We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Black Bean Burrito with Mole Verde

by Linda
"The way to my heart is with a garlic clove 
It smells hella sexy when it's on the kitchen stove.
Red beans and rice, red beans and rice, red beans and rice, make everything nice...
Red beans and rice, I could eat a plate twice."
   —Michael Franti and Spearhead

   I recently read an article in the newspaper about a woman with a family to feed, no job and not much money. The article reported that she spent her days clipping coupons and then spending hours driving around town to buy the products that she had coupons for. The article went on to explain that this was why the family could not eat healthy meals, because all that they could afford were processed foods. This premise puzzled me, because I know that it can be different.
   Want to eat cheap and healthy? Then introduce yourself to the bulk department at your local natural foods market or co-op. All bulk sections contain whole grains and beans, the foundation of a healthy diet with addition of vegetables and fruit.

According to Wikipedia: "Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. Broad beans, with seeds the size of the small fingernail, were gathered in their wild state in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills. In a form improved from naturally occurring types, they were already being grown in Thailand since the early seventh millennium BC, predating ceramics. They were deposited with the dead in ancient Egypt.
   Not until the second millennium BC did cultivated, large-seeded broad beans appear in the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe. In the Iliad (late 8th century) is a passing mention of beans and chickpeas cast on the threshing floor.
   The common bean has been cultivated for six thousand years in the Americas. The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas were found in Guitarrero Cave, an archaeological site in Peru, and dated to around the second millennium BCE.
   Beans were an important source of protein throughout Old and New World history, and still are today. There are over 4,000 cultivars of bean on record in the United States alone. An interesting modern example of the diversity of bean use is the modern urban recipe 15 bean soup, which, as the name implies, contains literally fifteen different varieties of beans."

So forget spending time clipping the coupon for the Chef Boyardee Ravioli, or Hamburger Helper, and spend a buck on a pound of bulk beans. My friend Silvia is one of the hardest-working and nicest people that I know. She came to live in the Bay Area many years ago from El Salvador where she grew up, and she makes the best black beans that I have ever tasted.
   A few days ago she showed me how to make them. I made them at home by myself today, and the results were "muy delicioso". No clipping coupons, no driving around town wasting gas...for a couple of bucks and an investment of a couple of hours on the stove, I had a tasty and nutrition-packed meal, plus enough to freeze some portions for later. If you do have money to spend on a pressure cooker, you can have them in under an hour.

The mole is a snap to make in the VitaMix.
   I made a Mole Verde sauce to go on top of my burrito today. Our family was introduced to Mole Verde by the Velasco family who owned Hector's Mexican Restaurant when we moved to Solvang in the 1980's. Hector's was sold to the Tovalin family quite a few years ago, and the name changed to Manny's...but back in the day, when Juliette was a waitress there in about 1982, we loved to order the burrito with the Mole Verde sauce.
   One day Dolores, the owner, shared the recipe with me. We have made it ever since. It is a great sauce for chicken and rice dishes, also. I keep homemade bean portions in my freezer. Convenient, inexpensive, packed with fiber and nutrition, and is food that humans have nourished their bodies with since the formation of our agrarian communities.
   Stuff a large flour tortilla with the prepared black beans and top with Mole Verde for a superb vegetarian entrée. For the carnivore, add stewed and shredded chicken along with shredded cheese - cheddar or Monterey Jack or a combination of the two - and top with Mole Verde and garnish with sour cream thinned with a little buttermilk.

Silvia's Black Beans

Start the night before by pre-soaking the beans.

1 pound dry black beans
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Cover the beans with water and soak overnight. The next day discard the soaking water and add fresh water to cover beans by about 2 inches and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Smash 3 garlic cloves with the side of your knife, add to the beans. Adjust the temperature to medium-low and simmer beans until tender; about 1-1/2 hours. Add salt (about 2 teaspoons) and black pepper to taste after the beans are cooked.
2. In another pan (large enough to cook the beans) add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lightly saute the onion, garlic, tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
3. When the veggies are soft (about 5 minutes) add the cooked black beans. Allow to cook down until the beans are creamy and veggies have cooked in. Cook to desired thickness and use a hand blender for the last step to make the beans creamy, but not puréed.

Mole Verde (Tomatillo Sauce)

Juliette recalls that Hector added sunflower seeds, one small head of green leaf lettuce and green onions instead of white or yellow, and thinned the sauce, as necessary with chicken broth. In lieu of the serrano chile listed below, Juliette prefers fresh roasted anaheim chiles (1 or 2 depending on how big they are). You can use fresh tomatillos when in season. Remove the husk and boil in vegetable or chicken broth until soft. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the prepared burrito as a garnish.

1 28-ounce can whole tomatillos, drained of liquid
1 large seranno chile, cut into quarters, seeds removed and discarded
1/2 large white or yellow onion, chopped coarsely
1 large avocado, preferably Hass, halved, peeled and pit removed
3 cloves fresh garlic
2 large exterior leaves of Romaine lettuce
sea salt and black pepper freshly ground, to taste

1. Add the above ingredients to a Vitamix or blender container. Blend until creamy. Transfer to saucepan. Add salt and cracked black pepper, to taste. Simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

by Michelle

   History was made in Buffalo, New York in the mid to late sixties. With any epic tale, history is left to those individuals that tell the story and then finally to those historians that record it. So it is with the story of how spicy chicken wings came to be. Interestingly enough, four of the five inception stories include the husband and wife team of Teressa and Frank Belissimo of the Anchor Bar (yep, you guessed it) located in Buffalo, NY. The other evolutionary tale includes a certain John Young, who served wings in a hot sauce, in his Buffalo locale restaurant. John left town in 1970 and the Anchor Bar fried on, building on its own history with Teressa making television appearances in the early 1980s.
    I experienced my first chicken wing on a date in the late 1980s. My date was incredulous that hot wings were not part of my repertoire of experiences. That situation was easily remedied. One order, and fifteen minutes later, the waitress put before us a plastic tray lined with paper, piled high with glistening red chicken wings, blue cheese dressing and strips of celery placed haphazardly on the side. I had my doubts, but after one bite I was hooked. My favorites were (and still are) the pieces that looked like mini drumettes.

   Back in the day, I could eat and drink just about anything I wanted without too much impact to my waistline. Ahhhh, the beauty of youth. Once I transitioned from dating life and my co-ed softball days were over, wings just kind of faded out of my life. Every once in awhile, say at a Super Bowl party, I would enjoy a few and think, wow, those are great. Still, even after a reminder, the angel on my right shoulder would silence the devil on my left. That is until one fateful evening at AZ/88 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
    AZ/88 is one of those few restaurants that seems to stay perennially revelant. The owner, Karl Kopp found an ideal location in the Scottsdale Civic Center and opened March of 1988. The dining space is bright and seemingly open with two of the four walls being floor-to-ceiling glass. Outdoor dining is offered on a large patio overlooking the expansive park setting of the mall. The coolness quotient is upped by the interesting ever-changing art installations that are sometimes fun, sometimes thought provoking, and always unique.
    My husband and I frequented AZ/88 reguarly in the late 80's and early 90's when we lived nearby. Then we moved to California and it was many years until we returned. Upon opening the menu, I discovered Buffalo chicken offered in multiple forms. No more getting my hands greasy and my mouth dirty, I could have my hot and spicy fix over a crisp salad or tucked in a bun. The celery was fresh or, in the case of a hot sandwich, sautéed. Similarly, the bleu cheese is offered blended into a dressing or fresh and crumbled.
   Sometimes we think about things too literally. Deconstructing a classic gives us a new way to enjoy an old favorite and to shave some calories from the bill of fare. Well... sometimes. Not likely with pizza, but certainly with a salad and a low-fat dressing. However I choose to consume my spicy chicken with blue cheese and celery, the common denominator is always Frank's RedHot Wings Sauce. I've experimented with other brands, and Frank's the winner every time. The sauce has great flavor; it isn't too hot. Spicy is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but I think it is safe to say that Frank's sauce is a one-size-fits-most kind of hot sauce.
   The first time I ate Buffalo Chiken Pizza was at Juliette's house during one of her pizza party extravaganzas. It was my favorite that night with the Thai pizza a close second. What I like about Juliette's pizzas (besides the kick-ass crust) is that she combines elements of cooked and fresh ingredients on her pies. For this pizza, the crust is coated with Ranch dressing, then sprinkled with mozarella. Cooked chicken is tossed with Frank's sauce and placed liberally on top of the cheese. When the pie comes out of the oven, finely diced celery and crumbles of blue cheese are the finishing touches. Sometimes we also add a dusting of chives, or sprinkle finely sliced green and white scallion rings. Now that's Bellisimo! (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!)

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

   This is a great way to use leftover chicken. Or, like Juliette, you can boil a whole chicken. After the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from bones and then toss with the wings sauce. Sometimes I marinate boneless chicken thighs in the sauce for an hour then grill. Cube the chicken and toss with more sauce before putting on the pizza. The measurements below are approximate. Add more or less of items according to your taste.

1 ball fresh pizza dough
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Ranch dressing, preferably homemade
2 Tbsps Parmesan, finely grated
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into bite-size chunks
Frank's RedHot Chicken Wings Sauce
1/3 cup celery, finely diced
1/3 cup green and white scallion rings, thinly sliced or minced chives
1/2 cup Bleu or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
all-purpose flour, as needed
semolina, as needed

1. Prep toppings and reserve until ready to use.
2. Place a Pizza Que Grill Stone in a gas grill and with the lid closed preheat the grill for 15-20 minutes on high heat. Alternatively, place a bread baking stone, on the lowest rack in a cold oven, and preheat to 500°F, or highest setting, for 1 hour prior to baking.
3. While grill or oven is preheating, prepare a smooth work surface with a dusting of flour. Also dust a pizza peel with flour and a little semolina.
4. Remove dough ball from container and let the dough stretch out into a disc on the top of your hands. Begin moving the dough around, stretching and pulling into a circle, careful not to touch the rim. When it is thin in the center and about six or eight inches in diameter, place on floured work surface.
5. Continue pushing dough outwards with palms and fingers so it is thin on the bottom, and has a nice rim of crust around the circumference. Transfer to prepared pizza peel.
6. Brush dough with olive oil. Spoon Ranch dressing evenly over dough. Sprinkle with parmesan and then generously with grated mozzarella cheese. Evenly distribute the sauced chicken.
7. Transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone and bake for about 5 minutes. Bake for another couple of minutes, rotating once if necessary for even cooking, until crust is golden with some char and cheese is melted. Transfer the cooked pizza from stone to perforated metal pan. Garnish pizza with celery, crumbled bleu cheese and scallions or chives. Let sit for a minute or two before cutting into 8 pieces. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 pizza

Low-Fat Ranch Dressing

By Michelle

Low-Fat Ranch Dressing

   I make all of my dressings low-fat unless I am dressing a salad quickly in the serving bowl with a splash of good olive oil, a zing of vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh herbs. I don't recall the source for this recipe. The roasted garlic adds depth of flavor.

1 head garlic, roasted
3/4 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 Tbsps white wine vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk and more to thin, if necessary
1 Tbsp fresh dill, minced or 1 teaspoon dried
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Tobasco

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Keeping the head of garlic intact, remove the excess papery skin from the perimeter. Slice about 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic head. With a paring knife, cut off the tops of the rest of the cloves along the outside edge. Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons water or about one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Bring the edges of the foil together, shaped like a pyramid, and pinch to seal.
2. Roast until the cloves are very soft and slightly browned, 60-70 minutes. Unwrap and let cool slightly.
3. In a blender, add cloves of roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves out of the skins into the container of a blender or coax out with a table knife), discard the skins. Add cottage cheese, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or covered container. Add buttermilk, while stirring, until the desired consistency is reached. Add dill and parsley. Stir again. Refrigerate. Will keep for about a week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fideo - Calabacitas Style and the Alternate Universe of Bisbee

My Traveling Tales by Michelle

   "Goin' down to Bisbee," as people tend to say before departing for the the tiny town, is to anticipate a tumble down the proverbial rabbit rattlesnake hole into an alternate universe where time and reality are both simultaneously extended and retracted. Imagine, if you will, as you drive through Mule Pass Tunnel, the gateway to Bisbee, that you are passing through the darkness and into the light of a fantasy, an alternate mile-high desert setting for retelling the story of Alice in Wonderland.
   Bisbee's a place where anything goes. You can lay low and hide out for awhile. Afterall, hasn't everyone wanted to disappear at least once in their life? If laying low isn't on the agenda, then push beyond societal constraints and get your freak on. Everyone else seems to be doing it and you can too! You might just have your consciousness expanded (its cheaper than meditating in an Ashram in India) or have it diminished over the course of one seemingly endless night (definitely a cheaper alternative than waking up hungover in Las Vegas).

    In the final analysis, Bisbee is a study in constrasts. A bit of an enigma, if you will. The town itself is quaint, a mining town established in 1880 with original buildings standing the test of time - probably more out of habit than of interest. Mostly dilapidated Victorians dot the tiered hillsides with a few excellent restorations interspersed in the mix. On the surface, the scene is antiquated and rich with history. On the other hand, a bar stool philospher at Elmo's might remark that Bisbee is a vivid, acid tripped, stream of consciousness. Change positions and your perspective shifts too as if viewing a cubist painting or a holographic print with a tilt of of the head from left to right like a pendulum.
   Bisbee can and will likely be anything you want it to be. A relaxing three day weekend to bird watch and hunt antiques, or cast yourself as the lead actor in a weekend odessey reminiscent of a Terry Gilliam film. After a weekend in Bisbee you might have a sudden epiphany to move there, like Juliette, or decide it's time to hit the road and flee back to the city, like me.
   By the 1950's the mining industry in Bisbee declined, although pit-mining was still underway. You can see for yourself the evidence and ramifications of the industry. Head through town and you can't miss Exhibit A, also known as The Lavender Pit, a permanent abomination exclamation point on the red landscape. Pull right-in and park in the lot. Pehaps you'll even glide to a stop in front of the sign strapped to the chain link fence that reads "SCENIC VIEW". Ironic, much? Perhaps even oxymoronic.  
   The fence snakes around the circumference of the hole to prevent gawkers from accidently falling over the rim to slide down the slippery slope into the welcoming arms of Haides. The view is jaw-dropping all right and will certainly leave viewers incredulous at what havoc can be wrought by humans wielding heavy equipment. I wouldn't proclaim it scenic in the traditional sense. It's a crater, but the Grand Canyon it is not. The Pit is located near the famous Copper Queen Mine. If you've ever wondered about the details of mining, take one of the popular tours led by former miners. Hard hats, miners lamps and slickers are included in the fee.

   My view on turquoise is probably more ironic. It's okay, go ahead and roll your eyes... for all my disdain over the residual effects of mining copper in The Lavender Pit, I sure do love one of the by-products: brilliant blue stones streaked with black veins named "Bisbee Blue". The turquoise is a finite resource and the stones are highly sought after by collectors. More than likely, if we meet, you'll see my big ol' turquoise bracelet adorning a wrist. That's also something that we three sisters have in common - our love for turquoise bracelets - that we surely inherited from our Mother.

   For as many times as I've been to Bisbee over the past twenty years, on every visit I always discover something new, even if it has been hiding in plain sight for a century. Last time I was in town, my husband and I drove up Brewery Gulch to Mimosa Market to pick-up a few last minute gorcery items before driving to Juliette's for dinner. My eyes traveled over familiar sites until I registered an anomoly - and it wasn't Joe Klinger's Bark Park or his nearby home that is uniquely his. Instead, it was a well-cared for restored house painted pale yellow, perched on a hill, with the most amazing eye-catching patio. The slatted roof was supported by rust colored Amazon women formed from metal. Stop the car, I commanded while estatically pointing to the structure. I popped out of the car and snapped a few photos for future reference.
   Later that evening, I gushed to Juliette about the scultpures. Of course, living in a small town, Juliette knew exactly what I was referring to. "Ben Dale made the figures. I'm so glad he's working again," she said matter-of-factly as if that should settle the matter. After a quick scan of my brain, Ben Dale came up zeros in my mind. My gray matter produced only the name Jim Dale, the talented narrator of the "Harry Potter" series on audio books. When I gave Juliette a blank expression, she patiently reminded me that Ben was the subject of an e-mail she sent to me (albeit it was quite a few years ago.) Since I keep an archive of correspondence with my sisters, I can share with you an excerpt of Juliette's e-mail that I dug up after returning home:

   "...Out of the blue I thought about Ben Dale a few days ago. "Where is he?" I wondered. I have not seen him for at least a year, maybe more. I've known Ben Dale since I first moved to Bisbee. Or I should say I've "known of" Ben Dale - I didn't meet him right away. I met him after I'd been in town for about six months.    
   We had mutual friends that knew him from art school in Boston, and me from repping their art work. They introduced us, and we hit it off instantly. Ben owns one of my most personal and irreverent pieces of artwork, and I have commissioned him for various projects over the years.

  I can't even tell you what prompted me to wonder about Ben - where he is, and what he's doing. It was just suddenly there. It was just a feeling that something essential had gone missing, and in my internal subconscious inventory of friends I realized it was Ben. For those of you who are not blessed with the knowing of Ben Dale, I will tell you a few things.
   Ben is tall, slender, and has brown eyes that when focused on you give a sense of vulnerability, a sense that he gets the joke before you've told it. You will not have any secrets from Ben. He's an old soul. He is one of the most gifted artists I've ever been blessed to know. His artistic heritage is strewn across Bisbee. The post office bulletin board. The bus stop at City Hall. The gates at Goar Park. The copper angels off of Subway Street, etc.

   I once had the most horrible blind date of my life in Bowie, AZ. I walked into a house that had no functioning floors or toilet, and what I noticed was the doors. It was obvious to me that they had been painted by Ben Dale. It was the only redeeming factor of my blind (and shall remain nameless) date - the only thing I remember fondly. My date proved to be an egocentric loser has-been (who was much too old for me), but I have to admit he had great taste in doors. I wish he'd valued indoor plumbing, and solid floors as much as he did his doors, but c'est la vie.
   I digress. I walked into "Your Thrift Shop" this afternoon. Unless I am on my way to work, I cannot drive past the local thrift shop without stopping. It's an addiction worse than cigarettes. This also explains why I am not currently able to walk into my garage. Anyway, when I turned the corner into housewares there he was carefully inspecting an antique toaster. Not the electrical kind. The kind you set on a wood stove, a gas burner, or a camp fire. I did not say anything. I just stood there, and took him in, trying to figure out if he was a figment of my overactive imagination. He stood in the isle quite oblivious to me, being caught up in his inspection of the toaster. Suddenly he paused, stood still for a moment, and then turned to look at me. A slow smile spread across his face and revealed a gleaming gold tooth that was unfamiliar to me. Ben Dale with a pirate aspect - nice!

   So there was missing in action Ben Dale. In much the same flesh I'd last seen him in. Still tall and slender. Same soul penetrating eyes. Only the gold tooth was different, and he seemed to be carrying a bit more of the weight of the world on his shoulders.
   We exchanged the usual niceties. How are the kids? Where are you living? What are you doing artistically? We discussed politics briefly. George sucks was the general consensus... neither one of us is happy about the state of world affairs.
   I was quite disappointed to hear that Ben is not doing his artwork. He is currently living in Double Adobe, caring for his family, building a house, and tending to their goats, chickens, ducks, etc. He seemed happy. I couldn't help but feel sad that someone with Ben's genius for art was not using it. He says it doesn't pay, and I've known that to be true. In a bad economy the first thing people can live without is art. It's true. It's still sad.
    I just wanted to say how happy I was to see Ben. Glad that he is happy, and finding peace as a father, husband, and farmer. And I guess I want all of us to wonder when we pass by his legacy of art scattered throughout Bisbee - why someone this talented is not able to sustain a living as an artist? I find it mind numbing that Ben Dale has resorted to being a farmer because being an artist doesn't pay, while boys in the NBA are making millions of dollars. Can someone please explain this to me?"

      Needless to say, I am a fan of Ben Dale, too. His art is simply amazing, and I'm happy he has found his way back to the torch. Sooner or later, the muse appears and the artist must acquiesce to the creative urge! I know this feeling in my own small way and it is impossible to ignore. The world is definitely a more interesting place with Ben Dale's art in it.
    After a morning of baking bread and pizza dough, we spent the afternoon wandering around Bisbee with our daughters visiting our favorite shops and galleries on Main Street (The Horse Hotel Antiques,VaVoom! and Sam+Poe Gallery with a pass through door into PanTerra). Our minds inevitably turned towards dinner. We vascillated between eating in or reserving a table at our favorite local restaurant Cafe Roka. In the final determination, Juliette offered to  make a simple meal to eat al fresco on her 100 year old porch. The challenge, since Juliette chose to accept it, was to rummage through her pantry and refrigerator to whip up a meal as if she were a contenstant on Top Chef who intrepidly confronts the Mother Hubbard's Cupboard challenge head-on.

   By the time we arrived, the Fideo was simmering happily on the stove, and we stepped outside anticipating sunset, lingering there to enjoy the declining heat of the summer day with the onset of twilight. We saw Juliette's neighbor park her car across the street. We sponanteously invited her to come wine and dine with us. She joined us a few minutes later as the sky turned to navy and then to black velvet. The Fideo was a hit and we all gobbled up our portions and some went back for seconds. Our chatter and laughter floated on the bouyant summer air. Stars shone brightly, not dimmed by the echo of city lights.
   The next morning we checked-out of The Canyon Rose Suites and met Juliette and her girls at The Bisbee Breakfast Club in Lowell, situated a few doors down from the Co-Op and on an outer bank of The Lavender Pit, for a hearty meal before heading to Tucson. On the way out of town we stopped by High Desert Market that is directly across from the Copper Man Statue on Tombstone Canyon Road. I picked up a pound of my favorite coffee, Old Bisbee Roasters Guatemalan Huehuetenago (try to say that three times fast).
   I also bought a bottle of Keeling-Schaefer "Three Sisters Syrah", an outstanding wine that will silence any doubts as to whether great red wines are being produced in Southern Arizona. Follow that bottle with an offering from Dos Cabezas Wineworks and you might just convince yourself to take a tour of the region's wineries.
   In a  few weeks, along with the aforementioned wine and the coffee, you'll also be able to buy Juliette's out-of-this-world breads at both the High Desert Market and the Co-Op. Coincidently, Juliette's bread tastes great with both coffee and wine. Try it you'll like it!
   So much more can be said or not said about Bisbee, but as Juliette would say, that's all I have to say about that... for now!

Fideo Calabacitas Style
   Although we tend to think of fideo as Mexican in origin, according to Wikipedia, it is actually hails from Spain. The word Fideo is Arabic in origin from the Muslim communities of the Iberian Peninsula.
   Calabicitas is a cooked squash dish that typically includes roasted green chiles and tomatoes, corn, garlic, onions and finished with a liberal sprinkling of Mexican cheese. Kraft, Kirkland and other cheese manufacturers offer packaged Mexican Cheese Blends, but they taste bland and more often than not, the cheeses are tossed with flour to prohibit sticking, which also acts to diminish flavor. Instead, buy good quality cheeses and shred by hand - it really doesn't take that long. Or, use the indispensible food processor and a shredding disc to shred the cheeses more quickly. The flavor is noticeably better - we promise!
   Juliette boiled shrimp in Tecate beer with two crushed cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of red chile powder, drained and sprinkled with fresh lime juice. Taking an extra step to brine the shrimp before any method of cooking ensures great texture. The Fideo is also a great way to use leftovers, including meatballs, diced or shredded chicken and cooked, crumbled sausages or sliced chorizo.

7 ounce package Fideo Cortado Fino (Vermicelli)
2 Tbsps oil, divided
6 cups homedmade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 15-oz can red enchilada sauce (Las Palmas recommended)
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 4-oz can diced green chiles (or about 4 fresh roasted)
2 ears fresh corn, boiled and cut from the cob
1 15-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or use fresh roasted)
2 Mexican grey squash (or 1 zucchini and 1 yellow crook neck), roasted and chopped
1/2 head garlic, diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mexican cheese blend (typically a mix of equal parts Monterey Jack, Cheddar and sometimes Provolone or Mozzerella)
shrimp, chorizo or meatballs, if desired
fresh limes, quartered for garnish

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium high heat. Add fideo and stir constantly until browned (be careful not to burn!). Add about 4 cups of the chicken stock and the enchilada sauce, and reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally.
2. In a cast iron pan with remaining oil, caramelize onions over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Add to fideo along with the green chilies, corn, squash, and tomatoes.
3. Add more chicken broth as necessary to keep it somewhat liquid. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes stirring often. Add a cup of the cheese and stir until well blended.
4. Serve in bowls and top with more cheese, and top with with meat or shrimp, if desired. Servings: 6

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