Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Habanero chilies + weeknight fajitas


...or, actually, chile, since I was only brave enough to use one.  I've never knowingly tried these before and was a little intimidated by the package.  One hundred times stronger than jalapenos?  Really?  So one of these little things provides heat equivalent to adding 100 jalapenos!  Wow!

They're fairly small, each about an inch long, not counting the stem.  Because I was putting them into refried beans which were already made, I soaked my dried habanero in hot water for a while to soften it, then chopped it up fine, and added it to the refried beans as they were refrying. 

Here's what the package looks like (I made the red ellipse myself at the cost of immense time and effort, but you have to admit the spectacular effect was just so worth it):

The flavour I wouldn't call exactly "fruity"--unless it was sort of a fruit-beginning-to-go-off kind of flavour, which actually more or less describes it--but it certainly is distinctive.  At first I found it quite unpleasant, but as the pepper cooked into the dish the unpleasantness gradually faded until it was gone, leaving behind only the "fierce, intense heat."  It was intense, but not that intense.  One chile in about a cup and half of refried beans was still very much within my comfort zone.

The real star of this meal, though, was the tofu, which was steeped in Ancho chile lime marinade from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook before being baked.  The recipe is over here.  It's not loosely based on the Rebar recipe as the soi disant author claims: this is the recipe [but wait, sorry, the poster substituted chipotle powder for the original chipotle puree].  It's full of good things like lime and lime zest, garlic, coriander, chipotle puree, all of which serendipitously I was able to find in my house.  It tastes fantastic all by itself and I'd be tempted to use it that way in future, on top of lightly fried plain tofu for instance, as a sauce.  Here's a beauty shot of the tofu marinating:


And then the rest of the spread, which though it looks kind of complicated was pleasingly easy to put together out of various items that needed using up like cashew cheese and the last of the sweet millions, or that, like the refried beans, I had already made up in the freezer, or that--ahem, I make no apologies because it's really delicious--came out of a bottle, in the case of the President's Choice tomatillo salsa:


...and, finally, what I ate:

The temperature is dropping fast and it's snowing.  Today's the day I put away my bike for the winter and get out my parka and winter boots.  But this warmed me up...

8 comments:

  1. what a fantastic spread! its making me hungry.

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  2. What a spread! It all looks delicious, and I love the sound of the Ancho lime marinade. I really have to try some of your cashew cheese very soon.

    Stay warm!

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  3. Fabulous spread. The tofu in its Ancho sauce sounds great. As for habaneros, my son bought a bunch of fresh ones at the farmers market and practically incinerated me with a fiery soup. Even he found them a little too hot, as we sat there with sweating eyeballs. Can you tell me again where to find the cashew cheese recipe, please?

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  4. Yum, some good looking fajitas! I'm just getting into eating foods that are a little hotter now. When I was younger, I remember eating some mild sort of chile and burning my taste buds off. Still haven't tried habaneros though. :-)

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  5. Thanks, everyone. I too have had the experience of incinerating my family, many many years ago in Mexico. Of course I had to cook. Of course I knew nothing about "chili powder" and thought what I had bought at the Mexican grocery was the spice mix we always used to make chili at home, so that's what I made. Everybody tried some, and then we all sat around the table crying. A spectacular fail!

    Andrea, my favorite cashew cheese recipe is over on my sidebar to the right under Little Recipes I Make All the Time; however, the one in the picture, which is also good and much lower in fat, is the muenster recipe from Joanne Stepaniak's *The Uncheese Cookbook*; if you don't have the book you can find it at http://nomilk.com/cheese1.txt.

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  6. Thanks, Zoa, I've had "Uncheese" since it was first published but believe it or not, I've never made the muenster!

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  7. Funny how all Canadian bloggers reference President's Choice brand. Habaneros scare me!

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