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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chocolate-covered P'nut Butter Ritzes

 
Hello readers.  I don't know about you, but it's been a long year.  I'm looking forward to a little break from the folderol of the work week and so will be treating myself to a little off time.  This will be my last post for 2013, but I will be back fresh and brimming with new ideas in January 2014.  Before I sign off for this year though I wanted to leave you one more parting recipe. 

This is a variation of a treat that my friend Michell brought into the office as part of her holiday baking share-with-the-office treats extravaganza.  They are a salty sweet addictive treat.  Just ask my pants that don't fit any more.

I say variation because while she and her mom take the time to carefully double-dip them in a concoction made from hand-shaved chocolate.  I am too lazy to do that, so here is K2's CCPBRs, the knock-off version.

Apologies for the lack of photos for this post.  Between being sick the better part of the month and trying to get ready for a holiday break, I didn't have the time.  But because this is apparently a very popular treat, I am providing a link to images of the same (and multiple varieties) for your viewing pleasure.

CHOCOLATE-COVERED P'NUT BUTTER RITZES

Ritz crackers (full-sized or snowflake-shaped or mini)
creamy peanut butter
white chocolate candy bark, melted

Spread your peanut butter on a cracker and cover with a second cracker.  Do not squoosh them together because you don't want your peanut butter oozing out the sides.

Melt your chocolate and then carefully dip the cracker sandwiches into it, coating it on all sides.

Set them on a sheet of parchment paper so the chocolate can harden.  If the coating is too thin, dip the cracker a second time.

Stuff into face.  Repeat.  Enjoy.

NOTES

Trying to spread peanut butter with a knife can get a bit messy, so my recommendation is to put your peanut butter in a pastry bag (or a zip lock with a corner tip nipped off to be used as a pastry bag) and squish the PB on the crackers.  Less muss, less fuss.

Looking through the photos on the link, I saw there were actually a number of things you can do with this treat.  F'rinstance:

-- use Nutella instead of peanut butter
-- use dark or milk chocolate instead of white chocolate and then drizzle with white chocolate
-- decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar or candies
-- use white chocolate, but tint it a color to match your party/gifting d├ęcor

So use your imagination and have a little fun with them.

Happy Happy Holidays to you all.  Safe travels, full bellies, good times!  Looking forward to a happy new fun-eating year!  Hasta 2014!

K2


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Joe Froggers

 
What the hoogly-moogs is a Joe Frogger, you ask?

A Joe Frogger is a soft, oversized spice cookie (reputed to originally have been baked to the size of lily pads), originating in Marblehead, Massachusetts and dating back to Colonial times. They were made by "Aunt Crese" who kept a tavern on Gingerbread Hill and were named after her husband, a Revolutionary War patriot and freed slave, Joe Brown.

Because the cookies used rum and water as ingredients, they would keep for long periods of time and so were packed up by the barrel-loads for fishermen to take with them on extended trips.

My dad’s side of the family hails from New England and we got this recipe from my grandmother, but my first memory of enjoying Joe Froggers was when my mom made them one Christmas when I was a teen. Because rum is one of the main ingredients in the cookie, I was pretending to be drunk on cookies which led to a giggling fit that lasted so long and got so out of control that my mom eventually sat on me to try to calm me down. Good times, good memories. Yes, she sat ON me. Mom claims not to remember the incident, but that’s the kind of thing that sticks with you so I remembered and that's all that matters.

They take a little time to make but are SO worth the effort. 

JOE FROGGERS

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp rum
2 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp baking soda

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and spices. Set aside.


In a medium bowl, combine honey, molasses, oil, rum, water, and baking soda. Will be super liquidy. FYI, beware of the onslaught of rum fumes as everything mixes around in the bowl, may cause dizziness and/or excessive giggling.


Stir in flour mixture, a bit at a time, until well blended.


Chill dough in fridge for 1/2 hour.

Measure out dough by the 1/4 cup (should make 10 cookies) then roll into balls.  Dough is going to get sticky as it warms up so if needed, toss it back in the fridge for a few minutes to make it easier to manage.


Place dough balls on a greased cookie sheet, spaced 3" apart. Press balls out using a flat-bottomed glass or dish.  I pressed my glass in some of the flour before mashing down the dough balls to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the glass.


Bake 375° for 9-10 minutes.


Remove cookies from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.  Will be soft and mooshy, not crunchy.


YAUHM!!!

NOTES

You can roll out dough to make smaller cookies to share. Mine actually turned out smaller than I was planning, but they still work.

You can spread a little flavored cream cheese or some other tasty filling between two cookies to make a soft cookie sandwich.

YAUHM!!!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Teeny Tostadas

 
Salty snack time!  Here's a fun bite-sized snack that's party perfect.

Teeny Tostadas

3/4 cup refried beans
1-1/2 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup chunky salsa, drained
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded and chopped
3-8" flour tortillas

Using a 2-1/2" biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the tortillas.  I was able to get seven from each tortilla.


Mix together refried beans, cilantro and cumin.  Set aside.


Put the salsa in a strainer.  Gently stir the salsa around to get rid of the extra liquid, leaving mostly the chunky parts.


Lightly spray or grease a cookie and set aside.  In this case, you'll want to use oil or grease on the pan instead of using a parchment sheet because it will help cook the underside of the tortilla round.

Cover each tortilla round with a thin layer of the bean spread and place on the cookie sheet.


Put a dollop of the salsa chunks on each round and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.  I shredded the cheese and then chopped it smaller so that it would fit better on the rounds and when you bit into one you don't have to worry about dragging a line of hot cheese down your chin.

Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before eating.  Did I mention the hot cheese thing?


You can eat as is (as are?) or with guacamole or sour cream for dipping on the side.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Joyeux Macaroons

 
I've been wanting to do a good coconut macaroon recipe for a while.  For some reason, to me coconut macaroons are the epitome of reception desserts.  Bite sized, chewy, decadent, delicious. 

Joyeux Macaroons

1/3 cup softened butter
3 oz. softened cream cheese
3/4 sugar
2 tsp. orange juice
2 tsp. almond extract
1 egg yolk
1-1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 cups sweetened coconut flakes, loose packed, divided
Hershey's Almond Kisses, unwrapped

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.


Add in OJ, almond extract and egg yolk and blend until smooth.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add into the butter mixture a bit at a time, making sure it is well incorporated.

Fold in 3 cups of the coconut flakes.


Set dough in the fridge for at least 45 minutes, or until easy to roll without getting dough all over your fingers.

Once the dough was ready, roll into 1-1/2" balls.


Roll the dough balls in the leftover coconut flakes and space evenly on an ungreased cookie sheet.

 
Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown.

While the cookies are baking, unwrap Hershey's Almond Kisses.  When the cookies are done baking, remove from oven and press one Kiss into the center of each.  Let sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cookie rack to cool.


Serve up on a pretty platter and enjoy.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

General Tso's Spicy Veggie Dip


As I was trolling through my old cook books looking for ideas for festive posts, inspiration struck after reading a section called "Easiest Ever Dips" in one of my 1970s entertainment idea handbooks (cuz they knew how to throw parties back then).  And yes, it is this simple.

Their BASIC FORMULA

1 to 2 cups sour cream and/or mayonnaise

plus

1 packet/can dried soup mix / dry salad dressing mix / dry sauce mix / dip mix / canned seafood (well drained) / cheese spread / canned spread meat (deviled ham or chicken)

add-ins

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped nuts / chopped or sliced olives / chopped onions / chopped chives / relish or chopped pickles / crumbled bacon / chopped dried beef

and/or

1 to 2 teaspoon onion or garlic powder / onion or garlic salt / dried minced garlic

for garnish

paprika / sliced stuffed green olives / sliced hard-boiled eggs / chopped or sliced green onions

So it got me thinking and when I went to the cupboard to see what I had, I found a packet of Sun-Bird's General Tso's Chicken Season Mix.  Hmmm....so here's what I came up with.  If you like zippy and zesty and a little on the spicy side, then you'll like this simple party dip.

My GENERAL TSO'S SPICY VEGGIE DIP

1 packet General Tso's stir-fry seasoning
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise


for dipping

baby corn spears, drained
carrot sticks
celery sticks
snap peas, raw or lightly steamed

Mix the seasoning, sour cream, and mayo.  Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Serve up with some crisp fresh veggies (that will nicely offset the zingy dip).  Easy peasy and tasty too!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cheesy Olive Buns

 
Holidays! Holidays! Time for some fun festive foods.  Let's start out with a little salty goodness.  I've found variations of this throughout my cookbooks from the '60s and '70s.  For those who don't like olives (I know Wendi is making her squiggy-ewww face right now) this is probably not going to be the recipe for you, but if you're going to be doing a little holiday imbibing, this makes a great date for your drink.

Cheesy Olive Buns 

1 (8 ct.) roll buttermilk biscuits
24 stuffed green olives
1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan

Drain and pat dry the olives.  Set aside.


Layout the biscuits and cut into thirds.


Wrap each section around an olive and press seams closed.


Roll in parmesan and set on a prepared cookie sheet.


Bake at 450 degrees for 6 minutes or until golden brown.


Remove from cookie sheet and set on a rack. Serve up hot or at room temp.

NOTES

Most grocery stores will carry an assortment of olives.  You can find them stuffed with almonds (which is what I used), bleu cheese, garlic or jalapeno.  Pick your favorite and use that.

If you're using small olives, you can always cut the biscuits into 4 pieces each and proceed as planned.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Check It Out: Almond (Sparkling Wine)

 
Anybody else wondering what the heck happened to November?  Can't believe we are already at the start of the December, let the festivities truly begin!

For the rest of the month, I plan to bring you some party treats and finger foods for all your festive occasions, but wanted to start us off on a "cheery" note.

I was perusing the shelves at Total Wine for something to take to the 'Rents for Thanksgiving dinner and came across this little gem (for under $12!).  Weibel Family Almond Sparkling Grape Wine -- SOOOOO good!

As you can tell by its name, if you're not a fan of almond flavor, you probably won't like this, but for those of you who do and for the taste adventurers out there, I think you will really appreciate the sweet (but not cloyingly sweet) and creamy taste of this beverage.  It's light and bubbly and makes the perfect dessert complement or flavorful toasting vehicle.  So if you're looking for something new and different for this holiday season, you should definitely check it out!

DIDYAKNOW

While people use the term "champagne" generically when referring to sparkling wines, in all but a few cases it's actually a misnomer.  True champagne is produced using only grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey -- Part 2


Two more days til turkey time!!!  So I decided to do an unprecedented Tuesday post (gasp!) since I know you will all be very busy on Wednesday with all your pre-preps for the big day.

MORE TURKEY TALK

Didyaknow – Benjamin Franklin once wrote that he believed the turkey should have been our national bird because, among several reasons, it was an honorable bird as well as being native to America. I'm not sure it would be as easy to enjoy if you were sitting down to the dinner table with a roast representation of our country, even with mashed potatoes and gravy on the side.

In the South, preparing turkey seems to come down to two basic schools – roasting and deep-frying.  What don’t we deep-fry in the South? Well, apparently nothing.

FRY ME A RIVER

I like to think of deep-frying turkey as an X-game in the sport of cooking.  If you're willing to take on some challenges and a risk or two, then it's worth the effort.  Some things to know about deep-frying a turkey:

* They DO make special equipment for this procedure which usually includes a large stock pot, a poultry prod and/or lifter, a thermometer, a propane tank, and a whole lotta oil.

* Do NOT fry your turkey in the house...or even close to a house...unless you have a good fire plan or have purchased a specifically marked indoor turkey fryer. Which they do have on the market now, they're like hyperbaric bird chambers.

* Do NOT stuff your turkey before frying unless you want to deal with oozing gooey stuffing bits floating (and burning) in your oil.  If you want flavor, you can inject your turkey with a marinade before frying.

* You DO want your turkey to be completely thawed, or fresh, and patted dry.  You know how oil and water don't mix? Now imagine that with 20-30 gallons of angry hot oil...you see where I'm going with this.

Why then, despite the risks and more than slight danger of cooking a bird this way, do people do it? Because the end product is crazy good and very moist and it takes less time than cooking turkey in a conventional oven.
 

ROASTY GOODNESS
 
The most traditional way to prepare turkey is to roast it.  Roasting is a dry heat cooking method where hot air surrounds your produce and cooks it outside in.  The best way to get a nice even roast is to make sure air has room to circulate around the turkey and that’s why most people roast their bird on a rack or a bed of mirepoix.

Mirepoix is a mix of chopped onions, carrots and celery (traditional ratio is 2:1:1) which will add flavor to your drippings resulting in a nice rich-tasting gravy.  One thing to keep in mind if you go that route, the bigger your bird, the bigger you need to make your veggie pieces (it’s all about proportion).

You also want to make sure you have the right size pan for roasting.  It needs to be big enough to allow air to circulate, but close enough to prevent your juices from spreading out to far and scorching on the pan.

You’ll want to cook your bird uncovered.  If you cover it with foil, you create a steam bath which will compromise the roasting.  So keep that in mind when you get your pan, if the pan is too deep for your bird, it creates a similar situation.

Don’t forget to baste!  Basting is key in keeping the turkey moistened since hot air around it is dry, so make sure to do that on a regular basis throughout your cooking process.

There is much back and forth on whether or not it’s safe/healthy to cook a stuffed turkey.  The important thing to remember is that if you do stuff your bird, you want to make sure that the turkey and stuffing are the SAME temperature.  Introducing a hot item into a cold bird is where bacteria get happy and you get into trouble.

BROWN BAGGING IT

Now some people swear by the brown bag roasting method.  My sister-in-law does a mean brown bag bourbon turkey which is super tasty.  I always wondered how people could cook something in a brown bag without it bursting into flames in the process and now I know – brown bags burn at 450° so as long as you are baking/roasting your dish at temperatures under that, it’s all good (and flame-free!).

Now when I say “brown bag” I mean a brown PAPER bag, not a plastic grocery bag that happens to be brown.  You can use any ole paper grocery bag, but probably best to find one with little to no printing so that you’re not adding extraneous chemicals to the mix.

What you will want to do is make sure to grease down the upper part of the bag (on the inside) so that it doesn’t stick to the turkey whiles it’s cooking.  Butter or olive oil works fine.

I conferred with my SIL and she said that she uses two bags, puts one on either end so they overlap in the middle, but you can use one (if you’re bird isn’t too big) and staple it closed.  Do not use tape…please.

I know, I know, after telling you to cook your turkey UNCOVERED, why would I tell you about shoving it in a bag.  Unlike foil, paper “breathes” which allows some of the moisture to escape while still keeping enough in to turn your turkey into a moist marvel.

IS IT SOUP YET?

Once your turkey has done it’s time in the oven (or fryer), the best way to test it is to poke it in the thickest part of the thigh.  You want the juices that flow out to be clear, not pink or red.  Either of the latter means it “ain’t dun cookin’ yet.”

After it is done, let your turkey sit for about 15 minutes so that the meat can settle and absorb the moisture you’ve worked so hard to maintain. If you cut it too soon, all those nice juices will flow out and you’ll end up with dry turkey.  But if you have a little patience, glory sweet glory!

So here ends my treatise on turkey. I hope you all have a super wonderful food, friend and family-filled holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey -- Part 1

 
In prep for the biggest eating holiday of the year, I thought we could talk a little bit about the bird biz behind the buzz of Thanksgiving.

TURKEY TALK

I'll be honest, I'm not sure which I like better, swapping Thanksgiving turkey recipes or swapping stories about wrestling with Thanksgiving turkeys (and I mean that literally in one case). 

MEAT TO EAT

Didyaknow, you'll get the best meat-to-bone ratio on turkeys weighing over 12 lbs.

The one thing people seem to forget when buying turkey for a gathering is that you need to factor in the bone weight when planning how many lbs. to purchase.

Fr'instance, in college, my roommates and I decided to host a turkey dinner with all the fixin's for our friends who had not yet left for the holidays.  So we bought a 15-lb. turkey for 15 people... :/  Being the gracious hosts we were, we gave our guests the bounty from the bird and made do with the bone scrapings for ourselves. We were like hyenas picking the bones cleaned. Not pretty, but lesson learned.

I usually count 2-3 lbs. for bones and then plan accordingly after that.  In looking around online, I found a useful site at USA Today to help with that and any other T-day math needs you might have.

GIBBLES and Other Fun Parts
okay, I know they're called giblets, but seriously, isn't "gibbles" more fun to say?

You want to make sure the first thing you do is locate the packet of extraneous parts and remove it from the bird before cooking.  You laugh, but it's amazing how many people forget about that and consequently how many birds are inedible as a result of that (because they are usually encased in plastic).

Just a heads up, the body cavity isn't the only place they get tucked away.  For the above mentioned turkey dinner, I came home to find one of my roommates and a friend of ours conducting a cavity search...with a flashlight...on our turkey.  It was under the neck flap, on the other end of the bird.  It was not a good year for that bird.

Some people I know roast the extras when they cook their turkey and then add them to the gravy for bonus flavor, or you can boil them up separately, drain it and use it in making your gravy.

IS IT CHILLY IN THERE?

So for those of you who fly fresh when it comes to turkeys, kudos on saving yourself a lot of headache and super bravo for planning so well in advance.  I'm not familiar with many places that you can procure a fresh turkey without having to pre-order it several weeks before the week before Thanksgiving. Heads up though, if you haven't purchased fresh turkey before, it does cost more than frozen.

For the rest of us, who despite our better intentions, do not plan that far ahead, the challenge of the best way to defrost a bird lies ahead.  It's still going to take some pre-planning, so don't expect a day of miracle.

The two most recommended ways to properly defrost a turkey are in the refrigerator or using a cold water bath.  The foodsafety.gov has a handy chart that breaks down time/days to bird weight, so definitely check that out.

De-frigeration (don't know if that's a real word, but please feel free to use it) takes longer, but doesn't require as much attention. Pop it in the fridge (breast side up) still in its wrapper and let sit for the per weight allotted amount of time.

Cold water bathing doesn't require as much time and does require a bit more attention because you'll need to change out of the water every so often so that it doesn't get too cold which becomes counter-productive to the whole defrosting process.

In my family, we usually go the bath route, quite literally one year.  Was at my brother's house and my sis-in-law and I decided to toss the bird in the kid's bathtub. Turned the water on and let it fill...only we kind of forgot that we left the water running until one of my young nieces came by and made a comment about how much fun the turkey was having in the tub.  We got there before things go too messy (and the turkey enjoyed a nice cold bath).


NO DRY GUY

Universally, I think the biggest challenge to preparing a turkey is keeping it moist.  All the gravy in the word can't disguise a dry bird.

One method is using fat.  Fat = flavor.  Fat = moisture.  A bird's natural fat is one way to maintain moisture, but oftentimes because fat has become a less than pleasant word when associated with food, your bird may have already been cleaned of excess fat.  A couple of ways to introduce this back is by using butter or bacon or fatback.

Barding is adding a thin sheet of fatback or a layer of bacon across the top of your bird.  The drippings will soak into the bird, keeping it moist and add a nice flavor to the pan drippings which can be turned into gravy. The thing to remember about using bacon, though, is that you are going to have to fight off family to claim the crispy goodness from the top of the bird. Trust me, it's worth a few bruises.

Larding is inserting fat into the food, I've done this before by putting butter under the skin of the turkey and it melts into the bird.  Again, gives some nice flavor to your drippings.

Another way to keep the turkey moist before cooking is to add moisture to it.

Brining seems like the trendy thing to do this year as I've seen lots of brining packets available at various shops.  It's similar to marinating, but takes much longer (up to 10 hours) so does require some serious planning ahead. At it's most basic, a brine is a mixture of salt, sugar and water, but usually folks will add herbs and spices to help infuse the bird with more flavor.  Brining hydrates the uncooked bird in such a way that it not only adds flavor, but helps to tenderize it and can shorten the cooking time.

There are several sites online, including one by Butterball which provides instructions on how properly brine a bird.

Okay, this seems like as good a place as any to stop right now.  As I was researching this I discovered that there's a lot of be said about turkey prep, so I am going to continue this discussion on Wednesday...or possibly Tuesday because I know most of you will be busy getting ready for the big day on Wednesday...but in either case, there will be more to come. Plan to talk to you about cooking methods and hopefully provide some helpful hints along the way.









Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The New Southwest: Pomegranate and Lime Chicken Thighs


Okay, this was the recipe that originally caught my eye when I was checking out The New Southwest.  Takes a little more time than the enchiladas did, but the flavor is pretty outstanding.  I ended up making the enchiladas as a side dish to go with the chicken thighs and it made for an outstanding meal together.

The original recipe is set up for grilling the thighs, but because I do not have a working grill, I made some modifications and prepared them stovetop.  My modifications are noted below, but I've provided the recipe as is in the book.

Pomegranate and Lime Chicken Thighs

For the thighs

1 cup Green yogurt plain
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs I used 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)

For the Pomegranate and Lime Glaze

2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice = juice from 2 small limes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

To marinate chicken, combine the yogurt, pomegranate juice, salt and garlic powder in a ziptop bag.  Add chicken thighs and toss well to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight.  I whisked the yogurt, juice and spices in a bowl first to get them well blended, then poured them over the trimmed chicken thighs in the bag.



Once you are ready to cook the thighs, preheat your grill to medium heat.

To prepare the glaze, place the pomegranate juice, sugar, lime juice, honey, and mustard in a small saucepan, whisk together and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.


Meanwhile, place chicken thighs skin side up on heated grill, cover, and cook until chicken has browned and is no longer pink, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  Uncover, flip thighs, and cook for just 2 to 3 minutes more to crisp and slightly char the skins.  Remove cooked thighs, top with glaze, garnish with arils, if desired, and serve immediately.

Okay for the grill-free folks out there, I went stovetop.  I put them in a deep skillet over high heat for a few minutes, then drained off the excess liquid.


I continued to cook them over high heat until they were seared, then lowered the temperature. 


I added about half of the glaze to the pan (holding some back the rest to drizzle over the thighs when I plated them), and continued to cook the thighs, turning every couple of minutes until they were no longer pink inside.


I garnished them with fresh arils and then served them up with some stacked squash enchiladas on the side.


Muy bueno!

YIELD: 2 to 3 servings

NOTES

I found the small container or arils at Harris Teeter.  You should check the produce area at your grocery store to see if they sell them separately.  Otherwise, pomegranates are currently in season and easy to find whole.

The flavors in this dish are really well balanced.  I could tell because when we started eating, Dad said that he could really taste the lime in the glaze, Mom said the honey was the first thing she tasted and for me the stand-out flavor was the Dijon, so we enjoyed a difference experience form the same dish.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The New Southwest: Stacked Squash Enchiladas

 
So I wanted to feature a recipe from The New Southwest, the cookbook I told you about last weekend.  There were really too many delicious dishes to choose from so I settled on one vegetarian (today's post) and one non-veg (post on Wed).  If these don't convince you to add this book to your collection, nothing will.

This recipe works well as either a side dish or a main course.  The roasted peppers give a nice weight to the flavor without overpowering it.

Stacked Squash Enchiladas
recipe from book with side notes by yours truly

3 large zucchinis, ends removed, cut into large chunks
2 large yellow longneck squash, ends removed, cut into large chunks
2 Hatch green chiles, stemmed, halved vertically (Anaheim chiles may be substituted)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt for roasting and seasoning to taste
8 green onions, ends removed, halved horizontally
juice of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
6 7-inch tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the zucchini and yellow squash pieces along with the Hatch chile halves on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and roast for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

I found that mixing my squash chunks in a bowl first with the oil and salt was easier. Kept pieces from flying about and then I could just pour them out onto the cookie sheet and place the pepper pieces with them.


Place green onion pieces, lemon juice, and cooled squash and chile pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process together to a uniform mixture.


Season with cumin, coriander, and salt to taste, and pulse process just to blend.  Pour mixture into a large bowl.

 
Set up a small assembly line with your bowl of enchilada sauce, tortillas, cheese and a 9-inch nonstick pie plate.  Begin assembly by dipping each side of one tortilla in the sauce, then placing in the bottom of the pie plate.  Note that this sauce is quite thick so don't worry if the sauce doesn't really adhere to the tortilla -- you're just trying to dampen the tortilla.

Instead of dampening the tortillas, I put a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom and then just started the assembly process. I ended up using just 5 tortillas because 6 would have put it well over the edge of my pie dish.


Next spread a generous layer of the sauce on top of the tortilla and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Once your stack is assembled top with any remaining cheese.

 
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortillas are slightly crisp at the edges.  You may opt to broil your enchiladas for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, just to crisp up the melted cheese on top.


Remove baked enchiladas from oven, slice, and serve immediately.

YIELD: approximately 4 servings.

NOTES

Don't forget, the best way to prevent inadvertent eye or face burning is to wear gloves when handling the raw peppers.

If you want your enchiladas to have a bit more bite, you can always roast the peppers with the seeds.