Friday, July 19, 2013

June 30, 2013

Teresa hosted and all were in attendance except for Carol.  The theme was Rick Bayless/Mexican food. 

Teresa:  Drink, Sangria;  Appetizer, Melted Cheese Casserole with Mexican Sausage and Roasted Chiles (queso fundido);  Side Dish, Beans; Main Dish, Chicken Enchiladas
Tonya:  Appetizer, Guacamole
Janet:  Appetizer, Avocado and Tropical Fruit Salsa;  Side Dish, Mexican Succotash
Angie:  Salad, Mixed Vegetable Salad with Lime Dressing
Mary:  Dessert, Lime Tart


Teresa set the table with crape myrtle blooms and had a hand made kitchen towel at each of our places.  I love the colors and Teresa said that the towels ARE actually meant to be used and not just admired.  Thank you, Teresa!





We started with sangria, Tonya's guacamole (Rick Bayless recipe), Janet's avocado and tropical fruit salsa and the queso fundido.  The sangria was fruity and refreshing, the guacamole creamy and cheesey with the queso fresco and the salsa was tangy and fresh. 




Queso Fundido
by Rick Bayless

2 medium fresh poblano peppers
1/2 cup chorizo sausage, casings removed
1 white onion, sliced
salt
12 corn tortillas
8 oz Mexican melting cheese (Monterrey Jack, mild cheddar, quesadilla or asadero), shredded
1 tsp oregano

Roast the peppers until skin is blackened.  Rub off the blackened skin then pull or cut out the stems and seed pods.  Tear the chiles open and quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds or bits of skin.  Cut into 1/4 inch wide strips.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In  a skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat, breaking up clumps, until half cooked, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is richly golden and the chorizo cooked through, about 10 minutes.  If mixture looks oily, drain.  Stir in the poblano strips, taste and season with salt if needed.  Transfer to a shallow baking dish.  

Heat tortillas in a damp kitchen towel in the oven for about 7 minutes.

When tortillas are heated, mix the cheese into the chorizo mixture and bake until the cheese is just melted but has not begun to separate, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the oregano and "serve without a moment's hesitation" in the warm tortillas.

This cheese dish was gooey, mild and indulgent.  I was full after just appetizers!




For the salad course, I prepared Rick Bayless' Mixed Vegetable Salad with Lime Dressing.  The recipe gave different groupings of vegetables to mix and match from.  Everyone liked the potatoes and thought it was a unique green salad ingredient.  The salad was colorful and garnished with red onion and egg.  The lime dressing did not wow me however it did not overwhelm the other ingredients.






Our side dishes were beans and Mexican Succotash.  The beans are a traditional Mexican side dish and they were hearty and flavorful.  I loved the succotash.  Anything with fresh corn is a winner in my book.  The poblano chile and cilantro is what gave this dish its Mexican flavors.

Teresa picked Rick Bayless' Creamy Enchiladas with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile as the main course.  These enchiladas were full of chicken, had a kick from the peppers and a nice sauce with a  layer of cheese.  We did not remove the seeds from any of the peppers and some thought these were almost too spicy.  Fortunately, the succotash and beans helped with the heat.

Creamy Enchiladas with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile
by Rick Bayless
serves 4 to 6

3 pounds ripe tomatoes (round or plum) OR 2 - 28 oz cans whole tomatoes
3 Serrano or 2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed (remove some seeds if you want milder)
1 1/2 tbs vegetable oil or pork lard
1 white onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup creme fraiche, crema or heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2/3 cup shredded Mexican melting cheese (Chicuahua, quesadilla, asadero, Monterrey Jack or mild cheddar)
12 corn tortillas
white onions and fresh cilantro for garnish

Roast the tomatoes and chiles on a baking sheet below a hot broiler until darkly roasted, about 6 minutes.  Flip over and roast the other side, 5 to 6 minutes.  Pull off and discard the blackened skins from the tomatoes.  Put the tomatoes and chiles in a food processor (or blender), along with juices on the baking sheet, and blend until smooth.  

Heat the oil or lard over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until golden, about 7 minutes.  Raise the heat and when the pot is noticeably hotter, stir in the tomato puree.  Cook, stirring until darker in color and thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, 10 to 15 minutes.  Taste and season with salt.  Stir the crema (or stand in) into the sauce. 

Put the chicken in a bowl and stir 1/2 cup of the sauce into the chicken.  Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish.  Lay the corn tortillas out on a baking sheet and lightly brush or spray both sides with oil . Bake just to warm and soften, about 3 minutes (WE SKIPPED THIS STEP as our tortillas were so fresh and pliable).  Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Roll a portion of the chicken up in each tortilla, then line up in the baking dish.  Douse evenly with the remaining sauce, sprinkle with the cheese and bake about 15 minutes.  Garnish with the onion rings and cilantro sprigs. 

The sauce can be made a day or two ahead. 



Mary made a beautiful Lime Meringue Tart.  The crust was crunchy and sweet.  The filling was light and creamy.  The meringue was beautifully browned.  This was the perfect desert after the cheesy, spicy enchiladas.

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