Showing posts with label spicy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spicy. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spicy Pineapple Pepper Slaw


I'LL MAKE THIS QUICK....
cuz WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET...
this is a great salad on it's own, but perfect for tacos and the like.

SPICY PINEAPPLE SLAW
there are no specific measurements.
i make small batches of this all the time.  just use your taste buds.
a little of this and a little of that...
warning...this is pretty spicy

1st you need the Pickle Jalapenos i recently posted....
you will dress the salad with the juice and add some of the pickled jalapenos in...
1 small head of cabbage. 
 i usually use 1/2 heasd.  just depends on how much you are making.
diced pineapple
celery sliced thin might be nice...
cilantro
smoked black pepper
red pepper flakes
cumin
lime zest and or juice if you want

NOTE... SALT ONLY IF NEEDED and just before serving.  this will keep in the fridge, but if you salt it...it will weep and lose it's crunch factor.


i have also use nectarines, pineapple and shredded carrots...YUM !




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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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pickled Jalapenos


SPICY SWEET SAVORY TANGY GOOD!!!
a great add to anything.  perfect for burgers, salad, charcuterie, PORK BELLY...i'd even put these on ICE CREAM!
 so much better than the mushy cooked store bought.  they're crisp, bright and pack a spicy wallop.
whip these up in about 10 minutes...they'll be ready in a few hours.  keep them in the fridge for an emergency PUNCH to any meal.


"QUICK" PICKLED JALAPENOS

4-5 fresh jalapenos, sliced thin
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 pinches of kosher salt
about 3 Tbsp filtered water.  to taste
NOTE...do a taste test.  i just threw this together.  you might like more "tang"...more sugar?...more salt?...

mix all the ingredients and stir.  wait until everything is dissolved.  put sliced jalapeno in jar of choice and pour in the pickling liquid.  ready in a few hours, but best after you refrigerate for a few days.  i think they will last quite a while in the fridge.  i am not the food safety police so i don't know exactly how long they will keep, but probably quite some time....use your judgment.

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.

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.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dark Chocolate Aztec Truffle Bon Bons


no need for mistletoe this year with...

A FLAVORFUL PUNCH IN THE KISSER

smoky espresso chocolate, bright sunny orange zest, warm cinnamon and a kick of chipotle.

who doesn't love a few homemade "bon bons" around the holidays ?



AZTEC TRUFFLES
idea from About.com by Elisabeth La Bau
makes about 33

8 oz. good dark chocolate
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbsp chipotle in adobo...(see NOTE)
1/2 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp espresso powder
2 tsp karo syrup...optional
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
zest from 1 small orange...maybe a little less

NOTE about chipotle...use chipotle with adobo in the can.  push 3 chipotle peppers, dripping in adobo sauce, through a medium fine strainer.  you want to end up with almost 2 Tbsp.

in a small sauce pan...add heavy cream, strained chipotle, espresso powder, cinnamon and orange zest.  bring to almost boil.  stir, or whisk to combine while heating.

put chocolate in a medium glass bowl and add vanilla bean paste and Karo syrup.  Karo syrup is optional.  pour cream mixture through a strainer over the chocolate.  press the cream through strainer with a spatula.  let it sit for a minute or 2.  start to stir in the middle.  keep stirring until you see it is well combined and you have a nice shiny ganache.  TASTE TEST.  at this point i added a bit more zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  you be the judge.
put in the fridge for and hour or 2...come back and give it a stir.  let sit over night or at least a few more hours to REALLY SET.
when it is quite firm...make into 3/4 inch balls...do this with thin rubber gloves if possible.  the warmth of your hands really creates a mess.  refrigerate truffles for about 1 hour.
at this point you can roll a few in cocoa powder for a different look, but the crisp dark chocolate outer layer really lends to the whole chocolate experience and is worth the effort.

before dipping, take them out of the fridge while you are preparing to temper.  i have found dipping near room temperature truffles prevents the seepage that can happen and cause the need to repair and double dip.

please click HERE for some "tips and tricks" (post about Spicy Chocolate Bacon) on tempering and making your chocolate  a successful experience.

NOTE...you will have left over "tempered chocolate".  be prepared with other goodies to dip, like pretzels, cookies, BACON or throw a bunch of stuff in and make bark.



EASY MICROWAVE TEMPERING...(dark chocolate)
adapted from Alton Brown's Microwave Tempering Method found HERE.  he uses "pure cocoa butter".  i find seeding with 1/4 of your chocolate quantity works well.

you'll need 1 pound of "coverture" chocolate.  i use Guittard 61% dark chocolate discs in a 1 pound box.
put 12 oz. of the chocolate in a glass bowl.  set 4 oz aside.
microwave chocolate for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds...STIR.  one more time 30 seconds...STIR.  now microwave for 15 second intervals (should be 2-4 times) stirring between each run until it reaches 100 F.  STIR.  microwave for 10 second intervals (maybe 2-3 times) until it reaches 115 F for dark chocolate.
stir in the other 4 oz. of chocolate.  stir well with spatula, cleaning the sides of the bowl and incorporating the chocolate.  the fresh chocolate will soon melt and will bring the temperature down.  this process is called "seeding".  i read that a lot of stirring helps bring back the sheen...so i stir well.  you are looking for 90 F degrees.  at this point your chocolate is dip-worthy.
at 90 F  place the chocolate bowl in another bowl lined with a dishtowel...this is to help keep your chocolate warm and snugly while working.  STIR chocolate periodically.  if it is getting too thick, take the temp.  give it a shot with the hot blow dryer and STIR to keep from getting hot spots.  do not reheat the chocolate too fast or too high.  it will lose it's temper.

start dipping.  use a fork or dipping tool to lift out.  lightly tap on the edge of the bowl and let excess chocolate drip off and place on prepared parchment.  sprinkle with smoked salt while the chocolate is still wet.  do about 4-5 balls at a time so you can get your salt on before the chocolate sets.  stick in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes if necessary.  then let come to room temp before putting them in an air tight container.  do not close them up with condensation on them.
i do not know exactly how many days these will last at room temp.  probably at least a week.  they can be prolonged in the fridge, but they should come to room temp "no condensation" before packaging up for gifts.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spicy Dark Chocolate Bacon with Roasted Almonds


YES, chocolate bacon has been around for a few years...BUT if you haven't tried it...

YOU MUST PARTAKE IN THE PHENOMENAL FLAVOR COMBINATION AND SHARE WITH YOUR BACON LOVIN' FRIENDS !

if you have tried it and weren't too impressed, i guarantee this is far better than the pathetic scrap you paid big $$$ for at the local fair.  besides...you will amaze your friends with your chocolate making abilities.  there are still loads of people out there who haven't tried it and are in shock and awe with their new found love of the sweet savory chocolate covered pork belly bits.  when tempered correctly, it makes a fabulous gift and or party treat for any occasion.

the 3 main tricks to fabulous chocolate covered bacon are...
GOOD CHOCOLATE
TEMPERED CHOCOLATE
CRISPY BACON


A FEW TIPS AND TRICKS I HAVE FOUND HELPFUL FOR TEMPERED CHOCOLATES...

#1...buy GOOD "coverture"chocolate.  pay the extra $$$
#2...the room should be cold.  wear a sweater, but don't turn the heat or the oven on.
#3...mise en place!  get everything out you will need.
#4...chocolate is a messy job.  cover your work area.
#5...use microwave tempering method...no chance of water being introduced to your expensive chocolate.
#6...use a hair dryer to keep chocolate at working temperature.  again, no water is involved.
#7...use a larger bowl lined with a dish towel to place chocolate bowl in while working...the snuggle effect helps keep it warm.
#9...only put dipped chocolates in the fridge to set if necessary for about 10-20 minutes.  then remove.  you don't want condensation.
#10...have extra dipping stuff on hand because there is always that extra bit left that you don't want to waste.  pretzels, cookies, potato chips, fruit...your finger!
#11...keep finished items airtight in the coolest room of the house..even in the garage if necessary

FINAL TIP...websites i found VERY informative...
ALSO...i must add...i am NOT a professional Chocolatier 

SPICY DARK CHOCOLATE BACON with ROASTED ALMONDS

1 12oz package bacon, cooked crispy
1 pound good coverture Dark Chocolate, in discs or chopped
roasted salted almonds, chopped
red pepper flakes
smoked finishing salt
ground cumin and chipotle powder for cooking the bacon.

first get everything ready...put almonds, red pepper flakes, and salt in separate bowls for sprinkling on wet chocolate..  prepare a few cookie sheets with parchment to place dipped bacon.  get a hair dryer out and introduce it to the kitchen... you will use it to rewarm the chocolate if necessary.
think the process through so you are ready when the chocolate is ready.

cook bacon in the oven.  one layer on an aluminum lined cookie sheet.  start in a cold oven at 380 F approx. 25-30 minutes ( i use convection), turning once or twice.  drain off excess fat half way through and sprinkle with chipotle powder and cumin.  then flip all pieces over and proceed to cook until crispy.  drain fat again if necessary.  BACON MUST BE CRISP.  set the slices on paper towels and dab off excess bacon fat.  let cool completely.


EASY MICROWAVE TEMPERING...(dark chocolate)
adapted from Alton Brown's Microwave Tempering Method found HERE.  he uses "pure cocoa butter".  i find seeding with 1/4 of your chocolate quantity works well.

put 12 oz. of the DARK chocolate in a glass bowl.  set 4 oz aside.
microwave chocolate for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds...STIR.  one more time 30 seconds...STIR.  now microwave for 15 second intervals (should be 2-4 times) stirring between each run until it reaches 100 F.  STIR.  microwave for 10 second intervals (maybe 2-3 times) until it reaches 115 F for dark chocolate.
stir in the other 4 oz. of chocolate.  stir well with spatula, cleaning the sides of the bowl and incorporating the chocolate.  the fresh chocolate will soon melt and will bring the temperature down.  this process is called "seeding" i read that a lot of stirring helps bring back the sheen...so i stir well.  you are looking for 90 F degrees.  at this point your chocolate is dip-worthy.
at 90 F  place the chocolate bowl in another bowl lined with a dishtowel...this is to help keep your chocolate warm and snugly while working.  STIR chocolate periodically.  if it is getting too thick, take the temp.  give it a shot with the blow dryer and STIR to keep from getting hot spots.  do not reheat the chocolate too fast or too high.  it will lose it's temper.

start dipping.  let excess chocolate drip off and place slices on prepared parchment.  sprinkle with red pepper flakes and almonds while the chocolate is still wet....then a little finishing salt.  do about 4-5 slices at a time so you can get your toppings on before the chocolate sets.  stick in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes if necessary.  then let come to room temp before putting them in an air tight container.  do not close them up with condensation on them.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Chipotle Bacon Pecan Caramel Apples...


there are no words to describe...

"A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS"


and YES...

BACON DOES MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER
especially when it's got a little kick of chipotle.


better late than never...i've been dreaming about this for weeks.
now it's crunch time and i found myself scrambling for these simple ingredients.
i would normally have gone with the old classic...individual wrapped Kraft Caramels.  i was willing to unwrap as many of those little suckers as possible...man, they are a pain.  i could not find them anywhere today...and i needed them TODAY.  i had a bee in my bonnet.  2 days 'til Halloween and i had to get this done.  i finally found some Werther's Chewy Caramels...a little bit more pricey...and individually wrapped of course, but like i said...i had to get it done...that bee was a buzzin' .

i thought the chews were the right texture, but i did find confirmation that they were right for the job at their website with helpful simple apple dipping instructions....found HERE.

here's what you need to go buy...NOW

4-5 granny smith apples
11-12 oz chewy caramels...Werther's or Kraft
lollipop sticks...wood popsicle sticks would have been better.
2 Tbsp cream.
1 lb. bacon...cooked extra crispy, chopped into small pieces.
i cooked a 12oz package and ran out after 4 apples....so sad.
ground chipotle powder and cinnamon...optional.
i sprinkled ground chipotle pepper and cinnamon on bacon 3/4 way through cooking in the oven
a handful of pecans, chopped...sweet & spicy pecans found at Trader Joes.
dark chocolate  for a nice drizzle?  or double dip ???...
DARN...i ran out of time...again......so sad


for clear cut easy caramel dipping instructions go to WERTHER'S CARAMELS or the KRAFT WEBSITE...

here is what i did...
wash apples...you might need to scrub them or wipe dry very well to remove any waxy coating.
pop clean apples in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
remove stem and push in stick.
prepare a flat surface with parchment that can fit in the fridge.
melt caramel and cream in the microwave on high, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes (depending on microwave).
dip apple and let excess drip from the bottom.
roll in bacon and pecans.
WORK QUICKLY...the caramel sets fast and the bacon won't stick.  you might need to apply bacon and pecans in some missing areas.
quickly put the beautiful bacon pecan apples in the fridge on the parchment.  let set for at least 15 minutes.

NOTE...they should stay chilled until presenting them....
they will begin to sag from the weight of the POUND of BACON you have applied.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken Paws...short cut to dim sum style chicken feet


CHICKEN PAWS...aka...CHICKEN FEET

hey... WAIT !  don't go.

i needed a fix of the weird stuff.  too much pansying around with jams and pound cakes.  i start to get the itch for something out of the ordinary.
when i get the yen for something different i head to my favorite Asian market, 99 Ranch in Irvine.  let's see...live fish, fish heads, black chicken?..been there, done that!...pig's feet ?...done,  snout...done,  pig ears ?...done and done...duck tongues?.. NO,  once again i had to pass on the duck tongues...i'm still not quite ready for those yet...

 BUT i thought a good dose of chicken toes would do the trick.


and these definitely did the trick.

these are the best chicken feet i have ever tasted...

and YES....i have had quite a few in my day.
i usually cook them up for good chicken stock.  they make THE BEST GOLDEN DELICIOUS BROTH.  no one else in the family eats them, but i remember my Grandmother noshing on a foot or two in her day.

i must admit, however, that i have never seen chicken feet on a menu...i would have ordered them...hence, i have never had the privilege to eat them prepared in the proper dim sum manner.  so this is not an authentic preparation in any way, but i think it definitely has the right flavor profile and they ARE finger lickin' good.  the glaze that this creates is absolutely delicious and could be used for many other things...maybe chicken wings, spare ribs, pork tender loin, pulled pork...anything really.


above and below are a couple of bold visual examples of what you will be dealing with....
and i'll add that these were some of the prettiest chicken feet i had ever seen.
no kidding, that's why i bought them.  i found them at 99 Ranch Market...they were HUGE!, white and spotless, but beware...most chicken feet are not a pretty sight and are quite strange for a newcomer.

one of the MORE uncomfortable things you must do is cut the "talon" off.  best done with a pair of kitchen shears and done as quickly as possible so as not to dwell on the fact too long.  you can quickly lose your appetite for your new adventure at this stage of the game.


i say throw your inhibitions aside...put on your helmet, don your protective eye wear, set out the drop cloth and dive into some chicken feet dim sum.  you'll have a load of fun preparing them and you won't stop talking about it for months.  they surely make for colorful conversation...
AND you might just find out you like chicken feet...SHHHHH...


quick note about the recipe...i call this a "short-cut" because you don't need to fry the feet in hot oil as you would with authentic recipes, you don't need a wok and the ingredients are pretty simple...but it does take a few hours to cook.

DIM SUM STYLE CHICKEN PAWS
adapted from Food.com by Chef #74195

1 1/2 - 2 pounds chicken feet
2 (12oz) cans Coke
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 discs fresh ginger
2 star anise
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 Tsp garlic chili sauce or sambal oelek

put all ingredients, except the feet in a large bottom dutch oven.  large because you want all the feet to be in the broth.
start heat to combine flavors and dissolve sugar.
add chicken feet.
bring to a boil and turn down to a slow-low simmer for approx 2 - 3 hours.  i cooked mine for 2 hours then turned the heat off and let them sit in the covered dutch oven for another hour.  they were perfect.  check them after 1 hour and give them a delicate stir.  they are done when you can easily pull a "finger" off.
remove the feet from the pot.  strain the broth  and put back on medium heat until the liquid turns into a sauce...it will reduce and thicken into an absolutely delicious glaze sauce that you will want to use on other things as well.  i was amazed how fabulous this was.

serve in a large bowl or serving platter and drizzle glaze over all the feet.
or...just toss the feet with the sauce/glaze.
sprinkle some red pepper flakes and cilantro or chopped scallions.
have an empty bowl next to each person for the tiny little bones.

ENJOY !


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thai Coconut Curry Sauce with Fresh Tofu and Konjac Noodles


healthy fresh tofu and clean Konjac noodles in a light flavorful Spicy Thai Coconut Curry Sauce.

a delicious alternative to a meat and pasta meal.
the sauce is easy and can be made ahead of time.  the tofu...fresh is best if you can find it.  the noodles. however,  are a bit different and unusual.  they are Konjac noodles made from yam flour.  this is a great dish for the non wheat people and those watching the ol' waistline.  a huge serving is under 200 calories and you'll still have room for dessert.  personally, i like it because i eat so many pork products and fatty weird stuff along with my addiction to the Mexican bakery... i have to throw in a healthy light dish every now and then.
the noodles are quite good, but like tofu...pretty flavorless on their own.  they need a good sauce.  i find this coconut curry does just the trick.




fresh tofu (photo above)...way better than packaged....still warm, soft and fragrant like a fresh loaf of bread.  even my mother, a non-tofu lover, said she really liked it....well, maybe that's a stretch.  it only costs about $1.99,  probably twice the size and tastes much better that regular packaged tofu.
i get mine at 99 Ranch Market in Irvine, CA.  if you've never been and you're in Orange County/So. California i highly recommend finding one.  great resource for all Asian goods.

Konjac noodles...aka YAM noodles
a little slippery, very long, no distinct flavor...but a great filler, no wheat, almost no calories, no carbs , fun to eat and a great vehicle for many different sauces.  Konjac noodles come in angel hair and fettuccine cuts as well as blocks and cute little knotted bundles.  check out the nutritional info below...amazingly low on everything.


THAI COCONUT CURRY SAUCE
makes about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups sauce

1/2 medium onion, diced small
1 full Tbsp fresh ginger or, fine dice
1 large clove garlic, fine dice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp madras curry powder (yellow kind)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more can be added later)
3/4 - 1 cup chicken broth, if canned use low sodium
1 cup coconut milk...i use "lite" coconut milk
1 Tbsp soy sauce
juice from 1 wedge lemon
3" piece of lemon grass...
(smashed then tied together with a string so that it won't come apart and get stringy in the sauce.)
2 tsp lemon zest
4-5 large basil leaves...chiffonade (thin ribbons)
more red chile flakes to sprinkle.

in a medium sauce pan lightly saute onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil and sesame oil until translucent
add chili flakes and curry powder and saute until fragrant...2 minutes 
add tied lemongrass, chicken broth, coconut milk, soy sauce and lemon juice.
bring to a soft boil then to a simmer
simmer and stir a little for about 5 - 10 minutes.
taste for seasoning...a dash more soy?  pepper flakes?
simmer longer if you want it thicker.

if using these Konjac noodles...
noodles must be washed/rinsed well, drained then pat dry as much as possible.
tofu should be drained and slightly pressed to release some of the moisture...then it can be lightly sauteed first in separate pan or just simmered in the sauce.

this is a great sauce to toss with any noodles -YAM NOODLES (shown in photos), shirataki (tofu noodles), udon or even angel hair.
simmer some tofu, fish or chicken in sauce.  if using fish or chicken simmer until cooked through.  then mix with noodles.  i have never cooked the chicken in the sauce...i use already cooked roasted chicken from Costco.
OR just toss with steamed vegetables.
next time i think i'll simmer some talapia in the sauce...oh how i wish i had a sous vide.

NOTE...the sauce freezes well.  it just needs a good stir as it heats through. it will thicken and reduce with stronger flavors.  freeze just the sauce...not the noodles or tofu in the sauce....the noodles get funny after freezing.

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