Tuesday, March 26, 2013

a favorite salad

(MY favorite)

4 ripe avocados, diced
2 limes, juiced , but not strained
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chipolte peppers, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 cup onion or scallions, diced

mix everything together and mix gently with a fork
(the avocados will begin to mush anyway)
store in the refrigerator until ready to use (same day)
For an adult kick add 2 jiggers of Tequila

Monday, March 25, 2013

cooking from the heart, then missing the mark

i would say easily that all my successful dishes come from my heart.
There are times that knowledge play a big part,
but when distracted my "things",
not even my intellect can save the dish.
No recipe works and flavors fall flat.
Yes, if you read my other blogs, you can see there are many things that have caused me trouble as of late
and my food suffered.
A flounder dish was flat with little flavor, a linguine and clam sauce that had too many olives.
Even my trusted Jalapenos turned against me with variable heat - half a Jalapeno was too much, two were too little.
It was amazing, but i taking it all in stride knowing where the source was and then watching even the best chefs on TV, making simple mistakes.
I do not feel bad, but i hope things turn soon or else we will be going out to eat...

Friday, March 15, 2013

going south

no as in trashing, but my cooking as of late has taken a southward turn.
Maybe i can blame it on Alton Brown and his good eats on catfish (of course pan fried as the last part).
But then again, i am not following any recipie, just the basic guidelines.
An example is with the catfish:
which required buttermilk, which i did not have...so i used beer making a lighter beer batter.
Nor did i have whole fillets, just nuggets. (which i think are more fun to eat)
I used the basic seasonings thoug -Old bay, cayyenne pepper, salt, paprika.
Neither did i have peanut oil - oh well so much for "Southern".
But eveeryone liked them and i was satisified.

2 days, i am doing pork ribs on the smoker (it was warm) and cole slaw.
The next day it was not enough - i was going to bake Cod, but i went to New Orleans instead
and balckened it with "dirty rice".

I thought i was going safe tonight with a chicken parm, but i had butter milk and so went with a buttermilk, almond panko bread crumb crusted filet.
The rest was traditional Italian.
When will i get this "southerness" out of my cooking?
May i don't want to.

Fried Catfish Nuggets

2 lb of catfish nuggets, cut to  a uniform size and clean any bones (do not mind any skin)
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon paprika (or use smoked paprika is you do not have smoked salt)
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
cooking oil (i used canola)

batter #1 (from Alton Brown
1 cup stone ground fine cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter milk

batter #2 (since i did not have buttermilk)
1 cup stone ground fine cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 bottle beer

Wisk together the flour and corn meal and split in to 2 parts  (1/3 to 2/3)
add baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt into the smaller portion, then mix in the beer
mix all the spices together with the remainder of the salt and then coat the catfish nuggets.
Dip each nugget into the wet mix and let excess drip off.
Coat both sides with the dry mixture and set aside for 5 minutes
gently add the nuggets to hot oil a few at a time (do not crowd them) till golden brown.
remove and let drain over a wire rack over absorbent paper.
Cook the remainder of the catch in batches in the same manner.
Serve immediately or keep in a warm oven up to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

doing something different

There are many thing i make that i will make over and over again the same way
and then something strikes me and i must change things up...
Today it was black beans and stuffed peppers.
They were done vegetarian style (the beans are actually vegan) because during Lent,
Wednesdays are a meatless day and Fridays are fish.
So the first dish is for black beans.

Vegetarian Black Beans
2 cups dry black beans
1 tablespoon toasted dry orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 cup celery, chopped
1 32 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
cooking oil

Soak the beans in cool water for at least 5 hours - water should be 2" over the top of the beans.
Drain beans and save the liquid.
In the cooking pot heat oil and then add onion and cook till just beginning to turn translucent.
Then add garlic, beans, celery and all the spices and continue to sauté for a few minutes (do not let the garlic brown!).
Add the liquid from the beans and the crushed tomatoes and 16 oz of water.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 3 hours.

the second was vegetarian stuffed green peppers:

Stuffed Peppers Vegetarian
3 large green bell peppers
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
3 half inch slice of feta cheese
6 cloves garlic, minced
cooking oil

Cook the rice with all the seasonings except the feta cheese and make the rice slightly watery.

Fill the peppers half way with the rice mixture then add a chunk of Feta cheese.
Fill the pepper to the top with more rice.
Place in a baking dish with a bit of cooking oil and bake for 1 hour at 350 F.
Note: my recipe generally calls for 2 eggs in the rice mixture to bind it together, but i forgot it and it did not make a difference!

A new Beginning

For some time now, i have been mixing that which is my personal journey,
with that of my cooking journey.
While the two are synchronous, they are distinct parts of me.
While my other blog; "joeyK on the Environment" is still active and there will be occasional posts,
it is no longer the main direction i am heading and this blog will become my "new" direction.
Additionally, there have been a number of people trying my food, including a General Manger of a very successful restaurant, who said at least some of my food is restaurant quality.
That is enough for a new, separate blog.
So welcome and enjoy!
I am a least a bit eccentric in my cooking, but very passionate.
You will see styles for various parts of the world, all coming from my experience or background.
Texas, Southern US, Latin, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Greek, Italian, Country French and occasionally some Asian.  These are all foods i love and have experienced from good cooks and chefs!

I will be transferring my cooking blogs over to this one as time allows.