Foothill gourmet: Tangy and delicious

By From page B2 | May 27, 2013

Donna BrownToday’s column includes several recipes for Mexican food. Mexican ingredients abound in out local supermarkets. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to talk and ask questions of the store manager or produce department manager. I shop our local stores regularly. As a regular shopper, they always answer my questions.

Tortilla bake — This recipe is courtesy of my friend Paul. He said that this tortilla bake recipe doesn’t look special, but everyone always comes back for more. Serves 4.

Ingredients: 1/2 pound lean ground beef, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 (14-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, 1/2 cup canned enchilada sauce, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, 6 6-inch flour tortillas, 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened, 1 (4-ounce) can green chilies chopped, and 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Preparation: In a skillet, cook ground beef and onion until meat is brown. Drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, enchilada sauce, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour half of the meat sauce into a 12-by-7-inch baking dish. Wrap the stack of tortillas in foil. Warm in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Spread warm tortillas with cream cheese and top with green chilies. Fold in half.

Arrange folded tortillas over meat sauce in dish. Pour remaining sauce down the center. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle cheese over top. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Chile and cheese fondue — Fondue has been in and out of vogue. At my house, the only and favorite fondue recipe is chile and cheese fondue. I prepare the fondue recipe in a double boiler and transfer it to a chafing dish for service at the table. We’ve actually been making this recipe for special occasions or social events for more than 23 years.

We have also successfully brought the cheese fondue recipe to friends’ houses for an appetizer and have been asked to share the recipe. It’s one of our favorites, it’s flavorful without being overly rich. I like the delicious accent that Chile and Cheese Fondue gives to green vegetables, (green beans, broccoli) but it’s also terrific on mushrooms, and cauliflower.

First rub the inside of the fondue pot or double boiler with 1 clove garlic smashed. In the same pot, prepare basic medium white sauce.

Recipe for basic white sauce — melt 2 tablespoons butter in pot and add 2 tablespoons flour. Cook for a few minutes to gently brown the butter and flour. Gradually add 1 cup warm milk stirring continually until the white sauce thickens.

Tip: Adding warm milk instead of cold activates the flour granules, so the sauce is lump free. Add 8 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese and 4 ounces diced green chiles. If fondue becomes too thick, gradually thin with a little more milk. Stir to check the consistency.

Grilled pineapple with honey chipotle glaze is a hip fruit salsa. Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup honey, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons puréed chipotle in adobo, (found in the Mexican section) 1 tablespoon canola oil, juice of 1 lime, pinch salt, ad 6 slices 1/2 inch thick fresh pineapple.

Preparation: Preheat barbecue grill. Combine all ingredients except pineapple in a small saucepan and heat until warm. Place pineapple slices on barbecue grill and brush with warm glaze. Grill for 4-5 minutes and serve warm.

Enjoy the warmth and the delicious flavors of Mexican food.

Donna Brown

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