Tag Archives: Food

Pozole Verde

13 Mar

This is a recipe that tugs right at my heartstrings. I love Pozole and this recipe for verde from Karen at The Back Road Journal does this traditional dish proud! Viva Pozole!

Corned Beef and Colcannon

12 Mar Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

This weekend was the first “official” road race of the spring running season up here in New England, the St. Paddy’s Five Miler, in Portsmouth, NH, where your’s truly ran an uninspired 45:30… One can almost smell spring in the air and with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought it was time to post my first Irish recipe. Here in America, when we think of St. Patrick’s Day, we think of parades, Guinness, and Corned Beef and Cabbage.Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

So what does corned beef have to do with MexItalian cuisine? Well, absolutely nothing, but I have always wanted to “corn” my own beef.  Now, the process of “corning” beef refers to the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt and without going into the menusha of wet-cured meats, gives the cheaper, tougher cut of brisket suppleness and tenderness. There are several advantages to corning your own beef. The first being that is so extraordinarily simple, why would you not do it yourself. Another reason is that you are in complete control the ingredients that you are using in the curing process and you have ownership of the flavors and nutritional value of the finished product. I am specifically talking about the use of sodium nitrite, or Pink Salt. There have been numerous studies on the use and consumption of nitrites, but to make it simple, I tend to shy away from any food additive that is lethal to humans in larger quantities. One only needs a few simple ingredients, a corning technique, and 5 days (it takes 5 days to cure the beef prior to cooking so start NOW!).

For my St. Patrick’s Day feast I decided to serve my home cured corned beef not simply with the traditional cabbage and potato, but with another dish that combines both the cabbage AND the potato; Colcannon! For those of you who have never heard of, or eaten colcannon, it is another delicious traditional Irish dish that is made by combining mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale.Colcannon

So now that I had my menu, I started by putting my meat to brine on Tuesday morning so that it would be ready for my post-race Sunday meal. I submerged the brisket in a stockpot and made some room for it on the top rack of my refrigerator and turned the brisket each night. On Sunday I simply rinsed the brisket, placed it in another stockpot, covered it with water, added a bit more pickling spice, and simmered the brisket for 3 1/2 hours. I then added the potatoes to the pot and cooked them WITH the beef in the same broth, I think that this really brings both dishes together!

As I always say, if it is worth eating, then it is worth doing right! Forget that packaged corned beef loaded with cancerous nitrites. This corned beef is made from 100% grass-feed beef, crystal clear spring water, and hand toasted pickling spices. Serve that up with a hearty serving of colcannon and you can have a St. Patrick’s Day feast you can be proud to serve!

What is your St. Patrick’s day meal? If you are Irish, what are your traditions?

Home-Cured Corned Beef

(Adapted from Micheal Ruhlman’s Corned Beef : How to Cure Your Own)

  • 1 5-pound beef brisket
  • 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice (see below)
  • 1 tsp pulverized celery seed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
  1. In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the pickling spice and the crushed celery seed.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.
  5. Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly.
  6. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrot, onion.
  7. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3.5 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.
Corned Beef and Colcannon

Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

Pickling Spice

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger.
  1. Combine peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan.
  2. Place over medium heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
  3. Crack peppercorns and seeds in a molcajete (mortar and pestal!) I knew I could add a Mexican twist to this!!
  4. Combine with other spices, mix and put in a tightly sealed plastic or glass container.

 

Colcannon

  • 8 large red potatoes
  • 1 head of Savoy Cabbage chopped
  • 6 scallions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Fat-Free   milk
  • 2/3 cups Fat-Free Sour Cream
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  1. Peel the potatoes rather lightly, it is ok to leave some of the skin on.
  2. Quarter them and place them in the stockpot cooking with the corned beef. Cook until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large sautee pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the butter.
  4. When all the butter is melted, add the cabbage and sautee until just wilting and then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until tender about 8 minutes, stirring often. (Take special care not to burn the cabbage). Turn off the heat and cover.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the stockpot with a slotted spoon and drain them well in a colander.
  6. Combine the milk and the sour cream in a bowl by simply whisking in the sour cream.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes well, combining the remaining butter and the milk and cream mixture. Continue to mash and stir until you get the desired texture that you like. (I like them a bit rustic and lumpy)
  8. Fold in the cabbage and add the scallions.
  9. Serve with the corned beef and a pint of Guiness!
Colcannon

Colcannon

Bánh mì Inspired

8 Mar

This weeks reblog comes from The Incuistion. This Vietnamese version of my Mexican Tortas made of pickled radishes, tamarindo, red onion, fresh cucumber, cilantro, and basil looks so delicious that I may just go out and make it this weekend! The avocado aioli is inspiring and would be wonderful with some fish tacos as well! Be sure to trackback to her blog and check out some of her other recipes as well! What do you think?

The Incuisition

On my way home from the beach the other day, I was trying to figure out the prefect evening meal to finish a day dozing in the sand. I was in a daze, just having emerged from the long afternoon sun and from under the gauzy blanket of ocean sounds: the waves, muffled gossip from girls on a nearby blanket, scattered birds, and children with their cries and plastic shovels. I was craving something with real texture and strong spice. I wanted to carry over the feeling of Pacific breeze, warmth and ease into the evening. I kept thinking about the flavors of tamarind, soy, cilantro, and sesame. When I got home, I did something I rarely do: make a sandwich.

View original post 501 more words

Turkey Chili and Savory Chipotle-Jack Scones

6 Mar Spicy Turkey Chili

This week we had the first snowstorm of the year in New England! Yes, you read that correctly, here it is the beginning of March and we have only had ONE real snowstorm this year. In fact, my little town of Berwick, received about 14 inches of the white stuff. It snowed continuously for almost 2 days. We then had cold rain and sleet to follow it up. I can tell you that I did not miss it one little bit. If global warming means that New England will have warmer winter weather and less snow, then I am all for it!

All that cold and wet weather made for a perfect time to cook up a batch of some energy packed Turkey Chili. My turkey chili is made with lean ground turkey breast. The other thing that I love from my recipe is that once you prep all the ingredients, you can be sitting down to eat in 40 minutes. This chili requires none of the long stewing that some meat based recipes require.

Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

When I usually make this chili, I setup a mise en place and then commence with the cooking. I found that this gives me complete focus on the cooking, rather than having to worry about cooking AND prepping at the same time. This recipe also has an added bonus of using beer, so feel free to consume while you are cooking!

I accompanied the chili with a savory scone recipe that I wanted to test out. I absolutely cannot eat chili without bread, or cornbread, or some other type of chili-sopping food item. This time I wanted to do something a bit different, so what could be more different than a savory scone? The first flavor combination that popped into my head was chipotle and cheese. So I went about researching recipes for various types of scones, I settled upon a lighter version from Cooking Light. The only variation that I made was that I added bit more chipotle and used monterry jack cheese instead of cheddar.

Chipotle Jack Scones

Chipotle Jack Scones

Grab a Corona, serve yourself up a bowl of turkey chili, grab a chipotle-jack scone, and enjoy!

So what are your traditional recipes for Chili? What would you suggest to make this recipe even better?

 

Turkey Chili

  • 1 pkg (1.3 lbs)  Ground Turkey Breast
  • 2 ½  tblsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried epazote
  • 1 28oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 chiles poblano
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can white hominy (pozole)
  • 1 yellow onion (for this recipe I used a vidalia)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 chipotles in adodo
  • 1 tblsp. sauce from the adobo can
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • About 1 cup of beer
  • About 1 cup of water

Mise en place all the ingredients:

  • Chop the onions and mince the garlic and place in a small bowl.
  • Combine the chili powder, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika in another bowl.
  • Roast, peel, seed, and devine the chili poblanos, chop and place in another small bowl.
  • Remove the seeds from the chipotles and place with the adobo sauce in another small bowl.
  • Rinse the beans well and place together in a small bowl together with the epazote.
  • Rinse the hominy, then remove the seeds from each kernel, place in a small bowl.
  • In a large bowl, take the tomatoes and crush through your fingers to make a nice pulp.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, we can start to cook!

  1. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat
  2. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground turkey and with your mixing spoon, break the ground turkey up really well.
  4. Once you have broken it up, add the bowl with the spices. Mix well to combine and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the beer and continue to cook until the ground turkey mixture is reduced to more than half, about 8 minutes
  6. Now add the chili poblano and mix well to combine.
  7. Next add the tomatoes. Once it comes back to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  8. After 20 minutes, add the beans with the epazote and mix well to combine.
  9. Add the hominy, again, mix well to combine.
  10. At this point you can add the 1 cup of water if you desire a more soupy consistency.
  11. Simmer for another 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
  12. Serve with those delicious chipotle-jack scones and some more beer!

    Spicy Turkey Chili

    Spicy Turkey Chili

Chipotle-Jack Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterry jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chipotles in adobo (about 3 large chipotles)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl and mix with a pastry blender until well combined and crumbly.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon (I used some damp hands!) until the dough is well formed and just a tad sticky.
  4. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with some cooking spray and divide the dough in two halves and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Form each ball of dough into a circle just about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
  6. Then with a sharp knife or a pastry knife, divide into 6 triangles by cutting each circle in half, then making an “X”.
  7. Place some parchment paper a spread the triangles out on the tray about 1 inch or more apart as they will rise during baking.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, halfway through I rotated the sheets in the oven to ensure even baking.

    Chipotle Jack Scones

    Chipotle Jack Scones

Baja Fish Tacos

27 Feb Baja Fish Tacos

 

Back in my days in the U.S. Marines, when I was stationed in Southern California, I used to take weekend trips with some friends down to Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Among all the wonderful things that Rosarito Beach had to offer, one of my first stops was to this little taco stand across from the hotel we always stayed at. Although I do not remember the name of the place anymore, I certainly do remember the flavors! The fish tacos were unlike any I have ever tasted, fried in a rich batter, served with fresh, handmade, corn tortillas, cabbage, salsa, and a delicious mayonnaise, served with a ice cold Pacifico clara! To me, this was the ultimate weekend getaway!

Baja Fish Tacos

These flavors were all but forgotten until I watched an episode of Rick Bayless’s outstanding series, Mexico: One Plate at A Time. There he was making what sounded like the same fish tacos I had fell in love with all those years ago! I instantly placed a sticky note in my head to test out this recipe and share the recipe with you!

I made a few modifications to his recipe for my tastes, but if you want the exact recipe, you can find it at his website under Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos. I left out the baking powder, as I found that the batter became very “puffy” while frying and I added some lime zest to bring a bit of citrus flavor to the beer batter. You can experiment with different types of beers also, a deep amber beer will give this batter a great nutty flavor, almost any type of beer will work, but I would avoid using a wheat beer, as it tends to alter the consistency of the batter.  You will also find that my salsa is different than his, I am using a classic salsa recipe that I learned from my wife. Finally, I use a chipotle sauce rather than a plain jane mayonnaise based sauce. I just like the smokiness of chipotle with the citrus flavors of the fish. None of these modifications are to say that I know better than Rick Bayless, I just wanted to add a bit of my own flavors to his great recipe!

Baja Fish Tacos

One of the best things about testing out a recipe is getting to eat the finished product. I cracked open a cold bottle of Corona and took a bite of my fish taco. I closed my eyes and was instantly transported back to that little roadside taco stand in Rosarito Beach…

 

 

 Baja Fish Tacos

(Adapted from Rick Bayless’s Ensenada Fish Tacos )

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless fish fillets (I like halibut or cod, but you can use just about anything)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken-flavor powdered bouillon (I use Knorr)
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Lime zest
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches for frying

Garnishes:

  • ½ head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Salsa de Chile Arbol (see below)
  • Chipotle Sauce (see below)
  • Lime wedges
  1. Finely mince the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, then mash back and forth with the side of a knife across a cutting board until it makes a paste.
  2. Put the garlic paste into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, bouillon, beer, lime zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or dutch oven to 370 degrees.
  5. Cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch square
  6. Take a piece and dip it completely into the batter, then lay it gently in the oil.Keep going with a few more pieces (4 at a time). Fry, turning regularly, until they are a deep golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes.
  7. Drain on a paper towel and then place in a warm oven on a wire rack over a sheet pan while the rest of the fish are frying.
  8. Set out with cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.

    Baja Fish Tacos

 

Salsa de Chile Arbol

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 peel of onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 ounce (15-20) dried arbol chiles
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1. In a small saucepan, bring about 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Remove the stems and caps from the chiles.
  3. In an ungreased skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles, toss constantly to avoid burning, until the chiles fill the kitchen with their toasty aroma, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Once the chiles are toasted, put them in the boiling water with the tomato and boil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain well and place in a blender or a food processor with the garlic,onion, and cilantro. Pulse until nearly smooth.
  6. Add the salt.

    Chile de Arbol

    Chile de Arbol

 

Chipotle Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Chipotle Mayo
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until you make a smooth sauce.

 

Chipotle Mayonaise

  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon water
  • ½  tablespoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/8 of a teaspoon salt
  1. Using an immersion blender in a deep cup (I use a Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup), blend the yolk, liquid, chile powder, and salt.
  2. While still blending, start incorporating  the oil mixture a bit at a time (What I do is put the oil in a squeeze bottle).
  3. Once all the oil is incorporated, you will have a nice, thick, mayo.

    Baja Fish Tacos

    Baja Fish Tacos

Spicy Haddock Fish Cakes with Aioli

23 Feb

This weeks reblog is a delicious dish from The Bite House. Those of us who are Catholic really appreciate a great lenten dish like this!

The Bite House

Fish cakes, crab cakes, both remind me of beach vacations. Seashore restaurants, seafood take-outs, cold beer, tartar sauce, sun. It’s not summer yet, and I know that back-painfully well; after shoveling the snow from our driveway yesterday, the car still got stuck, and later on we stacked a cord of firewood. But guess what I felt like eating in spite of all the ice and snow? Hint: check the title of this post. I wanted summery fish cakes; classic ones made with mashed potatoes. Crab cakes tend to be more popular in general, but fish cakes, when done correctly, are just as tasty and rewarding. They’re also cheaper to make! Now I’ve got everyone’s attention.

View original post 391 more words

Tlacoyos de Frijol

20 Feb Blue Corn Tlacoyos
Blue Corn Tlacoyo

Blue Corn Tlacoyo with nopales, salsa roja, and queso fresco

One of the things that I love about Mexico is the open air markets that pop up across neighborhoods throughout the city each day. These bazaars are called Tianguis. In my suegras (mother-in-law)neighborhood, Tianguis is usually on Sundays and Wednesdays, but you do not have to travel very far to find another local Tianguis on any given day. For me, I just love wandering through these markets, especially once I get to the section that is selling food. One memory that I have is going to a Tianguis with my suegra and I stopping by this stall with a little old lady and her large comal, a pot of refried beans, and a large bowl of fresh corn masa. My suegra put up three fingers and the little old lady took a ball of masa, formed a thick tortilla in her hands, stuffed it with beans, and flipped it back and forth between her two hands. Once she has formed a large, mostly flat, football shaped cake, she slapped it on the hot comal. A few minutes later, I had this delicious toasted treat called a Tlacoyo.

Yellow corn Tlacoyo

Yellow corn Tlacoyo topped with sour cream, nopales, salsa verde, and queso fresco

Tlacoyos are a simple, but delicious antojito that are oval shaped fried or toasted cakes made of masa. They are similar to fresh corn tortillas, but are somewhat torpedo or football shaped and fatter. They are usually stuffed with refried beans, requeson, fava beans, or chicharon (pork rinds) or other ingredients. The toasted or fried Tlacoyo is traditionally consumed with only salsa and cheese. We usually just pile on some fresh sautéed nopales, salsa, and cheese, but you can experiment with all sorts of toppings here. Start with some shredded chicken or chorizo and don’t stop until you have topped it with some fresh queso canasta or queso cotija!

Forming your Tlacoyo takes a bit of skill and a LOT of practice. As I made them, I had a few failures, but by the end, we had made a few perfect Tlacoyos to shoot and eat! Maybe someday in the future I will shoot my own videos, but until then, you can view a YouTube video on how to make Tlacoyos here : How to make Tlacoyos.

Duo de Tlacoyo

Duo de Tlacoyo

Tlacoyos de Frijol

  • Frijoles de Olla
  • Salsa Roja or Salsa Verde (see below)
  • Sauteed Nopales (see below)
  • Queso Fresco or Queso Cotija
  • 2 cups Blue Corn Masa Harina or Maseca Masa Harina
  • Water

1. In a large mixing bowl dump in the masa harina and make a well in the center.

2. Start adding water with about 1/2 cup at first then mix in the masa just as you would to make fresh pasta dough.

3. Continue to add water at little bit at a time until you form one cohesive mass of dough, it should be a little bit on the wet, tacky side.

4. At this point you can follow the YouTube video or you can follow my method (warning: this takes a bit of practice to perfect and it is difficult to write a procedure!) Take a little larger than a golf ball size bit of masa and form an oblong mass, take it to a tortilla press and LIGHTLY press out a rather thick tortilla.

5. Take the thick tortilla and spread some beans down just the center of the tortilla. Then fold one side halfway in and then the other side halfway in, then fold down the top and bottom to cover the beans completely.

6. Take it back to the tortilla press and press it out lightly to form a long torpedo shaped, or football shaped thick tlacoyo.

7. Place it gently on your heated comal and toast well on both sides.

9. Once you have all your tlacoyos toasted, spead a bit of corn oil on both sides of the tlacoyo with your finger or a brush, then fry until crisp and golden.

10. Take your tlacoyo, spread some fresh sautéed nopales, put a liberal spoonful of salsa on top of the nopales, then add some crumbled cheese and serve!

Fresh Sauteed Nopales

 

  • 6-8 Nopales (Cactus Paddles)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • Pinch of Salt  

1. Clean the nopales by cutting off the needles and the nodes, and then cut the stem and the edges off the paddles.

2.  Cut each nopal into thin strips about 1 inch long in length.

3. Once they are all cleaned and cut, place in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes or until tender.

4. Rinse under cold water.

5. Take a medium sautee pan and about a tablespoon of corn oil and heat until shimmering.

6. Add the nopales and sautee for about 2 minutes.

7. Add the oregano and salt and toss well. Continue to cook for about 1 or 2 more minutes.

8. Serve!

 

Salsa Verde 

  • 3 Tomatillos
  • 6 chile jalepeño
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 peel of onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro loosely packed
  • Salt to taste

1. Toast the tomatillos, jalepeño, and garlic on a comal.

2. Once they are all nice a toasted (but not burnt!), halve the tomatillos, peel the garlic, and remove the stems from the jalepeño. You can also remove the seeds and veins from the jalepeño for a slightly milder salsa.

3. Place in a food processor with the onion and the cilantro.

4. Pulse until you get the consistency you desire, less for a chunky salsa, more for a smoother salsa.

5. Spoon into a serving bowl, add the salt, and mix well.

Blue Corn Tlacoyos

Blue Corn Tlacoyos with beans, nopales, salsa roja, and cheese

 

The Food We Eat

28 Oct

I was fortunate enough to have this tweeted to me from Rick Bayless’s Twitter feed this morning as I was arriving to work. So I thought it would be nice to share it with those who may not have a Twitter account. It is a link to a blog written by Mark Bittman. Mark is THE food journalist and a prolific author on anything having to do with food and cooking. I will update my Favorite Blogs with a link to his blog tonight. I just want to share this posting with you. It is a *must read*

A Letter that all Chefs (and Anyone Who Eats) Need to Read