Friday, February 8, 2013

Cooking

What better way to keep warm when it's cold out, and pass the dark February hours, than to cook (and then eat) lots of good food?  I've tried several new recipes lately, and found a couple of keepers!

In the meantime, my Dad has tapped the Maple trees.  He says that the below freezing nights and warmer, sunny days are what gets the sap flowing.  He and my Mom have been stuck up here on the hill for a couple of weeks, since their Subaru has been in the shop for repairs.  Their other vehicle is not reliable for getting up our snowy drive this time of year!

Yesterday, I tried a recipe for Chicken Enchiladas from "Cook's All Time Best Recipes" that we received as a free gift last week.  I adapted it somewhat to use some of my canned chicken instead of boneless, skinless chicken breast, and it was delicious, and fairly quick to prepare!  As a bonus, I used up most of the leftover corn tortillas from the past few taco nights that were in the freezer.

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Sauce
adapted from Cook's All Time Best Recipes
serves 4-5

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T chili powder
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 pint canned, shredded chicken, drained
15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 c broth from chicken
1/4 cup jarred jalapenos, chopped
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c chopped, fresh cilantro (optional)

10 6 in corn tortillas
vegetable oil spray
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese

toppings:  chopped avocado, sour cream, shredded lettuce, lime wedges

Heat oven to 350*.  Heat oil in med saucepan over med-hi heat until shimmering.  Add onions and cook until softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally (5-7 min.)  Stir in garlic, spices, sugar and salt and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant (30 sec), then stir in chicken until completely coated with spices.  Add tomato sauce and broth and cook until heated through.  Strain through fine mesh strainer into bowl, pressing on chicken mixture to extract as much sauce as possible.  Cool chicken mixture in freezer while prepping tortillas.

Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with vegetable spray, then spread in a single layer on two baking sheets.  Bake 2-4 min. until soft and pliable.  Increase oven temp to 400*.

Stir 2 cups of cheese, jalapenos and cilantro into chicken mixture.  Spread 3/4 c chili sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Spread 1/3 c chicken filling in each tortilla, then roll tightly and place in baking dish, seam side down.  Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with 3/4 c cheese.  Cover tightly with foil and bake 20-25 min until heated through and cheese is melted (20-25 min.)  Uncover and serve immediately with toppings.


Tonight, I made Ultimate Butterscotch Pudding, from the Jan/Feb issue of Cook's Illustrated.  It was labor intensive, but oh so delicious.  JP described it as "melted toffee."  You should try it at least once!

Best Butterscotch Pudding
Cook's Illustrated
serves 8 (but only if you share)

12 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c water
2 T light corn syrup
1 t lemon juice
3/4 t salt
1 c heavy cream
2 1/4 c whole milk (I used 2% and it's decadent anyway)
4 large egg yolks
1/4 c cornstarch
2 t vanilla
1 t dark rum (optional)

Bring butter, sugars, corn syrup, lemon juice and salt to a boil in large sauce pan over med heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar and melt butter.  Once mixture is at a full rolling boil, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 min (to 240*.)  Reduce heat to med-lo and gently simmer, stirring frequently until mixture darkens slightly and has a slightly burnt smell (300*.)

Remove pan from heat and pour 1/4 cup cream into caramel mixture and swirl to incorporate.  After the bubbling subsides, whisk vigorously until smooth (30 sec.)  Return pan to med heat and whisk in  remaining cream and 2 cups milk until smooth.

Microwave remaining milk 30-45 sec until simmering.  Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in large bowl until smooth.  Gradually whisk in hot milk until smooth.

Return caramel mixture to med-hi heat and bring to a full rolling boil, whisking frequently.  Once mixture is beginning to climb the sides of the pan, immediately pour into the bowl of yolk mixture in 1 motion.  Whisk thoroughly for 10-15 sec until mixture is slightly thickened.  Whisk in vanilla (FYI, the next time I make this, I'll skip the rum.)  Spray parchment or plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray, and press on surface of pudding.  Chill 3 hours until cool and set, and whisk smooth before serving.


So there you have it:  dinner and dessert.  Enjoy!

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