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Chiles Rellenos (Stuffed Chillies) with Cheese

1 Sep

(I did not use a filter on this)

Ok, I know what you’re thinking… That’s not REAL Mexican, look at all that cheese. C’mon – in Mexico they’d dip these babies in batter and deep fry ’em. This is the healthy(ish), cheese lovers version. It is also super quick to make.

The long, banana chillies (as we call them Australia) are in season at the moment. They’re crunchy, sweet and vary in colour from bright red, to yellow or green. I got a bag full for $4 recently and had lots of cheese at home and some leftover Enchilada Sauce. We just had simple cheese stuffed chillies, but there are lots of tips at the bottom of this post for how you could change it up a bit. They are another great way to use up leftovers.

This dish is all in one pot, in the oven. In addition, all you need is a packet of tortillas, or some Mexican Rice, a little guacamole or sour cream and some extra hot sauce for the chilli desperados among us. Oh, and salad, I guess. If you must.

Here’s what you’ll need…

4-6 long, large ‘banana’ chillies

Approx two cups Enchilada Sauce

Approx 2-2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (nothing fancy or strong flavoured, just regular mild cheddar)*

That’s it!!

Here’s what you do…

Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees celsius.

1. Prepare the chillies: With a pairing knife, make an incision width-ways in the pepper just under the stalk. Then Make a long incision down one-side (the same side as the cut at the top) of the chilli, making sure not to cut all the way through to the other side. Try to wedge your fingers in the chilli to scrape out most of the seeds. There will be a clump of them at the top near the stalk. Do your best to get these out. Rinse under the tap to get rid of loose seeds, pat dry and set in your flat oven-proof baking dish.

2. Stuff the chillies with the cheese. Don’t worry if they look messy. Save a little cheese for sprinkling on top at the end.

3.  Pour over the Enchilada Sauce and place dish in the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes or until peppers are soft, the sauce is hot and your cheese has melted and started browning a little.

4. Serve with plenty of hot tortillas to wrap pieces of yummy peppers, and mop up the sauce. Alternatively, serve with Mexican Rice, beans, salad and accompaniments such as sour cream, guacamole, fresh lemon and coriander for a more ‘complete’ meal at a dinner party or family gathering.

Muy rico!

* You can use other cheeses if you like: a combination of queso fresco, fetta, ricotta, cottage cheese, anything really!

Other suggestions for this dish…

  • Leftover chilli con carne
  • Some shredded meat (like this pulled pork I make for tacos),
  • Chopped and fried chorizo sausage
  • Some beans or re-fried beans

Let me know if you have other ideas or a great chilles rellenos recipe! Love sharing!

Spanakopita (Spanaki = Spinach & Pita = Pie)

31 Aug

Ok, straight-up apologies to any Greek people reading this. This is probably not an authentic recipe and you will no doubt roll your eyes in dismay at yet another bastardisation of one of your most delicious dishes. Sorry, but sometimes I get a hankering and there is no good Greek food that I can afford around my neighbourhood.

Here’s what you’ll need…

1 packet of Phyllo pastry

About 150 grams butter, melted

1 large bunch silver beet or spinach

2 eggs, lightly beaten

200 gram block fetta (Greek), crumbled

2 tablespoons grated parmesan, or similar hard cheese

One brown onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon dill, chopped

A little olive oil

Salt and pepper

Here’s what you do…

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

1. Rinse the spinach/silver beet thoroughly and drain. Squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Roughly chop. Set aside in a large bowl.

2. Sautee the diced onion and the garlic in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. Add to the spinach.

3. Add the cheeses, egg and dill to the spinach and onion, season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

3. Grease a large, rectangular baking dish with a little melted butter.

4. Set your phyllo pastry on the bench, opened out flat and cover with a tea towel to prevent from drying out (it is very tricky to handle if it dries – will tear and shred so easily it will drive you mad). It is also important to check the packet instructions – usually I have to leave mine out of the fridge, in the packet for an hour or so until it is room temperature before using.

5. Layer the base of the pan with 2-3 sheets of buttered phyllo. I find it easiest to lay the sheets in the dish one at a time and brush with butter in between each layer. It is very important that the layers are brushed with butter.

6. Tip the spinach mixture on top of the pastry base and spread out evenly, patting down gently with your hands.

7. Add the remaining sheets of pastry, one at a time, brushing with a little butter in between each layer. You will have lots and lots of layers, but this pastry is extremely thin and you want a nice top on your Spanakopita – flaky and buttery. Yum.

8. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the top of the pie into squares or triangles. Do not cut down into the filling. You want to cut through all the layers of pastry, as neatly as you can, but without reaching the filling.

9. Put the tray into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

10. Allow to cool slightly, cut and serve.

Serve on its own as a snack or with a salad and some fresh Greek yoghurt. Also, good cold/room temperature.

Breakfast Fajitas with Leftover Enchilada Sauce

23 Jan

photo

This is how we used the leftover enchilada sauce this morning

Stuffed Red Capsicum with Soy and Ginger Sauce

5 Feb

two4six8!

So you know those Sunday afternoons when you have no idea what’s for dinner and you’re really more in the mood for some light comic relief than cooking a meal? I promise if you watch any of the ‘Cooking with Dog’ video series on YouTube, you will find inspiration and probably have a giggle. You may be thinking “Cook with dog? What the…?” Well, relax, it’s not what you think (although at our house the jokes about this concept came on pretty thick and fast). Nobody does eccentricity quite like the Japanese! I got my idea for dinner tonight from this video. I wasn’t planning to blog this meal (that’s why the photo’s not crash hot), but it turned out so good I figured why not!? And really, you could stuff other vegetables like zucchini or eggplant too. There are lots of other yummy, easy Japanese recipes on ‘Cooking with Dog’.

I changed the ingredients a little but followed the method shown in the video. I’ll list the ingredients I used for my stuffing below because it turned out really yum. Also, I added lots of fresh, grated ginger to the sauce, because we love it and because we have colds.

To stuff 3 large peppers, cut into quarters, you’ll need…

3 chicken thigh fillets, minced

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups mixed dried Chinese mushrooms (you need to soak these in hot water first), finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

lots of cracked black pepper

generous pinch of salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

You could put all of the ingredients (except the chicken) in the food processor to save time and fuss.

We ate ours with some soba noodles and we’re looking forward to the cold leftovers tomorrow for lunch.

WOOF! Or more likely, YAP! You like button!

Chicken Involtini with Crispy Sage and Roasted Cauliflower with Walnuts

24 Mar

two4six8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, so you may have seen this dish prepared lots of different ways with all sorts of crazy combos for the stuffing. I cooked this just last week but I thought it was ‘too easy’ and wasn’t going to post it, but here it is anyway.

I like to keep chicken involtini really simple so it’s quick and easy to make. Although, you can think of this recipe as a bit of a blank canvas and play with flavours depending on what’s in season and what you love. For example, I remember once buying beautiful bright yellow juicy, sweet capsicums, roasting them slowly, peeling off the skin and putting chunks of that in the middle of the rolled chicken breast. You could add whatever you like to the filling really, and the rolls certainly look pretty when you cut into them. Also, instead of bacon I’ve used prosciutto (I suppose I felt like spending a small fortune that day or maybe I was trying to impress someone) and when there’s just no pork you can lace anchovies across the top (and hope they stay atop)! Do whatever you want, basically.

I’ve put a suggestion for a sauce at the end of this recipe which goes really well with this dish if you have a bottle of cider and some onions lying around!

Here we go. For the chicken you’ll need…

2 large chicken breasts

2-3 tablespoons cream cheese or mozza

4 bacon rashers

2 bay leaves (optional)

salt and pepper

All you do is…

Butterfly open each breast (this lady will show you how http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot46Cueod4s ). You may want to pound them a little to thin the meat if the breasts are thick. Lay them skin side down on a chopping board. Place a stick of cream cheese in the centre along with a bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

Roll the chicken breast, tucking in the ends first and then rolling the sides, one over the other.

Remove the middle section of the bacon (the round bit) and wrap the strip around the chicken lengthways or widthways or both – it doesn’t really matter.

See…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secure the bacon in place with toothpicks. The chicken rolls are now ready to be fried in a pan for about 10 minutes to crisp the bacon, then be put into a moderate oven for about 10-15 minutes.

In a separate pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and once hot and bubbling, throw in 10-12 sage leaves and fry them until they go crispy. Set the leaves aside on paper towel. Reserve the butter for the cauliflower side-dish.

For the Cauliflower you’ll need…

One whole cauliflower (washed, broken into small fleurettes)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

3 cloves garlic (crushed)

salt and pepper

juice of half a lemon

the melted butter (reserved from sage)

Simply toss all ingredients in a bowl, then place in a large metal baking dish and cook in a 200 degree oven for about 30 minutes. It’s important to toss the cauliflower about every 10 minutes or so. You can finish it off under a hot grill for a little extra colour if you like (I do).

For the Cider Sauce…

Simply cook a sliced onion in some butter until soft and lightly golden, pour in three quarters of a stubby of apple cider (and drink the rest) and a splash of chicken stock if you have it. Season with salt and pepper and reduce by about half. Voila!

Corn Fritters

6 Feb

I reckon it’s not that easy to make nice plump fritters that aren’t too gooey in the middle or oily on the outside. Here’s a good recipe that makes about 15 small (pikelet sized) fritters that will satisfy the needs of a hungover person on a Sunday morning perfectly (with a generous accompaniment of fried bacon) or make an easy light lunch, served with some nice fresh roquette and a dollop each of sour cream and chutney.

You can actually add lots of different things to this recipe, such as sliced spring onions, grated carrot, zucchini or potato, chopped fresh chilli, roasted peppers, leftover roast meat, tuna from a tin (well-drained) or for something a bit fancy – some chopped prawns or smoked trout. You get the idea! If you grate vegetables to add to the batter, make sure you sprinkle the grated veg with a little salt and let stand for a few minutes before squeezing out excess liquid (handfuls at a time).

You’ll need…

2 cobs of corn

1/2 small brown onion, very finely diced

155 grams (half a tin) creamed corn

2 eggs

4 heaped tbsps SR flour

cracked pepper

1-2 tsps finely chopped basil, parsley or coriander

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsps milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil, approximately (for frying)

Prepare the batter…

Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs and place them in a medium sized mixing bowl. In another bowl, reserve the whites.

Add all other ingredients to the egg yolks and mix well to combine.

Using an electric beater or a whisk, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Add the whites to the batter and fold through gently until well combined. Do not over-mix. If there are some little lumps of white, don’t worry.

It is preferable to stand the batter in the fridge for a while (ten minutes is long enough).

Heat about half of the oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat and gently drop spoonfuls (about a soup spoonful) of batter into the pan. The oil should bubble around the edges (test the first one before proceeding).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t press them down, turn only once after about a one and a half minutes and cook on the other side for about the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove to a baking tray lined with paper towel and keep warm in a very low oven until all the batter has been cooked.

two4six8!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!