Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hell Men Don't Eat Quiche

After three weeks or so of no blogs here is a “two-fer” today.  Thought this might be good sometime over the upcoming holidays (or anywhere anytime).  I have always appreciated the combo of roasted green chiles and eggs in about any form so this caught my eye.

Southwest Chile Relleno Quiche

This Southwest Chile Relleno Quiche recipe and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX. Check out more of Cynthia's Southwest Recipes.

Savory Southwestern Pie Crust (see recipe below)*
1 pound lean ground beef
1 whole onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
4 or 5 large long green New Mexico chile peppers, roasted and peeled
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced green onions, include green ends (or not)
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 cup half & half cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
Optional: Pico de Gallo and Sour Cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the Savory Southwestern Pie Crust.

While the crust is in the refrigerator, sauté the onion in large fry pan over medium heat until translucent and slightly brown.  Add the chopped garlic and cook about 1 minute then add the ground beef and cook until almost done (most of the red is gone).  Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the crust is chilled, remove from refrigerator and roll it into the shape of your baking dish, making it approximately 1-inch larger than your baking dish. Place it in the ungreased baking dish and gently conform it to the sides. Crimp it around the top so it will keep the filling from going over and under the quiche.

Split the long green chiles lengthwise and arrange them along the bottom of the pie crust evenly.

Layer the ground beef mixture, Monterrey Jack cheese, sliced olives, and green onions (if using) over the ground beef mixture. Repeat the layers, alternating Monterrey Jack with the Sharp Cheddar, until all the ingredients are used or the mixture has come up to the top of the baking dish.

NOTE: Reserve the 1/8 cup of sharp cheddar cheese to top at the end of cooking time.

Whisk the eggs, half and half cream, milk, salt, and pepper together; pour over the top of the entire dish, allowing it to soak in. 

Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 40 minutes. 

During the last 5 minutes cover the top with the remaining 1/8 cup sharp cheddar cheese and allow to melt. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Cut into squares and serve with condiments of your choice. 
Pico de Gallo and Sour cream go well with this dish.

Savory Southwestern Pie Crust

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
1/8 teaspoon ground garlic powder
6 tablespoons butter, slice by tablespoon and chill well
2 tablespoons lard, sliced by tablespoon and well chilled*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ice water
* Additional chilled butter may be substituted for the lard.
Place the butter and lard in the freezer while you get together the other ingredients and set up your food processor.

Add the flour, chile powder, garlic powder, and salt to the processor and pulse to mix, approximately 3 to 4 times. Add butter and pulse and additional 5 to 6 times until texture looks like a coarse meal. Add lard and pulse another 3 to 4 times.
Through the chute of the food processor, add a 2 teaspoons of the ice water, and pulse 4 to 5 times. Repeat this, only adding 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes the size of small peas. Place mixture in large zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Even with Lipstick, a Pig is Still a Pig

A good chile should have an intense pleasant aroma and taste separate from the “heat”.  It should be naturally sweet and flavorful first then a smack in the lips and pallet with a degree of heat characteristic of the particular chile variety- not added chemicals.

Chiles are grown not only to market fresh, wet processed, or dried but also to extract natural capsaicin.  The capsaicin is used in everything from pepper spray, to hot sauces, to bird food (keeps the squirrels out and the birds can’t taste it).  Capsaicinoids are attributed to many medical benefits and it’s common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoric effects from eating capsaicin-flavored foods. 

Unfortunately, sometimes it is also added in the processing of otherwise bland chiles in an attempt to “hop them up a bit”.  Anyone who has ever done a side by side taste comparison between a natural New Mexico chile and one of these products will tell you it doesn’t work.  All they get is a bland chile that burns your mouth.

We are fortunate to be involved with growers and producers of New Mexico chile whose products are naturally flavorful first and the heat level depends solely on the chile variety selected and not chemical additions.

Red chiles are also used to extract the red oils which are used as food coloring and in things like lipstick.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chile Colorado

I made this last weekend and it is really, really good.  I guess, as with anything you cook, a lot is going to depend on the red chile you use. I tried some red chile flakes (which are like broken up pods) that were samples from Biad Chile Products.  I will probably get some more.  They have flakes, then crushed (like you see for pizza), coarse ground, and powder.  Probably get flakes and powder.  Looking at other sources as well.

9 New Mexico dried red chiles - washed, with stems and seeds removed (or 2-3 oz flakes)
3 cups water
5 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
3 tablespoons oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups beef stock or water

Cover chiles with 3 cups HOT water and steep for 30 minutes to soften. Strain into a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the chiles and some of the liquid into a blender and puree until smooth. Add more liquid as necessary to form a smooth sauce. Pass sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds and the tough skins. Add the cooked onions (see below) and puree again.  Set aside.
Cut the roast into 1 to 2 inch chunks. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef chunks in the seasoned flour; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot and brown the meat and remove from the pan. Don’t over crowd the pan and you may need to do this in batches.  Reduce the heat and add the onions, and sauté until translucent.  Remove the onions to the blender and puree with the chiles.  Add flour and garlic to the oil in the pot and cook roux 1-2 minutes (don’t burn the garlic).  Add chile/onion mixture and cook about a minute more but be sure not to burn as the chile will taste bitter.  Add the meat back in the pan with the rest of the ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.  Add beef stock to just cover beef chunks, or to personal preference. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer covered for 3 hours, or until meat is tender. If necessary, adjust with more stock during cooking.

Note: Makes 12 servings.  Serve with tortillas and if you have to; chopped onion, sliced green onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or sour cream.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fat. Happy, and Satisfied

Well I couldn’t be happier with the chiles starting with the packaging.  The chiles in the one pound packages are “displayed” side by side with the stems on the same side and frozen flat for easy stacking in the freezer.  You can tell that someone had some pride in what they were trying to present.  Yeah, yeah, I know you don’t eat the package but I thought it was nice that they didn’t just grab a handful and cram them in the sack! 

As advertised the chiles were good size, perfectly roasted, meaty, and fragrant.  Out of the 5 or 6 pounds I have consumed in the last 24 hours I found one or two chiles that were slightly over roasted with browning of the flesh.  I ate them.  They were good.  So far I have eaten them straight up (whole, chopped, medium, and hot), in a ham and feta cheese omelet, medium chopped on a hot dog (actually two), two pots of chile sauce with pork (one hot one medium), and in a fried egg sandwich.   The flavors are a little more intense for both varieties when they are chopped in the soup. 

The medium Joe E Parkers are initially sweet followed by a little tingle on your tongue and lips.  The hotter Big Jims still allow the great chile flavor to come through without just cauterizing your mouth.  Both are fragrant and delicious.  With both, the sensation of “heat” subsides fairly quickly leaving one fat, happy, and content (and not reliving the meal for the next four hours- if you get my drift).  The perception of heat is very subjective and some will find the medium to be as hot as they want and some will think the hot is mild.  These aren’t intended to compete with a Hell Fire Double Habanero Latte.   

Tomorrow the rest of the pork shoulder will be slow cooked and shredded for burritos.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It is Chile Day

Well the chiles are in and I have been dreaming about cooking up some sauce with pork and stuffing myself on smothered burritos. I think a big pot of the hot and one mild would be appropriate.   Have some deliveries to make for people that waited patiently for the chiles arrival and then its going to be football and chiles.  I think I will start the day with a stacked enchilada smothered and topped with a couple eggs, burrito for lunch, and Mike’s Famous Burger for dinner or maybe the green chile mac and cheese.  Or maybe both.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What makes Chimayó® chiles special?

Unlike some mass produced, hybrid, or genetically modified products Chimayó® chile seeds are handed down from generation to generation producing a distinctive local variety generally known as a landrace (or native chile).  A landrace is a plant species with unique features that has developed by natural processes and adapted to the specific environment in which it is grown.  Variations in terrain, irrigation practices, soil, climate, and other factors along with individual selective seed propagation produce distinct qualities or individual “farmer varieties”.
Once this chile has ripened, dried, and been ground into powder form called molido (milled), the aroma produced is a characteristic simultaneous mix of sweetness, richness, and spiciness that is not overbearingly hot.  The flavor is complex and distinctive.  Native Chimayó® chile has medium heat and a smooth robust flavor with chocolate-like base tones.  If aged properly this chile’s flavor is refined like a fine wine.  The more common chiles do not improve with age.  Chefs often use less Chimayó® to achieve the same desired results.  Authentic Chimayó® chile powder has a distinct pottery red-orange color as opposed to the more common chile which has a more brick red color. However, the only sure way to identify it is to look for the registration mark and certification number on the label. 

Similar to the use of term “organic”, the name “Chimayó® “is now a US Patent and Trademark registered certification owned by Chimayó Chile Framers, Inc and restricted to only products that are certified as authentic.  Buyers should be aware that “Chimayo like”, “Chimayo blend”, and “similar to” are product descriptions that are not true Chimayó.  In fact products using the name without certification are in violation of the farmer’s trademark rights.  Of all the native chiles, those from Chimayó have long been considered the standard in New Mexico, and have commanded the highest prices.  As one New Mexican writers put it, “…Chimayó is to chile as Havana is to Cigars.”  The Chimayó® powder at the Chile Man’s site is authentic certified Chimayó®.  
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spain is a Long Way from New Mexico

Aimlessly wandering about the net today I came across a picture of an unbelievable pizza with Padron peppers from Delancey in Ballard and I got curious about the little beauties.  The most famous produce of Padrón region of Spain are its peppers which today are also grown in Virginia for the Harris family of La Tienda.  Traditionally, these peppers are served seared in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  Most taste sweet and mild but some are hot which gives a little excitement to the experience.  Usually, the peppers grown later in the year towards August or September contain more capsaicin and are hotter than the ones of June and July.  I can’t wait to give these a try.
 La Tienda, the best of Spain seem like very nice folks and what a fabulous selection of artisan and small family products from firms in Spain.  This is from La, About Us:
“Whenever possible, we seek small family-run businesses in Spain, many of whom are continuing food-making traditions that go back generations. In addition, we are sensitive to issues concerning sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and to the ethical treatment of animals. We hope to help our Spanish neighbors stay connected to the land and their traditions. In turn, we hope that you will enjoy in your home the authentic flavors of Spain that have enriched our lives.”  Chile Man will be dropping a couple bucks here.

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