Mostly about food, this blog is just a place for me to throw things that are of interest to me. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by an look around. This represents just some of the stops on the various pathways that this amateur home cook finds himself.

You may find that these foods tend toward protein and away from carbohydrates - this is due to diabetic issues, so I try to only sparingly use carbs, and good ones at that. Of course, sometimes I forget....

Feel free to drop me a line with any suggestions or just to let me know what you think. Thanks!

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Morning Air

Sometimes a little extra effort can make a nicely different treat.  I decided to whip up something light and yet tasty for the Lady of the House this morning and the result was a very light and tasty Morning Air.

6 eggs
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 strips of bacon. cooked and chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheese, cheddar or a favorite blend
4-6 mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in the bacon greased pan used above
2 scallions, white and green parts both sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Carefully crack and separate the eggs, whites and yolks, into two large bowls.  It is critical that you don't get any of the yolk into the bowl of whites, so you might want to do the eggs one at a time into a smaller bowl, and then pour in the large bowls.

Place 2 8" non-stick skillets on the stove over medium heat.  I sprayed mine with some oil spray just to make sure they stayed non-stick.

Using a simple hand mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy, then add in the cream of tartar to really build some volume.  Once completed, start in on the bowl of egg yolks.  These will not rise nearly the same amount as the whites.  Now, with the mixer on low, add spoonfuls of the white mixture into the yolks and mix to incorporate.  Do not let the spoon touch the yolks.  Keep this up until you have about the same volume in both bowls.

Next, when the skillets are warm, place the whipped whites into one and the whipped yolk mixture into the other. If you can, level out the top of the whites.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°.  After 4-5 minutes, run a thin spatula around the edge of the whites, making sure that the mass has not stuck and is free to move.  Do the same for the yolks.  Place the skillets in the oven for 4-5 minutes until the mixtures have set - you will have to do the toothpick test like a cake.  In this case, if it comes out still a bit wet, that's okay.  Remove the skillets from the oven.  Although they will fall a little, they will retain a lot of air making this a light and fluffy egg dish.

Slide the egg white layer out of the skillet onto a plate.  Top with 1/4 cup of the cheese and about 2/3 of the the nice chopped bacon. 

Next, apply a layer of your sauteed mushrooms.  Add another 1/4 cup of shredded cheese to hold it all together

Microwave for 30-45 seconds until the cheese just starts to melt.  Remove from microwave, and invert the egg yolk pan over the plate.  Top with the remaining cheese and bacon.  Pop back in the microwave until the top cheese starts to melt. 

Top with sliced scallions, slice like a pie, and serve!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chilorio - not your local Tex Mex

This dish comes from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, on Mexico's west coast - the most famous town in it being Mazatlán. Thence comes Chilorio, part carnitas and part flavorful chile sauce. You can make the chile sauce as described below, or you can use my regular version. If you use this one, add some hot sauce to the mix as it is quite mild.

When distilled to simplest terms, it is long-braised pork infused in a chile sauce. As such in reality you can use whatever flavors you like in cooking the pork, and whatever mix of chiles you like in the chile sauce. Here is a pretty good start!

2.5 - 3  lb         pork butt (shoulder), cut into 2-3” chunks
1          cup      orange juice
1/2       cup      vinegar
1          cup      water , plus enough to cover eat
1          tsp       salt
4          ea         ancho chiles, dried
1          ea         chipotle pepper plus ½ tsp adobo sauce
6          ea         pasilla chiles, dried
6          ea         guajillo chiles, dried
6          clove    garlic
1/2       tsp       cumin
1          tsp       oregano, preferably Mexican
1/4       cup      parsley
1          tsp       black pepper
1          cup      chile soaking liquid
1/2       tsp       ground coriander
1/2       cup      fat; can be oil but lard or bacon fat preferred
1          ea         medium onion, julienned


Cut the meat up and rinse well.  Place rinsed meat chunks in an large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Pour the orange juice and vinegar over the meat, and adding 1 cup of water plus enough to cover meat.  Add a teaspoon of salt and set over high heat. Once it comes to a boil bring the heat down to medium and let it simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until most liquid has cooked off and the meat is thoroughly cooked and has rendered most of its fat.

Meanwhile, remove stems from chiles, make a slit down their sides and remove their seeds and veins. Place them in a bowl, barely cover them with 3 cups boiling hot water and let them sit and rehydrate for about 15 minutes. Place chiles and 1½ cup of their soaking liquid in the blender along with the garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, black pepper, vinegar, and puree until your chile sauce is smooth.

Once the meat is ready, place it in a bowl along with any remaining cooking broth. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred it with your hands or using two forks. Drain shredded pork on paper towels.

In the same large cooking pot, heat your fat of choice over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until just translucent, then add the pork back in and heat throughout.

Next, pour in the chile sauce and coriander and let it season and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Toss in the shredded meat along with any of its remaining cooking broth. Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon salt and let it cook, stirring often, until the meat has absorbed most of the chile sauce, which will have thickened, seasoned and changed color to a much darker tone.  It will take around 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with warmed flour tortillas on the side. You can also use the chilorio in tortillas and roll them into burritos. Below are tortillas and refried beans, along with your choice of guacamole, chilorio, sour cream and pico de gallo.  Doesn't get much better than this!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pulled Pork Chiles Rellenos with Red Chile Sauce

4 large Poblano chiles
3⁄4 lb. smoked pulled pork
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 1⁄4 cups cooking olive oil
1⁄2 red onion, diced
1⁄2 cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup home made red chile sauce, recipe here

Place a rack about 4 inches from the broiler element and preheat. Lay chiles on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil, turning once, until they just begin to blacken and blister, about 5-7 minutes on each side. Put the chiles in either a closed paper bag or to a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the chiles steam for 20 minutes or so. Peel off and discard the charred skin from of chiles, leaving the stem attached. Using a small knife, make a 2"long lengthwise slit near the top of each chile to form a pocket, and carefully remove the seeds without making the slit any longer. Set the chiles aside and allow them to cool.

Add the chopped onion and a little oil to a medium skillet over medium heat and sauté until softened, but do not caramelize.  Add in the chopped green chiles, and after mixing with the onions add in the pulled pork and enough liquid to make a moist filling.  Heat until well-combined, stirring occasionally. Transfer the filling to a large bowl. Let it cool slightly, and then add in the cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine.

Stuff each chile with the mixture. Set chiles aside.  Put flour into a wide, shallow dish, and put the eggs into a large bowl and beat until well blended. Heat the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Two at a time, dredge the chiles in flour, shaking off excess, then dredge in egg mixture, then back in flour and transfer to skillet. Fry chiles until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer chiles to a paper towel–lined plate to let drain.

Sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately, topped with red chile sauce and shredded cheese.


Red Chile Sauce

6 dried  Ancho chiles
15 dried mild red New Mexico chiles
2 to 4 tomatillos, depending on size
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon lard or bacon fat

Remove stems and seeds from the dried chiles. Rinse in cold water. Place chiles in a saucepan and cover generously with water. Bring pan to boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand about 30 minutes or until the chiles are tender. Meanwhile, place the husked tomatillos in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until very tender.
Place the chiles with the tomatillos in a blender, along with about a cup of the water the tomatillos were simmered in. Blend until pureed. Process the chili sauce through a china cap or food mill to remove any seeds and skin. Return to saucepan at a low simmer, and add the remainder of the ingredients.

You can use this as the basis for chile con carne, enchiladas, tamales, menudo, posole or chilaquiles. Double or triple the quantities, depending on how much you need. Add chicken broth or water to get the desired consistency if sauce is too thick.