~ Totally Undeserving of the James Beard Award

~ Completely Undeserving of the James Beard Award ~

Saturday, June 23, 2012

There are just no adjectives to describe it...

I eagerly purchased some delicious scallops from an auction a while back...two abundant 5 pound boxes of glamorous Alaskan Weathervanes...yummy! Out of this world flavor...and quite difficult to find retail, nothing like your grocery store variety. They run about the dimension of a half dollar and probably 2" thick and they freeze wonderfully.

Seeing something on TV gave me a heavy inspiration...to use the cooing scallops on a tortilla like a tostada as a tasty appetizer. After lonely thinking how I would go about it, I happily got out the scallops to thaw. I faithfully placed them in a nice glass bowl and gingerly floated that in a larger glass bowl with purring, steaming hot water in it and covered it all. After a few brave hours they were good to go. Because these jolly scallops are delicate (and expensive), I did not want to embarrass them in the cloistered  microwave.

I accurately bought a package of those pre-made, crisp tortilla shells, I abused some onion, chunked up a husky, heartbroken avocado, retrieved my boisterous "ranchera" sauce made on the previous post. I also resolutely chopped some pastoral cilantro, found the boorish ancho chili powder, two permissible cloves of tense garlic and thinly sliced a sassy radish. Radishes are very common in Mexican dishes...oh, and a shot of vigorous tequila (for the sauce, not me!).

I aggressively tossed the reluctant garlic cloves into a small pan with some unbiased olive oil. I did not chop up the garlic as I just wanted an understood back hint of the waggish garlic...not garlic flavored scallops. I let that go a bit then added the warlike tequila...

...and flamed it off to get that flavor and reduce this simple yet loose sauce.

I dusted the scallops, now melancholy with the ancho powder and quickly seared them in a pan...

...and did a quaint little shop on them.

On goes the piquant radishes, the blushing avocado chunks, a faint blessing of the adorable cilantro and the bawdy onions.

And on goes a drizzle of the abashed garlic-tequila-olive oil and ranchera sauce.

The dapper and dashing offer is plated, waiting for abiding and decisive mouths!

No other complement is more exultant than a condemned plate! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dos Salsas...

So heres two fun salsas to make and have around...salsa verde and "ranchera" sauce...
The first one will be salsa verde...or "green sauce". I don't know were I found it but I didn't make this up, but I did save the recipe in my little black book.
What you need is about a pound of tomatillos. They are not green tomatoes but they are in the same family of the tomato but of a different genus. They are most closely related to the cape gooseberry.

You will also need a big handful of cilantro, two cloves of garlic and a pepper for some heat. I used here a serrano which is hotter than a jalapeƱo and S&P.

And let me say this to all you nazi/al qaeda communist pigs who don't like cilantro...you're nuts, wacko and crazy. It's a wonderful, fresh accoutrements for a lot of dishes.

Take the husks off the tomatillos and give them a wash. If some "husk stuff" won't come off the flesh, the water will help. Pop them in a pot of simmering water for about 20 minutes or until you can just pierce the flesh with a knife point. Let them cool a bit and...   Roll them into a blender with all of the other ingredients (but not the water). Place the lid on the blender and whirl away...taste, adjust...and thats it! Terminado!

TIP!: When blending hot liquids, it is advisable to also place a towel over the lid to catch any escaping liquid...it tends to become a volcano.

Next up...a "ranchera" sauce or sauce...at least that's what I call it...a smokey red sauce.

Place some roma tomatoes and your choice of dried chilies on a sheet pan, drizzle some olive oil on the toms and sprinkle on some S&P. I used a few small chili de arbols for heat and 3 New Mexico chili pods.

Place it in under the broiler about 5" away...and watch it carefully. The large pods will turn dark very quickly. Take the items out as they char a bit, each time will take different broiling times.

Take the stems off and seeds out of the pods and place them is a sauce pan with the now charred tomatoes with 1-1/2 cups of water...add some S&P.

I also add 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 3 table spoons of white vinegar. I like ancho chili powder. The ancho chili is a dried poblano chili. I try to buy chili powders in the Mexican isle as they significantly cheaper. For about $5 I got about 3/4 cup of powder...in the regular spice isle for $5 will get you a few tablespoons, if they even have it. Adding vinegar to sauces, chili, spaghetti sauce brightens the flavor up. Bring all of this up to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Let it cool and pour it all into your blender including the water...spin to puree it. Now, this is hot as in scoville units. Add in a tablespoon of honey, spin, taste, repeat until it is to your burn-or-not-to-burn liking. Done!

I was making some fish tacos and the rest of the "fam" made a wonderful Mexican inspired cobb salad as a side. The dressing was a fresh lime-cilantro vinaigrette.