The new house has this upstairs loft-ish space where the ceiling slopes down on both sides and you can only stand up straight in the very middle. And this is where we have our only television. The problem is we don't have any furniture up there, just an old air mattress with about ten or eleven slow leaks. So, by the end of NBC's clumsy prime time coverage, I had completely sunken to the floor, was alone—as Matt had gone to bed hours ago—and in some strange, gold medal trance from which I couldn't completely snap out of until I'd read enough articles to put me to sleep, which was usually around 1:30am. But, like anything you throw yourself completely into, it was great while it lasted.
Speaking of obsession, I love hot peppers. This time, I bring them to you in soup form.
Talk about a weird recipe though. I was constantly second guessing myself. First, when toasting the dried peppers in a hot, oil-less pan. Then, when adding whole tomatoes, two cloves of garlic, and an uncut onion to that hot pot, which I was supposed to "turn as needed, until blackened all over, about 10 minutes." Is that not abnormal? (The recipe calls for four plum tomatoes, but those little red and yellow guys pictured below are from our tomato plants and as if I wasn't going to use them.)
Next, I seasoned it with salt and pepper until it tasted really good. Then I poured the broth over tortilla chips, queso fresco, avocado, cilantro, and a bit of creme fraiche.
Suddenly, what was once merely acceptable, became delicious. Very delicious.
étempt family: Mavis, the cutest dog in the whole world! And I guarantee this won't be the last you see of this sweet girl. (She's asleep in the corner as I type this, vividly dreaming and squeaking!) (I mean, c'mon!) (I saw her eat an ant yesterday.)
3 dried ancho chiles (available at marxfoods.com)
4 medium plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 small white onion
½ cup canola oil
8 small dried pasilla chiles (optional, for serving; available at marxfoods.com)
8 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup queso fresco (available at mexgrocer.com), crumbled
8 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
½ cup crema (available at mexgrocer.com) or sour cream
1 avocado, very thinly sliced
Fried tortilla strips, for garnish
1. Heat a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ancho chiles, and cook, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, pour over 1 cup boiling water, and let sit until soft, about 30 minutes; drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid, and remove and discard stems and seeds. Transfer chiles to a blender and set aside. Return pot to heat, and add tomatoes, garlic, and onion; cook, turning as needed, until blackened all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to blender, and purée until smooth, at least 4 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl, and set chile purée aside.
2. Return saucepan to heat and add ¼ cup oil; add pasilla chiles, if using, and fry, turning once, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Discard oil and wipe pan clean.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat, and add remaining oil. When hot, add chile purée, and fry, stirring constantly, until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Add stock, and bring to a boil; remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.