I am so excited. I built myself a light box this weekend and got a little tabletop tripod. All in all the project cost me about $40 and it has made all the difference in my enthusiasm for shooting. Actually, the light box itself was basically free. I had a cardboard box in my basement that was the perfect size and I had a bunch of white muslin from some curtains I had made for our screened porch that no longer exists. I only had to buy white bristol board for the inside of the box. Other than that the cost was for two daylight light bulbs and clamp lights and the tripod. The dark days of winter are no longer so daunting since I know I can now shoot at any time of the day (or, more likely, night)!
I hope I am not boring you yet with the green chili recipes but my freezer is still mostly full and so they will continue. This is, for the most part, a repeat of the recipe from a couple of weeks ago but this time I did puree about half of the chiles and it had the desired effect of giving the chili a thicker, creamier texture. The other difference this time was that instead of using half hot chiles and half medium chiles this ratio was a little more like 3/4 hot and 1/4 medium. It's good but it'll light your tongue on fire. I was trying to kill the cold I picked up somewhere between DC and here. I'm no medical professional but I am pretty sure it helped to send those little germies packing.
Green Chile Smothered Burritos
1 T vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2" chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, chopped
~ 24 green chiles, roasted and peeled, half purred, half chopped
1 14 oz can tomatoes, half pureed, half chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 t cumin
2 t oregano
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t white pepper
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook until no pink remains. Add the onion and garlic and cook until lightly golden.
Add the chiles, tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least one hour (the longer the better).
If you want to thicken it up a bit, stir together 1/2 cup all purpose flour with about 1 T vegetable oil to make a paste. Add a ladle full of juice from the chili and mix well. Once the mixture is smooth and liquidy stir it back into the chili.
This idea came from the blog The Other Side of 50. I saw her photo on foodgawker and it immediately caught my eye. She uses a whole wheat pizza crust recipe from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking book, which is a fabulous book by the way. It teaches you how to work with whole grains and avoid the undesirable effect they can have baked goods. Their Double Fudge Brownie recipe makes the best brownie I have ever had. No one ever believes they are whole wheat. But, back to the pizza. I decided to go with a pizza crust that I have used before because, although I am sure it is delicious, I didn't have the energy to start the dough the night before, which the whole wheat crust calls for. Another time. I used the same toppings as her because the sounded perfect for a Thai pizza. And... they were.
Thai Chicken Pizza
For the Crust:
1 T (1 package) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t kosher salt
3 1/2 - 4 cups bread flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the yeast with the warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the bowl and mix on low speed, using the paddle attachment, for 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Switch to the dough hook and, add 1 1/2 cups more flour and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoon as needed to form and soft dough that is a little sticky but not too wet. (I didn't have to add any f the last 1/2 cup of flour.)
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (You can also put it in the refrigerator at this point and let it rise overnight. Let it stand at room temp for 2 hours before making your pizza.)
For the Pizza:
Thai peanut sauce
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Assemble pizza and bake ~ 15 minutes on a baking sheet and 5 minuted directly on the oven rack.
This is another foodgawker find. Lately, it seems, that has been my main source of inspiration. This time it comes from This Week for Dinner. She has a similar blog concept as mine (which may be obvious from the name). She advised having the squash ready before starting the risotto which I did not do and because of that my risotto was ready before the squash and I had to pull it from the oven and mash it up before it was fully cooked. I left what I didn't need roasting a little longer and it got much softer. Despite the squash not being perfect the risotto was still a dreamy, flavorful success.
Chicken and Butternut Squash Risotto
1/2 butternut squash
1 chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, sauteed in olive oil and cut into bite size pieces
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio Rice
1 cup dry white wine
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T butter
1 t fresh thyme leaves
Cut the butternut squash into 8 pieces, wrap in foil and roast in 375 degree oven for about 1 hr, or until very soft. Scoop the flesh out of the skins and mash. Save half of the squash for another recipe (stay tuned next week for what I do with mine.)
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the it is absorbed, 2-3 minutes.
Add two ladles of the warm chicken broth to the rice and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat adding two ladles at a time until all of the liquid is absorbed. If the rice is not completely tender continue to add hot water, 1/2 cup at a time until rice is cooked through.
Stir in the squash, nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and let cook two minutes. Add the chicken, cheese and butter and stir until melted.