Poblano and Corn Chowder

Poblano and Corn Chowder

I got some wonderful poblano peppers in some of my CSA boxes this past spring. I roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped them and then froze them in 1 cup portions. I used one of the portions to make this wonderfully rich soup.

Poblano and Corn Chowder

Poblano and Corn Chowder

5 large poblanos, roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped (about 1 cup)*
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion  and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and ground cumin and sauté one minute more. Add the potatoes and vegetable broth. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the roasted poblano peppers, corn, and half and half and heat through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

*How To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers

Gas Stove
This method works well for roasting a small quantity of chile peppers. Use a long handled cooking fork with a handle made with a non heat-conducting material. Pierce the pepper with the fork and hold the pepper over a gas flame (or grill flame), about 4″ from the heat source. Or use tongs. Keep turning the pepper until it is evenly charred on all sides. The pepper skins should turn black when properly roasted.

Dry Grill
For a larger quantity of chiles you can use a stove-top grill that fits over a gas or electric burner. Sit the chiles on top and turn occasionally to allow even charring.

Oven Method
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast the peppers on the top oven rack for about 4-5 minutes until he skins blister. Watch carefully so they do not burn.

Clean and Peel
Place the roasted peppers in a plastic or paper bag and seal the bag – or – in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Allow the chile peppers to sweat in the bag or bowl for about 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them from the bag or bowl they will be easy to peel.  Do not peel them under running water.  Peel the chile, remove and discard the skin, seeds, and the veins.


Spicy Watermelon Rind Salad

Watermelon Rind Salad

Friday evening I saw a Facebook post from Rosewood Market in Columbia, SC that read, “Come by and try a famous Bradford watermelon for yourself!” I quickly messaged them to see if they were selling Bradford watermelons and they replied that they were. Even though I was exhausted from a long, crazy day, I loaded my 5 year old up in the car and we rushed to Rosewood Market to get a Bradford watermelon. I bought one of the 4 they had left. I could barely contain my excitement.

Bradford Watermelon

So, what is the big deal about the Bradford watermelon? Well, it’s a southern heirloom watermelon known for its incredible sweetness and taste that was thought to have been lost to history. It’s rebirth is a fascinating story. Read about it here and here.

Unfortunately, my Bradford watermelon didn’t turn out to be good. It was way overripe. Juice poured out of it with the first cut. As with overripe melons, the flesh deteriorates, as does it’s flavor and texture. My watermelon was not edible. What a huge disappointment! In order to salvage what I could, I removed the seeds and processed the rind. I’m planning on sharing the seeds with some friends and with my son’s school’s Greenhouse Club. I will even try my hand at growing a Bradford watermelon in my garden next year. I have plans for the rind, as well. I started off with this salad.

Spicy Watermelon Rind Salad

rind from 1/4 – 1/2 watermelon (depending on size)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 – 2 jalapenos (to taste), seeded and minced
handful of fresh basil leaves (or Thai basil), chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (start with 1/2 tsp. and add more, if needed)

Cut the watermelon rind into strips about 1-inch wide. Cut off the outer green skin. Next cut off any remaining pink/red flesh. Slice the rind thinly. You want about 4 cups of slice watermelon rind.

Combine the sliced watermelon rind, onion, jalapenos, and basil in a bowl. In another bowl (or measuring cup) combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the mixture over the watermelon rind salad. Mix to combine. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.


Dill Watermelon Rind Refrigerator Pickles

Dill Watermelon Rind Pickles

This is the second recipe I made with the rind I had from the Bradford watermelon I got a week or so ago. I wrote a little bit about the Bradford watermelon here. Bradford watermelons have a rind that is perfect for pickling because it is a bit thicker than what you find on most readily available watermelons.

Bradford Watermelon

Typically, at least in the South, watermelon rind pickles are sweet and seasoned with spices such as cinnamon and cloves. I’m not a big fan of sweet pickles, so I wanted to try making them as I would cucumber pickles, savory with dill. I loved the way they turned out.

Dill Watermelon Rind Refrigerator Pickles

watermelon rind from 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon (depending on size)

1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 garlic cloves, peeled
black peppercorns
dill seed and/or dill weed

3 pint-sized Mason jars, sterilized

Cut the watermelon rind into strips about 1-inch wide. Cut off the outer green skin. Next cut off any remaining pink/red flesh. Cut the rind into 1-inch pieces. You want about 5 cups of watermelon rind chunks.

Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the watermelon rind chunks and cook 1 minute. Cool slightly.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Add one clove of garlic, 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon dill seed, and 1/4 teaspoon dill weed (or 1/2 teaspoon of just dill seed or just dill weed) to each of the 3 Mason jars. Divide the watermelon rind chunks and brine between the jars. Make sure the watermelon rind chunks are submerged in the brine. Wipe the rim of the jars with a paper towel and screw on the lids. Place in the refrigerator. Wait at least 1 week before eating.

 

 


Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

The Hatch green chile season is winding down. For those who don’t know, Hatch chiles are a type of mild New Mexico chiles grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. They have to be grown in that area to be considered Hatch chiles. That particular environment is responsible for their uniqueness. They are a big deal and they are fabulous.

When I lived in Texas, it was easy to find Hatch chiles. You just had to follow the smell of roasting chiles in mid to late August/early September to a local vendor. Outside of the southwestern part of the United States, it is harder to find Hatch chiles. I was lucky to find some here in South Carolina this week. I bought all they had (only about 5 pounds) and roasted them for future use. I skinned, seeded, and chopped the roasted chiles and froze them in 1 cup portions. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, Anaheim chiles or other long green New Mexico-type chiles can be used.

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

For the Hatch Green Chile Sauce:
8 Hatch green chiles, roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped* (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups chicken broth

For the Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas:
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (this is a great way to use leftover chicken)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8 ounce package mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 cup, fresh spinach, chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 ounces pepper jack cheese (or Monterrey jack cheese)
8 corn tortillas

To make the Hatch Green Chile Sauce:
In a skillet or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.  Add the flour and continue cooking for another minute. Whisk in the chicken broth. Add the chopped green chiles, cumin, coriander, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Reduce the heat to a low and simmer for about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened but still very pourable. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can puree the mixture with a hand blender at this point. Keep the sauce warm until ready to use.

To make the Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas:
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release their liquid. Stir in the shredded chicken and chopped spinach. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture until any liquid is gone.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Spray a baking dish with Pam. Spread a thin layer of the Hatch Green Chile Sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

Wet several paper towels and wring them out. Wrap the corn tortillas in the damp paper towels and microwave for 45 seconds or until warm and pliable.

Divide the chicken and mushroom filling evenly between the 8 corn tortillas. Add about 1 tablespoon of shredded pepper jack cheese to each enchilada and roll up (not too tight) to enclose the filling. Place the enchiladas seam side down in the baking dish. Top the enchiladas with the remaining Hatch Green Chile Sauce. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the enchiladas and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly

*How To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers

Gas Stove
This method works well for roasting a small quantity of chile peppers. Use a long handled cooking fork with a handle made with a non heat-conducting material. Pierce the pepper with the fork and hold the pepper over a gas flame (or grill flame), about 4″ from the heat source. Or use tongs. Keep turning the pepper until it is evenly charred on all sides. The pepper skins should turn black when properly roasted.

Dry Grill
For a larger quantity of chiles you can use a stove-top grill that fits over a gas or electric burner. Sit the chiles on top and turn occasionally to allow even charring.

Oven Method
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast the peppers on the top oven rack for about 4-5 minutes until he skins blister. Watch carefully so they do not burn.

Clean and Peel
Place the roasted peppers in a plastic or paper bag and seal the bag – or – in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Allow the chile peppers to sweat in the bag or bowl for about 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them from the bag or bowl they will be easy to peel.  Do not peel them under running water.  Peel the chile, remove and discard the skin, seeds, and the veins.

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Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Dip

I haven’t had much luck with black bean dips until now. This one is excellent. I served it at a small get-together recently and it disappeared quickly. I think the recipe can be easily doubled, if need be. I adapted this recipe from one for Black Bean Hummus with Queso Fresco found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light.

Black Bean Dip

For the dip:
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained (set aside about a tablespoon of the black beans for topping)
3 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings:
goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 tablespoon)
red onion, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/2 tablespoon)

Serve with:
tortilla chips  (or pita chips)
fresh crudités (carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc…)

Process all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the dip to a serving dish and top with the reserved whole black beans, crumbled goat cheese, chopped red onion, and fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips and/or fresh crudités.

 


Candied Jalapenos

Candied Jalapenos

My jalapeno plants have done really well this year and I have gotten a bumper crop. I was thinking about making a jalapeno jelly with some of the peppers, but run across a recipe for Candied Jalapenos and gave it a go instead. It has been four weeks since I made the first batch and they are now ready to eat. They are amazing! So addicting. They are a nice balance between sweet, hot, and sour. My jalapenos are super hot, so they make me hiccup. Even with the hiccups and burning lips, I think I could easily eat the whole jar. I think these Candied Jalapenos will be great on Vietnamese rice vermicelli (bun) dishes, as well as on sandwiches and tacos.

Candied Jalapenos 2

I found the recipe I used for Candied Jalapenos here.

I would highly recommend wearing gloves while working with the jalapenos. Trust me.

Sliced Jalapenos

Candied Jalapenos 3

Canned Candied Jalapenos