Taco empanadas with taco dipping sauce


An empanada is a delicious thing. There are many variations on filling all over the world. The originated from the Ilberian peninsula in the middle ages during the time of the Moor invasion. I have a favorite, and that’s Taco Empanadas.

30 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 3/4 lb of unsalted butter cut into 120 pieces, fresh out of the fridge
20 eggs (reserve half for the egg wash)
2 1/2 to 3 cups of water
Egg wash: 10 egg whisked with 10 tablespoon milk

Add flour and salt into a bowl and mix by hand. Add eggs, butter, and water and if you wish it some seasoning, I add cayenne or dried pablano pepper powder and begin mixing until a ball of dough forms. You don’t need to knead. Roll this spiced dough out flat and cut into 200 (yes 200) small circles using a small plate. I refrigerate these stacking them with wax paper between them. Now we make the filling.

5 pounds shredded lettuce
7 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 1/2 pounds chorizo sausage
4 cans of refried beans
10 white onions diced
20 tablespoons paprika
10 tablespoons cumin
5 tablespoons black pepper
10 tablespoons hot sauce (I use this stuff Red Lightning Hot Sauce)
10 tablespoons olive oil

To make the filling get a 20 inch campfire skillet screaming hot and add the oil, ground beef, chorizo, onions, paprika, cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, and let cook 10 minutes stirring, then add in the refried beans and lettuce and stir another 10 minutes until well blended. Remove from heat and let’s fill our empanadas.

Once the mix is cooled we’re ready to start. Spoon some of the mix in the middle of the dough, and fold over pressing out air pockets and brush the edges with the egg wash. Crimp the edges with a fork, I find 1-2 tablespoons of mixture works. Repeat this until you got 200 filled empanadas and no more mixture left over, it’s fine if you do reward yourself. Then we make our dipping sauce before we fry them.

To make our dipping sauce we need: 2 tubs of sour cream, and 4 jars of salsa. The salsa I use can be found here Smoky salsa. Just mix the sour cream into the salsa until well blended with a spoon, leave the spoon on a plate next to the dip, it’s usually a bit too thick for dipping so it’s more of a topping but yummy none the less, it should be deep pinkish red in color.

Now we fry our empanadas. Fry in oil until brown in batches of 5 at a time. Remove once golden with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Absolutely delicious.

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An ode to homer


Cover of "The Simpsons Movie (Widescreen ...

Cover of The Simpsons Movie (Widescreen Edition)

No not the greek poet. Watch the simpson’s movie and chief wiggam almost shot himself while eating donuts. Something homer and I share is a love of donuts. So I’m thinkin of that I’ve never had is fried cake donut. Not sure if they’d fry up right, but I figure the idea’s there always room to experiment.  The dough will probably be a bit sticky so flour whatever you use to cut the donuts. So here we go homer’s donut.

 

Homer‘s donut

Mix oil and egg in a bowl until combined, add in baking powder, sugar, salt, and flours and fold together unitl it forms a crumbly mix. Slowly stir in brandy, moonshine and milk. Flour your hands and turn out onto floured board and let sit in the oven for 2 hours. Roll dough out to desired thickness (I’m thinking 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, anything thicker might leave the center raw and uncooked.) and either cut out with a cookie cutter or a tin can, or a cup. Cut out as many donuts as you can get, might be some left over, can twist it together and you can make donut sticks! Heat oil in a pan until you can stick in a bamboo skewer and it bubbles vigorously, or a cube of bread browns in a minute. Lay your donuts a few at a time in the oil and fry until golden brown flipping with a spider half way through cooking. (Probably 3-4 minutes, maybe more depending on thickness) Once cooked, remove from pan of oil and roll in cinnamon sugar. (My cinnamon sugar is 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice) Knowing homer like I do from watching the show, I think a glaze would be required, a simple glaze of 1/4 cup milk, 2 cups cinnamon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of apple pie moonshine be awesome. Definetly not healthy, but sounds like something homer would enjoy.

Enlightenment on sumac


Any time you mention sumac you think of poison sumac also known as poison oak. Sumac while related to poison oak is related to the sumac spice. Sumac is the berry from a shrubby little plant growing in the middle east and parts of Italy. The spice looks black, but the berries when fresh are a brick red. You can buy them ground or whole dried berries. The leaves and bark of the plant was used for tanning leather. It is tart rather astringent and has been used as a souring agent. The spice is rather delicious on grilled meats, fish, ligumes, veggies and even rice. If you’d like to try using it, it can be found in any well stocked middle eastern market place.

Middle eastern grilled monkfish with flat bread dip

2 monkfish filet (about 2 pounds)
4 Tablespoons ground sumac
8 Teaspoons toasted sesame seed
8 Tablespoons thyme
2 Teaspoon fine pink himilayan salt
olive oil to coat fish filets

Wash the monkfish filets under cold water. Find and trim off the blue membrain as it’s inedible. Coat monkfish in olive oil and dredge in the remaining spices. Place on grill of a medium heat (it is ready when you hold your hand 1 inch off the grate and count 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi, ouch). Allow to cook 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Flat bread dip

1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sumac

whisk together and enjoy with a bread of your choosing.

My country cube steak with saw mill gravy for a crowd


I’ll let you in on a secret. I love red meat. Being a guy one could easily know that but I love bison cube steak when I can find it for a true country breakfest.

Mix together flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Dredge the Cube steak in the flour mix on both sides and set aside until all the yummy cube steaks are covered in flour. In a large camp fire skillet, add oil, garlic, and onions. When onions are clear remove from pan along with garlic. Add butter into pan and allow to melt. Once melted add in cube steaks. Watch them carefully, when the sides get a golden hay like color flip them and give them 1 more minute before removing from the pan. Turn off heat and remove grease by pouring through a fine mesh screen over a funnel into a mason jar.  This filters out the solid particles from the grease. Set this remaining grease aside in the mason jar. It will keep in the fridge for upto a week.

Take 9 tablespoons of this grease, 9 tablespoons of flour, 3 cups of half and half, and 1 pound crumbled breakfest sausage. Sift the flour into this remaining grease in the same pan you fried the cube steak. Stir it until it gets brown, I like a straw brown color. Pour in the half and half slowly while stirring constantly. Add in crumbled breakfest sausage, and stir until it’s thickened. At this point I add black pepper, about 3 tablespoons.  The breakfest sausage can be anything. Jimmy dean is good, or what ever you happen to have.

Serve with a side of mashed potatoes.

Bison enchiladas


While down in texas my goddess’s grandmother made enchiladas, it was the first time I had ever had them. They were delicious, bit small, but delicious. This is the closest I have come to recreating the recipe.  There usually is left over filling for me but that’s fine I use it to stuff bell peppers or on toast.

8 medium onion, diced
24 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chili powder
24 teaspoons cumin
16 teaspoons sugar
16 cups tomato sauce
8 cup water
8 pound ground bison
16 cups mexican blend cheese
1 1/2 cups pickled poblanos, minced (I pickle them like japanenos only in deseeded strips)
8 fresh jalapeno, minced
2 cup cilantro, minced
48 12 inch corn tortillas (about 1 package where I shop, might vary)

Coat the bottom of a large camp skillet with olive oil and heat over medium low. Add onions and cover with a lit and let cook away until soft. Should be about 8 minutes. Remove the lid add in garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and stir 4 times. Stir in your homemade tomato sauce (you can use canned but I got plenty in the freezer) and water bring to a simmer and let simmer away until it thickens up. Stir in the ground bison and simmer over low covered until cooked. About 10 minutes or so. Strain the sauce to remove the solids from this lovely red sauce. Toss the bison, half the cheese, jalapenos and cilantro. Heat the over to 300 and add about 2/3rds of a cup of filling on warmed tortillas (can microwave them), roll and place seam side down. Repeat and lay each one on a sprayed cookie pan. Top with remaining cheese cover with foil and bake until heated through and cheese is melty. About 25 minutes. Delicious and twice the size of the one she made.

To the dads, grilled mac and cheese


Well father’s day is upon us. With this in mind I thought of a simple yet delicious recipe that dads would love. I’m thinking  grilled mac and cheese with chorizo, fire roasted onions, chiles and corn, maybe some left over on some grilled bread for a great sandwich!
Father’s day grilled mac and cheese

Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
2 cups (about 8 ounces) elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 ears sweet corn, shucked
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 New Mexican green chiles or Anaheim or California peppers, or
2 to 4 poblano peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated smoked cheese, preferably smoked Cheddar, smoked pepperjack, or equal amounts of both
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
6 ounces crumbled spanish chorizo

A cast iron skillet, aluminum foil roasting pan or drip pan, or grill-proof baking dish (about 9 by 12 inches), sprayed or brushed with oil; 2 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory); soaked for 1 hour in mock burbon/water to cover (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon vanilla makes 1 cup mock burbon), then drained

Bring 8 quarts of lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a large colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and drain again. Toss the macaroni with the oil to prevent sticking.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

When ready to cook, lightly brush the corn and onion with half of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Place chorizo in a small metal pan and brown after putting the corn and onion on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side (8 to 12 minutes in all) for the corn, and 3 to 4 minutes per side (9 to 12 minutes in all) for the onion, turning with tongs as needed. Add the chiles and peppers to the hot grate and grill until the skins are charred, 3 to 5 minutes per side (6 to 10 minutes in all) for the New Mexican chiles, or 3 to 5 minutes per side (12 to 20 minutes in all) for the poblano peppers, and 4 to 6 minutes per side (16 to 24 minutes in all) for the bell peppers. Transfer the corn, chorizo and onion to a cutting board and let cool.

Transfer the grilled chiles and bell peppers to a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes (the steam trapped by the plastic wrap helps loosen the skin from the peppers). Scrape the skin off the cooled peppers, then core and seed them.

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs using lengthwise strokes of a sharp butcher knife. Thinly slice the onion quarters crosswise. Cut the chiles and peppers into 1/4-inch dice.

Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until soft but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the corn kernels and grilled onion, chorizo, chiles, and bell peppers. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the half-and-half and increase the heat to high. Let the mixture boil for 3 minutes, stirring well; it should thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard and cooked macaroni, followed by the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; the mixture should be highly seasoned. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the cast iron skillet or oiled aluminum foil pan. Sprinkle the top of the macaroni with the bread crumbs and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over the bread crumbs.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium-high, then toss all of the wood chips or chunks, if desired, on the coals.

When ready to cook, place the macaroni and cheese in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Cook the macaroni and cheese until the sauce is bubbly and the top is crusty and brown, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with dad’s favorite beer, a grilled meat that he likes, and some grilled potatoes with gravy. What better way to say we love you dad then a whole meal made on the grill for him?

Maybe slap some on some nice toasted garlic bread for a sandwich.

My secret baked onions


This is not really a recipe….but it’s the best baked onions you’ll ever have. There really isn’t much to this. All you need is olive oil, and whole onions. You cannot use red onions for this, they get very bitter. You need white or yellow onions, like vadalia and Spanish onions.

Other onions I like are the italian onions:

Onion Tonda Musona Bianca
Onion Rossa Savonese
Onion Ramata di Milano
Onion Dorata di Parma
Onion Borrettana

I recommend Italian Seeds and Tools for these onion seeds.

You will need wild fennel, also from Italian Seeds and Tools.

I pour 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Italian olive oil in a small sauce pan, add in a chopped tablespoon of wild fennel. Then drizzle half of this this over TWO WHOLE ONIONS.  Pop these into the oven, with the tops and roots intact unpeeled. The skin and the top act like aluminum foil. It traps and seals in the juice baking/boiling/roasting it from the inside out, the olive oil browns the outside. I bake two onions for 1 hour.  I’ve done it with up to 6 onions. Once they are come out, they should be wrinkled and brown on the outside and fork tender, like a baked potato. Slice off the tops and bottoms and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. They are as sweet as apples with a intense fennel flavor. Absolutely delicious. If you want, add the sliced tops back onto the onions when you serve them to your guests, they can peel the outside and remove the top themselves providing an interesting eating experiance and they can get that good onion, fennel and olive oil scent that’s been building under the onion top. Soft and delicious. Absolutely delicious give it a try without the fennel and olive oil next time if you’d like to do it without growing any herbs or your own onions.