Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Puffy Chicken Tacos

Along with finding a great chili con queso recipe at http://www.homesicktexan.com/ I found a recipe for Puffy Taco's. I however decided to fill mine with chicken breast.

I started by frying up a batch of shells, it was difficult to get them to come out in the right shape, but hey, what can you do right? There is most certainly a technique you need to fry them and get them to come out in a good shape, I just haven't figured out what that might be yet.

After I had a good amount of shells I pan fried my chicken breasts that had been pounded down to about a 1/3 of an inch, and then covered in spices, such as garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc. I left them to sit in the spices for about an hour before frying. After about 1/2 to 3/4 cooked I took them out, diced the breasts, and added them back to the frying pan with lime juice and about 2 tbs of cilantro. After fully cooked I loaded the chicken slices to the taco shells, with toppings such as cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, and pickled jalapeno.
After devouring about 4 of these delicious tacos I got peckish again and used up the rest of the stuff in a taco salad.
At the end of the day, I think I preferred these in salad form, just as the shape of the shells ceased to matter. It gave good purpose to all the shells I couldn't open or were just too deformed to use.

The Wonderful Applications of Chili

Whats not to love about Chili? It can meat, it can be vegetarian, it can be spicy, it can be mild, it can go on nachos, burgers, fries, hot dogs, rice, in a burrito, or just by itself. It freezes well, although like anything is best served fresh.

So my freezer had recently run dry from my last chili making binge, and it was time to make a new batch. I decided to make a ass kicking 6 alarm chili, with ground beef and 3 types of beans (pinto, kidney, and Mexican), as well as a milder Texas chili with chunks of chuck. To really heat up with 6 alarm chili along with the 3 cans of beans, and 3 lbs of ground beef, I added 3 jalapenos, 2 Serrano's, 2 poblano's, and 2.5 habanero's. That in addition to the regular chili fixin's (spice blend, tomatoes, stock, beer, tomato paste).
And for the Texas chili, I added 1 poblano, 2 jalapenos, 1 serrano, and 1/2 a habanero, in addition to the 3 lbs of chuck cubes.

Some 4 or 5 hours later I had to boiling pots of finished chili ready to be consumed. First ready and tasted was the Texas Chili, and man did it ever turn out hotter then I had bargained for.
Being so long since I had worked with the habanero, I forgot it isn't something to fuck around with. Now sufficiently worried for the sake of my stomach and intestinal track, I found myself ready to try the vastly hotter chili. I dug right in, and I must say it wasn't as bad as I had built it up in my head, although it was still quite hot, and did a number on my digestive system on its tour of my body.

Now as I was mentioning earlier, the face you can put chili on about anything, well here's somethings I've slathered in chili since making this huge pot.

Chili Cheese Dog
Small Chili Cheeseburger
Ultimate Chili Cheeseburger
And finally, for the perfect accompaniment to nachos, with or without chili, in the vain of chili con carne, chili con queso!
I found the recipe for this wonderful melty cheese sauce at http://www.homesicktexan.blogspot.com/ a wonderful blog I've recently started to use.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No Ketchup Added

Is there a bigger shame then when ketchup is added to a dish that is then passed off as Thai food? I'm referring of course to the North American trend of making Pad Thai with a ketchup based sauce. Now its not to say that it makes for bad food, it just doesn't make Pad Thai in my books (and I'm sure the books of millions of Thais and other foodies around the word).

So to get the actual food aspect of this post kicked off, Ill start by saying I've eaten a lot of mediocre Thai food in my life time. In fact the only authentic Thai food I remember ever being pleased with (up until a month ago) was at Young Thailand. Recently however, I heard of a place called Sukhothai, which was being praised as the best Thai food in Toronto. So after hearing such a string of recommendations, I went. I went with Christina and my friend Chris. I ordered the Sukhothai Pad Thai, spicy, with chicken. It was excellent, a nice light sauce, and wonderful fresh herb flavor. Chris also had the Sukhothai Pad Thai, mild, with beef. He was thoroughly impressed. And Christina had the Gaeng Panang, spicy, with chicken, she was quite impressed, and based of a small taste myself, I came to the same conclusion (maybe more so, as I previously have had a bad association with Thai curries).

So incredibly impressed by the food dished out by this tiny establishment on Parliament (just N of Shuter on the W side) that always seems to have a wait for a table, Christina and myself decided on a return visit just a couple weeks later. This time with my trusty camera!

We started by ordering a couple Thai Iced Tea's, to cure both our thirst, as well as curiosity.
A very interesting beverage, steeped hot tea, ice, and either coconut milk, or a heavy cream (I couldn't quite tell).
First to reach the table was our Pad Kee Mao, Spicy, with beef
Deliciously spicy, very tasty blend of flavours, steak strips weren't tough, a great dish.

Second up we got our Gaeng Masaman, a curry with tamarind and coconut, with peanuts, potatoes, and chicken, spicy.
With all the good things I had to say about the first dish, could you believe I liked this one better? Tender pieces of chicken in an amazing curry sauce, with the crunchy peanut slices to contrast the texture, whats not to love?

Third up, was the Pla Taud, the simplest of dishes, a piece of fried fish, with rice and mango salad.
Wow! Amazing even in its simplicity, this may have been the most perfectly fried piece of fish I have ever eaten. Incredibly tender, perfectly crispy, and with lathered with the sauce, a little taste of Ecstasy. The mango salad was quite good as well.

After eating all this amazing food, it put me back at the drawing board for making my own Thai food. So finally just this week I got around to putting together a semi Thai meal, of Thai chicken wings, and Pad Thai. I marinated the Thai chicken wings the night before. The marinade consisted of garlic, ginger, lemon grass, fish sauce, soy sauce, Thai chili's, cilantro, honey, lime juice, and tamarind. Baked for about and hour, and finished very quickly under the broiler.

The Pad Thai consisting of deep fried tofu, bean sprouts, green onion, garlic, ginger, Thai basil, cilantro, Thai chili, and shrimps marinated in sriracha, tamarind pulp, and fish sauce. The sauce consisted of tamarind pulp, and a touch of fish sauce (about 1 tbs for every 1/2 cup of tamarind).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Leftover Mash Potatoes

I just finished the last scraps of one of my favorite breakfasts which I have whenever I have leftover mashed potatoes. Its simple to make, all you need is bacon, egg, tomato, ketchup (optional), and the leftover mash.
Start by thinning out the mash potatoes with milk to a thick batter like consistency. Meanwhile have the bacon cooking. When the bacon is finished cooking remove it to some paper towels, and add some olive oil to the bacon fat, and add the potato batter. This part can be tricky, first things first, making sure you have enough oil to avoid having the potato stick. Do not fret if the potato pancake breaks when you try and flip it, just reform it in the pan, whilst trying to keep the un-browned parts on the surface of the pan. Rinse and repeat until you can flip it without it breaking (this usually takes 3-4 flips and reforms). When your confidant that your potato will no longer break, cook the egg, and slice a tomato.

The building process goes as such;
The potato patty

Bon Appetite.