Tuesday, April 8, 2008

An attempt at creativity

Jimson Weed, 1932 By Georgia O'Keeffe

Oops! Out of milk again. Time to head to the grocery store. It is either milk or bread that leads me to this home away from home at least two days a week. The kids DO love their milk.

Well today when wandering through the produce department and looking for the ingredients for Kate's Platinum Chef Challenge 6 (in which I have every intention to participate), I passed by the chile peppers and the Anaheim chiles called out, "Pick me, Pick me". And so I did. Not sure what I wanted to do with it though. (FYI: Chiles make me think of Santa Fe, NM. Santa Fe makes me think of Georgia O'Keefe. Hence the artwork above.)

It has been a month and a half of blogging for me now. I see some familiar faces stop by and feel you are friends. I also see some new faces commenting from time to time. That is so cool. And I feel I owe it to all of you to offer something creative and "foodie" and inspiring at least once a week. I mean food deals, hikes, rants and photos are all part of who I am but food is the fun stuff.

I felt the chiles were in order tonight. And I kept thinking something along the lines of chile relleno. I have only made stuffed chiles once before. It has been a while. I remember it wasn't easy. I also know I didn't feel like digging around for recipes or doing a lot of reading etc... So here is what I came up with just "winging it". I did have some pitfalls.

Here is what I created for you.

I began by roasting the chiles in the toaster oven until charred. Then I placed them into a plastic bag until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile I made a sauce with about half a bunch of cilantro, a tbls. of white wine vinegar, the juice of one or two limes, one garlic clove, one green onion chopped, a tablespoon of chopped jalapeno (in a can), about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of heavy cream or sour cream (I used a little of both) and salt and pepper to taste. I pureed this mixture in a blender until smooth. If I had an avocado on hand, I would have thrown that in too. It really makes it creamy and delicious. Oh since I wanted to add a little more substance and some vitamins I threw in a large handful of baby spinach leaves too.

You can all now add me to the list of the many bloggers I have read over the past week with little food flops. When my anaheim chile was cool, I removed the skin and seeds. The only problem is that it really came apart. I had 2 sad flabby flat flaps of chile! I glanced at a couple recipes on foodnetwork.com and they say to roast the chiles first. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

So I just placed some grated jalapeno jack cheese (I like spicey) with a little bit of Mexican 4 cheese blend on one of my little flaps and then put the other on top and tried to sort of enclose the cheese. Most relleno recipes dip the chiles in an egg white batter etc... But I don't really like too much coating nor did I want all that outer batter tonight. So I simply (and very very carefully) rolled my little bundle in some flour and then placed it very carefully again into a skillet with a layer of hot oil. When one side browned I continued to gingerly turn my creation with a set of tongs until browned on all sides. It wasn't too easy but happily it didn't fall apart too much either.

Meanwhile on another part of the stove, black beans and corn were simmering. For the kids I made a sort of taquito. I chopped up some of the left over sirloin from the night before and placed it and some cheese on a corn tortilla and rolled it and cooked it in the hot oil. The beans, corn and dollop of sour cream made a pretty little plate.

This is my final (cough cough) masterpiece?

Cheese stuffed chiles with cilantro lime cream

Actually it had a really nice flavor if a little lacking in the looks department. It was fairly light (but for the frying) with a nice light coating and texture. My cilantro sauce was very good but would have been better with avocado. This way however it would make a great dressing for a salad (I would also drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil) or tostada.

If you have experience stuffing chiles, please let me know your tips and tricks!

PS. The best chile relleno I have ever had was in Santa Fe. It was so long ago, however that I do not remember what the restaurant was. This relleno was not traditional though. It did not have the enchilada type sauce and had a very crispy outer coat. I don't remember much else. I do not like a chile relleno with too too much eggy coating or really soggy. The best chile relleno I have had in So. Cal. is at Taco Surf. They have great fish tacos too! We loved them when living in Seal Beach. Very surfer joint type of place.


A World in a PAN said...

Hi Nicole and thank you for your comment in my blog. I'd like to tell you that children should not prevent you from enjoying yourself! I learned that in France. A nicely dressed table cheers me up, and you? Look at all my posts on dressing tables.
I am also delighted to discover your blog and invite you to submit your favortie recipe in my website (www.aworldinapan.com)

Lisa Conmara said...

I think that looks amazing - I've never done stuffed chilis... oh I've such a list of things to try on your blog Nicole!!!

Kate said...

1) I have the same problem with milk. For some reason I buy at least a gallon every 4 days - that's a lot of milk!

2) I can't help with the "my peppers fall apart" problem, because I've never made chile relleno, but could it be the type of pepper? I don't know enough about peppers to make blanket statements, but maybe that particular type doesn't hold up well to charing???

3) You have the same taste in chile relleno as I do. I don't like the batter thick and eggy, I prefer a nice crispy one - which is why I am ALWAYS hesitant to order them for fear it'll be the wrong kind.

Robin Sue said...

Nicole! I must say a word of thanks to you for your lovely posts. I am helping make dinner for a friend's Women's Health and Beauty weekend at her B & B and I saw the dinner you made for your son's baptism, Le Grand Aioli. It will be perfect for her guests, healthy and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your creativity. Happy Blogging!

Nicole said...

Laura, I am going to work harder at that nicely dressed table. So often it is just myself and the kids, I don't do it. I am so glad you came to visit. I will think of a favorite recipe. Thanks!

Hi Lisa! I know. I feel the same about your blog. You are really pumping out a lot lately!

Kate- I do think that some peppers may hold up better than others. But I do know that a couple recipes I saw called for the Anaheim. It is mild and fairly large. I will figure it out somehow. I am hesitant about ordering myself but I chanced it at Taco Surf and was pleasantly surprised. Although it isn't really crispy, it is not too eggy or soggy.

Thanks for visiting Robin and for the compliments. I AM having a fun and happy blogging experience so far. I really like it. Let me know how the Grand Aioli comes out for you.

A World in a PAN said...

Hello Nicole,
Hre is the link to the recipe of prawns veloute (great recipe!). To find rcipes, go to the home page (www.aworldinapan.com) or recipes page, scroll down and enter your ingredient in the "Find Your Recipe" window on the right. www.aworldinapan.com/mostrar.php?id=131#recipe
Bon appetit!

Antonio Tahhan said...

wow, you have a beautiful header!!
mm, i love chiles rellenos! The only thing that I can think of for them falling apart is that you might be roasting them for too long, perhaps? Maybe try a higher heat for less time. Either way, they look DELICIOUS!!
great blog!

Emily said...

I love the way you experiment with food. I one day hope to be confident enough to "just wing it" too. For now I will just have to keep practicing and reading about your new creations.

taste memory said...

I love this kind of cooking....you are so patient taking photos while you are cooking dinner. It's hard for me to do that as everyone is screaming starving including myself. Beautifully done; and I'd eat the kid's taquitos too...

nice post ;-)

Nicole said...

Laura- Thank you for the link. I will have to try it.

Antonio- Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

Emily- I think the more you cook, the easier it is to wing it. Some things are easy for me. Others not so. Asian food is still a bit harder to just ad lib than others for me. I don't know enough.

Taste Memory- I think I am eating my food even colder than usual now that I have started the blog. I plate myself last. After serving the kids. But we are on a weird schedule -- rather late. So when I am lucky enough to have BOTH the kids nap, I can prepare things then. In this case I did everything but the final cooking when they were asleep. Oh and I DID eat some taquito as well! I have to test it out don't I?

Erin said...

Nicole, your blog looks great! I've given you an award... check it out! http://cookingandeatinginthewindycity.blogspot.com/2008/04/blogging-with-purpose-award.html

taste memory said...

oh yes ~ nap time; heaven sent time!

Nicole said...

Erin- That is so flattering! I am excited. Thank you so much.

Ahhh... you are singing my tune Taste Memory! PS. Nice new photo! So light and airy like your new title!

Sherry said...

The green chiles brought back memories of a sweetelderly couple who were our neighbors (originally from Mexico.) They visited New Mexico one year and brought back lots of chiles. She shared some with us and taught me how to roast them and what to use them in (this midwest girl had no idea.) Yum! Will have to try your recipe some day.

Nicole said...

Hi Sherry! Do try it sometime. But it is not the most perfect recipe. My cilantro lime cream is really good though. I make something to this often (this is the first time I wrote down what I put in though) and everyone loves it. Especially if you add avocado.