Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

green chile chicken soft tacos - trust in kim

Last weekend I got together with some friends and made an amazing Mexican meal.  We made our own soft corn tortillas with various salsa toppings, and this awesome chicken filling.   We also had some homemade refried beans and a nice light jicama salad. And of course some beer – Negro Modelo is my favourite Mexican beer because it is a little darker than most.

This is another Rick Bayless recipe, from his Mexican Everyday cookbook.  So far every recipe of his that I’ve tried has been so delicious, and the meals I had at his restaurant Xoco in Chicago were out of this world.

You can buy the tortillas if you don’t want to make them; just warm them up before serving. The homemade ones were the best, but a lot of work. If you get everyone involved and have a bit of an assembly line going it could be fun (well, I think so, but other people seemed to disagree that this this might be an option for next time).

This recipe serves about 4 people.

I like for people to be able to dress up their tacos to their liking, so it’s great to have a variety of toppings.  Here’s a list of possibilities (you don’t have to do them all!); I would choose at least two salsas and a few other items.

What you need for the chicken filling:

  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • salt
  • about 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • jalapeno or other hot pepper slices

What you do:

  1. Roast the poblano peppers over a gas stove or a barbecue, turning often with tongs.  The skin should become all black.  Place the peppers in a sealable container and leave for about 15 minutes to cool and let the skins soften.
  2. Turn your oven on very low.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until they are golden but still have a bit of crunch to them. Place these in a heatproof container and put in the oven to keep warm.
  4. Rub most of the blackened skin off the peppers and remove the stem and seeds.  Cut into 1/4 inch strips and add to the onions. Season with salt and return to the oven.
  5. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place the skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Lay the chicken in the pan when the oil is hot. Brown on one side for about 5 minutes, then the other for about 4 minutes. When the meat has cooked add the lime juice and garlic to the skillet. Cook for about a minute, turning the chicken to coat in the lime juice, until the lime had formed a glaze over the chicken. (We didn’t cook the chicken all the way through in the pan – we added the garlic and lime and let it glaze the chicken, and we threw the chicken on the grill before slicing it – this gave it that nice smoky flavour).
  6. Cut the chicken into 1/4  inch strips and toss with the onions and poblano peppers. Taste and see if you need to add more salt.
  7. Serve in fresh warm tortillas with a choice toppings.

homemade tacos - trust in kim

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – Salsa de Tomate Verde Asado

roasted tomatillo salsa - trust in kim

Since eating at Rick Bayless’s Xoco Restaurant in Chicago earlier this year I’ve been trying out a few of his recipes.  This one is from his Mexican Everyday cookbook. It was delicious with chicken tacos, especially for lovers of heat it their salsa.  If you tend to shy away from heat you can either use less of the hot pepper, or serve it with some sour cream or plain yogurt to temper the heat.

I really liked this salsa, but in the future I would likely go back to my usual method of roasting over a flame.  I think I prefer that kind of char on the tomatillos.

This is also good over scrambled eggs!

What you need:

  • 4 medium (8 oz) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 whole large garlic cloves
  • 2 serrano or 1 jalapeno pepper (or less if you’re averse to heat) stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed and chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Place a cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Lay the tomatillos in the pan cut-side down, then add the garlic cloves.  After about 3-4 minutes, when the tomatillos are browned, turn them and the garlic over to brown the other side.  At this point the tomatillos should be very soft.
  2. Scrape the contents of the pan into a blender and let it cool to room temperature.  Add the chiles, cilantro (do not add the cilantro if you won’t be serving right away) and 1/4 cup of water. Blend until coarsely pureed.
  3. Rinse the onion then strain it.  Stir into the salsa and add salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon. If you are not going to serve this right away it is best to wait to add the onion and cilantro until shortly before you serve it.

roasted tomatillo salsa on tacos - trust in kim

Banh Mi Wraps – Gluten-free, Vegan & Scrumptious

banh mi wrap - trust in kim

This is a little something I invented for a super healthy dinner recently.  This summer I tasted my first Banh Mi sandwich, a Vietnamese dish which seems to be very popular these days.  I loved it, but I wanted to make a healthier version, and something for people who can’t eat gluten or are trying to stay away from it.  So I made this version with tons of veggies, and chose to put in tofu instead of meat.  I also made it once with shrimp, but I preferred the tofu version because the sauce it is made in is so yummy. If you substitute meat make sure it is something with a flavourful sauce – there are tons or recipes available on the internet.

So the idea for the rice paper wrap is mine, but the sauce for the tofu comes from Mark Bittman.  I made his recipe a little simpler by using the tofu right out of the package; his recipe calls for cutting, freezing and thawing the tofu – way too much work! And it also tasted great this way.

You can alter the fillings, but it really needs to have some cilantro, cucumbers, jalapeno slices, pickled carrots, and something with a sauce, like tofu or meat.

What you need for the caramelized tofu:

  • 1 – 14 oz package extra-dry tofu
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (or use 2 & 1/2 tablespoons more soy if you don’t use fish sauce)
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

What you need for the pickled carrot daikon:

  • 1 large grated or julienned carrot (and some daikon if you want)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • a large pinch of salt
  • a large pinch of red chili flakes

What you need for the rest of the wraps:

  • cucumber cut into matchsticks
  • Sriracha sauce
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into matchsticks (optional)
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped (optional)
  • pea shoots (optional)
  • spring onions, sliced

What you do:

  1. Make the pickled carrots/daikon ahead of time. Just combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar or honey, salt and chili flakes and stir to combine.  Then add the carrot and give it a little stir.  Let this sit for at least 1/2 hour or overnight.  I made mine a day ahead of time. Double the recipe if you add daikon.
  2. Thinly slice the onion.
  3. To make the caramelized tofu put the sugar into a large skillet over medium-low heat  with 1 tablespoon of water. Cook for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, but not stirring – not stirring is an important to get your sugar to caramelize properly.  ( watch a video on how to caramelize here) It will be done when it is a golden brown colour. When the sugar has caramelized, slowly add the soy sauce and fish sauce. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 8-10 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Add the tofu and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the tofu has absorbed a lot of the sauce.  Add the tablespoon of rice vinegar and remove from the heat.
  4. Boil some water to prepare the rice paper.
  5. Get all your topping chopped and ready to assemble the wraps.
  6. To prepare the rice paper, pour some very hot water into a dinner plate or shallow pan.  Place one sheet of rice paper into the water and let it sit for a few seconds, until it becomes more pliable, but not so much that it tears apart easily.
  7. Remove the rice paper from the water and place fillings in the middle, leaving room to fold the edges into a wrap.  Add vegetables and tofu with sauce, then top with some jalapeno slices and Sriracha sauce to your liking. Fold the bottom of the rice paper part way up then fold the left and right sides over each other, leaving the top open.
  8. Eat it right away. The rice paper doesn’t like to be kept waiting, and will turn crusty. I like to let people add what they like to their own wraps, so I just lay out all the options and they can go to it.

banh mi toppings - trust in ki

X’nipek / Yucatan Red Onion Salsa

x'nipek - trust in kim

Here is another of the recipes I learned in Tulum, Mexico at a cooking class I took at Altamar Restaurant. I love to put a few strips of this on top of a taco.  Yes, it is quite hot because of the Habanero chili, but you could use a piece of banana pepper instead if you’re afraid of the heat, or just leave it out altogether.  It is a really simple recipe, and it only needs to sit for about half hour before consuming, but I prefer it after it has sat overnight or even a few days.

What you need:

  • 100 grams red onion
  • 100 ml sour orange juice (or lemon juice with a little orange juice mixed in)
  • 10 grams Habanero chili

What you do:

  1. Roast the Habanero on a gas stove or barbecue until it has blackened slightly all over.  Chop it very finely.  Only use a little piece of it if you want this to be milder.
  2. Slice the red onion as thinly as you can and put it into a bowl or jar.  Add the Habanero to the onions, then pour the orange/lemon juice over the top.  Give it a little stir, then cover and refrigerate for half an hour or overnight.
  3. Serve on tacos, empanadas, or another favourite Mexican dish.  A little sour cream or plain yogurt will help cut the heat.
x'nipek on tacos - trust in kim

X’nipek on tacos

Bocconcini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Pizza

pizza - trust in kim

Time again for making pizza in the brick oven up at the cabin.  My Opa built it over 30 years ago, in the same style as the one they used when they lived in Paraguay.  Of course, those of you without a Paraguayan brick oven are welcome to use a regular oven, and this is the process I will describe here.

The dough, which needs to be started the day before, and the sauce recipes are from A16 Food and Wine by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren. This is my favourite pizza crust and I believe it is worth the extra effort, but I hear there is also some really good ready-made pizza dough out there, like the one at Trader Joe’s.

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 medium-sized pizzas with a thin crust.  Of course you can make yours with any toppings you like, but I recommend that more is less. I’ve only included toppings for one pizza here, so you can come up with a few other ideas for toppings for the other ones. Our favourite combination of toppings this time around was the prosciutto and mushroom one, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of that one.

What you need for the crust:

  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups “oo” flour or all-purpose (I used all-purpose)

What you need for the tomato sauce and toppings for one pizza:

  • one 28-ounce can of tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 7-8 baby bocconcini, sliced
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
  • a few tablespoons of pesto, store-bought or this recipe
  • about 1/2 cup grated smoked gruyere, or cheese of your choice

What you do:

1. Begin preparing the dough a day before you want to make the pizza. You can do this by hand, but it’s just a bit more work. Pour the warm (not hot – just body temperature) water into a mixer fitted with a dough hook and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Leave it for about 10 minutes and it should become foamy – if it doesn’t your water was the wrong temperature, or the yeast is dead.  Stir in the olive oil and salt.  Add the flour and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Knead on medium-low for about 10 minutes – it will pull away from the bowl and begin to look smoother.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead once more on medium-low for 10 minutes – it will be smooth and quite soft.  If it seems much too sticky you can add a little more flour.  Coat a bowl with a little olive oil and then coat both sides of the dough with olive oil, placing the dough in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge over night.

2. In the morning remove the  dough from the fridge and punch it down.  Fold the sides of the dough under and put it back in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit in a warm (not hot) place until about 2 hours before you are going to use it.

3. Punch the dough down and divide it into 4 pieces.  Form them into balls and cover them with a damp towel for about 2 hours.  By this time the dough should have doubled in volume.  If it starts to get a skin on it you can spray it with a little water.

4. To prepare the sauce, just put the tomatoes and juice into a bowl and squish them into little bits with your hands.  Add the salt.

5. Preheat the oven to 500-550 F.

6. To form the crusts, shape the dough into a disk with your hands.  Push down in the center with your palm and pull the dough out gently with your other hand, rotating slightly until you have a crust that is about 10-12 inches/25-30 cm in diameter with a slightly raised edge. (or you can use a rolling-pin) Dust your baking pan generously with flour and place the crust on it.  I don’t have a proper pizza stone or pan, and the baking tray I used worked just fine.

7. Spread some tomato sauce onto the crust, then the tomatoes, dollops of pesto, bocconcini slices, and the gruyere on top. 

8. Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden, and the top is bubbling.

Paraguayan brick oen - trust in kim

Summer Cake

apricot and raspberry cake - trust in kim

If speed of consumption is any indication, then this cake is a favourite – it disappeared in 5 minutes flat at the potluck I brought it to this afternoon.  And I can see why (although I didn’t get to try it) – a light almond cake with apricots and raspberries; how could that not be good? Perfect served still warm from the oven, and might even be nice with a little vanilla ice cream.
I found the recipe on lottieanddoof, and the original recipe comes from Ripe by Nigel Slater, which I am now going to have to get my hands on.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 1/3 cup self-rising flour (see below for a method if you don’t have any)
  • 1 scant cup ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 or 5 ripe apricots (2 peaches might be nice too)
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups  raspberries

If you have no self-raising flour you could do this, which is what I did, with success:

  • measure 1 & 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour and take out 2 & 1/2 teaspoons
  • add 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • add 1/2 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Line a 8-inch/20 cm springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Halve and seed the apricots and chop them into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
  6. Combine the flour and ground almonds, then add 1/3 of it to the batter, mixing until just about combined, and do this twice more with the rest of the flour/almonds.  Add the milk and mix briefly, just until combined.
  7. Gently fold in the fruit.  I folded in the apricots and put the raspberries on top, but I think it might look prettier if there are raspberries mixed in.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top down a little.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick – if any batter sticks to it, put it back in the oven for a few more minutes.
  9. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edge before removing the ring.  Stand back and watch it disappear.  This one is probably best the day it is baked.

 

a cake for midsummer - trust in kim

Fruit Piroschki – Mennonite Fruit-Filled Hand Pies

Mennonite piroshky - trust in kim

My childhood was filled with these beautiful little pies, made by my Mom, Oma and Aunts, filled with various fruits and sometimes even meat. So I figured it’s  about time I made them myself.  Instead of using my Tante Kantja’s recipe (see below), which is the only one I had access to at the moment, I opted for the pastry recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. So while it’s not the traditional Ukrainian piroschki I grew up eating, it’s the same idea: a square pastry filled with fruit.  Yum! My favourite result was the apricot/nectarine combination, but the blueberries were pretty good too.

I made the whole recipe, then baked a few and put the rest in the freezer.  They were just as good when I pulled a few straight out of the freezer and baked them up for just a little longer than the pre-frozen version. I like them best when they are freshly baked, but they will keep for a few days.

This is a great picnic food!

What you need:

  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very cold butter
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • about a pound of apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums or apples, or a combination of those
  • 1 egg

What you do:

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the cold butter into medium-sized dice and add it to the flour.  Use a pastry blender or your hands (better if they aren’t too hot) and break the butter up, combining it with the flour mixture, into pieces the size of tiny peas.
  2. If it is a very warm day put the bowl in the fridge for a while to let the butter get cold again before rolling it out.
  3. Drizzle most of the water over the mixture and stir it in, adding more as you need it.  Use floured hands to knead the dough briefly until it comes together in a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Before you are going to roll out the dough, chop up the fruit and sprinkle it with a little bit of flour or cornstarch and stir that together gently.
  5. Dust the countertop and rolling-pin (or wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling-pin) with a little flour. Cut the dough ball in half and roll out one half.  Cut the dough into 15cm/6 inch squares and fill each with some fruit (pictured below). Run a wet finger along each of the edges of the pastry, then bring two corners together to and press them together; do this with each corner until they all meet in the middle. (See picture at the top of the page) Do the same thing with the rest of the dough.
  6. Put the piroschki into the fridge for about 30 minutes. While they are chilling preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with some parchment paper (optional – I didn’t have any and they didn’t stick to the pan).
  7. Crack the egg into a bowl add a teaspoon of water; mix with a fork. Use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with the egg.
  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are a beautiful golden brown.  Let cool only slightly before devouring.

If you are not baking for a large crowd I advise that you freeze part of the batch for a later date.  Just put the baking sheet into the freezer until they are solid, then but them into a freezer bag.  To bake just take a few out of the freezer and place them on a pan and into a preheated oven, 375 F for 35-45 minutes.  Just as yummy as the first batch!

making piroshky - trust in kimpiroschki recipe - trust in kim

 

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