Adobo Grilled Steak Tacos

On March 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

You can buy Adobo from any market, but making your own isn’t that difficult and more than worth doing. There is such a richness of flavor and it is a rather simple process.

Here is a taco recipe using a homemade Adobo and grilled skirt steak.

Adobo Grilled Steak Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb skirt steak
8 flour tortillas
1 large red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 lemons, cut into quarters

3 cascabel chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 pasilla chiles
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 allspice berries
2 cloves
5 garlic cloves
1 inch stick cinnamon
8 black peppercorns

Prepare Adobo by wiping the chiles clean and seeding then roasting chiles for 7 minutes on each side in a toaster oven (or at 350 degree oven.) Place all Adobo ingredients into a blend and blend slowly into a paste. Add a 1 tsp of water at a time to get the right consistency if the 1/2 cup of water does not make it smooth enough.

Rub Adobo into skirt steak and let it marinate for 1 hour or overnight. Cook marinated skirt steak over high heat on a grill. About 10 minutes per side to desired doneness. Remove from grill and slice into small 1/2 inch pieces.

Fill flour tortillas with steak, onion, cilantro, and thin slices of avocado. Plate 2 tacos and include a quarter slice of lemon.


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Homemade Ravioli with Ricotta and Asparagus

On March 27, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

This dish was requested by my wife. Years ago before we had our twin boys I had made this dish one evening in Northern Michigan staying at my in-laws cottage in Lake Leelanau. It was in my Mario Batali phase where I was watching his cooking show on FoodTV and had even had a few meals at his restaurant Babbo’s in New York City.

Two key things I learned from Batali during this phase. One, don’t over-sauce your pasta. Just gently coat the pasta. Two, use fresh pasta because dry pasta just doesn’t make a great pasta dish.

I took a course at William-Sonoma’s at the Somerset Collection a couple years ago that showed me how to make great homemade pasta using our Kitchen Aide mixer with the optional pasta attachment.

Basic Pasta Dough

2 1/3 cups flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs olive oil
4 eggs
2 Tbs water, plus more as needed

Combine the first three ingredients in the mixer and mix for 30 seconds on a low speed. In a separate bowl, combine the last three ingredients using a whisk to combine.

Pour the liquid mixture slowly in phases to the flour mixture with the Kitchen Aide using the flat beater to combine. Do this until the dough can be formed, but not sticky. Add a little extra water, 1 tsp at a time as needed to get right consistency.

Separate into two balls then wrap in plastic and flatten into discs (see image below.) Let them rest room temperature for 30 minutes.

Dust a cutting board lightly with flour. Cut off a 1/4 of a piece from the wrapped discs of pasta dough and roll out with a rolling pin in a rectangular shape until flat enough to go through the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment on setting #1 (thickest setting.)

Have the pasta pass through the extractor each time lessening the number by one until you pass it through on #7. Fold the pasta over two times and then repeat the process two complete times and now you should have a long, almost see-through piece of pasta. Cut and set aside.

Repeat this process with remaining pasta dough.

Cut each pasta sheet so that you can fold over a piece with a dollup of the ricotta mixture. To make the ricotta mixture combine 1 cup of ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and blend with a fork. Place 1 teaspoon of mixture on each pasta square. Wet the edges with a little water and seal each ravioli.

Bring a pot of water to boil, salt, and cook the pasta for about 5 minutes until tender.

In a separate saute pan make the sage butter sauce.

Sage Butter Sauce

5 Tbs of butter
3 Tbs of chopped fresh sage (do not use dried)
salt and pepper to taste

Add the butter and brown it on medium-high heat. Once all melted and getting a dark color add the sage and cook for 15 seconds and then add the cooked ravioli. Toss in some cooked asparagus too (optional) and serve immediately with some grated Parmesan.



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Sweet Potato and Chard Stew

On March 19, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

This by no means is a favorite dish, but it is a good choice to mixup a week’s meals with a vegetarian selection that uses a couple vegetables that are not often used – sweet potato and chard. The coconut milk adds a rich flavor and the squeeze of lime juice makes this more of a Spring dish than a Fall or Winter month choice.

Sweet Potato and Chard Stew
serves 4

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 large sweet potato
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1Tbs. fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. Curry powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (14oz.) coconut milk
1 bunch of Swiss chard
squeeze of lime for garnish


Warm the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan; add the onion and a bit of salt. Cook while stirring for about 4 minutes.

Add sweet potato, garlic, pepper, ginger, spices and sauté for a minute or two.

Add 1 1/2 cups of water, coconut milk and a bit of salt; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes, covered.

Add the chard, and continue cooking for about 8-10 minutes until the chard

Serve over quinoa or jasmine rice. I used a quinoa and lentil mixture sold by Trader Joe’s


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Slow-Cooked Achiote-Marinated Pulled Pork Tacos

On March 7, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Every cook has shelves and shelves of cookbooks, but most of them ever get opened more than once or twice. Then there are the cookbooks you can’t live without. Roberto Santibanez, chef of the NYC restaurant Rosa Mexicano, wrote an excellent book Rosa’s New Mexican Table.

I’ve tried a few recipes before and wanted to get deeper into the book now that I’m in Texas where there are tons of local Mexican grocery stores and amazing made that day tortillas.

So I tried what is essentially Mexico’s version of pulled-pork. It’s the Slow-Cooked Anchiote-Marinated Pork on page 102 (I wanted to post the full recipe but that’s a copyright violation, so pardon my select ingredients that follow as they are more for me to remember what I need to buy at the grocery store in case I failed to check the book. One of the great side-effects of a food blog is that you can pull up the blog’s recipes on a smartphone.)

The recipe calls for a 3 1/2 pound pork butt, 10-ounce package of fresh banana leaves, a couple of limes, anchiote paste, and several spices. The pork is marinated for a couple hours or over night. Once marinated the pork is wrapped in the banana leaves in a casserole dish and cooked for 2 1/2 hours.

Above is what it looks like before entering the oven and below is what it looks like after being unwrapped and pulled. Keep all the liquid from the pan as this will be used to coat the pork. Simply pull the pork and place it in the pan with the marinade juices from the oven. Stir and serve the pork with some sliced onions, cilantro and tortillas.

You can also add some hot sauce, but the tacos do not need it and you’ll get more of the sour and hot flavor from the pork without adding more heat to the dish.

The shredded pork can also be used for burritos, quesadillas, or use it like BBQ pulled pork and make a sandwich. There should be plenty of leftovers to play around with.

A friend informed me this is also known as Cochinita Pibil.

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