Friday, January 27, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Meatball Round-Up

It is awesome to have our group up and going again.

If you really want to be amazed with what the humble "meatball" can become in the hands of talented cooks?

Please drop my good friend Natasha's 5 Star Foodie Culinary Advenutres.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Meatball BBQ Plate

We're back!

It's great to start up our monthly meeting of the fantastic cook minds.  The month our theme is Meatballs.

Our mission is to get creative with Meatballs and have fun in the kitchen.  Right in my wheelhouse.

I recently sat down to a wonderful BBQ lunch at my local smokehouse.  Staring at all the disparate goodness on my table sparked the idea in my brain.  I decided to turn our BBQ lunch, into this month's Meatball makeover.  Yeah, that's how my mind works.

BBQ, Laz, really?  It's not BBQ or grilling season.

Listen, it may look like this where YOU live....(Sorry T)

I live in MIAMI, we have no seasons...

Each component in this course represents a component that was on my BBQ lunch table.

My meatballs are a blend of twice ground meats...

  • 80% Lean, trimmed beef brisket
  • 20% Pork belly - added for fat content.
I used three different cooking methods to produce my meatballs.
  • First, steamed for 15 minutes in a bath of beef broth and white wine.  To cook through.
  • Second, smoked over hickory wood in a smoker.  Just 5 minutes to add that smokey flavor.  (BBQ remember?)
  • Lastly, quickly seared in Duck Fat.  To add a nice crusty exterior.
Is this labor intensive?  Probably.  However, is the final product worth it?  Will you wow your guests?
Hell yeah!

Buttery melt in your mouth tender potato croquette.  Again, fried to a crunchy golden brown exterior.

Florida sweet corn puree.  Reduced to intensive the pure sweet corn goodness.

BBQ Sauce
Tart, sweet, vinegary, smokey.  Perfect.

Cole Slaw
My posh version of the cole slaw I ate.  Assorted greens, buttermilk dressing, and sauted Florida ocean shrimp.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest Post Spotlight: Mustard Seed Pork Chops

This week I am stoked to highlight a fellow 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group member, Jessica from Bacon and Souffle.  Jessica's food is exquisite and refined.  I love her flavor combinations and thought process that goes into her dishes.  She's a self-professed student of the kitchen and it shows.

Today she's spotlighting one of my favorite chefs, Michael Mina

Be sure to check out Bacon and Souffle.  You will find great food, recipes, photos, restaurant reviews and make a sweet new friend.


Thank you so much for having me on LC! It seems like yesterday that I first stumbled upon Lazaro Cooks! because I was invited to join the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group. I remember wondering if I would be able to match the talent and creativity of someone like Lazaro. His cooking is inspiring, and always filled with surprises. Those are things I strive for whenever I cook.
My name is Jessica and I write the blog Bacon and SoufflĂ©. I currently live in Los Angeles with my husband of 1 year and my new 7-month-old Sheltie puppy. I try to fill every free minute with learning and experimenting in the kitchen. I just love making something different every day. I always thought that if I managed to cook something different every day then I would learn something new every day.
Today I am sharing a simple and elegant pork chop recipe, Mustard Seed Pork Chops.

Mustard Seed Pork Chops
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 pork chops pounded thin or pork cutlets
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard (I prefer mustards that are seed-style)
  • 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
  1. Pat pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat, and stir in the butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add pork chops and sear for about 1-2 minutes each side depending on thickness.
  3. Remove pork chops and pour off most of the fat. Add shallots and cook them on medium high heat for about a minute. Stir in the stock and return the chops to pan. Reduce the juices by half, about 3 minutes. And the heavy cream and boiled for 3 minutes.
  4. When the sauce is thickened, whisk in the mustard and parsley. Serve chops on plate and spoon sauce over them. This is perfect with a bottle of wine and a refreshing arugula salad on the side.
Enjoy! And thank you again, Laz, for having me on LC. LC Readers, until next time!

Please stop by and see Jessica at Bacon and Souffle.

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

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Yellowfin Tuna Salad

On today's episode we are gonna play with another sustainable seafood jewel, Yellowfin Tuna.

Here I decided to make a version of a classic salad.  Nicoise Salad generally consisting of tuna on a bed of assorted veggies and finished with anchovies.

When serving guests I enjoy keeping them guessing and surprising them.  Who wants to be bored to tears by the same old crap.  So, there are many components I wanted to keep in my version, just present them a bit differently.

Yellowfin Tuna
  • Remove the fish 40 minutes prior to cooking from fridge.  Allow to come to room temp.
  • Remove as much moisture from the fish as possible, by blotting with paper towels.
  • Heavy bottom pan or cast iron over high heat.
  • Good quality blended oil raises the smoking point and withstands high heat.
  • Season at the last moment before cooking.
  • Do not overcook. 1 minute per side max.
  • If slicing, you need a really sharp knife, or it will crumble on you.
  • Did not want to use tomato but wanted something acidic to pair with the tuna.  A blend of sriracha & sweet Thai chili sauce did the trick.
Red Onion
  • Pickled in sugar, water, vinegar and spices.
  • Serving it softly scrambled gives the dish a silky smooth creamy texture.
Black Olive Puree
  • My favorite part.  A mixture of high-quality olive oil, Italian black olives, minced garlic, anchovie fillets and brown sugar blended together.  Adds a ton of flavor.
Arugula & Mint
  • The actual "salad" portion of course.  Love the combo of arugula and mint.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest Post Spotlight: Crab Cakes Beurre Blanc

I am honored to welcome the gifted cookbook author Jessica from Cajunlicious.  I have long been a fan of Jessica's work.  She cooks food from the soul, Cajun food to be precise.

Jessica's food is...

  • Creative
  • Full of bright, bold flavors
  • Always photographed flawlessly  

This all comes together in her wonderful cookbook....

Click HERE for more information and to purchase Cajunlicious.

Please do drop by and meet Jessica.  You'll find an amazing cook and make a new friend.


Hello Lazaro Cooks readers! I was thrilled when Laz asked me to do a guest post on his amazing blog! Please, let me introduce myself: I’m Jessica the girl behind the Cajunlicious blog and now the Cajunlicious Cookbook!!!
Click here to read my cookbook journey
Lazaro is such a sweetheart and I feel so honored that he asked me to guest post today!
Today’s dish is something that I can’t get enough of so I hope that you will enjoy it too!
So, without further ado I give you Crab Cakes Beurre Blanc
Crab Cakes Beurre Blanc
Crab Cakes
1 pound lump blue crab
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice & zest
1 teaspoon fresh dill
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup mayo with olive oil
1 cup panko, divided
Mix all ingredients except crab and panko in a large bowl and combine well. Stir in ½ the panko and carefully fold in the crab, being careful not to break it up.
Form crab mixture into 2-inch patties, using about 1/4 cup for each. Press both sides of patties into panko.
Melt 1-tablespoon butter with 1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes and cook until golden on both sides, adding more butter and oil as needed, about 5 minutes total.
For the Beurre Blanc Sauce
¼ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Salt and finely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon capers
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, wine, and vinegar to a low simmer. Add shallots and season with salt and pepper. Simmer to cook shallots and reduce by half, 2-3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in 4 tablespoons of butter until fully incorporated. Return pan to low heat and whisk in remainder of butter, 1 piece at a time. Once sauce is complete, add lemon juice and dill. Season the beurre blanc sauce with salt and pepper, if needed and serve immediately.
To Serve
Plate the crab cakes and top with Beurre Blanc. Serve lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy!
Again, thank you Laz for the honor!

Please sign up to follow Jessica at Cajunlicious, you will not regret it.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vaca Frita Guest Post

Jessica Wood is a cookbook author, fabulous cook, and a friend of mine.  She spins her Cajun magic over on the blog Cajunlicious.

I was thrilled to receive Jessica's new cookbook over the weekend.  If you are a fan of Cajun cuisine, I highly recommend you pick up a copy for yourself.  Look for a complete review and write up here on LC in the coming weeks.

In addition, I am pumped to have Jessica guest post here next week on Wednesday Jan. 18.  You don't want to miss it.

Please hop on over to Cajunlicious and check out my version of Vaca Frita with Plantains.

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

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hello 2012

I am back.  Gotta say the time off did me right.  No matter how much you enjoy doing something, it is good step away for awhile.

Thank you to all the fantastic cooks who generously shared their talent with LC these last few weeks.  2012 will bring more Guest Post Spotlights.  Collaborating with creative passionate cooks is my favorite part of blogging.

I will be changing up LC a bit.

I find posting recipes to be ponderous. Especially my cuisine ends up having multiple components on almost all my dishes.  Makes the posts pretty damn long.  Anyway we know that most people only like to look at the pretty pictures.

Honestly, how many of us out there actually cook other food bloggers recipes we read on posts?!

As food bloggers, we cook our own dishes, labor over writing our posts and then take about 1000 photos.  All the while agonizing over which is the perfect one to post.  Not to mention every one's favorite past time...THE COMMENT GAME.

What I would much rather do on LC is talk about the process of cooking.  What goes into what we do.  All the different cooking techniques used, the philosophy of dish creation, and choosing of specific ingredients.

To me that is much more interesting.  Ultimately, recipes are guidelines, not laws or contracts.  Cooking is a joy, not a chore.  It should be a journey of exploration.  Make dishes your own.  Play, experiment, fuck up, frustrate yourself, learn something.

Some posts may have recipes, if it's something different or pertinent to a particular course...or not too long.

Many probably will disagree.  Some will say they do cook other peoples food and love to see recipes on blogs.  That's fine, in life there are no absolutes.  But this particular space is called Lazaro Cooks.

I encourage anyone interested in my complete recipes to contact me.  Talking food is my passion.  I respond to one and all.
I know my long time readers will say that I hate Twitter.  Which I do.  However, I am trying to make an effort to be active on there.

2011 was a pile of shit.  Lets make 2012 fuckin' rock!

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