Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Pancho's (Sponsored Post)

Who doesn't appreciate some cheesy goodness now and again? I'm not just talking a slice of cheese on a sandwich or sprinkled on a taco. I mean real, ooey gooey, sexy cheese, draped over everything from a tortilla chip to a stuffed pepper.

I'm talking queso. Specifically Pancho's cheese dip.

There are only two Pancho's restaurants (in West Memphis, AK, and Memphis, TN) but their famed cheese dip is available in 1200 locations across the country, including Giant Food Stores in Baltimore, and the Weis Market on Goucher Blvd in Towson. (Check their store locator--https://panchosdip.com/store-locator--for info.) People have called this stuff the Best Dip on the Planet; it even has a fan club. I can see why. It's not too thick, not too spicy, and it tastes fresh. As I was putting these dishes together, I was literally scooping the cheese out of the tub with my fingers and eating it.

But then, I do like me some cheese.

I crumbled some freshly fried Mexican chorizo on some Pancho's to make a super easy and delicious choriqueso dip. And I thought it made a brilliant topping for some Mexican-style stuffed bell peppers.


Papas con Chorizo-stuffed Bell Peppers with Pancho's Cheese Dip

2 fist-sized red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
Salt
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, cut in half from top to bottom, seeds removed
Your favorite salsa
Pancho's Cheese Dip
Minced green onions or chives

Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water seasoned with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Put the chorizo in a saute pan set over medium-high heat. Breaking the chorizo up with a wooden spoon, cook the sausage until it's crumbled and browned. Add the minced garlic, turn the heat to medium, and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove the meat and garlic from the skillet, leaving the fat. If there doesn't seem to be much fat in the pan, add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the potatoes start to brown. Return the chorizo to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Fill each bell pepper half with a heaping amount of the chorizo and potato mixture and place them in a baking pan--ideally an 8" glass pan. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. NOTE: If it's too hot to put the oven on for this long, as it is in my house right now, you can microwave the peppers for 10 minutes on a covered plate to make them tender. Then they'll only need about 15 minutes in the oven. 

Put a puddle of salsa on each of four plates. Top with a pepper half. Generously drizzle Pancho's Cheese Dip over the peppers, and garnish with the onions or chives.

Serves 4.


Posted on Minxeats.com.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

Friday, April 02, 2021

Crepini Egg Wraps

While Whole30 has been largely successful for me, I have definitely modified it to my tastes. One of the big no-nos is using a legal food, eggs for example, to replicate a non-legal food, like a taco shell. That is apparently "not in the spirit of the diet." I call bullshit, because the spirit of the diet lies in the dieter, not in the list of forbidden foods. While I have gotten used to eating potatoes as my primary starch, one can't really wrap a taco in them, or use them particularly successfully to sop up egg yolk, etc. I understand that grains are forbidden on Whole30, and I do my best to avoid all of them, including ground corn, so I won't eat a corn tortilla (though I will eat fresh corn), or rice, but I draw the line at giving up clever facsimiles made from "legal" substances. 

Not long ago, I read about Crepini wraps, made from egg and cauliflower, in a specialty food magazine. I inquired about samples, and two days later received both large and small wraps in my mailbox. I figure the large ones could be used for bigger sandwich-style things, and the smaller ones as taco shells.
 
They smelled a little farty when I opened the package, but that's the whole cauliflower thing. The flavor, however, is pretty neutral, like a flour crepe, and pretty close to the same texture. They are super thin, but not super delicate. Still, I found that I liked to double the large ones before wrapping up any goodies and tripling the small ones for tacos. I mean, 24 calories is still much fewer than the amount in a corn tortilla, right?

I tried the large ones with grilled sausages (while hubby ate a hot dog bun), with eggs as a breakfast burrito, and on their own as "bread." The small ones made lots of tasty tacos. 

While Crepini Egg Thins aren't a perfect substitute for bread, etc., they are pretty damn good. I am quite pleased that I discovered them and will be buying them regularly in the future.

Thanks, Crepini, for the free samples!

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Golabki

From time to time we get a delivery of farm fresh produce from Washington's Green Grocer. A recent box included a fat savoy cabbage. I took one look at that thing and thought "golabki." (I suppose if I were more Ukrainian, I might have thought "halupki.") I had never made golabki (the word is pronounced "go-woomp-key" and means "pigeons") before, but that wasn't going to stop me. Once upon a time I had never made, well, anything that I make now. There's always a first time.

Genetically, I am very much Eastern European. Yet I seldom, if ever, cook food from that part of the world. I think if my grandmother had been younger when I was born, and up to cooking more labor-intensive dishes like pierogi and golabki and kruschiki (oh my!), I may have learned some recipes. Or would even have had the inclination to try making these things for myself. But she mostly made soups and stews, easy things that involved throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pot and adding a handful of peppercorns. (I'm not kidding. Every mouthful of Grandma's chicken/beet/beef/sorrel soup revealed hidden spicy pepper bombs that blew out the palate for a couple of minutes.) My mother was more of a convenience foods cook, and she never made anything more complicated than Shake 'N Bake when I was growing up.

But Golabki are cabbage rolls stuffed with a combination of ground beef and rice and sauced with Campbell's Tomato soup. How hard could they be?

I looked at a couple of source recipes, including ones my cousin Dianne had sent me last year. One was her grandmother's recipe. It looked good, but those old recipes are always a bit underseasoned--aka plain--for my palate. I decided to do a riff on the classic, but with additional onions, garlic, and fresh thyme from my garden, to perk it up a bit. And tomato soup was fine, but I thought it could be better with the addition of diced tomatoes and tomato paste.

I am too fancy for my own good sometimes.

I gotta say though, my changes worked out for the best. I hadn't had stuffed cabbage in ages, so didn't have a nostalgic taste in my mind's palate, waiting to taunt me if my version didn't taste as good as my memory. My cabbage rolls were pretty damn good, if I do say so. I served them with some green beans and the leftover rice. You can serve them with whatever you want.

Aren't these pretty? Raw golabki look like fancy green brains.

Golabki

1 large savoy cabbage
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1.5 lb fatty ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 egg
1 can condensed tomato soup
Chicken stock - 2 or more cups
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Cut out the core of the cabbage and gently lower the head into the boiling water. Blanch about 10 minutes. If you notice the outer leaves softening and starting to float away from the rest of the cabbage, remove them as it happens. You don't want to cook the leaves, per se, just soften them enough to fold around a filling.

Remove the cabbage from the pot and blot it dry. Remove as many whole leaves as possible. The center of the cabbage will still be crunchy, so stop when you get to that point. I got about 19 leaves out of my medium-large cabbage. Set the nicest and larges leaves aside; reserve the rest. Discard the uncooked cabbage center or use it for slaw.

While the cabbage is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly, until softened. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Let the onions get slightly browned before turning off the heat and allowing them to cool completely.

In a large bowl, place the ground beef, rice, egg, cooled onion mixture, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Blend well to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.

Time to fill the leaves. If any of them have a tough bit of vein at the end where they were attached to the head, cut it out. Add a few generous tablespoons of filling to the stem end of the leaf. Fold over the top, then the sides, and roll up. You will probably only get one or maybe 1/2 turns.

Use the torn and leftover leaves to line the bottom of a large pot. Arrange the filled cabbage parcels in concentric circles in as many layers as needed. Pour over the condensed soup. Fill the soup can with chicken stock to rinse it and add that to the pot. Dump on the can of tomatoes. Mix the tomato paste with a cup of stock and add that, too. If the liquid level doesn't reach to about halfway up the topmost layer of cabbage parcels, add enough stock to do that.

Bring pot to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover pot and turn heat down to simmer. Cook 1 hour. Remove the cover and continue cooking for another hour. If you want a thicker sauce, turn up the heat for the last 20 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Makes 12-15 rolls.

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Happy Anniversary to Minxeats!

It's hard to believe that Minxeats has been around for 15 years already! I actually started blogging in 2014; my first blog was knitting-related and segued into other subjects. I realized I enjoyed eating more than knitting, so a food blog was the next most sensible step. 

In the last 15 years, I've made 2,678 posts and had nearly 2 million visitors. The fist post was about dim sum. My most popular post was on French Fry Hash Browns, and the next most popular recipe post was Mr Minx's tofu stir-fry

Thanks to Minxeats readers over the years for hanging in with us. I don't know how much longer we'll be doing this, but it will be at least a few more years.




* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

Posted on Minxeats.com.