J and I had a dinner party a month or so ago. It was Tex-Mex themed. I tried to pull together a table setting out of my mismatched dishware. It didn’t turn out half bad.
As for the menu:
- Chipotle chicken and chickpea soup
- Cheese or chicken enchiladas stuffed with corn and bell peppers
- Tomatillo salad
- Green Rice
- Beans, guac, chips, and salsa as sides
There might have been more, but I’ve forgotten in the meantime. It was a little hard planning the menu because we had one person who was vegetarian and another who was lactose intolerant. I am compelled to put cheese or meat in everything so these specifications were a nice challenge. In the end I think we ended up with something for everyone. The main ingredient that tied everything together was chipotles en adobo. (I used the chilis in the soup, salad, and enchiladas.) If you haven’t tried chipotles en adobo, I highly recommend picking up some at the supermarket. I use them in many dishes. One of my favorite ways to eat them is to grind them up with cilantro and macnuts to make a pesto of sorts. This spread is then used to make roasted bell pepper and cheese paninis. It is a recipe I threw together a while ago. It is constantly evolving. If I ever write down how much of each ingredient I put in, I’ll blog about it.
But I digress…
Both the green rice and tomatillo salad are from Williams–Sonoma (“Savoring America” and “Savoring Mexico”, respectively). Don’t let my terrible photography skills fool you; both of these are wonderfully delicious side dishes. The tomatillo salad was especially pleasing. I love tomatillos and was happy to find a recipe that featured them as the main ingredient. They have a nice texture and taste faintly like granny smith apples…
I didn’t take many pictures of the food because I was too busy timing everything so it was hot and fresh when the guests arrived.
“Ensalada de Verano” (summer salad) Here I go cooking out of season food again….
- 1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed and chopped in pieces
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped (i think I used a red onion…)
- 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1 cup crumbled queso anejo aka cheese (i used canned sweet corn instead)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 or 2 chiles chipotles en adobo, finely chopped (i added some sauce too)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt to taste
- lime (this was not in the recipe, but i wanted some more tang. it should be mentioned tomatillos are already very acidic, but i wanted lime flavor. perhaps one could use lime salt?)
1) Combine tomatillos, onion, and cilantro
2) To make dressing,wisk together all dressing ingredients until the brown sugar is disolved.
3) Coat tomatillos with dressing and sprinkle with cheese.
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
1) In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the stock nd the water and bring to a simmer. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add rice and cook, stirring occassionally until the grains are separate and opaque, 2-3 minutes. Gradually stir in the simmering stock, then reduce the heat, cover, and cook undistured until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender, about 20 minutes.
2) While the rice cooks, ina food processor, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, green onions, garlic, remaining oil, salt. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl as needed, until fairly smooth.
3) Remove the rice from the heat. Dollop the cilantro puree evenly over the surface of the rice, cover, and let stand undisturbed for 5 minutes. Uncover and throughoutly stir the puree into the rice, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve immediately.
***I did not do most of step 3 (the whole waiting 5 minutes bit). And then let the rice sit in a warming oven for approx 30 minutes. It tasted just fine.