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.


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.

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!

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…

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Soup. Dammit but I love soup. You get so much for so very little…..

I organized a Stone Soup at the office back in early December, and my department-mates loved it so much, we’ve got an informal ‘Soup Wednesday’ going. One of the gals left her crockpot in the kitchen, and each week someone says, “hey, let’s do such and such this week” – and away we go! Wednesdays are an insane day in my profession, and typically we can’t even get a lunch hour – so this has become quite the awesome tradition. But I digress…..

I was a-Googlin’ for something different and interesting to make next week, and stumbled across the idea of a chickpea soup with Moroccan spices. So, I cobbled together what I liked about all the recipes and what I knew I had on-hand, and gave this a shot for a Friday dinner. Oh, is this good. So, so good. It was maybe 10 minutes of actual work, and about 40 to simmer. The house smelled incredible. And on a chilly night, the warmth of the soup with that gorgeous combination of smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon? Pure heaven. Make this right now – you prolly have the ingredients in the pantry. I even used my cheap-o Trader Joe’s smoked paprika, not the good Spanish stuff. If you don’t have that, just use regular (sweet) paprika.

I drizzled mine with extra-virgin olive oil, Himself did a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some cilantro. Some grilled Greek-style pita or a sliced baguette would go superbly with this.

Enjoy! I’m serious – go make this right now. I’m going to try it in the crockpot next Wednesday at the office – wish me luck!

Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Serves 2 seriously hungry people, or not-so-hungry plus leftovers

In your soup pot, saute:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ white onion, diced
3-4 celery ribs, in soup-sized chunks
3-4 carrots, in soup-sized chunks
After a couple minutes, add in:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. pimenton ahumado
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. tomato paste
After a couple minutes, add in:
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5oz) can chickpeas, drained
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) broth
Simmer for 30 minutes, then use a potato masher and smoosh one side of the pot and add:
1 c. frozen chopped spinach (no need to thaw before)
Simmer 10 more and soup is on, betches!

Serve with: Greek yogurt & Fresh coriander (cilantro), or XVOO, or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Revision 1/28 – Oops! Forgot the nutritional info! According to the VeryWell.com calorie calculator, if you get 3 servings out of this, each serving has:
323 calories
12.7 g fat
693mg sodium
42.1g carbs (12.5g fiber!)
12.2g protein
and 30% of your iron and 23% potassium for the day

Caldo de Verduras con Chochoyotes

Hey, now. That was quite the hiaitus. I used up my December creative juices on a tamalada and 80 dozen cookies and was enjoying myself so much I forgot to take pictures. This was great for me, but sad for the blog.
So, happy new year! It’s a cold, grey, windy day for the first time in weeks. Which means soup at our house. Caldo de verduras con chochoyotes, to be precise. (Vegetable soup with corn flour dumplings.)

I can just hear you – cho-cho-what? Funny story, that one. Last fall I was making some veggie soup. I grew up with dumplings on stew, and I started to wonder if they had a similar tradition in Mexico – short answer, yes! And I discovered a really awesome blog in the process! (Go check it out!)
With a really fun-to-say name, this is a double win. How can you not smile when you say chochoyote. I mean, come on!
Ready to play?

Caldo de verduras con chochoyotes
serves: 4-6

For the soup:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ small white onion, large dice
3 carrots, peeled and in soup-sized discs
4 ribs celery, in soup-sized chunks
2 zucchini, in soup-sized chunks
3 garlic cloves, coarsly chopped
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
4 quarts chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/4 packet menudo soup spices Or, about 2 Tbsp. (NOT the ground kind, the dried leafy kind.)
Briefly saute the chopped veg in the oil in a large soup pot. Then add in the tomatoes, broth and spices. Turn to medium-low. This is going to look sparse at first – like a LOT of broth and so few veg. The dumplings will absorb a lot of the liquid, and act as a thickener, too. It will be lovely, swearsies.

Make the masa for the dumplings.
Mix 1 c. masa harina with ½ tsp. salt and ¾ c. warm tap water. This will make a thick crumbly mess. Add 2 Tbsp fat (bacon fat, lard, or crisco – bacon is the best) and with clean hands, knead the dough until it is combined. It should be firm and not sticky, like a play-do consistency. Roll it in to 4 logs about a 1.5” in diameter and 5” long. Cover and set aside at room temp for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, the soup should be at a bare simmer. After the wait, take one of the masa logs, break it in to 5 even pieces and roll each one in to a ball. With your thumb (or an implement, I used the end of my lemon reamer because fingernail marks in the dumplings sick me out.) But I digress. So, put a dimple in each dough ball so that it looks like a little bowl, and gently place each one in the pot. Gently shake the pot to get them to submerge if needed. Don’t stir – they’re super fragile and will just come apart. Repeat this process until all the dumplings are in the pool.

Keep at a bare simmer for 20-30 mins. The soup will thicken and the dumplings will cook. Check for doneness by taking one out and slicing it in half; it should be the same color all the way through. If there’s an uncooked core, just simmer them for five more minutes and check again.

Serve like any Mexican-style caldo – with lime wedges and hot pepper, some oregano or cilantro , maybe some sliced radish – so everyone can season their bowl to their taste.

If you actually have leftovers of this, they won’t last long. This little bowl of love is like a veggie stew with tamales in it. You are going to LOVE this. I promise.

updated 01.22.18 – add “room temp” to resting the masa.

Lemony Carrot Salad with Fig & Pistachio


SUMMER! The rains are finally here. It took a long time this year, so long we began to wonder if they would ever get here. But now it is officially summer. Hot, sticky days beg for cold, crunchy salads.

You know how much I love me some carrot salad. It’s a summer staple in our house. I made this one for my mom’s birthday lunch, and loved it so much I’ve made it again and again.
This is an easy-peasy salad, almost like that carrot raisin salad from childhood, but with a grown-up (and mayonnaise-free!) twist.

1# fresh carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 to 4 c.)
¼ c. dried figs, sliced in thin rounds
¼ c. toasted pistachio meats, coarsely chopped
Zest of ½ lemon (1 tsp.)
Juice of ½ lemon (2 Tbps.)
1 Tbsp. agave sweetener (or sugar, or honey)
1 Tbsp. mild vegetable oil

Use a food processor to grate the carrots. Or use children – free labor, quick healers, and all that.

In a medium-sized salad bowl, whisk together the lemon, agave, oil. Dump in the rest, stir and serve. Or, you can stick it in the fridge and eat it later. It is good both ways: crisper with less sauce the first day, crunchy and juicier the next.
This is fantasic for picnics and barbecues (no mayo!), or with a sammie at lunch.
Going with four servings, the calorie calculator at verywell.com says each serving has:
Calories 163
Fat 7.3g
Carbs 23.9g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 14.8g
Protein 3.1g
and…..632% of your Vitamin A for the day!

Cherry Tomaisins


Not to go all foodie on you, but an oven dried tomato is an amazing sweet tart chewy bit of umami magic. Happily this is the time of year when Sprouts has these little cartons for less than a dollar. I needed half of one to roast with some fish, but of course bought two because LESS THAN A DOLLAR, you guys.(What’s the green, you ask? Himself made a chickpea spread and it is yum!)

Those little pints stared at me everyday from the kitchen counter. Then this morning I realized – I can roast them! I started to think about a quinoa salad with roasted veg and a garlicky balsamic, and thought how yummy these would be. Or maybe in a wrap. Or tossed with some green beans. Or as a layer in a bacon sammich. Or…..anyway, these freeze like a dream – if you have any left to freeze. Seriously, you will eat them like candy when they come out of the oven.

This is a Sunday at home for a couple hours recipe. It requires almost zero effort, and hardly any oven heat – but it takes two or so hours for that chewy sweet goodness.

Cherry Tomaisins
2 pints cherry roma tomatoes
2 Tb XVOO
½ tsp. pimentón ahumado dulce
garlic salt & pepper
Heat your oven to 225*. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Wash and laterally slice in half the tomatoes. (From stem to tip, in other words.) Toss them on the lined tray. sprinkle with the olive oil and seasonings. Toss in the oven. After an hour, gently stir them every half hour until they are done – about 2 hours, depending on how juice they were to start with. This batch was 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Mmmmmm
PS – If you want the link for that spread, it’s here at BlenderGirl.