For the un-holidays

I’ve never aspired to be one of those bloggers who preps you for the upcoming holiday by testing recipes in advance and posting them all during the month. I started this blog as a way to share things that I make because I want to make them, and as much as I love turkey and stuffing, I only want to make it once in the month of November.

However, I do appreciate the bloggers who operate in the way that I don’t; while our Thanksgiving menu is usually pretty set, I do occasionally draw inspiration from a few of you holiday bloggers. So, thank you, Pioneer Woman, and thank you The Bitten Word.

As such, it shouldn’t surprise you that we’re talking about a quiche today. Sure, you could plop a quiche down on that Thanksgiving table. Scoot that gourd over, or move that big honkin’ centerpiece, or the candles you put on the table because you really don’t need them anyway. And toss this quiche into the mix. You’d get a few stares, I bet.

My guess is that this quiche might be more appropriate for say, breakfast, or any day other than Thanksgiving; the un-holiday days. You could even use leftover turkey and make a turkey quiche, if it suits you.

Apparently, I bought an inordinate amount of Mexican chorizo last weekend, but I suppose I couldn’t resist when the tienda sells it for $1.99 a pound. Some of it found a crevice in the freezer (which, by the way, is l.o.a.d.e.d. with meat, even a ginormous turkey from our CSA that we didn’t realize we were getting until after we’d already placed our order for the fancy heritage turkey. I sense a lot of turkey pot pie in our future.), but a portion of it got an egg bath.

And so, even though it’s almost Thanksgiving, and even though some of you might be searching for the perfect cranberry sauce or green bean casserole, or the absolute best way to cook a turkey (which would be a simple brine, and a roast), I bring you custard in a shell instead.

But I bring it to you hoping you’ll find inspiration, hoping you’ll take a crust – be it spelt flour, regular flour, or even store-bought – some milk and eggs, and of course, some cheese, and make whatever kinda quiche you damn well please.

You can be thankful for all the extra food you’ve got in your fridge that allows you to make a quiche to call your very own. How’s that for appropriate?!

Mexican Chorizo Quiche
chiknpastry recipe; serves 4-6

quiches are a good way to get rid of anything in your fridge. for us, that meant leftover chorizo (although some got frozen, too). you can use any crust you want, but i liked the heartiness of the spelt dough, plus i already had it in the freezer :).

printable version

ingredients
crust (the other half of this; recipe below makes enough for 2)
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 c whole-grain spelt flour
1 T sugar
3/4 t salt
1 stick (8 T or 1/2 c) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 T (1/4 c) chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
up to 1/2 c ice water

filling
8oz Mexican chorizo
¼ c onion, chopped
1 anaheim pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 ½ c sharp cheddar cheese
2 T canned green chiles, minced
2 T cilantro, chopped
4 eggs
1 c milk
½ t cumin
½ t chipotle chili powder
1 t salt
2 t pepper

instructions
crust
pulse flours, sugar, and salt in a food processor to blend. Add butter and shortening and pulse repeatedly until small pea-size clumps form. Add 1/2 of ice water and pulse until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. (alternatively, this can be done by hand or using a pastry blender, but it’s gonna take longer!) Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until needed. (You can keep it in the fridge for 2 days, or even freeze it and let thaw overnight. But, let it sit out for a few minutes to soften before you are ready to roll it out.)

putting it together
Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out pie crust and place in greased pie plate. With tines of a fork, poke a few holes in the crust and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat skillet over med-hi heat; saute chorizo for ~2 minutes. Add onion, anaheim pepper, and jalapeno; cook until vegetables are soft and chorizo is cooked through. Drain well using paper towels. Place cheese in crust then add onion, pepper, chorizo, green chilies and cilantro.

Beat eggs and milk together until slightly foamy then add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Pour into pie shell until not quite full (you may have some extra – discard).  Bake at 350 until brown and domed, ~50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Battle Chorizo: Liquid Courage

When it comes to pork, I don’t discriminate. Give me bacon, give me Boston Butt, or give me a rack of ribs – I will eat it all, and be as happy as a clam at high tide. Better yet, give me chorizo, and I become weak in the knees.

What’s not to love about pork sausage turbo-charged with smoked paprika and dried chile peppers? And what’s not to love about eating 14 dishes in a row that all use the Mexican counterpart in unique ways?  It would only be appropriate for the first Iron Chef battle sans vegetarian, Hope, to have a meaty secret ingredient, right?! And sure, I’d choose Hope any day over a meat-containing Iron Chef theme, but at the end of the day, I knew that was a choice I didn’t have – so when I saw chorizo on my email I smiled. I smiled big.

I used the rest of my smuggled Spanish chorizo a while back, and believe you me, it’s hard to find similar quality Spanish chorizo outside of, well, Spain. But Mexican chorizo is a whole other ballgame. There are gazillions of Mexican markets around Chicago, and they all have their house-made chorizo, and they are all scrumptious. This battle was for the Mexican version only, so I was in luck.

That being said, you could definitely make your own Mexican chorizo, which isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever heard. I have a hard time justifying that act though, with a tienda de Mexicana right around the corner.

All in all, Battle Chorizo was chock full of both chorizo and fun. I thought I’d get some originality points by bringing a dessert to the table, but I should know by now, 13 battles in, that I’m not the only one who brings it. Either way, the food was consistently good, and this time picking a favorite didn’t come as easily to me as it has in past battles.

But in the end, what stood out most was a dish that typically doesn’t fare too well in Iron Chef land: a beverage. Brook went balls to the wall and infused tequila with chorizo, making a super spicy, subtly meaty, perfectly-mixed meat-garita. It may not sound good, and maybe everybody didn’t adore it, but I sure did.

The Top Three (all pictured individually, above):

1. Brook’s Meatgaritas (gluten/dairy-free)
2. My Maple Panna Cotta with Candied Chorizo Caramel (gluten/dairy-free)
3. Katherine’s Chocolate-Chorizo Crostini (dairy-free)

Of course, in the midst of Brook’s (all too narrow) win over my maple-chorizo dessert, we all found even more liquid courage and busted a few moves with Brook & Katherine’s new toy, the Kinect. I could quickly abandon the gym in exchange for the dance game, that’s for sure. Wait.. does not going in three months already count as abandoning?! What with battles like this past one, it might be time to reconsider..

*

For links to the first 12 battles, visit the newly created Iron Chef page!

Meatgaritas (aka Chorizo-infused margaritas)

the instructions below can be used for various infusions. if your flavor of choice isn’t fatty, the freezer part isn’t really needed, and you can instead infuse in the fridge for as long as you want. infused liquors keep indefinitely.

printable version

ingredients
1 lb bacon
1 lb Mexican chorizo
bottle of tequila
chorizo spices (garlic powder, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, guajillo chiles)
lime juice
triple sec
kosher salt, for rimming
fire salt, for rimming

instructions
Cook a bacon and chorizo in saucepan. Add both and tequila to large airtight glass container; let sit in the freezer for 24 hours or longer (the longer, the better). Remove from the freezer, and remove layer of fat from the tequila. Strain and return to container, without meat.

Steep various chorizo-spices in infused tequila for 1 hour; strain. Mix tequila with lime juice and triple sec to desired flavor. Combine salts and rim glasses, moistened with lime juice.

*dishes from above picture, from top left to bottom right: Jon’s chorizo-stuffed pork tenderloin, Katherine’s black bean chorizo chili, Terri’s chorizo bread stuffing, Michelle’s chorizo cupcakes, Terri’s chorizo mincemeat cups, Chris’ chorizo and clam stew, Becca’s chorizo sliders, Jennifer’s chorizo-stuffed mushrooms, Kaitlyn’s chorizo macaroni and cheese.