Tag Archives: *Recipes*

Chimichurri

When I was in college 45 years ago, we had an Argentine student in our department who ate his mess-hall steaks with the strangest green sauce from home. (He got a bottle once a month.) Being an adventurous eater, I tried some, and Wow.

Years later, I found a bottle of the green stuff in a gourmet deli (= $$$). It didn’t hold a candle to my memories of piquancy, herbaceousness, and unctiousness. The Argentine restaurants that popped up here and there serving meat, meat, meat offered it, but it still wasn’t what his family had sent him (and thus me).

Last Sunday, I made a Cuban Pork Roast for Easter dinner, and we had enough left over for two more meals. We decided a sauce was in order, but I didn’t want it to compete with the rub and marinade I’d used. So we prepared the following and realized after the fact we had made Chimichurri. We “pulled” the pork before adding the sauce. It’s not strictly Argentine, but it is GOOD.

1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp roasted garlic
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped basil
Splash Rice vinegar
Splash Agave syrup
Lime juice
Double splash Olive oil
Tbsp Melted Butter

Mix well and heat in microwave to release spice oils. Allow to sit for a half hour.  Adjust the acid-sweet balance. Makes enough for 2-3 five ounce portions of meat.

CHIPOFI Change

First, Badia “Redfish Blackening Spice” has been re-labelled (here, at least) “Seafood Seasoning Creole Blend.”

Second, we have gone for more nuanced heat by mixing one measure cayenne with one ground chipotle with one smoked paprika which we call Smopacachi

The recipe is now:

CHIPOFI LABEL

*7 Badia Seafood Seasoning Creole Blend + 1 oregano + 1 ginger + 1 basil +1/4 Smopacachi

Works great on veggie chips and popcorn too.

Evolutionary Cornbread

GreenCHilliesMade the emergency cornbread again, This time added a small half-drained can of fire roasted green chilies and folded them in. Baked for 14 minutes (+2). Bread had an almost souffle-like texture. Yum!

Emergency Cornbread

emercrnbrdReturning from our Christmas vacation, we were tired of eating out and knew we had some frozen Brunswick Stew at home (our traditional way to use up turkey left from Thanksgiving). We had no trouble convincing each other it would be best with some cornbread. Oops.

The pantry was bare — the cornbread mix we knew was there wasn’t. So we pulled out a favorite scratch recipe. The pantry didn’t contain cornmeal, and the fridge has never had buttermilk in it as far as we  know. So, having been in Scouting and Camp Fire Girls, we MacGyvered.

Janet remembered we had some lime tortilla chips being saved for nachos. These I crushed and then ran through the blender until they were cornmeal again. I remembered we had some Greek Yogurt (5 oz), and this we topped off with fat free milk to 1 cup plus a tablespoon.

Emergency Cornbread recipe

  • 1/2 cup AP flour,
  • 1 cup finely ground corn chips (consider all the variety this offers)
  • 5 oz  Greek yogurt, topped to 8 oz + 1 tbsp w/milk
  • 1 tsp sugar (or agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • salt from chips + 1/2 tsp (or 1 tsp if using cornmeal)
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk.

Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Mix together (I use a whisk for this). Allow to sit while preheating oven to 425 deg F. Preheat pan (pref cast iron) in oven. When oven is at temp, remove pan and grease/oil it. Pour mixture into the pan and level it. Cook until toothpick comes out dry from the center of the cake — about 12 minutes).

The result was excellent. It was a Johnnycake, hoe cake, cornmeal crumpet, that really complemented the stew. The left over cake sliced horizontally and toasted made a great breakfast.  As usual, this experiment has led us to think of other ways to use this recipe.  With onions, garlic, peppers and chopped seafood, we can see it as a great fritter mixture.

Mole Poblano con Cerdo

Recently I made about 7 quarts of chili for a charity event (along with 12 other cooks of various concocti). Fortunately, Janet and I snuck a couple of dinners worth out of the pot before attending the event. There was none left, especially after some folks came back for seconds.

The chili was good, but for competitive reasons, it was beef based, and we prefer lighter meats these days. So, I dragged out my much tweeked Mole* recipe, but I didn’t want chicken, so we stopped by the mobbed Fresh Market (Tuesdays are sale days.) where we bought a four pound Boston Butt.

At home I deconstructed it, removing about 10 oz of fat, and cubing the meat. It went into the following preparation:

Marinade
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil (Potent)
1/6 cup + 1 tbsp Chili powder (11 tsp)
2 4 oz cans Chopped Green Chilies

Mix into meat and let work 6 – 12 hours in a refrigerator in a zip bag. Massage the mix a few times through the period.

Maceration
1/4 cup White rum
1/4 cup Sultanas (Golden Raisins)
2 Cloves garlic, minced roasted
1 Sweet pepper, chopped
2 tsp Agave Nectar
2 – 4 tsp Soy Sauce
Micro-planed rind of 1 orange (Softball sized)

Mix and cover for 6 – 12 hours in reefer. Stir occasionally.

Dry spices
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Bloom all together in hot saute pan

Sauce Base
3 Yellow Onions, (tennis ball size) chopped
1/2 tsp Salt (adjust later)
1.5 boxes Pomi brand finely chopped tomatoes or equivalent
2+ oz bitter chocolate, chopped (86% cacao, wax free, or 3 oz 60% cacao)
1/6 cup + 1 tbsp Chili powder (yes, again)
1 cup Chicken stock
1 cup Hot Coffee, black
1/4 cup finely ground unsalted toasted almonds (also provides some thickening) [From a cookie sheet full of raw almonds toasted at 325° F for 23 minutes. Must be room temp for grinding.]

[Additional Thickener
1 can drained rinsed pinto beans pureed — only if feeding a crowd. (Pureeing with a ladle of tomato sauce speeds the process and evens out the texture.)]

Putting it together.

  • Brown marinaded meat in large kettle with olive oil. It will be too damp for a deep browning. Stir from time to time.
  • While meat is browning, saute the onions to translucent.
  • When meat is browned and onions are ready, pour the sauce base ingredients into the kettle.
  • Wipe the saute pan dry, and bloom the dry spices per above.
  • Add these to the kettle along with the macerated ingredients.
  • Simmer for an hour or two, lid-on, stirring from time to time. Drain water from inside lid each time before recovering the kettle.
  • Transfer solid ingredients to crock pot.
  • Continue to simmer sauce in the kettle until reduced by half then add to crock pot.
    Crock Cook for 6 – 8 hours before serving, stir from time to time, skim fat.
  • It’s done when the meat falls apart as it sees a spoon coming.

*When I was a tween (do we still use that portmanteau word?) my widowed Grandmother, who was quite the traveler, took me and my brother to Mexico — Mexico City, Taxco, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara et. al. We binge-toured museums, climbed pyramids, hitchhiked, and hung out with a plain clothes Federale who found her interesting. The real revelation was Mexican cuisine. I was used to, and liked Tex-Mex, or Mex-Tex depending on whether the Rio Grande was west or east, but I had never had the pleasure of the symphony folklorico of flavors we encountered deep in the country.  One such symphony was my first taste of Mole Poblano. I liked it so much I asked what was in it. The adults looked embarrassed on my behalf; one simply did not ask that question. To their chagrin (I guess) I was invited into the kitchen where I was shown what went into the Mole. I snacked on fried grasshoppers while I watched a woman older than my Grandmother, with a face off a pyramid, pound and grind the ingredients while she spoke a language I could not fathom. When I asked her in Spanish, she said, “La lengua de los aztecas,” and tapped her chin.  I was hooked — on Mole and Aztec history… I had met one!

What, No Cod ?!?! — Faux Bacalaitos

From Wikipedia

Salt Cod (via Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I decided to try a Cuban recipe for Bacalaitos (salt cod fritters).

Well, it turned out we had used our cod and not replenished it. So I decided to use smoked trout instead. Turned out we only had half the 2 cups needed. We had some left over crab cake casserole (ala Janet) from the night before, so I decided, deconstructed with a vigorous fork, it would become the faux salt cod.

As I assembled the dry ingredients, I discovered I had exhausted the self-rising flour and not replenished it in favor of making my own. So I whisked some together from 1 cup bread flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.

But the recipe called for a fish fume from cooking the multi-rinsed dried salt cod. Oops. So I made a faux-fume from chicken stock and fish-sauce (nước mắm). Be very careful with the fish sauce, it is a strong flavor. Don’t pour it over the mixing bowl.

The onions were buried in the reefer, so I used an easier to reach shallot. I whisked all of the ingredients (below) into a crepe-y (not creepy) crab laden batter that promised good things to come. I wanted to let the batter rest, so I turned to the cabinet for the canola oil I would use to pan fry the fritters. 1/4 cup was all we had left. We had lots of extra virgin olive oil, but that’s too heavy and flavorful for what I wanted.

So I made faux cod crepe-y pancakes. This meandering recipe made 12, 4.5 inch cakes using a non-stick skillet at 360° F (three at a time).

They were delicious with a Cesar for an early dinner, but they needed a sauce. We daubed a bit of salad dressing on them, but knew we could do better. They were tasty and filling. We had half left over.

This morning, I nuked just the chill out of the leftover cakes and popped them in the toaster. At the same time I made an Aoli of mayo, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and Wye River Red seasoning. This I nuked just enough it wouldn’t cool the cakes off. A little cooked around the edges, and I just whisked it back into the rest.

This was the way to serve and eat them. They are Faux no more. We’ll still make the Bacalaitos some day, but these cakes are now a standby. Comer bien!

Cake Recipe.

  • 2 cups lump crab
  • 1 cup self rising flour (1 cup bread flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 cup chicken stock — fish sauce added to taste (Remember 1/2 tsp roughly equals one anchovy fillet.)
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped scallions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp table salt.
  • For a thinner batter, add room temperature white wine to the desired consistency.

Sauce Recipe

  • 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ~2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ~1 tsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • Wye River Red seasoning to taste (or Chipofi*, or any seafood seasoning blend.)

*Chipofi = 7 Badia Redfish Blackening Spice + 1 oregano + 1 ginger + 1 basil +1/4 cayenne