Monday, June 16, 2014

Calabacitas By Any Other Name Is Squash - A Dish Of My Youth

When I was a kid growing up in New Mexico you couldn't get me to eat squash if it was candy coated, dipped in chocolate and disguised as a super hero but you could always get me to eat Calabacitas. You see I didn't know what calabacitas was but I did know that I loved it and I did know that I hated squash. I wouldn't even taste squash if it was offered to me. I grew up in a family that spoke more spanish than english but we spoke english at home since my parents wanted us to grow up that way and squash was one of those english words that I could not possibly put in my mouth. Squash - thats what I did to bugs, thats what happened to toads that didn't make it across the road, squash was an absolutely gross word. Calabacitas, on the other hand had a tasty ring to it, calabacitas had cheese. Well to make a long story short you can imagine my surprise when I saw one of my aunts making calabacitas and she said "and now we add the squash" - the WHAT - I thought - no, don't ruin it but she did it anyway and I saw what she was putting in and it was zucchini - now I am completely confused. What the heck is going on here? It wasn't until I asked what does Calabacita mean that I learned it was SQUASH. I had been eating squash all along and loving it. I still prefer to say Calabacita or Zucchini and if I do eat a squash I use its name like Kabocha and when people say "whats Kabocha" then I have to say "squash" but I use that word sparingly. Enjoy my Calabacitas, its my favorite thing to eat in the summer.
I like to cook everything separately giving each item its own special attention and color and caramelization before combining them together. Its not the traditional way to make it because it is a bit more fussy but thats the way I like to do it - fussy.
Once everything is ready I mix it and today I had some Lambs Quarters, a delicious wild green, so it went into the skillet with my peeled and roasted chiles that I chopped up.
I don't always have fresh oregano but since its one of the herbs we have in abundance in the garden this year I will get to use it more often, what a treat, so a little fresh oregano that I chopped up, some melty cheese - I like muenster, and some warm corn tortillas and you are all set. If you want to add more cheese to your plate then do it because thats what I do.
All thats left to do now is try to get the right proportion of calabacitas to tortilla and just eat and eat until you balance it out- Calabacitas - its what squash wants to be.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pizza Pie In The Sky

Pizza - who doesn't like pizza and who ever doesnt like pizza is a freak and has no business reading this post so if thats you - toodles.

I made a few pizzas, a clam pizza or two a tomato pie and a garlic pie.

 The greatest thing about this grill his how blazing hot it gets. I have two types of pizza stones and the grill is big enough to accommodate them both and neither one is hotter than the other, they are both blazing hot.
 The only thing left to do now is slice them up, pour a cold beverage and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tropical Flavors in Sub Tropical Town

It is not a well known fact but New York City is considered sub tropical in the summer time and if any of you have ever been here at that time you would most definitely agree. In order to honor the pending tropical heat wave that will soon be upon us I made some ribs and some big fat prawns.
The ribs were slathered in a garlic and ginger with pineapple and vegetable oil emulsion (I put everything in the blender and it got thick like a mayonnaise) then wrapped up the coated ribs in banana leaves and then in foil and cooked until tender and delicious. The prawns were tossed with a little seasoned salt and thrown directly on the grill near the end of the cooking time for the ribs. 
There is something about the banana leaf that both adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat - its awesome because it feels like super secret trick.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

chicken - its whats for dinner

Check out my latest post for Char-Broil - I call it Malibu Chicken!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Breakfast - CCC (Creative Cooking Crew Challenge)

This months challenge for The Creative Cooking Crew is BREAKFAST - now if you have been following this blog even a little bit you will know just how fond I am of breakfast and brunch and brinner (which is Breakfast for Dinner). I love to make poached eggs.
Eggs benedict with quail eggs, steak, shrimp, wilted spinach asparagus and a salad of grape tomatoes and cucumbers. This is a breakfast sure to delight even the most seasoned of "brunchers" with its wonderfully seasonal variety.
I froze the steak so that I could cut it into perfect little squares and then I grilled it while it was still a little frozen so I could get it nicely rare while still giving it deep grill marks. If you have never poached a quail egg before let me just tell you that it happens in less than a minute so be prepared. This breakfast  was a hit and I would serve this to anyone at anytime. Thanks again Creative Cooking Crew for another great challenge.

Lets throw one more into the mix - this was so good I had to make it again.

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