Stacked Enchiladas

When I worked at a “Southwestern” restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, we would sometimes offer these as a special.

If I remember correctly, we would call them New Mexican Enchiladas.

Instead of rolling the ingredients in the corn tortillas, you would build a stack.

Put down a sauced corn tortilla, add an ingredient, add another sauced tortilla, then an ingredient, tortilla on top, sauce, and cheese. Then microwave the whole shebang.

Sort of like a tortilla lasagna.

Tonight I had some leftover chicken. I bought some salsa verde, spiced it up with minced chipotles en adobo, reserved half the sauce, and then stirred the leftover chicken into the remaining sauce. Then I put down a layer of spiced salsa verde, a tortilla, some chicken, another tortilla, some more chicken, a tortilla, the remaining sauce, feta cheese, and cheddar cheese. I baked it in the oven until browned.

At the same time I had crisped some bacon, then sautéed some onions, garlic, and chile powder in the rendered fat. Added a small can of black beans, and simmered. Added the crisped bacon back in.

Yep, not bad for a quick Sunday night dinner.

Apricot Cocktail (Dry)

Apricot Cocktail (Dry)
(6 People)
Cut 2 Apricots (1 Apricot) in half, break the stones* and let the whole soak for 2 hours in a glass and a half of Cognac (2 oz Korbel VSOP Brandy). Add two teaspoonfuls of Peach Bitters (1 tsp. Fee’s Peach Bitters), 2 glasses of Gin (2 oz Beefeater’s Gin) and 2 glasses of French Vermouth (2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth). Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish each glass by dropping in a thin, ripe peach wedge.)

The amounts in the parenthesis are for 2 relatively modern size drinks instead of 6 tiny 1930s era drinks.

This is a pretty odd bird of a cocktail. An apricot scented Martini? I can’t think of many other fruit flavored cocktails that aren’t at least somewhat sweet. Still, all in all quite pleasant. If it’s apricot season, and you like Martinis, give it a try.

*I will note that the kernels of all members of the rose family, including apricots, contain cyanogenic glycosides which on ingestion release hydrogen cyanide. The amounts of these chemicals vary from plant to plant and species to species. Bitter almonds generally contain the most, and eating 50-70 bitter almonds in one sitting is enough to be fatal for an adult human. I would not recommend sitting down and drinking 50 Apricot cocktails at once. Fortunately, in most people, small amounts of these chemicals are rapidly broken down by their livers, and do not build up over time, so small doses are generally regarded as safe.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

BOTW–Redemption

Russian River Brewing makes some of my favorite beers. Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig IPA, Pliny the Younger, and others are among the best beers brewed in Northern California.

But, where they have set themselves apart are brewing Belgian Abbey style ales. For this type of beer, Russian River seems to capture more of the funk and freedom than any other producer in North America.

One of their beers in this style is their Redemption Ale. I’ve only recently been turned on to the joys of Belgian “Single” Ales. While I was eating out and about at Flora and Slanted Door, I got to try a delicious “Single” from Witkap Pater. The Redemption is similar in style. A lighter ale, without the complexity, sugar, or funk of Saisons, Doubles, or Tripels. Supposedly, the Abbey monks split a bottle of this type ale between lunch and dinner.

Of course, you should still serve it in the proper glassware!

Redemption has a stronger malt taste than most Belgian Ales and is lighter than many of the other beers in the Russian River portfolio. There is just a touch of European-style hops to keep things interesting. Mostly, it is an undemanding and easy drinking beer.

Beer Club Score!

We belong to the Beer Club at Plump Jack Wines.

It’s usually pretty fun, and it gets us to try beer we wouldn’t normally purchase.

But, obviously, some months are better than others. The fiasco that was the Sam Adams “Brewer Patriot Collection” springs to mind. Today, I was chatting away with the store manager about spirits and such, and didn’t really notice what this month’s beers were.

This is a very, very good month!

Mac And Cheese Friday Night

The usual Mac and Cheese…

1 cup milk, 1 cup chicken stock. I only use two tablespoons each of butter and enough flour to make a stiff roux. Add the milk and stock to the roux. I add a bit of nutmeg and cayenne to my sauce and stir in a bunch of cheese. In this case it was Vintage White Cheddar from Marathon Cheese Company and some garlic cheese curds that were getting a bit old. I sauté mushrooms with 1/2 onion, fresh thyme, deglaze with wine or vermouth, then combine with the cheese sauce, and mix with the pasta. Cover with bread crumbs and bake in a 325 degree oven until browned.

I thought this little pasta porthole was funny looking.

Miss Sweetpea was quite happy for me to get home…

Apricot Cocktail

Apricot Cocktail

1/4 Lemon Juice. (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Orange Juice. (1/2 oz Orange Juice)
1/2 Apricot Brandy. (1/2 oz Vedrenne Liqueur de Abricot)
1 Dash Dry Gin. (Beefeater’s)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I was afraid this mild proto-Fuzzy Navel would be too sweet. However, the lemon balances out the sweetness of the Apricot liqueur nicely and it ends up more sweet tart. Again, as in the Apple Jack Rabbit, the aromatic zing of fresh citrus juice makes this cocktail for me.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Approve Cocktail

Approve Cocktail

3/4 Wineglass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters.
2 Dashes Curacao. (1/2 teaspoon Brizard Curacao)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into wineglass. Squeeze lemon and orange peel on top.

Oddly, when I look back at my notes for this one, I said I would have preferred a glass of straight Rye. I guess I can kind of see my point. Still, I kind of wonder if my perspective might have changed since originally making this. It really is just a “Fancy Whiskey Cocktail.” Surely, there can be nothing wrong with that?

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Chicken, Okra, and Sausage Gumbo, Illustrated

Check the post from yesterday for the whole recipe for Chicken, Okra, and Sausage Gumbo.

2 Medium Onions, Chopped
1 Large Bell Pepper, Chopped
3 Ribs Celery Chopped

5 Cloves Garlic, Minced

½ Pound Okra, sliced

2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp. Black Pepper, ground
1 tsp. White Pepper, ground
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Sage
1 tsp. Thyme

2 Quarts Chicken Stock (I had cooked the chicken and made the stock the night before.)

Meat from Chicken above, chopped

½ cup Flour, 1/2 cup Peanut Oil

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and whisk in the flour over medium high heat.

…stirring constantly until it reaches a dark reddish-brown color (This was a little light. We wanted to have dinner before 9.)

Reduce heat, add the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic. Stir quickly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the vegetables are slightly browned.

Add the stock, seasonings, and sausage. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Add chicken. Simmer for 15 minutes, add Okra and simmer for another 15.

Make yourself a Sazerac. Savor while things simmer.

Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over rice (or potatoes) in large shallow bowls. Accompany with good beer and lots of hot, crispy french bread.

Slow Beer Festival

Was reading Marcia Gagliardi’s local restaurant e-newsletter Tablehopper and noticed the following event:

Slow Beer Festival San Francisco

Date: Saturday, March 1st , 2008
Time: 12 noon to 4 PM

Location: County Fair Building – Golden Gate Park
Lincoln Way and 9th Avenue
San Francisco

Tickets: http://brownpapertickets.com/event/26113

Join us for a tasting and pairing of San Francisco’s craft beers with some of the bay area’s best artisanal food.

Brewers currently include Speakeasy, Magnolia, and 21st Amendment, among others. The Food producers participating include Fatted Calf, Hog Island Oysters, Harley Farms Goat Dairy, Fish. Restaurant and others.

According to Tablehopper, “Proceeds from the event will benefit Slow Food San Francisco Programs including the Sanchez School garden and sending Bay Area farmers to Terra Madre.”

Beer, Oysters, Goat Cheese, Sausage, and a good cause! How can you beat it?

Super Fat Tuesday II Turbo

Odd that I haven’t posted this on the blog, I get asked for it so often.

In any case, it is based on a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo recipe by Mr. Chuck Taggart over at the the Gumbo Pages. Be sure and check out his excellent blog, Looka! while you are over there.

Here’s a good Fat Tuesday recipe for you, and if, like me, you’re in one of the states with the primary today, don’t forget to vote!

Chicken, Sausage and Okra Gumbo

Ingredients:

For Chicken Stock:

1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 whole black pepper corns
2 whole cloves
1 Chicken, Quartered

For Gumbo:

½ cup Peanut Oil
½ cup Flour
2 Medium Onions, Chopped
1 Large Bell Pepper, Chopped
3 Ribs Celery Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
½ Pound Okra, sliced
2 Quarts Chicken Stock
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp. Black Pepper, ground
1 tsp. White Pepper, ground
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Sage
1 tsp. Thyme
Salt and Pepper
Meat from Chicken above, chopped
1 Pound Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 bunch scallions, tops only, sliced
½ cup fresh parsley chopped

Method:

Combine ingredients for chicken stock in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pot. Strip meat from chicken bones, return bones, skin, cartilage, etc. to stock. Continue cooking as time allows. Strain stock and skim off fat. Add water or stock to bring volume to 2 quarts.

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and whisk in the flour over medium high heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a dark reddish-brown color.

Reduce heat, add the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic. Stir quickly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the vegetables are slightly browned.

Add the stock, seasonings, and sausage. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Add chicken. Simmer for 15 minutes, add Okra and simmer for another 15.

Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and simmer for 5 minutes more minutes. Serve over rice (or potatoes) in large shallow bowls. Accompany with good beer and lots of hot, crispy french bread.

Serves 6