Sunday, March 23, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Amuse-Bouche

This month we tackle, "The Perfect Bite."

I present the...

Buffalo Chicken Amuse-Bouche

What constitutes, "The Perfect Bite?"  My guess is that naturally it's all down to personal preference and opinion.  That's why I thought it perfect for this type of communal cooking group.  I would advise you all to check out the round up later this month.  Probably going to be a motley crew of great ideas.

For me, this was an amuse-bouche challenge.  An amuse-bouche is a one bite appetizer.  Normally not on the menu, it's a chef's selection, designed to titillate the diner.

I love amuses.  My chance to tax my creative mind and form, "The Perfect Bite."

However, my idea of, "The Perfect Bite" changes all the time.  So, this is today's version.

I decide to take all the components you'd find in a typical, buffalo chicken wing sit-down meal, and turn it into one lovely bite.

  • Roasted chicken wing meat
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Blue Cheese - Maytag Blue Cheese is my absolute go to for this course
  • Ranch - homemade but store bought is fine.
  • Buffalo wing sauce - ditto from above.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Season chicken wings with Spanish smoked pimenton & cayenne.
  3. Roast in oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Take all the meat & skin off the bones.
  6. In a glass bowl combine, chopped carrot, chopped celery, wing meat.
  7. Run once through the meat grinder using the medium disk.
  8. In a glass bowl combine, the mince, coarse sea salt, blue cheese, fresh thyme
  9. Run through meat grinder one more time.
  10. Return to glass bowl.  Add buffalo wing sauce to taste, cover & fridge overnight.
This preparation uses no eggs or flour inside the bite.

Sea salt, the blue cheese & time in the fridge, act as amazing binders.

To Finish:
  1. In a large pot or deep fryer, heat oil to 350 F.  I use a 50/50 blend of canola & safflower oil.
  2. Set up a breading station, rice flour, egg wash, Cuban cracker meal.
  3. Form the bites.  I made mine between 1.5 to 2 inches.  Remember it should be one bite.
  4. Run through the breading station.
  5. Fry until golden brown.
  6. Serve with Maytag blue cheese, ranch dressing & buffalo wing sauce.
Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you enjoyed this post.

Please feel free to leave any questions or concerns in the comment section.  I will respond to all.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Creative Cooking Crew Feb 14: Rice Round-Up

Creative Cooking Crew Feb 14: Rice

Rice is a simple ancient grain with numerous application in various cultures.  This month our creative cooking crew tackles the task of making rice the star.

Please enjoy the hard work of these passionate cooks.  I am sure you are bound to find inspiration you can take into your own kitchen.

Rice With Cherries
Deana from LostPastRemembered

How To Make The Perfect Risotto
Angela from Spinach Tiger

A Korean Sweet Treat
Lori from Taste With The Eyes

Rice Pudding With Tangelo, Hibiscus & Red Rice
The Home Skillet Team

Stuffed Baby Eggplant in A Dirty Rice Pilaf
Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Soupy Rice with Free-Range Chicken
Victoria from Mission:Food

Sushi Rice Vegetarian Pizza
Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me

Sriracha Creamed Shrimp over Fried Black Rice Cakes with Sweet Corn "Bisque"
Laura from La Diva Cucina

Chicken & Rice
Christo from ChezWhat?

Celery Bisque, Pork Belly, Puffed Wild Rice
Wendy from Upstart Kitchen

The Best Rice Salad Ever!
Joan from Foodalouge

Un Arrocito Con Leche Acere
Laz from The 305

Thanks for stopping by.

Check back next month for another fantastic event from The Creative Cooking Crew.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rice Pudding

Creative Cooking Crew Feb 14: Rice

This month our cooking crew tackles rice.  Such amazingly versatile ingredient to work with.  Clearly, I could have gone numerous different directions.  I chose to make a dessert.  Not usually my preferred course to cook, it was fun to do something different.

Rice Pudding

I grew up on my Grandmas Cuban rice pudding or "Arroz con Leche."  While I loved eating it as a kid, I make mine a different way.

I make mine very much in the same way I make my risotto.  Down to the rice being cooked al dente.  I am not a fan of overcooked rice.  Just cannot get passed the mouthfeel.

As with risotto, the broth is everything.  For this course, I made a coconut "broth" to cook the rice. Probably a 60-40 combo of coconut milk and water.  Add a pinch of Spanish saffron for an intriguing flavor contrast.

Coconut "Broth"
  • Coconut Milk
  • Water
  • Saffron
  • Raisins
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut Flakes
Allow the "broth" to simmer for about 60 minutes.  You are allowing the flavors to infuse, not really reducing any liquid.

I used Carnaroli Rice.

From the moment you add the first ladle of broth, the cooking process of the rice should take about 17 minutes.  Depending on your personal preference for rice "doneness."
  1. Toast the rice in walnut oil.
  2. Add a ladle of broth.
  3. Keep the rice at a steady bubble.
  4. Let the broth absorb before adding more broth.
  5. Stirring is important.  The bottom of the pan is the hottest.  Keep the rice moving to avoid it catching at the bottom.
Once the rice is cooked, in lieu of mantecatura, which is beating in ice-cold butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, I simply finished the rice with a combination of evaporated milk and a touch of sweetened condensed milk.

Allow the rice pudding to cool in the fridge.

Serve with guava jelly...(optional but awesome)

Please check back to this site on 2.27.14 for the complete round-up.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Red Beet Dumplings, Mache & Golden Beet Miso Broth

Creative Cooking Crew Jan 14: Dumplings

It is great to be posting in 2014.  Hope you are all having a fabulous start to the new year.  I have not been blogging lately.  Life is quite hectic, (in the best possible way), right now for me.  2014 is setting up to be an incredibly exciting, game-changing year.

When I started this blog in 2010, I posted A LOT.  Food blogging was a thrill.  Sharing my food photos.  Meeting some nice like-minded cooks to share with.

Also, meeting some real assholes I'd rather forget.

The truth is that in time I realized there are many aspects of blogging that do not appeal to me at all.  Posting recipes is a pain in the ass.  Especially when you tend to have multiple component courses like I do. Posts tend to get LONG and attention spans are SHORT.  Not a good equation.

The "comment game" is tedious and mind-numbing...

My point is that there are numerous reasons why my post activity is way down.

With that said, this tiny blog started as a labor of love for me.  I love cooking.  I love pushing myself in the kitchen.  It feeds my creative soul.

Somewhere along the line things changed but...

In 2014, I plan to pick things back up again.  So, thank you.  Yes, you.  That one person still reading here.  I will continue to share with my food with...YOU.  Hope you enjoy it...

I am excited that our cooking group is still going.  It's been a long time now.  Glad this thing is still here. Through a few incarnations.  I always get inspired by collaboration.  Cooking with this group of talented folks really is an honor.

This month we tackle dumplings.  I decided to use beets.  The market is abundant with fantastic beets these days.  This is a most nutritious and delicious veggie.

Plus, so vibrantly colorful...

Red Beet Dumplings, Mache & Golden Beet Miso Broth

I know.  I know.  The photo sucks.  Normally I photograph outside.  This past weekend was impossible for me to work on this stuff.  So, this is a photo taken inside my condo.  Que mierda!

Moving on....

Both varieties of beets offer great flavor and amazing color contrast.  All the veggies were oven-roasted.  In my mind intensifying all flavors throughout the course.  Making the finished product something truly sublime.

My wife is not a beet fan at all.  She enjoyed the hell out of this course.

Red Beet Dumpling Filling:
  • Red Beets
  • Yellow Onion
  • Anchovie Fillets
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Sea Salt
  • White Pepper
Golden Beet Miso Broth
  • Golden Beets
  • Miso
  • Yellow Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
I roast my veggies wrapped in foil.  Oven at 400 F.  For about 50 minutes.  Works for me.

Thanks again for dropping by.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks and months.

Be Well!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Turkey Leg Confit, Black Bean, Pickled Chillies & Tostone

It's that time again for the...

To have our last event for 2013.  It has been a lot of fun cooking with this crew.  We will be back at it in 2014 with new exciting culinary challenges.

This month, we decided to have a virtual Thanksgiving Dinner, where each of us was to bring an appetizer.

Be sure to check out my co-host Joan's fantastic blog, Foodalogue, for the complete round-up on Thursday 11.21.13.  My guess is that you will find some interesting ideas you can incorporate to your holiday gatherings.

For this challenge, I immediately made two requirements for my concept...

  1. Had to use turkey.
  2. Had to serve something my family would relate to.
So naturally I chose to do a confit.

Right, who the hell am I kidding?  99.9% of my family members have no clue what a confit is.

Confit, is basically meat submerged in fat & slowly cooked.  Rendered duck or goose fat is usually used.

For this course I decided to use good quality Spanish olive oil.

Michelle, AKA The Lawyer, hates dark meat on any bird.  Yes, yes I know, she's got an unrefined palate. What can we do?

Actually, I know what to do.  Make a confit of turkey leg.  She freaking loved it.


Turkey Leg Confit
  • Organic free range turkey legs
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Spanish olive oil
  • Thyme 
  • Garlic cloves
  • Black peppercorns whole
  • Allspice whole
  • Cumin seeds
  • Bay Leaf
  1. Season the turkey legs liberally with sea salt and ground black pepper.  All over.
  2. Wrap in plastic wrap.  Fridge for 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 170 F.
  4. Unwrap legs.
  5. Place legs in a oven baking dish.
  6. Add the thyme, garlic, peppercorns, allspice, cumin seeds & bay leaf.
  7. Pour enough olive oil to completely cover the legs.  Well submerged.
  8. Cook in oven for 8 hours.
  9. Remove from the oven.
  10. Cover with foil.
  11. Allow the legs to rest in the fat for 1 hour.
As you can see, you need time and patience for this preparation.  I have never been one for "thirty minute meals."  My guess is that you all know this by now.  Those who actually read this space.  You know, READ, as in the text.  Thanks by the way, you very kind soul still reading.

Your time will be well rewarded by moist succulent turkey meat.

I will be posting a tutorial for making Cuban black beans and tostones in future posts.  I plan to include some "back to basics" here on LC, where I cover such topics.

Tostone: Twice fried green plantain

Black Bean & Chorizo Puree

Organic Free Range Turkey Leg Confit

Pickled Jalapeno & Red Chili

Omit the chilies if you like.  I actually welcomed the heat in this course.

I plan on unleashing this Cuban Thanksgiving App on my unsuspecting family members this impending Turkey Day.

Judging by Michelle's reaction...they will indeed be the lucky ones.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Creative Cooking Crew October 13: Cooking With Spirits

This month the...

Is cooking with Spirits.

Our task was to choose a favorite alcoholic beverage and make a course out of it.

Here our crew offers some creative turns for anyone to follow and be a culinary superstar.

Please enjoy the hard work of these creatively talented cooks...

Boozy Baba au Rhum
Deana from LostPastRemembered

Slow Cooked Lager-Infused Country-Style Ribs with Kimchi Grits
Maureen from A Cook Writes

Bourbon Cocktail Smokies
Jess from Cajunlicious

Savory Lobster & Corn Cheesecake with Tequila Sauce
Joan from Foodalogue

Coquito French Toast
Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me

Crab Vodka Salsa
The Home Skillet Team

The Poisoner's Cake
Trix from Tasty Trix

Lobster, Scallops & Shrimp Poached in Tequila
Laura from La Diva Cucina

Caribbean Rum Cake with Coconut
Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Black Cake - Fake Sacher
Cinzia from CindyStar Blog

Poached Pears
Christo from Chez What?

Boozy Spicy Autumn Risotto with Butternut Squash
Angela from Spinach Tiger

Ever green.
Wendy from The Upstart Kitchen

Barolo Poached Pacific Cod Loin, Vidalia Onion Compote & Yukon Gold Puree
The Kitchen Hack

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Barolo Poached Pacific Cod Loin, Vidalia Onion Compote & Yukon Gold Puree

It's that time again...

This month our challenge was to cook with spirits.  Cooking with alcohol is a big part of my cuisine, so this was right in my comfort zone.

My old man provided the spirit, a fantastic Italian Barolo wine.  When cooking with wine keep a simple thought in mind...

If you would not drink it, do not cook with it.  

Barolo Poached Pacific Cod Lion, Vidalia Onion Compote & Yukon Gold Puree

Pacific Cod is a fantastic, sustainable fish.  I purchased the whole fish.  Cutting my loins into about 5 ounce portions.  The bones were also used in this dish.

Poaching is one of my favorite cooking methods for fish.  Poaching affords the cook reasonable control over the cooking temperature and suits the delicate nature of fish flesh.

I keep poaching temperature 160 & 180 F.

For this course, I made a "fish stock" type poaching liquid using Barolo wine instead of water.

Poaching Liquid

  • Barolo Wine
  • Pacific Cod Bones
  • Onion
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme 
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Star Anise 
  • Bay Leaf
  • Cumin Seed
  • Black Peppercorns
  • All Spice
  • Cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Bring the temperature up to 185 F.  Do not allow to boil.  Maintain simmer for 1 hour.

Strain the cooking liquid.  Return to the heat.  Bring up to about 170 F.  Add the cod and poach for 7 minutes.  No longer than 10 minutes.  Do not overcook.

It is imperative to invest in a good quality kitchen Quick Read Thermometer.  It is the only way to be accurate.

Once the fish is done, it takes on a lovely deep purple color.  However, when the diner cuts into the fish....

The inside is pearl white.  Great color contrast.

Vidalia Onion Compote

  • Vidalia Onion - Thinly sliced
  • Thyme
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Barolo Wine Cooking Liquid
The keys here are temperature, time and patience.
  • Combine the onions, thyme & butter
  • Cook over low heat for 50 minutes
  • Stirring often
  • Add brown sugar and sea salt
  • Cook for 10 minutes
  • Add 2 ounces of the barolo cooking liquid
  • Cook until the liquid is reduced.
In the next few days, I will dedicate a post to my Yukon Gold Puree.  One of my "death row" meals for sure.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!