Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carne Adovada

Something strange is happening to my taste buds. There was a time when they were compliant inhabitants on my tongue. But I think they were plotting a revolution and decided to take over. Maybe they are noticing my new eating habits and have decided that the lack of sugar and refined carbohydrates should be replaced by heat. Lots of heat. They are also controlling my mind. I found myself purchasing a large bag of dried chiles from The Spice House mindlessly obeying the prodding of my tastebuds. Must buy chiles! Must buy chiles! Time to cook something spicy from south of the border.

Carne Adovada
2-3 pounds pork shoulder trimmed of fat and cut into 2 inch cubes
16 dried Anaheim or Ancho chiles
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, cut in quarters
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread chiles on a large baking sheet and toast gently in the oven for about 5-6 minutes until fragrant. Once they are cooled, remove stems and seeds and crush into a blender. Add broth, onion, garlic and seasonings into blender and puree into a red paste. Place pork cubes in a dutch oven or slow cooker and pour chili paste over and combine. Cook slowly in the oven at 325°F for at least three to four hours, or in slow cooker set on high for 4-6 hours (or set on low for 8 hours). The longer the pork slowly braises, the more tender it becomes. When done (when you can't stand waiting any longer), skim off all fat from the surface, stir and serve pork on whole grain tortillas with brown rice, chopped onions and shredded cabbage.

Carne Adovada: Braised Pork in Red Chili Sauce | Choosy Beggars on Foodista

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beef Barley Stew

I always feel like I am taking a step back into the past when I cook beef stew. Stews cooked on the hearth while family members were busily doing their work. They fed a whole family and felt warm inside. And they are pretty humble - both in cost and looks. It's like walking back a couple of centuries.  The warm hearty stew is very adaptable. You can use hulless barley or pearl barley, bison or beef, and change the veggies all about to something you like or whatever you have on hand. And cooking for an extended period of time is delicious.

Beef Barley Stew
2 lbs cubed beef or bison
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup hulless barley
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sweet pakrika
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine beef, vegetables, bay leaves, stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a covered heavy pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and allow to cook on low heat for three hours or in a Crock Pot for about 8 hours. Prior to serving, bring to a boil and mix cornstarch with about two tablespoons of water and pour into stew to thicken. Add mustard and paprika and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a nice chunk of crusty bread.

Hulless barley will be chewier than pearl barley, and will require at least two hours to fully cook. Don't worry, the stew doesn't mind!

Barley Information on Foodista

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pork and/or Chicken Adobo

I first tried chicken adobo at Jordan's Restaurant in Grove City. I am still amazed that they are open and located in my town - a very very small town that historically only has two ethnic choices - Italian and Chinese. More specifically, pizza and the ubiquitous pseudo-Chinese buffet. Jordan's serves a small Filipino menu along with pizza and subs to please the uninitiated.  The heck with pizza, give me the adobo!!!! I love it so much I had to create my own version. Be warned - the vinegar flavor in this dish is a delicious kick in the pants!

Pork and Chicken Adobo
2 lbs meat cubes (Pork or chicken, or a combination of both)
1 cup Coconut vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 cup Soy sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 whole garlic bulb, divided and minced
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine meat, vinegar, soy sauce, half of the garlic, bay leaves and black pepper in a container and marinate overnight. Pour meat and marinade and one cup of water into a large pot and simmer until meat is cooked through. Remove meat but keep liquid simmering. In a separate skillet saute onion until golden. Add the remaining minced garlic and saute until fragrant and pour into simmering marinade. Adding extra oil if needed, brown cooked meat and return to pot. Combine cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold water and pour into pot thicken. Simmer for about a half hour until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves and serve over rice and steamed green beans.

Philippine Pork Adobo on Foodista

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Swiss Steak

My mom had a nice little collection of favorite recipes that she would cook. Unfortunately, most of them were found in cookbooks and never written down on cards or saved. She would only refer back to the cookbook that the recipe was in. Now that she is gone, it has been difficult to find the favorites I grew up with. Swiss steak is one of those recipes. I have no idea where she got her recipe, and it is not written down. So this leaves me to try to find a way of making it myself. Maybe one day I will replicate what she made - tender steaks with a tomato gravy. But until then, this recipe is easy and delicious. Maybe someday I will perfect the gravy!

Swiss Steak
1 1/2 pounds beef cubed steak
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
2 carrots, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
canola oil

Dredge steaks in flour and brown on both sides in a skillet with about two tablespoons of canola oil. Set steaks aside. Saute onions, celery and carrot until softened, and when done, add garlic. Combine vegetables with can of tomatoes and paprika, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and allow to cook for a few minutes. Toss everything into a crock pot and cook 8 hours until steaks are fork tender. Serve with pasta or mashed potatoes. You can also make this on the stove top in a dutch oven instead of a slow cooker. Just add about a cup of water or broth and simmer everything low and slow for about two hours.

Garden Swiss Steak on Foodista

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Salsa Verde

The last of the fresh vegetables are coming in from friends and family who have gardens. It won't be long before the vegetable stand down the road shuts down until next year. My thanks to everyone who shared their green thumb with me - Steve and Audrey for the cucumbers, tomatoes and chili peppers, Burt for the tomatillos. Actually I had never eaten a tomatillo before. But last weekend I received a whole bag, so I decided to improvise a nice salsa verde.

Salsa Verde
2 pounds fresh tomatillos
4 jalapeƱo peppers
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Remove stems from peppers, slice and remove pith and seeds. (This will make the salsa mild. If you want extra heat, leave the pepper intact) Slice the pepper and put in a food processor. Set aside. Remove outer papery skin from tomatillos and rinse well under lots of warm water to remove the sticky film. Put into a sauce pan and fill with water to two inches above the vegetables and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer tomatillos for about five minutes. When they are done, remove from the water and put them into the food processor with the lime juice, cumin, salt and sugar. Pulse until the salsa is thick and lumpy. (You can also use a hand blender in a mixing bowl, pureeing to a thick consistency.) Add onions, cilantro and pepper and chill. Serve with chips or over grilled meats.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde on Foodista