Saturday, February 20, 2010

AS GOOD AS IT GETS










Hey Nashvillians and Carolinians!
Harris Teeter has Crab Legs on sale for $2.99 a pound! Geraldo stopped at the Brentwood Harris Teeter (LOVE that store) and picked up a big bag for 17.00 bucks that was marked down from $38.00 ($6.99 a LB)! Crab shells will be flying tonight at The Schmidt House. (Yes, I know how that sounds!)
Now, I'm not a person who sits down and eats a lot of any meal at any one sitting. I'm usually pretty tired of what makes it to the table if I've been the one doin' the cooking. I am one of the Quality Engineers in The Schmidt Kitchen (yes, I know how that sounds, too!) along with Geraldo, so there's been lots of tasting going on before the final dish hits the table. So I'm a little tired of it, quite frankly. You could say that dinner and I have been pretty intimate up to that point. I eat a little with everyone, but I'm usually up and down and up and down. But, believe me...I make trips back! I didn't get this way doing aerobics at the dinner table. But, like I've said a dozen times before...give me a table laden with appetizers and finger foods and I am one happy grazer. That's by far my favorite way to eat. A taste of everything and not a lot of any one thing. "Variety they say is the is The Spice Of Life......" Oh please... that was a cheap shot.
The one exception? Well now, I can park myself at a table and put away some crab legs. We used to go out to a favorite sports bar (slash) "all-you-can-eat" crab leg joint and this way before seafood was bastardized at those International Buffets (ugh!) Geraldo would say he'd just take a book. I do indeed take my time with the sweet crustaceans and there's been occasions when we prolly could have used a co-signer!
Crab legs? I like mine simple and often.
Here's a couple of easy ways to cook 'em....

Crab Legs

To boil crab legs, simply fill a large stock pot half full of cold water and bring to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and the seasoning of your choice, if any. I usually quarter a lemon and add some Old Bay or Zatarain's Crab Boil to the water. When the water begins to boil add the crab legs and reduce the heat to medium. Allow them to simmer for about six minutes. Take the crab legs out of the water, drain and they are ready to eat. I don't rinse mine, cause I like the seasoning on the shells.
TIP: If you prefer to steam them, use a wide, deep pan and just a couple of inches of water, which can be seasoned, like suggested above. Bring the water to a rapid boil, put the crab legs in a colander in the water or just drop them in...reduce to a medium simmer, cover and let them steam for about 10minutes. You can also grill them, but that deserves it's own post. There's lot of ice cold beer involved with that method and I'm not talking about on the crab.
Melt some butter in the microwave, grab some dish towels and make some elbow room at the table. Lemon wedges on the side and hush anyone who bemoans the fact that you have to "work too hard" to eat them. Sissies. Those are the usually the folks who never cook....ever! Food folks know you gotta put some love and a little effort into anything that comes out delicious! Get to crackin'! And always.....Comfort and Joy!
COMFORTCOOK
"At Home On The Range Catering"
615-525-8336




Friday, February 19, 2010

SOUTH OF THE BORDER





As I was stuck in traffic this morning in front of my favorite little neighborhood grocery, Comptons (mentioned in past posts for their superb meat department), I noticed that along with a great sale on split chicken breasts (always buy them on the bone, Thank You!) they have pork butts on sale for 98 cents a pound. This is not the cheapest I've seen them, but a very decent price and I'm always ready to go "Pork." So, I am putting the pork butt on my shopping list for the weekend and plan on making some Pork Adobada sometime soon. I have spoke about this recipe before , but it is definitely worth another mention. It is so easy and soooo GOOD! Great leftovers and if you need to, it freezes well, also. I love the taste of authentic Mexican food and this dish has all those deep, rich flavors that are so satisfying and just tastes like nothing else. "Nothing else" in my neighborhood, that is! (Ok, maybe those folks on the corner of Town Valley Court and Tea Garden may have a similar recipe, but I know I've got this convered on Pekoe Circle.)

So read the recipe below. Go find a good deal on a Pork Butt and try this dish. If you love Pork, you'll put this one in the recipe box and go back to it again and again. If you love complex, interesting, deep flavors, you'll love this. If you have a crock pot and want to razzle dazzle some company with something totally different and impressive and have time to sit and spend time with them instead of fretting over a stove...this dish is the one for you. Damn! Just try this dish! Don't be intimidated by roasting the peppers. It's good to learn a little trick every now and then, plus you'll feel like a million bucks and proud of yourself after you do it and wonder why you avoided any recipes that called for roasted peppers before. It is a whole new method to adding a lot of flavor to your cooking. It may not be the most complex of Mexican dishes, but it sure as heck isn't Taco Bell! After this you'll be ready to try the Chili Rellenos with Picadillo recipe. That one has some really interesting flavors going on...raisins, cinnamon, clove...I know the combination sounds strange to us gringos, but wow...it is delicious. For sure Chili Rellenos its a lot more more hands on than this, but they are both great ethic additiosn to your recipe box.



COMFORTCOOK -
"AT HOME ON THE RANGE CATERING"
Nashville, TN 615-525-8336
http://www.comfortcook@gmail.com/


PORK ADOBADA

Ingredients:

6 New Mexico Anaheim dried red chilies
4 dried Ancho peppers (These are the dark red dried peppers. Dried Poblanos, actually)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 lbs lean pork, cut into bite-sized pieces (I use Pork Butt , but you could use a loin.)
salt and pepper, to taste



Directions:
Tear chili pods into pieces, removing steam and reserving seeds.
Place chili on baking sheet, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When oven is hot roast the chili for 10 minutes.
Place the chili in blender container.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil, add cider vinegar and pour over chili.
Allow to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to soften chili.
Add orange juice concentrate, tomato paste, brown sugar and cumin.
Blend into a smooth paste, add 1 tablespoon of the chili seeds and blend until smooth.
Warm olive oil in skillet, add onions and garlic.
Saute until onions begin to brown lightly then pour onions into crock pot.
Toss the pork with 1 tablespoon of flour.
In same skillet add pork cubes and brown stirring frequently.
May need to brown the meat in batches to ensure even browning,.
As meat is browned, transfer to crock pot.
When all the meat has been browned, pour 1/2 cup water into skillet, bring to a boil and scrape up browned bits.
Pour into crock pot along with chili sauce, stirring well.
Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 or until pork cubes are tender.
Serve with some great garnishes such as Cilantro, grated cheese or Queso Fresco, diced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, lime wedges, Sour Cream and flour and corn tortillas. Let everyone build their own combination. Have lots of Frosty, Cold, Barley Pops (BEER!!) on hand!! El- Schlurpo!


BIG TIP: The Pork Butt is a moister cut of pork than a loin and pork tenderloin would just disintegrate in a crock pot after that amount of time. Pork Loin would work but would be drier. Also, ANYTIME you are using your crock pot, add a layer of foil to the top before putting the crock pot lid on. And NEVER!!! take the lid off during the cooking time. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but you lose 20 - 30 minutes cooking time each time you "peek" in your crock pot. Have Faith!!

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