Monday, June 14, 2010

Quesadillas....the endless possibilities.....mexican grilled cheese.mmmmm

ok....so i ALWAYS like to push the envelopes of what is traditional. because i am THE FARTHEST thing from traditional. So i will throw you a few NONTRADITIONAL quesadillas... . this is a melange of roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, garlic and capers w. olive oil and lemon juice and the obvious S+P to taste (salt and pepper!) Usually if its only 2 or 3 peppers i would roast them over fire, but i had about 6 of them and i didnt want to fire up the grill or set off our sensitive smoke alarm! so i cut them in strips (julienne) and roasted them on 400 deg F. for about a half hour. (while roasting i chop the bottom off 2 bulbs of garlic and drizzle w olive oil wrapped in aluminum foil)  and toss it in the oven to roast as well.
This is my Italian roasted bell pepper melange..
Mix this between a tortilla and your favorite cheese (for this application mozzarella or provolone or sharp cheddar are my preference).  this is my mexican/italian queso

THE PICTURED QUESADILLA is actually an experiment of my Chicken Hummus Salad (see blog below!!) with sharp cheddar... so this is mid eastern/mexican stlye.

My Guacamole  is simple.
2 advocado's
2 Tbls of salsa ( i like salsa verde ((green sauce from the tomatilla's...not quite a tomato))
for this but if you dont have it..use the red stuff!)
1 Tbls of cumin (and s+p to taste)
and though its not traditional i like to use
2 Tbls of sour cream (your gonna end up smothering the quessadillas in it anyway!!!)
because...well, it gives a nice creamy texture plus the acid in the sour cream and salsa
prolongs the oxidation aka the browning of the advocado...yet it is inevitable so
put the plastic wrap DIRECTLY ON the guacamole to delay the inevitable.

normally i would use a large pan to make 2 quesadilla's w 2 tortillas folded in half... but if i need to make 3 or 4 i use the oven at 400 deg. putting an oiled flour (or corn) tortilla down, filling it, and topping w another tortilla. LET ME STRESS THE FACT THAT Corn TORTILLAS ROCK AND ROLL!!!! dont be shy. use them!!! just  dip them in hot oil for 15-30 seconds and double them up if you plan to fold it in half,,, i love corn tortillas. IN my opinion, not enough americans ever use them for lack of know how...or perhaps they (we) only think that its for nachos or corn chips... i dunno. they are CHEAP. about 1 dollar for 30-50 of them depending on the manufacturer. It is also more traditional and tastier than the flour tortillas.

The possibilites are endless...i used to sell garlic spinach grilled cheese sandwiches w tomatoes on Dead tour.
Just saute some baby spinach w FRESH garlic and put a slice of tomato between your tortilla(s) and cheese.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grilled Chicken Hummus salad....

This one, ironically, I learned from an Irish Chef from Portsmouth NH. We had hummus that we needed to get rid of so he suggested chicken and hummus salad wraps...the look on my face must have been priceless! He looks at me and says 'WHAT? You dont think it will be good!?' I thought about it for 10 seconds..a rare thing w MY big mouth! and answered 'HELL YA!! It's just something i never thought about before!!'.(all my hummus loving friends were vegetarians!!. we sold all 20 for lunch specials that day! 

SO ANYWAY........... this is REAL easy.... first you must make the Hummus of your delight...my recipe is below...http://minstrelsculinaryendeavors.blogspot.com/2010/03/hummus.html
flavor your hummus w anything of your delight, dill and cucumber, rst.red peppers, olives and feta..etc.
you just mix equal parts hummus and sour cream for the dressing.

Grilled chicken breasts make it taste SOOOOO much better..(but canned or baked will do)
BUT DONT OVER COOK IT!!!!! so many people over cook chicken till its shoe leather consistency.
SEASON w your favorite 'season all' (mine is Adobe..or salt, pepper and garlic)
and grill untill just done...now cover w foil and let it rest!!! lack of resting = lack of juciness
after 5 minutes of resting, cut it all up (and put that flavorful juices at the bottom in the dressing/sauce) and fold/mix it in together, refrigerate and serve in a wrap w a little arugula or some other lettuce and maybe cucumbers and tomato.
A WONDERFUL THING I ASSURE YOU!!
cheers!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vegan Tempeh and mushrooms teriyaki (my vegan tribute)



This goes out to those vegan kids w all the ethics and are lactose intolerant...
from wikipedia
Lactose intolerance is the inability to metabolize lactose, because of a lack of the required enzyme lactase in the digestive system. It is estimated that 75% of adults worldwide show some decrease in lactase activity during adulthood.[1] The frequency of decreased lactase activity ranges from as little as 5% in northern Europe, up to 71% for Sicily, to more than 90% in some African and Asian countries.[2]
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.


the 3 Grain Tempeh i use is made from Soy, Brown Rice,Barley and Millet..... i marinate the tempeh in soy sauce (or Braggs liquid amino acids..  (soy sauce w all the essential amino acids.this is some really good stuff, their unfiltered cider vinegar is top notch as well!!!)
and a little rice or cider vinegar and garlic.
i marinade it for 2 or 3 hours, then cook a pound of your favorite mushrooms that you can afford ;-) i mix portabellas w shitake mushrooms. (you need to remove shitake stems, they usually are grown on wood and the woody stem isnt GOOD EATS (Alton Brown)  on high heat for 10 minutes,  then put the marinade and the tempeh in the pan, when it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover for 10 minutes...it will baste in the teriyaki and soak in the flavors. soy sauce and mushrooms both contain something called Glutamic Acid.. the herbal equivalent of msg that boosts flavor in everything its cooked with. I only wish i had some baby bock choy for a vegtable and as my cabbage of choice.... well Napa cabbage would be great too with this dish. thinly sliced though.


ANY WAY!!! some broccoli, zuchini and other veggies would have been good as well, steamed in with the marinade (but its spring so i try to buy and eat whats growing somewhere nearby)
 speaking of which, if you live somewhere were scallions are grown, id advise to pick 2 bunches, clean them and garnish this dish with!!

you are what you eat! 
 WOOD GROWN SHITAKE'S

FYI...... the lactose intolerant can often eat yogurt because the acidophilus and other active enzymes break down the the lactose and change it to lactic acid which doesnt(usually) upset the stomach of lactose intolerent folk. same with aged cheezes 9 month old- 2yrs aged cheese like parmisian or pecorino in which the enzyme reacts w the lactose to lactic acid..to alter it and is more friendly to the stomach of people w such a condition... unless you just feel bad about a female cow getting milked..then..uh...yea, its your perogative  ... 

GONZOS Dead Tour Salsa

This one came out of necessity to stretch out our salsa while making it really good for you too! We (me and my friend 'Bubbles') while i was busy selling beers, i got him to make me grilled mexican cheese sandwiches ..    or aka - quesadilla's  for 2 bucks a queso, there was a lot of vegetarians filling up on our salsa! so we decided to stretch it with black beans, corn and shredded carrots. The carrorts and raw corn cook from the acids in the tomatoes and lime juice..ive always used equal parts black beans,corn and tomatoes. Cumin and chopped cilantro keeps it authentic to the mexican/south western feel. HERE is what i do.......

1 can of diced tomato
1 can of (drained and rinsed) black beans
2 ears of corn cut from the cob.
2 medium carrots, julliened (see that peeler in the upper right corner, 8 bucks, shreds ANY vegetable!!)
1 med. green pepper, diced
1 med yellow onion diced
1 bulb of garlic minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (i advise gloves, and dont scratch yourself afterwards!especially the genital region!!! (use some cayenne pepper if you like it HOT HOT HOT!!)
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1 Tbl. of toasted cumin
2 Tbl. of olive oil
1 Tbl. of lime juice
salt and pepper to taste!

makes 2 quarts of some kick ass salsa on the cheap!! plus you get the health benefits of the beta carotene (vitamin A) which isnt normally available when you eat whole carrots.... all the raw veggies in it make really good for you and the garlic kills bacteria ... an ANTIBIOTIC. I have also found that raw garlic repells insects and ticks..... so its a  great thing to go camping with! cooking or pill form, but cooking or raw in your food is always prefered...to this cowboy anyway!!