Monday, December 22, 2014

Mexi-Flexi-Sauce


This is my go to sauce for everything Mexican. When I am pressed for time and I want the flavors of Mexico I turn to this sauce. This particular sauce is my base sauce. This sauce is always changing. In fact every time I make it comes out different.

I have no recipe so I more or less stick with the same basic ingredients and modify it ever so slightly depending on my mood.

If you start out with great ingredients you can't lose. The base sauce includes Cilantro, Red Onion, Garlic, Green Onion, Tomatillos and Avocado and chilis.

This sauce by far is one of the most uncomplicated sauces I have ever made. 


Take all your veggies (except Avocado) spray a little canola oil on them, lightly season them with salt and pepper and brown until desired color is reached. A nice toasty smell and taste is what you're looking for. Most of these steps can be done the day before.    

Take a hand full of your favorite peppers. This of course changes from time to time depending on what I have on hand. Anchos, White Chipotle or Reds, Hatch, etc etc. Roast them for about 5-10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Them smell will permeate your house.............but it's a great smell if you ask me.


Re-hydrate your peppers in boiling water for about an hour. This will make them pliable to break down in a food processor or in my case a VitaMix. Don't worry about the stems or seeds because you will strain them through a fine strainer (or a chinois). Believe me you don't want any of those seeds or stems in your sauce.



Toss all of the peppers in your food processor or in my case a 
VitaMix with a little of the reserved diluted chili water that came out during the rehydration process. Process until smooth very smooth. After completely pulverized into a very smooth sauce use a spatula to press sauce through a fine mesh strainer. So very simple. 



Slice your Avocados in half and remove seed and meat. Toss the meat, all the roasted veggies and cilantro into VitaMix or whatever you have with a little chicken stock. Puree until smooth. 


Here is a picture of all the sauces being combined in my 13 quart dutch oven. Note: I added a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. And if need be I add more stock and the reserved chili water.



I always add some mexican chocolate to add some complex flavors. Mexican chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, almonds and vanilla and adds tremendous flavor to sauces. The chocolate is normally added to moles and stews.  I also add Honey or some type of sweetener to cut some of the heat but it also adds a bit of  complexity to the sauce.


This is where it starts to get creative. I like using all kinds of beer but my favorite has to be the stout variety. You can use any liquid you like. 


Once I used a Stout chocolate espresso infused beer that really contributed to some very multifaceted flavors. Consider wines, ports or tawnys. I also love to add Lime zest and juice occasionally. 

How to kick up your base sauce with Herbs and spices. Consider the following. Obviously salt and pepper. And, Cumin, Black Cumin, Mexican Oregano, Adobo, Annato for color, try all Chilies, Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon, All spice, Hoja Santa, Hierba Santa, Piloncillo (use instead of honey), Epazote, and Cilantro.

At this point you can just go wild. Put on your culinary dancing shoes and let those ideas start flooding your head.  Ok what are the ideas? 

Well first of all you should consider what starch and protein you want to use.  Pasta or potatoes work great but make sure to choose a high starch potato and a pasta shape that goes well with stew like textures. I love Chicken thighs and Flat Iron Steaks for this dish. 


Here is an example of a Flat Iron steak grilled and then sliced thinly. After grilling you can continue cooking it in the sauce, or just top your dish off with the meat. I just love Flat Iron steak. It has big beef flavor. Do I need to mention that you need to season your steak before grilling? I hope not!! I like to you use Adabo, cumin and traditional mexican flavors to season meat. 



This plate was made with the Pasta as the starch and topped with Cojita cheese and cilantro. The Flat Iron steak was first grilled then cut into small bites and stewed in the sauce. 


This plate is similar to the above dish except I added beans. I sauted an onion and made a roux.



This dish was made with Flat Iron steaks, beans, onions, potatoes and topped with different types of cheese. I added tortilla chips too. They are easy to make too. Stack several tortilla, slice, spray with canola oil, season them and bake for a couple of minutes.




Stack your Flour or corn Tortillas.  




Slice into mouth size strips.


Spray oil on strips, season and bake at 400 degrees until no longer pliable. 









This dish is only limited to your imagination.


click READ MORE ON BOTTOM LEFT to see more pictures.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Waffleized Stuffing

I came across the waffle idea on Diners-Drive-ins and Dives and man is it good. Stuffing turned into a waffle is a leap forward in culinary thinking. Taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary exemplifies what cooking is all about. Suffice it to say it came out great and that is why I am blogging about it. 


Make what every stuffing recipe you want just make sure to add eggs as a binder and of course I always use Turkey stock to moisten bread. 
Cut bread into little squares.

Spray a little butter or oil on the bread then sprinkle on your favorite herb spice mix. Bake at 375 for a few minutes. Baking will remove some of the extra moisture. And of course the herb spice mixture will add great flavor to your stuffing.
Make your favorite stuffing. Make sure to add Turkey stock and of course eggs for the binder.
Make your waffle.

 Almost done!!!
DONE
How do I like to stack it? Waffle, Turkey, Mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce. This is a heavenly Thanksgiving Plate!!!!!



Monday, November 3, 2014

""Roast Beef with Ancho and Coffee""

Where's the beef? I got the beef!! I love beef and if you love it as much as I do you will love this version of roast beef. I am no newbie when it comes to cooking roast beef and I am here to tell you that herbs and spices aside what separates a good roast beef from a poor one is the way in which you cook it. What ever combination of rubs, spices and herbs you come up with won't make a darn difference if you poorly execute the roasting of the beef. You notice how Ulra-Red the meat is? That's because I pulled it out of the oven at 118 F which makes for a very rare piece of meat. Of course oxygen hitting the the virgin sliced meat will create that red color too. An hour later it was not this red but still extremely rare. If you don't like red meat you might as well quit reading. Dang there is nothing better than tender rare meat but that's just my preference. 



In a previous post I made Tri-Tip using the same ingredients but used a different technique. If you like Sous-Vide cooking read that post. In the Tri-Tip post I contrasted the fat content of the Tri-Tip to the Top Round Roast beef and indicated that the Tip has way more fat and is my preference for roast beef. However the Top Round Roast beef still produces great sandwich meat!!! Take a look at the different cuts of beef from the picture. Very interesting!!! I am using this cooking technique that can be found here Rosy Roast Beef but is outlined below too.





After you unwrap the Roast there is very little trimming that needs to be done. Just clean it up a bit and dry if off. 






This recipe is a snap. These are the ratios I used but it's just a personal thing.



Montreal steak seasoning (4), Cinnamon (1), Ancho-Powder (4), favorite coarsely ground coffee (3) and Brown sugar (5). I purchased my meat seasoning from Costco but you can make your own. Mix it all up and apply liberally to your meat. Note: adding Coffee to the rub adds complexity and bitterness that is just wonderful. So when I say apply liberally I mean cake it on!! You want to impart a lot of flavor into the meat. I set the roast in the refrigerator overnight to marry the flavors. But the ultimate time to rest should be about 3 days because of the size...Dry Brine. 


Note: Since I just love this rub I always sprinkle a bit on my sandwiches. I process the rub into a fine powder using my spice mill. 



How to cook. Place your roast on a rack in a roasting pan in a preheated oven and cook at 200-215 F degrees until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 118 F degrees. The reason for the low and slow comes down to the fact that meat cooks from the outside in and if you were to it at a high temp the outer layers would be over cooked. While the roast is resting the residual heat will increase the the internal temp of the roast beef to about 124-126 F which is perfect for very rare meat. What makes Roast Beef different from the Rosy Roast Beef post is the Rub and roasting technique. Read the post and compare them. This Roast and Rub creates a perfect crust because of the brown sugar. With the Rosy Roast Beef I used a sugarless rub and to create a crust by cranking up the temp at the end.

My Review- It came out great!!! I won't change a thing but will try some alternative ways to improve flavor. I am considering the following. This rub is so good I am going to run it through my spice mill and grind it into a fine powder. This will rub will be mixed with water and injected into the roast than smoked. 




SLICE IT UP AND EAT IT!!!!











Slaw, pickled Red onions and Havarti cheese!!! YUM!!


Panini sandwich , Melted Harvarti cheese,  Horseradish and Roasted Red Bell Pepper. 




SMOKED VERSION BELOW


Smoked for 3-4 hours than cooked at 205 f degrees until an internal temp of 125 F was achieved. Rested for 45 minutes before slicing and temp rose two degrees during the rest period.