Monday, February 25, 2013

Tofu Mushroom and Corn Stuffed Poblanos with Chipotle Tomato Sauce

This was my first time working with tofu, and it was an experiment that turned out okay. Typically tofu is marinated before cooking, but I didn't read up on that fact when I made these. From what I can tell, tofu is found exactly nowhere in Mexican cuisine, so i guess you can consider this dish a mashup.

1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
4 oz. oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
10 oz. firm tofu
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp lime juice

Over medium heat, add olive oil to a large skillet, then cook the onion and mushrooms for about  2 minutes. Add the tofu, corn, paprika, coriander and cumin, and cook until the mushrooms and onion are softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat to a bowl, and add in lime juice.

Chipotle Tomato Sauce
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (I used San Marzanos)
2 chipotle chilis in adobo
½ large white onion, kept whole (skin removed)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder

Puree the tomatoes and chipotle chilis. Add to a medium sauce pan along with the onion and bay leaf. Heat to a simmer. Add in the seasonings, tasting to adjust. The flavors will concentrate as the sauce cooks down, so go easy on the spices at the beginning. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. Adjust the seasonings, and remove the onion and bay leaf.

Assembly and baking:
4 to 6 poblano chilis (depending on size)
Cotija Cheese
Sour Cream

Wash off the poblano chilis and place under a low broiler for a few minutes per side, until the skin starts to blacken and blister. Once the skin is blistered on both sides, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Remove the skin under running water – it should peel right off. You don’t have to remove every last bit. Cut a slit down the center of the chili, being careful not to bisect the chili in half. Remove the seeds and stem – wash them in the sink again to remove remnants of seeds.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Fill each chili and reassemble the best you can, placing them in a 13x9 baking dish. Top each chili with cotija cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, with the rack in the middle of the oven until the cheese melts. Turn the broiler on high for about 1 minute if you want to get some color on the tops.

Spoon some tomato sauce on a plate, place a chili on top, and add a dollop of sour cream on top.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chicken in Riesling with Sauce Supreme

This week’s theme was mother sauces, which I really only make when I’m cooking mac & cheese. My strategy was basically to cook something I wanted to anyway, and add a sauce on top. It sort of ended up being unnecessary when all was said and done; the chicken dish is really good without any additional bells and whistles. The chicken recipe is modified from: They call for a dry Alsatian Riesling. I ended up using an off-dry, sweet Riesling with some honey notes to it. I was afraid this might throw off the dish, but it ended up working really well. Next time though, I'd nix the potatoes and serve the whole thing over risce. 

The sauce supreme recipe is modified from:

Chicken in Riesling
1 chicken cut into 8 pieces (2 thighs, 2 legs, both breasts cut in half across their width)
2 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 carrots, chopped into pieces
8 oz. Mushrooms, cut into chunks
8 leaves of cabbage, chopped into pieces
4 large red potatoes, chopped into quarters
1 cup Riesling (I used Dunham Cellars Riesling)
1 Cup Chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 35o°F. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Melt a pat of butter in the dutch oven. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown over medium heat in two batches, about or 7 minutes total. Set aside on a plate. Add the carrots to the pot, and give them about 2 minutes before adding the mushrooms, leeks and shallots. Cook until everything is softened, about 7 minutes, lightly seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Place the cabbage on top of the veggies in the pot, and nestle the chicken pieces over top. Pour the wine and chicken stock over everything, put a lid on the pot, and place in the oven to cook for 25 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

While that’s going on, quarter and peel some red potatoes. Place in a cold pot of well-salted water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes depending on how big your chunks are. Drain in a colander and serve with the braised chicken.

Sauce Supreme
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1.5 cups chicken stock
½ cup Riesling
1 /2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, until your roux is blonde, whisking constantly. Meanwhile, add the stock and wine to a microwave safe dish and heat until very warm/hot. Add the liquid ½ cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it cook down for 15 minutes. Whisk in the cream, and cook for 2 additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat, whisk in remaining butter and lemon juice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ancho Devil's Food Cupcakes with Spicy Chocolate Buttercream

Ancho chili powder really does make everything better, and cupcakes are no exception. The combination of chili peppers and chocolate is a classic – see Mexico’s famous mole poblano. And really, doesn’t devil’s food cake just sound like the type of dish that should have some kick to it? The cupcake recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s, and will yield 12 cupcakes. The frosting is this recipe just with the addition of cayenne. It ended up yielding enough for about 16 cupcakes. Making too much frosting isn’t ideal, but it’s a good problem to have.

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Melt the butter along with the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at medium-low speed for 5 minutes, until mixture is cooled. If you find that the butter/sugar mixture is still rather warm, do what I did and stick it outside on a freezing cold balcony for a few minutes.  

Meanwhile, add the cocoa powder to the hot water and stir to combine.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ancho chili powder and salt.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated (still medium low speed). Add the vanilla, then the hot cocoa water mixture, beating until combined. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture and the sour cream, alternating in two batches (i.e. half the flour, half the sour cream, repeat).

Divide the batter into the muffin tins, using a little under a quarter cup each. The batter should fill the tins ¾ of the way. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

Spicy Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao), melted and cooled
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a stand mixer, whip the butter using your whisk attachment on medium high for 5 minutes. You’ll want to scrape the bowl/dislodge stuck butter from the whisk once or twice during this time.

Reduce the speed to low, and slowly pour in the powdered sugar. Once the sugar and butter are combined, add the vanilla extract and cayenne, beating until combined. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate, beating to combine. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl to incorporate all the chocolate. Increase the speed to medium-high, and whip for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a ½” star tip before dispensing on top of the cupcakes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce milk chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter than let cool for a few minutes. Add to the bowl of a mixer along with yogurt, eggs, cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and food coloring. Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift into the liquid ingredients in four batches, mixing until each addition is combined.

Melt the semisweet and milk chocolate in a microwave. Whisk into batter.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Prep 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and place 1 tablespoon of batter for each cookie. Wet your fingers with water and smooth out the tops of the cookies. You’ll also want to shape them into rounds so they turn out as circles once baked. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough springs back slightly when poked with a finger. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla using a stand or hand mixer. Slowly add in the sugar, continuing to beat until incorporated. Spoon 1 tablespooonful between 2 cookies to finish.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Krystal's Style Sliders

This week’s theme is guilty pleasures, which to me conjures images of food with insanely-high calorie counts, such as megafries (French fries covered in melted cheese, with bacon and ranch dressing), or something dead-simple such as grilled cheese (white bread, processed cheese). I figured I’d split the difference, and make Krystal’s style sliders.

In case you’re not familiar, Krystal’s the southern equivalent of White Castle, tiny burgers that you end up eating a dozen of at a time and feeling like crap afterwards. I’ve only eaten there once during a college road trip, but I definitely remember those sliders. My take on them isn’t an exact replica, but I think I captured the spirit of the thing pretty well. The rolls are actually a dinner rolls recipe from the King Arthur Flour website, and the sugar adds sweetness, as do the caramelized onions (Krystal’s just uses dehydrated onions, if I recall correctly). The mustard and pickle work perfectly to balance out the sweetness.

Hamburger Rolls
56 grams lukewarm water
227g warm milk (100 to 110 F)
23 grams butter (slightly less than 2 tablespoons)
10 grams sugar
½ tablespoon salt
14 grams instant yeast
361 to 422 grams all-purpose flour (I ended up using ~361g)

Add the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, until the yeast starts to foam.

Add 312 grams of flour and mix with the dough hook attachment until the ingredients form a mass.  Add flour, ¼ cup (30 grams) at a time with the mixer running, until the dough forms a smooth ball (this took me about ½ cup total). Knead using the dough hook for about 5 minutes (or by hand for 10 minutes), until the dough is soft and smooth, and feels tacky to the touch.

Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on how warm it is in your kitchen), until the dough is puffy and has risen ~50%.

Remove the dough from the bowl, and work into a rectangle approximately 8” x 12”. Cut into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 3 portions and form into balls, rolling on a cutting board to give them their shape.

Place the rolls into a 13” x 9” baking/roasting pan that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the rolls rise for 20 to 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F. My rolls didn’t really brown at all by the time they reached this point, so I turned on the broiler for a minute to give them some color.

Remove, and let cool on a baking rack.

Sliders (for 2 servings a.k.a. 6 sliders)
½ large white onion, diced
1 tablespoon Butter
Scant 1/2 lb. Ground Beef (I used 80/20 Chuck)
Mustard (plain old yellow mustard, none of that fancy stuff)
American Cheese (processed only, none of that ‘real’ cheese here)
Salt and Pepper

First, you’ll want to caramelize the onions. Heat a medium pan over medium high heat. Toss in the butter, then the onions. Let them cook for about 8 minutes, until they’ve released a good amount of liquid and taken on some color, then add salt. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or so. We’re looking for onions that have some color on them, but not full-on French onion soup style caramelized onions. You’ll probably need to turn the heat down as the onions are cooking to prevent burning. Make sure you keep an eye on them so this doesn’t occur. These can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

Finally, the burgers: Form the beef into 6 small patties, approximately ½” to ¾” thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook in a heavy-bottomed pan, over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, until cooked through. Top with cheese, onions, mustard and a pickle. Serve with a side of French fries.