Monday, October 12, 2009

Playing Catch-up / House Guest

The first three items in this post are things that I have made over the past several weeks that didn't really fit into a weekly menu but that I wanted to post anyway because they were soooo good. All three are great fall food. Warm and earthy.

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I made these for a party at a friends house. I wanted to make some kind of finger food and was browsing on foodgawker for inspiration when I came across a fried risotto ball with green chiles that someone had made for a potluck. I thought that would be perfect and I decided to modify my sweet corn risotto recipe for them. Well, as the day drew near I felt less confident about frying the risotto balls (I have always been a little timid about frying) so I decided instead to put a scoop of the risotto into a crispy wonton cup. They turned out really great but were definitely at their best when the risotto was still warm. It got me thinking about more ways to make green chile risotto which I plan to experiment with this fall. Stay tuned...

Green Chile Corn Risotto Bites
makes 72 pieces (+ extra risotto)

For the Risotto:
2 cups uncooked corn
4 cups chicken broth
2 T unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup chopped green chiles
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, grated

Puree 1 cup of the uncooked corn in a food processor until smooth. In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth to a simmer.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and saute, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in one cup of the chicken broth and the pureed corn and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed, 5-7 minutes. Continue add the chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting until the previous addition has been absorbed before adding more.

After the last cup of broth has been absorbed, let the risotto cook 3 minutes more, stirring. Add the remaining corn and the chiles and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Wonton Cups:
18 wonton wrappers, cut into quarters
vegetable oil

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Brush each wonton wrapper lightly with oil. Mold each wrapper, oiled side up, into the bottom of a cup if a mini (1") muffin tin. Bake until light brown, 5 - 7 minutes. Let cool slightly and remove from tin.

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I have been wanting to make Chile Rellenos for a while now but have always shied away from actually doing it (again with the frying phobia). Well, I recently got a surge of confidence I guess because I tackled them and they were good. Oh, were they good! I used a recipe from Use Real Butter and my only problem with it was it made A LOT of batter. I ended throwing a lot of it away which I hate to do. Next time I will use the reduced recipe which I am providing below. In fact, I have a half full bag of thawed green chiles in my fridge right now which I need to use up so "next time" might be very soon.

Chile Rellenos
from Use Real Butter (slightly modified)
makes 2 servings

8 whole, large green chiles, roasted, peeled and deseeded.
8 oz, Monteray Jack cheese, cut into sticks
vegetable oil for frying

1/2 cup flour
1/4 to 1/2 t kosher salt
2 eggs, separated
1/4 -1/2 cup beer

Place a piece of cheese in each chile and fold the chile over the cheese.

Combine the flour, salt and egg yolks in a bowl and slowly add the beer until the mixture is thick but smooth and well combined. Beat the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks (I did this by hand and had to tag team Jeremy to take over halfway through because I thought my arm was going to fall off!). Fold the whites into the batter thoroughly. Heat 1" of oil in a skillet until it is glistening. (To test if the oil is ready, drop a small amount of the batter in and if starts to sizzle you are good to go.)

Coat each chile with batter and fry for about 4-5 minutes, until golden. Flip and fry until evenly golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and serve hot with salsa or green chili on top.

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Jeremy celebrated a birthday recently (the big 3-0 in fact) and we upheld what is, in my opinion, one of the best birthday traditions... homemade cake! Each year I ask him what kind of cake he wants (meaning flavor) and each year he tells me something like "A Land Rover Cake" or "A Volkswagen Cake" or "A Bugatti Veyron Cake". The man is very into cars, what can I say. Well I have done the Land Rover and I have done the VW and last year I even decorated his cake with an ear of corn (I'm not sure which he like better, cars or corn). This year I was stumped by the Veyron so instead I focused on the flavor and kept the decorations pretty simple. I saw this cake on foodgawker and had to try it. Jer was a little concerned about the chocolate to peanut butter ratio (he likes the chocolate to dominate) but said he would give it a try. It was perfect. The peanut butter was a nice accent but certainly not the star of the show and the ganache gave it a decadence worthy of a thirtieth birthday celebration. One warning though, this cake is enormous so plan to share it with a lot of people or to wear out (or break out) you walking shoes.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups water
2 1/2 T white vinegar
2 t vanilla
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup Dutch process Cocoa Powder
1 T baking soda
1 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 9" round cake pans and place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan.

Whisk together the wet ingredients (sour cream to eggs). In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until smooth. Pour an even amount of batter into each cake pan and bake 35-45 minutes, until the center springs back under gentle pressure. Cool in the pan and freeze until ready to frost.

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1 lb peanut butter, at room temperature
1 lb powdered sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and peanut butter. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and blend until smooth.

For the Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 T vanilla
2 T light corn syrup

Place all of the ingredients in a double boiler and melt, stirring until smooth. Cool until it is still runny but not so hot that it will melt the frosting. Pour in the center of the frosted cake and help it just to the edges with a spatula, let gravity do the rest.

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We are now moving on to the second part of this post. Last week we moved in with my in-laws while we had our floors refinished (they look gorgeous, by the way!) and I offered to cook for the week so that I would have something to post about and also as a thank you to them for putting us up for the week. It was kind of fun to be away from our house. Sort of a like a mini vacation. Planning a menu for 4 is a little harder than planning for two, with two more peoples taste preferences to think about. I didn't do it on purpose but for some reason almost everything I made was very spicy.

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This is another Use Real Butter recipe. Since I brought home my stash of chiles I have visited her recipe archives often since she has made a number of delicious things with chiles in the time I have been reading her blog. This was definitely a hit all around. And, I didn't even know it at the time but apparently it is National Chili Month! This was a great way to celebrate!

White Chili
from Use Real Butter (amounts modified)
makes 6 servings

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cubed
1 T olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 roasted green chiles, skinned, deseeded and diced
3 cans cannalini beans, drained and rinsed
32 oz. chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
3 t cumin
2 t oregano
1/4 t cayenne pepper (I left this out because the chiles I used were already causing us breath fire)

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Saute the onion, garlic, celery and green chiles together. When the onions and celery are soft add the chicken and saute for a few more minutes. Pour in the beans and broth. Bring to a boil, add the seasonings and season salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until liquid thickens to desired consistency. Serve with Jack cheese and tortilla chips.

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Oww, not Tuna Noodle Casserole agaaiiiin. Yep, Tuna Noodle Casserole again and no whining. Oh sorry, just practicing. I know I just made this a couple of weeks ago but my Mother-in-Law has always talked about how much she likes it and doesn't make it at home because my Father-in-Law is not a fan. Well, we let him fend for himself one night and I treated my MiL to an old fav. We also had plenty of leftovers to eat for lunch for a couple of days.


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This dish is quintessentially fall. The apples give it a nice tartness and the chiles bring it back to earth.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Apple-Green Chile Salsa
modified from Real Simple
makes 4 servings

1 1/2 to 2 lb pork tenderloin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 t kosher salt
2 T olive oil
2 small Granny Smith Apples, diced
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 roasted green chiles, skinned, deseeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
1 T sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 cup diced red pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rub the pork with the chili powder, cumin and 1 1/4 t of the salt. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat 1 t of the olive oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Transfer to a roasting pan and 20-25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet used for the pork, add the remaining olive oil. Add the apples, red onion, garlic, and vinegar and cook 5-8 minutes until the apples and onion are translucent. Add the broth, chiles, jalapeno, sugar, black pepper and remaining 1/4 t salt. Stir and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the red pepper during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with the pork.

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I made a simple quinoa "salad" to accompany these meatballs. It is one cup of quinoa, cooked and to it I added 1 can of drained black beans and 1 mango, diced. The mango was an especially nice addition, adding a little tart to the plate.


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The sun just popped out and I am going out to rake some leaves! Oh, happy fall weather!

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7 comments:

msjvd said...

The risotto looks amazing, but I might just eat it as the meal.

And the chocolate cake isn't from Food O Del Norte... it's from Smitten Kitchen. It's HER SIGNATURE CAKE (extremely well known among food bloggers), so you might wish to correct that statement. Even the blogger you linked in admits getting the recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

Yours looks much better than his. :)

Andrea said...

Thanks for the correction msjvd. I have edited the post.

I agree that the risotto would also be great as a meal all on its own.

Anonymous said...

I would really prefer that you move down the block _tomorrow_! All this green chili stuff is making me crazy. We made those URB chili rellenos this summer -- out of canned green chilies. (Though better than no green chilies). I can hear my stomach growling now...
Twila

Andrea said...

I would prefer to move down the block tomorrow too!

BookishPenguin said...

My husband just drooled all over my computer looking at that chocolate peanut butter cake. Yums!

Btw, also stopping by to let you know I gave you a "Lovely Blog" award. :)

http://www.bookishpenguin.com/blog/2009/10/18/feeling-loverly.html

Rein and Jan said...

Hey Andrea! What an out-of-sight site. I love what you are doing. The only thing is....that green chili looks alot like your Mom's chili! MMMMMM>>>>I'm hungry from looking at those pictures! Love, Jan

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