Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chicken Taquitos with Tomato Dipping Sauce

Damn you, Rachel Ray, and your quick and painless 30 minute meals! How dare you make cooking dinner easy for everyone! Ok, but really, I am not what you would call a Rachel Ray "fan", but I will allow that she does occasionally come up with some good ideas once in a while. And sometimes, like when it's Thursday afternoon and you don't know what you want to make for dinner and you just really don't feel like cooking, sometimes those simple 30 minute meals are just what you need.

So the missus and I settled on this here recipe for quick chicken taquitos that are made a little more healthy because they are not fried. It was one of those days when neither of us felt like really cooking, nor did we have any appetite for the take-out places around our home. We found this Rachel Ray recipe online, and figured it would be a quick and moderately healthy dinner for two with the benefit of leftovers for lunch the next day. Here we go.

Chicken Taquitos
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt & Pepper
1 can chopped green chiles, 4 ounces
A few leaves of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
Shredded cheese (optional)

Season the chicken with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and mix in the chiles and cilantro. Dip the tortillas in 1-inch warm oil to soften. Tightly roll a couple of forkfuls of chicken up in the tortillas. Place seam side down and bake 12 - 15 min until crispy.

The Sauce:
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
A pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1 28 oz. can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes

Heat a sauce pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, red onion and garlic and soften 5 minutes then season with sugar, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt a pepper and stir in the fire roasted tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over taquitos when they are right out of the oven. Spoon the sauce over the taquitos or serve on the side for dipping. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Garlic-Lime Chicken and Corn On The Cob

I love corn on the cob. I love to cook it, I love to eat it, and I love that you get to eat it with your hands. But this ain't your grandmother's corn on the cob. (I am fighting the urge right now to call it "kicked-up" corn on the cob. I just can't let myself do it. I've got to stay strong.) Despite my internal struggle with the urge to start talking like some obnoxious celebrity chef, I have been making this corn for my wife and friends for a while now, and I just can't get enough. And the best part? It's easy! Just throw the ingredients into some foil, drop it in the oven, and you are done. Nothing to it. The ingredients for the corn are not set in stone, so add or subtract things for your taste.

As for the chicken, I was just going for something edible that paired well with the corn. As it turns out, it was pretty damn tasty on it's own. Nothing all that complicated about this one, either. The most work you will have to do is chopping an onion and peeling some garlic. Oh, and shoveling it into your mouth. So here we go.

Corn On The Cob
2 ears of corn, cleaned
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, diced
2 Tbs. butter
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of paprika
Dash of chili powder
Sprinkle of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
2 20" (approx.) long sheets of foil

Give each ear of corn it's own piece of foil. Divide the garlic between the ears. (Of corn. Not your ears. Nevermind.) Use 1 Tbs. of butter per ear, as well as the juice from 1/2 lime for each ear. Sprinkle paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper in as well. Finish it off with some chopped cilantro. Wrap foil tightly around the ears of corn and other ingredients, place on a baking sheet, and cook in the oven at 375 deg. for 20 minutes.

It's probably a good idea to do the corn before the chicken. The corn takes a little longer in the oven.

Garlic-Lime Chicken
2 chicken breasts
Juice from 2 limes
2 pinches of chili powder (to taste)
Several pinches of Himalayan pink salt, or sea salt (also to taste)
Ground black pepper
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 red onion, cut into wide 1/2in slices
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Mix the lime juice, chili powder, salt and pepper in a large ziplock back. Add the chicken breasts. Marinate for ONLY 10 minutes, any more and the lime juice will start to cook the chicken. You want the stove to do that. Reserve the juice in the bag for later. In a large pan on high heat, sear both sides of the chicken breasts for about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat.

Put the chicken breasts, garlic, onion, and marinade into a foil lined baking dish. Cover with a sheet of foil, and cook for about 10 minutes at 375 deg. Cook uncovered at the same heat for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with the cooked garlic and onion. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

At this point, I bet you're thinking you remember seeing what looked like tomatoes in the picture above. No need to scroll all the way back up, I'll help you out. While not part of the original recipe, I found some amazing heirloom tomatoes while I was at Whole Foods picking up the rest of the ingredients. Seriously, these things were as big as a baby's head. So, what the heck? Slice 'em, drizzle some olive oil over them, liberally sprinkle them with salt and pepper and there ya go. Maybe you cook them, maybe you don't. Your choice.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Featured Publishers Dinner, Perbacco SF

Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to join fellow Foodbuzz Featured Publishers and many of the lovely people of Foodbuzz for a spectacular dinner in downtown San Francisco. We gathered at Perbacco, a swanky Italian restaurant near the Embarcadero swarming with San Francisco elite. A group of about 20 foodies sat down on the mezzanine of this gorgeous restaurant to enjoy good wine, great food, and above all great conversation.

Unfortunately, I did not share the foresight of many of my fellow foodies who brought a camera along to document the dinner. In light of that, I had to "borrow" the above photo from the restaurant's website. Hope nobody minds. Anyway, the meal, a set 4 course menu, was amazing. Starting with a raviolo stuffed with ricotta, spinach and an egg and drizzled in truffle butter, we moved to a roasted beet salad and then pan roasted chicken with herb gnocchi for the main course. Dessert was a raspberry-peach crostata with gelato. Phew. The food, needless to say, was breathtaking, but the highlight of the meal was the raviolo. (Thanks, Evie, for reminding me of the dishes.)

While the food was fantastic, it was the company that made the night what it was. I got the chance to meet and talk to some great people who all share the same passion for food. Ryan, Evan, Doug, Kirsten, and everyone else who made this a night to remember: Thank you. The real sad part is that there was a whole table of foodies I never got the chance to meet or talk to. So to those folks who I did not get to chat with, until next time. I think these here dinners should become something of a habit. All in favor?