Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brown Sugar, Oats, and Blueberry Crisp - gluten free! (or not!)


The June 2009 edition of Martha Stewart: Living had this irresistible spread of blueberry recipes. Honestly, it reduced me to wiping drool off the magazine pages, because the blueberry crisp just looked SO GOOD. It looked so good, I needed to make it. I HAD to make it. It was calling to me.

I don't know about you, but when recipes start calling my name, it's time to cook. I think this crisp would be a fantastic finish to a summer BBQ, especially when topped with a big scoop of double vanilla ice cream. Mmmm.


Summer Blueberry Crisp - gluten free!

I adapted this recipe from the June 2009 Martha Stewart: Living, but I changed it so much it hardly resembles the original! I like this version better. Her crumble topping was... a little odd. It tasted a little... zingy. It was weird. We like this version MUCH better.

For the filling:
6 cups (3 pints) blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
juice of 1/2 a lemon

For the Crisp topping
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/3 cup flour (I like to use oat flour, but quinoa flour, rice flour, or plain ol' wheat flour all all good too!)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
pinch salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place blueberries in a baking dish. Mix sugar and corn starch together, and sprinkle over berries. Add lemon juice, and mix to combine.

2. Mix oats, flour, and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Add butter, and mix to combine, until mixture is crumbly. Spread over blueberries.

3. Bake in preheated over for 1 hour, until blueberries are thickened and crumbles are golden brown. Let cool. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Wow! That was easy! Enjoy!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stacked Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas with Salsa Verde


I love me some enchiladas, but some times they can be a big ol' pain in the rear to put together. There is just so much labor involved! And I don't know about you, but I don't have forever and a day to put dinner together. Sometimes, I just need to be able to put something delicious and nutritious together fast, because we are hungry now. I really like this recipe, because unlike more "traditional" rolled enchiladas, these go together in about 2 minutes. The biggest task is frying the tortillas, and if you are feeling lazy, you can even skip that.

And OMG.

The taste is amazing.


It's a little bit like a Mexican lasagna. I love the layers of tortillas, cheese, salsa, and chicken. I like the tangy zesty salsa verde contrasted with the mild creamy cheese. It's pretty delicious! This one is definitely going in my regular rotation. And it only gets better for lunch the next day!


Stacked Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 6 - 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

I made these enchiladas using The Best Salsa Verde Ever, but if you can't get ahold of any tomatillos you can always use the jarred stuff from the supermarket. I just can't promise it's going to taste as good. Because The Best Salsa Verde Ever is, well, the best salsa verde EVER.

2 chicken breasts
12 corn tortillas
4 cups salsa verde
3/4 cup sour cream
8 oz grated muenster cheese (about 2 cups packed)
fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable or olive oil

1. Roast chicken breasts in the center of the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until chicken is firm and registers 180 degrees at the center on a instant read thermometer.

2. While chicken is roasting, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Lightly fry each tortilla for about 15 - 30 seconds on both sides, until the small air pockets form, and tortilla begins to bubble.

3. Remove chicken from oven, and shred with 2 forks. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

4. Spread 1/2 a cup of salsa verde over the bottom of an 8x8x2 glass baking dish. Layer 4 tortillas on the bottom of the dish, covering the bottom of the dish, overlapping if necessary. Scatter 1/2 of the chicken over the tortillas. Carefully spread 1 + 1/2 cups of salsa verde over chicken (really - those tortillas will sop up a lot of moisture). Carefully spread 1/4 cup sour cream over salsa. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Cover with 4 more tortillas, and layer with remaining chicken, 1 cups of salsa, and 1/4 cup sour cream. Cover with remaining 4 tortillas, 1 cup salsa, and and remaining sour cream, and top with 2nd cup of cheese.

wow. That was complicated. Ok! Let's make it easier:

Layer these in this order:

1/2 cup salsa
4 tortillas
1 cup chicken
1 + 1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup cheese

4 tortillas
1 cup chicken
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup sour cream

4 tortillas
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup cheese

5. Bake in preheated oven until cheese and salsa are bubbling and lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with some chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Authentic Mexican Salsa Verde, or, The Best Salsa Verde a Gringa can Make



Isn't salsa one of those thing that it never really crosses your mind to make yourself? Salsa's like, that stuff you buy in a jar from the store, right?

WRONG, yo. You can make this stuff yourself, and hello?? It's so easy. And it tastes amazing. It's great on enchiladas and burritos (obviously) but also tastes amazing spooned over scrambled eggs or as a topping for BBQ hot dog. And THIS! This is seriously the best salsa verde I have ever had. And I should know. I honeymooned in Mexico. That makes me an expert, right? right?? Anyway, it's tangy and mildly sweet, with a kick of fresh cilantro, parsley, and mint. It makes all other salsa verde pale in comparison, and once you make this you will KNOW that fresh is better than canned any day. Make yourself a big batch and enjoy it all summer!

Have I gushed enough? Are you convinced yet? Do I need to gush at you any more? Because I can keep going all day if I need to.



On a more somber note, I have some seriously tragic news to share concerning this salsa. I can't eat it. I mean, I can't eat very much of it. I can have a taste, but that's about it. See this cute little baby? This pinchable, squeezable, roly poly little bit of cuteness with the sad expression on his face?

10 weeks

He's got acid reflux. And it makes him cry. All the time. (in case you didn't have a baby yesterday like I did, all babies spit up and it usually doesn't bother them at all, but some kids have it worse and it's really painful and uncomfortable. It's called GERD and it sucks). And you know what makes him cry especially hard? Acidic foods. Like... all mommy's favorite foods. Lemons. Strawberries. Tomatoes. Salsa verde. I eat them. He cries. I don't eat them, he cries less. (But he still cries).

It took us a while to figure this out, because James ::never:: spits up. EVER. So we ruled out acid reflux as a cause for his crying months ago. Thing is, the darn kid re-swallows it every time. So while we never see any spit-up, it's there, burning his little throat and making him cry. This week we took a second look at the baby's behavior, and it's definitely reflux. Poor baby. And I just thought he hated me all this time.

So now mommy gets to subsist on a diet of bland food. AWESOME. I'm SO looking forward to eating rice cakes for the next year, I can't even tell you how thrilled I am (sarcasm, in case you missed that). I guess that just means more salsa verde for you (lucky dog)!


Authentic Mexican Salsa Verde, or, the Best Salsa Verde I have Ever Had
from Bon Appetit, June 2007
Makes 4 cups

People not from Los Angeles: Do no fear the tomatillo. Yes, it has a Spanish sounding name for "tomato," except it's green, and it has a papery husk. It's the tomato's tart, tangy paper clad country cousin, and you really ought to get to know eachother.

Because I say so.

And I'm the boss. Of this blog, anyways. See? So pretty.



3 pounds bright green tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 jalapeños, seeded

1 + 1/2 teaspoons cumin
6 small cloves fresh garlic, peeled

1 medium bunch cilantro
3/4 cup Italian parsley
1/3 cup fresh mint, packed
1 + 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
cracked black pepper


1. Put the tomatillos and jalapeños in a large heavy pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes until tomatillos are soft. Let sit for 15 minutes.

2. Drain tomatillos and place in a food processor with cumin and garlic cloves. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add cilantro, parsely, and mint, and pulse to combine. Blend until herbs are incorporated, and sauce begins to liquify (but there are still small chuncks).

3. Return sauce to pot. Add vegetable oil, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer 15 - 20 minutes, until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool and store in the fridge. Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Best Grilled Chicken with Big Bob Gibson's White BBQ Sauce and Apple Brine


This is, like, BY FAR, the best grilled chicken I have ever had. Like, EVER. Usually chicken at a BBQ is so ho-hum. It's dry, it's bland, it's the ugly stepsister to those popularity queens, ribs and steaks. It's the obligatory white meat for picky kids and people who don't eat "real" meat. But this? Oh no. This sauce is transformational. It's the best damn BBQ chicken I have ever had.

I've never had a "white" BBQ sauce before, but apparently that's because I was born in the wrong state. Had I been born in Alabama (apparently), they would have pulled me from the womb and immediately spooned some white BBQ sauce into my mouth. Because that's JUST HOW SERIOUS some people are about their BBQ sauce.

And you know what? This sauce TOTALLY deserves it. It's won only approximately 1 million first place awards in BBQ competitions. I WISH it had been spooned into my mouth at birth, because them I wouldn't have spent 25 years without ever even knowing this BBQ sauce existed. When my mom tasted this she said "you could bottle this and sell it!" Thing is, someone already has. Big Bob Gibson, that's who. You can buy a bunch of sauces at www.bibbobgibson.com, but what I'm more excited about is Big Bob's new BBQ Book. You can buy it at amazon, but if you go to Big Bob's official website, you can buy an autographed copy. I think I know what I'm buying myself Nate for father's day.

So try it at your next BBQ already!


The Best Grilled Chicken with Big Bob Gibson's White Bar-B-Q Sauce and Apple Brine
from Bitten.
serves 8

You might think this makes a lot of sauce, and it does. Do not be tempted to halve the recipe. It keeps marvelously in the fridge, and you will want to eat it again. And don't just stop with chicken! Tastes great on veggies too.

Folks, can you believe how inexpensive chicken is these days? I bought 5 chicken breast halves (with rib meat and bones, I deboned them myself) for $5. That's really cheap protein people. And it tastes so good. Just eat it already, would you?

For the Apple Brine


1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Chicken for 8 (Mark Bittman recommends boneless chicken breasts, but I think and pieces would be great, and would benefit from this preparation).

For Big Bob Gibson's White BBQ Sauce


2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons "prepared horseradish"
(it DOES exist. Check your condiments aisle)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(don't skip! It's not spicy, really, but adds great flavor)


1. in a large bowl or tupperware, combine all of the brine ingredients and mix well (that honey is a bit sticky, it might require some elbow grease to get it mixed in). Add chicken, and let sit for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours (I don't know, maybe overnight? I brined mine for 5 hours).

2. Combine all of Big Bob Gibson's White BBQ Sauce ingredients, and mix well.

3. Preheat your grill. Remove chicken from brine, and pound with a meat hammer (or something else flat - I used a metal dinner plate, seeing as we were camping and neccecisty is the mother of invention and all that) so that chicken is of a uniform thickness and will cook evenly.


4. Place chicken on grill. Brush with BBQ sauce. Cook 6-7 minutes on first side, until chicken is cooked about 1/2 of the way through. Flip, and repeat. Chicken is done when it's firm to the touch, and (if you are really worried about doneness) registers 160 degress on an instant read meat thermometer.

5. Let chicken rest 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute. Dip in white BBQ sauce. Enjoy!