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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jambalaya Curry Style, but without the Curry...

The seasons are changing and the evidence is everywhere.  Jackets--not "The Mt.Vernon High Jackets" but the ones that shelter you from the wind--have resurfaced.  The days are getting shorter and flip flops are migrating to the closet. 

The end of summer also marks the beginning of flu season, and it's likely common cold will visit you or someone close within the next few months. But being sick does have benefits. Look at it this way, the summer is going, so you might as well let it take that beach body with it.  Let's feed the cold, drown it in comfort food.  Sometimes that pesky cold can dull the taste buds so we are upping the flavor battle.  Jambalaya to the rescue my friends.  Yum yum yum.

What will y'all need?
Chicken - thighs on this day cut into 1 inch cubes
Andouille sausage- 2 links precooked works great
Shrimp - 10 or so
rice - 1 to 2 cups
Celery - 2 stalks
Onion - chopped
Green Pepper - chopped
chicken broth
Crushed red pepper
smoked paprika
olive oil
salt and pepper
Green onion - garnish
Bread - rolls work well

Put chopped chicken in a large zip lock type bag and add the spice mixture (salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper and paprika).  Place in the fridge for an hour or more.  Heat oil in large pan (med high) and cook the chicken cubes.

Remove the chicken and place on paper towels.  Add onion, celery, green pepper and garlic sweat for 7 -10 mins.   Add chicken, andouille, broth and rice.  I usually precook the rice to reduce the cooking time.   Increase the heat and bring to a boil for a few mins.  Reduce heat to low cover and cook for 20 - 30 mins. Occasionally stir and add additional broth as needed.  Add shrimp for the final 5 mins by now your house should be smelling real nice.

 And that there is jambalaya Curry style!  Scoop in a bowl top with sliced green onion and eat that cold away. 

BTW also really nice if you don't have a cold.  Eat - Drink - Love.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roasted Poblano and "Sweetness" Corn Soup

It is football season, which in our world means it's getting colder.  You can do one of two things...  Bitch about how winter is right around the corner or you can embrace the positives!  This includes but is not limited to: sweatshirts, football, basketball, good TV and FOOD. 

Where does one begin with all the winter fare options?  We will start with SOUP. In particular, the roasted poblano and "sweetness" corn soup.  The "sweetness" (shout out here to Walter Payton) corn only comes around once a year and how amazing it is.  My wonderful wifey sent me a message the other day about this soup she had for lunch.  It was a poblano and corn soup and, Mr. Downtown Chitown Soup Dude, she said my version was mucho bettero!  Yeah, it takes a little time, but overall it's SO EASY.  

What will one need:
poblano peppers - 8 or so
sweet corn - 6 ears or so
one big onion - white was used
milk - 1 cup
chicken broth - 1 cup
salt and pepper
blender - immersion (hand held type)-- you really should have one!!!!
sour cream - for garnish

First, you need to roast the peppers and corn.  I use the grill for this and do it the night before.  Wash the peppers and dry.  Strip the corn and place both on a hot grill.  Keep an eye on them and turn when you have a nice char.  For those who like pictures, here is what we want:

After they are cool, trim off the corn and peel the skin off the peppers.  This should be fairly easy--don't forget to discard the stems and seeds.  If you can get to this stage, you are almost done!  Melt some butter in a large soup pan and sweat some chopped onion and garlic over medium heat.  Toss the peppers and half the corn in and continue to cook for a few (maybe 5) minutes.  I usually add salt, pepper and cumin at this point.  Pour in your milk and chicken broth, stirring until heated.  If all you have is a traditional blender, move the hot soup from the pan to the blender.  That's a pain in the butt and very time consuming.  The handheld allows you to blend while hot right there in the pan to your exact liking.  We got one for Xmas last year and I don't know what I would do without it.  Once you get it to the texture you like, add remaining corn, taste and season accordingly. 

A dollop of sour cream never hurts!  It's a good idea to have some bread on hand for dipping.  Look, this really is easy. Make this soup, you will thank me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tacos with Fish in Them and "Picodaguyo" Topping

I remember when Taco Bell first moved to our town...  Pre intown TB it was nearly impossible to score some real deal Mexican food in our neck of the woods (Amish country). The first time I tasted that hot greasy, cheesy mess, it was love at first crunchy taco! Then they opened a spot in my town and we had a wonderful relationship for the next decade or so.  This day finds me almost completely weened off the Bell, I rarely make a run for the border. 

Now I enjoy making my own Mexican fare.  Around my house, we call it taking a trip to Erico!  On this trip we will be enjoy fish tacos topped with fresh picodaguyo (or pico de gallo for those of you who don't understand the language here in Erico).

Here is what we use:
Onion (red or white) - chopped
some tomatoes - deseeded and chopped
jalapeno - deseeded and chopped
lime - squeezed
cilantro - chopped
green onion - sliced
touch of salt and pepper

After your knife work is done, toss everything in a bowl and cover for a bit.  Let everything come together like hippie folk at a phish show.

Now onto what fueled this post.  Da fish tacos.  I have to sprinkle some sort of Chicago Bear reference in here as tomorrow is their first game of the season.  What one will need for these:

fish - we like cod - cut into one inch cubes
flour seasoned with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper
canola oil

I like to set up an assembly line so once we get started we can keep on rolling. 

Get the oil hot, dredge the fish in the flour mix and give them a nice light fry.

When the fish is done I let them rest on some paper towels.  They will soak up some of the oil keeping the fish nice and crispy.  Next, heat your tortillas.  You can place them in the microwave which works or you could heat them over a flame (grill or gas range) which I suggest you try! 

Now it's time to put these tacos together. 

That there is an authentic fish taco one could find in the country of Erico.