Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Entries in beef (2)

Wednesday
Jun062012

First Base Taquitos

“Tongue? GROSS!”

Seriously, this is the reaction some of my friends had when I told them what I was making this weekend. These are people who consider themselves very sophisticated eaters, game for anything. Seriously? Tongue is your line in the sand? Please—I know all of you and I KNOW you’ve had worse things in your mouth. I remember some of the trolls you used to date. Do you?

Besides, tongue is only first base. Wait'll you try my Home Run Sticky Buns.

We just got back to Seattle after a long, indulgent, much-needed vacation.  It was one of those great trips where we both had enough time to recharge our batteries and regain much-needed perspective, away from the daily stresses and frenzy of our lives. I managed to hold onto that vacation glow for about four days. After that, it was back into the whirlwind of work, friends and a catering gig I’d agreed to do months ago. Jetlag, meet two days of cooking.

Our clients wanted Mexican. We did this for them last year, and it was a success. The problem is, my catering partner and I do this as a hobby thing because it’s fun. We’ve both got some restaurant experience, we’re both good home cooks, and we’ve both graduated from culinary school…but we both have day jobs. Cooking is our passion. Catering is a fun thing to do every now and then to remind us why we’re home cooks and not professionals. "Ow, my feet! What do you mean we have to do our own dishes? Get your fat ass out of my counter space". Although we have a blast trashing a kitchen and each other for two days, it really is a lot of work. If you’re not a pro and try to do this, you probably end up like we do: Enjoying yourself but spending too much of your budget on (retail) food costs, making too much quantity, and doing too many complicated, expensive dishes like you would serve at home. Guilty, guilty annnnnnd….guilty.

All that said, we did better this time and the food rocked. At least, they acted like they were thrilled, but to be fair they had asked me to make some mean margaritas and they were REALLY mean. Abusive. My margaritas were hitters, and our diners were drunk.

We still made too much. We still spent too much on it. We could probably be more efficient. But that shit was delicious.

Back to the tongue—One of my favorite recipes is Rick Bayless’ Beef Tongue and Chorizo Tacos. He cooked this dish as one of his challenges on Top Chef Masters during the street food challenge in the first season. As someone who likes the taste of tongue (too easy—just don’t) I had to try it. Tongue is delicious, beefy, and tender when braised or boiled long enough. Ok, maybe that last sentence doesn't make it sound appealing, but it is. Really, it is. I find it slightly sweet, which really goes with all of the other flavors going on in this dish. We were blown away the first time we tried it, and since then I’ve adapted it to make my version of taquitos for parties. The tortillas are run through some warm oil to soften them enough to be pliable for rolling ahead of time. Enough oil remains in them to crisp up nicely in a blasting hot oven without being deep fried (as taquitos often are).  It’s a nice thing to have assembled and ready to throw in the oven before people show up. It’s also fun to let your guests eat them and discover how good they are before you tell them what’s inside.

By the way, this is the rest of our catering menu from the weekend. If any of the recipes look appealing, let me know and I’ll post them.

Appetizers

  • Chips, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Hot Chile Salsa, Mild Jalapeño Salsa
  • Beef Tongue, Potato and Chorizo Taquitos with Tomatillo Guacamole and Pickled Onions
  • Roasted Pepper Sopitos with Smokey Tomato Jalapeno Sauce 

Buffet:

  • Goat Cheese-Almond Chile Rellenos with Apricot Sauce
  • Tacos (2 types) - Al Pastor with Roasted Pineapple-Serrano Salsa, and Butternut squash with Greens and Vegetarian (snore) Mole
  • Caesar Salad
  • Mexican Rice
  • Refried Black Beans with Toasted Avocado Leaves

 Dessert:

Enjoy, and let me know if you decide to give my tongue a ride.

Beef Tongue, Chorizo and Potato Taquitos with Tomatillo Guacamole

Adapted from Rick Bayless

Makes 25 Tacos

INGREDIENTS

TAQUITOS

1 medium cow tongue, rinsed

1 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound white onions, diced

1 pound chorizo, casing removed

1.75 pounds creamy boiling potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces

Queso anejo or cotija and cilantro (for garnish)

TOMATILLO GUACAMOLE

1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered

2 Serrano chiles, stemmed

5 avocados, flesh scooped from skins

1 bunches cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish

1 large white onions, finely diced

1 large red onions, thinly sliced

25 4 1/2-inch corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS

TACOS

  1. Simmer tongue in salted water until tender (typically 3-4 hours), then cool, peel and clean cartilage, chop remainder into 1/4 inch cubes.
  2. Fry bacon until crispy, remove from pan and drain. Add onions to fat and caramelize.
  3. Separately, cook chorizo until cooked through and browned.
  4. Separately boil potatoes in salted water, drain and roughly chop into small (1/4 inch) bits. Add potatoes and chorizo to onions and cook until crusty like hash browns.
  5. Separately brown tongue in a little fat until crispy. Combine with potato-chorizo mixture. Season with salt.
  6. This filling can be made a day ahead.

GUACAMOLE

  1. Puree tomatillos and Serranos, mix into avocados, along with cilantro and onions. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Cover red onion with very cold water. Salt generously. Let stand 10 minutes and drain.
  3. Heat about ½ inch oil in a pan (only until warm. You don’t want it so hot it starts frying) and slide tortilla into oil until softened and bubbling slightly, about 20 seconds..
  4. Remove tortilla and dab one side with paper towels. Fill the dry side with some of the tongue mixture, rolling to make a cigar shape. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down.
  5. When all of your taquitos are assembled, place the baking sheet in a 425 degree oven until golden and crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Top with guacamole, onion, queso anejo or cotija and cilantro.

 

Monday
Dec192011

Korean Steak

This week began a three week hiatus from work, and in typical December fashion I have scheduled too many things to truly wind down yet. The good thing is, many of them involved cooking. 

So MANY great cookbooks out this fall, and so many recipes earmarked to try…I’ve been twitching to have some uninterrupted kitchen play time. Making things even better, my friend Matt Wright offered to give me a food photography/styling lesson at his house this week. We had a blast hanging out, cooking, trying to figure out plate presentation, harassing his wife, bantering and grazing--all while he patiently tried to teach this idiot how to take compelling photos of the food. If you haven’t seen Matt’s recipes, Charcuterie and photography, go to his blog and prepare to lose hours of your life looking through everything he does. It’s brilliant. I’ve long been a fan, have pored through his food photography book, plus I like him because he’s a caustic, hilarious Brit. Food, photos and snark! What’s not to love?

We did four dishes during our photography session this week, but one of my favorite photos is this bigassed ribeye. (All four of the recipes are worth repeating, and I will put them up in subsequent posts.)

Getting the ribeye cut in the manner this recipe requires wasn’t an easy task. Many grocery meat counters don’t break down their own meat any more, and sometimes a butcher will argue with you if they don’t agree with what you’re wanting. This cut was a prime example. The butcher I talked to debated with me about my desire to have a bone-in cut. “But you don’t need the bone”, he told me. “I understand that, but it’s for a food photography class”, I countered. “Yes, but it’s unnecessary.”  “But I’m willing to pay ribeye price for a ribeye bone.” We went back and forth a few more times and finally he agreed to do what I asked. Oh, and just so you know, I managed not to blurt out, “Trust me. No one knows when they need the bone more than I do. Give me the bone!!!!” I don’t think he would have appreciated my sense of humor. 

We marinated this for twelve hours, the maximum recommended by the recipe and cooked it in a grill pan. Be careful when you sear the beef, because the sugars in the marinade caramelize quickly. It’s a careful balance between letting it get a good crust and having it burn.  Also, USE YOUR MEAT THERMOMETER. If you do as the recipe instructs and manage to convince your reluctant butcher to cut you a bone-in ribeye, it’s thick like a chuck roast. This makes it more difficult to maneuver with the touch-test, in my opinion. We overcooked this to our tastes just a bit, lacking a thermometer. For a relatively expensive cut of meat, you don’t want to repeat our mistake!

Enjoy! The flavors in this are incredible.

Korean Ribeye Steak

Adapted from the new cookbook, Andrew Carmellini’s American Flavor

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup Coca-Cola

¼ cup sesame oil

¼ cup hoisin sauce

4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 green onions, minced

2 bone-in ribeye steaks (2 ½ pounds each)

½ cup kimchee (from a jar), for serving (optional)

½ cup peeled, grated daikon radish (from a 3-inch piece), for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, Coke, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce. Add the garlic and green onions, and whisk well. There are two ways to get the marinade on the steak. Do whichever of these floats your boat: (a) put the steaks in a large deep dish and pour the marinade over them. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil and put it in the fridge. Or (b) pour the marinade into a gallon plastic bag, put in the steaks, seal the bag, and shake them around till they’re coated in the marinade. Either way, the steaks should marinate in the fridge for 12 hours. (But don’t let them marinate for longer than that: you don’t want the meat to break down too much.)

Pull the steaks out of the marinade, pile them on a plate, and let them come up to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes). Either fire up the grill or turn the broiler on high. If you’re using the grill, you should also preheat the oven to 400°F. If you’re using the broiler, put the steaks on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, place the baking sheet on the middle or middle-high rack, and broil the steaks for about 6 minutes per side. If you’re using the grill, lay the meat right on the rack so it gets a nice char, and let it grill for 4 to 6 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of the meat: you just want to get a nice char going. Then bring the meat back inside and finish it on a rack in a roasting pan in the oven at 400°F for 6 minutes, turning it over once so it cooks more evenly.

No matter how you’re cooking the steak, it’s done when the meat springs back to the touch (if you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 115°F). Let the meat rest for 5 minutes; then slice it thin. If you want the full Korean experience, serve up a bowl of kimchee on the side. And even though it’s not Korean at all, I really love to serve this with grated daikon, too.