Eggs Mexican style

Posted June 8, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Breakfast, Ethnic

Tags:

While scrounging thru the fridge one morning I came up with this. It has become a regular around here as it’s easy, adaptable, and filling.

For each diner:

  • 2-6 inch corn tortillas
  • 1 handful grated cheese such a cheddar or Colby-jack
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Optional extras (see below)

The extras can be almost anything you like–shredded chicken, chopped onion, pickled jalapeños, chopped olives, etc. But this is fine without extras.

Sprinkle the cheese over one tortilla. Add extras, if using, and put the 2nd tortilla on top, pressing down firmly. Heat about 1 TB of vegetable oil or lard in a frypan and cook until slightly browned and a bit crispy–maybe 1 min. Flip and do the other side. Sprinkle with a little salt if desired and remove to a plate. Cook the egg(s) in the same pan and place on top. Serve with salsa and hot sauce.

Pickled onions

Posted May 27, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Miscellaneous, Sides, Vegetarian

Tags: , ,

I almost always have these in the fridge. They have a million uses–on burgers and hoagies, as part of a charcuterie platter, with bread and cheese, in salads, chopped in deviled eggs, tuna salad, and the like…you get the idea.

You can use almost any vinegar you like–white or red wine, cider, sherry, or rice. I would not use balsamic as the flavor seems inappropriate, nor would I use plain white vinegar because, well, no flavor! Red onions are preferred for the pretty appearance but you can use other types as well. This keeps almost forever refrigerated.

  • One large red onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1-1/2 c vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 1-1/2 TB kosher salt

Peel the onion and halve lengthwise. Cut into thin half-rings and put in a heat-proof bowl. Cut the jalapeño (if using) in half lengthwise then remove stem and seeds. Slice thinly. Use all the pepper or just part to your taste. Add to the onion.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, including the red pepper flakes if you are using them, and bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Pour over the onions and let sit for a bit, then pack into a jar.

Frijoles refritos (refried beans)

Posted March 14, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Sides, Vegetarian

Tags: ,

These are a staple at Mexican restaurants, but often disappointing. They are very easy to make at home, though, and have plenty of uses outside of Mexican cuisine.

  • 4 TB oil or fat (see below)
  • 2-15 oz cans pinto beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 tennis ball-sized onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Lard is traditionally used for this, but is not necessary. Bacon fat is good or use pretty much any vegetable oil–in which case the dish will be vegan.

Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet. When hot, add the onion, garlic, and Jalapeño and cook over medium heat until starting to brown. Add the beans and a bit of their liquid. Stir and mash with the back of a wooden spoon. When about half mashed, add the cumin and pepper. Continue mashing, add more liquid as needed, until you get the desired consistency. Some people like their beans to be almost completely smooth while others, including me, like to leave a good bit of bean chunks intact (as in the photo). Correct salt if needed.

Chili with ground beef and beans

Posted January 16, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Uncategorized

Chili is great food for cold weather–it is January as I write this. There are jillions of recipes, with beans or not, with tomatoes or not, with ground or cubed meat. This has become our regular go-to chili and because it freezes well we make big batches and almost always have some in the freezer. Also it can be made a few days ahead and reheated.

While some chilis are made without beans, I think they are an important part of a good chili. Most important, they taste good, but also are nutritious and low cost. You can use canned but I prefer to cook my own. Pinto beans or red kidney beans are traditional.

The chili flavor is of course the center of the dish. While some recipes go to the trouble of toasting, cleaning, and grinding dried peppers, I have found you can get equally good if not better results with high quality chili powder. This is *not* the chili powder off the rack at the supermarket! I like to mail order it from the southwest, where the best chilis are grown. I can recommend the company Made in New Mexico for really good chili powder and other regional foods.

Cumin is a major spice here. While you can buy ground cumin, you’ll get much better results by toasting and grinding your own.

You’ll note the treatment of the ground beef with salt and baking soda. I learned this technique from a cooking magazine. The baking soda quickens the browning of the meat so you get a decent result before the meat overcooks.

How to serve this? Over plain rice is one idea. I also like to put a piece of cornbread in a bowl and top with the chili. Or cornbread on the side. Homemade tortilla chips are good too. You can top it with various things such as grated cheese, chopped radishes or red onion, chopped cilantro, sour cream, chopped scallions, avocado, etc.

  • 1 lb dry pinto beans or 3-15 oz cans
  • 2 lb ground beef, preferably 85% lean chuck
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large or 6 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil or bacon drippings
  • 1 to 4 TB chili powder, to taste (mild to spicy!)
  • 2 TB ground cumin
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • 1 TB paprika, preferably the Spanish smoked kind
  • 1 TB dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1-15 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1/2 TB ground black pepper
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar

For dry beans, wash and put in a large pan covered by about 2″ of water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and cover. After about an hour, drain and discard the liquid. Add fresh water to cover and bring to a simmer. Start checking after 40 minutes, it might take up to an hour. When they are “al dente” – still a bit firm – remove from heat and drain, reserving the liquid. Set aside.

For canned beans, drain, reserving the liquid, and set aside.

Mix the beef thoroughly with the baking soda and salt, adding 2 TB water. Hands are great for this! Set aside for at least 15 min.

Heat the oil (medium-high heat) in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 min. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring, until the beef is browned. This may take 10-15 min. Don’t break the beef into tiny pieces, leave it in 1/4 to 1/2 inch chunks. It will give off some liquid. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Stir for a few minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, sugar, and black pepper along with 1 c water and enough bean liquid to give the consistency of a really thick soup. Cover and bring to a slow simmer for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every now and then. Add water if needed.

Add vinegar. Taste for salt and add if needed. Stir well before serving.

Gochujang-glazed eggplant

Posted October 7, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Vegetables/potatoes/rice, Vegetarian

Gochujang is the national hot sauce of Korea. It is spicy, yes, but not super-spicy, and it has lots of flavor. It’s become so popular that you can often find it in the supermarket. It makes a great glaze for eggplant. You want the long, dark-skinned, Asian eggplant for this, although our common globe eggplant would work too.

3 large Asian eggplant, about 1 lb or a bit less
2 TB gochugang
1 TB soy sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 small or 2 large garlic cloves
Vegetable oil, about 1/3 c
4-6 scallions

Rinse but do not peel the eggplant. Cut off the stem end and then crossways into 3 equal pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise and then in half again to give you 4 wedge-shaped pieces (12 total). Toss in a colander with 1 tsp salt and let sit for at least 30 min.

Put the garlic thru a press. Mix the garlic, gochujang, soy, and sugar in a small bowl.

Cut the scallions, whites and most of the greens, into 3-4 ” lengths. Cut each piece lengthwise once or twice to get slivers. Set a few lengths of green aside for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. It’s hot enough when a small shred of scallion starts sizzling in a few seconds. Add the scallion white and fry, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the green parts and continue frying, stirring, until all is browned. Remove to a paper towel on a plate (chopsticks are great for this task).

Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels–do not rinse. Heat oil again over medium-high and add the eggplant cut side down. Cook until starting to brown, then cook for a few more minutes until starting to soften. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the gochujang mixture. Cook while stirring and flipping the eggplant until the sauce is bubbling, reduced, and just starting to caramelize. Remove to a platter, scatter the fried scallions on top followed by the reserved garnish. Can be served warm, at room temp (my fave), or right out of the fridge.

Note: If your skillet is not large enough to hold all the eggplant in one layer, fry it in two batches then combine in the pan and proceed with the saucing.

Gamja salad (Korean potato salad)

Posted October 7, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Sides, Vegetarian

Tags:

You would never guess that this is Korean from the ingredients, but it is a regular part of banchan, the small snacks served with meals at Korean restaurants. Korean or not, it is a nice variation on potato salad that would not be out of place at a 4th of July picnic alongside ribs and burgers. It’s traditionally served in mounds created with an ice cream scoop, but that’s not necessary of course.

1 large russet potato
1 English (Kirby) cucumber
1/2 medium red onion
1 medium carrot
1 large egg
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp rice vinegar
salt and black pepper

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

Finely chop the onion into pieces about the size of a raw lentil.

Cut the carrot into thin strips with a peeler.

Peel the potato and cut into 2 inch chunks.

Mix the cuke and onion with 1 tsp salt and set aside. Cook the potato in boiling water until soft. Hard boil the egg. Drain and cool the potato, cool and peel the egg.

Chop the egg roughly and put in a medium bowl. Add the potato. Mash together with a fork or, even better, a pastry blender. You do not want it perfectly smooth, some small lumps should remain.

A handful at a time, squeeze the cuke-onion mixture to remove excess water, then add to the bowl. Add the carrot shreds, mayo, sugar, vinegar, and a few grindings of pepper. Mix to blend and taste for salt, adding if needed.

Pierogis with sauerkraut or cheese

Posted September 3, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Miscellaneous, Sides

Tags:

If you are trying to limit carbs and/or fat, read no further. These little guys are irresistible and you always have room for one more! Because the dough in this recipe is made with sour cream instead of water or milk, it is extra rich and tasty. They freeze beautifully, too. I give the sauerkraut recipe first and the cheese variation follows.

For the dough:

  • 2-1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and, using the dough hook, mix on low for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms. If it seems too dry or wet, add small bits of milk or flour as needed. Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead by hand to form a smooth ball. Cover and let sit while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb fresh sauerkraut or one 15oz can of sauerkraut
  • 2 russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1 TB butter
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cook in simmering water until completely cooked, then drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and mash with a hand masher or use a ricer.

While the potatoes cook, drain the kraut and put in a bowl of fresh water. Swish around and drain again. Repeat the rinsing and draining one more time. A handful at a time, squeeze out extra moisture. Put on a cutting board and take a few cuts thru it with a knife (to avoid long strands). Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Correct seasoning.

For cheese and potato filling: Replace the kraut with 1-1/2 c sharp cheddar cut into small cubes. Be sure the potatoes are fully cooled before adding the cheese.

Assembly: Roll the dough out 1/8 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tin can to cut 3 inch circles. Place 1 TB filling in the center of each circle and fold over, pressing the edges to seal. Set on a wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Form excess dough into a ball and roll out again to cut more circles.

To freeze, set the baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered. When the pierogi are frozen solid, transfer to a zipper bag for storage.

Cooking: Drop pierogi (fresh or frozen) into gently boiling water, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for 5 minutes (6 if frozen) and remove to a plate to drain. Using a nonstick pan, saute over medium heat in a bit of butter and oil until the bottom is lightly browned, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately.

Cultured butter

Posted August 22, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Uncategorized

Butter is surprisingly easy to make at home, and even better–you can make cultured butter with its richer and more interesting taste. This is nothing more than butter made from cream that has been allowed to ferment a bit.

  • 4 c heavy or whipping cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
  • 1/2 c plain whole milk yogurt.
  • Kosher salt (optional)

Thoroughly mix the cream and yogurt, cover loosely, and let sit on the counter for 24-46 hours. It will thicken a bit and taste a bit tangy. Put in the fridge for an hour or two to chill down to 55-60 degrees.

Put cream mixture in a food processor. Zap it until it “breaks” — this can take as little as 2 minutes or as many as 6. When it breaks it will be very obvious–the mixture will quickly go from looking sort of like whipped cream to a bunch of small yellow globs floating in a pale liquid (that’s the buttermilk). Pour into a strainer lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and let drain.

Have some ice water ready. Transfer the ball of butter to a bowl and add 1/2 c ice water. Mush the butter around with your fingers to wash out remaining buttermilk. Pour off the liquid and repeat 2-3 times until the liquid runs clear. If you want salted butter, knead in 1/2 tsp salt. That’s it– you have butter. You can use wax paper to roll it into one or more logs, press it into small ramekins, etc. Keeps refrigerated for a couple of weeks and can be frozen.

Note: You can save the buttermilk and use it for all sorts of things. Apparently pigs love it. On a more realistic note, use it in baking, add to cream soups, etc. Be aware that this traditional buttermilk is not the same as the cultured buttermilk sold in markets and the two cannot be used interchangeably.

Tomato galette

Posted August 14, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s the peak of tomato season as I write this, and as an avowed tomato lover I am always looking for creative ways to use them. This galette is relatively simple and is a delicious and elegant addition to a summery dinner or alone as a light lunch. I think it’s best served warm–not hot–or at room temperature.

  • Your favorite homemade pie crust. If you make enough for a 2-crust pie, you will use only half and the rest can be frozen. Or, use store-bought.
  • 1-1/2 lb ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium)
  • 1-1/2 c grated or crumbled cheese (cheddar, feta, gouda, asiago, etc.)
  • 1/3 c pesto (see note below)
  • 2 large or 4 small cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 TB snipped chives or thinly slivered basil

Note: If you don’t have pesto, you can finely mince 1/2 c fresh basil leaves and mix with olive oil and a pinch of salt to make a paste.

Make the dough and let sit in the fridge while completing the other steps.

Heat oven to 400 degrees with rack in middle position.

Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle with 1/2 TB salt. Let sit in a colander to drain for at least 20 min. Spread out on a double layer of paper towels and put another double layer on top, pressing down lightly with your hand. Let sit while you roll out the dough. Getting the excess moisture out prevents a soggy galette.

Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper and roll to a 14 inch circle. Trim the edge if needed–it does not have to be perfectly smooth. Trim excess parchment.

Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving 1-1/2 inches clear around the edge. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pesto followed by half the tomatoes, half the garlic, and a grinding of pepper. Repeat.

Fold the bare edges of the dough up and over the filling. Slide the assembly onto a baking sheet and brush the edges with egg. Bake, rotating the baking sheet half a turn at 30 min. Start checking at 50 min. It is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling in places.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with chives or basil, and let cool for about 10 min before transferring to a rack. Remove parchment.

Chicken wings Korean or Buffalo style

Posted July 21, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Poultry, Starters

Fried chicken wings are immensely popular and the Korean and Buffalo styles perhaps top the list. This is a way to get tasty and crispy wings without the hassle and mess of deep frying.

Wings, as many as desired
Kosher salt
Sugar
Neutral oil (canola, peanut, avocado, etc.)
Flour

If not already done, separate the wings and discard the tips. Put in a bowl and cover with water in which you have dissolved 1/4 c kosher salt and 1/4 c sugar per quart. Refrigerate for an hour or two then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees using the convection setting if available. Put the rack toward the top of the oven.

Put the wings in a dry bowl and toss with enough oil to coat. Add some flour and toss to coat. Arrange the wings, not touching, on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes then broil until the wings are sizzling and browned. They are perfectly fine served at this point, but for extra crispness turn the wings and broil for another couple of minutes. Remove wings to a bowl and proceed as follows.

For Korean style

Gochujang (Korean hot sauce)
Sriracha
White toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Thinly sliced scallions (optional)

Mix equal parts for gochujang and sriracha to mix with wings to coat. Put on serving platter and top with optional sesame seeds and/or scallions. Pass extra gochujang/sriracha sauce at the table.

For Buffalo style

According to history, or perhaps legend, buffalo wings were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The story goes that a favorite item on the menu was a fried chicken sandwich, but one evening the cook discovered that the supplier had brought a box of wings instead of breasts. Not wanting to disappoint customers, the cook came up with this now-famous recipe.

Frank’s or similar hot sauce (Texas Pete, for example, but not Tabasco)
Melted butter
Blue cheese dressing
Celery sticks

Toss the wings with the hot sauce and butter then serve with the dressing and celery on the side. Some people sub ranch dressing, but as best I can determine the original calls for blue cheese.


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