Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Better, Healthier Chili Relenos

I always think about ordering Chili Rellenos at the mexican and tex-mex places we go to. What stops me is that nearly every time I am disappointed.

A few places know how to make them well most do not. Most of the Rellenos you find are sorry deep fired messes.

The best restaurant rellenos I have had recently came at Cylcone Amelias on Shepard in Houston.
But even they can't match my own version ... IHO

Chilli Rellenos
6 Pobano Peppers, pick large ones with smooth dark skin as staright as possible for ease of prep.

1 lb cooked shredded chicken, this is a great way to use up leftover roast (or roticery) chicken.

1 med/lg onion chopped
4 jalopaneo peppers, chopped
1/4 lb mushrooms,chopped
1 sm can diced tomatoes, drained reserving liquid
4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2-1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1 cup shredded jack cheese

The Poblanos must be first charred all over and then put in a plastic bag or container while hot to loosen the skin. I usually then rinse the skin off in running water. The tops are then cut off and the seeds and membrane removed, if this is not done you will end up with a meal that is hotter then you will like, I promise!

The onion and garlic are browned in olive oil and then the jalopeno peppers and mushrooms added and cooked until softened. I then add the tomatoes and meat and nuts and stir until bubbling hot and thouroly mixed. remove from heat.

As soon as it has cooled enough for you to handle, I mix in 1/2 the cheese.
As much of the mixture as possible is stuffed into the peppers.

The peppers are arranged in a baking dish and the leftover stuffing poured over the top as well as the liquid drained from the tomatoes. The rest of the cheese is sprinked over the top.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until is is bubbling and the poblanos are fork tender.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

pizza, pizza

That reminds me of the slogan for Little Ceaser's Pizza(R) . This is what I first thought of as pizza, dare I say, good pizza when I was a young child. I have since been edumacated on Pizza, of course I grew up in Chicago (Go Barrak!!) so I had a head start. And of course I also ended up being partial to deep dish although I do enjoy a good coal/wood fired pizza.

Weirldy one of the pizzas that made an impr3ssion on me recently was a seafood pizza I had in the Grendaine islands of the carabean. We have been trying to replicate it. And getting closer but am not there yet. We did make this one with shrimp and red snapper and it was good. The fish was parcooked before baking. Lots of basil, red bell pepper, motzarella cheese and a bechamel type sauce.

I do make my own crust and I use the over night method as that seems to add that yeasty flavor I expect in a pizza crust.

I will post more details later on my techniques, such as always baking at high temp ~500F

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday night dumplings

After a long day at work, I was not really up to cooking a big dinner, so I just sauteed up a bunch of Swiss chard and then we made dumplings. Although I should not really say made as lately we have been buying them frozen from the Hong Kong market. We did whisk up three dipping sauces, a peanut sauce, Hosin and Soy and Sirachi and Honey. The frozen dumplings are then cooked in the pot-sticker style. Browning them first then steaming in chicken broth for a couple minutes. I usually fry them a little after steaming, just to firm up the glaze and give them a little crunch.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Hey it feels like's about damn time!!!

To that end a German twist on and old southern standby.
We had bratwurst and grits for dinner.

This is a very simple very satisfying meal to make and surprising the flavors work well together.

First the grits,
old style long cooked grits are best, but 5 min will do in a pinch.
Don't neglect the salt, and I add about 1/2 Tb butter and 1 oz cheese per serving after the grits a 1/2 cooked.

Then some spinach,
saute 1/2 med onion chopped in 2 Tb olive oil, add 2-3 cloves garlic chopped, saute until lightly browned. Add spinach, 2 more Tb olive oil and stir until spinach is wilted. sprinkle with 1 Tb red wine or balsamic vinegar.

The brats are grilled over very low heat until well browned and cooked through.

The meal is plated with a mound of grits with a pile of spinach layered over with a brat perched on top. Condiments arranged around the side include mustard, dill pickle, Sirachi chili sauce, and a slice of yesterday's whole grain challah bread.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whole Grain Challah bread

I seems that lately we are having a lot of one or two dish meals. Last night was no exception, we had fresh whole grain challah bread and chicken curry.

The curry was a typical garam masala/coconut milk based curry.

The Whole grain challah bread was the interesting new experiement.
This is a two day recipe.

Day 1
Add to a mixing bowl
1 c Sourdough Starter (or 1 1/2 tsp yeast proofed in 1/2 cup warm water)
1 1/2 c Water (Hot but not scalding)
1 c Whole Millet
1 c Whole Wheat Berries
1 c Whole Wheat flour
1/2 c Bread flour

Mix this up until is thoroughly mixed, it should be a very sticky loose mixture.
Allow to rest on the counter till the next day.

Day 2
add to poolash (loose dough mixture)
1 cup Water(Warm)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 Tb Salt
2 eggs
3-4 Cups Bread flour

Knead in stand mixer adding flour gradually until dough is elastic and only slightly sticky.
Shape loaf(s) and raise until doubled, about 1-2 hrs.
Bake for 10 minutes at 500-550F then 30 minutes at 375F
Allow to cool as long as you can stand before cutting... I can never wait long enough.
Do not bag until the next morning to allow excess moisture to evaporate other wise you will ruin your crust.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday Night Dinner

Last night we had a typical simple supper of grilled flat iron steak and baby bok choy. This is a very simple yet delicious and satisfying. We begin by removing the steak and bok choy from the refer about 30 minutes before cooking. First the Bok choy is sliced in hlaf length wise and placed in a zip lock bag. A slurry of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 Tb hosin, 4 cloevs garlic crushed, and course ground black peper is prepared. The slurry is wisked to combine and then drizzeled over the bok choy, the zip lock is sealed and the bok choy tossed to coat completly with marinade. This is allowed to rest until time to cook. The Steak is removed for it's package to a plate and coated librarly on both sides with black pepper and course sea salt. About 15 mninutes out, the grill is started. If you are cooking over wood or charcoal you will need more lead time to get up to temp. You want a very high temp fire. The steak is placed right on the hottest part of the fire and the bok choy arreanged arround with the root section closest to the hot fire. The steak should be cooked (or rather seared) about 3 minutes per side turning the bok choy at the same time as the steak. At 6 minutes total the steaks will be seared on the outside and quite rare in the center. The Bok choy will be just tender. Slice the steak on the bias and surve on a pile of bok choy. A nice syrah or zin complements this nicely.

Friday, October 3, 2008


We sailed from Waterford yesterday. The marina itself was in good shape. We saw a lot of carnage on the way out of the Clear Lake and Kemah channel. Pictures to follow. The Bay was mostly clear of debris for the time being. There were some missing channel markers. The Old high range marker for the Houston Ship channel was blown down.