Saturday, February 9, 2013

Caldo de Mariscos... Seafood Soup

Caldo de Mariscos
Seafood Soup
Forget tacos and burritos, this is some of the best from the Mexican table.  If you like seafood, you’ll love this refreshing soup!  If you have access to fresh seafood, by all means add clams, oysters, mussels, lobster, squid or whatever is fresh! 

6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3-cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/8-teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
1/2-teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 quarts fish stock
2 dozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds red snapper, or sea Bass, cut into chunks
8 large crab claws
Key lime wedges for garnish
Jalapeno strips for garnish

Puree the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil and add the tomato mixture. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring often. Add the oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and fish stock and bring to a boil over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, fish, and crab claws and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh key lime wedges and strips of jalapeno on the side.
Serves 8

Poblano Irish Stew and Irish Coffee

Okay I have to admit that my efforts to petition heaven to stop all this cold weather nonsense is not working.  Upon waking this morning the ground was wet and the air was cold.  If I wanted to live like this I would have grown up in Wyoming or some other God forsaken land where trout and grizzlies live.  So I'm giving in and making Poblano Irish Stew with Irish Coffee.  It's not the brisk 105 degrees that I find comforting but It will due!

Poblano Irish Stew
The combination of roasted poblano chiles and fresh thyme really ties this amazing dish together.

3 Lbs. stew meat, cut into 3/4" cubes
1 Lb. lamb, cut into ¾ inch cubes
3 cloves Garlic
1 White onion cut into 1/2" cubes
Oil for cooking
8 cups Beef broth
1 cup red wine
2-1/2 Lbs. New potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes and rinsed
3-4 medium carrots cut into ½ inch rounds
4 stalks of celery, cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 Poblano chiles, grill-roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped
3 Tbl. Flour
3 Tbl.  Cold water
2 Tbl Butter
1 Tbl. Fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat in a heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Add the onions and garlic, sauté until soft.  Deglaze the pot with the beef broth and wine. Add the potatoes, Carrots, celery and roasted chiles.  Simmer over low heat, for three hours or more, until beef is tender.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour and water until it forms a smooth paste.  Add a few cups of the hot broth from the stew and whisk together until smooth.  Add back into the stew and stir well.  Raise heat to a low boil and stir well.  Immediately return heat to low and stir in butter and thyme.  Season to taste.  Serve in big soup bowls with fresh bread.
Serves 8
When I say whiskey I'm talking about Bushmills Irish Whiskey, no not the black bottle, not the green bottle .  I drink what my Irish grandmother Margret Rose drank, the regular bottle of Bushmills!
Irish Coffee
Just the thing for a cold winter night

1 pot Fresh brewed coffee (not flavored)
Old Bushmill's Irish Whiskey
Fresh whipped cream
Fresh cream

Pour 1OZ of whiskey into a large coffee mug. Add coffee, and a little cream, if you like. A teaspoon of sugar is added to take the edge off the whiskey. Top with whipped cream.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sonoran Osso Bucco with Ancho Chile Sauce

Sonoran Osso Bucco
I first made this wonderful dish for ABC 15's The Sonoran Grill, back when I was cooking on TV here in the beautiful Sonoran desert.  It's the best of comfort foods with that amazing "southwestern twist!"
Plantains give this dish a nice mildly sweet background flavor.

2 beef or 4 veal shanks cut 1 inch thick
flour with salt and pepper for dredging
2 Tbl corn oil
4 medium carrots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
6 oz tomato paste
1 ripe plantain, peeled and diced
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups of ancho chile sauce or canned enchilada sauce * 
salt and pepper to taste
1 large banana leaf
Dredge the beef or veal in the flour and brown in hot oil in a heavy skillet.  Remove the beef or veal and set aside.  Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the hot skillet and brown.  Add the tomato paste and stir in, then fry until paste starts to brown.  Deglaze with wine and then add chicken broth.  Add the beef and ancho chile sauce.  Bring to a simmer.  Place in a heavy Dutch oven or slow cooker lined with banana leaves.  Cover and place in 350°f oven for 3 to 4 hours or until beef is fork tender.  If using a slow cooker cook all day.  If needed add more chicken broth. 
Serve with fresh, hot corn tortillas, chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, lime wedges and fresh salsa.

Ancho Chile Sauce
Great with enchiladas or Huevos Rancheros
10 to 12 dried chiles Anchos
4 cups consomé de pollo or chicken broth
2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Toast the chiles on a hot, dry comal or griddle, until soft and pliable. Remove chiles from comal and allow to cool a little. Remove and discard the stems and seeds. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into a blender, 1/2 cup at a time, and purée. (Be careful; hot liquids expand in a blender and can spill out the top and burn you.)
work the sauce through a sieve into a bowl, mashing with rubber spatula, until only the chile solids are left in the sieve. Discard solids. If sauce is too thin, place back in saucepan and reduce to about the consistency of a thick tomato sauce or thicken with a slurry. Serve sauce warm.
Makes about 5 cups

West Texas Slammer

West Texas Slammer
Around my house we keep the Tequila in the freezer, the bottom 1/3 of the bottle, frozen in a block of ice.  The tequila comes out of the bottle thick and viscous.  It’s so much sweeter than out of a hot cupboard.  I learned this trick while I was a guest of the Cuervo Company in Mexico.  
If you are going to make West Texas Slammers it’s best to use tequila that is as cold as you can get it…  and give someone your car keys.

1 ½ oz. Jose Cuervo Traditional tequila, ice cold
a dash of Tabasco Habanero sauce
a Splash of soda
Pour the tequila and Tabasco in a small bar glass.  Pour in a little club soda.  Put one hand over the top of the glass and then slam it down on the bar.  Then slam it down your throat while its still fizzing.  So the order is slam the slammer, then slam the slammer.  A process, which, by the way, when repeated, has landed many a Texan in the local slammer.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Salsa de Tomatillo y Aguacate Avocado Tomatillo salsa

Salsa de Tomatillo y Aguacate
Avocado Tomatillo salsa
This easy salsa is a must for flautas.  It’s also fantastic with chips or Mexican breakfast.
6 tomatillos, husked and rinsed well
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 serrano chile, stem removed
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and cubed

Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro, garlic, chile, water, and salt in a blender; purée until smooth. Add avocado and purée until smooth. Add more water if needed.  salsa should be a little thicker than tomato sauce.
Makes 3 cups

Camarones en Mojo de Ajo Shrimp Wet with Garlic

Camarones en Mojo de Ajo
Shrimp Wet with Garlic

Mexico’s version of scampi: Mmmm . . .

5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt
5 black peppercorns
2 chiles de arbol
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
In a molcajete, crush and grind the garlic and salt to a paste. Then grind in the black peppercorns and chiles de arbol. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter until it is bubbling but not browned; add the shrimp. Sauté until almost done, then add the garlic mixture. Continue cooking until the shrimp are done and the garlic has fully cooked.
Serves 4

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spicy Asian Ginger Beef Skewers

We make these so often that, years ago, my Dad made a little grill out of plate steel that was just wide enough to hold the skewers.  This recipe also works well with pork, poultry, or shell fish!
Shown here with Pork!
Spicy Asian Ginger Beef Skewers

1 3- 4 lb. thick sirloin steak, cut into strips across the grain
1 C Soy sauce
1 12oz. bottle Asahi Black, Japanese beer
2 TBL Peanut oil
2 TBL Sesame oil
1-1/2 TBL Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 BUNCH Cilantro, chopped fine
2 TBL Brown sugar
1 TBL Chopped fresh ginger
3 Chiles, chopped fine, what ever you like Jalapeno to habanero
3 CLOVES Garlic, minced
Bamboo skewers soaked in water for 4 hours

1. Whisk soy sauce, beer, both oils, and rice vinegar together.  Pour into a large glass or non-reactive  mixing bowl, and add cilantro, ginger, chiles, garlic, and sugar.  Whisk well, add steak strips, and marinade for at least 4 hours, turning every couple of hours.  I usually marinade over night.
2. Thread meat onto skewers and grill until cooked all the way through.
3. Makes about 10 skewers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Grill Roasted Chicken Cacciatore

Grill Roasted Chicken Cacciatore

1 Whole fresh chicken, cut up

1/4 C Extra virgin olive oil
2 Medium white onions, peeled and chopped
6 CLOVES Garlic, peeled and minced
1 C Cabernet Sauvignon wine
3 C Plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 C Beef broth
1 8-OZ CAN Tomato sauce
1/4 LB Italian brown mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1/4 C Green olives, medium, pitted
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 TBL Sweet butter
1/4 C Fresh Italian parsley, minced fine
1 Bay leaf
1 TSP Rosemary leaf, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1 TBL Fresh Italian parsley

1. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until outside is well browned, but do not fully cook. In a large sauté pan, over medium high heat, heat oil.

2. Cook onions until soft; add garlic and cook a minute or two more, to release flavor into the oil. Add chicken and stir. Add wine and simmer until liquid reduces to almost nothing (Be careful not to burn).

3. Add tomatoes, 2C beef broth, tomato sauce, lemon juice, butter, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for at least 45 minutes, and then add mushrooms, and olives. Simmer for 10 minutes more. As sauce reduces, replace liquid with beef broth a little at a time. Garnish with parsley and Romano cheese.

4. Serve with boiled potatoes or orzo.

Tabouli Salad

Tabouli Salad

1 C Bulgar wheat, dry
1-1/2 C Boiling water
1-1/2 TSP Kosher salt
1/4 C Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 TBL Fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 CLOVES Garlic, finely minced
1/2 TSP Dried mint
1 C Plum tomatoes, diced
1 C English cucumber, diced
1/2 C Scallions, chopped fine
1 BUNCH Italian parsley, chopped fine
2 TSP Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Pour the Bulgar into a mixing bowl, add the salt and pour in the boiling water. Cover with plastic and let soak for 30 minutes.
2. Whisk dressing together and stir into the Bulgar. Allow flavors to blend in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
3. Carefully stir in finishing ingredients, taste and correct seasoning if needed.

The First Day a chapter from my novel Willie

            Life is hard.  My father tried to protect me from the world, but also knew that one day I would have to stand up and fight.  My life up to that point was one of swimming pools, ice cream and ponies.  I was thirteen years old and the hardest thing I had ever encountered was not being chosen for basketball or loosing at monopoly. 
            I was sitting in the living room on the big brown couch with my father watching television.  Most of my friends had paper routes and always had pocket money.  I wanted a summer job.
“Yes son”
“I was wondering if you might have some work for me?”
“Well, we could use someone picking up the wire down at the fab yard.”
            My father owned a rebar fabrication yard in South Phoenix.  Rebar is, sort of, the skeleton of a concrete building or structure.  In the office, detailers take the architectural drawings and figure out what load and stresses will be on the various components of the building.  They design a rebar frame that is engineered to meet that load.  They create a set of plans and cut sheets that list the quantities and various lengths or shapes needed to build the columns, beams or floors in the high-rises, bridges, dams, power plants or whatever is being built.  The fab yard then takes stock lengths of rebar, cuts and bends it into the required lengths and shapes.  It is then loaded onto trucks and shipped out to the construction site. 
            I remember thinking ‘how hard could that be?’
I said, “Thanks dad, that would be great!”
            “Okay Joey, get some sleep and I’ll wake you up.  We leave at four.”
            “Four!”  I had never got up that early.  “What time do they start?”
            “At five, it gets hot early”
            The next morning while we were riding to work, he gave me a little talk. 
“Joey these guys are real men, they don’t screw around.  They don’t want to be your friend; they just want to get the work done.”  He went on, “It’s been my experience that in life there’s always a whip.  It will either be in your boss’s hand or in your own head.  Trust me it’s a lot easier if you hold the whip.”
            We got out of the car, on the oil-covered dirt road, in South Phoenix’s old industrial district.  I was sticky and sweating and the sun wasn’t even up yet.  There’s a smell in that part of town, chemical, steel, iron, dirt, sweat, and the smell of years of men working on the same piece of sun-baked ground.
            A few minutes later an old truck pulled up and a short unassuming man in his mid-forties got out.  He was wearing a faded yellow cowboy shirt and had a friendly little smile on his face.
Yawning and stretching he mumbled, “Morning Joe” 
“Good morning Chuck, Joey this is Mr. Reeves.
“Good morning Mr. Reeves.”
“You can call me Chuck, Joey, It’s nice to meet you”
Then my dad asked if I had any money.  I said, “no”. 
“Well, here’s a few bucks, A truck will come around at nine and then again at noon.  The foods not too bad.  Don’t eat too much in this heat, it will make you sick.  I’ll pick you up at two.”  He knew I was a little nervous and added, “Just do what Chuck tells you… you’ll be fine!”  Then he got back in his car.  Chuck and I watched as he drove down the street to the old two-story, red brick house that served as his office.
As soon as he was out of sight, Chuck turned to me.  The kindly look on his face had disappeared.  With more anger than I had ever encountered, starring a hole right through me, he screamed, but he did so without raising his voice.
“Listen to me you little mother fucker, your daddy might have gotten you this god damn job, but he can’t keep it for you.  Where are your fuckin hand shoes?” 
“What?” I squeaked out. 
“Your hand shoes… your gloves goddamn it.  You little son of a bitch, you show up on my time without your fucking tools.  Ya know, I don’t give a rat’s ass… when your hands look like raw fucking hamburger go whine to someone else.  Are you going to stand here bullshitting all day or are you here to work?” 
I tried to answer but before I could he went on,
“I want every fuckin piece of wire in that yard in that dumpster before the end of the day.”
In the fab yard they received up to ten trucks loaded with forty thousand pounds of steel each, every day.  The bundles are tied together with rusty wire called bundle wire.  It’s as thick as a pencil, so thick I couldn’t even bend it.   All this wire is cut off the bundles and tossed into piles, after the cutting and bending the rebar is retied into smaller bundles and shipped to the job site.  Wire is the lifeblood of a steel yard.  Needless to say it would be impossible for one person, let alone a thirteen-year-old boy, to keep ahead of the piles and piles of rusty wire generated everyday. 
I had no idea what I had done to make Chuck so mad, and I didn’t want to find out. I started picking up wire as fast as I could.  The bundle wire looks like big spiders about a foot across and the tips of the legs are razor sharp.  They get all tangled together and I had too pull as hard as I could to get them free.  On the second or third bunch, as it broke loose it sliced deep into the palm of my hand.  The blood oozed, and I howled, “I’m cut, I’m cut… Chuck help, help!!!  I’m cut.”  Chuck came running over.  “Let me see… Well shit boy you aren’t hurt, what kind of a pussy are you? You aren’t fuckin lucky enough to die… Get your ass back to work!”  I was crying, scared to death and quite sure I would need stitches, when the biggest man I had ever seen walked over and handed me a brand new pair of White Mule leather work gloves. 
            He was about six two, two hundred and fifty pounds, not a drop of fat with reddish blond hair, a sunburned face and steel grey eyes.  He stuck out his huge hand and as he grabbed mine he smiled and said “Hey kid, give those a try… my names Willie!”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Grilled Lobster with Lobster Salsa and Dipping Sauce

Grilled Lobster

This recipe makes two servings.

1-1/2 LB Lobster
Melted lemon or garlic butter
White wine

1. Using a cleaver or heavy knife, split lobster in half lengthwise starting at head. Rinse tamale (liver) out of body cavity and drizzle with melted lemon butter or garlic butter.
2. Place on medium grill, split-side up, for 3-5 minutes, depending on size of lobster, and grill-heat. Splash lightly with white wine and turn meat-side down for 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook.
3. Serve immediately with Lobster Salsa or Dipping Sauce
Grilled Lobster Salsa
We use this salsa with grill-roasted lobster but it goes well with any grilled seafood!

3 large ripe Roma tomatoes cut into half-inch chunks
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut into half inch chunks
3 Serrano chiles, chopped fine
½ white onion, chopped fine
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
2 tsp. salt
4 large Haas avocados cut into 3/4-inch chunks                                               

Place the tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl and top with the salt and pepper, let macerate for 10-15 minutes.  Add all other ingredients, except avocado.  Mix well and then fold in avocado.   Cool and blend for about 1 hour before serving.
Makes 3 cups
Lobster Dipping Sauce
Serve with Grill roasted Lobster.

1/3 C Chopped white onion
2 TBL Sweet butter
1/2 C Chicken broth
1 C Heavy cream
1 C Basil leaves, firmly packed

1. Sauté the onions in the butter until soft.  Add chicken broth and reduce by 1/3.  Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add basil, then simmer while stirring for 2 minutes.
2. Remove from heat.  Puree in blender a little at a time (hot liquids expand in the blender, so be careful).   Pour into glass bowl through a fine sieve and chill.

The Stevie Ray Cocktail

Stevie Ray
I made this excellent drink in honor of the great American Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn.  They are both hard and smooth at the same time!

I made this wonderful drink for my TV show about 12years ago and used it in my first book “The Sonoran Grill” We make these for dinner parties and they are always a big hit, but there seems to be an issue… they affect your wrist.  I notice that every time they get close to my mouth my wrist seems to turn further than I wanted and the whole drink magically disappears down my throat.  So just to make sure I try another and viola gone again.  In short these are way too easy to drink.

2 OZ Silver Tequila

1/2 OZ Blue Curacao

1/2 OZ Mandarin Napoleon or Grand Mariner

Juice of 1 Key lime

Give your car keys to someone else. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain and serve in a martini glass. Repeat as needed!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pork and Shrimp Wonton with Asian Dipping Sauce or Won Ton Soup

Pork and Shrimp Wonton with Asian Dipping Sauce or Wonton Soup
Either fried or in Wonton soup these are delicious!
  Wonton Wrappers
  Egg White Mixed with a Tablespoon of Water
    Won ton Ingredients
1 LB Ground Pork
1/2 LB Medium Shrimp, peeled and chopped
1/4 C Minced Water Chestnuts
1/4 C Minced Green Onions
2 TBL Soy Sauce
1 TBL Grated Ginger
    Asian Dipping Sauce
1/3 C Rice Vinegar
1 1/2 TBL Sambal or other Asian chile sauce
3 TBL Sugar

1. Mix all wonton ingredients together.
2. Place 2 TSP of mixture in each won ton wrapper, brush edge of wrapper with egg wash and press together.  If you like, brush the pointed edges with egg wash, and fold in.
Deep Fried Wonton
1. Deep fry in 325 degree oil until golden brown.
Wonton Soup
1. Place won ton in simmering water.
2. Once the won ton float to the top keep simmering for four minutes.
3. Remove from water and place in bowl with hot chicken stock and whatever Asian vegetables you like.  (I just use a little fresh spinach.) If using firm vegetables it may be necessary to cook them in the stock for a few minutes.
Asian Dipping Sauce
1. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the sambal.  Set aside to cool.
2. Extra wonton may be frozen.
   Makes 4 Dozen

Bloody Mary Bites

Bloody Mary Bites

This recipe is a special snack only for the adults. It’s quick and easy, but it needs to sit all day—so prepare ahead!

1 pint cherry tomatoes
Vodka or Pepper vodka, to cover
Kosher or coarse salt for dipping

Peel the tomatoes by, removing the stem, cutting a small x across the bottom of the tomato, dipping them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then plunging them into ice water. The skins will come off easily. Place the peeled tomatoes in a large glass bowl. Cover with vodka and refrigerate all day. Serve with a small dish of kosher salt for dipping. Save the leftover vodka for your Bloody Marys—it tastes delicious!

Makes 6-8 Servings