Wednesday, April 21, 2010

lonesome road kitchen challenge #1

Chiles Rellenos
Chiles Rellenos is one of those "benchmark" dishes that I use in judging a favorite Mexican restaurant. So of course, since I love this classic dish so much, I simply had to attempt to prepare it myself. I did, and here are the luscious results!
The name of the dish simply means "stuffed chile pepper" and the filling can be just about anything: cheese, beans, chicken, pork, beef (including the classic, picadillo). The chiles may be battered and fried (or not) and I've had all sorts of delicious sauces on chiles rellenos. For this version, I chose a light Ranchero Sauce whose clear and bright flavors complement and contrast with the gooey goodness of the cheese filling and the rich taste of the poblano chile peppers.
Ingredients for the chiles:
  • 4 fresh poblano chiles
  • 8 to 10 oz. Monterey Jack or Chihuahua cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup flat beer
  • Vegetable oil for frying (corn or safflower work well)
Ingredients for the ranchero sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (even better if roasted!)
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Prepare the Ranchero Sauce by cooking onion and garlic in oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the peppers, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cumin and salt. Simmer over low heat, covered about 20 minutes. Add cilantro and lime juice just before serving; set aside and prepare the chiles.

To prepare the chiles: Roast chiles on a grill or in the oven or over a gas flame until skins are blackened and blistered. See below (these were done on our grill and they smelled fantastic!):

After poblano chiles are suitably blackened, immediately place in a bag to steam. Wait a few minutes, then peel. (Sometimes not all of the skin comes off and that's okay. Do the best you can!)

Cut a "T" shape in the chiles and remove seeds. Place thick slices of cheese in each chile and distribute chopped onion evenly among the 4 chiles.

Prepare the batter for the chiles by combining the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add flat beer and beat batter until smooth. Dip stuffed chiles in the batter and allow a bit of excess batter to drip off.

Heat 1/4 to 1/2 inch cooking oil in a large skillet until oil shimmers and is hot enough for frying. Carefully add the stuffed and battered chiles and fry about 2 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain a bit, then place in a rectangular baking dish. Pour Ranchero Sauce over chiles and place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until dish is heated through.

Serve with a twist of lime, perhaps a dab of sour cream or a sprinkle of Cotija cheese. This is delicious and beautiful served with saffron rice, as I did in the top photo.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

mmm, nothing like a thick juicy burger!

But it's not really a "burger"...

The delicous sandwiches above are made with huge portabella mushroom caps - what I like to call "veggie steak." These large, meaty mushroom caps were marinated for a couple of hours in a simple oil and vinegar marinade, then grilled to perfection over direct heat.

For the marinade, whisk together:

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black papper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary (or 1 fresh rosemary spring)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil (or 3 teaspoons fresh minced basil)
This will marinate 4 large portabella caps (the ones that are about as large as your hand). To prepare the mushroom caps, cut off the stems (I actually like to cut a hole in the center of the mushrooms and remove the entire stem; it tends to get a little chewy). Wipe with a damp paper towel. Marinate in a resealable plastic bag for a couple of hours at room temperature, then grill over direct heat.

We have some terrific real hardwood charcoal that cooks very evenly and is perfect for these mushrooms. Grill "gill" side down for 3 minutes, then turn over and grill for about another 6 or 7 minutes on the caps tops. Serve on a great artisan roll and top with cheese of your choice; I like "white" cheeses like Swiss, Provolone, or Monterey Jack. Garnish with lettuce, spinach, tomato, onion, sprouts, or avocado, or all of the above!

Serves 4; marinade can easily be cut in half or doubled.

Monday, April 19, 2010

happy national garlic day!

Vampires Beware:
Soft, Buttery Slow-Baked Garlic is Here
April 19th is National Garlic Day and the perfect day to whip up a batch of this slow-baked garlic. Once you've tried it, you'll wonder how you lived without it. The uses for this garlic are endless: mix it into pasta, rice or couscous; rub cloves onto a roast or on chicken before roasting or grilling; add flavor to soups and sauces; add to pizza, sandwiches and of course, this makes some of the best garlic bread ever!
The long, slow baking process makes the garlic so mellow and delicious, not burned-tasting like some roasted garlics, or as pungent as raw garlic.
Begin with a baking dish that is just big enough to hold the garlic.
For one head, a small ramekin or custard cup is the perfect size:
Peel the papery skin from the garlic, leaving the cloves intact. Simply add about a tablespoon of broth and a little less than a tablespoon of butter. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius) for an hour, basting with the liquid about 3 or 4 times during the baking. When done, remove from oven and let cool a bit. The soft, luscious garlic cloves will easily squeeze out of their skins.
Store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

aye, chihuahua!

White Cheese and Chocolate Enchiladas
Two all-time favorites combined in one incredible dish!

An unusual pairing of chocolate and cheese is the heavenly basis for these rich, delicious enchiladas. Mexico's Chihuahua cheese is preferred; if you can't find it in your supermarket, try a Hispanic marketa if there is one in your area. This cheese (named for a region in Mexico, not the tiny dog, he he) is the perfect melting cheese for these enchiladas but in a pinch you can substitute Monterey Jack.

The sauce is similar in concept to a mole sauce. An ordinary chili powder blend works fine in the sauce, but trying adding a little ancho chile powder for an even deeper flavor.
Also, I've experimented with different chocolates, such as bittersweet (60% cacao). I didn't like the results; as you would expect, it gave the sauce a, well... bitter and odd flavor.

enchilada ingredients:
  • 10 white corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil for softening tortillas
  • approximately 3/4 pound Chihuahua cheese (Monterey Jack may be substituted)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
sauce ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 7 teaspoons unbleached flour
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons chili powder blend
  • 3-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • tiny pinch of salt
Cut cheese into sticks (a little smaller than string cheese, about the size that you could roll into a tortilla). Set aside.

Start the sauce: In a saucepan saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in oregano, cumin and cinnamon, then add flour and chili powder blend, coating the onion mixture. Slowly whisk in chicken broth; reduce until sauce thickens a little, about 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Stir in semisweet chocolate until melted and smooth. Set aside sauce.

Soften the tortillas one by one in a skillet with a bit of hot oil; this only takes a few seconds per tortilla and you will have to keep adding oil. Stack softened tortillas on a plate with paper towel between each one to absorb excess oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

When all tortillas are softened, assemble the enchiladas by rolling a cheese stick into a tortilla; place them in a rectangular baking dish seam sides down. Pour sauce over enchiladas (you may have some leftover sauce) and sprinkle with green onion slices. Loosely cover enchiladas with foil (too tightly and they steam; but the sauce can dry out when completely uncovered) and heat in the oven for about 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
Sliced avocados make a perfect garnish!

Makes 4 or 5 servings.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

april 12th is grilled cheese sandwich day!

Actually, April is
National Grilled Cheese Sandwich MONTH...

so treat yourself to some hot, buttery, gooey goodness every single day!

A toasty, melty grilled cheese sandwich hot off the stove is one of life's pleasures. Purists say that the sandwich must be American cheese on white bread, but I really think there's room for discussion on this topic. For example, a new guilty pleasure of mine is a combination of the sharpest Cheddar cheese between two pieces of Target's apple fritter bread. Imagine an old-fashioned fried McDonald's apple pie with Cheddar; yes, it's like that.

While not technically all-cheese, another favorite of mine is a good old-fashioned pimiento cheese sandwich. A recipe board friend had a hankering for these insidious creations one day and it was downhill from there. Her obsession became my obsession and for a while we were consuming them at an alarming rate. Pimiento cheese seems to be a southern U.S. thing and is really quite simple to make: cream cheese plus shredded cheddar cheese (a taste of other cheeses never hurts either) plus a bit of mayo to combine it, and of course.... pimientos. Maybe a little onion, season to taste.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, while innocent-looking, spark intense debate in my house. The spousal unit insists that grilled cheese sandwiches must be eaten with chicken noodle soup. And I say that the classic combination is grilled cheese paired with tomato soup. Seriously, the cheese-tomato connection is perfection, much like a cheese quesadilla with salsa. It's simply the right thing to do. Because I said so.

Differences aside, be sure to enjoy at least one grilled cheese sandwich soon, if not on the celebrated creation's Day of Honor, then whenever you want a little delicious comfort on a plate. With tomato soup.

Read more from Lonesome Road Studio, now on The Six Degrees of Etsy Bacon blog!

Friday, April 9, 2010

here, piggy piggy!

Smoky, Spicy and Easy
No-Ketchup Barbecue Sauce
As someone who is not a fan of ketchup, I always love to find a good barbecue sauce that doesn't start out with the hated condiment as the first ingredient. I came across this recipe in a cookbook by the Baron of Barbecue, Paul Kirk, and knew that I'd love this recipe since it was created by one of Kirk's students who also disliked ketchup.
This is a peppery-spicy and tangy-sweet sauce, with a beautiful rich color. It also tastes like you slaved over it for hours when in fact it cooks up in about 20 minutes. It's perfect for chicken and pork, and makes a terrific dipping sauce for all kinds of deep-fried snacks. The recipe below is the version with my tweaks - grab some charcoal and a beverage, and enjoy!
  • one 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste (a whole tablespoon gives this sauce quite a bit of heat)
  • 1 teaspoon hickory Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (like Colman's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Makes about 3 cups of sauce.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

i wanna grow up to be just like you!

You Wanted It, You've Got It -
Lonesome's Pizza Sauce

Roma tomato seeds are sprouting in the Lonesome Road Studio garden! They don't know it yet, but these little guys will be transformed into batches and batches of the best pizza sauce ever.

As promised in an earlier post, here is the recipe for my absolute favorite pizza sauce. The sauce also makes a good and quick sauce for pasta, but it truly stars on a crisp homemade pizza crust with all of your favorite toppings. This sauce can be canned; process in pint jars in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes. Or, just freeze it; that is my preferred method and the sauce freezes beautifully.

  • 6 pounds Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano peppers (seed and remove veins for less heat)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 six ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes, onions, peppers, herbs and garlic. Put mixture in a large soup pot.

Add sugar, salt, tomato paste and olive oil to the mixture in the soup pot. Cook over low heat for at least 2 hours until very thick. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Taste for seasonings and correct. Can or freeze as you wish (see simple canning directions, above).

Makes about 6 pints of sauce.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

i love your blog too!

A big shout-out and thanks to Wicked Thrifty!
Bite This! was recently awarded an "I Love Your Blog" award from Wicked Thrifty.
Thanks so much!
Here are the rules:
*Post the award on your blog*
*Link the person who has given you the award*
*Pass the award to 15 other blogs you’ve discovered*
*Remember to contact the bloggers you’ve nominated*
My list includes:
Check them out and leave a comment!! These are Lonesome Road Studio favorites....

it hurts, but in the nicest way

Lonesome's Creole Seasoning
A gentle but firm whip-crackin'
for your tongue
Just the right amount of heat, a bit of a burn going down, but smooth, like a sip of fine bourbon.

I like to let chicken (or other meat) absorb the spices overnight in the refrigerator, but a quick toss in the mixture just before grilling works nicely if you're short on time, or if you had one too many Blackened Voodoos and forgot to do it the night before.
Don't stop at carnivorous pursuits, though. Lonesome's Creole Seasoning will tickle your tastebuds when mixed into butter for corn on the cob or popcorn, or sprinkled onto your favorite cooked veggies or a salad (add some to your favorite vinaigrette recipe!). And of course, it can also be used on seafood, fish and tofu.
When grilling with Lonesome's Creole Seasoning, keep an eye on your chow. Although there is no sugar in this seasoning, there are natural sugars in the garlic and onion powders - be sure to cook carefully over slow and low indirect heat, or partially cook food prior to getting your grill-groove on, just to add that smoky flavor.


  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/4 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon celery seed

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

'shroom power!

Pasta with Shiitake
Mushroom Sauce
Rich-tasting yet healthy, this pasta dish is perfect for a light lunch, or as a special first course. The intense flavors of the shiitake mushrooms is perfectly complemented by the aromatic garlic and the tanginess of the yogurt. I enjoy this sauce on a broad noodle like pappardelle (as shown in the photograph) or on festive tri-color or spinach fettuccine.

Shiitake mushrooms are among my favorites. Their meaty chewiness is so satisfying and they are incredibly good for you as well. Shiitake mushrooms contain twice the protein of other mushrooms, making them a great choice for vegans and vegetarians, and researchers have found that a raw shiitake eaten daily for a week lowered serum cholesterol by 12%. Other health claims attributed to shiitakes include anti-cancer properties, and boosts to the immune system.

But really, I eat them because... I simply like them.

(I made a few changes to the original recipe as published in the book "Simply In Season" by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Despite my love of the toothsome texture of shiitake mushrooms, I wasn't fond of the appearance of the finished sauce as written in this recipe. I chose to puree everything into a sauce in the blender, and I think the choice was a good one. It's up to you to decide what kind of texture and look that you prefer; the flavor is the same no matter what, but I think the dish looks more appealing when the sauce is blended.)

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons sherry or broth (I like to make a quick shiitake broth from the mushrooms' stems and a garlic clove in one cup of water while the mushrooms and onions are sauteeing. This really brings out the shiitake flavor in the finished sauce.)
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup water or broth
  • 1 cup plain yogurt at room temperature
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute mushrooms, onion and salt for about 10 minutes or until onions are transparent and soft.

Stir in sherry or broth. Turn heat to low and slowly sprinkle in flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until all flour is incorporated.

Add garlic and black pepper and continue to cook and stir over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn.

Stir water or broth, and room temperature yogurt, whisk until completely incorporated and heated throughout. Serve over hot cooked pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
** See above - I made some changes to this recipe; I prefer the sauce to be smooth and blended.
Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, April 5, 2010

team bacon!

Lonesome Road Studio is proud
to be a member
of the new Etsy team, Team Bacon!
Team Bacon! is a unique Etsy team that celebrates bacon, creativity and quirkiness. Within the pages of the team blog, Six Degrees of Etsy Bacon, you will not only find mouth-watering bacon recipes and photos (of course!) but a whole collection of useful information for those who sell their artisan wares online and/or at shows. You will also find bacon news and trivia, Team Bacon! community outreach information, and giveaways!
Lonesome Road Studio will be a contributor to the team blog in the near future, so pop in, take a look around and say "hi" to Team Bacon!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter from Lonesome Road Studio!

Wishing my followers and other readers a beautiful holiday weekend, and see you next week!

Thanks so much for your support ~
Angie at Lonesome Road Studio

Thursday, April 1, 2010

new for Easter... pineapple and carrot relish

A new, healthy and delicious
holiday classic.

Yes, there are always tried-and-true holiday favorites, but as someone who loves to cook and try recipes, it's always fun to inject some new life into an old menu.

This nifty little recipe came from one of those cool free recipe cards at the supermarket. Originally intended to be a salad; but after tasting, I think it is best served on the side as a relish. Try it, and be the judge for yourself.

I used safflower oil in place of the original canola oil, but use what you like as long as it is light and not overpowering. Also, I used white balsamic vinegar for the white wine vinegar (basically the same thing but with a slightly different flavor that I prefer in this dish). And, I used curry powder since I absolutely adore it and I have the tastiest Madras curry powder purchased from an Asian grocery. Frankly, I'm not sure what the interchangeable-ness (a word?) is between chipotle chili powder and curry powder; I'm sure it's just a matter of preference.

Try this beautiful, fresh and easy salad (relish) for Easter; I think you'll like the way it complements your old favorites!

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 cups shredded raw carrots
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon canola (or safflower) oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large serving bowl combine pineapple and carrots.
In a small bowl stir together marmalade, oil, vinegar, chipotle or curry powder, salt and pepper. Pour over pineapple-carrot mixture; toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Serves 4 as a salad.


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