Chilaquiles Rojos

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Chilaquiles are supposed to be a breakfast dish but let’s be real: chilaquiles are (a) rich enough to carry me through the day and (b) extremely delicious so let’s just eat them for lunch or dinner, too. Breakfast for dinner, amirite?

The red chile sauce is a little time-consuming here but once you have that out of the way, the rest of the dish is easy to assemble.

Chilaquiles rojos

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 8 medium), halved lengthwise, preferably Roma
1 onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed and seeded
5 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 quart water
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems separated, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 eggs
12 cups thick corn tortilla chips
2 avocados, sliced
8 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1/2 cup Mexican crema, for serving

1. Preheat broiler with oven rack in middle of oven. Place tomatoes, cut sides up, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet, and broil in preheated oven on middle rack until charred, about 20 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chiles and garlic cloves, and cook, turning often, until chiles are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove chiles from skillet. Continue cooking garlic cloves, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and softened, about 10 minutes total. Let garlic cloves cool; peel and set aside.

3. Bring 1 quart water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add toasted chiles, and boil, stirring occasionally, until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid.

4. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, oregano, salt, reserved cooking liquid, and 1 cup cilantro stems in a blender. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Set red chile sauce aside.

5. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium. Crack eggs into skillet. Cook until edges are set and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Cover skillet, and cook until whites are set and yolks reach desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes for runny yolks. Transfer eggs to a plate. Add red chile sauce to skillet over medium. Bring to a simmer. Pour red chile sauce over chips in a large bowl; toss to coat. Divide chip mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with eggs, avocado slices, queso fresco, crema, and desired amount of cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Laotian-Style Khao Soi

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“Anytime I’m eating spicy noodles in a bowl, I’m happy.” – the late, great Anthony Bourdain.

He was right, of course. I can’t think of much that’s more satisfying than a bowl of noodles. This Laotian-style khao soi is a lot different than its richer, northern Thai-style counterpart, down to the zucchini ribbons that are served alongside rice noodles for a lighter bowl. It’s perfect on a sweltering summer day.

Laotian-Style Khao Soi

Ingredients:

3 dried Thai chiles
1 cup hot water
3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound ground turkey
1 plum tomatoe, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup soybean paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 bunch cilantro
8 cups chicken broth
14 ounces dried thin rice stick noodles
3 cups zucchini ribbons
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
Black pepper
Lime wedges

1. Crumble Thai chiles into a medium heatproof bowl. Add 1 cup hot water; let stand 15 minutes. Drain chiles; discard liquid. Process chiles, oil, and garlic in a mini food processor until chiles are very finely chopped, about 30 seconds.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add chile mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add turkey; cook, stirring occasionally to break pork into small pieces, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, soybean paste, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, sugar, and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced and turkey is coated with sauce, about 8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, separate cilantro stems from leaves. Chop leaves to yield about 1/2 cup; set aside for garnish. Stir together chicken broth, cilantro stems, and remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium. Uncover; strain and discard cilantro stems. Cover broth; keep warm over medium-low.

4. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles, and divide evenly among 8 serving bowls. Add zucchini ribbons to hot broth; cook over medium-low until just tender, about 1 minute. Using tongs or a spider, remove zucchini from broth and divide evenly among serving bowls. Top each bowl with about 1/4 cup turkey mixture and 1 cup hot broth. Sprinkle bowls evenly with mint and reserved chopped cilantro. Garnish with black pepper and serve with lime wedges.

Smash Burgers with Secret Sauce

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I never really loved burgers (outside of the ones my maman makes) until Gott’s Roadside came along. A Napa institution, Gott’s has made its way around the Bay Area. The produce is fresh, the meat is local, and there are no iffy secret ingredients. We occasionally have Gott’s as a treat, and this is how I’ve come to love burgers. And now I make a homestyle version myself, and truth be told, it’s the sauce that really carries these burgers. Don’t skip the chipotle peppers here — they’re what take these burgers over the top.

Smash burgers with secret sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 chipotles in adobo and sauce from a can
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (20% percent fat)
4 hamburger rolls
1/2 head of romaine or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated, torn into pieces about the size of the buns
1 onion, very thinly sliced into rings
4 thin tomato slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 thin slices cheddar cheese

1. Heat a cast-iron griddle over high until heated.

2. Make the sauce: mix together pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, adobo sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set special sauce aside.

3. Divide beef into 4 6-ounce portions (don’t form into patties). Place portions between 2 sheets of parchment paper, spacing 6 inches apart, and, using a meat mallet, firmly smash to create patties, about 5″ across. Transfer to a baking sheet.

4. Quickly warm the hamburger buns in the hot skillet, turning once, until buns are warmed through, about 1 minute. Spread sauce over cut sides of buns. Place 3–4 pieces of lettuce on bottom buns and top each with some onion and a tomato slice.

5. Add oil to skillet. Season patties lightly with salt. Place patties in skillet, seasoned side down, and season top sides lightly with salt. Cook, undisturbed, until outer edges are brown and undersides are crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip and place a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Transfer patties to buns with toppings.

Three-Cheese Sausage Lasagna

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You probably already have a favorite classic lasagna recipe. I do too. But also, now I have two. I mean, there’s no such thing as too much lasagna.

This lasagna is straightforward but does take some time to put together. It’s worth it, because you’ll have leftovers for days. Delicious, cheesy, leftovers.

Three-cheese sausage lasagna

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 ounces ground beef
6 ounces Italian sausages, casings removed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Lasagna:
1 package lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces)
2 15-ounce containers ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound)

1. Make the sauce: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic; saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; saute until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 7 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Cover and simmer until sauce measures about 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and let sauce cool.

2. Make the lasagna: Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water.

3. Combine ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.

4. Drain pasta. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish. Place 5 noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 5 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Arrange remaining 5 noodles over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over lasagna. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.

Steak and Kimchi Rice Bowls

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I could probably eat rice bowls every single day. Give me a bowl, give me rice (obvs), and top it with all the tasty things. These steak and kimchi rice bowls are protein packed and super healthy: brown rice, avocados, spinach, sunflower seeds, and kimchi make this a energy-packed meal.

Steak and kimchi rice bowls

Ingredients:

8 ounces to 1 pound boneless rib-eye steak, trimmed (you can also use hanger or sirloin steak)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cups brown rice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 avocado, cubed
3/4 cup kimchi
4 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1. Sprinkle steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 day.

2. Cook brown rice according to package instructions. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Meanwhile, separate shallot slices into rings. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until browned and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a plate; set aside.

4. Add mushrooms and 1/8 teaspoon salt to the pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add green onions and cook, stirring, until tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.

5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Cook the steak, turning once and adjusting the heat as necessary, until browned 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on how you like your steak. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into cubes.

6. Transfer the rice to the bowl with the vegetables and add avocado, kimchi, spinach, and the steak; toss with lemon juice and gently mix to combine. Divide among 4 shallow bowls. Top the rice mixture with the shallots and sunflower seeds.