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Monday, June 22, 2015

Southwestern Taco Casserole

Southwestern food is delicate balance of heat and spices. The object isn't to burn your lips; it's to allow multiple layers of spice and heat to mingle in your mouth, delivering flavor with the heat. Here is an uncomplicated dish that showcases layering of spices.

                                                 Southwestern Taco Casserole

2# ground beef (I use 95/5 for less fat)
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
6 - 6" corn tortillas
2 cups corn, fresh, canned, or frozen
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup hot sauce
4 tsps. cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapenos
1/8 cup diced Anaheim peppers
1/8 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp dried rosemary
salt/pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crumble and saute ground beef in skillet at medium-high heat until almost done. Lower heat to medium. Add onions and minced garlic. Season with 2 tsps. cumin. Cook until slightly transparent. Drain ground beef, add taco seasoning and 1 cup water. Cook on medium until most liquid is absorbed.

Drain corn and season with salt, pepper, 1 tsp. cumin, and rosemary. Add minced jalapenos and butter. Microwave for 2 minutes and stir to combine flavors.
Drain and rinse black beans and season with 1 tsp. cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Microwave for 2 minutes.

Mix together tomato sauce, hot sauce, Anaheim peppers, and bell peppers. You can adjust the heat level with more tomato sauce to lower, more hot sauce to raise it.

Grease a 9" casserole dish. Place 3 corn tortillas on bottom, Spoon in half the meat mixture, half the beans, and half the corn. Drizzle with half the tomato sauce and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Layer 3 tortillas on top of this and repeat process.

Cover with foil or glass top and bake in 350 degree oven 25 minutes. Remove top, sprinkle with dollops of cream cheese, and heat for another 4-5 minutes until cheese melts and browns.

Serve with sour cream and sprinkles of cilantro on top.
Rice makes the perfect dish.

This is the dish I'm serving tonight. I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Malaysian Ikan Bakar Fish with Citrus Basmati Rice

I love Asian food. Their use of chilies and spices adds subtle layers of flavor and heat enhance a dish. Asian food is both spicy and savory. In my new novel, Slow Boat to Hell, one of my characters is a chef studying Malaysian and Indonesian recipes. I thought this would be a good time to introduce Faith's version of Ikan Bakar,a Malaysian staple found in many roadside stands. I will be posting other Faith Nomore's recipes as novel progresses.


                             Malaysian Ikan Bakar, Faith Nomore Style

2 pieces red snapper (Faith uses fresh Dorado but it's hard to find. Mahi mahi could be used.)
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
2 tsps. Turmeric powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tsps. miso paste or fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon srirachi sauce
1/4 tsp. salt

Take all ingredients except fish and blend until they form a paste.  Make slits across snapper and rub paste over fish. In Malaysia they wrap the fish in banana leaves. In the US, you can warp in foil. Place in pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until flaky.

Roasted Tomato-Mango Salsa

5 Plum tomatoes, oven roasted, seeded, and small diced
1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 red onion, small diced
1  Anaheim pepper, small diced
1/2 red bell pepper, small diced
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
salt/pepper to taste

Citrus Basmati Rice

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 quarts water
1 1/2 tsps. salt
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons small died mango
2 tablespoons chopped orange, seeded, peeled.

Bring water to a boil. Add salt.
Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add rice and sauté or stir for 2-3 minutes until nutty aroma. Add rice to boiling water, cover, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes. Drain any remaining water.

Stir in other ingredients.

Serve fish with rice. Add salsa. Enjoy.