Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kitchen of Coleman-Mexican Fiesta

We had some friends over for dinner tonight. I recently taught a cooking class at Williams Sonoma and the menu I planned was quite fabulous so I decided to make it tonight for our guests. Presenting tonight's menu:

Mexican Fiesta

Avocado Soup with Chili Lime Shrimp Salsa
Tequila Agave Marinated Chicken Breasts
Grilled Corn with Chipotle Lime Butter
Black Beans with Cilantro & Cumin scented rice
Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee

Avocado Soup with Chili Lime Salsa

Prepare the salsa first in this recipe. Also, to maintain the color of the avocado soup, serve this immediately after it is ready. If you are having guests and are short on time, prepare the other menu items first and complete this course last. The chicken will stay moist if it you under cook it about 10 minutes, cover it and put it in a 250 degree oven while you are eating the avocado soup.

3 large ripe avocados
2-2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 tbs. fresh lemon juice

Combine avocados, chicken stock and cream into blender. Blend until thick soup consistency, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Whisk in lemon juice.

1/2 pound large shrimp
1 tbsp. chili lime rub
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. red bell pepper, small dice
1/4 c. onion, small dice
1-2 tbsp. minced jalapeno
fresh lime juice

Mix shrimp, chili lime rub and olive oil. Preheat large nonstick saute pan on medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook until just pink. (If you have large shrimp it should take between 4-7 minutes, leaner more towards the 3-5 mark). Allow to cool. Chop shrimp into small dice and mix with remaining ingredients. Dish soup into bowls, mounding 2-3 tbsp. shrimp salsa in center. If you REALLY wanted to try a fancy presentation, put drops of heavy cream (6) surrounding the salsa. Use a toothpick to make circles or squiggle marks. Complete with a little bit of fresh squeezed lime juice.

Tequila Agave Marinated Chicken Breasts

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bottle tequila agave marinade
2 tbsp. olive oil

This is simple. There are a couple of good keys to getting chicken breasts cooked perfectly. The first is uniform size. Pound the chicken breasts in a ziplock bag until they appear to be uniformly even. Add marinade and olive oil. Allow to marinate 2 hours but no more than 4. Remember, most marinades are actually fine overnight, but because this has alcohol it can start to "cook" the chicken, which in turn will cause it to be dry in some places after it is finished cooking. (Think ceviche, but you can't actually eat chicken that has been "cooked" in this manner as you can seafood). The second tip is how it is cooked. Regardless of whether you grill this (superb), or fry it, only turn your meat once, if you turn it more you take the risk of a puncture in the meat, thus release juices. The best method I have found for frying is to use 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Heat on med-high until you start to see brown specks (pay attention, one the butter starts browning it can burn very quickly) add the chicken. Swirl the chicken in the pan with tongs for about 5-10 seconds, then let it continue to cook the 7-10 minutes until you turn it over.

Swirling the chicken allows the chicken to form a coat that keeps it from sticking and pulling the chicken apart when you get ready to turn it. Reduce the heat a smidge if you start notice more brown specks, but as a general rule of thumb once you add the cold chicken the pan temperature will go down and therefore the butter should not burn.

Grilled Corn with Chipotle Lime Butter

6 ears Iowa Sweet Corn (ha's corn season!!!!!)
2-3 tsp. canned chipotle in adobo sauce (freeze the excess in snack size ziplock will keep for at least 6 months)
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1-2 tsp. fresh lime zest

There are two ways to grill corn. You can remove the husk and wrap in foil or you can grill with the husks on. Preheat grill to 375. Grill for about 10-15 minutes depending on size. While corn is grilling finely mince chipotles, zest lime and mix well into butter. Wrap butter in wax paper and roll like you would sugar cookie dough. Put in fridge until you are ready to serve corn. Cut butter into serving discs.

Black Beans with Cilantro & Cumin Scented Rice

2 cans black beans
2 cups cooked brown or jasmine rice
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. cumin

Rinse beans and set aside. Add beans to cooked rice, mix in cilantro, cumin, olive oil and lime juice.

Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee

4 c. heavy cream
12 egg yolks
2/3 c. sugar
dash salt
1 whole vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine 2 c. cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to almost boiling over med-high heat. Remove from heat, allow vanilla bean to steep 15 minutes. While cream is steeping, whisk egg yolks until just combined. Add last 2 cups cream to cream mix and whisk well. One cup at a time, add cream to yolks, combining well. Pour through sieve into a pitcher. Prepare two 9x13 baking dishes by layering 2-3 paper towels on bottom of each. Put 5 ramekins in. (You may only need 9 depending on size, or you could need more if your ramekins are small. I find the 4-6 oz sizes to be perfect). Fill each ramekin evenly. Add hot water to another pitcher. Place baking dishes in oven, adding hot water in each about 1/2 up the sides of the ramekins. Start checking at about 30 minutes (40 for larger ramekins); bake until creme brulee wobbles like jello but doesn't ripple like water. You need to be careful, the creme brulee may not look done at 35 minutes, but it very well could be done at 37 minutes! Remove baking dishes from oven, take out ramekins and put on cookie rack. Allow to cool, no longer than 2 hours. You make cover with plastic wrap before placing in fridge as long as they are completely cool.

1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk

Combine whipping cream and brown sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in sweetened condensed milk.

Take creme brulee out of containers and put serving dishes. Swirl dulce de leche over the top.


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