Freaking Amazing Cornbread

Woke up craving those green chili corn pancakes today. Made up the batter (with jalpeno), added a little corn meal this time and then I found myself dreading standing in front of the stove cooking pancakes. I started to wonder if I could just bake the batter like a cake or something – I mean, hell, the ingredients are practically the same as for cornbread. And, well, the answer is yes you can. It was deeeelicious. And seriously the most moist and tender corn bread I’ve ever had.

I wanted to call it jalapeno corn breakfast cake, and himself was all, “Pffft. Please. It’s cornbread.” Yeah, fine. FINE. But it is fucking delicious cornbread, dammit. The onion/jalapeno is subtle in this – feel free to double their amounts if you’d like them a little more flavor forward. Also, shredded pepper jack on top would be seriously nerms.

Freaking Amazing Cornbread

INGREDIENTS
THE DRY
1 c. masa harina
¼ c ap flour
¼ c corn meal
3 Tbsp corn starch
2 ½ tsp bkg pwdr
1 tsp salt

THE WET
1 ½ c. buttermilk
2 eggs
¼ c veg oil
½ sm. white onion, grated (about ¼ c.)
½ jalapeno, deveined/deseeded and minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
¾ c. corn kernals, fresh or frozen
½ Mexican grey squash/zucchini, sliced in ¼” discs then quartered (reserve a few slices for the top, if you feel like it.)

Sprinkle of parmesan or cotijo for the top

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375*. Grease an 8” square or round pan.
Get two mid-sized bowls. In one, whisk together the dry ingredients. In the other, the wet.
Pour the wet in to the dry and gently mix together until you have a super-thick batter. Pour it into the pan, level it out. Give the pan a good whack (to pop any oversized bubbles), then top with the optional reserved squash and the cheese.
Bake 25 minutes -ish, until it is golden and a tester comes out clean.

This is begging for a bowl of soup – so guess what’s for lunch???
Try this – it is so tender, you are gonna wanna call it cake, too. Dammit.

Oh! The nutrition information! I almost forgot. If you slice this bad boy in to nine squares, each square has (according to the analyzer at verywellfit.com):
173 cal
8.1g fat
321mg sodium
21.9g carbs (2g fiber, 2.9g sugars)
4.8g protein
Plus, 10% each of your daily calcium and iron, and 17% of your vitamin D. See the site for how they arrived at those percentages.

Cheddar & Spring Onion Scones

It’s funny where inspiration can come from. A friend mentioned a local home tour that’s a fundraiser for a local historic preservation society.  I’ve been trying to force myself out of my comfort zone homebody-ness, and decided to join the group. It would be an all-day affair on the far side of town, and I thought – hey! It would be nice to have snacks.  We got our tickets for an 8:45am start time. Hey…..that’s kinda early. Guess I’ll need to do breakfasty things. Finger food. And of course, scones immediately came to mind. My friend D. loves cheese. As in, if he could marry cheese and coat himself in it daily, he would.  So, okay – cheese scones. Then I remembered this forking deelish scallion corn muffin recipe I’d found, and thought yes! That’s it – scallions and cheese! And D. is from New Mexico and knows good green chile- so scallion, green chile and cheddar. Angel choir. Idea is born. The night before arrives, and…….I only have the hot green chile left in the freezer.  Hmm…. D. and I will love it, but the other four folks coming are unknowns….ok, back to onion and cheddar. And then of course, because I can only eat the cheese if I take a shit ton of cheese pills, some cranberry orange ones, as well. But we’ll save those for another day.

Whew! Such a long tale. The next step was the preparation – I’d read from either Jamie Oliver or Nigella to put scones in the freezer for half an hour before baking (which is awesome, btw) and started to wonder if I could make them up the night before and then just bake them in the morning. Because, you know, twenty more minutes of sleep is ALWAYS a good thing.  So, the short answer is yes. It is totally possible, and has completely changed myscone game forever. Buh-bye, buttcrack of dawn. Hello, prep at night and bake while I’m in the shower. I like this!
Alrighty, shall we play?  You’re gonna LOVE these. They were a HUGE hit with my home-tour friends.

Ingredients:
The Dry:
2 c. AP flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
½ c. Butter, icy cold and cubed
The Add-Ins:
½ c. Sharp cheddar, cut in to ¼” cubes.  Yes, really. Do not shred, do not cube larger.
4 Spring onions/scallions sliced in ¼” rondelles.
The Wet:
¾ c. Buttermilk.
The Egg Wash (optional)
Whisk one egg with 2 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

The night before, In a bowl, mix the dry except the butter. Then toss in the butter, and with a pastry cutter smoosh and twist until the butter is a little smaller than peas.  Do not get to the crumb-stage; if you do, your scones will be more Englishy cake-like and not have the biscuit-like flaky layers of American scones.
Stir in the Add-Ins, then the buttermilk. Combine with your hands until you have a firm slightly sticky dough.  It is okay if you overwork it a little, as it is going to rest overnight in the fridge. (Is this not the most awesome part of this or what????)  Scrape the dough on to the dusted parchment. Dust your hands with flour (You might need to scrape/wash them off first.), and shape the dough in to either one 1” tall 8” diameter circle, or two ½” tall 6” diameter circles.  Fold it up in the parchment and put it in the fridge. Nighty-night, Felicia!
In the morning, preheat your oven to 400*.  Take out the dough and slice up your scones.   Either eight with the big circle, or twelve (six each) with the little ones.  Place on the parchment on a cooking tray. Brush with the egg wash (or milk or cream), and bake until puffed-up and golden – about 22-25 minutes for the big’uns, and 18-20 for the little’uns.
That’s it. Enjoy. These are really, really yummy. And would be really, really good with a bowl of chili. Or just shoveled in your mouth hot out of the oven. These are that yummy.

Do you have to wait overnight? Of course not – you could pop these in the oven right way. You’ll just need to be biscuit-gentle with that dough.

Bon apetit, y’all. I’d love to hear how yours turn out!


Tian Tourte

Where the hell have I been? Having a severe case of creativity block.  Himself and I decided to do lots more vegetarian fare, and I’ve been using all my brain for what the fuck to cook for dinner. This didn’t leave much energy for the blog.  Then I made this the other night, and my favorite Biker Betch at work saw the Instagram and was like,” is that going on the blog or what?” And, poof. There we have it. All thanks the awesome BB. Thank you, sweetness, you are the best!

This is a recipe for a 20cm (about 8”) tarte, and will give 4-6 big slices.  So, enough for four with a salad. I baked this lovely in the forkin’ amazeballs tarte pan I got from Lakeland.  Seriously – without blind baking the bottom crust was crisp and not soggy. I love this pan so much, I want to marry it.

Seriously – can you see that crispiness at the bottom? SO awesome!

When you’re picking out the tomato, squash, and onion – try to get them as close in diameter as possible.  Because you’ll be stacking them, the uniformity will become important.

Well, shall we? Let’s do this.

Tian Tourte

The Crust
⅓ a recipe of Martha’s pate brisee. (I used a 4:1 ratio of AP to WW flour, though)

The Base
¼ c. Ricotta or Greek yogurt ( or ¼ c tofutti sour cream mixed with ½ tsp. Lactic acid. If you were feeling REALLY lazy, you could also just use the egg and 1/4c. Boursin and skip the garlic and herbes)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. GOOD Herbes de Provence


The Veg
1 zucchini, sliced 1/4” rondelles
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ rondelles
1 small white onion, siced in 1/4″ rondelles
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced in 1/4″ strips

Topping (optional):
¼ c to ½ c shredded cheese (Gruyere, romano, asiago, etc.)

Alrighty, my lovelies.  Roll out your crust ¼” thick, form it in your quiche tin and stick it in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 375*.

Get your mis en place going – slice the veg, whisk together the base. Get out a cookie sheet and line it with parchment.  I find it much easier to bake loose-bottomed pans that way, plus it catches any drips. Once you’re set up, take the raw crust from the fridge and set the pan on the lined tray. Pour in and smooth the base.  Next, pick up one slice each of the tomato, squash, onion, pepper and stack them. Set these on their side on the prepared base, working from the outside edge of the pan. See the picture to reference what it should look like.

 Keep adding your alternated veg in a circle until you make it all the way around. Then start the next ring and go until you’ve used up all your veg. Sprinkle it with some S&P, and cheese if you are lucky and not dairy-impaired like we are, or some olive oil if you are.

Slide the tray in the oven and bake about 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the veg tender. Your nose should tell you when it’s done.

Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. To get this bad boy out of the pan, once it’s cooled a bit, set the pan on a bowl or soup can – something narrower than the bottom.  The ring part of the pan should just drop down the counter, leaving you to slide the pie from the bottom on to a serving plate or cutting board.

(And, if you want to put this puppy over the top, make some really good garlic butter and toast some breadcrumbs in it and then sprinkle that on the slices as you serve them. Soooo yummy!)

That’s it. Bon apetit. Let me know if you like it!

Black Bean Soup with Chimolata

This is our current favorite soup, finally knocking posole out of the position it’s held for years. It is extremely easy and will be ready in a little over half an hour. Perfect on a cold afternoon, or after a long day at work.

My inner Martha always chastises me for not starting with home-cooked beans. But ya know, real life people.

This soup is good, but what really makes it fabulous is the citrusy-herby dollop of sauce you add to the bowl. I still don’t know what the hell to call it – it’s like a gremolata or a chimichurri in a Sonoran Southwest kind of way. Cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, lime zest and juice. Unlike a blob of sour cream that would make this soup feel heavier, the heat, zing, and herbaceousness of this chimolata (hmm…I like that one) really lift this up. It makes the soup hearty, but not heavy. And really dense in flavor.

Himself likes this with tortilla chips. Corn bread or a grilled cheez (or cheese, if you are not dairy-impaired as we are) along with a salad will make this an awesome and easy meal – something we can all use as end of year busyness overtakes our lives.

Make it and enjoy.

This is enough for four. So, dinner and leftovers lunch for two.

Black Bean Soup with Chimolata

Ingredients for the soup:
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. Ground cumin
2 Tbsp. chipotle relish, or one whole chipotle en adobo and 1 tsp. of the adobo
3 14.5-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Broth (vegetable or chicken, about a quart)

Ingredients for the chimolata:
Handful of washed fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
½ tsp. Lime zest
½ tsp. Red pepper flakes
Fresh lime juice

For the soup:
In a large soup pot on medium, add about ¼ c. of water and the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften around the edges. Add the remaining ingredients except the broth. Give it a stir, then pour just enough broth over everything to just cover. Too much broth and you’ll have a thin soup.
Simmer for ½ hour or until the veg are tender. Before serving, take the immersion blender to it and blend it all up. I like to leave mine with some chunks of the veg, but do yours how you like.

While the soup is cooking, make the chimolata:
Mince superfine the cilantro and the garlic. Fine, as in almost to a paste.
Add them to a small bowl with the red pepper and lime zest, then add just enough lime juice to actually make it in to a paste. That’s it. (This is going to taste REALLY strong – don’t eat it by itself. Or do, I guess. I’m not the boss of you.)

When the soup’s done, Serve with a dollop of the chimolata. Serious nerms, peeps.

I’ve been forgetting to include the nutritional info of late. Here we go! According to caloriecount.about.com, each of the four servings has:

363 calories
4.2g fat
851 mg. sodium
57.1 g. carbohydrate
17.9g fiber
4.8g sugar
24.1g protein
Plus 17% of your daily calcium, 35% for iron and 26% for potassium.

Love Triangles. Or, herbed mushroom marsala phyllo yumminess.

Finger food season is coming. Or, maybe I need to think that because I love the buttery flaky crunch of little tidbits wrapped in that miracle dough.

We were at Caravan two weeks ago, so of course I got a couple packages of phyllo for the freezer.
Only when we got home, I threw one in the fridge on a whim, intending to make some spanky. Well, that didn’t happen. Then when I woke up this morning and opened the fridge, there was this package of mushrooms staring at me. Right next to some thyme, and the phyllo. Like they planned it or something.

This came together slowly, with me futzing on the internet and getting up to stir when the timer went off. It’s not a fast recipe, but it doesn’t require a lot of attention, either.
You could totally make the filling for this one day, and then assemble up to a couple days later. I just had a leisurely Saturday morning.

These are SO LOVELY. I am concluding that himself enjoyed them, as I gave him a sample to take a bite and when I turned around the whole thing was gone. I had them with some bubbly, but am thinking now I bet they would be great with some Amontillado. I’m also wondering how that phyllo would do brushed with layers of that fantastic thyme oil from IKEA instead of butter. That would seriously amp up the herbaceous flavor. Hmmm….. anywho. These are yum. Invite some friends over for a bite and a glass, and make these. You will be sooooo very happy you did.

Herbed Mushroom Marsala Phyllo Triangles

2 medium white onions, sliced in ¼” crescents
2 Tbsp butter
Sprinkle salt
8 oz button mushrooms, washed and sliced into ¼” slices
2 tsp fresh thyme
¼ c. good dry sherry or marsala
½ c. chopped toasted walnuts
¼ c. grated parmesan or pecorino romano(even the green can stuff would be fine)
(4 oz. fresh goat cheese. optional)

½ pkg.-ish of #4 phyllo dough
6 Tbsp. melted butter

Caramelize the onions. Melt the 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan on low, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and cover. Cook on low, stirring every 20 mins or so until they are reduced and golden. Push the onions to the side, add the mushrooms, thyme, and little more salt. Cook covered, on medium, until the mushrooms are cooked. Remove the lid, pour in the marsala and cook a few more minutes until practically all the fluid has evaporated. Remove from the heat. Stir in the nuts. Check for seasoning, add S&P to taste. Set aside to cool. Once it’s coolish, stir in the cheese.

Preheat oven to 375*. Layer three sheets of phyllo, brushing butter between each. If you’ve never worked with phyllo, don’t be escared. See how here!

Using a pizza cutter or knife, slice the prepared sheet of dough into four strips (with the phyllo in a landscape orientation in front of you. So, four short strips, not longways. In the bottom right corner of each one , place about 2 Tbsp. cooled filling, dot with a little noisette of the goat cheese if using, and triangle fold your way up the dough until you have a little triangle packet. See how here!

Roll ‘em all up till you’re out of patience or filling, whichever comes first. . Brush all the tops with the last of the butter. Bake 375* for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and delicious. Serve warm or room temperature. These are lovely with a buttery icy cold white, or even better, a dry prosecco or sparkling rose like Gruet’s Jacqueline Leonne pink label. Alas, I had a bottle of prosecco open at shooting so we’ll have to wait for a rose pic down the road. But that Leonne is my current fave, and it is from FREAKING ABQ NEW MEXICO.

Enjoy. We sure did.

Pumpkin. And Bread.


Happy October, Betches! It’s pumpkin baking time!

You know I love to roast and purée a big squash for the freezer. This is not any cheaper than buying canned pumpkin, but it makes me happy. So, this year I tried a completely different variety and I think it is THE ONE. I have no idea what this is called – it’s the kind you get at the Mexican supermarket and poach like camotes in piloncillo syrup for the kids. But my Goddess, the color! I wish you could see this in real life – it is the most deep, gorgeous, vivid orange. Almost vermillion.
And once it’s baked? Even deeper with just a tinge of brick red. It’s fantastic – and made the bread this luscious pumpkin-y color. I’m so pleased with this I can’t contain myself. I cannot wait to try making a pumpkin pie. The only down side was the yield – this was a six pound pumpkin. I cooked half and got 4.5 cups of strained purée, but almost six in water. Lawdee lawd but that puppy was loaded with water. But I digress.

Pumpkin bread. For the past few years, every time I make it the color is so pale you can’t even tell there’s any pumpkin in it. Not this year – it’s totes gorgeous.

I found a new recipe to tweak, too. I was intrigued because it uses water and not milk. I used the strained pumpkin water since I had it. And added some whole wheat flour. But this was truly one of the best pumpkin breads I’ve ever made. Himself, the gals at the office, and the folks at Himself’s office all loved it. So, go make this right now. Use canned pumpkin – it will still be freaking delicious.

Ingredients
The Dry
2.5 c. sugar
2.5 c. AP flour
1 c. Whole Wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda (yes, really)
1.5 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

The Wet
2 c. pumpkin purée (or, one 14.5oz can – which is about 2.25 c.)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water

The Topping
Melted unsalted butter
Cinnamon sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (or line two twelve-unit muffin tins).
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a second bowl, whisk together the wet. Then, with a large spoon or spatula fold the wet in to the dry. You want a barely homogenous batter, not activated gluten. Divide into the pans.
Bake for about 55-70 minutes in the preheated oven, until they pass the toothpick test.(I’d start testing the muffins a the half hour mark.)

Once they’ve cooled on the rack about ten minutes, brush them with the melted butter and generously sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar. After about an hour – they should be blood warm – run the dull side of a butterknife along the edges of the pan and then give it a few whacks to make sure the loaf is loose enough to come out. You can let them cool in the pan overnight if you’re making this in the evening, or on the counter until they are wrappable cool. Don’t wrap before they are completely and totally cool, or the top will become a sticky mess.

I wish we could do dairy, because a schmear of plain cream cheese on these thick luscious slices would have been absolute heaven.

Ok – go make this right now. You’ll be sooo happy.

Apple Ginger Walnut Bread


We’re back, bitches. Where have I been? It’s a long story – I’ll post it after the goodies. In the mean time, it is Fall! Time for apple recipes. Himself loves candied ginger, and today I was thinking about making a chutney with apples and ginger, and then changed direction and decided on some breakfast cake. Because breakfast. And cake. And y’all already know how I feel about that.

Spicy Apple Nut Bread
Makes two 9×5 or four 8×4 loaves

Cream method:
In your mixer bowl, add:
4 c. AP flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. cinnamon

Turn on low until mixture looks like fine crumbs.

Meanwhile, prepare the fruity nutty bits:
Peel and cube 3 medium tart apples (granny smith, pippin)
Toss with 1 Tbsp. sugar and about another ½ tsp. Cinnamon to keep them from browning.
Chop ½ c. candied ginger into pieces about the size of a chocolate chip
Chop ½ c. walnuts
Soak ½ c. raisins in 1 c. hot water and a couple drops of vanilla (or rum)

Grease and line with baking parchment your loaf pans. Preheat your oven to 350*.

Once the dry ingredients look like crumbs, turn off the mixer and add in:
1 c. buttermilk
4 eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Start low and go to high and let it go a couple minutes until the mixture is fluffy-looking and about a shade lighter in color. While that’s going, drain the raisins. Once it’s fluffy and lighter, add all the fruity nutty bits, and give it a couple whirs just to stir them in.

Divide between your pans and bake about 50-60 mins (larger loaf=longer time, obvs) until it passes the toothpick test.

When the loaves are mostly cool, remove from the pan to finish cooling on a rack. You can brush with melted butter and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar at this stage, if you’re feelin’ it. Or a simple water/powdered sugar glaze. Just something to hold in the moisture. Once it’s cool, prepare the drizzle.

The Drizzle:
In a microwave-safe bowl (or 4 cup pyrex!), put:
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
Microwave until it is bubbling. (Mine took about 30 seconds). Stir in:
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.
Stir. It should be the consistency of crepe batter. Put it in a pastry tube to drizzle over the cooled bread.

That drizzle is one of my favorites – it’s the salty, almost caramel taste that I just love.

Ok – enjoy! And thanks for coming back after my unplanned three-month hiaitus. Our Cindy dog fell ill back in June, and passed in July. She was our good girl for thirteen years and I was devastated. Right now writing this two months after she passed and I’ve got tears blurring the screen. Then something went wrong with the air conditioner and water got underneath the oak floor and we’ve been dealing with contractors and insurance and…..sigh. It’s sucked my will to create. I did not have enough joy for me, so I couldn’t find any to share. But ya know, that damn sun just keeps coming up every morning. Take care, y’all. And if you have puppers, give them a big hug because our time together is finite.

Rosemary & Thyme Crackers


After making the onion fig jam, it really seemed a shame to eat it with store bought crackers. I looked at my last recipe, but decided to see if the Google had anything new. Found a good one to test from A Sweet Pea Chef; here’s the adaptation.

Of course, I decided to add the fresh thyme after I’d already taken the knoll shots – so let’s just pretend he’s there, maybe hiding under the rosemary trimmed from my plot by the back door.


(Look! It’s a map of Australia – which makes my brain immediately go to Amanda Palmer If you don’t know who she is, this is NSFW.)

This was super easy – mix in the Cuisinart, rest, roll, bake. She has the brilliant idea to rest the dough, since that gluten gets all excited in the mixing stage. The wait will make an easier roll and a non-tough cracker. Just sayin’, don’t rush it.

The first batch I made, I did the 50AP/50WW ratio she suggests, but it was too much whole wheat for our tastes. And it desperately needed salt, even with the sprinkle on top. So this version has a a higher ratio of AP flour, and we think it’s great.

Hope you enjoy.

Rosemary Thyme Crackers

1.5 c. ap flour
0.5 c. ww flour
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp olive oil (organic, extra virgin if you want to get picky)
2/3 c. water
flake salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling

Mix the dry in the food processor. Add the oil, mix til evenly distributed. Add the water, mix until a stiff dough forms.

Rest it for 30 mins. (To get the gluten to relax so that: a. you can roll it out, and b. you don’t make little rocks.) Preheat the oven to 450*.

Get out two sheets of parchment the size of your cookie sheets. Split the dough evenly, and roll each superthin, like 1/8″, directly on the sheets of parchment you will bake on. Do not flour, the olive oil will keep it from sticking.
Use a pizza or ravioli cutter to make strips about 1.2″ wide.
Take a fork, and pierce the dough all over. This will prevent big bubbles from forming.
Lastly, sprinkle with a nice flake salt/fleur de sel and gently press it in to the dough so it will stick.
Bake about 15 minutes, until they are golden and dry, crispy, and cracker like.
Break the strips in to crackery pieces and enjoy.

Balsamic Onion Jam

I’ve been wanting to make this since last fall. Waiting for good onions. And the right mood, of course.

This batch turned out pretty yummy, even himself said, “it’s good.” Don’t be escared when you see the jalapeno – it just adds an ever so slight pleasant warmth. You can leave it out, if you like.

This is fan-fucking-tastic stuff on a cheese board, on a grilled burger with some blue cheese, or in a grilled cheese sammich with a strong cheese like an aged white cheddar or Manchego.

Balsamic Onion Jam with Fig
yield: 2 pints

1 Tbsp. mild vegetable oil
3 sweet onions, sliced in ¼” thick crescents
1 jalapeno, sliced in thin crescents
⅓ c. white sugar
⅓ c. brown sugar
1½ c. balsamic vinegar
¼ c. cider vinegar
½ c. dried mission figs, sliced in quarters

In a large non-reactive pot on low, lightly sweat the onions and jalapenos and onion until the onions start to become translucent. Add some S&P and everything but the figs. Simmer, still on low, for an hour.
Add the figs, simmer on low for another hour-ish. When it is done, the mixture should be reduced by half, and the liquid thick and syrupy and almost evaporated. Pay lots of attention that it doesn’t scorch.

Put in a sterile jar and keep in the fridge for several weeks.
I don’t know the ph of this, so although I think it will waterbath can ok, I don’t know for sure. Research that before you do.
Enjoy!

Mexican Spicy Carrot Pickles

Mexican Spicy Carrot Pickles
(Zanahorias en escabeche)

I love the spicy carrots on the salsa bar when we go for tacos. So much so, a couple years back I asked The Google for some recipes. I found one that was okay at the time, but haven’t made it since.
We’re having a Fiesta Friday potluck at the office this week. (Because although we appreciate the alliteration of a Taco Tuesday, none of us has the time for an office party on a Tuesday.) I made carnitas and wanted some cebollas en escabeche to go along. That got me thinking about those carrots again. YouTube is overflowing with awesome home cooks making their zanahorias. I always wondered why there was a tiny bit of oil in the pickle juice – and now I know. The veg are lightly sauteed before adding the vinegar. Dur. Makes perfect sense.

My searches also garnered the Spanish dish by the same name, and it was interesting to see the differences – thyme and pimenton, cook the carrots a little longer. No hot peppers. I’m thinking the Mexican version is a post-colonial smoosh – but, hey. I am no food anthropologist. Anywho, this was maybe twenty minutes start to finish. I bet you have the ingredients already. These stay good a couple weeks in the fridge – if they last that long. Make some today to have ready for your Taco Tuesday. You can totally eat these the same day, but they certainly get better the longer they soak in that gorgeous escabeche.

Zanahorias en escabeche
Makes about 3 cups.
1# carrots, peeled and sliced in to ¼” thick diagonal ovals.
3 jalapenos, halved
½ large white onion, sliced in ¼” thick half-moons
3 cloves garlic, slightly smooshed with the flat of your knife
½ tsp. black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Mexican oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ½ c. white vinegar
1 ½ c. water
(sal al gusto)

In a large non-reactive skillet on medium, heat the oil, pepppercorns, bay, oregano, and the garlic until you can smell the garlic. Then, add everything but the water and the vinegar. Stir around (you do not want this to brown) for a minute or two until you see the onions are starting to soften. Pour in the water and vinegar, and simmer until the jalapenos are done – they will change from a deep green to an olive green.
While that is simmering, prepare your container. You want something that can handle hot liquid – I used glass with those snappy silicone gasket lids. Just be sure to heat up the container with some hot water before you dump in your pickles. (Just imagine cold glass and hot liquid. Yeah.)
When the jalapenos are done, scoop all the veg in to your prepared container. Then, pour in just enough of the liquid to cover them. You will most likely have extra liquid at the end. Toss it. Or use it to make a vinaigrette.

That’s it. You’re done. Cool it. Label it & pop it in the fridge and enjoy.
PS – all the recipes I saw added salt to these puppies, but I think this is plenty flavorful without. But add some if you like!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the red onion and the chile de arbol in the knolled pic – I made some cebollas en escabeche at the same time. But those are already a blog post…