Saturday, October 16, 2010

More catching up...

It has been quiet around here, I know - sorry about that! The craziness begins again (did it ever stop?)... this week, contractors started working on parts of the kitchen we've been wanting to change and it has been a fairly messy process - here's a snap of the work seen from the great room. We'll post a few finished pictures when the work is complete!

In the mean time, I'm still working on that list of recipes that I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and write about. The first is a recipe we caught on PBS from Rick Bayless - Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style. With a fairly unique (to us, at least) homemade enchilada sauce, I went out and picked up the missing ingredients we didn't have from the market the day after we caught the episode it aired on. The sauce is made in b├ęchamel fashion with butter, flour, milk and to keep it lighter, chicken broth, then had it's flavor dial turned up by adding fresh poblano chiles, charred over a gas flame (the broiler works well too), garlic and chopped spinach.

For the shredded chicken, I had the extra time to gently poach what I needed, but you could just as well pick up a rotisserie bird from the market to make life easier. Use a good melting cheese on top - some to look for would be Chihuahua, asadero, Monterey jack or even a mild cheddar if that's all you have. We made these in individual baking dishes, but pack them in a 9" x 13" dish for a family-style presentation. With a sprinkling of chopped cilantro, we both thought this was a top-notch meal, without too much work (although, the stack of dishes in the sink said otherwise!).

The next recipe I have for you is some Balsamic Baked Potatoes we had as a side recently. Halved new potatoes (if they are very large, quarter them), chicken broth, dark balsamic vinegar, ample amounts of garlic (8 whole cloves, smashed!) and sprigs of fresh thyme were placed in a square pan, seasoned with salt and pepper, then baked long enough until the potatoes were plenty tender and the once liquid-y concoction reduced to a glaze.

We thought these potatoes were good, especially how hands off this was to make with all of the work being taken care of in the oven. If I had any tips on this, I'd suggest you line the pan with foil as the glaze bubbles and splatters often, making for an awful clean-up process of the baking dish.

For the last recipe we have to share today, Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula and Fried Egg, we actually had as a late breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning. With a slab of crusty and toasted whole-wheat bread for a base, the top was slathered with creamy ricotta that was smashed with sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, fresh thyme leaves and just enough salt to highlight the subtle notes in the ricotta. On top of that layer was a light salad of peppery arugula, tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, bright lemon juice and of course, the obligatory pair of salt and fresh ground black pepper.

For the final layer, and Jeff would say, most important, a fried egg that cooked just long enough to set the whites, leaving the yolks soft, fluid and decadent, was then slid directly on top like a flashy beacon. This would definitely work well for dinner, but it made for a fantastic breakfast that kept our stomachs happy and content for quite some time - I think we'll be making this snazzy dish often!



  1. Kitchen changes are always so exciting! I have my wish list that has grown over the years.
    I have been craving potatoes lately... no sun here in San Diego and a light misty on and off drizzly for days has me thinking comfort food. Your potato recipe just might make it to tonights table!

  2. Gosh, your new kitchen looks like it will be great! Bet you can't wait until it's all finished.

  3. We're about to have our kitchen redone, as well. I'm so excited! Yours looks wonderful. The food looks wonderful, too. Thanks!

  4. We made the potatoes for lunch yesterday. They were very tasty, Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Kim - We are in comfort food mode here too.

    Luana - Thanks!

    Donna - How long will it take to be done?

    Anon - Great! Thank you for the feedback.

  6. Joe - it's hard to say...these things ALWAYS take longer. Anyway, I'm more concerned about the cost. We put in new countertops, sink. Next, paint, wallpaper, door. Wish I could send you a picture!!

  7. Donna - I'd love to see it!