Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

Green Chile and Pork Stew

Posted by Becca On February - 4 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

I love this dish for so many reasons.  Not only is it the epitome of comfort food, the slow heat of the green chiles in this dish make it something that will keep you warm and satisfied.  I also love it because the poblano peppers and jalapenos immediately take me back to the southwest where everything has that green chile flavor.

This meal is also perfect because all the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to work with.  It’s a recipe that requires very little prep time, fills your home with wonderful aromas all day, and is completely satisfying.  It also makes great leftovers so you can continue to enjoy it throughout the week.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. new potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 10 oz. package of frozen whole kernel corn
  • 3 poblano chile peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped (I like to include a few seeds for a little extra heat)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed oregano
  • 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
  • 3 zucchini, halved lengthwise & cut into slices
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro

Preparation

In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil and brown the meat.  Drain off the fat.

Place potatoes, onions, frozen corn, poblano peppers, chopped jalapenos, garlic, salt, and oregano in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.  Place meat over vegetables.  Pour broth over all.

Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours (high heat 3-4 hours).

Stir in zucchini.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes on high heat.

Stir in cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Cheesy Taco Stew

Posted by Becca On December - 29 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

During a recent trip to my in-laws, I watched my mother-in-law prepare a hearty stew for the current group of hunters she had visiting their deer lease.  I came in while she was already half-way through the process, so I didn’t get any information on the full “plan” for her stew.  On the way home, I contemplated the ingredients she was using & an idea for a quick, easy stew started coming to my mind.  I wanted something that was hearty & warm for the cold winter & combined my love of the flavors of the Southwest.  Thus, this recipe was born.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pkg. Goya Sazon with Coriander & Annatto (orange box)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (venison or buffalo works well, also)
  • 16 oz. 2% milk Velveeta cheese
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 7oz. cans chopped green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans (partially drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can ranch beans  (partially drained)
  • 1/2 15 oz. can whole kernel sweet corn (drained)

Preparation

Taco Meat Preparation

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Place ground beef in skillet and sprinkle first seven ingredients over ground beef and mix well.  Brown the beef.

Stew Preparation

In a large stock pot, cut the Velveeta into 1 inch cubes.  Slowly melt over medium heat, stirring constantly.

When the cheese is completely melted, stir in the diced tomatoes and chopped green chilies and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the browned taco meat, black beans, ranch beans, and corn.  Stir well.

Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and sliced avocados.

Drinks

A spicy, warm, filling stew calls for a beverage that can match it.  For this, I like to go to one of my all time favorite brewing companies: Samuel Adams.  One of the reasons I love this company so much is their seasonal brews.  There is a wide variety of them that change with the seasons and there is always something perfect for whatever mood you are in.  The perfect beer to balance out the spice of this stew is the Winter Lager.  It has a hint of the spices we all connect to the colder months and it matches the richness of the stew.

Music

This is a stew that had a very classic, predictable recipe as my jumping off-point: the basic queso.  But then, it takes a turn & became pure experiment (yet still remained incredibly comforting).  So it would seem only fitting that the perfect album to listen to while making it is one which begins as “familiar” but then turns on you…in a cozy sort of way.  The Tallest Man on Earth’s  (also known as singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson) album, The Wild Hunt first catches the listener with an incredibly familiar sound: Bob Dylan’s reedy voice and finger-picking guitar.  But then, he catches you by surprise by bringing a slightly modern twist to classic folk music.  It is an album that is simultaneously  soothing  and invigorating.


Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia

Posted by Becca On September - 9 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Much to my husband’s disappointment, I generally don’t like fish.  As a result, I almost never cook it.  Over the years, however, I have challenged myself to find types of fish I can eat and enjoy; tilapia has become one of the few I truly like.  It is a very mild white fish that can be quite versatile in the kitchen.  This recipe is wonderful for its simplicity and freshness.  The chili powder coating under the cornmeal crust and the tomatillo salsa add an amazing kick of heat that make this fish flavorful and delicious.  Pair it with a side of black beans, poblano corn, or even some plain couscous and you have a tasty meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 egg whaite
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preparation

Combine flour & cornmeal in a shallow dish.  Combine 1 tablespoon of water and egg white in a shallow dish, stirring well.

Sprinkle both sides of the fish evenly with salt & chili powder.

Heat the oil in a large n0n-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Be careful that it does not get too hot in order to avoid scorching the outside of the fish.

Dip the fish in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.

Add fish to the heated pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve with tomatillo salsa (recipe listed separately)

Drinks

The combination of the mildness of the fish makes this dish difficult to pair with beer but the heat and acidity of the tomatillo salsa makes it a little difficult to pair with a wine.  However, through much testing, I finally found a wine that is a perfect match: Gaetano D’Aquino winery’s Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie.  It has the perfect balance of fruity sweetness, which complements the fish beautifully, and a hint of acidity that blends very well with the tomatillo salsa.

Music

Since fish is a little out of the ordinary for most of my dining preferences, I like to listen to something completely different & incredibly fun while making this dish.  Putamayo’s Brasileiro features a diverse range of music from Brazilian artists, which makes it a great album to turn on while making this meal.  My favorite track on the album, “Mama Africa,” makes it impossible to NOT dance around the kitchen.

Tomatillo Salsa

Posted by Becca On September - 5 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

I found the recipe for this amazing salsa in the recipe for Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia (full recipe posted separately) and quickly discovered I had found something really special.  Not only is it terrific with the tilapia, it is equally terrific to have as a snack with tortilla chips or as a side with any Mexican dish.  Even when I make this in order to serve with the tilapia, there is still plenty left over to use at a later time.  It keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and is sure to be an instant favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 serrano chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (11 oz.) can tomatillos, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Chop until smooth.

Mushroom Fajitas

Posted by Becca On August - 24 - 20104 COMMENTS

My husband and I love mushrooms.  We could probably eat them on a daily basis.  We had eaten mushroom fajitas at restaurants on numerous occasions and had always enjoyed them so I decided to make them for dinner one night.  I didn’t have a recipe; I just thought of the flavors I like and made this up as I went along.  It turned out to be so delicious that it instantly became a regular in our dining repertoire.

Ingredients

  • 4 large portabella mushrooms
  • 2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded & finely chopped (keep a few seeds for added heat if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • splash of mid-quality tequila (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

Wash mushrooms thoroughly & pat dry.  Slice mushrooms into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, cover.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium heat (around 350° to 400°).

Cover vegetable grilling basket with aluminum foil & lightly spray with cooking spray.

Place mushroom mixture in basket and grill for 20 – 25 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently.

Serve on warmed or grilled flour tortillas with black beans.

Optional toppings: Mexican cheese, avocado, lettuce, sour cream, red or green salsa

Drinks

The great thing about this dish is that it is pretty versatile and goes well with wine, beer, and mixed drinks (especially if it’s the “Not Your Mama’s Margarita which, I promise, I will post the recipe for soon).  When I am in a wine mood, I like to pair this with PrimaTerra’s Sangiovese because it is a slightly sweet, yet still very mild red.  If I’m more in a beer mood, any of the Mexican beers are a perfect match for this dish.  I particularly enjoy the Dos Equis Amber.

Music

I like to listen to something that would seem to fall out of my normal musical tastes while making this dish, Tool’s 10,000 Days.  Most people hear “Tool” & automatically think something more along the lines of Heavy Metal.  However, what people fail to recognize is that Tool is an incredibly innovative, creative, and diverse band & nothing exemplifies that more than 10,000 Days.  I like to listen to this album while making this dish because of the surprising spice/heat that is in it, which most people wouldn’t expect in something as simple as mushroom fajitas.

Shrimp Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema

Posted by Becca On August - 6 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This is another recipe that I decided to adapt the original into something more along my style and taste.  It originally called for red snapper fillets but, as I am not a huge fan of fish, I decided to change it to shrimp and it worked beautifully.  It also originally called for corn tortillas but I use flour tortillas warmed on the grill.  This is a pretty simple dish to cook but is so full of flavor that it seems much more complicated.  If there is any crema leftover, it can be saved for up to a week and can be used with other Mexican dishes (I really like to put it on nachos for a quick lunch).

Ingredients

Creama:

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Tacos:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound peeled & de-veined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Flour (or corn, depending on preference) tortillas
  • Butter or margarine
  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce

Preparation

Crema:

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl.  Allow to sit in refrigerator 10-15 minutes.

Grilled Tortillas:

Preheat grill to medium heat (350-400 degrees).

Very lightly spread butter (you can also use spray butter) one side of each tortilla.  Tightly wrap stacked tortillas in aluminum foil.

Place tortillas on grill and cook each side for 5-7 minutes.

Tacos:

Combine cumin through garlic powder in a bowl with shrimp.  Toss spice and shrimp mixture to evenly coat shrimp.

In a large skillet, allow olive oil to warm over medium heat.  Place spiced shrimp in skillet and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

Divide the shrimp evenly among tortillas, and top each with cabbage/lettuce and crema.

Drinks

While this dish does go well with any lighter Mexican beer such as Dos Equis, Sol, or Corona, I have found that the delicacy of the shrimp and the smoothness of the crema lends itself more to a slightly sweeter white wine.  I particularly like Clayhouse Vinyard’s Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s light, fruity taste is a nice complement to the spice in the shrimp.

Music

I am currently in love with Jack Johnson.  He is an amazing singer-songwriter whose smooth voice and acoustic guitar combine beautifully with the cooking of this dish.  My favorite album to groove to while making this is Brushfire Fairytales.

Skillet Poblano Corn

Posted by Becca On August - 3 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Skillet Poblano Corn is a very easy side dish to make and it is very low in fat and calories.  It goes great with any Mexican type meal, adding a nice change to the typical beans and rice.  It also reheats very well.

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp butter or margarine
  • 2 seeded, chopped poblano chili peppers
  • 3 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation

Melt the butter or margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the chopped chilies and cook, stirring constantly, until tender (about 3 minutes).

Add the corn and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Posted by Becca On July - 31 - 20101 COMMENT

The original for this dish came from a recipe I found in a cookbook published by a group of women in my hometown.  After making it a few times, I decided to start playing with it & adding some of my own ideas.  Through a great deal of experimentation and alterations, I finally arrived at this recipe.  It is a major favorite in my home but I can only make it when I really have plenty of time because it takes a few hours, primarily in the prep time.  Once everything is prepared, it takes almost no time to actually cook.  Time aside, this is a delicious dish that is completely worth it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (keep a few seeds for added heat)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (10 oz) can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1 (5 fl oz) can evaporated milk
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Filling:

Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.

Mix chicken, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper in a large sauce pan.  Fill sauce pan with just enough water to cover all ingredients.  Cover.  Boil over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked (about 10-15 minutes).

Drain water and remove chicken pieces, reserving about 1 cup of vegetable mix.

Chop or shred chicken pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the can of chopped green chilies, vegetable mix, chicken, and remaining 1 tsp. of salt.

Sauce:

In a shallow dish, combine the green chili enchilada sauce and evaporated milk.  Gently stir together until the heavier enchilada sauce fully mixes with the evaporated milk.

Enchiladas:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Dip each tortilla in the enchilada sauce mixture.  Fill with a handful (roughly 1/3 cup) of the filling mixture.  *Note: if you use your hands for this process, wash your hands frequently or wear rubber gloves in order to avoid the oil from the jalapenos soaking into your skin.*  Sprinkle the mixture with the shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup).  Roll enchiladas and place seam-side down in a sprayed 13×9 inch baking dish.

Pour remaining sauce mixture over the top of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Drinks

A Mexican meal requires a Mexican beverage.  As with an earlier dish, I really like to pair this meal with a good Mexican beer.  My favorite for this alternates between the Dos Equis Lager and a nice, cold Corona with a splash of lime.  Once the meal is in the oven, I sometimes like to switch over to my husband’s amazing home-made margarita, which I have lovingly named the “Not Your Mama’s Margarita.”  It uses only the most basic ingredients for a margarita: fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and high quality silver tequila (full recipe will be posted at some point in the future).  I reserve the margarita until after the cooking is completed because there is a strict two drink limit….seriously.

Music

A dish that takes this long to prepare needs a very long album to listen to while cooking.  No, I’m not going with the obligatory Led Zepplin Four which features “Stairway to Heaven,” which is a really good album but still isn’t long enough to hold up to this recipe.  For this, I always like to put on the 2005 live album Freak & Roll into the Fog by my #2 favorite band of all time: The Black Crowes.

Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage with Veg

Posted by Becca On July - 2 - 20102 COMMENTS

My family lives on a ranch in West Texas, as does my husband’s.  My family raises beef cattle & his runs a hunting lease where there are trophy white-tail deer, elk, and buffalo.  Needless to say, I am very fortunate that I never have to buy beef or game meat from a store.  The venison sausage I use for this dish comes from my in-law’s meat processor (Stephens Processing in Abilene) but you can get this type of sausage at stores like Central Market or Whole Foods.  I have even seen it at my local farmer’s market.  If you cannot find venison sausage, substituting with a pork sausage will work (just know that the fat content will be higher).  A great thing about this dish is it is prepared all in the same skillet so there is very little clean-up afterwords.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (I like the rich flavor of baby portabellas)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 pound jalapeno cheddar venison sausage

Preparation

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute garlic in warm oil until fragrant (about 2 minutes).

Add the squash, zucchini, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Saute until the squash & zucchini just begin to cook (about 3 minutes).

Reduce heat to medium, add the mushrooms.  Cover and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sausage and cilantro and cook uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Drinks

Because this dish has Mexican overtones, it lends itself easily to Mexican beverages.  If I’m feeling a bit more festive, a good margarita is an excellent compliment to the spices in the sausage and vegetables.  However, most of the time, my beverage of choice with this one is a nice cold Dos Equis Lager with a splash of fresh lime.   I’m also a fan of Cervesa Sol.  Both beers are crisp and refreshing and offer a great balance to the heat of this meal.

Music

This is Texas soul food at it’s best so why not pair it with music that speaks to the local Texan.  I’m not a fan of most country music but I certainly enjoy what I call “Texas rock,” which is rock music heavily rooted in country and blues.  One of my all time favorite musicians of this genre is Ian Moore.  I particularly love Ian Moore’s Got the Green Grass, which is a slightly more experimental album.  When I’m in the mood for something a little more obscure, Susan Gibson’s New Dog, Old Tricks or the self-titled album, porterdavis, never fail to deliver that true Texas rock sound.