Blog Archives

Food Pr0n – Carnitas Fries

DSC_7914 (1600x1060)I par-fried another big batch of jumbo potatoes the other day and froze them.  They make a quick side and an even quicker entree.  I started out wanting hot dogs, I even thawed some out, but that got me thinking chili dogs, and that led to chili fries.  It just seemed pretty straightforward to make some leftover crockpot pork into chili with a generous dose of various chili powders, and what is pork cooked with chilies if it isn’t carnitas?  The cheese was going onto whatever we ended up with.

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Full Dinner Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup and Awesome Grilled Cheese

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Awesome Photo by JeffreyW

It’s been a busy week. Today I spent six hours helping clean out and organize one of my client’s offices that had two feet of water in it three days ago. Not much of the paperwork was salvageable, but they got the computers and other equipment up and out in time. The office will need to sanitized and repainted before anything can go back. It will get better with time…for everyone. The one thing that does not surprise me is how everyone has pitched in to help, even complete strangers. There are so many stories of good deeds. The sun comes out and we’re all reminded of the beauty that is Colorado, both the view and the people.

When the rain continued on last week and the floods hit, I suddenly needed to cook. Normalcy and comfort. I made a couple of batches of soup. Easy Chicken Tortilla and this tomato soup. I knew I wanted to post this as the full dinner menu this week, but it took me a while to get to it. I apologize for the delay.

This not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  :-)

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flax

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

Originally posted October 2009

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Tex-Mex Pr0n – Smoked Pork Tacos

DSC_6293 [1600x1200]I toasted oil brushed corn tortillas with the cheese and pork on them, and then built the tacos out from there.  These have minced jalapenos, bell peppers, cabbage, cherry and grape tomatoes (First harvest from the patio garden! yay!), green onions, and a dollop of sour cream.  They have the usual splash of hot sauce and a sprinkle of the ground dried peppers mix that I put on nearly everything now.

Roll Your Own Taco

DSC_6224 [1600x1200]I was puttering about in the kitchen and found a packet of corn tortillas in the fridge.  I fried them in some oil in a skillet, thinking not much farther ahead than making nacho chips, maybe.  After sprinkling on some cheese I remembered a little brisket and smoked pork that was leftover so I added a dab to each and set them under a broiler, on a baking tray, while I rummaged for some toppings.DSC_6225 [1600x1200]Didn’t find a whole lot.  I chopped a tomato and some onion and a jalapeno and added a daub of ancho sauce and went with that.  They were pretty good despite, or because of, the sparse trimmings.  I’ve always been a pile it all on kind of fellow but there is another school.  My pizzas are always thick with cheeses and toppings but there are those who believe less is more.

Braised Chicken and Tomatillo Salsa

DSC_5607 [1600x1200]This was pretty good though it could have used a bit of spice.  I seasoned boneless chicken thighs with salt and pepper and browned them in oil, then added chicken stock and a sliced yellow onion and a good sprinkle of ground cumin, covered the pan and simmered it until the chicken was falling apart and the broth was reduced.  While the chicken was cooking I roasted a couple of poblanos in the toaster oven, peeled the skins when they were ready and sliced the peppers into ribbons and added them to the chicken.  The tomatillo salsa I posted about here went on top.

The chimichangas are simple but delicious.  Roll refried beans and shredded cheese into a flour tortilla, being sure to tuck the ends in, and deep fry them in 350 degree oil.  Bean and cheese is a common filling but there isn’t any reason not to use whatever you would like.

Tacos and Enchiladas

DSC_5519 [1600x1200]These were fun and tasty.  I had a couple of fresh poblanos I wanted to use up so I roasted them atop the stove over a burner and scraped off the skins.  They went atop some chicken thighs that I sauteed in a little oil and became the filling for the tacos and the enchiladas.  Mrs J called from the grocery store and asked if I wanted her to pick anything up and I asked for tomatillos because they usually have a few.  I had just read over several recipes for making salsa verde and every one of them wanted roasted tomatillos.  She came back with several small, sad looking specimens but I went ahead and used them.  Cut them in half and roast them under a broiler, then spin them in a blender with lime juice, half an onion, salt, pepper, a smashed garlic clove, a pinch of sugar, and as much of a fresh jalapeno as you can slip by the Missus.  I used half of one, no seeds.  Most of the recipes want a handful of cilantro with that but we decline on account it tastes like soap.  But it’s pretty and makes a nice garnish, so there’s that.

Chili Cheese Fries

I was a tad surprised when Mrs J suggested chili cheese fries for Sunday dinner but I hastened to comply.  It’s all about comity!  The chili wasn’t much, some chorizo sausage I had left from the last batch, a little bit of ground beef, a spoonful of ancho chili powder, and a splash of water to bring everything together in a small saucepan.  The fries are frozen shoestrings – it’s hard to top the frozen fries on offer these days and I rarely bother to try.  I deep fried these but oven baking works well, too.Arrange a bed of fries on a plate and spoon some chili over them, add what cheese looks right and either nuke them in the microwave or place them in a 375 oven until the cheese melts.I like to garnish with sliced green onions and fresh jalapenos.  The specks are my fave Tex-Mex seasoning mix.  It has dried ancho and chipotle peppers, garlic, salt, black pepper, and a few more things in it.  Recommended.We used some shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses on these and I don’t think you can do much better than those for this dish but if you do be sure to let me know!I saw recipes that would have you dust the fries with a chili seasoning mix but that may be overkill, the liquid from the chili saturates the fries with that yummy chili flavor.

Enjoy!

Another Round of Inside & Out Grilled Cheese

JeffW’s sandwich looked so good I had to watch the video and see how it was done.   Decided to make them today, with a few changes.  I used whole grain bakery bread, added mayonnaise, tomato and jalapeno.  My cheese of choice was sharp cheddar and jack.  Lots of butter and my cast iron gave me a crispy brown crust.  It was good.

 

Thursday Night Menu: First Snow Edition

We are expecting our first snow this weekend, so I thought a good soup would be nice.  This is not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  :-)

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

EDIT:  From comments at Balloon-Juice:

As for BHF’s menu (which sounds delicious): you have to love a menu whose shopping list reminds you that you’re going to need basics like butter and brown sugar, but just assumes you’ll have flax in the pantry.

Yes, you will need flax.  My bad.  1/2 cup flax meal works best.

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