Monday, January 30, 2017

Crab Cake Salad

The other day, while strolling the aisles of my local Trader Joe's, I came across lump crab meat in the freezer section. Without a lick of hesitation, I grabbed a box and headed straight for checkout (I already had way too many unnecessary items in my basket). I can't say no to a good crab cake. One of my favorite brunch menu items are Crab Cake Benedicts, if a restaurant has got them, I'm ordering them. Anyway, I threw together a bunch of seasonings and a few binders and voila! I made myself some crab cakes. I had some leftover potato wedges from the night before, so I warmed those up in a pan and threw those on top of my salad. If you've never had a warm potato salad, I must insist you try it! You won't be disappointed. 

Crab Cake Salad

What you'll need:
  • 8 oz lump crab meat
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 heaping tbsp mayonnaise (I used Chosen Food's new Harissa Avocado Mayo)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp green bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salad greens
  • potato wedges or cubes, or even tator tots
  • feta cheese (optional)
What to do: 
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, chili powder, cayenne, dill, parsley, and garlic until combined. Stir in the lump crab meat, bell pepper, and cilantro until just coated. Add the almond flour and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. 
  2. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly divide the crab mixture. Roll into a ball and carefully flatten into a disk (use a light touch). Set them aside on a plate. I was able to make four 2.5-3 inch crab cakes. Heat a cast iron or other heavy bottom pan with olive oil (or ghee!) over medium heat. 
  3. Carefully place the crab cakes into the pan and let them cook about 8-10 minutes on medium low. Cover the pan after about 4-5 minutes. Remove the lid and flip. Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the cakes have browned. 
  4. Serve atop a bed of salad greens, with warmed potatoes and feta cheese. Toss with your favorite dressing, or just a lemon wedge!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chicken Enchiladas (Instant Pot)

Lately, I've been feeling rather uninspired in the kitchen. Maybe it's all this rain we've been getting in California that makes me not want to do anything but, Netflix and Chill. But anyway, I can't blame the rain, I actually like it. So the other day, I was rummaging through my freezer (I have one of those fridge/freezers with the freezer on the bottom where things just get lost in the abyss, so to speak), and I found a half full container of red tomatillo salsa I had made for this recipe I guest posted over at my friend, Steph's website, Stupid Easy Paleo. Then I thought to myself, enchiladas! They're relatively simple to whip up and always delicious. I was also able to scrap together enough frozen chicken thighs to make a decent sized meal. BUT, they were frozen. And I was hungry, like yesterday.

Since I was in a pinch, I remembered that my Instant Pot can pretty much cook a whole meal in about 30 minutes or less. This was my first time actually cooking with it; I've only ever made bone broth with it. First time for everything, Am I Right? Anyway, feel free to use your own enchilada sauce in place of the tomatillo salsa.

Chicken Enchiladas

What you'll need:

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs/breast (I used thighs and trimmed the excess fat)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup red tomatillo salsa (recipe below) + additional 1/2 cup for layering
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 chipote peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • pinch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water or broth
  • tortillas (homemade or storebought)
  • smoked mozzarella, crumbled feta (optional, or use your favorite cheese)
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish

    Ingredients for red tomatillo salsa
  • 1/2 lbs tomatillos, husked removed and rinsed
  • 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 dried Guajillo chili peppers, seeds removed
  • 2 dried California or New Mexico Chile peppers, seeds removed 
  • 1 cup hot water
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1-2 tsp honey, optional

What to do:

To make the red tomatillo salsa
  1. Place the tomatillos, garlic, and onions on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and broil for 10 minutes. In the meantime, toast the dried chili until they start to blacken. Remove from heat and place the dried chilies in a bowl of hot water. Allow the chilies to rehydrate in the hot water for 30 minutes. Using the same pan, toast the cumin seeds and dried oregano until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes), remove from pan and add to a blender/food processor. 
  2. Check the tomatillos after the 10 minutes and flip to broil the other side for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove the tomatillos, onions and garlic from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Peel the garlic cloves. Add to the same blender/food processor as the toasted spices. To the blender, add the cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, rehydrated chilies, and 1/4 cup of the pepper water (water that was used to rehydrate the chilies). Pulse to combine. Taste, and season if needed. Stir in honey if it's too tart.
To make the enchiladas
  1. Set the Instant Pot to, "Saute" Allow the pot to heat up for about 3-5 minutes, with the lid off. Add 1 tbsp of oil along with the onions, garlic, and shallots. Saute until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and chopped chipotle peppers and stir to coat. Add the chicken in a single layer and top with 1/2 cup of salsa (or enchilada sauce) and 1/4 cup water or broth. Replace the lid and turn to lock. Set the Instant Pot to "Poultry" and let it work it's magic (about 15 minutes actual cook time, but give the Instant Pot time to build up pressure).
  2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400F. Make your tortillas (I used Steph's recipe) or prepare storebought ones. Assemble your enchilada toppings, cheese, sauce, etc in a manageable line. Once the chicken is done cooking, release the vent of your instant pot. Remove the lid once it has completed venting and shred the chicken. 
  3. Spread 1/4 cup sauce/salsa on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place some shredded chicken and cheese in the center of the tortilla. Roll up to contain the filling. Place the tortilla, seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas (I rolled about 8). Pour the remaining 1/4 cup sauce/salsa  over the top. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. Or until it is bubbly and cheese is melted and browned. Garnish with chopped cilantro. 

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