Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Kill E. coli on Vegetables

Monica Reinagle, The Nutrition Diva, has the answer and it is not the one that I thought I knew. Everyone ought to get this information and be sure you listen to it all.
I wondered whether these very toxic strains of E. coli might be especially hard to kill. It turns out that they’re not really that invincible—they’ve just developed some very clever survival tactics. “If these E. coli bacteria were just floating around in a bucket of water, a little bleach or even some vinegar would kill them right away,” Dr. Brackett explains. “But once the bacteria have attached themselves to the surface of a vegetable, they become much harder to kill.”
You may read or listen to her information at the link, which I heard on her podcast.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I'm Reading: Tender by Nigel Slater (UPDATED)

Tender: Volume I: A Cook and His Vegetable PatchTender: Volume I: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nigel Slater transformed his back yard into a garden. Not a fantastic, provide everything he eats garden ... but the sort of garden that someone who doesn't mind some failure does. And, of course, someone who likes to cook and eat. So we reap the benefit of his observations about gardening overall and then specifically about all sorts of vegetables. With recipes.

I like Slater's informal style and also his honesty about personal quirks. For example, he is determined to be organic and yet frustrated by slugs. One of the most charming stories is about how he loves to see the little family of urban foxes that lives next door but is simultaneously driven crazy by the fact that he knows they will eat some of his most treasured plants when his back is turned ... and the fact that the cubs love to lie right next to the keep-foxes-away speakers he bought.

This is one of those books that I will read through in order while flipping around to find recipes for produce received in my CSA cooler (what Slater calls his "organic box"). For example, I just have to go pick up some bell peppers and then am going to roast them with the tomatoes I got ... and some anchovies ... or mozarella ... or black olives. Mmmmm ...

I also meant to praise the book itself. It is printed on good quality paper, with cloth binding, has a bound-in ribbon marker, and contains some of the most beautiful photography I have ever seen in a cookbook. If you have Kitchen Diaries, the photography and layout style is very similar, which makes it an aesthetic pleasure to pick up and read as well as to cook from.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Texas Enchilada Casserole

This year Rose didn't want to go out for her birthday dinner. She had just gotten home from Chicago and she wanted homestyle cooking ... Tex-Mex style. She wanted Texas Enchiladas.

For the uninitiated, that means cheese enchiladas in a red sauce with some chopped onion on top.

Once again, as so many times before, I have been making a simple, yet flavorful, version of this from one of Matt Martinez's cookbooks.

To make it even easier, I stack the enchiladas instead of rolling them. I've been told that this is how they do it in New Mexico, but we'll keep it simple and just call this a casserole.

Enchilada Sauce

Step 1:
1/4    cup lard, shortening or vegetable oil
1/4    cup flour

In a large skillet, heat lard to medium hot. Stir in flour and continue stirring until it turns a very light brown (3-4 minutes.)

Step 2:

1/2    teaspoon pepper
    1    teaspoon salt
    2    cloves minced garlic
    2    teaspoons ground cumin
    2    tablespoons chili powder
1/2    teaspoon oregano

Add all and continue to cook for 1 minute. Constantly stirring and blending ingredients.

Step 3:
    3    cups water or chicken broth

Add and stir until sauce thickens slightly, 1-2 minutes. Turn heat low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep sauce very thin.

Texas Enchiladas

Step 1:
        Vegetable oil
    8    corn tortillas

Lightly brush tortillas on both sides with oil and heat briefly on a griddle until soft and flexible, stacking on a plate as you work.

Step 2:
    2    cups (8 ounces) grated mild cheddar
1/2    cup finely chopped white onions
    1    batch Enchilada Sauce, warm

Mix cheese and onions and set aside. Dip tortillas into sauce, fill with  cheese, roll tightly and arrange in an oven-proof dish. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350° until cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.

Casserole: instead of filling tortillas with cheese and rolling them, just dip them in the sauce, lay down a layer across the bottom of a baking dish, and sprinkle with some of the cheese/onion mixture. Continue making the layers (3 or 4 depending on the size of the dish), topping with a sprinkling of cheese. Bake as above and cut in squares to serve.