Tag Archive: Sauce

Andiamo! Italy

Olympics IV

Ciao,

We continue with our 2012 Olympic food challenge in Italy.  I like (love) Italian food.  Whenever I can’t think of anything to eat, Italian is the second thing that comes to mind – Mexican food being the first.  On my bucket list is a trip to Tuscany.  The scenery and the food and the art sound like my sort of place.  In the meantime I learn a little about Italy, listen to opera, and eat Italian when I can.  A new Italian Bistro is opening in my neighborhood.  I plan to sample a few dishes.  Red Mountain – can’t wait, Chef Jason.

A little bit of Olympic information concerning the Italians including their flag.  The flag is of course important to every nation.  Italy’s flag design was inspired by that of the French flag which was brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797. The colors are those of Milan – red and white – combined with the green uniform color of the Milanese civic guard.

They have earned 522 medals with 190 Gold, 158 Silver and 174 Bronze.  Italians are champion fencers but also pick up medals in cycling and athletics.

The cuisine in Italy as well as the wines are different from the North to the South and the east and west coasts.   Northern Italy has polenta in place of a lot of the pasta, fish is important in that region as well as beef, veal, and pork.   Southern cuisine focus is on pasta, tomatoes, rich dark green vegetables, cheese, lamb, seafood and herbs.

Where did lasagna originate?  Italy, of course. Not so!  Lasagna originated in Etheopia. The Italians attempted to take over Etheopia, but they failed.  The one thing they did take away from Etheopia and began to call their own is Lasagna.  True story!!  I’m glad to know that little bit of history because every Italian restaurant I eat in has lasagna on the menu and it is my favorite.  I love the Bechamel sauce,  cheeses and marinara sauce combo.  It is rich, spicy and so comforting.  These roll ups have all the flavor combinations I like, but are a quick meal to prepare and serve your family or a group watching the games.  Serve this with a huge bowl of salad and some Espresso ice cream with Amoretti cookies crumbled on the top is a great meal.

Lasagna Rolls

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg

Lasagna Roll Filling:

  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mushrooms diced
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups or more marinara sauce – jar or homemade*
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the Bechamel sauce.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Whisk the ricotta, mushrooms, 1 cup Parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.  Add 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce to this.  (I like a little of the taste of the sauce in the cheese.)

I used an egg slicer to slice the mushrooms.  I remove the stems and slice in one direction.  Then carefully holding the mushroom together I turn it 90 degrees and slice it the other direction.  A quick run of the knife through them is the perfect size for this roll.

 

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a glass baking dish large enough to place the rolls.  (9X13”) Pour the Bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.

Lay out the lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread a large spoonful (about 3 tablespoons worth) of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. (had to use my  fingers to get this spread evenly) Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the Bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.

Spoon some marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

*I make my own sauce and it has been featured previously as Spicy Spaghetti Sauce   on this blog.  I use this for almost every red Italian sauce I cook.  I always have some in the freezer ready to use at an insane “craving Italian” moment.

Now make your own Italian dinner and celebrate the Olympics.

Buon appetito!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday Night Garden Supper

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

Sunday Night Garden Supper

This blogging has really stirred up memories of the good food my momma used to make.  That and the bumper crop of tomatoes, squash and peppers I have this year.  Meals and Memories is what it’s all about with me some days.  Nothing is more pleasurable than picking squash, green peppers and tomatoes and then deciding what to do with them all.  Tonight it caused a walk down memory lane with my momma’s black cast iron skillet, yellow squash, corn meal, a bell pepper and onion.  Next was some pepper steak with some browned round steak, bell peppers, onions and the rest of the tomatoes I have picked this week.  My momma always had tomatoes on the window sill above her kitchen sink in various stages of ripeness.  I have a corner of my kitchen counter in the same shape.  With the heat they were all about to be too ripe.  So I diced them up and made a rich pepper steak with them.  Now if I could just get my hands on a Pecos cantaloupe I’d be perfectly fine.

It has been so hot I don’t think I’ll have too many more tomatoes for a while.  The weather man is forecasting rain, but I won’t quit watering until I see it for myself.  Probably on the 4th of July parade we will have a shower or two.

Pepper Steak

  • 1 small round steak tenderized
  • Olive oil
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bell pepper, medium dice
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, medium dice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups water or beef broth

Cut the meat in 1” pieces (I have mine tenderized at the butcher).  Lightly toss in flour to coat and brown in the olive oil.  I used about 2 tablespoons.  It depends on how much meat and flour you use.  Once browned on both sides remove and add the onion, bell pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan.  When they have started to soften add the tomatoes, water or broth, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.

Simmer this on medium heat until all the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly from the flour.  You may want to thicken it a bit more with some corn starch and water.  Serve over rice.

Skillet Squash with a Corn Meal Crust

  • 3-4 medium yellow squash
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • Corn meal
  • Vegetable oil

Slice the squash into bite-size slices.  Dice the bell pepper and onion into about the same size pieces.

Heat the oil in the cast iron skillet and just before adding the squash toss them in a little yellow corn meal.  This won’t form mush of a breading on the squash, but it does form a crust that browns in the skillet.  Don’t turn it until it begins to brown.

Drain on paper towel and serve on a warm plate.

Happy old fashioned eating from my memories to your table.

Dusting this one off for:

 

Fresh from the Garden Week-Okra Fritters

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

For This Week’s Cravings on Mom’s Crazy Cooking.

Summer is the only time to get fresh okra.  At our local farmer’s market you have to be there first to get any.  People buy it all at once!  I would share and buy just enough to cook up or maybe a little extra to freeze.  But noooo, they take it all.  This summer I am trying to grow my own.  I still won’t pass up any at the market, if I can get it.  I like it best breaded in cornmeal and pan fried.  I know that isn’t good for you, but it takes me back to my momma’s cast iron skillet fried okra and fresh Pecos cantaloupe for dinner.  Just a side for some delicious chicken fried steak and gravy.  Oh my, how good does all that sound?  I feel a cooking frenzy coming on.  I better keep writing.

These can be made with fresh or frozen sliced okra.  I have to give credit for the recipe to Paula Deen.  I have taste-tested this one with my family and it is good.  I did add the jalapenos and dipping sauce.  They just spice it up a bit, and my kids LOVE the heat.

Serve them hot with a baked brisket and a pot of beans alongside fresh sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe (icy cold).  Yummmmm!

OKRA FRITTERS WITH CHIPOTLE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon The Lady’s House Seasoning (see below)
  • 1 cup buttermilk plus extra for thinning, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups okra, sliced
  • 4 fresh jalapenos finely diced, seeds in for extra heat
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Heat the oil in a cast iron Dutch oven to 350° or until a small piece of white bread toasts in the oil.

In a large bowl add flour, seasoning, buttermilk and egg. Mix well together. Add okra and jalapenos to mixture and coat.  You may need to add a bit more buttermilk to make the batter consistency easy to spoon into the oil.

Using 2 tablespoons, scoop mixture into the hot oil. Constantly flip fritters to cook and brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Salt while still hot.  (May keep warm in a 200° oven while completing the remainder of the fritters.)

Place in a serving bowl or platter and serve hot.

A tasty sauce for dipping that I created is chipotle in adobo and mayonnaise.   Finely dice 2 chipotle peppers with the sauce and mix well with the mayo.  Make this a few hours ahead of time and let sit for the flavors to marry.

The Lady’s House Seasoning

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce for a Casserole

A friend at work, Nelda and I were discussing how the Food Network has influenced our cooking style.  I think it has improved my cooking and it has certainly made me more aware of how I can improve the flavor by using broth and fresh herbs and olive oil.  When I learned to cook with my mom, we didn’t use those at all.  She had 4 children to feed and the budget didn’t include all the extras.  Salt and pepper and maybe a dried bay leaf were her flavor enhancers.  She made good food though.  As time went by she began to venture out to try more and different things. I cleaned out her kitchen when she moved, her spice cabinet was still pretty basic.  There were more flavorings she added to cookies, cakes and pies than there were for savory dishes.

I was reading a food blog and there was a discussion about plain home cooked food and nothing would do but I was going to have a pork chop and rice dish.  I always stop at that thought because of all the salt in canned food.  I decided if I can make my own Suiza sauce for green chicken enchiladas, I can make my own cream of mushroom soup.  It was pretty good and satisfied my need for a good casserole.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce for Casseroles

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 ½ cups chopped baby Portabella (or button) mushrooms
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth or ½ cup broth/1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick skillet until butter has melted.  Add the mushrooms and shallot and add some salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms and shallot are soft.

Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes. (Adjust the liquid you add depending on how thick you want your sauce.)  Using a whisk add the broth and milk and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened.

At this point I use it as I would canned cream of mushroom soup (no need to dilute). I know and can pronounce all my ingredients.

Brown your pork chops (I like thin cut ones.) in a small amount of oil in a non-stick skillet.  Let them brown on both sides with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Remove to a prepared oven-proof dish.

I used the same skillet for the sauce as I browned the pork chops in, and sautéed the mushrooms and shallot in the oil and just added a bit of oil and the butter to melt before adding the mushrooms and shallot.

Sprinkle about ½ cup white rice over the pork chops and add the sauce.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender.

I served this with steamed cabbage and a small plate with radishes and onions from my garden.

 

Italy in a Meatball

Ever since I was young I have wanted to travel to Italy.  I don’t have any specific reason to go.  It just seems like that was the center of the universe in early days and the history, people, scenery and food are enchanting, enticing and romantic.  I think Tuscany would be a good place to start.  Well, it’s a dream.  We all need those.

When I can’t decide what I want to eat, that usually means Italian flavors are what will satisfy.  If I have these meatballs made up and in the freezer, I can pop out a few and have dinner done in a flash.  I usually have serving size portions of my homemade sauce ready too.  Of course the cheese is a good rich part of this meal. This with a nice salad and a glass of wine with the music playing softly in the background can take me away!  (Wasn’t that an ad for something else?)

I originally made this up to submit to Johnsonville for a contest.  However, as usual, I didn’t read the fine print and didn’t realize I couldn’t mention any other brand names nor show them off in the picture.  Needless to say my recipe didn’t get entered.  But it is still good and they missed out.

Italian Sausage Meatballs with Penne and Cheese

  • 1 pound Johnsonville Italian Sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese (divided) (I used reduced fat cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Bertolli olive oil
  • 24 ounce jar Bertolli Tomato & Basil sauce (or your favorite homemade)
  • 14.5 ounce dried penne pasta (I used Barilla Plus multi grain pasta)

Remove the sausage from the casings.  Add 1 egg (per pound), ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes and ½ teaspoon garlic granules.  I don’t feel the need to season the sausage too much.  It has a wonderful flavor with the fennel already.  Mix these well and make out into small meatballs.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. 

At this point, I cool them and put them in a storage bag to use later.  I cook for one so an entire batch is way too much, but this is great to have on hand for a ready-made dinner after work.

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Drain well and put back in the warm pan.  Add 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon Bertolli olive oil and 1 cup Kraft Parmesan Low Fat Cheese.  Mix well.  Top each serving with the sauce of your choice and put 4 meatballs per serving on top.  Top off with more Kraft Parmesan Reduced Fat Cheese and a little fresh basil from the garden.

I served pan cooked egg plant drizzled with Bertoli olive oil with mine.

Delicioso!  Ciao!

What is on the Easter Menu?

The Tumbleweed Contessa Gang had quite the discussion on our weekly conference call about the traditional Easter dinner menu.  I have put together 2 family recipe collections over the years, and according to my middle daughter the traditional menus have changed. The first collection would have included their father’s favorite menus.  He didn’t just have an entree in mind when he asked, “What’s for dinner?”  He had an entire menu.  I had to buy fresh meat for every meal, frozen was not allowed and I would cook from about 5:00-6:30PM.  It was a ritual. According to him certain foods had to go together.  In place of potatoes he would have chosen rice.  His mother was from Louisiana and that is what they cooked.  And actually, I’m the happiest when I can come with an idea that keeps me busy in the kitchen all evening or on a Sunday afternoon, except when I need to be in the garden, of course.

The menu for Easter Sunday seems to have taken some twists with each person’s favorites too.  But we all agreed it includes ham, hot baked bread, and a fresh crudité platter that must include deviled eggs and black olives.  Now we seem to have different recollections.  Andy’s Broccoli Rice Casserole is my recollection.  My oldest daughter insists we had mashed potatoes too.  I don’t remember that, but my mother may have made both carb-laden sides to satisfy everybody.  She claims I did this too before my healthy food kick!

Desserts are my favorite but my family wasn’t crazy about them.  If it is a holiday, it is a good excuse to make something pretty and sweet.  So, either something lemony or fresh strawberries and cream would be my favorites for Easter.  I love a good pound cake (with strawberries).  I have a great recipe you should try.  It gets more moist if you give it an extra day to brew in an air-tight cake container.

Sunny Lemon Pound Cake with Zesty Lemon Sorbet Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 heaping cup sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 quart Haagen Dazs Lemon Sorbet

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

For the syrup:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

While the cake bakes, simmer the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, let it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the sauce: (this is too easy)

  • 1 quart Haagen Dazs Zesty Lemon Sorbet

Before serving time, allow the sorbet to melt at room temperature.  Stir with a spoon and pour a little lemon sauce on a plate and place a nice slice of cake on the sauce.  It will have people licking the plate (or wishing they could!!!)

 

MiddleSister Diets

MiddleSister shares some of her favorite diet friendly meals with us.  I can’t believe my child doesn’t like tomatoes.

I have found myself saying lately things like, “everyday can’t be a food party” and “sometimes it just has to be plain and simple.”  Clearly, I am dieting.  I have been following various recipes in low calorie and low fat cookbooks.  Unfortunately, I do not like fruit, especially tomatoes.  Almost every recipe has fruit and/or tomatoes.  So, I have taken their recipes as inspirations to make my own.  A few of these follow and you can expect more the longer I am dieting.

Turkey Cordon Bleu (serves 4)

I love Chicken Cordon Bleu, but it’s pretty scary in calories and fat.  This recipe is just as tasty and served with your favorite Cordon Bleu sides, just as scrumptious.  I cooked it all up and ate for four meals.  No one else in my house eats what I do.  Be careful not to overcook as it becomes too tough and rubbery.  I overcook meat all the time because I like it all well done.

  •  4 turkey breast cutlets
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices deli ham (I prefer honey baked)
  • bread crumbs to coat (I used panko)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • non-fat cooking spray/olive oil to make the breadcrumbs stick
  • ¼ cup white wine (whatever you have laying around)
  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth

Flatten out the cutlets and then layer them with the cheese and ham (1 each).  Mix together bread crumbs and thyme.  Roll it all up and hold it together with a toothpick.  Spray the outside of the turkey with enough spray to hold on the bread crumbs.  Coat with a light layer of the bread crumbs and place in a sauté pan and cook until browned (about 8 minutes).  Add the wine and broth and bring to boil and the sauce thickens a little.  I guess about 5 more minutes.  I served this over some spinach and leftovers over with green salad.  For a heartier meal, you could serve with potatoes or double up on the portion size.

 

Sausage and Peppers (serves 4)

I was cooking for the family, Tumbleweed Contessa included, but I needed to stay within my low calorie guidelines.  This recipe was really tasty and I think you could pair it with various different sides.  I paired it with polenta cakes grilled indoors for coloring and warming, but mashed potatoes or rice would go well, too.  Or, you could just serve it with a crusty French or Italian bread and butter.

  • 4-6 Seasoned Sausages (chicken or turkey are lower calorie) I like the Italian ones.  Emeril Lagasse has some great flavors.
  • 2 bell peppers (the more color the better the flavor) cut in thin strips
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced
  • 1 onion (white, but red could be good too), slivered
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 jar of marinara sauce (I never knew there were so many flavors)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

Slice up the peppers and onions into thin strips.  Cut the sausage into 1 inch slices.  Spray a sauté pan with the non-fat spray and add the onion and peppers until they are slightly softened.  Add the sausages and Italian seasoning and simmer until the sausages are browned.  Add the marinara sauce, water and parsley until it’s all heated through.  To serve I bought a tube of polenta.  Sliced 1/4 inch and grilled on the grill pan.  I think you could add more or less sauce depending on how the side will soak it up.

For dessert, I made sugar free chocolate mousse and put them into chocolate shells.  It was just enough chocolate.

Jamaican Hamburger Salad (serves 6)

What did she say?  I was bored and really wanted a cheeseburger.  There are not enough calories in a day for a really good cheeseburger, so, I got creative.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Lodo Red Adobo (Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Allspice (Savory Spice Shop)
  • 2 tablespoons combined minced ginger and garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Bag of Salad (divided into 6)
  • ½ bunch of cilantro (divided into 6)
  • 6 Kalamata Olives (each plate)

Mix up the beef, cumin, coriander, adobo, allspice, ginger and garlic, and onion.  Shape into 4-6 patties.  Grill to your preferred doneness.  Meanwhile, plate the lettuce and top with cilantro and arrange the olives around the side.  Top with your burger and there you have it.  Of course, my husband ate his on a bun and ate some French fries.

So, everyday does not need to be a food party, but it does not have to be plain and simple either.  With a little creativity, you can make the simple slightly extraordinary. 

No Syrup for My Pancakes

Traditionally, in Anglican churches, pancake dinners are served on Shrove Tuesday (the last day of Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.  St. Francis church made Mexican pancakes and had an enchilada dinner.  So, this time of year, I always think about making enchiladas before Lent begins.  I have people who work with me who have grown up in El Paso and take for granted that everybody knows how to make the red sauce to flavor their enchiladas.  I have asked lots of questions and finally have a recipe.  This is probably not written down in traditional Mexican homes, where you learn by watching your mother or grandmother make it.  I started with the basics to find the definition of molidoMolido means ground or pulverized in Spanish.  Thus, ground red chilis = molido.

RistraIn September, you can drive through the Rio Grande valley here in El Paso and suddenly see a bright red roof.  You look closer and what you see is long red chilis placed on a tin roof drying in the sun.  That fascinated me when I first saw these.  I would suggest to my husband we take a ride on Sundays in the valley just to see the red chilis.  It was then that I bought my first ristra.  Little did I know you were to use those chilis to make a sauce.  I thought they were beautiful and kept evil spirits from your door.  I think red is my favorite color and the shades of a ristra are beautiful to look at. Don’t touch your eyes after touching the chilis. Andy, my son, didn’t listen, of course, and learned that one the hard way.

This molido sauce is used to flavor all sorts of Tex-Mex dishes from tamales, chili con carne, and beans, to enchiladas.  I think enchiladas are my favorite — rolled or stacked.  Just the combination of the corn tortilla, onions, cheese and red sauce are a taste sensation like no other flavor combination.  It is probably purely Tex-Mex food and certainly not healthful.  But, making the sauce yourself is a true labor of love.  Mexican mamas in El Paso make their own tortillas too — not me.  That goes beyond my limitations!  I’m a gringa.

Georganne, a dear friend and excellent cook, finally took the time to write down how she makes her red molido sauce, and I am going to share it with you just like she gave it to me.  I will treasure this one forever.  Here’s what she says.

My molido sauce is easy.  I wash the dust off the dried chilis and put them in a big pot of water and bring it all to a boil.  I don’t tear the tops off or remove the seeds.  Once the chilis are “workable,” (and the time varies depending on how many are in the pot), I remove them and pull the tops/stems off and throw them away.  At this point, I also get rid of most of the seeds, depending on the heat I want.  The seeds puree up right along with the chilis in the blender.  I put the chilis in a blender with a bit of the water I have just boiled them in and start pureeing.  I like my molida thick, so I just add water until I get it “right.”  That’s all I do.  It freezes up beautifully and if I don’t freeze it, it refrigerates for about a week before it gets too old.  Gary and I tried adding garlic and oregano to the molido, and one time we used beer.  But the chili just didn’t cook up as good or with as pretty a color as when we used only the chilis and chili water.

When I make a pot of Chili Colorado, this molido gets added close to the end of cooking time.  The spices are already in the pot and after I add the molido and let it cook in for maybe 10 minutes, I re-season to taste.Chile Colorado

Chile Colorado, which is a thicker stew-like concoction than chili is made when you process and cook up the chilis, onions and garlic.  I love to make the roux with bacon drippings, but oil is healthier!  After the sauce gets hot and right, I add pork or beef round.  I haven’t made Chili Colorado in a looooong time.  This is the “sauce” that most people use to make tamale fillings, too.  Dang, I’m hungry now!

Me too.  Bring on some flour tortillas and we’ll make some Chili Colorado burritos to have with a margarita or two!”

Thanks, Georganne.  But I still want to watch you make your chili someday.

Enchiladas

Red Enchiladas

  • 3-4 cups molido sauce
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • cheddar cheese, grated (or any melty cheese)
  • corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil

 

This is an assembly line set up. Grate the cheese, chop the onion and put these into separate bowls along with a small flat plate to fill and roll the enchiladas on.

Put the molido sauce in a wide, shallow skillet and begin to warm it.  Don’t boil it.  Put oil in a shallow skillet to soften the corn tortillas and keep it on medium.  Prepare the baking dish you want to put the enchiladas in by spraying it with non-stick spray.

Don’t answer the phone or step away from the stove:

Dip a tortilla in the oil and let it soften (about 10 seconds).  Dip it in the molido sauce to coat both sides using kitchen tongs. (Don’t let it soak.)

Place the tortilla on the plate and fill with onion and lots of cheese down the center.  Roll tightly and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Continue until you have used up all the onion and cheese. Place them in rows side-by-side.  If you are making a double batch you can stack them on top of each other. Pour the remaining molido over the rolled enchiladas when ready to put in the oven and then add cheese to the top.  Cover with foil and bake at 350° until bubbly (about 20 minutes) and heated all the way through.  Do not overcook.