Monday, July 6, 2009

Guest Post by Leah - Chili Rellenos

Rellenos. Tortillas. Cerveza. Ay Dios Mio.

It could be because I am from LA? (Don’t hate) Or, maybe it’s on account of the warm weather? Perhaps, as my mother likes to tell me, it’s a result of all the salsa she put on everything while she was pregnant with me? But, anyway you look at it, I love Mexican Food. From a late night burrito in the Mission, a plate of carnitas at Doña Tomas, or my favorite: Sea Bass with Lime Caper Mole at Tlapazola in Los Angeles. Mmmmm, Lime Caper Mole… I dream that some day I will be able to re-create that sauce….

But, I digress. The thing is that it just seemed like a good evening for Chili Rellenos. While I don’t often shy away from frying, I like to bake these little babies especially when the ingredients are in the height of their season.

I had some Pasilla (aka Anaheim) Peppers from the farmer’s market that were waiting to be used as well as some left over grilled corn and a couple of Pacifico's in the back of the fridge that were just asking to be consumed. So, I called some friends to join me for dinner and headed to Mi Tierra Foods for a few more ingredients. My recipe is definitely not traditional, but it is one of my favorite things to eat.

I like to serve the Rellenos with sliced Avocado, Lime Crema and homemade Corn Tortillas (or if I am simply not feeling it, I buy the “homemade corn tortillas” from Trader Joes or Primavera and pretend like I made them at home… sssshhhh!)

Baked Chili Rellenos

6 Fresh Pasilla Peppers (same as Anaheim’s or Poblano’s)
3 Ears of Corn – Roasted and cut off the cob (can use Frozen white corn)
¼ - ½ Cup Cherry Tomatoes – cut into quarters
¼ lb Queso Oaxaca - Shredded. it is a like a sharp mozzarella (you can use mozzarella or goat cheese)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
¼ cup Cilantro – Chopped
2 TBL Olive Oil

Heat the oven to 350*F and grease a 9x13” baking dish.

Roast the peppers to remove the skin. Try to not rip the flesh of the peppers, they are very delicate. (But if you do, don’t worry, they will still be delicious. ) Cut a slit in the pepper from stem to tip and carefully remove the seeds.

All of the other ingredients should be chopped/cut so they are all about the same size and shape. Combine all of them together.

Very carefully fill the peppers with the corn mixture and place them in the baking dish.

If the peppers rip open, just spoon some of the mixture on top and try to fold over the pepper on top of the mixture.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.

Lime Crema

½ Cup Sour Cream
Zest and Juice of one Lime (it’s easier if you zest the lime before you juice it)
Pinch of Salt

Combine all ingredients

Corn Tortillas

1 1/2 cups Masa Harina
2 tsp Salt
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 1/4 +/- cups warm Water

Combine the Masa Harina, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in the oil then the water a little at a time and stir until smooth. The dough should be slightly sticky and form a ball when pressed together. To test, flatten a small ball of dough between your palms. If the edges crack, add water to the dough, a tablespoon at a time, until a test piece does not crack.

Place a piece of plastic wrap onto each side of a tortilla press.

Form a 1 1/2-inch ball of dough and place it in the center of the press, and push the lever down to form the tortilla. (If you don’t have a tortilla press, the dough balls can be rolled between plastic sheets with a rolling pin.) Open the press and carefully peel the tortilla off the bottom plastic and set aside.

Place the tortillas onto a hot, ungreased comal or cast iron skillet cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the tortilla and place it on a clean tea towel; keep it covered to keep it soft and pliable. Continue until you have used up all the dough.

Thanks to Leah for dinner and the post!

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