I've still been pouring through Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen and plucking out dishes here and there that will let me omit the cilantro for husband. He who is with the enzyme (or lack of depending on who you read) and hence his extreme hatred for all things cilantro. Hatred that even extends to those times when I sneak it in without telling him hoping that he won't notice.
Sadly he always does. I know you cilantro haters are thinking "How cruel is she?"
But I learned that when feeding a Brit raised Oop North on post wartime foods if you want to introduce something new, sometimes you just have to sneak it in. We still wouldn't be eating Parmesan, coriander, cumin, or cinnamon if I hadn't done the introductions like that. In fact he'll eat boat loads of coriander seed when I make Indian - go figure you cilantro haters.
By the way, for all of you cilantro haters who have made it this far without slinging arrows at the screen, have you seen this? It would appear that you have quite a few friends.
Sure we can't have cilantro here, but we can eat boatloads of chipotle in adobo. I've mentioned my love of all things smoked before, and these little smoked jalapeno(or chili ahumando) are no exception.
The chicken you see above is so simple and so quick to make, as long as you remember to marinade ahead that is, that your dinner is on the table in 15 minutes. Well, 15 minutes with no side dishes, but you here what I'm saying right?
Take that Rachel 'I'm just too darn happy all the time' Ray!
Just take some chicken breast, skinless, boneless. Open a ziploc, dump in the chicken, open a can of chipotle in adobo and mince up two or three of them, or four or five depending on your love of all things warm and spicy. Dump those in the ziploc. Add two tablespoons of Mexican crema (you can make your own with some heavy cream that hasn't been ultra-pasteurized and some buttermilk and some time). Close ziploc. Smoosh around so everything gets mixed together. Toss in fridge and let it sit for 6 - 8 hours up to 24.
When you are ready put your oven rack on a high shelf, turn on your broiler. Put the chicken in a pan that can withstand the broiler, I use my pyrex. Put chicken breasts in the dish, scrape out all the good bits from inside the bag with a spatula and smear it on the chicken. Sprinkle with salt. Broil 4 - 5 minutes. Flip over, salt and pepper again, add 1 cup of crema. Put it back under the broiler for another 5 minutes or until everything is bubbly and browning and the chicken is cooked through.
Simple never tasted so good.
We tend to have this with husband's new favourite rice dish. Mexican red rice, again from Mr. Bayless, although we have already begun modifying it.
Begin by making your salsa. On a sheet pan slice open 1.5 to 2 pounds of plum tomatoes, 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic, 2 whole poblano chili and 2 jalapeno chili and about 4 tomatillo (left whole, but husks removed). Broil all of this flipping things over occasionally until the tomatillo and tomato are deflated and beginning to brown up and the chili are soft and the skin is blackened enough to peel. Let this cool.
Peel and seed the chilies, extract the garlic from the skin, bung everything including the tomatoes and tomatillos into the food processor and whir it around with 1 tsp kosher salt. I even wet the sheet pan and scrape off any of the juices and stuck bits and add this as well.
Mince a white onion, and do try to get a white onion over a yellow one, they are much mellower, put it in a colander and rinse it under cold water to extract even more of the pungent onion juices off of the onion. You want onion taste, but not an overpowering sense of onion in your salsa. Take the contents of the food processor and dump it in a bowl. Add the mined onion and if you wish, a bunch of cilantro leaves chopped roughly, and add another 1/2 tsp salt. Mix it up. Of course, you can make this ahead of time and have it ready in the fridge.
Now to make the rice.
Take a dutch oven, or a good sized pan with a lid that can go from stovetop to the oven. Preheat your oven to 350. Measure 2 cups of, preferably, medium grain rice, but you can use long grain. If you want extra flavour, heat up 1.5 cups of chicken stock to just get it warm, if not use vegetable stock or water, your choice. To your pan over medium-high heat on the stove add 3 TBS oil and when it is heated add your rice. Stir the rice around until all the grains are coated in oil and they are starting to turn translucent. This may take a few minutes. Once the rice looks good, dump in the salsa (you should have about 2 cups) and let it sizzle and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Then add the stock (or water). Stir it all up, bring it to a boil, slap the lid on and toss it in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Test a grain to be sure it is almost cooked through and then while your chicken is broiling in the oven, allow the rice to rest covered. Fluff it up and serve.
I have made this recipe at least four times in the past month for various clients. I am even considering making it one of the dishes that we do next semester at cac. I have been encountering many kids these days who have chosen the vegetarian lifestyle. The problem with many of them is that they don't want to eat meat, but they don't like vegetables very much. Oh sure, they may have one or two favourites, but out of the mouths of babes I have heard plenty of "I don't like onion, pepper, garlic, celery mushrooms...insert vegetable here". This makes it pretty tough for me to plan a menu that they will both enjoy making as well as eating. I can guarantee you the last several times I made this recipe every last bite was eaten. The only thing that you must remember is to make your rice in the morning or cook it the day before. I happen to use Basmati when I make this recipe not, as one would expect, Jasmine rice. I rinse my rice thoroughly to remove more starch, add it to a heavy bottomed pot, add twice as much water as rice, drizzle in some sesame oil, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low to med-low and simmer 10 minutes. Then I shut off the heat, open the lid, place a tea towel or dish towel over the whole pot and put the lid back on. I let this rest another 20 minutes. Then I take the rice and spread it out on a sheet pan, allow it to cool 10 minutes and I put the whole sheet pan in the fridge uncovered. Leaving it uncovered allows the rice to both cool as well as dry out a bit, helping to keep each grain separate when you finally do make the final dish. Also, unbelievably, I managed to make this every time and NOT take a photo. Sorry! Next time I make it I promise to update here with a picture.
Finally after 10 years my cousin who had been living in the other half of our house has moved out and we are in the midst of a DIY with assistance reverie. My cousin smoked you see, as did a few of her roommates over the years, couple that with a house that hadn't been painted in 10 years and a ceiling that probably hadn't been painted in 15 or 20 years and you have a mighty big painting project ahead. Now I'm no stranger to a brush and painter's tape and picking paint colour out of my hair for days after but I know when it time to call in the professionals. I called back the guy who painted our garage last summer and his crew of Portuguese guys to paint all the ceilings (some 12 feet high) and then at least paint the 'great room, foyer and hallway walls and trim leaving me to paint the bedrooms and bathrooms myself. I have always been a firm believer in feeding your work crews. Keeps 'em happy, they don't need to leave and find lunch somewhere, and I think you get pretty good quality out of well fed and watered men. I whipped this up for them today and sent it in with some hot sauce on the side, bottles of coke and Gatorade and some big plastic dishes.
I will admit here and now that culinary school is digging deeply into my food blogging. There's my home site and Out of the Frying Pan where Brian and I write about our year in school and gardening season is ramping up and my midterm, written and practical, are all fast approaching (in the same week) along with a food history paper and, well...a girl can only be spread so thin.
This is a very basic rice recipe which can be modified to suit your taste. You can toss in cooked shrimp or crabmeat or chicken. Whatever floats your boat. Just be sure to make the rice ahead and let it cool completely. The other thing that I have learned about cooking rice is use the SAME MEASURING cup for the liquid as the rice. Don't use a dry measure for the rice and then a liquid measure for the liquid, I kn ow, I know that is the way you were taught. Be brave...break the rules. If you are cooking 1 cup of rice measure that in a dry measure and then use that same measure for the 2 cups of water. Trust me here.
Egg Fried Rice
1 cup of Jasmine Rice, rinsed.
2 cups of water
1 tsp sesame oil
Add water and oil to the pan, bring to a boil. Tip in the rice, stir quickly and cover. Cook approx 12 - 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Turn off heat, move pan off of the heat, stir quickly to loosen grains and let it cool completely.
3 scallions/ green onions chopped
1 TBS finely chopped ginger
1 cup of frozen petite peas
2 eggs lightly beaten
1-1/2 TBS chicken stock
1 TBS rice wine like Shaoxing
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
In a small bowl mix the chicken stock, rice wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper.
Heat Wok to high, add the sesame oil, add the scallions and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat and pour in the egg and stir quickly, just as it is starting to set add the peas, stir once or twice and then add the rice. Keep stirring breaking up the rice and the egg and when heated add the chicken stock, rice wine, soy sauce, salt and pepper mixture. Toss a few times to mix.
We were making the shrimp and chorizo this weekend and I had been looking for a suitable rice accompaniment for some time. My Sept/Oct Cook's Illustrated issue arrived just in time with this lifesaver.
It is an excellent recipe and would be good with almost any spicy dish or as a spicy side to plainish BBQ'd chicken.
This recipe served 4 nicely as a side dish.
2 Medium ripe tomato (about 6 ounces) cored and quartered
1 medium onion (white or yellow), peeled, quartered.
2 jalepeno chillies (1 extra if you want it for garnish as well)
1 cup of long grain white rice
about 1/4 cup of canola oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup, low sodium chicken broth (buy the free range organic if you can)
1 TBS tomato paste
about 1tsp salt
1/2 cup minced cilantro leaves
1 lime cut into wedges for serving
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350F.
Process tomato and onion in food processor or blender until smooth, scrape down bowl if necessary. You are looking for this to measure 1 cup of liquid ingredient when done, if it isn't 1 full cup, use broth to make up the difference or better yet, use more fresh tomato.
Remove the ribs and seeds form 2 of the jalepenos, mince the flesh and set aside. (If using one jalepeno to pass around as garnish and heat, mince the third WITH the seed and ribs).
Place the rice in a large fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Shake it to remove excess water..
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe 12-inch straight sided pan or a dutch oven with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat (If you have neither, use a regular sauté pan or frying pan and transfer to a covered oven safe dish later) for 1 - 2 minutes. Drop in 3 -4 grains of rice in the oil. if the grains sizzle, the oil is ready. Add rice and fry, stirring frequently until it starts to turn a bit golden. Be careful not to burn. Takes about 6 or 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and the seeded jalepenos; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant about 2 minutes. Stir in the puréed tomatoes and onions, the chicken broth, tomato paste and salt; increase the heat to medium-high and bring this to a boil. At this stage either cover the pan and move it to the oven or transfer to the lidded oven safe dish. Bake until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender about 30 - 35 minutes. Stir the dish thoroughly after 15 minutes.
Since this dish was served to some who didn't want cilantro nor the hotter jalepenos, I passed a dish around with the cilantro, limes and extra jalepeno. At the minimum, squirt a good amount of lime juice over the rice.
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