As I was writing my holiday letter yesterday, I was either laughing or crying. The year 2013 was anything but typical. As I reminisced over the past twelve months, I realized it was quite a roller coaster of events.
A year of changes, nail-biting moments, some tears, lots of laughter, because laughter is the best medicine, moments of gratitude, a few panic attacks, and grand adventure. Phew! Yep, all in one year.
Without spewing all my emotions here, I’ll just tell you I am so thankful my Bennett Crew is happy and healthy. In 2013, my oldest gal fought medical hurdles with courage and fierce determination. She’s my hero.
On the list of events was an extensive house remodel, which caused me to re-think my love of DIY projects. I know some of you can identify. Home remodeling can take a toll and make you want to hire the big bad wolf to blow your house down.
A new state, new town, new home… and then a most delicious surprise. A trip to Italy. A glorious two weeks that fed my soul and inspired my heart. New and cherished friendships formed and adventure I’ll always remember. I came back with a renewed love of Italian cuisine and culture, and my recipe developing wheels turning.
In reflection, I’m most grateful for my friends and family, who, as always, gave an abundance of loving support. Life can be a roller coaster of events, but with friends and family like mine, it makes the curve ball coming at me a little easier to dodge.
In honor of this beautiful new year I thought I’d start off with something spicy, flavorful and festive. These Enchiladas Poblano and Spanish Rice Cake are pure deliciousness and a perfect way to begin this new year.
I wish you all good health, true joy, lots and lots of laughter, much success in whatever you strive to do, and the love of friends and family.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
Happy New Year!
Enchiladas Poblano with Spanish Rice Cakes
6 poblano peppers
1lb ground Spanish chorizo (Spanish chorizo is gaining popularity and you can typically find it in most markets next to the other ground meats)
1 small white onion, diced
Handful cilantro leaves coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sliced green onions
¼-1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded pepper jack or mozzarella cheese
Sliced Avocado (optional)
Spanish Rice Cakes (recipe below)
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Lay the poblano peppers on a lined baking sheet and roast them for about 10-15 minutes or until they are toasted on the outside and somewhat soft.
While the peppers are roasting heat a skillet over medium high heat with a little oil. Saute the white onions until soft and then add the ground chorizo. Break up the chorizo while it’s cooking and when it’s almost cooked through stir in the cilantro and green onions.
Take the skillet off the heat and then gently toss with the black beans and cotija. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the peppers are done and cooled, pull off any of the blistered skin and try not to tear the peppers. Place the peppers in a large baking dish.
Turn the oven down to 350F.
Slice vertically down the center of the pepper and pull it open a little so you can fill. Stuff each pepper with the chorizo and black bean filling. Then ladle a little of the enchilada sauce over the top of each pepper and sprinkle with shredded pepper jack or Mozzarella cheese.
Once all the peppers are filled, sauced and cheesed (don’t you love my snappy culinary lingo?) pop them into the oven for about another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
If you have any leftover sauce I like to ladle it over the poblanos and then top with sliced avocado. Serve with a side of sliced limes and sour cream.
Spanish Rice Cakes
Makes 12-16 small round cakes
2 cups prepared Spanish Rice
½ cup sliced green onion
¼ – 1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese
2 eggs, whisked
Healthy oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients together. Heat the oil on medium high heat and then when it’s ready take a tablespoon full of rice mixture, I also use a cookie scoop, roll it in your hands and then smash into a small round cake. This mixture can feel loose but once you place it in the hot oil it will form a crust on the outside making it easier to handle.
Brown the cakes on both sides and then place on paper towels. Serve the Spanish Rice cakes with ½ cup of sour cream whisked with the juice of 1 small lime and a pinch of cumin. It’s a refreshing dip for the rice cakes. Or serve the rice cakes plain with the stuffed enchiladas poblano as a side dish.