Archive - March 2015

Baked Tamale Pie with Homemade Enchilada Sauce and Scallion Pancake Topping

Jason and I were craving chili this weekend. I made a meat one for him (recipe is here) and a gluten free meat-substitute one for me. The inspiration recipe called this a Baked Tamale Pie. I decided to add a homemade enchilada sauce to the recipe and used my scallion cornbread pancake recipe as a topping. It turned out to be a perfect combination and one that I highly recommend.

It’s best to make the enchilada sauce before you start anything else so there’s time to clean up and then move on to the main recipe. I made the sauce first and then took a break to do some pottery. I took a two-part class at a local place called “Play with Clay”. The first session was a tutorial in how to use the pottery wheel, which is something I haven’t done since high school so it was a great re-fresher. The second session, which I did today, is how to glaze the pots you made. It was a ton of fun and I hope to do it again. I can’t wait to see how they look after they’re fired!



Now, back to the food at hand… Baked Tamale Pie with Homemade Enchilada Sauce and Scallion Pancake Topping.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
(Recipe credit to vitamin-sunshine)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon corn starch + ¼ cup warm water
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice



1. In a large saucepan, add olive oil, and diced onion. Cook for 7 minutes over medium high heat until onion is softened.
2. Add vegetable broth, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, salt, and coriander. Simmer for 5 minutes until it comes to a boil.
3. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and then add to a blender. Process until smooth then return back to the saucepan.
4. Whisk corn starch and warm water in a small cup then slowly pour into the sauce while stirring.
5. Add the lime juice, and turn off heat. (Set aside for further use.)


Baked Tamale Pie
(Recipe Inspiration from serious eats)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup frozen corn
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely crushed with your hand
1 (16-ounce) package of “meat” crumbles
1 1/2 cup of homemade enchilada sauce (follow instructions below)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems, minced


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large saucepan heat oil and then add corn and cook until corn is warm. Add onion, bell peppers, and poblano pepper, season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, and chili powder and cook until fragrant.
3. Add soy sauce, tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, meat substitute, and enchilada sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until it has thickened.


4. Stir in grated cheese, scallions, and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a casserole dish or cast iron skillet.

5. Complete first step of the Scallion Cornbread Pancakes recipe (below). Drop dollops of the batter on top of the tamale filling.


6. Bake tamale pie for about 20 minutes, until cornbread has turned golden brown.


Scallion Cornbread Pancakes
1 cup ½ cup gluten free cornbread mix
2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 green onions, thinly chopped
½ cup fat-free milk
Canola oil

1. Stir together cornbread mix, sugar, salt, baking powder in a bowl. Add oil, eggs, onions, and milk and whisk until combined.
2. Heat canola oil in a skillet and drop dollops of the batter into the oil to fry. Do not overcrowd.


3. When you can see the edges of each pancake begin to brown, flip over and brown the other side.


4. After both sides are golden brown, remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess grease. Continue making pancakes until all batter has been used.


Roasted Whole Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Garlic Butter Mushrooms

After my last Smittenkitchen kick with the Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte, I went ahead and scoured the blog for some side dish recipes. I found the Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale and Garlic Butter Mushrooms. Both sounded absolutely divine, so I went for it! I made a roasted chicken as well which has made it through the first few days of the week.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
(Recipe credit to smittenkitchen)
3 russet baking potatoes
1 bundle lacinato kale
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar
Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Gently scrub potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Bake 1 hour or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center.


2. While potatoes cook, prepare your filling. Tear kale from the stems and tear into large chunks then wash leaves in cold water to remove any grit. Do not dry after rinsing. Place them in a skillet over medium-high and add a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan until they wilt and collapse. When they’ve cooled, ring out any excess water then finely chop greens.



3. Trim leek down to just white and pale green part then cut longways into quarters. Rinse in water to remove dirt inside the layers. Thinly slice quarters and heat in skillet over medium heat with butter and oil.
4. Leeks should cook approximately 10 minutes, avoid browning. Then add kale and heat, approximately one minute.

5. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half longways and take out most of the potato, leaving a thin ring around the skin to keep stable.


6. Add potato filling to bowl with leeks, kale, sour cream, cheese and mash until combined. Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet and fill with a heaping amount of the mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Cook potatoes a second time, for 20 minutes or until crisp on top.



Garlic Butter Mushrooms
(Recipe credit to smittenkitchen)
1 pound mushrooms such as cremini or white, halved lengthwise if large
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, salt and pepper, and  parsley in a shallow baking dish.

2. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden, about  15 to 20 minutes.
3. Stir in lemon juice and serve immediately.

Roasted Whole Chicken
(Recipe credit to Ina Garten)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the chicken giblets and rinse the chicken inside and out. Also remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry.


2. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken then stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
3. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours.



Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte

There was someone working in the grocery store yesterday giving out free cosmo shots. I’m not certain if it was the booze coursing through my veins but out of no where, dessert struck me! I quickly searched through the Smittenkitchen blog for inspiration. I’ve been following that blog for the past six years and it was in the gluten free section that I found… a Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte. All of those things in one luscious dessert? Yes. Please and thank you. The recipe took a good amount of time but it is very much worth it if you have a love of hazelnuts!

Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte
(Recipe credit to smittenkitchen)
Cooking oil spray
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts (about 12 ounces or 340 grams), toasted, then skinned as much as possible*
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon espresso granules
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy or whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Frangelico
A semi- or bittersweet chocolate bar for shaving

1. Spread raw hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, tossing once throughout baking. Let cool and roll them around with a towel to remove as much of their skins as you can.

2. Change heat to 325°F and position oven racks in the top and lower levels of oven. Draw eight-inch circles onto four pieces of parchment paper. Place them face down onto two baking sheets, ensuring pencil-side is down so that it doesn’t touch the macaroon mixture. Spray each of the circles with cooking oil and wipe down with a paper towel so that there is a thin layer of oil on each.
3. Place hazelnuts into the food processor with 1 cup of sugar and salt. Blend until very finely ground (I didn’t blend quite as much as I would prefer for next time. This is an important step!) Set aside.DSC_0125
4. Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Carefully drizzle in the vanilla extract and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks have formed, they will almost have a pearly sheen to them.


5. Fold hazelnut mixture into egg whites in thirds. Spread a quarter of the macaroon batter evenly within each circle, filling completely. Bake macaroon layers until golden and dry to the touch — 20-25 minutes. Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack.


6. While meringues cool, heat half of chocolate chips, water, and espresso in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring until smooth. After all the chips have melted, remove from heat and stir in second half of chocolate until melted. Spread chocolate evenly over tops of meringue rounds, as long as they are cool enough. Cool until chocolate is set, this could take over an hour or you could place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help speed it along.

7. While chocolate is setting, beat heavy cream with sugar and Frangelico in standing mixer until it holds stiff peaks.


8. To assemble, peal macaroons off parchment paper and place first disc directly onto whatever serving plate you plan to use. Spread 1/3 cup of whipped cream onto each layer before placing the next. When you’ve reached the final layer, frost the top and side of torte with whipped cream. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape shavings off chocolate to top the cake.



Spring Frittata

There are some mornings where I simply don’t get up early enough to make breakfast before heading to work. When I get there I end up housing a greek yogurt, which is fine, but I was hoping to switch it up a bit this week. I found this breakfast inspiration on the website of a wine club Jason and I joined recently. I made a few alterations to this Spring Frittata, but it was a great base to start with.

Spring Frittata
(Recipe inspiration from Acacia Vineyard)
1 large Yukon gold potato, halved and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white part halved and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
4-5 large asparagus
6 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Crack eggs into large bowl and mix with salt and pepper to taste, put aside.
3. In a skillet on medium-high heat, cook potato slices in oil until golden brown.
4. In an oven proof skillet on medium heat cook leeks, asparagus, spinach, and garlic and cook until tender and spinach has wilted. Vegetables should be bright green. Transfer the potatoes to the pan and mix.
5. Pour eggs onto the vegetables and top with cheese.
6. Bake until set, about 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on stove for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.



Sunday Night Dinner

I decided to make a nice Sunday night dinner with enough leftovers for a few meals. Jason was craving some pork loin so I decided to go for it! I made Herb Encrusted Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions, Spinach and Garlic Risotto, and Roasted Carrots and Broccolini. I wouldn’t change a thing with any of the recipes, everything came out perfectly. Paired with a nice red wine from Acacia Vineyards in Napa.


Herb Encrusted Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions
(Recipe inspiration from Lauren’s Latest)
1 3-4 lb. pork loin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in your fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced

1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Sprinkle the mixture all over the pork.


2. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, and brown the pork on all sides. Place the pork in a slow cooker and pour remaining oil all over.

3. Place the onions around the pork, cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. The internal temperature of the pork should reach 160 degrees for medium.

4. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Spinach and Garlic Risotto
(Recipe credit to Marta Stewart)
1 32-oz container of vegetable stock
1 1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
16 oz baby spinach
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan/asiago blend, plus more for serving (optional)


1. In a small saucepan, combine broth 1 cup of wine and bring to a simmer, then keep warm.
2. In a large saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add rice and cook, stirring, until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine; cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

DSC_0933(What the risotto looks like when first adding the wine)

4. Add 2 ladles full of hot broth mixture; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue adding broth mixture, 1 ladle at a time, waiting for liquid to be absorbed before adding more, stirring occasionally, until rice is just tender and creamy with a little liquid remaining in the pan, 20 to 25 minutes total (you may not need all the broth mixture).

DSC_0957(What the risotto looks like after adding all the broth)

5. In the meantime, while you’re adding more broth, add touch of oil and chopped garlic to a frying pan and cook until fragrant. Add spinach and toss until wilted. Set aside.


6. When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, and has a creamy texture, stir in the spinach, garlic, and cheese. Serve immediately, with more Parmesan, if desired.



Roasted Carrots and Broccolini 
1 lb long young carrots, rinsed and scrubbed with greens cut with one inch remaining, then sliced longways
1 lb broccolini, hard ends removed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. In a baking dish, combine carrots, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.


3. Cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes, until par-cooked. Uncover, add broccolini and toss together. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.