Saturday, February 27, 2016

Green Chili Adobo

Last night, we had our second gathering of our cookbook club, and we made recipes from Rick Bayless' cookbook "More Mexican Everyday"....

I had to admit I wasn't very excited about this cookbook because I didn't think Mexican food was anything special, but I've enjoyed watching his show on PBS and I think his Frontera brand salsas  are the best jarred salsa you can buy at the grocery store, so I got the book out of the library.  It definitely left an impression on me.  I like his writing style; it's very casual to read and I enjoyed every recipe I made out of it.  I was curious especially about his rice cooker recipes.  I always thought a rice cooker would be a waste of space in the kitchen but I bought one at this book's urging, and I love it!   Cooks Illustrated recommended the Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker , and it really works well.  I love all the things I can make in it (not just rice) and also that I can use the delay timer to make rice to go along with a crock pot meal that's cooking all day while I'm at work.   For the potluck, I made one of the rice dishes (chipotle rice with shrimp) as well as green chili adobo.  It's like Mexican pesto and can keep in the fridge for months.  It tastes very "green" with a spicy kick at the end.   You can find the recipe on Rick's website.   This morning, I took his good advice and mixed some in my scrambled eggs.   Very good!  Tastes like spring!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Good Facsimile Thereof: Tom Yum Gai

My husband has caught the cold that I had; being a veteran of this 3 week illness, I know he's got some hard time to do.   So I wanted to nurse him back to health, or at least nearer to health, with a bowl of the Thai hot and sour soup Tom Yum Gai.   I've never tried to make it myself because it requires things I don't often have, like kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.   Not wanting to venture out to the Asian market clear on the other side of town, I decided to try to make it with what I had.  I googled around looking for recipes, everything required exotic ingredients, so I decided to improvise with using some lemon zest for lemon grass and lime zest and bay leaves for kaffir limes, thinking this is a spicy soup anyway, so small nuances shouldn't matter.   Here's what I came up with:

Home Style Tom Yum Gai
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large skinless chicken breasts, diced 1/2 inch
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 cups chicken stock
6 thin slices fresh ginger
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 t. lemon zest
1/4 t. lime zest
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons chili paste
2 serrano chilies, thickly sliced
2 small tomatoes, cut into eighths.
5 button mushrooms, quartered
1 small can baby corn, drained
1/4 cup lime juice
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a medium-sized soup pot, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken and onion (not the green onions),  until the chicken is only a little bit pink and the onion translucent.
Add the stock, fish sauce, ginger, zests and the bay leaf.  Simmer 10 - 15 minute covered on medium-low heat.Add the sugar, chili paste, serranos, and sliced tomatoes, along with the mushrooms and corn.  Heat for another 10 minutes.  Turn heat fully to low and add the lime juice to taste. Add half of the diced cilantro and the green onions, then let simmer on low for another few minutes.

Serve topped with remaining onions and cilantro on top.

Delicious!  Or as my friend always used to describe soups when she was a restaurant reviewer: "restorative".  This recipe is definitely one I'll try again, even if no one is sick.