Tag Archives: Yellow onions

Sopa seca de Fideo y Camarones

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Fideos (vermicelli) are much loved in Mexico, where they form the basis of thick, delicious soups. Usually the soups are served as a first course, but our hearty shrimp version is a meal in a bowl.

The name “sopa seca de fideo” translates to “dry soup with noodles”. It’s not soup, it’s called a “dry soup” because the noodles absorb all of the wonderful rich stock, making the noodles taste more delicious than you can possibly imagine.

Although it can be made with straight noodles, I have found if easier to make fideo with the twirled angel hair nests. It’s pretty, and easier to serve that way, one nest per individual  serving.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 dried ancho or pasilla chiles*
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. dried angel hair nests or vemicelli
1/4 cup olive  oil
One medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 quart chicken broth
1 pound (30 to 35 per lb.) peeled, deveined shrimp, tails left intact
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For Serving:
1/2 cup sour cream
Queso Fresco
Diced avocado

Directions:
Break stems off chiles and shake out seeds. In a small bowl, cover chiles with hot water and let stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.

Brown the angle hair nests: Choose a frying pan with a lid in which the angel hair nests will all tightly fit in a single layer (about 9 or 10-inches wide, depending on the brand of angel hair nests you use). In the pan, heat the oil until shimmering hot. Working in batches, fry the vermicelli angel hair nests on both sides in the hot oil until golden brown in color. Remove from pan.

Sauté onions and garlic, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles. Add tomatoes, cumin seeds and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook angel hair nests in the broth. When broth is simmering, place the browned angel hair nests or vermicelli in a single layer in the pan, nestled into the broth. The nests should cover the whole pan. Turn them over in the broth so that they get moistened on all sides. Cover and cook until the vermicelli has soaked up the liquid, about 5 minutes.

If after 5 minutes the top of the vermicelli is dry, flip over the individual angel hair nests and cook a minute longer. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon soup into wide, shallow bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and some avocado, if you like, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook’s Notes:
Vermicelli usually comes in 1 pound packages, so about 1/2 a package can be used for this recipe. If you cannot find angel hair nests at the market, you can make fideo with straight vermicelli pasta. Just break up the pasta in 3 to 4 inch long segments and cook the same way as you would the nests, browning them first in hot oil.

*Good dried chiles are soft, flexible, and smell a bit like prunes. Avoid hard, brittle specimens—they’re old and less flavorful.

How Hot Is Your Chile? To assess a chile’s heat, slice off its top through the ribs and seeds, where the heat-producing compound capsaicin is concentrated. Touch the slice to your tongue. If you want your food to be milder, split the chile and scrape out all or some of the ribs and seeds. If your skin is sensitive, wear kitchen gloves or hold the chiles with a fork—and don’t touch your eyes.

The trick to a great sopa seca de fideo is the chicken broth. If you do not have the time to make your own homemade chicken stock, you can easily use bouillon, boxed broth, and canned chicken stock. While bouillon and the boxes work in a pinch, nothing beats homemade stock for this recipe. It brings a richness that can’t be had any other way. So if you try it, I strongly urge you to use homemade stock!

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Pimento Cheese Muffins

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Adapted from Lincoln Carson
Food&Wine Magazine, December 2014

Chef Lincoln Carson’s  mixes his version of pimento cheese into a muffin  batter, that gives you those cheesy, peppery flavors in every bite. The muffins can be made ahead time and you can keep them at room temperature overnight.

The original recipe also  called for Pimento cheese, to be served on side, but I opted for a homemade fruit jelly made of plums. The sweetness of the jelly and the spicy cheesy muffins were a perfect combination.

Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tablespoon Harrisa(See Cook’s Note)
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
3 Tablespoons sliced scallions
3 Tablespoons minced parsley
1  1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
5 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups)
3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese (1/2 cup)
4 ounces drained jarred pimientos, chopped (1/2 cup)
Plum, Grape or Apple Jelly, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the paprika, salt, baking powder, baking soda and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the eggs, butter, harissa, chives, onion, scallions, parsley and Worcestershire until smooth. Whisk into the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in the cheese and chopped pimientos.

Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop the batter into 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 18 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and serve with  your favorite fruit jelly.
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COOK’S NOTES: The original recipe called for a Harissa Paste, the brick-red Tunisian chile paste, is available at specialty food stores and markets like Whole Foods. In this adaptation, Williams-Sonoma Harrisa Spice was used. You can also make you own harissa seasoning with this recipe provided by Whole Foods.

 

Lobster Tacos

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Sometimes, you have to come out of “shell” and try something new.

Such is the case with me trying out this new Shrimp Taco tacosSeasoning Mix from McCormick®, that caught my eye in the spice aisle at the local supermarket. I usually make my own spice mixes, but I thought this would be easier for a change of pace.I also like using Old El Paso® Crunchy Taco Shells, I have used for Old El Paso® products for years and I just find them ever so reliable. Instead of using shrimp, as the spice packet advises, I decided to used 1 pound of Maine lobster meat, just to give this recipe a twist. tacoshellscrunchyI am sure that you could also substitute the shrimp for a white fish like tilapia or cod for easy fish tacos on soft flour tortillas, as well.

 

Serves 4
Ingredients:
For the Pico de Gallo:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
Fresh lime juice, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Cilantro Coleslaw:

1 head green cabbage, sliced thin
1 head purple cabbage, sliced thin
1 small jalapeño, seeded an diced
2 cups whole milk, plus more for thinning
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, barely chopped

For the Lobster:

1 package of McCormick® Zesty Garlic Shrimp Taco Seasoning
Mix
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 pound of cooked lobster meat, chopped into chunks
8 6-inch Old El Paso, crunchy corn tortilla shells
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 325ºF.

To make the pico de gallo, in a bowl, stir together the onion, jalapeños and tomatoes. Season with lime juice and salt. Set aside.

To make the cilantro coleslaw, combine the shredded cabbage and jalapeño in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Add more milk if you like the dressing a little thinner. Pour over the cabbage. Toss to combine. Just before serving, toss in the cilantro. Can mix the slaw up to 2 hours before serving.

For the taco shells, unwrap the store bought taco shells and place them  on a baking sheet and pull apart slightly. Bake at 325ºF for 6 to 7 minutes until crisp.

Heat oil and water in a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the lobster meat and Seasoning mix an stir for about 2 minutes or just until lobster is heated through.

To assemble the tacos, add shredded lettuce, coleslaw, lobster meat and cheese. Serve on a platter with the pico de gallo on the side.