More Chiles Rellenos

Hi Karla,

So I haven’t posted in forever! But it’s because this is a crazy time. I had six people staying at our house this weekend, and everything has been nuts. I’ve had very little time for cooking, so I’ll do a little bit of a throwback post.

I saw that you made Chiles Rellenos! This is hilarious because Bill and I totally make Chiles Rellenos all the time. We use a fantastic recipe that I got from Bon Appetit a looong time ago, and I made this chili sauce from scratch with dried chilies that I smoke and then rehydrate. It’s stellar and the flavors are really complex.

Here’s a photo from the first time we made it that I found on my phone. This is from April 4, 2011!

We also made a tomato-mozzarella-caper-olive pasta salad that night. I remember that being very good too!

(I’m going to put all the recipes at the end. So, scroll down for those.)

It’s finally summer in Chicago, which means I’m sitting outside every day to eat my lunch. Right after mom visited a few weeks ago, I took the remainder of our arepas-with-corn-salsa breakfast to work with me and ate it in the park.

One real perk of working in a museum is that everything is so beautiful all the time!

Since I last posted, I also had some fun with veggie tacos, aka the easiest, cheapest meal around. Just toast a few little tortillas, add some veggies sautéed in your favorite taco seasonings, and top with lime soaked tomatoes, queso fresco, avocado and/or sour cream! Luckily at our nearby grocery store, this meal costs about $4, and you can pick everything up fresh on the way home. Bill and I definitely make these a lot. The ones in the picture are straight up portabella mushroom and onion tacos. It was what I had on hand. Yum!

I also went to Chinatown with Golosá. This time we went to a new Restaurant called Lao Yunan, which features the cuisine of the Yunan province. The food was incredible! Among the dishes below are Yunan Mushrooms (so flavorful!), a whole plate of Bitter Melon, the spiciest Ma Po Tofu you’ve ever had (it has that chili-spice in it that Dad talks about from the Szechuan province that makes your tongue numb. It’s phenomenal!) and lots of other stuff. It was really a treat. AND we got to meet the famous Tony Hu in person! If you don’t know him: check it out! (Tony is on the list of 100 most powerful Chicagoans!)

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Chiles Rellenos with Red Chili Sauce

(from Bon Appetit, June 2010)

* 8 large fresh Anaheim chiles
* 2 Tbsp butter
* 1/4 cup minced shallot
* 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
* 6 cups assorted sliced mushrooms (such as cremini and stemmed shiitake)
* 1/4 cup dry sherry
* 4 oz soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
* 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
* 8 (4×1/4×1/4) inch pieces of Monterey Jack cheese
* vegetable oil
* 3 Tbsp AP flour
* 3 Tbsp cornstarch
* 1 large egg white
* Red Chile Sauce (see recipe below)
* Sour Cream/sliced avocado/crumbled Cojito cheese (optional for on the side)

Char chiles directly over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Using small knife, scrape off blackened skin, taking care not to tear chiles. Carefully cut slit in each chile, from stem end to tip. Remove seeds, keeping chile intact.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and thyme; saute until shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are browned, about 7 minutes. Add Sherry; stir until almost dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Refrigerate mixture 10 minutes. Add goat cheese and cilantro; stir to incorporate.

Place 1 piece Monterey Jack cheese lengthwise inside each chile. Divide mushroom mixture among chiles; press openings to seal. (Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Generously brush rimmed baking sheet with oil. Whisk flour and cornstarch in shallow bowl. Brush chiles with egg white; roll in flour mixture to coat. Transfer to prepared sheet.

Bake chiles until browned and Jack cheese melts, about 8 minutes per side. Ladle 1/4 cup Red Chile Sauce onto each plate.

Chili Sauce

Ingredients:

* 3 large dried ancho chiles
* 2 large dried New Mexico chiles
* 2 large dried Anaheim chiles
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
* 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 2 small garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 cup chicken broth, divided
* 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
* 1 Tbsp packed, dark brown sugar

Stem and seed chiles; tear into 1-inch pieces. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add chiles to dry skillet and toast until beginning to smoke, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to boil. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes to soften. Drain.

Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darker and aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool. Transfer to spice mill; process until finely ground.

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and ground cumin. Add drained chiles and 1/2 cup broth; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Add 1/2 cup broth.

Working in batches, puree sauce in blender until smooth. Add vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. (Do ahead: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.)

View of Chicago from the University of Chicago’s new Logan Arts Center, where Golosá performed a few weeks ago.

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