You can see how flaky this crust is…it’s divine.
Are you a spice girl? Or spice dude? I am. I love spice, and I love green chili. I was fortunate to live in New Mexico for 4 months-years ago- during the [Hot Damn!] part of Summer. The silver lining of triple digit summer heat? being able to buy fresh roasted Hatch green chili’s. The goal of the chili’s destiny is to be roasted- blackened (literally) to blister the skin to impart flavor and to ensure that you can also peel the skin off.
If you live in New Mexico or the Southwest during chili harvest time you will know- because you will start smelling the aroma of roasting chili’s wafting in the air around town. Dare I say it- it’s kind of a sexy thing. It’s like food porn, but for the nose. In New Mexico especially, during harvest time- you’ll see large, horizontal spinning roasters/vessels right in the parking lots of major markets that do the roasting for you. Imagine some dude in a cowboy hat in faded well fitting Wranglers, hand cranking the drum roaster of vibrant green chili’s while they tumble over the hot flame. Yeah…double sexy.
It’s not unheard of to buy several plastic bags of the roasted & peeled chili’s and squirrel them away in the freezer. You’re gonna need several bags, because after one bite, you will become a green chili addict. You can of course roast & peel them yourself-roast them right over an open flame on a gas stove, under the broiler, or on the grill. The smell of a fresh roasted Hatch green chili is something you never forget; intoxicating and earthy. New Mexican’s put roasted green chili’s in anything, and everything-and I DO MEAN everything. It’s a beautiful thing. A green chili cheeseburger is something you NEED to try at least once in your lifetime, but today- I’m making a green chili and cheese quiche.
Sitting down to eat it with a sexy, Wrangler wearing cowboy- optional.
This chili in the picture was not quite dark green as the others, but you’ll see varying colors of green chili’s (they’re all good)
Green Chili & Cheese Quiche
1 1/4 Cup Heavy cream
1/4 Cup Milk
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Cup grated “Mexican 4 Cheese Blend”
5-6 large fresh roasted & peeled green chili’s, diced fine (see how to below for roasting and peeling)
To Assemble Quiche:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Prepare and blind bake the crust as per instructions below. Whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Fold in the cheese and diced chili’s. Pour into the baked and slightly cooled crust(s) and bake at 375° F until center of filling is set; about 18 minutes for the minis and about 25-30 minutes for a 9-10 inch quiche. Note: depending on how deep your tart or quiche pan is, you will have some filling leftover. I used a 10 inch pan and had a bit leftover to make a few extra mini’s. Give the extra’s away as a gift or wrap the baked and cooled quiche well in plastic wrap and freeze.
How to roast and peel green chili’s:
Wash and pat dry the chili’s. Place chili’s over a hot grill, medium flame, or broiler until they become blistered and totally blackened, turning with tongs frequently while roasting. Once they are totally black, place in a heat proof deep bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes to allow them to steam. Remove plastic wrap and carefully peel of the blackened skin. Discard stems and seeds. It’s helpful to use a damp paper towel (if too hot) as to not burn your fingers while peeling. Note: I DO NOT RUN THEM UNDER WATER- using water (IMO) washes away the flavor, so I just use the damp paper towel to remove the skins. Once cooled, dice the chili’s and set aside. You can do this a day or two ahead also and store in the fridge covered in plastic wrap to save time.
Easy Flaky Cream Cheese Crust
yield: enough for 2 nine-10 inch crusts or several mini quiche. (leftover dough freezes well)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp, cut into cubes
2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and kept cold
2 Cups flour
1 tsp. salt
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter and room temp cream cheese cubes and pulse until mixture just comes together. Gather dough together and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to let rest. To roll out crust, sprinkle flour onto bench, roll out crust and place in tart pan. Note: if making mini quiche I simply flatten a piece of dough and press it into the tart pan. Chill the crust again for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. Blind bake crust at 375° F until lightly golden.
Who doesn’t love a good “pot pie?” The Husband, that’s who. When I first got married The Husband informed me “Never make chicken pot pie”. That was the only food flare he shot up. Now, this is a man who will EAT ANYTHING, and I do mean anything. I mean, he hails from Taiwan- the island of stinky tofu for God’s sake. He’s like a clone of Andrew Zimmern, the man would eat rattlesnake if I served it. The back story behind this aversion to the pot pie stems from his childhood. You see, apparently growing up, every Friday night (or maybe more-and I’m sure he’ll clarify it after reading this) his parents would go out to fulfill military social obligations and leave him a frozen pot pie to heat and eat. This little ritual went on for a number of years, hence the extreme aversion. These little gems aren’t really a pot pie. No scary peas and carrots hiding inside. Think of them as an individual pocket of spicy Cajun goodness. Filled with juicy chicken, fresh summer sweet corn, onion, fire roasted red pepper, cilantro and lots of Cajun spice, and topped off with a Serrano chili (if you dare). What’s not to love?!
I mean, seriously, does this filling not look good, or what? there is nothing to fear…
Individual Cajun Chicken Pies
recipe adapted from “Pocket Pies” by Pamela Clark
yield: 4 individual “Texas size” muffin pies
Short crust Pastry:
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. cold, butter chopped, kept cold
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. ice water (approx.)
In a food processor place the flour and salt and pulse a few times. Add butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add yolk and 1 1/2 Tbsp. water and pulse until dough comes barely together, and add more water as necessary. Knead pastry lightly on a floured board until smooth. Press into a flat circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 30 minutes before attempting to roll out.
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 fresh corn cob, kernels removed (if you don’t want to use fresh you can substitute 1 cup frozen corn kernels)
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I like “Slap Ya Mama” brand- can be found at Cost Plus Markets)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into about 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 Cup diced roasted red pepper (purchased in jar)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup chicken broth
2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
fresh Serrano chilies (optional)
For egg wash: one egg beaten
1. Heat olive oil in large saute pan add onion, corn and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion softens. Add Cajun seasoning and saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
2. Heat another 1 Tbsp. oil in the same pan and add chicken and seasoning. Cook the chicken until browned. Stir in the diced red pepper. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Stir in the onion corn mixture and stir. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary (I actually added a sprinkling of cayenne and paprika). Remove to a bowl and allow to cool before assembling pies.
3. Note: if you don’t want to make fresh pastry dough you can also use purchased pie dough, or purchased empanada dough rounds. You could also use puff pastry dough and make hand pies.
To assemble and bake:
Brush or spray 4 wells of a texas size muffin pan. Cut out 4 rounds of dough into 5 inch circles. Place the dough rounds into the wells; pressing the sides and bottom to fit. Fill the wells evenly with the chicken mixture. Cut out 4 more rounds that are 4 inch size and brush one side with the beaten egg, then turn over and place the egg side down over the filled pies. Brush the tops of each pie with egg wash, and (if desired) pierce the top and insert a fresh Serrano chili. Bake in a 400° F preheat oven for 24-25 minutes. Cool in the pan until cool enough to remove.
Several years ago I went on a Caribbean cruise with a stop in Jamaica. It was a quick stop and I really, really, really, wanted to go on this agricultural tour, so I signed up since I’m a total geek when it comes to things like that (I love anything that involves a working plantation where they show you how they harvest crops). I’m a sucker for it-I Love it. It did not disappoint. I was able to see trees of cocoa pods, allspice trees, and various other tropical fruits and plants. After our tour we were taken to another part of the island to have a catered lunch which had Jamaican meat patties as part of the spread. OMG, where had these little beauties been all my life. Well- duh- they were in Jamaica. I needed these in my life. Eventually of course I forgot about them until fast forward, years later when I came across an actual recipe for them by chef Lucinda Scala Quinn. You may know her by the show Mad Hungry. She apparently spent quite a bit of time in Jamaica in her day and her cookbook-which I checked out from the library has some amazing authentic recipes. I did tweak the recipe slightly by adding a pinch of cinnamon, a little more salt than her recipe, and ended up using empanada premade dough rounds found in a Hispanic market, but I’ve included her original recipe for her dough here.
Jamaican Meat Pies “Patties”
recipe: slightly adapted from Lucinda Scala’s Cookbook: “Lucinda’s Authentic Jamaican Kitchen”
Pastry: recipe from original recipe which I did not use*
*Full disclosure- I used store bought Goya empananda dough rounds-which I found in a Hispanic market in the frozen food section. They worked perfectly! They came 12 in a package- which ended up working to use exactly all of my filling. If you can find them it saves a lot of time, but here is the original recipe for the pastry.
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 Cup ice-cold water
(optional: 2 Tbsp. curry powder- I personally would omit this– it’s part of the original recipe) by Lucinda (I’m not a huge fan of curry and I thought the curry in the filling was suffice)
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and (optional curry) in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Working quickly; using fingertips, squeeze together the flour mixture and butter and toss together by scooping under the mixture with both hands. When mixture resembles a very coarse meal, add the water to the bowl. With floured hands, mix and squeeze the dough just until it forms a ball. Knead it once or twice to combine it fully (avoid too much kneading). Form the dough into 2 pieces, flattening each into a thick pancake shape. Wrap in plastic and set them in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before using it.
Roll out each dough round on a lightly floured surface and cut 4 3/4 inch sized rounds. (This is the size of the Goya empanada rounds I found and thought the size was perfect).
Place a large spoonful of the cooled filling on one side of the dough round, and using a clean finger, paint water around the border. Fold over the opposite side of the dough; being careful to press out any air bubbles and press to crimp. Use the tines of a fork to crimp to seal. The patties may be frozen at this point and saved to bake off later. To bake: brush with egg wash, sprinkle with (optional) a little bit of kosher salt, and bake in a preheated oven at 400° F. for about 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
Egg wash: one egg whisked together with 1 Tbsp. water.
1 lb. ground beef (I used 90 % lean)
1 small-medium onion, diced
3 scallions, chopped fine (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Habanero peppers, seeded, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cinnamon
2 Cups water
1/2 Cup plain (dried) bread crumbs
1. In a large bowl mix the beef, onion, scallions, garlic, peppers and thyme. In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat and add the beef mixture. Fry until the meat is browned and the moisture is evaporated. Add the curry powder, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon, stirring constantly and allowing a crust to form somewhat on the bottom of the pan; scraping frequently to avoid burning. Add the water and stir the mixture, scraping the bottom to incorporate any browned crust. Add the bread crumbs and stir. Cover, and reduce heat to very low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the meat mixture to a bowl and allow to cool, refrigerate if you plan to assemble the pies on a separate day.
I’m a huge fan of slice and bake. These little tasty crackers are the savory cousin to the sweet sable we all are familiar with, such as pecan sandies. Slice and bake is your friend when you need to bring something to a party since you can make the dough ahead of time and they take no time to slice and bake off. These sables taste even better the next day after baking-they intensify a bit in flavor. You can easily double the recipe and store extra logs in your freezer for an impromptu party snack- just make sure to wrap them well in parchment paper and label them and seal the ends well. You can increase the cayenne in these if you want a really spicy cracker, but the amount I’ve used below also packs a nice subtle after burn.
Romano Parmesan Cheese Sables
yield: ~ 4 1/2-5 dozen
13 Tbsp. (1/2 C + 5 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temp
1 Cup grated Romano cheese
3/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. In a food processor combine the softened butter and cheeses to combine. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and pulse to combine. Divide dough in two halves and roll each half into a log about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment paper and chill for about 40 minutes.
2. Unwrap paper and slice logs into 1/4 inch slices. Place crackers at least 1 inch apart on a parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 325° F for about 17-19 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Allow to cool over a wire rack. Store leftover crackers in an airtight container.
This recipe is great on a cold Winter day. I’m probably a week or so late though since the polar vortex in the Midwest and Eastern United States has past. For my peeps in the Midwest; keep this in mind for the next time it gets really cold or you need an activity to keep the kiddos busy. The pretzels are really fun to make, so it’s great to get the kids involved to have a go at shaping the pretzels. Chances are you have all the ingredients already on hand. You will need granulated (active dry) yeast though. An added bonus if it’s really cold is these bake at a pretty high temperature so the house gets nice and toasty. You could also shape these into little 1 inch bits (dip size) and make them for the “Big Game” or a fun party snack served with different types of mustard. The recipe is from Alton Brown and I added an extra step by brushing the pretzels once they come out of the oven with butter; just like the ones you get in the mall. If you like a sweet version, dip the pretzels in cinnamon sugar on both sides. Another alternative is you could sprinkle on some pizza type seasoning, or sprinkle with chopped jalapeno/chopped green chili and shredded cheddar cheese.
Salty Classic or Cinnamon/Sugar Soft Buttery Pretzels
salty version (with kosher salt)
Cinnamon-Sugar (my fave)
Shown: pretzels out of the soda bath and brushed with egg yolk mixture ready for the oven. Note: The pretzels puff up in the soda bath, (and in the oven), (next time I would make the rope a little longer than the recommended 24 ” so it is thinner-say 26 “) to define the shape a bit better
Soft Buttered Pretzels (sweet or salty)
- 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces (1/4 Cup) unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt or kosher salt would be fine)
- Optional: cinnamon sugar (mix 1/2 Cup sugar with generous 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a shallow bowl)
1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes (the dough should make a slapping noise as it hits the side of the bowl and you know it is ready).
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, (it will be sticky and that’s normal). Place it in an oiled large bowl and turn dough over so both sides are oiled. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or wax paper (I like wax paper) and put in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
5. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-26 inch rope. (The original recipe says 24 inches, but I think a bit longer would be better). Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and fold down the tails towards you to press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
6. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 at a time, for 30 seconds. (I find it easy to place the pretzel onto a very large spatula; like a pancake turner size and then place into the water- the pretzel will release on it’s own). Remove from the water. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (omit the salt for cinnamon sugar version). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Brush with softened butter while pretzels are still warm. (I find it handy to use the other half of a stick of butter; just peel off a bit of the paper and “brush” over the pretzel).
7. For cinnamon sugar version: omit the salt before baking and after resting for 5 minutes, brush pretzel with butter as above and dip both sides generously into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
For 1 inch pretzel bits: bake ~ 10 minutes
Does everybody have sugar overload coming off of the holidays? Here is a savory recipe for you to break up the sweetness a little. We still like to have a little goodie with our meals but maybe we need to take a break from it. Or not. 😉
I’ve included a recipe for cinnamon-honey butter so if you need a wink of sweetness you can slather on the flavored butter. This butter is amazing on scones, biscuits or bagels so make sure to store the rest in the fridge.
Cornbread with Cinnamon Honey Butter
yield: 9×9 square pan
2 Cups fine cornmeal
1 Cup AP flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup buttermilk OR plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can cream style corn
1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat an oven to 425° F. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper; leaving 2 inches overhang and spray the pan with non stick baking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients with a whisk. In a 4 cup glass measuring cup combine the wet ingredients with a whisk. Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
Serve with cinnamon honey butter if desired.
recipe: Food Network
1 stick (I/2 Cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients with a rubber spatula or hand mixer until thoroughly combined. Store extra butter in an air tight container in fridge. Leftover butter is great on bagels or scones!
I saw these beautiful concord grapes in the market the other day and I stopped dead in my tracks. I never see concord grapes. I love the contrast in flavor of concord grapes. The skin is tart but the inside flesh is super sweet. I have been hanging onto the thought of making this grape and rosemary focaccia for some time. The rosemary, no problem as I have an enormous rosemary plant growing in my backyard that is out of control. I should say it’s really a rosemary bush. In a weird way I’m kind of proud of that rosemary plant as it started out as a tiny plant, and now it has aggressively taken over major real estate in my backyard. Everyone knows I cannot grow anything worth a darn, 😦 but the exception is my rosemary plant. Quite frankly I don’t even try; it has taken on a life-force of its own. With all the fog here I don’t even water it. That’s why I love it, it’s like the big green monster that self feeds. When you enter the garden it makes a statement. As soon as you get 3 feet from it you can smell the piney fresh scent. This bread is a lovely contrast between sweet and savory. If you can’t find concord grapes you could use black grapes also.
My beloved Rosemary bush-note the white dense sky- San Francisco fog in the background….
concord beauties- once they bake they turn an amazing deep purple color
Concord Grape and Rosemary Focaccia
recipe adapted from Epicurious
3/4 Cup very warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + more for brushing dough
2 1/4 Cup bread flour
one large bunch concord grapes
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar and whisk to combine with a hand whisk. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, olive oil and bread flour and mix with a spatula by hand. Attach the dough hook and on medium high speed knead the dough for about 2 minutes. Oil a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil and turn out the dough into the bowl, turning the dough so it coats all sides with the oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
2. Spread olive oil over a large sheet pan. Take the dough and press it into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick. Conversely you can spread the dough into 2 round loaves; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled about one hour. Brush the dough with olive oil and dimple the dough using your fingertips. Scatter the grapes and rosemary leaves over the dough. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let bread cool about 15 minutes then sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve warm.