Pizza Crust Bites

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Uncategorized

What do you do with that leftover crust for your pizza?  It’s delicious!  You shouldn’t just toss it out.  I’ve rolled it up on the pizza.  I’ve folded it over on the pizza.  I’ve taken it off and made breadsticks.  All good, but not great.  Then a few months back a friend of mine took it and put them on the griddle with some butter.  It was good. He was on to something.  This is what evolved:

IMG_4770

I use the leftover dough from my pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients

  • Leftover pizza dough
  • Pesto (I just make it myself, I used this recipe last time, but with Romano/Parm)
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated (your call, but you don’t want a ton, you want to be able to see the curst through the cheese)

Directions

  1. Preheat a griddle to around 350 with some butter or olive oil on it (you don’t want them swimming in it)
  2. Ball up the extra dough and roll it out on a flowered surface as thin as you can
  3. Cover with grated cheese
  4. Fold in half “hamburger style” and then fold in the sides so you make a square/rectangle
  5. Roll it out flat again
  6. Cut into little squares
  7. Toss it on the griddle and cook until you get some good color, then flip (they probably cook 3 – 5 minutes on a side, or there about)
  8. Once flipped, dab with pesto
  9. Remove from griddle and devour

Four Root Vanilla Root Beer

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sodas: how insanely expensive they are, how much sugar they have, and yet, I love them!  I decided the best solution to this problem was to learn how to make sodas myself.  The real way, not some soda stream way.  For Christmas Jess got me everything I needed to get started.  A bucket, a bunch of bail top bottles, tubes, bottling wand, and a book,  Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop.

I read through the book, very valuable information.  I based my first attempt on the Three Root recipe, but changed it up.  It wasn’t quite what I was looking for; however, the folks at work thought it was pretty reasonable for a first attempt.  I think the next batch I make I’m going to double the Sassafras and half the licorice.

Bottled Root Beer

Ingredients

  • 0.5 oz Sassafras Root Bark (dried, chopped)
  • 3 tsp Sarsaparilla root (dried, chopped)
  • 4 tsp burdock root (dried, chopped)
  • 4 tsp licorice root (dried, chopped)
  • 9 inches of Vanilla Bean (slit down one side)
  • 3 1/3 cups Table Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp EC-1118 Champagne Yeast
  • 8 quarts water (two gallons)

Recipe

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to bil with roots and vanilla.
  2. Simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered.
  3. At a minute or two left, add sugar.
  4. The room should smell of sassafras & the liquid should be red to red-orage in color.  If not add more sassafras.
  5. Cover and let cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Add 4 quarts of cool/cold water with the goal of dropping the solutions temperature down to 70 – 80 fahrenheit.
  7. Strain out the roots & vanilla bean.  Let rest, covered, until you reach 70 – 80 fahrenheit if you’re not already there.
  8. Add yeast & mix trying to get the yeast suspended throughout the solution.
  9. Bottle immediately.
  10. Let sit at room temperature for 2 – 3 days until the desired carbonation level is reached.  I let mine sit just over 48 hours.
  11. Place in fridge to slow the yeast reaction and (hopefully) avoid any explosions once carbonated.

Notes

I transfered from the pot I boiled in to a bottling bucket for the cooling phase.  I also used a cold garage to help expedite the cooling process.  An ice bath could be used as well.

I bottled my two gallons in six 16 oz bottles, two 1 liter bottles, and one 2 liter bottle.  The one 16 oz I’ve popped shot a two foot high spout of root beer into the air–though it was the bottle that was carbonating the fastest based off visual account.  A one liter was also opened and it did not have this issue, in fact the carbonation level was just about right.  It was not nearly as visible in terms of yeast activity as the 16 oz was.  If you don’t see much activity in your bottle, do not worry, it is going (most likely).

The New Pizza

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

Even though I haven’t been posting, I’ve still been cooking!

One of the things I’ve gotten back into lately has been pizza.  I had a recipe I was pretty happy with (the Beer Snack Sausage Pizza).  I had come up with that by adapting it from my former supervisor’s husband–who is a big pizza guy.  After I started a new job, I came to find out that my current supervisor is a ‘foodie’ as well.  Further, he is a pizza guy (as well as many other food items–you can find the pizza he makes here).  We got to talking about what we each do and I tried a few of his methods.

I liked his pizza; however, his is much more of a classic New York pizza while mine is a bit more of a “West Coast” style (I’m not sure what else I’d label it).  That being said, I DID like a few of the things he does in his process.  I tried his dough method with my recipe and got something great.  A few weeks later, I made a BBQ Meatloaf.  It was pretty good; however, the BBQ sauce was awesome.  That made me think of my old supervisor’s husband’s pizza (which was always BBQ chicken) and I decided I was going to try something new.

BBQ Chicken, Grilled Red Onions, Bacon, and Pickled Jalapeños.

BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza
(Note: this recipe will make an 18 – 20″ pizza)

-Pizza Dough-

Start this first thing when you get up in the morning if you plan to have pizza for dinner that night. You want the dough to rise many times.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 333 grams (or ml) of beer–I’ve used all types of beers, but I’ve found IPA’s or Trippel’s give a nice flavor to the crust.
  • 2 tablespoons Butter milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 cup super sharp cheddar

Directions

  1. Add all dry ingredients to your mixer’s bowl and start it up
  2. Once mixed, add Olive Oil first, then add the remaining wet ingredients
  3. Walk a way for a bit to let it kneed the dough
  4. Transfer dough ball to a new bowl you’ve sprayed with Olive Oil.  Spray the top of the dough with Olive Oil and cover with a damp towel
  5. Walk away and go about your day.  Every time you walk past your Pizza Dough Ball, knock it back down so it has to rise again.  Try to get at least two rises in before you cook it.
  6. About an hour before you want to cook it, heat up your oven to around 100 degrees and toss the bowl with the dough into the oven.
  7. After around an hour, pull it out, lightly flower a surface and toss the dough out.  Flatten it out into a pizza shape.  You should get a round somewhere between 18 – 20 inches in size.
Note:  Since initially writing this I’ve gone to an “all day” dough rise.  I start my dough in the morning and let it rise in the oven.  I check on it every few hours and knock it back down so it can rise again.  I try do do this at least two or three times before I make the pizza.  I think you get a better flavor out of your crust; however, the above works fine too if you’re in a time crunch.

-Assembling and Baking the Pizza-

Ingredients

  • BBQ Sauce
  • 1 lbs mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Shredded BBQ Chicken
  • Grilled Red Onion, diced up
  • 2 – 4 Pickled Jalapeños, diced up
  • Bacon, diced up

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to around 525
  2. Layer down some BBQ sauce (I use around 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup) spreading to the edge of the crust
  3. Toss down the mozzarella, leaving around 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch of space between the edge of the crust and your cheese
  4. Toss on the rest of your ingredients, staying inside your ring of mozzarella, saving the cheddar cheese for last
  5. When all the toppings are on, fold the outside of the crust in so it is just touching the cheese ring, press down so that it stays folded (this gives you that raised ring edge you see in my picture)
  6. Bake pizza for around 12 minuets (or until it seems done–not doughy).  I currently bake for 10 minutes normal mode, the last 2 I turn on convection.  If you do not have convection, you could do the last two on broil.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool, cut and enjoy with a tasty adult beverage (check out Mark’s blog for some awesome home brewing)!

-BBQ Sauce-

From Simply Scratch

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1-1/4 cups Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed1-1/4 cups Ketchup1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar1/2 cup Water1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard2 teaspoons Paprika1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

  1. Put everything into a bowl and mix!

-Shredded BBQ Chicken-

You can make this any way you like, I often do it on a gas grill (so really it’s grilled chicken not BBQ).

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breast Halves
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Coat generously with BBQ sauce
  2. Spray with Olive Oil
  3. Toss on grill until cooked through
  4. When it’s cooled down enough to handle, shredded it!

-Grilled Red Onions-

This is something really common in Yucatencan cooking, and it goes great on pizza.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Red Onion
  • Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Cut ends off onion and remove outer skin
  2. Cut into quarters
  3. Pull apart the layers and spray with olive oil
  4. Grill along side the BBQ Chicken until lightly charred and they start to bubble up a bit
  5. Remove from grill and dice up

Blackened Halibut with Roasted Veggies

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

Finally, something new on the blog!  I haven’t stopped cooking but I haven’t been making posts to follow up either.  My apologies for that.  I’ll try to post the more interesting ones soon.

Both Jess and I love fish.  This is great since we live in the Pacific Northwest.  Our Aunt, Laura, introduced us to the joy that is Blackened Halibut one of the last times we were down visiting.  It was fantastic.  She even got us a cast iron pan for the sole purpose of blackening for Christmas (I love cooking related gifts!).

I didn’t ask Laura if I could give out the backening spice recipe so that will not be included here.  If you’re reading this, you’re on the net and I assume you can google one up!

To go with, Jess and I like roasted veggies and a beer/cheddar/jalapeno bread.

Blackened Halibut and Roasted Veggies

-Blackening Spice-

I’d suggest either googling up a recipe or going to Olympia Seafood Co. and picking up theirs!

-Blackened Halibut-

Go get it fresh!  Don’t grab it from the freezer section at your local grocer.  Right now the Olympia Farmers Market is open and Olympia Seafood Co. is open year round.  Both great places to get great foods and support local folks!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Halibut (skin removed–your fish shop should be able to do this for you if you ask)
  • 4 tablespoons Blackening Spice

Recipe

  1. Place a cast iron pan on a grill and get it VERY hot (propane grills work well for this).  I leave mine on High for about 10 minutes with the pan on it.
  2. Prep the fish by cutting the one pound fillet in two (if it’s not already) and place one tablespoon of blackening spice on each.
  3. Spread blackening powder around until the side is covered.  If it’s too much for your taste scrape some off or don’t put as much on.

    (Note: the cooking goes fast so have the rest of your spice at your side)

  4. Place the halibut spice side down in the pan for 90 seconds.
  5. Cover the exposed side with the remaining spice.  This will be hard: it’s hot.
  6. Flip it and cook on the other side for 60 to 90 seconds.  When the side of the fish is totally opaque you know it’s done.

-Roasted Veggies-

I combine a roasted cod recipe with a friend’s recipe to make this one.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Red Potatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium Sweet Potato, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 a medium Sweet Onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dill
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Chop up all your veggies.  I like to quarter the potatoes and then chop to get a nice bite size.
  4. Combine all your veggies in a bowl and add spices.
  5. Add olive oil and mix.
  6. Place mix on the baking sheet evenly.
  7. Bake for 35 min, tossing occasionally.
  8. Broil for 2 min.

-Beer Cheddar Jalapeno Bread-

We got this one from the awesome Aunt Laura as well!  I love it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1/3 cup Cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 cup cubed Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 12 ounces light beer, Pilsner or Pale
  • 1 jalapeño, minced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and position a rack in the center.
  2. Butter a loaf pan.
  3. Whisk together the all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cumin.
  4. Fold in the cheese.
  5. Add the beer.
  6. Stir with a rubber spatula until moistened.
  7. Add in the minced jalapeño.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  9. Bake around 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pan 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from pan and let cool on rack for 15 min.

Whole Grain Banana Blueberry Muffins

Posted by: Jessica  :  Category: Recipes, Uncategorized

With a large carton of blueberries in hand, I set out to find a nutritious yet delicious muffin recipe.  Alas, none that I came across quite fit the bill.  So I took the parts I liked from several, tweaked things here and there, and through the course of several batches over the past month have come up with, what I feel to be, a DELICIOUS yet healthy, low-fat, whole grain muffin recipe.  Don’t let the list of ingredients intimidate you — you can simplify the recipe by using 2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour.  You can omit the nuts or substitute your favorite… the recipe is also great with chocolate chips.  Enjoy, and I look forward to hearing how you like it and what modifications you make!

Ingredients:
1 cup mashed banana
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup applesauce (I prefer homemade unsweetened)
1/3 cup brown sugar (can substitute maple syrup, honey, or sugar substitute)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. fresh lemon zest
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup flax meal (I prefer fresh ground flax seeds)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. coriander
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven (425 degrees for mini-muffins, 375 for regular, 325 for jumbo).
2. Prepare muffin tins (I prefer to use butter to give a crispy outside; you can also use cooking spray or liners. If you use liners, be sure to spray them with cooking spray first).
3. Using a whisk, mix together the banana, eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and zest until combined. Mixture will be lumpy.
4. Sift in the flour, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and coriander. Measure in the oats, oat bran, and wheat germ, and stir until dry ingredients are incorporated.
5. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. flour over the damp blueberries and lightly shake or tumble the berries until all are coated (this helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins).
6. Fold the blueberries and the almonds into the batter.
7. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling the cups to near the top edge.
8. Bake for 12 minutes (mini-muffins), 18-20 minutes (regular size) or 26 minutes (jumbo).
9. Allow muffins to cool in tin for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
10. Store in a Ziploc bag or tightly sealed container. Refrigerate for longer shelf life or freeze for an anytime snack!

Cajun Calamari Caesar Salad

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

Cajun spice?  Good.  Calamari?  Good.  Caesar dressing?  Good.  Candied Pecans?  Good.  Put it all together and you get something amazing!  I first had something like this at Budd Bay Cafe in Olympia, WA.  It was crazy good; so good in fact, I never get anything else.  When I saw that Olympia Seafood Co‘s special this week was Calamari, I knew what I was going to try to make!

I absolutely love calamari and I’ve never tried to work with it on my own.  I was very excited to try.  It can be tricky to work with.  Cook it too much and it’ll get chewy.  I don’t use a deep fryer, just a tall pan, I think that helps with something like this.  You get a bit better control of your temperature.  It’s also useful to have two sets of hands in the kitchen (though not required).  One to bread, one to watch as it fries.  You could always prep everything ahead of time and then fry if you don’t have the option of a second set of hands.

Not only did Olympia Seafood Co have a great price, they also had “calamari fries.”  Basically it was just calamari steaks cut into strips that looked like fries.  I thought they were neat, so I grabbed some of them to go along with the normal rounds.  We came up with our own breading mixture/technique but we just utilized an internet search for how to make the dressing/candy the pecans.

Jess took on the dressing and pecans.  I took on the calamari.  Seriously, make this one some time.  You won’t regret it.  The flavor combination is just fantastic.

Cajun Calamari Caesar Salad

-Caesar Dressing-
(Note – Make this a day or two ahead of time.  I’ve also linked to the mayonnaise recipe Jess used.  Do yourself a favor and make it from scratch too, it tastes 100% better that way!)

Jess looked around and came across this recipe, she liked it the best – Big John’s Killer Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Anchovy paste
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Parsley, freeze-dried and crushed

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl
  2. Whisk for 1 minute
  3. Cover and refrigerate over night

-Candied Pecans-
(Note: these are easy to burn, so be careful!  They are also addictive!)

Again, Jess looked around and decided on this recipe – MAG’s Extra Special Extra Delicious Candied Pecans.  She made a few modifications, marked below with an asterisk.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cold Water
  • 1 egg White
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup*
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar*
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper*
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 lb halves Pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 225
  2. Mix water, maple syrup, and egg white and whisk together
  3. Mix with pecans
  4. Mix together sugars, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt
  5. Mix with pecans
  6. Spread on cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 45 minutes at 225 stirring occasionally
  8. Increase temp to 275 and continue baking for 15 minutes
  9. Let them cool

If you make a partial batch, make sure to decrease the baking time.

-Cajun Calamari-
(Note: amounts here are for 1 pound of calamari.  I have a fantastic recipe for Cajun spices.  I’ll put it up here when I post about Jambalaya some day!  If you want it early, get in touch with me and I’ll do my best to get it to you.)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of Calamari
  • 1/2 cup Corn Starch
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 large spoons of Cajun Spices (a bit more than 1 tablespoon each)
  • Oil for frying

Directions

  1. Fill a high wall frying pan with around three to four inches of oil and start heating to around 350 degrees
  2. Prep calamari by cutting into rounds (if needed) and rinse
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix
  4. Mix egg and milk in another bowl
  5. Dip calamari into the egg/milk mixture, coat with breading mix, place in oil and fry for up to 60 seconds
  6. Pull them out with a slotted or mesh spoon and place onto paper towels, allow them to drain

-Salad-
(Note: Don’t just go buy some made up bag, this is the easy part!)

Ingredients

  • Caesar Dressing
  • Candied Pecans
  • Cajun Calamari
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 head Romaine, rinsed and ripped up

Directions

  1. Place all in a bowl and mix to your hearts content!
  2. Alternatively, set it all out in bowls and make people put it together on their own–this is my preferred choice so that people can make it to their liking, I prefer to be lighter on the dressing than most.

That’s it!  Lots of moving parts on this one but it’s OH-so worth it!

Seafood Gumbo

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

A few months back I was at a Certified Ethical Hacker boot-camp at TLG Learning in Bellevue, WA. My instructor was a rather quirky (in a good way!) individual by the name of Skip Alfonso. We ended up building a pretty good rapport over the week long class and he gave me his Grandma’s recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. I’ve been looking for a reason to make it ever since.

This week, Olympia Seafood Co. in Olympia, WA (my favorite place to go get fresh seafood) had a crazy-good sale on a seafood Paella pack. I didn’t use it for their dish (obviously!) but it all worked out quite well. They sell you a pack of shrimp, clams, cod, calamari and scallops. I saw that and instantly remembered Skip’s Grandma’s Gumbo recipe. This was one of the occasions when I throw caution to the wind and just start doing whatever sounds good from the get-go!

I also utilized Andouille Sausage from a place in Olympia called Western Meat’s. I’d normally get this from Johnson’s Smoke House or Stewart’s Meat; however, I was lazy and Western Meat’s is quite tasty and closer to work.

I won’t post Skip’s Grandma’s recipe here but I’ll go ahead and put my bastardized version up!

Seafood Gumbo

(Note: I utilized a crock pot for this recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Oil, (non-flavored)
  • 1/2 cup Unbleached Flour
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 ribs Celery, chopped
  • 2 – 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts Chicken stock (I use low sodium, you could also use Veggie or Mushroom stock)
  • 1 Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoons Creole/Cajun/Jambalaya seasoning, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1.25 pounds of seafood (I used Shrimp, Clams, Cod, Calamari and Scallops)
  • 1 pound Andouille Sausage, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 bunch Green Onions, tops only, chopped
  • 1/2 lb of okra (100% required for real gumbo)
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Filé powder to taste
  • Salt and Black Pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • 1/3 cup Sea Salt and a few pinches of corn meal, to prep the clams

Directions

  1. Place the clams into a bowl of water with salt and corn meal (the ratio I use is around 32 oz of water to 1/3 cup sea salt and a few pinches of corn meal). This will get the clams to spit out anything they still have in them.
  2. Chop up all the veggies as described with exception of the okra and green onions.
  3. Brown the sausage, pour off fat and reserve meat.
  4. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium heat stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a milk chocolate color. This will take around 20 minutes. Don’t Burn the roux!
  5. Add the vegetables and stir quickly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.
  6. Place the mixture in the crock pot and add the stock, seasonings, sausage and all the seafood (with exception of the clams and scallops). Heat on high with the lid off for a bit (maybe an hour or so). This will let some of the liquid cook out and give you a thicker soup. Once you put the lid back on, turn it to low.
  7. About twenty or twenty-five minutes before you’re ready to eat, steam (I do it in a rice cooker; however, you can do it any way you want) the clams and remove them from their shells.
  8. About fifteen minutes before you’re ready to eat, chop the okra into half inch rounds (getting rid of the tops), chop up the green onion and add them, along with the scallops and clams to the crock pot and cook for around 10 min.
  9. Remove the bay leaf if you can find it.
  10. Serve in a bowl over rice and with some tasty bread on the side.

It comes out pretty tasty overall! Next time I make this, I’m going to add more of my Cajun/Jambalaya spice mix. The amount I listed (and added) didn’t really add as much flavor as I would have liked.

Chorizo Stew

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

Last summer Jess and I participated in a CSA from Helsing Farm out of Rochester, WA.  It was a great experience.  Not only do you get to support a local farm and get fresh, in season, items, you also end up trying a large number of things you might have never picked up on your own!

One of the things we needed up getting  a fair amount of was cabbage.  Cabbage is something that neither of us are huge fans of; however, we needed to find a use for it since it came in the CSA!  To the Internet (what we did before it existed I have no idea)!  Mind you, the CSA gives you recipes too to use everything that comes in the box, and please, try them as they’re pretty good!  But considering it’s Jess and I, we needed to look all over the place to get ideas!

Jess came across a recipe for Chorizo Stew.  Not only were we wanting to find a way to use the cabbage, we also wanted to do more crock pot cooking, so this was a win-win (nothing is better than coming home from a long day at work and having hot food there waiting for you).  I love this stuff.  I love any Hispanic food really, but this is some serious deliciousness.  The recipe below is modded a bit to my style (E.G. spicier).  Also note the Chorizo Sausage recipe posted earlier, it’s the best thing you can do for this recipe beyond making your own Hominy.  At some point, I might post how to do that as well!

Chorizo Stew

(Remember this is a crock pot recipe, so go dust it off and get ready!)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Beef Stock (I use low sodium–you could also use veggie/chicken/mushroom)
  • 2 cups Cabbage, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans Hominy, drained
  • 2 – 6 (combo) of Jalapeno and Serrano Chili Peppers, minced
  • 1 cup Mayan Onion (or just Yellow Sweet), minced
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Roasted Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup roasted Red Peppers, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb fresh Chorizo Sausage (if you bought it in a casing, remove it)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • –OPTIONAL– chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • –OPTIONAL– sour cream, for garnish
  • –OPTIONAL– Pepper Jack cheese, shredded, for garnish (but c’mon, it’s cheese, you know you want it on there!)

Directions

  1. Turn the crock pot to high and add the stock (whatever type you choose!).
  2. Add the cabbage, hominy, chiles, onion, celery, garlic, bell pepper, and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Over a high temperature in a skillet, saute the chorizo sausage until browned.
  4. Add cooked chorizo to the crock pot.
  5. Simmer on high for 3 to 4 hours.
  6. Serve it up!  I put the garnish on the table along with salt and pepper for anyone to add what they want.  I don’t put much salt in my foods–just not my thing!

Serve it with fresh tortillas or corn bread.  Either works great!  It is a bit soupy so if you’re not a huge tortilla fan, you’re better off with corn bread.  You could always throw it over Mexican/Spanish rice as well.

Chorizo

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

In this case Mexican Chorizo! It’s delicious stuff and pretty easy to make.  It goes great in eggs, as little sausage patties, in Chorizo Stew and many, many other things (basically substitute any other sausage dish for it and you’ll have an instant Hispanic flair)!

Jess and I looked around the web a bit and came across this recipe:
http://www.food.com/recipe/chorizo-sausage-102566

This is what I based my first attempt on.  As with any recipe, the first time I try it, I stick pretty close to it to get an idea of the taste.  After that, I start to get more adventurous.  Really, the only mod I made this go-round was making it spicier (below is the recipe’s level of spice, not mine) and grinding my own pork.  I wanted to be able to dictate the fat content and choose my own cut, in this case a Boston Butt that I got from Western Meat’s in Olympia, WA.  Below you see some that has been cooked for Chorizo Stew.

Chorizo Cooked

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of Boston Butt (Top half of a Pork Shoulder)
  • 3 large dried New Mexico chilies
  • 4 small dried Chili de Arbol
  • 1/4 cup boiling or near Water
  • 8 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry Oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Tequila
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons Salt

Directions

  1. Break the larger chilies into 2 – 3 pieces discarding the tops, put them and the smaller chilies (also discard the tops) into a bowl.
  2. Pour the boiling/near boiling water over them and let them sit while you grind the pork/blend the spices.
  3. Remove the bone from the Pork (if it exists) and cut into 1/2 inch strips (or whatever your food grinder can safely grind).
  4. Grind the pork strips on a larger setting.
  5. Place the re-hydrated chilies together with the liquid into a food processor (if you have a high powered blender, you could use that as well).
  6. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, black pepper, sugar, vinegar, tequila, and salt, and process until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Combine the Pork and the spice blend together and mix thoroughly.
  8. OPTIONAL – Run through the grinder again if you want to try to meld everything together even more–I did not and it was fantastic.
  9. Place the mixture into a bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a few days to really meld together.

That’s it!  Make it into patties and cook/freeze or just freeze.  Put it into castings, smoke it, freeze into sections for future dishes, whatever you want!  It’s seriously is fantastic stuff.

Chili Verde

Posted by: Alex  :  Category: Recipes

When people come down I don’t force them to eat only my experiments!  I’ll make them something safe too!  The one thing that I’ll look for any excuse to make is meat soup, I mean, Chili Verde–my co-worker, Tuyen, affectionately calls it MEAT SOUP for good reason.

It takes time.  You have to plan ahead.  However, it’s not hard and the payoff well worth it.  Make it next weekend and thank me later!  I really cannot express how much I love it.

I got this specific one from my Aunt Laura (Jess’s aunt) and it’s fantastic!
Chili Verde

Meat:

  • 4 lbs of pork boneless country ribs (don’t go too lean on this one)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Sauce:

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 – 5 Serrano chilies (depending on your heat level)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 2 – 3 lbs tomatillos, husked, washed, halved
  • 1/4 of a large onion (I often use a Mayan sweet or Walla Walla sweet)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 9 sprigs fresh cilantro

Directions:

-Meat-

  1. Cut the pork into  cubes around 1 to 2 inches in size
  2. Throw everything into a large pot
  3. Add just enough water to cover the meat
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally
  5. Simmer uncovered until the meat starts to fry in its own fat–this will take around 2.5 – 3 hours give or take.
  6. If it gets done before your sauce is ready, take it off heat.

-Sauce-
Note: I start the sauce around 20 – 25 min before the meat is ready

  1. Stem the chilies
  2. Add the garlic, chilies and water to a large saucepan, bring to a boil
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes
  4. Add the tomatillos, onion and salt.  Bring back to simmer and let it go for 10 minutes
  5. Pull out two cups of the liquid and set aside, drain off the rest
  6. Put the cooked tomatillo mixture into a blender or food processor (you might need to do it in two batches) with the fresh cilantro and puree

-Bring it together-

  1. When the meat is ready add the sauce and the two cups of liquid to the meat.  Bring to a simmer
  2. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

Serve it with (fresh if you can!) corn tortillas or corn meal muffins and ENJOY!  I _love_ this dish.