Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fresh Fish!

Fresh salmon is my favorite and can be done in such a variety of ways to please anyone.
I pan seared this in clarified butter with chopped fresh herbs the put it on a bed of French beans and tomatoes. A light drizzle of avacado oil to finish paired nice with the dish.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

California in a tortilla

Fish tacos are something special here, you mess this up and your done. They are so simple yet the varaitions around here are awesome.
These are my favorite because they have great heat from the habanero peppers and the avocado mousse adds a nice cool flavor.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Les gusta esto caliente (some like it hot)

Cochinita Pibil

My girlfriend and I discovered this dish in London of all places at a Mexican restaurant focusing on southern Yucatan style dishes. We absolutely fell in love the first time, and I have attempted it several times at home at my girlfriends request. This by far was the best turn out and the spiciest! 

Technically, Cochinita Pibil means "buried baby pig" and is supposed to be a whole suckling pig marinaded and wrapped in banana leaf then cooked in the ground on hot coals and buried for several hours to slow cook. 
I do not have that kind of time or dedication yet, so I chose the easier alternative using my oven.

The marinade consists of fresh orange juice, cider vinegar, oil, cumin, garlic, bunch of fresh oregano, achiote paste (annatto), and onion all blended up til smooth. I used 2/3 of the marinade to cover the pork in a bag in the fridge overnight.
I used a bone in pork shoulder to impart more flavor, then near the end I removed the bone and added the remaining marinade I saved. It was cooked on a bed of onion, butter, and some fresh cut habaneros for some heat.

For my sides I prepared some regular black beans with cumin, salt and pepper, and topped with cotija cheese. A white rice with cilantro and lime juice, fresh slices of avocados and habaneros, and my own pickled red onions to compliment the pork. 

This was amazing, and very spicy especially with the habaneros. I had plenty left over to make tacos the next night, and you could even put some in a Hawaiian roll for a lunch to go. One day I will attempt the traditional Mayan style of cooking this, but until then this definitely suffices.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Branching out and trying new things

Pan seared tilapia with a lemon caper sauce, rosemary baked potatoes, and butter braised Belgian endives.

I love experimenting and trying new things, and I saw some delicious looking Belgian endives at the store that I really wanted to try so I bought them not knowing how they tasted or what I was going to do with them. I did a bit of research, and based on what else I had bought for this dish I decided on braising them in butter along with some wine and seasoning. Got a nice sear on them first before finishing them with the wine and they tasted great!

We love tilapia because it is a light tasting fish that pairs nice with just about any sauce you come up with for it. I lightly coated it in seasoned flour and seared it in veg oil for a couple minutes a side; tilapia is a small thin filet that cooks quickly. I then de-glazed the pan with a dry white wine, dash of minced garlic and shallots, then butter and capers to bind and finish. At the very end I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice then poured the sauce generously over the fish. My first buerre blanc came out nicely I think and tasted great with the fish and endives.

Rounded out the meal with some fresh steamed broccoli florets along with some diced potatoes baked in olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Delicious meal and a great learning experience in timing...damn potatoes. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day Surprise

Chocolate covered strawberries

This mothers day I decided to try something new and challenge myself with a dessert. I know its just chocolate covered strawberries, but for me this is way out of my comfort zone and experience.
I melted the different chocolates and began the long process of trying to make these look pretty for mom. I used lots of almonds because she loves them so much, and they pair very nicely with the white chocolate.
I was happy with the way these turned out and mom was very happy with the taste.
Happy Mothers day to all the moms out there!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Messy but still tasty

Sea Scallops with a cilantro lime gremolata

Scallops are one of my absolute favorite shell fish. They seem easy to cook, but looks are deceiving and its very easy to over cook scallops.
I decided on a cilantro and lime gremolata because I like the combination of the savory scallops with the acidic bite from the lime juice and zest.
This was also my first time doing a parsnip puree using fresh Thyme, cream, and garlic. It was a bit sweeter than I expected but still great. I added a bit too much cream so it was not as stiff as I would have liked, but never the less a great learning experience.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Taco Tuesdays

Any excuse for Mexican food

We can't get enough of it so we're always looking forward to taco Tuesday. This week I waned to try something new so I decided to do barbacoa beef.
It was fun to experiment with the spices but while still keeping a traditional barbacoa recipe, though I like my stuff spicy so I added a bit more chilis. I thought it was quite a success for a first attempt, and I was surprised how nice and tender the beef came out. It was plenty to make several tacos as well as taquitos, and I just added our favorite toppings of cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes  and cotija cheese.
Don't forget the guacamole! Goes so great with these, and a nice hot sauce is a great accompaniment as well.