Thursday, January 19, 2012


I made some awesome chile Colorado yesterday, and wanted to get it written down before I forgot what I did... You should definitely try this one out!

Get a piece of pork shoulder and cut it up into 2" or so chunks. Toss in a bowl with a heavy amount of chile powder (like California, paprika, and chile de Arbil (spicy)), a little salt, and maybe a little garlic powder and tomato paste.

Fry the chunks in a pan with some olive oil, then remove them to a separate bowl. Work in small batches, and get the pieces nice and brown all over.

Add some onions and chile peppers (like pasillas or fresnos if you have them) to the oil left in your pan, then squeeze out the tomatoes from a small can of whole tomatoes, and add them to the onions.

Cook until the tomatoes are dry and starting to brown a little, then add a few spoons of enchilada sauce to the pan along with the meat. Cook everything down again until the enchilada sauce is dry, then pour in the rest of the tomato juice along with about 2/3 of the enchilada sauce and a can of water.

Bring the liquid to a boil and put the whole pan into the oven at 275, with a lid on.

Cook for around 4-5 hours until the pork is very tender, then take the lid off and turn the oven up to 350 for another 30-60 minutes, so the top can brown.

We took the meat out and poured the sauce into a jar so we could spoon off the extra pork heaven, then poured the sauce back over the meat.

This is awesome in tacos or over rice along with limes and sour cream.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Making pizza is one of my favorite pastimes, and for a long, long time, I've been trying to perfect my dough. I haven't gotten it exactly perfect yet, but I really like the version I've been making and fine tuning. Here's my latest recipe:

2 cups warm water
2.25 tsp dry yeast
4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups Semolina flour
1 1/3 cups Unbleached all purpose flour
Olive Oil

I like to use the dough hook on my mixer, but you can make it by hand also...
Whisk the yeast into the warm water.

Add 1 cup of the semolina, mix, then add 1 cup of the regular flour.

Mix in the salt (note: adding the salt directly to the water/yeast combo kills off some of the yeast, so it is best to wait to add the salt so there is less yeast-salt contact.

Alternate with small scoops of semolina, then white flour until the dough is still sticky, but holds together, and can be handled with oiled hands. The amounts of the flours are just rough guidelines, go by the texture of the dough...

Run the mixer for a minute or two on medium high to knead the dough. (if it is still a little sticky, don't worry - during proofing, the flour will absorb a little more water, making the dough easier to handle)

Form the dough into a ball, lightly coat with Olive Oil, and put in an oiled bowl, covered loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour. *note - for best results, boil a mug of water in your microwave for a couple minutes, then quickly put the dough in the warm microwave to rise. The moist, warm environment is perfect for rising dough.

At this point, you can either refrigerate the dough for later, or divide it into 4-6 balls (depending on size and thickness of the pizza you want). Preheat your oven to 450F and let the dough rise another 45 minutes. (if you refrigerated the dough, give it 2 hours or so to rise since it will be cold)

Oil a perforated pizza pan and stretch the dough onto it. Rub the top with olive oil, and sprinkle a little salt and minced garlic over it. Bake for 5-10 minutes until it starts to brown.

Remove the crust from the oven, add toppings, and return to the oven. This time, slide the pizza off the pan directly onto a pizza stone or rack in the bottom portion of the oven. Cook briefly, just enough to melt the cheese and crisp the bottom.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Octopus. It's a real culinary challenge for me to figure out the perfect way to cook one. It usually either comes out slimy or rubbery, or both. This Christmas, I tried a few ideas out, and think I might finally be on the right track. I'm going to part with our traditional marinated salad, but to me, just having octopus on the table is in keeping with tradition. Here is my plan for my next attempt...

Step 1: Beat the living daylights out of a thawed octopus with a tenderizer mallet.

Step 2: Gently simmer the octopus in salted water for over 2 hours until it is tender enough to stick a fork in.
*note - I tried cooking it in its own juices and was not happy with the "ocean floor" taste that resulted

Step 3: Drop the cooked octopus into an ice bath. My goal is to keep the suckers on the final octopus, and boiling for over 2 hours can turn them into mush. My theory is that the ice bath will re-solidify the suckers so they remain intact.

Step 4: Slice off each of the legs by cutting parallel to the leg all the way back to the beak, taking a piece of the head with each leg. This gives longer, meatier pieces than cutting perpendicular to the legs.

Step 5: Fry the pieces in olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic and some salt. My theory is that this will further set the suckers, while giving a higher heat than the gentle boiling to further tenderize the meatier pieces.

Step 6: I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think a simple warm salad is the way to go on this one. I feel like marinating (like i did this year) turns everything slimy, and I think a nice crisp warm texture will be tastier. I think just tossing the hot octopus with fresh parsley, and a little lemon and garlic will be perfect.

Step 7: I hope this is the right plan, but there could be several variations after step 4, including barbecuing, cooking in sauce, or marinating.