Monthly Archives: January 2011

Posole with Chile Colorado

I first discovered posole on a trip to New Mexico way back when.  I have loved it ever since.

Posole is a special type of large kernel white corn that is “slaked” or soaked in lime or wood ash. The lime dissolves the outer layer of skin and then the corn can be dried and preserved.

Luckily, I am now able to find dried posole at the wonder that is Kalustyan’s, New York’s landmark for fine specialty foods. However, I have been known to hit the brakes for a Mexican supermarket, regardless of which town I am in.

Posole stew, like the one featured here, is what I fell in love with in New Mexico. It is a ceremonial dish to celebrate life’s blessings and is traditionally served on Christmas eve.

This particular version contains no meat.  However, pork or chicken often make an appearance and sometimes green chile takes the place of the dried red ones featured here.  The red Chile Colorado sauce is a bit labor intensive but very much worth the effort. To make this a hearty vegetarian dish, simply use vegetable broth in place of  the chicken broth that the recipe calls for.

The closest I ever came to this growing up in Texas was canned hominy.  Sure, I suppose you could substitute it for the dried posole that this recipe calls for but it would be a mushy shame.
Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Entrees, Soups

Bustrengo – Polenta and Apple Cake

This past Christmas, M whipped up a mean Osso Buco and served it over Risotto Milanese. Braised slowly for hours, the end result was aromatic and tender.  But, I’m not writing about that, except to say that it was out-of-this-world delicious.

I’m here to write about my challenge.  What would dessert be?  I wanted it to be Italian, in keeping with the dinner’s theme.  Tiramisu was too obvious, so I regrettably passed on that.  And, although I could eat frozen desserts year round, it was just too cold for gelato.

I finally settled on a Bolognese polenta and apple cake called Bustrengo.  It was not an easy sell for me.  Breadcrumbs, polenta and dried fruit in a cake?  It sounded too much like a dried out fruitcake.  But, I persevered.

The cake was super moist – an Italian version of bread pudding and a perfect ending to our Italian Christmas. Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Cakes

Challah

Bread!  I love to bake it almost as much as I love to eat it.

This month, Saveur took me to Eastern Europe to reveal the origins of beloved staples of Jewish delicatessens around the world.  Challah, a Jewish braided egg bread, was one of the featured items.  I have eaten Challah on numerous occasions but had never attempted to make it myself.

I then made a quick trip over to Wikipedia and discovered entirely too much information about this tasty treat.  The bread is rich in custom, history and symbolism.  But to me, it is just delicious egg bread enjoyed in sandwiches, with soup, as French toast, or just by itself.

All in all, it was a relatively easy task, with minor difficulty points for the braiding.

Challah.  Holla! Here is the recipe

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Filed under Breads, Savory

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Guess what?  M now likes chocolate.  For years, I have avoided baking chocolate treats because he was opposed and because he told me so.  And now, it seems, he has forgotten all that, claims it was never said, and wants his chocolate!

I’ll bake anything, chocolate or not, and turned to my subtle friend Martha for an over the top recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies.

These are dangerous.  Dangerous in that you can’t eat just one and dangerous for the other obvious reasons which start and end with an awful lot of butter. Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Cakes, Cookies