Thursday, August 5, 2010

southwestern cuisine

Last night I was on a southwestern cuisine kick. I have been working real hard at my summer job and at home after work. I wanted food that I consider to be tasty, satisfying and somewhat in the category of comfort food.

So the menu came out to be caramelized chipotle chicken with southwestern style; creamed corn and macaroni and cheese.

To make the creamed corn I cooked frozen sweet corn in heavy cream and half and half with salt and black pepper and pureed it in a blender. At service I stirred in sliced green onion and chopped cilantro. I was unable to find queso fresco at the store but would have really liked to top the creamed corn with some crumbled cheese. The result was really good even without the cheese. I am thinking about adding a squeeze of lime next time.

Many cream corn recipes call for a thickener such as corn starch to be added to the pureed corn.  By using the bare minimal amount of cream and half and half possible you can make creamed corn without having to go the thickening process.

For the southwestern style macaroni and cheese I made bechamel sauce, and flavored it with a four cheese Mexican cheese mixture and diced roasted green peppers.  A simple concept that directly relates to classical sauce making.  That is, to change a mother sauce into a small or leading sauce we do one or two things to it:  We flavor it, we enrichen it or both.

The macaroni sauce mixture was topped with panko bread crumbs and more cheese before going into the oven.  When it came out of the oven it was a bubbling mixture of goodness with a nicely crunchy top that provided great textural contrast.
I am thinking about combining this combination of flavors and textures with a precooked protein of some sort to create an "all in one dish".  I will post the information when I do this.

Sorry that there is not a photo of the chicken.  When it came out of the oven photos were the last thing I was thinking of.  :-)

Until next time
Happy Eating
Chef Bartosh

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