20 January 2009

mexican football.

These dished were created a long time ago... back during college football season. But they are all so good that I wanted to do a quick post on them so you could enjoy the goodness too.

#1: My Guacamole.
I make a mean quac... if I do say so myself. It is almost salad-like, but man is it tasty.


2 medium Hass avocados, pitted and cubed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon and or lime juice
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
A few drops hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix together and serve with scoopy chips.

#2: Huevos Cups
I found this recipe in Bon Appetit and it was the perfect thing to eat for a Sunday morning breakfast after a Saturday filled with tacos. All the leftovers went into these and they are so good I ate them three days in a row.

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups
adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2008

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 6- to 61/2-inch-diameter corn or flour tortillas
1 15-ounce can pinto beans or black beans, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 large eggs
3/4 cup grated cheese
1 cup pico de gallo, guac or salsa

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush six 10-ounce custard cups with 1 tablespoon oil. Stack tortillas; microwave uncovered until warm and flexible, about 25 seconds. Gently press 1 tortilla into each cup. Brush tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil.

Place pinto beans, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and cumin in small bowl; mash coarsely with fork. Spoon bean mixture into bottom of tortilla cups, spreading and dividing evenly. Crack 1 egg into each tortilla cup atop beans. Sprinkle each with grated cheese, covering egg completely. Bake uncovered until egg yolks are firm to touch and whites are set, about 27 minutes (yolks will still be soft inside).

Using large spoon, lift tortilla cups from dishes; transfer to plates. Top eggs with salsas and serve immediately.

17 January 2009


the holidays got to me a little i guess. between taking photos and working a bunch at the shop, i just never got a chance to sit down to blog... and there wasn't much exciting cooking either. but i am back to it now and i hope to be better about posting this year. i think i have said that before though...

the weekend before thanksgiving brought dave's parents to visit and we decided that sunday night was going to be out "nice/thanksgiving" dinner with them before they headed home to ohio. it took me a while to decide what to make, but i settled on short ribs from the lovely cookbook "sunday suppers at lucques." it is such a great cookbook and i hadn't gotten around to making anything from it until then. i love how everything is based on the seasons and is divided into meals. the braised beef shortribs were paired with potato purée, swiss chard and horseradish cream. sounds like a great combo to me! i did change it up a bit and make mashed potatoes instead of the purée... i just didn't want to do that much work. i finished the meal with a dessert from another menu, olive oil cake with creme fraiche whipped cream. it was a hit.

Braised Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

Serves 4 (generously) to 6

6 beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each (ask for 3 bone center-cut)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 dozen small pearl onions
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)
Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon thyme and the cracked black pepper. use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt.

When you take the ribs out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the pearl onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them about 15 minutes, until tender. When they have cooled, slip off the skins with your fingers and set aside. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F. (This didn't work out too well for me, i would probably use frozen ones next time.)

When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lieing flat, bones standing up, in one layer. [If you used a saute pan for previous steps, transfer the ribs to a braising pan at this point.] Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours.

To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot -- it will have solidified at the top -- bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.]

Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.

Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown.

Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Tear the Swiss chard into large pieces. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, and stir in the cooked pearl onions. Add half the Swiss chard, and cook a minute or two, stirring the greens in the oil to help them wilt. Add a splash of water and the second half of the greens. Season with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender.

Place the swiss chard on a large warm platter, and arrange the short ribs on top. Spoon lots of braising juices over the ribs. Serve the potato puree and horseradish cream (recipes below) on the side.

Horseradish Cream

3/4 cup créme fraîche
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the créme fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed (i used half yukon golds and half baking potatoes)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), melted
1 cup half-and-half , warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Ground black pepper

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch water. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of center of potatoes with very little resistance), 20 to 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Set food mill or ricer over now empty but still warm saucepan. Spear potato with dinner fork, then peel back skin with paring knife. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Working in batches, cut peeled potatoes into rough chunks and drop into hopper of food mill or ricer. Process or rice potatoes into saucepan.

3. Stir in butter with wooden spoon until incorporated; gently whisk in half-and-half, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Olive Oil Cake with Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing pan
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brandy
3 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 375.
Brush a 9 inch round cake pan with olive oil.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and then stir in the semolina and salt. Combine olive oil and brandy into a small bowl.
Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar at high speed for 7 minutes until at full volume. Alternate folding in the dry and wet ingredients into the eggs, a third at a time. Pour into prepared cake pan and tap to release any bubbles.

Bake about 40 minutes until the cake begins to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool at least 15 minutes.

Whip the cream and creme fraiche together to soft peaks.

Serve the cake with the cream and any sort of berries or syrup you prefer.