Slow Cooker Mu Shu for Two

How many old-school appliances do you have in your kitchen that you use still? I have a handheld mixer, my grandmother’s standing mixer, also her potato masher. Although not an antique, I also enjoy my slow cooker, also called a crock pot. It took a while for me to love it though because the recipes I knew were the ones I grew up with and the results were never really modern.

So now I am always on the lookout for good new slow cooker recipes. And I found plenty in the Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook I received for review. I was surprised to find fun and international recipes to and chose to try out the Mu Shu for Two.

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Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter

I do enjoy a nice occasional taco. But I have to say it is not something I grew up with so I often do not think of making or ordering tacos. In Montreal there are not tons of Mexican restaurants and the ones we do have tend to be fancier than faster(er) food fare. So why would I order a taco if I can try something elaborate. This was the thought process that went on in my head after reading July’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge: Tacos, make it your own … take it someplace it’s never been!

I wanted to make something that was not a taco in a traditional meal setting and I was fine if it did not contain all the usual standard ingredients. But I did want to play with a taco concept and highlight a few typical Mexican ingredients. After a lot of brainstorming I settled on this Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter creation.

Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter CEE

tomato mezcal cocoa shot glass

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Huevos Rancheros with a Roasted Tomato Salsa

—-Sorry I have been MIA. Was planning on catching up on comments this weekend following a crazy week…and then Saturday I had a minor flooding issues and had to evacutate my place as 7 industrial fans dry up my place. So I’ll be back to commenting asap! —-

Way before this blog, way before I realised where my passion for ethnic food would take me, I bought a Mexican cookbook like 20 years ago, ironically from an Australian publication house!?!? I was really excited about cooking up some Latin flavors but I got discouraged rather fast once I really flipped through the pages. All the recipes had the craziest and longest list of ingredients. There were so many elaborate steps. I think I never actually made a single recipe in the end.

So I shyed away from making Mexican food for so long. Now I know better. There are very simple recipes that are absolutely bursting with flavor. Take for example the humble Huevos Rancheros with Roasted Tomato Salsa dish.

huevos rancheros 020

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SRC Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla

I have the name in hand of the winner of the An Edible Mosaic cookbook contest! Chosen by random.org, the winning number is 37. I hope you enjoy your prize.

Congratulations to Victoria of Flavors of the Sun

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This month I got a great blog called Everyday Mom which is authored by Kim. Like me, Kim began cooking at a very young age after she received her first cookbook.  She does not mention the cookbook, I remember mine was Disney character based but printed in France so it was all metric. Kim and I also share a dangerous bond: a sweet tooth, oh the hips! Kim is quite the baker and she enjoys the help of her 3 little assistants.

Lots of great family recipes here. I ultimately settled on the Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadilla recipe. I really enjoyed them a lot and the sweet potato really made them unique. I used Havarti cheese.

I am proud to say this post will be part of this week’s Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up #18 over at Gastronomical Sovereignty, a link-up to encourage fresh food production, consumption, activism, and awareness.

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla

A great twist on the Quesadilla vegetarian style

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Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large can black beans
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • Tortillas
  • Monterey cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into thin rounds. Place in bowl drizzle with olive oil and add seasoning. Cook on high in microwave for 4 minutes. Mix halfway through cooking.
  2. Drain and rinse beans. In a skillet add a drizzle of olive oil and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add beans, seasoning mix and salsa cook until warm.
  3. Over a medium heat, in a skillet lightly coated with oil, warm both sides of one tortilla, just until light golden brown. Remove from pan and add second tortilla, again lightly browning both sides. When browning second side add a spoonful of each filling, salsa and a handful of cheese. Top with the first tortilla, cover with a lid that will press the tortilla down. Cook until cheese begins to melt.
  4. Keep warm in 200° oven, while assembling additional quesadillas.
  5. Serve with salsa, avocado or sour cream
Cuisine: Mexican | Recipe Type: Main Course
http://cultureatz.com/src-black-bean-and-sweet-potato-quesadilla/

Fish tortilla citrus vanilla gastrique radish salsa

A wonderful new way to enjoy a fish tortilla: top it with a fabulous citrus & vanilla gastrique and a radish salsa! Served with battered radish leaves.

Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Ladies and Germs: 5 Star Makeovers is at WAR this month. Yes you read me right. We have created our very own friendly competition based on Restaurant Wars, like the popular part of the Top Chef show. Members of this fabulous gourmet group were divided into teams of 3. We had to come up with a restaurant or menu based on an ingredient or concept. My personal challenge: radishes meet fish tortilla!

Does life imitate art or art imitate life? Who knows but unfortunately we did loose some teams along the way following incidents. Mine survived without any battle. I am so happy to have worked with my 2 particular team members Faith and Shannon. We all got along fabulously, came to decisions rather fast and we were very encouraging of one another.

Fish tortilla with a citrus & vanilla gastrique radish salsa

My team chose radishes and we announced our menu about a month ago here: Raphanus! Celebrating the Radish. Not one of us were particular fans of this vegetable but we all appreciated the challenge of turning this foe into a shinning star for our dishes. And since that was not tough enough we added another aspect: there must be a citrus vanilla component to our dish. All 3 of us were ready to confront our radish dish with our chef’s sleeves rolled up. Who won? In the end the radish won us all over.

After reading my post please go visit the rest of my team so you can see our complete menu. You will find Shannon’s radish themed appetizer and Faith’s radish themed dessert  by clicking on their respective links. I can’t wait to go check them out. But first let’s take a look at my dish, the main course:

Fish tortilla with a citrus & vanilla gastrique radish salsa, battered radish leaves.

Say that 3 times fast lol. It’s a mouth full…but a so delicious one. OK so my vanilla component is a vanilla gastrique. I never made one before so this was new. A gastrique is a reduction of a sweet and sour element, usually sugar and vinegar. I added a vanilla bean to mine. This stuff is freaking addictive it’s ridiculous. I used it as part of my Radish salsa vinaigrette.

I more then covered the citrus factor. In total I used satsuma mandarin juice, Yuzu lemon juice, dried orange peel and lime juice. I also wanted to add a little heat to my dish since it has a Tex Mex flair. I chose a Serrano pepper and some habanero infused salt, just a touch.

My radish salsa plays the crowning jewel atop of a fantastic fish tortilla dish. Although I enjoy it I don’t prepare a whole lot of Tex Mex, it’s not part of my culture. And I had never had a fish in a tortilla before, something I had been curious about after seeing such a dish featured on a few blogs. Well it was just fantastic and the sweet tanginess of the radish salsa gave it a perfect flavor kick.

And there is a side dish surprise recipe all the way at the bottom of this post!

 

Vanilla Gastrique

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Zinfandel vinegar (you can use any vinegar)
1/2 vanilla bean, split length wise

Add all ingredients to a pan and place on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by 1/3 and is syrupy. Allow to cool and discard bean.

Red and Black Radishes, the Stars of the show

 

Radish Salsa adapted from Figareau

12 radishes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1 satsuma mandarin (or orange)
1 1/2 tbsp Yuzu lemon juice (or lime)
1 tbsp vanilla gastrique
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch habanero infused salt (or plain salt)
Pepper to taste

Washed, trim and dice finely the radishes. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Ξ Fish tortilla with a citrus & vanilla gastrique radish salsa Ξ

team radish 15

For the fish

1 1/2 lbs firm white fish (I used Tilapia)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel
Dash of salt and pepper

Heat grill or oven to 400F. Place fish in an aluminum pan, coat with olive oil, lime juice and spices. Cook about 10 minutes (more or less) until fish comes apart with a fork.

team radish 6  team radish 7

team radish 1  team radish 5b

Assembly

tortillas
red bean paste
prepared fish
red onions, thinly sliced
cilantro
sour cream with a touch of lime juice and diced Serrano pepper.
radish salsa

Line plate with tortillas. Spoon a layer of red bean paste. Place fish on top of red beans.
Top fish with red onions, cilantro, sour cream and radish salsa. Makes 4 individual servings or 1 big plate to divide.

WAIT, one more recipe, a SIDE DISH adapted from Kitchen Gossip. Why throw away those lovely radish greens? These fritters are like a cross between hush puppies and an Indian Bahji – unique to say the least.

team radish 4  team radish 11

team radish 12

Ξ Battered radish leaves Ξ

2 cups radish leaves, chopped
3 heaping tbsp cornmeal
2 tbsp rice flour
1 Serrano chili, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Paprika
Salt to taste
Oil to Deep Fry
Water

Mix leaves, flours and spices in a bowl. Add a little bit of water at a time and mix until batter is sticky
Shape into small balls and deep fry in oil at 375F until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels before serving. Enjoy hot or cold.

Don’t forget to go visit Shannon’s radish themed appetizer and Faith’s radish themed dessert  by clicking on their respective links after leaving a comment. Thank you to our amazing organizer who came up with this brilliant concept: Natasha at 5 Star Foodie &  Laz at Lazaro Cooks!