Friday, November 14, 2008

From my kitchen to yours....
Arroz con Leche

My kids love arroz con leche and I have experimented with different recipes for years. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but I think I've finally got it! This is an egg-less recipe as it seems to me that adding the eggs is just not necessary in order for it to taste good.
Cook Rice according to package instructions. You don't need to add anything to it, unless you want to add cinnamon sticks, which will give it a nice flavor and it smells good while it is cooking. Remember, cooking times will vary depending on the kind of rice you use. Just be careful not to make it too sticky! When the rice is done cooking, let it sit for a while so it's not too hot when you add the milk. This last time, I used organic brown rice and so the cooking time was a little longer. I cooked about 4 cups of rice and used the other half for another meal.
Into a separate pan (if you also do the above) spoon desired amount of cooked rice. Add: enough milk to cover, approximately 1 cup to 1 and a 1/2 cups of sugar (Raw or Cane), you may need to add more or less, depending on the amount of rice. Add 1tsp. cinnamon. 2 tbsp. vanilla. Garnish with crushed, roasted almonds or raisins if you'd like and serve!

Yummy Tortilla Soup

Boil 4 or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts on high and just covered in water for about 20 min. Add 1 med. carton of chicken stock to the pot, a pinch (or more) of crushed red pepper, oregano to taste, garlic powder, a dash of salt and some Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning. Cover and cook until the chicken is so tender that it falls apart (if chicken is frozen, this could take a while). Once it is tender, turn chicken down to low/med. heat. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with the juice (I use Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes, 28 oz. can, but you may not have 4 hungry kids!) Or an alternative to this-for kids or adults-who don't like tomatoes-you can dice the tomatoes and serve only to individuals who like them-my middle son in this case-at the very end on top of the dish). At this point the recipe becomes yours and I will just suggest a few things. I usually add a bag of frozen corn and cook for another 15 min. or so. I also add frozen-previously cooked brown rice packets-one is usually enough, depending on how much soup you want to make. On the side, you can cut up a bit of fresh cilantro to add to the the top or diced green cabbage. Avocado slices or packaged guacamole is also really yummy as a garnish. Before I serve the soup, I put a handful of corn tortilla chips at the bottom of the bowl, serve the soup on top and then add the garnishments. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.


Roasted Anaheim Chile Salsa
This recipe was born from my obsession with these chiles. When I was diagnosed with high-blood pressure I was constantly looking for ways to make my food taste better without using so much salt. Hence this recipe came to be. I also want to add that as an alternative to fried chile rellenos, when you toast these chiles according to the directions below, you can stuff them with cheese and eat them just like that with or without taking the skin off. My mom and I like to add them to our burgers. Anyhow, I want to add that salsa is tricky and it has a lot to do with numbers (this I learned from my dear mother-in-law who is a great salsa chef). So with that little note you will understand that the ratios have to be just right.If you use, say, approx. 4 to 6 Anaheim Chiles, then the recipe would be as follows:
Roast washed, dried Anaheim chiles on a comal-if you don't know what that word means, then I don't know what to tell you, because at this moment I cannot think of the English equivalent, somebody help me, please. Oh, wait, it came to me, a griddle, like the one you make pancakes on. Anyway, roast them on med./high heat, turning, until they look like this: Please note, this may take a while and so I don't recommend making this during the hot summer months. When the chiles are in a sad looking state, burnt, limp, etc. you will take them and wrap them in a dish towel so that the trapped in moisture will make the skin start to fall off. Wait about ten minutes or so. While you wait you can get the other chiles ready. Boil the same amount of green tomatillos, serrano chiles and dried red chiles de arbol. Depending on how hot you want to go, you will add chiles accordingly. Warning: don't let the serranos fool you. They look small and innocent enough, but when they are COOKED they have the potential to knock your socks off! They are even hot for my husband who is a bit sadistic when it comes to eating hot chiles. For the novice chile eaters I'd even suggest adding 3 or 4 more tomatillos and less chiles. So, you will boil say 6 or 7 tomatillos, 3 serranos and 3 red chiles de arbol for a mild salsa. 10 tomatillos, 8 serranos and 8 chiles de arbol is higher on the hot scale. And 12 tomatillos, 12 serranos and 12 chiles de arbol would be a good, hot chile! You will boil this chile/tomatillo combination together, covered in water, until the tomatillos are looking soft and ready to fall apart. (I did mention that you are supposed to take the shell/skin off the tomatillos, didn't I?)
Ok, so when these lovely chiles are done cooking, you will take them off of the stove, do not empty the water. Use a pot holder-possibly one you have crocheted yourself upon a little inspiration from me-and set them aside. Get out your blender, assemble and add the chile/tomatillo mixture with a slotted spoon, add about 4 cups of the water you cooked the chile in and blend. Be careful when you take the lid off because of steam, heat or getting chile in your eyes issues, these can hurt, burn, cause you to go blind, etc.(I think I am only kidding about that last one!) Take off blender and set aside. Get your Anaheim chiles out of their little blanket wrap, peel the skin of and on a cutting board, dice the skinned Anaheim chiles. Get out one of your favorite bowls, pour the mixture from the blender into the bowl, add the diced chiles, a dash of salt and some garlic powder (you can also throw in a garlic clove or two to the chiles that you boil if you like), stir the chile (you may or may not want to add more water from that same water that you cooked the chiles in to your finished product-depending on how water-y you like your salsa) and voila! You have yourself some salsa that is so good that you'll want to make it all of the time, put it on all of your food and have people thinking that you are an accomplished chef in the art of fine Mexican cuisine!
This salsa is great on eggs, quesadillas, etc.
A slow cooked pork roast, with some of this salsa added, makes THE best chile con carne ever!!!! Just brown, a pork roast, in a little bit of olive oil and spices (my three friends: garlic powder, oregano and salt), then slow cook roast, with salt, oregano and garlic powder or diced fresh garlic and add this at the very end, about 45 min. before serving. Add some beans, rice, tortillas and cut up a few fresh tomatoes and lettuce on the side and you have yourself a nice meal. Well, I must go, all this talk of food is making me hungry!
PS. These recipes are by no means PROFESSIONAL recipes, they are simply recipes from one friend to another, from my kitchen to yours........................