Friday, September 10, 2010


I made this last week when my family was in town and everyone wanted to lick the pan! It was SOO good. I used New Mexico Hatch green chilies instead of poblanos & I diced the roasted chilies instead of cutting them into strips.

Creamy Poblano Pepper Strips (Rajas)
Recipe courtesy Marcela Valladolid, 2009

Prep Time:10 minInactive Prep Time:10 minCook Time:25 min
4 to 6 servings (or 2 cups)

6 fresh poblano chiles* (or canned, peeled)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Mexican crema or creme fraiche
1/2 cup, shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Char the poblano chiles directly over the gas flame on the stove or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a plastic bag and let steam for about 10 minutes.

Add the oil to a heavy large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Set aside.

Peel and seed the chiles. Cut the chiles into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips (rajas) and add the strips to the onion and corn mixture and saute until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and Mexican crema and cook until bubbling, about for 8 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Season the rajas with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and serve.

*Cook's Note: The poblano chile is a fresh chile that ranges from mild to hot. It is a deep, dark green color and is large and wide with shiny skin. Ripened on the plant and dried it is known as "chile ancho" or "pasilla." They can also be found at most supermarkets or Latin specialty markets. Just keep your eye out, as some stores sell them fresh under the name "pasilla."

A great filling for tacos or topping for grilled arrachera. You can use virtually any chile but a mild poblano adds the perfect amount of spice to any dish.

Home Smoked Salmon

I made this salmon recipe from the show Chuck's Day Off on the Cooking Channel. It was really simple and very good. The brine is a little sweet, which I liked, but I think Matt prefers it a bit more salty than sweet. I thought the apple vinaigrette was a little too mild of a flavor for me.

Home Smoked Salmon with Green Salad and Apple Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes

Prep Time: 15 min Inactive Prep Time: 24 hr 0 min Cook Time: 30 min
2 servings

Home Smoked Salmon
3 cups hot water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons coarse or kosher salt
Pinch grated lemon zest
2 (4-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
1 to 2 cups hickory or alder wood chips, for smoking
1/2 cup water
Olive oil, for garnish
Apple Vinaigrette
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch coarse or kosher salt
Dash apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
Green Salad
4 to 6 frisee lettuce sprigs
2 large radishes, thinly sliced
1 small yellow beet, peeled and thinly sliced
Handful baby green beans, blanched
Handful baby arugula leaves
Handful fresh celery leaves
1/3 cup croutons, toasted and slightly crushed
Zest of 1/2 lemon, for garnish
To make the salmon: In a medium bowl or container, combine the hot water, brown sugar, white sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the salmon, skin side up, to the brine, pressing it down to submerge. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the salmon from the brine, and discard the liquid. Rinse the fillet under cold running water briefly to remove the excess salt. Place the salmon, skin side down, onto a rack. Let it stand until the top is dry to the touch, for about 1 hour. Do not pat dry.

To prepare your wok smoker: Lay 2 layers of foil in the bottom of a wok if you want to protect the pan from getting charred. Add 2 handfuls of wood chips to the wok and place it over high heat. Add the 1/2 cup water.

Position the bamboo steamer over top of the chips, and set the salmon fillets inside.

Cover the wok with a lid or aluminum foil, and let the salmon smoke for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until its flesh is firm to the touch, and its edges are brown, crustier and caramelized.

Remove the salmon from the steamer and transfer to a plate. Drizzle the smoked salmon with olive oil for garnish, and serve it alongside the salad.

To make the vinaigrette: Pour the apple juice into a small pot, then boil it on high to reduce the liquid by half.

Into a bowl, add the mustard and grind over some black pepper.

Add a nice pinch of coarse salt, then add a dash of the apple cider vinegar. Whisk in your reduced apple juice along with the canola oil. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.

To make the salad: Toss the frisee, radishes, beets, green beans, arugula, and celery leaves into a bowl with just enough vinaigrette to barely moisten the leaves.

Partially crush your crunchy croutons by placing them into a bowl, then crunching them with the bottom of a second bowl. Then add them to the vegetables.

Grate a little lemon zest over the salad with a grind of black pepper. Give everything a final toss and plate.