Friday, May 29, 2015

Free Range Friday ~ Culebra

There was a Memorial Day party to cook for and I was ready! For once. Usually I bring potato salad or deviled eggs, something like that, but this time, a Mexican casserole seemed like the thing to do. After getting to play with food when I was with my family out West, I was in the mood to do it some more.

The photos are not really as complete as they should be, you'll just have to fill in the details.

Saute some garlic and onions (of course). I had some bacon grease I used for that.
Add the meat and peppers, cook until meat is browned.
I know you could easily make a vegetarian version of this but I didn't.
Add the beans were added - black and pink (or whatever kind you like).
I also added cumin, because cumin is my Mexican cooking friend. 
Ok, this looks awful. Cream cheese, sour cream and mashed black beans.
I cheated and used canned beans. Looks awful, tastes awesome. 

Not enough beans? Add more. Mash. A potato masher would have been easier.
A blender or food processor would have been easiest
About this time a slowly growing headache I've had on and off for about three weeks was getting to the point that I knew I wasn't going to make the party. So the assembly happened later and of course, without photos. 

Here's what I did. This was supposed to be for a lot of people, so you'll just have to wing it on the measurements of ingredients. Remember: playing with food is good!

Some salsa on the bottom of the casserole pan keeps the tortillas from sticking, so start with that. Then a layer of flour tortillas (I don't like corn tortillas and that's that). On top of the tortillas went the meat/bean/onion/garlic/pepper mash up. 

(There were red peppers and chipotle in adobo sauce peppers in there, oops, forgot to mention that - applying rule number one in recipe reading; read the WHOLE THING FIRST - you might change it with additions and subtractions but you'll know everything you need before you go shopping or start cooking). 

A layer of the sour cream/cream cheese/mashed bean mix went on top of that. A little tricky, put down good dollops of the mix and then gently spread it around to keep it a layer rather than mixing it with the layer underneath. Then a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat one more time - or at least one more time with this version; it depends on the size of your pan.

The top layer of cheese got some olives and red pepper strips and into a 300 degree oven it went. Everything was basically cooked but that gets the cheese all melty and brings out a fragrance where everything blends. When you are drooling, it is done.

Of course you could get fancy and make the meat/pepper mix, then the beans, etc. to achieve a more layered effect, but I didn't do that.

I wanted to send the food to the party but the casserole missed its ride.
Instead, it has been an ongoing meal around here. Yes, I'm getting tired of it.
But then every time I warm some up? It's delicious again.
Super simple, with lots of playing with food. Plus you can add lots of other things if you have them on hand or can get them. I would have added jalepenos sliced up but didn't like the brand I could fine (too vinegary) and missed the veggie guy score. 

Sorry, party people! I'll do it again next time. 

You can do it tonight. Buen provecho!

I ran across the following today. Most people who know me know I love condiments and can rarely resist something new on a shelf, wherever I am. Even the little fridge in the Turtle gets stuff with on the road finds. Of course, those have to be given away when I finally put it in Park for storage but the already overloaded spice shelf stays in its cupboard until next time. 

A preface to this article from Buzz Feed on do it yourself  pestos, marinades and sauces that look pretty fine. Around here, finding ingredients to make them would be a challenge unless it involved a trip to the big island, but if it was easy, everyone would do it!

Here is one example from Food52 , because who doesn't love sriracha?

Makes about 2 cups
2/3 pound red jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
1/3 pound green jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
1/2 pound partially green/partially red jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
6 cloves garlic

8 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
I wondered about the xanthan gum and looked it up. Here's the skinny on it. I think I'd consider it optional, but Bob's Red Mill does sell it if you want to follow the recipe completely.
For the full recipe, go to the Food52 link above because it does take time, with fermentation involved along with the other steps. Have fun!

Have a fun with food Friday. Do something filling.


  1. Replies
    1. It was/is! Simple ingredients, lots of blend. Give it a go with your own twist.