Thursday, October 14, 2010

FOOD: Nothing hard, about this ingredient.

 There may be some debate after this post, but in my personal opinion the humble chicken egg, an essential building block of modern nutrition an ingredient that deserves its own post. When prepared in its simplest form is transformed to a whole new ingredient.

What could be simpler than boiling and egg, yet the end result can be used in a multitude of dishes some where the hard boiled egg takes center stage and some where the egg adorns or  compliments food, this is why I consider it an important ingredient.

Salted water, room temperature egg, 10 minutes in a rolling boil.  VOILA something fun tasty and nutritious.

Perhaps the most common preparation it a classic egg and potato salad, but the variety of dishes this egg is present in may well be enough for a small book, I have seen Asian, European, American, Mexican and many other cuisines. There is something about the simplistic nature of this egg  that invites us to be creative with them

Meatballs, with a hard boiled egg piece is a classic dish in my house and to have meatballs with out an egg surprise is a big disappointment for my kids, ill post the recipe of this Mexican dish.

Be creative and Enjoy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

FOOD: From bold to mellow, from pungent to almost floral

I am enamored with spices.

We go way back and like most things the best way of learning about anything is by experimentation further more an adventurous gourmand is always rewarded and in this case I absolutely know I have.

I have found many great spices, however some I don’t ever buy again, too strong to difficult to control, others simply don’t appeal to me, however there are those that take a special place in my spice rack and like pepper this heavenly concoction, that is Indian but obviously from an Arabic background is a must “Garam Masala”.

Garam Masala is a key spice in many traditional Indian dishes, but its remarkably nimble, its traditionally a mix of black & white peppercorns, cloves, malabar leaves,cumin seeds, cinnamon, black, brown, & green cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds. but i have encountered many variations that more ingredients , how ever most agree on the these. its amazing stuff.

I’ve tried it on traditional Indian food as well as dry rubs, fried food, rice and many other dishes, it can be powerful if used in excess so care should be taken when using it but it also if used ever so lightly can be floral and delicious, even on sweets like biscuits and oatmeal cookies.

Even if you have never had Indian cuisine or if you are not particularly fond of it, take my word, its worth your time.

Enjoy JD

Thursday, October 7, 2010

FOOD: The mighty bean.

Few ingredients are as important to Mexican cooking as beans, and after all the wise cracks and stereotypes that accompany beans its clear that we don't eat enough of these low fat, high protein , fiber rich, iron packing beans as we should. this food is perfection.

Frijoles, in spanish are more than just a side dish and the love the Mexican people have for beans is not that much different form the love Irish have for potatoes, both nations resourceful at cooking these ingredients and helping them find their way to almost every dish we have.

I'm from the state of Chihuahua and Pinto beans rule in my state, you can have them in every meal and can go from very basic straight out if the pot (Olla) to fillings, rice dishes and the quintessential refried variety. In fact to most Mexicans the smell of fresh refried beans in bacon grease on a Sunday morning is just as appealing as Pancakes for the average American, my home town is the land of burritos and beans and asadero, a fresh cheese somewhat similar to mozzarella is the classic starter, all my children had this for their first burrito.

Many people buy canned beans and I must admit they have gotten better, but there is no substitute to fresh or frozen beans, here is how I make mine.

Prep time  12hr.. WOW but there is a reason I take so long.

Clean beans, inspect for rocks, twigs and any other thing that might be in the bag.
Rinse with cold water
for this recipe use a large Crockpot, place enough  beans so you have 2 to 3 inches before you get to the rim and cover with one inch of water
leave in Crockpot DO NOT TURN ON and go to work.
When you come back the beans will be soaked and ready for cooking
replenish water to one inch above beans
Add about one tsp of kosher salt per lb or beans. (mix in salt)
Cover and set on high.

All Crockpot are different but within 2 to 3 hours you will have fresh beans ready to enjoy.
try them straight form the pot, with some Chihuahua cheese, or Monterrey Jack cubes. the hot beens gently melt the cheese and the taste of milk and butter work great with the them.

cool the rest in the pot and freeze in small portions on zipper bags.

on my next bean post a homage to my Sinaloa friends. Frijoles Puercos.


Friday, October 1, 2010

FOOD: The thirfty oven.

I should call this post adventures in oven land. 

Lets start by confessing that I’m a little thrifty and really don’t like to see things go to waste, and a hot oven  going to waste really make me want to continue baking.

Yes I know its a little funny, I do live in a country with basically no winter, but still the idea of that perfectly pre heated oven going to waste because I don’t have any more cookie dough, just gets to me.

So I become adventurous, Vegetables, bread, quick cakes, toast, fish, you name it I’ve stuck it in the oven, some don’t work out that well, but some if I do say so myself are just brilliant. 

Just yesterday. I finished baking some cookies, and there was my predicament, my oven once more staring at me, almost demanding I do something with that hot oven, suddenly eureka.

I baptized the recipe QQ Quick Quiche; the dish is perfect for breakfast.

Let’s see what you think.

6 slices of white bread (Nature’s Pride country potato bread is perfect for this)
4 eggs
4 slices of ham
¼ Small onion
½ garlic clove
½ stick of butter
1/8 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Cream Cheese
Black sesame seeds

Real simple, take fluted pie mold or traditional quiche mold. Non stick or greased, cut white bread to 1 ½ inch squares and place all of it on the mold, on a separate container crack the 4 eggs, beat until perfectly mixed add, onion, garlic and pepper to taste. Make rolls with ham and cut widthwise, deposit curled strips over bread, mix, and slowly pour egg mixture over entire mold sprinkle Parmesan cheese over mixture, cut butter in 5 slices and deposit forming a cross and one on the center.

Bake QQ, until egg sets, about 15 min at 250 deg. Remove, from oven cool slightly and garnish with a spoon full of cream cheese and black sesame seeds over cheese.

Serve hot Yummy.