sábado, 28 de mayo de 2011

Anaheim and Serrano Marmalades

Recipes like this are the reason I named my blog "Shut up and eat". I live in a home with very simple tastes. So simple, in fact, my parents could live their entire lives on picadillo and refried beans and generally refrain from venturing further. My brother won't eat peanuts, coconut, mustard, celery, soup during the summer or pineapple on his pizza (just to name a few of his psychotic nutritional taboos). My sister won't touch anything that came from the sea... cooking for my family feels like balancing the needs of 5 different religions at once.

So every once in a while I tried something adventurous, like say, teriyaki sauce on my chicken, and everyone would just start crying blood, puking pea soup and spinning their heads, speaking in tongues. I simply stopped explaining what I was cooking altogether and just told them to STFU and eat.

It's been a long journey, but we're gradually getting to a point where we can all eat the same meal at the same time.

Today's recipe started with this

Lower left: Anaheim/New Mexico chiles / Upper right: Serranos
It's not uncommon in Mexico for this to happen. No, gringos, chiles don't just burst through the sidewalk (altough, how cool would THAT be?!). Sometimes you get gifts like these, specially around the holidays. Boxes filled with fruits and vegetables make perfect greeting cards.

So I roasted and packed most, pickled some, ate a few fresh, but I was still left with an excess of peppers. Then it hit me: They're fruits... berries, to be precise. And there's all sorts of crap in the market that involve fruits and chiles, so why not make my own?

Very well.... We're making 2 separate marmalades here. One Anaheim, one Serrano.

You'll start with the 8 largest anaheim peppers you can find. It's important that they're as straight and smooth as possible to ease the roasting. You can fire-roast them, oven-roast them or, as I did here, dry-roast them on a griddle. Just make sure to flip them frecuently so you don't burn through the flesh.


Look at these beautiful MoFos
While the other peppers roast, grab some serranos and seed and devein theim. Don't be a pussy, don't wear gloves. They should ammount to 1 cup of chiles. I advice that you keep 1 or 2 whole so you can adjust the heat easily.


Next, you'll need to shock your roasted peppers to ease and speed the peeling. Just dunk them in a bowl filled with ice watter and wait a few minutes.
Once cold, the skin shold come off quickly and easily
After you peel them, stem them and seed them carefully. you can freeze them like this for up to 6 months.
 

Now peel and core 4 apples, two for the anaheim peppes, and two for the serranos. Keep the peels and cores, that's where most of the pectin is, and you'll need it to gelify the marmalade. Place the apples and the anaheim peppers in the blender, along with 1/12 cups of sugar and 2 cups water.
Lid removed for photographic drmatism, don't be a dork
As for the serrano pepper jelly, blend the chiles, apples, 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar. Now place both liquids in their respective pots, add the apple peels and cores and boil away on moderate heat until they're reduced by roughly 1/3. This can take up to 40 minutes. Stir every once in a while to avoid sticking.


Once the liquid is reduced, strain the apple cores and peels out and keep reducing until you get a jelly-like consistency, about another 30 minutes.
Place them in sterilized jars. They should keep in the refrigerator for about 3 months, if they last that long. Alternatively, pasteurizing the marmalades in the jars and sealing them will give you a 1 year shelf life unrefrigerated. You can smother them on porkchops for lunch, or try them with butter on toast. Our take was cream cheese and marmalade on a toasted baguette.
Or chevre...
I apologize for the off color in these pics, It was late and I was half drunk
 

But it's kalolo aproved, so you know it's good
I mean, so far, none of them have died!



lunes, 23 de mayo de 2011

Beer Can Chicken

I realize that Beer Can Chicken has been around since the invention of the beer can. This is, in absolutely no way, an innovative recipe. Still, it's amazing that so many people outside the food blogging community have never tried it. Sure, everybody's seen pictures of it, some may have stumbled upon a cookbook devoted to it, but not one of my friends had tried it until a few nights ago. It's a shame, really, because this is probably the best way to cook a chicken on a grill; not only because of the awesome flavor, but because it demands the drinking of beer and it's as fun to make as it is to watch.

This is my own recipe, altough you can pretty much season it with whatever you like.

You start with 2 4lb whole chickens, rinsed and patted dry. It's important to not go above 4 lbs, as the chicken might be too big to fit your grill or, if it does fit, will take for ever to cook and most likely not cook evenly.




While some people go by Chef Jacques Pepin's dogma of never rinsing a chicken, I beg to differ. While it IS true that most bacteria will die with the heat, some produce thermo-stable enterotoxins that might not be destroyed with cooking, specially if you cook chicken on indirect heat. Also, some liquid from the bird might taste a little off if it's been sitting in the supermarket fridge for to long, and heating it will only accentuate it.


After you pat dry your chickens, make sure to air dry them throughly with a blow dryer. This will ease the crisping of the skin and also give your friends something to do so they leave you to your drinking. 



Once your chickens are bone-dry, place half an onion inside the big cavity (You can put half a lemon inside the neck cavit and cover it with the loose skin flap if you want). This will seal the steam from the beer can inside the chicken and allow the internal temperature to rise to face-melting levels. While you're at it, rub some olive oil on your chickens.



Next, drink half the beer in every can and place about 10 garlic cloves inside each one.
Carefully lower the chicken on the can, inserting it in the cavity. The can, the chicken's ass and its legs should make a stable stand. 






Chicken corpse defiling not compulsory, but highly recommended
Now make a rub. Chicken is a blank canvas, so anything will do. My chicken rub consists of 1/2 cup kosher salt, 2 tbsp Paprika, 2 tbsp chile powder, 2 tbsp ground black pepper and 1 tbsb cumin. This should be enough for 2 whole 4 pounders. Cover them well and let'em sit for a few minutes.


Now, some "BCC purists" (they are real, I swear) will lynch me for not using indirect heat, but I've found that a Gourmet Magazine-worthy brown skin does not, in any way, make up for the 2 hour cooking time. If you don't mind a little charring on your chicken's ass, proceed as directed here.



Carefully place your chickens on the grill, facing each other. Keeping the breasts close will prevent them from drying up too fast. Your coals should be white-hot right now. Cover your chickens with a big-ass pot to conceal the heat and the smoke and forget about'em for 20 minutes.





Since we're cooking on direct heat here, there's no dripping pan underneath the chicken. The fat will melt and drip on the coals, sometimes igniting a flame. I just squirt some water on the coals from time to time to keep'em down.

Make basting sauce with equal parts soy sauce and honey, and drizzle over your chicken on the 20 minute mark. Cover again and leave them be for another 20 minutes



Repeat and wait 5 more minutes.




At this point, prick the thickest part of the thigh with a knife, the juices should run clear. Take the birds off the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes before carving. This will makle the temperature uniform and allow more juices to remain in the chicken.






Also, don't forget t here's a f***ing beer can up your chicken's ass
 EAT!







Se ha producido un error en este gadget.