Friday, September 15, 2017

Crispy Basket Burritos – For Once, Oven-Baked is Better Than Fried

I worked at a Mexican restaurant while in college, and one of my least favorite tasks was frying the flour tortilla bowls. You had to hold the two parts of the basket that formed them together while they fried, all the while getting splattered by hot fat, and breathing grease vapors. It wasn’t fun, but they did come out nice and crispy, so to everyone else involved, it was totally worth it.

Here, we’re using the oven to achieve what I consider a superior product. They’re just as beautiful, and crispy as the ones from the deep fryer, but seem to be much less greasy. Not to mention, the mess is significantly less. I’ll trade those things for a few extra minutes production time any day.

Just be careful not to burn them trying to get the inside bottom crispy. Since that area is protected from the sides, it’s not going to get as browned, but it doesn’t have to. As soon as this is filled, no one will know the difference. Speaking of filling, deciding that is probably the hardest part of this whole operation, but I’m confident you’ll come up with something worthy. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 Crispy Basket Burrito Shells (aka Tortilla Bowls, or Tostada Shells):
2 flour tortillas (about 8 inches in diameter)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
oven safe ramekin, about 4 inches in diameter

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chicken Tinga – Torn Between Two Lovers

Whenever I’m ordering something with chicken at a taqueria, I’m always presented with the same three choices. The grilled chicken, the green chicken, which is cooked in a tomatillo sauce, and the red chicken, also know as chicken tinga.

I usually forgo the grilled option, since whatever I’m ordering almost always benefits from sauce; which leaves me with the nearly impossible decision of choosing between the red and the green. I love both, so I’m always torn. By the way, in Mexican culinary lingo, tinga means, “torn.”

Anyway, now that the title makes sense, I can finish this post up by reiterating how great this came out. There are faster methods to make this, but taking the extra time to reduce the cooking liquid, as well as possibly the sauce, really pays off in the end.

The real challenge here is deciding how to use it. You can’t go wrong with tacos, but my favorite delivery system is tostados. Fry up a corn or flour tortilla nice and crisp; top with tinga, and garnish with the usual suspects. It doesn’t get any better than that…unless the tortilla is shaped into a bowl, which I’ll show you how to do quickly, and mess-free, in the next video. Until then, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 large portions:
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 cloves peeled whole garlic cloves
1 large yellow onion, halved
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can (7-oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 can (28-oz) peeled plum tomatoes (I recommend using San Marzano) or 3 1/2 cups of any fresh or canned tomato product
2 tablespoons olive oil or reserved chicken fat
1 large onion, diced
Cotija cheese and cilantro to garnish

Friday, September 8, 2017

Chorizo Fundido, Completo

If too much sausage in a cheese dip was the biggest problem you have during a workweek, you have to consider that to be a pretty great week. They say, less is more, but I was hoping that twice the amount of chorizo in this fundido would make it twice as good, but that wasn’t really the case.

The taste was great, and as I said in the video, I highly doubt anyone at your party would complain, but what I really wanted was an ooey, gooey, much drippier dip, and so in this case, less would have been more.

Below, I’ve listed the amounts as I think they should be, with what I actually used in parentheses, and I’ll leave it up to you, to adjust as you see fit. Besides the sausage amount, I think adding some sour cream may also help the cause. Are you ready for some football? I am, but even if you’re not going to serve this chorizo fundido to a bunch of screaming lunatics on game day, I still hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions Chorizo Fundido:
8 ounces fresh pork chorizo (I used 1 pound)
1/2 cup sliced green onions, the light parts
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 poblano chilies, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
4 ounces cream cheese (I used 8 oz)
4 ounces sharp cheddar
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup sour cream (I think it may help give a creamier texture)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sea Bass San Sebastian – Haven’t Been There, Done That

You do not have to go to a place, to be inspired by their food. In fact, it’s a lot cheaper, and easier if you don’t. So, as I stated in the into, this Chilean sea bass San Sebastian is the result of a little culinary mind game I play, where I try to invent a recipe that I think could/would be served there, and this is one of those dishes.

I love the technique of spreading a flavored mayo, or aioli over a piece of fish, before roasting it in a very hot oven. Not only does it keep the seafood moist, we don’t have to worry about making a sauce when it’s done. Another advantage is that by simply changing the seasoning of the sauce, we can create countless variations.

This will work with any piece of fish you can cut into a thick chunk, but Chilean sea bass is my favorite choice. By the way, that’s just the name it’s commonly sold by. Its real name is the much less marketable “Patagonian toothfish.” Mmm….toothfish. Due to past overfishing, much of it illegal, Chilean sea bass has landed on lots of “do not eat this” lists, but there are sustainable sources available.

I got mine from Markfoods.com, which is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and the quality was top notch. This is not a sponsored post, but in the spirit of full disclose, the fish seen herein was a complimentary sample sent to me by my friend Kevin, who runs the operation. Regardless, this was one of the best fish dishes I’ve had in a while, and I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 2 servings:
1 pound Chilean sea bass filet, cut into two portions
kosher salt to generously season fish
For the sauce/crust:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed fine
cayenne to taste
whole roasted Marcona almonds for grating, or any other whole almond
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 hot or sweet red or green pepper, sliced
handful halved sun gold cherry tomatoes