24th March 2008

    White Chili


    I bookmarked this white chili recipe featured on Blue Kitchen (GREAT photos) back in November and finally got to making it this weekend. It’s definitely not the usual “ground beef and kidney beans” fare… this spices in this chili include bay leaf, oregano, and… ginger! Unusual, but subtle. We loved it.

    Chris says:

    Usually I seed the jalapeños when I make chili, but since there wasn’t anything else really “hot” in the recipe, like chili powder, I left most of the seeds in.

    Lisa says:

    Really? I was all prepared to say “Spicy!” after my first bite, but it’s not that hot. It has a really good flavor, though.

    Chris says:

    Doesn’t it? I was wondering how it was going to taste with that ginger, but it’s very subtle. It doesn’t overpower the taste at all.

    Lisa says:

    The toppings make it a really colorful dish. Yay cilantro!

    Chris says:

    I think we’re going to have to change the name of this blog to We [Heart] Cilantro and Onions — I think we use them in 75% of the meals we make.

    Lisa says:

    Speaking of cilantro, what’s with these people?

    Chris says:

    Hey, that just means there’s more for us…

    White Chili
    ———–
    1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 medium onions, chopped
    1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
    2 large cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 inch thick piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
    5-6 white mushrooms, quartered
    1 tablespoon flour
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    2 15 oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish]
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 teaspoons cumin
    1/2 teaspoon each, salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 small tomato, chopped
    2 green onions, thinly sliced

    Heat a large sauce pan over a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onions and jalapeño pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, another minute or so. Add chicken and mushrooms. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook chicken on all sides.

    Sprinkle in flour and stir to coat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add broth, beans, 1/4 cup cilantro, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

    Discard bay leaf and adjust seasonings. Spoon chili into bowls and garnish with tomato, cilantro and green onion.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes | 6 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

    28th February 2008

    Vegetable and Herb Chowder


    Lisa was at the helm again tonight and chose to make this chowder from The Soup Bible. Pretty self-explanatory, just a nice chunky vegetable soup.

    Chris says:

    It must still be winter; so many soups!

    Lisa says:

    They definitely warm you up… I like the creaminess of this one.

    Chris says:

    Yep, and it was pretty easy to make, right?

    Lisa says:

    Uh, yeah… you were right here helping.

    Chris says:

    Yeah well I know that, and you know that, but the people out there reading this sure don’t.

    Lisa says:

    Riiight… the “people out there”… okay then — “Yes, this was a really easy recipe to make”.

    Chris says:

    …and it made a bunch — I bet I know what you’re having for lunch tomorrow!

    Vegetable and Herb Chowder
    ————————–
    2 TB butter
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 leek, finely sliced
    1 celery stalk, diced
    1 yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
    2 TB chopped fresh parsley
    1 TB all-purpose flour
    5 cups vegetable stock
    12 ounces potatoes, diced
    a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tp dried thyme
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup young green beans, diagonally sliced
    1/2 cup milk
    salt and ground black pepper

    Melt the butter in a heavy pan and add the onion, leek, celery, bell pepper and parsley. Cover and cook gently over low heat until the vegetables are soft.
    Add the flour and stir until well blended. Gradually stir in the stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
    Add the potatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes.
    Add the beans and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
    Stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Heat through. Before serving, discard the thyme stalks and bay leaf.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Soup Bible | 0 Comments

    24th February 2008

    Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous

    Tonight I finally got around to making a soup from The Ultimate Soup Bible, a cookbook we got from Lisa’s brother at Christmas. This easy to make tomato soup is made with Israeli couscous (which is much larger and chewier than regular couscous), onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, and mint; the soup has a great aroma and wonderfully garlicky flavor. It should appear in the rotation pretty regularly. We loved it.

    Lisa says:

    I love Israeli couscous… and this soup is so colorful.

    Chris says:

    It’s delicious. I like the cayenne: it’s subtle — just a slight tingle in the back of the throat.

    Lisa says:

    Oh *that’s* what that is. I was worried I was coming down with something.

    Chris says:

    Well, you’ll feel the blues if I take your soup away.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, I will — I definitely want to have this again…

    Chris says:

    You’re in luck, then. The recipe makes so much that we’re having leftovers tomorrow night!

    Lisa says:

    Wahoo!

    Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous
    ———————————
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    2 medium carrots, chopped
    14 oz can chopped tomatoes
    7 garlic cloves, chopped
    6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you’re veg.)
    1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
    3 mint sprigs, chopped
    5 cilantro sprigs, chopped
    1/4 tsp ground cumin
    cayenne pepper, to taste
    salt and ground pepper, to taste

    Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and carrots and cook until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 the garlic and the remaining ingredients to the pan. Bring the soup to a boil, add all but 1 tsp of the chopped garlic, then reduce the heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the couscous is tender. Remove from the heat, stir in the rest of the garlic, and ladle into bowls. Serve with warm sourdough bread.

    4-6 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Soup Bible | 11 Comments

    19th February 2008

    Onion Lovers Rejoice! Mujadara & Chicken and Onions in Hot Sauce

    Tonight’s we had an onionstravaganza! Mujadara, a Lebanese rice and lentil dish topped with blackened onions, paired with chicken cooked with onions, tomato, and hot pepper, served family-style. The chicken recipe comes from Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine.

    Chris says:

    I could have made the chicken spicier; our red pepper’s not hot enough.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah it’s not super-hot. Maybe add more onions.

    Chris says:

    True; doesn’t the surgeon general recommend 8 entire onions a day?

    Lisa says:

    We’re almost there now! So good … I love the sweet taste of the rice!

    Chris says:

    I love the onion taste of the everything.

    Mujadara
    ——–
    4 tbsp olive oil
    1 medium onion , chopped
    3 garlic cloves , minced
    2 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground allspice

    3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    3/4 cup dried lentils , rinsed, picked over
    3/4 cup long-grain white rice
    2 large onions, sliced
    3 tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
    yogurt
    mint

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add broth and lentils; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in rice; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender, about 15 minutes longer.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions; sauté until soft and beginning to blacken, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates; top with blackened onions. Garnish with tomatoes, yogurt, and mint.

    Chicken in Hot Sauce
    ——————–
    1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
    1 tbsp hot red pepper
    1 tbsp olive oil
    4 medium onions, sliced
    1/2 cup tomato paste
    1 cup water

    Cut the chicken into 2″ pieces and coat with 1/2 tsp of the red pepper. Sautee the chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
    Add the onions to the pan with a couple tbsps of water; cook until translucent. Return the chicken to the pan, and add the tomato paste, water, and the rest of the hot red pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments


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