TFF~ Tacos Carne Asada

23 07 2009

Tyler’s recipes have become a mainstay around our house as the long California nights stretch out in heatwave after heatwave.  This week Tyler Florence Fridays finds us enjoying Tacos Carne Asada with pico de gallo made with freshly picked tomatoes, ripe from the garden.

TFF-CarneAsadaTacosFlank steak has been unusually available here lately, so I’ve taken advantage of the situation. It lends itself well to being marinated and grilled quickly, making it ideal for hot weather.  Tyler’s recipe called for the meat to be marinated up to 8 hours in the “mojo” or marinade – citrus juices, spices, peppers, cilantro, garlic, vinegar and olive oil.  Shhh. The Mexican market where I live has the best Mojo Criollo…and it has exactly the SAME ingredients! I swear it has to do with the orange juice…  While the steak was cooking, I threw together the pico de gallo, using poblano rather than jalapeno. I like chile flavor, I don’t care for searing heat. I sometimes get too much heat from jalapenos.   As you can see, we also had Mexican crema, which is a thicker milder sour cream, and fresh avocado slices with our “tacos.”

This was a fabulous after-movie, hot-summer night dinner.  We also had refried beans and Mexican rice to round out our plates.  We really enjoyed it a lot.  The remaining slices of meat were diced fine and became quesadillas for lunch today.  I softened “gordita” size flour tortillas until they would fold without breaking, then folded them and set them aside.  The diced meat was tossed briefly with it’s juices in the hot pan just to bring it up to temp, them turn into a bowl.  A few tablespoons of diced onion went to the hot skillet next, then joined the meat.  A tablespoon or so of chopped fresh cilantro joined the meat party and everyone did a little do-si-do and got a kiss of lime.  I spread grated co-jack on the insides of the warm flour tortilla and folded it back up, then popped it into a well oiled hot non-stick skillet.  A flip after about 75-90 seconds, and then a useless attempt at patience.  Slide that baby home to a plate with some Pico and crema and that’s a happy lunch.  Another two-fer Tyler! Thanks bunches Dude!!  I hope Life offers you some serious chill time soon!  This…is a serious keeper recipe!





TFF ~ Grilled Corn on the Cob

16 07 2009

Nothing goes with BBQ’d ribs like corm on the cob…unless it’s Tyler Florence’s Grilled Corn on the Cob! Grilled over either hot coals, a gas grill or using a stove-top grill pan, Tyler’s recipe is out-of-this-world good.

TFF-GrCorn1

Not only does it feed the eyes with the bright colors, it feeds the sense of smell with the slightly smoky aroma that wafts up from the grill. Lastly this recipe tantalizes the taste buds. The sauce cloaks the creamy sweet corn with more creaminess, the deep musky flavor of the chiles and the tang of lime juice. We were sorry there was only one ear of corn each this time!

TFF-GrCorn_mise

The ingredients are simple…fresh corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, chile powder, parmesan cheese and fresh chives.  Our mise en place was easy to put together while the corn was grilling.  Since the corn takes about 20 minutes to cook, I started it while I was letting my ribs rest to redistribute the juices.  I used my grill pan, and everything went exactly as the recipe stated.

TFF-GrCorn2I found several versions of this recipe on-line.  Food Network has one that calls for 12 ears of corn.  That’s a lot for two people, even though I was ready with the math to reduce the recipe.  Then I ran across an article in the San Francisco Chronicle for the same dish, but in a lesser quantity…4 ears of corn.  The recipes differ by the addition of lime zest, which is not included in this recipe.  I know I’m going to fix these again, so you can be sure I’ll post an update of how the lime zest affects the outcome.  In the meanwhile, why not try this one yourself?  I wouldn’t hesitate putting this out for company either.  Treat it like Tried and True! It’s that easy and that yummy!





TFF~Chicken Fajitas

2 07 2009

I really didn’ t expect to be able to do a post this week.  We’ve been nursing our refrigerator for a couple of weeks, and the situation was getting no better. Exit one; enter the next. Seamlessly. Except for the food that got thawed while the freezer wasn’t doing so well. With all the odds and ends that thawed (can’t these things happen in January or February when it’s COLD?) we haven’t had a lot of choice about what’s for dinner. This time…things worked out perfectly.

I was surfing the web earlier that evening, and noticed that Tyler’s web blog has a section of clickable menu items with recipes!  This is the coolest place! So many of the recipes we know and love and share are right there at the click of a mouse! It saved me a bunch of hunting, later, when I realized that we had chicken breasts that needed to be cooked PRONTO!! I had seen Tyler’s recipe for Fajitas earlier while I was looking at the recipes available on his site.  I though quickly about all the odds and ends…onions-yep, peppers-yep, chiles-yep…now what about the marinade…off to visit our man, Tyler!   Even in the midst of all the weirdness of changing out a refrigerator, we had everything we needed to make the marinade (ok, it helps that we have citrus trees in our backyard).

TFF-Fajitas

I apologize that you’re getting the tail end of the dinner… I was on a roll and didn’t even think about pictures until we’d finished eating.  The fajitas were superb!  I toasted the cumin seeds in a small skillet, with some peppercorns until they were fragrant, then ground them by hand. Mmmm!  I love that aroma!  I cooked the marinated strips of chicken separate from the veggies, but basted the veggies with the remaining marinade as they were cooking. The sugars in the fruit juices helped carmelize the peppers and onions.  All were tossed together at the end.  One word of warning though…the chipotles go with the beef… I threw them in with the chicken breast before I realized they were for the beef.  Not that that was a bad thing…it just made them a tad spicy!  I think a good tablespoon of adobo wouldbe fabulous with the chicken though! That smokiness….MmmM!  We dressed our tortillas with lettuce, tomato cheese and crema. What a meal!  Thanks again Tyler!





WW~TFF~Joust-Such is Life

30 06 2009

Once in awhile reality bites…and not usually very nicely.  We took a quick camping trip to restore some of my sanity, and when we came home our refrigerator was on the fritz. The freezer side was frosted up and the fridge side was warmer than it was supposed to be. I thought maybe it just needed to be cleaned out..so the air could circulate better. Nice logic. So I cleaned and rearranged things and things were better for a few days.  And then I noticed the frost building up on the back wall of the freezer again. Yesterday, it quit again. I looked up fridge maintenance, and…realized I needed to call a repairman. Cool. Done. He was here first thing this morning. After an hour of defrosting behind the panel, the verdict was our “motherboard” went out. There’s a computer in my fridge? Ok..I can buy that. Apparently I did…Motherboard…ummm…how much? Ouch! And just what is the life expectency of a refrigerator in the 21st century?? 7 YEARS? (And this one is how old already…?) The upshot is that in order to repair our hated and despised side-by-side (I thought it would work, I measured, I checked, I still hate it) it would only cost double the repair bill to buy a new fridge. NOT a decision I expected to need to be making just at the moment.  So, a bit of quick checking and double checking, and back we went. The new one will be delivered 1st call tomorrow morning. That will end this roller coaster of meal-not-planning.  We have 5# of ribs thawed, and 5# of pot roast thawed…and there are 2 of us. That’s meal-not-planning. We BBQ’d the ribs and made shredded beef from the pot roast, but there was no planning involved. Maybe next week…maybe not. Next week we’re preparing to take our 17 yo granddaughter camping. There will be loads of planning there, but I don’t know that any of my cooking will fit in any of the groups! LOL! Ah…’tis summer!





TFF~Yorkshire Popovers

26 06 2009

One of the really great things about Tyler Florence is his versatility.  If I’ve got a particular item in the fridge, I can almost always find a recipe for it by Tyler Florence.  So…when we finally got a chance to cook the sweet little prime rib roast I found at the market, I searched to see what Tyler had going on.  I try to keep my eye out for a single bone prime rib at about 3 pounds.  A little more is better, a little less makes it touchy to cook right.  Sure enough, Tyler had an “Ultimate” recipe for prime rib with a garlic-horseradish crust.  Splendid.  In America one immediately asks what kind of potatoes are you having?  Except we’re out of potatoes at the moment.  And then the light came on…it’s a standing rib roast…why not Yorkshire Pudding?  And…does Tyler have a recipe??  You betcha!

My submission for this week’s Tyler Florence Fridays is Tyler’s Yorkshire Popovers.  This is a keeper!  The batter came together in the time it took the pan to preheat and cooked up perfectly.  The popovers always fall, but these held their shape nicely through the meal.  They were absolutely the perfect side dish for any steak, but especially Prime Rib!

And take a look at what we did for a brunch re-run the following day…Yorkshire Popovers filled with prime rib bites and a poached egg, with horseradish cream on top…mmmm! Seriously, a great recipe!





TFF Meets Cook the Books

10 06 2009

We’ve come to the end of another school year…and as usual, I’m working a lot of busy days preparing.  For some reason, since the pressure is off everyone else, they figure I’m in neutral mode too.  Ummm…no.  I’m in end-of-year-mode with tons of deadlines and reports being due and this, that, and a couple other things.  I tend to fall asleep relatively early these days! LOL!  So…When it comes to my cooking with various groups, I’m grateful for being with a couple that participation is flexible, and if I can get double duty out of anything, I will!  And so…Cook the Books and Tyler Florence Fridays are having a meeting this week!

TFF-BlueberryLemonScones

Cook the Books has been reading A Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.  There are lots of foods lurking in the pages of this fantastical and magical book.  One item that kept coming up, that’s been a source of curiosity for me since I was a child reading another book that made reference to the same item…scones.  I’ve read many a recipe for scones, and have thought time and again that I’ll have to try that.  But today was the day.  The Belmont Stakes were running and fresh scones with hot coffee sounded just perfect.  Horse racing…scones…good match.

I’ve been cooking off and on with the ladies from Tyler Florence Fridays, but didn’t have a recipe trial ready for the Friday just past.  When the idea of fixing scones for Cook the Books came up, I immediately searched for “scones; Tyler Florence” and got a full list of replies.  There was a recipe for Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze that caught my eye.  The recipe was immediately available from The Food Network, and there were numerous reviews and little twists other cookies had used.  I knew I’d just bought blueberries and I had lemons as well…everything else was available with one minor exception…I only had 1 cup of heavy cream left.  Not to worry…I subbed out a few ounces of heavy cream for sour cream, and added 1/4 tsp. of baking soda to the mix.  Solved.

TFF-BlueberrySconeDough

The recipe worked just as it was supposed to…much like a really moist biscuit dough…which, I suppose it pretty much is!  Somewhere along the line I’d read that frozen berries…not frozen berries from the freezer case, but fresh berries you’ve brought home from the market and frozen in their package, work great for recipes like this, because they hold up to handling as you work the dough.  That made a lot of sense.  The dough had to be formed, cut and transferred…was a little difficult because of it’s mixed medium – wet and crumbly at the same time.  It would be scary to work with fresh raw berries…surely they’d squash, so the frozen routine sounded ideal.  And it was. It held up to the forming, cutting and baking without giving off much juice that would have that strange chemical reaction of turning green.  Even where I cut through whole berries to shape the dough, there wasn’t a problem with the berry juice making things colorful.

TFF-BlueberryScone-close

The proof is in the eating though.  The scones have a very light and tender crumb.  They were strong enough to hold up to plating, but broke apart easily for eating out of hand.  The scone was buttery rich with just enough sweetness that a jam wasn’t needed.  We thought that any number of berries or fruits would work well in the base recipe.  I did make a bit of a change with the glaze.  After hearing about how much the recipe made, and it’s fluidity, I mixed 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 T+ 2 tsp.  lemon juice, and a grating of lemon zest.  We loved them for brunch or Sunday mornings.  I think I’d like to add a bit of lemon zest to the dough next time to promote the lemon essence a little deeper, but Tyler…this one’s a keeper!!





TFF ~ French Onion Soup

21 05 2009

This has been a busy month!  Somewhere along the line, I ended up just needing soup.  You know how that is?  I knew I had a big bag of onions that needed to be used, and I actually had gruyere in the fridge and french bread in the freezer.  Oh yes…that works!!  And what the heck…if I’m going to make French Onion soup from scratch, why not check and see what Tyler might have up his sleeve?  That way I’ve researched a new Tyler Florence recipe, and done the background for my Tyler Florence Fridays post!  What a great plan!!

Tyler’s recipe called for the onions to be sweated down with a fair amount of butter, and cooked, and cooked, and cooked until they carmelized.  Either I did something really wrong, or this didn’t work out the way I like it to.   I think this is one of the places where a high-BTU commercial range is what makes the difference.  There’s no way those onions were anywhere near cooked down, nor carmelized in 25 minutes.  And it took a whole lot longer than 5 minutes to cook the wine off the onions.  I think this starts the reason I ended up with flavor I wasn’t as happy with as I anticipated being.  Translation: The soup was fine.  I expected something “more”, different…I don’t know, just not quite what I got.  I don’t usually use red wine in my French Onion soup either…but I didn’t see that as being a big deal…but maybe the quantity combined with the carmelizing problem.  Don’t get me wrong, please…it was good.  Hubby enjoyed it immensely.  It may have even been my “taster” that night.  I just didn’t enjoy this one as much.  Once the gruyere was on top, I didn’t mind so much…it was a whole lot better!   Gooey, melty cheese can mend a lot of boo-boos!

TFF-FrenchOnion

Editorial comment….  What would I do differently?  I think I’d use a different pan to carmelize the onions, maybe even two, so the onions don’t steam so much.  Sugar content can vary greatly between different varieties, so I often add sugar – not a lot though – just to help get the process underway.   I’ll try the recipe again with a few changes…and see how it goes!