Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The Gluten-free Chicano Looks Back

Editor's Note
It's been a month since Michael Sedano has kept his left shoulder immobilized following a colorful tumble on a busy Pasadena sidewalk. Coupled with the aftermath of failed rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder, Sedano's been largely immobilized.

Slowly, the ability to use a keyboard returns to some form of mastery. La Bloga-Tuesday is running notable columns out of our going-on-fifteen years history. Today, Michael Sedano, The Gluten-free Chicano, shares three recipes out of the past, to wit, 2017, 2016, and 2013. The first two can be meatless. No one ever heard of vegetarian menudo.

The original columns are worthwhile hyperdetours. Click now--the links open in a new window--and they'll be at your fingertips for later reading. Enjoy, and provecho!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Zucchini Season • Green & Gold Casserole
Michael Sedano

Few squash dishes offer the satisfaction of old-fashioned calabacitas. Fry with onions, garlic, and tomato. Add water and cheese. Stir and serve on the side of a chuleta.

When a hearty main course is the goal, green and gold casserole hits the spot.

The Gluten-free Chicano picked one gold zucchini and two green ones then went to the store to pick up some cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, ground beef. He had on hand the egg, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, gruyere and sharp cheddar cheeses.

Yellow squash.
Green squash.
Bell pepper
1 egg
1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta
Dried parmesan cheese
½ lb ground beef - skip this for a vegetarian alternative. add more mozzarella and cheddar.
¾ lb sharp cheddar, grated
12 thin slices mozzarella
6 thin slices gruyere

Heat oven to 375º

Prepare a frying pan with non-stick spray.
Prepare a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Slice the squash thinly. Not thicker than ¼" thick.
Mince three teeth garlic and ½ small onion. Chop ¼ bell pepper finely.

In a deep bowl, beat an egg to a yellow froth.

Over medium heat wilt the onion and garlic. Add the bell pepper. Add a splash coconut oil or olive oil if desired.

Add the meat and stir to break up and mix the vegetables well.

Season with salt, coarsely ground black pepper, cayenne powder, ground paprika.

When meat is brown, toss in the zucchini and stir for a few minutes. Turn off flame and let rest.

Mix the cottage cheese into the beaten egg. Add several thin slices of Mozzarella. Shake in generous amounts of dried Parmesan. Stir it all together.

Pour the meat mixture into the prepared casserole dish. A pie pan, a loaf pan works.

Cover with the cheese mixture.

Cover the top with thinly sliced cheeses. Dust the top with Parmesan cheese.

Put the baking dish on a cookie sheet and slide into the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is a rich crusty brown.

Allow it to rest for five or ten minutes to cool down and allow the rich juices to build up. Serve a pie slice or more as the appetite demands. A crisp green salad or sliced garden-fresh tomatoes add a sparkling note of brightness to the cheesy goodness of the calabacitas.

Plant a garden, gente. Cook your own food. Check the ingredients religiously. Really, that's among the few ways to assure a gluten-free meal.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Quick Gluten-free Enchiladas Suizas
Michael Sedano

The Gluten-free Chicano likes a bargain as much as wheat-eaters do, and a supermarket roasted chicken is a great bargain, especially when they’re on sale for $5.00. When you buy pre-cooked chicken you can freeze it, but The Gluten-free Chicano prefers to use it within a few days to make several wondrous repasts.

Don’t depend on past purchases. Closely inspect the label to guard against gluten-bearing ingredients. With the all-clear, take it home and use that bird for several quick meals, tacos, salads, casseroles, for sure caldo de pollo. Use everything but the cluck.

Boil carcass, rinse that flavorful jell into the pot. Caldo de pollo for what ails you. Recycle container.

The Gluten-free Chicano cooks for two, so that five dollar chicken made four meals: strip the meat and use the carcass for soup. The legs and wings went into tikka masala. A green salad with chicken was next. Finally, today’s easy and quick enchiladas suizas.

(Chicken tikka masala is incredibly simple. Buy a jar of tikka masala sauce, add cayenne, chopped chiles, a bit of canned crushed tomatoes, the chicken. Simmer to a light boil, garnish with a few cashew nuts, fresh cilantro leaves and a squeeze of limón. Done.)

Ingredients - Substitute freely
Sour cream
Tillamook cheddar cheese
Chile huero, one or two.
Pimiento-stuffed green olives
Half a carrot
Two green onions
Crushed tomatoes, canned
Corn tortillas

Grate ½ pound of cheese, more or less, and set aside.

Mix two tablespoons of mayo with a scant cup of sour cream.
Thin with 1/8 cup of milk. Set aside.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Add a couple tablespoons of the cream sauce to the bottom. You will roll the enchiladas in this dish.

Chop the onions, olives, chile huero, grate the carrot.

Chop half a breast of chicken into ½” cubes.

Put two tablespoons of crushed tomatoes in a bowl. Add the chopped vegetables and chicken. Stir together.

In L.A., I shop for Diana’s brand king-size tortillas. Little as I like monarchy, Diana's manufactures only the “king-size” from just corn, water, and lime; no gum, no preservatives as in other Diana's formulations. Taste, texture, it's as close to a real tortilla de maíz as you can buy on the commercial market.

Wrap four corn tortillas in a dishtowel and microwave 45 seconds. Now work quickly so the tortillas don't cool. They crack when rolled cool.

Place a tortilla in the cream-bottomed baking dish and swirl it to coat the bottom of the tortilla.
Add a generous amount of the chicken/vegetable mix.
Add a pinch of cheese if you want.

Roll loosely. Repeat until you’ve rolled four enchiladas.

Sprinkle tops with cheese. Add left-over chicken filling across the first cheese layer.

Spoon or pour the remainder of the crema across the tops of the enchiladas.

Cover the crema mix with grated cheese.

Place the dish on a cookie sheet and pop into a 375º oven for 25-30 minutes.

The casserole dish will be hot so the cookie sheet makes it easy to remove from the oven, and any boil-over will not crust and burn your oven.

Two enchiladas per serving make an elegant, easy, and fast fancy-looking meal.


Monday, January 21, 2013
The Gluten-free Chicano Makes Menudo - A Naturally GF Food
Michael Sedano

I had been collecting güiros in the remote barranca near my grandfather’s birthplace. The old indio who makes my güiros was showing me new designs and I lost track of time. I would not reach the highway before darkness so I faced being trapped along the trail and at the mercy of wild peccaries, random cucuy, and the critters of remote darkness.

I knew better than to stay with the old curandero güiro artisan, whose conecta to cucuy had given me night sweats for a month the previous visita, so I made for a settlement deeper into the barranca, the güiro maker shaking his canas telling me I'd be better off spending a sleepless night halfway up the cañon than risk what awaited me further down the barranca. I reached the small village just after sundown.

Already gente were streaming to the tiny zocalo. Señoritas done up in their finest hand-embroidered blusas, the whirling colors of their full loose skirts and faldas mixed with their bright excited laughter. Their mothers gave me el malojo but I had a talisman from el viejo.

Small clusters of men laughed in the shadows, as men will, at some off-color remark or a prediction about the night's prospects. I kept a wary eye on one vato who had taken a dislike to me on an earlier visit.

A trio of musicos, a violin, a guitar, and a güiro, on the kiosko segued from a warming up cacophony to a sweet rhythmic version of Agustin Lara's Solamente Una Vez. There was a magic to the song I'd never sensed before, especially the long sweeping raspas of the güiro. Romance swept the plaza until everything became a blur of passion. De repente, I was whirled into the light to find myself waltzing with the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

Candlelight caught her pupils and shone through her lustrous reddish black hair. The music drowned out everything but her eyes. The softness of her ample waist and soft sheen of sweat on her lightly pimpled brown forehead took my breath, and I whirled her across the dirt faster and faster as the güiro roared above the evening's magic. I was so intoxicated by her allure I thought I'd been enchanted and I was in a ghost story when someone pushed me into my partner and the music abruptly stopped.

"Hijo de la chingada madre, suelta a mi hermana, cabron pinche gringo." A glint caught the edge of the machete the vato brandished at his chest, pointed at mine. The shadows stirred, the dance floor rapidly emptied. I stared into the vato's eyes without blinking. Then I smiled. "¿Y tu, que vas hacer con esa navajita, mi'jo, rasparte las uñas?" I still have not decided what surprised the vato more, the reductio ad absurdum, my diction, or the fearless glint of my ojos hinchados and ruthless half-smile.

Outrage surrounded me. Vatos had bunched up around us thinking to see blood shed--mine. But in a flash of an eye I had disarmed their local champion and twirled his machete like a juggler with a chain saw. Much as the crowd wanted blood, they wanted it to be my blood, not his. As I gently pushed my dance partner out of harm's way, she reached her lips to brush her hot breath across my cheek. I turned to quiet the murmuring crowd...

To make a long, long story short, I convinced the mob to let me treat them to a bowl of homemade menudo. I was pleased that, so far from anywhere, the village had a Wolf stove.

Here is the recipe that earned me a dance with every woman in the ville, and the hearts of all the mothers. Flirting Abuelitas hinted I should come calling on their nietas, pressing me with photographs whose subjects were avatars for every panaderia calendar I'd ever seen except without the arrow in a breast.

The admiration of all the caballeros reflected in the abrazos I got and all the tequilazos I downed. At dawn, after they'd tasted my menudo, the cheering crowd carried me and the musicos around the plaza on their shoulders.

5 lbs honeycomb tripe. (The fuzzy tripe is OK, too.) Put in freezer until half frozen.
1 head garlic.
1 large onion.
2 cans hominy.
Optional: 2 6" lengths of beef leg bone or 2 pig knuckles.
Red chile sauce (boil dried Anaheim, Negro, New Mexico, Guajillo, and Arbol chile pods with an onion and a head of garlic, purée, strain) or, 1 jar Gebhardt's chile powder, or 2 cans la palma chile sauce (puro chile, no tomato)
Six or more sprigs dried oregano (a Tbs or so crushed leaves)

1/2 fill large pot with cold water.
Strip fat from underside of tripe, get it all!
Cut half-frozen tripe into 2" x 2" pieces (it cuts really easily when half-frozen).
Put the panza into the pan and add the chile, unpeeled head of garlic ditto the onion, (you'll remove these later), oregano, tbs salt. optional a bay leaf.

You can make a chicano bouquet garni by wrapping the ajo, cebolla, sprigs of oregano, in cheesecloth and tying into a bag. Dip the bay leaf into the boiling broth then take it out in 5 minutes.

Turn up the heat. When the pot begins boiling, lower the flame to a medium simmer, cover, 3-4 hours. If you are in a hurry, boil the hell out of it for an hour and a half, (or pressure cook it for 1 minute after the vapor cap starts rocking).

Monitor to ensure you don't reduce the tripe to soft squishy unpalatable gunk. The meat is done when, with a bit of effort, you can cut it with the edge of a fork.

I add the hominy when the tripe is nearly done. Dump the cans of hominy, water and all, into the menudo and add more water if you need more soup. Adjust the flavor: more salt, more chile for flavor or for picoso.

Garnishes are important. Diced onion, cilantro leaves, crushed chile de arbol or chile piquin, oregano leaves. Lemon or lime halves--do not use this recipe and serve quartered limón, or a cucuy will haunt you.

For an authentic touch, put a peeled onion cut in half and a knife on the table so diners can score the onion then slice the diced cebolla directly into the bowl.

Serve with hot tortilla de maíz. Wheat-eaters sharing your table will enjoy bolillos or tortilla de harina.

No comments: