Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Wordless Wednesday – Mi Pueblo


When a new market comes to town with an especial kinda flair, you just can’t help but to make this local outing into an excursion – Mi Pueblo is Marin County’s newest Latin supermarket/ethnic culinary hot spot. It is a lovely hidden treasure of flavors and seasonings. You’ll see from the images below that you can find cinnamon sticks in large bundles and in quantities that far surpass the regular spice bottles typically on offer, countless chilies, guavas, papayas, fresh mole sauce, salsa fresca, carne asada, and more varieties of fresh cheese than I’ve ever seen in one shop even South of the boarder. Even if you are not anywhere near my neck of the woods I think you will appreciate what they have to offer. Since I first went to explore this trove of ingredients I’ve been back two more times; once to pull together a fun dinner party menu for Cinco de Mayo and the second time to try out a new recipe that I am developing at the encouragement of my friend Veronica. (Sidebar: this recipe just may be featured this week…stay tuned.) Sit back, relax and imagine you are with me as I explore this great new local business.

Fresh Shucked BBQ Oysters

Spices, Bakery, Tastings & Produce (sigh)

Well, I guess it was just too difficult for me to go commando on the wordless concept – I considered it, but just couldn’t do it! Gracias Mi Pueblo – I am inspired and I especially like the tequila bar- that’s something you just don’t find at Safeway. “Tequila!” And for those of you whom knew me in college I’ll ask that you respect the TCE {tequila code of ethics } and not provide any revealing comments. Por Favor(pôr’ fä-vôr’) Chicas!

Cinco de Mayo

I am not sure WHEN it happened but I do know WHERE it took place. While I’ve always enjoyed Mexican food it wasn’t until I went to school in San Diego that my inner ‘cinco de mayo‘ became revealed. Coming from a family steeped in traditions at every holiday – there are two holidays that I have claimed as my own – the fun filled fifth of May celebration and Halloween. There are a whole lot of other sentimental reasons that I love this day (despite that I am not of Hispanic origins or currently living in Mexico) and if you really know me, well then you’ll know why this is one of my favorite days of the year – good food, good drink and good fun – and yes, there IS more to that story but that’s the beauty of a cliff hanger. You just keep wanting more.

To whet your appetites, and get this party started, I am posting my second recipe from ‘Taste This’. It is not too late to put this one together to go with your evening cervesas…Chicken Tinga. Enjoy it with a glass of White Sangria! Ole! (See story below the Chicken Tinga recipe for the hidden bonus treat in this post).



Chicken Tinga

Ingredients

1 large tomato, chopped big
½ large yellow onion, sliced length-wise
1 garlic clove
1 chiplote
1 can tomato soup
1 TBS water
1 lb chicken breasts
2 tsps salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups rice, cooked

Directions
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in chicken. Cook until the chicken floats to the top. Remove from water, set aside to cool.

In large pan, heat vegetable oil on high heat, add the onion (SET TWO SLICES ASIDE FOR THE SAUCE) and cook, stirring until translucent, approximately 3 minutes.

In a blender add and mix together:
– tomato soup
– garlic
– 2 slices of onion
– chiplote
– water
– salt

Shred the meat and add the onion into a large-size pan and cook on medium-high heat. When onions are softened, add in the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add in liquid contents from blender and bring to a boil. Do not let all of the liquid dissolve. Serve over rice prepared according to package directions.

Serves 5-6.

Note: If you don’t have time to boil and shred three chicken breasts you can by a pre-cooked chicken and shred it.


BONUS: Oh, and did I mention it is great with a glass of White Sangria? I’ve co-posted with Ilina Ewens, Dirt & Noise, who does my favorite 5:00PM Friday’s drink posts to give you a second recipe from ‘Taste This’. This is a day that deserves a good drink. Click on over– I know you’ll enjoy her post and her blog. (Shhh- don’t tell her that it is really not Friday yet, with enough of this beverage you just might think it is!)

Going Dark & Getting Competitive

Once upon a choc’late time
A long long choc’late time ago,
The Golden Age of Choc’late began.
I know, ‘cos I was there….

…………… choc’late ripples or choc’late tipples,
Choc’late ruffles or choc’late truffles,
Choc’late kisses for sweet young misses,
Soft and creamy, completely dreamy………
(excerpted from the ‘The Golden Age of Chocolate’ – Willy Wonka)


And so it began, a SWEET invitation from the folks at Scharffen Berger® to participate in their Chocolate Adventure Contest. As part of the contest this year, daring cooks – professional and amateur- were invited to develop original and creative recipes with Scharffen Berger products and to incorporate one or more of 16 enticing ‘adventure ingredients’. Adventure ingredients were: fresh mint, fresh or crystallized ginger, pandan leaf, banana leaf, sumac, raw honey, cacao nibs, fresh or whole dried chili pepper, malbe, peanut butter, back-eyed peas, rice flour, papaya, cumin, paprika, smoked sea salt. The key personality behind the competition – Chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Orson.

Never having done this type of competition before, I spent a great deal of time developing a list of eligible recipe ideas. I submitted two recipes for consideration in the ‘sweet’ category, and one of those two submissions made it into the top 16 out of over 1,000 entries.

While my ranking was not a prize holding spot, it was truly an honor to be among the likes of this group of contestants. It was a blast to cook under the guise of a new purpose- not just for dinner or a party, but to compete and create a recipe with a competitive directive. The end result — two recipes I am thrilled with ….and the near winner will be shared with you today. It is a seemingly wacky combo of ingredients but one well worth trying if you are willing to move away from those traditional desserts and put forward an eye-popping treat.

Spicy Chacon (Chocolate Bacon) Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
2 -3/4 cup lightly salted, dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla

Peanut Brittle Directions

Prepare 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or butter. Set aside

In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in water and vanilla. Set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, heat together sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring until sugar dissolves.

When syrup boils, blend in butter. Stir frequently.

When temperature reaches 280 degrees add peanuts. Stir constantly to hard crack stage (305 degrees). Remove from heat; quickly stir in soda, mixing well.

Pour onto baking sheets.

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

½ lb bacon, cooked
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (4 oz Scharffen Berger 62% dark chocolate and 2 oz milk chocolate)
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp Hungarian paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sumac

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Directions

Prepare bacon, cooking on medium-low heat until dry and crispy but not blackened. Set aside on towel to drain and cool. Once cool crumble into medium size pieces.

Melt chocolate and mix in all other ingredients until well blended.

Spread on brittle and then sprinkle with bacon.

Loosen from pan when candy hardens. Break into pieces.
Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Thank you to the group at TuttiFoodie and Scharffen Berger for the opportunity to compete. I look forward to the next competition!

The video of the final competition judging can be seen at The Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest.