I’m continually amazed at the exploding world of gluten-free awareness. This past week I was down in Albuquerque to do Thanksgiving with my relatives- a gluten-full bunch, but who always make me and the Kitchen Divas in Training feel welcome at the table. While I didn’t have much time to hit the streets in search of new and exotic green-chile culinary delights, I did manage to stop by a few new places in my favorite Nob Hill neighborhood.
Slice Parlor– a newish establishment with tasty GF Pizza has a great sports-bar vibe and great pizza by the slice. If you’re GF you still have to order a small pizza, but the ingredients are great, and they have hard cider on tap- another bonus.
They’re right across the street from Albuquerque institution Il Vicino, which I’ve heard has caught up to the times and is now also offering GF Pizza crust! I haven’t eaten there in years, (because of the lack of GF crust) and will definitely hit them the next time I’m in town.
Lastly- I ducked into Zacatecas, a new taqueria and tequila establishment run by Chef Mark Kiffin who also owns and operates The Compound in Santa Fe, known for its elegance and outstanding cuisine. I was pleased to learn that practically the whole menu is gluten-free. Passionate about chile rellenos, I grabbed a duck confit and goat cheese to go. It was dipped in a cornmeal batter and fried crispy. The combination of texture and taste did not disappoint- although I personally would have used slightly less goat cheese so as not to disguise the chile and duck flavors. That said- I’ll definitely be making an evening out of Zacatecas the next time I visit Albuquerque.
No road trip would be complete without coffee. This gem of a find right by Old Town, Coffee and Tiles de Santa Fe, not only brews great espresso, but they make a full compliment of pie- including pie with gluten-free crust! While they were out of the GF crust the morning I stopped by, my husband enjoyed a delicious quiche, and a green-chile apple pie that I am going to have to try to create here at home. Green chile truly makes everything better!
If you’re looking for a decent cup of coffee East of Albuquerque, look no further than Kix on 66 in Tucumcari. This funky diner serves a full compliment of espresso, teas, juices, and of course breakfast food- every day. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have a hot cup of non-truckstop coffee for the long drive back to Kansas City.
Wherever you find yourself traveling this holiday season- remember to support your local economies, and don’t hesitate to ask about gluten-free. You may just be surprised at the deliciousness waiting for you!
This week’s crock pot recipe is hearty and flavorful- Buffalo Pot Pie w/ Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits. Don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you.
I went and got involved with another fun group of recipe swappers, this one hosted by the illustrious Christianna who blogs at Burwell General Store. She found an awesome old vintage cookbook, and for the past few months folks have been recreating and revamping one recipe a month. If you’ve stumbled across this in your blog wanderings, you’ll agree that the recipes have been fun and inventive!
(And special thanks to Toni from Boulder Locavore who was kind enough to help me get involved with this recipe group!)
This month’s recipe was Chicken Stew with Drop Biscuits. Our challenge was to change 3 things about the recipe to make it our own and then post about it. I’ve had a sneak preview of some of my colleagues’ recipes, and they are mouthwatering and creative. I’m only sorry I can’t sample them right now! Once you’ve read my take on the recipe, pop on over to the Recipe Swap page at Burwell General Store, where you’ll see everything from crostata to curry. There are even a few additional gluten-free recipes! How cool is that?
I’ve been on a buffalo kick for the last month or so. There is a buffalo farm less than 20 miles from my house, and the owner sells her meat at many local grocers as well as the River Market. I had a great conversation with her a few weeks ago about stew meats, cooking ‘low and slow’, and thought since the cold weather is refusing to give way to spring- at least for the time being- that a buffalo pie would be a nice twist on the chicken pie theme. And, to save time and energy, I did it all in my crock pot! I have an older crock pot with a removable ceramic interior, which means it can go from crock to oven very nicely. I slow cooked the buffalo with some red wine and a few other ‘stewy’ ingredients, before adding my biscuits to the top and popping the whole thing in the oven!
If you don’t have a crock pot and a toaster oven in your kitchen, I highly recommend their addition. Both items are great in the summer when you don’t want to heat your kitchen any more than necessary. And, if you’re only cooking a little- it takes way less time and kilowats to run the smaller appliances. My toaster oven can even accommodate my small Le Creuset Gratin baker. Perfect for all sorts of side dishes! But I digress….
The crock pot gets a workout in this house because I’m very fond of throwing in a bunch of ingredients, walking away, and coming back to enjoy them several hours later. The key is to use the lowest setting and to allow cooking for a minimum of 6 hours. Anything beyond that just makes the meat even more tender. Normally, when I do a roast or a stew, I serve it with clear broth made from the cooking juices, but this time, I went out on a limb and added a little roux and cream. It was totally worth it, and I will absolutely consider doing it again. Hopefully not until next fall! The creaminess of the sauce worked nicely with the texture of the drop biscuits, and the green chiles added the tiniest bit of punch to the flavor. I could have used a little more myself, but wanting to make this accessible to a variety of people- including the Kitchen-Divas-In-Training… I went a little light on the chiles. Certainly add more if you like the heat- the dish is rich enough that it can stand up to a somewhat spicier biscuit! This is a recipe that can easily accommodate whatever changes and twists you’d like to add when you serve it up at your house. Remember always to have fun in your kitchen, and be sure to stop by the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap page for some outstanding recipes and a dose of inspiration! Who knows what might end up on your table?
2 lbs of buffalo stew meat, cubed
1/2 cup red wine
4 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups potatoes, chopped (about 3 small)
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbs wheat-free tamari (soy sauce)
6 twists of fresh pepper
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbs butter
3 tbs sorghum
1 cup milk, half n half, or heavy cream
Place all ingredients except the roux in a crock pot and simmer on low for 6-12 hours. A word- please use red wine you would drink. If it’s not fit to drink, it’s not fit to use in food you will eat… just sayin’…… See! I told you it was easy!
45 minutes before you are ready to eat, turn off the crock pot and remove the ceramic container. It will be hot, so be sure to use potholders and place it on a heat safe coaster. Turn your oven to 425, and begin preparing the green chile cheddar biscuits below. Just before putting the biscuits in the stew, make the roux. Melt the butter in a small saute pan. When the butter is foamy, add the sorghum and whisk briskly. When you start to smell the flour, but before it has darkened in color, slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add to the stew and stir. Then add the drop biscuits and proceed as directed.
Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits
Makes about 20 small biscuits
1 cup millet flour
1 1/4 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
1 tbs baking powder
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz (one stick) butter
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green chiles
3 tbs honey
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tbs butter
3 tbs honey
Place dry ingredients in a food processor and mix by pulsing about 6 times. Chop the butter into 8-10 segments and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse an additional 6-8 times, until the butter has been cut up to pea-sized bits. Add the cheddar cheese and pulse 2-3 more times.
In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the honey, green chile, and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and pulse several more times until mixture comes together in a ball-like form. Scoop into the stew (or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet) with a large melon-baller. To make the glaze, melt the remaining butter and honey in a microwave safe dish- it should take about 30 seconds. Brush the glaze onto the biscuits and then place the whole crock into the oven. Immediately turn down the oven heat to 375, and cook for 20 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are golden brown. The biscuits expand during the cooking process and make a lovely thick crust over the stew. Don’t be shy about cutting into this and serving the biscuits on top of, or next to the stew. Enjoy!!
I have to publicly thank Karen at Tasty Trials for a mouthwatering tortilla soup recipe that had me fantasizing about crunchy, spicy soup all weekend. So last night, I jumped in with both feet and for the first time ever, fried my own tortillas!!! Who knew it was so easy? 3 sticks of vegetable shortening, a bunch of leftover (as in stale) corn tortillas, cut into mini triangles, and I was in business. The chips didn’t last through the meal.
Next, I need to apologize to my children for going overboard on the green chile. This soup is not for the faint of heart…. or, apparently, for the delicate of taste-bud.
If you live outside of New Mexico, there are two things you may not know about green chile. The later the harvest, the hotter the chile. In other words, the lovely mild flavor that I appreciate from the chile harvest in mid-August, is replaced by intense flavor and heat at the end of the harvest. So hot in fact, that when I lived in Albuquerque, I’d have to stop ordering fresh green chile about Labor Day- I’d maxed out on my personal heat index. The second thing you may not know is that the longer the chile sits in your freezer, the hotter it gets. I have no idea why- maybe some of you food scientists who read this blog can shed some light on this. So in a zealous effort to create a flavorful meal, and to empty out the last of the frozen chile in my freezer (have to make room for this year’s Hatch)I might possibly have alienated a few juvenile taste-buds.
I confess I used 3 cups (!!!) of green chile. Delicious! Lip Burning! Hiccup Inducing! Did I say delicious? The garnish of plain yogurt, avocado, crunchy chips, cilantro and lime, not only brightens the flavor, but helps mitigate the heat. I enjoyed leftovers for lunch today. This is a simple recipe, the green chile is really the star- supported by a nice base flavor and fresh garnishes. And seriously- if you’re not into lip-burning- the flavor would be just as good with half the green chile. But if you’re feeling adventurous….. I dare you!
Chicken Green Chile Soup
makes 12-14 bowls
2 lbs chicken, cut up into small pieces
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 medium tomatoes (about 2 cups), diced
3 cups chopped green chile (use the amount you like)
8 cups chicken stock
3 tbs olive oil
fresh fried tortilla chips (see directions below)
1 lime chopped into wedges
1 avocado, sliced thinly
3-4 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
Using a large stock-pot or dutch oven, warm up the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chicken. When chicken has been evenly browned, though not cooked through, add zucchini, tomatoes, green chile, and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Ladle soup into a bowl. In the center, make a tall mound of fresh tortilla chips. On top, add a small scoop (about 2 tbs) plain yogurt. Stand 2 slices of avocado on end and rest the top of the slices on the yogurt. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and add a wedge of lime. The person served can squeeze the lime onto the soup. If you’re feeling super-fancy, add another tortilla chip to the very top.
Fresh Tortilla Chips
1 package of fresh or leftover soft corn tortillas
3 sticks of vegetable shortening (I used Earth’s Best)
With a pair of scissors, cut tortillas into strips or triangles. In a heavy duty stainless steel or cast iron pan, melt the shortening over medium heat. When you hear the oil popping, add a handful of the tortillas. Stir gently until they are golden brown. Remove to a cookie sheet covered with a paper towel and lightly salt.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, it’s another culture smash-up. This time inspired by my desire to have fish tacos, when in fact, I had a chicken thawing in the sink! (I had planned greek chicken) So my thought process went something like this: “Fish tacos sound really great right now- a little citrus, a little crunch, a little fresh veg, a little heat….hmmmm…. but I have greek chicken ready to go..” So I figured, what the heck- greek chicken is lemon and garlic and oregano- and I happened to be using the spicy mexican oregano, so what if I subbed out the fish for the chicken, played up the citrus and added a little heat? Voila! Greek Chicken Tacos..
Now, I will say that the prep time was longer than I would have liked, but I was also feeling my way through the dish. Do plan for a little extra time to chop up the chicken. Of course, I was chopping up a 6 lb bird. You could just use a few boneless skinless breasts or thighs- it would go a lot faster….
This is one of those fun buffet dinners where you can add your favorite ingredients to your taco. I’ll give you a list of what we had on our ‘taco buffet’ and some brief instructions on how to bake the greek chicken. The point of this is to have fun- experiment with flavor combinations, and if you have kids- invite them to help prepare the buffet.
Here’s what we enjoyed:
black beans pureed with cumin and a little chicken stock
white rice cooked in chicken stock with lemon wedges and cilantro
feta cheese (leave out for paleo diet)
El Pinto red sauce (one of my faves!)
A shameless plug for El Pinto here. They are one of my favorite family owned restaurants in Albuquerque. The food is heavenly- there is nothing like authentic Rio Grande River Valley Cuisine- and yes, it gets its own category! The service is just what you’d expect, and the chile sauce- both red and green…. well what can I say? When my family from New Mexico visit, they always show up with a few jars of El Pinto. Happily, when I’ve finished those, I can mail order. Once you’ve fallen in love with New Mexico green and red chile, there’s no going back.
Now onto the chicken
enough for 1 bird, chopped into pieces- reduce if just using breasts or thighs
3 tbs olive oil
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 tbs lemon pepper
1 tbs dried mexican oregano (also called spicy oregano)
Preheat your oven to 350. Place pieces in an oven safe dish- I used a 9×9 clay brownie dish. You want them to fit snugly. Brush the pieces with olive oil and sprinkle on the garlic cloves, lemon pepper seasoning, and oregano. If you are feeling adventurous and you want to add a little heat at this point, you could sprinkle some chipotle powder on, or some diced jalapeños. Slice the lemon into thin disks and place on top of the chicken pieces. Depending on how much chicken you use, you may need as many as 2 lemons.
Bake until internal temperature on the thickest part of the bird is 170- about 1 1/2 hours. This will vary depending on how much meat you use, what you cook it in, and how hot your oven truly is. Use a thermometer, check after 1 hour, and every 15 minutes thereafter. If you’re cooking only a few pieces and are using your toaster oven, check the temperature every 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover and let rest an additional 10 minutes- this will not only give the juices time to redistribute, it will give it time to cool down enough that you can chop it into little bits.
Chop and serve with your favorite taco ingredients. Or, leave pieces whole and serve over a bed of rice. Enjoy!
“The Hatch” is in!!! If you’ve ever spent time in New Mexico, you understand this to mean that the world’s best green chile is now available for consumption. In New Mexico this time of year, drive by any grocery store parking lot, vacant lot, or roadside stand and stop to inhale. That warm, smokey, somewhat pungent fragrance is the smell of Hatch green chiles roasting away. In my opinion, it’s the only way to get them. And, I know people who used to live in New Mexico who now pay handsomely for a 5 lb bag of them to be shipped cross country on dry ice. One year my friend filled her carry on with with multiple 5lb bags of green chile on her trip home. While I thanked her profusely, I’m not sure the other passengers did. It really is an addiction- green chile. Once you’ve had it as a condiment- on burgers, in eggs, with potatoes, in burritos, there’s no going back. Green chile becomes a seasonal way of life. And like most food snobs will agree- only the real deal will do- no garden variety pepper for this girl. You can take your Reggiano, your Serrano ham and your Kobe beef- give my my Hatch green chile. In stew form please….
While it may seem strange to serve this on a still-warm summer day, give it a try. Although this is a staple in my household during the cold months, the best green chile stew I ever had was many years ago on a hot summer day while attending the Jemez Pueblo Corn Dances with my husband and my grandfather, a gregarious food scientist who seems to know everyone. Pueblo dances are a religious ceremony, and to be invited to observe is a real treat. After the dances we were invited to his friend’s house for a traditional meal of green chile stew, posole, fresh corn tortillas and a host of other delicious foods that are now only a dim memory. But the green chile stew, Oh the green chile stew. The broth deeply flavored by the pork, onion & tomato, the potatoes softened to the point of crumbling and thickening the stew, and the roasted green chiles- as blistering hot as the sun baking down on the dancers. I usually don’t make mine quite as hot, but the flavor I experienced that day is the mark by which I measure my own stew every single time I taste it.
As far as recipes go, it’s very simple- 6 ingredients, and it takes little time to pull it all together- but the longer you let it simmer gently on the stove, the better the flavor is. So in honor of another favorite vegetable gracing us with its smokey roasted presence- I give you traditional New Mexican green chile stew.
New Mexican Green Chile Stew
serves 4 green chile lovers with perhaps a bowl left over for lunch the next day.
2 lbs pork, cut into small cubes (loin, shoulder, chops- the cut doesn’t matter)
2 cups diced onion (about 1 large onion)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups white potatoes, cubed (any will do in a pinch, use whatever you have on hand)
2 cups tomato, chopped
2 cups freshly roasted Hatch green chile ( I have used canned green chiles in a pinch when I’ve been desperate and I have no fresh frozen in the freezer. Try and find canned Hatch if you go that way- they really do taste better)
4 cups water
In a large stainless steel soup pan (I use our pasta water pan) sear the pork over medium heat- about 2 minutes. This diverges from the traditional boiling from the get-go way, but I think the flavor’s a little better. It’s up to you…
When the pork has been lightly seared, add the remaining ingredients, including the water, and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meat is done. You may eat immediately, or allow to simmer gently until you are ready to consume.
Of the foods I have missed most on this ‘no wheat flour’ journey, a good stretchy tortilla has been close to the top. And a good gluten free tortilla has been hard- no, impossible- to find in the stores.
I grew up on a steady diet of tortillas. Breakfast burritos, bean burritos, quesadillas, the pot-luck favorite- tortillas with cream cheese and green chile, rolled up and sliced thin. You name it- if it was served up with a tortilla, I have probably consumed it. That is, before I knew they were making me sick. I try not to dwell on what I don’t have, because there really is so much delicious stuff I can eat, but periodically I catch myself pining away for a tortilla.
There used to be this great burrito stand just off the University of Washington campus in Seattle, where I went to college. If you’re from there, you may remember it just off the corner of 45th and “The Ave.” It was just a walk-up window and for five dollars you could get a burrito so big that half of it was the next meal. They had the hugest, stretchiest tortillas I’d ever seen. You could see someone making them in the back practically throwing the dough like pizza crust.
After college, I even worked as an office manager in a tortilla factory. That was fascinating until I noticed they were sharing warehouse space with a chop shop and the welding tools were sparking molten stuff into the lye basin for the corn tortillas. But that’s another story. Needless to say, I didn’t last much longer there.
Then of course, there were the New Mexico years. I spent a lot of time in New Mexico as a child, and grew up on that unique blend of Spanish, Mexican and Native American cuisine that you can find only in New Mexico. I also lived there for three years, consuming massive amounts of green chile, and looking longingly at the flour tortillas. By this time I knew they were a no-no, and made do with corn tortillas. “They’re writing songs of love, but not for me” goes the old Gershwin song. My swan song for a tortilla.
The problem with gluten-free tortillas is that they break. It is impossible to roll them. Even the little corn ones will break. I have tried a few nameless brands of tortillas and they either A) taste funny, B) break, or C) both. This morning was no exception, which leads me to the reason for today’s post.
We make “Special Breakfast” most weekends and occasionally, even on school days. And, now that the girls are getting bigger, they even cook parts of it. But, even “Special Breakfast” loses its luster when it’s some variation of pancakes. Don’t get me wrong- I love pancakes, and I have a great pancake mix (see the “What’s In My Pantry Page). Of course we’re very creative with what goes in the mix, but sometimes you just want….a breakfast burrito, or carne adovada smothered in red sauce, in….a tortilla. And these store bought ones don’t cut it. Not even close.
On a whim yesterday at the store, I grabbed a package of gluten-free tortillas with a slightly different ingredient list, thinking I’d give it one more shot. I got up early today, sliced an onion, threw in a couple of left over buffalo bratwurst and some green chile, tossed the gluten-free, organic tater-tots in the oven, and started scrambling eggs. I even went so far as to wrap the tortillas in aluminum and warm them in the oven. Excitedly, I pulled them out, spread them on a plate and started piling breakfast goodness in the center. I started to roll……crack. Maybe it was because I wasn’t gentle enough and didn’t pull the tortilla tightly enough around the filling. Maybe just maybe it was an accident….
It wasn’t. I wrapped them as best I could and gave them to the girls instructing them to hold on tightly. My youngest promptly spit it out and opened up the tortilla to get to the good stuff. Not a good sign. My oldest was holding hers in her hands and it split apart spilling eggs and melted cheese all over the kitchen floor and triggering a bout of tears and wailing. Determined, I clutched mine in two hands and bit in. Blech. That’s all I could think. It was dry, funny tasting, and not at all what I wanted out of my tortilla. Sighing, I placed it down on the plate and commenced helping my daughter sweep egg off the floor. My hopes of reliving breakfast burrito nirvana were dashed.
That is, until I remembered I am an adventurous cook! Tortillas are just flour and water and lard. That couldn’t be too hard to reproduce effectively should it? The challenge, of course would be the proper flour combination, and making sure there is adequate binder to replace the gluten. Well, Shazam! folks! I did it. And tonight, taste-tested and agreed upon by both girls and one really great husband, we enjoyed a second round of burritos, properly. The tortillas were stretchy, slightly chewy and tasted just like a tortilla should. I’m so excited I think I’ll be eating breakfast burritos for a week. Keep in mind, as these have no preservatives, they are best eaten the day you make them. If you have to store them, do so in a gallon freezer bag to keep them from drying out.
May all your Tortilla fantasies come true!
makes 6-8 tortillas
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2 tsp honey
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
3/4-1 cup warm water
cornstarch for flouring board and rolling pin
Thoroughly mix dry ingredients. Add honey to warm water, and stir until dissolved. Make a hole in the center of the dry mix. Pour in the water and stir in the dry ingredients from the outside edge. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, continue mixing using your hands.
Sprinkle cornstarch on a large piece of parchment paper as well as the rolling pin. Separate dough into 6-8 even balls (6 for an 8-10” tortilla, 8 for a smaller tortilla). Flatten one ball with your hand and roll out to about an 1/8th inch thickness, thinner if possible. Add more corn starch to the parchment or rolling pin if your dough begins to stick. Turn onto a lightly greased hot pan- I use my cast iron skillet. Cook for 30-45 seconds, flip and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from burner, and stack on a plate, covering with a towel.