Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pozole Rojo

I finally got around to getting access to the blogosphere again.  I've been needing to post this for a while.

1 large head garlic

12 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
4 pounds country-style pork ribs
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
2 ounces dried New Mexico red chiles
1 1/2 cups boiling-hot water
1/4 large white onion
8-9 large garlic cloves
3 teaspoons salt
2 30-ounce cans white hominy (preferably Bush's Best)
8 corn tortillas
about 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Peel garlic cloves and reserve 2-3 for chile sauce. Slice remaining garlic. In a large pressure cooker add both and as much water as needed to fill the cooker to the fill line.  Bring water and broth just to a boil with sliced garlic and pork. Skim surface and add oregano.  Close pressure cooker and increase heat to medium high until pressure is a steady roll.  Simmer at steady roll for at least 30-40 minutes (for pork shoulder) or until desired tenderness is reached.

While pork is simmering, wearing protective gloves, discard stems from chiles and in a bowl combine chiles with boiling-hot water. Soak chiles, turning them occasionally, 30 minutes. Cut onion into large pieces and in a blender purée with chiles and soaking liquid, reserved garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt until smooth.

Transfer pork with tongs to a cutting board and reserve broth mixture. Shred pork, using 2 forks, and discard bones. Rinse and drain hominy. Return pork to broth mixture and add chile sauce, hominy, and remaining teaspoon salt. Simmer pozole 30 minutes and, if necessary, season with salt. Pozole may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.

While pozole is simmering, stack tortillas and halve. Cut halves crosswise into thin strips. In a 9- to 10-inch skillet heat 1/2 inch oil until hot but not smoking and fry tortilla strips in 3 or 4 batches, stirring occasionally, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer tortilla strips with a slotted spoon as fried to brown paper or paper towels to drain. Transfer tortilla strips to a bowl. Tortilla strips may be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

Serve pozole with tortilla strips and bowls of accompaniments.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fresh Peach Pie

We were watching Alton Brown's Good Eats one day when he made the pronouncement that Utah does not produce good peaches. I was shocked and awed. We most certainly do!

My co-worker Kent, who grew up in Georgia, told me that his mom would take Utah peaches back to Georgia to show off how great they were.

They're just so great! And before they cut down any more peach orchards in favor of housing or strip malls, and before this season is over and you can no longer get some fresh peaches from Brigham City or Stratton's in Orem, you must try this fresh peach pie recipe.

It's a recipe from Kulani's mom. Kulani's mom wasn't a "fancy chef," but the few things she did cook, she hit out of the ballpark. This is one of those recipes.

When Kulani and I had only been married for a few months, he told me how much he loved peach pie. I wanted to impress him one Sunday, so I got out my Betty Crocker recipe-of-all-recipe cookbooks I received as a wedding gift from some sweet person, and that I still use faithfully almost every week for good tried-and-true recipes. (I used to know who gave me every single wedding gift we received. I was overwhelmed with love for all the people who gave us a gift, and I only had to return three items. We needed everything.)

I found the recipe for peach pie. I found fresh peaches. I pealed them, sliced them, put them into the pie, and then I ... baked the pie.

Kulani said, "This is good, but it's not fresh peaches."

"Yes, it is," I told him. "I bought the peaches and pealed them myself."

"The peach pie I like doesn't cook the peaches."

And so I asked his mom for the recipe. And he is so right: peach pie should NOT be cooked. Don't go to the trouble of finding fresh, in-season peaches if you're just going to bake the pie. Use peach filling instead.

This recipe will have you yearning for fresh peach season. Especially Utah peaches, you hear me, Mr. Brown? Utah peaches!

This has three procedures: the crust, preparing the peaches, and the glaze that goes over the peaches.

For the peaches:
You need 8 or so peaches that are perfect. I hope I don't have to explain a perfect peach. Okay, I will anyway. It should be not too smooshy, but not too ripe. An old trick is that if the peaches are still a little hard when giving them the "gentle squeeze," put the peaches in a brown paper sack for a day or two, and then they should ripen up.
Peel the peaches.
Core and slice the peaches into a bowl and set aside.

For the crust:

Note: This recipe is for one pie crust.

1 cube of butter (either cold or room temparture; they both work)
1 cup flour
2 tbsp. sugar
dash of salt
few drops of almond extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In your Kitchenaid mixer with the cookie-dough mixer paddle, or by hand in a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until the consistency of cookie dough. This crust resembles shortbread cookie dough, as it basically is.
  3. Press the dough into a pie pan.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or the crust is a very soft brown. It doesn't hurt to poke holes all over the crust before putting it into the oven.
  5. Remove and let cool.
For the Glaze

Note: This recipe is for three pies.

2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
3 ounces of orange/pineapple mix Jello. (They don't make this variety anymore, so I mix half a package of orange and half a package of pineapple. However, you can't always find pineapple Jello, so I've also just tried the peach-flavored Jello, and it also works.)
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. In a pot on your stove, mix the sugar, 1 1/2 cups cold water, cornstarch, and salt until boiling and thick. I usually set the stove to medium-high. This may take around four minutes or so. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever to get it thick. If it's not to a syrupy thickness after about five minutes, add a tablespoon more of cornstarch. Stir some more, and then just go onto the next step. You have to do it to know what I'm talking about, but after I add the next step, sometimes the mixture suddenly comes together.
  2. Add two cups boiling water and continue to stir for about one minute. Here is where you should see the consistency turn into a weird, gellatenous caramel-like consistency. Turn off the heat. Add the Jello and lemon juice, and stir to combine.
  3. Let the mixture cool slightly, for about five to 10 minutes, before assembling the pie.
Final steps:
  1. Place the cut-up peaches in the crust.
  2. Pour one-third of the glaze over the peaches in the crust. Sometimes I like to stir the peaches in the crust, so that the glaze gets over the peaches at the bottom. Save the rest of the glaze for when you make other pies. 
  3. You can serve the pie right then, or refrigerate for later. I always add a dollup of whippedcream to the top.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scrambled Eggs

I used to be of the belief that you had to scramble your eggs slowly over low heat. Turns out it's not so true.

Again I turn to the other Fisher Bible, The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated. According to them, it doesn't matter the heat, just your vigilence. Make sure your constantly moving the eggs in the pan, and take them out before you think they're done.

If you happen to read this blog, what are your experience with scrambled eggs?

P.S. They also like to use a little milk, just like I do.

Before you buy that non-stick pan...

I mentioned on another blog that Kulani bought me a very nice non-stick pan for Christmas. A year later, and the non-stick is starting wear off. I've been extra careful with it, I promise. I've used plastic, not metal, spatulas when flipping eggs or pancakes. Sadly, however, more and more of the non-stick has worn off.

"What gives?" I thought. Kulani and I were both under the impression that expensive non-stick pans last forever.

And then we tuned into America's Test Kitchen on Saturday. America's Test Kitchen is a program on PBS, and if you've missed it, you're really missing out on one of the best things your tax dollars have going for you. America's Test Kitchen is a half hour program where they cook about three tried-and-true recipes, and show you the best techniques and ways to cook some American classics, as well as other well-known recipes.

In the middle of the program they test different kitchen gadgets. On the episode we watched on Saturday, they tested different non-stick pans. Right up front they acknowledged that no matter how expensive the non-stick pan, it will eventually lose its effectiveness for non-sticking.

So they tested the whole gammit of non-stick pans. To save you time from having to google it and watch the whole episode yourself, I'll tell you that their favorite non-stick pan was the T-Fal pan, and it costs around $35. Compare that to the All-Clad $160 pan, and you can see that you can buy five T-Fal pans to replace the one All-Clad pan that will also eventually lose its non-stickery.

File that in your "good-stuff-to-know" folder.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Makes 12

5 ounces (2/3 cup) fresh pork lard, chilled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely ground (1 pound) fresh masa, or 1 3/4 cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water, cooled to room temperature
2/3 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, preferably homemade

4 ounces dried corn husks

6 large dried New Mexico chiles, stems removed, seeded, and torn into 4 pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
12 ounces lean boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt

To make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the lard, baking powder, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup masa and 1/3 cup stock; beat until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining masa and 1/3 cup stock; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. The batter should be soft but it should hold its shape in a spoon.

If using fresh masa, test the batter to determine if it is adequately fluffy (this will ensure light and tender tamales): Drop 1 teaspoon batter into a cup of cold water. If it floats to the surface, it is ready.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store batter in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 2 days.

To make the wrappers: Reconstitute the corn husks by placing them in a deep saucepan and covering them with water. Set saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil.

Transfer husks and water to a heat-proof bowl. Set a small plate on top of husks, keeping them submerged. Soak 1 hour. Remove from water.

To make the filling: In the jar of a blender, combine chiles, garlic, pepper, and cumin. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and blend until a smooth puree forms.

Strain mixture into a medium saucepan. Add the pork, 1 3/4 cups water, and salt. Place over medium heat; cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has reduced to the consistency of a thick sauce and the meat is very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Using a fork, break up the meat.

Return the tamale batter to the mixer. On low to medium speed, mix the batter for a few seconds to lighten the dough. Add 3 tablespoons sauce; mix again to combine.

You may need to add a few tablespoons or so of chicken stock. The batter should not be stiff, but slightly loose and not runny. Remember, the lighter the batter, the more tender the tamale.

To assemble the tamales: Unroll one large reconstituted corn husk; tear lengthwise along grain to make 1/4-inch-wide strips (two per tamale); if strips aren't long enough, tie two together.

Place another long piece, lightly dried, on work surface, pointed end away from you; scoop 1/4 cup batter onto middle of one end. Spread into a 4-inch square, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on pointed end and a 1-inch border on the other sides. Spoon 2 tablespoons filling down the center. Bring long sides together to form a cylinder, making sure the batter encases filling. Fold the pointed end under; tie loosely with husk strip. Fold the flat end under; tie. Repeat.

Reserve smaller husks to line the steamer basket and cover the tamales.

To steam the tamales: Set steamer over high heat. When steam puffs out, reduce the heat to medium. Steam 1 hour 15 minutes, adding more water when necessary. To check for doneness, unwrap a tamale: If ready, dough will come free from wrapper and feel soft. If dough sticks to wrapper, rewrap, and steam 15 to 20 more minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes for batter to firm up. They will remain warm for about 1 hour.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beef Consomme with Homemade Beef Stock

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 eggshells, crushed
  • 3 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • ½ lb premium ground beef (sirloin)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups veal or beef stock (recipe below)


Whisk peppercorns, egg whites, and eggshells until the mixture turns foamy. In a food processor, pulse together the tomatoes, celery, and beef a few times.

Combine the veal or beef stock, the vegetable-beef mixture, the eggs, thyme, and salt in a large stockpot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, without stirring, for 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Discard contents of sieve and salt broth, if desired. Serve hot.

Makes 10 servings.

Beef Stock

  • 2 pounds meaty crosscut beef shanks (preferably 1 inch thick)
  • 2 pounds meaty crosscut veal shanks (preferably 1 inch thick)
  • 2 onions, quartered and left unpeeled
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 16 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • Special equipment: cheesecloth; kitchen string
print a shopping list for this recipe


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

Spread beef shanks, veal shanks, onions, and carrot in a large flameproof roasting pan and roast, turning occasionally, until well browned, about 1 hour.

While shanks roast, wrap parsley, thyme, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie with string to make a bouquet garni.

Transfer meat and vegetables to a 6- to 8-quart stockpot. Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 2 cups water and deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Add deglazing liquid to stockpot along with 14 cups water, celery, salt, and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and skim froth. Add remaining 1/2 cup water, then bring mixture to a simmer and skim froth. Simmer gently, uncovered, 5 hours.

Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing hard on solids, and discard solids. If stock measures more than 8 cups, boil until reduced to 8 cups; add water if stock measures less than 8 cups. If using stock right away, skim off and discard fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, before skimming fat (it will be easier to remove when cool), then chill, covered.

Cooks' note: Stock keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week or frozen 3 months.