The Ramblings of a Mad Man

Food

Gluten Free Liver & Onions

INGREDIENTS
1¼ lb calves liver (be sure to use calves or veal liver, not mature beef liver), thinly sliced
½ to 1 cup of rice flour, seasoned with
Salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard to taste
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
METHOD
1 Dredge the calves liver in seasoned flour. Set aside.

2 Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of butter. Sauté the onions until translucent, a couple of minutes. Remove onions from pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside onto a serving dish.

3 Add a couple teaspoons of coconut oil to the skillet. Add the calves liver slices, working in batches. Fry until browned on both sides.


Haddock Margarita with Pan Roasted Potatoes

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Ingredients

Fish:
8 ounces fresh skinless haddock fillet (or similar white fish)
1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup imported Italian olive oil

Margarita Sauce:
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) salted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine ( chablis)
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 whole fresh lemon

Potatoes:
1 pound whole white potatoes, peeled (about 2 medium potatoes)
2 tablespoons imported Italian olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Table salt and ground black pepper
Small bunch fresh Italian parsley (or curly parsley), chopped, plus sprig for garnish

Directions

For the fish: Dredge the fish on both sides in the flour. Then, beat the eggs in a bowl using a fork or whisk. Take a saute pan and coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil, so it is fully covered. Then turn the heat on medium, being careful to not let the oil burn. Splash in a speck of the egg batter to see if the oil is hot enough; the egg will puff up when the oil is ready. At this point, dip the dredged fish into the beaten egg, making sure to cover both sides well, and then place in the saute pan with the hot oil. Let the fish cook on each side until golden brown; be careful not to burn fish in the hot oil. Also, please note that the fish is very tender and breaks easily, so use caution when flipping the fish with a metal spatula or tongs.

For the margarita sauce: In another saute pan, add half of the butter, the chicken stock, the wine, pinch of salt and pepper, and squeeze in three-quarters of the fresh lemon. Make sure to save a few lemon wheels for garnish and set aside. Simmer the sauce for several minutes on medium heat, and then add the cooked fish to the sauce and let that simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes more. This is to infuse the sauce flavor with the egg-battered fish.

For the potatoes: Take the potatoes and cut into cubes. Par-cook them by boiling them in a small pot of water until they begin to soften, but still retain some firmness. In another saute pan over medium-low heat, coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil and add the butter. Once the butter and olive oil have joined together, add the potatoes to the mixture and turn the heat to medium-high. Next, add the paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Stir the potatoes so that they are all coated evenly with the mixture. Taste one of the potatoes to know when they are finished cooking (they should be slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside). Place the cooked potatoes in a bowl and strain any excess oil from the potatoes. Garnish the potatoes with the parsley and finish with a pinch of table salt.

Plate the fish from the margarita sauce, then pour just a bit of the sauce over the fish to highlight the bottom of the plate surrounding the fish. Pour the remaining sauce into a small cup for dipping the fish and/or potatoes. Garnish the top of the fish pieces with 2 thinly sliced lemon wheels and a parsley sprig.


Faux Pho

Ingredients:
3 Swai filets
3 Tilapia filets
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups vegetable broth
4 celery stalks (sliced)
4 carrots (sliced)
1 white onion (diced)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 1/2 cup jasmine rice
1/4 tsp anise stars
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp adobo
1/2 tbsp garlic powder

Let’s Cook:
1. Grind anise stars and cloves.

2. In a large stew pot, melt butter and brown anise and cloves for 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings.

3. Add all broths and sliced, diced and minced veggies.

3. Slice fish into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and add to pot.

4. Bring to rolling boil and then simmer on medium heat until carrots have softened.

5. Add rice and bring to a rolling boil once again. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Sling chow into bowls, Mix in some hoisin sauce and enjoy.


Rum Soaked Chicken

My chicken was hot and rum soaked. I can’t decide if I want to call it Pirate Chicken or me. 😉

Okay, the original recipe calls for marinating the breasts overnight or slapping them on the grill. Me, being ever impatient, placed them in a vaccum seal bag, pressed the marinade into the chicken for about 4 hours, and then baked them in the bag. It comes handy if you buy the vaccum bags that you can put in the oven. It owrked out for me.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup CPT Morgan Private Stock
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 chicken breasts

Why is the rum gone? The rum is always gone...

Why is the rum gone? The rum is always gone…

The original cooking instructions from Food.com had this to say:

Directions:

  1. To Bake:  Spray a 9 X 13 glass cooking dish with olive oil cooking spray coating it entirely.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish, cover and marinate overnite.
  3. Bake in the same dish, covered @ 375 for 45 minutes, stir.  Cover and continue baking for another 45 minutes.  Stir and continue baking for additional 10 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Serve over Jasmine rice.
  5.  BBQ:  Spray a 9 X 13 glass cooking dish with olive oil cooking spray coating it entirely.
  6. Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish, cover and marinate overnite
  7. Spray BBQ grill with olive oil cooking spray and grill chicken for 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is no longer pink & juices run clear.  Be sure to  baste continuously with Caribbean marinade. Enjoy!

I followed the Bake instructions, minus the 24 hours of marinating time. Vacuum sealing removes the long wait time. Love it.

As a side, I made green beans and Rosemary-Garlic Red Potatoes:

Roasted baby red potatoes, partially smashed down, drizzled with a mixture of butter, garlic and rosemary, then roasted again until browned and crispy.

Roasted baby red potatoes, partially smashed down, drizzled with a mixture of butter, garlic and rosemary, then roasted again until browned and crispy.


Hallacas: These Venezuelan Tamales are a Christmas Favorite

My inlaws came info town last night and the brought an awesome treat called “Ayacas”. These things are absolutely delicious so I looked up a recipe for me to try in the future.

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Hallacas are THE traditional dish for the holidays in Venezuela. This tamale-style dish is more than the center of the Christmas table in Venezuela. It is the dish every family finds a way to afford, prepare and enjoy. A Christmas table without hallacas is not a Venezuelan Nochebuena Dinner. No matter how rich or poor you are, there is a way to enjoy them: They can be prepared with friends or family, given by relatives or bought pre-made. And let’s not get hung up on the spelling: hallacas can also be spelled as hayacas.

“Ha-ya-ca” is believed to come from the Spanish expression meaning “Here there is”; other people would say the name means “from here and from there” referring to the ingredients that made the food: a meat stew with ingredients from various origins, native to Europe and Latin America, wrapped in a corn dough which in turn is covered with green plantain leaves and boiled in water. Each family’s recipe is different, typically passed from mothers to daughters, but sons get to help and learn the secrets of the hallaca.

Hallacas are prepared in groups and are lead by one person who usually gets the rest of the family together for the celebrations. Since moving to the U.S., the various family recipes, my mother’s, my mother-in-law, the friends we shared the cooking with… all have influenced this recipe. For the last 8 years or so my daughter has helped in keeping the tradition alive in our small family group, and because of the extraordinary labor required. My daughter’s friends are usually invited to the “assembly” line: Amanda who is Cuban-American, Samantha who is Jewish, Nancy Chinese… and last year my daughter’s boyfriend, Juan.

Venezuelan Hallacas – My family’s style

Tip: Since making hallacas is time intensive and ingredient-intensive, make sure to read through the recipe thoroughly before starting!

Yield: About 50 Hallacas

Ingredients for the stew:
1. 2-3 lb of finely chopped stew beef
2. 1-1½ lbs of finely chopped pork meat
3. 1 small jar of capers
4. 32 oz jar gardener’s pickled vegetables
5. 1 cup of raisins
6. 1 cup of green olives
7. 2 leeks, washed and dried
8. 2 bunch of green onions
9. 1 head of garlic, peeled
10. 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
11. Bunch of parsley
12. Bunch of cilantro
13. 2 big onions
14. 2-3 chopped tomatoes
15. 2-3 cups of chicken broth
16. Hot peppers or ají (chile) to taste
17. Salt, seasoning cubes or chicken broth cubes to taste
18. Black pepper
19. Sugar
20. Sweet red wine
21. Olive oil

Directions:
Chop the meats into very small bits, mixing in a portion of 2 parts beef, one part pork, and seasoned to taste. Cut all other ingredients, either in a food processor or by hand, combining all ingredients on the list from 3 to 12 and half of the onions. In a big, deep frying pan, heat olive oil to sear onions, tomatoes and ají until half cooked then start adding the meat and vegetable mixture in alternating lumps. Use the wine and broth to keep the mixture wet and saucy. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle a bit of sugar too. Once the meat is cooked, turn off heat and let it cool. When possible, I like to mix the raw meat mixture with half the condiment mix, wine and seasoning, and keep it in the refrigerator overnight to be cooked as above the following day before assembly. The assembly process can last 6 hours or longer, depending on the experience and amount of helpers.

Ingredients for the dough and assembly:
1. 2 packages of pre-cooked corn flower used for arepas brand name PAN
2. 8-10 cups of chicken broth
3. 1-2 cups of vegetable cooking oil
4. 1 cup of annatto seeds
5. Salt
6. Thinly sliced red or green peppers (about 2 cups)
7. Sliced onions (about 2 cups)
8. 32 oz jar of olives – without pits
9. Raisins
10. Parsley leaves cut in small branches
11. White peeled almonds
12. 1-2 cans of cooked chickpeas (garbanzos)
13. Cooked chicken shredded into small size pieces – from cooking the broth
14. Plantain leaves, rinsed and dried with a cloth.
15. Twine to tie the plantain leaves wrapping the dough

Assembly of the hallacas:
Once you’re ready to proceed, there are 4 big steps to follow: cook the stew, make the dough, clean the leaves and assemble the hallacas. Once the stew is cooked, start on the dough. Heat the vegetable cooking oil with onoto (annatto/achiote) seeds until the oil turns deep orange/red from the annatto. Add 2/3 of that oil to half the chicken broth, and about 2 cups of water and 1 package of corn flour. Add salt to taste and keep adding more flour, broth, water and oil until achieving a soft consistency that can be molded easily. Separate the dough in fist-size balls and keep them covered with a damp cloth. Even if you have access to fresh plantains leaves, it is much better using frozen ones. These are usually available at the frozen food section of most supermarkets. Defrost them outside the refrigerator, rinsing them with a clean, damp cloth. Separate the covers by size since you will need to wrap them at least in two layers. Keep them moist by covering them with a damp cloth.

In different containers, place ingredients 6-15 from the assembly list. Arrange people helping with the hallacas to work in stations around these ingredients. In a clean plantain leaf, drop some annatto oil and spread the dough very thin, add a big spoonful of stew and a bit of each decorative ingredient from list 6-15; fold the dough with the help of the leaf. Close the hallaca; cover it with another leaf and tie it with several lines of string, finishing with a knot.

Once all hallacas are tied, bring them to boil in a big pan with water and salt for about 1 hour. Repeat as needed until all the dough and stew is used. Depending of the size of the leaves, dough and generosity of the assembly line workers, the result would be about 4 to 5 dozen hallacas.

When there is left over dough, is customary to combine some stew and other ingredients and make what is called “bollitos.” Everything is mixed together and wrapped into smaller hallaca size items, tied and boiled in water for about 45 minutes. Now the tradition is to open a few hallacas from the first batch to taste and try among the cooks, and to share some with those who helped making them, as well as with family and friends. ¡Felices Fiestas!

Recipe by: Hispanic Kitchen


Gluten-free Flour Tortillas with Turkey Taco Sauce

About This Recipe
“Based on a recipe from Bette Hagman’s, The Gluten-free Gourmet cookbook. She says, “Finally! A flour tortilla for those who can’t have wheat. These are made in the traditional way by flattening and rolling, then cooking on a hot griddle. Use them for enchiladas, burritos, or fajitas. These keep well in the refrigerator or freezer.” You can either use 2 cups of GF Mix Gluten-Free Flour Mix #470769 or use the approximate measurements included in the recipe below under GLUTEN FREE MIX. Nutrition info per serving: calories 190, fat ½ g., carbohydrate 44g, cholesterol 0g., sodium 5 mg., fiber 1 g, protein 2g.”

Ingredients
GLUTEN FREE MIX
1 1/4 cups rice flour, brown
1/2 cup corn starch, flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour

REMAINING INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons powdered milk ( or 2 teaspoons nondairy substitute)
1 cup warm water

Directions
1. In the bowl of a mixer, blend gluten free mix ingredients, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, and milk powder. Add the water and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

2. Remove dough from mixer and form a ball. Divide into 6 or 8 parts and roll out each piece very thin until it forms a 10” to 12” round. Roll all the pieces, separating them with plastic wrap or wax paper before cooking.

3. Heat a griddle to medium-hot or hot and cook each tortilla about 1 minute per side.

Okay, so I changed a few ingredients and cooked it to my desired level of brownness. For anyone who has followed my kitchen escapades before, you’re thinking, what’s new? I am making a turkey taco sauce as we speak. For flavor, I diced a quarter sweet purple onion and minced two cloves of garlic in with the meat. I browned and am now mixing in some McCormick’s mike taco seasoning. I don’t have any pintos right now, so I decided to boil some red beans with chili powder. I’ll boil them for about 10 minutes and then purée them in the blender.

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That man likes his bacon!

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Bacon is meat candy.