20th July 2008

    Baja Potato Salad

    Potato Salad

    Lisa and I are both big potato salad fans, as long as they’re not super-mayo affairs.  We needed to come up with a side dish to bring to a BBQ this weekend, and this recipe from The Border Cookbook seemed like a nice twist on the standard summer potato salad.  A vinegar and oil dressing replaces the usual mayonnaise, and  onions, tomatillos, and carrots provide an interesting flavor and texture combination.

    Lisa says:

    It’s sweet!

    Chris says:

    Yeah I like it, too.

    Lisa says:

    No, I mean — it’s sweet. As in, the dressing.

    Chris says:

    Ah! Yep, you’re right. The tomatillos seem to add some sweetness, and the vinegar gives it a nice tangy flavor.

    Lisa says:

    It’s definitely different. I like all the carrots.

    Chris says:

    The flavors seemed to intensify as it chilled — the recipe calls for you to refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours.

    Lisa says:

    So *that’s* why you wouldn’t let me taste it earlier…

    Baja Potato Salad
    1/2 cup rice vinegar
    10 peppercorns
    4 whole cloves
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 small head of garlic, minced
    3 oz tomatillos, husked and chopped
    4 carrots, grated
    4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled in salted water until tender, diced
    1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
    1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
    3/4 tsp oregano
    salt and fresh ground pepper

    In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep.
    In a deep skillet, warm the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the tomatillos and cook an additional 5 minutes. Finally, add the carrots and cook an additional minute, or until the carrot wilts.
    Place the potatoes in a bowl and spoon the carrot mixture over the top. Strain the vinegar and pour over the mixture. Add the jalapeño, parsley, and oregano, and mix again. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Refrigerate, covered, for at least two hours.
    Serve chilled.

    6-8 Servings

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    posted in Mexican, Sides, The Border Cookbook | 0 Comments

    7th April 2008

    Fisherman’s Rice


    A few nights ago I made this surprisingly easy and quick rice dish — somewhere between a paella and fried rice — found in The Border Cookbook. We used chicken chorizo instead of pork/beef to lower the fat content, and considering there’s only a teaspoon of oil added, it was pretty healthy.

    Chris says:

    Yay for sausage!

    Lisa says:

    That chicken chorizo is pretty spicy…

    Chris says:

    Yeah, it’s good. The dish itself is pretty subtle, so I think it works well to have the distinct spices from the sausage and the contrasting cool avocado.

    Lisa says:

    I really like this dish — you’re right, it’s reminiscent of both fried rice and paella.

    Chris says:

    This would be good topped with some of that tomatillo-chipotle salsa that we made with the Arroz Con Pollo.

    Fisherman’s Rice
    —————-
    4 oz bulk chorizo (I used chicken chorizo)
    1 tsp vegetable oil
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup uncooked rice
    2 cups chicken stock
    1 tsp soy sauce
    1/2 tsp white vinegar
    1 bay leaf
    12 oz shrimp, cooked as desired
    1/2 Haas avocado, diced
    2 medium tomatillos, husked, roasted, and pureed

    In a heavy skillet, fry the chorizo in oil over medium heat. When just browned, add the onion, garlic, and rice and saute briefly until the rice is translucent. Pour in the stock, soy sauce, vinegar, add the bay leaf, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
    Stir in the cooked shrimp, avocado, and pureed tomatillos, cover again, and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Stir and serve.

    3-4 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Border Cookbook | 7 Comments

    10th March 2008

    Chicken Machaca and Mexican Red Rice


    Tonight I made Chicken Machaca — a stir-fry with southwestern flavors — and Mexican Red Rice. Both of these recipes come from The Border Cookbook, which focuses on home cooked meals from the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. This is another one of those books where we’ve yet to find a dud.

    Chris says:

    I love the consistency of this rice. It’s really moist without being goopy. Much better than those “just add water” pre-mix ones you can buy.

    Lisa says:

    Yum, I really like it. What was all that grinding going on in here?

    Chris says:

    I used the coffee grinder for the cumin in the chicken and to grind New Mexico chiles for the rice.

    Lisa says:

    I’m glad we’re getting some use out of that thing, we don’t make coffee at home!

    Chris says:

    Yeah it works perfectly! And the freshly ground spices seem to be more intense than those jars that have been sitting in the cabinet for months.

    Lisa says:

    I [heart] fajitas, and this chicken is almost like fajitas.

    Chris says:

    Yeah it’s really close… but what it’s stir-fried with has a much different flavor than you usually find with fajitas. There’s soy sauce in there.

    Lisa says:

    Well I [heart] them just the same!

    Chicken Machaca
    —————
    2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
    1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 roma tomatoes, chopped
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 green bell pepper, diced
    1 jalapeño, minced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tsp white wine vinegar
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
    cilantro, for garnish

    Pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness, then cut in long 1/2-inch wide strips. In a large skillet over high heat, warm the oil. Swirl the oil around the pan to coat completely, and add the chicken. Cook the chicken, stirring often, until just done. Remove with a slotted spoon to another plate and set aside. Add the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeño and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and cumin. Cook another 2 minutes, then add the chicken back to the pan and heat through.
    Garnish with cilantro.

    4-6 Servings

    Mexican Red Rice
    —————-
    1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
    1 medium onion, minced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup uncooked basmati rice
    2 roma tomatoes, chopped
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 tbsp ground New Mexico chile
    3/4 tbsp salt

    In a medium saucepan, warm the peanut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add the rice and tomatoes, stirring for a couple of minutes so that the rice is coated with the oil. Add the stock, chile, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15-18 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let steam, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

    4-6 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Border Cookbook | 1 Comment

    17th February 2008

    Roasted Poblano Beef Stew


    Tonight I made a stew featured in The Border Cookbook, though the original comes out of the Santa Fe Cooking School. This simple, hearty, green-tinged stew gets a lot of flavor from 3 cups of roasted poblano peppers. The long cooking time makes the beef extremely tender.

    Chris says:

    I heart roasted poblanos!

    Lisa says:

    This is *so* filling.

    Chris says:

    Yeah, the potatoes totally break down and thicken it up.

    Lisa says:

    …and I like the skins left on.

    Chris says:

    The beef is really tender too.

    Lisa says:

    Eight servings, huh? I can’t wait for leftovers.

    Roasted Poblano Stew
    ——————–
    1.5 lbs beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
    2 medium onions, diced
    5 garlic cloves, minced
    3 large baking potatoes, unpeeled, diced
    1 tbsp salt
    5 cups chicken broth
    3 cups chopped roasted poblano peppers (about 6 large peppers)
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
    3 tbsp minced cilantro

    In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the meat until it browns and most of its liquid has evaporated. Add the onions and garlic and cook for an additional few minutes, until the onions turn translucent. Add the potatoes, broth, and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add the poblanos and red bell pepper and simmer for another 1-1.5 hours, until the beef is super tender.
    Stir in the cilantro and serve.

    8 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Border Cookbook | 0 Comments

    6th January 2008

    Seafood Albondigas Soup


    Albondigas (meatball) Soup is a popular Mexican dish, but it’s quite a bit different when you make it with shrimp and bits of fish, as in this recipe from The Border Cookbook. It’s a bit lighter, and the albondigas are deliciously tender. Until the meatballs actually landed in the broth, I was convinced they were going to just dissolve in the broth, but they stayed whole and just a few minutes later, dinner was served.

    Lisa says:

    I agree with the writeup, but take issue with “dinner” — don’t you remember that these broth-based soups never make me full? ;)

    Chris says:

    You said you wanted something light…

    Lisa says:

    True. These meatballs rule, by the way.

    Chris says:

    Yeah, I really like them. I like recipes that are a little different, and this fits the bill. I like that it uses two different stocks — it’s not too “fishy” from just using seafood stock.

    Lisa says:

    The spice level is perfect, too. Yum! You should make this again, but as a first course.

    Seafood Albondigas Soup
    ———————–
    Albondigas:
    1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
    1/4 pound swordfish steak
    1/2 medium onion, minced
    2 small tomatillos, husked and minced
    2 tsp minced cilantro
    1 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotles
    1/2 tsp ground coriander
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 egg
    1/4 cup masa harina

    Soup:
    1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    4 small roma tomatoes, chopped
    1-2 canned chipotle peppers, minced
    3 cups seafood stock
    3 cups chicken stock

    Cilantro, for garnish

    Add the shrimp to a food processor and puree until it forms a paste. Add the fish, 1 tbsp of the minced onion, the tomatillos, cilantro, adobo sauce, coriander, salt, and egg to the mix. Pulse until the mixture is combined, but not pureed smooth. Add the masa harina to the mixture a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a thick paste. Remove from the food processor and refrigerate.
    In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the remaining onions and garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook the onions until they are soft, but before they start to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and chipotles, cover, and cook an additional five minutes. Add the chicken stock and seafood stock, lowering the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
    While the soup is cooking, form the seafood mixture into small balls, 3/4″-1″ thick. When the soup is done simmering, add the balls to the soup and poach gently until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Make sure the soup is at a true simmer and not a boil or the meatballs may fall apart.
    Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro.

    Serves 4 as a first course

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    posted in Main Dishes, Mexican, The Border Cookbook | 3 Comments


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