Post #633 Brownies and Mexican, What a Combo

April 8, 2019 at 10:40 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So, Saturday was a fun day for us.  We went to an expo of local vendors.  According to the hype, there were over a hundred vendors there, but to me it seemed more like about three dozen.  But I could be wrong.

We showed up about fifteen minutes after opening and were greeted enthusiastically by about six different people.  The expo is held several times during the year, and in different places each time.  This is only the sixth year they’ve held it.  It’s the brain child of the state’s business league.  They’re all about promoting local businesses, and bringing in new business to the state.  And we’re completely supportive of buying local whenever possible.

We wandered through the pavilion to see what was there and then look to see what we wanted to try or buy.  One lady was extra friendly and selling popcorn so I stopped to try.  It had maple sugar on it so it was a kettle corn style.  I don’t usually like sweet popcorn.  It harkens back to the days of Cracker Jacks and eating way too much of it.  Mostly for the prizes.  Once, I was in Naples, Italy for the first time and wandering around on a Sunday and bumped into a street fair.  I smelled popcorn and bought a bag.  Jammed a big handful into my face and nearly gagged.  Even though it was a light colored popcorn, it was sickeningly sweet, and unexpected.  I gave the bag to some random small child wandering by.  But the stuff at the expo was amazing.  I don’t like maple, but it was so light it was more of an suggestion.  I even told the lady that one of the things I appreciated most about it was the popcorn itself was so good.  She gave me a sample of maple and cayenne which was terrific!  The cayenne was not overpowering at all.  You definitely knew it was there, but it wasn’t killer.  I was happily surprised and let her know.  After talking for several minutes, we left and Partner/Spouse was laughing at me.  “You can talk to anyone about anything.”

We stopped at the Cabot Cheese stand, too.  It’s the same Cabot Cheese you see in the markets and if you ever have a chance, buy it.  Here, it’s a local cheese, and the samples were straight off the farm.  It was creamy, sharp, and delicious.  I sampled the sharp cheddar, and the pepper jack.  The pepper jack wasn’t spicy at all, or it might have been the hangover from the cayenne popcorn.

Next, we stopped at a place the sells salsa and tried their salsa verde.  They had three gradients of heat, so we ended up buying the two hottest.  (Just an aside, I used the lower heat gradient for dinner on Sunday which I’ll describe soon.  We haven’t yet been able to open the jar with the hottest yet.)  The salsa was so fresh and so tasty, we’ll be buying a lot of that stuff.

There were tons of wooden products on display, cutting boards, cribbage boards, porch spinners, etc.  They were all beautiful and all expensive.  Two places had hand turned wooden bowls I’d have given my eye teeth for.  They were amazing.  I refused to hold one because I didn’t figure I’d let go.

One place had hand made ceramics, bowls, mugs, etc.  We picked up a small saucer with raised points.  It’s a garlic infuser.   You rub a clove of garlic across the points, then add olive oil and leave for a few minutes.  Dip bread or whatever else for appetizers.  So of course we had to have it.

They set aside the center of the pavilion for the wine and spirits section.  No kids allowed.  There were approximately two dozen vendors in there, but only three wineries.  There was one meadery; all the rest were distilleries.  Yup, the hard stuff.  There seems to be a big presence for those kinds of things here.  We got only two bottles of wine, a dry white and a dry red.  One white that I sampled was really good.  It tasted like green apples and was so crisp and so refreshing, but just a tad too sweet for my taste.

So we spent about an hour there, and headed out.  We wanted to stop at a new age store we’d seen, but when we got there, we noted that it didn’t open for another two hours.  We weren’t going to wait, but we turned around and went to an antique store we saw.  It was small, crowded, and looked more like a junk yard than an antique store.  But the second one we went to was great!  I got six original Peanuts books for ten bucks!  We picked up a few other things we were needing, and kept our eyes peeled for a couple of other things we need for the house.

But during the journeys, someone told us about a brownie recipe.  I was hoping the chocolate factory was going to be at the expo, but they weren’t.  Maybe next time.  But his lady mentioned that she takes a boxed brownie mix and add orange olive oil to make a gooey, tasty, brownie that all the neighbors love.  She uses the Ghirardelli mix.  But that set me thinking, so yesterday I took my standard brownie recipe and added a tsp of orange extract.

I won’t go into the recipe since it’s been posted more than once before this.  If you need it, let me know and I’ll send it along.  But all you do is follow the recipe as written, and add the extra orange extract.  Once it’s cooled, the orange flavor is prevalent but not overpowering.  It tastes just like that crazy chocolate orange candy you find at Christmas.  So good.  I put pecans in it too, so it’s nutty and chocolatey and orangey.

But the big thing is a chicken enchilada I tried with one of the salsas!

Chicken Enchilada Verde (makes four to six)

  • One pound cooked chicken, shredded
  • One large onion roughly chopped
  • Three to four garlic cloves chopped
  • One pound Tomatillos cleaned and cut into quarters
  • Three large Anaheim peppers
  • Two medium jalapeño peppers
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4-6 large flour tortillas, room temperature, do not heat
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350.  Set the shredded chicken in a medium bowl and set aside.  Remove stems from peppers and cut in halves.  Remove seeds if you want a less spicy salsa.  Place peppers and tomatillos in a pan of water and add a tsp salt.  Boil until tomatillos are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  While peppers and tomatillos are boiling, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add onions and garlic.  Cook until garlic is golden and onion show some browning.  Set aside to cool.  When peppers and tomatillos are done, drain and set aside to cool.

Place onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatillos in a blender or food processor.  Add one cup of chicken stock, paprika, and cumin.  Pulse 5-7 times until well chopped.  Add cilantro and rest of chicken stock.  Puree until smooth and well blended, 2-3 minutes.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

**NOTE: At this point, taste the salsa verde to adjust flavors.  I added the entire jar of salsa verde we got at the expo to kick up the heat.  I used a medium salsa, but you can use whatever you like.

Now set up the production line.  Spray a casserole dish, either 9×13 or 8×8, depending on how many you’re making, with vegetable spray.  Put half a cup of salsa on a large plate, at least large enough to hold a tortilla.  Place another plate next to it.  Place the bowl of chicken above the plate and add a half cup of salsa and mix well.  Place the casserole dish at the end of the line.  You can work left to right or right to left, whatever you like.

Take a tortilla and dip both sides in the salsa plate to lightly coat.  Place on clean plate and add a generous amount of chicken to the center.  Spread the chicken in a line across the tortilla from one end to the other.  Roll the tortilla and place in casserole seam side down.  You can roll like a burrito, or just a simple roll up.  Once all the tortillas are filled, rolled, and in the casserole, spread the remaining salsa even over the top.  Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the salsa.  Place in the oven until completely heated through and the salsa is bubbling and the cheese is golden.  Let cool for ten minutes, then serve and eat.  You can garnish with extra salsa, extra cheese, extra cilantro, or sour cream.

This is the enchiladas before going into the oven.

This is the enchiladas after cooking.

So, what do you think?  The prep is easy and can be done ahead of time.  Assembly is quick, and the flavor is authentic.  Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

As always,

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