Tortilla time II

My last post made me hungry for more tortillas! I made quasi Mexican tortillaswith spicy chicken, flavored rice, beans, guacamole and grilled vegetables.

RECIPE

mexican tortilla

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Spicy chicken

This spicy, marinated chicken is more Asian than Mexican, but the flavor goes very well with the other dishes. Use organic chicken meat for superior flavor, pound the following ingredients in your mortar (or chop finely and mix) and marinate the sliced chicken in them for about half an hour to a few hours.

Juice of 1½ lemon or 2 limes 2 cloves garlic 1 red pepper or 1 heaping teaspoon sambal A big dash of soy sauce A big dash of fish sauce A teaspoon of sugar or honey and/or some sweet chili sauce The stems of a bunch of cilantro

Drain the chicken (save the marinade) and add to a hot, hot oiled pan. The chicken will release more juice, drain if necessary and fry until nicely browned. Add the reserved marinade and boil down until the chicken is covered in sweet sticky brown juice. Serve with some fresh cilantro.

spicy chicken

Grilled onions, zucchini and bell pepper

Saute a couple of big onions (as many as your pan will take, really, you can use them for anything in the next few days) in a heavy bottomed pan. The longer you give them, the more beautifully they will caramelize and brown. It can take from twenty minutes up to an hour. Cut up a bell pepper and grill it in a hot pan with barely any oil. Add a bit of water to the hot pan every now and then, the steam will cook it more quickly. Cook the zucchini in the same way, but with a bit more oil and add a clove of chopped garlic.

grilled vegetables

Simple tomato salsa

A can of tomatoes Two cloves of garlic ½ red chili pepper (or to taste, if you can find some crazy Mexican chili or smoked chili powder or a nice sambal, go for it) Some pickled jalapeños A bunch of cilantro Salt to taste Lime juice or rice vinegar to taste A dash of sugar

Blend it all with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. I like to make it quite spicy to complement the other, softer flavors.

tomato salsa

Quick half-mashed beans

Gently saute a minced clove of garlic. Add a handful of your caramelized onions (or saute an onion with the garlic), and add a big can of beans. Add about ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, coriander seed, cayenne pepper and paprika, plus salt and pepper to taste. Take an immersion blender (or potato masher) to the pan and puree about half the beans. Add some water if desired.

mexican beans

Simple guacamole and/or sour cream

Mash an avocado with some lime juice, salt and pepper. You could thin it with some sour cream or 10% fat yogurt if you like. Cilantro is always good in guacamole, or a touch of garlic or green onions, or some chopped red chili peper.

guacamole and sour cream

Assemble!

Warm a few tortillas in a dry frying pan. I smeared my tortillas with some grilled pepper-eggplant dip. To make this, steam a chopped eggplant until soft, add a grilled red pepper (from a jar works just fine) a few heaping spoons of the spicy tomato salsa, which will provide all the flavor you need. Blend until smooth, adding perhaps just an extra squeeze of lemon or lime and salt to taste.

I also added some steamed, flavored rice. Saute a clove of garlic and an onion (or use the caramelized onions, very nice), and add a cup of dry basmati rice to the oil. Stir over medium heat until the rice turns translucent. Add a cup and a half of boiling water with bouillon (vegetable bouillon powder, a bouillon cube or stock instead of water all work beautifully). Steam the rice in a covered pan for about ten minutes, just taste for doneness and serve.

So, smear your tortilla with the eggplant (this is very optional), spread some lettuce (also not very Mexican at all, I just wanted greens and had to put them somewhere), rice, beans, fresh diced tomatoes, grilled vegetables and plenty of chicken. The tricky part is not to over-stuff, or it won't close. Add some dollops of cream and/or guacamole, as much fresh cilantro as you can stand and enjoy!

tortilla assembly

Korean food in Amsterdam

I haven't had the pleasure of eating Korean food too often, it's hard to find around these parts, but I finally found a place in Amsterdam(well, Amstelveen) that serves a good bulgogi. This barbequed beef (tongue in this particular shot) is served with lettuce, grilled mushrooms, rice, powerful sesame dipping sauces and lots of different spicy pickled vegetables like kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage). Definitely a favorite! I'll try to make it at home sometime, in the meantime, visit Damso, where we went, or pick another one of these Korean places. Sadly, you'll find none of them can be found within the Amsterdam belt highway, they're concentrated around the Amstelveen area.

korean food damso restaurant amstelveen

Caramel ginger chicken

It's evil food (so bad for you), but it's love food at the same time (so, so good).Caramel ginger coated chicken wings with sticky rice and an orange shiitake salad with an orange-ginger-sesame dressing. Guaranteed to win hearts over.

RECIPE

caramel ginger chicken

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Caramel Ginger Chicken:

This recipe comes from a cooking class my mom took with a Chinese lady in San Francisco. We rarely eat it, because my mom likes to try new recipes whenever she can, but I still consider it a family favorite. Especially with sticky rice!

800 gr organic chicken wings 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup fish sauce, warm 1 tbsp soy sauce 4 shallots, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tbsp peeled and finely shredded 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 green onion, thinly sliced Some cilantro

In a large, heavy pan, sear the chicken in a bit of oil until golden on all sides. Set the chicken aside but don't clean the pan.

For the caramel sauce: cook the sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, until amber in color, continuously stirring. It might smoke slightly. When all the sugar is caramelized, immediately remove from the heat and add the warm fish sauce and soy sauce. It is extremely hot and will bubble vigorously, so beware of splattering. Return the mixture to low heat and boil gently, swirling it around untill the sugar dissolves completely - about three minutes.

In the chicken pan, saute the garlic, ginger and shallots, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the chicken and the warm caramel sauce. Bring the lot to a boil, cover and let simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, until tender.

Serve with short grain sticky rice sprinkled with gomasio (sesame, toasted until fragrant and crushed with salt with a mortar and pestle), and salad or warm green vegetables.

. Orange Shiitake Salad:

Mixed lettuce 2 oranges divided into sections. See how to make perfect sections here. If you're lazy, just cut slices, I don't like the orange membrane so I section them. Reserve the leftover orange juice for dressing. Shiitake mushrooms Soy sauce Cilantro

Dressing:

I can't give amounts here, just taste and adjust as you go along.

Juice from the oranges and/or a lime Soy sauce Sesame oil Some ginger and garlic, minced extremely finely Gomasio (sesame, toasted until fragrant and crushed with salt with a mortar and pestle) Black pepper, sambal (chili paste) or a finely chopped red chili