beans and rice.  I lived for those black beans and rice….

When I was 19, I spent a couple months living with a host family in Honduras while volunteering with Amigos de las Americas and we often got beans and rice for dinner, but they were never mixed together.  My host mom watched in amazement as I excitedly stirred them together on my plate.  After a few weeks I no longer had black beans on my plate.  When I asked, I was told there were none left, they were out of season. I didn’t know that could happen! I was devastated.  But then a couple of days before I left, my host mom served me lunch with a huge grin on her face.  She had gotten some black beans and had already mixed them in with the rice for me. I ate those rice and beans with every meal until I headed back to the States a couple days later.

sautéing rice onion and spices

Once I was cooking on my own for the first time, black beans and rice became a staple for me.  When I was in college, I would cook up a huge pot of black beans and rice and eat it all week long, adding in another veggie or two every couple of days to make it a little different.  It was cheap, it was healthy, it was easy, and I loved it.

ancho powder

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chipotle shrimp

chipotle shrimp on rice

This is a Rick Bayless week for us.  On Sunday we sat down to figure out what we wanted to make for the week before heading to the grocery and we surrounded ourselves with a bunch of cookbooks. Somehow every single recipe we decided on ended up being from Bayless.  I guess because it’s been freezing cold and snowy here in Boston and some nice hot, spicy food just sounds really appealing, not to mention the fact that we haven’t made a Rick Bayless recipe that we haven’t loved.

wild maine shrimp

While I had seen this shrimp recipe (and drooled over the succulent shrimp in the picture), it didn’t make our list and I forgot all about it.  But when we got to the store and saw that they had a great deal on wild Maine shrimp, we couldn’t pass it up, though we didn’t have any plans for it.  When Joseph picked me up from work on Monday, he said he already had a plan for the shrimp and we already had all of the ingredients.  He had found the recipe in Everyday Mexican and it just so happened to be the very recipe for the picture that I had been drooling over the night before.  It was meant to be!  That’s my husband — knowing what I want even when I’ve already forgotten all about it!

chipotle in adobo, cilantro, garlic, and broth

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spicy garlicky cashew chicken and chilled sesame spinach

There are some recipes that you know you’re going to love just by a quick glance at the ingredients.  This is one of those recipes.  Cashews, with their rich, creamy, salty nuttiness are one of my favorite nuts, I love cilantro and I love, love, love garlic.  And if you ask me, almost any dish can be improved with a kick from jalapeños.  So when Joseph asked if I would be interested in trying the recipe, I ran to get my coat so we could hop in the car to get to the grocery.

essential new york times cookbook

 

Joseph found the recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century, which he got  for Christmas.  And it was, just as I had predicted, an awesome recipe. You start off by blending the cilantro, lime, cashews, garlic, brown sugar and oil and then marinate the chicken in that heavenly mixture.  What’s not to love?

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pumpkin pecan waffles

After a night out at the Publick House eating every morsel of the awesome macaroni and cheese and drinking amazing Belgian beers (Rochefort 10, I will love you forever) and then coming home and eating I’m-not-saying-how-many-slices of cranberry upside-down cake, it just seemed prudent to have a healthier breakfast the next morning.

pumpkin waffle ingredients

I had wanted to make pancake waffles because my sister was in town, and my original intention had been to make them from scratch, but I had seen this recipe from the Culinary Couple that uses Bisquick Heart Smart (which is their light version) and it seemed both easy and healthy.  I always have it in the pantry because my mom’s waffle recipe uses it and is fantastic. In actuality, I’m not really sure that it’s all that much healthier than making them from scratch.  I have no clue, but I tell myself it is.  Anyway, I decided it was the way to go.

pumpkin waffle batter

I’m not always at my best in the morning.  These waffles are a great example.  I was so caught up in taking the pictures for this post that I forgot to read all the ingredients, thereby leaving out the spices and the oil in the first batch.  I then completely overfilled the waffle iron, making a complete mess.  For the second batch, I turner off the timer  I had set to remind myself to take the waffles out (if I don’t set a reminder, they’ll sit in there for who knows how long) and then a few minutes later remembered that I had turned the timer off but had not taken the waffles out.  Around this point I must have actually woken up because the third batch I finally got right! Continue reading


cranberry upside-down cake

cranberry upside-down cake

Last Friday night the Aggies were playing their bowl game and my intention had been to make this cake because the Aggies colors are maroon and white.  But between going to the gym, going to the grocery store, making dinner and then a wine and beer tasting at Spirited Gourmet, well, it just didn’t happen. Luckily I had made meringues for my sister who was in town because they’re her favorite.  I mean, you just don’t want to get caught without any options for dessert now do you?

So it wasn’t until the next night that I made the cake. It’s not at all that the recipe is too complicated or anything — it’s quite easy actually — I just ran out of time Friday night.  In fact, I almost forgot about the cake again the next night, so didn’t make it until around midnight.  We had plans to meet up with my sister at a bar and I didn’t have time to prep and bake the cake before we’d have to leave.  I prepped everything (all the way down to having the cranberries, sugar, spices, and zest in the buttered pan with some saran wrap on top) and then when we got back I whipped the rest together and threw it in the oven.  It was so good warm that second and third helpings may have occurred.  It wasn’t so bad the next day either.  I can’t tell you what it would have been like by the third day because there wasn’t any left….

orange zest

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curried lentil soup

curried lentil soup

Ok, I promised you something healthy after all those cookies and here it is.  Believe me, it’s worth the wait.  I found out about this recipe from my friend, Anne, who is an incredible cook.  After every amazing meal that she cooks everyone oohs and aahs over her creations and she always, always responds by saying, “Oh, it’s so easy.”  This is generally met with wide eyes because it’s often clear that it’s certainly not easy by most people’s standards.  This soup is an exception.  It is in fact very easy and it’s very delicious and it has quickly become one of our go-to recipes for when we don’t know what else to make.  It’s easy, it’s healthy, the ingredients keep well for a while, and you can even make it ahead of time, which is just what we did the other night when my sister was coming into town.

red lentils

It’s a good thing we did, because her flight got in an hour late and we were getting pretty hungry by the time we got home from picking her up. But luckily we had made this soup the night before and Joseph had set the bread maker earlier in the day.  We came home to a house filled with the scent of fresh baked bread and all we had to do was throw the soup in a pot to heat up, slice the warm bread, and pour a nice Albariño. It is the perfect remedy to a cold Boston night! Continue reading


chocolate shortbread fingers

Ok, here’s my last cookie-type-thing for you for at least a little while.  I promise to share some healthier stuff with you soon.  But I thought you’d enjoy these.  It’s a great recipe to have on hand because you’re likely to already have everything you need to make them and they’re easy to make to boot.

But healthy they are not.  Look at all that butter!

But I’m a firm believer in everything in moderation.   So maybe you just don’t go wild with these and maybe you go for a walk after dinner or something, but you should still treat yourself to a little chocolaty goodness every once in a while. Continue reading