Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mushroom-Butternut Squash Posole

I had such high hopes for this idea... Traditional posole is one of our family's favorite dishes, and I often make it with other additions such as squash, carrots, etc. While the leftovers actually were better than the stew was on day one, I would change the following recipe in a number of ways before making it again the same way.

  • 2 cups fresh posole (aka nixtamal or hominy corn)
  • 6 oz mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 6 cups broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 dried red Anaheim or Guajillo chiles, rinsed with stems and seeds removed
  • Fresh cilantro

In blender, combine spices, garlic, and chiles with 1 cup warm broth. Puree until chiles and garlic are sufficiently chopped. Meanwhile, saute onions briefly to par-cook them. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours or high heat 3-4 hours, until squash and posole are tender (posole will appear split and puffed). Garnish with cilantro. Serve with warm cornbread or tortillas.

If I were to attempt this dish again, I would probably make any number of the following changes:

-Chop mushrooms up smaller

-Use black or red beans (possibly in place of the posole, too)

-Use roasted red bell pepper in chile puree

-Add a dollop of barbecue sauce (I did this to the leftovers I had, which helped)

Note: If you can't find fresh posole, you can substitute the canned variety, but add it to the slow cooker 1 hour before it is finished or it will turn to mush. Also, in some areas, you can find uncooked posole/nixtamal corn (this is NOT the same as dried field corn); it may take slightly longer to cook than the fresh packaged posole, so I would suggest boiling it in the broth for 10-15 minutes separately before adding it to the slow cooker.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Layered Savory Pie

“Kind of like a quiche, but without the eggs” is how I described it to my girls. The best thing about this (besides how good it turned out!) is that the combination of ingredients is possibly endless. While the idea, I admit, was not completely original (I recently saw something similar at our market) I wasn’t quite sure how I would go about it and what the results would be. Surprisingly, it was just about perfect. I can’t decide whether I liked it better hot or cold…of course you lose the flakiness of the pastry cold. I think next time I might spread some tangy mustard in place of one of the cheese layers.
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 4 oz quality sliced deli meat
  • 4 oz cheese sliced or grated (sharp white cheddar)
  • 2-3 artichoke hearts, sliced thinly
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced and pan-roasted
  • ½ cup chopped, cooked spinach, squeezed
  • 2-3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 small or 1 medium sweet potato
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch thyme

Roll pastry dough out to fit 6 x 9 or 8 x 8 pan, leaving enough to cover the top of the pie. Layer cheese, onion, ham, cream cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, cheese again if desired, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms evenly in the pan. Press down with the palm of your hand to compress layers slightly. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Top with remaining pastry, with slits or holes in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 deg. F for 25-30 minutes, or until pie is heated through and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes (the extra juices from the mushrooms will soak into the lower layers).

Serve warm, at room temperature or even cold! Makes 4-6 entrée-sized portions.

Substitute any of the following, or, as always, come up with your own combinations. A veggie-only version of this would be great, too!

Favorite pie crust or pizza dough recipe for the crust
Fresh goat cheese, feta, fontina, or other favorite cheese (something not too greasy) for the cheddar
Cooked broccoli or cauliflower or any green leafy vegetable for the spinach and/or for the meat.

About this blog

I’m not a foodie, and I’m not a writer. Why, then, you may ask, start a FOOD BLOG?!? It’s simple, really: to share recipes and cooking experiences with family and friends, or anyone who cares, really.

I am not a trained chef or photographer, but I do cook for my family just about every day of the year. I truly enjoy food, and cooking, and it’s pretty scary when I think about how much time each week I dedicate to something related, whether it’s eating, shopping, prepping, washing, planning, or searching for inspiration. Since I typically only use recipes for guidance and ideas, I expect that you will do the same…consider them a starting point and get creative! The more variations, the better (well, usually)! And for that reason, I cannot always guarantee the same results, not to mention the fact that different cooking implements will affect results invariably. Also note that I am cooking at 7000 ft elevation; if you feel it is necessary to adjust your recipes/methods, feel free, but I almost never make any adjustments (except sometimes cooking times and when using slow cookers or pressure cookers) for the altitude. Call me crazy but it never seemed to make all that much difference to me. It’s not like I’m making anything so precise that it is necessary. Of course I’ve lived at high-altitudes my whole life, so maybe I’m missing something…?

The bulk of what I cook, and therefore what I blog about, are meals for my family. They are not very picky eaters, so I have the luxury of feeding them just about anything. I am continually striving to cook healthier and more wholesome foods, and being part of a community supported agriculture co-op, am obliged to cook “closer to the earth.” Hopefully I can inspire others along the way. I am always searching for new ways to prepare the sometimes mundane selection we get in the mountains of Arizona, and I will try to share our family’s favorites as well. Afterall, food is for eating!



"Copyright" Notice: Nothing on this site is copyrighted (except where indicated); I hereby release any content on this site that is not already someone else’s to anyone who wants to use it (if for non-personal use, a “courtesy of me” would be appropriate, though). Likewise, everything on this site should be considered “original” unless otherwise noted….insomuch as there is such a thing as “original.” If a recipe I post is strikingly similar to yours, please know it was unintentional.