Friday, December 25, 2009

Mom's Golden Thumbprints

I made these this morning feeling homesick. Because of some icy road conditions near my parents home, we weren't able to be there for Christmas. These cookies are ones that my Mom always made when I was growing up. I didn't have any walnuts in the house since I wasn't expecting to be doing any Christmas baking so I skipped that step. I used a ginger-rhubarb preserve that my husband had bought for me as a stocking stuffer as a filling.


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cream together first four ingredients, save egg white for later use.
  • Stir in the flour and salt.
  • Roll inot 1 inch balls.
  • Dip into slightly beaten egg white and roll in nuts.
  • Bake 5 minutes, take out of oven and quickly indent each center with your thumb, fill the center with a small spoonful of jam of your choice.
  • Bake again for 8 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Easy way to make the nuts finely chopped is to shred them in a food processor until fine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hot and Sour Pork Stew


  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. pork loin, cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts
  • A handful of chopped cilantro

  • Place the pork in a medium-size pot together with the garlic, soy sauce, pepper, vinegar and bay leaves; let stand for 2 hours.
  • Transfer the pieces of garlic from the pot to a separate pan and fry in hot oil until brown.
  • Add pork pieces to the garlic and then fry until brown.
  • Drain.
  • Add reserved marinade and chicken broth to the fried pork and garlic; simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve in bowls and sprinkle on peanuts, cilantro, and liberal amounts of freshly ground black pepper.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Garden, Dec. 18--Basil, Tomato, and Breadcrumb Pasta

The basil plant that I transplanted inside from the garden didn't make it. It was limp this morning and never perked up after I watered it. So I stripped the leafs off and chopped them up for pasta tonight. Before the first frost I had harvested all the green tomatoes off of my roma tomato plants and five or six of them had ripened in the house so I used them as well.

  • 4 oz. dried spaghetti
  • 2-3 TB olive oil
  • A handful of fresh basil leafs, chopped
  • 5 or 6 small roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.
  • Meanwhile heat the olive oil and add the basil, tomatoes, garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper and saute over medium low heat while the pasta cooks.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the vegetable mixture, stirring well.
  • Sprinkle over the bread crumbs and stir well to combine.
  • Serve in two bowls with fresh Parmigiano Reggiano

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flour Tortilla Flautas



  • Tightly roll about 2 spoonfuls of the seasoned and shredded chicken in a tortilla and secure with a toothpick.
  • Repeat for each tortilla.
  • When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a spare piece of tortilla pretty quickly it is ready to cook to the tortillas.
  • Put in about three tortillas at a time depending on the size of your pot and let get golden and crispy on both sides, flipping once.
  • Remove and allow to drain on paper towels.
  • I served mine with a pepper-jack cheese sauce, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients for 12 enchiladas:

  • 4 ancho chiles
  • 1 cup of water reserved from hydrating the chiles
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • oil for frying
  • 12 4 1/2 inch white corn tortillas
  • 1/4 pound pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups seasoned and shredded chicken


  • Remove the stalks from the dried chiles.
  • Slit them ope and remove seeds and veins.
  • Toast chiles lightly in a cast iron skillet.
  • Remove and soak in hot water for 15 minutes.
  • Put the 1/2 cup of water, garlic and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add the chiles to the blender and blend until sauce is smooth.
  • Break up egg with a fork and stir into the sauce.
  • Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a small frying pan.
  • Dip one tortilla at a time into the chile sauce to cover it thickly and from for about 8 seconds on each side.
  • Use a spatula to flip.
  • Remove to a plate and place a slice of cheese on the tortilla and a large spoonful of seasoned and shredded chicken and then double the tortilla over.
  • Continue until all the enchiladas are done.
  • I served mine with pico de gallo.

Seasoned and Shredded Chicken

  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 3 TB chopped whole onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • salt to taste
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  • Add the vegetables and fry on low heat for about 5 minute, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the shredded chicken and salt and continue cooking until the mixture is well seasoned and almost dry.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Impromptu Chicken Broth

I had a chicken in the refrigerator that I had to either use or freeze, so I decided to make a chicken broth out of it and then shred and freeze the meat.

I had to go with whatever was in the house to make the broth, since I had absolutely no desire to run to the store, so here's what I ended up with.


  • 1 small chicken
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced in two
  • 4 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, the top cut off, but don't bother to peel.
  • 3 or 4 black peppercorns
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of oregano


  • Place a cleaned chicken in a pot with the other ingredients and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Lower temperature to a simmer for several hours.
  • Strain broth and shred the chicken.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Green Mole Stew

Another recipe, this one Oaxacan, based off of one in Diana Kennedy's "The Art of Mexican Cooking." A book I highly recommend buying if you are into regional Mexican cuisine and not just Tex Mex.


For the Pork:
  • 1 TB shortening
  • 2 LB pork cut in cubes
  • 1/2 white onion cut in slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste.

For the Sauce:
  • 5 tomatillos
  • 1 green tomato
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 small garlic cloves peeled.
  • 1/4 large white onion
  • 2 tsp mexican oregano
  • pinch of cumin seed
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded
  • 1 TB shortening
  • 1/4 LB prepared corn tortilla masa
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 big leafy stems of epazote (I find this dried at my local mercado, La Perla off Rodney Parham)
  • 1/2 a small bunch of fresh parsley, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 4 avocado leaves (also found dried at La Perla)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • Melt the shortening in a skillet and fry the onions until soft.
  • Add the pork and cook until browned.
  • Grind on black pepper to taste.
  • Simmer while making sauce.
To Make Sauce:
  • Roughly chop tomatillos and green tomato.
  • Add to blender along with 3/4 cups water, garlic cloves, roughly chopped onion, Mexican oregano, pinch of cumin, 2 cloves, 2 whole allspice, and jalapenos.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Heat the shortening in a large skillet and add the blended mixture.
  • Saute for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile mix 1/4 cup masa with 1/2 cup of the chicken broth.
  • After the green mole mixture has sauteed for 15 minutes add the masa and broth mixture to the mole mixture along with 1 more cup of chicken broth.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
  • Meanwhile in a blender add the greens: the epazote, parsley and avocado leaves, and 3/4 cup water.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • After the mole mixture has cooked for 10 minutes add the herb mixture and stir in gently.
  • Add the meat and onion mixture and serve in bowls as a stew with corn tortillas on the side.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pork and Mole Stew

I've changed this recipe considerably from Diana Kennedy's "The Art of Mexican Cooking" but it served as the basic skeleton of the recipe. I strongly suggest buying this book if you are into serious Mexican cooking. A very hearty stew for a cold fall or winter evening.

  • 1 1/2 LB pork, cubed
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
The Sauce:
  • 5 chiles guajillos
  • 3 chiles anchos
  • 3 TB shortening
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 TB powdered chocolate
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Put water on to boil for hydrating the dried peppers.
  • Chop the pork and slice the onions and place in an enamel dutch oven with the garlic, pepper and salt.
  • Just cover with water, bring to a boil, and drop to a simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile remove the stems from the dried chiles, slit them open and remove the seeds and veins.
  • Simmer in the hot water for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside for about 15 minutes.
  • Heat 2 TB of the shortening in a frying pan, add the almonds and toss in the oil over medium heat until they begin to brown.
  • Put 1/4 cup of the broth into a blender jar, add the spices and the garlic, and blend thoroughly.
  • Add 1/2 cup broth and the friend almonds and blend to a thick, textured paste.
  • Heat the rest of the shortening in a heavy pan in which you are going to cook the mole.
  • Add the seed paste and fry over medium heat, turning and scraping the bottom of the pan almost constantly to prevent sticking, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup broth to the blender jar and blend half of the chiles very thoroughly; add to the pan.
  • Repeat this procedure until all the chiles make a thick sauce, adding more broth only if absolutely necessary to release the blades of the blender.
  • Cook the mole over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan from time to time, for abut 15 minutes--it will be quite thick.
  • Add to the pork and broth mixture and blend well.
  • Allow to cook for 5 more minutes for the flavors to meld.
  • Serve with corn or flour tortillas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grean Beans with Eggs

Ingredients for 2:
  • 4 oz
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mild Cheddar cheese
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the beans and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse under cold water.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion slices for 3-4 minutes.
  • Break the egg into a bowl and beat with salt and pepper.
  • Add the egg mixture to the onion and cook slowly oover moderate heat, stirring constantly so that the egg is lightly scrambled.
  • Add the beans to the pan and cook for a few minutes until warmed through.
  • Grate cheese over the top.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ancho Chili and Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients for 6 enchiladas:

  • 2 ancho chiles
  • 1/2 cup of water reserved from hydrating the chiles
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • oil for frying
  • 6 4 1/2 inch white corn tortillas
  • 1/4 pound pepper jack cheese


  • Remove the stalks from the dried chiles.
  • Slit them ope and remove seeds and veins.
  • Toast chiles lightly in a cast iron skillet.
  • Remove and soak in hot water for 15 minutes.
  • Put the 1/2 cup of water, garlic and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add the chiles to the blender and blend until sauce is smooth.
  • Break up egg with a fork and stir into the sauce.
  • Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a small frying pan.
  • Dip one tortilla at a time into the chile sauce to cover it thickly and from for about 8 seconds on each side.
  • Use a spatula to flip.
  • Remove to a plate and place a slice of cheese on the tortilla and then double the tortilla over.
  • Continue until all the enchiladas are done.
  • I served mine with pico de gallo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Navy Bean Soup

I've posted this recipe before, but had to mention that I made it again, this time with ham hocks instead of a ham bone. It turned out so yummy for a warming fall soup. It made a nice big pot to share with a friend who wanted the recipe, and plenty of left overs for my husband and I to eat for lunch.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Late Night Breakfast--Huevos Tirados

This was a super way to make a quick dinner when I got off working a night shift tonight and a great way to use up left over pinto beans and pico de gallo.

  • About half a cup to 3/4 cup of cooked pinto beans in their liquid
  • About 1/2 a cup of pico de gallo
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortillas to serve on the side
  • In a small pan heat the pinto beans in their juice.
  • Whisk together the eggs, pico, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Brush a large frying pan with a little oil and pour the eggs in and light scramble.
  • When the eggs are still a little wet add the beans and cook to desired consistency.
  • Serve with tortillas on the side.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Garden--November 10th

Well, most of what is left of the garden has moved indoors. On top of the fridge is the oregano that was in the window box in front of the house and on top of the microwave is the basil and a huge lemongrass plant, that was much smaller when I bought it at the farmer's market earlier this year. I had no idea how big it was until I moved it in the house and had to trim it back.

I'm still getting several small tomatoes a week, if you look closely you can see a few in the wooden bowl on top of the microwave.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

These were a great way to use up left over pinto beans.

  • 4 thick slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup left over pinto beans, mashed up in a mortar and pestle.
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • oil to fry the tortillas
  • pico de gallo to serve
  • In a shallow bowl whisk together egg, milk and chile powder.
  • Heat oil on a griddle on medium high heat.
  • Dip each side of a corn tortilla in the egg and milk mixture.
  • Fry for about 10 seconds on each side.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Repeat with each of the other three tortillas.
  • Put two tortillas on each plate and place 1/4 cup of pinto beans on one half of each and one thick slice of pepper jack cheese on top of each.
  • Fold over the tortillas.
  • Repeat with the other two tortillas.
  • Heat the enchiladas in the microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the cheese, or else place under a broiler.
  • Serve with pico de gallo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Early Morning Project

So what do you do when you wake up at 4 in the morning and can't fall back asleep?

Apparently I rearrange furniture. This isn't the first time I've done it in the middle of the night, but the first time since I've been married and had some one sleeping in the house while I tiptoed around pushing ovens and fridges and dining room tables.

Before I really woke up I was looking up articles on small spaces online. We live in an 1000 foot 1940s clapboard cottage--my kitchen experience in this house has been the mixture of the nightmare of a very small space, but FINALLY a gas oven.

While I was surfing, I ran across a slide show of Shaker style kitchens that really grabbed my attention. As someone who loves the simplicity of modern design, but is also nuts about antiques and old homes, these kitchens grabbed me. So I analyzed what I had in the house, found lots of wood items and white porcelain, and removed quite a bit of the Asian stuff that was my previous theme and went to work.

I knew that one of the things I wanted to do was to give my self more workspace. So I slid the oven over as far as I could and squeezed in an old wooden ironing board that used to be in the dining room loaded with cookbooks and apothecary boxes. It has been very inconvenient not having a counter next to my stove, so this will give me the a place to set things while I'm cooking.
My chitarra has a great place to sit now, leaning against the wall at the end of the ironing board. And I love the contrast between the old antique wood and the modern art above the stove, my mosaic I glued together of a children's memory game (bought seriously reduced at Old Navy) of my favorite mid century modern illustrator, Charlie Harper.

Somehow ducks just seemed to fit in with the Shaker theme, and my ducks are some of my treasured possessions. My father-in-law told me before he passed away that he wanted me to have his collection of ducks. We used to spend time talking about all the birds that I saw when I would return to his house from hiking trips with my husband. These miniature ducks are sitting on top of the stove.

On top of the refrigerator are more of my treasured ducks, along with the apothecary boxes that store things from bay leaves and cumin seeds to several varieties of dried peppers and yeast and rennet and more. My husband bought these for my birthday a couple of years in a row during Target's global bazaar, merchandise which always seemed to get marked down right around my birthday in February. Also pictures are my pasta cutting rolling pin and biscuit cutter that I bought at the Little Rock Greek Food Festival several years back, a kitschy bird sugar bowl that was so ugly I had to have it, and a cat figurine that I believe my parents bought for me when I was around 3 years old in Mystic, Connecticutt.

One Asian touch that I kept was my bamboo tray. Placing it over one half of the sink with my cookbook holder will give me a larger work space on the counter. You can also see more wood ducks, this time given to me by my mother-in-law in the corner and a white ceramic pitcher containing my wooden utensil collection previously owned by my mother.

I love my huge cabinets, one of the few blessings of my tiny kitchen.

Another Asian item that I kept was my lucky bamboo, given to me by a co-worker at Christmas last year. I'll be digging up my oregano and basil and lemongrass from the garden soon to add more greenery to the kitchen. I love this old wooden bowl that I found at a flea market and that I use as part of a mortar and pestle for making curry pastes, etc.

Another item that seemed to go with the Shaker theme and that helps optimize space is this picnic basket that I use to store my linens. It is sitting on an old printer cart that my father-in-law made to go with my husbands old computer desk, I use the underneath to store my antique collection of cookbooks.

Do you know what you'd grab from your house if it was burning to the ground? I'd grab my quilts. I have five hand sewn quilts that my mother made that are my absolute all time biggest treasures (sometime in the near future, hopefully, it will be six when I get the Dear Jane that my Mom just finished!!!!). This one goes really well with the dishes on my china cabinet which are in blues and whites. I moved the dining room table up to the window to give guests a closer place to sit while I'm working in the kitchen and so that I can enjoy the view of the much prettier houses across the street, 1920s beautiful brick homes, mostly, while I drinking my morning coffee.

Don't worry Mom, food will not be eaten off the quilt!

On top of the quilt is a simple bowl given to me by my friend Marty and inside it another bowl given to be by my Mom.

My "china cabinet" an old, as in actually now an antique, stereo cabinet from when my parent's first got married, topped by a piece of display shelving from the department store that I work at. I moved my quilt frame into the dining room as this old fashioned, beautiful, hand pieced work of art by my Mom seemed to suit the Shaker theme as well.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chile Verde with Nopalitos

Chile verde served with flour tortillas and yellow rice.

  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork loin cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 fresh jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups drained tomatillos
  • 2/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 11 oz jar nopalitos, drained
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • add the pork cubes and cook over high heat, turning several times, until browned all over.
  • Add the onion and garlic and saute gently until soft, then stir in the oregano and chopped jalapenos.
  • Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Transfer the canned tomatillos to a blender, add the stock and process until smooth.
  • Add to the pork mixture, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile soak the nopalitos in cold water for 10 minutes.
  • Drain, then add to the pork and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and tender.
  • Season the mixture with salt (although, I found this wasn't necessary even after soaking the nopalitos because they were so salty) and freshly ground black pepper.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yellow Rice

Achiote Seed

This is my favorite rice to serve with Mexican food.

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground achiote seed (annato powder)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup drained pickled jalapeno chile slices, chopped
  • salt
  • cilantro leaves to garnish
  • Put the rice in a bowl and pour boiling water to cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the ground achiote seed and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  • Stir in the rice and cook for five minutes.
  • Pour in the stock, mix well and bring to boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Add the chopped jalapenos to the pan and stir to distribute them evenly.
  • Add salt to taste, then spoon into a heated serving dish and garnish with the cilantrolleaves.
  • Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


  • 2 1/4 cups long-grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups blanched whole almonds
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • finely grated zest of lime
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • ice cubes to serve.
  • Rinse rice under cold water.
  • Drain, transfer to a large bowl and pour in the water.
  • Cover and soak for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.
  • Drain the rice, reserving 2 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid.
  • Spoon the rice into a blender and grind as finely as possible.
  • Add the almonds to the blender and continue to grind until very finely ground.
  • Add the cinnamon, grated lime zest and sugar to the ground rice and almonds.
  • Add the reserved soaking water and mix until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Serve with ice cubes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Green Sauce

Ingredients for six enchiladas:

  • salt to taste
  • 6 canned tomatillos
  • 1 pickled jalapeno (I didn't seed mine to give a little more spice)
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • oil to fry


Put all ingredients into a large mortar and pestle and pound into a paste.
Heat the oil and cook over fairly high heat until sauce has reduced
Serve over enchiladas, such as easy cheese enchiladas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Huevos with Pico de Gallo and Corn Tortillas

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tortillas
  • 2 thin slices pepper jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pico de Gallo to taste
  • Whisk one egg with the milk and the chili powder in a shallow bowl and set aside.
  • Fry the other 2 eggs and set aside.
  • Dunk one of the tortillas in the egg and milk mixture and fry for 8 seconds on either side.
  • Put on a plate and place a slice of pepper jack cheese on top and one of the fried eggs on top.
  • Repeat with the other tortilla and egg and cover with pico de gallo.
  • We served ours with mexican style hash for a late brunch.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pico de Gallo

  • 4 vine ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • Handful of cilantrol
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dice up all the produce pretty small.
  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • It's better if you make it ahead of time and give the flavors time to meld together

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pork, Chile, and Tomatillo Stew--and positive ravings about La Perla

  • 3 LB pork loin, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ancho chiles and 6 guajillo chiles
  • 1 cup water, reserved from rehydrating the chiles
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 small small onion, diced finely
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seed
  • About 16 tomatillos with the husks attached
  • flour, if necessary to the thicken the stew.
  • Put the pork in a large pot and cover with water, cook over medium heat while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Remove the stalks from the dried chiles, cut in half and scrape out veins and seeds.
  • Cover with hot water, and soak for about 15 minutes.
  • In a mortar and pestle add salt and the garlic clove and grind into a paste.
  • Chop rehydrated ancho peppers into small pieces and scrape the flesh out of the guajillo peppers, discarding the skins.
  • Add the peppers and cumin seeds to a spice grinder or blender and blend into a paste.
  • Add the pepper mixture and the onions to the mortar and pestle and blend into a thick paste.
  • Add the blended ingredients to the pork.
  • Slice the tomatillos into quarters, leaving the husks attached, they will give flavor to the stew.
  • Add the reserved water from the peppers.
  • Let the meat cook for about an hour to let all the flavors blend.
  • If the broth is still watery, place a tsp of flour in a small bowl and slowly blend in some broth from the stew, stir this paste into the stew and continue to cook until thickened.
  • Do not eat the tomatillo husks.

Note: If you live in the Little Rock area, La Perla off of Rodney Parham is a great location to find a variety of dried peppers and other Mexican ingredients. I was quite chagrined to have paid $5 for 5 ancho peppers at Fresh market and then walk into La Perla later that evening with a friend and find them in bulk for much cheaper. The proprietor was very friendly and helpful as well. Other positives about La Perla included Mexican snacks, such as the spoons of spicy/sweet/sour tamarind paste that I adore, and they had fresh, perfect little loafs of bread for tortas, and a small quantity of fresh produce including tomatillos and plantains and jicama.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


These eggs, from Mexican: Healthy Ways with a Favorite Cuisine by Jane Milton has been a quick dinner lately. The author calls them huevos rancheros, but we've always seen them referred to as chilaquiles at our local restaurant and rancheros usually have a hot sauce.


  • 2 corn tortillas, several days old, fried crisply
  • oil, for frying
  • 2 fresh green jalapeno chiles, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup light cream
  • small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


  • Heat 1 Tb oil in a large frying pan.
  • Add the garlic and scallions and saute gently for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  • Stir in the diced tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the chiles and cook for 1 minute.
  • Pour the eggs into the pan and stir until they start to set.
  • When only a small amount of uncooked eggs remains visible, stir in the cream so that the cooking process is slowed down and the mixture cooks into a creamy mixture rather an a solid mass.
  • Stir in the chopped cilantro.
  • Arrange the tortilla strips on four serving plates and spoon on the eggs.
  • Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mexican Style Hash

This is one of my favorite dishes to serve with Mexican food. I can't remember where I got the recipe, so I always throw it together from memory.

  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 6-8 small red potatoes, small dice
  • 3 pickled jalapenos, sliced into thin rounds
  • A small handful of fresh oregano, or a tsp dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmegiano Reggiano to taste
  • Heat the oil in a skillet and add garlic clove, sauteing until fragrant.
  • Add potatoes and fry until golden brown.
  • Add jalapenos and oregano, salt and pepper and fry for a couple of minutes longer.
  • Add shredded parmegiano on top and serve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Ready to Make More Chili--Home Made Chili Powder

To give credit where credit is due: I copied this recipe from Alton Brown's chili powder, substituting the chiles that I had in the house. I only made a 1/3 of the recipe because I needed a 1/4 cup non-commercial chili powder for the Old West Jerky Chili I'm planning to make. The jerky already has plenty of salt so I need a chili powder without any salt, thus an excuse to make a home made chili powder which I was planning on starting to experiment with anyway. And who else to riff off of than AB? He's one of my reliable starting places for beginning my own experiments in the kitchen and one of the few food network cooks that I have much use for.


  • 2 guajillo chiles
  • 1 chipotle chile
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 tsp sweet paprika (since it was in the house and since I was using chipotles for a smoky flavor)


  • Place all the chiles and the cumin into a cast iron skillet over high heat.
  • Cook, moving the pan around constantly until the cumin becomes fragrant and starts to pop.
  • Set aside and cool.
  • Once cool place the chiles and cumin into a coffee grinder along with the garlic powder, oregano and paprika.
  • Process into a fine powder.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheesy Beef and Chipotle Quesadillas

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • A garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 a chipotle pepper, soaked in hot water for 1/2 an hour and chopped
  • A sprig of oregano, chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of commercial chili powder
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to taste
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • Saute the onion and garlic until soft.
  • Add the oregano and the chipotle pepper
  • Add salt and pepper and chili powder.
  • Saute until fragrant.
  • Add ground beef and brown.
  • On a griddle head some more oil, lay down a tortilla and cover with shredded cheese, 1/3 of the meat mixture, and then more cheese, and top with another tortilla, press together with a spatula.
  • After a couple of minutes, when the bottom tortilla is browned, flip and cook the other side.
  • Repeat twice.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Huevos Rancheros with Guajillo and Chipotle Peppers

  • 1 dried guajillo pepper
  • 1/2 chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • reserved water from rehydrating the chili peppers
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • small handful oregano leafs
  • 1/2 TB lime juice
  • 4 eggs
  • Bring water to a boil and cover peppers in a jar with the lid on for half an hour.
  • Meanwhile dice garlic, onion, tomatoes, and oregano.
  • Dry toast the cumin in a frying pan until fragrant and begins to pop.
  • Add the oil, onions and garlic.
  • Saute for two minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, including 1/3 cup of water from rehydrating the chilis, and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the seeds from the pepper and scrape the meat off the skin, chop finely and add them to the saucepan.
  • Add another 1/3 cup of chili water if the sauce is thick, cook another five minutes.
  • Break the eggs into the sauce and cover tightly with a lid for another 5 minutes or so, depending on how cooked you like your eggs.
  • Serve with tortillas.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So, we're pretty sure the sign at the farmer's market said that this mushroom is hen of the wood. Which is also known as maitake--so I thought I'd go with a Japanese recipe for this one. We love ramen, for one because it's easy, and two because it's versatile. I've made ramen so many different ways before I blogged that I can't remember all the yummy variations. One of the reasons I'm doing this blog is purely so that I'll have access to all my mad experiments after I've forgotten them!

Promise, this one's pretty sane!
And to be completely honest, it's a riff off of Alton Brown's Ramen Shrimp Pouch

My recipes are generally for two people, but this one serves 4.


  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 3 package Ramen noodles
  • 6 cups chicken broth (from cooking the chicken thighs)
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clump hen of the wood or oyster mushrooms
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 small parcel of bok choy, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions sliced
  • Fresh ground white pepper to taste
  • Honey to taste
  1. Place the chicken thighs in a small sauce pan and cover with 7 cups of water, bring to a boil, then turn down to medium low heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken thighs from the liquid and put in the fridge to cool, when it is cool enough to handle shred the chicken.
  3. Strain the liquid and reserve six cups.
  4. Cook the ramen noodles per package instruction, but discard the seasoning packets. Strain the noodles, run cold water over them, and put to the side.
  5. Combine reserved chicken broth, mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil, bring to a boil and add the bokchoy.
  6. Turn down to a slow boil and cook the bokchoy and onions for about 5 minutes or until the tenderness is to taste.
  7. Add the mushrooms and the scallions and the shredded chicken.
  8. Sprinkle on white pepper.
  9. Drizzle over honey.
  10. Place cooked ramen in the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over.
  11. Serve with ichimi.

Chili is Serious Business at our House

Chili, sans beans, which will be added right before serving.

Midmorning today I started the first pot (no doubt of many) of the season.


  • 2 LB pork loin cubed
  • 2 TB oil
  • 1 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 4 dried gaujillo chilis
  • 2 chipotle chilis
  • 2 TB chilli powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • A small handful of oregano leafs
  • 12 oz bottle of beer
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 x 15 oz can of beans (I used 1 can kidney and 1 can pinto)
  • I chopped the vegetables while defrosting the meat.
  • I also brought water to boil in a pot to have on hand to rehydrate the peppers.
  • When the meat was defrosted, I cut it into cubes.
  • When the water came to a boil I put the peppers into individual jars and filled to the rim with boiling water. I used a pint size jar for the chipotles and a larger jar for the guajillos.
  • I set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and put the peppers to the side.
  • I browned the pork.
  • And sauteed the vegetables in the oil for 5 minutes.
  • I then combined the meat and vegetables and poured the tomato sauce over and stirred well to combine.
  • Next I prepared the cumin seeds.
  • I dry fried them in a small cast iron skillet until they were fragrant and began to pop.
  • And then ground them in a mortar and pestle.
  • I broke off several sprigs of oregano from the window box and chopped the leafs into small pieces and added it, the cumin, and the chilli powder to the meat and vegetable mixture.
  • When the peppers were ready I cut off the stems and cut in half, and then removed the seeds and chopped the peppers into small pieces.
  • I reserved the water that the chipotle peppers had soaked in and added it to the chili mixture.
  • I added the peppers to the chili and then poured a bottle of beer over the mixture and stirred well to combine everything.

  • I cook my chili all day long, starting in the morning and then 10 minutes before I'm ready to serve it I add the salt, sugar, and canned beans.
  • I keep coffee and reserved liquid from rehydrating the guajillo peppers on hand, just in case the chili gets too thick.