Sunday, May 31, 2009

Whew...it's HOT in here! Chile Pepper Roundup & Giveaway Winners!

It all began on the first day of May with this simple plate of Chile Rellenos. I'd only recently had the pleasure of winning a copy of a fabulous new Tex-Mex cookbook by Gloria Chadwick called Foods and Flavors of San Antonio...when Gloria asked me if I'd like to do a giveaway so that someone else could have their very own copy of her book. Well, yeah!! Since May is National Chile Pepper month, and since Tex-Mex cooking uses plenty of chile peppers, I decided to make turn this giveaway into a month-long event. I send out a call for all of your fabulous recipes made (mostly) during the month of May that included chile peppers in some shape or form...resulting in a tasty, spicy, amazing Chile Pepper Roundup! So, we have a giveaway...patience...to get to, also. We'll get to that after the Chile Pepper roundup. I want to apologize to a few of you who sent me your links and photos as I could not get a few of the photos to show up clearly, and believe I tried everything!! They were clear if they were the size of a thumbnail, but it was so hard to see them this way, so I made them a bit bigger so hopefully everybody could taste that food right through the screen. Please click on the links and visit these fabulous foodies to see clear, drool-worthy photos- you will not be disappointed. Let's take a look at where it all began, with these tasty Chile Rellenos, straight from the grand-prize cookbook. During the month of May, I made these: And then I used some of those top-blowing habaneros to send you over the edge with Robert Rodriguez's Puerco Pibil... My very own mexichef whirled up some reconstituted dried chiles to make a spicy sauce to brush onto these bolillos and turned them into addicting Pombasos... With all of the heat we've been feeling this month, we headed to the grill and roasted some poblano chiles, peeled them and seeded them, then cut them into strips and ate them in tacos and tossed them in a yummy, grilled Southwest Salad. Next up we have Dee from the blog that spans two countries, Texas to Mexico. Dee used Chiles de Arbol and ground Chipotle chiles (with Thai rice noodles, shrimp and veggies) to bring Cinco de Mayo Drunken Noodles to the table this month. Are you a fan of TV dinners? If not, why not try this amazing dish that includes chopped green chiles and chile powder made by Reeni at Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice?! Although Reeni doesn't normally turn to TV dinners, her Santa Fe Style Rice & Beans was inspired by "the best TV dinner known to man." I'm in. From another blog that spans the borders...Mexican American Border Cooking, Teresa brings us bundles of sensory joy with her Asadero Chicken Bundles. Strips of green chiles, chicken and Asadero Cheese..oh my! The ever innovative Karen from Domestic Muse came up with an original way of transforming a guy's love of chili cheese fries into a hearty bowl of Chipotle Cheese-fries Chili. Oh yes, Karen combines Serranos, chipotles in adobo and chipotle chile powder to make a dish you can't (well, I can't) resist...and can I add two more words- tater tots and Velveeta (okay, that's actually 3 words, but you get my drift)!!! Not only does she give amazing restaurant reviews, Natasha also uses and creates food in new and innovative ways! Our favorite 5 Star Foodie brought us her Grilled Lamb Chops with Chipotle Mustard in which she utilized her favorite chile pepper. Don't even get me started on her side of Gorgonzola mashed potatoes... Kristen from Whatcha Eatin? has outdone herself with a big pan of Mexican Casserole...can you say comfort food! Your favorite Mexican flavors are tucked into this tasty dish...can you say green chiles, kidney beans, corn and tomatoes? The Ungourmet (or so she says) used serrano chiles to make an amazing Jerk Chicken with Jamaican rice and Peas! Kim couldn't find a scotch bonnet chile for her dish, but I bet the serrano still brought the heat...I can feel it! Chef E not only cooks us some amazing Tandoor/Tiki BBQ, as is her style...she takes us to school and gives us some good old fashioned learnin'! It seems I never click away from Cook Appeal without some new knowledge under my belt...this round included plenty of ground, dried chiles. Coleen sent a simple, delicious side dish over for the round-up...Chipotle Coleslaw! Refreshing with a kick in the seat...that's my kind of slaw. Head over to Coleen's Recipes to see her work her magic with chipotle chile powder. And next we have, I believe an award winning Roasted Yellow Tomato, Garlic & Fingerling soup from Jennifer at Savor the Thyme. Look for this delicious, heart-warming soup with mouth-warming green chiles at Jennifer's site...in all of it's soup-er glory! Christo aka DoggyBloggy also got busy with the Rellenos...I hear he does that quite often. At Chez What? you have two glorious Chiles Rellenos to choose from...one even includes crab cakes with a delicious "gloppy red-chile mayo"...just throw it all on one plate, I'm not picky! I don't think anything having to do with chile peppers would be complete without a showing of tacos!! Lauren smothered her Cinco de Mayo Chicken Fiesta Tacos with a gorgeous salsa that included pineapple and mango...I bet it complimented the 3 types of chiles (jalapenos, chipotles and chile powder) perfectly! Go visit her at Bytes from Texas and you can be the judge. And let me tell you, it would be a pleasure to have an angel in MY kitchen, especially if it was Alyssa whipping me up a batch of her Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Potatoes! I think I may be able to live on these...I mean, come on...mashed potatoes alone have been a favorite since childhood, but add garlic, cheddar and chipotles and not only does there HAVE to be an Angel in the Kitchen, I imagine it'd be heaven's kitchen. Beans, beans the magical fruit...okay, I totally haven't grown out of that rhyme...but I truly do think beans are magical. Good, good for you, versatile...they are a wonder. Just ask Teresa at A Blog About Food. She found a great recipe for Black Bean Soup that contained Serrano chiles and look how simple & delicious it looks! Do you know somebody who eats hot sauce on everything? I live with somebody like that. Well, I hear that if you make Kathy's No1Here's Hot Sauce, you'll never be able to leave the house without that recipe in hand again! Go check it out at Three on Food and see if you can resist the flavor punch the Serranos give it. I think that the perfect way to wrap up this Chile Pepper Roundup is with a few dishes from the inspiration for this giveaway...Gloria Chadwick from Food and Flavors of San Antonio. The winner not only gets to salivate over her home style Tex-Mex food online, now they can just wipe it up with their very own cookbook containing a zillion (okay not a zillion, but I swear it's close) of her recipes. Here's a preview...you'll find jalapenos in this Chili Carnitas... And you'll encounter some chipotle chile in her Chicken Chimichangas... Why not end full circle with the very same Chile Rellenos, but made in a casserole form... I started the round-up with? Seems fitting to me. I hope you take some time to go visit all of these amazing foodie-bloggers who participated in my very first round-up!! Thanks everybody for sharing your talents with us...and sharing the chile pepper love. And now, the moment we've waited for all month long...the winners of the Giveaway!! Remember, you had several chances to win. You received 1 entry just for being a follower of my blog and leaving me a comment on the original Giveaway post on May 1. You also received 1 entry for being a follower of Gloria's blog and leaving me a comment to let me know. And all of those people who sent over an entry into the round-up...they all received 5 entries just for sending those my way. I used my very own random-draw system...I've used it before and it works flawlessly. The first thing I had to do was write down all of the entries on little slips of paper...130 little slips of paper. I actually do not know where to find a free computer random-draw, so I'll make that sacrifice. A few pins & needles never hurt anybody. So, 4 winners were drawn...1 at a time. And the winners are: 1. Spryte- You won the Foods & Flavors of San Antonio Cookbook! 2. Katy- You won a chile pepper infused sea salt...I know you're not big on spicy, but the salts just add a hint of flavor, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised! 3. Teresa J. (A Blog about Food)- You also won a chile pepper infused sea salt 4. Teresa Cordero Cordell (Mexican-American Border Cooking)- you won some of my favorite mixed, dried chiles...isn't it funny how things work out! Each one of the winners is also getting a cool San Antonio Chile Pepper refrigerator magnet that Gloria sent along for the winners. CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!! Shoot me an email: girlichef at yahoo dot com with your shipping information! Thanks again to all who entered the round-up and everybody else who entered the giveaway...this was so much fun and I hope to do something like it again in the future. :)


Friday, May 29, 2009

Tasting Pinot Grigio in May

Are you a member of the Virtual Wine Tasting Club over at Bakespace yet? Do you drink wine anyway? Do you want to drink wine, but not know where to start? Do you feel the need to branch out from your normal wines? Well...seriously, come join us in our endeavors! A different type-varietal-grape is picked each month. You buy the vineyard-brand-region of your choice and then share your experience with everybody else. No wine snobs here, just regular old (and young) Joe's & Jane's sharing their likes, dislikes and experiences with wine. I was kind of stuck in a rut before I joined. Sure, I could have tried a new wine each time I went shopping, but I usually stuck to one of 4 or 5 that I know I like (or can afford). But now, I actually tested a bunch of new-to-me Pinot Grigio's this month! If memory serves, I think Pinot Grigio was the wine I started drinking years ago and then branched out and sort of forgot about. Well, I'm really happy that it was chosen as this month's wine, because I have re-discovered what I liked about it in the first place...and then some! It was Spryte that enticed me first, but I've since discovered other great foodie-bloggers who are also members of the Bakespace Wine Club...you may even know them... Shane, Bob, Dajana, Danielle...right!? Plus, there's more...come join us; drink one bottle (or glass) or drink many...you never know what you might discover! PINOT GRIGIO In general, I've found that Pinot Grigio's are fairly dry, at least a little sweet and fruity and most contain notes of one or more of the following: citrus, melon, pineapple, apple, pear. Some have flowery notes thrown in...most of the Californias I tried were pretty tropical tasting. I kept going back to thinking they'd be good with grilled tuna (after I tried one in particular with some that I made this month). They pair well with pasta, chicken and seafood. These were my observations...who know, yours may concur or they may differ greatly; come find out! These were the Pinot Grigio's I drank this month:
Stone Cellars by Beringer California 2008 $5.00 Winemaker intro: Our Pinot Grigio pops with vibrant pineapple, mango and orange fruit flavors leading to a crisp, smooth finish. Review: very pale in color and light in flavor. Dry & slightly sweet. Orangey nose with a mango finish and aftertaste. Very easy drinking. Buy again: Yes
Bella Sera Italy 2005 $7.99 Winemaker Intro: crisp and refreshing with citrus aromas and flavors of ripe apple and pear. Review: Straw color. Very skunky when first opened. Strong taste of fermented apples; almost like a hard cider. Mellowed a bit the second day. Leaves an aftertaste of pears. First PG I found that leaned more towards apples & pears than tropical fruits. Buy again: Probably, yes
Oak Leaf California No Year Stated $2.97 This is actually a Pinot Grigio/Chenin Blanc blend No intro from winemaker Review: Slightly lemony with melon hints. Light, understated and slightly sweet. Not outstanding in anyway, but not bad, either. buy again: yes
Villa Malizia Italy-Venizia 2008 $4.99 Winemaker Intro: floral and honeysuckle aromas are accented by flavors of peach and pear. Review: Lightly skunky & fizzy. Semi-dry. Light citrus flavor w/ peach in their somewhere. Sort of blah and non-descript. Better the second day, once the flavors bloomed a bit. Not very good as a stand-alone wine, but decent paired with food or for cooking. buy again: yes (see, I'm easy and I don't hold a grudge)
Bohemian Highway California 2007 $5.99 NOTE: THIS WAS MY FAVORITE OF THE PG'S I TRIED...AND I LOVE THE BACK LABEL...KEEP YOUR KARMA CLEAN! :) Winemaker Intro: Zesty and crisp with refreshing aromas and flavors of melon, tropical fruit and cool lemon/lime to finish. Review: Tasted of pineapple ending on a citrus not. Bold...permeates my senses. Pleasant aftertaste...perfect balance of dry & "just" sweet. Good stand alone wine, though I'd pair it as well. Couldn't tell you how it tasted the second day, because it didn't last that long. buy again: DUH!
Barefoot California no year listed $1.25 (mini-bottle...perfect for just tasting) Winemaker intro (not on mini-bottle, so I copied it from regular size bottle at market): A crisp & refreshing wine with bright aromas and flavors of citrus and fresh green apple. Hints of jasmine compliment a bright, delicate, flavorful finish. Review: Fizzy on my tongue...and even slightly visible in the glass. Dry, fruity. Melon and pineapple evident...citrus aftertaste. Good. Buy again: yes (probably even a big bottle)
3 Blind Moose California 2008 $6.49 Winemaker Intro: We think you'll fall head over hooves for our delightfully fresh and fragrant California PG...bright citrus, pear and melon flavors. Review: This tastes like a tropical breeze (in a good, pleasant way)! Light, clean, crisp and bursting with flowers. I thought at first that the big, floral smell would turn me off, but it did quite the opposite and made me want more. Bright, sweet...leaving pineapple and flowers resting on your tongue. Buy again: Yes
So I'm a big fan of wine...I'm not gonna apologize! And yes, I drink my wine from a jelly jar most of the time. A while back I was so tired of wine glasses that I gave all of mine away to the needy (needy= sister with no wine glasses). Ever since I've been drinking from jelly jars...they are rarely in danger of tipping. I did buy stemless wine glasses after ridding myself of the pesky stemmed variety, but those are sort of awkward to hold. I don't ask for a jelly jar if I'm out drinking wine...and I'm starting to come back around. I did just buy another stemmed glass, because I know to actually get the "full" experience the glasses are actually made with this in mind...so, I'll trade up every now and again! Hope to taste some wine with you soon! "You came to me like wine comes to this mouth, grown tired of water all the time...you quench my heart and love, you quench my mind." -Dave Matthews
**On a separate note, I've finally joined Friday Shoot-outs (from your town)...my first post on water is up on my girlichef: off topic blog**


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ina is definitely trying to plump me up (even more).

Seriously!! How can Ina use soooo much butter and sugar!? I mean, I'm used to the extra large eggs and I always know her desserts are going to contain a bunch of sugar and butter...but, these almost made me gain 10 pounds just reading the recipe!! This week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe was chosen by Eva of I'm boring. Do you not care if I fit into a bathing suit this summer!? Do you not know how much I adore brownies of any sort!? Ah well...life is short. I did make just a couple of tiny adjustments; I halved the recipe (and it still made 40!!!) and I added an extra special sea salt...I'll list it in the recipe. Outrageous Brownies by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook p. 172 or FoodNetwork.com (half recipe) 1/2 lb. unsalted butter 1/2 lb. + 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate 3 extra large eggs 1 1/2 Tbs. instant coffee powder I used espresso powder 1 Tbs. vanilla 1 1/8 c. sugar 1 c. flour, divided 1/2 Tbs. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt I used Espresso Brava Sea Salt 1 1/2 c. walnut pcs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease & flour sheet pan. Melt butter, 1/2 lb. chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate on top of double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature. Stir together 1/2 c. flour, baking powder & salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss walnuts & remaining chocolate chips with remaining 1/2 c. flour. Stir into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes (for half recipe). Cool and cut. Refrigerate any leftovers. There will definitely be leftovers--this was a half recipe!! Share with friends, neighbors, loved ones...anybody who needs a little extra meat on their bones. Don't forget to visit Barefoot Bloggers to see how everybody else's OUTRAGEOUS BROWNIES turned out!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just me, gushing...

I am so fortunate to be a member of such a friendly, helpful, amazing blogger community! Although it is mostly foodie-bloggers, it is not only foodie bloggers. I feel like an actor at the Academy Awards when they say that they have "the best job on the planet!" Except for the fact that I don't get paid- ah well. I just wanted to thank a few of those awesome people around me for passing some awards my way. First up is a fairly new friend...Rebecca from Chow and Chatter. Rebecca is a dietitian, a writer and a personal trainer...and she still finds the time to comment on many blogs and make new friends! She is a lovely person and has been keeping me informed on a variety of subjects from health to markets to fun facts to drool-worthy food. Thank you so much for passing this on to me Rebecca! Since I've passed this one on before, I'm going to sit on it for now ;)
Another one of my newer friends here in blogland is Jenn from Bread+Butter. Not only is Jenn a foodie who cooks up awesome meals and shares helpful tips...she's also a filmmaker (currently busy writing something wonderful)! Jenn shared this award with me recently...thanks Jenn!
I'm supposed to pass this on to a few (Okay 7, but we'll see) blogs I've recently discovered.... -Angel in the Kitchen I discovered her when she was featured on FFF...and fell head over heels for her tasty recipes, gorgeous photography and lovely personality. -Chow and Chatter Well, you all know how I feel about Rebecca's blog (if you've been paying attention, that is!). -Madly Creative LadyP has mad skillz...Great photos, thoughtful, creative and great taste in food. -Bytes from Texas Miss Hornsfan herself...a woman after my own heart with a love for family and a passion for great food! -Alosha's Kitchen I've always enjoyed Melissa's cooking and kind words, but I knew I'd always come back to her blog when she told us we'd better make an awesome dish (2 actually) that she'd found or else...she would "kick us in the shins"! Ha! -Karen Cooks Okay, Karen isn't new to blogging, but I've only just found her and I'm loving every minute of her yummy food and kind spirit! -Whatcha Eatin? Kristin has made me ga-ga over her food (I want that puffed pancake) and she's made me cry over the joy of being a mom... -Cooking Tip of the Day I don't know how she finds the time to do all she does...always offering up not only delicious recipes, but fabulous tips and hints for your time in the kitchen...Linda does it all!
And then there is this hilarious award...ha ha ha. It's from Sophia at Burp and Slurp~...Sophia is bravely sharing her journey of recovery from an eating disorder (she calls him ED)...all the while making and eating some delicious food & exploring the wonder that is human nature. Thanks Miss Burpilicious...you are an inspiration.
I would like to pass this award on to: -Chef E, the Behind the Wheel Chef at Cook Appeal and TMI Because she has become a friend and lent me support, made me laugh and become a source of happiness to me :) -Natashya at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies...she is a true inspiration both in the kitchen and as a lovely person. -Gin (whom I love to bestow awards upon) at Once Upon a Gourmet Gin because she is one of the coolest cyber-friends I know...she's always there to inflate my ego, make me drool, and inspire me to reach higher! Okay, wow...I've gone on and on...and I bet if I didn't make myself stop, each one of you would be listed here because I truly do learn something, laugh about something, feel support from someone and admire each and every one of you on a daily basis! Thanks for being such a great support system. ****Today is the absolute final day to submit entries for my Chile Pepper roundup and Giveaway!!! Thanks to everybody who has sent entries my way....and GOOD LUCK!!!!****


Monday, May 25, 2009

We go together like...

...peanut butter and jelly? Or maybe peanut butter and chocolate? Dare I say peanut butter, jelly AND chocolate? I'm going to let you in on a little secret (okay, it's not that secret), I do NOT like peanut butter and jelly together; separately, yes. However, peanut butter and chocolate together, I adore. I know some of you are cursing me now. Doesn't like peanut butter and jelly!? Ha, how un-American is that! Who does she think she is? Is she too good for peanut butter and jelly? Why, I never. I know, right. I remember a babysitter I had as a kid...she made everybody else peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I said, "Hold the jelly, Sue" (well, I don't actually remember her name, but Sue sounds good). Sometimes in the summer on one of those long days spent in the sun and the pool with loads of family, we'll end up taking a peanut butter sandwich break. It always makes me laugh to see everybody, young and old, shouting out their order! Smooth! Crunchy! Grape! Strawberry! HOLD THE JELLY!! I will eat just plain peanut butter with a big, ice cold glass of milk...but I also like peanut butter and honey or peanut butter and bananas (my uncle's fave is actually grilled peanut butter and bananas...channeling Elvis!?). And from my mom I get the love of a grilled, crunchy peanut butter sandwich and a peanut butter and lettuce sandwich. But, I digress. I am actually here to tell you about these fab looking bars I saw in the Food Network Magazine's past issue. A few of the FN chefs were given a regular pantry ingredient (Saltines) to make into something new. Check out these bad boys!
PB&J Chocolate Bars by Sarah Copeland, Food Network Magazine J/J '09 FOR THE BASE: 1 stick unsalted butter 1/3 c. granulated sugar 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 1 large egg, beaten 1 sleeve saltines (40 crackers, regular or whole wheat), finely crushed 3/4 c. finely chopped roasted peanuts FOR THE FILLING AND GLAZE: 1/4 c. grape jelly 7 Tbs. + 1 tsp. unsalted butter, softened 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter 1/2 c. confectioners sugar 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or chips) First thing I did was to put the saltines in a baggie and roll them until they were finely crushed. I actually did the same thing with the peanuts. MAKE THE BASE: Line an 8" square baking pan with foil, extending it over the sides. Put the butter in a medium heat proof bowl; position the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water". Once the butter melts, stir in the sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the egg; cook, whisking, until the mixture is warm and the consistency of hot fudge, 6 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in saltine crumbs and peanuts. Press the crust into the pan. Set aside the saucepan of water...then, MAKE THE FILLING: Spread the jelly over the crust in the pan; place in the freezer for a few minutes. Beat 5 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. butter, the peanut butter and confectioners' sugar with a mixer until light. Spread over the jelly layer; return to the freezer while you make the glaze. Place the chocolate and remaining 2 Tbs. of butter in a heatproof bowl; set over the pan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat; stir until smooth. When cool but still runny, spread over the chilled peanut butter layer. Freeze another 30 minutes. Bring the bars to room temperature. Use the foil flaps to remove the bars from the pan; cut into squares.
I urge you NOT to make these on a hot day like I did...or you'll have a hot mess on your hands! Bring them to room temp in an actual "room temp" room, not a sauna. The bottom layer stays nice and firm, but the peanut butter layer will slide right off of the jelly layer and the top chocolate layer will keep on sliding after that. HA..it was actually pretty funny; I mean, I couldn't really get mad about something so out of my control as the weather, so I just had to smile. The good thing about them, though is that you can just set them into the fridge to firm up and no harm done! I actually ended up keeping leftovers in the fridge, too. Okay, they were good. Not good enough to make me join the school of We go together like peanut butter and jelly, but good enough that I've eaten more than one. ***There are still a couple of days left to send me your recipes that included Chile Peppers from the month of May for my end of the month Round-Up!! You may even win a cool prize :)
"We go together like... Ramma lamma lamma ka dingity ding da dong Shoo bop shoo wadda wadda yippity boom da boom Chang chang changity chang shoo bop Dip da dip da dip do wop da dooby do Boogy boogy boogy boogy shooby sho wap sho wap Sha na na na na na na na yippity dip da do ...we'll always be together"