Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mole Shrimp Quesadillas

A variation on the old standby using store-bought Mole sauce.

6 flour tortillas
2 large portabella mushrooms sliced
1 green pepper sliced into half rings
3/4 pound shrimp
1 serrano or jalepeno pepper, minced
4 tbls Mole sace
Cheese shredded

Heat skillet over medium heat, lightly toast tortillas on both sides in dry pan, set aside for later. In same skillet, add 2 tbs olive oil, and saute green peppers, mushrooms and chile peppers adding 1tsp fennel seed, 1 tbsp cumin, and salt (if you have a kitchen fan, you may want to turn it on, since the peppers release alot of spice while they cook). When browned, remove veggies to separate plate/bowl.
In skillet, add small amount of olive oil, and drop in shrimp. toss once, and spoon Mole over shrmip. Toss a few more times until shrimp is just done.

Assemble quesadillas: Make a "tortilla sandwich" with the following layers: tortilla, cheese, veggies, shrimp, cheese, tortilla. Be placing cheese above and below the filling it will melt and hold everything together (don't overdo the cheese).
Now, I used my "George Foreman Grill" to grill the quesadillas, but you could grill them on a charcoal grill, or in a skillet until the tortillas are lightly toasted and the cheese has melted. Cut each into 4 pie slices, and serve with salsa or quacamole over top. Goes great with red-beans and rice, refried beans, or a chopped salad.

This dish is super-tasty (the Mole has chocolate in it), and really easy to make. You can pause after toasting the tortillas, after sauteing the vegetables, after making the shrimp, or after assembling the "sandwiches." It makes it simple to stage with other things, like side-dishes, kids, martinis etc...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Asian Noodle Soup

This one couldn't be easier (once you make the Dashi), and can form the basis of a whole range of asian soups.

Put a few inches of water in a soup pot. Add a ladle full of Dashi Concentrate. I mean a small ladle full. It's very concentrated, a little goes a long way. Heat the broth.

While the broth is warming...
Slice up some Shitakes, add to broth,
Slice up a Serrano or Jalapeno pepper, add to broth.
Slice up some baby Bok-Choy, add white parts to broth.
Slice up some Green Chard.
Cube a block of firm Tofu.

Prepare a pot of boiling water to make some noodles (I used Chinese vermicelli egg-noodles). Cook, drain and rinse noodles.
Add sliced greens to hot broth. Let collapse (2-3 minutes, tougher greens should be added earlier, along with mushrooms)
Add Tofu, find something to do for a minute or two.

Place Noodles in Bowl, serve hot soup over top, garnish with Cilantro and/or Green onions.

The tofu can be replace with the protein of your choice (browned first), and you can add different greens, sprouts, etc. you can even stir a beaten egg in just before serving. The concept is simple, Broth, vegetables that need to soften (like shitakes of chinese broccoli or meat I suppose) followed by greens and tofu for just a couple of minutes, and you're done.

The Super 88

I love asian markets. The only problem is that I only understand what about 20% of the items really are. The more "authentic" the bigger the problem, since the labels have little or no english on them. While searching for dried anchovies for Andy J's Dashi recipe posted here, I remembered that the Super 88 is just down the street from Linda's studion in Boston's South end. So I figured I'd check it out.

We'd never visited after all this time in Boston, and boy was that ever a mistake. First, the store is HUGE, with aisle-upon-aisle of great looking stuff. Clean and bright, the produce is fresh, and their fish/seafood section has to be seen to be believed. Huge tanks with live fish swimming around, whole fish and filets/steaks laid out on ice, and bins of crabs and prawns etc etc. I walked down the first aisle and found 5 different kinds of dried anchovies. How did I know? Because everything in the store has a tag on the shelf that says in english, what it is. Small thing? No, HUGE thing! Now I know what all that fascinating stuff is. I picked out my dried anchovies, and got a cart. This was going to take a while.

The prices are great, and I'd be surpirsed if there's ever anything in a recipe that I couldn't find here. A definite find (though it's not like it was hidden).

Check them out at