Thursday, June 30, 2011
This chile paste is really versatile and will add that special something to your grilled or smoked meats. It can be rubbed on beef or pork as a marinade before smoking or braising, and it's also a great addition to the masa for tamales to impart color and flavor.
2 dry guajillo peppers
3 dry pasilla peppers
1 dry ancho pepper
1/2 tablespoon annatto seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon salt
3 cloves garlic
1 small white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 ounces (1/3 of a small can) tomato paste
1/4 cup juice of naranjas agrias (sour oranges) or a combination of orange and lime juice*
In a large skillet over medium heat toast the dry guajillo, pasilla, and ancho peppers, turning frequently, until they smell fragrant and start to puff. Add enough water to the skillet to cover the peppers, and bring the water to a simmer. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Allow to cool until the peppers can be handled.
When you can comfortably handle the peppers, remove the stems and seeds.
While you're waiting for the chile peppers to cool, in a spice grinder or coffee grinder devoted to grinding spices, grind the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, allspice berries, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, and salt to a powder.
In a blender or food processor, grind the garlic, then add the onion, tomato paste, and sour orange juice and process to a paste consistency. Add the ground spice mixture, and the guajillo, pasilla, and ancho peppers, and continue processing into a paste.
Refrigerate after preparing.
* The only place I've found around here that always has naranjas agrias is my favorite Carnival market at 3460 Webb Chapel Extension in Dallas. You should be aware that naranjas agrias aren't pretty. They kinda look like warty oranges.
I've read about the greatness of shishito peppers and finally found them recently at Central Market. The recipe is simple: Rinse and dry the peppers. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, then add a little olive oil. Add the peppers and saute until they're blistery all over. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt. So simple ... so good!
p.s. These pretty peppers commanded a pretty penny at Central Market, and while they're well worth the price, I'm a big fan of finding good food at a bargain price. Well, I've found the same peppers a couple of times now at H Mart here in Carrollton. They were labeled only as "sweet pepper" and were very inexpensive. It always pays to examine the offerings at the ethnic markets.
|Fresh Shishito Peppers|
Recipe for Mussels, Shrimp, and Chorizo in Garlic, White Wine, and Butter Sauce
I think if you love to cook and have been doing it for a while, you develop an instinct for how food should be prepared, even if it's a food you don't really like. Case in point, I'm not a fan of custardy deserts; however, I can bake what I've been told is a right tasty pumpkin pie. Mussels is another one of those foods that I don't care for. I've tried to like them, I really have, like three or four times in different preparations, but I'm simply not fond of the texture of mussels. However, I absolutely love the flavor of the broth you get when you prepare them, and my beloved hubby does indeed like mussels. So this recipe is for both of us. It has mussels, a very rich-flavored broth, and shrimp for the non-mussel-lover.
As with most of my recipes the proportions are merely guidelines. Adjust the amounts to your taste.
Olive oil to coat the skillet
Spanish chorizo, 6 to 10 ounces (we like Goya brand), halved or quartered lengthwise, and sliced
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 small red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 bulb fennel, white part, diced (you could also use some of the green fronds for garnish)
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, diced
Bulbs of 1 head of garlic, minced
1/2 of a .750 ml. bottle white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
20 mussels, cleaned (discard any that are open and don't close when you tap on them)
10 shrimp, peeled except for tail, and deveined
Heat skillet on medium-low. Add enough olive oil to coat the skillet. Add the chorizo and cook gently, stirring frequently, to let the chorizo release some of its fat and red color.
Increase the heat to medium, add the butter, and stir until melted.
Add the onion and bell pepper and stir until translucent.
Add the fennel and smoked paprika and cook for a few minutes.
Add the tomato.
Add the garlic and cook, continuing to stir frequently, for several minutes.
Add the wine.
Bring to a simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the shrimp and mussels.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and let the seafood simmer/steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and check for doneness. If the mussels are open and the shrimp is pink, it's done; if not, replace the lid and let it continue to simmer/steam for up to 5 more minutes. Discard any mussels that don't open.
Serve with plenty of crusty bread to sop up the juices.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
This yummy, easy ceviche is my mother-in-law Cuqui's recipe. It's light and fresh, and it smells and tastes like a day at the beach.
1 lb. filets of Basa or other firm, mild-flavored fish
enough lime juice to cover fish, juice of about 8 limes
2-4 finely diced jalapeno peppers, to taste
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Since ceviche is not technically cooked, but chemically cooked by the lime juice, be sure to select the freshest fish possible. Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces. In a shallow dish place the fish, cover with lime juice, and sprinkle with the jalapeno, onion, and cilantro.
Refrigerate the ceviche and let it marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.