Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taste Testers

Finally feeling a little bit better!

I was up bright and early and trekked off to the grocery store to prep for tonight's dinner. I always get into trouble whenever I go to Whole Foods, so I made a strict list (yes, that says fun fruits) and packed one of my Envirosax bags.
I love these bags so much! Now that DC is charging 5 cents for each plastic bag, it helps that I can roll these up and keep them in my purse at all times...great for those impromptu post-work grocery trips.

Once I was all unpacked, I got to work on some mashed potatoes for my entry to Sophia's I am What I Cook Challenge and started on some dessert items. There's nothing I love more than multitasking in the kitchen. Getting into the groove with a bunch of different things going at once = awesome.

I was so psyched to come up with an entry for Sophia's challenge. The minute I read about it, I knew exactly what ingredients I wanted to use and I prayed they would work. According to tonight's dinner guests, they did! What dish defines me?
I present Karenabeana's Chorizo and Corn Potato Croquetas! There's nothing I love more than a big bowl of mashed potatoes, corn, cheese and doused in hot sauce. We all know this. I also love me some cilantro, lime and avocado. Hello, sauce!

How does this define me? Just like these croquettes, I like to be all tough (or maybe crispy) on the outside, but really I can be a giant mushy mess inside. I also like a hint of green in my life ;) I guess now is be a good time to explain the 'beans' in Run Beans, Run ya? In college my friends started calling me by my AIM screenname (karenabeana) and then it got shortened to 'beana' and then some shortened it to 'beans' and it just stuck.

Karenabeana's Chorizo and Corn Potato Croquetas
4 large yukon gold potatoes, boiled
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp parrano cheese, shredded
1 c corn, drained
1 c chorizo, chopped
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp mexican cheese blend
2 tbsp panko, plus 1 c for dredging

Mash potatoes and mix with butter, salt, garlic powder and parrano. Chill for at least an hour.

Brown chorizo, drain well and cool.
Combine chorizo, corn, parmesan, mexican cheese blend, 2 tbsp panko and mashed potatoes. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in panko forming a slight oval shape.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until panko starts to crisp.

I split this in half to make some vegetarian ones for a friend. For the vegetarian version, I obviously omitted the chorizo, used 1/2 c corn, 1 tbsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers) and upped the cheeses a bit (about 1 1/2 tbsp each).

So, I'm not much of a deep fryer. In fact, tonight was my first deep frying experience. Big fat fail. These little suckers just fell apart in the hot oil. Then I tried pan frying. Nope, the panko just fell off. I gave up, sprayed them with PAM and baked them. Apparently I should have used some egg. Oops. They still tasted phenomenal. Little nuggets of potato, cheesy, chorizo-y goodness. AHHHHH :)

To counteract the richness of the croquettes, and because I heart green things (especially cilantro, lime and avocado), I served them with a smear and dollop of Cilantro Lime Avocado Sauce (yes, I'm terrible at naming things)

Cilantro Lime Avocado Sauce
1 handful cilantro
juice of one lime
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp honey
1/4 tsp jalapeno pepper
3 tbsp avocado

Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender or food processor.

This was an AMAZING dollop of green! A great blend of spicy, sweet and earthiness. I'd probably even use this on chicken or pork I love it so much!

On the side, because every plate needs a little ruffage, some baby arugula blend dressed with some lemon juice, zest, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. What's in your glass??
Sometimes a glass is better than a bowl for mixing!

So that was my 'me meal' slash appetizer for everyone. Tonight's main course was an attempt at a vegetarian dish. I'm terrible with vegetarian dishes - definitely not my forte. I'm just more comfortable being creative when meat products are involved :\ Anyway I decided to do a variation on an appetizer I made a longlong time ago - Goat Cheese Eggplant Rolls.
Goat Cheese Eggplant Rolls
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" slices
olive oil
Goat Cheese Filling
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated)

Pour sauce into an 8"x8" baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle salt on eggplant slices and let sit for 15 minutes. Pat slices dry.

Drizzle olive oil in a grill pan and cook eggplant for 2-3 minutes on each side. Lay eggplant on a flat surface and smear 1/2-1 tbsp of filling in the middle of each slice. Roll slices and place seam side down in baking dish with sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.
Goat Cheese Filling
4 oz goat cheese
3 tbsp greek yogurt
2 tbsp roasted red pepper diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp shallot, minced

Mash all ingredients in a small bowl and keep at room temperature until ready to fill the eggplant.

Overall, not a bad experiment. The Arrabbiata sauce wasn't too overpowering or spicy as I thought it would be. Pretty tasty! Thanks Foodbuzz and Bertolli!

For dessert some Pecan Pie Tarts and brownies!
Have a good Monday!!


Jamie said...

that food looks tasty. certainly better than my MRE.

Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sophia said...

Wow, great entry, Karena! I wish you made extra to ship it to me! Hee hee! Love croquettes, and the eggplant rollups look amazing, too!

Do you think you can email the link to me with your pic?

Joanne said...

I love a good Mexican dish as well! These croquettes look amazing.

I get in trouble all the time at Whole Foods...even if I have a list. There's always something new there that I feel like I NEED to have. Sigh.