Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to celebrate New Year's Day

First, don't drink a lot the night before.  That ruins everything about the new year.  I find it much nicer to go to bed at a normal hour on New Year's Eve after a light supper and wake up feeling rested so you can have a relaxed day with some friends and enjoy sunshine, being outside, a fire inside, good wine, and good conversation.

Oh, but I haven't mentioned the food.

New Year's Day at Vindaloo's house (at least this year) was a constant stream of small bites, brunch casseroles and desserts for six hours.  Did exhaustion follow?  Why, yes, but it was well worth it.  All of us seemed like we were enjoying ourselves.  And the food certainly disappeared.  So I am going to share some recipes with you.

Here's the brunch recipes.  Beverage and small bites recipes to follow in a separate post.

Mighty Migas Casserole

Yes, it's true.  Velveeta is just one molecule away from plastic.  But boy, does it taste good in this brunch casserole. This recipe is adapted from GG's Gourmet Tex Mex Migas from the Roddy Tree Ranch Vacation Rentals website.
1/2 cup onion, chopped 
1 cup (combined) green, red, and yellow bell pepper chopped  (I included some diced poblano)
1/4 cup EVOO
1 cup Velveeta processed cheese, chopped 
12 eggs beaten with 2 Tablespoons buttermilk, half and half or cream
Salt and pepper to taste
6 corn tortillas 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 can Rotel chopped tomatoes with chopped green chilies 
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese or Monterrey Jack cheese
Fresh cilantro, chopped, optional, for garnish
Mild canned jalapeno peppers, sliced, optional, for garnish
2 Key limes, halved, optional, for garnish
Picante sauce (I used Hatch New Mexico green chile salsa)
1.)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.)  Saute onions and peppers in EVOO until soft.  
3.)  Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  
4.)  Distribute Velveeta cheese evenly over vegetables.  Set aside.
5.)  Whip up eggs and buttermilk or cream; salt and pepper to taste. 
6.)  Tear corn tortillas into strips and let soak in egg mixture briefly. 
7.)  Add Rotel tomatoes (including liquid) and stir well.
8.)  Pour egg mixture into baking dish.

9.)  Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until casserole is puffed and golden.
10.)  Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of casserole, turn off oven and let casserole remain in hot oven with door closed for about 5 to 10 more minutes to melt the cheese.  
11.)  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Garnish with cilantro, jalapeno peppers and limes if you wish.  Pass salsa or picante sauce on the side.  Serves 6 to 8.

Bauchant French Toast Casserole

Make no mistake, Paula Deen can throw down!  This French toast casserole is basically her recipe, but I substituted 1/2 cup Bauchant (orange liqueur) for part of the milk.  Don't skimp on the praline topping and real maple syrup--it's the bomb!

Buena Suerte New Year's Day Posole with Lime and Red Chile Sauce

This New Mexican pork and hominy stew couldn't get any easier.  You get a lot of flavor for very little investment of your time.  Make it the day before serving for best flavor.  And do make the red chile sauce--you can go mild or hot--it enhances the stew tremendously.

2 16-oz. cans hominy, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 lbs. lean boneless pork, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 dried New Mexico red chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into small pieces (wear latex gloves!)
2 cups finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. cumin seed, crushed
6 cups chicken broth (more or less depending on how thick you like your stew)
salt to taste
lime wedges, for garnish
Red Chile Sauce (recipe follows)

1.  In a large pot, combine all ingredients except salt, lime and red chile sauce.
2.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours until pork is tender.  Add more chicken broth as necessary if the stew is getting too thick; add salt to taste.
3.  To serve, ladle in bowls, pass red chile sauce and lime wedges and enjoy.  Serves 6 to 8.

Red Chile Sauce:  Soak 10 New Mexico red chiles, stemmed and seeded, in hot water until softened, about 30 minutes.  Drain and put chiles in blender with 2 cups water or chicken broth.  Blend until smooth, about 5 minutes.  You can also take a shortcut here and purchase Bueno Red Chile in your grocer's freezer section.  Thaw and proceed as follows:  In a saucepan, saute 1 cup finely chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in 2 Tbs. oil.  Add red chile sauce, some salt to taste, and about 1 tsp. dried oregano.  Bring to low boil and simmer, uncovered, to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.  Sauce should be the consistency of gravy.  Makes about 2 cups.

Happy New Year!

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