Friday, December 31, 2010

Yo! Bro Haw!

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays ! Happy New Year!
This is a picture of Brother & Sister In Law Hawthorne. I know Bro Haw loves to see pictures of himself in my blog. I must apologize, Brother Hawthorne. My assistant, Tiffany Garcia, was unable to remember how she scanned and enlarged the last photographs you sent me of yourself on that horse in Monument Valley, so's I could upload them to my blog,
There's a funny story with this picture. Brother Hawthorne had an Indian guide. The Indian told Bro Haw he'd take $2.00 to ride his horse out on the butte where John Wayne was in whatever movie so's Brother H. could take a picture of him. Brother Hawthorne told the Indian he'd give him $20 if the Indian would let him take his horse out on the peak and the Indian take a picture of him. so this picture you sent me is scanned and un-enlarged. Damn that Tiff!

Tuesday Night Dinner With Maxine.

It's always a treat when Maxine comes to visit. Let's just say, we eat well.
Can you stand more chiles rellenos? I actually started out this meal without shooting any pictures. I was going to have a "normal" meal and not blog about it. But then I got halfway through and had to pick up the camera. It's a disease, I tell ya!
Mr. Hawthorne made the slaw. Just green cabbage, red cabbage, radicchio, lime juice, salt and pepper, a little rice vinegar and sugar, a little mayo, and about a teaspoon of oil, which is just for a preservative, not flavor. Your cole slaw will last longer if you add in a little oil. I made the chiles - stuffed with yellow rice, onion, red and green peppers, corn, tomatoes, queso fresco, and shrimp. We already had the sauces - a salsa verde made with tomatillas, a regular tomato salsa, and a creamy avocado sauce.
This one I sprinkled with some cilantro. And I made another batch of my salsa roja which is a very intense, complex sauce, almost like chocolate. First I dry cooked some dried, seeded chiles - one chipotle, a few anchos, and a few guajillos. Added in oregano, whole coriander seeds, and whole cumin seeds. Cooked for a few minutes until the kitchen was smelling very happy. Then I added in a can of chicken broth and cooked about 15 minutes. Pour the mixture in a blender and mix well. Add 5-6 peeled, seeded, and juiced tomatoes and a medium onion, quartered, and process until smooth. Heat to serve.
My stuffing was white rice which I doctored. I cooked the rice, then added butter, some diced red and green peppers, corn, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion ... and my secret ingredient: ... spiced annatto paste. This is a spice made from Annatto seeds which grow in a pod on Achiote shrubs. Protected by a pod containing 40 to 60 red seeds, the triangular-shaped Annatto seeds are surrounded by a red pulp that is separated from the seeds and pod when they are harvested. The pulp is processed to produce a commercial dying agent while the seeds are dried and made into a rust colored paste that is often used for coloring foods such as rice, smoked fish, butter, or cheese. Cheshire, Edam, Leicester, and Muenster cheeses are commonly colored with the rusty-toned paste to enhance the appearance of the cheese. Also used as a spice for flavoring foods, Annatto seeds provide a sweet and somewhat peppery taste when added to various food dishes.
First I added in the spiced rice mixture ...
... some cooked shrimp ...
... and some cubed queso fresco.
And it's ready to toothpick together.
Check out Maxine's reading material.
I rolled my peppers in a mixture of flour, freshly ground salt and pepper, and cumin.
Whup up some egg whites. And Marcela of Mexican Made Easy recommends adding in an egg yolk "for color and flavor."
Deep fry. About two minutes each side. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with prepared salsas and a sprinkling of cilantro.
The smoky salsa is one of my new favorite things.

Beau Beau And Pa Pa

Beau does not realize he is a large dog - a very large dog.
He still thinks he's a cute little cuddly puppy.
Well, he is cute and cuddly. But he ain't a puppy no more.
Beau loves nothing more than to climb onto Mr. Hawthorne's lap and snuggle.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Dinner. Scalloped Swiss Corn Casserole.

For Thanksgiving, I made this corn casserole. It was good, but it really didn't blow my skirt up and I asked my readers for suggestions. Becky H. came through for me with her recipe for Scalloped Swiss Corn. Thank you, Becky! All the Hawthornes loved it and once again, there were NO leftovers. 
Here's Becky's recipe for Scalloped Swiss Corn:
 4 beaten eggs 
2 15-ounce cans cream-style corn 
  2 cups grated Swiss cheese 
3/4 cup crushed saltine crackers 
12 TB milk 
1 medium onion, finely chopped 
  ground pepper
  Mix well. Turn into a 2-quart casserole dish. Toss: 1 cup crushed saltines 3 TB melted butter Sprinkle buttered crumbs over corn mixture. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.
The only changes I made were to halve the recipe since we already had a bunch of side dishes and I was out of saltines so I used club crackers instead. Also, I didn't read the recipe carefully enough and I forgot to add the crackers to the mix.
(Sorry, but I was under just a bit of stress and was a tad distracted Christmas Day. It's a wonder sometimes how I get anything on the table at all.)
Here's my mise en place:
2 eggs 
1 can creamed corn 
1/2 cup milk
 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
 1/2 onion
 For topping:
 1/2 cup crackers 
4 TB butter
Beat the eggs.
Add in the can of creamed corn.
Add in chopped onions.
Mix well.
Stir in cheese.
Mix well.
Pour into a 9-inch square casserole.
I crumbled the crackers by hand since I like my cracker crumbs all different sizes.
Crumble into melted butter.
Mix to coat.
Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top of casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving.
Stand up and take a bow, Becky H. This was excellent. Loved the Swiss cheese and the custardy, corny goodness. Another simple, quick, easy, and delicious casserole.

Christmas Dinner. Sweet Potato Casserole.

For those of you who missed my sweet potato casserole from Thanksgiving, you're getting another go at it. I made it again for Christmas and probably won't make it again until next Thanksgiving.
It's rich.
It's buttery. It's marshmallowey. It's pecaney. It's just plain good. And to me, it means Holiday and Tradition.
First, I peeled and sliced three sweet potatoes and cooked them in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain. I sliced half a stick of butter and added that to the 'taters while still hot.
Mix well until butter is melted.
Add in two eggs, beating well after each addition.
Then I beat in 1/2 cup of milk. You could use cream if you want more richness.
Beat well ...
and spread into a 9-inch square pan.
Top with pecans ...
... then a layer of brown sugar, marshmallows, and butter pats.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes - until marshmallows are nicely browned. Quick. Simple. And really good. I always like it when I don't have any leftovers and this is one of those dishes. It's a shame I don't make this more often, but for some reason, I associate this particular dish with the Holidays, so it only gets made twice a year. I guess that keeps it special.