Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mini Lamb Burgers in Pita Bread

A grey and cold Sunday morning made watching cooking shows on cable an easy choice. My youngest daughter who is first in line to inherit all my cooking gadgets was learning some tricks from her favorite "cool" chef, Bobby Flay. He is well known for doing a lot of good simple cooking on the grill. She took his recipe ideas and changed them to suit her own taste. Her idea was mini cheese burgers stuffed in pita bread. My burger idea was cumin scented ground lamb, which is a natural with pita bread. She made hers plain but I added shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and ripe and creamy avocado to mine. It was really fast and easy using the indoor grill on the stove then putting the cut pita bread on the grill to warm and soften them for stuffing. A middle eastern style yogurt sauce would have been a good addition, but I used my favorite hot sauce instead.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Red Snapper with capers and vegetable saute

On a weeknight after a long day of cooking for other people, I want to be able to cook something good but fast. I start by walking through the local market and see if any thing looks good. I notice a nice fresh Snapper fillet at the fish counter, so that goes in the basket, next what to serve with the fish? How about a quick saute of diced zucchini, eggplant, onions and garlic? Sounds good. First the deboned fish is simply seasoned with salt/pepper then it goes into a hot pan with a dash of olive oil. In a second hot saute pan the diced vegetables with a dash of olive oil get a quick toss, cooked through but still retaining there shape and color. Next the cooked vegetables go on to a preheated plate with the nicely browned fish placed on top, a scattering of small capers and a squeeze of lemon to finish. Try it tonight!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Roasted Greek inspired organic chicken legs

I had a idea of roasting chicken legs with a marinade of crushed garlic, fresh chopped oregano, olive oil and lemon juice. I will serve it on a slice of grilled olive bread with wilted spinach, feta cheese and dry cultivated tomatoes. When you have only a few ingredients they have to be the best. Local fresh organic chicken legs, fresh oregano from my garden, imported feta cheese from Greece, dry grown heirloom tomatoes. (these are tomato plants that are not irrigated, it gives the tomatoes less moisture and a more intense flavor)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chilaquiles for breakfast anyone?

There is a common or maybe classic Mexican breakfast called Chilaquiles, it is often served at breakfast and made with fried corn tortillas, green or red chili sauce and eggs. Basicly a scrambled egg and tortilla cassorole. And being someone who likes all things Mexican, I threw together a verison with what I had on hand in my fridge. And I must heat it up with a dash of hot sauce when I serve it.

2 diced strips of good thick smoky bacon

1/2 of a onion, sliced
3 corn tortillas, torn
1 potato, diced
2 organic eggs
1/2 cup red or green enhilada sauce

1. Saute onion, potatoes and bacon till browned.
2. Add eggs, tortillas and your choice of chili sauce
3. Stir till eggs are soft scrambled, garnish with cilantro

Note: Great with grated jack or cheddar cheese

Serves 1-2 people

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tomales bay oysters

You can't beat fresh local oyster's on the half shell, they are nature's perfect packaged food. They will put up a fight when you try to get the rough shell off, but its well worth it. A last minute idea over the weekend was to head west to the Marin County coast, it was well worth it. And only a forty five minute drive through the rolling hills and the tall and dark redwood Forrest's. Tomales bay is a long narrow bay that runs parallel to the North Marin coast, it is home to a lot of wildlife as well as lots of oyster farms. I used to go to a oyster farm called Hog Island a few years ago, they have good oysters and clams, but it is now expensive and somewhat touristy, the Johnson oyster farm down the highway is my choice, simply good oysters with a fair price. I was talked in to a deal of 50 small oysters for $40.00 dollars, He twisted my arm so I had to do it. Me and my kids along with another family stopped at a local beach down the road and ate a few dozen, the rest came home. Some people like to barbecue them with BBQ sauce or a vinegar/pepper based dipping sauce, for me its just fresh lemon and hot sauce. Go get them and suck them down.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Brasied Pork Tamales

On a whim I decided to make tamales, normally a big production and time consuming, but these weren't that hard to make at all. Tamales are Mexican in origin and very popular at Christmas time. They are corn husk wrapped bundles of a soft corn dough called masa which are filled with meats or vegetables.They are sometimes made sweet with the addtion of raisins, Cinnamon and sugar. Tamales are simply steamed till cooked then unwrapped and served with a dollop of your favorite salsa.

I started my tamales with a big chunk of fresh pork butt which I slowly braised in a liquid made with water, fresh diced tomatoes and dry smoked chipotle chilli pods. After slowly simmering four hours the meat is very tender and can be easily shredded and set aside. Next the masa dough is made with masa flour, salt and water, follow directions on package and mix well to form a soft dough, this is the same dough mixture that corn tortillas are made with. Next the dry corn husks, which can be found in the Latin section of most markets, they need to be soaked in water for a few hours to soften. To assemble, spread a few tablespoons of the masa dough in the center of the open corn husk, place a tablespoon of seasoned filling on top and fold all sides like a little square package. Tear a strip of corn husk and use it to tie around the tamale to hold it together. Place tamales in a large pot with a steaming rack on the bottom, fill with a little water, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and steam for about 30 minutes. serve with your choice of salsa. Enjoy