It was a simple question that came from my brother's wife: "When you come home to visit your mom, do you think you could show us an easy stir-fry recipe with ingredients that I've heard of before?" I was so excited, so thrilled to share, that I planned out a whole cooking workshop. The "simple stir-fry" request turned into a 6 hour hands-on cooking lesson that ranged from breaking down a whole chicken, making stock to creating six different meals.
My wonderfully creative brother and his equally awesome and patient wife stuck with me, laughing and cooking through our culinary marathon.
We began with knife skills and moved into flavor combinations. I prepared flash cards that broke down three techniques: Roasting, Saute, and Braising. I had vocabulary cards to help with the pronunciation of Mira Poix and Mise en Place.
At the end of the night, with droopy eyes and a refrigerator packed with 2 weeks worth of food, they were still laughing and practicing the concepts.
During my travels, the time for picking the next ingredients for Paper Chef (one of the oldest running online cooking events) arrived and I used my brother as a human "randomizer". He didn't realize what he was picking, but was relieved to find out it had nothing to do with cooking yet another entree.
I had set up to make my first mobile posting to my blog from my phone (I didn't have a computer with me). The tech-gods were not on my side. After a couple hours trying to post from my phone, I gave up and saved the reveal for when I returned to California.
The ingredients for Paper Chef #53 are:
And the fourth of my own choosing came from feeling like the whole posting fiasco was like swimming upstream: SALMON
I was more than happy to see that these are all workable and I think pretty exciting. I can't wait to see the creations. This would be a great month to ask a friend if they would like to join in the fun. I'm thinking of asking my newly educated brother and sister-in-law to give it a shot.
The Paper Chef Challenge gives the cook a free range to create anything they want from the four given ingredients, take a picture of them, and either send the post you create or the pic and info to Paper Chef. Read all about it here.
One of my brother and sister-in-law's favorite entrees we prepared were the Tex-Mex-Chickiladas. A tray of these are real flavor-pleasers and freeze well, too.
2 chicken legs and 2 chicken thighs
2 tbls. olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 large can tomatoes
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 lime (juiced and zested)
1 jalapeno pepper (minced)
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
3 Tbls. Cilantro (fresh and chopped)
1-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream, chopped green onion for garnish
salt/pepper to taste
1) Salt the chicken pieces, then saute in olive oil until browned on all sides.
2) Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, then pour in the rest of the stock.
3) Bring to a simmer, cover and cook the chicken til tender. Remove the chicken. After cooling, pull the chicken meat off the bones and reserve the meat, discarding the bones. Keep the pan sauce for later use, also.
4) In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes, corn, lime juice and zest. Hold.
5) In a skillet, cook the onion, garlic and jalapeno on Med. til tender.
6) Pour in the reserved pan sauce, and the tomato mixture. Cook on Med/High until reduced by 1/3.
7) In an 8x8 inch baking pan or glass baking dish, spread about 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom.
8) Dip each tortilla in the remaining cooked sauce and lay flat in the baking dish. Place a few pieces of the reserved chicken down the center of each tortilla, fold in thirds and lay seam side down in the baking dish.
8) After all the tortillas are filled, folded and lined up in the pan: pour the remaining sauce over the Chickiladas, sprinkle the top with chopped fresh cilantro, then cover in shredded cheese.
9) Bake at 350F for 20 minutes (OR Freeze and bake later).