neon bible

there is only one real truth: food tastes really good when you are very hungry. end of sermon.

i don’t believe in god or religion or eternity. or that we can all be “healed” of insanity, grief, cancer, depression etcetera ad infinitum. life is a series of unfortunate events and as my buddy kurt vonnegut said: “if there really is a god, he sure hates people.”

ok, really, i’ll stop now.

fundamentally, i like to cook shit either someone has made for me and/or that i’ve spent too much money on in a restaurant. it’s a vanity fare: i have to prove i can not only make it, but make it better.

so the other week i asked “mainstream” to come up with the sunday brunch menu because quite frankly, i get tired of deciding what to serve. she stumbled upon a rather nice (and pretty) site with incredible pics of stuffed poblano peppers.

inspiration from another vonnegut lover. ftw. heart you, kiddo.

didn’t take any photos of the work in progress, just a snap of the finished product as i was told it was just too photogenic to let slide. here it is:

rellanos

the guacamole was good too but i’ve already covered that. and for the record, the mexican cornbread was of the ghetto variety. it was a $.49 box of jiffy mix with fresh corn, jalapeno and poblano’s and a shredded cheese topping. i was sick of cooking rice but felt we needed another “side” – yeh, i overcook a lot.

so let’s talk about jeebus. no wait, let’s talk about poblano peppers. and red enchilada sauce.

biblical chile rellenos

  • 5 poblano peppers, roasted, skinned and deseeded
  • 1/2 cup cooked white (or brown or black) rice
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans (DON’T BUY CANNED)
  • 1/4 cup cooked red beans (DON’T EVER BUY CANNED)
  • 1/4 cup sauteed onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • some crumbled queso fresca (3/4 cup or so), an egg, flour, oil, spicers (aka salt, pepper, cumin)
  • for the non-vegetarians, some fried chorizo broken up into pieces

- mix together rice, beans, onions, garlic and season to taste (add chorizo if making for meat eaters). i’d cut an “x” in my roasted peppers to remove the seeds and used this as my stuffing entry way. stuff in the cheese first then add bean/rice mix until poblanos are full – i read a bunch of crap about not overfilling but that’s bullshit. just make sure the slit in your pepper folds back together again.

here’s where folks get really whanky. someone said to use toothpicks to hold the pepper closed but jesus christ i didn’t want my guests to get cuts in ‘they mouffs’ while eating. i skipped that part. (i also refrigerated the stuffed peppers overnight because i wasn’t going to do all this fuxing work on a sunday morning)

beat egg in a bowl and add a little water to thin it (mebbe a tablespoon). dredge the filled pepper in the flour then in the egg, it’s messy and won’t be completely coated when done but it doesn’t have to be.

heat a skillet on medium with some oil – just a tablespoon or so. add the stuffed pepper slit side down and fry for a minute then turn and fry for a minute on the other sides. transfer to a baking dish. (frying the slit side first helps to “close” the wound/pepper/whatever).

if you were smart and read ahead, you’d know you want some red enchilada sauce to accompany the peppers in the baking dish.

neon red enchilada sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup frozen stewed tomatoes (mine were from the summer harvest so they were assorted flavors/varieties). a good substitute if you don’t freeze in-season produce would be about 1 pound of fresh tomatoes (see save-a-lot) that has been skinned, seeded and diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, chopped (remove seeds)
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (remove seeds)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced

- now you don’t have to get all anal about chopping everything up real small because ultimately, you’re going to whip out the blender in the end.

sautee onion and garlic in a bit of oil, add peppers and continue cooking for a few minutes. add tomatoes and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the liquid seems to be evaporating. add some spicers – a pinch of cumin, salt, pepper and if you like, a shake of red pepper flakes. let cool for about 5 minutes then puree in the blender. test taste and add more seasonings if you wish. this was NOT a very spicy sauce – perhaps my peppers weren’t as hot as they could have been. who freaking knows. but the sauce is delish.

now back to the peppers. i added a small amount of sauce to the baking dish bottom then topped the peppers with a little more. not much, i wanted the poblano skins to keep a bit crispy. cover casserole with aluminum foil and pop in a preheated 350 degree oven. bake for 20 minutes, remove foil, add a little shredded cheese or queso to the top and bake a few more minutes until melted.

eat. drink. don’t pray. don’t drink and drive. drive well, sleep carefully.