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Saturday, May 20, 2006

What's this, a secret compartment?

   I don't usually care much for hot sauces, especially those that have no flavor just heat. What's the point when there are salsas and other seasonings that add flavor and heat? That said, the latest entry in a long list of things hastily treated with chipotle since April 4, 2002 is one that makes a lot more sense than most. Tabasco Chipotle, a pepper sauce with smoked jalapenos in it. Genius? No, rather obvious, I'm baffled it took so long. Seriously, it's been over four years since chipotle cracked the top ten of culinary buzzwords, debuting at No. 8 between 'angus beef' and 'sun-dried tomatoes'.
  The Review:
   I really like this stuff! The label touts it as the first Tabasco sauce that can be used as a basting sauce and a condiment, perfect for sprinkling or marinades. The label is right. They have recipes at the website, but I have already improvised one use; the first thing I used it for, in fact.
  The Recipe:
 "Super Fast Chicken Fajitas"
cooked, shredded chicken
bell peppers, diced
onions, diced
flour tortillas
shredded cheese
   I let Old El Paso cook and season the shredded chicken* for me, giving me time to clean and dice some green bell peppers and vidalia onions. On a cookie sheet I made an aluminum foil tent for these bits, drizzled the Tabasco Chipotle on them, and baked/steamed them at 350° for about 8-10* minutes; until they started turning darker from absorbing the sauce. Then I uncovered them and broiled them for about 3-5 minutes just to dry them out a bit. On flour tortillas I portioned the chicken, pepper/onions, and a good clump of 4 cheese* Fiesta blend available from my local grocery store, rolled them up and put them in sealable plastic bags. Mine went into the freezer* for lunch two days later, so when that day came I moved them to refrigeration first thing in the morning and they were thawed by noon. I nuked* them until warmed, then slid them into a 400° oven* for about 2 minutes to crisp the outside, plated them and sprinkled a bit more cheese on top for presentation. This should take less than half an hour, which is pretty fast for me.
The Stars: *****
   *I will be trying this with other meats, I might even try my hand at the chicken from scratch, you should too. The sauce is screaming out for ground beef and refried beans, or I may be hearing things. I don't know why the 'taco sauce seasoned shredded chicken' that I used isn't listed at the website.
   *This left the veggies quite crisp and to my liking, if you prefer them more squishy; up the time, but I wouldn't change the temperature.
   *If I were shredding my own cheese I would probably use a sharper cheddar than the blends have, I'll likely continue using the time-saving blend and just shred some extra sharp to add to it.
   *Since mine weren't meant to be eaten at the time of preparation, nothing was heated other than the veggies. If you are going straight to the table I would heat the chicken accordingly before assembly; but you still want to heat the finished product a bit to melt the cheese, and you really should crisp them because it makes them a lot easier to cut.
    *My microwave is different than yours, so there is no reason for me to try and remember how long it was, you know your microwave. I have a 400° oven available at all times, so that's what I used. A grill might have worked better, but since you just baked the veggies you might as well turn the oven up while your rolling the fajitas and it will be ready when you are. If you do use a grill, you can probably dispense with the microwave pre-heating and just grill them for about 6-8 minutes. Turn them, but I didn't have to tell you that, right?
Duty Freebie: Chuck Lorre is the guy that produced "Dharma & Greg" and currently produces "Two and a half Men". He started writing funny production company logo pages with D&G and continued with 2.5. All of these 'vanity cards' are available at the link, as well as episode guides for these two shows, "Cybill", and "Grace Under Fire". The flash version is better than the text-only one, if you must ask. Look at the bookcases, poke around under the monitor, have a ball.


At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi... ok, so I randomly found your blog today... and if you are interested in a fabulous extra spicy salsa, you should try a local salsa called Natural creations salsa out of missoula mt. we were on vacation there and discovered it... holy crap is it spicy, but waaaaay good!

At 9:32 PM, Blogger part-time thinker said...

Thanks, Anonymous! I looked around and found them at brentarifoodsdotcom

I'm considering emailing them about the price, although as a rule I find it incredibly obnoxious when websites sell things without a pricelist. you gotta buy at least 5 pounds so I would need to clear freezer space or have a party!


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