Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Veggie and Black Bean Enchiladas

Yesterday my sweet husband left for India on a business trip for ten days.  I told him as I hugged him that this seems very weird and surreal.  It is his first business trip since we've been together and it just so happens to be out of the country.  I really need to get my passport!  ;)  This time I am staying home, holding down the fort, with two boys that are finishing up their respective school years.  Prom and baseball playoffs will be handled exclusively by this girl right here.  I'm kind of excited for the challenge and even if I end up a bit frazzled I'm so glad that sweetie gets this opportunity.

I made these enchiladas a while back and loved every last bite.  Meat fans may be disappointed, such as Damian, who leaned over to me and whispered, "mom, these are good, but where's the meat??".  Apparently a meal is not a meal unless meat is involved.  I don't think he's thinking clearly because I think these are awesome.

I wish I could credit the original source but this has been in my to try file for about five years and while I vaguely recall the individual I got the recipe from (someone on a parenting forum years ago), I have no idea the original source.

Veggie Enchiladas
for the sauce:
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sugar
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper
for the filling:
1 lb black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs canola oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
2 large zucchini, unpeeled, and cut in 1/2" slices
1 large yellow summer squash, unpeeled, and cut into 1/2" slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup drained chopped canned green chiles
Salt and pepper
for assembly:
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges, for serving
crumbled queso fresco, for serving
cilantro, for serving

To make the enchilada sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  (This makes more sauce than you will need for the enchiladas.  The extra can be frozen for later use or passed with the enchiladas for serving.)

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Transfer half of the black beans to a bowl and mash with a fork until almost completely smooth.  Set aside.  Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until slightly softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook just until tender, 3-5 minutes more.   Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the mashed beans and remaining whole beans and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl and stir in ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, the queso fresco, cilantro and green chiles.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, briefly microwave the tortillas until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds.  Place 1/3 cup of the filling mixture down the center of a tortilla.  Tightly roll up the tortilla and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.  Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the enchiladas, spreading it evenly.  Cover with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, about 20 minutes. 

If you want to be super fancy (I didn't want to be this time), remove the foil and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Continue to bake until the cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes more. Sprinkle with additional queso fresco and cilantro for garnish, if desired.  Serve warm with lime wedges.

Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brown Butter Cookies With Butterscotch Chips

I'd like to mourn the recent recipe that didn't work.  I won't go into detail of what it was or where it came from, but I am sad that it wasn't what I wanted it to be, for me.  I had saved the recipe for nearly a year in my files, drooling over it countless times, coming *this* close to making it many times in the last month, and when I finally executed, it fell flat of my expectations.  It was ok but it was nothing to sing about and half of it was thrown away.  It makes me sad when this happens and I had to acknowledge the fact that sometimes my brain and my tastebuds are not on the same page.  This says nothing about the recipe itself, it turned out just as intended, I believe. 

The beautiful thing about the blogging world is that there have been so many recipes that have come to life for me.  So many things that I otherwise would have never tried. It is one thing to see a recipe in a cookbook or on a cooking show, but it is another to read a real life person describe why they love a recipe so much and why it works for them.  Sometimes when I translate that recipe to my kitchen they fail but most of the time I am so awesomely impressed with myself.  I want to thank the blogging world for stretching my culinary skills and making me the cook I am today, which no doubt, makes me the person I am today.

I am back in the kitchen on a regular basis, having had my knee brace removed last Thursday.  My walking is a bit tenuous but even a four days time I have made great strides.  It feels so good to start being me again.  One of the first things I did was make these cookies for my son Damian.  He loves butterscotch and even confided in me that he prefers them over chocolate chip.  I had been wanting to make him my brown butter cookies for quite some time but when I mentioned the recipe to him he just wasn't feeling it.  I decided that the butterscotch chips would be an amazing compliment to this already stellar dough so I did what any good cook would do and I made them without consulting.  I was right and this was a total win recipe in my house.  Let me say that again.  I was right.

Brown Sugar Cookies with Butterscotch chips
14 Tbs unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbs vanilla extract
12 ounces butterscotch chips

In 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat butter until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to the heat-proof bowl of a stand mixer; set aside and let cool.  While butter is cooling, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  To the cooled butter add brown sugar and mix on medium-low speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Mix in butterscotch chips.

If needed, refrigerate dough until it is workable with your hands. Roll dough into large balls, placing about two inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft; 12 to 14 minutes.
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Servings: 24
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 14 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

BBQ chicken pizza

I'm still sitting on my duff instead of dancing around my kitchen making messes which has even involved ordering Applebee's 2 for $20 curbside to go for dinner last night. Please don't hate, but this is something we do a few times a year.  We kind of like it.  In fact, would you believe that Applebee's has a pretty decent bar too?  I know this because when my husband landing a job at a company that was not the company he had previously been slaving away at for the previous five years, I wanted to take him out to a fancy dinner to celebrate. Do you know what he picked?  Yes, that's right, we went to Applebee's.  I must admit I was a little annoyed by the choice and made no bones about making him fully aware of this by way of deep and heavy sighs of disapproval.  I'm kind of awesome with ruinging my perfectly good intentions by letting my inner diva take over. That is until I had a drink and ate some boneless wings.  I don't even want to know how those wings became boneless. 

This afternoon I looked through my very limited photographic archive and came across one of my favorite recipes that I have yet to share with you.  I'm aching to get back to my blog and I'm pretty excited that I found something worthy of your viewing and your making.  I'm including the pizza dough recipe that I used and the instructions for the bread machine.  Obviously you don't have to use the bread machine but I like sticking the ingredients in, hitting the dough cycle, and forgetting about it.  However, it would be just as easy to mix the dough and let it rise on its own.  Yeah, we added pickles, cuz we are weird, but that's just how we roll.

Pizza Dough
1 cup  water
2 tablespoons oil
3 cups  bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

Add the ingredients to bread machine in the order recommended by its manufacturer. Select dough setting. Walk away and watch a movie on demand while the bread machine does it's thang.

When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine.

Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

BBQ chicken pizza
1 pizza crust (recipe above)
10-12 oz chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup gouda cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 small red onion, sliced into rings
2 Tbs cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Shape pizza dough onto pizza pan or stone.

2. Spread barbecue sauce over the surface of the dough. Spread cheese then chicken evenly over the sauce. Place the onion rings over the chicken pieces.

3. Place the pizza in the oven and bake until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbling (check after 10 minutes). Remove pizza from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Oven Temperature: 425°F