Tag Archives: jalapenos

Guatemala…

Friday, February 1 –

Quite a few of my wonderful friends came to this dinner, people missing from these dinners for quite a while. We got to welcome back: BestieExtraordinaire (guacamole, chips) , Mistress Whiskey (wine), photo(3)WingWoman (chocolate coffee mousse dessert), LightsOn (wine), RubsWithLove, and Sir VJ (salad).

I made the rice, chicken drumsticks, and the Jocón recipe below. When I put the rice into the rice cooker I used half water and half chicken broth. I also added cilantro and onion to it before it was cooked. For the drumsticks I melted butter and added chopped garlic, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. I brushed the mix across the drumsticks and baked them in the oven at 375* for about 35 minutes.

For the Guatemalan chicken recipe I cheated just a little bit – I used a slow-roasted chicken from the grocery store. BestestFianceEver helped get all of the meat off the bones and shredded into the pan. Then I took all of the veggies and sauce ingredients (using all sesame seeds instead of half pumpkin seeds) and threw them all into my food processor. After everything was perfectly chopped and blended I dumped the sauce over the chicken and let simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

While everyone was waiting on the chicken to be done, we snacked on the guacamole and chips, which was supposed to be turned into a salad but because we already had a salad we kept it as a dip. Then dinner was served with the salad, the dressing for the salad that we didn’t quite make, the chicken with sauce over the rice, and drumsticks on the side. The salad was bright and flavorful with mango and avocado. The rice was a great complement to the sauce on the chicken. Because I used four whole jalapenos in the sauce it had a little kick, but not too much. And the drumsticks on the side were just a fun addition. All in all I vote this dinner a success. photo(4)

The dessert was supposed to be a mousse, but because of a few substitutions that WingWoman made it ended up more like delicious chocolate soup with fresh blueberries on top. Not quite what the recipe meant, but yummy anyway!

Only a few more G countries left – hope to see more potluck bloggers soon!

Guatemala
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com)

Jocón (Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)

  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces — 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Water — 4 cups
  • Salt — 2 teaspoons
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) — 1/4 cupphoto(5)
  • Sesame seeds — 1/4 cup
  • Corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained — 2
  • Tomatillos, hulled and chopped — 1 cup
  • Cilantro, chopped — 1 bunch
  • Scallions, chopped — 1 bunch
  • Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, chopped — from 1 to 5
  • Rice to serve

Method:

Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.

Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.photo(6)

Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.

Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency.

Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Jocon Variations:

Leave the chicken pieces whole if you prefer.

If you can’t find pumpkin seeds, simply use 1/2 cup of sesame seeds. And if finding sesame seeds is a problem, you can substitute a slightly smaller amount of tahini.

Cubed pork can be substituted for the chicken. There is no need to shred the pork, but you may need to simmer it longer for it to become tender.

Use any remaining broth to make rice to accompany the meal.

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Bhutan…

Thursday, December 22 –

This dinner was wonderful and easy to put together before the Christmas madness. We had Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, WingWoman, LightsOn, and our newest blog participant, CannonBall (who is LightsOn’s daughter). CannonBall is a self-admitted super picky eater, so I was a little nervous as to how this sort of food experiment would work for her. But! She was super excited, and I was super excited to have someone try something new. Give it your all at least once, right?

For these recipes I started with chopping all of my veggies and prepping all of the ingredients. It seemed easier to just get all the stuff together first, because I was going to have to cook both recipes at the same time. Instead of using a food processor I just chopped everything by hand, putting all of the different ingredients in separate bowls. Last I cut the dried pork into strips and the pork shoulder into bite-sized pieces. I put the unsalted butter into the pan, followed by the chili powder and the salt. I let it start to bubble and then I added the pork shoulder. I seared the chunks so they were browned on most sides and then put the onion pieces on top. That was followed by the daikon radish pieces and ginger (yes, I know I did it out of order from the recipe). Instead of simmering on low for an hour and a half I simmered on medium high for a half hour. I steamed the bok choy separately and added it to the mix at about the half hour mark. Then in went the dried pork strips and I put the lid back on to let it bubble together.

On the side, I was also cooking the buckwheat noodles, which sadly had gluten in them, and so I steamed broccoli on the side for WingWoman. I was running out of pans and burners at this point, so instead of a beautifully formed omelet I ended up making something much closer to scrambled eggs with salt and pepper in it. I also used 6 eggs instead of 3 because we had 6 people to dinner. (That and I figured that even eggs are usually safe for picky eaters, so having a little more would be a good thing.)

I also sauteed the jalapenos on the side to keep the heat down for CannonBall. But WingWoman and I taste tested the pork and found it to be bordering on really bland. So I added a little more salt and upended the container of chili powder until the sauce was glowing red. Didn’t really help keep the spice down (oops!) but it did taste amazing!

With Sriracha on the table for us spicy people and wine on the table thanks to WingWoman, LightsOn, and Roommate Extraordinaire, dinner was ready!

As you can see by this photo, it was a steaming, spicy pile of glorious food. Everyone had the spicy food sniffles, and no one complained about my chili powder dumping except for CannonBall. Who, actually, did really, really well! She ate most of the stuff on her plate, even with the spice! I’m very proud of her. She even helped me pin the map! It was all very exciting.

Bhutan
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.peisch.com)

Buckwheat Noodles With Egg Strips And Scallion (Bumthang Putta)

  • 1 bunch large scallions, trimmed and cut into lengths to fit the feed tube
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium tomato, quartered
  • 3 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound Japanese buckwheat noodles (soba)

Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Reserve.

Slice the scallions with the thin [2mm] slicing disc. Set aside. Chop the onion coarsely with the metal blade, about 5 pulses. Set aside. Chop the tomato, about 4 pulses.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the eggs, and cook, tilting the skillet to let the uncooked egg flow underneath the omelet, until set, 2 to 3 minutes. Invert onto a cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch strips.

Cook the onion in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the scallions and tomato and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the noodles and egg strips and toss carefully over low heat until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Pork with Radish and Bok Choy (Phaksha Pa)

  • 1 medium onion [about 4 ounces, 110g], peeled and quartered
  • Fresh ginger, peeled and cut into a 1 inch [2.5cm] cube
  • 1 medium daikon or white radish [about 31/2 ounces, 100g], peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise to fit the feed tube
  • 1 stick unsalted butter [4 ounces, 40g]
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder [450g], cut into 6 by 1/2 inch [15 by 1.25cm] strips
  • 1/2 cup water [120ml]
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large heads bok choy [about 3 pounds total, 1.3kg], stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch [1.25cm] strips
  • 6 ounces dried pork [170g], cut into 3 by 1/2 inch [7.5 by 1.25cm] strips
  • 1 large fresh green chili pepper [about 1/2 ounce, 15g], seeded and cut into julienne strips

Chop the onion coarsely with the metal blade of a food processor, about 4 pulses. Set aside.

Drop the ginger through the feed tube with the motor running and chop finely, about 10 seconds. Set aside. Slice the daikon with the thick [6mm] slicing disc.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the pork shoulder, onion, daikon, water, chili powder, and salt and simmer over low heat until the pork is just tender, about 1 hour and 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bok choy in a saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.

Add the ginger, bok choy, dried pork, and chili pepper to the stew and simmer over low heat until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.


Bangladesh…

Friday, November 4 –

Yes, please, Bangladesh. Please, thank you, and more. I can’t say that the leftovers were better than the dinner, but I have been looking forward to my lunches each day. This dinner had a bunch of different steps to it, and amazingly they all turned out delicious. My WingWoman (who is gluten-free and soy-free) and I made this dinner together, as she is a house guest with us for a little while. She and I hardly ever get to see each other, let alone cook together, so this dinner was a very wonderful way to end a long week.

We started with the cilantro chutney, which was incredibly easy to make. Take all of the ingredients and shove them into a food processor or blender and voila! You have chutney. It turned out like cilantro made into a dip without any other flavors, so we added more lemon juice, more tomato sauce, a little salt, and a little bit of olive oil.

Then we moved on to the lentil soup, which took quite a bit of fiddling with. We steamed the sweet potato and simmered the lentils while the veggies were sauteing. Then WingWoman mashed everything together and got it all in the pot. The flavor was almost good, but not quite. Too bland for us, who are loud flavor lovers. I let WingWoman free with my spice shelf to see if she could liven the dish up a little bit. I believe there was some cumin, some lemon juice, and some salt that happened, but believe me there was vigorous shaking, stirring, and mutterings going on about the flavor. While we did add quite a bit of water to it, it turned out more like dahl than like soup, which was very ok with us! In the end we even ended up putting bacon (I know, I know, that isn’t even close to the recipe) and it was magic! It added just the right flavor and added salt that it needed to tie all of the flavors together.

As she was fixing the dahl, I moved on to making the samosas. I’ve loved samosas ever since I was little, because it’s one of the many dishes that my mother made that just knocked my socks off every time (along with her dahl and curries – can you see why I love this dinner?). While my mother makes then with pie crust, I stuck to the recipe and used puff pastry sheets. I’ve had samosas filled will all kinds of different ingredients, but I was extra excited for this recipe, which used chick peas. The result was almost the combination of channa masala from an Indian restaurant and puff pastries. Talk about yum! Because WingWoman is gluten-free, we left some of the filling out of the pastries and set it aside for her.

At this point I threw some rice into my rice cooker for a side dish, and the guys got the table ready for dinner. The samosas were in the oven, the dahl was simmering nicely, and it was time to start the chicken dish. I started with the onions and the other veggies, getting everything browned and hot. Then instead of adding water to it, I just threw the chicken on top. I keep telling myself to stop boiling meat, so I listened this time and just let the veggies and chicken cook together until everything was cooked through and nice and spicy. I seeded the jalapenos that we put into the chutney and the dahl, so I left all of the seeds in for this dish.

Everything was dished up and we all sat down to eat. There was definitely a table full of mmmmmmmmms and aahhhhs over the flavors, and I’m pretty sure that we stuffed ourselves to the very top of our stomachs. I will definitely be making each of these recipes again!

Things I have learned: When you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen, especially hands that you’re not used to cooking with, it is easier to have them do the chopping, slicing, and mixing.  I tried to start chopping things and point out where everything was kept to WingWoman, and that just didn’t work. So we switched and everything went much more smoothly. Also, because we kept some of the samosa filling out I had some squares left over. After dinner I made a mixed berry filling (boysenberries, blueberries, and raspberries simmered with sugar and cornstarch) and made homemade turnovers out of them. Cute little pockets of sweet that perfectly rounded out the evening.

Thoughts about wine: We had several different bottles of red wine with this dinner, one was a red blend that I picked up and the other two were different types of zinfandels that Roommate Extraordinaire got for us to share. The zins were dark but smooth, and went really well with all of the spices that we piled onto our plates.

Bangladesh
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com and www.deshigrub.com)

Yellow Dhal – Sweet Potato Soup

  •     1 1/2 cups dry yellow lentils
  •     2 1/2 cups water
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  •     1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  •     2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  •     1 onion, finely chopped
  •     1 tomato, finely chopped
  •     3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  •     salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •     chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Rinse lentils under running water; drain. Place lentils, 2 1/2 cups water, and turmeric in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place cubed sweet potato in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes (time may vary depending on size of potato pieces). Once tender, mash sweet potato and lentils together; set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion until lightly browned. Stir in tomato, jalapenos, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Place lentils, vegetables, and potatoes in a stockpot over medium heat. Stir in water as needed to attain desired consistency. Serve warm with cilantro or green onions.

Cilantro Chutney

  •     2 bunches fresh cilantro, leaves picked from stems
  •     2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  •     1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  •     2 green chile peppers
  •     2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •     2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  •     1 tablespoon water, or as needed

Blend the cilantro, ginger, cumin, green chile peppers, lemon juice, and tomato sauce in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Stir water into the mixture to give a sauce-like consistency as desired.

Veggie Samosas

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 (19 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add garbanzo beans. Mix curry paste with apple juice until smooth, then add to skillet. Simmer mixture 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more apple juice or water as needed to keep mixture moist.
  3. Cut each sheet of pastry into 3 equal-size rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half. (You will have 18 pieces total.) Dust a clean, flat surface lightly with flour, and roll each piece of pastry until it is double in size. Dust pastry with flour as needed, to prevent it from sticking to rolling pin. Spoon an equal amount of filling into center of each pastry square. Fold in half and press edges to seal. Place on nonstick baking sheets.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Bhuna Chicken

  • 1 lb of chicken tenders or 2 large chicken breasts (diced into 1 inch pieces)
  • 3 medium sized onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and crushed/grated
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • Spices: 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 level tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Patak’s Original Mild Curry Paste (found in most grocery stores, especially Indian).
  • Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • 2 green chillies (optional)
  • Cooking oil

How to:

1. Heat up a non-stick pan up and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Finely dice up 3 onions and fry on high heat.

2. Add 1 level tsp of salt (to help soften the onions) and then add the garlic and ginger prepared as above. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and cover. Onions should be softened and browned. Add enough boiling water (preferably from a kettle) to soften the onions further, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

3. When all the water has evaporated from the onion paste, add all the spices and cook on high heat for 5 minutes to make sure the spices are cooked through and not still raw and powdery. Add 2 green chillies sliced in half sideways.

4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

5. Stir in the chicken pieces making sure they are coated evenly with the onion and spices. Cook on high for 5-8 minutes making sure the chicken browns all over.

6. Add 1 tsp of Patak’s Original Mild Curry Paste and stir in well.  Reduce the heat, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a little more hot water if need be.  If you prefer it with a little more sauce, add half to one cup of hot water and cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens. (If at any point during the bhuna process you feel the sauce is getting too dry, add 1/2 cup of water).

7. Remove from heat and sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves all over.

Recommendations:  Serve with a rice dish of your choice and a leafy side salad.