Fish tacos

This is the first time I’ve tried tacos with fish.  They seem OK but I am not a huge fan so far.  I didn’t have fresh limes so I used some of the bottled stuff, I know the real deal would have been way better.

I went with this recipe because it matched the best with the ingredients I had on hand.  The marinade with the oil and powdered spices gave an interesting flavor to the fish – I used the same black bass fillets that I used for the sandwiches earlier today.  The corn tortillas I used were long frozen examples I dug out of the freezer and were not at their best.  I still favor flour tortillas and will go with those next attempt at tacos of whatever flavor.

Chicken quesadillas with black bean salsa

This dish is so common that it was odd, I thought, that I had never done them before.  It amounts to nothing but a South of the border style toasted cheese sandwich.

Coat one side of a tortilla with oil and place it oil side down in a hot skillet, sprinkle some stuff on top of that, and then lay another oiled tortilla atop it, oil side up this time.  Flip it over when it browns and brown the other side.  An alternate method is to double half of a tortilla over on itself with the fillings inside.  As to fillings, there are no rules.  I would bet that 95% have cheese on them, and many of those get nothing else.  It would make a perfectly serviceable  quesadilla.  Most everyone who goes to the trouble, though, will add more stuff.  Tonight I had some diced roasted chicken, some shredded “taco” cheese, and a daub or four of regular tomato salsa.  Next time I will hold the salsa and double up on the cheese.

As is the usual thing around here, I had some cherry tomatoes that I needed to use somewhere.  Perfect night for some fresh salsa.  I opened a can of black beans and rinsed those off, chopped a bunch of the cherry tomatoes, a few jalapenos, an onion, and splashed in some lime juice.  Some salt and pepper and an hour in the fridge and it came together nicely.



Yeah, yeah.  Been there and done that.

Deal with it.  This is seriously good stuff.  I did make this batch a bit differently than the last few.  I used the counter top roaster to cook the pork and added a bunch of onions and dried peppers to the pan with the meat.  Cleaned a  head of garlic and slipped most of the head into slits cut here and there on the roast.  Took the powdered dried peppers I made a while back and gave everything inside the pan a good dusting with that, along with some onion powder and plenty of ground black pepper.  Poured in a good quart of chicken stock and turned it on to 350.  I shoved a temperature probe into the sweet spot and set it to beep when it got to 165.  Worked like a charm.

I took the cooked roast out and set it to cool on a board and then strained the peppers and onions and other solids from the juices left in the pan.  Ladle off the fat from the good stuff or do as I did–put the bowl into the freezer until the fat hardens and you can lift it out.

Drag out the blender and dump in the solids you strained from the drippings and the defatted juices and pulse to puree, add chicken stock or water to make it thin enough to pour back into the pot.  Those chilies and cooked onions with a few cloves of cooked garlic make a super duper flavoring.  I enhanced mine with a few chipotles in adobo sauce.  The juice of a lime will work well in there.

Shred or chop the pork when it is cool enough to handle.  Peel off the fat and gristly parts.  Dump the meat into a big stock pot, add some hominy, a few more onions cut up into largish pieces, add enough chicken stock to cover well.  Add the puree of peppers and onions and bring the pot to a simmer, keep it there for at least an hour, longer is better.  Give the broth a taste and adjust for salt and heat.  Add more pureed  chipotles, perhaps with some red pepper flakes or whole dried chilies.  Knock yourself out.  I like a good bit of oregano in mine, I put in a good tablespoon-that’s in 5 quarts or so, maybe 6, of soup.


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Ancho Sauce

TaMara reminds me that I’ve been remiss–I haven’t really said much about this sauce although I’ve mentioned using it.  I put some on the leftover frittata this morning that I converted into a breakfast burrito, and it is the stuff that makes the pozole really pop.

The dried peppers are (from the left) pasillas, anchos, and New Mexico chilies.   None of them are really hot, the pasillas are a touch warmer then the anchos, and the New Mexico chilies maybe a tad warmer than the pasillas.  The other ingredients are lime juice, garlic, and dried oregano.  Feel free to substitute other peppers for these-you can mix and match to control the heat of the final product.  Like it very hot?  Add some dried habaneros or the like.

Tear the peppers into smaller bits, lose the stems and seeds, put them into a sauce pan and cover with water.  Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then dump them into a blender.  The batch I made today had an entire head of garlic in it.  Add some lime juice and the oregano and puree.  Add more water if it’s too thick.  Taste and add salt if needed, perhaps some more lime juice.  I have added tomato salsa to batches of it before.  Some olive oil in there wouldn’t hurt anything.

This sauce is great on enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos.  Mix some with sour cream to make a dandy South Western dip for chips.  And, as I mentioned above, it’s just super in pozole.

Mmm…Chorizo Chili

IndyLib, in comments on the cornbread post, mentioned chili.  Got me thinking about chili, and the day dawning chilly and cloudy sealed the deal.  Chili it was gonna be.  Now then, in the past chili was always a simple enough affair.  Brown some meat, dump in some tomatoes and a can of beans, sprinkle in some chili powder, maybe some extra peppers of one kind or another, the serve with cheese on top.  Lots of folks seem to rely on cornbread as a side for chili but it never was something that we associated with chili.  Saltine crackers, yeah, maybe cheese crackers of some sort.  Lately Mr J has been topping her chili with crumbled nacho chips and I’ve taken after her lead, though I prefer mine more as chili scoops as anything.

But I want to talk about the chili.  Now that I’m a famous food blogger [Hi Mom!] what was once good enough just won’t cut it.  Had to go find an interesting (and photogenic!) chili recipe. I just so happen to have some chorizo on hand so I included that in the recipe search.  Came across this one. Love the blog name.  I didn’t have any hamburger on hand so my chili had pork as the only meat, about half plain ground pork, and half my homemade chorizo.  Thinking hard on it, the only other changes were mostly Mrs J related.  Didn’t add the fresh jalapenos, the ground chipotle, or the cayenne.  Mrs J’s reaction when she read the “2 tablespoons cocoa powder” caused me to reduce that to 1 tablespoon. I did have some fresh banana peppers that I wanted to use up, so I diced those as an addition, they came to less than a cup.  I used my frozen “hockey pucks” of red bell pepper.


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This went pretty well.  Couple of the jalapenos, a smallish onion or two, those green peppers, and most of the tomatoes.  Added a couple of dried ancho peppers all snipped small, a dash of chili powder, a few garlic cloves, a good squirt of lime juice, a bit of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  I predict it’ll be better tomorrow.  Not bad at all tonight.

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Fun With Dried Chilies

I’ll be doing a reprise of this today.  Few differences other than the chili sauce I’m working up.  In the last recipe the ancho peppers were just not appealing visually so I puttered about the kitchen this afternoon thinking about how to get the taste without the leather.  I simmered them in water for a while and thought about just dicing them fine, but the blender caught my eye.  I don’t use it much, decided to give it a whirl, pun intended.  Dumped the anchos plus the water they boiled in into the blender and gave it a spin.  Heh. I just kill myself.  Looked a bit thick so I added some lime juice.  Now a shallot and some garlic.  Coming along.  I scraped it out of the blender and put it into the small sauce pan for a good simmer.  Added some sweetener.  It has an interesting flavor.  The ancho is there, and the shallot, just a touch of sweet.  Smoky warm, not really hot.  It will pass the Mrs J test.  I wasn’t quite done with it yet.  Poured half a cup of mild salsa into the mix.  Mmm.  Now we are getting somewhere.

Adventures in Salad Dressing

I was wanting to use those bean sprouts before they went bad, was thinking Asian salad of some sort. Deploying my awesome Google skilz in a search for an Asian salad dressing I ran across this recipe. It makes way more than I really wanted so I winged the proportions:  Used 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and scaled the rest of the liquids from that.  Did go relatively heavy on the ginger.  Didn’t want to open a can of tomato paste for just a dab so I used a squirt of ketchup.  Used a half of a shallot left over from yesterday instead of the onion.  It was good as it stood, but what’s cooking if you can’t wing it, eh?  Added some sweetener and a splash of mirin, and that helped it.  Still…decided to add some lime juice.  Added a scant tablespoon and WOW!  Heh, Maybe I just didn’t add enough lemon juice the first time.

Oh, the salad:  Hover the mouse pointer over the pic for the ingredients.  As always here, click the pic for bigger.  Hmm…new tag line:  Click the Pic!