Tag Archives: Anaheim pepper

The Predominately White Meal

This post contains recipes for white beans, chicken wraps, and Anaheim pepper salsa.

I know that the reasons for eating a meal of color are more serious than, say, not wearing white after Labor Day, but I’m bucking the nutritionists today and serving up a predominately one-color meal. Generally you look in the fridge and pantry to see what you have and today it was all white—chicken breasts, sour cream, Monterrey Jack cheese, cotija cheese, white beans. On most days, we put together a meal by looking for foods of other colors—oranges, reds, greens—not only to add color variety, but a variety of nutrients. I’m cool with that, but today, I’m just going off the beaten path and seeing what happens with a one-color meal.

As it turned out, I couldn’t avoid a little green, and then a little red, but they did show up nicely against the rest of the pale palette. It would have been neat to find white lettuce and white salsa, but the stuff they call white salsa is either a mayo-based or bechamel sauce and not that appealing to me for a chicken wrap.

Chicken Wraps with Anaheim Pepper Salsa and White Beans

  • Servings: 2-4 or 10 wraps
  • Difficulty: moderate
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I’ve rated this recipe as moderate, only because cooks unfamiliar with cooking dried beans might find that step complicated.

White Beans

1/2 lb great northern beans

3-4 cups water

chicken bouillon or stock

2 cloves garlic, grated

salt & pepper to taste

1 small can (4.5 oz) chopped chiles

Cook the beans using the quick soak method:

  1. Rinse and sort beans. You’re looking for any stray stones or dirt in the beans. It has been a long time since I have found either of these, but it is possible, and you don’t want to bite into a stone.
  2. Add beans to saucepan with 3 cups water. Do not add any seasonings yet, especially salt, which can toughen beans and make them difficult to cook through. Bring the beans to a boil, then turn off heat and cover for 1 hour.
  3. Bring beans to a second boil, then simmer, covered for 1 hour. Pay attention during the last half hour to whether too much water has cooked away. This could depend on a number of factors, such as whether you have a true simmer burner or one that is a little higher.
  4. The beans are just about always cooked enough before the second hour is up so that you can add the rest of the ingredients during the last half hour. Check beans for doneness, if you are concerned, by spooning out a few and blowing on them in the spoon. If the bean skin curls up and breaks, they are done.
  5. Add bouillon per directions for 3 cups of water (I use Better Than Bouillon® chicken base) or drain the beans and replace the water with chicken stock. Some people say that replacing the cooking water cuts down on post-eating gas. You’ve been warned.
  6. Add the garlic, seasonings, and can of chilies and simmer for another half hour, or longer if you want to cook down the liquid. I like the beans to have a little sauce and not be too dry.

Chicken Wraps

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4-8 8″ flour tortillas, warmed (I did not pick up white ones to carry the meal theme further 😦 )

1 head Bibb lettuce or any soft lettuce with large leaves

1 cup grated or crumbled Cotija cheese

1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Red pepper salsa (below)

This is a quick dish that is all construction after cooking the chicken. You could even make it with chicken pulled from a rotisserie chicken from your grocer. I like to cook chicken breast for wraps in large pieces and then slice when putting them together. Cooking them this way prevents overcooking and retains juiciness. Still, the whole breasts can be pretty thick, so I like to first slice them horizontally through to make two thinner pieces—that left me with four pieces to cook from the two breasts. I sauteed them over high heat in a little olive oil until just done, which I determine by slightly pressing on the thickest end until it just starts to not give. Then I let them rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes before slicing.

  1. Slice the cooked chicken breasts in in thin strips.
  2. Mix the two cheeses together—easier than adding them separately to the wrap.
  3. Line a tortilla with a large leaf of lettuce, add chicken, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Roll up with the bottom end folded in and the top open.

Anaheim Pepper Salsa

This turned out to be a happy accident from ingredients I had around the house. I had about 4-5 roasted, peeled, and seeded red Anaheim peppers in the freezer and wondered how a predominately pepper salsa would taste, instead of the typical tomato salsa. Very good.

Place the following ingredients in a food processor and blend to a salsa consistency:

4-5 Anaheim peppers, peeled and seeded

1 medium garden tomato

2 cloves garlic

1/2 medium white onion

2 tablespoons dried parsley

cumin and dried oregano to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to taste—I think I used at least 1 teaspoon of salt, maybe a little more

The salsa seemed a little flat, even with salt, so I added 1-2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, which was just the right note of brightness to compliment the peppers. I did not use cilantro, not only because I didn’t have any, but because I don’t really like it. In this salsa, parsley was the right taste without being overpowering like cilantro. My peppers, which had ripened to red, were a little zippy, but not with that kind of heat that overpowers flavor. I’m definitely putting pepper salsa in my list of favorites. I ended up with enough to put about 1 1/2 cups in the freezer in three containers.

Roasted Salsa for Freezing

I’m sure you’re hoping this is the last garden tomato post. Probably not.

I wanted to make some salsa for the freezer, but not that wet salsa I made last week with peaches, rather something with a lot of the moisture removed before freezing, so there wouldn’t be the separation that makes so many freezer foods unappealing. Every recipe I have found for freezing salsa says you can do it, but that moisture is a problem. So, I roasted everything—tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic—everything except the lime juice and cilantro, and pulsed it all in the food processor. It came out almost as a paste or spread and we’re going to eat it that way tonight on beef burritos. The rest is in small containers in the freezer. I’m hoping the consistency will make for a better frozen product, and I offer other suggestions for using it.

Roasted Salsa for Freezing

  • Servings: 3 cups (varies)
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°-400°

The amount of product you make will obviously depend on the number of tomatoes you have, but here is what I worked with today.

Ingredients:

  • 20-30 small-medium tomatoes (plum, cherry, bush, beefsteak), seeded—I had roasted a batch earlier in the week and roasted about 15 more yesterday
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 Anaheim peppers
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled—conversely, you could leave the bulb intact and roast whole with the top sliced off
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil for roasting

Roast and process the vegetables:

  1. 30-40 mins. You can roast vegetables anywhere in the temperature range listed above, but I like to roast tomatoes at the lower temperature. Seed the tomatoes to further reduce the water in the final product.
  2. 30 mins. I roasted the rest of the vegetables together:
    1. Quarter the onions and brush with olive oil
    2. Brush the whole peppers with olive oil and seed after browned. I did not peel the Anaheim peppers, but I did peel the jalapeno after roasting because the skin seemed thicker.
    3. in a foil pouch, drizzle the garlic bulb or individual cloves of garlic with olive oil and close the pouch tightly
  3. Let all cool before placing in food processor with cilantro. Seed the peppers and squeeze out the roasted garlic.
  4. Process the mixture until it reaches the consistency you want. As you can see in my picture, I processed mine to a pretty fine consistency, but it still has a good texture.
  5. Add the lime zest and juice and pulse again to blend. Add salt to taste.

Tonight, I’m going to spread a large spoonful on each tortilla, then add the rest of the burrito ingredients (lettuce, beef mixture, cheese). It would make an interesting spread on a hamburger or other sandwich, too.

If you want a salsa to eat with chips, use this as a base and add canned diced tomatoes or tomato juice to thin it to a dipping consistency. Here, for example, is one tablespoon of the roasted salsa base mixed with one medium, diced bush tomato. It sat for a few hours and now looks and tastes like a regular dipping salsa:

salsamix
salsa for dipping

When winter comes, and it can’t be that far away, I’ll let you know how the frozen salsa works out. Chances are I’ll be making more this weekend or next, because as soon as I got it in the freezer, my husband walked in with two more giant tomatoes.

Peach Tomato Salsa

When your garden gives you tomatoes, make salsa. All the gathered vegetables look so nice and ripe and neat before you begin, and then you create a gigantic mess of fruits and vegetables with skins and seeds to be removed, dripping their juices before you get them all into the bowl, but once it’s done and all cleaned up, there it is, conveniently waiting to be used on fajitas or scrambled eggs, with black beans or chips, or wherever you can imagine.

Peach Tomato Salsa

  • Servings: makes about 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
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A salsa recipe is pretty much all prep. You’re making a condiment to use in a variety of ways from the star of the show to a small, hidden element. I decided to make a peach salsa because they are also ripe now and it seemed like a nice twist on the traditional salsa flavors. Let’s start with my ingredients:

  • 7 tomatoes (1 orange, low-acid and 1 plum)—this is just what I happened to have gathered from the garden, but if tomatoes are the main feature of your salsa, the number of tomatoes will determine your quantity of salsa
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large garlic bulb, roasted with olive oil
  • 1 orange bell pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1 Anaheim pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 medium yellow-flesh peaches, peeled and diced

Just about everything needs to be peeled in this dish, but not necessarily at the same time. Here’s what I did:

  • Tomatoes: Using the parboil/ice water method, I peeled the tomatoes and chopped them, seeds and all and added to mixing bowl. Drop tomatoes in boiling water and remove as soon as the skin splits to a bowl of ice water. The skins will slip off. Some recipes don’t call for doing anything but chopping to the tomatoes. I think that works best for a fresh salsa that does not sit and marinate for a lengthy period. Most recipes suggest peeling, but then seeding is the next option. I did not seed my tomatoes and the salsa was consequently very liquid. I strained it after it had chilled, but you might not care, or you might decide to pulse it in a blender. I would probably seed them in a fresher salsa or if your family has a problem with seeds.
  • I roasted the garlic and peppers all at once in a 350° oven, the garlic in olive oil, gathered in a foil purse, and the peppers brushed with olive oil spread out on the cooking sheet. The peppers were charred and ready to peel, seed, and chop in about a half hour, but I did have to turn them a few times. I removed the garlic from the oven after doing that and pressed out the garlic cloves, mashing them into a paste. I wanted roasted flavors instead of so many raw flavors and textures in this salsa.
  • I used shallots instead of onion for a milder onion flavor. I suppose you could roast onions with the other roasted vegetables, too.
  • I’m not a great fan of cilantro, but I think salsa needs that flavor. Chop the cilantro to your taste. I probably used close to a half cup, and less would have been fine with me. There are probably more sites about hating the taste of cilantro than loving it. I sympathize. Here’s one: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/14/161057954/love-to-hate-cilantro-its-in-your-genes-and-maybe-in-your-head
  • Peaches can be peeled with a paring knife, but if they are not very ripe, you can use the same parboil/ice water method that you use for the tomatoes. Mine were just ripe, but not soft and juicy. After dicing them to about 1/4 inch, I put the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute to soften them and release a little of their juices and sweetness.

IMG_2270
with black beans

So, it’s all prep and everything goes into one bowl and then into the fridge to chill and marinate. As I said, I strained mine after that. Last night we ate it on chicken fajitas with lettuce and avocado. Today, I’m cooking black beans to mix with the remaining salsa for a side dish—for me, the main dish.

 

 

 

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