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Thursday, April 29, 2010

We don't need no stinkin' PAN. Free-ballin' chicken.

OK all, time to enjoy life. Don't be afraid, I got you. A really simple way to roast a chicken and save some clean-up at the same time. I call this one...


Mise en place.

This is an all day thing but really worth it.

3 cheap beers ( I used the one with the big horses)
handful of kosher salt
cracked black pepper
a few cloves garlic, barely crushed
a few cloves (the spice this time)
3 bay leaves
a couple splashes of Tabasco

Clean out your bird, remove all livers, neck and stuff. Save 'till later.
Combine all the brine ing's in a large ceramic or glass bowl. Swim the carcass in it for at least 6 hours or overnight. Turn it over once.

1 large red onion, large dice
some red potatoes, large slices
couple good sized carrots, large slices...ok you get it now right?
1 head garlic, peeled
brussel's sprouts, trimmed
bunch red char, trimmed
fresh parsley and any other FRESH herbs you have laying around. Rosemary, sage, thyme all work.
S and P
Put all this stuff in a large roasting pan, season well and toss with a bit of olive oil.

OK bird time
Inside the birdie I want you to put some fresh parsley, stems are just dandy
half a lemon packed with kosher salt
cracked black pepper. Outside the bird season with salt and pepper.

4 oz peanut butter the best you find. I used the stuff with the initials L and S
2 oz Maple syrup. If you use the "aunt" crap I will kill you.
big pinch chili flakes
cayenne pepper
S and P
1 TB butter
2 TB olive oil

Heat gently just until butter melts.
Smear over your bird

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
place bird directly on a rack right over the roasting pan with all the vegetables, just like that.

Roast for 45 minutes, re-glaze after 30. All those lovely drippings go right onto the veggies turning them into the most delicious things ever. Remove bird and reset oven to 425 degrees and continue roasting vegetables for another 15 minutes. Add any livers, kidneys and hearts at this time.

Plate up, eat up

As always, go get your grub on. Ciao. GO RAMS

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's just so weird...shortribs

Sometimes I come across a recipe that is just so whacky that I have to drop everything and try it. It took me over a year to futz with it and after some tweaking I finally got it to do what I wanted. This was given to me by one of my favorite customers. I call him Da Big D but his real name is Dave and is a sweetheart of a guy. I look forward to his visits. He's good for a food/wine chat anytime. Thanks buddy.
There I was, standing on the floor with this strange formula. It resembles Boef au Carbone but only sorta. It has some traces of the American Southwest but not really. What the heck. It uses some Great Depression era elements and then it doesn't. Sounds like big stupid fun right? Sh'yeaaahhh. I'm a chef, I got this. I have no idea what to call this except...

Chef Nick's Weird Braised Short-ribs.

Mise en place

4 1/2 # short-ribs, trimmed. Separated and seasoned.
about two slices of good bacon chopped
1 large onion, large dice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
handful of button mushrooms, large slices
3 dried ancho chilies, toasted and soaked then minced
2 cups fresh brewed coffee (see? I told you it got weird)
half bottle dry red wine
handful of fresh cilantro chopped
handful of fresh parsley chopped
salt and pepper *note. If you aren't using anything but Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper then you are beyond my help.
One large pot.

OK in my last post I talked about toasting and soaking dried chillies. Use a dry saute pan. Seed and de-stem the peppers. Heat up your pan. Toast up your chillies and put them into hot water. Let them soak until soft about 15-20 minutes.

In the pot put in those bacon pieces and crank up the heat. Turn over to crisp and remove to a separate plate. Mmmmm bacon fat. Perfect medium for our next step.

Sear those ribs. Only a few at a time. Deep golden brown is what we want. If the pot becomes dry add some olive oil, no worries. Remove to a separate plate.

Work your way through all the ribs. Once done add your onions, garlic, mushrooms and minced chillies with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat through and add your cilantro and parsley.

Toss through and add the coffee.

Scrape the bottom of the pan. then add the red wine.

Nestle the ribs back into the pot. Add bacon pieces and bring to simmer. Place into a 350 degree oven covered for 90 minutes or so. Test for doneness by stabbing those bad boys with a fork. If they surrender like the french, they are done.
I served this with some salt boiled potato and broccoli in brown butter with sage. Thanks Tamara. Her blog site is WE ARE THE MIGHTY RAMS !!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nick's pulled pork. I have a blender and I'm not afraid to use it.

One of the best reasons why I love living in Phoenix is our easy access to terrific Mexican ingredients. This an easy way to make a load of grub for very little money. Cheap cut of pork, some dried peppers and a blender. You can use the finished product as a filling for enchiladas, burritos or tamales.
* note. Pasilla Chilies have a wonderful smokey sweetness but if you can't find them where you are by all means use another kind. You might discover something new and wonderful on your own.


Mise en place
3 1/2 pound pork chuck roast, season with salt and pepper
1 large white onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 good sized jalapeno pepper, chopped with seeds.
1 can spicy mexican style tomato sauce with the initials "E" and "P". Rhymes with "tell fato".
3-4 dried pasilla chilies
1 small can black beans, rinsed. (ok yeah I used canned, get over it)
2 chipotle (the canned kind)
pinch ground cinnamon
juice of one lime
1/2 cup white vinegar. NOT white wine vinegar, the kind you use to clean windows...yeah that kind.
grated lime peel
cilantro, use the leaves for garnish and use the stems for the sauce.
dried oregano
1 bayleaf
small bowl of hot water
large baking pan

the idea is to make the whole house smell so good that your neighbors come by.

Carefully remove the stems and shake out the seeds from your dried chilies.
Turn up the heat under your smallest saute pan and toast them on both sides. If you can smell the yummy and they feel pliable to touch you are done. Immediately throw into the bowl of hot water and place a small saucer over to hold them under, they need to hydrate and soften. This will take about 20 minutes. In the mean time let's talk pork.

With clean hands, rub salt and black pepper onto all sides. Heat up a large saute pan over high heat with a little oil and sear the roast on all sides. By sear I don't mean grey. The easiest way to tell if you have a good sear is to try and pick it up off the pan surface. If it sticks, it ain't done. Put the roast into your baking pan. Cover with the sliced onion, bell pepper and bay leaf.

It's blender time.

In the blender dump in your can of mexican tomato sauce, 1/2 cup white vinegar, dried oregano, jalapeno, garlic cloves, cilantro stems, cinnamon, chipotle, big pinch of salt and pepper and your now softened chilies with a little of the water. Let 'er rip. Once pureed, dump over roast. Add your rinsed beans, just kinda smoosh it around.

Cover loosely with foil and place in a 325 degree oven for about 4-5 hours. We have a lot of connective tissue and fat to cook down and the best way to render that and maximize flavor is by using a long slow cooking method. Trust me, your house will smell fantastic. Check every once in a while and scoop up some of the yummy from the bottom back on top.

Once done, remove from oven and see if you can shred it easily. If you can't, just place it back in the oven for a little while longer.

Today I just fried up some corn tortillas, added shredded lettuce and tomato to make tostadas. Easy right?
Now go get your grub on, Ciao.