Gorditas

These little fatties are stuffed with leftover potato and black bean filling. They are essentially a very fat, yet soft tortilla that can be opened like a pocket pita if done correctly. The dough differs from a traditional corn tortilla in that it calls for about a cup of flour and baking powder. Gorditas are supposed to be griddle-cooked then sliced open like a pocket, but I filled these pupusa style and left them hefty. These babies have a good 1/2 inch girth, and with all the carbs, would make a great marathon meal. Aren’t we all looking for alternatives to the ubiquitous “Spaghetti Dinner?”

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Maseca tortilla flour
  • About 5 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • canola oil in a bowl for finger dipping

Directions: Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and add water until the dough is soft and doesn’t break apart when you test-run a tortilla. The edges will crack open a little, but you want enough water so the tortillas don’t totally break apart.

Forming Gorditas

Take a ball of dough about the size of your palm and flatten it out. Make an indentation as you cup it in your hand. This little cup you make is where you will place your filling. Spoon in potatoes, black beans or cheese, and bring the dough together to form a ball again. Now you can begin to flatten the ball into a fat tortilla. Remember, there are lots of demonstrations on YouTube to help you through the process. Once the fat tortilla is formed, place it on a dry skillet on medium heat and cook until browned. Turn it and brown the other side as well. The gorditas take quite a long time to cook, so it’s not a bad idea to keep them warming in the oven until they are all prepared. They reheat easily in the microwave as well. Serve with salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce and crema.

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Corn and Bean Chowder

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We can’t handle too much corn-on-the-cob around our house. Max has braces which makes it impossible to eat with the cob, and the richness of corn hits my satiated level after one serving per year. We’ve had corn for the last four weeks from the farm, and I’ve been zapping it in the microwave, shucking it, removing from the cob and freezing. Today I set out to tackle the last fifteen ears in our fridge only to discover the new batch was perfectly white and bodacious. Along with this perfection in the box came some very sassy Biscayne Peppers just asking to be blister roasted. The wheels started to churn, and the idea of a bean infused corn chowder came to be. I like the idea of adding some protein in order to complete the amino acids needed for perfection, and to be able to balance out this giant carb load.

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Corn and Bean Chowder Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil to coat pan
  • 1 tsp. dried chipotle powder (or smoky paprika if you don’t want too much heat)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tbs. fresh sage, chopped
  • 12 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 4 cups white beans
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 or 3 roasted peppers, peeled and diced (Use whatever peppers you have – hot or sweet.)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Corn: My technique for the corn involves a five for five method. Take five ears of corn, husks and all, and zap them in the microwave for five minutes. Take them out and let them cool on the counter for a few minutes before you pull off all the husk and silk. If you are used to removing the husk prior to cooking, you will be amazed by how simple it is to do this way. Once those are all cooked, cut the kernels from the cob.

Now, let’s get this soup cooking. Dice your onions and put them into the hot oil in a stock pot. Cook them on a low heat while you mince the garlic. Toss in the garlic, cumin, chipotle and sage. Let the aromatics cook and the spices toast a little. Now add the water, corn and beans. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.

Roasting the peppers: Use an all metal set of tongs to hold the peppers directly over the flame on your stove. They will begin to crackle and blister. When the skins turn mostly brown with spots of black, turn them. This will take a few minutes to completely char both peppers. Don’t be afraid to just set them on the stove racks for a few moments then flip. Once they are completely blistered, set them aside to cool. It also helps to put them in a closed paper bag. The steam from the hot chiles helps the skins peel off more easily once they cool. I’m not patient enough to spend much time waiting, so I usually run them under cold water and rub the skins off. Then all you have to do is slit them open with a knife to remove the seeds, take off the stem, and dice them up.

Finish the chowder by adding the diced chiles, salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.

Vegetarian Chili Fall ’09

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I love chili, and it is often a staple in our house during the winter months. I labeled this one “09” because I never make it the same way twice. It’s also one of Max’s favorite soups, and you know by now, if he makes a request for any of my cooking, I oblige. Here’s one he and I whipped up using two kinds of beans I had in the freezer and a bunch of CSA tomatoes, corn, carrots and onions. I usually use lots of peppers and like to add zucchini or sweet potatoes, but right now I am focused on using what’s in the box.

Spices for chili are also very flexible. You can use the dried chipotle, or any hot pepper. Sometimes I use pre-made chili powder spices, but often I just add cumin, pulverized dried, hot peppers and salt. You can add the spices last and play around until you get a flavor you like.

Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 8-10 carrots, diced
  • 8 cups cooked beans (we used 4 cups black and 4 cups white)
  • 8-12 tomatoes, pureed
  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 Tbs. dried and powdered chipotle pepper
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

Directions:

Microwave the corn in the husk for five minutes. Remove it and let it cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, saute the diced onions until they are translucent and add the minced garlic. Cook for a few seconds just until the garlic releases its fragrance. At this point the corn should be cool enough to remove the husks and cut the kernels from the cob. Add all other ingredients and let the soup simmer for about twenty minutes until the flavors are nicely melded. The beauty of any soup is the garnish and with chili it’s fun to be creative. We like ours with chunks of cheddar, avocado or a dollop of crema, and there must be the crunch factor so we eat it with either crackers or chips.

Spicy Corn Ceviche

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If you’ve been to Peru or Ecuador, you know the world’s most famous ceviches. Creamy white pieces of fish tenderize and mellow as they are bathed in a marinade of lime juice and salt. Added to the mix are thin slivers of red onions, green pepper, the aji chile and tiny specks of cilantro. Ceviche is served cold, mostly in the coastal areas, and usually next to an icy beer. It pairs nicely with “patacones” or fried and salted plantains.

Since I thankfully don’t receive any fish in my CSA box, and wouldn’t eat it anyway, I opted instead to turn my lovely sweet corn into a ceviche of great Midwestern style. Everything in this ceviche is local with the exception of the lime! Having no green peppers at the moment, I instead opted for diced cucumbers to give the salad a little color and crunch, and used the red Thai Chiles I bought last weekend at the Kingfield Farmer’s Market to spice it up. Here’s how my nine-year-old son described it when he gave it a taste – word for word, “Wow! First you taste the lime, then you get a little zing from the peppers, but then it gets all sweet and mellow from the corn.” He may end up as a part time sommelier if he keeps talking like that!

Spicy Corn Ceviche Recipe

The only fussy thing about this ceviche is cooking the corn and cutting it from the cob. I’m sure you could use frozen corn if you want to make the recipe, but skip the fuss. I’m a firm believer that corn, like asparagus, should only be cooked for two or three minutes in boiling water. As I clean the corn, I get a big pan of water boiling and only when it is furiously bouncing on the stove do I drop in the ears of corn. I quickly replace the lid, check the clock, and remove after no more than three minutes. Perfection!

Ingredients:

12 ears fresh sweetcorn, cooked and removed from the cob

1 small vidalia onion, diced

1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced

3-5 Thai chiles

1 small bunch cilantro

1 Tbs. canola oil

Juice of 1 lime

salt to taste

Directions:

Cook the corn and cut the kernels from the cob. Dice the onion and the cucumber and mix in bowl with corn. In a food processor, chop the chiles and the cilantro. Mix everything together and add the oil, lime juice and a sprinkle of salt. Enjoy!