Archive for the 'Make-ahead' Category

Tamales, Two Ways

Click here for a PDF of the recipe for Green Chile Chicken Tamales.

Click here for a PDF of the recipe for Red Chile Pork Tamales.

This weekend, I wanted to make a big batch of tamales to entertain a large group (and as an excuse to use the new tamalera I just bought).  There are two common wrappers for tamales – dried corn husks and banana leaves.  Since I was making two different varieties, I used both types of wrapper to make it easy to distinguish between them.  A huge pot of steamed tamales – along with a big pot of borracho beans (or charro beans) and some rice – what could be better?

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Pozole is a stew made primarily from nixtamal and pork.  It is served in various parts of Mexico and the American Southwest.  Even if you’ve never tasted this dish, you’ll recognize it as distinctly Mexican with dried red chile, tender pork, lime, and Mexican oregano providing most of the flavor.  It’s also the perfect thing to serve during a football game on a cool autumn Sunday.

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Rosemary-Cayenne Walnuts

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This is one of those recipes where some kind of voodoo happens that makes the result way better than you’d imagine it would be.  My friend Virginia Fox makes these occasionally for parties, and I always find myself camped-out by the bowl.  There are only 5 ingredients and it takes about 11 minutes total (including 10 minutes in the oven) to make, but they’re outstanding.

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Beer-Braised Shortribs with White Beans and Arbol Chiles

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I love braised beef (both cooking and eating) of just about every variety.  I think of most of these preparations as cold-weather dishes, but the flavors of this Rick Bayless recipe seem perfect for summer.  You should have no problem finding dried Arbol chiles (either at the grocery store or a Mexican market); I definitely recommend doing so (though I DO NOT recommend eating them).

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Make-Ahead Chocolate Soufflés

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This is the third and final post from my father-in-law’s birthday dinner.  This recipe is from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook which my good friend Jenna Abel turned me onto.  If you’re not familiar with the show, the basic concept is solving common cooking problems through experimentation, resulting in no-fail recipes (and frequently unexpected twists, like freezing soufflés before cooking them).  This recipe didn’t didn’t disappoint; the soufflés rose perfectly and were delicious.

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Eastern North Carolina-Style Barbecue

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Right after my wife and I got married, we moved to Raleigh, NC where we lived for almost seven years.  During that time, I learned a great deal about Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue.  First, let me get the definitions out of the way.  North Carolina has two entirely different styles of barbecue: Lexington-style (sometimes “Western North Carolina-style) and Eastern North Carolina-style.  Eastern North Carolina-style features slow-cooked pork (whole hog or shoulder only) with a vinegar-based sauce.  Lexington-style uses a tomato-based sauce.

In addition to living in Raleigh, my job provided many opportunities for me to head “down east” to Wilson, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Greenville, etc.  As a result, I sampled some of the best barbecue that the region had to offer (Bill’s in Wilson, Parker’s in Wilson, B’s in Greenville, Wilbur’s in Goldsboro, Pete Jones in Ayden, etc).  I also have a good friend with a retired-state trooper dad who knows a thing or two about cooking a pork shoulder.  There is plenty of debate about the right way to cook this (whole hog vs. shoulder, coal vs. gas, etc), but I’d like to think this recipe is authentic enough that Benny’s dad would be proud.

From my perspective, there are only a few things required to make outstanding pork barbecue.  They are:

  1. Set your grill or smoker to somewhere between 210 and 230 degrees, ideally indirect heat.
  2. Cook the pork until it reaches 190 degrees internal temperature, then let it rest for 30 minutes or so, during which time it will increase to 195 degrees.
  3. Baste or “mop” occasionally to add moisture and flavor.

That’s all there is to it!

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When Pixar made the film Ratatouille, they engaged Thomas Keller in a consulting capacity.  The producers spent time in Keller’s kitchen at the French Laundry to get a feel for how a commercial kitchen operates.  They also asked Keller “if you wanted to serve Ratatouille to a restaurant critic, how would you prepare it?” The result is, essentially, this recipe.  If you’ve seen the film, you’ll recognize almost every step in the preparation.

A couple of notes.  First, this calls for Japanese eggplant which I’ve always included.  I couldn’t find it this weekend, so I just omitted it.  If you can find it, definitely use it.  Second, I generally use an oval dish so I can spiral the vegetables out from the center.  I didn’t have access to one this weekend, so I just went with rows in a rectangular dish.

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Hot Cross Buns

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These can be made a day in advance – just whip-up the icing and add it right before you serve them.

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Charro beans

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This is kind of a cross between regular cowboy beans and borracho beans.  It’s a great side for grilled meats and can be made in advance.  Serve in small bowls. Continue reading ‘Charro beans’

Beef Bourguignon

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Serves 6 – 8

Adapted from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook

· 4 – 5 lbs beef chuck or neck cut into 1.5 inch pieces

· Salt and Pepper

· Olive Oil

· 6 onions

· 2 lbs white button mushrooms

· 4 – 6 Tb all-purpose flour

· 1 bottle red wine

· 12 carrots

· Bouquet garni

· Demi glace

Prep – thinly slice onions. Peel carrots and cut into 1-inch pieces. Thaw demi-glace (if using frozen) or prepare (if you have concentrated demi-glace on-hand). Tie bouquet garni. Chop some flat parsley if you want to use it for garnish. Cut the meat into 1.5 inch pieces. Continue reading ‘Beef Bourguignon’


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