Friday, November 6, 2015

Ancho Ice Cream

I was recently inspired to make this for a  potluck.  Towards the end of these parties, my friend pulls out liquid nitrogen to make ice cream using a stand mixer.  I brought his as a base and got some good feedback on it, so I made a second batch at home.

I started by roasting chile ancho and a stick of canela in the oven until I could smell them from the oven and the ancho started brown. At this point the ancho is very dry.  I broke up the chile and canela in a pot of half cream and half whole milk.  The color of the cream began to turn brown as it came to a simmer.  I shut off the heat and let it seep for 20 minutes. I removed about half of the chile and larger pieces of canela and blended into the cream along with a couple of pieces of jamoncillo and Mexican chocolate.

I let the mixture completely chill before placing in an ice cream maker.  I let it run in the maker for about 20 minutes.   To sample, I scooped a couple of spoonfuls into a bowl and topped with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Update: I used the ice cream recently to make a dessert made up of leftover desserty things.  I first made a whipped cream with maple syrup and cinnamon one day that sadly went unused, so I placed this in a bowl to freeze.  The next day I let some of my ancho ice cream soften so I can spread it on top of the frozen whipped cream.  On top of this, I pulverized 2 leftover chocolate chips cookies with some roasted pumpkin seeds.  After weighing this down on top, I froze everything together.  The result is this random weekday dessert!

Ancho Ice Cream

4-6 ancho chiles, split open and seeds removed
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tablet Abuelita chocolate
pinch of salt

- Toast ancho and cinnamon stick over a griddle or a hot oven, turning occasionally until you see them start to get a deeper color and you can smell the aroma of the chile.
- In a separate pan, heat the heavy cream and milk  until it begins to simmer. Break the chiles up in the pan along with the cinnamon stick split in half.  Turn off the heat and let it steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing as much of the chiles out as you can.  Save half of the chile and cinnamon and blend back into the milk mixture.
-Bring the mixture back up to temperature. Break up the tablet of chocolate into the heating ancho milk, add salt, and blend until incorporated.
- Cool and make ice cream!
note: Abuelita has sugar and I found the addition of this to be sweet enough for me, but adding sugar during the last step is also an option.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Caldo Tlalpeño

Finally got some serious cleaning around the house,  got some things reorganized.  Isn't my counter pretty?  I was excited to get my cutting board area set up how I like :).  Drew came home from a trip yesterday so I wanted something comforting, something with flavors he is used to me using.  He loves soup so I went with caldo tlalpeño, something I have gone to in the past, I really enjoy making it, and eating it!


Caldo tlalpeño reminds me very much of something like pozole or menudo: a broth with a puree of chiles and spices stirred in for flavor and heat.  Typically it is done with chipotles and can be put together very easily with canned chipotles in adobo.  I had roasted guajillo, ancho, chipotles, and garlic on the comal earlier in the week for something else, so I decided to use this mixture. 

I added the chiles to a blender jar and topped with boiling water. I let this sit for about 20 minutes, then added cumin seeds, bay leaves, and Mexican oregano which I also toasted on the comal.  The result was a deep dark red puree.

I seared chicken legs in a skillet, I wanted to get the cooking process started on these and got some additional flavor by cooking in a little bit of bacon fat. I added garlic towards the flavor to give it more of a garlic flavor. I removed the skin from the legs and let them continue to render out.
After that the legs went for a swim in chicken broth with my paste mixed in.  I let this simmer on low for about 40 minutes until the meat was falling off the bone.

While the chicken was cooking, I prepared my vegetables that would go into the soup.  Carrots, potatoes, garbanzo beans will go right into the cooking soup. Cabbage and cilantro will go on top when it is all done.

I cubed 1 carrot and 3 potatoes and added to the cooking soup during the last 15 minutes.  I also drained one large cans of garbanzos and tossed it in while it finished simmering.

To finish, I served in bowls and topped with diced onion, shredded cabbage, chunks of avocado, and lime juice.  I added cilantro and tortilla chips broken up into the soup as well.

For the second helping, I added the crispy chicken skin that I left in the skillet as well as a chile pasado relleno.  A relative just came back and brought back chile pasado which is a roasted then dried poblano, typical of where my family is from.  My mom surprised me with rellenos made from these and thought it would be perfect with the soup.
Recipe after the jump!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Skillet Corn

Over the weekend, I went to the farmer's market to pick up some vegetables.  I wasn't sure what to get but I saw they had sweet corn.  It seemed a few weeks early, but I love sweet corn and I grabbed some ears in the hopes that it was sweet and not starchy.   Thankfully it was very crisp and sweet so I ate one as is.  Someone suggested I make skillet corn which is something I never heard of.  After making it the first time, I thought of it as really good creamed corn with the kernels still intact and crisp.  It is definitely delicious and I was craving it again tonight.

Most recipes for skillet corn just have it as a side or a simple dish you just eat from a bowl.  I wanted it to be dinner, so I topped it with pico de gallo that I made with tomatoes from the same market, sliced avocado and a poached egg.

I began by removing the kernels from 4 ears of corn.  I set the cobs to the side so that I can scrape the whole surface with a butterknife to get all the corny goodness.

I technically didn't use a skillet, but I did put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pot.  To this I added about half a small onion, 2 cloves of garlic and half a chile serrano (someone sent me a picture of some jalapeño corn bread and it sounded good).

I then added the corn kernels and cob scrapings to the pot.  I let this cook together on medium high heat for a few minutes, making sure to stir to coat the corn in the mixture.

I then added a tablespoon of flour and mixed it into the corn.  I let this cook together for a few minutes longer before adding water. 

I added about a cup of water, I wanted the corn to be somewhat submerged.  I let this all simmer on low for about 30 minutes.  Some recipes I found said 45, others said 15. I just picked something in between.  I think a reason for a longer cooking time is to get as much corn flavor into the sauce that forms, but I didn't want the corn to get too soft or overcooked.

The acidity and crispness of the pico de gallo was a great contrast to the sweet, slightly creamy corn.  Normal recipes call for butter or bacon to add some richness.  I added the egg with the hope of stirring the yolk into the corn to achieve a similar affect, also because eggs are just really good on things. I added the avocado to add another type of richness to complement the corn and provide another contrast to the pico de gallo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ajo Blanco

I've been craving this soup for a few days after having a garlic soup at dinner over the last weekend.  The flavors are very similar except that ajo blanco is served cold.  It is usually enjoyed in a glass over ice, maybe with a few grapes and apples floating in it.

The plan for my ajo blanco was to make it for dinner so I wanted to incorporate some prepared vegetables and a bit of meat as well. the base for the soup is fairly simple: blanched almonds, roasted garlic, bread, olive oil, vinegar, water, salt, pepper. I decided to top the soup with blanched asparagus, roasted red peppers and some carnitas I picked up from the Mexican grocery store.

To prepare, I used 200g of peeled slivered almonds and blanched them for about 4 minutes. I removed about have of the cooking liquid and added them to my blender.  I roasted 5 garlic cloves (you can use 2 but I like garlic a lot) and added those to the blender as well.  I topped this with 8oz of good olive oil, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I blended until a puree formed, then I ripped off a couple of handfuls of crusty bread (day old is best) and added to the blender along with 12 oz of water.  I blended this all together to get it as smooth as possible, adding salt and pepper to taste.  That's it, soup is done.

To serve I topped with asparagus, red pepper, and carnitas.  The asparagus was simply blanched and the red pepper I roasted and chopped.  The carnitas were already prepared by the butcher and made a great addition to the soup. I finished it with a few drops of olive oil.
I made a more traditional version by splitting green grapes in half and floating them in the soup.  I served in a tall glass with ice and some more olive oil.  The sweetness of the grapes go really well with the garlicky soup and it seems I was able to taste the almond more as a result.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


In an effort to incorporate even more cheese into my diet, I had a couple of quesadillas for lunch.  I like that quesadillas are pretty easy to make but allow you to incorporate some interesting flavors.  I remember as a kid it was easy to make a quick snack with a couple of tortillas, cheese, and whatever random meat there was leftover in the fridge.

Today I made a couple of quesadillas with different fillings.  The first is epazote, an herb with a somewhat lemony pungent herb quality that goes well with cheese.  The second quesadilla I decided to fill with chorizo and mushrooms.

The epazote quesadilla was very straightforward: cheese and herb in between two tortillas on a hot skillet.  I flipped a couple of times until the cheese melted and they were ready to eat.  Tasting this made me think that I need to try more types of herbs as a fillings, maybe tarragon or thyme.

The next quesadilla had a couple extra steps.  I began by frying chorizo with garlic and onion in a pan.  After cooking for a few minutes, I added sliced mushrooms.  They cooked in the fat that rendered from the chorizo for about five minutes, until they lost some moisture and got meatier.

These quesadillas were definitely much more dense than the previous ones.  The chorizo and mushroom are a great combination with the cheese.  I would probably like to incorporate even less chorizo in this and just let the mushrooms shine through a bit more.