Saturday, January 30, 2010

chile is my nectar

id you know that I could probably eat chile every day for the rest of my life and still react like it was the best thing I have ever tasted? Well I could! Red chile, green chile, red and green chile, green and red chile - you can see that the possibilities and combinations are endless.

Basic green chile stew is easy to put together. Brown some meat, add some onions, add roasted, peeled and chopped green chile and garlic, salt and pepper to taste, a little mexican oregano and add broth. You can add cube potatoes and mushrooms if you want to make it super deluxe.

This simmers for a while until it smells so good you cant resist it any longer.

I like it simply poured over a warmed tortilla that is filled with cheese and rolled. I could eat a few of these little cheesy bites, want to kick it to the moon - top it with an over easy egg!

Friday, January 29, 2010

open for business

When OpenSky approached me about opening up a shop on their website I didnt realize what a special honor it was until I saw all the fantastic items they have via their 85 shopkeepers. There is literally something for everyone. I then spent the next few days choosing and organizing my products so that you guys would have the easiest time finding what I already found for you. If you are a new reader or if you have been around for a while you probably already know that I am a little on the unique side (to say the least) so it is with this built in meter that I bring to you things that I think are great.
When a good opportunity comes along I jump on it like its ultimate fighting, I am all over it with headlocks and power flips and jumping kicks and this is exactly what happened when OpenSky asked me to set up a shop. This unique marketplace has a limited number of shopkeepers and a vast assortment of products and it is growing everyday. The limited number of shopkeepers is a great thing because then you know that each merchant was hand selected for their originality. My URL has always been "a little bit of Christo" and now this shop is going to give me the forum to bring this to you, no longer will I be using something you cant get because if I can get it to you I will.

In the coming days and weeks I will be offering promotions not unlike this fantastic promotion that Greg @ sippitysup offered yesterday and I was all over it. Thats right, even though I am also a shopkeeper I couldnt pass up this amazing deal on a great utensil and a lot of the times these deals come and go so quickly so you have to act fast, glad I did.

Keep in mind my shop is brand spankin' new so it will be going through some changes as I get the hang of the format, you can look for a more exciting splash page as well as highlighted specials to be surfacing real soon.
For now go have a look around, and by all means check out some of the other shopkeepers as well, there are gardening shops and cosmetic shops and even shops for things you cant mention - have a look and have fun.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

meeting and greeting

till not doing what I need to do yet still doing what I have to do, how do I do it? This particular question should be one of those 'meaning of life things' because its a chicken/egg conundrum from the get go.

Met with Hagen this morning- The Wandering Foodie, he's doing a big project of eating 93 meals this month and we discussed the nuances of a Moroccan breakfast, one of his many stops.

We agreed that the pita was the best in all the land.

Harisa always needs extra attention.

I cant review the place since I picked it and its one of my favorites, you'll have to see what he says.

Proof is me jabbering about jabbering.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

things I use to think with

Once you fall behind on anything its incredibly hard to catch back up and I hate to fall behind but I have fallen behind. I have a few ingredients sitting around that I need to whip, whiz and shebang into something cool and interesting but my brain is not whipping, whizzing or shebanging. What to do in a situation like this? Eat!

A little thin sliced roast beef, some onion and a little cheddar in a skillet and heat till it looks like you like it - blast it with some hot sauce if you want, why not there arent any rules!

Who cares if you dont have the right kind of bread, a toasted english muffin is just as good as the next bun. This didnt do a thing for my creativity but it sure did smooth out my lunch break, now back to hitting the books and banging my head against the cutting board hoping something worthwhile pops out. Cheesesteak my way!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I won!

The only winner yesterday was me, well not just me but it sounds better to say it like that. I dont watch sports much but I do watch finals of sports and yesterday was one of those days. Now since I dont watch all season long I have no clue who or what anyone can or cannot do and I pick my favorite team in a very subjective and random way. I cant really explain what my method is for choosing a favorite team but let me tell you that the two I picked yesterday both lost.

Even though my teams lost I was the winner with the salmon and cream cheese pinwheels that I made for my guests to nosh on while my teams got thrashed. I spread a little cream cheese on some puff pastry, then I scattered some sliced green onion and some nice coho salmon.

Rolled up and cut into discs and placed in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and perfect.

These pinwheels were easy to make and thankfully so since I could barely keep up with the demand. Now while my teams did score and while they did give a good fight - they didnt win - I won with my easy to make and easy to bake salmon pinwheels.

These little handfuls were chock full of salmon and chock full of flavor - touchdowns, extra points and two minute warnings all rolled into one tasty bite.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the magical fruit

"Beans, beans the magical fruit the more you eat the more you....." There are so many childhood memories associated with beans, chile and tortillas that I dont have the time or space or even inclination to mention. I first learned how to make refried beans when I was probably around 12 years old or so and it was something I made often because it took the ordinary bean and turned it into something else, equally as ordinary but different no less.

Refried beans are easy to do, you start with cooked beans then make a roux with roasted chile, onions and garlic and some kind of fat, if you eat meat then use bacon and bacon fat like I did, if not use something else.

When the roux is perfect add the beans and mash like you just dont care, and after you mashed a lot then mash some more until they are creamy and delightful.

Creamy refried beans, mmmm - now its up to you if you want them as a side dish or spread on a fried flat corn tortilla as a tostada - believe me, if you make these you will never go to Taco Bell ever again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

trust me its stinky

Cheese has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember going all the way back to eating my great grandmothers home made goat cheese as a young boy all the way up to peeling back the wrapper on a slice of american cheese for an egg sandwich. I have even made cheese on a few occasions and it turned out perfect but since I do live in a place that has so much variety when it comes to this milky delight it hardly makes sense for me to find a cave and continue to make my own. Yes I like cheese. I have even gone so far as to try Velveeta, twice.

When my local cheese shop had a mini pont l'evique aptly named Petit Pont l'Eveque sitting right there staring at me and teasing me and begging me to take her home what could I do? It is one of the 'ancient' cheeses dating back to the 13th century and it goes great with my favorite wine of all time the Saint-Emilions. The velvety smoothness of this wine marries nicely with the outdoorsy flavor of the Normandy countryside.

Why wouldnt an ancient cheese pair perfectly with a wine from the oldest wine region in the Bordeaux area - that seems like a no brainer - in fact the only way this would be better is if I had a
Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé, but I am getting distracted, this is about the cheese.

There is an art to cutting cheese so that each and every piece has a bit of the soft and most flavorful center and a bit of the concentrated flavor near the rind. How many times have you seen a person walk up to a wedge of brie and cut the tip right off like it was nothing - that is the same thing as scooping out the center of a watermelon and leaving the rest for everyone else. There is style and beauty in everything if you take the time to find it.

You will notice that I did not cut my first piece following the diagram - it is because I was taking artistic license for the photo but it will be easy for me to correct with each subsequent slice and it hardly matters anyway since I will probably be eating the whole thing myself. Oh and back to the title of this post - this cheese does have a somewhat pungent aroma but its flavor is smooth, soft and reminiscent of the grassy rolling hills that these cows frolic on. Pont l'Eveque - I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend my calendar!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

give a dog a bone

Bone marrow has been on my mind for days now and I was finally able to satisfy the craving. Each little nibble I got from soup bones or pork chops only made me want it more. On my recent trip to Chinatown I spotted some fairly decent marrow bones, I say fairly decent because they were mutton not the big and hefty beef that I was hoping for but they were going to have to do.

I roasted them in a 400F oven for about 15 minutes liberally coated in salt while I sliced a nice crunchy baguette lengthwise to make some toast.

While there was not nearly enough marrow to satisfy my craving it did do a fine job of making my toast a little more tasty.

Friday, January 15, 2010

winging it

What do you do when you have a few wonton wrappers and some random vegetables sitting around that need to be used up? Vegetable gyoza comes to the rescue. Now before you get all up in a tizzy and correct me in my culinariousness I am going to concede that true gyoza are made from a different dough than a wonton skin but these are pinched in the gyoza way thus they are gyoza - so there.

The filling is a little bit of this and that like carrots and ginger and spinach, green onion and a tiny bit of celery all mixed with a little cornstarch to bind and creased into the skins then fried until golden.

I made a little dipping sauce out of siracha chile sauce, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and served up the quickest and tastiest lunch you could want and as far as I am concerned these are gyoza but if you want to make the real ones here is a gyoza recipe.

Dont forget about my calendar!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

casual casserole

Needing to make something tasty but also needing a lot of it I often turn to baked pasta dishes but that idea just was not ringing my bell and then it hit me - enchiladas!

I dry rubbed some ribs, wrapped them in banana leaves and foil and cooked them until the meat shook off the bone.

I removed the meat from some perfectly roasted ribs.

Layered tortillas cheese, meat and onions.

Covered it in red chile sauce and repeated until the pan was full.

Baked it until it was bubbly and delicious and then set it out to be gobbled up. Sometimes vats of food are the answer.

you gotta be in it to win it

MarxFoods is having a contest and you could win:

9 premium ground beef patties (1/3lb each)
4 Top Sirloin Center Cut Steaks (8oz each)
4 Ribeye Steaks (10oz each)
4 New York Strip Steaks (10oz each)

You can read more about the samplers here.

The deadline is January 26th. Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

looks are deceiving

Look closely at this photo and tell me what you see.

If you said cheeseburger with ketchup you are looking close but not looking close enough and you know I didnt eat it, I dont put ketchup on my burgers or hot dogs.

If you said cheeseburger and fries but this one has melted cheese and no ketchup then you might be closer still.

If you said seasoned fries then you hit the jackpot. Seasoned fries are easy to make. You slice your potatoes and rince them till the water is clear then blanch them quickly in hot oil let them cool, dust them with seasoned flour and then dunk them in the seasoning bath. Seasoning bath? Whats that? The seasoning bath is a light and watery batter made with a little flour and your favorite seasoning flavors that is thin enough to drizzle off a spoon. Now you put the floured fries into the flavor bath and then one by one in the hot oil so that they dont clump or stick together and fry until golden. Delicious, simple and oh so - not average.
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