Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taco Tuesday

OK, seriously there is a pattern forming.  What can I say?  We heart Mexican flavors.  So, for your salivation enjoyment, I bring you Pollos Dorados (from the Ultimate Mexican cookmag - like I said before, purchase it - you will not be sorry).

The recipe is fairly straightforward, but I did change it so here's the recipe:

1 Tbsp. oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
can of Rotel tomatoes and chiles
1 cup of shredded cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie)
corn tortillas
Oil for deep frying
Choose your own garnishes (suggestions: cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, onions-green)

1. Start heating the oil for deep frying (You want it to get to 375F before dropping in the food)
2. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in saute pan over medium heat.  Saute onions until soft.  Add the Rotel (do not drain).  Cook uncovered until most of the liquid evaporates.  Turn off heat.  Stir in chicken to the tomato mixture. 
3.  Warm the tortillas in the microwave (wrapped in damp paper towels) for 20 seconds (2 at a time).  Place a small amount of chicken mixture on one end of the tortilla, roll up and secure with a toothpick.
4.  Place prepared tacos into the heated oil in batches of 3 or 4.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.  Remove and place on paper towel lined plate. 

These are very good, if somewhat greasy.  It's good to have something junk foodie every once in a while.  And, hey, we southern woman love us some deep-fried food.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Churros Magnificos

I sense a theme lately in my posts.  Must be a Mexican mood!  For dessert for my mom's birthday, I decided to make her favorite Disney dessert.  She calls them Charos (yes, like the singer - I don't think she would taste good deep fried, but it might be a way to get her to be quiet), but the actual name is Churros.  We have been going to Disneyland with her for about 5 years and she still hasn't learned how to say them, but she sure knows how to eat them!  They ARE especially tasty at the end of a fun-filled, junk-foodie day at Mickey's home.
I have tried churros before with very unhappy results.  So, armed with a new recipe and an important innovation from Drew, I was ready to make this dessert.  The results were pretty good!  I got the recipe from Ultimate Mexican.  It is simple to prepare and tastes and smells great!  Here's the recipe:

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
vegetable oil for deep-fat frying
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, brown sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon.  Cook and stir mixture until it forms a ball and pulls away form the side of the pan.  Remove from heat.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and egg, beating well with a wooden spoon. 
2.  Transfer batter to a pastry bag (or cookie press, see below) fitted with a star tip.  Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Pipe 4 inch long logs onto prepared baking sheet. 
3.  In a deep saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 375F.  Fry logs, a few at a time, in hot oil about 2 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning once.  Drain on paper towels.  Keep warm while you do the remaining batches.
4.  In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Roll warm churros in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Serve warm.

The innovation Drew came up with was using a cookie press to create the traditional churro shape.  I have a Pampered Chef cookie press that has never seen action.  I opened it up and checked out the designs and Drew helped me pick one that would work - it was perfect.  The press also made forming the Churro dough into churro shapes so simple.  If you don't have a cookie press, you can use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of June 14 - 20

Another week, another menu.  We are trying to eat more at home this week as we gear up for our Grocery Challenge, starting next Monday!  Also, we have a couple big events this week.  One of my friends is graduating from nursing school.  We are so proud of her that we are throwing her a party to celebrate!  Also, this week is my dad's birthday and Father's Day - how's that for a busy week?  Here's the plan*:

Monday: Lunch: Sesame Brown Rice Salad
Dinner: Beef Taco Hash

Tuesday: Lunch: English Muffin Pizzas
Dinner: Pollo Dorados

Wednesday: Lunch: Pesto & Prosciutto Poached Egg Sandwiches
Dinner: Grilled Halibut Sarandeando

Thursday: Lunch: Sandwiches/Chips
Dinner: Spicy Basque Style Chicken

Friday: Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Graduation Party Dinner! 

Saturday: Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Asparagus Soup, Chicken Cobb Salad

Sunday: Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Dad's Birthday/Father's Day Dinner!

*The best laid plans of mice and men...etc.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feliz Cumpleanos

Tonight we had a birthday dinner for my mom.  Because she loves seafood and Mexican cuisine, I decided to make some Seafood Enchiladas from the Ultimate Mexican cookmag I told you about a few weeks ago.  This was a good idea indeed!  I am not usually one to order seafood enchiladas.  I usually like the basic cheese and onions enchiladas I grew up with, so this was a departure. 
The procedure for this recipe is very easy, but takes some time throughout the day.  You have to re-hydrate some dried chiles earlier in the day (this affords you time to take the requisite Sunday afternoon nap).  Once that is done, the hard part is basically over.  The rest is just mixing and rolling.  The entire process takes less than a couple hours. 
The recipe calls for either shrimp or crab.  We decided to do a mixture of both.  I mean, we are celebrating!  Once the chiles are ready (re-hydrated and cut in pieces), you add the seafood mixture and some shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  Roll this mixture up into some warm tortillas and it starts to look like enchiladas.  The interesting thing about this recipe (which I would change should I do this again) is the sauce.  It is basically a gravy (I am not kidding).  This is a little discomfiting to my Tex-Mex loving heart.  If I were to do it again, I would definitely add a lot of spice and change up the structure of the sauce (it has a LOT of flour in it). 
The result:  Very, very mild enchiladas.  Not necessarily bad, but not enough flavor and spice for me.  I would kick it up about 3 notches in the flavor department.  But, mom loved them (so I guess these are a success!).
For an appetizer, I made a new guacamole recipe (I can't get enough of avocado based dips!).  I really liked it but I think I will add cumin next time.  These are the ingredients: green onion, cilantro, serrano pepper (seeded), avocado, lime juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper. Mmm!  Oh and we tried out some new chips from Food Should Taste Good.  If you haven't tried these yet, check them out.  They are multigrain (read: healthy) chips that really do taste good.  If you go to their website, you can get a coupon!

Overall, Mom was happy.  And you know that old saying, "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  Well, I think the converse is true as well.