Monday, December 31, 2007

Groaning with Christmas/Seasonal/Holiday Joy: La Parte Tres

Greetings and welcome to the final report on our Christmas International Food Frenzy. Now, Claire's father may not appreciate foreign cuisine, but his daughter surely does. I love real Mexican, and it loves me back (and me thighs, and me upper arms). The chiles! The cheese! The tortillas! All good and so good for you.

Christmas was our last night together as an extended family for a while, and while we probably did not need another meal after the previous evening's Indian feast, we started cooking again anyway. It was great fun.

On the Menu:
Chile Quilles (supplied by friend D.)
Three Sisters Burritos
with roasted squash, pinto beans and corn


Take a peek at their menu. Creative, healthy food that makes me swoon. Not unlike Mrs. G. swoons over Hugh Jackman.

This is a good dish for company. It presents nicely. You are going to dirty a few pots and pans, but oh, is it worth it. I serve this often to serious carnivores and they act like they really like it. Raves! I get raves!

The Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • Juice of 1/2 lime

  • 1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen

  • 1 14 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed*

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped

  • 2 teaspoons chipotle puree (follows)

  • 3 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese

  • 6 whole wheat tortillas*

  • Mesa red sauce (recipe follows) or other favorite red sauce
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and seed the squash, and chop into 3/4" cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, ancho powder, 1 teaspoon salt, maple syrup and lime juice and spread out in a glass baking dish. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the roasted squash to a large bowl, and spread the corn in the same baking dish. Toss with 1 teaspoon oil and a pinch of salt and roast 10 minutes. Combine the squash and corn and cool. Toss in the beans, cilantro and chipotle puree and season to taste.

      To roll the burritos, lay a tortilla out in front of you and spread about 1 cup of filling across the middle. Top with 1/3 cup of cheese and roll the tortilla around the filling to form a cylinder. Place seam-side down on a lightly oiled baking dish and repeat with remaining filling. Spoon sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Cover the pan with foil and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through. Remove foil for a final 5 minutes to melt the cheese on top.

      *Notes: I have often omitted the maple syrup when I was out of it.
      I sometimes use chili beans and don't rinse them all the way.
      Trader Joe's homemade whole wheat tortillas are very good.

      Chipotle Puree
      a little can of chipotles in adobo sauce. I buy this:

      Whirl it all up in the blender or food processor and put it in a jar. That's it. This stuff is so good--it's smokey and hot and flavorful. ONLY USE A LITTLE BIT. You can add more, but you won't want to. Use it in and on everything. Really really good mixed with butter for corn on the cob. Equally yummy in chili. Add some to sour cream and dollop on Mexican food. Put a little in mac and cheese. Adds zing to guacamole. Makes barbeque sauce lip-smackable. The rebar gals are on my secret girlfriend list (now there's a posting idea) for introducing me to this heavenly flavor sensation.

      Mesa Red Sauce
      Put DOWN that canned enchilada sauce and make this instead:
      The Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 4 tablespoons masa harina
    • 4 tablespoons ancho chile power
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
    • 1 tablespoon minced oregano
    • 4 cups vegetable stock or water, heated
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

      Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the masa harina and stir constantly as it cooks and turns golden.

      Add the spices and oregano and stir for another 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in the tomato paste and sugar.

      Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste.

    • This Christmas will be remembered as one of my favorites. I was surrounded by friends and family that I love, and we simply enjoyed our time together without artificial deadlines and unnecessary expectations. I hope 2008 will be a year of happy memories, good health, and peace in all of your homes and hearts. Happy New Year!


      Mrs. G. said...

      You are killing me over here! This, like so many other of your meals, sounds divine.

      My samosas came out great! The wonton wrappers were light and fluffy and perfect.

      Professor J said...

      I could eat Mexican food everyday. Yumm.