Because of Lucinda… Award Winning Zach and Sage’s Mexi-touille
Because of Lucinda…
In this post, Beth writes about how her son won a blue ribbon for cooking at the county fair and shares their award winning recipe for Mexi-touille:
I don’t know when exactly my addiction to cooking shows started, but I do know when it started to click in my brain and make sense, especially the reason why my pancakes were always so bland and tough. Alton Brown. Sigh. Hearts. Music. If you have never seen an episode of ‘Good Eats’, then you are truly missing out. Alton is a cooking scientist and if you are a visual thinker like me, it is pure joy to SEE him explain the how and why of recipes and techniques. And he is so entertaining, coming up with the corniest of visual aids and using people as molecules and a blue crab that keeps escaping the tank, haunting everyone on set…ahhh. Zach would curl up next to me on the couch and we’d watch, enthralled, then jump up and cook something. Let me tell you, I know how to make pancakes now. No matter what recipe I use or what the directions say, I follow his technique and BAM! (sorry, Emeril) they are wonderful.
Here’s the rough recipe, you really should try it. It made eggplant eaters out of two 12 year olds who had said “Ok, I’ll cook it but I won’t eat it!” 😉
Zach and Sage’s Mexi-touille
Ingredients are estimates, all amounts can be changed to suit your tastes 🙂
- Organic canola oil
- Olive oil
- 1 medium sized eggplant, cut into approx 1/2 to 1″ cubes
- 2 small/medium zucchini, or one zucchini and one yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1-2 bell peppers, diced into 1/2″ pieces (red and/or yellow is great for adding color, you can see by the photo below that I would have been well served by listening to my own advice)
- One small/medium onion, diced however small you’d like
- 3 or so cloves of garlic, minced fine
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, or about 3 plum tomatoes, diced into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 small can fire roasted green chiles, or you can try fresh chiles, diced small. Jalapeno might be good!
- Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, about 1/4 cup
- Kosher salt, one small handful, and more to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/4 tsp
- Toasted cumin seed, 1/2 to 1 tsp
- Splash of lime juice
- Queso Freso, crumbled, about 1/2 cup
Trim the ends off the eggplant, then slice into 1/2 to 1″ rounds, and then cube it. Throw the cubes into a colander and toss with the small handful of kosher salt. Toss to coat all the pieces with salt and let it pull out some of the bitter juices. I’m not sure if it’s necessary for this recipe, but I tried grilling eggplant once and I did NOT do a salt rest first, and it was NASTY. So rather than take any chances, we did it this way. Let the eggplant rest in the colander for about 20 min or however long it takes to chop up all the other ingredients. Then rinse it thoroughly with cold water and let the excess water drain.
Heat a skillet on medium high heat and drizzle a Tbsp or two of canola oil (better for higher heat than olive oil). Toss the eggplant in to the heated oil and stir quickly to coat. Eggplant will suck up that oil like a sponge so be quick. Let the eggplant just start to brown and soften slightly, stirring frequently, then remove it to a plate. Don’t worry about the brown bits on the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and drizzle in about a Tbsp of olive oil and add your onions, bell peppers and fresh chiles if using them. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt into the mix and let them sweat for a few minutes. Add the garlic and continue to gently sautee for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, canned chiles, red pepper flakes and cumin seed. If using fresh tomatoes, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water for liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove cover and add zucchini, give it about 5 minutes for the zucchini to start to soften, taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, then add the eggplant back in, along with the fresh cilantro and a splash of lime juice. Once the eggplant is heated through, remove from heat and sprinkle with queso fresco.
They also had ground sirloin in the basket, from which they made small slider sized burgers with queso fresco, cilantro, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper, then drizzled with their fresh chimichurri after cooking. Yummilicious.
Originally posted on http://merlotsmusings.blogspot.com/