Lentil and Feta Spinach Salad

On December 27, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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There are a few go to dishes I have when making a quick lunch or needing something for a picnic or potluck.  This dish is one of those go to options. It only take about 30 minutes to prepare and most important it tastes great.  The dijon vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor that adheres well to the lentils and cheese.

It’s also a great alternative to a pasta dish for weekday night dinners. Serve it with a side salad and some fresh bread to make a more complete meal.

You can substitute the feta with goat cheese or substitute the spinach with kale.  There are a lot of options here to fit what you may have available in your garden or fridge.

Lentil and Feta Kale Salad
Serves 4

1 cups lentils, dry
4 cups water

1 bunch spinach, rough chop
2 celery stalks, 1/4 inch cut
2 carrots, 1/4 inch cut
1 bell pepper, 1/4 inch cubed cuts
1/2 red onion, diced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon vinegar
coarse ground black pepper

Cook lentils in a pot with 8 cups of water, or follow your package directions.  Heat to a boil and then simmer covered for 20 minutes.  You want them firm, not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to saute pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes then add the carrots, bell pepper. and celery. Cook for an additional 3 minutes and add chopped spinach cooking down the kale for about 2-4 minutes.

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In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Combine slowly the olive oil continuing to stir to keep the dressing thick. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Finally, in a large bowl combine the lentils and vegetable saute mixture.  Pour over the dressing and add half of the crumbled feta cheese.  Mix.  Finally, add the remaining feta to the top of the dish and serve.

 

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Balsamic Strawberry Chicken using a SousVide Supreme

On June 8, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Making a juicy grilled chicken is not an easy undertaking, even by someone with some serious grilling skills. It’s not difficult getting some great grill marks, but keeping the inside tender while the grill marks are forming often makes for a fairly dry chicken breast. This is where sous-vide cooking can add a guaranteed juiciness to your chicken grilling.

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Sous-vide cooking is a French method that slowly cooks vacuum sealed meat or vegetables in a water bath. It keeps meat nice and tender plus it allows for a wide range of cooking time to so the food can cook while you carryon about your day.  This worked really well for me this weekend as I spent most of the day at work. To come home to most of my meal already done was a nice way to enjoy the rest of my Saturday.

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The chicken and strawberries came from the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market. The strawberries are perfect right now full of rich redness and  I found an organic Fragaria Virginiana variety. These sweet, smaller species of strawberries have a much better flavor than what you find at most grocery stores.

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This is my second dish using the SousVide Supreme and I really do like how tender everything is that comes of out of it. The slow cooking water bath technique is simple. Cutting into tonight’s chicken, even after putting it on the grill to get some nice grill marks, I could see the juices run down the chicken after slicing each bite.  Combined with the rich flavors of the balsamic strawberry sauce the meal was easy to make after a long unusual Saturday at work.

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It only took about 20 minutes to sear the chicken and prepare the sauce. It looked like I spent a lot of time on the dish, but it didn’t take away time I want to spend with my wife and boys.

Later this month, I’m competing with several other BBQ bloggers at http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/sousvidebbq.htm. Check back after June 25 to see what recipe I decide to enter and send me a vote if you want. As a bonus, each person who casts a vote for their fan favorite will be entered to win a $200 gift certificate to www.sousvidesupreme.com.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the SousVide Supreme to try as part of a blogger outreach program from the company.  The opinions are my own.

Balsamic Strawberry Chicken

Prep Time: 20 Mins Cooking Time: 6 Hours 30 Mins Total Time: 4 Hours 50 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts, skinless
  • 2 cups strawberries, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 shallot, mined
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine, Chianti or Cabernet work best
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Seal chicken breasts in vacuum bag. Heat the vacuumed chicken in a SousVide Supreme at 146 degrees for 4-6 hours. 
  2. Heat the grill on high.
  3. In a small sauce pan on medium-high heat add olive oil, garlic and shallot and cook for about 4 minutes, careful not to burn. Add 1 cup of strawberries, thyme, bay leaf and balsamic vinegar for about 3 minutes reducing vinegar by half. Add red wine and chicken stock and reduce by half for about 7 minutes. Smash the strawberries in the pan using a potato masher or fork to crush strawberries while leaving some small chunks. Reduce pan heat to low.
  4. Remove chicken from SousVide Supreme and pour a small amount of balsamic strawberry sauce over breasts to coat before placing on grill.
  5. Grill chicken on each side for about 7 minutes each side to get some nice grill marks.
  6. While on grill, add the rest of the strawberries to the sauce and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes before serving.
  7. Plate the chicken adding the rest of the sauce to the chickens.

Korean BBQ Tacos using a SousVide Supreme

On May 27, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m a very lucky person. There are many reasons: a wonderful family, a loving wife, and once a week the Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck makes a stop right behind the building I work. An order of three short rib tacos makes any day better. It makes life better.

Now I love traditional Mexican street tacos, so much so I have written a ton of reviews on a particular kind of taco – the gas station taco. This passion has led me to appreciate what makes a great taco. The perfect taco combines the elements of a slightly oily handmade corn tortilla, perfectly cooked meat, and the right amount of spices with just enough cilantro and chopped onions to compliment, not overpower the meat, then topped with a smooth, spicy hot sauce. That’s the perfect Mexican street taco.

The Korean taco is an entirely different beast.

Fusion cooking is the mixing of various cultures and is something that can go massively wrong or massively right. The Korean BBQ Taco is fusion and Chef Roy who owns Kogi does it massively right.

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Fresh made corn tortillas

If you’re unfamiliar with the Korean BBQ taco, you’re missing out. It’s sweet, spicy and crunchy. The meat is sauced with a good wet marinade that caramelizes the meat complimented by cilantro-onion-lime relish, topped with lightly pickled cabbage and hot sauce. It’s pure fusion. Combining the elements of Korea’s most famous food this decade – Korean BBQ – with Mexico’s most famous dish – tacos.

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A stack of tortillas after they’ve being heated.

I have been meaning to attempt the Korean BBQ taco at home.  Not copying Kogi, but rather making my own version that’s inspired by the Kogi truck.

This recipe is just that. It’s my own creation of the Korean BBQ taco and to make the meat as tender and flavorful as possible I decided I’d try a new style of cooking while I’m at it. I was contacted by SousVide Supreme who wanted to see what I could do using the sous-vide method (translates to “under vacuum”.) This looked like an excellent opportunity to make a tough meat, I used flat iron steak instead of short ribs, into something tender and juicy. Plus how more fusion can you get then a Mexican taco + Korean BBQ + French cooking method.

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SousVide Supreme with vacuum pouch sealer

Sous-vide involves cooking a vacuum sealed bag of meat or vegetables submerged in water at a consistent temperature. The method produces food that is cooked on the outside and inside at the same “doneness” without overcooking, while keeping the food juicy.  The consistent temperature of the water allows you to have the food ready in a large window of time. For example, the flat iron steak I made is ready anytime between 8 to 24 hours great for a long Memorial Day weekend when our family is running around having fun not knowing exactly when we’ll be home for dinner.

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Marinated flat iron steak submerged in SousVide Supreme

We spent the afternoon at Santa Monica Beach enjoying the warm California sun and flying our kites.

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When we came home and removed the flat iron steak from the SousVide Supreme I sliced off a small piece to try it. It was perfect.  It really was juicy and full of flavor. I placed it out on the grill to give it some grill marks and crunch.

Cooked flat iron steak in Korean BBQ marinade

Cooked flat iron steak in Korean BBQ marinade

Look how nicely cooked it was after cooking in the water at 140 degrees for 9 hours.

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A perfect medium

I did make my own tortillas for this recipe, but you don’t have to go that extra step. Just be sure to find some good quality corn tortillas and revitalize them in a saute pan with a little oil.  Heat the oil on medium-high heat and place a tortilla in for 10 seconds and then flip for another 5 seconds remove and place on some paper towels, patting off the excess oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Later this month, I’m competing with several other BBQ bloggers at http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/sousvidebbq.htm. Check back after June 25 to see what recipe I decide to enter and send me a vote if you want. As a bonus, each person who casts a vote for their fan favorite will be entered to win a $200 gift certificate to www.sousvidesupreme.com.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the SousVide Supreme to try as part of a blogger outreach program from the company.  The opinions are my own.

Sous-Vide Korean BBQ Tacos

Prep Time: 20 Mins Cooking Time: 8 Hours Total Time: 8 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. flat iron steak

Marinade

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Pickled Cabbage

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Cilantro relish

  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients and whisk together. Place the meat in the marinade and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove the flat iron steak and place into a vacuum pouch pour in about 2 tablespoons of the marinade into the vacuum pouch. Seal the steak using a vacuum food sealer.
  2. Fill up a SousVide Supreme with water and place the rack and sealed meat into the cooker. Set the heat to 140 degrees for medium doneness and let it cook for 8 hour or up to 24 hours. After 8 hours the meat is ready, the remaining time is just flex time that will keep the meat at the final cooked heat without over cooking.
  3. Meanwhile before the meat is ready to be removed from the SousVide Supreme, make the pickled cabbage and cilantro relish.
  4. For the cabbage, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the flavors to combine.
  5. The cilantro relish is made by simply combining the ingredients in a bowl and setting aside. This can be made right before taking the meat out.
  6. When the meat is ready, remove from the water and cut the vacuum pouch open. Remove the flat iron steak and place on a hot grill for a few minutes to give it some char. Remove and slice into small cubes for the taco.
  7. On each tortilla, place some meat followed by the cilantro relish and then the cabbage on top. Pour on some hot sauce too if you desire and serve.
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Swiss Chard, White Bean and Lentil Bake

On May 26, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Chris Baccus
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Since adding vegetarian to about half our weekly meals several years ago, I have come to appreciate a casserole or in this case a “bake.”  There’s really no difference.  Combine a bunch of complimentary ingredients and top with some cheese.  So much right.

This dish can be altered by switching out lentils with couscous or quinoa.  Or you can replace swiss chard with any other green like spinach or kale. Some added cubed sweet potatoes would be a nice addition too.

It does feel more like a fall comfort dish than something to make on a 70 degree day in May. Even so, this dish has a lot of versatility and can be enjoyed anytime of year.

 

 

Swiss Chard, White Bean and Lentil Bake

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 45 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1bunch swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Heat onion and garlic in a small pot with olive oil on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, beans, basil, salt, and pepper to the onions and cook together for another 3 minutes then add the swiss chard and cook for a couple minutes to soften.
  2. In a small baking dish, add the cooked lentils and then fold in the pot of vegetables. Add the pine nuts mixing everything together in the baking dish then top with grated cheese and cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 5 minutes uncovered. Remove and serve.
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Texas Brisket for #SundaySupper

On May 18, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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When I read this week’s SundaySupper theme was “Low & Slow” I knew exactly what I wanted to make and where I would get inspiration from.  As regular readers of my blog will know, this site has been taken over by a lot of slow cooking – cooking in a smoker to be exact. After returning from South by Southwest in Austin last March, I had a constant craving for barbecue. Smoked barbecue was constantly on my mind since I had my first and so far only taste of the most amazing brisket I’ve had in my life at Franklin Barbecue.

A coworker and I went to Franklin’s pretty late which was quite risky since the line is usually 3 hours and when they run out that’s it. No more and that time today was right around 1:15pm when we showed up and got behind a few people waiting outside the door.  About three minutes after getting in line someone from the restaurant comes out to put a “sold out today” sign on the door telling us they’re out, but they may have some scraps.

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At this point, we are good with scraps.  We waited in line with about 6 other people and when we finally made it to the counter there was one last perfectly cooked brisket just for us. No scraps!  Instead we had some amazing brisket that day.

I still can’t get that meal out of my mind (or is it taste-buds?)  It was an unforgetable food experience similar to the first time I went to Mario Batali’s Babbo Restaurant in New York City back in the early 2000’s. That meal change my perspective on Italian food forever. Franklin Barbecue changed my perspective on Southern barbecue forever and I knew I had to find a way to make that experience come home, just like how I learned to cook a few dishes like Batali’s Mint Love Letters ravioli.

For the next month I research smokers. Wood smokers. Ceramic smokers. Electric smokers. All kinds of options and read a ton of articles and message boards talking about perfect brisket and what it takes to get that great dark, Texas crunch and smoked flavor I had in Austin.

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When it came down to a final decision between a CookShack electric smoker and a ceramic Big Green Egg smoker, I went electric.  Now I knew this sacrificed me ever fully replicating Franklin Barbecue, but I knew I could get close. Heck I’d probably only just get close and that would still be pretty amazing.

So here I am on my second attempt at brisket in my CookShack smoker.  The first attempt was great, but it was a little too complex in the steps and came out a little too dry.  Plus last time I made a rookie mistake when buying the meat and bought what’s called a “flat” brisket.  What you really want is a “point” brisket. The point is that extra flap of the beef shoulder that most butchers cut-off from the brisket. Fortunately, I’ve found a great local butcher who specializes in grass-fed beef and I called them last Tuesday, literally when the cow arrives, and asked for a point brisket that ended up being a little over 9 pounds.

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I also found Aaron Franklin, the owner of Franklin Barbecue, in some YouTube videos talking about how he cooks brisket.

Here it is my second attempt. It was definitely an improvement, but I still have some work.  Mostly I left too much fat on.  Be sure to cut most of the fat off and watch Aaron’s video for some tips. I didn’t completely follow the instructions which I will next time. Basically, you want to remove most of the fat and keep some. Again, watch the video to learn more.

Don’t forget to check out the fabulous line up of recipes for today’s Low and Slow #SundaySupper

Low & Slow Breads & Starters:

Low & Slow Mains:

Low & Slow Sides:

Low & Slow Desserts:

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Low & Slow Food from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Don’t forget to join the #SundaySupper chat on Twitter Sunday to discuss cooking low and slow! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share our delicious recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Check out the Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper! Being held July 19th – 21st in beautiful, sunny Orlando, FL. It’s a must for food bloggers. Find out more here ? Food & Wine Conference

 

Texas Brisket

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 11 Hours Total Time: 11 Hours 15 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 9-10 lb point brisket
  • 1/2 cup ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the brisket removing most of the fat, but keeping some about a 1/4″ thick.
  2. Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl or shaker. Coat the brisket and let it refrigerate overnight.
  3. Heat smoker to 225 degrees. Place brisket in smoker.
  4. About 2 hours spray quickly with apple juice in a spray bottle.
  5. Remove brisket in 4 hours and wrap in butcher paper or aluminum foil. Spray apple juice and cover.
  6. Remove foil in last hour of cooking when meat temperature reaches 185 degrees. Spray with apple juice and place back in smoker until meat reaches 195 degree internal temperature.
  7. Serve.
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Perfect Baby Back Ribs

On May 5, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Great ribs are simple with the right equipment. In my case, that’s putting my recent electric smoker purchase to work.  So far I’ve made brisket, pulled pork and now baby back ribs. It’s so easy it doesn’t even feel like cooking.  Though the brisket did take a lot of work, the pulled pork and ribs were pretty much put them in the smoker, forget about them and come back when they should be ready.

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The ribs only took the small effort of coating them with some BBQ rub the night before. Also, the removing of the thin membrane under the rib bones is good too so the rub coats all the meat you’ll be eating.

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The ribs I bought came from my favorite butcher in Los Angeles, Lindy & Grundy. They’re from ReRide Ranch in Lake Hughes, California. The ribs were already perfectly trimmed so I had little prep to do.

 

BBQ Rub

Prep Time: 5 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot smoke paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Put into a shaker for future BBQ needs.

Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 3 Hours 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb baby back ribs
  • BBQ Rub
  • 2 oz. apple wood

Directions:

  1. Trim any excess fat on ribs and remove membrane layer on back of rib bones. Rub ribs the night before with a layer of BBQ rub and put in refrigerator until cooking time.
  2. Using 2 ounces of wood, a dry apple wood is best, place ribs in smoker at 225 degrees.* Leave in smoker for 3 1/2 hours.
  3. Serve.
  4. I use a CookShack electric smoker. Times may need to be adjusted for other smokers.
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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

On April 28, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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After a couple weekends of back-to-back smoked meats, I was due for a Saturday and Sunday of vegetarian meals. Last night was some great Asparagus Risotto. Following up last night’s meal, I had some beautiful swiss chard from the La Canada Farmers’ Market that needed to get used.  This dish was a perfect way to end the weekend.

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Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens in soups.  It has such a wonderful bitterness that when coupled with some spices – and this dish is full of complex spices – it really shines a wonderful green choice.

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The addition of cinnamon and allspice in this soup really comes through in the final produce. Couple the dish with a hearty sourdough bread.  Also the quinoa is optional and best to use if you are making this soup as a main course.

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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 45 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, rough bite size cut
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch moons
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the carrots, onions, and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add the spices except the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Let it cook and combine for about 2 minutes. Add the beans and coat the beans with the spices too letting it cook for another minute.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Heat the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minute simmer, add the swiss chard then again cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with a good sourdough bread.
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Asparagus Risotto

On April 27, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love risotto.  It is incredibly flexible where a wide variety of combinations can combine to create some amazing dishes.  In fact, last month when I was in Chicago for work I was in a cooking competition. Our team had flank steak, bell peppers, and potatoes as our ingredients. I led our team choosing between a Southwest or Asian flavored plate. We chose Southwest and went witha beer marinated flank steak, roasted potatoes and to top everything off stuffed bell peppers.

I had found some risotto, cilantro, tomatoes and onions that we used to stuff the peppers with then topping them with a slice of Manchego cheese. One of my coworkers had never made risotto and so I worked with her on adding chicken stock to the risotto and she came away proud she made it for the first time. Hopefully, she tried doing it again at work.

Here’s a video of my sharing our team’s creation that evening.

We came in second behind the creative team that had a couple food bloggers. Plus they had chicken, asparagus, and potatoes for their ingredients. Flank steak takes a lot longer to flavor so it was difficult getting something that would challenge the chicken option; though, that team did a great job with a wonderful balsamic vinegar sauce.

It was a fun evening an another example of how versatile risotto can be.

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Tonight though I wanted a simple though flavorful risotto for dinner.  I found some great asparagus at Erewhon market in Los Angeles this afternoon.  Perfect for a risotto.

 

Asparagus Risotto

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked risotto
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Parmasen cheese
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cooked
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot heat the butter on medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes until the onion is translucent and do not burn the garlic. Pour in the white wine and add risotto.
  2. Let the risotto absorb the white wine and then cook the risotto adding the vegetable stock 1 cup at a time and continue stirring. Each time let the risotto cook absorbing the stock and add more stock as the liquid cooks away. Eventually after all the vegetable stock has been added taste the risotto. It should be soft. If necessary add another 1/2 cup of broth or water.
  3. Add the cooked asparagus and Parmesan cheese. Mix together and cook with cooked risotto for 1 minute.
  4. Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese and sourdough bread.
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Pulled Pork

On April 21, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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With a new toy in the backyard, it’s no surprise I’ve done back to back weeks of BBQ. This weekend I put the smoker to work doing some Pulled Pork.  Friday after I work I made a trip to west Los Angeles to Lindy & Grundy and picked up a beautiful 6 1/2 lb bone-in pork butt.  Here it is the day before after I applied the rub.

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We were having neighbors over so it was the first time I would have guests to try what came out of the smoker. My biggest worry was having it ready on time. Concerned I may not have enough time even though I placed the meat in the cooker at 6:30am with guests coming at 6pm, I decided to up the temperature from 225 degrees to 250 for the full cooking time.

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The pork did come out with a more darker crust than I’d expect with a slower cooking time, but it wasn’t burnt. There was a pretty good crunch and the hotter temperature proved a good solution as the internal temperature of the pork came to 195 degrees after 11 hours which gave me time to pull the pork before guests arrived. Here is how it looked falling off the bone after I pulled it out of the smoker.

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I pulled the pork and lined a pan and covered it with foil then placed it back into the smoker for when we were all ready to eat. The end product was full of smoky flavor, had some great pieces of “bark” and was fairly moist though I could’ve taken it out about a hour or half hour earlier when the internal temperature hit 190 degrees for a more moist meat.  The pulled pork was served with two homemade barbeque sauces: Mustard and Sweet sauces.

Here is the end result.

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Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 11 Hours Total Time: 11 Hours 15 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 1/2 lb bone-in pork butt
  • Rub:
  • 3/4 cup Hot Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Salt
  • 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Onion Powder

Directions:

  1. Rub pork the night before or for 8 hours before putting in the smoker.
  2. Heat smoker to a 250 degree temperature maintaining a consistent temperature for 11-12 hours. Remove from smoker when internal temperature of meat hits 190 degrees.
  3. Remove and pull the pork. Serve with your favorite sauce or sauces.
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Smoker “Flat” Brisket

On April 14, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Since leaving Austin, Texas last month after one of the better South By Southwest years, I had a craving for BBQ – smoked BBQ to be exact. See I went on a Pilgrimage to a place that had been recommended to me for year: Franklin BBQ. For some dumb reason, I went to Austin four times in my life and it took the fourth time for me to get to Franklin.  Fortunately, I did have another trip to Texas – this time Dallas – in late March and made some time to get some brisket at Lockhart Smokehouse. So I was finding my outlets for great BBQ, but traveling to Texas every time wasn’t feasible so I began a search for a home smoker.

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Long story short.  I settled on two final choices: Big Green Egg and Cookshack. Both are high-quality home smokers.  What basically led me to the Cookshack is that I wanted something that didn’t take as much tending. You just set the temperature and go about your day.  Where lump charcoal and wood smoker/grills require a bit more babysitting something I just don’t have time for. So I gave up some flexibility and I’m sure some taste too and went with an electric Cookshack smoker.

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After my first weekend, I’m glad I went with Cookshack.  The smoker is easy to maneuver around the deck which was important as my wife was none too happy with smoke coming into the home with the first couple locations I put the smoker.  A Big Green Egg weighs over 100 pounds (I was looking at the medium size.) I also like how little wood is needed, only 2 ounces for this brisket. Nothing more.

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Which brings me to my first trial in the new smoker. I made a classic newbie error a couple weeks earlier when buying some grass-fed brisket at the local Farmers’ Market. I bought what is known as a flat; instead, of the more ideal “point” brisket. Basically, a point brisket has a flap of fat that lays on top of the meat and provides a lot more flavor and that much desired crust. Good news is a flat isn’t a bad choice either and I found a recipe online that tried to replicate that nice Texas crust.  Thanks to the Grill Grrrl blog, I found a recipe that did a great job of making a flavorful flat brisket; even though, the recipe calls for a point. Though the recipe walkthrough obviously uses a flat brisket so I figured I’d be okay with a flat and was.

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Note: For the BBQ sauce, I went with a simple recipe I found on FoodNetwork and have now added this recipe to my shortlist of great BBQ sauce. I did a couple minor modifications to it. Substituted dry mustard with 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, and added 1 tablespoon of molasses. Full recipe here: Neely’s BBQ Sauce.

Smoker “Flat” Brisket

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 10 Hours

Ingredients:

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 lb Brisket “flat”
  • 1 part hickory, 1 parts apple wood
  • Rub:
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • Wrap Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp apple juice
  • Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine the rub ingredients and generously “rub” into the meat. Cover and refrigerate over night.
  2. Prepare the smoker to 225 degrees. I’m using a Cookshack Smokette Elite. You’ll need to adjust times for your smoker.
  3. Place the brisket on the smoker and let it smoke for 6-7 hours or until the internal temp reaches 170 degrees. Next, you are going to do the “Texas Crutch”- or wrap it in foil. Roll out a bunch of foil and double it up so that you can fold the brisket into a foil “packet.” Remove the brisket, put it on the foil and pour on the wrap liquid. Seal up the foil packet and put it back on the grill. Let the brisket steam in the packet for another 2 hours or until the internal temp is 190 degrees.
  4. Remove the foil from the brisket and glaze then place the meat back in the smoker and let it smoke for another 45 minutes to a hour to absorb the sauce and get a nice glaze.
  5. Once you pull the brisket off, “tent” it in foil for 30 minutes. Slice against the grain in 1/4” slices.
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