Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos

On February 27, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Mexican dishes offer a lot of options for vegetarian cooks.  There are a ton of recipes for vegetarian or vegan enchiladas, including some I’ve made myself.  Tacos, burritos and quesadillas are all excellent vegetarian options since pretty much everything is simply stuff a tortilla.  Stuffed peppers in dishes like Chiles Rellenos also provide an option for the non-meat eating cook.

This dish is adapted from a blog post find; though, the original post doesn’t give any exact measurements and tasted a bit bland so I’ve added a few changes to make it more flavorful.

Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos
Serves 4

4 Poblano Chiles
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, small cubes
1 can of black beans, drained
1 small red onion
1 cup red quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled queso blanco cheese
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the red quinoa following the instructions from the quinoa bag or other recipe.  A simple version is 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed several times, added to a 1 1/4 cup of water. Once boiling then cover and reduce heatto simmer and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Roast Poblano chiles on an open flame or in the oven. For a gas stove, simply heat chiles on an open flame at medium-high heat turning often for about 3 minutes per chile.  Set aside in a paper bag and let cool. Remove after 5 minutes and peel skins and seed, cut open leaving top of chile and just enough to later stuff.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes for about 8-10 minutes in salted water. Add onion and garlic to a pan with the olive oil. Saute for about 4 minutes, do not brown. Add black beans and reduce heat to simmer.  Add cilantro and the other herbs to the pan along with the cooked potatoes. Increase the heat to medium and blend the mixture to coat with the herbs and salt & pepper to taste.  Remove from heat after combined.

Stuff the poblanos with the potato and bean mixture.  Crumble cheese on top of each stuffed chile. Place stuffed poblanos in a boiler for 3 minutes to let cheese melt and brown.

Serve using a large spoonful of red quinoa and placing stuffed poblano on top of quinoa.

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Chorizo Tacos

On February 13, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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These easy to make tacos are full of flavor and require very little preparation and cooking time.

The Chorizo I bought came from a local ranch called Rehoboth Ranch that sells at the Coppell Farmers Market.  The ingredients are simple including only pork, salt, paprika, ground pepper, garlic, and oregano.

I also used some locally made corn tortillas from Two Chefs, sold at the same market. I highly recommend their corn tortillas as they are the best I have found around Dallas.

Chorizo Tacos
Serves 3-4

1 lb Chorizo Sausage, remove casing and crumble
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chop
10 corn tortillas
1 lime
hot sauce (optional)
oil

Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan and heat on medium-high.  Place crumbled chorizo into pan and add cumin and fresh pepper.  Let this cook, watching it and stirring it often. Keep cutting the chorizo into smaller bits and let the sausage get a bit burt in places.  This will add to the flavor and should take about 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a pan high enough to barely cover a tortilla.  Let it get hot enough, about 3 minutes.  Dip each tortilla in the oil separately and turning over quickly. This should only take about 5 seconds per tortilla and move the tortilla to a plate with paper towels and remove any excess oil.  Repeat with remaining corn tortillas.

Place a few tortillas on a plate and add about a 1/3 cup of meat and a small handful of cilantro and red onions.  Cut up a lime adding a couple wedges to each plate.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce for added flavor, like Valentina.

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For those who do not know, I also write a blog reviewing taco stands located at gas stations – gasstationtacos.com.  To support the blog, I also maintain the @GasStationTacos Twitter account where I get a few new followers each week. One follower I noticed had competed on American Idol Season 10 and also does a food blog.  I checked out the blog and noticed a few recipes worth trying.  This is the first recipe.

The original recipe is for Rotisserie Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Corn Salsa from the blog Sarah’s Musical Kitchen. I modified it a bit since I prefer tacos to tostadas and skipped the layer of salsa for a few drops of hot sauce. The hot sauce I used is Swat Sauce I picked up last December in Ferndale, Michigan at The Fly Trap restaurant.

Saturday morning I went to Coppell’s Farmers Market and bought some corn and flour tortillas from Two Chefs. This recipe put the fresh corn tortillas to good use, plus the easy avocado sauce (1 avocado, 1/2 cup sour cream and a dash of garlic powder) is such a brilliant idea I’m sure I’ll use for other recipes and would be amazing on a hamburger.

So go ahead and give this simple recipe a try.  My wife really enjoyed it and said it was better than anything she’s ever had at Urban Taco.

For the full recipe: Rotisserie Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Corn Salsa

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Baja Chicken Tacos from The Savvy Spoon Blog

On September 8, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m discovering several types of food snobs in Texas.

There is the Tex-Mex snob who will tell you where to go for the best Tex-Mex, usually in some Texas town you’ve never heard of or one that is at least a 4 hour drive from wherever you are currently.

Then there is the BBQ snob.  This type of Texas food snob will inform you about the best place ever somewhere not listed in the Yellow Pages. No you will find it on the side of the road, isolated from every form of civilization, except someone decided to plop down a double-wide and hang a sign out advertising BBQ ribs and chicken.  Wooden picnic tables come standard.

I’m quickly becoming the other kind of snob – the dreaded taco snob. If the taco has lettuce in it, the restaurant will be forever known as Taco Bell-ish or Chi-Chi’s-like. Then there is the tortilla, is it too doughy or too dry or too greasy?  Is the meat properly seasoned? Is there enough cilantro or did they forget the cilantro?  If you haven’t read my Gas Station Tacos blog, you are missing the sad, pathetic monster I am becoming…

So, when it comes to tacos — I am unbearable, which brings me to my making some Baja Tacos from The Savvy Spoon blog.  In full disclosure, I know the blogger as we have some common friends and both attended a Social Media Club event where we met. Cayla is a fellow California native who is also now here in Dallas.

I noticed the Baja Taco recipe while reading her blog last weekend and decided it looked like a good option after work. It’s simple. I could make the chicken before I left for work and I had all the ingredients without a stop at the grocery store.

One of the ingredients did make me hesitate: the use of packet McCormick’s Hot Taco Seasoning. I actually had some in my spice cabinet since I used to use it for ground beef hard shell tacos in my B.T.I.T..S. (Before Turning Into a Taco Snob) phase. Yes I know it reads “Be Tits”. Oh well, it just came out that way by accident. I swear.

If I had to do this recipe again, I’d remove the packet.  It’s far too salty. Instead, I’d substitute the following:

1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Cayenne
ground pepper to taste
and reduce the water from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup

I think that would improve the flavor and take away the excessive salt from the McCormick’s product. Other than that change, I think the tacos are a good option for a simple after work dinner.

Thanks Cayla. I hope you’ll understand my change as I am a taco snob.

For the recipe and other great recipes and food finds checkout The Savvy Spoon Blog.

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Vegetarian Tacos

On July 7, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s no secret I love tacos, but finding a great vegetarian taco is not easy. So many restaurants over use bell peppers or try to get to complicated with sauces or cheeses. Fortunately, I found a fairly basic recipe from the vegetarian cookbook Appetite for Reduction. I modified it quite a bit, but kept some of its essence too as I liked the minimalist but impact of the spices used.

On a side note, our son Oscar liked the tacos too with one change – “no hot stuff.”

Vegetarian Tacos
Serves 4

1 medium yellow squash, cut into small cubes
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 small red or yellow potatoes, cut into small cubes and cooked
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed, removing all liquid
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of salsa verde
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
tortillas
salt

Cook the potatoes in a small pot for about 8-10 minutes until done.

Start by heating the olive oil and cooking the squash and jalapeno together for about 7 minutes on medium heat and adding some salt to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, black beans and cooked potatoes to the squash and jalapeno. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat then add the salsa verde and cook for about a minute more.

Heat the tortillas. I prefer heating them on a gas stove top turning frequently to get a nice charred burn or two.

Serve.

 

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Adobo Grilled Steak Tacos

On March 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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You can buy Adobo from any market, but making your own isn’t that difficult and more than worth doing. There is such a richness of flavor and it is a rather simple process.

Here is a taco recipe using a homemade Adobo and grilled skirt steak.

Adobo Grilled Steak Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb skirt steak
8 flour tortillas
1 large red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 lemons, cut into quarters

Adobo
3 cascabel chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 pasilla chiles
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 allspice berries
2 cloves
5 garlic cloves
1 inch stick cinnamon
8 black peppercorns

Prepare Adobo by wiping the chiles clean and seeding then roasting chiles for 7 minutes on each side in a toaster oven (or at 350 degree oven.) Place all Adobo ingredients into a blend and blend slowly into a paste. Add a 1 tsp of water at a time to get the right consistency if the 1/2 cup of water does not make it smooth enough.

Rub Adobo into skirt steak and let it marinate for 1 hour or overnight. Cook marinated skirt steak over high heat on a grill. About 10 minutes per side to desired doneness. Remove from grill and slice into small 1/2 inch pieces.

Fill flour tortillas with steak, onion, cilantro, and thin slices of avocado. Plate 2 tacos and include a quarter slice of lemon.

 

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Slow-Cooked Achiote-Marinated Pulled Pork Tacos

On March 7, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Every cook has shelves and shelves of cookbooks, but most of them ever get opened more than once or twice. Then there are the cookbooks you can’t live without. Roberto Santibanez, chef of the NYC restaurant Rosa Mexicano, wrote an excellent book Rosa’s New Mexican Table.

I’ve tried a few recipes before and wanted to get deeper into the book now that I’m in Texas where there are tons of local Mexican grocery stores and amazing made that day tortillas.

So I tried what is essentially Mexico’s version of pulled-pork. It’s the Slow-Cooked Anchiote-Marinated Pork on page 102 (I wanted to post the full recipe but that’s a copyright violation, so pardon my select ingredients that follow as they are more for me to remember what I need to buy at the grocery store in case I failed to check the book. One of the great side-effects of a food blog is that you can pull up the blog’s recipes on a smartphone.)

The recipe calls for a 3 1/2 pound pork butt, 10-ounce package of fresh banana leaves, a couple of limes, anchiote paste, and several spices. The pork is marinated for a couple hours or over night. Once marinated the pork is wrapped in the banana leaves in a casserole dish and cooked for 2 1/2 hours.


Above is what it looks like before entering the oven and below is what it looks like after being unwrapped and pulled. Keep all the liquid from the pan as this will be used to coat the pork. Simply pull the pork and place it in the pan with the marinade juices from the oven. Stir and serve the pork with some sliced onions, cilantro and tortillas.


You can also add some hot sauce, but the tacos do not need it and you’ll get more of the sour and hot flavor from the pork without adding more heat to the dish.

The shredded pork can also be used for burritos, quesadillas, or use it like BBQ pulled pork and make a sandwich. There should be plenty of leftovers to play around with.

A friend informed me this is also known as Cochinita Pibil.

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Chicken Goat Cheese Burritos

On February 19, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It was at my first culinary class at a local culinary college in Portland, Oregon that I tried my first taste of goat cheese. Back in 1993 goat cheese just wasn’t that common. I had tried it on toasted french bread in a French Bistro cooking course. It was excellent. Since then I have enjoyed goat cheese in several recipes, including this one that I make about every couple of months.

The photo above includes a dollop of sour cream and instead of green salsa I used Jack’s Special Medium Salsa. I also made some fresh guacamole to accompany the main course. Usually, I just make some Spanish rice but simply forgot tonight, so hey chips and guac is always a good quick backup!

The other thing I tried this time was a tortilla product at Whole Foods by IndianLife foods. They are large tortillas with a good flavor but not enough of an improvement to justify the $4.79 price compared to the ~$2 packaged flour tortillas. My favorite choice is picking up fresh made tortillas at Mexicantown Bakery in Detroit’s Mexican Village.

Chicken Goat Cheese Burritos

Makes 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp. (each) salt and pepper
4 flour tortillas
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1 tsp. oil
1⁄2 cup soft fresh goat cheese, broken into small chunks
1 cup fresh green salsa

1. Cut chicken into bit sized strips. In a bowl, coat evenly with cumin, salt, and pepper.

2. Seal tortillas in foil and warm in a 350° oven until hot, about 10 minutes.

3. Place beans and their liquid in a 1-quart pan and cook over medium-high heat until bubbling,
about 5 minutes.

4. In a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir chicken and oil until meat is no
longer pink in center, about 6 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese with a little olive oil in a small bowl to make a paste.

6. Lay tortillas flat. Spread some goat cheese paste on tortillas. Then toward one edge of each,
fill equally with chicken, beans (including liquid), and salsa. Fold over sides and roll up tightly
to enclose. Add more salsa to taste.

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