Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jalapeno Powder

Jalapeno Powder

I found some some beautiful jalapeno's at the produce market the other day. I wanted to pickle them because they were so fresh. While pickling I ran out of jars and vinegar. Since I was going to busy for the next few days I needed to do something with the remaining peppers before they started to get funky. Dehydrator to the rescue! I use my dehydrator a lot, particularly to dry herbs and veggies. I also love to make beef and salmon jerky! Those recipes will be coming soon. 

This is really a no brainier to make. First slice the jalapenos thin enough to to fit in between the dehydrator trays.

Arrange evenly on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate over night.

Remove the slices and crumble in a spice mill or coffee grinder. This is my old coffee grinder that I have dedicated for spices only. Grind until you have a fine powder and your done!

This powder adds amazing flavor to spice rubs. I also like to add it to sour cream. Its great on anything that you usually put sour cream on. My favorite thing to do with it is to sprinkle it on top of fried eggs! 

Guinea Gumbo

Guinea Gumbo

This was a standard where I grew up in Southwest Louisiana in a place called Le Blue Settlement. We raised guinea hens along side chickens just like everyone did in that place and time. I haven't had  guinea since those days back on the farm.
 It was a treat to find some local hens at the Urban Harvest farmers market last Saturday. 

Gumbo!Gumbo! Gumbo! 

That's all I could think about so, I made it happen! 

 The Guinea has a smaller body mass but a more intense flavor profile than a chicken. Almost like a wild chicken flavor. Which essentially that what a guinea is, a wild chicken.  Basically the white meat tastes like dark meat! It makes an amazing full flavored gumbo that you cant  seem to get from a store bought  chicken. 
I have a few new tricks that I've incorporated into my gumbo preparations and they have proved true in this dish! Enjoy,

1 medium white onion 
1 pobaono pepper
2 stalks celery 
4 garlic cloves
Equal parts flour and oil
salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
1 Guinea Hen

Spice Rub: 
2 parts sea salt 
2 parts fresh cracked black pepper
2 parts ground jalapeno powder (recipe to follow)
1 part ground cumin 
1 part smoked paprika 

Wash and clean the hen.

 Pre-heat the oven to 400. Rub the hen generously with the spice rub inside and out. Place it in an oven proof pan. 

Place in the oven until golden brown and crispy. About 30 min.  Remove from the oven. Set aside and let cool.

The traditional vegetable mix, also called the holy trinity in Louisiana cooking, contains onion  celery and bell pepper. I like to use pablano peppers. They have a deeper more earthier taste. I think it adds another level of flavor to the over all taste. Dice up the veggies. 

Saute until the trinity is soft. Add beer or wine to keep the the moisture consistent. 

Now for the hard part, making the roux. If you have it, use a cast iron skillet or some form of heavy skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat  Once the oil is hot add the flour. Stir constantly until it turns your desired color. This could take a while. This took about 20 minutes. Once you have got the desired color remove from and let cool. You can do this ahead of time and place in the fridge for quite some time. I usually make a two cup batch and use it over a month long period. 

Quarter the Hen.

Boil 6 liters of water. Once you have a boil add the veggies and the hen. Bring back to a boil and add one cup of roux. Bring back to a boil and stir until the roux is well incorporated. Lower the heat to low and simmer for an hour. Remove the hen pieces and set aside to cool. Once cool pick the meat from the bones and add back to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add some Crystal hot sauce at this point. Simmer for another fifteen minutes and your ready to serve!

This is what you end up with!!

Serve over some fluffy, salty, buttery rice and top with some green onions!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gorgonzola Potatoes with Panceta, Onion and Peppers

I know, another potato recipe? The last post was made because it was a,  what needs to be used up before it goes bad dish. This recipe is a take on my mothers dish that I have loved all my life. Its really easy to make. If you have a mandolin I advise using it. You can slice the potatoes and onions super thin and this allows it to cook quicker in the oven. You can also substitute any pepper or potato you like. I love the subtle and sweet  funkiness of Gorgonzola and especially the Sweet creaminess of dolce, but you can substitute your favorite soft blue cheese. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients: serves 2

1/2 pound potatoes
1 medium white onion
1/2 poblano pepper
3 or 4 slices of Pancetta or bacon
3 ounces of Mountain Gorgonzola Dolce
Parsley for garnish
Dry white wine
Salt and Pepper

Saute your Pancetta until crispy. In the mean time slice your onions as thin as you can get them and dice the pepper very fine. After you have pulled the pancetta out of the skillet throw the onions and peppers into the pancetta fat. Saute on med-low until they are a light brown and very soft. Add a little white wine if it starts to dry out while cooking down.

Slice your potatoes as thin as you can. Oil the bottom of a small baking dish. Line the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of potatoes.

 Next place the onion and pepper mixture on top of the potatoes.

 Then crumble half the pancetta over the onion and pepper mixture. Add another layer of potatoes, onion and peppers. Finally crumble the Mountain Gorgonzola Dolce and the remaining pancetta over the top.

Place into a 350* oven for 25 to 30 mins or until its brown on top.  Finish with some chopped parsley or Basil.

I served this as a side dish with a Pecan smoked Rib-Eye, Venison sausage, and some black truffle deviled eggs! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Potatoes Morbier

Potatoes Morbier

This is my take on  the classic alpine resort dish, Raclette. This dish is really easy to prepare and only takes about 30 minutes to make. I like to use waxy potatoes because they hold together better during boiling. Traditionally Raclette cheese is used  but I find that  Raclette has a mild flavor. I use Morbier because it has a pronounced nutty kind of funky flavor and melts very well.  Also the ash that runs through the middle looks cool. Instead of serving with the traditional pickled onions and cornichons,  I simply sprinkle some champagne vinegar over the top immediately  after being pulled from the oven. A garnish of chives or thinly sliced scallions adds some onion flavor and brightens up the dish. You can serve this a side dish or just to share with friends and a great glass of dry Alsace Riesling.

2 pounds of white or other waxy potato
1/2 pound of Morbier
1 clove of garlic
chives or scallions
champagne vinegar

Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Boil in heavily salted water until tender. Drain and let cool.
While the potatoes are cooling add enough olive oil to the bottom of a oven proof dish to cover it. Crush a clove of garlic and rub it in the oil. This will add a lot of flavor and aromatics when it is cooking in the oven.
Remove the rind from the cheese and slice into very thin strips.
Place the potatoes in the dish in a single layer. if you have a few left place on top of the first layer. Layer the cheese strips on top of the potatoes.

Place in a 400* oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven.
While still hot sprinkle with champagne vinegar. Add as much as you like. I like quite a bit, but champagne vinegar can be very strong and to much for some people.

Garnish with some chives or chopped scallions.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Smoked Prime Rib with Garlic and Herb Rub

 Smoked Prime Rib with Garlic and Herb Rub
A five pounder ready for the garlic herb rub
Who doesn't like Prime Rib? I love it, and it  is one of my favorite ways to serve beef to guests. People assume prime rib has to be expensive. The term, prime rib, actually refers to the grading of the meat. Prime, being the best grade possible, is very expensive and his hard to find. Any beef rib roast that is of good quality, such as choice, will do fine. I picked New York Strip for this dish. The trick is when the grocery has bone in beef such as strip or rib eye on sale, ask the butcher to give you some that has not been cut. The one I used was five pounds. Have the butcher trim it. I am smoking this one so I asked them not to trim the fat to much. 

1 five pound bone in beef rib roast
4 tablespoons fresh sage
4 tablespoons fresh thyme
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 head of garlic
salt and pepper
olive oil

Chop all the herbs and place in a bowl. Finely chop the garlic and form a paste using the side of your knife. Add to the herbs. Generously season herb and garlic mixture with salt and pepper. Mix together while adding olive oil until you form a paste. Rub mixture on to the roast. Let rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better.
Ready to be smoked out!

Smoking it up!

Fire up the smoker! I used a wood combo of pecan and oak. Pecan for the flavor and oak for heat. Place the roast on indirect heat of about 250* for about 6 hours.Rotate the meat a quarter turn every hour.

Feeling relaxed after a good rest!
Let rest for an 20 minutes.
Perfectly pink and tender on the inside with a crispy bark outside!
Slice and serve!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Poached Pears in Cognac and Spices with Blackberry Citrus Reduction

Poached Pears in Cognac with Spices and Blackberry Citrus Reduction

 This easy and delicious desert is as elegant as it is beautiful. I got inspired after spotting some gorgeous  pears and some local blackberries. If you do no want to spring for the cognac you can defiantly use brandy since it is practically the same thing. This was a dinner for my moms birthday we decided to use the good stuff. Serve with some local vanilla ice cream.
  • 3 medium pears 
  •  1 pint of fresh Blackberries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cognac
  • a piece of cinnamon and a couple of cloves
In a sauce pan combine the water, cognac, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil.  In the mean time cut a large piece of the rind from the orange and the lemon  at least an inch wide and the juice from each. Add to boiling water and cognac. Wash the pears and cut them in half. Remove the pit. Slice the pears into about 6 to 10 slices without cutting all the way to the stem. This will keep them intact. Add them to the pot and poach for about 10 minutes. remove and let cool.
Add the blackberries and the sugar to the pot. Reserve a few berries for garnish, at least 2 per plate.  Reduce until it forms a thick  syrup. Stain the sauce and  loosen the it with a little cognac.
Fan out the pear on a plate. Spoon the sauce over the pears. Garnish with a some fresh blackberries and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.