April 21, 2009

Inside-Out Enchiladas Verdes

Green Enchiladas usually come with green salsa on top but this recipe switches things up a bit and puts the greens on the inside. If you haven’t tried Swiss Chard, this recipe is a great way to try a healthy, new vegetable. If you are already a fan of chard, try this as a vegetarian way to satiate your cravings for South of the Border flavor.

Swiss Chard Enchiladas

2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 Large bunch Swiss Chard, leaves and stems separated. Coarsely chop the leaves, finely chop the stems.
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Flour
½ Cup Milk
½ Cup Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (or a combo of the two)**
6 Corn tortillas
½-1 Cup Salsa
Salt and pepper
¼ Cup Sour cream (optional)
Fresh Cilantro (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until slightly softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the chard stems to the heated sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until they are soft (about 2 minutes). Add the chard leaves (in small batches) until they are cooked down significantly (about 2 minutes per batch).

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a small pot, stir in the flour, and when you have a dry paste, slowly add the milk then cheese. Stir until all the cheese is melted, then pour most of the cheese sauce into the cooked greens. Fill the center of each tortilla, then roll them up, place them seam side down in a baking dish that has been coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray. If using the sour cream, mix it into the salsa, and if not, just spread the salsa over all the filled and rolled tortillas and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle with the fresh cilantro and serve with a Corona.
**Chef's Note: I once used slices of White American Cheese instead of the Jack and Cheddar and the sauce was still really good.

April 18, 2009

Soup de la Casa

I love soup. To me a day is not a day unless I have soup for lunch and when you’re eating all that soup, you need a little variety in flavors. I came across this recipe and thought it would be a perfect way to add some spice to the daily grind.

When looking this over, DON'T judge a book by it’s cover. This soup may not be photogenic, but it’s a great blend of flavors--old and new, and north and south. It’s well worth the minimal effort and don’t worry, it looks a lot better in person!

Spicy Split Pea Soup with Chorizo
Adapted from Bobby Flay Cooks American

1 Package Chorizo Sausages
1 Medium Onion, finely diced
2 Stalks Celery, finely diced
2 Large Carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
5 new (red-skinned) potatoes, finely diced with skin on
2 Poblano Peppers, roasted, peeled and finely diced
2 Cups Split Peas
8 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
salt pepper to taste
Sour Cream and Fresh Cilantro for serving

In a stock pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in a little oil or butter for a few minutes until softened. Add potatoes and peas and water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 45 minutes until peas are falling apart.

Meanwhile, cook the chorizo. Preheat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a drop or two of oil and place Chorizos in the hot pan, turning occasionally until browned on the outside, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ to ½ cup of water to the sauté pan and cover, allowing the sausages to cook through, about 10 minutes. Once the water is absorbed and the chorizos brown again slightly, remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Dice the chorizos and then set them aside.

Cook the peppers. If you have a gas stove, place peppers directly on burner set to medium-high heat and turn occasionally until pepper skin is a charred, solid black color. If you don’t have a gas stove, broil peppers in oven, turning occasionally.

Once the peppers are black all over, place them in a plastic freezer bag and let them steam for about 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag and remove the burned skin. It should rub right off. Discard the stem and seeds too.

Once soup is finished, stir in the chorizo and the poblanos, and ladle into bowls. Top with a dollop or sour cream and some chopped fresh cilantro.

It’s not a Cookie, it’s a Fig ……Pizza?

The Husband and I are obsessed with Pizza. He likes to follow tradition, but once in a while, I veer him very far off of the trail of tradition. On this most recent treck, we were both glad that we took the road less taken. The dinner only took about 40 minutes from start to finish but once you have a small batch of fig spread ready, this pizza is a 15 minute meal. A perfect weeknight treat!

Fig and Three Cheese Flatbread Pizza

2 Store-bought Naans or other Flatbreads
Fig Spread (Recipe Below)
Blue Cheese, Crumbled
Goat cheese Dollops
Parmesan, Grates
Sliced red onions
Salami or Pepperoni Slices
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the desired amount of fig spread on the flatbreads and top them with the cheeses and toppings. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until cheese is slightly melted and flatbreads are crisp.

Fig Spread
1 10-oz Package Dried Figs
1¼ Cup Water
up to ¼ cup Sugar, if desired ( I don’t think you need it)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 pinch Salt

Remove the stems from the figs and slice the figs into quarters. Add the sliced figs to a saucepan and add the water and the sugar, if using. Bring the figs to a boil over medium heat and let them simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once almost all of the water is gone from the pan, remove the figs from the heat and let them cool slightly. Add the figs, lemon juice and salt to a food processor bowl and process on high for about 2 minutes, adding water as needed until the mixture is the consistency of jam. Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

Use the Fig Spread on toast or a sliced baguette, top crackers and brie with a dollop, or slather it on a flatbread and make a Fig and Three Cheese Flatbread Pizza.