Monday, May 17, 2010

Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

I've been craving enchiladas for quite awhile. My mostly vegetarian and very pregnant friend Stephanie mentioned making sweet potato and black bean enchiladas while we were wandering around the farmers market this past weekend, and that pushed me over the edge. I had to make enchiladas.

I have issues with making enchiladas, in that I don't like doing it. Between making the separate pieces and then assembling the enchiladas, it just takes too long for me to do often. I made these all in one evening, but I speculate that you could easily make the filling and sauce ahead of time, leaving just the tortillas to prepare before assembly. I will probably do that next time. Baking time would need to be increased to 30 or 40 minutes.

These enchiladas are filled with spiced sweet potato, goat cheese, and asparagus for crunch. The sauce is an old stand-by of mine that I like on burritos, quesadillas, and--of course--enchiladas. I feel the tang of the sauce nicely compliments the starch of the potatoes and creaminess of the goat cheese. For extra spice, add some fresh jalapeño to the filling.

Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tbs light olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/3 c red onion, diced
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tbs lime juice
12 7" corn tortillas
canola oil for frying
4 oz goat cheese
12 stalks medium thickness asparagus, trimmed, uncooked
2 c verde enchilada sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Toss sweet potato with 1 tbs olive oil, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 15-20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350F.

Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in remaining oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and lime juice. Stir in sweet potato cubes to combine and remove from heat.

To prepare the tortillas, fill a skillet to 1" deep with canola oil. Heat oil over medium heat. One at a time, place tortilla in oil, fry 15 seconds on each side, and place on paper towel to drain.

To assemble enchiladas:
Dip tortilla in verde sauce. Place one asparagus stalk on lower third of tortilla. Top with 1/2 tbs goat cheese and 2 tbs of sweet potato filling. Roll tortilla around filling and place seam side down in a lightly greased 9"x13" baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are filled.

Top enchiladas with remaining verde sauce and goat cheese. If desired, garnish with additional red bell pepper and/or onion. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Enchilada Verde Sauce

6 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 c fresh cilantro
1 tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

Place tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes, or until tomatillos are tender.

Remove from heat and drain liquid off. Place the fruits and vegetables in a blender with cumin, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Blend until all ingredients are well combined. Makes about 2 cups.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Black Bean Burgers, Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Homemade Ketchup, and Bacon-Flavored Potato Chips

....a.k.a., the All-American Meal: anti-Chef-style.

I tagged this as vegetarian, but no one get up in arms over the bacon-flavored chips. I'm not forcing you to make them! The chips came about as an epiphany after the oldest spawn complained about me making veggie burgers. Because her step-mom is a vegetarian, my poor deprived teenage daughter looks to me to satisfy those cravings (for, while I do make a lot of vegetarian items, I am most definitely not a vegetarian. I just like vegetables!).

I suggested topping the burgers with bacon, which the offspring was agreeable to. Then the inspiration started flowing, and I decided bacon chips were the way to go. For the meat-abstainers out there, these homemade potato chips work just fine without the bacon fat. Just use an additional tablespoon of oil and some fresh herbs.

I apologize for the photo....we were one hungry family last night, so I was lucky to even get this picture taken. For the burger buns, I really like the multi-grain sandwich thins. You can see a bit of the fire-roasted tomato ketchup on the bottom bun, followed by the burger topped with grilled pineapple salsa and the top half of the bread. The potato chips have bacon bits on them, and I also served them with a little of my garlic aioli. Had I been thinking with my blog rather than with my stomach, each item would've had a higher chance of individual photo shoots!

Hey, a girl's gotta eat.

Black Bean Burgers

2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 med red onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 - 2 c panko (I used 1 2/3 c, but it will vary depending on how wet your ingredients are)
1 tsp each salt/pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c red pepper, finely chopped
1 4oz can chopped green chilis
4 green onions, chopped
1 tbs fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp lime zest
1 tsp pepper sauce (more if you like it hot!)

In a large bowl, mash beans. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined. Shape into 5 1/2" patties and allow to rest about half an hour at room temperature.

Heat grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Place patties in pan, cover, and cook 5 minutes on each side. Serve on toasted whole wheat buns. Makes 6-8 burgers.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Cooking spray
1 15oz cans sliced pineapple rings
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced in half
1 med ripe avocado, sliced
1/3 c red onion, finely chopped
1 tbs cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh lime zest
lime juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tbs)
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)

Heat grill pan over med-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Grill pineapple rings, jalapeno, and avocado about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly.

Chop pineapple and avocado; remove seeds from jalapeno and finely chop. Combine grilled fruits with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate half an hour before serving. Make about 2 cups of salsa.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Ketchup

1/2 tbs light olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 tbs pineapple juice
1/2 tsp salt

Place oil and garlic in a cold small saucepan. Turn stop-top on medium and heat about 2 minutes (including warm up time). Add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer, and reduce heat to med-low. Allow to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, and mashing the chunks of tomato. When mixture is the desired consistency (about 15-20 minutes), remove from heat. If a smooth ketchup is desired, blend until pureed. Makes about 3/4 cup ketchup.

Bacon-flavored Potato Chips

2 strips thick cut bacon (or 4 regular strips), diced
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tbs celery greens, finely chopped
3 med potatoes, sliced into 1/8" thick rounds
1 tbs light olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Fry bacon in pan over medium heat 3-5 minutes, until starting to brown. Add onion and celery greens; saute about 2 more minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the contents of the pan (including bacon grease) with the olive oil. Toss mixture with potatoes and place in a large ziplock bag to marinate for 15 minutes.

Reserving the bacon bits, arrange potato slices in a single layer (very important!) on baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes. Flip potato slices over and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until potatos are golden brown. Remove from oven, immediately toss with bacon bits and salt, and serve. Makes about 4 servings.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Crêpes with Strawberries, Orange Syrup, and Whipped Cream

My youngest daughter adores pancakes, but I hate making them....for some reason, I can't seem to avoid burning at least half the pancakes. Better suited to my attention span are crêpes....with endless options for flavors and fillings, these pastries can be adapted for any palate.

I filled these with fresh strawberries (yes, again with the strawberries!). They are topped with a simple syrup made from orange juice, freshly whipped cream, and more strawberries. This recipe makes nine crêpes, but can easily be doubled/tripled/etc. to fit your needs.

Crêpes (sweet variety)

1 large egg
6 tbs milk
2 tbs orange juice
2 tbs water
1/2 c flour
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbs butter, melted
non-stick cooking spray

Whisk all ingredients except cooking spray until very well combined (alternatively, you can use a blender for this step!). Refridgerate batter at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour 3 tbs of batter into the center of the pan and tilt pan to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds, flip, and cook for an additional 10 seconds. Remove crêpe and place on a flat surface to cool. Repeat until all batter is gone, placing in a single layer to cool (do not stack until after they have cooled!). Fill with ingredients of choice. Makes about 9 crêpes.

I used about a cup of sliced strawberries for the filling of 8 crêpes (the ninth crêpe jumped to its death as I attempted to remove it from the pan).

Orange Syrup

1/3 c orange juice
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cardamom

Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan over med-low heat. Bring to simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened (about 15 min). Drizzle over crêpes, ice cream, pound cake, or fresh fruit. Makes about 1/3 c of syrup.

Fresh Whipped Cream

1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbs sugar

Beat ingredients together until desired consistency. Makes about 1/2 c whipped cream.