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Chef On A Shoestring

Chef Stephan Pyles
Dallas, Texas
author of Southwestern Vegetarian

Original air date: Oct. 21, 2000

Menu:
Oven Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
Chile Rellenos stuffed with Chicken and Corn Risotto
Mole Cake

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas

Ingredients:

1 Small Zucchini, Finely Diced
1 Small Yellow Squash, Finely Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded and Finely Diced
1 Poblano Chile, seeded and finely diced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Roasted Garlic Puree
1 Tablespoon Pure Red Chili Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Oregano Leaves
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary Leaves
8 Small Flour Tortillas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 Cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, and chile, and set aside. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, chile powder, slat, pepper, oregano, and rosemary. Drizzle the oil mixture over the vegetables, and toss to coast. Transfer the vegetables to a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees.

Lay 4 of the tortillas on a work surface. Brush with one tablespoon of the melted butter and turn over. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over the buttered tortillas and top evenly with the cooled vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the vegetables and cover with the remaining four tortillas. Brush the top of the tortillas with the remaining butter.

Set a dry, heavy cast iron skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes and place 1 or 2 quesadillas in the skillet. Cook the quesadillas until golden brown, about 2 minutes, and then carefully flip over using a large spatula. Cook the other side until golden brown and the filling is heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the oven to keep warm and repeat for the remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadillas into 6 pieces and serve.

Roasted Garlic Puree: Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Cut each head of garlic in half and place, cut side up, in a roasting pan. Pour 1 teaspoon of olive oil over each half head of garlic. Sprinkle the pan with 2 to 3 Tablespoons of water, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue baking for 5 to 7 minutes longer, until the garlic is golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pan and let it cool. Squeeze the softened garlic into a blender and discard the skin. Add just enough olive oil to make pureeing possible. Alternatively, peel individual cloves from 1 or more heads of garlic with a paring knife. Place the cloves on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Pour 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each head of cloves and toss to coast thoroughly. Sprinkle with water, cover with foil, and roast in the oven at 350- degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for 5-7 minutes longer, until brown.

Note: 3 heads of garlic yields about 1/3 Cup of puree.

Chicken Risotto and Corn Chile Rellenos

Ingredients:

1 Ear of Corn
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
2 Jalapeño Chiles, seeded, minced
1 Small Onion, Minced
4 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 Cup Arborio Rice
½ Cup White Wine
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
Salt to Taste
2 Small Chicken Breasts, cubed small

In a saute pan, saute cubed chicken breasts just enough so that they are pink. Put aside.

For the risotto filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside. In a saute pan set over medium heat, heat the olive oil until lightly smoking. Add the bell pepper, jalapenos, and half of the onion to the pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and reserved corn kernels and saute for 3 to 4 minutes longer, or until the corn is just tender. Remove from the heat and reserve.

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a heavy saucepan set over high heat. Add the remaining onion and saute for one minute. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rice. Stir for one minute, making sure each grain is coated with butter. Add the white wine and cook until it is completely absorbed, while stirring, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering stock and stir with a wooden spoon until it is completely absorbed. Continue adding stock in 1/2-cup increments until 1/2 cup of stock remains, stirring until each addition is absorbed. After approximately 25 minutes, the rice should be almost tender, but still a bit al dente.

Add the reserve corn mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and stir until completely incorporated. Add the chicken, then remove the pan from the heat. Finish the risotto by stirring in ½ cup of cheese and season with salt. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Carefully split the poblanos down one side, leaving the stems intact. Remove all the seeds and veins with a sharp knife and carefully stuff the poblanos with the rice mixture. Place the rellenos on a baking sheet and cover with the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until the cheese is slightly golden brown. Transfer the rellenos to a serving platter. The rellenos can be stuffed and made 1 day ahead.

**Note: Chiles and peppers should be roasted quickly and turned frequently, and there are several methods you can use. They can be roasted on a hot grill, broiled, or set on a wire rack over an open flame on top of the stove. After roasting, transfer the chiles or peppers to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap; alternatively, you can put them in a large paper bag and twist the top to secure. Let them "steam" for about 20 minutes until cool. Then you can peel them using the tip of a sharp knife. Split the chiles or peppers open with a knife and remove the seeds, internal ribs, and the stem.

If the purpose is to peel the chiles or peppers rather than provide flavor (preferable for chile rellenos for example) you can dip them in a pan of vegetable oil heated to 375 degrees until the skin blisters. Remove and set in a bowl of ice water and when cool enough, peel with a sharp knife.

Mole Cake

Ingredients for the Cake:
11 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks), unsalted butter
1/2 Dried Pasilla Chile, seeded
1/2 Dried Ancho Chile, seeded
10 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Canela or 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds
9 large eggs
1/2 Tablespoon pure Vanilla Extract

Method: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter until golden brown for about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the chiles, sugar, canela (or cinnamon), cloves, and pumpkin seeds, and grind until superfine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, whisk together the eggs, and vanilla extract on low speed. Add the chili mixture and whisk for 10 minutes longer. Add the melted chocolate, whisk to incorporate, and slowly add the butter until combined.

Pour the batter into 8 lightly oiled 4-ounce ramekins and place in a water bath. Transfer to the oven and bake for 13 to 14 minutes. The cakes will feel only slightly firm. Remove the ramekins and keep refrigerated until 1 hour before serving. Cakes are even better slightly warmed in the oven.

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