ground chuck with poblano



The poblano chiles were roasted together and must be used, this is half of the last one used as a blanket and not as a total wrapping. Beans with Swiss chard I could have around always. The rice is almost gone. The orange blob is a tablespoon a Cheese Whiz, a popular and uniquely American product along the lines of Marmet or Vegemite in other countries, or peanut butter, it is a whey-based goo amalgamated in industrial vats and rushed through production. The resulting cheese product has the favor and constituency of American cheese but much looser and it applies easily to a broad range of quickly prepared dishes like this where a slice of cheese will do. It blends better than artisan cheese. 

baked French fries



The potatoes are still connected at the other end. The nearly complete slices are intended to dehydrate the potato as much as possible while microwaving. They are the initial slices for French fries.


The slices are completed after microwaving, The quarters sliced further, seasoned and oiled.



Baked at high temperature until crisp.


chicken-chile relleno with bean sauce


The poblano chiles are roasted and must be used. Likewise chicken breasts are already prepared and must be used. 

Another type of chile relleno is prepared by another means. Instead of an omelet style, the egg is used to prepare a batter including masa harina (and water), the corn-substance in tamales and used to roll flat and fry quickly into corn tortillas and also to deep fry into crisp tortilla chips. Masa harina is powdered masa, cornmeal treated with an alkali, lime the chemical not the fruit, originally pot ash. It rids the hard outer corn kernel pericarp to be rinsed away and the remaining compromised kernel smashed to smithereens and turned into powder that mixes readily with water and when digested making nutrients more readily available. It is the nutritional secret to nixtamal (thus tamale), the secret that failed to travel north with American native populations and failed to travel back with the Spaniards. The secret that imparts flavor that transports in a flash with its scent straight back to the old world long before industrialization.





Campesino means 'peasant.'  Farm cheese, white cheese. It resists melting. I'd rather have something gooey.






Equal amount of water to masa harina for a batter. Herbs and spices to suit yourself. I used Mexican oregano, s/p with 1/8 teaspoon sugar. But no baking powder nor baking soda as a pancake batter would have.











chile rellenos, Spanish rice, white beans with Swiss chard


I never saw a guest clear their plate so thoroughly and so quickly. This is unusual. I notice that Joe does not eat that much. 

"I can see you didn't like that so I won't bother offering more."  

Joe laughed.  

"Well, you didn't lick your plate." 

The only thing on Joe's plate were smears and the stem of a poblano chile, and I am only halfway done with mine.

I must record, Joe kept remarking how fantastic this meal is. He told me about top restaurants in Phoenix, how he bought two sets of two tickets for well-known restaurants, how they all have great views but not one of them, not one, has food good as this. Joe is a bullshitter, yes, an unusually successful salesman by trade, yes, but it did sound perfect, and he did clear his plate surprisingly. And I feel the same way.  

The combination on the plate is tremendous each element so homely so humble, the result so tremendously satisfying. The usual beans would be black beans but here I am using my own white beans with Swiss chard that has a pork chop in it and smoke included with a touch of sweet/sour. The beans are a meal by themselves and in combination with anything tastes even better. I had a bowl of these beans with a large spoonful of sour cream and I was in heaven. 

The sour cream also moderates the lingering heat of the red chile sauce. 

It is a small chicken breast and that is sliced laterally for two undersized chicken scallopini. The scallopini are fried in butter with salt/pepper, keeping everything simple. 

The poblanos are roasted to deep flavor, left to sweat it off by themselves in a bowl covered with a plate and then peeled. And the chicken is cooked. Cheese is sliced. Once the elements are arranged it goes very quickly so the plates must be ready with the reheated rice and reheated beans with Swiss chard, right there at the pan where these rellanos are fried.

Rellanos are strange things to bread up and fry.

Because there is no being tidy about it. Three bowls. 1) Seasoned flour 2) scrambled eggs 3) panko bread crumbs

That is all usual, the unusual part is handling these conical shaped peppers sliced open without bothering with toothpicks that only make things worse 

A small chicken scallopini is wrapped with the floppy roasted green chile and with a slice of cheese inserted as a booklet. The loose green booklet is pressed into the flour and coated. This allows the egg to adhere.

The dusted green chile pepper booklet is lifted into the whipped egg and coated completely. Now it is really a mess. The egg allows bread crumbs to adhere. 

In this manner, a coating is built up with a crunchy breadcrumb outer layer. You still have bowls with some egg remaining and still some more bread crumbs remaining.

A pan is heated with butter that has bubbled, fizzed out and turned nutty brown.

"Oh, you just move the whole thing over."

Joe is watching on the other side of the dividing wall. He was surprised to see the wood-block cart moved next to the stove so that the mess of bowls with flour, scrambled egg, breadcrumb and messily coated chile-chicken-cheese booklets are right next to the hot pan.

The plates with rice and beans are on the counter on the other side of the pan, so, everything is close together.

The intention is use all the egg and all the bread crumbs. The rest of it is added in the pan while it is cooking, so, very fast. A bit of back and forth between the bowls of both whipped egg and bread crumbs, added to the pan in pools, then the coated chile relleno, then pour more egg over it, allow it to pool and roll it around as it is frying until the chile is coated and toasted all around. 

It's fun to fry but a little different from other things. It's not exactly a stuffed chile within a crunchy conical pancake, but close. It is a way to think about how to cook the thing. 

And it is wonderful if not a bit of a fried mess. The depth of the roasted chile flavor cannot be overstated and this combination delivers two doses of it in both green and red forms. The red sauce has a very deep flavor on its own, one taste from your fingertip says so. The two together, deep red sauce, deep roasted poblano, with cheese melted in there are all awe-inspiring flavor combinations, so powerfully reminiscent of some lost ancient home and hearth that the chicken becomes nearly incidental, but of course it is not, it is the thing at the center of the glorified wrapping. 

white beans with Swiss chard



White beans are pressure cooked in 12 to 15  minute increments until softened. The white beans are slightly larger than last time and they take three times longer to cook than last time. That is the difference between beans.

The pot is messed with the fond from frying two pork chops. The bean-water has one of the pork chops, plus the bones of the other. plus bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Now currants (or raisins) are added for their sweetness, their texture and to have little black dots. Sliced onion and thinly sliced garlic are added. 




The pork chops have no smoke as ham hocks would and as bacon would. That shortcoming is compensated for with this liquid smoke. I've never used liquid smoke before.




Sugar and balsamic vinegar, now there is a sweet/sour thing going on, but not too sweet, and not too sour.


pork chop, green beans with tomatoes





I am temporarily out of bacon and there is no ham hock around here right now and I want to cook swiss chard with beans to repeat the success I had before by adding a bit of sugar. And I want to have beans and Swiss chard around because it is so great. I want to try that again. 

I do have bacon fat. So there's that. 

These pork chops were cooked in a tall pressure pot without the lid so the fond they leave behind inside the pot can be used right after for white beans and Swiss chard, to compensate for present ham hock shortcomings. Even the bone chunks and bits of trimming of this pork chop on the plate are returned to the pot for maximum flavor extraction. Yeah. That's right. It's how we pauper-types get by.

Green beans are seared without mercy in generous butter, salt, pepper, chile flakes, and doused with white wine from a box right at the point where the butter turns brown and nutty, and that right there is a sauce. 

Each little piece of pork cut away from the bone and from the rest of the pork t-bone steak and stabbed with a fork is smashed into the liquid all around on the plate, the pork fibers spread apart and sop up to capture seasoned butter and wine like a mop.

Plus there is another pork chop for the white beans and Swiss chard. 

Cherry Garcia type ice cream

[edit: originally I had Chunky Monkey in the title, Rob corrected me in comments.]


Frozen custard, actually, with caramel, tart cherries, and couverture dark chocolate.




Before whipping. ↑

After whipping. ↓ Notice how much the bulk fills the container more fully.






Dark couverture chocolate melted and spread to thin sheet and chilled. 


Caramel made thick and pourable by melting sugar in a pan, adding butter, cream, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract.

Now all the elements are ready; vanilla custard, tart cherries, dark chocolate, and caramel.


Tart cherries into whipped frozen vanilla custard. These are too pale to be any good. Another cherry must do. The frozen cherries available at the time were all sweet and not tart as they must be.


Chocolate pieces added to whipped frozen vanilla custard.


Caramel added to whipped frozen vanilla custard.


All additions now included, notice the bulk nearly fills to the top.


The frozen custard bears only vague resemblance to Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream due to insufficient additions and overbearing vanilla flavor.  I could have easily doubled all additions and not gone overboard. The cherries are not dark enough, not tart enough. They should be frozen or fresh not tinned. Maybe I can find something better.

It is very good. Let's not be too critical, but Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia is better.

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