CHILE RELLENOS

We harvested very nice peppers from our garden, and I wanted to make one of Phil’s favorite dishes, Chile Rellenos. However, I wanted a version that would not be overloaded with cheese, which is not very common. The husband found a recipe online that seemed to fit the bill for us, and I went to work. It was involved, time-consuming, but absolutely worth it!


CHILE RELLENOS
(slightly modified from Diana Dávila)

for the sauce:
10 plum tomatoes, diced
3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced
2 cups carrot juice
1 cup chicken stock

For the Rellenos:
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
1 small Granny Smith apple, diced
1 + 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 pound ground pork (I used ground turkey)
⅛ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
8 poblano chiles
¾ cup all-purpose flour

For the Batter:
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 egg whites
Fine sea salt, as needed
Canola oil, for frying


Prepare the sauce: In a large bowl, toss plum and cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon salt.
Use your hands to smush the tomatoes until their skins soften and break apart, then let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, sliced chiles and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned. Stir in tomatoes and their liquid, bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in carrot juice, stock and ½ teaspoon salt, and simmer for another 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or transfer mixture
to a regular blender) and blend briefly; the mixture should still be somewhat chunky.

Make the filling: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, apple, and salt, and cook, stirring, until the apples and shallot soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in raisins, vinegar and brown sugar, and cook until reduced to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Stir in ground pork (or turkey) and red-pepper flakes, and use a metal spoon to break up the pork into pieces. Cook until pork is no longer pink and much of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat and let the pork take on a little color at the edges, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Reserve.

Roast the poblanos: Heat the broiler, and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange poblanos in an even layer, and broil until blackened on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn over and blacken the other side, another 4 to 6 minutes, then transfer to a large heat-proof bowl. Cover and let steam until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel the blackened skin off the poblanos, then cut a slit in one side of each pepper and remove seeds (keep the stems). Stuff the poblanos with the filling, folding poblano seams together. Place flour on a plate, and gently roll stuffed peppers in flour to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking
sheet and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes.

Make the batter: Place egg yolks in a large bowl and beat until frothy. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip to stiff peaks. Fold the egg yolks into the whites, along with a pinch of salt. Heat 1¼ inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, dip one pepper by its stem into egg batter, then transfer to hot oil. Fry until golden on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining peppers, making sure not to crowd the pan. Transfer fried peppers as they cook to a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, and immediately sprinkle with salt.

When all the peppers are fried, reheat sauce. Lower peppers into sauce and simmer for
2 to 3 minutes, so the batter absorbs the sauce. Transfer to serving plates and spoon
more sauce on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: As you know, I don’t lie. This is a bit of a cooking marathon, so I advise you to do what I did, spread the preparation over two days. The day before I made the sauce, including juicing the carrots myself. Easy decision once I saw the price of 100% pure carrot juice versus going to work. I also made the filling. Next day, I roasted the peppers, and the final preparation was painless. I kept the amount of sauce and filling the same, but only made 6 rellenos, so I reduced the amount of batter. There was leftover filling and a little leftover sauce. Two nice items to have around for a quick lunch.

The best tip of this recipe is freezing the rellenos after coating with flour. It makes all the difference in the world, they hold the shape better and make your life easier. Think of incorporating that step if you use a different recipe.


We ate like kings, this is a real keeper. I won’t say that we’ll be making it all the time because it is a labor of love, but it is a great project for weekend cooking or for having company over.

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CHICKEN & ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY

Zucchini is a delicious vegetable but pretty tricky to stir-fry, as it can go mushy super quickly. Today I share a recipe that deals with this problem and results in a nice one-pot meal, flavorful and easy to put together. Just keep in mind you’ll need 30 minutes to draw the juices out of the zucchini slices, which is about the same time the chicken will need to marinate. Perfect timing!

ORIENTAL-STYLE CHICKEN AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

to marinate the meat:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch

for stir-fry:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 Serrano pepper, finely minced
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch
salt to taste
roasted peanuts, about 1/3 cup
fresh cilantro leaves to serve

Prepare the zucchini by adding it to a large bowl and sprinkling the salt all over. Leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes. Rinse briefly to remove the salt, dry the slices over paper towel. They are now ready to use.

Marinate the chicken by mixing sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl, and adding to the meat. Leave it for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Make the finishing sauce by mixing water, hoisin, soy, sesame oil and cornstarch. Reserve.

Heat the oil on a wok, add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a bowl, add more oil if needed, sauté the bell pepper and Serrano pepper for a couple of minutes, seasoning lightly with salt. Increase the heat to high, add the zucchini slices, move them around for 10 seconds or so, add the chicken back, stir fry everything together for a minute. Add the finishing sauce, and heat it all together until it thickens slightly. Add peanuts, cilantro, and serve over steamed white rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I really like the fact that marinating the meat and prepping the zucchini takes the same amount of time. Once that is out of the way, dinner will be ready in minutes, and all textures will be perfect. The zucchini cooks so quickly that you can also add it together with the finishing sauce and just heat it for a few minutes until it all thickens, making it even simpler. If you like more heat, add Sriracha or any other type of chili oil. Of course, for most people garlic and onion sauté with the bell peppers will be great too. As I always say, your kitchen, your rules… But definitely give this a try, you will not look at zucchini stir-fry the same way…

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE: KOREAN CHICKEN THIGHS

Mix a few ingredients, marinate the chicken. Grill. Done. It will go into our rotation, which tells you how much we loved it. Spicy to the right level. Sweet to the right level. Tender and moist.

KOREAN CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons Gochujang sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste

Mix all ingredients for the marinade, whisking them well. Add the pieces of chicken and move them around to coat each piece with the marinade. Leave it in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

Sprinkle a little more salt on the pieces of meat and grill until done, about 7 minutes per side, depending on how hot your grill gets.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Two of my best buddies are Gochujang and Sriracha. I like to drizzle Sriracha over turkey burgers or other things ready to eat, but Gochujang I prefer to cook with. I find it a bit too strong on its own. In this marinade it is the dominant flavor, but unless you really dislike spicy food, it is not overpowering. I was quite amazed by how tasty leftovers turned out even when tortured fora couple of minutes in the microwave. We had them with air-fried zucchini (which I did not do a good job, over-crowded the basket and they turned out mushy), and British-style roasted potatoes (Sally pats herself on the back, they were perfect).

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KASHMIRI CHICKEN THIGHS

This is a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) recipe. I am afraid that to get the texture of the meat and depth of flavor in the sauce just right, you’ll need to use it. Also, don’t be tempted to keep the skin on the chicken thighs, because they will make the sauce very fatty and heavy. So take a deep breath and remove it.

KASHMIRI CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, minced
4 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
5 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup yogurt, full-fat
1 tsp cornstarch
fresh cilantro, to serve

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker (or your Instant Pot using the sauté function), add the shallots, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and salt. Cook until the shallots are soft and fragrant. Add the ginger, tomato paste, chili, cumin, and paprika. Cook for about 1 minute, add 1 cup of water, gently stir, then add the chicken pieces.

Close the pan and cook in full pressure for 12 minutes, then let the pressure reduce naturally for 15 minutes. Release any pressure left (running water over the lid or doing whatever method is called for in the Instant Pot), open the pan and remove the chicken pieces to a serving bowl, keeping it tented with foil. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamon pods, then reduce the sauce by simmering for 10 to 15 minutes. Mix the yogurt with cornstarch, add to the simmering sauce, return the chicken to the pan, and simmer it all together for a few minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Sprinkle fresh cilantro. Serve over rice or with your favorite side dish.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Kashmiri chili is a great spice, with subtle heat and unique flavor. The pressure cooker does a wonderful job tenderizing the meat and allowing the sauce to develop that complex taste usually reserved for things cooked for hours and hours. Adding a little amount of cornstarch to the yogurt prevents it from separating during simmering, and gives a velvety texture I am quite fond of. If you rather not use it, whisk the yogurt as you pour it into the pan, and avoid cooking for very long. The sauce will be obviously a lot thinner, but still taste wonderful.

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MISO-GINGER TURKEY MEATBALLS WITH CABBAGE “NOODLES”

Once again, I share a recipe that will not get any prizes on beauty contests. Brown food, oh so very tricky to get a good-looking picture. But I would never shy away from sharing something tasty, so let’s get to the most important point: how to get this to your table!

MISO-GINGER MEATBALLS WITH CABBAGE “NOODLES”
(inspired by Modern Proper)

1 + 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated carrot
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
olive oil spray

for the cabbage:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
finely sliced green cabbage, amount to taste
salt and pepper to taste

to finish the dish:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon white miso paste
sesame seeds for serving

 Heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the miso paste until fully incorporated. Add the ground turkey, almond flour, carrot, ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball–size meatballs and place on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil. Spray the surface of the meatballs with olive oil, and bake for about 20 minutes, turning them midway through baking.

When the meatballs are almost done, start making the cabbage. Heat the oil on a large non-stick skillet until almost smoking. Add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and allow it to brown slightly. Move it around, flipping the strands, until cooked through, but don’t let it get mushy. Transfer to a serving dish. To the same skillet, add the soy sauce and miso, whisk until the miso fully dissolves. Add the turkey meatballs to the soy mixture and simmer gently for a few minutes, with the pan covered.

Serve the meatballs with the cabbage noodles, sprinkle with sesame seeds if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: My friend Tracy a couple of months ago mentioned that cabbage is a great alternative to low-carb “noodles” if you get tired of zucchini. I am a huge fan of zoodles , but decided to give her idea a try, and I can see why she loved her Pad Thai so much when lightened up with thinly sliced cabbage. It absorbs any flavor you use for a sauce, and the texture is quite pleasing. I don’t follow any particular type of diet, but tend to favor lightening the carbs whenever possible. In this case, it matched well the meatballs in their Oriental ways. I served ours with air-fried butternut squash that was leftover from another meal.

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