Thursday, January 26, 2012

French Nachos

Happy 2012!

Well, since moving to SwitzerFrance, one of the things that I crave most is mexican food. While it is possible to get "Old El Paso" out here, everything that you can buy is expensive and...well, just wrong. For example, a pack of 8 flour tortillas will run you about 4-5chf (about $5). And, they taste kind of sweet. I found corn tortillas and they had the texture of cardboard and a mild cornbread taste. Very, very disappointing. One of my friends even said that she found guacamole in a can with the second ingredient being PEAS.

So, if we want mexican, we've got to make it ourselves. And what a surprise I had for my husband tonight: French Nachos.

- 1 bag of tortilla chips (yes, you can find these in SwitzerFrance)
- 1 small wedge of brie*
- Taco Seasoned Hamburger which includes
- ground beef
- half an onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- Taco Seasoning (aka, 1/2 to 1tsp of chili powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper)
- Homemade Salsa (since you can't find good salsa here) which includes
- three fresh tomatoes
- a handful of chopped corriander
- diced hot pepper
- juice from 1 lemon or lime
- salt, pepper, a touch of olive oil and more chopped garlic if you like.
- Sour cream, creme freche, or plain yogurt is optional

1. For hamburger, mince onions and garlic and fry on medium heat until the onions are golden, about 5-8 minutes
2. Add your "seasoning" mix on the onions, stir and cook for just a minute
3. Add hamburger and cook until hamburger and onions are well cooked.
4. Chop/Mince all ingredients for Salsa and combine in a separate bowl.
5. Layer tortilla chips on a plate, slice brie and put on top of chips
6. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until brie is nice and melty
7. Remove from microwave, add hamburger on top and salsa. (And sour cream if you wish)
8. Eat! Enjoy! Savor the fact that YOU ARE EATING FRENCH NACHOS!

* The brie makes it French. Clearly, you can sub cheddar if you live in a country where cheddar is not a luxury item. Or you can take this entire recipe and make tacos if you have better tortillas than I do.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Asian Turkey Meatballs, Carrot Rice, & Stir Fried Green Beans

Last night in an attempt to make a meal that was new, is not a casserole and gets through my backlog of EDF issues I made Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice as well as Stir-Fried Green Beans. In both cases, I made half recipes (I'm trying to be really good about not having leftovers since we are SO bad about going back to eat them) and it worked out perfectly, except that we probably didn't need 1/2 c. of rice for just 2 people. For the meatballs, I used soy sauce instead of Fish Sauce because I didn't feel like buying another jar of something only have it eventually get buried in the back of my cupboard with only 2 spoons used! It was fine - I have no idea what I missed out on and I didn't mind it. For the green beans, I was too lazy to hunt down red jalapenos so I used the serrano chilis. They were quite spicy and the only downside I could discern was that they didn't give the dish the pop of color in the EDF picture shown here. Lastly I completely forgot to bring out the lime when serving and to add the lemon juice when cooking the beans. Again - it wasn't missed.

What I liked most about this dish was how easy it was to prep everything and then stick it in the oven for the last 10 minutes right before we were ready to eat.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I definitely want to bookmark this one for myself in addition to sharing it with you guys. Tuna noodle casserole - I used to eat this as a kid and it was basically just noodles, tuna, and cream of mushroom soup (weird stuff), with cornflakes or some such cereal on top. I guess I liked it back then, but it hasn't seemed appealing in years. Except the other day I found myself with extra cooked pasta, and tuna in the cupboard, so I looked up some recipes. I found some from scratch and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did because it is really good! You make a roux, then add chicken broth and milk, and a tasty mushroom-onion mixture. Then as expected just dump it in with the pasta and bake it. The topping on this is cheese and breadcrumbs which was really good too. Oh and I added peas for some color. I'm proud of myself that I now make things like this from scratch! It wasn't super fast for me but it wasn't too hard, and casseroles always make a ton!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poached Pears

I'm on a roll here, sharing all my dishes! I bought these really cheap pears at Haymarket and I figured they might not be the best pears ever so I wanted to do something safe with them. I also remembered seeing recipes for poached pears that looked really good. So I looked some up, threw some stuff in a pot, and boiled it for a while. I really wasn't sure how it would come out but it was SO GOOD! I ate them on yogurt for dessert and again for breakfast, but next time I want to put them either on ice cream or on pound cake with chocolate sauce.

I used these instructions from David Lebovitz as a guide. In the broth I put white wine, sugar, water, cloves, allspice, and a cinnamon stick. I think I simmered the pears for about 40 minutes, and I added dried cherries near the end. I highly recommend it!

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables I always assumed I didn't like, but lately I've discovered it's actually really good! I got one in my CSA last month and I made this really simple roasted cauliflower - you basically just put olive oil and lemon juice on it, roast it in the oven, and then dump lots of parmesan on top!

Apple Bread

The other apple product I made a few times was apple bread. I got the recipe from a friend so I don't know where it came from originally. The recipe makes two loaves but I only have one loaf pan so I halved it each time I made it. I also didn't take a picture and now the apples are gone, so all I have to show is the recipe. It is really good, with chunks of apple in the batter and cinnamon sugar on top!

3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Combine in lg. bowl:
3 eggs
1 c veg oil
2 c sugar
1 T vanilla

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients.
Fold in 3 c chopped apples.
Pour batter into 2 greased, floured loaf pans.
Combine 2 T sugar and 1 T cinnamon and sprinkle on top as topping.
Bake 60-70 min at 350.

Apple Cake

Fall in New England means apple picking, and every year I end up with more apples than I know what to do with. This year thanks to a groupon we picked a whole bushel, literally, which is two huge bags. So in addition to the usual apple crisps, I looked around for some different apple confections. Smitten Kitchen's apple cake uses 6 apples so making it a couple times definitely helped use up the stash. I put a lot less sugar than it said and it was really good!