Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mama's Anytime Burrito's

I have pulled this recipe out of my back pocket more times than I can count.  It makes plenty for 4-5 people and then enough for one to two servings the next day.  Most recently it was when I was at my friend Bianca's house.  The four of us (the children and I) invaded her house and the mayhem ensued.  She has a great house full of fun things (inside and out!) for the children to do...she also always happens to have delicious beer.  Hence the need to bust this recipe out again. We were home later than expected and needed something quick for dinner, easy and delicious that all would enjoy!  My babies love breakfast, hence the name, anytime of the day.  This is what happened...

Here is what you need:
  • 5 vegetarian sausage patties (use regular if you so choose!)
  • 1/2 of a large leek
  • 1 green pepper, small dice please
  • 2 portabello mushrooms, again, diced
  • 1 can good quality black beans (I most always use Goya), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, bust out your box grater
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 1 heavy tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar
  • 6 eggs (for 4 people)
  • Salsa, roll with mild or spicy, either would be fabulous
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • a 12 inch saute pan
So I start by cooking the sausage in a large saute pan.  Did I mention that you only need ONE for this recipe?!?!  That's a total score in my world.  While they are cooking I slice the leek down the middle and then make half moons out of them.  Separate those half rings and put them in a large bowl of water to clean them.  There is nothing worse than biting into "leek grit".  Blech.  The leeks will float at the top and the dirt will fall to the bottom.  Brilliant.
Once the sausage is cooked, take it out of the pan and add a wee bit more Olive Oil.

Drop in the onions, S & P and after 5 minutes introduce the garlic.  Leeks should go next along with green pepper and mushrooms.  More S & P if you please.

Everything should fit...just.  Once it cooks down a bit you will have more room to add the rest of the goodness.  This should all cook for about 10-15 minutes...then start with the spices.  Chili, Cumin, Oregano, Paprika.  Add.  Them.  All.  Then stir.

 After say, 5 minutes go and add in the sweet potato and put on your seat belt.  It's going to smell insanely good, more so than it already does,  just prepare yourself.  You are going to want to add more S & P.  While the veggie's are  getting to know one another you can chop the sausage (which ever you choose to use, veggie or something with parents).  You might as well grate the cheese and crack your eggs since you clearly have nothing else to do.  HA!  Whisk the eggs with a splash of milk.  At this point I want you to take a spoon and see if the potato is cooked, it should take about 15 minutes since I was smart and had you grate them!

If they are to your liking add the black beans and sausage just to heat them through.  Your kitchen should smell incredible at this point.  Incredible.  My kids were foaming at the mouth and setting the table, without being asked mind you!  Give the mix a few minutes to figure themselves out and then get a bowl large enough to hold the whole lot.  Dump it in and throw some tin foil over it.  Add a wee bit more Olive Oil to the saute pan then get to scrambling your eggs.  And for the love of all that is holy, don't over cook them!  Don't wait until the eggs have no liquid left.  Pour them in the warm pan and "lift" the edges to allow the liquid to fill in the empty spots.  I like to use a rubber spatula for this whole process (only because I like to use it for the eggs and why dirty more dishes than necessary?).  You still want the eggs to have a sheen on them...dry eggs are Nasty.  Capital N.

Now comes the assembly.  I have three children.  They all want to be served at once or someone is clearly a favorite...lay out your plates, put a tortilla wrap on each. We are talking assembly line style here.  I would say you can fit 1/2 cup of the veggie mix on the top two thirds of the wrapper.

Then the egg.  These babies of mine like a smaller egg to veggie mix ratio.  Do what you think will work for you and yours.  Sprinkle on the cheese...I have to go heavy on this step or there will be a mutiny.  I'm not joking.

Some like salsa next, some don't.  I am all for doing what makes the brood happy.  Wrap them up burrito style (bottom up, sides next) and...
Bon's time to eat!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My version of Tomato Sauce

I happen to make sauce in rather large batches so I can freeze it and use it for a ton of different recipes.  I use it for grilled pizzas, lasagna, pasta, eggplant parm, stuffed name it, if it involves a tomato sauce,  this is what I use.  I rarely make it on a week day when I have a multitude of other responsibilities, namely my three amazing children.  I'm sure at least some of you know where I'm coming from.  Things like sauce or chili making are weekend things for me.  If you can work it into your week then I applaud you...standing ovation even!  I cannot.
I really enjoy cooking, it's no secret to the people who know and love me.  I cook for my family 5-6 nights a week and most of those nights I am pretty organized.  The thing is, I really enjoy hunkering down and making a more involved recipe on the weekends when my husband is home to help hold down the fort.  As I type it occurs to me that there is wine in my sauce and beer in my chili and while both happen to take me a while to produce is there a correlation?  Crap.

Here's what you need:

  • 15 cloves of peeled garlic (you're going to roast these little suckers)
  • 5 portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 peppers (red, green bell, whatever is in your fridge!) chopped
  • 5 carrots (about 2 cups) grated
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine (I use cab sav since it's my favorite to drink!)
  • 6 pounds of tomatoes (in season or canned)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon basil, dried
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
  • Salt and Pepper

So get your oven cranked up to 375℉ first of all.  Then move your way over to the garlic, and be gentle already.  Don't do that quick little smash with your knife trick so they bust all up, this isn't the time or the place for it.  Peel with care.

I roast the garlic with Olive Oil, S & P in some tinfoil (make a little package out of it) and by the time the veggies are chopped and roasted so is the garlic.

I keep the mushrooms on one sheet pan with Olive Oil, S & P.

And peppers on another with the same Oil, S & P.  I end up roasting these veggies for 35-45 minutes.  Give both a little toss half way through.

Next, I take the onions and toss them in the stockpot with Olive Oil, S & P.  I keep the heat on medium/medium low and add in the bay leaves and red pepper flakes.
 After about 15 minutes, the onions should be getting all caramelly (it should totally be a word), this is when you add those roasted garlic cloves.  Do not waste one drop of that oil either...dump it all in the pot!  This is now the point where you are not to be delicate with the garlic, break them up with your spoon people!  I let the onions and garlic go for another 5 minutes or so and then comes the wine.  Since your wrist is in the pouring position you might as well get a glass and fill it...this recipe only uses 1 cup out of the bottle, please don't let the rest go to waste.  Let the wine cook out a minute then add the carrots.If it's tomato season, you should have been chopping like a mad person, if not, then get a great canned brand.  Add the six pounds either way.  Stir.

Those roasted veggies should be lonely by now...introduce them to the stock pot.
Turn your heat down to low and let that baby simmer.  While you're waiting (and it will be a while) you can chop the parsley.  Pour another glass of wine if you're empty.
After 30 minutes add the dried herbs.  Simmer an hour, stirring occasionally, then off to the food processor it goes. 

There's a lot in that stock pot, think batches.  In my opinion sauce should have a wee bit of chunk to it, don't puree the hell out of it.Now taste.  Does it need S?  P?  Yes.  Add it.  While you're at it, get the parsley in there too.  Give it a good stir and there you have it.

I always plan something for dinner that utilizes the fruits of my labor and the rest gets frozen.  Do yourself a favor...get some zip top type bags, large ones, and portion it all out.  I beg of you, for your own sanity, make sure you are using a quality freezer bag!  And don't forget to label it either!  This recipe takes some time, don't waste it with bags that won't protect your investment.  I put the bags on a sheet pan, flat, and to the freezer they go.  Once they are frozen I can then stand them up in my freezer to save some space.  Since I am freezing the lot, I usually add fresh basil to the defrosted batch as I need it.
Bon's time to eat!