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Tortilla stack

11 Feb

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Meet our beloved vintage gold Bennington Potters of Vermont covered casserole two quart dish (sadly loop handled lid busted in childhood). Check it here!

It’s the perfect vessel for our stacked taco/enchilada-type number, layering tortillas with beef, beans, cheese and garnished with diced fresh tomato, chopped lettuce, cilantro, avocado and Greek yogurt.

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It’s a hot mess, to be sure. Very hard to take a pretty picture but rest assured, it is a winner. We’ve switched up the filling variations and have found refried beans are great but makes it very floppy.

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Fun pie-like slices served with a Mexican caesar salad topped with a dusting of parmesan:caesar

For a meatless version of this stacked marvel, we have our beloved portobello and asiago number. Martha Stewart also has a meatless version with 2 cups of black beans simmered in a 1 1/2 cups of beer, with sauteed onions jalapenos and corn, layered with scallions and cheddar.

By building the cake in a spring form pan, you can blast it for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

GuadalaHarry’s

25 Jan

Brace yourselves…

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And this treasure to wash it all down with:11836858_10152881018981566_8651046290023923223_n

GUADALAHARRY’S ENCHILADA TORTE
From a 1977 menu under Mexican Specials: “three layers of corn tortillas filled with beef, melted cheese, lettuce and enchilada sauce.”

Here’s a super beautiful image to inspire you.

Using our fave Tres Marias corn tortillas, you could easily bake six stacks at once on a baking sheet.

From online recipe: “I buy ( 9 or 10″) aluminum foil pans to make these. Each person gets their own pan.”

For one serving:
4 oz. ground beef
Diced fresh tomatoes
Oregano, white and black pepper, salt and garlic powder
3 corn tortillas, blanched in hot oil
8 oz. heated enchilada sauce
1 1/2 oz. blended shredded cheese, 2 parts Cheddar and 1 part Monterey Jack

For Garnish:
shredded lettuce
sliced black olives
diced tomatoes

Cook ground beef; stir in tomatoes. Season with oregano, white and black pepper, salt and garlic powder.

Center the foil pan with one of the tortillas. Top with 1/3 of the ground beef, enchilada sauce and cheese; repeat step with the other tortilla, cheese, sauce and beef.

Place third tortilla over rest of the ingredients, covering torte completely with enchilada sauce. Sprinkle cheese over top for color. Bake in 450º oven until hot and cheese melts. Garnish with lettuce, olives, onions and tomatoes.

GUADALAHARRY’S GUACAMOLE
Ottawa Citizen, 1987
Recipe provided by Neil Prakash, general manager of GuadalaHarry’s

2 large, ripe avocadoes, peeled

1 small clove of garlic, peeled

1 or 2 small fresh green chilies

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 fresh lime

1 tablespoon sour cream

2 or 3 tablespoons of water

In a medium-sized bowl, mash the avocadoes. Mash the garlic, chilies, pepper and salt until it forms a paste. Mix into the mashed avocadoes and add the lime juice, sour cream and enough water to create the desired consistency. Chill and serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 4 servings.

Petal Pusher

22 May

We swooned after trying this tasty hors d’oeuvre at a gallery party.

A mille feuille flour tortilla cake of portobella mushroom duxelles and asiago stayed with us. And we finally found the recipe in the newspaper archive from the 1990s.

The steamy tortillas became wondefully noodle like, soft but not floppy.

The finished portobello mushroom tortilla cake with asiago cheese was served sliced into diamonds, arranged on platters like flower petals. Perfect party finger food.

Polkadots of smokey red pepper coulis topped each piece. Beautiful.

The same caterer also served mini duck confit-like tourtiere, topped with sweet spiced pomegranite sauce.

PORTOBELLO TORTILLA CAKE

At Florentine, this many-layered savory is sandwiched together with the most delicious, aromatic mix of portobello mushrooms, asiago cheese and aioli. Serve in a pool of sweet bell pepper sauce.

Serves 8

1    package flour tortillas (about 12 burrito-size)

1 small red onion

300 g (or a bit more) portabella mushrooms

3/4    cup grated Asiago cheese

1/4    cup grated Parmesan

1/4    cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)

1/4    cup mayonnaise (preferably home-made)

Separate tortillas and set aside so you’re ready for quick assembly. In a food processor, chop red onion and mushrooms into a fine dice; Add fresh chopped herbs.

To assemble, spread one tortilla with a light coating of mayonnaise and sprinkle with mushroom mixture. Cover with another tortilla and sprinkle this layer with grated cheese and more mushroom mixture.

Repeat alternating layers until all tortillas are used up. Weight between two plates, with something heavy on top and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Cut into 8 wedges and bake on a cookie sheet at 400F/200C for 15 minutes or until edges are bubbly and outside, browns.

Red Pepper Reduction

This ”reduction” technique yields a low-fat sauce that’s rich in flavor with more texture than some because one fresh bell pepper is pureed with the cooked mixture at the end.

3    fresh red bell peppers, washed and seeded

1    small onion, chopped (or half a medium onion)

1    cup chicken stock (or more if needed)

1/2 cup white wine

Chop two of the peppers and the onion into small dice. Add to wide saucepan with chicken stock and wine. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until thoroughly tender and some of liquid has evaporated.

Toss into blender or food processor with remaining pepper, chopped roughly, and puree until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper. Return to heat to warm to serving temperature. If too liquid, simmer until reduced a bit more.

Peppers in Palm Springs

16 Sep
"Have you ever tried Mexican food?"

“Have you ever tried Mexican food?”

The year is 1962. Don Draper has run off from a conference in LA to Palm Springs with a young nymph named Joy.

After collapsing from heat exhaustion in front of her eccentric, nomadic friends, a more rested Don joins the crowd poolside for his first taste of Mexican food.

Oh 1962: you had so much to offer.

Joy tells him he must try "a pepper, filled with cheese. And there's a sauce!"

Well. If that doesn't send you trotting off in search of a recipe for chiles rellenos and roasted red pepper sauce, you're simply mad.

We even have a 1980s Seventeen Magazine recipe for chiles rellenos:

(Albeit an eggy, microwavable version as yet untried. But still nostalgic!)

(click below for the 1980s goodness)

With our love of Palm Springs and Mexican food, this is a perfect addition to our Food From Mad Men series.

Roasted poblano or anaheim peppers stuffed with cheese are dipped in whipped egg and fried.

Fire roasted tomatoes and red pepper, garlic and onion make a simple sauce for drizzling overtop.

But because we are weirdly anti-oeuf, we’d like to broil a batch casserole style; layering rows of stuffed peppers with a touch of sour cream and panko or even cornmeal on top. We’ll give a whirl and see how it goes.

We’re not keen on surrendering the look of individual peppers, but we’re sure if we keep the topping light, the peppers will still look like peppers. Granted, they will not have that fried, crunchy coating that makes the peppers so dreamy. But baking/broiling is sure to save a load of calories.

We love the simplicity of oozy cheese and slippery peppers, but we’re mighty tempted to stuff with pork carnitas for a more substantial pepper.

Cross yer fingers…

Monday is Taco Tuesday

14 Sep

sweet potato taco 3

OMG. Again. OMG. This is a recipe we will make forever. Hoarded from the New York Times since Nov. 7, 2004, we just got around to giving this a whirl tonight. Post yoga, pre-sensible-September-eating.

It is magnificently bright tasting and full of vitamins. The vinaigrette is so tangy and puckery from lovely lime, and the soft chicken smooshes beautifully with the toasty, cumin-scented sweet potatoes (full disclosure: we used orangy yams because the yellow sweet potatoes at the market looked about 100 years old. No matter. This is better.)

Also, we love how few ingredients there are. Simple.

Sweet and sour on an earthy organic corn tortilla and crunchy greens. If we were Taco Tuesday people, this baby would be in heavy rotation.

UPDATE: We steamed and mashed the sweet potato, leaving it lumpy, and tossed it with cilantro and the vinaigrette. While you don’t get that crunchy taste, it was still delicious. And of course it sped up the prep time to warp speed.

Also, with a grocery store rotisserie chicken and a lightning fast mandolin for slicing the sweet potatoes, this comes together faster than ever. Making the sauce the day before would be genius.

CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATO TACOSsweet potato taco 2
Recipe from NYT, PAULA DISBROWE

For the chipotle vinaigrette:
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil. (we chickened out and used a generous 1/4 cup)

For the taco filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breast halves (bone-in), poached
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro (leaves and tender stems), chopped.

To serve: 
12 to 16 warm flour (we’ve been using organic corn) tortillas 
2 cups hearts of romaine lettuce, shredded 
2 cups mixed field greens 
Red salsa (optional).

1. To make the vinaigrette, drop the chipotles, garlic, salt, lime juice and vinegar into a blender and puree until smooth. With the blender still running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside.
2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the cumin and salt. Fry, stirring often, until the potatoes are golden and crispy, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, pull the poached chicken breasts off the bone and use a fork to shred the meat. Place in a large mixing bowl with the red onion, cilantro and potatoes. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine well.
4. In a medium bowl, toss together the lettuce and field greens. Serve the filling on a platter with the lettuces, warm tortillas and red salsa, if desired.

Cinco de Mayo

5 May


Here’s our Mexican-inspired party fare. The pork turned out amazing!

We have an array of organic corn and flour tortillas, crisp radishes, cheese, salsas, chipotle lime crema, and guacamole, accompanied by a sunny salad of orange supremes, red onion, and lettuces in a cumin-scented roasted garlic and parmesan dressing.

To further the Mexicans conquering the French theme, we are treating our guests to chocolate mousse spiked with cinnamon and cayenne, topped with fruit salsa: kiwi, mango and strawberry.

To begin, we have cassava chips and some corn tortillas chips in the colours of the Mexican flag. For dipping: guac, salsa verde, picante sauce, refried bean dip. And of course, darling two-bite epanadaditas with chicken/achiote/raisin/olive filling.

Now, where’s that margarita?

PLAYLIST: Tequila-The Champs… Tijuana Taxi-Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass…La Bamba-Ritchie Valens…South of the Border-Frank Sinatra… Low Rider-War…Spanish Flea-HA&TB…Conquest-White Stripes… El Paso-Marty Robbins…

From America’s Test Kitchen: “Why this recipe works: Traditional carnitas, Mexico’s version of pulled pork, is fried in gallons of lard or oil. The results are tasty, but who wants to deal with all that hot fat? We wanted to create restaurant-style carnitas—tender chunks of lightly crisped, caramelized pork, subtly accented with oregano and citrus—without the hassle of frying.
Our initial recipe for carnitas started by simmering the meat (taste tests proved boneless pork butt had the best flavor) in a seasoned broth in the oven and then sautéing it in some of the rendered fat. The flavor was OK, but too much of the pork flavor went down the drain when we discarded the cooking liquid. So we kept the liquid and reduced it on the stovetop (after the meat had been removed) until it developed the consistency of a thick, syrupy glaze that was perfect for coating the meat. Broiled on a rack set over a baking sheet, the glazed meat developed a wonderfully rich flavor and the rack allowed the excess fat to drip off. We emulated the flavor of the Mexican sour oranges used in authentic carnitas with a mixture of fresh lime and orange juices. Bay leaves and oregano provided aromatic notes, and cumin brought an earthy dimension that complemented the other flavors.
We like serving carnitas spooned into tacos, but you can also use it as a filling for tamales, enchiladas, and burritos.
Don’t Cut the Fat. Leaving a 1/8-inch layer of fat on the pork is critical to imparting the best flavor and texture to the final dish. Overtrimming the meat will lead to dry, bland carnitas.”

MEXICAN PULLED PORK (CARNITAS)
America’s Test Kitchen: Supper From South of the Border
1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless pork butt , fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
2 cups water 1 medium orange , halved

Tortillas and Garnishes
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas , warmed
Lime wedges
Minced white or red onion
Fresh cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced radishes
Sour cream

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.
Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.
Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.