Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Kitchen Comeback Update 2

                       Turkey pepperoni pizza with homemade marinara

In September, I continued my path in increasing the heat to my food. When I mean heat I mean as in spicy or piquant. The Mexican enchiladas Suizas had a wonderful kick to them. This started in June when I made the first batch of a Pace picante sauce copycat recipe.  This was hotter than I had planned. I did not stop using the salsa. Since, I have made a few things spicer than I used to do things.  I even have experimented with heat with Thai, Indian and other cuisines. I made coleslaw with Serrano chiles; I did not put enough in the batch, next time I have to use more. One issue I am noticing is that certain peppers have a large range of heat. Something that would be spicy in one batch could be milder next time. One batch of Carroll Shelby’s chili I added Hungarian hot paprika, ancho chili powder and all of the cayenne that came with the kit. It gave it some good heat.

Chilled tangy avocado soup

I am also working to use less pre-prepared foods. I found a copycat Carroll Shelby’s chili con carne recipe. That will lead to my own personal chili con carne recipe. I made the mistake in September of using a pre-made marinara sauce for my vegetarian lasagna.  I later discovered how loaded with sugar it was. In October, I have made my own homemade marinara and froze it for future use. I froze some of my homemade salsa for future use too. The vegetarian tacos I made in November called for Old El Paso taco seasoning.  I found a copycat recipe and made my own, so as to avoid sugars. All the pre-packaged taco seasonings have sugar (and/or corn syrup) and MSG in them.

                                 Quinoa spaghetti in tonnato sauce

I am doing more improvising. I had leftover marinara, zucchini, and summer squash.  I added roasted garlic, onions and topped it off with parmesan cheese.  I referred to it as my low rent ratatouille, for true ratatouille I was missing eggplant, bell peppers and some of the herbs. It is funny how this improvisation came out of an experiment. Next time I make lemongrass beef or Thai chicken and lemongrass soup, the plan is to use the food chopper to make the lemon grass edible. It was too fibrous otherwise.

                                Thai chicken and lemongrass soup

In November I changed my quesadilla recipe. Since October I have been using my toaster oven to make quesadillas. My recipe was simple cheese, flour tortillas, and Valentina hot sauce. In November, I replaced the hot sauce with chipotle powder, or chipotle powder and ancho powder. The smokiness of the chili pepper powder really gives it a kick and flavor with out the biting sourness of the vinegar found in the hot sauce. I have been adding the chipotle powder to many dishes to enhance flavor as opposed to salt.

                                     Shoyu Chicken

Then after researching Mexican cheeses, I discovered that traditionally quesadillas are made with corn tortillas and without oil. Previously I was frying them in olive oil, but I found them too greasy. I tried them without the oil and using the cheese with the chipotle and ancho powders. They were not as crispy as I tend to like them, but I still loved them.

Hungarian pan fried pork steak with Hungarian paprika gravy and mashed cauliflower

I experimented with more vegetarian and vegan dishes. This was due to the advice of my doctor.  I am working to eat healthier. I have a Veggetti device that turns vegetables into spaghetti or fettuccine shapes. I have a few ideas there like cucumber noodles with a dill yogurt sauce (tzatziki salad), cucumber noodles with a spicy pickle dressing (Thai cucumber condiment inspired salad), zucchini or cucumber noodles in tonnato sauce, zucchini noodles in pesto, zucchini noodles in marinara sauce, and a cucumber noodle salad based on bread & butter pickles. I was making more egg dishes as well.   

Spinach pizza with pesto, feta, sun dried tomatoes, and shaved parmesan 

There are few dishes I really want to try out. They are noodles in Thai Peanut sauce from scratch, Mexican pipián sauce (a pumpkin seed sauce), Indian Saag (either lamb or paneer cheese), Puerto Rican tostones (twice fried mashed plantains), Puerto Rican arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), Thai massaman curry, and homemade pesto. I also found a German delicatessen that makes their own sausages including Hungarian, and Polska kielbasa. I am thinking of picking a few up for a meal.

                           Asparagus and mushroom salad

September 2015

Mexican enchiladas Suizas, Indonesian lemongrass beef with rice, Yucatan sopa de lima, Rick’s vegetarian lasagna (zucchini noodles with garlic and onion marinara, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and mushrooms), turkey Polska kielbasa scramble (turkey Polska kielbasa, eggs, hash browns, and onions), Rick’s low rent ratatouille (zucchini, summer squash, onions, garlic, leftover marinara sauce, and topped with shaved parmesan cheese), Vegetable medley (asparagus, carrots and potatoes) with eggs, and honey mustard chicken with rice.

                            Spaghetti squash enchilada boats

October 2015

Pizza with homemade marinara (turkey pepperoni and skim milk mozzarella), chilled tangy avocado soup, turkey bratwursts with mashed potatoes, ground turkey tacos with Serrano vinegar base coleslaw, homemade salsa, Denver scramble (eggs, ham, green bell pepper, onions, Cheddar cheese, and hash browns), quinoa spaghetti in tonnato sauce (tuna, anchovies, lemon juice, capers and olive oil) garnished with parmesan cheese, parsley, and black pepper, Turkey ham with mashed potatoes, California scramble (Spanish chorizo, hash browns, onions, olives, Ortega mild green chiles garnished with avocado and salsa), Thai chicken and lemongrass soup with jasmine rice, Madras beef curry with jasmine rice, quesadillas with Valentina hot sauce, Carroll Shelby’s Chili con Carne with ground turkey (added garlic, corn, Ortega mild green chiles, diced tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, and onions), and Shoyu chicken with jasmine rice.

                           Vegetarian tacos with spicy crema

November 2015

Country link sausage with mashed potatoes, quesadillas with chipotle powder, Hungarian pan fried steak with Hungarian paprika gravy and garlic mashed cauliflower, spinach pesto pizza (pesto, spinach, sun dried tomato, feta and shaved parmesan), black bean and cheese burritos, turkey cheddar bratwursts with mashed potatoes, asparagus and mushroom salad (with red bell pepper, arugula, and a citrus dressing), corn quesadillas with chipotle and ancho powder, spaghetti squash enchilada boats, gazpacho Mexicano (Mexican gazpacho, the difference is jalapeño, lime, cilantro, and spicy tomato juice), vegetarian tacos with spicy crema, chile relleno casserole, homemade taco seasoning, and Rick’s ground turkey chili con carne (diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, mild green chiles, corn, black beans, and small red beans).

                                        Gazpacho Mexicano