Showing posts with label mexican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mexican. Show all posts

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chipotle Braised Short Ribs


THE SHORT RIB IS KING !!!

BUT...this recipe is great for a lot of slow cooked meats....
i've cooked beef cheeks, pork necks and soon will test some pork belly and trotters.

AN ABSOLUTE MUST TRY !
go BIG or go home...
i mean...make EXTRA.
you will thank me later.

OH...and as the original recipe states...if you can wait a day after cooking, it gets even BETTER !


serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, polenta steamed veg. etc....
shown above with braising gravy/sauce and KONJAC Noodles for a gluten free Paleo-friendly hearty meal.


CHIPOTLE BRAISED SHORT RIBS
original found HERE

2 Tbsp olive oil
6-8 pieces short ribs
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4 small carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
i medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp flour
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce...(or 2-3 if you can't handle the heat.)
2 tsp adobo sauce...(from canned chipotles)
note...i put 2 TABLEspoons.
2 cups red wine.  a syrah or zinfandel works.
1 cup beef stock (homemade is best. canned is a bit salty)
2 bay leaves

you can do this in a slow cooker, BUT...it is much better braised in a dutch oven.
preheat oven to 275F.
season the ribs all over with salt and pepper.  add a little olive oil to the dutch oven.  get your pot at med/hot and brown the meat on all sides.  do not crowd the pot.  you might have to do this in batches....set browned meat aside.
add carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the oil in the casserole pot.  cook on medium heat until vegetables are softened and golden.  about 10 minutes.  season with salt and pepper.
NOW...add flour, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to the casserole with veg.  stir to combine.  deglaze the pot with red wine.  stir up ALL the good brown bits.  bring to a simmer and add the beef stock.
return the ribs to the pot and add bay leaves.  bring this to a slow simmer.  cover the pot and place in oven.  cook until the ribs are very fork tender.  about 3 hours.
IMPORTANT to check seasoning.  i tend to "under-salt".  you might want to add a little

PS...as Liren says...if you can wait or save some for the next day...they get EVEN BETTER

ENJOY !!!

get the biggest meatiest ribs you can find
dice your veg.  i think it looks good in the gravy/sauce.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Best CRISPY Cracklin' Skin PORK BELLY. TACOS


unbelievable crispy skin pork belly.
this is what pork belly dreams are made of...
i could've eaten the whole thing right then and there...YIKES !


the BEST crispy skin i have ever accomplished.  
maybe it was the technique...maybe because i didn't mess with it.  maybe it was just THIS piece of belly...all i did was season it up and throw it in the oven. i don't know what is was, but...
it was DELICIOUS!


as you can see...it slices very clean after refrigeration.

TIP FOR STORING AND RETAINING CRISPY SKIN...
wrap cooled pork belly in parchment.  sometimes...MOST OF THE TIME,  i use a cut brown paper bag to wrap.  then place this in a storage container with the lid "ajar".
i have been able to keep the crisp for a few days.  you can sear it in a pan, or warm in a toaster oven.

this piece (above) was gently seared after refrigeration. 
use a very sharp knife or a box cutter works well.  
no need to roll it like this.  i just did it to get the salt in there and the photo of the cross hatch cut...
above is the way i prepare it for the oven...easy clean up using tinfoil, but not necessary.

CRISPY SKIN PORK BELLY
sprinkle salt, chipotle, coriander on the meat side.
sprinkle salt and just a bit of the chipotle-coriander on the skin.  let it get inside the cuts, but brush it off of the top.
make a bed of onions, garlic and shallots under the belly (now i also put green apple slices)
total cooking time was about 3 to 4 1/2 hours
IN  THE OVEN AT 280F
check on it after about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  every pork belly is different!  poke it in the meaty part...is it REALLY fork tender?  go ahead and leave it in for an extra 1/2 hour or so.  when it is truly fork tender take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.  turn your oven to 480F with top element only to preheat while it is resting.  
NEW NOTE...12-9-14  sometimes i remove the belly and put it on a different pan.  that way the bed of onions wont burn.  the onions might need to go back in under close watch for a few minutes to caramelize.  they are delicious!
NOW...put the belly back in and sit there and watch it.  it should start to puff up like popcorn.  let it do its thing until all looks crispy.  careful not to let it burn.
LET IT REST 20 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING

i have done this now 5-7 more times and every time it comes out perfect.

NOTE...use a VERY sharp knife.  OR you can turn the crispy side down and slice through the meat first to get a good clean cut on the crispy skin.


i'm telling you...it is melt-in-your-mouth meaty fatty goodness!

you could almost consider this a healthy taco...? or at least carb-free

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spicy Mexican Braised Pig Snouts


NOSE to tail

i suppose you are only here if you are TRULY into nose to tail eating...OR if this purely fascinates or disgusts you.
maybe just a LOOKY-LOO ?

BUT think of it this way...

THAT WHOLE PIG GAVE UP IT'S LIFE FOR YOUR SLICE OF BACON.

we need to think out of the box...away from the "chop"
i know here in So California there isn't a lot of enthusiasm, but
i'm trying to do my part...
piece by piece


WARNING...PUT YOUR GAME FACE ON !

i'm pretty good with "odd-bits", but this was a doozy.
i hate to say it, but the pre-boil stinks.  ooo boy, it's bad.  i mean it smells like a "pig sty"
not to worry...only the pre-boil smells.  it will go away.
it's always important to do a "pre-boil".
this is a skinny-dip in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.  since these are some odd bits, maybe someone did not take care of them as they would a prized tenderloin, so you need to pre-boil to remove any impurities, contaminates and what-nots...
cover your bits with water and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.  remove from pot and toss the water.  clean your pot and start fresh.
ALSO...if there are any hairs that might have been missed, you can shave those off with a cheap razor or singe them off, as i do, with a brulee torch.

photo before going in oven

WHAT YOU'LL NEED....
2-3 snouts
3/4-1 lb. of pork shoulder cut into large pieces
1-2 large white onion, sliced thick
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 small can chipotle in adobo sauce.
approx. 2 cups of homemade stock...i used turkey/chicken
cumin, coriander, mexican oregano, chili powder, pepper corns, fresh ground pepper and salt
liberally sprinkle your seasonings all over and inside the cavity of the snout and meat....
NOTE...there are no exact measurements here, just use your judgement.
pre-boil the snouts as mentioned above.
add thick sliced onions to the bottom of dutch oven.  i always use cast iron enamel.  stuff the inside of the snout with the chunks of pork shoulder.  arrange snouts as you wish.  i did it this way so the main part of the snout would not be submerged in the stock.  stick your crushed garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chipotle peppers and adobo sauce evenly throughout.  i used about 1/2 a can...the broth was SPICY!

put in a 320 oven for the first hour.  take it out and check it.  lower heat to 300 F for another hour.  at this point i used a baster to remove some of the stock/juices.  (save this extra broth, you might need to add some back in.)  i wanted a braise, NOT a boil.  the onions will release a lot of juice.  you want the top part of your goodies showing so they will get a nice brown, golden roasty look (as shown below).
baste a few times when you do your peeking.   ALSO, make sure there is still some liquid in the bottom.  i think for the last hour i left the lid "ajar".  put back in the oven for approximately 1 more hour, but check it again in 1/2 hour.  baste again.  they should be very fork tender, but not falling apart and disintegrating.
NOTE...if you really are interested and would like a little more info, please leave a comment with your questions.

this is what it looks like after approx.  3 hours.

straight out of the oven these are quite delicious.
IMAGINE PORK BELLY ON STEROIDS
melt in your mouth fatty gelatinous skin with a fine layer of meat  and chunks of "confit-style" pork shoulder cooked inside the fatty nose.  it's very hard to describe, but definitely a nose-to-tailers delight.

PERFECT FOR STREET TACOS...
cut into bite size pieces and sear in a hot skillet
a little chopped white onion and cilantro
a squeeze of fresh lime with some pickled jalapeno.
wrap in a fresh corn tortilla


when in DOUBT...
make a TERRINE de SNOUT

i had no idea what on earth i was gonna do with 3 huge pig snouts.  there's no way anyone in this house would join me and as you can see they do not shrink much in the cooking.  i ended up making 2 small "Terrine de Snout" (gave one away) and froze a whole snout in the spicy viscous broth for future use.  if serving cold, your terrine might need more salt.  cold terrines usually need extra flavor.  do a taste test.  remember to put the tip of the snout down first if you want the shock value presentation shown in photos.
IF YOUR GOING TO MAKE A "SNOUT TERRINE" YOU BETTER MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A SNOUT TERRINE!
keep the shoulder meat tucked into the snout cavity and press the larger pieces of extra snout in and around the main piece.  pour a little broth into the terrine and press down to eliminate overflow.  put something flat over the top and weight it down.  i use a brick covered in tinfoil and a baggie.  put this in the fridge until it is set.  serve cold in thin slices with charcuterie OR cut off what you want and sear in a pan (it will break apart, but who cares?).  add to noodles, make tacos,  add to soup, fry it up and make snout chicharones?

ANYWAY YOU TRY IT WILL DEFINITELY BE EXPERIENCE...
GO AHEAD...I DARE YA
CROSS THIS ONE OFF YOUR BUCKET LIST!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My first chocolate bar...Chip n' Chipotle Dark Chocolate



rich dark chocolate
crunchy tortilla chips
spicy chili blends
with pure cocoa nibs
and robust espresso beans


A CHOCOLATE LOVER'S 
bite size MEXICAN FIESTA


to make the beautiful bars, you'll need some molds.
i found mine at SURFAS.  they are also available here from Amazon.

you will also need to
TEMPER YOUR CHOCOLATE.
the idea of tempering should not scare you away.  it's very necessary for a good crisp giftable chocolate bar.
the microwave method is very easy and will change your chocolate making life to a new level.



CHIP N' CHIPOTLE DARK CHOCOLATE BAR

1lb. dark chocolate.  i use "coverture" 61% Guittard discs
1/2 cup, plus a little more, crispy, salted yellow corn tortilla chips
3/4 tsp chili powder.  the kind you add to chili.  i get the medium chili blend, salt free from "Savory Spice Shop".
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
have some fresh ground black pepper ready to add if you want...i did add a little
20-25 whole roasted coffee beans, crushed into small pieces.  i used French Roast Pete's
(test them at time of purchase to see if you can easily break it with your fingers.)
1/8 cup cocoa nibs...for extra dark chocolate crunch
for looks...dried red chili, cut into small pieces.  i used chili arbol, as shown.


first...
MISE EN PLACE
crush tortilla chips.  i used a plastic baggie and a rolling pin.  pour this into a mesh sieve (NOT the fine mesh) over the sink and tap to get out the very small "sandy" pieces.  this will give more crunch, less sandy texture.
crush the coffee beans.
chop died chili
measure out your goodies and have them ready.
always have extra on hand for final taste test.  you might want more something...

next...
TEMPER YOUR CHOCOLATE!
this is very important...and NOT difficult.
it is a must for a good snappy, shiny chocolate finish and will make room temp stable chocolates.
i use the microwave method explained HERE that i have adapted from Alton Brown's microwave method see HERE.
IN A NUT SHELL... you will slowly melt the chocolate, bring it up to 115 degrees (for dark) and slowly lower the temp to 90 degrees before using...but please click on link for instructions.
once your chocolate is at 90 degrees (for dark chocolate) start to add all ingredients.  stir to incorporate, but no need to "over-stir".  do a taste test...add more what ever you see necessary.
pour into molds and sprinkle with a little flaked sea salt, pepper flakes, ground pepper?  remember this will be the bottom of the bar.
let sit to set OR i put them in the fridge until the bar has separated from the mold completely.
NOTE...to get a really "shiny" bar.  let it set completely and release from the mold.  the first time i was anxious and removed it too soon.  the bar in these photos is not as shiny as the next batch.  you can tell by gently lifting up the mold and looking at the bottom.  you will see if it has totally released from the mold.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Agua de Jamaica


A COOL DRINK FOR A HOT SUMMER PARTY

crisp, TART, refreshing
and HEALTHY !

a few quarts for less than .50 cents
whip up a batch of this for your next BBQ throw-down instead of spending all that $$$ on sugary store bought "contains 10% fruit juice" cranberry drink.

HEALTH BENEFITS?!...known to lower cholesterol, regulate high blood pressure, contains vitamin C and A, aids water retention...blah blah blah...
IT'S DELICIOUS !
it's pretty...
IT'S A LITTLE OUT OF THE ORDINARY...

you can find bags of the Jamaica (dried Hibiscus flowers) for about 3 dollars or buy it out of the bins at any Mexican super market.  i always keep an apothecary jar filled on the counter...it looks pretty and it's an easy beverage to whip up.  i boil some water before bed and throw in a handful of blossoms with a cinnamon stick and a bag of ginger tea or a few cardamom pods, let steep over night, strain through cheesecloth and chill the next day.

SIDE NOTE...if you don't sweeten it too much and leave out the cinnamon, this could possibly be a good alternative to red wine for the non-drinker/designated driver.


AGUA de JAMAICA

8 cups filtered water
 1 to 1 1/2 oz dried hibiscus flowers (a big handful)
1 cinnamon stick (optional, see side note above)
a few slices of ginger (optional)
or...a bag of Yogi Ginger Tea
sugar or sweetener to taste 
no need to use exact measurements. this is the way i throw it together.  after the first batch you will make it to suit your taste.

bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add hibiscus and cinnamon stick.  let steep for 20 minutes or let come to room temp.  strain and squeeze blossoms through a few layers of cheesecloth or a paper towel and sweeten to taste.  stir until sugar is dissolved.  i prefer this drink a little tart.
refrigerate and serve chilled as is...
if it is too strong add water or serve over ice.
blend with some sparkling water, fresh juice...pineapple, orange, apple or Trader Joe's Pomegranate Blueberry Ice Tea?...
i like to add a splash to Sobe Lifewater with a squeeze of lime.

or...MY NEW FAVORITE MIXER...Homemade Probiotic Fermented Lemonade

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Agua de Tamarindo


PUCKER UP...
sweet...tart...refreshing

something a bit more festive than boring sodas, sparkling waters and whatever juice is available for a mixer.

this is a fun unique beverage for the NON DRINKERS.

quite often...i say, "QUITE OFTEN !"

 the non drinkers feel left out of the fun while everybody else is making their fabulous fruity "cocktails", laughing and mixing at the bar,

but HEY...we like to have our "party drink" too ! 

please don't ignore the thirst of
the most important person at the party...

THE DESIGNATED DRIVER!


i first came across tamarind when i went to Mexico a few years ago and picked them right off the tree.  i was a little skeptical of the ugly looking pod with the sticky gooey pulp, but i was told everyone eats it.  i loved it...i was eating them like candy.  they are very tart, similar to those sour dip sticks i remember as a kid.

BUT WAIT THERE'S A BONUS...it's healthy.
not only will it help digest that HUGE BBQ throw down, but...

it's filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber and has been used for many ailments including sore throats and high blood pressure.  it is used for many digestive ailments AND it can lower cholesterol.  find more information HERE at Health and Wellness and HERE at Nutrition and You.com.


AGUA DE TAMARINDO

8-10 tamarind pods
4 cups drinking water
squeeze of lime juice
sweetener of choice...i used 3 packets Truvia

peel hard outer skin off the pods and remove the stringy part (seen in photo).  bring water to a boil and turn off heat.  put cleaned tamarind into hot water and let steep for 1 - 2 hours.  with your hands, remove the seeds by squishing the tamarind meat through your fingers.  this is a gushy job.  when all seeds are removed put tamarind/water mixture in a blender for a little wiz.  strain into pitcher, sweeten to your liking, i like to add a pinch of salt and chill before serving.
NOTE...tamarind pods can vary in sweetness and tartness so use more or less sugar (or substitute) as you see fit.

serve with some additions for the party guest...
a fresh squeeze of lime-lemon, fresh pinapple or a split vanilla bean?

a dash of Tapatio
a pinch of CAYENNE


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chocolate Covered Chicharrones


chocolate covered bacon?...no

old news...

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHICHARONES !

dare i say...BETTER THAN BACON ?!


this is another one of those...

"it cant be true"
"no you didn't !"
"i don't think so..."

GIVE ME ANOTHER !...GIVE ME MORE !


these are a must for your Cinqo de Mayo festivities.


SPICY CHOCOLATE COVERED CHICHARONES
with roasted salted almonds

what you'll need...
chichaorones...the real ones are best.  i didn't weigh mine, but buy extra because you'll be surprised how far the dipping chocolate will go.  you'll find them at a Mexican market like NORTHGATE in Santa Ana, El Matate in Costa Mesa and sometimes at your local convenience store.  they are a little more hard and dense than the ones you see at the supermarkets.  i haven't tried the puffy store brand like Mission Pork Rinds because i don't think they would hold up as well.  they seem to de-crisp with any little moisture.
1 lb. "coverture" dark chocolate.
i find Guittard Chocolate Wafers to work best for a clean dip.
roasted salted almonds, chopped
red pepper flakes

get everything out that you might need.  like tray for drying/setting lined with parchment.   chop the almonds and put some pepper flakes in a little bowl.
TEMPER YOUR CHOCOLATE... i wont go into the EASY MICROWAVE METHOD because you can find it HERE in my post about Chocolate Cover Bacon and HERE from Alton Brown.   tempering is a must for a good clean crispy snappy finish.

dip only a few at a time and sprinkle with almonds and pepper flakes before the chocolate sets.
work in a cool room or at night.  if chocolate isn't setting quickly, put the tray in the fridge for just a few minutes to set, then remove from fridge.
these stayed crunchy and fresh for a few days in an airtight container in a cool room.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mexican Mole Truffles



authentic Mole usually has a zillion ingredients.
with all it's many layers of complex flavors, it seems to be one of the "mother sauces" of Mexican food
AND everybody's Mother has their own interpretation of this classic "mother sauce".

being that mole is well known for it's chocolate enhancement...
i thought why not make a MOLE TRUFFLE ?

to keep with the mole tradition of a zillion ingredients, i tried to add in as many of the classic ingredients as possible.  i know it sounds involved, but the flavors hit you in layers and you can almost taste each one as the chocolate melts and lingers on the palate.

OR in a nut shell...

it's a darn GOOD CHOCOLATE  BALL



MEXICAN MOLE TRUFFLES

1 Valrhona 61% dark chocolate bar...8.5 oz....chopped small
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp whipping cream
1/2 - 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 - 3/4 tsp ground cumin, rounded
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 rounded tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 rounded tsp espresso powder
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ancho chili powder
1-2 tsp molasses
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
15 raisins, chopped...more (softened) if adding into truffle.
roasted salted almonds and cocoa powder for rolling

put chopped chocolate in a glass bowl and set aside.
in a small sauce pan add the cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, chipotle, oregano, espresso powder, cloves, ancho chili powder and raisins.  bring to an "almost boil"...turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin on top.
bring temperature back to almost boil...just bubbling around the sides.
pour cream mixture over chocolate THROUGH A STRAINER.  lightly press what you can through the strainer.
begin stirring from the middle.  as the mixture comes together, stir all around to incorporate.  add vanilla bean paste, almond extract, and molasses.  stir to incorporate.  TASTE TEST.  you might  need a little more...something...you be the judge.
let it sit for a bit.  when it's getting close to room temp give it another stir and stick it in the fridge...UNCOVERED.  in an hour or so come back to it,  COVER IT and leave it for a few hours or over night is better.  it should be completely set.
when ready to roll, bring it out of the fridge for a while until it is a bit more pliable or easy to scoop.   roll into 3/4 inch balls using thin rubber gloves.  gloves make this process much easier and less messy, trust me...go get some.  at this point you can roll them in cocoa powder, chopped roasted salted almonds or dip in tempered dark chocolate.  please DO take the time to temper your chocolate if dipping.  check here for some tips and tricks i've learned so far and check here for some good tempering info.
keep truffles in the fridge and re-roll in cocoa powder if necessary just before serving for a fresh look.  truffles are best texture at room temp.


NOTE...for the first batch i strained the raisins out...but for the second batch i added in some soft raisins, chopped small.
ALSO...i have found that brands of good chocolate behave differently.  Valrhona seems to be a harder set than Guittard Coverture and Scharffenberger.  not to worry they all set and are delicious...but i DO recommend using Guittard "coverture"dark chocolate for dipping.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

COCO ADOBO Truffles...dairy free


THE PERFECT IMPERFECT BITE

when it comes to truffles...
the most important element is getting it from hand to mouth.
once you're in...the smooth dark chocolate ganache should
overwhelm any minor exterior imperfections.

PERFECTION IS NOT THE KEY HERE...
flavor and texture is what it's all about.

 

about these imperfect little truffles...
deep dark chocolate, a hint of cinnamon and a smoky kick from adobo sauce...
AND dairy free you say ?
yes...i've been experimenting with coconut milk as a substitute for the heavy cream with fabulous results.

YOU CAN NOT TASTE THE COCONUT MILK.

it will not affect your flavor profile.  my taste tester friends did not notice the difference in taste or texture.  i will probably use coconut milk for most of my truffles from here on out.  there's always a can in the pantry and a block of good chocolate somewhere in the house.  i highly recommend you stock the same for some impromptu late night truffle making.


COCO ADOBO DAIRY-FREE TRUFFLES
should make about 25-28 truffles

12 oz good dark chocolate
(for this one i used Scharffenberger)
1 cup of coconut milk...canned, full fat
3 Tbsp adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle chilis)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp aged balsamic...optional
good cocoa powder for rolling

chop chocolate into very small pieces, no large chunks.  put in heat resistant bowl...set aside
in a small sauce pan add the coconut milk, adobo sauce, espresso powder cinnamon, brown sugar and balsamic (if using).  stir and bring to an almost boil...slowly so it doesn't over boil.  should be bubbling around the sides.
pour milk mixture through a strainer into chocolate bowl.  let sit a minute or two.  slowly begin stirring from the middle and watch the mixture come together.  as it comes together gently stir so it is well incorporated.  do a taste test...sometimes i add just a little more cinnamon or hot spice at this time.  let this come to room temp, then refrigerate, UNCOVERED, until it is very firm.
make into balls wearing thin rubber gloves...mine were approx. 18-20 grams each and i think i got about 25-28 truffles...give or take what was eaten at the time of said rolling.

NOTE...these were a fabulous smooth and creamy mouth texture, but DO need to be refrigerated...they get a bit soft  if you want them a bit more room temp stable just add a little less coconut milk....or dip them in tempered chocolate.

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