July 9th 2016
Well it's most definitely Summer time! I just got back from a trip to see family in my hometown. It was full of fireworks! No, literally, I hadn't been back since they legalized the aerial ones, and I got to catch a few up-close and personal displays. I think humans are pyromaniacs at heart, I also went to a roof top bar and watched the fire works go off at the minor league baseball park across the way. I used to grill cook at the games a few lifetimes ago, it was awesome, I got to grill lobster tails for Tommy Lasorda, but he usually just had me sneak him a few polish dogs. It was a really inspired trip and I found it helped my current state of writer's block. Don't get me wrong I usually have plenty to say, but it was good to go off the grid, in a sense and reconnect with my roots.
If there would be a good time to go camping it would be now! So today I did my own take on the foil dinner, its a vegetarian dish inspired by a few Mexican dishes, that I like. I'd like to think its a dish for the foodie campers out there, but it is easy enough for anyone who likes cooking over an open fire, primal style, pyro style.
You will need:
Red sauce and pickled shallots
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon California chile powder, the fresher the better
1 tablespoon AP flour
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1 teaspoon fresh ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/4 cup white onion, small dice
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch dried Mexican oregano
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Over medium heat, heat peanut oil, when shimmering add onion and garlic, saute 10 minutes until golden and soft. Add chile powder, combine well, until smooth. Add flour, cook 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, cumin, and salt. Stir well, add water. Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low. You can do this part before if you are planning on cooking on an open fire. Sauce stays well in sealed container for several days. For shallots, place sugar, salt, and oregano with hot water. Stir till sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vinegar. Pour brine over shallots. Marinate at least 1 hour. Can be done up to week in advance.
4 Poblano chiles, peeled and seeded, top left intact. Easy way to peel them is to char them over open flame, place in a plastic bag for 10 minutes. Peels fall right off.
4 cups loosely packed, fresh fried tortilla chips
4 ounces whole milk mozzarella
4 tablespoons Shredded hot pepper gouda, you can sub pepper jack or cheddar
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
Cilantro, crema, salsa and whatever topping you like (optional) Get your fire ready. Spray four large pieces of foil with cooking spray or brush with oil. Place 1 prepped poblano on each piece of foil. Inside each pepper place 1 oz mozzarella. Toss corn chips with prepared red sauce. Put a fourth of chips and sauce on top of mozzarella. Top with shredded hot pepper cheese, olives and red peppers. Seal the foil making sure to enclose the entire chilie. Place foil packets on top of coals and cook 10 minutes. Open each packet and top with pickled shallots and toppings of choice.