Friday, December 31, 2010

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.

No comments: