Sunday, September 29, 2013

Portabella and Mozzarella Panini

So far, I've been really happy with the restaurants Boise has to offer. But I can't lie, I miss Panera! I didn't go there that often, but there are a few things there I just absolutely love, like this sandwich. I haven't had it in a while, but was craving it this week. I completely got help with this entire sandwich, so it's more of a construction than cooking, but the flavor combination is so delicious! 

Panera presses the sandwich, but I don't have one here, so I just broiled it on each side to toast it and pressed it with my hands. I used a Rosemary Focaccia  from the Whole Foods Bakery, which makes it more authentic, but any bread choice would be find. I also used the grilled portabella caps from the hot bar, which make this sandwich cheaper and less work, since portabellas are about $2.50/each! Finally, fresh mozzarella isn't necessary, but it is so good! We enjoyed this sandwich with French Onion Soup.

Portabell and Mozzarella Panini
copycat Panera Bread recipe

1 loaf of Focaccia bread, preferably with Rosemary
3 portabella caps, grilled or roasted with salt and pepper
1/4 red onion, grilled or roasted with salt and pepper, sliced
4 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls or sliced from a large ball
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Slice Focaccia loaf in half, place on a baking sheet, broil for 2-4 minutes, until slightly toasted and golden brown.
Toss portabella caps in red wine vinegar, arrange in a layer on focaccia, top with onions and mozzarella.
Place bread with toppings back under broiler, broil for 3-5 minutes, until mozzarella has melted.
Sprinkle torn basil all over the mozzarella, place top of loaf on the sandwich, and broil for another 1-2 minutes, until toasted.
Slice and serve immediately, preferably with your favorite soup. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bangin' Tempeh Quesadilla

So I had added Quesadillas to the "how in the world do I get a good photo?!" list... but then a certain good blogger friend posted a quesadilla recipe with a beautiful photo, so I guess it's just me. I think it's time I look into good photography classes, or you know, don't take them on the floor while my husband holds the dogs and kid back. PLEASE don't let the bad photo make you question the deliciousness of this 'dilla... it's amazing!

When Taco Lu first opened, I was pregnant. Tacos sounded amazing, and the fact that they had tempeh on their menu made me love the place before even stepping foot into the restaurant. We made the trek over to the beach one night, fought off everyone and their mom for a parking spot, and got a table after a 30 minute wait. As I excitedly ordered my tempeh tacos, the waiter told me they didn't have tempeh, they were out. Talk about a hormonal melt-down over something that wasn't THAT big of a deal (but come on, tempeh has a long shelf life and you can keep it on hand!) So I didn't even order dinner. I watched JJ eat, and then we left. And I swore off the place for 2 years.

When we found out we were moving, I felt like I should give the place one more chance because all of my friends and coworkers love it, and they even moved into a bigger restaurant location since their popularity soared. So we went, I got this quesadilla, it was amazing, and now I cry knowing it's 2k miles away. Our servers kind of seated us and forgot about it, so I was like oh geez, here we go again, but then they brought out a free bowl of queso (that Violet bathed herself in.) So while Taco Lu hasn't been the most dependable place service wise, the food is so good that I'd be willing to overlook it.

This quesadilla was spicy, fresh from the slaw, earthy from the tempeh, and bound together with tons of melty cheese. It wasn't exceptionally complex, but it was amazing. I tried re-creating it here, and it was almost as delicious as the Lu's!

Bangin' Tempeh Quesadilla
inspired by Taco Lu, makes 4 large quesadillas

4 large flour tortillas
1 8 oz, pack of tempeh, sliced into 16 thin strips
1/4 c. sweet thai chile sauce
2 tbsp. sriracha
4 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 lb. green cabbage, shredded
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1 lime
1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
2 chipotles in adobo

In a shallow dish, whisk together chile sauce and sriracha, gently coat tempeh strips and set aside to marinate.
Toss green cabbage with onions and juiced lime in a small dish.
Blend sour cream and chipotles, or finely minced chipotles and mix with sour cream.
Heat skillet over medium-high, spray with nonstick spray, place tempeh slicess in pan, cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip, be careful they don't burn! 
Remove tempeh and place on a plate.
Clean out skillet, and heat over medium.
Preheat oven to 300*
One at a time, lay tortillas out, slather with chipotle sour cream, then place in pan, sprinkle cheese around the whole tortilla, then arrange 4 slices of tempeh in one half, and a sprinkle of the cabbage slaw on top of the tempeh. 
Cook for 2 minutes open, then fold the tortilla over and press.
Cook for another 2 minutes, then gently flip and cook another 2 minutes until golden brown.
If desired, place on a cookie sheet and into the oven to stay warm while you cook the remaining quesadillas.
Slice into fourths and serve.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Baked Chile Rellenos with Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

We are chile rellenos lovers in this house. What's not to like, spicy peppers filled with cheese, deep fried with a crisp shell and delicious sauce on top. In college, JJ and I would go to a Mexican restaurant almost every Sunday and get them. We also both gained the freshman 15 each year, it seemed! 

A few weeks ago we went to dinner at The Green Chile in Boise (which was delicious, and highly recommended) and JJ ordered a combo that included chile rellenos. As I read the description on the menu, I was intrigued. They filled their poblano with cheese, but then wrapped it in a tortilla and fried it. Genius! It takes out the messy step of breading the chile rellenos. 

I took that idea, and decided it would be a great way to make chile rellenos healthy! There's still the labor intensive task of roasting, peeling and de-seeding the chiles, but it's so worth it when you bite into these beauties! I topped the chile rellos with my Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, but you can use a red sauce, green sauce, sour cream based sauce, just about anything you'd like! 

I served these chile rellenos with slow cooked pinto beans and a small salad of romaine, tomatoes and avocado. 

Baked Chile Rellenos with Hatch Green Chile Sauce
inspired by The Green Chile

4 large poblanos, roasted, peeled, with seeds and stems removed
6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
10-12 corn tortillas - taco size
1.5 cups enchilada sauce of choice

Preheat oven to 425*
Spread 1/2 c. enchilada sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.
Slice or tear peppers into thirds, place pepper in the center of a tortilla, top with a sprinkle of cheese, roll up and place in baking dish. 
Spread with remaining enchilada sauce, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and edges begin to brown and crisp.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hatch Green Chile Pizza with Soyrizo and Goat Cheese

Over the past few years, I've read countless entries by Bridget and Shawnda about Hatch Green Chiles. Being from the Midwest and South, I didn't realize the seemily cult following they have. When I got to Boise a month ago and went to our amazing Whole Foods, I saw a man in the parking lot turning a giant drum, fresh fire roasting the chiles. I couldn't not buy some! I took home a few pounds, peeled them and then was stumped on what to do with them. 

So I decided to just make my first batch of chiles into an enchilada sauce and use it in a few dishes (another will be posted this week). Sunday has become our new pizza night, since I don't have my kitchen aid, I just buy Whole Foods' amazing prepared dough. I had half a package of soy-chorizo in the freezer, and decided to google pizza with chorizo, and came across this recipe from Rick Bayless. The pizza calls for a salsa verde sauce as the base, but I knew my Hatch Green Chile enchilada sauce would be perfect, and it was! 

As I said, I have no appliances out here, no blender, food processor, magic bullet, kitchen aid, you name it, I don't have it! So I have to utilize my knife skills and box grater as much as possible. To make the sauce, rather than puree most of it and leave some small bits of chile, I finely minced it all and cooked it down for a while to hopefully mash the chiles even more. 

The remainder of the pizza was topped with even more deliciousness: goat cheese, thinly sliced red onion and bell peppers, and soy-chorizo. This pizza was full of flavor and definitely will be a new regular for us. The Hatch Green Chiles definitely were spicy, smokey, and live up to the hype!

Hatch Green Chile Pizza with Soyrizo and Goat Cheese
adapted from Rick Bayless

1 lb. pizza dough, homemade or purchased
1 c. Hatch Green Chile enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
6 oz. crumbled chorizo or soy-chorizo, cooked, crumbled and drained on paper towels
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
6 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large red onion (half minced, half grated directly into pan)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. flour
2 c. vegetable stock
2 c. roasted, peeled and seeded Hatch Green Chiles
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
kosher salt and black pepper

To make enchilada sauce:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, bring to temperature.
Add onions and garlic, season with salt, and saute for 5 minutes, until softened.
Sprinkle flour over onions and garlic, whisk to coat, once flour is absorbed, add stock.
Whisk well, then add chiles, cumin and coriander.
Bring to a simmer, then turn to low, taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Cook for 20-30 minutes, then transfer some or all to a blender and puree, if desired.
Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer.

To make pizza:
Preheat oven to 425*
Stretch dough over a pan dusted with cornmeal or semolina flour.
Top with Hatch Green Chile enchilada sauce, goat cheese, crumbled coy-chorizo, sliced onion and peppers.
Bake for 18-24 minutes, until crust is crisp, golden and puffed.
Slice and serve immediately, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.