stellacooks.com, 2009-2016

I haven’t posted in years, and I barely have time to try new recipes these days. This was a fun side project for a long time–I transitioned from youthful veganism to a more thoughtful and pragmatic omnivorism, enjoyed being part of the Austin Food Blogger Association, got a recipe published in the organization’s official cookbook, judged tacos on a SXSW panel, and met tons of cool foodie folks. 

But I just don’t have time to blog anymore, and my contributions never reached the level I would have liked. I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but it’s true: I need a clone. Maybe I’ll get back into the food scene someday… Until then, follow me at @Texarchivist for an unpredictable selection of eats and drinks, and, of course, the odd food pic. I mean, I do still eat a plate of cheese enchiladas at least once a week.

Thanks to everybody who followed my mostly-delicious journey!

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Stella’s Creamy Jalapeño Rice

If you have a problem with using butter and cream, stop reading now.

This recipe is pretty easy, but very rich—real comfort food. And it’s a twist on the usual creamy, mushroom rice (which, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore). I usually use water, but if you want it to be extra luxurious, use chicken broth (vegetarians can substitute vegetable broth for a similar result). Make sure you determine the heat of your chiles before adding them; I once made a batch of this stuff so hot my face literally started stinging. Watch out!

Of course, if you’re a fan of super spicy foods, use as many peppers as you dare. My mother would probably enjoy the face-peeling version of this dish. I’ll stick with semi-spicy. For me, that’s usually two small jalapeños from our garden.

2 cups water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth
1 cup basmati rice (or white, if preferred)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated pepper jack (or Monterey Jack) cheese
1 heaping Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp butter

1. In a medium to large soup or stock pot, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until water is nearly cooked off. The rice will be steaming but have little, circular air pockets throughout.

2. Add cream, jalapeños, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or so, unconvered, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed the cream. It will now be a nice, creamy consistency.

3. Add cheese, sour cream, and butter. Stir thoroughly to mix ingredients, until the butter and sour cream have melted into the rice.

4. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Delicious with chicken—or beef! Reheats well.

Beef Enchilada Casserole with Chipotles

1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 oz. chipotle chiles, finely diced*
1 cup enchilada sauce
4 fresh corn tortillas
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
sliced black olives, to garnish
sour cream, to taste

1. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add raw beef, breaking it up with your spatula or spoon. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and chipotles, and stir. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the enchilada sauce in a separate skillet if you haven’t done so already. Cut the tortillas into strips about one half inch wide, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F, and grease a medium casserole pan with a little olive oil (I use a 1.5 quart Pyrex dish).

3. Once the meat is evenly cooked, turn off your burner. Spoon out about one third of the meat directly into the casserole dish. Add a light layer of enchilada sauce, and top with one third of the tortilla strips, criss-crossing them on top of the sauce. Repeat two more times, to use up all of the meat and tortillas. Pour any remaining sauce over the top. Bake at 350° for approximately 25 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the casserole from the oven and place on the stove top. Add the grated cheese to the top in an even layer, and return to the oven for approximately 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

5. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Plate each serving using a large, flat spatula, trying to keep the shape of the casserole as you ease each piece onto a plate (it’s tricky!). Top with black olives and sour cream, and serve.

This casserole will also keep very well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and makes a rich, hearty meal of leftovers on a weeknight.

*For these, I used the regular old chipotles-in-adobo in a small can (3.5 oz.). If you have fresh chipotles on hand, even better. Also, note: adjust the proportion of chipotles for desired spiciness. Using about half a small can results in a nicely spicy, but not hot, casserole. Use less if you just want a little kick; throw in the whole can if you’re brave like my mom and really enjoy a strong chile flavor.

Creamy Artichoke Pasta

1 lb. conchiglie pasta
12 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
splash white wine
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt. Cook pasta for about ten minutes, or, if using a different variety, to package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic and stir. After a few moments, add artichokes and pepper. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, then stir in a splash of white wine. Cook for a further minute or so, then remove from heat.

3. Add cream, parmesan, olives, and basil (leaving some aside for garnish) and stir thoroughly. Return to low heat and allow to heat through. Meanwhile, drain pasta.

4. In the original boiling pot, stir artichoke and sauce mixture into pasta. Make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed, and serve immediately, garnished with more chopped basil.

This dish is super quick, easy, and deceptively tasty—perfect for a weeknight! Try it!

Chipotle Mayo Chicken Salad

This recipe popped into my head over the weekend, when I realized that I had an extra jar of mayonnaise in the fridge, and that I still hadn’t used the dried chiles in my cupboard.  Lucky for me, one of my professors had generously shared his chipotle mayo recipe, which I’ve only slightly adapted here.  I also had several bone-in chicken thighs, so I decided to roast them, mix them with the mayo, and enjoy a slightly spicy chicken salad.  The perfect loaf of homemade bread, which my partner had just taken out of the oven, completed the meal!  And I had the leftovers for lunch on Monday – a real treat in the middle of the workday.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

4 ancho chiles
2 ancho chiles
1 1/2 cups real mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
pinch of salt
 

1. If using dried chiles (which are great to have on hand because, if stored properly, they will keep for up to a year!), soak them in room temperature water for about an hour (perhaps while the chicken is roasting).  Next, de-seed the chiles and roughly chop.

2. In a food processor, mix all ingredients until smooth.  This may require using a spoon to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Spoon mayonnaise out into a jar and place in the fridge. It should be good for about two weeks.

This spicy, red mayo is good not only in chicken salad, but also in tuna salad, on bread, or in sandwiches.

 

Chicken Salad

~4 cups cooked chicken, shredded*
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
3/4 cups Chipotle Mayonnaise (recipe below)
 

1. Once the chicken has cooled and been shredded, mix in the Chipotle Mayo, to desired consistency (I used the full amount, but you might want a less creamy salad – it’s up to you).

2.  Sprinkle in the diced onion and bell pepper (and nuts, if using).  Stir thoroughly.

3. Cool in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

 

*For this batch, I used all thighs, skin-on, bone-in, because that’s what I had on hand.  I roasted the chicken, pulled the meat off the bone, and then used the juices to render some schmaltz, which is currently in my fridge ready to be used to roast some potatoes!