Life has been more than a little crazy lately. Maybe you’ve noticed, due to the lack of regular posting on this here blog, something that hasn’t happened much for me. So here is my heartfelt apology for that, dear readers! I don’t mean to be slacking on you.
But I’ve felt a lack of inspiration for cooking especially, but for many things in life lately. So that makes it difficult to write posts for a food blog, huh?!
I have had SOME inspiration, though. From a variety of places. I’ll highlight a couple for you.
- MasterChef: This little Fox TV reality show is full of amateur chefs competing for the adoration of 3 self-proclaimed food gurus. It’s intriguing, mouth-watering fun. Gordon Ramsey seen here is much less the raving food nazi as seen on Hell’s Kitchen, and much more a nurturing (though heavy-handed) mentor. The challenges are difficult, the contestants are crazy, and the food is varied. But every episode includes at least one dish that makes me want to break out the pots & pans. This is the 2nd season of this show. I previously wrote about stumbling upon the first season last summer.
- Cooking with friends. I arrived home yesterday after a weekend visiting friends in Clear Lake, Iowa. I always enjoy my visits there. It’s such a nice quaint town. And the McGinnis’s always inspire me to create new dishes and add more flavor to my life through cooking. Top offerings this visit included amazing chicken enchiladas with a poblano pepper / tomatillo cream sauce and Amy’s melt-in-my-mouth Magic Cookie bars, which I believe I ate my weight in. They are also a gluten-free family, so it’s nice to be able to bring home recipes for things I can actually make. Though I’ll have to modify some of it to be low fat / no cheese. And Jake doesn’t like coconut, so those bars are all for me!! I’m already planning to take them to the 2012 Smith Family Vacation. See the recipes for these dishes below.
2 C Crushed GF Rice Cereal (about 3.25 cups before crushing)
½ C Margarine
3 T sugar
1 C. Chopped Nuts
1 C. Chocolate chips
1 ½ C. flaked cocnuts
1 Can Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed milk
Combine crushed cereal, margarine and sugar. Press into 9×13 pan. Sprinkle nuts over crust, then scatter chips over nuts, coconut over chips, sweetened condensed milk over cocnut. Bake bars in 350 oven for 25 minutes or until edges turn light brown. Cool and cut into bars.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound tomatillos (papery skins removed) chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped (can also use a green pepper or anahiem as well)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2-2 1/2 pound rotisserie chicken, shredded (or the equivelent in frozen chicken)
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/4 cup monterey jack
8 6 inch corn tortillas (more if needed)
Heat oven to 400 F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tomatillos, onion, poblano, garlic cum, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to food processor, add cream and puree. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, 1 cup of cheese 1/2 cup of tomatillos sauce and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Spread 1 cup of the reamining sauce in a 9×13 pan. Roll the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish, seam side down. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.