Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Posole

Posole soup is a Christmas tradition in Mexico and at my house too. All of my favorite Latin flavors in one big bowl, braised chicken, chili peppers, hominy, avocado and fresh cilantro. It is very easy to make and everyone can garnish there own soup with a choice of there favorite condiments like crispy fried tortillas, diced avocado and jalapenos.

2 whole chicken legs, skin removed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 quart water
2 cups canned hominy, drained
Salt to taste

1. In a heavy pot saute the onion and garlic in a dash of vegetable oil.
2. Add the chili powder and saute one minute more.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for one hour.
4. Remove chicken legs and remove meat from bones, return to soup.
5. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary, ladle into preheated bowls.

To serve: have small bowls of fried tortillas strips, diced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, hot sauce available for guests to add to there soups.
Yield= 4

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chilaquiles for breakfast

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish often served as breakfast, it is a basic one pan scramble of corn tortillas, salsa, eggs and cheese. other ingredients can be added such as beans or chicken. I like it spicy with a lot of hot sauce, avocado and chopped cilantro.

1 chicken leg, cooked and shredded
2 corn tortillas, torn into large pieces 2 ounce enchilada sauce or salsa
1 whole egg
1 pinch shredded cheese
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
chopped cilantro

1. Saute the chicken, onions and tortilla's in a dash of oil.

2. Add the egg and scramble, when cooked add the sauce and the cheese.

3. Plate and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Yield= 1 Options: chorizo sausage, avocado, roasted chili peppers

Monday, December 22, 2008

Duck Ragu with Creamy Polenta

With the cold and rainy weather of this season, a comforting bowl of creamy polenta and tomato stewed duck sounds good. A brasied and shredded duck leg was added to sliced onions, garlic and tomatoes and after a hour of slow simmering it was spooned over creamy polenta, grated parmeasn can be added if desired.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Smoked Salmon on Potato Blini

I made a nice hor d'oeuvre of smoked salmon on a potato blini finished with a dollop of creme fresh and chives. They are fairly simple to make and good for the holiday parties. If they are made a little bigger they would make a nice first course or they can have the addition of caviar and be served with a glass of good champagne.

Potato blini
1/2 cup cooked and mashed russet potatoes
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 whole egg
1/4 cup flour
dash kosher salt
whole milk as needed

1. In a bowl mix all ingredients with a wire whisk.
2. Add milk to mixture till it becomes a thin smooth batter.
3. Ladle one ounce of batter per pancake on a hot greased non stick pan.
4. When they start to dry on the edges, flip and finish cooking.
5. Assemble with smoked salmon, a dollop of creme fresh and a sprinkle of chopped chives.

Note: store bought smoked salmon can be used, sour cream can be used instead of creme fresh.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pappardelle Pasta with Slow Brasied Pork

Nothing like a pot simmering on the stove during a cold winter day, I made a variation of the Italian classic, Pappardelle with wild boar. You just don't find wild boar to much in the market so I used domestic pork. The cubed pork is browned then slowly simmered in red wine and tomatoes till it is so tender that it falls apart, a basic fresh herb pasta is made and the pasta sheets are hand cut into thick ribbons which are cooked, drained then tossed in butter, to finish Parmesan cheese is grated and added. Its ready to eat in front of a warm fireplace with a nice glass of red wine.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Chicken and Bacon Hash with Avocado

I could eat this for breakfast every weekend, crispy diced potatoes fried in smoky bacon fat and tossed with chicken and onions, topped with rich and creamy avocado. Maybe with a fried egg and definitely a big splash of hot sauce. Can't wait till the weekend!

Asian Comfort in a Bowl

My young daughter was not feeling well today so I had the idea of making a chicken soup with won ton dumplings. I made a quick trip to the Clement street China town in San Francisco on the way home from work, I was lucky to find a parking space right in front of the New May Wah market. This store has everything and at good prices too. I had some of the ingredients at home so all I needed were a couple of chicken backs for the soup stock a chicken breast and a pack of won ton wrappers for the dumplings. With bags in the car and driving North over the Golden Gate bridge it is time to cook.

2 chicken backs
1 knob ginger, crushed
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stalk lemon grass, crushed
2 carrots, rough chop
2 quarts water
2 stalks celery, rough chop
1 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
1 dash soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fine sliced scallions
1 egg
Salt to taste

1. Make the soup broth with the chicken backs, 2 cloves garlic, half the ginger, celery, carrot, soy sauce, two quarts water.
2. Bring to a simmer and cook for an hour, check for seasoning and strain into another pot, keep at a simmer.
3. While the broth is cooking, make the won tons. In a food processor put the egg, chicken breast, one clove garlic, the other half of ginger, salt.
4. Pulse the chicken mixture till smooth.
5. Lay out the won ton wrappers and place a teaspoon on the chicken mixture in center of each wrapper, wet edge with water moistened finger and gather up the edges to make a dumpling.
6. To cook: add the dumplings to the simmering broth and cook for about five minutes, divide the broth and dumplings into bowls and garnish with the scallions.

Yield = 4 servings