Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Exciting Enchiladas

So while I love Mexican food, I am very particular about it as well. I am not a fan of super spicy things. Unfortunately my and my husband`s definition of spicy is completely different.  About 10 years ago, I thought the Taco Bell cheese sauce was on the spicy side.  I`m doing a lot better, but jalapenos still scare me.

 When my friend made this dish for me, she made it sound so incredible...I could not wait to try it.  She had forgotten one thing though. To mention that it involved jalapenos.  Fast forward a bit, and she brings this large casserole over to be cooked. All you can see is the cheese on top, and of course it looks wonderful. It goes in the oven and the smells are divine. Someone else asks what is in it, and she goes through the list. Jalapenos included. My jaw dropped. I was so sad, but she said she`d only put 1 in, and that I wouldn`t taste it.  I put the fate of my mouth and all the milk in the fridge in her and took a bite. It was delicious!
If you aren`t a fan of spice, you can leave it out, or if you are, add even more. Either way, it will turn out great.  Just don`t forget the cilantro, as it makes all the difference!

What you need:
500 g shredded chicken
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
8-10 flour tortillas
1/2 - 1 cup grated cheese, Manchego or Iberico
3 cups tomatillo sauce (recipe below)

sour cream

For the sauce:
500 g can tomatillos (available for about 8 chf at El Maiz)
1-2 jalapenos (optional)
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup cilantro, leaves and stems (or one package from Coop/Migros)
1/4 tsp salt

1. Prepare your chicken.  I have made this twice now, once with the sour cream option for the sauce and once without. The first time, I used store bought pre cooked chicken and shredded it. The second, I roasted my own chicken and thought that was the better way to go.  Another option is to poach the chicken by placing it in a pot with water just covering it. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.

2. Prepare your sauce.  If using the canned tomatillos, open and drain. I used my immersion blender attachment to chop everything. Put in a bowl (blender or mixer) and then add the cilantro, garlic, salt and jalapenos.

Thinly slice the onion and cook it until it begins to brown and soften. Add to your mix. Blend until you reach a consistency you like.

3.  Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. You will use it to coat the tortillas.

There are 2 options for the tortillas: sprinkle a little water on them and put them in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or (my preference), quickly fry each side.  If you choose this option, heat up the pan first, then put some oil in it once it is hot.  Fry one side then the other. Make sure to blot the tortillas on a paper towel when done.

Lay in the baking dish and then flip so each side is coated with the sauce.  Add a heaping tablespoon of chicken and some cheese to the tortilla and then roll. Place at one end of the dish. Repeat until you have no more room or no more chicken.  When the dish starts to fill up, you may need to use a brush to spread on the sauce to both sides.

Once your dish is full, add the remaining sauce to the top. If you like, before doing this, add in 1/2 a cup of sour cream. Add the sprinkled cheese and bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes. 

 with sour cream sauce
out of the oven,  no sour cream sauce
Ready to enjoy

The cilantro gives it a very good flavor. Don`t forget to add it like I did the first time! :)
Oh, and it is fantastic as leftovers the next day...cold and reheated.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pork Steamed Buns

A few weeks ago, I went to Germany, to Singen, and I found refrigerated steamed buns. I was so excited. So I bought some and then they sat in the fridge for a few days while I tried to figure out what to make. I had found some pork on sale, so decided to use that, and had remembered a recipe for steamed buns with pork.  Well, apparently not for boneless pork chops, but since that is pretty much all I will buy here as it is less expensive than other pork cuts, I went with it.  I have a feeling the crispy pork belly would have been fantastic, but I was pleased with this as well.

I also discovered steamed buns in Konstanz yesterday, so was thrilled with to make breakfast steamed buns...after I buy a new steamer as mine decided it had had enough just recently. I hear the New Asia Market in Wiedikon has steamed buns as well, but have not made it over there yet to check.  The Asia store in HB has not on the times I have visited (though they do have lots of other good things).

If you can not find steamed buns, or want to make your own, I love the taste of the buns that I made earlier. Check out the recipe here.  I still need to perfect my closing (mine were filled), but they do taste great.

What you need:
 Steamed buns, either bought or made with the recipe above
Pork, about 500 g

For the marinade:
1 1/2 Tbls soy sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

hoisin sauce, enough to spread on all the buns
thinly sliced cucumber
thinly slice scallions
koriander for garnishing

Mix the marinade ingredients together and put in a bowl.

Make slices in the pork. Brush the marinade onto the pork, making sure to get it into the slices.

Surround with foil and let sit for 30 minutes

Put in the oven at 200 C for about 40 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. Once you have removed the pork, slice into thin strips.

Prepare your steamer: put enough water in a large pan so that it will not touch the bottom of the buns. Place the buns on top of a piece of parchment paper so they do not stick.  Once the water starts to boil, cook about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the bun.

Spread some hoisin sauce, pork slices, scallions and cucumber. Add a cilantro leaf (or two).  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pepper beef with mashed potatoes (Rindfleischpfeffer mit frischem Kartoffelstock)

Wow. This dish was incredible.  All of you who have a large fridge...make this soon...those without...wait til the temperatures are in the 40s and keep it outside.  This dish, you keep in the fridge for a week. That`s right, 7 days (6-8 recommended).  This is definitely an Autumn dish, and while Summer seems to have hidden from us, Fall will be here and you must try this.  It reminded me a lot of my mom`s steak and mushroom pie, though this was served in a lipped dish with mashed potatoes on the side.

Our teacher had prepared the dish a head of time, as obviously we weren`t going to be in class for an entire week, so we got to see the results and learn how to make it. Kind of like the time elapsed cooking shows...I wish my kitchen would do that by itself sometimes.

This is the second installment of the August cooking class, there will be one more, on a marinade/dip recipe -my shocking discovery on how a bowl full of chili peppers did not cause me to turn into a dragon and breathe fire.

What you need:

Beef ragout - stew meat, but cut it into smaller pieces,  at least 500 g
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
celeriac, peeled and chopped
red wine, enough to cover the meat
1/3 - 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
gravy thickening agent (bratensauce)
3 or 4 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp white peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp green peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
grapes or pineapple, whichever you prefer
optional: 1 finely sliced leek

For the potatoes
peeled potatoes, 500 g, steamed until tender
1/3 cup milk, may use more
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated

Peel all your vegetables and dice up the beef.  Slice and put your veggies in a bowl

Add the beef and bay leaves

Add the rosemary

 Add crushed white peppercorns. You can put them on the counter and hit them with the bottom of a frying pan

Add black peppercorns and a few crushed garlic cloves

Add the red wine, enough to cover the beef


Add the red wine vinegar and put it the fridge for between 4-7 days.  I think the longer the better, if you have the room.  You need to mix it up once per day, so there should not be any worry that you will think it is forgotten leftovers and just toss it away :)

This is the difference between the one we made on the left, and the one that had sat in the fridge, on the right.  (There are also sliced leeks in the one on the right, feel free to add them if you would like)

mine after 6 days in the fridge

Next, using a sieve if you have one, scoop out the meat and put it in a hot frying pan to sear it. 

Remove the meat and put the sauce, without vegetables on the stove. Add a gravy thickener (see below). Bring to a simmer and add the beef. 

Add sliced mushrooms and whole grapes or pineapple chunks. Simmer for 1.5 hours, until the beef is tender. You may need a little longer or a little less depending on the size of the beef chunks. 

Just before serving, mix about 1/4 cup of cream into the mixture. 

I added pineapple to mine instead of grapes. I also did half beef and half pork. It just melted in your mouth it was so tender. 

For the potatoes:

Peel them and then steam then until they are tender

Using your massive kitchen grinder...
yes, well, as most of us are not lucky enough to have the massive amount of room this requires, you can use a small mixer or a potato masher

Put the milk in a large saucepan. You can always add more milk, but you can`t take it away, so start out easy.  Warm it up and add some freshly grated nutmeg, if you have it, otherwise from the jar is fine. Add a dollop of butter, let it melt and then add the potatoes.  Mix well

Plate and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Salad with mustard dressing and shrimp

Last night we had another wonderful cooking class.  Going into it I thought (yet again) that there would not be a lot I would be interested in (seafood and spicy things I do not like and the menu included both), but of course, yet again, I did enjoy everything (avoiding the shrimp though).  If you are in Thalwil, I definitely recommend stopping in and grabbing a bite to eat!  I will post the other dishes in a separate post as it is time to wake the baby!

He will be hosting a wine and cheese tasting sometime in October which unfortunately I will be unable to attend as I will be on vacation (yay), so hopefully someone will take good notes for me and I will be able to review some of the wines...doing my own research of course!

First course was the salad with Black Tiger Shrimp and a mustard dressing

What you need:
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1/4 cup of chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper
Olive oil, about 1/2 cup
Basalmico, about 1/4 cup
Mustard. 1/3 cup
various greens
Black Tiger shrimp
White wine, about 2 Tbls

Make your salad with whichever greens you choose

Dice the red bell pepper very finely. Also dice the chives. Crush the garlic and chop finely as well.

Put in a bowl and add the mustard and pepper. Mix.

Add the balsamico and olive oil. You may need a little more oil to get the consistency you want

For the shrimp, make sure you have a very hot pan and add some olive oil. Lay the shrimp in. Saute.
When they are almost done, add some garlic so that it does not have time to burn
When they are done, add a little bit of white wine

Top your salad with the dressing and then add the shrimp.