A couple of ideas for all that chile verde.

I mentioned in my last post that we’ve been using the chile verde I made for all sorts of things.  My husband and I often have a lot going on, so sometimes we don’t have time to do a ton of cooking.  Because of this, we often make up dishes that we can use throughout the week.  I thought I’d do a quick post to show you some options for chile verde (or other taco meat dishes like carnitas or barbaracoa).  First up?  Breakfast!

Breakfast: Chile Verde Huevos Rancheros

A love of breakfast totally runs in my family.  My dad makes awesome breakfasts and my sisters and I are all huge fans of the meal, especially when eggs are involved.  One of my favorite egg breakfasts is huevos rancheros.  This is basically just fried eggs (usually either sunny side up or over easy) put on tortillas and topped with salsa.  It is often served with a side of beans.  One reason this dish is so awesome is that you can dress it up or down using basically whatever you have on hand.  This morning i didn’t have beans, but I did have chile verde and some homemade tomato salsa.

Om nom nom.  Delicious!  Plus, this dish is super easy to make.  You literally just throw it together and eat it.  I topped my overeasy eggs with some chile verde, salsa, onion and cilantro, and devoured it with a couple of corn tortillas.  It took all of 5 minutes to make, making this a perfect weekday breakfast.  Add a side of black beans and a bloody mary, and you are in prime brunch territory.

Lunch: Taco Time!

The difficult thing about street style tacos is that they pretty much have to be eaten right when they are made.  Otherwise the tortilla gets soggy and the onion just overpowers everything.  The solution?  Pack everything separately!

The toppings I like to use are chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, shredded jack cheese, and some fresh lime wedges.  Other options could be chopped fresh jalapenos, pico de gallo, etc.  We have glass containers with plastic lids that we use for lunches, but as long as you can microwave the container containing the pork (or you don’t mind munching on it cold), you could use whatever you have.  Another option that might work better for school kids or those who don’t have access to a microwave at lunch time is to pack the pork in a thermos so it stays hot.

The beauty of this system is that you can do it in a couple of ways.  You can make individual tacos and put the toppings on them as you eat them, or you can put the toppings onto the pork and eat it out of the container, using the tortillas more like a side.  You could also pack a larger flour tortilla and include some beans and/or rice and voila: burrito time!  The modular system is one of my favorite ways to pack lunches because it can be done ahead without things getting mushy.

If you have enough containers and/or room in your fridge, you could even pack several days worth and just fill your lunch box morning of.  Easy peasy.  Don’t forget to include a napkin and a fork!

Well Cultured

After my success with cheesemaking yesterday, and in keeping with this month’s home dairy theme, I decided that I should also try my hand at making some yogurt.  My mom makes yogurt and yogurt cheese all the time and assured me that it was pretty darn easy, so I read a couple of tutorials about the process online, picked up some yogurt and a  heating pad from the store, and got to work.

Yogurt is made through a bacterial fermentation process.  The basic idea is that you heat the milk up to 185 °F, cool it down to 110 °F, then inoculate it with your yogurt bacteria and let it sit at that 110 °F temperature for 7 – 8 hours.  The initial heating kills any undesirable microbes and denatures the milk proteins so they’ll stick together rather than forming curds.  The long, warm fermentation is because that’s the temperature the bacteria like to ferment at.  The bacteria convert the lactose in the yogurt to lactic acid, the same acid that gives sauerkraut its flavor.  Microbiology is so cool!

The easiest way to inoculate yogurt is to add some existing live culture yogurt to your warm milk.  I added about a tablespoon and a half of Nancy’s whole milk plain yogurt to get things started, then turned on the heating pad and let it go.  Then I discovered something about this heating pad.  It has a 2 hour automatic shutoff.  I’m sure that that is a vitally important safety feature when people are using it in their bed, but when it’s in my kitchen and I have better things to do than come by every two hours to turn the damn thing back on, it is irritating.  It also lost about an hour of good heating time, so it took longer.  Boo!

Once the yogurt firmed up a bit, I stirred it and poured it into a couple of containers, then stuck them in the fridge.  I tried the yogurt tonight and it is pretty tasty, but a little on the thin side (I blame the heating pad!).  My mom suggested putting it through a yogurt strainer, which I may try.  I’m also wondering if I should just heat it up again and let the bacteria keep doing their thing.

Oh well.  In the mean time, it is delicious with a drizzle of maple syrup!  Not bad for a first attempt.

Like a Rolling Scone

I got up this morning with every intention of tackling the mess that is currently our basement, especially with my seeds coming soon!  I want to get the table I’ll be using for seed starts all ready to go.  Instead, however, I decided to make pizza dough and try out a new blueberry lemon scone recipe since I had both blueberries and meyer lemons sitting around needing to be used.

Posts on the pizza and the basement will come later, but I thought I’d share the scone recipe since I’ve already eaten two of them.  Oops.

I did some searching around and ended up mashing a couple of different scone recipes together to suit my needs.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Glazed Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Scones (adapted from Tyler Florence)

Ingredients

Blueberry Scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest from two lemons
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze:

  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Zest from one lemon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the lemon zest and mix.

Using 2 forks, a pastry blender, or your hands, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract to the cream.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the cream mixture. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.  Mix in the blueberries, taking care not to mash them (unless you want purple scones!).

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a flat circle, approximately 8 inches in diameter.  Cut the circle into 8 even wedges.  Place the scones on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown.

While the scones are baking, make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze or it will be runny.  I highly recommend doing this over a plate, as well, so that you don’t get glaze everywhere.

Enjoy!