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Friday, August 31, 2012

Spice and Everything Nice

I recently was advised about a new spice store that opened in the Friendly Shopping Center in Greensbor, NC called the Savory Spice Shop. Seems like every visit I discover yet again, something new.

Savory Spice Shop , Friendly Center
Savory Spice Shop has an online presence and four company-owned locations in Colorado. Savory Spice Shop offers common to exotic herbs and spices which the freshly package to order in large to very small quanities. They also feature more than 140 blends of traditional seasonings to Savory creations. I was impressed that they had Summer Savory, three different types of Saffron, kaffir lime leaves, a wonderful smokey rub from Colorado called Pearl Street Plank Rub, a wonderful Jamacian Jerk Seasonoing blend, real wasabi powder and Shichimi Togarashi. I found their prices very affordable.

Demi-glace can be a chef's best friend and this store has a great selection as well as assorted bouillons.


Assorted Demi-Glace and Bouillon - great flavor enhancers and sauce starters

This store had gifts, books, and the best assortment of peppermills and grinders I have ever seen assembled at one place.

The store is located at 3354 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro, NC 27410, Phone (336) 676 4043. Clayton Kile is the helpful and congenial owner. Send the store inquiries at greensboro@savoryspiceshop.com
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Warm Pepper-Jack Meatloaf Bolillos Roll

Bolillos rolls are a Mexican staple but should be bought and used the day they are baked as they stale quickly. Bolillos are the foundation of the Mexican quintessential sandwich.
1 Mexican bolillos roll
2 Thin slices of Vicki’s Meat loaf, warmed in microwave
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Heinz Tomato catsup
1 tablespoon Maui Tobacco onions
Butter sautéed Portobello mushrooms
2 slices of Jalapeno-jack or Pepper jack cheese
Sweet pickled sliced banana peppers
Optionally, sliced avocado
Iceberg lettuce
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Slit bolillos roll lengthwise. Place two slices jalapeno-jack or pepper jack cheese and heat in oven to melt cheese. When melted, cover non cheese side of bolillos with catsup, then mayonnaise, mushrooms, onions, and then meatloaf slice to cover. Top with crisp iceberg lettuce, avocado (optionally) and sliced banana peppers and a little black pepper.

Kae's Baked Pears

This is a very rich and elegant but fall-off-the-chair easy to prepare dish. They key is to cook the pears until the sugar browns. Serve a pear per person topped with a the sauce. At first, the amount of powdered sugar may seem excessive but its is needed in order to form the resulting caramel sauce. Pears are one of the few fruits that sweeten and ripen after they are picked, turning their texture from dry and gritty to juicy and smooth. Buy the fruit ahead, allowing the hard pears to ripen 2 days.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
4 Firm Bosc pears
¾ Cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoon cold butter, cut up to small pieces
½ Cup heavy cream, heated
Sprigs of mint for garnish
Peel, and half pears. Remove core with a spoon or melon baller. Using a very sharp knife tip, v-cut the woody stem and remove. Place in buttered glass Pyrex baking dish just big enough to hold pears flat and dome side up. Sprinkle with plenty of powdered sugar, dot with butter. Bake in 400 F oven for 40 minutes or until soft and sugar is dark brown. Half way through, baste the butter over the top as the pears. Add hot cream1 and cook another 10 minutes.
Garnish with a sprig of mint.
1. I heat the cream in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave until it just begins to boil.
2. If using sweet butter, add a shake of salt to help bring out the flavor of the pears.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pork Fajitas

 Allow guest to garnish and prepare their own fajitas to taste by offering bowls of garnishes. See text below.

Fajita Sauce (see recipe) Re-warm just before serving
2 ½ pound Pork Boston butt, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup lime juice
2 Tablespoons sweet paprika
2 Green and 2 red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips lengthwise
1 Large white onion, peeled, sliced into wedges
Peanut oil
20 Fajita-size flour tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled Queso fresco cheese
1 Bunch of cilantro, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
2 Ripe, seeded tomatoes, chopped, topped with
½ Red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Avocadoes, skinned and sliced length-wise (do this last to avoid oxidation)
2~3 Limes, quartered
Small bowl of sour cream
Small bowl of remaining fajita sauce

Cut meat into uniform strips trimming away excess fat. Refrigerate and marinate pork strips several hours (or more) in a plastic Ziploc bag with lime juice and paprika.

Prepare bell peppers and onion slices. Once prepared, set aside until needed.

Prepare garnishes that go into bowls so guest can customize the assembly of their own fajita. Chopped tomatoes; put in bowl mix with minced red onion and mince garlic. Chop scallions and place in their own bowl. Chop cilantro in another bowl. When slicing avocados, do this just before serving to avoid oxidation discoloration. Quarter limes in a bowl. Prepare a bowl of crumble Queso fresco cheese. Prepare a bowl of sour cream. Cover bowls with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until needed. (Cheese is removed from refrigerator at least an hour before serving.)

Slice avocadoes. Set out garnishes on side table.

Heat wok until very hot. Add two tablespoons peanut oil. Cook bell peppers and onion slices until al dente, tossing continuously. Add a tablespoon or two of fajita sauce. Remove from heat and empty wok into a large bowl.
Reheat wok until very hot, add more oil, add ½ the pork. Cook until browned while tossing continuously. When done, turn out into bowl and repeat to cook remaining pork. When done, add back balance of meat and vegetables, Heat in wok with a tablespoon or more of fajita sauce. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, serve remaining fajita sauce aside the garnishes.

Insert tortillas in a fresh and clean folded cotton towel. Place in microwave and heat on high 2 minutes or until these are hot. Allow these to rest a minute before using. Fold towel back over unused shells.

Fajita Sauce

This suace has a mild flavor, the chipotle contribute a slightly smoke undertone. Just enough cumin is added to give fajita's a tradition flavor without being overbearing.

2 Small dried chipotle peppers
2 Dried new Mexico pod
1 Tablespoon flour
1 ½ Tablespoon lard
1 Clove of garlic, minced
½ small onion, minced
1/2 Teaspoon brown sugar
½ Cup chicken stock
Pepper and hot red pepper to taste
Cumin to taste
Pinch of oregano (Optional)

Soak chipotle and New Mexico peppers in hot water until soft. When soft, pull off stems and add to blender glass. Add chicken stock and blend until very well blended. Strain paste through a fine strainer while scrubbing paste with a wooden spoon. Melt lard in a sauce pan then add flour. Cook on medium for 4 minutes while stirring with a wooden spoon. Add sugar, garlic, and onion and cook on low for 20 minutes or more add additional chicken stock if sauce gets too thick. Correct seasoning with a pinch or so of cumin, salt and hot pepper to taste. Set aside until needed.