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Mariana’s Pipian Verde

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_Pumpkin-seeds_Yes,-more-please!

One of the most iconic and traditional Mexican dishes, Mole Poblano, gets all the fame and glory, but what about the rest of the Moles? There are at least another 7 moles from Oaxaca, imagine that is just one state… equally delicious, easier, different chiles and seeds combinations, seasonal, upon what is available in different regions and Grandmas’, Moms’, and Aunts’ taste. Each family has their own traditions, style and way to prepare them. Which one is more authentic?.. The one that is more you-er than you. I do not like to refer to a dish as authentic, I believe its more about tradition. Unless we go authenticating Grandmas, Moms and Aunts out there…unless it’s a Picasso painting.

Tradition is what a dish should reflect. The way and manner it was prepared in your family, at a place in time and history that has carry on within. That’s what resonates more with a recipe, like that yellowish piece of paper that has butter spots and crunchy edges, you can barely read from your grandmas handwriting, and that you have slightly adapted because of personal preferences but its done and evokes you memories and flavors that ground you, and hold a spot in your family history.

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In this case Pipian Verde it is not part of my family history, nor was traditionally made at home, but it is part of my culture and my Mexican flavors. I’ve always admired this dishes for the complexity yet so warm and comforting flavors. This Pipian Verde tells my story as a cook, the way I’ve adapted and embraced flavors in a foreign country, and the eagerness to rescue my Mexican cooking flavors.

My Pipian Verde recipe its my own translation of this traditional Mole. Not only on flavor, but also with a simpler method and an updated way to prepare it at home.
With all intention of show casing the pepitas flavor, the herbaceous distinctive smell and color, I used what is best available in austin, Texas, the city I currently call home. I thought about herbs and ingredients, that will mimic the flavors in a new refreshing way. Light, velvety and bright flavor with a hint of heat that will warm the back of your throat. This is my recipe for Pipian Verde, adapted for what I could best find in my city. If you decide to make this recipe, be fearless, do it with the best ingredients you have, use your instincts, adapt. I will assure you it will be the best Pipian you’ve ever had. Youer than you.  After that, you will fall in love with this green mole.

This mole is the beginning of my own traditions.
I hope you enjoy it and embrace the anewness

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Mariana’s Pipian Verde

Serves 6-8

The unique flavor of toasted pepitas, chiles, corn masa and herbs give this beautiful bright green Mole a lighter quality and a velvety sauce. It is absolutely outstanding combination with any white fleshy fish, shrimp, chicken, turkey or roasted vegetables and root vegetables, like zucchinis, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, mirliton, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips… among others. Because of the amount of fresh herbs this Mole taste better the day its made, and it will hold for the next two days in the refrigerator.

¾ cup raw pepitas, toasted and finely ground*

8-10 (upon size) green tomatillos
2 medium poblano peppers chopped and de seeded.
3-4 Serrano peppers
¼ medium sized onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup up to 1 cup slightly packed, fresh epazote leaves**
¼ cup parsley leaves
½ romaine heart lettuce
2 cups baby power greens, like spinach, kale, arugula, mustard, chard.****
½ teaspoon anise seeds toasted
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds toasted
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
A few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cups chicken stock***

4 tablespoons white corn masa harina, diluted in 6 tablespoons water or chicken stock.

Notes:
*I used my spice “coffee” grinder to pulverize the toasted pepitas. Pulsing on a food processor might work too.
** Smell and taste the epazote, if this is the first time you use it, taste it it has a minty-liquorice flavor. If it is to strong for you, start by adding ½ the amount, adjust to your tastebuds.
*** I made my chicken stock using a small whole chicken. I usually add to my stock, 1 carrot, ½ onion, 1 long celery stalk, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 large bay leaf , salt and pepper to taste. It is easy to prepare, you make the most of your ingredients, using the stock and the chicken.
****Why baby greens? because they are tender and the flavor will not mask the nutty delicate pepita flavor.

For Vegan version: Use a roasted vegetable stock, preferable to add extra flavor.

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Preparation Method:

1.In a blender add the chopped tomatillos, poblanos, serranos, onion, garlic, epazote leaves, parsley leaves, romaine lettuce, power baby greens, toasted anise seeds, toasted cumin, peppercorns, salt, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and blend well for about 3-4 minutes until pureed.

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2. On a 7 QT. clay or enamel Pot, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Once it starts to ripple , carefully add the green blended concoction. It might splatter so use an apron. Stir, and let low simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any white foam that comes to the surface. Stir now and then.
3. With the help of a whisk incorporate into the green sauce the pulverized toasted pepitas little by little to avoid clumps. If the sauce is getting to thick add one more cup of warm chicken stock little at a time. Chicken stock has to be warm so the mole do not break and separate.
4. Gently whisk, and add the diluted masa harina little at the time. And add another cup of the chicken stock. Whisk gently. And let the mole on a gently slow simmer for another 10 minutes stirring now and then making sure you scrape the bottom to avoid hot spots. As it cooks the mole will thicken, If the consistency its to thick add more chicken stock, little at the time, you want a creamy consistency, that will cover the back of a spoon.
5. At his point I used my immersion blender and blend for 1 minute until smooth and velvety. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use the food processor or a blender. Please, be really careful and cautious when handling hot sauces into the blender.
6. Taste for salt , adjust if necessary let it simmer at the lowest.

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7. Serve warm over a piece of chicken, pork, white fish grilled or sauteed, or any Vegetables. Be generous with the sauce, cover the entire surface, and maybe a little more. Garnish with toasted pepitas, a side of brown rice, or your favorite garlicky rice pilaf. Enjoy!

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Interested on cooking this delicious Pipian Verde and learning other 2 moles with me?

Come and join me at Kitchen Underground headquarters for a Moles and Mezcal Cooking class

Pipian Verde * Mole Amarillo * Mole de Novia

For registration and more information about this class: Kitchen Underground

“Para todo Mal un Mezcal, y para todo Bien… también!”

Looking forward to see you there!…

Any Class suggestions, Yes, more please! shoot us a comment…

Music Pairing: Luis Cobos Huapango Popurri

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Bonanza Bowl

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One Zucchini, one sweet potato, 1/3 of avocado, 11 cherry tomatoes, some spinach, the heel of a red onion and 2 pieces left from different cabbages, that was what I had in my fridge.
It happens to every fridge. These lonely rangers, the forgotten vegetables that get a little sad and tired looking. You really do not have a plan for them but you know you better eat them before you reload your fridge. All this bits and ends not enough for a complete recipe, you know how it feels when you have potatoes, but not butter, you have pasta but no sauce, or garlic but not oil sometimes your cooking just gets stuck. Some times you have to shake up your fridge and pantry to see what comes out of it.

This is the kind of Non-recipe that saves you. Sometimes if your fridge feels like this, its contagious and you’ll find that your Pantry has the same dilemma. But when your cooking bulb goes on, this bits and ends can be transformed on a blink of an eye and will turn into, perhaps the best dinner of the week.

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I did a quick pantry search, and spotted the last brown rice on the jar and some pepitas. I cooked the brown rice using my pasta method, lots of water and then strain the rice, voila you have the perfect separate grains very efficient and anti-gluppy rice. If you are a rice glupper this is the method to the madness.

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While rice was cooking, a quick look into the freezer and I had some left over shrimp from last week yes!…Please, do not get discouraged if there is not such a big freezer catch for you waiting in the freezer, remember there is always an egg waiting to be sunny side up into a bowl like this. Tofu, cheese, left over roasted chicken, lentils, every protein sings well on this bowl.

I knew I did not want to spent to much time cooking all this puzzle, so I thought on the simplest cooking like sauteeing or quick pickle that yield maximus flavor with minimal efforts. Next, Shredding the cabbage adding some dashes of vinegar, honey and tabasco, salt and pepper for a quick pickle. It took me about 2 minutes. I chopped some spinach, halved cherry tomatoes for freshness. Then cubed sweet potatoes and zucchini quick sautéed with olive oil salt and pepper until a bit charred.

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Using the same pan I sautee the shrimp along with some ancho powder and spices for a punch of flavor.

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Before serving, I seasoned the rice and plate everything on a bowl a squeeze of lime, a blap of creamy yogurt a dash of hot sauce. A one heck of a good one bowl dinner!

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Beside loving the eclectic vegetable chaos, what I love the most about this one bowl its that every bite taste different. What could feel like bits and ends become a feast of flavors, textures and colors. In less time that you imagine, you will find yourself eating even better than if you would have planned. A truly Bonanza Bowl.

Maybe, next week you will find yourself waiting and craving to put your left overs together…

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Bonanza Bowl

Serves 2-3-4 stretch it by adding an egg…if you have them…

I started by cooking the Brown Rice.
About 3/4 cup brown rice, I always cook my brown rice like pasta, in lots of water just using less salt. It cooks about in 25-30 minutes. I drain the rice and let the steam take care of the excess water. I used a dash of comino, garlic and salt for the rice.

Then I chopped into cubes the sweet potato, and sautéed. Zucchini chopped in long pieces and quick sautéed.

The awkward pieces of Cabbage Red and green, I shredded and season with a couple of dashes of tabasco, some honey, 2 good pinches of oregano and rice vinegar, for a quick pickled flavor.

Chopped a bit of Red onion and spinach, halved some gold tomatoes, avocado and lime wedges.

Once I had all this vegetable situation ready, I seasoned the shrimp with about a teaspoon of paprika, ancho chili powder, garlic and salt and sautéed them using the same pan from the zucchini and sweet potato. For a more efficient clean up future.

Shrimp or egg or tofu or chicken or tuna, or what ever you have left over roasted chicken,etc..

I served everything on a bowl sprinkled some sea salt, some fresh cracked pepper, a blap of greek yogurt. Done dinner was served in about 20 minutes.

With all our spear time, we indulged and took our dinner bowls up stairs to the TV room and watched a good ol’ movie…

Which movie???!!!…oh! Lordy… Casino Royale 2006 hehehe

Have fun with your left overs!

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For the double 00h! on this Bowl:

Movie Pairing:  Casino Royal James Bond

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Summer Rolls with Mango Ginger dipping sauce

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The noodles in my head are fried. August in Texas is no joke. Our Thermostat is on a bi-polar rampage. We are trying to deny the existence of such a thing called “electric bill”. We better stay still and attempt to use the stove much less on these days. Its sad but true, I’m not even craving BBQ or to go out for lunch or dinner when the temperature outside reads 90 F degrees even at 9:00pm. I’m Summernating!

So whats for lunch and dinner these days? The freshest crunchy vegetables, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, crispy lettuce, and thin rice noodles cooked in less than 4 minutes. Summer rolls or Gỏi cuốn which translate in “rice paper rolls, are found all over in East Asia and Southeast Asia cuisine. A fine sticky rice paper is the wrapper which holds vermicelli rice noodles and vegetables. Usually these Summer Rolls are served as a popular appetizer. Odds are you have had them if you eat in Vietnamese or Thai restaurants here in the U.S. But why not make them for dinner as the meal itself?

So what are you going to need? You can find the round rice paper at almost any supermarket with an ethnic foods aisle. Or of course you can shop for them in Asian markets or Wholefoods. They are very inexpensive. If you can’t find them, well you can easily order them online if you are Summernating like me.

These rolls are filled with julianne fresh vegetables, vermicelli noodles and a lean protein, usually shrimp or pork. I used in-season ingredients like fresh cucumbers which I spiralize to create noodles. If you don’t have that handy apparatus you can use a Juliane peeler or your handy-dandy knife skills to make fine vegetable strips of your carrots and lettuce. In this version I added avocado and shrimp.
In addition of the traditional peanut sauce, I prepared a dipping Mango-ginger sauce to make them fresher and add a bit more sweetness. These Summer Rolls are what I’m craving these days.

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Preparation of these rolls is a sticky affair but I have a nice trick which helps. If this is the first time making Summer Rolls my best advice: “Do Not” follow the instructions on the package, Heheehe. Everything will be easy after that.

Most of the packages and cookbook instructions out there which (for this roll up process I call them “des-tructions”) call to dip the rice paper in water, to soften and rehydrate. Then to carefully transfer this world’s stickiest, see thru, delicate, rice paper film into a wood surface or a plate… Let me tell you, this is a sticky fingers, crinkled edges, tear apart of a nightmare.

To avoid this situation, I will share with you my secret weapon to make these Summer Rolls, roll easily. I use a spray bottle.

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The way I do it is as follows: I place the dry rice paper on a flat round plate. I spray the plate and I spray a couple of times onto the rice paper. Using the tips of my fingers, I distribute the water evenly. Leaving the rice paper onto the same plate is gonna be prepared. This makes for no-transferring nightmares. By the time I place the fresh vegetables, rice noodles, mint leaves, add the shrimp in the center, the rice paper is pliable. Then I spray a little water into one edge of the rice paper and start to peel the rice paper in order to start rolling. It is as easy as peeling a non-stick sticker. The roll-up is smooth and easy. 1-2-3-4 fold, the similar way to wrap a burrito, check out the easy step-by-step roll up photos ahead.
For dipping sauce I made the traditional spicy  and peanut for Ian and I made a Mango-ginger sauce that is my favorite now. ( Between you and this screen, Ian and I chomposaurused about 4 rolls each!…yes, shamelessly, happy and refreshing dinner…shshsh!)

I hope you like this recipe its fun to make, pull out your spray bottles and start rolling up these babies. enjoy!

To make these Summer Rolls you will need….

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Zucchini Goat Cheese Entomatadas

 

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Entomatadas;//Adjective, En=in / tomat= from the word tomato /adas adjective termination that denotes action,”adas”
I would say that the closest translation of the word “entomatadas” or “entomatado” would be “smothered in tomato”.

These Entomatadas are the mellow cousins of the Enchiladas. They have the same concept and construction, rolled tortillas filled with infinite possibilities and covered with a sauce made with dry chiles.  The sauce used in entomatadas is made with red tomatoes, as its name suggests. Roma, or Tomboys tomatoes, or jitomate “bola” in Spanish is usually the tomatoes of choice when making this sauce, but certainly any red round meaty and juicy tomatoes, along with mild herbs and spices will work.

The basic Entomatada sauce is very mellow and showcases the best in tomatoes. In this version of mine, I rock it out a little bit by adding a single serrano, that mimics the black pepper and adds deep of flavor to the sauce. The sauce consist of boiled tomatoes, that are skinned, blended, and then sautéed with onion, garlic and fresh epazote or mint. Then its pureed for a second time to produce the most velvety and creamy tomatoey sauce. The creamy sauce contains no dairy however, which makes the sauce light and fresh. Also on the virtue of looking for a healthier, lighter version of the classic way to make entomatadas which calls for frying the tortillas, I warmed up the corn tortillas and I drizzled them with a bit of a delicious green… a grassy extra virgin olive oil! This step not only adds another layer of flavor, but also prevents soggy tortillas when the salsa is added.

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These Entomatadas of mine are filled with sautéed zucchinis, onions, sweet corn, and goat cheese. Once I roll them up, they are smothered with the piping hot tomato sauce which warms them through. These Entomatadas are best eaten warm almost tepid temperature.
Pouring the sauce separately when making any kind of enchilada is my favorite way to make them; It avoids enchilada uni-blocks. Best of all, by using this technique on these Entomatadas, is that it makes them BAKE-FREE!!! keeping you and your house odor free when you have closed the windows to run the A/C. If you don’t understand how that works, then come further South.

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Entomatadas are great for entertaining. I usually have them rolled up and when its time to serve them. I pour the piping hot tomato sauce all over, drizzle of Mexican crema or in this case I use a diluted Greek yogurt and sprinkle of queso fresco to keep them on the lighter side. Take them to the table and serve on a bed of shredded fresh lettuce and avocado wedges. I’m telling you, these Zucchini Goat Cheese Entomatadas scream Summer out loud! Whether its a midweek dinner or a potluck this recipe, its a must try! I know you will like them as much as we do!…

To make this Entomatadas you will need….

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