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Recipe: Tortilla Espanola

7 Mar

Tortilla Espanola is a Spanish tapa (bar snack). It’s made with potatoes, onion, olive oil, and egg and is CRAZY delicious. It’s relatively easy to cook, but the execution can be tricky. You see, you cook the whole mess in a frying pan and then you have to finagle it out by flipping it onto a plate. I think I’ve FINALLY mastered the technique but I have definitely destroyed a few in my day. But, as Julia Child said, if you’re alone in the kitchen, WHO’S GOING TO KNOW? No one, that’s who. So it rips in half. You’re cutting that bitch into slices anyway. Nom.

6-7 medium sized potatoes

5-6 eggs

1 medium-large onion

Lots of olive oil

salt and pepper

Cut the potato and the onion in half lengthwise and then slice thinly. The slices will be in half-moon shapes.

Mix the potatoes and onion together in a bowl and salt liberally. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions and potatoes. You want enough olive oil to barely cover the veggies-maybe 1/2 a cup? Fry the vegetables until the potatoes are tender, but make sure they don’t burn. You’ll know they are ready when you can break a potato in half with a spatula.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together. Pour the potatoes and onions into the egg and mix. Add a tablespoon more oil to the frying pan and then pour the potato-onion-egg mix into it and spread it evenly around.

Allow to cook until the edges of the egg are slightly browned. The egg will still be runny, but the bottom will be cooked.

Now you can do one of two things to cook the other side. If you have a frying pan that is oven safe, turn the oven to 350 and cook the tortilla for 10 minutes to set the top. You still have to brown the top, though, so you’re going to need to flip the tortilla.

Grab a large plate and put it on top of the frying pan. Put your hand firmly on the plate and quickly flip the pan over so that the tortilla ends up on the plate. Put the frying pan back on the stove with a little more olive oil and allow to heat for a few seconds, then slip the tortilla back into the frying pan and brown for 2-3 minutes.

If you don’t have an oven safe frying pan, you’re going to have to flip the tortilla without the time in the oven first. This will work it just might be a smidge bit more messy. It’s ok though. It will be delicious either way!

When you’ve browned the other side, slip the tortilla onto a plate and cut into wedges.

Serve.

Yum yum yum.

❤ stef

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Adobo Throwdown!

24 May

Last weekend, I participated in an Adobo Throwdown. For the uninitiated, Adobo is a Spanish word that refers to multiple different kinds of spices, dishes or rubs, but in this instance it refers specifically to a Filipino dish made with chicken or pork and stewed in vinegar, garlic, sugar, soy and pepper. It’s funny because adobo can refer to either the Spanish dish or the Filipino dish. It all dates back to the Spanish invasion and occupation of the Philippines back in 1500-whatever.

So-my fiance is Filipino. Sort of.

Anders the Red!

No one ever believes us because of how he looks – plus he’s 6’5. It’s strange, because his Grandmother is full Filipino which makes Anders 25% – and my Grandfather is full Greek which makes me 25% Greek – but I consider myself much more Greek than Anders considers himself Filipino. I don’t know if this is because my father’s family kept the Greek Orthodox religion and thus all of the traditions and language and food, whereas (from what I can tell) Anders’ family’s Filipino ties are his Grandmother and her adobo. I’m really not sure what the difference is, I just think it’s interesting.

A few years ago, I asked Anders’ Grandmother for her adobo recipe. I honestly didn’t think she would give it to me, but she did! I’ve been making it for Anders and various friends for the past 4-5 years. A few weeks ago I heard about this Adobo Throwdown via Twitter. One of my favorite San Francisco food carts, AdoboHobo, entered, so I decided to. I mean, hey. I had the recipe, and it was pretty good! Plus I thought it might be a nice way to honor Anders and his family. I had to name my adobo recipe, so I named it for his family.

My application was accepted, the day came, and I made 20 pounds of chicken adobo in 5 pound batches. I borrowed a gigantic pot from my father to hold all of that chicken, and Anders and I made our way to the competition site in a taxi.

We get there (this is going to sound super-racist) and we appear to be the only white people competing. (Side note: this wasn’t true. There was one other white competitor, she just wasn’t in my kitchen area). I IMMEDIATELY feel out of place, and we both start freaking out. I have to keep my freak out under control though, because I’m carrying a vat of chicken and I came there to COMPETE dammit, and that’s what I was going to do. Anders starts to mention that maybe we should just leave the chicken and run. There is a part of me that feels this is a good idea, but the other more rational part knows that I made 20 pounds of chicken and I said I was going to show up and there is a sign bearing my name and the name of my adobo, and I am not going anywhere. So we just start doling out the adobo and try to ignore the fact that we feel really out of place and unprepared.* All I brought with me was adobo, but lots of contestants had fancy garnishes, dishes, accompaniments, and decorations for their booth. I had NOTHING! I felt like such a slacker.

My face says, oh shit. (That's my adobo vat in the back to the left).

After sticking it out, a magical thing starts to happen. People begin to tell me that they LOVE my adobo! They ask me where I learned, and I tell them about Anders and his Grandmommy. They ask if Anders is still in the picture, and I tell them that Anders is the big bearded guy helping me serve adobo. They all stare in confusion, and it’s pretty funny.

I have to prepare a sample dish for the judges, and though the competition organizers said they would have rice for participants, they are out of rice. I have to use old crappy rice for my sample dish.

I also have to tell the judges and the crowd about the adobo and the ingredients I used. This is totally nerve wracking for me, and I rarely get stage fright!

I know, I'm a big giant bag lady.

I make it through. We go back to my station, wait on more rice, and continue serving the adobo. More and more people are telling me how much they like it, and I’m starting to feel a little bit better.

Towards the end of the competition while we are waiting for the winners to be announced, the real surprise comes. There are two competitions – the taster’s choice, and the judge’s choice, for a total of six prizes. I win third place in the taster’s choice competition! I am SO surprised. So are the people giving me my prize!

What is this girl doing here? (I'm not sure).

Buuut I win them over with my irresistible charm.

I don't know why this was my first instinct.

Sometime during or between these pictures one of the lovely ladies told me that I could marry a Filipino boy now. I just laughed. I was way too flabbergasted to say that I kind of am. ❤

Accepting my prize!

Anders told me later that he didn’t snap any pictures of me (these are from the event’s photo page) because he didn’t think I would win and as a result didn’t get the camera from me! That’s ok. I didn’t think I would win anything, either.

I am so honored to have won anything. I have my little plaque in my kitchen in Boston, and it’s so awesome to think that I make anything that I can really call award winning! It wasn’t really me, though. It was Susan, Ander’s grandmommy, who gave me that recipe so I feel like it belongs more to her than to me. Without her, or without Anders, I wouldn’t have won anything at all.

Now I know you’re salivating for the recipe. I normally wouldn’t have a problem giving it to you, but Anders is super-protective of it. I gave it to a friend once and he was SO MAD! So, what I will say is this.

Always use dark meat chicken. The award winning batch I made had chicken thighs with the skin and the bone on.

Cover your chicken pieces in water.

Use 1 part vinegar.

1/2 – 1 part soy sauce.

1/2  part sugar.

LOTS of garlic

and black pepper.

Boil until you have about an inch of sauce, and serve over white rice.

❤ Stef

*I know you’re probably wondering why I thought a FILIPINO food competition wouldn’t be populated mostly by Filipinos. I thought it was a competition put on by the Art Institute’s new International Culinary School, where the competition was held. It was actually part of the Asian Culinary Forum’s 2010 Symposium, and they had borrowed/rented the facilities at AI. That said, it was an awesome experience. It also made me think about race-something no one ever wants to talk about. People in my class at BC will sympathize, because we spend a lot of time talking about race. But the competition did make me wonder about my minority status within that particular gathering. Do I, as a white person, never consider race because mine is the dominant one (within the US)? Are my feelings of awkwardness, of “not-belonging” experienced more often by people of other races when confronted with mostly white people? Food for thought, ladies and gents.

Recipe: Chicken and Zucchini Layered Enchilada

7 May

Today is the day! Enchiladas made, Mexican feast delivered, Rubik’s cube solved. Perfection. Ok, I didn’t solve the Rubik’s cube. But everything else is true. Scout’s honor!

Enchiladas are crazy easy to make, especially when you make them casserole-style (as I do). You can use nearly anything for a filling, just add some enchilada sauce, cheese, and tortillas and BAM! Enchilada madness. These are made with leftover chicken and zucchini. Leftover chicken because I had it, and it needed to be used. Zucchini because I received some in my CSA box and it’s extremely important to me to use fresh, local produce. I’m lucky because I live in California, which means that some kind of produce is available year-round. In August I’m moving to Boston for grad school, and I’m already wondering what kind of CSA boxes are available, or if anything even grows in Boston in the winter! I’ve never lived on the east coast, so I have no idea what to expect. Anyway, back to the food!

You can make these vegetarian really easily by leaving out the chicken and the chicken broth, and doubling the amount of zucchini (or squash of your choice) and substituting veggie broth. If you’re looking to turn your enchiladas into a full-blown fiesta, add some pico de gallo and a margarita or two!

Sauce:
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 C chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)

artful spices.

artful spices.

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan.

dlove_enchiladas2

Allow to simmer 10-15 minutes, until sauce has reduced by about 1/2 C. While you are waiting for the sauce to reduce, start on the enchiladas.

1 medium zucchini
1/2 lb of chicken quarter of an onion, diced, about 1/3 C
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 TB olive oil
4 turns black pepper mill
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 C jack cheese
corn tortillas

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and the onion, saute until fragrant. Add the zucchini, the pepper, and the salt.

dlove_enchiladas3

Cook until browned on the edges. This is total zucchini porn. This is when you know it’s getting good-when the zucchini is brown and slightly caramelized. Delicious!

hello, delicious.

hello, delicious.

Add the chicken. If you’re using leftover chicken, cook a few minutes just until the chicken is heated through. If you’re using raw chicken, cook until the chicken is cooked through.Turn off the heat, and assemble the casserole.

dlove_enchiladas5

First spoon a very light layer of sauce on the bottom of a pan 8×8″ W and approximately 2.5″ D. Then add a layer of tortilla, followed by chicken and zucchini mixture, sauce, and cheese. Repeat. Then add a final layer of tortilla, sauce and cheese.

dlove_enchiladas6

Your casserole should be:

Little bit of sauce
tortilla
chicken and zucchini
sauce
cheese

tortilla
chicken and zucchini
sauce
cheese

tortilla
sauce
cheese

dlove_enchiladas7

At this point, you can either cook it or store it to cook at a later date. It will keep for about two days in the fridge, or if frozen it will keep for at least 4 months, possibly longer. If you cook it immediately, put it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. After refrigerating, cook at 350 for about 30-45 minutes. After freezing cook it at 350 for 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.

melty.

melty.

dlove_enchiladas9So. Good.

❤ Stef

Special “OMG It’s HOT” Duo: Recipe: Pico de Gallo and Margaritas

21 Apr

It has been ungodly hot in San Francisco the past few days. As a result, I haven’t felt like turning on the stove. Or the oven. Or anything that produces heat, really. I’ve subsisted on pico de gallo and margaritas.

Ok, that was a lie. But I am eating/drinking them right now, and I have to admit that the combination might just be the perfect summertime pair. Even though, technically, it isn’t summertime.

Margarita (serves 1):
1 TB powdered sugar
1/4 C water
1 lime
1/2 orange
3 oz tequila
1.5 oz triple sec

Grab a cocktail shaker and put the sugar and water into the shaker. Squeeze the lime and orange into the shaker with the sugar. I use my handy dandy lemon squeezer apparatus.
Squeeze it! Squeeze them citrus fruits!
Add the tequila and triple sec. Now give the shaker a few good shakes, and pour the mix into a glass with ice.
Oh yeah.

Pico de Gallo!
3 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 lime
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 C (or more, depending on your taste) of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Chop the onion, garlic, and cilantro and put in a bowl. Add about 1/2 tsp salt, and a bit of pepper. Chop up the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, then add the lime. Use the same lemon squeezer thingamagig that you used for the margarita.
Stir the salsa to combine, and eat with corn chips!
Or, if you would like to be a bit more healthy, another good idea is to eat with thick cut cucumber slices.
So. Good.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Chicken Pho

3 Apr

I am a Pho lover. LOVER. I eat mine with hoisin, basil and lots of lime. I typically get the rare beef stuff when I get it out (because I like my meat to be nearly raw) but I make chicken pho when I’m at home.
This isn’t my recipe, sadly. It is the first one I found when I looked up “Chicken Pho Recipe” on google a few months ago. You can find the original on Food and Wine’s website.
I want to mention a few things about this recipe before I get into all the messy stuff. First, you have to be prepared to spend at least 3 hours on this recipe if you follow the instructions and make the broth from scratch. You don’t have to do it that way, in fact I usually don’t. If you decide that you are lazy, you can use regular chicken broth and simmer it with chopped boneless, skinless chicken, the roasted veggies, salt, and sugar for like 30 – 45 minutes.
Second, if you decide to go all out and make the chicken broth, you will need either a whole chicken or a whole chicken already cut into pieces. If you don’t have very good knife skills, don’t have sharp knives, or are altogether unfamiliar with chopping up whole chickens, I suggest you buy the chicken already in pieces or have your butcher chop it up for you. Eventually I’ll write a blog about knife skills, but until then, I’d prefer if no one loses a finger. Capiche?
Good.
Ingredients:
2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
3 1/2 inch thick slices of ginger, smashed
4 qt water
One 3.5 lb chicken
1 TB salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 C fish sauce (do not be afraid of fish sauce!)
1 lb dried rice noodles
Garnish (all of this stuff is optional):
mung bean sprouts
basil leaves
lime
jalapeno
chili-garlic sauce
hoisin sauce
First quarter the onion and smash the ginger, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, quarter the chicken (if you need to). First remove the chicken insides from the cavity. The chicken insides include the liver, heart, and neck, among other things. There they are, in the bowl in the back!
Now cut the entire chicken in half lengthwise. Yeeeah, raw chicken insides, woo!
Now cut each of these chicken halves in half again. I find it easier to flip them skin side up for this part.
There should be a picture of this, but I forgot and by the time I remembered the chicken was already boiling away. Oops.
Remember to always wash your hands when you handle poultry!
Now we are going to make a chicken insides bundle using cheesecloth and the chicken innards. This will be awesome for the chicken broth. First cut a length of cheesecloth.
Put all of the innards into the middle of the cloth. If you have any frozen innards from previous chickens, use those too. Yes, I save chicken giblets. You should, too.
Wrap the cheesecloth around the innards to make a bundle. I use thread to stitch it up very loosely, but kitchen twine or anything like that would work just as well.
Take the roasted veggies from the oven. Mmmm, don’t they look amazing?
Put all of the veggies, the chicken pieces, the innard and cheesecloth bundle, the salt, the sugar, and the water in a big soup pot and put it on the stove over medium high heat for 30 minutes. The idea is to cook the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the skin and the bones.
Put the skin and the bones back into the pot, and the meat in the refrigerator. Simmer the broth for 2 hours. Strain the broth using a colander and a very big bowl. This bowl was not big enough. I burned my finger. Use a very, very big bowl. And your common sense.
Return the strained broth to the soup pot and set to boil for a further 20 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce. Bubbly bubbly.
While you wait, soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. This time may be different, depending on the noodles that you bought, so make sure you read the instructions on the box.
After the noodles are done soaking, drain the water, and add new salted water to the noodles. Bring the noodles to a boil, and then allow them to boil for about 3 minutes. Drain them.

Shred the chicken into the broth and simmer until heated.
Serve by putting a big bunch of noodles into a bowl, and then pouring the broth and the chicken over the noodles. Serve the soup with your choice of condiments listed above.
Yum! The best thing about making this recipe is that you have pho for days. Just make sure not to mix the noodles with the broth when you store it, otherwise the noodles will get all soggy.

❤ Stef