Thursday, May 31, 2012

peanut butter granola


Granola is chaos. Unlike freeze tag, there are no real rules. You can put whatever you want in granola for the most part (hint: nuts, seeds, anything a squirrel will eat should do. Also dried fruit, chocolate chips & oh, I don't know, any other shit you've seen in granola are good places to start.) The only real constants are: a base of oats & some kind of sugar (honey, maple syrup, etc) to help brown the oats & form clusters. Plus, it's a good way to eat oats that isn't eating oatmeal, which is basically being waterboarded and calling it breakfast (tip: be wary of any info you get from oatmealing a perp; they're likely to say anything to make it stop). Plus it gives me an opportunity, when some inquisitive person asks what I'm eating to reply, “mind your own business, asshole.”

This “recipe” takes no thought. A drunken transient could do it.* Next time you see a dude with a “will work for food” sign, tell him you'll give him some granola, but only if he makes it. The result will undoubtedly be a grubbier version of this. And all of the aluminum cans from your recycling disappearing.

peanut butter granola
(about a jar full. I really don't know or care how many servings that is.)

1 cup oats
tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds**
1/4 chopped pistachios or other chopped nuts
2-ish tsp olive oil
tbsp warmed peanut butter



preheat oven to 350.

dump the oats & pumpkin seeds into a big  bowl, which we'll call terry, with the cinnamon.

In another bowl mix together the oil, warmed (so you have an easier time mixing it) PB & maple syrup. dump it into terry.

mix it all up with a wooden spoon. you want to make sure that the sugar and oil is coating everything as evenly as it can.

spread it in a thin layer on a baking sheet or a casserole dish.

bake for 20-25 minutes. Take it out of the oven.*** The oats should look like they're starting to brown. add the chopped nuts and give it all a shake. You have to wait to add the nuts, or they'll burn.

bake about 10 more minutes.

take it out of the oven. add in the dried fruit and stir together.


let it cool to room temperature & store in a jar or airtight container. eat like cereal or in a parfait. and don't let anybody give you shit for eating a parfait.

*here i'm referring to your garden variety street corner wino, not hoboes. all real hoboes can cook. and grift. and tell tall tales. everybody knows that. if you know a colorful hobo, there's no need for you to read this blog. 
**not the roasted white super salty ones next to the sunflower seeds on the super salty seeds wall at 7-11. although those do rule.
***you could also leave it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping ever so gently after 25-30 if you want a (more or less) single mass of granola that you break into bigger chunks. or use a ramekin or cookie cutter to make granola circles or shapes (if you have little ones or a spouse/bf/gf who's not very smart). If you wanna go that route you'll have to add the nuts and fruit with everything else. the fruit should be ok, just rehydrate it for 30 minutes in really hot water. i'm not sure what nuts to use (almonds?) on account of the burning. sorry. today my jurisdiction ends here. I like it to have a cereal-like consistency and then eat it like cereal. bonus: this cereal won't tear up the roof of your mouth like this one will.


tikka tacos


Tex-mex and Indian food share a lot of flavors, if not necessarily a lot of similarities. Indian food  is more sophisticated, more varied. Dare I say...spicier? And given the relative newness of Tex-mex compared to Indian cuisine that makes sense. But think about it: you've got onions, cilantro, citrus, cumin, corriander seed, chilies, red sauces, garlic, rice etc running through both. Thats a lot of combinations familiar to two totally different palates. Even naan is like a big yeasty tortilla (the prawn to the tortilla's shrimp). And chili powder reminds me of a fischer-price "my first masala."

The idea here was to create a fusion of chicken tikka masala (drool) and a taco, but with a tex-mex twist in the tikka. Did it work? Weeeell, that depends on the goal. If the goal was to create a harmonious, subtle fusion of two cuisines (and dishes) that evokes both, then no. If the goal was to create a taco that tastes like tikka masala wrapped in a tortilla, then yes. Hell yes it worked. It wasn't, frankly, the pretentious taco I'd imagined, but yeah it kinda ruled...


notes: I got the tikka recipe outline here (I think). Basic tikka ratio (although like chili, there is no right and wrong) seems to be can of tomatoes, half a can of tomato paste, half an onion, a few cloves of garlic, 2 inches of fresh ginger & cream. Chicken stock too, if you want a thinner sauce. Here I subbed chili puree for tomato paste. Shoulda used a tbsp or two anyway. Next time. Also, the tandoori masala, I get from the dfm at this booth. Their spices are incredible, hand blended & from family recipes & I bet you could order them online.

chicken tikka tacos
don't get comfy
(good for 6 maybe 8 tacos)

for chicken:
two split chicken breasts or 2 lbs milanesa chicken if your grocery has it
1 cup greek yogurt
juice of 2 lemons
ground corriander seed
ground cumin
salt

for tikka:
2 cans of rotel (the stuff you put in queso)
1 new mexico or other dried chili, re-hydrated
half a yellow onion chopped
ouch, you cut me asshole!
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 inch piece ginger chopped
tbsp tandoori masala
tsp cumin
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp crushed oregano
pint of cream

flour tortillas
cilantro
hot sauce

take the chicken and sprinkle with salt, ground corriander and cumin (maybe a tbsp all combined. hey, i'm makin' up the rest of this shit. figure it out, i'm not your spice sherpa...) on both sides. place in a plastic bag.

mix the lemon juice and yogurt and add it to the bag o' chicken. toss to coat. let it marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours or at room temp for an hour or so.

puree the re-hydrated chili with a can of rotel until you get a smooth paste

sweat your onion, garlic  & ginger over med low heat until soft.

add spices and, bringing the heat up, saute a minute until fragrant.

add the can of rotel and the chili-rotel puree to the aromatics.

bring  juuuust barely to a boil, partially cap and simmer 20 minutes, maybe 30. don't let it loose too much liquid-- keep an eye out.

lower to burner as low as it'll go, just to keep the sauce warm. If it's too chunky, let half it cool then puree it.

i hope your grill (or broiler or whatever) is ready, because you need it now.

grill the chicken, trying to flip only once, about 10-12 minues. let rest a few minutes, then slice against the grain.

remove tikka sauce from heat. stir in heavy cream. don't do it all at once; stop when you like the color. you're looking for orangey like la madaleine's tomato soup.

serve on warm... dude, you know how to make a taco. if not, I CAN'T HELP YOU.


Sooo, the tikka didn't turn out right color wise. I used too much cream and, not thinking, less tomato than usual, which I adjusted in the recipe. A tbsp or so of tomato paste couldve helped too, but since I didn't use any, I left it out rather than completely lie to you. It really wasn't south of the border so much, unless you live in Nepal (north of India dick)*. But I think that shows some of the similarity between Tex-mex and Indian flavors-- you can jam something full of Tex-mex and still have it taste Indian. Take away the cream and the ginger and change the tandoori powder to chili powder and tell me you don't have chile con pollo. Actually that woulda been good, because the yogurt marinade on the chicken gave it a nice Indian flavor. Goddamnit! Why don't I think this shit out in advance?? Maybe throw some ginger in with the chicken marinade and do half tandoori and half chili powder in the tikka...And some cotija & lime. FUCK!! Why now brain, why? All in all, it wasn't the right color & it wasnt as tex-smexxxy as I had hoped. However I did strangle these tacos with my body, unhinge my jaw & jam them down my throat without chewing, much like a python. They were reptilian good. I still have taco shaped bulges in my mid secion**.

*although tikka masala as we tend to think of it is more of a traditional dish in england than in india. that'll teach me to make a geography joke. well, maybe just one more, and it's more of an observation than a joke: rand mcnally is a pussy.
**and a fresh one now, because i ate another taco while i typed this a day later.

not not chili




Chili is nature's ultimate hider of things. No, not like hiding a balloon filled with heroin in your butt, silly! You can hide nutritious stuff in it. This is a recipe for such a chili. It is in no way my attempt at an authentic chili of any sort.* There's beans in it for chrissakes. Not to perpetuate a stereotype but here in Texas you can legally shoot someone for suggesting that beans belong in chili**. Assuming you are carrying a firearm of course, which is required by law. Chili is also accepted as a legally valid form of ID.

This is just an exercise in me putting as much shit as possible into a dish for the hell of it. Chili's all about complexity and a melding of flavors & texture, which I thought using lots of different stuff (nothing too overpowering) would lend itself well to. I wanted something with that chili spice and heat, but jammed full of as many veggies as I could muster. Oh and I used (giggle) turkey, so I hope anybody that's offended by that stopped reading when I said I used beans. I don't care, I like beans. And turkey. Bite me. You can shoot me in the face if you want (actually don't), but this is still chili. Texas chili, it definitely is not. That's beef with no beans. Period. No one is arguing that. Chili out bro.

I got the idea of using two different cuts of meat from a beef chili recipe in an old issue of Cook's Illustrated that I couldn't find a link to (their TV show rules too). The idea being if you use two different cuts, a ground and a coarser cut, you get a more complex texture. I don't know that it applies to turkey, but I did it anyway. The overall concept I use for any chiii, I got from the homesick texan (best. foodblog. ever.) Her chili is subtle but not subdued, spicy but not fiery, complex but not rocket surgery of the taste buds. And her additions of mexican hot chocolate (or semi sweet chocolate and cinnamon) and coffee are divine.

note: I used a little bit of roasted bell pepper puree that I needed to get rid of (see: hiding shit). It's totally superfluous & I left it out of the recipe.

not not chili
(enough food for a grown man for a week)

So many goddamn ingredients:
oh there was more stuff that I left out of this pic

1/2 a turkey breast cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 lb or so ground turkey
5-ish large dried chilies (anchos, new mexico chilies, etc.) re-hydrated
half a large onion, chopped
several cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 poblano, chopped
half a cup of coffee
1 bottle of beer (I use Shiner, but any darker beer that's good to drink with chili should be fine)
1/2 can drained black beans
3/4 cup chopped carrots & celery (I picked out carrots and celery from a bag of frozen stew veggies)
2 or 3 chipotles in adobo
1 tsp or so shaved mexican hot chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate plus a couple dashes of cinnamon
Chili powder, cumin, mexican oregano, ground toasted corriander seeds***
oil for browning
masa harina for thickening (optional-depends if you want it thick or more stew-like)
garnish (whatever: chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, greek yogurt/sour cream, chips, etc.)
crowd around. don't be shy about shoving

brown your turkey in batches in hot oil. Drain liquid from pan (turkey leaves a lot of water behind)

add more oil if necessary & sweat the onion, poblano, garlic, carrots & celery on med-low heat until they soften up, 10 min or so.


add the corn and tomato and spices, turning the heat up some. Saute a couple more minutes.

puree the hydrated chilies with the chipotles.

bubble, bubble, toil & trouble...
add basically everything to the pot (browned meat, chili puree, black beans, coffee, beer). bring to a slight boil, partially cover & simmer on the back burner or in a crock pot for about 4-5 hours.

remove from heat. add in shaved chocolate (gives it a rich earthy color). if it seems soupy, stir in a 1/4 cup masa harina to thicken it up. if you want it more soupy, add water.

taste it. add more spice & salt if necessary. DON'T FORGET THIS STEP.
 
PS-
Oh look...my pepper plants are starting to blossom. Darn.

*Chili, particularly what defines authentic chili & particularly in Texas (where it's the official state dish, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean), is a topic that starts wars. And international policing actions. Chili is actually what started Vietnam. It's one of those things, like politics and religion that you just shouldn't bring up in public.
**Hell, if you're the governor, particularly of the well coiffed & not too bright variety, you can blast away at anything you suspect to be a coyote. Freedom!
***As always, I'm not gonna tell you exactly how much of each to use. This is not a blog for the feint of heart. Put on your big boy pants and figure out what you like. Besides, I'm not telling you how I spice my chili. What? You wanna borrow my underpants too?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

cottage pie with grits



I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to call this. Most people would simply call it a play on shepherd's pie. But I, like any self respecting know-it-all, can't simply stand by and let that happen. You go out to most pubs and order shepherd's pie (like this one) and it's made with beef. That's a cottage pie dude. I'm no rube*. Shepherd's pie is made with lamb. I don't know any shepherds who herd cattle.** Although I do know a few sadistic cattle barons who brand sheep on opposite day.

That said, all the (self) righteous indignation in the world isn't gonna stop people from calling  a cottage pie a shepherd's pie. So be it. I bet if I ask these guys, they'd say either is OK. And I trust them. ***

In any event, the shepherd's pie/cottage pie model is a great one for incorporating leftovers, on-hand stuff or minimal-effort ingredients into a new dish. It's kinda like a casserole. Think about it-- layer some shit together and heat it up. Sounds like a casserole. This dish is unique in that I've substituted grits for mashed potatoes. Which is, pardon my french, la merde putain. The stew is a leftover chili spiced beef stew with chickpeas. More of a quick jaunt than a departure from the usual meat filling of beef or lamb, carrots, peas & gravy. What you get is a cottage pie that evokes other dishes****, but is still clearly a cottage pie. And it works. The beauty of the cottage pie setup, just like blues music, lies in the simplicity of its structure-- a basic frame allowing for nearly endless variation within, but still identifiable by that frame.

I ate the hell out of this dish.

dude, it was freezing in there
note- you'll need a ramekin to make a single serving, but of course you could double or triple it or whatever, depending on your leftover sitch.


cottage pie with grits

(serves, well just ask yourself how hungry you are)

what it'll take:
3/4-1 cup frozen ('course it doesn't have to be frozen) leftover beef stew of some sort. chili would work. i don't wanna condone using campbell's chunky, but im sure it'd work
1/2 tsp horseraddish
3tbsp quick grits
an egg
1/4 cup or so cheddar jack cheese
ok, grits you get a caption too
salt

while you thaw out your stew (i had a mild chili based beef stew with tendor chunks of beef and chickpeas, some fresh poblano. went a little overboard on the chickpeas, as you may be able to see. but i like chickpeas, so thats cool) preheat oven to 400.

stir horseraddish into stew and add a little (tbsp or two) water or beef stock. it needs to look slightly too soupy. a lot of mousture is lost in the form of steam and you dont want it to dry out.

prepare the grits as for one serving on the label. 3 tbsp grits, 1 cup water. 4 minutes in the microwave.

beat in egg and stir in the cheese, reserving 1/3 to sprinkle on top. ladle on top of the stew.
not campbell's. not at all

top with remaining cheese and bake for about 35 minutes. top should be set, puffy and getting some color.

The stew part gets really hot, so after admiring that crust, crack that mother open a little and let some steam escape. I didn't add enough cheese on top--I wanted a browner crust. You could hit the top with olive oil spray to help with that. A sprinkling of rosemary in the stew would've been nice. A golden bidet that grants wishes would be nice too, but you can't have it all. All said, a really good dish, where trying something different with an established favorite doesn't frankenstein it up too bad.




*hayseed? maybe. greenhorn? sure. aficionado of fine youtube clips? absolutely. but not a rube.
**i dont know shepherds at all, although i did once say on live radio that i worked as a shepherd. i did not win the steely dan tickets btw.
***i trust them because their show is awesomely nerdy & that's just a trustworthy trait
****chili & cornbread comes immediately to mind
get outta my dreams, get into my gullet

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

posole




So what the hell is posole? I never heard of the stuff until an episode of... I mean that a friend described....I wasn't, I mean I...  Oh. Hell with it. I was watching diners, drive-ins and dives. Happy? As I was saying... the episode featured this place, which served posole, a spiced pork and hominy soup/stew. It looked amazing. Now, I don't have a mind of my own. I just do whatever the television says. I'm grateful for the simplicity of the arrangement. So I went there and the posole was great and I've never seen it anywhere since. Not that I walk into places and ask "hey mister, you got any uh that po-so-lee back 'ere?" all that often.

Later, turned out the uptick in business from the appearance on ddd opened up a family feud (not the family feud where Richard Dawson always seems a little buzzed and rapey with the older ladies, the bad kind). And the guy that appeared on the show ended up leaving and starting this place

The point is this: diners, drive-ins and dives ruins families (this feels like an NBC "the more you know" PSA. Where are you Blossom?). One day you're working in the family business. Happily. Then Guy Fieri comes up in his convertible and is like "bro, these nacho kebabs make me wanna shoplift bisquick in lipstick. Killer! Bump it (theme music)..." or whatever. Six months later, you have no family. 

But even Guy Fieri can't take away the memories.*

As I hinted at before, I really don't know anything about Posole. I did a chicken variation here, because I was in the mood for some kinda chicken soup. I also didn't want to cut any veggies, so I bought a bag of frozen stew vegetables. I did quarter the potatoes & some of the larger carrot pieces though. Not true posole, which I think is firmly in Camp Pork, but a mild flavorful soup that's pretty similar to tortilla soup. And exactly similar to what I'm having for lunch tomorrow.

Pseudo-sole
(makes 3 or 4 big bowls or 300 thimbles full)

needs:

1/2 chicken
can of white hominy
1 chicken & tomato boullion cube
1 cup frozen stew veggies. larger pieces cut up
several tbsp chili sauce (or tomato paste or chili puree)
a few splashes of soy sauce
corriander seeds
chili powder
cumin
oregano leaves
(a little of each. you gotta figure it out for yourself what you like)
garnish for garnish**

toast the corriander seeds in a dry skillet for a minute or so. then grind 'em up.

into the pot with all of it along with enough water to mostly cover the chicken. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. partially cover. 35-45 minutes.

when the chicken is falling off the bone, pull it out of the pot. Let it cool down some so you can handle it. shred it up and add it back to the pot. don't let your dog eat the chicken bones. But do give him a treat. Who's a good boy??

This would be great finished with a splash of fresh orange juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon, although lime, jalapeno & cotija was good. It's pretty mild, so hot sauce is a good idea.

*He could if he lit a Q-tip and shoved it deep onto your ear canal past that point that feels "too far".
**no, I don't feel like "being more specific."

chicken & waffles





Look, I'm not going to insult your intelligence by pretending that this is anything more than an ad hoc post; just wanted to put up the 2 pictures. We both know that. We also both know that chicken and waffles is a fad enjoying a run of popularity that'll soon be gone. Not gone gone, but back to the relative status it held before*, like a 70's actor making a comeback in a Tarrantino flick. Chicken and waffles isn't a game changer. It's not lollipop cupcakes or vending machines that sell nachos. But whatever. I enjoy it.

i'm just a little fella
I'll miss chicken and waffles. It's an oddball combo that sounds like it was invented by a 9 year old stacking plates on a Luby's tray (or better) with reckless abandon, all while planning to get two desserts. I had eaten a ton of both dead bird and waffles in my 10 or 11 years before I even became aware that they could co-exist on the same plate. Thank you Fresh Prince (whatever happened to that dude?) for teaching me... If you can't trust something you learned about by watching Fresh Prince, what can you trust?

*Stuff like shrimp and grits too. You just can't imprint regional comfort foods on somebody when they're 30 or 40.

pinche!ladas


shoulda stopped right here...


Enchiladas are just... they’re a bit much. They’re too saucy and so cheesy. Sloppy. They leave nothing to the imagination. At the food halloween party, enchiladas is always dressed as a hookery hookery prostitute. You'll never find a husband that way, enchiladas. Enchiladas are inhibiting. You can't eat enchiladas and then get on an airplane. People will think there’s a bomb on the plane. 
I mean, enchiladas don't taste horrible, but the lack of visual appeal doesn't help. So, having expressed a disdain for enchiladas, obviously I decided to make & photograph & then eat some. I don't know why I make stuff I don't really like sometimes, it just happens so fast. 
Enchi...(groan)...ladas.
I'm not gonna blow sunshine up your ass. This wasn't that good. If it didn't outright suck, it was teetering dangerously close to the county line dividing Sucky and Lower End of OK counties.* Sheriff's not gonna like that. 
Unimpressive meals happen. That’s the way it goes sometimes. You’re gonna eat like three times a day for roughly the rest of your life. Odds are great some of it is gonna just really suck. Look on the bright side-- we need some lousy stuff to make the good stuff good. Otherwise we’re taste communists, and that’s un-american. So dust off your spork. Eat some disgusting slop. And enjoy it damnit. Your next meal will probably be an improvement.
note- I've had the idea in my head for awhile of making quick enchiladas with delimex taquitos and canned enchilada sauce. i ended up making my own taquitos/flautas, and using leftover sauce from this
pinche!ladas
(serves hopefully just you)

for taquitos (6)-
1/2 lb ground turkey
2 pieces of bacon
2 tbsp canned corn
1/4 onion chopped
a tomato, chopped
garlic clove, chopped
oregano leaves, chopped
cumin
salt
chili powder
6 corn tortillas
cheddar jack cheese
for enchiladas-
leftover chili sauce or canned enchilada sauce, taquitos
preheat oven to 350
cook the bacon in a skillet, set aside and crumble.
mix everything except the tomato, oregano, tortillas and cheese & then brown the mixture in the bacon fat over medium heat.
once it starts to brown add the tomato and oregano and turn the heat up. i like it to get some crispiness.** maybe 12-15 minutes total (including initial browning).
make sure your tortillas are warmed so they're pliable and make sure not to dry them out getting them warmed (try to get ones that are still warm from being cooked and use 'em while still warm if you can). spread some meat mixture in a tortilla. top with a little cheese and roll it up. place it in a greased pan. repeat until the mixture is gone. you could use less meat in each and roll them thinner which mean more tortillas. mine were pretty thick & I'd them thinner ti have as taquitos. spray the tops of the taquitos with olive oil cooking spray.
bake for around 40 minutes at 350
now, that's taquitos. you can store eat or freeze these (which, these were good). or do this the next day:
put two cold taquitos in a big ramekin. top with chili sauce and cheese. bake until sauce is bubbly and cheese is browning. garnish with cotija.

you look awful enchiladas. get it together
even the beer isn't helping

*not entirely true. the taquitos were decent. Also, Hahaha!! Suck it! You're reading a recipe that the author admits is crap. Why would you do that to yourself? 
** so this meat mixture was an odd pairing of stuff i needed to use. and really tasty in a weird way. the bacon kinda takes over a little bit

fried chicken





Lotta schools of thought on fried chicken. Before we get into that, I know what you’re thinking: he's white, of course he loves fried chicken. Well, you're correct, racist weirdo. I do love fried chicken.
You can do fried chicken a few ways. You can brine it to optimize moisture (which i didn’t do, but recommend), you can soak it in buttermilk, which.... i don't know what the fuck that does, but I’ve had it and, you guessed it, it was delicious. You can deep fry, you can pan fry. If you "oven fry", you should get punched in the balls/ovaries and go back to jerkyjerktown. We don’t tolerate that kind of crap in Texas. But we do tolerate Korean fried chicken, chicken fried chicken & chicken strips. If they made an edible glove of fried chicken parts, so that you could drive or walk and eat chicken  off your hand without really having to hold onto it, I’d buy it. Especially if it came with a mashed potato bathing suit.
note- i used half a chicken cut up, which is 4 pieces. If you don’t know how to cut up a chicken, you are a failure. buy already cut up parts and hang your head in shame.
fried chicken
(makes four pieces. the ball is in your court after that.)
1/2 chicken or 4 pieces
1/4 cup each flour and cornstarch
paprika
cumin 
salt
peanut oil (or oil of choice- shortening tastes the best probably)
dump the flour/cornstarch mixture into a freezer bag. season with some cumin, paprika & salt. depends how you like it. start with 1/4 tsp each and experiment.
drop the chicken pieces in the bag. seal it. toss to coat all the pieces evenly. 
let the pieces come to room temperature on  a wire rack or paper towels.

heat oil in cast iron skillet to med-med high.

preheat oven to 400.
when the oil is hot (pretty hot but not smoking) drop the pieces in.* the point of this step is to brown and start cooking the chicken through, so don’t worry about appearance just yet.
fry on each side 10 minutes, then transfer to oven for 10 more minutes.


raise the heat of the oil to med high (a lot of heat coming off the pan, just about smoking). fry each piece a minute per side to crisp up the skin.
we cannot rebuild him, we do not have the technology. we can eat him however...


drain on paper towels and eat. enjoy the hell out of it. eat the leftovers. then get on a goddamn treadmill.
*don’t be an asshole & fry chicken with your shirt off like i did. the oil tends to splatter. yeah. true story.
if we were alone on a deserted island (ala cartoons) & didn't have any food, you would start to look like this to me

fish stick 'n' chips taco



They don’t all have to be glamorous meals do they? You're not gonna have beef wellington every night, right? Unless...admittedly, I don’t know who the hell would do that. Maybe a hipster? Am I weird for wanting to know who that hipster’s butcher is? I dunno, bad example... 
There's gotta be something occasionally that is so shameful that you wouldn’t want anyone to know you were eating it. Not ever. Shame shoveling that leftover fried mac and cheese from the fair into your mouth while sitting in your car at work. Eating your “lunch” at 10:33 am because you’re fucking starving, also so nobody sees you. Not that that would stop you. uh huh.

That is, you would be ashamed if it weren’t so goddamned awesome. 

From the inventor of the burger with a fried egg on top (it’s me. hey, my great grandfather claimed he invented blueberry pancakes; I’m claiming the burger with the fried egg on top), I give you the fish and chips taco. 
I love fish tacos, I love fish and chips. and like all good Americans, I like to overdo a good thing and/or put two or more good things together for no reason (like the soda fountain at cici's). Plus I’m lazy enough to think of it as killing two birds with one stone. And gluttonous enough to eat the unholy result. And the result? Gl-mothereffing-ory. Oh also, save for the tortillas, there’s barely anything fresh in this recipe. Still, as satisfying as watching a goat eat a tin can and then eating the goat. 
trainwreck of flavor. hundreds killed.
fish ‘n’ chips taco
makes 2 
cooked fish sticks, like 6 of em
equal amount of cooked frozen fries
smoked jalapeno mayo*
crumbled cotija
lime or lemon wedges
chopped parsley or cilantro
2 scoops canned corn
2 flour tortillas
assemble that shit on warm tortillas

enjoy.

don’t say i never gave you nothin'.
*it's what it sounds like. there's no recipe, just use your head. Store bought mayo lasts a disturbingly long time btw.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

waffles


how many times am I gonna use paper towels in pictures? shhhhhh, you're too pretty to worry about things like that

Waffles are a must. They're a staple for me. Like tortillas and cat videos. Baseball cards and bubble gum. Mice that dress like humans and live in clocks. Americana. 
I’m sorry to say all that weird shit to get your attention, but listen up: freeze your waffle leftovers. Don’t throw them away. Freeze them and toast them like toast. They’re great for weekday breakfast & sticking it to hungry co-workers or the homeless. You can do great things with waffles. Not great as in invent a car that looks like a spider, but great as in you can put bacon in them. You can also hide nutritious stuff in waffles by using whole grain or quinoa flour or mixing in pureed cooked sweet potato, cooked oatmeal or bananas. I’m not doing any of that shit this time because i’m lazy. But i think we can all agree it would have been amazing. Maybe the best thing all year.
note- if you don’t want to do all this, you can just follow the recipe on the side of the bisquick box. Then live with the fact that you’re letting your country down. Actually, waffle & pancake mixes, particularly the afore mention one, are practically the same shit as the from scratch variety. Just read the ingredients.
waffles
(makes 1 1/5 huge  waffles, or 1 big...whatever)
cup flour
egg, separated
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
tbsp oil
1/2 cup milk or commie fake milk
mix everything together but the egg white.
in another bowl beat air into the egg white with a fork. you do it with the bowl tilted on it's side at 45 degrees (the angle, not the chilly temperature) and braced against a table, beating in a circular motion perpendicular to the table (just look it up), until very frothy. you don't have to do this, but it makes your waffles nice and light.
fold in the frothy mixture.
cook however your waffle making machine says. For fun, you can dot your waffle iron with droplets of batter, which make for a waffley garnish (like in the top pic).
teach me your ways, waffle maker

freeze the leftovers like a good human.
know that i love you.

tacos al(most) pastor with chili sauce




I don’t even know what to think about carnitas anymore. At its best, it's a tender and porky affair with some crispy bits and a hintingness of orange. That's what it's supposed to be anyway. At its worst dry, a flavorless, mushy bit of unspeakable. Unfortunately, the latter is more often than not what gets served up everywhere from the taquerias to the ubiquitous upscale taco place
Dude.
It is a hunk of pork shoulder slow cooked in lard with a bit of orange peel and then hacked to pieces and crisped under a broiler, on a griddle or left whole and crisped in lard before being hacked into pieces. Porky, succulent, crispy. Is that too much to ask?
don't get excited, they're dead.

Pastor tacos, on the other hand, are the more reliable taqueria pork offering (don't get me wrong- you find good carnitas, you eat that shit). Contemporary* "true" pastor, consists of thin slices of marinaded pork shoulder stacked on a vertical rotisserie with fresh pineapple on top, shaved right off the spit. Badass right? Shame. Unfortunately I don’t see too many fucking vertical rotisseries in east dallas. Or maybe it is fortunate. Rotisseries tend to turn me into, ummm, a simple person-- drooling and watching a rotisserie all day. They’re impossible not to look at. I had a little foreman rotisserie once and, well I lost a few years there. Ages 26-30, gone. Spun. Into rotating, roasty eternity like so many delicious delicious hens. The motor in the thing finally broke one day and I just walked away**. Had no idea where i was. I had to burn all of those clothes and my belongings and car from that era. It all smelled exactly like rotisserie chicken and, frankly, I missed it. the point is: if somebody had a vertical rotisserie in my neighborhood, I would know about it.
Absent a vertical rotisserie, most pastor tacos are pork shoulder, cubed and stewed in a chili based sauce, sometimes served with pineapple, always identifiable by their fiery red color. 
So that's basically what I’ve done here. Usually I’m more of a carnitas guy at home, but you gotta mix it up. Its not the fiery red that you get from the taqueria al pastor, because I didn’t use achiote. It does for the color red (and al pastor) what turmeric does for the color yellow (and chicken satay): stain food a vibrant vibrant color. but still... damn.
tacos al(most) pastor
(serves several, I hope you have friends)
for the pastor-
2lbs pork shoulder cut in 3/4" cubes
flour for dredging
bacon grease for browning
tortillas
chopped pineapple (preferably grilled), which I didn't do. I'm working through the shame.


for the chili sauce:
3 tomatoes
a poblano stem, seeds, ribs removed
half an onion
all quartered
oil
6 dried new mexico chilis, stems, seeds and ribs removed
2 cloves garlic
oregano leaves
cumin
powdered oregano
salt




hydrate the dried chilies by covering with water, bringing to a boil, then capping and turning off heat. let sit for 30 minutes. they’ll become more red in color. 
put the chilies in a food processor with the garlic, spices (tsp-ish of each), some salt and 1/4 cup of the pepper water. puree until a smooth paste forms, thinning with more water if necessary***. at this point you could strain this sauce through a sieve and use it for enchilladas or whatever. new mexico chilies are kinda bitter, so that's why I’m incorporating some other flavors here. Sweetness and heat both work to take some of that edge off (I typically add a tiny bit of ketchup and a scoop of chili garlic sauce. you know, the kind you see at the pho place).
toss quartered veggies in oil and salt. roast under a broiler until you get some blackened edges, 20 minutes or so. 
let the veggies cool, then add them to the pepper puree. puree until smooth.
you’ll use about half this sauce stewing the pork. strain the other half through a sieve and use it on enchiladas or as a salsa or on your tacos.
now the pork-
dude, wait for it
brown the pork in batches. don’t crowd. you know the routine...

add all the pork back into the pot.

add half of the sauce. let it get about to a boil, cap it and pop it in a 400 degree oven (oh, i forgot to mention: you'll need to have your oven preheated to 400 degrees. whoops) for and hour.
when its done, the pork will be tender (NOT MUSHY don’t overcook it), but still have some texture from the browning. and it should taste like pork and chilies and roasted stuff. And you'll have done right with al pastor what few establishments seem to be able to get right with blessed carnitas.
Serve with the usual street taco garnish of cilantro, onion lime, plus fresh sliced jalapeno, crumbled cotija & more chili sauce or tha roostah.
Note- the stuff on the side in the first pic is instant rice, canned corn & roasted chickpeas tossed in a spoonful of cilantro pesto. not bad. if you want the recipe, you can mix up all the shit i just said and then say that you made it up. Congrats.
Morning after taco.... eat with the urgency you'd eat the morning after pill



*as opposed to olden fuckin' times pastor, which was usually goat or lamb shank.
**Actually, I left it in the abandoned lot across the street and somebody took it within half an hour.
***how do you know if it's "necessary" you ask? you fucking guess.