Verduras en Escabeche

I know, I know – there’s already a carrot escabeche recipe on the blog. But the other day at the office, J. was saying that her grandpa put potatoes in his and of course I had to research that because wha-what??

And – surprise! – she was not crazy. It’s a real thing. And it sounded delicious – I love potato salad with vinegar instead of mayo, and this would be vinegary potatoes that were espicy! Sign me up!

Yesterday we were at El Super, and I got the veggies I needed to give this a whirl. But damn, jalapenos this time of year are sooooo forking hot. Ay! Just out of the pan this was delicious, and it got better the next day. We had us some yummmyyyyy crunchies this week at the office, y’all! This made a half-gallon, and my office mates and I had it essentially gone in a day and a half. But – funny story- what was left was a cup or so of those super-hot jalapenos. Not even some of my fire-tolerant co-workers took those puppies on. But man, the rest was SOOOOO good.

Verduras en Escabeche

Adapted from this recipe at TuriMexico.com.

2 large waxy potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 fat carrots, peeled and in ¼” diagonal coins
3 garlic cloves, sliced in half
2 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
5 fat jalapenos, in ¼” coins
1 big white onion, wedged in to 8
3 bay leaves
½ tsp. Black peppercorns
1 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
1 tsp. Soy sauce
1 tsp. Worsteshire sauce

Wash and boil the potatoes until tender. Slice in half, then wedges  – about ½”. Should be about 12 per spudnik.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the carrots garlic and oregano, toss and saute a minute or two, just until you start to smell the garlic and oregano.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except the potatoes), return to the heat just until you start to see a boil. Turn it off, take the pan off the heat. (Now, you can boil that mix a little longer than I do, but I like my veggies to stay as crunchy as possible.  Cook ‘em how you like ‘em.) Lay in the potato slices and allow to cool.

Keep in a couple big glass jars in the fridge. It should stay delicious for several weeks, but I cannot attest to that as I can never get escabeche to last longer than a few days in my house.

¡Buen provencho!

Green Chile Corn Chowder

It’s farm stand season. Time for the annual pilgrimmage down to Willcox for fresh corn, squash, and chile. I have been waiting for chiles for what seems like forever. Southwesterner problems, I know. But this is serious, dammit.

So, we get down there and……we are a week early for the chile roasting. DAMMIT. But, I got half of bushel of the most amaaaaazing sweet corn.

On the drive back I couldn’t decide: galette with squash, corn, green chile and chevre, or a corn chowder. After cobbing 30 ears, a pie sounded too rich and heavy – so chowdah it is.

This is easy, fast and delicious. But ya gotta make it with fresh sweet corn. Anything else will be sad. (Or fresh sweet corn that you froze yourself, anyway.)

This is SOOOOO Good. And since we are a cream-free house, it is not as heavy as a normal chowder so you can, um, chow down.

GREEN CHILE CORN CHOWDER
Servings: 4-6, depending on the size of your chowder bowls

1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/2 large white onion in 1/2″ dice (about 1/2 c.)
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano, crushed in your palm
1 large baking potato, peeled and in 1″ cubes (about 1 1/2 c.)
4 stalks celery, in 1/2″ dice (about 3/4 c.)
2 large zucchini or 4 large pattypan squash, in 1/2″ dice
3-4 cups fresh corn kernals and their juice
1/2 to 3/4 c. FRESH roasted green chile (we like medium, but mild is fine. Hot is recommended for professional native New Mexicans only), in 1/2″ dice
Water to cover
2 Tbsp. chicken base (ie Better than Bouillon)

DIRECTIONS

In a large stock pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, potato, celery and oregano and let saute with occasional stirring for about 5 minutes. Ad the corn and squash. Put just enough water to cover, stir in the chicken base and let simmer on medium for about 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Take about 1/4 of the chowder and put it in a heatproof bowl and puree that with your stick blender (or your food processor), then stir that back in . This will thicken and give that creaminess that makes you think “chowder”.

Ladle in to big chowder bowls, top each serving with a big pat of sweet butter and go to town. Obvs, if you are not cheese-impaired as we are, smother that shit in grated cheddar cheese. I’ll just look on longingly, don’t mind me.


Icy Pops for Grownups

This all started because I wanted a Cel-Ray and they are now impossible to find in this town. (Feig’s Deli, I miss you so!) Of course, next I asked our Google Overlords about making it at home and that rabbit hole led to the most amazing discovery: celery popsicles.

Now, hold it right there. I know you just went “eeewww” in your head. I get it – but you have to try these. Everyone who has is now a convert.

It’s summer and I’m on a not-too-sweet icy pop obsession. It started with the salty-sweet celery basil and has grown. As in, I have a Pinterest Board for them. Here are four I tried this weekend, still haven’t decided which I like the best.
I have two popsicle molds, but honestly I prefer the fill-it-yourself otter-pop style zippie bags. Mainly because they are neater to eat, you don’t have to unmold them, and you don’t have to wash the mold. I got a set of 125 at Amazon, including a little funnel (be sure to get that – makes a HUGE difference). Each baggie holds 1/2 cup.

So, these recipes make 6-8 pops each, depending on how full you make the pops. Give ’em a try, love. They’re tastee!

Biggie Pops – Four Ways

Salty-Sweet Celery Basil
(slightly tweeked version of the Jerry James recipe linked above.)
2 c. celery juice (about one hefty stalk [12-ish ribs] of celery)
1 c. simple syrup
20 basil leaves
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Make the syrup first. In a saucepan, put ¾ each water and sugar. Put on a medium heat stirring occasionally until it is clear. Remove from the heat, throw in the basil leaves, stir and then leave it to cool.
Wash and trim the celery, cut in to 2”-3” lengths and puree in the food processor. Strain. If you are a little shy of two cups, add a little water. If you are off by more than half a cup, puree more celery.
When the syrup is room temp, mix it with the celery puree and the salt. Pour in to the pop mold of your choice and freeze for four-plus hours.

Roasted Nectarine with Brown Sugar and Bourbon
5 ripe nectarines, halved and roasted in 400* until brown and bubbly (about 20m)
1/3 c. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. bourbon

Roast the fruit, mix the rest of the ingredients in a metal bowl. When the nectarines come out of the oven, toss them hot into the bowl, give it a couple stirs and leave it to cool. When it’s room temperature, puree the fruit (reserve the liquid) and then add the liquid in until it is to your taste.

Pour in to the pop mold of your choice and freeze for eight-plus hours.

Cucumber Lemon
3 c. strained cucumber puree (4 large cucumbers, seeded and peeled made in to liquid in the food processor)
Juice & Zest of 1 lemon
1 c. simple syrup

Stir everything together, pour in to the pop mold of your choice and freeze for four-plus hours.

Mango Lime Chamoy
3 c. mango puree (four mangoes, peeled and pureed in the food processor)
Juice of three limes
¾ to 1 c. simple syrup
8 Tbps. chamoy

Mix the mango puree, lime and simple syrup. Drizzle a little chamoy down the sides of the pop mold of your choice, and then fill with the mixture. Freeze for eight-plus hours.

The pops made with pureed fruit, the more dense ones, took much longer to freeze than those that were mostly juice.

Interestingly enough, it was the cucumber lemon that was the most popular at my office, seconded by the mango chamoy.

Crispy Spicy Jicama Slaw

This is an easy, pretty, and super-fresh side for the summer – especially when you’re grilling or having tacos, but rice and beans on the side just seem way too heavy.

I was making mexi-pizza* last night, and I wanted something a little more than the usual cabbage and onion on top. And rice and beans, and even calbacitas, just sounded too heavy. So I made a batch of jicama slaw and it hit the spot.  It is so fresh, with a little zing from the vinegar and a little heat from the jalapeno.

*Mexi-pizza – When you spread refrieds between two small flour tortillas and then bake them until brown and crunchy. Like a flat chimichanga. Mmmmm….

Jicama Slaw

2 Tbsp sugar (or agave sweetener, or honey, or…you get the idea)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ small yellow or white onion, cut in ⅛” crescents
½ to 1 fresh jalapeno**, de-seeded and de-veined, sliced in ⅛” crescents
½ c. chopped cilantro
2 c. jicama, in 1” long matchsticks

Whisk together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Then whisk in the oil.  Add the sliced veg, stir and eat. The amount of jalapeno is going to vary depending on the heat of the pepper (because we’ve all been surprised by that one that burns your lips off) and how hot your fam likes their food.

Try this – it’s fast and delicious, and oh so easy and fresh.

**Can you leave out the jalapeno? Of course – this will still be delicious.

Salsa Gringa

Zingy. Garlicky. Spicy.  With a shit ton of Mexican oregano.  That is my favorite kind of salsa. We had some this morning to go with some scrambled eggs, papas con chorizo, and homemade flour tortillas.  
(Don’t be impressed at homemade tortillas- they are REALLY easy to make and pretty quick. Maybe we’ll post those another day.)

So we are munching away and I joke about making a post about the salsa, and himself says, “Why not? That would be great.”  (Still winning best husband ever award.) So, here we go. It’s taken me a long time to figure out “the rules” for flavor combos in fresh red tomato-based salsa making.  Some of the ones that work for me are either lime juice or vinegar, not both. And for the herbaceousness, oregano with vinegar but cilantro with lime – never cilantro and oregano together. And oregano with hot little dry red chilis like chile de arbol or chiltepin or chile pepin, but jalapeno or serrano with cilantro.  I’m sure there are a gazillion exceptions since Mexico has refined salsa pairing the way the French have with wine. But having these ground rules in my head helps me when I’m making some.

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Give this a go; it is really good on eggs, chips, and tacos dorados. With some icy cold cerveza, of course.  And don’t shit at the amount of garlic and oregano until you try it.

Salsa Gringa
INGREDIENTS
1 can diced tomatoes
5 fat cloves of garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed between your hands
1/3 c finely chopped white onion (about a fourth of a large onion)
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper (chiltepin, chile de arbol, etc.)
1 Tbsp. XVOO
2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS
Throw everything in your blender or nutribullet or bowl with a stick blender except half the oregano, half the onion and the S&P. If you don’t like very espicy salsa, start with a smaller quantity of the hot pepper. (If you don’t like at-all-spicy salsa, try another recipe. This ain’t it.) Blend until it’s a homogenous mass. The oil helps it emulsify a little and rounds out the edges of the garlic and acid.

Stir in the remaining oregano, onion, S&P and a few more shots of the vinegar. Give it a taste and adjust as you see fit. It should start out tangy and garlicky then herbaceous, and finally finish with a nice heat that fills your mouth.

Eat this only among friends and family as you will be Dracula-proofed for a while after consuming it

¡ Buen provencho !

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.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

We wish you a table bountiful in love and delightful in tastes.
See you in a week-ish.

P.S. You see a face in that pumpkin, right? Himself says no, but it is totally there you guys.

Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette

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I’m ready for something light. The comfort foods of cooler weather just seem heavy and unappetizing now that the days are longer and the sun is shining. Well, that plus the candy fest that seems to run from St. Valentine’s day through Easter. Ugh. No more sugar. Please.
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Shaved squash is all the foodie rage of late, and at first I thought, “uh – no.” But then I tried it. I must confess, it’s tasty. It is actually tender-crisp, mild, and ever so slightly sweet. And with some lemon? YUM! So today’s salad is a super light, marvelously crunchy concoction – it would be great as a big lunch salad, or as a side to some grilled chicken, fish, or tofu.
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There is so much crunchiness going on – the tender crisp of the squash, the moist snap of the celery, the toasted earthy crunch of the toasted walnuts. Combined with the freshness of parsley and lemon, and the tangy creaminess of some fresh goat cheese and you are going to be so happy you made this!
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Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette
Serves 2 as a side, or one for lunch
Ingredients:
1 c. walnuts, toasted
1 thin zucchini, shaved in to strips.
2 stalks celery, sliced thin at an angle
½ shallot, minced
2 oz. chèvre
¼ c parsley, minced
Zest & juice of half lemon (about 2 Tbsp. juice)
¼ c. (or so) good olive oil
salt & pepper
For the walnuts:
These must be toasted. Heat the oven to 400*. Put the walnut halves on a baking sheet. Put it in the hot oven, and turn the heat off. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes (you should smell toasty nuts.) If they don’t smell toasty, leave them a few minutes more. Let them cool.
For the dressing:
Combine lemon juice, zest, mustard and shallot in a bowl. Whisk these with some salt & pepper until homogenous. Then, whisk in the olive oil just until it emulsifies.
For the salad:
Plate this just before eating it. Arrange the celery, then the squash, parsley,nuts and use a spoon to make little dollops of goat cheese. This might look pretty done Cobb-style with each ingredient in its own row, but I haven’t tried that. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!

Ciambella

Ciambella3
So, we were fast approaching the day when all are Irish. I made soda bread for the first time last year, and it was not anything like I’d expected. It was like a giant scone that you slice. So, since I have that other blog deal now, I did the Irish for that. But that made me think about ciambella – an Italian breakfast cake. Lemony, not too sweet. A little dry so you can schmear it with yummy jam or dip it in your cappucino. It’s like Italian soda bread, really.
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What do I love most about this? The rich buttery taste? The crunchy pearl sugar? The soft, lemony insides? I can never decide. But a hunk of this with some strawberry jam, and I am one happy, crumb-covered monster. This would be amazing with some whipped cream, too. I keep wanting to try it with orange. Or grapefruit. But hey – it’s citrus season. Maybe I’ll do that one next time.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Mario Batali, and the freaking genius uses a food processer.
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I know I’ve been away. I took hiaitus through mid-February. When I tried to come back, I discovered the dark, seedy underbelly of having a blog. My site had been corrupted by some dickweed embedding some malicious code. Hacked through a vulnerability in my theme, and possibly through the recipe plug-in I’d been using. The Yum was flagged. I couldn’t even get in – we tried many different ways over a couple of weeks, but in the end the bastard had us beat. We had to pay our hosting site a fee (that we call a ransom) to remove it. I’m still pissed – feeling that violated, and unable to do anything was beyond maddening. Sooo….yeah. That’s where I’ve been. It’s still not right – look at this ugly theme, for now. But I want to be up and running again, and will tweak the pretties over a little time. In the meanwhile, please enjoy some ciambella.
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Brilliant!
Buon appetito!

2 c. AP flour
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
1 egg
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
¼ c. buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. pearl sugar & 1 tbsp. milk or water
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a shallow tube pan (like a baba au rhum pan), or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the dry ingredients in the food process, pulse to combine.
Add the butter cubes, pulse until it looks like polenta.
Mix everything but the pearl sugar, pour it in the food processor, and pulse until you have dough.
It will be very stiff – like cookie dough. Pull it out, and roll it into a log about 2” thick. You can circle it in to the tube pan, or you can make it look like a giant doughnut on the parchment. You could also shape it in to a loaf about 3” wide and 8” long.
Once it’s shaped, brush it with the milk or water and sprinkle it with the pearl sugar.
Bake about 30-35 mins until golden and a tester comes out clean.
Cool and eat!
SERVINGS – 10
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